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Cadigan, Pat
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 03:23 am:   

So my son Rob, the artist formerly known as Bobzilla, Scourge of the Midwest, now appearing as Rob, the Most Dapper Gent in London, is off for the weekend to something called Infest in Bradford. It's his first solo trip out of town to a music festival. His grandmother took it a lot harder than I did--the baby is going away for the weekend. She doesn't understand why I'm not already worried sick about his safety.

The kid is 6'1"--6'4" in his platform boots--and looks like a psycho-killer. Which makes him practically identical to every other guy going to this festival, including the bands, so he'll blend in with no trouble. He's 18, he's got condoms, and he's got bail money. I've trained him in what to do when confronted by the police--i.e., exactly what they tell you to do, without comment. Considering his nature and disposition, he's more likely to get hit by an asteroid than he is to be confronted by the police.

I still don't have the heart to tell my mother half of what I'd already done when I was the same age. How twisted is that? She's 83 and I'm going to be 50 and I'm still hiding things from her. Parents and kids--what a concept!

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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 11:50 am:   

Hey Pat, I was thinking about Bobzilla because he's the same age as my brat. Who is now 6", 126 lbs., with fluorescent orange hair. I can always find him in a crowd. Two weeks ago he lost his cell phone crowd surfing at the Warped Tour (a punk rock concert with twenty-seven bands) but some kid called him and said he'd found it, so he drove to where the kid lives, which turned out to be a boarding school for Orthodox Jews. Science fiction is so much tamer than real life.

And we have to trade mom stories. Mine's 88 and has dementia. For awhile all she wanted to talk about was weather and car tail lights. But now she's obsessed with metallic silver and gray cars which she says look like they haven't been painted. I think she's worried about rust, but I'm not sure.
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Ellen
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 12:36 pm:   

There are still many things I don't tell my mother and won't do here as there's always the chance she'll check out the BB--she is in possession of my old Toshiba laptop, does email regularly and can often find urls (not always).

Pat has met my mom, as I have met hers --for joy.:-)
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Laura Anne
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 01:10 pm:   


I'm only the mother of a feline. Who makes odd noises in the distant reaches of the house at oh-god hours of the night which means I have to get up and see what she's done this time... it's almost exactly like having a teenager, according to my mom.

Who is 70-ish and planning her latest trip, this one to Malta. We just got back from Italy. last year they went to Russia and Poland. She's been to Bali half a dozen times, Israel, Egypt, Viet Nam, Korea, Japan, China, Africa...

She's already told us that when she feels dementia coming on, she's going to just get on a plane and forget to come home. We'll probably get a call a year or so later from some nice policeman in Western Australia saying "excuse me, is this mum yours?"

We haven't decided yet what we'll answer.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 03:02 pm:   

My parents told me to put them on an ice flow. Which might prove tricky, given the climate here.

This was, more seriously, prompted by a grandmother with Alzheimer's. Grim.
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Jay Caselberg
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 04:53 pm:   

Hmm, people have called me a mother in the past. I'm sure it's not for the same reasons.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 01:15 am:   

I'm sure they meant well, Jay... ahem.
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Saturday, August 23, 2003 - 02:30 pm:   

My favorite line to my children was when I wanted them to do chores and I'd get all self-righteous and say, I GAVE YOU LIFE! NOW WASH THE DISHES. And they always laughed and gave in.

And now they're gone, and I'm sorry I didn't have them mow the lawn first.
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Cadigan, Pat
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 03:38 am:   

Maureen--

Astounding...someone whose mother is older than mine!

In our family, my mother is a total anomaly. No one else has lived past 70, and most of them didn't get that far. At 83, she suffers from poor vision and hearing, and from osteoporosis, which is more incapacitating. Ladies & Grrlz everywhere, I beg you--TAKE YOUR CALCIUM *NOW* AND DON'T EVER STOP.

As far as dementia goes, it's hard to tell with my mother. She's been accusing me of poisoning her food for over thirty years now, so I guess it's either a matter of degree or duration--i.e., how long the lucid periods last. If those really are lucid periods, per se.

Ellen and I have indeed enjoyed the company of each other's mothers. My mother believes Ellen Datlow is the paragon against which all other daughters should be measured, mostly I think because Ellen reminds her of my Aunt Loretta. Loretta was also fiercely independent and knew how to dress. If it hadn't been for the cigarettes, she'd probably still be out shopping somewhere.

On the other hand, my mother quit smoking at 65. Like I said, anomaly.

Laura Anne, someone once described cats as "little men in cheap fur coats" for that reason. I suppose they could just as easily be adolescents.:-) In our house, it's the reverse--the cat has to get up and investigate what we're doing. Sometimes this is really helpful. For example, there was the time she showed us how to work the DVD player.

(Those of you who have heard this story can look away now.)

We've had this combo vcr/dvd player for over a year and although we'd hooked it up half a dozen ways, we could never get it to work. It became a family project--anyone with a little free time and nothing pressing would sit down in the living room and fool around with the thing to see if they could get it working. So last month, I was doing exactly that one day after a long session of writing and Miss Kitty Calgary, Queen of the Cats, came over to see what I was up to.

She watched me for a while but then grew bored with my incompetence. Finally, she got up and, giving me her usual look of "You puny human, how I pity you and your poor excuse for a brain, you are so inadequate", she stepped on the remote control for the cable box, hitting the power button and shutting it off.

And there it was--the dvd player was working. All we'd ever had to do was shut the damn cable box off to get the display. *We* didn't know that (we hadn't had to do that with our previous vcr). But the cat knew it.

So *that's* what she's been doing at night...inviting all her friends over to watch kitty porn.
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Liz Williams
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 03:46 am:   

Cat story is spooky in the extreme...

I have a part-time cat (I share Sappho with a friend, that is - it's not that she's sometimes a cat and sometimes something else) whose modus operandi is indeed 'teenage girl' ("Wot? <sneer> I'll stay out all night if I wanna. So fuck you."). I have actually uttered the phrase "GO TO YOUR ROOM!"

As for the family, the Williams genes are apparently little short of indestructible (cross fingers, touch wood) with most of my dad's siblings now well into their late 80s and 90s, mobile, compos mentis and being Welsh, highly opinionated. My grandmother smoked like a chimney ('keeps the germs away') until the age of 80-something, when she died of an unrelated complaint. So there you go.

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Cadigan, Pat
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 04:13 am:   

OK, now where was I?

Liz--Ow. That's awful. I used to volunteer occasionally at a nursing home when I was a teenager, and most of the residents had Alzheimer's.

Jay--I believe the proper spelling would be "mutha."

Leslie--I *love* that. It reminds me a little of this classic exchange heard in our house not long ago:

(Rob is in the kitchen; I am in the living room)

Rob: Mom, I just microwaved a pizza but all the dishes are dirty.

Me: Is your arm broken?

Rob (the smartass): Yes.

Me: That's a shame. No one should have to starve to death because of a broken arm.

(muttering, sound of water running, dishes moving around)

Rob: Mom, where's the dishwashing stuff? I can't find it!

Me: Did you look in your butt?

Rob (still the smartass): Yes! It's not there!

Me: Then it must be on the counter next to the sink.

(muttering, sound of water running and too much detergent)

Rob: Mom, where are the dishtowels? I can't find them and I already looked in my butt!

Me: Then they must be on the towel rack.

Rob: Where's the towel rack? And don't start with my butt!

Me (giving up and going down to kitchen): Next time you want to talk while you're microwaving pizza, just come up to the living room and say so.

Rob: I thought you'd have figured that out already.
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Laura Anne
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 05:21 am:   

Pat -- my sister married an electrical engineer so we'd have someone to hook up all our electronics. True story: we waited until they were visiting to buy a dvd player. Intentionally left the box on the coffee table. Came home a few hours later and he had not only hooked it up but had arranged it through the speakers so we had surround sound.

My family has a history of hanging around into their 90's. Half of them (my father's family)last physically another 5-10 years, the other half (my mother's family) feel their faculties start to go and say "goodnight, Gracie." I know which half I'm aiming to be...
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LeslieWhat
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 09:08 am:   

Pat once again proves that it isn't so difficult to outsmart them if you're willing to play dirty. Mauahahahahahahaha!
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Ellen
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 10:22 am:   

And then there's my dad who is going to be 87 in September, (was shot down in WWII and a POW in Germany) and is still, albeit, not often -playing tennis. He sleeps a lot too. But hey, he's entitled. His parents both died young so he's doing pretty well. Still has a lot of his hair and some of it's still black. Sometimes he seems to be going deaf (but he can hear us whisper), etc etc.
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 03:49 pm:   

Pat, I believe Ellen is the paragon against which all other daughters should be measured.
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Ellen
Posted on Sunday, August 24, 2003 - 04:22 pm:   

Thank you Maureen. I think you need to tell my mother that ( I can give you her email address).
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Cadigan, Pat
Posted on Friday, September 26, 2003 - 04:01 am:   

Well, my son Silent Rob (The Artist Formerly Known As Bobzilla, Scourge of the Midwest) is taking himself off to Sheffield for the weekend to visit some friends at the university there.

They are all good guys--they've spent a few weekends here and I love them all. They're an interesting and highly diverse group from an assortment of backgrounds, colours, and sexual orientations whose common bonds are a passion for videogames--making their own as well as playing--watching anime, and inventing new cocktails (the more disgusting, the better).

I wouldn't find the matter of their sexual orientations noteworthy except that I was dismayed to find out that even now, parents are disowning children because they aren't heterosexual, or not heterosexual enough. And oddly, not all of these parents are deeply religious.

I know, I know--there are parents who do far worse to children. Abusers are a different story. I'm talking about people who aren't candidates for a visit from social services and/or don't speak in tongues every Sabbath.

Feh.
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Cadigan, Pat
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 02:51 am:   

Tonight, my kid invited his pal Sara to come over and drink vodka, watch videos, pet the cat, and giggle. He got tipsy enough to come into the living room, hug me, and tell me he loves me.

(For those who came in late, none of the parties mentioned is a minor, including the cat.)

I was rather tickled by this. Also by observing the social dynamics of younger people. Sara is Just A Friend. His girlfriend is coming over tomorrow. Sara is also a friend of hers, and nobody has any jealousy issues about this, or about anyone else's friends of the opposite sex.

To tell the truth, I find this even more astounding than the fact that my son's drinking habits do not involve a deep need to kill an entire litre of vodka as quickly as possible and spend the rest of the night puking. (Of course, this is probably as much to do with economics as anything--i.e., we're all short on money for things like vodka, so we all try to make things last.)

Anyway, like I said, I find the social dynamic interesting. It's not like these kids don't have any problems or are all completely well-adjusted. But it looks like they really have this friend thing worked out.
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Maureen McHugh
Posted on Friday, October 03, 2003 - 04:16 pm:   

That's tremendously reassuring, Pat. My kid is still rendered completely speechless by the absence of a Y chromosome and is, I think, mildly worried about dying a virgin. You know, there's a lot to be said for being a little short on money.
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jit3
Posted on Thursday, October 30, 2003 - 02:17 pm:   

my mum has warned me that she's going to be channeling Diana Rigg In Mother Love when I get married...

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