Keeping Up With My Mom

I live next door to my 82-year-old mother. She has never driven a car, loves to read New Age books, and lives for the moment her mail is delivered. Five other notable things about her:

  1. She eats her hamburger in between two toasted (burnt to a crisp) rice cakes because she’s “probably allergic to gluten”.
  2. She once thought my late dad was communicating to her through her smoke detector.
  3. She firmly believes in the afterlife and brings up her own imminent death at least once a day.  (Then why bother with the rice cakes?)

    My mom asking the waitress, “Yes, I’d like the hamburger but without the bun. Do you have any rice cakes? And could you turn this music down? How am I supposed to think about what I can’t eat with all this racket!”
  4. There is nothing she hates more than when I try to assist her in any way, especially when I try to help bring her groceries inside.  If I pick up her bag, I’d better be prepared for an onslaught of dirty looks and her yelling, “Jeezum crow, Darla! I’m not THAT old for Chrissakes! GOOD LORD! GIVE ME THAT BAG! GIVE IT TO ME!” Her normal speaking voice has the ability to cut through steel. So when she starts screaming at me, and wrestling the bag out of my hands, every neighbor within a five mile radius must assume I’m accosting a poor old lady in an attempt to steal her rice cakes. And she is always fixated on the location and condition of the eggs. Apparently, all hell would break loose if one were cracked in transit.  “Did you get my eggs, Darla? Did you bring them in the house? Which one is the eggs? Be careful with that bag! That might be my eggs!” I often reply with, “Oh, the eggs? I slammed that bag against the house a couple of times on my way in. Then swung it around like a windmill while pounding it onto the floor before I gave it a good stomping. I think they’ll be fine.” She never laughs at that bit of sarcasm.
  5. She thinks most female celebrities are cursed with “chests that are too big”. To her, this is something to hide not flaunt.

Celebrity chests and death were (once again) the main topics of conversation when she called me on the phone yesterday to chat about the typical stuff: politics, TV shows, whether we’re a ball of light after we die.

My mom is a huge talker, so all conversations are one-sided. She’s been known to interrupt herself. She could break the world record for speaking the longest nonstop without pausing for even a single breath.

The great thing about my mom is she honestly has no clue that what she says is funny. I’m barely able to enjoy a good guffaw in response because she’s already onto the next zinger. She’s also gifted at dropping a funny observation, then following it up with a heavy topic about the nature of our universe and the afterlife some philosophers spend their entire lives contemplating.

Mom: And you know what show I can’t stand? That Karbuncles crap.

Me: The what?

Mom (exasperated): Keeping Up with the Karbuncles!
Slide1Everyone just LOVES that show! And you know why? It’s all about their big chests! Yes! And because it’s illegal to show the nipple area, they have to show the crack instead. I’d rather see the nipple. And there’s a whole bunch of chest crack on that show. The bigger the crack, the better. On some of those girls, that’s all you see! This long crack hanging down to their stomachs! It’s because they don’t wear bras, Darla. Remember: always wear your bra or you’ll turn into a Karbuncle.

Me (laughing): I’ll keep that in mind–

Mom (without pausing): I just finished another book on what happens after we die. What do you think?

Me: Well, I–

Mom: Do you think we’re just a ball of light? What do you think I’ll look like on the other side? Will I be myself or someone else? I’d better not be a Karbuncle! I think I must have lived lots of lives before. And once I’m dead, do you think I can I split up my energy? Be in more than one place at a time? I was thinking, I might stay on the other side, but I might come down here to haunt you. I’ll talk to you all the time from the other side!

Me: Uh…I don’t know if that’s a good idea-

Mom: The mail’s here! (hangs up)

I know I should come up with a clever closing line to this post that neatly ties up the Karbuncles chest crack phenomenon with the afterlife, but my mom has me stumped yet again.

And I have no clue where I get my sense of humor from.


118 thoughts on “Keeping Up With My Mom

  1. I love this! And your Mom. Keeping up with the Karbuncles. What a hoot!!

    I had no idea she was into reading books about the afterlife. Has she read The Afterlife of Billy Fingers yet? If not, it’s a must. My second fav is Conversations with Jerry And Other People I Thought Were Dead. She’d love them.

    1. Has she read them? She probably co-authored them. No, but seriously, she has read just about every book on the afterlife except for the two you mentioned. I’m taking her to the bookstore tomorrow and I’ll be sure to check them out. Thanks for the suggestion!

  2. Margie

    Would your mom be interested in being a blogger? She would likely be a big success!
    Your mom’s hamburger preferences remind me of my grand daughter – who wants the bun, with all the fixin’s, but not the burger.

    1. She would probably be a great blogger but she has no clue what the internet is. I wish I didn’t either. My mom will get a burger, tell them no bun, then they bring her the bun anyway, so she makes a big production out of it. “Here, you can take this bun away from me! I SAID I don’t want it!”

    1. I know, it’s crazy how good she looks! And she is in pretty good physical shape considering she had a quintuple bypass 12 years ago. This photo of her was taken a year ago on her 81st birthday. And she always makes a point to tell people she has never nor will she ever color her hair. It’s all natural. Her own mom lived to 100 and could have passed for 80 easily. I hope it’s genetic.

      1. Double wow! She is amazing! Under all that humor, it’s so clear that you are close. What a lucky, wonderful thing, Darla. Yes, here’s to goo genes… they don’t exist in my family, and so many take them granted. I love that you appreciate so much. 🙂

  3. I think your mom and my late mom were separated at birth. Is that possible when they were over twenty years apart? You brought back some funny memories with this post. Thanks. Got to go now, the smoke detector is going off…..”just a minute, mom!”

  4. Relax...

    ROFL! Well, there’s also the Raymond Moody books, if she needs more reading material. If my DH precedes me, he will surely speak to me through the thermostat dial, “Don’t even think about it!”

    1. Yeah, the thermostat dial is a great device for deceased men to communicate through because they spend their entire lives yelling at everyone to turn it down.
      I’ve read the Raymond Moody books mainly because my mom gave them to me. She’s read just about every book on the subject at this point.

      1. Relax...

        LOL, well, that’s good — it’s sorta like reading a lot of books on upcoming childbirth instead of just thinking, “Well, it’s all natural and folks have been doing this since the beginning of time.” Of course, those books left out the most important thing about entering the “transition” stage: “You’re not going to know what that was ’til you’re past it.” Ah, life…

  5. My mom will be 82 this September. She lives a couple thousand miles away from me, and I don’t know if I envy or pity you for having yours next door. Probably the former, though, at least after reading this post.
    Was your dad, like mine (who’s been gone 10 years now), the strong silent type who mostly just let the nonstop talking go in one ear and out the other till he couldn’t do it anymore?
    Do you hope, like I do, that I’ll be around, spry and alert, to drive (y)our kids crazy as a widowed 82 year old who keeps living independently, the same way we always have?

    1. Yes, my dad’s been dead for over 24 years but he endured more than his fair share listening to my mom ranting and raving. I know this may sound mean, but my brothers and I often joke that after my mom dies, we can almost picture her as a spirit chasing my dad around the heavens, talking to him incessantly. Poor dad.

  6. When you post about your mom, it always makes me laugh out loud. She’s amazing! 😀

    Are you sure she has no idea that she’s funny? Perhaps she’s one of those people with a dry sense of humour, keeping a straight face. 😉

    1. Sometimes I think she knows. Because she does have a dry humor. My dad had a very dry sense of humor, but he really worked at it. With my mom, it’s just effortless. I mean the Karbuncles? I couldn’t have come up with that one! And I laughed so hard when she said it and that only infuriated her more because she wanted to talk about death again. So, my guess is she really has no idea she’s funny.

  7. That Keeping Up with the Karbunkles sounds great! She sounds like a Gilmore Girl, except with no awareness that she is being funny. And you guys are from that area. Any idea if you are related?

  8. Keeping up With The Karbunkles would be the greatest show on TV, I just know it.

    Your mom doesn’t look a day over 65 – seriously! You’re lucky to have such youthful genes…plus the humor gene, jeezum crow.

  9. Oh my thank you for the laugh, I speak to my mum each evening /night she rings at 6.10pm and we talk for over half an hour and by we I mean she spends most of the time talking and I am listening. It doesn’t matter if we have chatted on the phone 2 or 3 times already during the day she still rings me at 6.10pm.

  10. Oh, my God, I’m going to keep thinking about Karbuncle Chest cracks, every time I try to dress up for some reason. Your Mom is the bees Knees, as my Mom would say.

  11. Oh, Darla, don’t you realize you’re sitting on a goldmine? Get that woman’s utterances up on YouTube. Do it in two minute snippets. Charge a subscription. Presto. Financial worries solved. You’re welcome.

    My mom was a talker, too. My portion of the conversation consisted of “Hi, Mom.” After that, she was off to the races. She was Italian. If you were sitting across from her, you could get smacked with her flailing hands.

  12. I was going to say that this explains a lot… death and chests, there’s got to be something there to write about. Forget the Karbuncles, I think your mom should have a reality TV show. I’m not much for TV, but I think I would watch that, plus you could guest start now and then. Make it happen dude!

  13. Your mom is so cute. I bet she would get along really well with my mom, who turns 80 this year! I’m so jealous you live next door. I only see my mom a few times a year. I know all too well about mentioning death every time we talk. When I die…if I live until tomorrow. Oh, yeah! Stop, mom, stop!

    1. I am lucky to have her next door, as much as she drives me bonkers. She’s the key to my past, she still has a sharp mind and can tell me about my relatives who have passed. Plus, I can keep my eye on her AND she supplies me with endless blog fodder.

  14. Dana

    Moms are the best! And yours is almost as adorable as mine! 🙂 I’ m the same way with the egg over protectiveness! And I can’t stand those Karbuttles, either! 🙂 My mom interrupts herself, too! The 4 of us should be best friends! 🙂

    1. She’s been bugging me about those eggs for decades. Sometimes, I’ll take them out of the bag and show them to her to prove I haven’t broken them. I’m 45 years old and haven’t lost one yet.

      1. Dana

        I love that! I’ll check each egg in the carton at the store, before they go into the cart, and then I’m like a mama grizzly, until they are in the fridge! 🙂

  15. This is fab stuff! Now I’m thinking I might be related to your mom though because I too worry endlessly about the eggs and keep saying to anyone who’s helping carry bags “Careful, that might be the bag with the eggs in!” Although I think I saw at least one other commenter saying they also over-worry about eggs, so perhaps I’m not weird (not that I’m suggesting you mom’s weird! Oh dear).

    You reminded me of a funny story here – last year I went away on a two day management training course, and stayed over in a hotel, this was during the run up to our elections here. On the second day, when we got into class, the tutor asked if we’d watched the election debate the night before, everyone said yes and were all like “Ooh, what did you think about what Cameron said?” and all that malarkey. Somebody obviously noticed that I was keeping quiet and asked me if I too had watched the election debate, there was an awkward silence before I mumbled “Er, no…I watched Keeping up With the Kardashians.

    1. I think the egg obsession is pretty common. Once I put a carton of eggs in my cart without checking to see if any were cracked first and my husband just about had a tantrum. “Aren’t you going to check those?! OH MY GOD!” But you know, I like to live on the edge.

      As for your choice of TV shows, my feeling is SOMEONE has to keep up with the Karbuncles, so you’re just doing your civic duty.

  16. I’ve never watched the Karbunkles and don’t plan to, but your mom’s rant on them is hilariously awesome. 🙂
    I still live in the same house as my mom but I don’t get treated to the same long-windedness. Mine does, however, tend to obsess/freak out over strange things (at least, I think they’re strange things to freak out about). And if I hear her rant about our weird food cupboard one more time…
    But she’s still pretty cool. And one of the few people who can play Scrabble with me in two languages.

  17. #4 is my favorite as you describe swinging the eggs like a windmill and slapping them against all the houses. LOL

    I just had an hour and 15 minute phone conversation with my mom where I probably said 3 sentences. My siblings and I have been known to set the phone down, finish a task, and return without her noticing we ever stepped away. #truestory We should put your mom and my mom in a boxing ring and just make them have a conversation. Ha!

  18. Ba ha ha ha ha ha!! Totally laughed out loud, Darla! The rice cakes…the eggs (what is it about eggs, we treat them like a fragile infant)…her interrupting herself…! Hilarious! I don’t really wonder where you get your humor anymore! 🙂

  19. Seeing your Mom’s quote on The Karbunkles made me think of Peter Ustinov’s line (as Arthur Simon Simpson) in the movie, “Topkapi:” He told the prison guards what his dad used to say to him: “Arthur”… he used to call me Arthur… “Arthur, you’re a carbuncle on the behind of humanity.” Carbuncle! I’m a nothing! I’m a nobody!

    Darla … I haven’t see that movie since it came out in 1964, but I’ve never forgotten that line. Now, I’ll never forget your Mom’s or yours (about what you did with the eggs). Made me laugh. Thank you. 😉

  20. You and your mom could be a regular column in the newspaper. Ha! The Karbunkles and their cracks! My mom talks non-stop and can interrupt herself, but isn’t half as funny. If she ever happened upon the Karbunkles she would be so offended! She hates The Bachelor because last season, The Bachelorette slept with a guy before the last rose ceremony. BEFORE MARRIAGE!

  21. My first thought, after reading this, was to put your Mom into the White, preferably the Executive time room where his highness (or rather lowness) spends most of his waking and sleeping hours, and let her loose on him, all day, for, oh, say, a couple of weeks or so. That may get him to resign and save us all a lot of trouble.

  22. Perhaps your mom would like to add “Autobiography of a Yogi” to her reading list. She’ll find out she doesn’t have to wait to die to be in two places at once – yogis can do it whilst alive. Or you might want to keep that to yourself, for your own protection. Funny post!

  23. You never fail to entertain me! And I remember that ‘Dad was communicating to her through her smoke detector” topic/talk. Hilariousness. Who knew 20 somethingish years ago…

  24. toni596

    You definitely need to vlog (is that a verb?) your mom. I could watch her for hours…the chest cracks…the rice cakes…….spreading laughs all over the internet!

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