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Mom’s New Headphones

My mom is slightly hard of hearing. She says “What?!” about eighty batrillion times a day and turns the volume on the TV up way, way too loud. She’s also constantly watching TV. So my brother, in one of his rare genius moments, bought her these headphones that enable her to hear the TV, without having the volume turned up on the television.

Life has improved drastically.

I come home, and the house is silent. There’s mom, on the couch, happily watching NCIS with her headphones. I go to bed at night and I can actually sleep! No more listening to Abby and Gibbs yammer on about some crime while I’m trying to count sheep. Our house is so peaceful.

Of course, the headphones have some drawbacks. She can hear the TV when she has them on, but she can’t hear anything else. The phone ringing, for instance. Or the dog crying because someone shut her in the basement by accident again. Or anyone speaking to her. This is mostly a problem if we happen to be watching a television show together.

Me: “Oh my god, did you see that girl? What a mess.”

Mom: *chews popcorn*

Me: “If I was on the Bachelor I would never do one of these cheesy intros.”

Mom: *yawns*

Me: “Hey Mom, did you tape that other show…oh, why do I bother.”

It makes watching TV with her kind of lame now. I mean before it was all “What did she say!? Rewind, I sneezed and didn’t hear it!” so at least now we can watch shows in one pass. I guess I’d rather have her sitting quietly than have my eardrums blown out by an episode of The Nanny.

The headphones also cause her to forget she’s wearing them and just go about her day in her own little world, with the headphones. She’ll put something on TV, slap on her headphones, and get things done. She’ll wander the house chuckling to herself and unable to hear any of us. It’s pretty annoying, because you don’t realize she’s “watching” TV until you try to talk to her and she completely ignores you. I couldn’t resist, and had to have a little fun with her the other day.

Me: “Mom where’s the spatula? Mom, hey…oh. You’re wearing your headphones. Can’t hear a thing I’m saying.” *thoughtful pause, smirk* “You smell funny! Those pajamas are dumb! You should stop eating so many cookies!”

Mom: “Hey! I can hear you, you know!”

Me: “Oh OF COURSE, that you heard!”

The headphones also cause her to zone out completely, typically in the middle of a task that requires attention. See, she’ll wear the headphones around the house, cleaning, cooking, whatever. Then something exciting will happen on her show, and she’ll race back to the couch to watch it, completely forgetting about what she was doing. Hence, the Burnt Toast Incident of New Year’s Eve.

Mom decided to have some toast before she went out on New Year’s Eve. Always smart to have some starch before you go out drinking. She put the toast in and wandered off to watch her show. I was getting ready in the bathroom. Our toaster SUCKS and burns everything, so you have to watch it really carefully. I just had a feeling she was going to burn her toast.

I couldn’t smell it burning, but I was getting worried so I went down the hall to check on her and her toast.

Black smoke was billowing out of the toaster oven.

“MOM! FIRE!!!” I screeched, not daring to go in the kitchen (hello, there was a fire). Mom, by some miracle, must have heard my screech, because she flew off the couch, flinging her headphones into the dog’s water dish by accident.

“Shiiiitttt!!! My toast! My headphones!” She stood in the kitchen for a moment, as if she was trying to figure out whether she should deal with the flames shooting out of the toaster oven or save her beloved headphones.

“Mom! Do something!” I shouted, frantically fanning the smoke away from me and opening windows. That seemed to snap her out of it.  She bravely unplugged the toaster and put out the flaming pumpernickel. We were lucky, but my brother and I knew it was only a matter of time before the headphones situation got out of hand.

We let her keep the headphones, but she has been forbidden to wear them while cooking.

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The Great Purge

I’ve been doing a deep cleaning of my room lately. My life feels so unorganized right now and I don’t even know where to start making it better, but my room? My room is easy in comparison. Plus, it somehow soothes my anxiety-ridden mind to come home after yet another stressful day at work and just be able to project some order on something.

It’s been a really rewarding experience. There is nothing like opening a newly organized sock drawer and being able to locate the exact pair of socks you wanted. It’s a great feeling. I’ve gotten rid of a ton of stuff, both to trash and to donate or sell. I still have quite a ways to go, but I am happy with my progress.

Anyway, I’ve come across quite a few things that have survived many previous purges because I can’t bear to get rid of them. This time was no different. I think we all have some random crap that we totally don’t need but feel like we should hang on to. Here are some of mine:

  • Graduation cap – We got to keep our high school graduation cap and gown, for reasons unknown. What the hell am I going to do with this? I have no idea where the gown is, but I still have the cap, taking up space in my closet. Maybe I’ll frame it like a tiny, sad version of that collage the Cullen’s made.
  • Room keys for various hotels – I did finally manage to let go of these, though it was surprisingly difficult. They’re all attached to a memory and make me warm and fuzzy when I look at them.
  • Tamagotchi – Yes, I still have mine, though sadly it no longer works. I’m not sure I’d want it to. Looking back, I don’t see the appeal. And it turns out they still make them! I can’t get rid of it though. I can show my kids someday and they’ll probably be all “WTF is that, Mom?” and zip off with their jet packs or something. It will be like that doll my mom used to have that my grandmother kept – it’s head was attached via a string, and when you pulled the head off, it would slowly zip back down to the body while saying things like “Here comes my booodddyyy!”
  • Pay stubs – Like, every one I’ve ever received. They always seemed important to keep but today I decided they are not, so into the shredder they all went. It was very satisfying, somehow.
  • Magazine pages – I ripped a shit-ton of pages out of magazines. Did I think Future Me was going to go back and read these? Because she didn’t. She threw them in the trash.
  • A pocket IQ test – You never know when you may need to prove your intelligence on the fly.

And I’ve only done maybe one quarter of my room. I figure when I finally move out in the spring I’ll only be taking the absolute necessities with me. Like the Tamagotchi and pocket IQ test.

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