1. Pick up lunch for everyone. Sit back and watch as my mother takes each chicken sandwich and poke her long, skinny finger in each to find the one she wanted as she simply cannot bare to eat a lumpy chicken sandwich.
2. Take chairs from the kitchen to the tv room, arrange them only to find out that Gillian wants to eat in the kitchen and I've stolen her only chair. Take the chair back. Put it in the "wrong place" and move it as instructed by a picky five year old holding a mini "Elphaba" doll from McDonald's in her tiny dimpled hand.
3. Try to eat lunch while mom regales story after story of "Times when Ben gets hit in the head." Gabe, the lovely youth who helps mom and dad out stops in mid-bite of his sub to say, "He does seem to get hit in the head a lot..."
4. Mom insisted that an eight foot long skinny table would fit in her tv room. Summer and I dragged it in through the back door, past the pile of expensive cat food, through the late 19th century mini-door and into the tv room. "Try it there... or maybe over there." She pointed and paused and pointed and paused and when we didn't move fast enough she would position her tiny arthritic frame next to the furniture in question and grunt as she jammed it with her (easily breakable) hip. Many times I had to threaten her life - for her own good, of course...
5. Put down a gorgeous rug. Pick it up. Put down a different rug. Rinse, repeat.
6. "GILLIAN! WHAT IS THIS?! OH GOD!" was heard from the living room. I stopped in mid-comb of Silver the Cat and looked up to the doorway to see mom holding a baggie containing a greenish gray blob by the tips of her fingers. She was gagging and wretching and ran, as fast as she could anyway, to the kitchen. The smell lingered in the air and wafted around us, enveloping us in a non-visible green fog of ick. Mother made her way back to the other room, armed with an industrial strength cleaner. Gillian followed. "Did you do that, Gillian?" mom asked her. "Noooo.. it was Momma!" Summer busted out laughing at her daughter blatent improving of the truth.
7. "What are you making, Gillian?" I asked my gorgeous brown-eyed niece as she swirled her paint brush in the trays, making them all the same brownish-black color. "A mess," she replied, without missing a beat.
8. Go to grocery store and manage to stay pace with a mother whose two kids insist on beeping the horn of the car stuck to the front of the buggy the whole time. I picked up canned corn. BEEP BEEP! I contemplated bread choices. BEEP BEEP! I inspected eggs. BEEP BEEP BEEP! It took every ounce of my power not to toss the BEEPIN' eggs at the BEEPIN' kids.
9. Home now. Happily eating cookies and watching tv. Too tired to make dinner. Will instead eat more cookies and watch more bad tv. Until I have to go back to the 'rents tomorrow and start the cycle all over again.
Wish me luck!