Mixed Family Blues

“Susan, please do the dishes, it is your turn.”

Mother Gothel & Rapunzl

Mother Gothel & Rapunzl

I am standing in front of the kitchen sink stacking and clearing the plates. Frantically, I’m trying to get it all done before we go out for the evening. My back is facing the rest of the kitchen and dining room. Susan, my fifteen year old stepdaughter, is sitting on the floor between the kitchen and dining room. Her attention focused on her (as usual) self. Head bent over, one hand is holding her foot and the other is holding the nail clippers. She is showing more skin than clothes.

Without turning my head, I calmly state, “Susan, I have asked you many times not to do that in the kitchen. Who would want to eat your toenails?” My voice might have been calm outside; however, my insides were comparable to an atom bomb that is in place to explode on the count of ten. I wonder to myself if anyone else is hot in this air-conditioned room.

“It’s not my turn to do dishes. I do them all the time, why don’t you ask your son to do them.”

The phone rings several times. Since, no one hears it or they do not know how to answer it, I step over Susan and walk past my husband who is sitting nearby on the couch reading the newspaper. After I finish speaking on the phone, I walk by my husband, step over my step daughter, and return to the sink stacking and clearing the plates so she can do the dishes. If either one of them raised their heads to look at me, they might have noticed my hair is a different color.

“Bob that was your sister letting us know they will meet us in twenty minutes at the movie theater.” Bob has not moved except to flip the paper to the sports section.

“OK, hon, but let’s get going. I don’t like to keep them waiting.” I really think he is singing the words while an atom bomb is ticking in my body.

Susan, still focused on her feet, asserts that she is picking up her toe nails as she is clipping them. I know she is here physically, but mentally she is nowhere to be found. She swings her long, beautiful head of blond hair. I hear her say, “I am pretty sure it is not my turn. We went out last night, so that counts as my turn.”

“Hon” my husband again sings from behind the newspaper. “Hon, are you ready to go? You know I don’t like to keep my sister and her husband waiting.” Didn’t he just say that so Susan and I could hear? My inner bomb is starting the final, final countdown.

I can hear her mumble something about someone being so lame.

“Susan, please do the dishes quickly. You have not done them all week and it is your turn.” The bomb is ready for takeoff. My husband is standing in the doorway, jackets in hand ready to go.

Susan jumps to her feet, tilts her head and puts one hand on her hip. “Fine, but I can’t do the dishes now. My toenails are drying. ”

Leave a comment


  1. Very good ratchet of pressure and tension … Hope there is a part two!! 🙂

    • Thank you for your comment! I have a lifetime of mixed family blues. But, getting a good “ratchet” of pressure, tension and humor can be challenging.


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