Tuesday, March 4, 2014

I'm the Rodney Dangerfield Daughter

No good deed goes unpunished!

Uh huh. That's a news flash. It can't wait until the next edition of the Backroads Hometown Gazette.

You know how I call my mom at least twice a day, sometimes five or six if I'm on one of my 19 snow days off from school? How I'm the Three-Dollar or Five-Dollar or Seven-Dollar or occasionally the Ten-Dollar Daughter? One held in high esteem by her maternal unit? One who takes Mom for rides, allows her to show off a bit of flesh through that hole in her gray sweatpants, brings her slaw when she's running low, advises her on neighbor relations, and is just an all-around good egg looking out for Mommy?

I do that with no thought of the benefits I may reap at the end of each visit. I could be the No-Dollar Daughter and remain just as pleased for the hours of companionship. I rarely ask for anything, unless, perhaps, it's to pull down in the driveway when dropping off supplies to my familial shut-in, so that my T-Hoe is not rammed by an out-of-control auto barreling over the hill while I'm parked on the wrong side of the road. And I know better than to ask. Mom is quite adamant about her driveway privileges with snow upon the gravel. So I make do.

Last night at 10:30, in the middle of our 5th phone conversation of the day, Mom was almost giddy with news. It was as if she'd left her homestead and interacted with people. Not just The Shoveler. "I walked by that thing on the wall, you know, the box that tells me what the temperature is and what I have it set on...and it said, 'Change.' So I got out my instruction book and looked it up. The book said that meant I needed to change the battery. I guess this cold weather this week has kept it running so much that the battery ran down. I thought, 'I'm not going to deal with this right now. I don't want my furnace to go off. Tomorrow I'll call your nephew, and see if he has time to run by check on it after work.'"

"Mom, you know Hick would come out and do that for you." Of course, my nephew works for Ameren Missouri, and Hick merely wires and repairs and builds machines much more complicated than thermostats all the livelong day, whereas my nephew started out as a custodian dumping wastebaskets.

"Well...this afternoon your sister and her husband the ex-mayor came by to bring me some noodles. Sis called and said she had cooked some, and she'd be glad to bring them. I told her I had food, but that noodles sounded good. So they came out, and the ex-mayor changed the battery in my furnace thing for me!"

I was silent for a moment. "They parked in your driveway, didn't they?"

"Yes. I didn't know they were going to."

"But you always tell ME not to pull into the driveway!"

"Well, I don't want anybody in there. But they did it last time, too."

"I know. But if I get out tomorrow and run by your house, you don't want me in there, right?"

"No! I don't want you to get stuck. I wouldn't be able to push you out."

"Okay. I'm probably not coming out anyway. And that thermostat battery? You really think it's the weather over the last three days that made the battery run down?"


"How long have you had that furnace?"

"Seven years."

"Have you ever changed the battery in the thermostat in those seven years?"

"Oh, no."

"I have batteries in a head massager that go dead in two months. And I don't have THAT many headaches, so I don't use it very often. And you expect this thermostat battery to last forever?"

"Well, not forever. I had an extra 5 years warranty added to my furnace contract, for replacement parts. That takes my up to 2017. But I don't think that battery would have run down without all this cold weather."

I think I need my nephew to explain that a thermostat works all the time, not just when the furnace kicks off and on in cold weather. I'm sure he can just pull down in the driveway when he arrives.


  1. Battery runs down and the weather is very cold...coincidence? I think not.

  2. How right you are; no good deed goes unpunished.

  3. I'd say the "Driveway Daughter" has a better title than the "$8 Daughter" or "$5 Daughter." You need to elbow her out of the way...

  4. OK, battery discussion aside I have to ask about this...

    "No! I don't want you to get stuck. I wouldn't be able to push you out."

    Exactly how old is your mom and would she be able to push you out?

  5. A wee bit of favoritism going on? Your mom stories remind me of my late mom. She used to adjust the thermostat all day long.

  6. Hmmm. So it's okay to drive on the parkway but not park on the driveway.

  7. joeh,
    You're onto the conspiracy, I see.

    You'd think Even Steven would be a more detailed record-keeper. He probably needs a good secretary.

    Is it not enough that she married the ex-mayor, and I married Hick? Now she has a better name, thanks to you. Allow me to release my inner Nancy Kerrigan: "WHYYYYYYY? WHYYYYYYYY?"

    My mom is 79, about to leave the septuagenarian world and enter her octo-Mom phase. I do not really think she could push me out, since she would be pushing a Chevy Tahoe uphill. That is not to say she wouldn't try.

    Of course it's favoritism! Any time I don't get my way, it's favoritism! Here's where our moms diverge. Mine sets her thermostat twice a year. She sets it on 50 at the beginning of winter, and on 90 at the beginning of summer. At least that's how it feels when I'm in her house. She says she's actually saving my inheritance.

    I think you're onto something. You and Joe could get some Sherlock Holmes hats, and a couple of pipes, and I'll toss in a shiny new magnifying glass for each of you.