My Mother, Thief of Goat’s Milk Products

There was no freaking way she was going to redecorate my room. No way on earth. She had that power at one point in my life, and as a result, I spent my teenage years in a sunflower yellow room adorned with far too much poppy imagery.

I finally had my own space – of sorts. I spent the first week of my summer in Boston scrubbing the floor, spackling the walls and maneuvering the biohazardous excuse for a mattress gracefully out of the window. Then I painted everything brown. And threw the entirety of my wardrobe on the floor. The space was officially mine.

230815clothes

A few days earlier, on the phone with my mother regarding the upcoming visit: “OH IT WILL BE SO MUCH FUN WE WILL GO TO THE CUTE LITTLE WHOLE FOODS BEHIND YOUR CUTE LITTLE ROOM IN YOUR CUTE LITTLE HOUSE AND BUY CUTE LITTLE GROCERIES AND FIX UP YOUR ROOM WITH CUTE LITTLE CUTE THINGS.”

No.

NO POPPIES. OR BRIGHT COLORS. NOT HERE.

Such interference must be prevented at all costs. So I crammed every minute of the weekend with plans to explore the revolutionary and overwhelmingly Italian parts of Boston. (Distinct neighborhoods, albeit.) No time for redecoration.

But first, she had to climb five flights in the sweltering evening heat, only to be greeted at the top by a bathroom that was literally growing hair out of every drain. (She got that part right.) However, no challenge is insurmountable when one equips my mother with a little red wine and stolen fans from the communal living spaces.

230815fans

We were awakened the next morning at sparrow’s fart by the music of hundreds of trucks idling outside my window. (Two seasons in New England – winter and construction! Hahaha… so funny …I want to burn this city to the ground. Just kidding. Maybe.)

We embarked on a grand adventure to see libraries and historic churches – basically my mother’s favorite things – and she attempted to “check out” books from a library she does not belong to in a city she does not inhabit. No, Mom, published authors don’t get automatic librarian rights. Don’t listen to Grandpa.

We toured a historic art museum famed for the world’s most expensive and currently unrecovered art theft – I think my mother gave off a slightly suspicious vibe, as we were followed around by a number of guards from room to room. Either she didn’t notice or was intentionally messing with them by standing a hair’s too close to the artwork and exclaiming loudly “This Rembrandt would go perfectly with the bathroom color scheme!” Regardless, they broke a sweat.

We explored a booming Farmer’s and Artist’s Market in South Boston – I have never seen her accumulate so many samples so quickly. She had it down to a script too  – “Yeshihello, how are you, marvelous, I live in the area and will definitely be back to buy more of your product, may I try a sample of your local deliciousness thankyougoodday.” We made it out of there with literally enough food to last the rest of my collegiate career.

(If you’re not picking up on a theme here – my mother is a klepto. Of library books, priceless works of art and artisanal cheese samples. I plead unknowing and accidental accomplice.)

We hiked Boston’s Freedom Trail, a winding path through the tumultuous history of the Revolutionary War- it also happens to wind through the North End, where overstuffed cannoli and fresh, cheesy pasta distract from the patriotic quest. And I do not say “hike” lightly – after repeatedly climbing the five flights up Dante’s inferno to my place, we decided to also climb the Bunker Hill Monument at midday. We basically climb stairs now. It’s a hobby.

230815stairs

Finally, a surprise I had meticulously planned – an evening on a sailboat and a visit to the best improv club in town. But the good old public transportation system, essentially comprised of turtle-drawn buggies, had different plans. Hence the running three miles in flip flops, tearing through a quaint harborside party reception waving my arms and screaming “CATCH THAT SAILBOAT!” Not gonna lie, probably one of the most epic things I’ve ever done.

230815sailboat

Now, just to complete the picture, here are some pictures.

Chloe and Shelley on sailboat
Conducting business on the sailboat. (I.e. dealing with the homefront crisis in which Grandma forgot where the cat food is. Classic Grandma.)
She knocked over an encyclopedia right after this was taken. I kid you not. It was so loud.

Shelley in library

Washing the kleptomania from her hands in Boston’s picturesque Frog Pool.

Shelley at Frog Pool

Apparently a proud supporter of the internment of Samuel Adams.

Shelley at Sam Adams tomb

The face of a woman who is done with my preposterous selfies.

Shelley selfie

A preposterous selfie. That stone circle behind us marks the location of the Boston Massacre. A lack of tea makes everyone cranky, apparently.

Chloe and Shelley Boston Massacre

At the end of the weekend, she departed, leaving me with a mountain of nut cheese and crackers made from seaweed harvested by mermaids. I’ve already started to plan the next adventure, which will involve more racing to reach ships in time and less opportunities for my mom to get thrown in federal. And, most importantly, at the dawn of the next week, my room was still clothes-strewn and completely bare of poppies.

230815poppies

SUCCESS.

~Chloe

*ROBIN GOTT’s NEW POST* (click)

Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all talked about down in the pub. Plus, you can see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone.

72 thoughts on “My Mother, Thief of Goat’s Milk Products

  1. Hmmm… I hadn’t pegged you for a kleptomaniac.
    I do understand the joys of an entire wardrobe inhabiting the floor of a bedroom, however. You know, I’m MUCH neater now, of course. But, you know, when I was much younger I was a little messy. Not now, though.

    • I verily despise the saying “cluttered space, cluttered mind.” I like my space to be an accurate depiction of the state of my mind: overflowing with thoughts, far too many about food and clothes.

      • Substitute the word “space” for “desk” in Einstein’s quote and you’ve got it – ‘If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?’ 🙂

        • i wisch i berleavd that. my desk had gotten symptomatic/symbolic of geologic strata, except that something akin to plate tektawnix has jumbled stuff so that pre-cambrian has overturned the quaternary. something like that. oh, yes, and my mind . . . hardly ~

  2. Too funny! I must say, I enjoyed your version of the adventure than your mum’s ;). Great pictures, great drawings, Rob, and hope you two get to have another adventure soon so I can read all about it. What’s your major? Best wishes, Cindy.

    • Rob’s illustrations make even the most stressful experiences into whimsical funnies. I wish he could illustrate all of my life.

      I’m an aerospace engineering major. It was either that or a BS in cookies, but they didn’t offer that so … aero it was.

  3. Loved this ‘other’ version of the visit. Our daughter had a life crisis during the worst heat of summer and only weeks before I was to have a repair surgery after an unsuccessful hysterectomy. She needed an apartment and there were none to be had in her price range (read: OUR price range). In possibly the worst physical state of my life, we walked all over the city for days looking for just the right place. Found it, she stayed 6 months and came home again. Sigh. I do feel your pain, and share your joy, both of you! But brown walls? Really? What colour brown? We have brown walls because we live in a rammed earth house, but what does a teenager want with brown walls?

    • Sheesh, that sounds like a party. And yeah! Hazelnutty brown! I dunno … brown is an unappreciated wall color. I had to give it some love. Also my walls were a disgusting purple when I moved in, so something had to be done.

  4. Well done, Chloe! You’ve obviously schooled yourself silently, long, and well through your years living at home and your rewards came with this visit! I applaud your brown walls (I just got some of those myself!) and I applaud not only your ingenuity and proactive stance taking charge of the visit, but also your abilities in keeping your mother out of jail. You’re obviously a very special kind of daughter!

    • YEAH BROWN WALL CLUB. Also, I like how you’ve re-purposed “intentionally inebriating and exhausting my mother so she is incapable of decorating” to my “ingenuity and proactive stance.” I am indeed a special kind of daughter. 😛

  5. I had brown walls back when I was probably around the same age you are now – not the clothes on the floor though, I never got into that for some reason – . so your colour scheme is understood by me, even while I am sure you will eventually move on from it [as we do from everything eventually]. I applaud your plan for keeping your mother busy – and the fact that it [almost] worked flawlessly, shows exemplary forward planning skills…… Mostly I note with interest and a little amusement how and-or where your version of events differs from your ma’s – my kids might not have been on the same planet as me sometimes our versions of pivotal moments in time being so very, very different. They say I am given to exaggeration. I say if things didn’t happen that way, they jolly well should have! I wonder if you tend a little that way too? Great post, Pauline

    • We all have our favorite ways to color our perspectives I guess – good to compare the views from our respective peaks. 😉

      Also seriously enjoying how much attention the brown walls are getting. So proud of my painting skills right now.

  6. Lovely to hear your side of the story Chloe, and I have to say, “crackers made from seaweed harvested by mermaids” sound like something I might like to sample 🙂

    Clare

  7. You are indeed a wonderful daughter to ensure your mothership stayed out of the slammer. And nice work, keeping her slightly inebriated and stair-exhausted so no ‘cute mumstyle renovation’ took place in your den of brownness. Fab cartoons and now that I have heard two sides of the story, mayhaps the truth lies somewhere in between. Most entertaining.

    • I think the one thing Mom and I can both agree on is that my new house’s shower is infested with sentient hairballs. The unfortunate, horrifying truth.

      Thanks for reading. 🙂

  8. The humour must be hereditary Chloe. This was a very enjoyable post although ‘Manic Kleptomaniac’ perhaps doesn’t show your Mom in the best light.
    xxx Massive Hugs to you both xxx

    • Yeah … I may have exaggerated just a smidge. But believe you me, I’ve earned a bit of revenge. I’ve read her past stuff about me. 😀

  9. A pleasure to meet you Chloe, and thank you for the amusing tale! It looks like the two of you had a great time. I admit, imagining you running through the streets trying to catch the ferry did feel a bit epic. XD

  10. Oh, parents who want to redecorate/get you tons of new stuff that they suddenly decide you need when they come to visit. Good plan to schedule so much (I’ll have to try that). So fun to read your side of the story!

  11. Nicely done: plan an itinerary so full that she couldn’t possibly redecorate, AND, guarantee your position of control by throwing in some oppressive heat and a mountain’s worth of stairs. Diabolical! I like it. I like it a lot.

    • Trust me … the heat and stairs were so not part of my plan. I guess I’m just used to climbing a mountain to get home everyday. ^_^

  12. Sounds like quite a weekend Chloe! I guess every family needs someone grounded and sensible to hold it all together – good job your Mum has you around, yellow paint and poppies indeed o_O 😀 (Reckon Rob has excelled himself with the illustrations this week btw 😀 )

  13. There are always several versions of any story as anyone in a book club has noted when people start talking. Good planning on your part. Who would want to stay in a hot room “decorating” when they could walk the Freedom Trail, collect voluminous samples of delectable edibles, and go sailing? Golly, can I come visit?

    • I think that Mom was planning for the type of weekend that I normally have – predominantly sedentary and Netflix-centered. But yeah, those other things were pretty awesome too. 😀

  14. My daughter still complains about the time I redecorated her room when she went to camp. She thinks the devil invented wallpaper – charming and funny post, Chloe! Loved the pics!

    • I agree with her – why wallpaper when you can paint your walls, yourself and all of your belongings? Then everything matches.

  15. Rob, I laughed like crazy at B.A. Nister…please never stop doing these drawings!

    Chloe, thank you for giving me turtles and poppies. 🙂 I hate to break it to you, but based on my memories of university, your mom is going to continue to embarrass you by plying you with mermaid-harvested crackers, homemade what-in-the-heck-is-it pie and other similar delights throughout your academic career. Just make sure she doesn’t steal anything that will get you kicked out of school. You’ve got to watch that woman, she’s clearly a menace. Time to develop eyes in the back of your head! (Sounds like a great PhD project…)

    • Honestly, I will continue to accept food from her regardless of wacky ingredients. I’ll eat anything but the fifth consecutive night of the cafeteria’s special meat burgers.

  16. You’re a terrific writer, Chloe with impressive planning skills to boot. I think you’ve chosen a wonderful profession and applaud your efforts.

    I love that you shared photos of the two of you together. I snickered at the mention of your mom try to ‘steal’ library books, mostly because it seems absurd. I loved reading both versions of the same weekend, and look forward to future posts. Have a terrific year at school.

    • Thank you! I think one of the weekend’s greatest successes was teaching my mom to take a killer selfie. I’m just giving her an array of future back flap author pictures to choose from.

  17. Very funny and I can relate…

    Oh Wow, Now I’m not sure whether I should EVER visit Boston! When people said it was very much like Montreal, I thought it was only for the good things but the seasons and state of public transport is right on the dot… Although, we have Poutine, so…

  18. your photos were a very nice touch ~ . and yes, it’s NEAT you “have Rob” to hell-pout — but you don’t necessarily “need” him to get your job done, and well-done @ that. now, me, on the other hand — my mediocre posts would be LEVITATED. (e.g., how would he portray “SNAIL CARNAGE BY RACCOON”? it’d be a hoot, no matter what ~)

    • I wish I had blackmail … but she looks so well put together in every picture. Even the selfies I spring on her with no notice. 😦

      And the encyclopedia incident was in the library. 😛 Though she had a moment or two on the sailboat as well…

  19. Oh Mom! Have written down your patter for future sample collecting. Did not know you had a fondness for the word cute. Will try to remember that. Cheers and congratulations on launching a daughter. Right, you are launching a daughter?

  20. I am probably much older than your Mom but I have a tendency to grab extra conduments, free item give ways and anything which is looking “available.” This post amused me since I once had 6 foot tall sunflowers I painted in my laundry room and purple violets in my master bathroom with all that stuff I could find to “match” evetything. I put the word in quotes because, at the time my art college oldest daughter was in her “goth” phase and hated the way I tried to find accessories for many of the rooms in our house. This was a very funny post. I happen to love ♡ the photos you took, too. 🙂

    • Thank you!! I think those sunflowers sound gorgeous, and if I had to bet, I’d say my mom is rushing off to copy that idea right now. 😛

  21. Such a different perspective on that weekend from Shelley’s – no wonder she was anxious about what you would write. Klepto Mum, huh? I’d never have guessed, although maybe I would have predicted the books, knowing how your Mum feels about them and libraries. Lovely pictures of the two of you and kudos for being able to teach the trick of selfies – they mystify me and I can’t see how anyone manages to avoid looking like they’re searching for the button to press instead of looking at the camera. Hey ho.

    Now that I know you were avoiding a room decorated by stealth the manic weekend seems even more like a tour de force of planning and strategy – I applaud you, you’ll go far in life with those skills, I’m certain. 🙂

    Rob, you’ve outdone yourself again – loved the B. A. Nister in particular – I’m mentally nicknaming him Roger, though. 🙂

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