Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

World Sales Woman

It’s been a bad week. Bad as in bad, not bad as in good. And bad here means things like skull-ripping headaches, unwelcome and unrelenting rainstorms, and stubbed little toes. It means running out of chocolate pudding just when I really fucking needed some chocolate pudding. Bad means my mother is in town when she’s usually working out-of-town, and having to make sure that the tiny crumbs I might leave on the counter from eating a single Wheat Thin are promptly wiped away and sterilized by an industrial-strength disinfectant because otherwise she will TOTALLY FREAK OUT.

If everything goes well and as planned and without any hiccups, fingers crossed and prayers to our pagan god, my husband and I will be ending our four-month sentence in my mother’s suburban basement in three to four weeks. I haven’t talked much or specifically about living with my mother because family can be such a delicate issue sometimes, and my brother and father may be reading this website. My mother is most likely not reading this website, primarily because she is the type of person who would say, “I am aware of what my daughter is doing, I just don’t need to punish myself by reading about it.” My brother and father, on the other hand, are the type of people who would say, “I know what she’s doing, and although it’s going to be difficult to read about it, I am COMPELLED to do so, if only for the sheer, morbidly delicious sustenance it will provide my righteous indignation.”

Whatever, this isn’t about my brother or my father, this is about my bad week and what my mother has to do with it. And I’m not here to bash my mother, not at all. My mother is one of the most ambitious and dynamic women on the planet, a machine who needs only four hours of sleep a night and can magically wash and dry over 20 loads of laundry before I stumble out of bed in the morning, I don’t know how she does it. My mother takes her job and her role in our family very seriously, so seriously that she can hold a conference call with 25 of the most important people in Avon while her twin grandsons are dangling from both her ears and screaming for more Fruit Roll-ups.

Whenever I meet my mother’s colleagues and employees and they find out that I am her daughter, it’s as if suddenly it’s 1985 and I’m Michael Jackson and they are an idiot 14-yr old Japanese school girl. High-pitched, unintelligible screaming ensues, replete with slobbery hugs and screaching ohmigods! I’m almost mauled by adoration by mere association with this brilliant woman who has changed lives and inspired success in people who have never known success before. The people who work for my mom have produced the highest sales increases for Avon in the entire world three years in a row. And sadly, this visionary woman’s 27-yr old daughter is living in her basement.

Remarkably, living with my mother hasn’t been that bad, and it’s allowed us to save some precious cash as we’ve made the transition from LA to Utah. But one of the main reasons it hasn’t been so bad is because she works five days a week in California. Because of the war my mother has had to “stay grounded,” and won’t be able to fly out again until next week. So for the past five days I’ve answered hundreds of phone calls a day from people who are trying to get in touch with my mother, all while she is talking to hundreds of other people on her cell-phone upstairs. And while answering these endless phone calls, I’ve had to bully my way into the laundry room because she is doing laundry every second of the day. I think she’s even pulled up the planks from the hardwood floors and stuck them in the washer, they’ve got to get clean somehow. When she’s not standing next to the washer with her ear to her cell-phone, she’s scrubbing the clean kitchen sink or shaking the rugs that were shaken only an hour ago. Yesterday I saw her down on her knees inspecting the floor under the refrigerator for crumbs, and she was outwardly happy when she found some to wipe up.

I know it totally sounds like I’m whining, and I totally am. I have a wonderful mother who is so generous that she’s opened her home to her ungrateful cunt of a daughter. And this whole thing is just a sad attempt to make me feel better about myself because I didn’t inherit her energy or stamina, and I feel guilty for napping while she’s taking apart the oven and cleaning every crevice with a cotton swab. It’s just, if I have to answer that phone one more goddamn time, I swear I’m going to sign up as a Mary Kay Representative, take that!

  • I hope your weekend is better than your week has been.

    You made me laugh out loud with this entry. Thanks. 🙂

  • jen

    Ooooh! Can I get some Skin So Soft?

    (sorry, I just had to do it)

  • jen, do you have any idea how much Skin So Soft there is in this household? there’s so much that my socks share drawer space with Skin So Soft moisturizing lotion, and sometimes I wake up with Skin So Soft bubble bath next to my head or under my pillow. It’s a veritable Skin So Soft revolution.

  • Don’t sign up for Mary Kay – my Mary Kay rep once tricked me into wearing green eyeshadow, and I’ve never fully recovered.

  • some have a calling. some have a different calling. you’re fine. (maybe you could follow a fresh path and breathe scintillating new life into the fading tupperware phenomenon?…speaking of just deserts)..

  • MRK

    At least you won’t be devoured in your sleep by mosquitos.

    No need to feel guilty about napping while Mommie Dearest scours the bathroom with Bon Ami (“But Miss Stevens said it was clean…”) She sounds like a great lady, but I quite often marvel at how much energy *you* have to have in order to keep this website as gorgeous as it is, to say nothing of your witty and irreverent entries. That burns calories, too.

    BTW, is that a crumb next to your keyboard?

  • As the husband to a woman with the energy and stamina much like your mother’s, I know (somewhat) how you feel. Don’t feel guilty, just be glad that you have a clean oven and very clean floorboards.

  • your mom and my mom really need to get together and compete for the scrubbing bubble championship. i swear you could eat off the grout on her kitchen floor.

  • She spends FIVE days a WEEK in California? That’s insane… why not live in California and fly to Utah for the weekends?

    My family’s a Mary Kay cult. I’m the one they don’t talk about because I don’t wear makeup.

  • Wow! What a drag. Hang on, it’s almost over.

    Oh yeah. There are a few smudges on your masthead. Would you mind taking a warm, damp cloth and polishing it up a tad?

  • Awesome. There’s a Mary Kay building a couple of blocks from where I work. I’ll give you a great reference.

  • Actually, to keep things interesting and to inject more transgressive fractal family relationship moments into your life, you should become a Mary Kay commando and tool around in your pink Cadillac with Interpol cranked so loud it keeps the fingernail polish mixed.

  • May Kay is evil where Avon does God’s work. Bask in your mother’s glory.

  • Growing up, our next door neighbor was an Avon lady. Every Christmas, from the time I was three years old, I got a bottle of aftershave…. you know, the ones in the shape of a car. Avon: filling personal hygiene needs we didn’t know we had!

  • I could tell stories about my mother and mother-in-law’s cleaning fanaticism for days on end. The first time I met my husband’s family premarriage, my MIL went into my then boyfriend’s room (where I couldn’t sleep) and took his pajamas while he was in the shower, washed and IRONED them and had them on his bed before he went to sleep again that night. It is hard to compete with a woman who nudged her son awake every morning with a warm muffin and a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. She is the freak man, not me and not you for napping instead of scouring the tub everyday with bleach. *phew* I feel better now.

  • Interesting…my mother wouldn’t clean up the crumbs — she’d wait for me to leave, wipe the crumb, then call everyone in my family and tell them what a fucking, lazy slob I am.

    *sigh* That reminds me, I really should call that ray of sunshine in my life and see how she’s doing!

    (And by ray of sunshine, I really mean 3rd degree burn giving, cancer inducing, retina frying ray of sunshine)

  • Shannon

    My mom is like that too. She offers freshly baked muffins and coddles my boyfriend to death. She makes me look like someone who doesn’t do anything for my boyfriend or anyone. He probably wishes that I was more like my mother, though he’s smart enough to keep that to himself. I would smack him! I suppose things could be worse…

  • Mary Kay was the debbil! Why at this very moment she’s probably skinning baby kittens on her throne in the seventh level of hell.

  • “…hunny it ain’t yer munney
    ‘cuz baby ah got plenny uh that
    i luv ya for ya
    paaaaank cadillac
    paank cadilla-ac…”

    my mom got into Amway several years ago and promptly did her best to alienate everyone she knew.

    Mary Kay at least has the good incentives, I don’t know what Amway does for you.

  • my mother is a bitch. there, i said it! and i’m just like her. grrr.

  • what the hell is it with parents and cleaning. i am more than content to let my kids wade through the piles of crap in the house, but my in-laws freak out about us not dusting the molding around the floor after we spend 8 hours cleaning the night before they get here.

  • You said, “cunt.” There, I feel better. That’s the first time I’ve ever typed that word.

  • One bottle of Skin So Soft diluted in 5 gallons of warm water=cure for skins rashes horses get sometimes. I shit you not.

  • Dooce, just look at the two bright sides of your mom’s cleaning fanatacism. First, the ten second rule no longer applies, right? If you drop it it’s still okay to eat! Second, if you ever need her out of your hair, just say, “So, I dropped a glass of orange juice in the kitchen yesterday. Most of it went under the fridge, but I cleaned in front. It’s still kind of sticky though…” You probably won’t see her for a couple of hours while she moves the fridge to clean under it!

  • As a Mary Kay consultant – I cracked up through out the whole bit. I work as an assistant to 3 Mary Kay women who have been at their business longer then 10 years and have a few million behind them.. it’s something about keeping busy while talking on the phone and I have no idea how they do it. I for one – live like a slob until the day of a party and then run like a frantic-paced-out-freak wondering where did I put the applicators, the books, the samples and whatever else there is for a class. When you really want to make your mom mad… look me up, I have a great friend in Avon – we love to tease each other of the ex-consultants of the other brand we sign up.

  • shy

    your father and brother sound pretty cool…

  • “…but the idea that I could have the pleasure of rubbing some “Skin So Soft” into Dooce’s skin…”

    You realize she is married right?

    You realize how creepy that sounds right?

    And Dooce, “unwelcome and unrelenting rainstorms”? There is no such thing! We need about 6 years of apocolyptic rain to even get back to normal.

    In conclusion: Igor creepy; rain good. Thank you.

  • Just be glad your not british, as it is mothers day here on sunday, then you would have to be super nice.

  • Kat

    My Mom was an Avon lady in the 60’s. She was 22 and an Avon lady in 1968…how sad is that?

    But she was and is a horrible housekeeper…hmmm…I guess they aren’t related.

  • The Drifter

    one time, not too long after my mom quit drinking, she became friends with a couple that sold amway products.

  • jackie

    Mmmm… Amway. My mom sells Amway, along with the whole rest of the Korean Community. And let me tell you, there is nothing in this world better than their dishwashing soap and laundry detergent. nyum nyum! go mom!

  • So now you know, by your mom’s example, why the chuch called it..”Beehive Industries”, why everything they sell is white and why it’s called the “Relief Society.”

    All makes sense..straight out of the “no need for personal time” manuals… What is it that they say..”It’s all about service..” LOL That’s the ticket!

  • EC

    “Mirror, mirror on the wall…I’ve become my mother afterall.” You just don’t know what kids do to you. Just kidding, I actually think I admire your mom.

  • My mom did everything from Jafra, Avon, MK, Amway, Tupperware… and geez, that’s all I can remember right now.

    Traumatizing… all of it.

  • Been there done that! I had to live with my mother-in-law for many months as there was a delay in the construction of our new house. It was kind of like hell, only with carpet that made my eyes hurt.

    When I have skull-ripping headaches, it sometimes feels better if I pound my head against the wall in the shower stall with the water beating down on my head as hot as my body can stand it. When that fails, I resort to chemical measures in the form of a narcotic nasal spray called Stadol NS (Butorphanol Tartrate). I have over-used the stuff so much that I now need about a triple dose to even make a dent. I think that one day I might just die from it. . . But it will be a floaty kind of muzzy fuddled death.

    This stuff _USED_ to be a great drug (aside from the diuretic side effect that makes you have to pee every ten minutes when you can’t really walk), but now it is just a token attempt to feel like blasting for a new highway is not taking place in my cerebrum.

    Anyway, I _do_ have my own home now, and two very odd little dogs that sometimes act more like cats. OK, they are not really dogs at all, they are Chihuahuas, but I still love them.

    Slàinte!

  • Mothers become a force that most of us seldom recognize. Luckily my mother has not gone to the levels of insanity yours has. However, my mother in law has. We’re talking about the woman who would wash all the dishes in the sink before putting them in the dishwasher, because the dishwasher was only supposed to “sterilize” them.

    I feel your pain.

  • dvl

    I have a 3.5 year old daughter; she’s not just the apple that fell near the tree, she’s the apple that rolled down her mama’s trunk and sits at it’s base. She’s beautiful and wonderful and clever and funny and naughty beyond belief (me x10 even at this young age)… and she makes me think of how much I love my Mom and how thankful I am that my Mom did not smother me as a child…

  • Roberte L. Francis

    If your mother read your journal,she would say, “Don’t waste your time on the web….submit your stories to magazines…that’s what I tell my daughter who lives in my house and writes stories about her life and doesn’t submit them to magazines. I am the essence of your mother….telephones and multi-tasking. I love your stories….