"Mom, WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!" I shouted. I hoped my eyes had deceived me from my vantage point down the hall in the living room, but when I ventured into her bedroom for a closer look, my worst suspicions were confirmed.
My mother was digging around in one of her many, many junk stashes for (what else) some junk, but she was standing on the white handle of a step stool--i.e. not even an actual step on the step stool--to do it.
My two friends on whose children's behalf she was foraging for clothes and toy crap were duly horrified. (See Fig. 2: my mom's junk stash #5,088 pared down and reorganized slightly by yours truly).
"You're scaring me," said one of my friends. "I can't let this happen on my watch," said the other.
"What?! I do this all the time!," she exclaimed kicking aside the stool and then climbing instead on top of that dresser thing to delve even further into the garbage cave above, as if that were a better option.
"Seriously, please don't tell me that," I said with my head in my hands. I reminded her that she has osteoperosis and is inevitably going to injure herself. She's finally stopped texting and walking at the same time, at least, and claims that doing Tai Chi is helping her balance.
"But do you really need to tempt fate by misusing a step stool?" I asked. She accused me of painting her as old and frail to which I responded, "YOU ARE OLD AND FRAIL!!!"
Really I should not have been surprised. After all, this was the same person who stands on leather-surfaced dining room chairs in high heels (she's finally stopped wearing those, at least), and who once peed in the kitchen sink. She was late for work, and had to take a call on her way out. In a time before cordless phones or cell phones, naturally it made sense to squat over the kitchen sink to pee rather than tell the person she'd call back later.
"What?!," she'd said at the time in the same voice she used to defend her ridiculous step-stool climbing. "Urine is sterile!"
Seriously, you cannot tell my mother jack shit.
Fig. 1: My mom trying her best to break a bone or two, despite the intervention of a horrified friend.
Fig. 2: Junk stash #5,088