Leaving the country for two weeks can only postpone the requisite trip to the Trailer Park for the holidays. Today, i’d arranged to pick up Mom for a late lunch, and had invited the rest of the clan to join us if they were free.

When i arrived at DQ and BJ’s house to pick up Mom at 2:00 pm, i found the place pretty quiet. Mom was ready to go, and said that the others were going to stay home and rest up. My brother, T, and his wife had already pinged me, saying they had plans but were hoping for a rain check. My ridiculously self-absorbed sister, S, had sent a text saying she’d like to join us.

Just the three of us at a mid-scale Asian buffet* restaurant. Mid-afternoon on New Year’s Day? The place was pretty dead, so we didn’t have to rush the meal.

Although Mom has been having a lot more trouble walking, due to bone degeneration in her spine, she was off like an elder-rocket immediately after we were shown to our table to collect her first tray of kibbles. This left me alone at the table with S while Mom was tanking up at the trough.

S presented me with a small envelope. i thanked her, and apologized for not having brought a gift this year.

S: No. This is different. Just read it…

It was a thank you card. With a check enclosed.


Years ago you gave me $700 to help me through my divorce and I don’t know if you realize how much I appreciated your help. I am finally able to start paying this back. This $200 check is the first towards repayment. I will be sending you more throughout the next few months. I apologize that it has taken me so long to repay, but believe me — I have never forgotten. Thank you so much for being there for me and always remember I’m there for you.



i was speechless. Over the past 30 years, i’ve “loaned” thousands of dollars to members of the family, never really expecting to see it again. This was, in fact, the first time anything has ever been repaid. i had forgotten about this.

S: Just sorry it has taken so long. It was what, 1991?

daisyfae: There were some pretty compelling reasons** for you to get out of that marriage! i didn’t consider it a loan! You really don’t need to do this…

S: Yes, I do. Sometimes I think the entire family takes you for granted. I don’t know what we’d have done all these years without you.

Mom returned from her first trip (of four) to the buffet, and i excused myself to grab a plate. As much to regain my composure as anything.

* Not quite up-scale, but nicer than most. Bright, clean and well-decorated. The food is also reasonably non-toxic… although i’m a little afraid of the sushi.

** Her second marriage. This was to G, the transvestite biker who later killed himself, and his dog, in a deer stand after attempting to rob a bank with a squirt gun.  This is why i don’t write fiction, folks.

Alien Abduction?

i need to report an abduction….  Got a call today while running errands on my lunch hour.  This conversation happened today with my ridiculously self-absorbed sister, S:

S: I need to talk to you.  This isn’t about Mom, she’s fine.  This is about me.  It’s all about me.

daisyfae (inside her head):  i’m stunned-shocked-amazed at this!  YOU?  Talking about yourself?

daisyfae (to S):  Ok.  What’s up?

S:  They found another lump in my breast.  I went in today for a Halo Breast test – have you heard of it?

daisyfae: No – what is it?

S: It’s a new way of looking for cancer – they said because of the type i had before, i’d be a good candidate, but they weren’t able to make it work.  Hurt like hell.  But that’s not why i’m calling.

daisyfae (inside her head):  Ah – here it comes!

daisyfae:  Shoot*…

S:  They also asked me about doing genetic testing for breast cancer.  Have you heard of that?

daisyfae:  Yes – i had it done last year.  Came back negative.  i thought i told everyone in the family about it.  Key thing with the breast cancer mutation – it’s not only about breast cancer, but ovarian cancer as well.  If it runs in a family, there is typically rampant cancer (30%-40% of the women) – and we don’t have that on Mom’s side.  i did the test to look on Dad’s side because his Mom died of breast cancer, he was an only child, and we just don’t know that much…

S:  That’s good news. 

daisyfae:  Do you know of history on your biological father’s side?

S:  His mother died of breast cancer, but he had a bunch of older aunts – i don’t think there were more cases.

daisyfae:  Statistically, it’s probably a low chance.  Now, will your insurance pay for the test?  It costs about $3000 and there’s only one lab in the U.S. with the license to do the testing.

S:  I’m not sure.  I’ll go back and ask before agreeing to this.

daisyfae (looking at phone number to verify this is, in fact, Sister, S): Ok.  Keep me posted – and let me know if there’s anything i can do.  Did a lot of research on this during the 3 weeks i had to wait for the results…  Genetic testing is an interesting business** and i can help you navigate some of it.

S:  OK.  Oh, and don’t tell Mom – I don’t want to worry her about this.  I don’t think it’s a big deal – I’m not afraid.  I just want to figure out how to handle all this crap without too much disruption.

daisyfae (staring at phone. considering drafting a press release):  No problem – and hey, you’re one tough little nugget!  Way to go!  Let me know what you need!

daisyfae (inside her head): […..]

* Not an optimal word choice for this sister.  She’s the one with the “concealed carry” permit.

** i stopped short of my rant regarding the intellectual property issues relating to “Genetic Testing Patents”.  A law (Bayh-Dole Act) that was intended to speed the transition of research has, in fact, hindered many such transitions – by allowing patents for on gene identification processes.  A quagmire has evolved, and the result is reduced access to relatively straightforward testing. This slowed down research into development of a SARS vaccine, as many lawyers first had to sort out who “owned” the patents…  Baby steps. She was doing good, but not ready for this particular rant…  Sorry.  [soap box returned to cupboard under sink]