Slumber party

I spent Sunday afternoon at a library, searching the internet for a room, and came back to the house in good spirits. Katrina was gone for the weekend, and Mom and I read the Sunday paper in the living room together, making pleasant conversation, except for her asking me (9th and 10th time) why I don't recline in the recliner when I sleep.


April 6, 2022

Seriously, it was about as nice an afternoon with Mom as I can remember. Then Sis came home, we all talked for a while, Mom explained to her that I still won't recline in the recliner, and Sis said sanely, "Well, if he's comfortable, who cares?"

Katrina went to bed, and Mom and I continued reading the newspaper and occasionally talking. The TV had been off, and it had been an enjoyable time with my mother. I'd love to have a mom like the mom in the living room that afternoon.

I don't, though. That afternoon was an aberration. There have been other nice moments, sure, but most of my stay so far has been more like what follows.

At about 7:30 I said good night and started drifting off. "You turn in early," Mom said, but she said it nicely. She told me again that I should recline in the recliner, but then she said good night, and I slept for a while, interrupted only when she ruffled the pages of the newspaper. And then at 10:00 sharp, she turned the TV on (volume 40 out of 40) to watch the nightly news on channel 13.

I was instantly wide awake, confused, and grumpy. It took five seconds for me to understand where I was and what the hell was happening, and then I simmered while listening to the trashy teases for the night's news. Some cop is dead, and our news crew was at the funeral. A man has been murdered, and you can help police and Channel 13 solve the mystery. There was a basketball game, and Phil at the Sports Desk will have the highlights. Whoosh. Commercials.

"Mom, are you aware that I'm here?"


I said again, much louder, to defeat the TV's atomic volume, "Are you aware that I'm here, that I'm asleep on this chair in the living room, when you turn the TV on at full volume?"

"I want to watch the news," she said.

"I want to be asleep," I said, "and I don't have a room of my own here, with a TV of my own. Could you maybe watch the news at full volume on the TV in your bedroom?"

"The picture is smaller on that TV," she said. "Plus, I'd know when you're asleep if you'd recline in the recliner."

"Or you'd know I'm asleep because I said 'Good night, I'm going to sleep."

"Why don't you recline in the recliner?"

"I am not ever reclining in the recliner," I yelled, and since she's my mom I instantly regretted the yelling, but Jesus H Christ. "I don't have a room here," I said more quietly. "I sleep in the living room. I can't sleep with the BS News at 99 decibels."

She clicked the TV off, spent several minutes gathering her stuff, didn't say good night and didn't say sorry, but she went into her bedroom and turned the TV news on, full volume. Now I've typed it, but it's half an hour later, I'm wide awake, and sleep is always elusive so I'll be awake another hour at least.

Like Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman, I got nowhere else to go

♦ ♦ ♦

The next morning Mom apologized, and I apologized, but she's apologized before and it's never the end of anything. I spent the day pounding pavement in the University District, unsuccessfully looking for a boarding house with an empty room, then came home, ate dinner, chatted with Mom and Sis, etc. Eventually Katrina turned in, and I started falling asleep in the recliner, so again I announced out loud: "Good night, I'm going to sleep."

It was about 8:00, and Mom was sitting in the living room's other recliner. She said good night, and then reclined and continued reading the newspaper — a real newspaper, on paper, so every few minutes the crinkle of pages filled the otherwise quiet room and woke me up. At least the TV wasn't on, and I was pretty sure after the apology that she wouldn't click the news on at 10, and she'd go to bed when she'd finished reading the paper, right?

Well, no. For the next few hours I caught what sleep I could, as she got out of and back into the recliner several times, occasionally said something to herself, and made a phone call. After myriad more rustlings of pages, I was awakened again, this time by the sound of her snoring, as if… wait, was she going to sleep with me in the living room? She was under a blanket.

"What are you doing, Mom?"


Louder: "What are you doing?"

"I'm going to sleep," she explained.

"Not here," I said. "Go to bed, please."

"We're having a slumber party," she said, as if it was obvious and made perfect sense. "I thought we could both sleep in our recliners, and maybe chat during the night."

"What the fudge?" I asked. "I'm not 11 years old. We're not having a slumber party. Please go to your bed in your bedroom."

"I won't disturb you," she said.

"You're already disturbing me! I want to be asleep, but instead I'm listening to you turn the paper's pages, and snore, and recline and unrecline the recliner, and talk on the phone, and now we're arguing about whether we're going to sleep in the same room, except we're not arguing — because we're not sleeping in the same room. Go to your bed in your bedroom, please, Mom."

"I'm not going anywhere," she said, switching from innocent to haughty. "It's my living room, in my house," which is why I slept in my car last night.

And yeah, it's her house, her living room, but I'm an invited guest and the deal was that I'd be sleeping in the living room. It's a fair implication, I think, that a guest sleeping in the living room is allowed to sleep — and alone.

♦ ♦ ♦

Actually, I slept quite well in the car. It's quiet and comfortable, long as I run the engine and heater for ten minutes every few hours. If Mom claims the living room again tonight, the car will do me fine.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

A room for rent may be coming into focus, not a moment too soon, and at a rent that's actually less than I'd expected. Gotta meet the flatmates, and of course I am Mr Bad Impression even on a good night's sleep, and I'm sleep-deprived so they'll probably hate me, but I yam what I yam and what will be will be.

Meanwhile, to keep myself occupied while homeless and unemployed, I'm surfing the internet, and You Are There.

♦ ♦ ♦

Alex Jones faces daily fines for refusing to appear at court-ordered deposition, increasing $25,000 a day 

Fines against rich people don't have much effect. Why can't Alex Jones be arrested, same as you'd be if you intentionally and repeatedly missed court dates?

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Burger King sued by customers who claim Whopper is smaller than advertised 

Haven't seen the ads in question, but a Whopper these days is about 60% the size of a Whopper from the 1990s. They've made it basically a Whopper Jr.

♦ ♦ ♦  

Disabled voters face a choice in Wisconsin:
Break the law or don’t vote

♦ ♦ ♦

New vehicles must average 40 mpg by 2026, up from 28 mpg 

Baby steps, as Hell approaches.

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Black Lives Matter, the organization, buys a $6-million house 

♦ ♦ ♦  

Study proves that people who stop watching Fox exclusively can recover sanity 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Scientists to broadcast Earth's location to aliens, ignoring Stephen Hawking's warning 

♦ ♦ ♦

Me: "Do you need the bathroom? I'm about to take a shower."

Mom: "Go right ahead." (long pause, while I wait because I know what's coming). "Oh, can I use the bathroom first?"

...after the shower...

Mom: "Oatmeal in five minutes!"

Me: "Huh?"

Mom: "It's on the stovetop. I'm making enough for both of us."

Me: "Uh, no thanks. I don't like oatmeal, plus I'm dressed and about to leave, and need to be someplace in half an hour."

Mom: "Oatmeal in five minutes! Blueberry — your favorite."

Me: "I've never had blueberry oatmeal in my life. And sorry, but I'm taking my pills, and then I have to go." (holding my morning pills in one hand, and a bottle of water in the other) 

Mom: "Did you take your pills?"

Me: (looking at the pills) "I'm about to."

Mom: "Do you need some water?"

Me: (looking at the water) "This is a bottle of water."

...a few minutes later...

Mom: "Here's our oatmeal. Blueberry oatmeal — your favorite."

Me: "Still never had blueberry oatmeal, still meeting somebody, got to go."

Mom: "It's blueberry oatmeal — your favorite."

Me: "Right, my favorite, but I said no. Gotta go." (waves) "Bye."

Mom: "You said no? I didn't hear you."

Me: "You answered me, so I think you heard me. Bye."

♦ ♦ ♦

One-word newscast, because it's the same news every time...
copscopscopscopscopscops • copscopscopscops

♦ ♦ ♦

The End
Christopher Alexander

Cranky Old Man is annoyed and complains and very occasionally offers a kindness, along with anything off the internet that's made me smile or snarl. All opinions fresh from my ass. Top illustration by Jeff Meyer. Click any image to enlarge. Comments & conversations invited.
Tip 'o the hat to All Hat No Cattle, Linden Arden, ye olde AVA, BoingBoing, Breakfast at Ralf's, Captain Hampockets, CaptCreate's Log, John the Basket, LiarTownUSA, Meme City, National Zero, Ran Prieur, Voenix Rising, and anyone else whose work I've stolen without saying thanks.
Extra special thanks to Becky Jo, Name Withheld, Dave S., and always Stephanie...


  1. Nice to see a post. Certainly understand why they're infrequent, but it's always nice to see your voice.

    I followed the link about sending messages to alien civilizations and I learned something: everybody at Newsweek who could write has already been laid off. Jesus, the lede is spread across four or five paragraphs, the composition is clumsy throughout, it's unclear whether a message is going to be sent or not, and the story has already been updated once to clarify that point. I once subscribed: I mourn for Newsweek and for all of us.

    I had a echo cardio scan yesterday, and the nice echo lady said they've been trying to hire a medical insurance coder for months and can't even find anyone to apply. It sounds like there might be "office" type jobs out there. I was going to say that her sentence was repeated in the distance two seconds after she uttered it, but that would be tawdry journalism. The world already has an adequate supply of that.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    My mom had Alzheimer's disease the last five or six years of her life. It came on slowly and was subtle for a couple of years. Then it wasn't subtle at all. I have a flashback every time you report a verbatim conversation with your mother.

    Good luck with hitting the pavement.


    1. I also once subscribed to Newsweek in an earlier life, and it was never great but it was fucktons better than it is now.

      > ...can't even find anyone to apply

      Haven't started job-hunting yet, but I've read similar statements online, and color me skeptical. Jobs where they even can't find anyone to apply, and jobs where they're offering shit wages.

      That said, I would really love to *not* end up in another office keying numbers. I see that Dick's Drive-In (local hamburger chain) is paying $20 an hour -- pretty sure I could make do on that wage, even in expensive Seattle. Especially if I could eat a couple of Dick's Deluxes every shift.

      Probably they don't hire old farts like me, though.

      Sorry about your mum, man. Gotta say, though, my mom jokes about losing her memory and early signs of dementia, but everything about her demeanor is exactly the same as it was 50 years ago so I don't think that's it. :)

  2. I am asking for help. When I post here, my text is accompanied by some goofy character that could be the numeral 8 or some combination of a lower case and upper case B in white on gold. I'd prefer a photo of me or someone I admire. I know there's a way to do that, but I have no idea what it is. I notice that a few of you have a photo that accompanies your comments. Can someone help me? I really appreciate it.


    1. John, I think you need to register an account at Blogspot, or Blogger, or whatever this site is called. I used to do a blog here - and Doug will yell at me for abandoning it, but so be it - and when I post under this name, I have an avatar. When I post under "Captain Hampockets," no avatar picture, and extrahoops to jump through.

    2. So John, I confirmed this. And in fact, I went back and edited my profile, changed the name so it reads "Captain Hampockets" instead of "Cheech Arone," and changed the picture to one of my dogs.

      You have a clickable name, so you have a profile. Click your own name, go to "edit profile," and you should be able to figure it out from there.


    3. Captain,

      Thanks so much for taking time to research this. I'll dive in as soon as I return from getting shot in the butt, which isn't nearly as much fun as it sounds.

      Thanks again,


    4. Thanks, Captain, for being the Help Desk. Whenever Blogger's commenting software won't ley me post a comment, I log out and half the time it seems to help.

    5. Hope your butt has recovered nicely.

  3. I'm pleased and proud to offer a tune of the week that was written and first performed about four miles south of where I'm writing this in Tacoma, Washington as a way of welcoming you home, Doug. It's Tacoma's own Sonics, just before they retired with a song they wrote in 1963, "Psycho". Sing along if you wish. . .



    1. Music-deprived until I unpack the headphones, and they're in storage ten miles away so probably not today -- but I look forward to the music. Never heard of Tacoma's own Sonics, but your nudges are always worthwhile.

  4. I hope Doug and Jesus will forgive me. Psycho and the flip side, The Witch, were written and recorded in 1965, not 1963. Please correct your notes. Thanks.


    1. Doug forgives. Jesus just pretends to forgive, part of his eternal guilt trip...

  5. Captain HampocketsApril 6, 2022 at 4:54 AM

    Doug, I feel bad for feeling like this, but I am anticipating a new golden age of lunatic mom stories. I hope you get that room for rent, but... I love your mom stories. They remind me of the old Jeff Kay WVSR stories he told about his lunatic in-laws.

    1. Oh, man, back in the days when Jeff was posting daily instead of monthly and the in-laws were swarming there was some funny stuff, and Jeff did a good job reporting it. Jeff used to keep archives, so that writing might still be out there somewhere. I can't check because I was banned for calling Trump a dick. He is, you know.


    2. God, the Nancy and Nossy Chronicles are prime comedy, as funny as anything I've ever read.

      Do you mean that Jeff banned you for badmouthing Trump? Or the platform?

    3. Jeff Kay banned me for "political writing" for calling Trump a dick. He frequently let the Trump folks get away with their jabs, but calling a dick a dick apparently went a bridge too far. I'd been commenting for over 15 years, and he whistled a foul and that was it. To be fair, I also gave Jeff a bad time (in a spirit of fun) for trying to become a Web millionaire by reducing the writing (which he was very good at) by 90% and replacing it with a podcast for which he could charge (talking without a script was not his strong suit). I was trying to be helpful, then I was a blog orphan. Now I can state the obvious. Trump is a dick.


    4. I listen to the podcast, not on the paid Patreon. It's good, and I laugh a good amount, but it's got issues.

      I did, in fact, recognize your name as a commenter over there. Were you ever a zinester? I'm guessing not, but you have a way with your words and storytelling, you may have been at one pont.

    5. If you enjoy the podcast, then you enjoy it. Obviously people do because they subscribe. I've been reading Jeff since about 2006 and I've also been listening to podcasts since early days. I think Jeff is capable of being a professional writer but not a professional podcaster. Just a personal opinion.

      I've done some writing, but never for a publicly available zine. I appreciate the kind words though.

      I had decided to write out here daily for a couple of weeks so there'd be some new content while Doug was pounding the streets. I think it's great that about four people wrote today. Anything that comes from multiple people with multiple perspectives is going to be better than my best stuff on my best day alone.

      If you've been reading Jeff's blog for a long time, you'll remember around 2010-2013 that there was a great deal of interaction among the commenters. Jeff would get between 50 and 80 comments a day with lively discussion and debate among the Reporters. The inmates were at least assisting in the operation of the asylum. There were some good, clever writers out there back then. When Jeff started trying to make money on the site, most of the really good writers just left, slowly, quietly over time.

      Nice talking with you.

      best wishes,


  6. Ha ha, that was a good one, laughed when your mom was getting all into the "slumber party," oh man...

    1. If it makes someone laugh, that takes some of the sting out of it for me, so thanks.

  7. Well, I hate to say that I'm kind of like your mom, i DO like to know what you ate on the road, etc...

    1. The only memorable meal I had on the road was a burger at 4B's in Missoula, MT. The waitress was college-age and disinterested, it took half an hour to make a burger and fries, and I ordered a hamburger and got a cheeseburger, but it was quite good.

      The restaurant straddles a river, which makes for nice views, too.

      Other than that, though, I ate trail mix and bloatioatsies.

  8. Does your mother have a condition of some kind? These are not conversations with someone mentally healthy. Funny, though. Welcome back to Seattle, I am glad you made it safely, hope you get that apartment.

    1. We could all use a checkup from the neck up from time to time . . .


    2. >Does your mother have a condition of some kind?

      Yeah, she's bat shit, cat shit, rat shit crazy.

      Said with all due respect.

    3. My mother *is* a condition of some kind, but no, it's not medical.

      Also, gotta say, I write about the crazy bits because, well, they're crazy, but a solid 40% of my interactions with Mom are close to normal.

  9. Mom: "Oatmeal in five minutes! Blueberry — your favorite."

    Me: "I've never had blueberry oatmeal in my life.


    1. Seriously, though. Never. Cinnamon and raisins, and plain oatmeal, but never blueberry. It's gonna be fake and chemically and I hate that.

  10. 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the release of The Band's album "Music From Big Pink". Their magical Canadian/American roots record captured much of the history of the northern part of North America, particularly our shared plains and mountains, but it did more . . . It changed the way popular music was composed and played: It mainstreamed the roots and country components of popular music that the Byrds had been trying to mainstream for a couple of years. Of course, with Dylan was involved with both bands and, by 1968, was making country/roots albums himself so there was some momentum building at Columbia Records and at other centers of money and power in the music business as well.

    But nothing anybody had produced prepared the world for "Music From Big Pink", and its country/soul masterpiece "The Weight". With the Byrds' albums that preceded "Big Pink", there was always -- in every album -- the struggle between country and rock. In "Big Pink" The Band just ignored the struggle and found the Soul at the heart of both styles of music.

    Robbie Robertson gets writing credit for "The Weight". although other members of The Band likely contributed both licks and lyrics. It hardly matters any more, with Garth Hudson and Robbie Robertson being the last men standing. What DID matter to Robbie's son and his Playing for Change colleagues was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this wonderful song by recording musicians and singers from around the world performing a global version of this timeless classic.

    Although Playing For Change generally features unknown, generally amateur players, they did slip in a couple of ringers for the recreation and celebration of this song 50 years later. Robbie Robertson plays his famous opening and closing riffs, and, throughout the song a young-looking drummer from Liverpool who probably has a future in the business thumps the drums.

    If you're into music, you've heard and seen this video over the last three years. It's good enough to watch again. Here is Playing For Change performing "The Weight".

    The Weight | Featuring Ringo Starr and Robbie Robertson | Playing For Change | Song Around The World - YouTube

    1. My headphones are all packed away so I'm a little uncomfortable playing videos at the library, which is my internet provider at this time. As always, enjoyed the essay, and undoubtedly I'll enjoy it more with musical accompaniment -- soon, I hope.


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