I’m living in my own private Tanelorn

About last weekend. Last weekend’s intended show imploded for a lot of reasons, the least of which being a lack of time and a surplus of obligations just before the show. Contrary to popular opinion, I’m actually allowed to tell the Czarina “no” every year or so, and on questions other than “You wouldn’t get upset if I had a torrid affair with Adam Sandler, would you?” (Not that there’s any worry. She’s a Rik Mayall kind of girl.) The weekend before the show, a family function was announced, and my “veto due to business” power was disabled. Picture Superman under a red sun, or Green Lantern sprayed with yellow paint. It was a horrible thing, and the Czarina felt terrible about it when she saw the perfect storm hit last weekend. Oh, the tears. Oh, the sobbing. She didn’t even say anything about the big snot bubble that kept coming in and out of my nose like a frog throat sac during breeding season, but she had to ask “Is that mascara that’s running down your face, or have you been eating charcoal again?”

The problem, as she’s willing to admit, is my mother-in-law. Don’t let her classic Texas belle exterior fool you. The Czarina learned every spine-smashing, femur-splitting, skull-popping trick she knows from her mother. If the “Hell’s Grannies” leather jacket doesn’t tip you off, it’s the racing flames and the “Gas, Grass, or Ass: Nobody Rides For Free” bumper sticker on her walker. She asks “Wouldn’t you like to get together with the family?”, and people who don’t know any better think this is a question.

(In this case, my mother-in-law has a lot in common with my maternal grandmother. My grandmother was famous for needing a hip replacement after falling off a barstool…while beating the hell out of a biker…who tried to steal her cigarettes. It’s not hard to picture her and Bill Hicks rolling archangels for spare Malboros and raiding Hell every month or so for Zippo replacements.)

The physical damage isn’t what worries me. My mother-in-law is a master of what the grandkids call “the Nonna look”. It goes beyond the evil eye, and beyond laser eyeballs. It’s the optical equivalent of the brown note. I’ve caught it at partial power, and, well, I used to be able to brush my eyebrows over the back of my head. Used to.

Hence, to stem the scheduling issues, I’m going to have a very friendly chat with my beloved mother-in-law about upcoming shows. If my head isn’t spontaneously turned into an aerosol, I’ll report back.

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