Where Is the Line?

I had an interesting interaction with mom last night. Let me say up front that I was trying to do a good thing, she saw it for what it was, and thanked me.

I have a bunch of stuff on my to-do list, but a lot of it was outside stuff, and we’re having a rainy week. On the spur of the moment, I picked up fried chicken, dessert, and a Redbox of “La La Land” at the grocery store, got the dog out for his walk before the rain came (it actually didn’t wind up raining until late at night), and made mac & cheese to go with it and a number of homemade cold salads I have on hand. This is comfort food for Mom and I, and she instantly recognized that I had gone out of the way to do something a little special and was effusive in her thanks.

It was all good until we got to the chicken. She has many, many rules about fried chicken. I like Popeye’s, and there’s one, like, a mile from us, but she’s asked me not to get chicken from there. She bought chicken from Wal-Mart, the piece of which I got was literally inedible— too tough to chew. Her pieces were fine, but if she buys that, I just won’t eat it. We’ve been getting it from our local Kroger affiliate, but she hasn’t been happy with that. I think Church’s and Safeway are fine for her, but they’re out of the way and at a certain point, I’m just over it. I get fried chicken on my own time, without her.

I think the most recent instruction I got from her was “breasts only, don’t get me the chipotle-flavored.” But I was in the Kroger affiliate, and she’s been craving chicken long enough I decided to chance it. When I got to the counter, it looked like they only had one regular-flavored breast left, but they had a good supply of chipotle. We usually get one for the meal and one for leftovers, apiece. After determining that they had more than one regular, I told the woman at the counter two regular, two chipotle.

I noticed that they looked too small to be breasts, but I couldn’t have been clearer about requesting breasts. I apologized to Mom when I got it home— said I thought I remembered that she wanted only regular-flavored, but there wasn’t enough and this was my solution. She bit into it and said it wasn’t a breast. She was right. We got four thighs.

I care infinitely less about this than she does. While I prefer a breast, it didn’t ruin my day, even though I paid a little more for it than I should have. We had a nice evening. Check. As far as I was concerned.

This morning, she emailed me that she called the Kroger affiliate and they’ve promised to make it right if we bring in the receipt. The idea of this makes me tired. We ate the chicken last night, I had my leftover piece for lunch today. Financially, the difference is something like $2 total, of my money not hers, and honestly, I’d happily pay it not to have to go to the grocery store again this week. I said something like I wasn’t sure if I kept the receipt. She’s found the receipt and put it on the refrigerator.

The whole thing makes me so bloody tired. I’ll go again (I have to take the Redbox back anyway), but I can’t go anytime— I have to go home first (it’s on the way home from work, which is when I’d prefer to resolve this.) They’re going to “replace” the chicken, which means four more portions of something we’ve had multiple times in a row.

It’s not a big problem— certainly not in the grand scheme of things, but where’s the “let it go” line in a situation like this? I suspect we all draw it for ourselves, but I’m just so past it. And her need to make it right (ostensibly for me) comes at my expense. So shouldn’t the fact that I’m over it be important? And, BTW, where is this level of follow through in things I actually care about? I have to go home when we have repair-people even when I write out instructions for her because she can’t be bothered to arrange for or deal with them, even though she’s home and I’m at work. But she found the number for Kroger, spoke to someone in the deli, resolved the issue, found the receipt and communicated to me about the stupid deli take-out, all before noon?

When my BFF and I were in Ireland years ago, she was blowing through money like crazy. Spent $50 on a necklace she didn’t even like that much. I was more money conscious, and the hotel breakfast was really expensive, so we picked up food from the convenience store across from the hotel. It happened to be the same night as the necklace thing, about which she was not at all bothered. She got a banana and yogurt and something and when she was paying, she asked for a bag. The guy mentioned that, in an effort to get people to use less plastic, they charged 15 cents for a bag. She went ballistic and caused a scene. To me, that’s what this is. When it’s a big thing that costs us a lot and must be done right, she cannot summon the energy to deal with it. But here— this $2 in chicken parts— this is the hill she’s choosing to die on.


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