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Now that they are retired, my mother and father are discussing all aspects of their future.

"What will you do if I die before you do?" Dad asked Mom.

After some thought, she said that she'd probably look for a house sharing situation with three other single or widowed women who might be a little younger than herself, since she is so active for her age.

Then Mom asked Dad, "What will you do if I die first?"

He replied, "Probably the same thing."

Submitted by Bill, Narberth, Pa.

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A Mothers Dictionary
  • ALIEN: What Mum would suspect had invaded her house if she spotted a child-sized creature cleaning up after itself.
  • BABY: 1) Dad, when he gets a cold. 2) Mum's youngest child, even if he's 42.
  • BATHROOM: a room used by the entire family, believed by all (except Mum) to be self-cleaning.
  • "BECAUSE": Mum's reason for having kids do things which can't be explained logically.
  • BED AND BREAKFAST: Two things the kids will never make for themselves.
  • CAR POOL: Complicated system of transportation where Mum always winds up going the furthest, with the biggest bunch of kids, who have had the most sugar.
  • COOK: 1) Act of preparing food for consumption. 2) Mum's other name.
  • DUST: Insidious interloping particles of evil that turn a home into a battle zone.
  • ENERGY: Element of vitality kids always have an oversupply of until asked to do something.
  • "EXCUSE ME": One of Mum's favorite phrases, reportedly used in past times by children.
  • FABLE: A story told by a teenager arriving home after curfew.
  • FOOD: The response Mum usually gives in answer to the question "What's for dinner tonight?"
  • GARBAGE: A collection of refuse items, the taking out of which Mum assigns to a different family member each week, then winds up doing herself.
  • HANDI-WIPES: Pants, shirt-sleeves, drapes, etc.
  • HANDS: Body appendages which must be scrubbed raw with volcanic soap and sterilized in boiling water immediately prior to consumption of the evening meal.
  • ICE: Cubes of frozen water which would be found in small plastic tray if kids or husbands ever filled the darn things instead of putting them back in the freezer empty.
  • "I SAID SO": Reason enough, according to Mum.
  • JUNK: Dad's stuff.
  • KETCHUP: The sea of tomato-based goop kids use to drown the dish that Mum spent hours cooking and years perfecting to get the seasoning just right.
  • MAKEUP: Lipstick, eyeliner, blush, etc. which ironically make Mum look better while making her young daughter look "cheap."
  • MAYBE: No.
  • MILK: A healthful beverage which kids will gladly drink once it's turned into junk food by the addition of sugar and cocoa.
  • "MOMMMMMMM!": The cry of a child on another floor who wants something.
  • PANIC: What a mother goes through when the darn wind-up swing stops.
  • OVERSTUFFED RECLINER: Mum's nickname for Dad.
  • PENITENTIARY: Where children who don't eat their vegetables or clean their rooms eventually end up, according to Mum.
  • PIANO: A large, expensive musical instrument which, after thousands of dollars worth of lessons and constant harping by Mum, kids will refuse to play in front of company.
  • PURSE: A handbag in which Mum carries the checkbook and keys she can never find because they're buried under tissues, gum wrappers, a plastic container full of cereal, toys from a fast-food restaurant, a teddy bear, a football, wallpaper samples, a grocery list and several outdated coupons.
  • REFRIGERATOR: Combination art gallery and air- conditioner for the kitchen.
  • SCHOOL PLAY: Sadistic ritual in which adults derive pleasure from watching offspring stumble through coarse reenactments of famous historic events.
  • SNOWSUITS: Warm, padded outer garments that, when completely zipped and snapped performs two important functions: Protecting children from the cold and reminding them that they have to go to the bathroom.
  • SOAP: A cleaning agent Mum puts on the sink on the off-chance one of her kids will accidentally grab it while reaching for the towel.
  • SPIT: All-purpose cleaning fluid especially good on kids' faces.
  • SUNDAY BEST: Attractive, expensive children's clothing made of a fabric which attracts melted chocolate and grape juice.
  • TERRIBLE TWO'S: Having both kids at home all summer.
  • TROUBLE: Area of nonspecific space a child can always be sure to be in.
  • UMPTEENTH: Highly conservative estimate of the number of times Mum must instruct her offspring to do something before it actually gets done.
  • UNDERWEAR: An article of clothing, the cleanliness of which ensures the wearer will never have an accident.
  • VITAMINS: Tiny facsimiles of cave people Mum forces you to swallow each morning as part of her sinister plot to have you grow up to be "Just like Daddy."
  • WALLS: Complete set of drawing paper for kids that comes with  every room.
  • WASHING MACHINE: Household appliance used to clean blue jeans, permanent ink markers, loose change, homework, tissues and wads of gum.
  • XOXOXOXO: Mum salutation guaranteed to make the already embarrassing note in a kid's lunch box even more mortifying.
  • YARD SALE: Heart-wrenching emotional process wherein Mum plans to sell kid's outdated toys and clothing that she decides at the last minute are treasured mementos she can't bear to part with.
  • "YIPPEE!": What Mum would jump up and shout if the school year was changed to 12 months.
  • ZUCCHINI: Vegetable which can be baked, boiled, fried or steamed before kids refuse to eat it.

Submitted by Vicki, Kennett Square, Pa.

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Who Needs a Man.
  • If you want someone who will do anything to please you, get a dog.
  • If you want someone who will bring you the newspaper without tearing through it first for the sports page, get a dog.
  • If you want someone who'll make a total fool of himself because he's so glad to see you, get a dog.
  • If you want someone who eats whatever you put in front of him and never says his mother made it better, get a dog.
  • If you want someone who's always eager to go out any time you ask and anywhere you want to go, get a dog.
  • If you want someone who can scare away burglars without waving a lethal weapon around, endangering you and all the neighbors, get a dog.
  • If you want someone who never touches the remote, couldn't care less about Monday Night Football, and watches dramatic movies with you as long as you want, get a dog.
  • If you want someone who'll be content just to snuggle up and keep you warm in bed, and who you can kick out of bed if he slobbers and snores, get a dog.
  • If you want someone who never criticizes anything you do, doesn't care how good or bad you look, acts as though every word you say is worth hearing, never complains, and loves you unconditionally all the time, get a dog!

On the other hand...

  • If you want someone who never comes when you call him, totally ignores you when you walk in the room, leaves hair all over the place, walks all over you, prowls around all night and come home only to eat and sleep all day, and acts as though you are there only to see that HE's happy...

Get a CAT!

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