Excerpt from The In-Law Effect


           Trish led the way into the house through the garage, straight down the hallway to the middle bedroom she’d set up for the woman. Chuck dropped the luggage next to the closet and left without saying another word.

            “Welcome to your home away from home,” Trish blithely remarked.

            Vera examined the room and its contents. “I’m hoping you put fresh linens on the bed?”

            “Did that right before I went to pick you up.”

            “Uh-huh. Well, I guess it’ll have to do until my own furniture arrives.”

            Trish frowned, remembering her mother’s earlier comment on the phone. “What furniture are you talking about? There’s no room in here for any more furniture.”

            Vera motioned toward the bed. “That bed’s too small. I won’t get any decent sleep on that tiny thing.”

            “It’s a standard double bed.”

            “But it’s not my bed. I’m used to my queen-size bed and my mattress. When it arrives, you’ll have to move this one out and move mine in. Same for that TV.”

            Trish felt her blood pressure beginning to spike. “What’s wrong with the TV?”

            “I want my TV in here.”

            “What’s wrong with this one? It’s a forty-inch flat screen.”

            “Mine is a sixty-inch, and high definition. I’ll go blind if I have to watch TV on that dinky little screen.”

            “When your furniture gets here, what are you going to do with the rest of it?” Trish asked.

            “I guess I’ll have to rent a storage facility. We’ll move this furniture in with the rest of it when they unload my own belongings.” Vera waved at the pictures and photos on the wall, along with the personal items Shelby had left behind. “You’re going to have to pack up all this stuff, too, and put it somewhere.”

            “Those are Shelby’s belongings.”

            “I know they’re Shelby’s, but she’s off to college, and this is my room now. Tomorrow, when we find a place where I can rent some space, we’ll pick up some boxes to pack it in.”

            “Tomorrow’s Sunday. Can’t it wait until Monday?”

            “Guess I have no choice, do I?” The woman grabbed one of the suitcases and tossed it onto the bed. “Which bathroom is mine?”

            “The one across the hall.”

            “The last time I was here, the one across the hall didn’t have good water pressure…unless you’ve replaced the shower head.”

            “No, Mom. We haven’t replace the shower head.”

            “Then I’ll have to use the other bathroom until you do.”

            It took every effort to keep herself from lashing back at her mother, but somehow Trish managed to keep herself reined in. “The other bathroom is the master bath,” she calmly informed the woman.

            Vera replied with a shrug. “So?”

            “It’s in the master bedroom.”

            “So?” Unzipping the suitcase, she tossed another demeaning look at her daughter. “Why are you standing there trying to start an argument with me? Shouldn’t you be fixing supper about now?”

            Turning on her heel, Trish marched out of the room, but instead of going to the kitchen, she headed outside to let her husband know the conversation that had just occurred. She was almost out the door when she heard her mother yelling out to her, “Where am I supposed to hang my clothes? There’s not enough room in the closet for my clothes!”