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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: In-Law(s) (05/08/08)

TITLE: It Could Always Be Worse
By Karin Beery


“Arghh!” I growled, slamming down the phone. I slouched into the chair, losing myself in its understuffed cushions. “Your mother is just...she's...I...oh!”

“Do I want to know?” my husband asked calmly from behind the newspaper. Post-telephone outbursts no longer phased him.

“Two weeks ago we invited her to dinner. Two weeks!” I pointed out. “The reservation is for tomorrow and now she calls to confirm. Oh, and she'd like to bring your brother too,” I informed him. “It's one thing to add a person to a reservation, but three! Why does she wait until the last minute?”

Tom lowered the paper and grinned at me. His dimples weakened my resolve, but persevered. I sat limp, a rag doll in the old chair.

“Did you make the reservation for five or for eight?” he asked, his eyes knowing.

I crossed my arms. “Eight.”

“So you figured she'd call late?”


“And you made the reservation for eight, just in case?” he continued.


“So actually, everything is fine,” he pointed out.

I glared at Tom. He chuckled, so I stuck out my tongue. “It's the principle.”

“You know my mother adores you,” Tom said. “She doesn't do it to bother you.”

He was right. I nodded. He started to speak, but thankfully the phone rang before he could talk anymore sense into me. I recognized the number as I answered.

“Hi Trudy,” I said.

“Kathy, I can't do it.”

“Do what?”

“I can't live with her.”

“With who?”

Trudy groaned. “Paul's mother.”

I thought about my own problem. “What happened?” I asked.

“She decided I should put her to work in the bakery.”

“Doesn't she live out of state?”

“She's here!” hissed Trudy. “She and her husband packed their bags and just showed up! They decided it's our responsibility to house them until they find their own place.”

I pictured Trudy's three bedroom, 1200 square foot home with her and her husband, their five kids, the two cats...and the in-laws. “Where are they sleeping?”

“My room. We had to give it up.”

“Oh Trude, I don't even know what to say,” I confessed. Then I remembered her mother-in-law's work experience. “At least she can help with the books, right? She was a CPA?”

“She wants to bake!”

Visions of blackened sugar cookies from last Christmas danced in my head. “What??” I asked.

“Exactly,” my friend moaned. “Apparently she thinks I can teach her how to bake, but she wants me to do it at the shop instead of at home.”

I pictured the bakery in my head, but black smoke clouded each scenario. “Is there anything I can do?” I offered.

Trudy's phone banged on something loudly as her children squealed in the background. “Kath, I've got to go! She's in the kitchen and the spatulas are melting!”Click.

I hung up slowly, my mind racing. I thought about dinner tomorrow and smiled. “Tom?”

He glanced over the top of the sports section.

“I love your mom.”

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This article has been read 487 times
Member Comments
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Sara Harricharan 05/15/08
ROFL! What a change of scenery. I liked how you showed us the contrast and in an easy(humor-filled) way. Very creative! ^_^
Kate Grey05/15/08
Well done. I really enjoyed this. Good details.
Marlene Austin05/15/08
Great job contrasting these two mothers-in-law and perfect title. Nicely done. :)
Scott Sheets05/17/08
Put's things into perspective. I loved "the spatulas are melting" line. Great natural dialogue. Thanks for the story!
Joy Faire Stewart05/22/08
Congratulation on your win. Loved it, great job of writing.
Tessy Fuller05/22/08
Congrats on placing 2nd.
Lyn Churchyard05/22/08
Hee hee hee what a fun story. Frustration turns into gratitude when your MC realises she has it easy... just a dinner date. Wonderfully written and the dialogue perfect. I just loved: “Kath, I've got to go! She's in the kitchen and the spatulas are melting!" So funny. Well done on your 2nd Place. Up the ladder for you :-)
Joshua Janoski05/23/08
Haha! What a fun piece. I laughed at the ending. The dialogue in this was great. Congratulations on placing high this week! This story was well deserving of the honor. :)
Joanne Sher 05/23/08
Congratulations on your second place finish in beginners - you also were 38th overall. Great job!
Sheri Gordon05/23/08
Congratulations on your 2nd place. I enjoyed the realistic dialogue. Nice job with the topic.
Lollie Hofer05/26/08
Excellent story telling. Isn't perspective a wonderful thing? I really enjoyed the humor and dialogue. Congratulations!