TWELVE Tips to Help You Succeed in Life:Part Ten
TIP TEN: SPEND TIME WITH MOM
For the next week and a half, I tried to forget Mr. I'm-Too-Good-For-You-Because-I-Have-Fans-And-Wear-Tacky-Clothes (Guess who that is?) while I shifted through my two jobs. Since I felt too embarrassed to talk about my current situation, I opted to not inform any of my bosses or coworkers—especially Inka, since she's always so dull and blah—how chaotic my personal life was and about Mom's mysterious illness of possible doom. It was a MAJOR relief, however, when the hospital finally allowed Mom to come home on the 26th day of the Month of Hunting. "I can't wait to sleep in my own bedroom again!" Mom said excitedly as I wheeled her out of the hospital. She made a show of stretching her arms as high as she could and groaning with satisfaction. I winced, but forced a smile. "So Nadine, how have you been doing?" asked Mom, turning to me.
"Oh, you know. Just the usual biz," I said, turning the wheelchair a corner.
"Is the Plushie Palace still super busy?" asked Mom.
I nodded. "Cassie thinks it's because of the new shipment of pirate plushies we got on Monday. They're pretty cute, though not as much as the adorable baby plushies we stocked on Sunday! There's this cute little baby Wocky plushie that mews when you squeeze it! Isn't that the cutest thing ever?"
"My, it seems like somebody's enjoying her job," said Mom, giggling. "But I'm glad you are. Doing what you love is much more fulfilling than making a ton of money." She then added, "Hey, did you hear what happened to Andrew?"
Please let be bad news! Please let it be bad news! I chanted over and over.
"Well according to the NT," said Mom eagerly, "Andrew's part of this new band called 3P! Can you believe it? I think I recognize the blue Shoyru from the Toy Shop…the other guy escapes me, but still! Way to go Andrew!"
"Eh." I wanted to tell Mom about the little quip Andrew Smarmypants and I had, but declined to spare her of any disappointments towards her new idol. Later, I decided. Mom would love to hear gossip!
"I wonder how his owner is faring with this," Mom mused. "He was never supportive of Andrew's music before."
Didn't Andrew say he doesn't talk to his owner that much? I wondered, trying not to care about that stuck-up snot-faced dweebazoid. "Haven't seen him in a while," I remarked. "Doesn't he work at that hot dog store?"
"No dear, he left that job years ago," said Mom. "I believe he owns a business in the Marketplace now, selling hardware equipment and all that stuff."
To be honest, I don't really know Andrew's owner that well, since he spent a lot of time working when we were growing up. Initially I assumed Andrew was fine with it; he never complained and he didn't mind eating dinner at our neohome when his owner worked night shifts. (Now I wanna shove this in that idol-wannabe's face! That would have showed him if I remembered this factoid a few days ago!) As time went on, however, I realized how much Andrew didn't get along with his owner—especially when it came to a certain snob's rock-star ambitions. "He just doesn't understand that I have dreams and that I can make them come true," nicer Andrew would say wistfully.
Then Andrew became a famous jerk, and I will NO LONG be talking about that fraud of a friend anymore! He's history! And he has no fashion sense!
Ahem. Mom was ecstatic when I wheeled her into the house. "My, everything is so clean!" she gasped. "Did you actually clean the floors, Nadine??"
"With that sponge-cleaner thing-a-ma-jig you always use," I said, beaming. "I also dusted, washed the dishes, changed your sheets and cleaned the bathrooms!" (Which I technically did yesterday, but who cares.) "Just wanted everything to be spick and span when Mommy finally comes home!" I gave Mom a hug, so relieved that I wouldn't be a loner anymore!
"How about you wheel me into the kitchen so I can brew myself some coffee?" Mom suggested.
I agreed, but not fully: I was going to brew Mom's coffee! Thanks to Daisy-May and her never-ending patience with me and my various screw-ups, I was able to produce a cup of non-burnt coffee to welcome my Mom home. "With two creams right?" I asked, opening the fridge with pride.
Mom took a sip and, her eyes wide, made a satisfied "Mmmm!" sound. "My, this may be the best cup of coffee I have ever had," she declared, still astonished, as if the coffee had magically turned into gold.
"A friend taught me the works," I explained.
"Was it Claudia?" asked Mom. "And how's she doing?"
I laughed out loud. "Oh puh-lease! Like Claudia can actually cook or make anything in a kitchen!" I shrugged. "Don't know. We haven't spoken much since I started working at the Plushie Palace. I'm sure she's fine."
Mom took another 'this coffee is unbelievably delicious' sip. "I remember when the two of you used to be as thick as thieves—especially when it came to playing with your Usukis."
"Well Claudia always had the prettier Usuki clothing for her dolls," I remarked. "Though I do remember how fickle she was with her doll choices: she would always choose the dolls with the most stylish outfits and with any accessories she can wear too! She was funny."
"Have you talked with Andrew yet?" asked Mom. "I heard he was visiting Neopia Central for a few days. Or is he leaving already?" She gave me a worried look. "His owner was at the hospital three days ago, and we had a chat. Seems they're still not getting along—Andrew never sends him any letters, and I don't think he'll pay any visits home."
I nodded. "A true shame indeed," I said, hoping this conversation about you-know-who will end.
Mom did a double-take of the kitchen. "I must say, Nadine," she marvelled, "you surely know how to keep an orderly Neohome!" She suppressed a laugh. "To be honest, I half-expected the sink to be filled with dishes, the floors coated with dust, and the trash to be rotting away in the trashcan. But your responsibility has really impressed me, dear. I am so proud of you."
"Thanks Mom." I poured myself a glass of juice.
"I'm so lucky to have such a compassionate daughter," said Mom, smiling warmly. "I'm the luckiest mother in all of Neopia!"
"Oh Mother, you don't need to hype yourself up that much," I snickered. Still, I was happy to have received such high praise from Mom—though I second-guessed on whether or not Mom meant what she said, or if this was another occasion where I was 'over praised' by my Mother for a frivolous reason (i.e. to make me feel good about myself.) Still, I gave Mom a smile and even offered to visit the Health Food Shop to pick up some groceries. "I can make you a hearty stew for dinner," I offered. "Daisy-May loaned me a cookbook, and I'm almost good at making everything in it. I've been cooking, you know."
"My! And I thought you were only dining on sandwiches and pre-packaged boxes of mac and cheese," Mom joked as I headed out the door.
I kept thinking about Mom's remark as I roamed the aisles of the Health Food Shop. Of course Mom had to have the last word because, like hello, she's a gossip! Yet a part of me wondered if this was either an actual joke or something Mom had been thinking while in the hospital. Of course, I wouldn't be too surprised if this was an actual concern—Mother must be aware by now that coddling her precious baby (Me) may have stunted my inner-growth as a functioning Neopian adult. I would go on about how I am at fault too, but this series can only have twelve parts, so let's move on.
After checking out of the overpriced 'healthy food' shop (I bet none of their produce is organic! They're liars! Spread the word!) I hurried home, my vision partly blocked by two humongous paper bags. Just as I passed by the Second Hand Shoppe, I bumped into somebody and fell to the ground. It was a miracle none of the groceries spilled out of the bags. I would have been peeved if I needed to re-bag everything—especially those pesky grapes and blueberries! They're too small! Anywho, I rubbed my forehead and muttered, "What in Neopia was that?"
A shadowy figure loomed over me and gasped. "Oh my! I'm so sorry!" She reached out and pulled me up. "Guess I wasn't looking where I was going. I can be such a klutz sometimes."
When I saw the figure more closely, I had, like, a million heart attacks! Because it wasn't some random n00b that had bumped into me and made me almost spill my inflated-priced groceries. It was…*pauses here for dramatic effect*…SCRAPPY!! And this was exactly what I had shrieked at our fateful encounter: "OH MY GOSH YOU'RE SCRAPPY! THE SCRAPPY FROM THE NEOPAIN TIMES! I LOVE YOU! YOU ARE EVERYTHING! OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH OH MY GOSH!!" Then I screamed.
Scrappy laughed. "Thanks for the enthusiasm. You're such a sweetie-pie."
"SCRAPPY JUST COMPLIMENTED ME!" I was so shocked, I kept shouting for no reason. "SCRAPPY IS EVERTHING! I AM NOT WORTHY!"
"Okay then." Scrappy patted my shoulder. "Well, I have to go. The NT doesn't edit and publish itself!"
"Ooh, are you going to the main office now?" I gasped, obviously still star-struck by a celebrity ten times more important than you-know-who-I-hate. "It must be heavenly to work for the NT! Editing the issues, sending acceptance letters and rejections to the less talented wannabes—"
"Yep. The NT is the place to be," Scrappy agreed. She sighed. "Though things haven't been going so well after I lost my second intern. My other one, Jade, and I are the only two working at the NT until I can find yet another intern."
"You're looking for a new intern to boss around and then befriend??" I grabbed Scrappy's hands. "Well, my new bestie, your search is over! I will be your new intern!"
"Perfect! I'll see you Monday morning," Scrappy agreed.
To be continued…