the bucket, explained

It’s my mom’s birthday today, and in her honour, I will attempt to explain just what is the deal with the pee buckets:

My mom’s apartment is oddly laid out. It’s technically a two-bedroom place, but is laid out in such a way that there is no clear living room – it’s shaped like a square donut. Because of this, we decided to make the second bedroom into the living room, and set it up accordingly.

She complains that we don’t visit enough, but we’ve flat out told her why: her place is incredibly uncomfortable for us. I’ve been trying to get her to buy a futon (or at the very least, a full-sized couch) for us to sleep on for YEARS, but she is cheap and doesn’t want to spend the money (that she definitely has). When we do visit and don’t want to shell out for a hotel, we make do: her bizarre apartment came with a sort of .. window seat, I guess. There’s an alcove at the end of the hallway that for reason I absolutely cannot fathom, has a piece of plywood across it. It’s too low to be a table or shelf, yet too high to put anything useful on top of it. There’s also no window. It is completely pointless, so we sleep on it. It’s not big enough for two people, but the alternative is worse: sleep on the floor with the spiders, or banish one of us (me) to the Love Seat of Doom: a 1980-era leather love seat constructed out of steel girders and rocks. It’s about 3’ wide and has deeply slanted arm rests, meaning you sleep with your legs hanging off the end and fuck your neck up for weeks. Sometimes the thought of sleeping on the love seat will literally bring me to tears, so Ed and I will attempt to sleep head-to-toe on the plywood so we both fit. I hate the plywood, but I hate that love seat so much more.

My mom is courteous in the strangest ways. She’ll call me fat, then urge me to take home food from her bakery and chocolate bars and candy. She will say she’s not buying us any presents, but will hand me some cash or buy me something I’m interested in when we’re out together. She refuses to buy grown-up furniture that she actually NEEDS and will provide us a place to sleep thereby making our visits much more frequent and less painful, yet she pees in a bucket to avoid waking us up in the night.

For some reason I am sure makes perfect sense in her own head (my mother and I are a lot alike in this way), my mother will not leave her room to use the bathroom when we are visiting because the light and noise might wake us up. Instead, she will use a bucket or pitcher in her bedroom, then dispose of the contents in the usual manner in the morning. It is SO WEIRD. I don’t get it. My mother is insane.

Happy birthday, you utter wackjob. Maybe I will buy you a new bucket for your birthday, assuming I haven’t talked myself out of our visit this weekend – I hate that fucking love seat.

4 thoughts on “the bucket, explained

  1. There is a definitive point that most people hit as they age where it begins to make sense to them that peeing in a bucket (or other basin like device) is a valid and sensible choice.

    My grandfather would cut a 2 litre pop bottle in half and used to pee in it on long road trips. He was still able to walk, so I am not sure exactly why he thought this was a great idea.

    I was often give the duty of emptying the pee jug. Sometimes the surface tension of liquids causes them to bead up on the sides of pop bottles, so there really was no good way to get ALL of the pee out of it. Centripetal force was unfortunately the best way I figured out (i.e., whip it around at a high rate of speed).

    Come to think of it, I am not really sure if the inheritance adequately compensated me for this duty.

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