My sister called to warn me.
Her: Just a heads up. Mom's TV somehow got stuck on Channel 9, and she was up watching infomercials all night long. She's fixated on this blender thing for Rachel. It supposedly makes sorbet in 10 seconds and can also grate cheese.
Me: God, I hate it when she can't find the remote. OK.
I go over to see Mom later that day. She is, indeed, obsessed.
Mom: It's called the Magic Bullet. You can make smoothies in no time, and sorbet in 10 seconds! I'm picturing her coming home from school, and getting out some carrots and broccoli and some fresh fruit and spinach maybe. You could go to the farmer's market and get a bunch of organic vegetables, like maybe kale and swiss chard. It would be pure, healthy, juice. Instead of all that junk food, you know? Diabetes is terrible, just terrible, and I hate to think of her suffering like that if we can help it. And this thing is incredible. It really will change her life. She can make pasta in less than five minutes. And salsa, too.
This is utterly surreal. Mom, who has stopped eating and drinking herself in order to die faster, is deciding that my daughter should have kale juice as an after school snack to stave off her non-existant diabetes. I take a stab at a response.
Me: You know, I have a very good blender at my house already. If she ever wants to make a smoothie, she can. It's a really good idea you've got there, Mom. But I'm not sure we need the Magic Bullet.
Mom: But, this makes sorbet. And it's just her size. Plus, if you call now, you get two.
Me: You get two?
Mom: Yep. Normally, they each cost $100. But, for a limited time, you can get two. And I was thinking, Rachel could do it with a friend. So they could both be healthy. It would be so much fun.
Me: How about if Rachel gets one and you get one here, so you can be healthy, too.
Mom: (glaring fiercely at me). I am serious about this. It's important.
Me: OK. Well, here's the thing. Sometimes, things on TV are not quite as good as they say. I'd hate to invest that much money in something gunky.
Mom: (sighs) I know. I've been worrying about that a lot.
Me: How about if I do a little research? I could look it up online, and see what people are saying? Maybe even see if they sell them in stores?
Mom: (brightening visibly) Would you? Oh, wonderful! Here's my list of what to consider about this. Write it down. 1. It has to be good quality. Not junk. 2. It has to be able to make the vegetable fruit juice. 3. It has to make sorbet. 4. I hear it can grate Parmesan cheese in a snap. I would like it to be able to do that, too. If it does all those things, I want to buy it for Rachel. Can I afford that?
Me: (Sighing quietly) OK, Mom. I have it all written down. And, yes, you can afford it. Let me look into it and let you know when I see you tomorrow.
Mom: OK. I like that plan.
She closes her eyes and reaches for the remote. My time is clearly up.
I return the next day with the news that the Magic Bullet is available for less than $50 bucks on Amazon, that you do not need to buy two, that it is good at juicing, but only soft things, not carrots or broccoli or kale, that it has difficulty with hard cheeses, and that I have no info on the sorbet situation. I tell her that even if it does all of these wonderful things, there is no guaranty that Rachel will ever go near a stalk of swiss chard, let alone decide to whip it up in her Magic Bullet, even if she had one. I reiterate the adequacy and pre-paid nature of my blender. I know all of this is futile.
Mom: Let's buy it.
The day after that, I drag my husband into our local Bed Bath & Beyond and head for the "As Seen On TV!" section. He is very confused. I tell him that Mom wants Rachel to have a Magic Bullet. He is no less confused, but sweetly helps me put the box into our cart. I take the box to Mom's and show it to her. She is beaming with happiness, particularly when I tell her I used a 20% off coupon.
Mom: Unwrap it!
She frowns a little at the plastic mugs ("I thought they'd be a little sturdier, you know?"), but has me read the sorbet recipe aloud several times, along with the one for juice. She is delighted with the whole thing.
Mom: Can you stop at a farmer's market on the way home? Before Rachel gets home from school?
Me: Well, probably not. But I will go to Trader Joe's. They have fruit, too.
Mom: That sounds good. Really good. Get all the stuff for sorbet. But use a pretty glass. I don't care for those mugs.
I go home and put the box on the table. My husband reminds me that I said I'd probably just turn around and return it after showing Mom, but then I unpack the frozen berries I picked up at Trader Joe's and shrug helplessly. She's done it again.
My daughter comes home from school, and is instantly enchanted with her gift from Grandma. She goes straight to the sorbet recipe. We plug everything in, read the instructions, and wait for the magic to happen. After several false starts (and a hell of lot longer than 10 seconds), we have made sorbet.
Rachel calls Mom to tell her the good news. My son is queued up behind her to make a smoothie.
In the end, as always, Mom got what she wanted:
My daughter now owns a Magic Bullet.
And, a few days after that phone call from Rachel, peacefully watching TV, Mom died.
Why can't there be a Magic Bullet for that? I'd take two.