At Livia's, Carmela stands in the living room, hands on her hips; Livia sulks in a chair. Carmela tells Livia she needs help around the house, but Livia doesn't want a "stranger" who "could [sic] care less about doing it right" coming in. Carmela gently says that Livia "need[s] company." Livia grits out, "Now, don't start with that nursing home business again." Carmela attempts to explain that it's not a nursing home, it's a retirement community. Livia waves a hand and sneers. Carmela rolls her eyes and offers to make Livia something to eat; again with the hand wave and the sneer. Carmela sighs, and the massive shoulder pads in her scary rayon blouse seem to slump. She tries again, saying that she's told both Livia and Tony many times that she'd welcome Livia coming to live with them. Livia barely waits for her to finish: "I know when I'm not wanted."
Carmela says flatly that she's just invited Livia to "share" her home, but "if you want me to beg, that's different." Livia gets weepy at the prospect of leaving the house she shared with her late husband, and in response to Carmela's observation that "change can be a positive," she begins to cry in earnest: "He was a saint." She reins it in to ask if Tony is "still having those fits." Carmela corrects her that "they're anxiety attacks" and says that Tony's on medication. Livia closes her eyes and drops her head all "oh, Jesus."
Pussy's body shop. Pussy grouses about pricing; Joe, who runs the place, tells him that "it's been that way for six months." "When was I last here?" Pussy says, throwing a list down on the desk. Joe comes over and says that a shop on Watchung Avenue told him some guys brought in a Saturn the other day and tried to "unload it for parts." Pussy impatiently asks him if he's telling people that "this car's for Tony Soprano, and leave it all in one piece?" Joe says, "Yeah, sure -- it's for the kid's teacher." Joe goes on to say that "one of the goofballs had a uniform on from, uh -- Buttfuck's," and cracks himself up. Pussy arches a brow. Joe means Starbucks, evidently; seems the guy who came in with the car works there. Joe hands Pussy a piece of paper with all the info on it. "I'm fucking Rockford over here," Pussy grumbles.
Cut to Pussy and Paulie in a brightly lit Starbucks, strolling towards the counter like they own the place. Annoying free jazz tootles in the background as the worker bees call out orders like "half-caf latte regulare" (and no, that's not a typo -- one of them actually said "reg-yoo-lar-ay." And while I've strayed onto the subject, sort of, can I share with all of you how much it bugs that The Army Of Starbucks can't just let me order a freakin' large? Like, I walk in, I say I want a large coffee of the day, the girl says, "Venti, you mean. Right, one venti," like, "venti," "large," you know what I meant -- and then she yells out the order like a short-order cook or something: "Venti Arabian Nomad!" or whatever kooky bean they've got going that day. It's a large, people. Stop trying to re-educate me. Damn. Okay, sorry). Pussy orders an espresso and asks Paulie if he wants anything. Paulie asks if they have any "just coffee," and the redhead at the register explains, as if to a small child, that "our café du jour is New Zealand Peaberry" (see what I mean?). Paulie looks at Pussy like "are you kidding me?" and says, "Madon'," and then gestures at the redhead and says dourly, "Whatever." Heh. I love Paulie. Pussy leans on the counter and tells the redhead a shaggy-dog story about how his wife went to the body shop around the corner on Watchung Avenue the other day, and she saw a guy leave his money clip behind; he had black hair and an earring, tall guy, blah dee blah, and he had a Starbucks uniform on. "I'm sorry, sir, but these stores are everywhere," the redhead says. "Yeah, tell me about it," Pussy grumbles. He and Paulie move down to wait for their order to come up, and Paulie bitches that Italian people "invented the shit" like espresso and cappuccino, and now "all these other cocksuckers are gettin' rich off it." Pussy says something placating, but Paulie is getting worked up and continues that it's not just the money, "it's a pride thing," and says that Italians brought the world pizza and buffalo mozzarella and olive oil, and everyone else "ate 'pootsie'" before Italian cuisine came along, "but this -- this is the worst." Pussy tells him to take it easy.
Dr. Melfi's office. Tony tells Melfi that Livia finally agreed to have someone come in during the day; Carmela called an agency and set it up. Poor Carmela, always getting lumped with Livia duty. Anyway, Tony says they found a Trinidadian woman for the job, but he still feels guilty. "Why?" Tony fidgets, then admits that he can't let Livia live with them. Melfi posits that it doesn't seem very practical, "given [Livia's] personality." Heh. Also, word. Tony, not meeting Melfi's eye, lies that "it's my wife -- she won't allow it," but Melfi glosses over this and asks, "Where are your sisters in all of this?" Tony snorts that "they cut it off with her a long time ago; no way she's bunkin' with them." Melfi points out that Tony's "carrying all this guilt," even though Livia doesn't get along "with anyone." Tony shifts in his chair and says, "But she's my mother. You're supposed to take care of your mother. She's a little old lady." "Not to you," Melfi points out. "She's very powerful." "Bullshit," Tony chuckles; Melfi says that Tony credits Livia with "an almost mystical ability to wreak havoc." Tony says that Livia does wreak havoc, and that "you definitely don't want to get her started." Melfi suggests that some people "aren't ideal candidates for parenthood." Tony blows this off: "Come on! She's a sweetie pie." Melfi manages not to laugh outright at this exhibition of deep denial, asking him instead to recount some of the warm, loving experiences he remembers from childhood. A looooooong silence follows as Tony tries to come up with something. At last, he tells a story in which, over thirty years ago, down the shore, his father fell down a flight of stairs and the whole family was laughing, even Livia. Do I need to comment on that? No, I didn't think so. Melfi asks dryly if he has any other experiences to share. "Hey," Tony says defensively, "she's a good woman." He starts ranting about how he's "the ungrateful fuck" because he comes to therapy to bitch about her, and he lets Carmela "exclude her from" his home.