(Original Publication Date, 27 October 1990)
Panel 1: We start things off with Elly intruding on Mike and Liz quietly snacking as they watch TV in the rec room and declaring that things are getting out of hand and now they need to
This tells me that neither Mike's violent outburst four months ago nor his coming home at pitchdark o'thirty in the morning two months ago are the last straw for Elly. We're about to see the last straw when she says WHY the children don't appreciate or respect her.
Panel 2: Anyone who understands Elly at all will know immediately what she means when she says that lately, they've been making up their own rules, going through her and John's things without asking and generally treating her and John with a lack of respect.
That's right. Liz's brainlessly repeating John's cutting remark without really understanding it is the straw that broke the camel's back. Elly doesn't see a kid doing something harmless with John's tacit approval. Elly sees a rude little girl who thinks that her poor mother dresses like an old person.
Also, it's hard to fault them for making up their own rules when John and Elly insist on keeping the rules a tightly-guarded secret so they can change them on a whim.
Panel 3: She then delivers a speech she should have delivered a long while ago when she says that this is John and Elly's home and they are John and Elly's responsibility (which they've defaulted on because of Elly's fragile nerves and need to not be oppressed by the presence of another human being in her immediate field of vision). She and John don't ask for much (which is kind of stupid when we have to remember that the "not much" they're convinced that they're entitled to is every penny spent raising them back) but they demand and deserve their courtesy, cooperation and respect.
Panel 4: John reminds us that respect has to actually be earned when he barges in wearing the rabbit costume asking if anyone has seen the novelty carrot he rented.
Summary: Elly doesn't realize it but she's about to choke on her own medicine tomorrow when Mike is in a blind panic because they're late and don't bother picking up the damned phone. If they don't think that the rules apply to them too, they can't expect the kids to respect them unless they're the godless idiots we know them to be.