Sunday, December 31, 2006

Market Basket Expedition

After the shoe fitting, we headed 15 miles down the road to my favorite Weeble destination, Market Basket. I was looking forward to some profitable time while the Weebles shopped. I've been able to finish whole volumes of books or write complete Heath sagas. Himself had the laptop and the gizmo to run the computer off the car battery.

No surprise there were no handicap spots so Himself pulled alongside the curb, and I got out to offload the Weebles. Ma clasped my arm with an iron grip and said, "You come with me. I need your help." My heart sank. No reading time. No finding out what would happen next to Jamie and Claire in Dragonfly in Amber. No time to start a new Heath story. I hoped my grimace looked like a good natured smile as I helped Ma to the store entrance. Dad had gone ahead to get Ma a shopping scooter. I turned to watch Himself troll the parking lot and find a space away from cars, distractions and shopping.

Ma boarded the scooter and headed to produce. Dad took a carriage and coasted to dairy at the opposite side of the store. I sighed and trailed along in Ma's wake. I hate grocery shopping. I don't do my own and here I was helping Ma with hers. Ah well, the good deed will certainly shorten my stay in Purgatory or at least boost me to a higher level of hell.

We wove our way through the produce cases. Ma pointed at the items. I pawed, selected, and thumped and handed over the item for final inspection. I went on search missions for a five pound bag of carrots which we had walked past and MacIntosh apples. Her cart was laden with fresh produce of all shapes, sizes, and colors, and then we rolled into the Meat Department.

Dad had told me shopping took so long because Ma had to look at all the meat in the cases. She doesn't just look at the meat, she blesses every single package. I stood at her side like an acolyte and handed up the neat shrink-wrapped packages. In the nomine pork chops, et filet de mignon, et spirited sirloin. She stared, debated, and decided down the entire 80 feet of refrigerated cases.

Three quarters of the way through the department, she said "I want a ham slice." I look back the way we came, but don't see pork or pork by products. The meat manager suddenly appeared and I asked him for directions. I find the ham slices. Large, single slabs of ham that would grace Heath's breakfast plate with a side of scrambled eggs and hash browns. I don't think is what she has in mind, but I present it to her. "No, ham sliced."

I cock my head to the side like a puppy learning a new trick. I do not understand grocery lingo. "You mean sliced for sandwiches?"


We were still a day and a half away from the deli. "You want ham from the deli?"

"No, sliced in a package."

I went in search of the meat manager. "I'm looking for ham slices, like you would have for sandwiches, but not from the deli." He cocks his head like a puppy too. I tried to translate. "You know how Oscar Mayer has bologna in packages? My mother wants ham like that." He led me to the packaged meat. There's eighty feet of gleaming white refrigerated cases each laden with cryovacced packages of nitrates. Oscar Mayer, Hormel, Plumrose. I found a package of store brand, sliced ham. I brought it back to Ma and handed it to her as if I'm holding the Holy Grail.

"No, I want the sliced ham like you have for New Year's dinner." She is sitting next to a case of spiral sliced hams. "Like these!" She grabbed a small ham. I returned the package ham to its correct place.

We entered the deli department on the opposite side of the store where we started. Dad caught up to us. The deli is perpendicular to the dairy department where Dad started. His cart has a dozen eggs, a gallon of milk and a gallon of orange juice. I'm puzzled and am about to ask him how it could possibly take an hour adn a quarter to gather these items. Then I remember I don't grocery shop so I kept my mouth shut. He took a deli ticket and leaned over to get instructions from Ma.

"Oooo!" Ma tugged my sleeve. My Uncle Bob, God rest his soul, had once told me he did the shopping for his wife. He'd get home with the bags and she'd say "Oooo, I forgot...." He said he spent $80 on groceries and another $40 on "ooooo". Ma needed denture cleanser so we headed back towards produce to the health and beauty aisle.

There was no one in the aisle except a girl stocking shelves. Ma hit the throttle and tore up the aisle. Thankfully, the girl was able to leap onto a shelf as Ma rocketed by.

Ma maneuvered the cart up and down the aisles but misjudged a turn and a four foot stack of Little Debbie snack cakes came down in a clatter. People all over the store came to a standstill. I dove for the boxes as Ma tried to back up the cart to make the turn, and grabbed them before she crushed boxes of Zebras, Brownies, and Christmas Cakes. With a red face I quickly stacked boxes before a disembodied voice could announce "Clean up on aisle 6"

"She usually worse than that," said Dad shaking his head. I raced after Ma as she turned down the pickle aisle. Ma and Dad spent 10 minutes debating the merits of pickle cuts and whether kosher dills were better than polish spears.

I danced from foot to foot partly from impatience but more from a full bladder. I have problems using public toilets and no way in hell would I use the grocery store rest room which I was sure was filthy. I hoped they would choose a jar of pickles before my bladder burst.

A choice was made, and she sent Dad in search of an item while we went back to the pasta aisle. "Get the gemelli they're on sale five for a dollar." Dad came up behind me as I reached for the elbows.

"What are you doing?" he snapped.

"She told me to get the elbows."


"They're on sale?" I offered feebly.

"But she doesn't like them, and I'll get yelled at for cooking them."

I shrugged and tossed them into the cart. Thou shalt honor thy father and mother which means obey. Ma has more power.

After crisscrossing the store in several more search grids for forgotten items, shopping was finished. I made my escape as they entered the check out line. I found Himself happily tapping away at the laptop, warned him they were in the checkout line, and he needed to bring the car around so we could load Weebles and groceries.

As I helped Ma into the car, I noticed her pocketbook was very light. I looked in it and it was empty. "Ma, where's your wallet?" Dad accompanied me into the store to look for the missing wallet.

"This happens every %^$%^$ time!" he yelled adding other phrases in a variety of tongues. A check out girl sipping a soda on her break burst out laughing as we walked by. Without the wallet we go back to the car.

"Where were you? I didn't bring my wallet!"

I heard combinations of phrases I have never heard put together before. I get in the car. Chug, chug, toot, toot. Off we go. Not too bad, we completed the shopping expedition in two hours. As we pull into the driveway, Ma informs me she didn't finish all the shopping and will need me the week after the holiday week. Deep sigh.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Shoes of the Weebles

Shoe day finally arrived, and I convinced Himself that misery loves company. Good egg that he is, he came with me for an outing with the Weebles.

When we arrived, Ma was bustling about the livingroom doing the where's the checkbook dance. Dad was speaking in tongues and going back and forth between rooms. I found the checkbook under a pile of mail. Ma grabbed her coat, and we were off.

Himself was driving and neither of the Weebles gave him driving directions. I'm envious of his power. He found a handicap spot, and settled in to wait. Dad decided to sit in the car with Himself so I helped Ma out of the car, and we skipped to the doctor's office where we waited, and waited, and waited.

She was very excited about finally getting new shoes. She had me retrieve samples for the display. What do you think of this one? What do you think of that one? I like the mary janes. They all look so clumsy.

In that she was correct, the shoes all look exactly the same except for color or whether they buckle with a velcro strap or tie. The shoes look like clogs except they don't have wooden soles. They have leather or neoprene uppers, very round, very wide toe boxes. They really look like shoes kindergarteners draw.

Finally Ma's turn came and she shuffled into the examination room where we waited and waited and waited some more. She debated between a pair of tie shoes and a pair of mary janes.

Finally the doctor came in and measured her feet. She told him the shoe she was thinking about. He told her he had ordered her the shoe last year. She reminded him that last year he ordered shoes in the wrong width, and the shoes had to be sent back twice.

He looked at me and expected me to help him out. I just shrugged and smiled politely. Afterall, he was getting paid for the aggravation, not me.

He brought in a shoe sample to try on. She was not happy about the style. She treated him like a shoe salesman. I want to see the beige one. How about the black one? I really like those mary janes. By the fifth time he called her "dear", I knew his patience was wearing thin as he tried to tell her he was more concerned with comfort than style.

She wanted the mary janes, but he didn't think they would be good for her as they have a smooth sole and as unsteady as she is, she needs something with traction. She resigned herself to having a pair of clumsy shoes. He ordered her the pair of tie shoes similar to the ones he had ordered last year. Again, she reminded him he ordered the wrong width.

I'm pretty sure I saw him heave a sigh of relief as we left the office.

Commentary: While the events are amusing the situation is not. These shoes are horribly expensive running between $300 and $400. The insurance company will only allow a patient one pair of shoes per year. I doubt the shoes that are made out of neoprene will last more than six months. I did an Internet search for diabetic shoes and found them online for a third the cost of what the doctor is selling them for. It's really outrageous. Hopefully, he will order shoes free of charge for someone who has no insurance or the money for the co-pay. Afterall, with the high markup, other people have already paid for the shoes.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Second Wednesday

Today was shoe fitting day. Ma already had her coat on when I arrived. The route was the same as last week. We had to drop Dad off at the senior center, and again, he was out the door before I had brought the car to a complete stop.

There was plenty of parking at the medical center lot too. I even got a handicap parking spot. That should have been a clue.

I would never think skipping was possible with a walker, but that's what Ma did across the crosswalk and into the building. We didn't even have to wait for an elevator. The doors opened up just as I was to push the up button.

I held the elevator door open for Ma and she skipped across the lobby to the doctor's office. I reached around her and pushed the door handle. Imagine my surprise when the door wouldn't budge. It was locked tighter than Scrooge's purse! Ma kept trying the door and I finally got her to sit in a chair in the lobby while I went to the doctor's office next to the podiatrist. That office was locked too. The third office I tried was open.

The receptionist was on the phone, and I tried to be still and polite all the while screaming in my head Get off the damn phone and help me!

I told her my tale of woe and she kindly called the podiatrist's office.

Relief! Someone's in the office. The door must have been locked by mistake!

"Yes, I'll let her know," said the receptionist. She scribbled something on a note pad, tore the sheet and handed it to me. Neatly printed on the paper was the doctor's name and office number. "Their office is closed on Wednesdays. No one would have made an appointment for Wednesday. That was the answering service."

I thanked the receptionist and went to get Ma in the lobby. She was not happy, and she sputtered like a teakettle all the way to the car. It was not going to be pretty when we picked Dad up. I heard the "He's Stupid" song, along with variations on the theme. I told her the blame really wasn't on Dad, but on the doctor. Afterall, Ma was in the office last week. He could have taken her foot measurements, let her pick the shoes from the catalog, and put the paperwork aside until her primary care doctor sent the signature needed for the insurance. It would have been no skin off the podiatrist's nose. It's not like he had to pay for Ma's shoes out of his own pocket. On the other hand, he couldn't bill the insurance company for another office visit if he had taken care of business last week. I hope the needles fall off his Christmas tree.

Now, I'm not sure what happened. I wasn't sure if Dad had forgotten to make the actual appointment. He swore up and down he had called the doctor's office, and they gave him the appointment for Wednesday at 10 am. Maybe they meant the appointment was for the second Wednesday of the week. I'll have to check my PDA

Sunday, December 17, 2006

What's Your Hidden Talent?

I was bored and decided to take this quiz on Blogthings. It has nothing to do with Weebles. Well, maybe it explains why Ma and I butt heads a lot. Boy, howdy! This just cracked me up. I'm an outlaw!

Your Hidden Talent

You have the natural talent of rocking the boat, thwarting the system.
And while this may not seem big, it can be.
It's people like you who serve as the catalysts to major cultural changes.
You're just a bit behind the scenes, so no one really notices.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Flying Up

Tuesday arrived and so did I to take Ma to her podiatrist appointment. She was in high spirits and excited because she was to be fitted for new shoes. There was the usual call for her coat, and the hunt for her checkbook, but done without the usual yelling and screaming. Ma didn't seem to mind that Dad asked to be dropped off at the Senior Center instead of being part of her entourage. The mood was so light, I didn't even mind the driving lessons both of them gave me. "Take a left at the light. The Center is the old Lincoln School building. On the right." Dad barely waited for the car to come to a complete and full stop. He was out the door and in the building before I got my foot all the way on the brake.

The medical center parking lot was full. All the handicap parking spaces were taken so I pulled up alongside the building to offload Ma. She assured me she could make it up to the doctor's office by herself. I trolled two circuits of the lot and found a parking spot in Iowa. Not bad. Last time, I had to park clear on the other side of the world in the Main Visitor lot.

Ma didn't have to wait long in the office before she was called into the examination room. She chatted all the way down the hall with the receptionist about new shoes.

Another Weeble couple came in. I recognized them from the appointment Ma had in October. They are a very sweet Weeble couple. The Mr. Weeble was also getting new shoes. "They have a lot more styles than last year," he informed me. I looked at the display case. The only difference I saw was the shoes came in three colors, black, brown and a golden beige. Each shoe was large, had a very wide toe box and velcro straps. He informed me he hoped to get a pair of shoes with a smooth upper this time. The pair he wore had a seam and it bothered his toe. I smiled politely. The Mr. and Mrs. Weeble chatted by themselves so I buried my nose in the book I had brought.

Just as I was getting to the good part, Ma came out. She was not happy and was arguing with the doctor and the receptionist. Seemed she couldn't get new shoes because her primary care physician didn't sign the form the podiatrist needed to submit the shoe bill to the insurance company. The receptionist had faxed the form to the primary care office twice! The Weeble couple smiled sympathetically. Ma's next appointment was made for February.

We left the office and were waiting for the elevator. Ma was lamenting she had to wait until February to get her new shoes. She said the shoes she was wearing were worn down and so were the insoles.

I went back into the office and asked if Ma could at least have new insoles. Seems insoles and shoes are a matched set. I asked if she had to wait until February before she could get new shoes. Was told if her doctor signed and faxed the form back, they could schedule an appoitment for a fitting right away. She wouldn't have to wait until February. I thanked the recptionist and wished the Weeble couple a happy holiday.

Ma was still waiting for the elevator. I wasn't sure if she let a car or two go by of if the elevator was just slow. I told her the car was parked in Iowa, and I would bring it around and pick her up at the front door. The elevator doors open and I held the door so Ma could get in. We rode down to the lobby with Ma muttering to herself "why me?" and "it's not fair" In this case, I have to agree.

I left Ma waiting in the building and I sprinted for Iowa. Just as I got to the car, I remembered I had forgotten my book. Since the book was a library book, I had no choice but had to go back to retrieve it.

I passed Ma in the lobby, told her I had forgotten my book, and I raced up the stairs.
I startled the Weeble couple as I burst into the office. "Sorry. I forgot my book. What can I say, it's contagious." The Weeble couple smiled and the Mr. Weeble winked knowingly.

The incident reminded me of the Flying Up ceremonies I attended when my girls moved from Brownies to Junior Scouts. Each little brownie was twisted, turned around and made to look in a reflecting pool all the while the other scouts chanted a rhyme.

I made up my own little rhyme: Twist me. Turn me, until I'm Feeble. I look in the mirror and see I'm a Weeble.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Round One

The phone rang. I thought it might be the client to come see samples that I worked up last week. It wasn't. It was an irate Weeble.

"Where are you?"

As I'm about to make a sarcastic remark he continues. "I thought you were coming here today!" There's a note of panic in his voice. The OPD almost infects me, and I begin to feel the panic start to surge through my system. Did I forget about her appointment to the foot doctor? I'm sure it's tomorrow. Happily, I'm sitting in front of the computer, call up Outlook, and breathe a sigh of relief.

"No, Dad, I'll be there tomorrow. Her appointment is tomorrow. Tuesday. Today is Monday." I hear pages shuffling as he consults his appointment book.

"Oh, you're right. See you tomorrow."

Saturday, December 02, 2006


Prissy called. "What are you doing? Could you come over?"

I glance at the clock to see that it is 8PM. Prissy is usually in her jammies. "What's wrong, this time?"

This is the third phone call from Prissy today. She called early this morning while I was in the shower. When I called her back, she wanted to know what the Leaf Lady was having done at her house this morning. Now, the Leaf Lady hasn't spoken to me in 15 years. My first thought was I don't give a...but I bit my tongue. "She's having her windows replaced."

"How do you know that?"

"She had me over for coffee and told me!"

The second time she called to ask if the mail came. I've been trying to letter samples for a client for Monday and I've been in the basement all morning. My X-ray vision must've been on the fritz because I couldn't see through the wall.

"What's the problem?"

"Could you come over?"

"What's the problem."

"It's the TV. I was watching a video (she meant DVD) and now there's girls exercising. Could you come over? I can't get the video out.

As I head up the stairs, Number One Daughter cheerfully calls after me, "See ya Tuesday!"

Himself was in the kitchen as I raced by. "I've got a Weeblegency."

"See ya Tuesday."

I grabbed my jacket and raced across the street. I leaned on the bell several times because the ringing doorbell always makes Prissy jump to the ceiling. LOL Can't help it, it's funny.

She's wearing her pajamas, frowning in front of the television, and the svelte figures are aerobic dancing. Yup, girls excercising.

Prissy's bird hands begin flapping.

"You've got the TV on and not the DVD player." I go to the DVD player and turn it on. The screen flickers and soon the alarming FBI warning flickers into clarity.

"How did you do that?"

"Magic. I turned the DVD player On."

"Well, I don't want to watch it now."

I bite my tongue. Remove the DVD from the player, turn the player off, and the girls go back to their exercise routine. "Make me a cup of tea." I suspect Prissy just wanted a little company.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Only the Good Die Young

I've had me a day. Cut off twice, passed on the left in a no passing zone and all before 7:30 AM. I tried to tell myself this wouldn't set the tone for the day. After all, I was expecting delivery of my new photo printer.

I worked on a dreamcatcher for Red's Christmas gift. The smell of the leather and the tacky feel of the sinew were soothing as I wound and knotted my way around the ring.

Staples arrived with the printer, drum cartridge and paper. The driver stacked them neatly in the livingroom. Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance. Yes, the day had a rough start, but in spite of the cold, grey, drizzle, things were decidely looking up. While the printer and drum acclimated to room temperature, I worked on the dream catcher, went to pick up Number 2 Daughter, and then sipped hot chocolate while chatting on the phone with my calligraphy buddy.

Call waiting is not really a good thing. Ordinarily, I ignore the beep if I'm on the phone, but I thought perhaps, this was Himself saying he would be getting out of school early and would be able to pick up Number One Daughter. I should have ignored it. It was my weeble widow neighbor across the street. She's screaming hysterically that she has an emergency, and she hangs up. I grab my jacket, dash across the street to find her Prissy-dancing in the kitchen with her hands flapping like loose birds. "Oh, I don't know what I'm gonna do. Oh, I don't know what's wrong."

Her oven is beeping incessantly, combined with Prissy's high pitched squeals, the muscles in the back of my neck to begin tighten. It seems the workman and his son had come to repair the furnce. Sonny thought he would be helpful and set the oven clock to the correct time zone.

The oven is modeled after one of the consoles NASA uses in Flight Control to launch the shuttles. There are no familar knobs, just digital displays, touch pads, up down arrows. The oven was wailing, and a red door lock light was flashing. I pushed the Clear pad. The red light went out, the wailing stopped, but only for a second. F9 gleamed brightly at me in the display window. I took umbrage at the audacity of the oven to speak in tongues.

I asked Prissy if she had the manual that came with the oven. Fortunately, Weebles never throw anything away. She handed me the manual and while the display light kept mocking me, I tried to skim the trouble shooting section. I'm also wondering why Prissy fields her monkeys to me instead of her daughter. I'm cursing the daughter for picking out a Star Wars model oven for a mother who still thinks Flash Gordon is state of the art. Finding nothing helpful, I handed the book to Prissy and told her to call the 800 number on the back.

"Oh, oh, p-please," she snuffled as she dabbed a wadded kleenex under her nose. "Would you call for me? I don't know what to do."

Okay, I'm...irritated (second choice word). I'm not only irritated with Prissy, but with myself for enabling her dependency and placing the call. You women out there, listen up! You don't need another person (DH, Significant Other) to make phone calls for you. You call the number, listen to the long menu, make a selection and wait in the queue. It is not brain surgery. If you have a problem with a piece of equipment, you call the manufacturer. Simple.

While waiting in queue hell listening to a cheery voice tell me how important my call was, I watched the clock tick closer to the time I had to pick up Number One Daughter from work. Letitia finally answered and walked me through steps to clear the oven memory. This involved cutting power to the oven. Fortunately, the service box was at the top of the cellar stairs behind the oven, clearly marked, and praise the Lord, she had circuit breakers! We basically rebooted the oven, twice, but it didn't work. I suspect Sonny in his infinite, good-hearted, stupidity had programmed the oven into the cleaning cycle. Prissy must have yanked the door open when the lock light came on. Letitia was telling me that contrary to what I thought F9 meant, it meant the fuse to the door was blown and would require a repair man. She kindly gave me the names of 3 companies in the area that serviced the make and model.

I explained to Prissy she would have to give them a call. After all, it was just past 5pm someone might still be in the office.

"W-would they come today?" Another piece of wadded kleenex appeared.

My very first instinct was to say, "What are you," I didn't finish the thought, and I bit my tongue, looked to the Heavens and tried not to let impolite words bubble through my lips. "No, they won't come tonight." You'll be lucky if you see someone by the second Tuesday of next week, I finished to myself.

She pulled an envelope with the name of the contractor who installed the oven and handed it to me. Yes, I fell again, and I placed the call. Jim was sympathetic, only installed the ovens didn't repair them. He said to call the place where she purchased the oven, as it was only a year or so ago, the oven was probably under warranty.

I asked Prissy where she bought the oven. "On Southbridge St." This was not very helpful. She sank into a chair. This wasn't helpful either. I shuffled through a file folder of oven memorabillia, and found the receipt. Thank God weebles don't throw anything away. I told her to call them, and dashed out the door without looking back.

Somehow, I've become a Weeble magnet. A comforting thought crossed my mind. I'm not going to die. Ever. Well, at least not for a very, very long time. Too many people depend on me. Besides, only the good die young and that leaves me out.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Yes, CJ, There Is Customer Service

Yesterday, I whined about the poor service I received at Staples in Shrewsbury. Today, I went to the store in Millbury. I had teacher reward checks and wanted to treat myself to a photo printer for Christmas. What a difference a day and a store makes! The manager, Joe waited on me. He was extremely knowledgeable and understood my concerns about image printing. The printer I was looking at was an inkjet printer, and not what I really wanted. He showed me the photo printers which print using an emulsion so they will look as if they came from a photo lab. He answered question after question was patient and didn't rush me.

Tam, the reason I wanted the Epson instead of another brand was in the literature I had read, the Epson ranked superior to the other brands because of their ink and paper.

I also needed a drum cartridge for the color laser printer, and it was not in stock. I told him I would go home and order online. He said he could do it right at the store. He ordered the drum, the photo printer, and a pack of paper for me and to be delivered to my house, tomorrow! He had everything sent to the register so all I had to do was give the cashier my coupons and pay the balance.

I did do one Weeble thing. I complained about the service I got from the Shrewsbury store. Joe was shocked, and said he would mention it to the manager of that store. Jenny might be angry at me for tattling, but it was necessary so other customers wouldn't have to put up with poor service.

I wanted to write a review of the Millbury store at Yahoo as I did yesterday about the Shrewsbury story. The Millbury store is so new it doesn't appear in the Yahoo directory. So, thank you, Joe, for the five star service, and the knowledge that there is, indeed, such a thing as customer service.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Signs of Periweeblepause

I've been wondering when one officially becomes a Weeble, wondering what the signs for periweeblepause might be. I think I might have discovered one today.

This afternoon Himself and I went to Staples to research an Epson photo printer. I'd like to get one, but want to see if the colors print true, and if the quality of the photos look like they were done at a photo lab.

We went to the Staples in Auburn. They didn't have the models I was looking at online, but they had two. The sales clerk was very helpful in answering questions about the two printers. Neither model was set up for a demo.

We went to the Staples in Shrewsbury. They had the model we saw in Auburn, and it was set up for a demo, but had no paper. A sales clerk came over to help us. The printer gave an error message that the print cartridges needed to be replaced. He went to ask his supervisor and was told to switch the cartridges from the other model. He tried and the machine still gave an error message. I asked if he could open up new cartridges. He went to get his supervisor.

The supervisor told us the manager wouldn't allow them to "waste" $40 for a demo. We left and I began fuming in the car. I think this must be a sign of periweeblepause. They don't want to waste $40 to put cartridges in a machine set up to do a demo, but they don't mind the thought of losing a potential sale of $129 plus tax, plus photo paper plus tax? Doesn't it stand to reason, another person might ask to see the machine demoed? If they don't want to do the demo, don't have the machine set up for it. It doesn't make sense, it's just bad marketing.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Tuesday, It Must Be Vivaldi

Today started with the blues. The thermometer in the sunroom was pointing to 20. That's Fahrenheit and not Celsius. Sigh. I couldn't sip my morning cup of tea in the sunroom without watching a scum of ice form around the rim. Is it August, yet?

The car had a glaze of frost on the windows which I had to scrape off before I drove The Youngest to school. Why is it that car manufacturers can put the thin, heating wires in the back window, can heat the side view mirrors, but can't heat the @%$*@$ windshield without it having to be scraped?

On top of everything, I had an emergency Weeble run because Ma had to have a flu shot. That would be a 45 minute trip down, a five minute trip to the doctor, and then a 45 minute trip home.

I was whining about my morning to The Youngest, and she seranaded me with the world's smallest violin. Smart ( ! ) see if Santa brings anything for you!

I arrived at the Weebles at a quarter to 10. the appointment was at 10:30 and the doc's office is around the block. Ma was in fine form complaining. Dad didn't get up early enough to make the coffee for her. He didn't bring her a cup of coffee. He doesn't do anything. I started tuning up my own violin. "You're not that much of an invalid that you can't make your own coffee." She asked me why I was sitting down, and I told her we had plenty of time as her appointment wasn't until 10:30. She said it was at 10 and started putting her coat on. Then she called for a cup of coffee. I sat down before she ordered off with my head.

Dad couldn't find his house keys. No matter I have keys to the house and can lock the front door. I herd them to the car, lock the front door, am halfway downstairs when Ma shouts: "Where's my pockabook?" My first instinct was to shout, "What am I? The World Book of Information?" I remembered never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut. The purse was on the doorknob of the closet where she retrieved her coat, but I kept my mouth shut, opened the door and returned with her purse. Got everyone buckled in the car and headed down the road.

When I'm out and about, I try to observe other Weebles to see if they behave like my Weebles. My Weebles constantly bicker. Ma is the instigator, and she hits her stride when she has an audience, and the more public the venue, the better.

As we got out of the elevator, a Weeble lady got in. I held the door open for her. She starts griping, "Where is he? Oh! He must be talking!" At first, I thought she meant Dad. A quick glance to my right showed me, she was exasperated with her Mr. Weeble. "He's being a gentleman and holding the door open for my parents." She clammed up.

Lots of Weebles were lining up for flu shots. I thought it would take a while so I wandered down back to the lab to hold an OPD Support Group with the lab tech. Misery just loves company. I told her of the emergency ride call I recieved. She said: "They knew a week ago." I looked for a spot on the wall labeled Bang Head Here. She regaled me with a tale of hunting through stores for a specific lotion for her mother. When the lotion couldn't be found, her mother said, "Well, any lotion would do!" Bang Head Here.

The shot line was short, Ma was in and out quickly. We get down to the car and Ma announces she needs Dad to go to the post office downtown to check out why a contest letter was returned. I hate driving downtown. All the streets are one way, parking is limited to parallel parking which I haven't done since I took my driver's exam. I grit my teeth and head to the post office. Downtown was very crowded. Even if I could parallele park there were no spaces. We pull up in front of the post office. In frustration I scream my favorite four letter word. No, not sale! The other one. MA grits her teeth. Dad is chuckling in the back seat. He can speak in tongues fluently in two languages! He mutters "Chip off the ol' block." Miraculously, the handicap slot in front of the post office opens up and because it's the length of a luxury bus, I'm able to pull in. Ma digs out the handicap parking placard and Dad goes into the post office and comes back out.

"Well, what did they say?"

"I have to ask the postman?" I'm wondering who the heck is in the post office, but I keep my mouth shut. Dad mumbles he didn't bring the letter in question with him. Fireworks begin as I am detoured down Clarendon St. "

"You're stupid!"

"You're stupid!"

"No, you're stupid!"

"You're right! I married you!" Zing! Though I think a flag was thrown on the play. I try not to laugh.

"Go down Washington St."

"I know, Ma"

"Go down Washington St. "

"I know where I am, Dad. That's Mary Anne Sullivan's house. There's Dougie Horton's house. There's Jimmy Paquette's house."

Home again, home again. Jiggity jig.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Another Week

Holidays always seem to take me by surprise. I always think there's one more week before I have to clean and prepare for the holiday.

I had taken Dad to another doctor appointment yesterday. When we arrived home, they started discussing holiday plans. Usually, the holiday plans involve Himself going to pick up the Weebles and bring them to our house. I stay home cleaning like a fiend and preparing the roast beast.

This year, Ma wants to pre-order the holiday meal from the grocery store. I've done it in the past when she had her stroke and brought meals on wheels to them. Dinner comes in a box. It's all cooked, from gravy to pie, and you just heat and eat. It's great. So, after several go arounds about "Don't worry, Ma, I'll cook and take care of everything" it was left that she would call, you guessed it in the cheap seats, Market Basket to order dinner.

I'm tearing down the Pike when it occurs to me. Thanksgiving is next week! And what's this about her ordering dinner? I'll have to fight through the Wednesday crowd to pick the damn box up!

I was much happier when I thought I had another week.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Devil You Know

It always seems the grass is greener on the other side, but is it? I was musing what it would be like to deal with different weebles. Would it be easier?

What would it be like dealing with Ruth Martin, Timmy and Lassie's mom?

"Bark, Bark!"

"What's that Lassie? Mom fell down the well again? Oh, for the love of...."

Hmmm, might be difficult haulin' the old lady out of the well.

Ok, what about Maureen Robinson from Lost in Space: "Danger, Mrs. Robinson! Danger!" Hmm, might not be so bad. The Robot could follow her around. Though as I recall someone was always yanking out his power pack. Not good.

And for you Big Valley fans, can you imagine having to deal with Victoria Barkley? Even before she hit the full blown OPD stage, she had all her children under her thumb. It only got worse when she started dressing like Nick in her short black leather jacket and tight trousers.

Victoria destined her daughter, Audra, to spinsterhood. After all, what young man in his right mind would call on the girl after Victoria shot and killed creepy Evan Miles? Yeah, I know she was trying to protect Audra from being raped, but she didn't have to use deadly force on Evan. She could have just whacked him upside the head with the rifle.

She treated Nick like a four year old. Remember in The Brawlers when Callahan come to the house and Nick is yelling at him? "Nick! You sit over there. I said!"

And poor Heath! Oh, stop groaning you two, you know I'm a Heathen! Poor Heath tried to be a gentleman by taking the reins and driving Victoria home after she had been buried under the church during an earthquake. She insisted she could drive and took over the reins. Heath ended up with an overdose of OPD and walked off the set. Missy wouldn't speak to him for 3 days. When she did it was only to ask if he had learned his lesson. To which he replied, "Yes, ma'am." Smart boy.

Her taking over the reins nearly got him killed when the wagon fell on him in the episode By Force and Violence. Heath should have walked off the set that time.

Off the top of my head, I can't think of an instance where Jarrod had to deal with her.

Ma can be very opinionated and demanding, but I don't think she's nearly as bad as Victoria Barkley. Ma hasn't caused a wagon to fall on me. Guess it's a case of the devil you know.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mea Culpe, Mea Culpe

I wait in the dark trying to remember the opening words. The panel to the privacy screen opens with a quiet shoosh, and still I wait peering into the darkness. There is a cough on the other side of the partition, my cue to begin. I sain myself. "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been," I mumble an indistint sound hoping it sounds like a vague number of weeks, not years. "Since my last confession." I hear a tsk, another cue to continue. "I have been disrespectful to my mother. For these and all the sins of my past life I am heart'ly sorry." I rush through the phrase using one breath.

I hear a sigh on the other side of the partition. " For your penance, say a good Act of Contrition and take your mother shopping at Market Basket on Friday. I absolve you of your sins....."

It's my turn to sigh. I should have gone to Father Murray. No matter what grievous sins or errors you've committed, penance is always the same. "Father, I took some candy without paying for it."
"Say three Our Fathers and three Hail Marys."
"Father, I murdered 13 people with an axe."
"Say three our Fathers and three Hail Marys."
Next time, I'll go to Father Murray.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

You Rang?

There are certain times of the day when the ringing of the telephone tolls bad news. When the phone rings at 2am, you can bet a wooden nickel you're not being notified you won Megabucks. A phone call an hour after you delivered your little people to school, is usually to inform you that said little person is tossing Cheerios in the nurse's office.

My telephone buzzed at 10 pm. I wrinkled my nose in annoyance as I thought the call would be from one of the election parties asking me to endorse their candidate. Caller ID flashed the Weebles number. An icy fist clenched my heart. A phone call from the Weebles at 10pm could not be good news. I wondered which one had fallen or had been taken by ambulance to the hospital. Adrenaline is coursing through my system. I can feel my heart pounding against my rib cage. I grab the receiver and bark, "What's wrong?"

Ma is on the other end of the line. "You didn't put the handicap parking card back in my pocketbook!" (This last is pronounced "pock-uh-book")

I look at the receiver in my hand as if I'm holding an object I have never seen before in my entire life. A glance at the computer clock indicates, it is indeed past 10 pm at night. Thoughts flash through my head at lightning speed. It's 10 pm, where the hell are you going now? You and your girl friends heading up to the Golden Banana? Why are you calling me about this NOW? Why didn't you call at 4pm? Or after supper?

To recap: Twelve hours earlier I had taken her to Target to pick up refills on her prescriptions. I had tried to tell her I could have Himself pick up the stuff on his way to school. She insisted she had to sign for them. As I headed up the road, she informed me "Your father doesn't go this way." (i.e. You are going the wrong way) I try to keep my voice light. "This is the route the number 9 bus takes. If you don't like this route, you can wait on the corner for another bus to come along." At the pharmacy desk, I ask the pharmacist if anyone could pick up a refill for Ma. We are cheerily told "Yes, you can even call ahead and we'll have it ready for you." I had the urge to stick my tongue out. So there!

"I put the card in your purse."

"Well, it's not there! I looked."

"Look again, because I put it in your purse." She puts the receiver down and goes to take another look. Pocketbook or purse is really a misnomer for the item Ma uses to carry her personal belongings. It is made of leather and that is the only resemblance to a pocketbook, purse, or handbag. It's made of leather and is roughly the size of a steamer trunk. It also has a thousand different flaps, pockets, nooks, and crannies. Some are open, close with a snap or a zipper.

"You put it in the wrong place!"

Mind you, my heart has been pounding and adrenaline has raced through my system. I can feel my short fuse now being ignited. "I put it in your purse." My reply is said tersely through my clenched teeth.

"What are you getting upset about?" I didn't give her a chance to finish with "You only made a mistake."

"Because I'm sick and tired of being told I go the WRONG way, and I put things back in the WRONG place. I put the card in your purse. If you don't like where I put it...." I can taste the word 'shove' on the tip of my tongue, and I quickly swallow it. "You can put it where you like."

She hung up the phone. Why didn't I just answer the phone, "Sorry, wrong number?"

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Magic 8 Ball

I have the opportunity to teach a children's workshop during February vacation week. The Weebles have a doctor's appointment scheduled for that week, and I called them to make sure there were no other appointments scheduled for the day I was given for the workshop.

Dad couldn't find his appointment book. While he tore the house apart, Ma talked to me.

"I thought you would show up today. I need you."

"No, not today, I told you maybe Friday, and that depends on what time the guy who pumps the septic system shows up. What do you need?" I'm thinking 24 more cans of beets to keep the 24 cans she has company.

"I ran out of my prescription."


"No, Saturday." I sighed heavily and looked to the heavens. I could hear Dad in the background speaking in tongues, and I had the urge to utter a few phrases. "Why didn't you call over the weekend?"

"I thought you would show up."

Third base! I debate about telling her I haven't perfected the art of mind reading yet, but I'm close. "I can ask Himself to swing by the pharmacy and get the pills for you."

"No, I have to take the paper to the pharmacy to have it filled. Your father can't find his appointment book, and the paper was in his book." She proceeded to tell me how Dad wouldn't be able to find without a mirror and a flashlight.

So, looks like an emergency shuttle run on Friday, if the septic guy shows up early. Hopefully, Dad will have found his appointment book by then. My Magic 8 ball says: Don't count on it.

Monday, October 23, 2006


It's that time of year again, the annual Christmas card design. Each year, I firmly begin by stating the design will be simple, and each year I find myself creating a card more elaborate than the year before. Not this year! This year's design is going to be simple and easy to assemble.

It started innocently enough. I was looking through a book of artists trading cards. There was a clever pop up card done for a Christmas exchange. I could do that. No! Simple remember. But the popup is so cool. No, there's too much work involved. How 'bout this nice design, you could draw a sprig of holly and ivy. Then you could scribe the lyrics to the carol The Holly and the Ivy. Traditional. Nice and simple. Boring! Look at this cool popup. It's easy just three pieces. Four if you count the verse to print on the front. Well, it doesn't look too difficult.

My hand is tired and sore from cutting two of the three easy pieces. I used the rotary cutter to cut out the third. Whipped through those suckers right quick. All the pieces have to be scored, folded, glued, and suitable decoration added. The verse is scribed waiting to be scanned into the computer and printed. The envelopes still have to be addressed, and the illuminated initial is in my head waiting for my hands to find time to illustrate it. Sigh.

Next year, definitely simple. Next year, I'll buy a box of Hallmark cards.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Everyone Is A Comedian

I was having a lovely wallow in bed when Himself came into the bedroom.

"What, still in bed? The sun is up. Your buddy, Heath, would have done a half day's work already.

"So wouldn't my buddy, Silas." I rolled over and opened one eye to look at the clock. "Mmmph, the sun is barely over the horizon. Besides, it's Sunday, Heath wouldn't have to get up early. Day of rest, remember? I'm resting."

Himself reached for a sweatshirt and shrugged into it. "You going out to rake the leaves?" I asked.

"I'm going to the sunroom to watch a Jackie Chan movie. It's still cold out there."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Code in My Node

It started last night. First a snuffle, then a wheeze then a sneeze. I was tired all day. I felt like my caboose was 2 miles behind. This morning, I was all stuffed up, and my sinuses felt like an elephant was sitting on my face.

Stumbled out of bed and told Himself, "I dink I haf a code."

"That's what you get for sitting in the doctor's waiting room with all the weebles.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


Yesterday, took Ma and Dad to the doctor's office. I was hoping the doc would be on time as I needed to be out for the afternoon run to driver training and school pick up. Ma was ready, waiting, and half way out the door when I arrived.

We were 15 minutes early for their appointment, and Ma was hoping the doctor would take them early. The waiting room is set up like a bus station with two rows of seats facing each other. Nearly every seat was taken. Blew Ma's idea about the doctor seeing them early. Ma and I found two seats at one end of the room, and Dad took a seat by himself at the other.

The med tech saw me and said, "Are you here again?" (Since the Weebles have a doctor for every toe, we were there two weeks ago to see the heart toe. Yesterday's appointment was to see the primary care toe.) Two weeks ago, the med tech and I had an OPD Support Meeting. "So, how's it going?" she asked. "The same. You?" "Same." We both laughed. She was busy so I couldn't chit chat with her.
After ten minutes, she looked out from the lab area, "Wow, they're really quiet today." Ma had nodded off in her chair, and Dad was reading a magazine. "Oh," she said, "You have them separated." I winked.

Their first appoitment came and went. Their second appoinment came and went. They weren't called until a half hour after the first appointment. Why can't doctors keep their appointments? It's so rude. Makes me want to send the doctor a bill for the wait time, and then a denial to pay from the insurance company.
We were there almost an hour and a half just for them to have their blood pressure taken. Still, I got them there and back and made it home in plenty of time for the afternoon run.
Click on the picture of the Kitty clock.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

009Friends Like This

Saturday was another glorious Fall day. I met Teague for lunch and then we took a walk along a bike trail along the Charles River. It was a bit breezy but the walk sooned warmed us up. Since the day was so beautiful lots of people were out and about. We passed a young family. The mother was pushing a baby in the carriage. The baby, with her large pumpkin head and one tooth grin smiled at everyone.

"There's a happy baby," said Teague.

"I'd be happy too if someone pushed me around."

"Your day is coming. You'll be the Weeble, and Angel will be pushing you around in a wheelchair. 'Angel, I want you to take me to Mahket Bahsket...' "

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Too Pretty to Whine

Fall is not my favorite season, but yesterday was too pretty to whine about anything. Val and I took a road trip to Mystic. We wound our way through the back roads and farms under a brilliant blue sky and blazes of color as the trees have reached peak color.

Old Mystic Village is a collection of quaint gift shops arranged like a colonial village. We were surprised there was hardly anyone in the village when we arrived. We had the whole place to ourselves and poked into some of our favorite stores. The general store has free samples of fudge so we sampled the flavor of the day and of course, we bought some to take home. Yes, it even managed to arrive home still in its packaging.

We had no time limit, no commitments. What a relief to be just me for a whole day. I wasn't anyone's wife, mother or daughter for the entire day. I didn't have to shuttle, do, find, plan, help, or answer. I ate my lunch while it was still hot, and didn't have to clean up afterwards.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A One Sided Conversation

You girls won't get a chronic disease by replacing the toilet paper roll when it's empty.

Putting the roll on top of the toilet tank doesn't count as replacing the roll.

You don't know how? C'mon it's not brain surgery.

Don't be a smartass, it's not rocket science either. Release the spindle.

The spindle, the stick that holds the roll in place.

No, you won't prick your finger. You're not a little princess. The spindle has a spring, push it either from the left or the right to take it out of the holder. Take the empty cardboard tube and toss it in the trash or put it in the recycle bin. Place the full roll on the spindle and insert it back into the holder.

Because I won't always be around to replace the toilet paper for you. I'm fine. I just feel a pain forming behind my right eye.

No, changing toilet paper rolls is not an early sign of OPD.

I did not flip the bird at the two of you. I made devil horns.

No, that's a Texas Longhorn.

No, that's the Hawaiian Aloha. Devil's horns. Like this.

Yeah, it is a funny superstition. Grandma did it to me when I was a kid.

Yeah, I laughed until I had you two.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

On a Serious Note

As much as I laugh about OPD, it's also a cover up. It's so hard to watch your parents age and in the aging fail in health. Through illness they are no longer able to do and enjoy some of the activities they once enjoyed. Sometimes they focus more on what they have lost instead of what they still have. I suppose we are all guilty of that.

It's hard being the child and suddenly having to be parent to your parents. You worry they leave the stove on, or forget medication, or will get into a car accident. They don't handle money as well as they once did. And it's hard to know the boundaries. How do you tell them to give up their independence by handing over the check book or the car keys? Most of all, you want to scream, "Not my monkey!" (translation: not my responsibilty), but if not mine whose?

I'm not an evil person because I laugh about OPD. I'm scared. Might not be very long before someone drops a nursing home on me.

Monday, October 09, 2006


I've been a bit surprised in my travels with a bottle of whine, how many of us are sandwiched between commitments in our lives: family, parents, work, friends, church, etc. Sometimes it seems no matter how long or fast we dance, we just can't please everyone. So how does one deal with stress and frustration? You just keep on dancing the best you can.

A friend asked if was cathartic. Heck, yeah! And it's cheaper and more fun than therapy too. (-;

Saturday, October 07, 2006

OPD and Logic

I've been looking through the photo album I got from the Weebles. I'm excited about the photos because I want to use them to create an altered cookbook to trace the family history through the family recipes.

Came across this photo and didn't recognize any of the men. Showed it to Himself and said, "Doesn't this look like the Godfather's button men?" I started humming the theme to The Godfather.

Flipping through other pictures I found the man in the foreground not wearing a hat is my mother's father. (The only grandparent I knew growing up was my mother's mother, ) Called Dad to ask him if he remembered this picture. I don't recall hearing stories of my maternal grandfather having siblings. Dad didn't really remember the picture, but said he thought his father might be in the photograph. He described his father, tall, glasses and always well dressed. (He was a tailor.) The tall man in the back must be my father's father.

"You know, Dad, none of these photographs are labeled. There's nothing written on them to say who the people in these pictures are."

"Don't worry, about that, honey. We (Ma and Dad) know who the people are.
"That's great, Dad, but what happens when you're dead?"

Friday, October 06, 2006

To Mahket, To Mahket

As I was heading down the Pike this morning, I was wishing I had my corduroy cap from 7th grade. The one that made Dougie Horton call me Kato. It was a cool cap, and I'd like to have a uniform for my new chauffeur duties, and a wicked car like the Green Hornet's Black Beauty.
Anywho, I thought the shopping expedition was going to turn out to be a nightmare, especially with the full moon rising tonight. It almost started that way, and I was so glad I had taken a dose of Excedrin before I left home. I was also feeling put upon, because Dad wasn't going to come shopping. He wanted to go to the Senior Center and sing with his glee club in the afternoon. (Mind, I'm driving in early morning rush hour traffic. Even if he came shopping, and Ma took her customary sweet time shopping, he would still make the glee club with time to spare.) I would have to take Ma shopping myself. Now, it's not that I hate my mother, no matter what Freud says. It's just she is difficult, and misery loves company. I also don't like these shopping expedtions because 1). I hate grocery shopping, and 2.) they are a minimum of three hours long. Ma likes to inspect all the meat in the case. We also can't go shopping at the nice supermarket two miles from the house. I can spit from the backyard and hit the parking lot. Nope, we have to travel two towns over, 15 or 20 minutes away to a market that is always busy and crowded.
Traffic was a bit heavy at the toll booth and then again by the old brewery as they were fixing the bridge over the lake so I was about 10 minutes late. Ma promptly pointed this out to me when I walked through the door. She thought my excuse of heavy traffic was flimsy.
She announces she is ready indignant that I have kept her waiting. Dad has on his hat and jacket. "Are you coming too?" I ask. He starts muttering in tongues and gets in the back seat of the car. Guess so, and inside I am happy dancing. Yes!
We head for the store, and you guessed it in the cheap seats, she is yelling at me I'm going the wrong way. I follow my Dad's example and start speaking in tongues.
The store parking lot is crowded and all the handicap spots are filled. I pull up to the firelane to offload the Weebles. Dad is trying to herd soda cans into a plastic bag. The cans have rolled all over the cargo bay of my wagon. I marvel at the tongues Dad can speak.
I help Ma out of the car and onto the sidewalk. A handicap spot opens up across the parking lot. She pats my hand and says, "I'll be fine. You better go grab the spot before it's taken. Your father knows the routine here." That's my ticket to sit in the car and wait. I happy dance the car across the parking lot.
Waiting was fun. I don't mind waiting. I had brought a pad of paper with me so I could finish my BV fanfic story "Never Fade Away". I also had the latest Outlander book with me. I fished my pad of paper and pencil out of my bag and soon was lost in the ending of the story. About an hour and a half went by, and the story was completed. I reached for the book, and happened to look up towards the door to the market, and there's Ma on one of the handicap scooters with a store clerk and shopping cart in tow. Dad came out a short time later pushing another cart.
Butter my buns and call me a biscuit, I couldn't believe they were done in record time! The store clerk helped put the groceries in the cargo bay. I loaded Ma into the front seat of the car, Dad got in the back, and we headed home "the right way."
Dad made a nice lunch of crabmeat salad. I asked Ma if I could take some family pictures of Grandma and Auntie so I could make copies to use for another altered book. She said I could have the pictures. After lunch, I gave Dad a lift to the Senior Center, and I headed home.
Dealing with OPD is always a surprise, and sometimes it's a good one.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Wheels on the Bus

I wasn't always an Elder Bus Shuttle Pilot. I filled the position quite by accident in mid-July of this year. Literally. The Weebles had a fender bender. Fortunately, they were only shaken and not stirried, but their little green car didn't fare as well and was pronounced totaled.

Now, they can get around town using the Elder Van. You give the Elder Van 24 hours notice of where you want to go, and for $2 round trip, they will come and pick you up from your home, take you where you need to go, and take you home. When I asked Dad why he doesn't call the bus, he said, "That get's expensive!" As if the Gas Fairy comes every night to my house to top off the gas tank in my car, and the Toll Pike Fairy makes sure she leaves exact change for the tolls under the seat cushions. That's OPD. Then so that no burden is placed on me, he says "Don't worry about me. I'll walk!" That's OPD too. It's an issue of control and guilt. (-;

The first time, I drove the Elder Bus was a lesson in the control issue. Ma had a PT appointment. I had arrived early enough to make the appointment, but she decided she had to wash the kitchen floor. "I have to do this all by myself! Nobody helps me." Another part of OPD is the martyr syndrome. Ma will tell all willing and unwilling listeners how she has to do heavy work because no one else will. I sometimes think I should get her a couple of pieces of velcro. She can stick one piece on her forehead, and its partner on her wrist. Then she can raise her hand to her forehead palm out for maximum sympathy. Of course, I would be happy to help, but she has to ask, and it has to be on my schedule. I can't turn on a dime, but then it's really a control issue. (-;NASA has a 3 day window of opportunity when they schedule one of their shuttle launhes. I have a 3 hour window (actually 4 with an hour available in case of doctors running late, accidents and tie ups on the Pike, etc. but keep this quiet as the Weebles don't know about this safety margin.) After she finished washing the floor, a search ensued for for her glasses, the checkbook, and the handicap parking card. My 3 hour window was closing fast. Getting Weebles out of the house is a lot like herding cats or toddlers. Just when you get one going in the right direction, the other suddenly breaks and disappears. Where are my glasses? Get my coat! Did you unplug the coffee?Finally, I got them settled in the car and buckled in. I'm on the way to the therapist's office when Ma screams, "You're going the WRONG way!" I nearly slammed on the brake and activated the air bag. "You should be going down Wilson St! WRONG WAY, WRONG WAY." Suddenly, I'm with the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland. Clean cup! Clean cup! Move on down!
When heading towards the center of town, I happen to like going by way of the lights at Bacon St. I can easily make a left turn instead of trying to make the left turn against two lanes of traffic where no one yields. Yielding is not taught in the state's driver training classes. I continue along the way still being yelled at. My patience wears thin quickly. I finally pull the car over to the side of the road. "GET OUT!" I roar. There is some muttering from the front seat, a chuckle from the back. All goes quiet. I'm able to pull out into traffic, and we continue on our merry way.

At the therapist's, Ma has a captive audience. She tells everyone in the office how no one does anything for her. I introduce myself to the therapist to inform her, Ma didn't sprout wings and fly here by herself. The therapist giggles and in a conspiritorial whisper says, "I know just how it is. She sounds like my dad."
So the wheels on the bus go round and round. Tomorrow, we go grocery shopping.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Life Is Like A.....

A friend described her life as a casserole, layers of delicious things with surprises through them. My life is more like a brownie studded with nuts. Sometimes you enjoy the crunch, other times you break a tooth.

Dealing with the elder generation is a bit like that. Most times, it can be very sweet and pleasant. Other times, you wind up suffering the complications of OPD. Old People's Disease. My cousin coined the phrase. For example, being called to run out and buy a pair of pinking shears because "they are a good price."

How does one cope? Sit yourself down, listen to me whine, add a few cheezes, and then we'll have a good laugh.