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.