Sunday, May 20, 2007

Himself Knows Best

I was relaxing in the sunroom, taking a well-deserved rest. I had me a week dealing with Prissy and her problems. You’ll recall the leaking pipe hysterics. Then there was a call because she had pressed several buttons on her channel changer and changed the picture to video snow.

The phone rang. Himself got up to answer it.

“That’s either The Eldest calling from work looking for a ride home or Prissy.”

“Herself is right here.” Himself handed me the phone and settled Himself in his Lazboy.

I sighed. Prissy. I pantomimed hanging myself.

She had pressed the buttons on the channel changer again.

I looked to the heavens took a deep breath and counted to ten. “Open the front panel of the television and press the button on the far right side.”

She put the phone down, and I could hear her shuffle to the television.

“I did what you said, but nothing happened.”

I told her I’d be over. Hung up the phone and let out a feral yell. "Couldn't you have told her I was dead?"

Himself chuckled. “Cheer up. Soon you’ll be a Weeble, and you can call up people to aggravate them.”

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Weeble-jack

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The Ductless Wonder

The Saturday before Mother’s Day began early with a dash to take my car to the shop for a brake check and oil change. I followed Himself in his car. We made the drop and I drove back and took him to the dojo where he taught budding grasshoppers. Home for a shower and breakfast. I made a mental note for the rest of the day’s schedule:

Drop The Eldest at work.

Get The Youngest Up.

The Youngest to help with the pre-holy day of obligation cleaning.

Wait for call from dealer re: auto

Pick Himself up from dojo after the beginner belt test

Pick car up from dealer with minimal damage to check book.

Stop at party store for table cloth, napkins for holy day table setting.

As the Eldest and I were getting into the car for her commute, Prissy called from across the street. Wanted me to go over when I got back.

I sighed deeply as this coffee klatch would cut a chunk out of the schedule. It’s far easier to go visit Prissy than to try to explain why I’m busy.

When I got to Prissy’s, she was crying hysterically into a dish towel. Crying is to mild a word. She was keening and couldn’t speak. The crying was reaching banshee levels, and I thought one of her children or grandchildren had died.

I kept asking what was wrong. She finally handed me a flashlight, pushed me towards the cellar door. I went downstairs with her following me still with her face buried in the dish towel.

“I don’t know where it’s coming from!” she blubbered.

In the dark recesses of the basement where the spiders lurk, I could see a large puddle of water on the floor. I bit my tongue. Yeah, the water on the floor was a pain in the butt, but nothing to cry hysterically over. Certainly, it deserved speaking in tongues, but not blubbering into a dish towel.

She pushed me toward the well pump. The foundation was soaked. I put my hand up to touch the wall. The light was so dim I couldn’t tell whether the wall was really wet or just discolored from age. Over the pump tank, I felt a fine spray of water on my hand and soon found a pinhole leak in the pipe that leads to the tank.

In between sniffles she tells me she called her children, but all they did was yell at her. They yelled at her to call a plumber. I had the same thought, but tried to keep my voice level and reassuring. What solves all sorts of problems? Duct tape.

I followed her upstairs to get the duct tape. She handed me a roll of electrical tape. I told her I’d go home to get the duct tape and for her to call the plumber.

When I got back, her daughter had arrived and was screaming and yelling at Prissy. Prissy had a small leak last year in one of the pipes over the washer. She had a few of the pipes replaced, but not all the pipes as her daughter told her she should. Prissy can be pennywise and pound foolish, a common OPD trait.

The daughter turned on me. “Duct tape isn’t going to work.”

I almost told her how well it would work if I took a piece and patched her mouth and then shoved the rest of the roll up….nevermind. I went downstairs with The Daughter hot on my heels. I patched the pipe. I went back upstairs and spoke to Prissy. Told her the patch would hold for a little while, but she needed to call a plumber and have him come over in the afternoon. I left as quickly as I could to the wails of Prissy and The Daughter’s yelling.

I tried to recapture lost time and got back to the pre-holy day chores. Not more than an hour went by when the phone rang. It was Prissy, and she wanted me to go over. I looked out the front window, saw the daughter had gone. I had just made a cup of tea so I told the Youngest I would be back on Tuesday and took my cup of tea across the street.

My first question was whether she had got hold of a plumber. When she nodded, I sat down, sipped my tea, and listened to how rotten kids can be. How she asks very little of them and how do they repay her? I nod sympathetically into my cup. Daughter screamed at her because of the leak and son gave her a hard time about coming to spread two yards of loam. After Prissy vented, I made my escape back to the pre-holy day obligations.

The Young One and I cleaned, dusted and vacuumed while watching “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” Just as we were leaving to pick up Sensei Himself. The phone rang. Prissy wanted to borrow a bicycle pump. Himself had some sort of foot operated pump, but this would be buried in the deepest, darkest recesses of the garage where the spiders lurk. I had already braved spiders for one day so told her didn’t have a pump. Not to mention the dealer was close to closing and I had to go pick up the car.

Himself had to listen to me vent on the ride up to the dealer. I’m amazed at the difference in the female generations. The need for someone else to solve the problem of the older generation. I’m glad I put the roll of duct tape on top of my black tool box, my purchased early by me Mother’s Day gift from Himself.

Sunday, May 06, 2007


We planned to visit the Weebles and repair the brick steps which are falling apart. Dad’s senior center glee club was having a concert. Not only were they giving the concert, but Dad is the Maestro, the group director. He asked me and Himself a minimum of 6 times if we would attend. Himself had the easy out as he would be mixing mortar, setting brick, uttering Horse’s patoot, and making trips to the big orange home store. Truth be told, I don’t really want to listen to old folks sing show tunes or the top 40 hits from the days of their youth. I can’t stand show tunes.

I figured Ma wouldn’t want to go hear the old man sing. His singing is a source of irritation for her. Not necessarily the singing, but the fact he has an outside activity which doesn’t involve her. He’s also a lot more mobile and he runs daily to the senior center while she is housebound.

I called to let them know we were coming and Himself would repair the stairs. I’d bring meals on wheels and provide shuttle service to and from the concert. As I suspected, Ma did not want to go.

When I hung up the phone, Himself was shaking his head. He didn’t say anything. I left him to the ballgame and went to putter around the house.

“Oh, no!” I cried running back to the bedroom.

He snickered. “You just figured it out, did ya?”

If I take the Maestro to his concert and stay, Ma is going to be very put out that I “do everything for him and nothing for her.” If I stay with Ma, the Maestro will be unhappy that no one went to his concert to show support. OPD at it's finest.

“How do I get myself into these things?!”

“You had parents.”

Deep sigh. You just have to resign yourself to the fact that some days you’re the pigeon and some days you’re the statue.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Spontaneous Marketing

We were nearly out the door when Ma told Dad to get the cans for deposit. (Massachusetts has a nickel deposit on soda cans and bottles). Then she told him not to forget the five bottles for Roche Bros. (another supermarket on the other side of town).

I felt my blood begin to boil. “No, no, no, no, no. We are not going to stop at Roche Bros. for five bottles.”

“But we go right by.”

“No! You want to go to Market Basket, we’ll go to Market Basket, but we are not going to make stops along the way.”

“But the bottles!”

“Wait until you have ten, and then I’ll take you.”

Her eyes goggled at my disobedience. “I hope this never happens to you! I hope you never find yourself in a position where you can’t get help.”

I’m sure there was more to her tune. I only heard the small voice in my head whispering Peapod, peapod.

I can hear some tsking out there. “Shame on you for not stopping so the poor, old lady can get her deposit on a few bottles!”

You understand OPD is really an issue of control with a heaping helping of guilt tossed in for good measure. If I made the stop, I would be setting a new precedent. The one appointment/one outing rule would be forever changed. Stopping at Roche Bros. would mean another hour added to an already grueling task. First, there would be ten minutes at the bottle return, and then as long as we were there, let’s just check out the market specials. We’d still have the big shopping at Market Basket ahead of us. Nope, better to nip this kind of spontaneous marketing in the bud.

So we sailed right by Roche Bros. No comments were made. The shopping at Market Basket was whittled down to two hours. Ma and I tackled produce and Dad? Not sure what he was doing as he met up with us an hour or so later with three cans of baked beans in his cart.

Dad walked me to my car as I was leaving. I mentioned a future trip to Roche Bros. when he had gotten enough cans to make the trip worthwhile.

“What cans?”

“Ma said you had cans that had to be returned to Roche Bros.”

“I don’t have any cans for Roche Bros.”

I am so glad the Spontaneous Marketing Ruling was over ruled.