Sunday, December 16, 2007

White Rabbit Appointment


Another doctor’s appointment. I arrived early per usual. Thought I would have a chance at visiting for a little bit, a chance for redemption in case the doctor kept them waiting and I had to leave after dropping them off at the house. We had a half an hour before we had to leave for the appointment. Ma was getting herself dressed. Dad wanted me to take a look at the computer.

“They won’t give me anything,” he explained.

“They” as if there are elves in the machine.

“They won’t give me my email. I put my password in, but they won’t let me do anything.”

I booted up his computer. Listened for the happy chime of the Windows logo. Signed onto his ISP with his password and was rewarded with his home page and the email preview.

With him looking over my shoulder, we sorted through his inbox.

In the middle of this, Ma came upstairs and went into the room across the landing which she turned into a sewing room. Dad got very paranoid.

“What’s she doing up here?”

I found Ma standing in front of her industrial Wilcox and Gibbs sewing machine fumbling with some thread. Ma was a seamstress and this antique machine was her baby.

“What are you doing?”

“I have to fix my pants.”

“We have to leave for your appointment in 15 minutes. Your appointment is at quarter to 11” I wasn’t sure why she didn’t fix her pants the say before when she had all day to sew, but questioning her was only going to get me yelled at.

“Here, thread the machine.” She gave me the navy thread.

I can’t sew. I can’t sew on a button to save my life, let alone thread a machine. Ma made me take sewing in jr. high school. (I wanted to take technical drawing, but that’s another story) I hated sewing and the sewing teacher. She wasn’t thrilled with me either and gave me a “C” because she knew my mother was a seamstress. Ma remade my dress at the end of the year so it could be worn.

I held the end of the thread as if it was a snake.

“Here put it through this guide.”


She made it sound so easy and it probably was if I could see the damn eye to the guide. I got the thread close a couple of times.

“Through here,” she yelled.

“I’m trying! I can’t see the damn hole!” The blind leading the blind.

“You have your glasses on!”

“Just because I have my glasses on doesn’t mean I can see!” I tilted my head this way and that trying to find the correct focal point in the bifocals.

“You’re doing it wrong!”

“I’m trying! Stop yelling at me!” The thread slipped through the first guide. Two more guides and then through the #$%@#! eye of the needle.

“Now through here!”

With shaky hands, I tried again.

Ma was breathing down my neck.

“No! Here!”

“Stop yelling at me! If you think you can do better, here!” I dropped the end of the thread.

“I didn’t ask for your help!”

“Yes, you did! You said ‘Here, thread the machine.’ I picked up the end of the thread and shoved it through the next two guides. I was worried about threading the needle without an electron microscope there was no way I would be able to see the eye of the needle.

I was too busy concentrating on the guides that I didn’t really see what Ma did. She had the end of the bobbin thread.

“Tie a square knot!”

I took the end of the bobbin thread and the thread through the guide. Right over left…

“It has to be a square knot!”

I bit my tongue and finished left over right and pulled the square knot taut.

She pulled on the bobbin thread. I was skeptical, but the navy thread flew through the eye of the needle. Ma grunted with satisfaction, pulled her chair out to sit down to her sewing.

I went back across the hall to Dad’s office.

“What’s she doing?”

“She’s sewing her pants.”

Dad started sputtering and rolled his eyes.

I told him I wanted to do some housekeeping on the machine, and he went downstairs. I cleaned out the temporary files. I also thought the problem he was having getting into his account was due to the old DSL access still in his tool tray. He was probably trying to sign on through that account which no longer exists so I happy deleted the programs.

I only had one point of contention with the FIOS ISP and that was virus security. Under the DSL account, the virus protection program was free. FIOS offered a 30 day trial subscription to Norton. Now, I pay $40 a month for “them” not “to give him anything” and I don’t want to pay an additional fee for him not to turn the computer on.

I wasn’t worried as there are plenty of free virus protection programs. AVG, Avast, Panda. They all work equally well. I downloaded Avast and in the middle of the download encountered a Windows error. Tried again. Same problem. Tried Panda. Same problem. What the… Checked his log in account to make sure he had administrator privileges. Yup, that was ok. Maybe I’d have to reinstall Windows.

It was now quarter to 11 and Dad with hat and coat on came upstairs.

We could hear the whirr of Ma’s sewing machine.

“Take your hat and coat off,” I said. “It’s going to be awhile.”

“But we’re going to be late.”

“I know.” I shut down the computer. I wasn't worried about the computer not having virus protection. Dad doesn't turn it on often enough for a viral invasion and because "they" don't give him his email, he's pretty much protected.

Dad started to sputter and was heading across the hall for a confrontation with Ma. I grabbed his arm to stop him.

“Look, yelling at her to hurry isn’t going to change anything. Her little trolley won’t slip the track.” I thought of the way The Brother let's Weeble aggravation roll off his back with an oh, wow. 'Oh,wow. We missed an appointment.' No worries.

“Why didn’t she sew yesterday?” He was gearing up to explode.


I shrugged. “Look, calm down. If she misses the appointment, you can schedule another, and I’ll take you.”

Dad looked at his watch. “Maybe I better tell them we’re going to be late.”

“Good idea.”

The appointment was rescheduled and Dad put the kettle on for tea.

Ma came downstairs. “I’m ready to go now.”

“You missed the appointment and it’s been rescheduled,” I said.

She looked at the clock.

“Your appointment was at quarter to 11,” I added.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I did, but you had to sew your pants.”

“Hmm,” Ma sniffed indignantly. “That doctor wouldn’t even wait for me. Why didn’t he wait for me?”

I laughed. Ever La Signora, The Lady. “He has other patients and can’t wait until you’re good and ready to grant the doctor an audience.”

Ma made lunch and Dad and I sipped our tea in the living room.

“Come set the table,” Ma yelled. Dad and I both jumped as we didn’t know which one of us she was commanding.

She brought 3 cheeseburgers to the table.

I frowned.

“What’s the matter?”

“I don’t like cheese.”

“Since when?”

I laughed. “Since forever. Don’t you remember when I was at St. Pat’s when it was grilled cheese day, Mrs. Burns [a neighbor who was the head dietician at the parochial school] would stop the lunch line and bring me a peanut butter and jelly sandwich so the nuns wouldn’t yell at me for wasting the grilled cheese sandwich I wouldn’t eat?”

“I’m sorry, I forgot.”

“Don’t worry about it.” We sat down, ate lunch and had a nice visit.

On the ride home I was congratulating myself for being so calm about the missed appointment. Surely, I must have risen to the eighth level of Hell for not losing my temper. Maybe even a small gem for my heavenly crown. I patted myself on the back. A thought struck me and my elation sank. Pride is the worse of the Seven Deadly Sins. Lucifer committed the sin of pride and fell. Being so smug about how I didn’t lose my temper was hubris. Oh, well, back to the ninth level of Hell.



2 comments:

Nutterone said...

Good Girl! You did very well. I'm chuckling as well. My mom wasn't a seamstress per se, but she knew her way around a sewing project quite well. Something NEITHER of her daughter's inherited. Both sis and I, went confronting mom's sewing machine would cry out for help. The ONLY person it worked for was her. Well, guess who now owns the machine??? Yep... and each time I approach it, I take deep breaths and pray for the spirit of my mom to channel through me so the machine will work!

Erica Vetsch said...

Yup, Gold Star for you. Grace, grace...or whatever it is you say! ;)