Friday, May 02, 2008
The Great Divide
Ma had an appointment at the eye doctor. Since the Young One was on April vacation, we decided to make a day of it. We’d have lunch and then take Ma to her mid-afternoon appointment. In the process, we’d score some Brownie points.
Dad had called me the Thurs before to tell me Ma’s appointment was at 3pm. My PDA had the appointment recorded at 2pm. One of the cardinal rules learned is never to trust appointments made by weebles. On Fri, I called the doctor’s office to check the appointment and was told “3p, no 2 pm.” I called the office again the morning of the appointment and was told 3pm. The Friday receptionist must be in periweeblepause.
The following day promised to be a taste of summer and the Young One and I discussed our plans as we traveled the Pike. We were going to spend the entire day together hanging out in the sunroom. We’d watch tv, read, play computer games, tease the kitty, have lunch. It would be a perfect day.
The Young One and I stopped at the nice, big, clean, supermarket two miles from the Weebles house. I let the Young One pick out what she wanted for lunch. Roast beef, provolone, bulkie rolls, macaroni salad, chips, pickles, banana bread, and a bottle of ginger ale.
Ma’s mouth was set in “the not happy face” as we brought the grocery bags in.
“What’s all this?”
“We brought lunch.”
“Well, it’s a good thing I didn’t make the crabmeat salad.”
“Yeah, good thing.”
I offered up a silent prayer.
Ma wanted to get to the medical building earlier because she wanted to stop in to see the foot doctor before her eye doctor appointment. The last time she had been to the foot doctor, he was supposed to order a pair of orthopedic shoes and call her when they came in. She never received a call and she was over due for the foot doctor to cut her toenails.
“Your father, the stupid head, tried to cut my toenails once, but he cut me. He can’t do anything right.”
She asked if I would be willing to try, but this didn’t sound like a Little Princess job so I politely declined and took her to the medical building early so she could check in with the foot doctor.
There must have been a sale at the medical building because there were no parking spots to be had. I offloaded the Weebles in front of the building. I didn’t bother to try trolling for a handicap spot, just headed over to the far visitor’s lot in Nebraska.
Ma was talking to the foot doctor’s receptionist when the Young One and I made it to the office. The receptionist said Ma’s shoes hadn’t come in. She blamed the shoe company, but I have a feeling she just never filed the paper work. We saw the foot doctor in January or February. Here it was April and it only takes two weeks for the shoes to come in. Ma asked if the doctor could squeeze her in to have her toe nails cut.
Nope. So with a sinking heart I pulled out my PDA.
“I have an opening at 10:15 tomorrow morning.”
I could have said ‘I have an appointment in the sunroom all day tomorrow’ but knew if I didn’t take the appointment, I’d have to make the trip the following week. With my not happy face peeking through, I used the stylus to make the appointment.
We left the foot doctor and took the elevator one floor up to the eye doctor. You may recall the last time I had taken the Weebles to the eye doctor we all caught the Hanta virus. Dad and I both paused to scan the room for potential virus carriers. Satisfied the room was clean, we settled in to wait.
Ma and Dad sat at opposite ends of the room so they were on good behavior. Ma nodded off and Dad flipped through a Time magazine. The Young One had brought a sketchbook and some colored pencils to keep amused, and I had a book.
Movement by the door to the inner office caught my eye and I looked up. Another weeble couple was coming out. The woman walked with a cane very slowly, and her husband hovered by in case she lost her balance. The man saw me looking at him and his face split into a wide grin as we recognized each other. It was the nice weeble couple from the Tuesday foot doctor appointments. They usually have the appointment just before or just after Ma. He helped his wife to sit down and then the three of us chatted like old friends. I’m amazed at their dynamics. They finish each other’s sentences, smile at each other and I have never heard either one of them sing ‘The Stupid Song.’
The technician came and called Ma’s name.
Ma came to and blinked like an owl when she finally heard her name called.
Dad was fuming at her as she slowly stood and tried to turn her walker to make her way to the office.
“She needs help,” I snapped at him. “Stop yelling at her and help her!”
He jumped to my bidding. I looked at the nice weeble couple and looked at the ceiling while shaking my head. They both gave me a small smile and a sympathetic shrug.
Shortly after Ma and Dad were called in, the nice weeble couple was called in. I marveled at the way the man waited for his wife to stand and gain her balance. He didn’t yell at her. Didn’t make comments about how she couldn’t move quickly. He just hovered by her and arm prepared to steady her in case she needed him. He was chivalrous in an unassuming way. So different from my weebles, and I was thinking ‘we’re not in Kansas any more.’
I heard Ma before I saw her and went to the inner office. She and Dad were coming out of the exam room. The eye doctor had given Ma a prescription for a new pair of glasses.
“Where can I have this prescription filled?” she shouted at the doctor. Ma must have thought he was deaf.
“Anywhere you like,” came the polite response.
That answer didn’t satisfy her, and I stepped in to the doctor’s rescue.
“I can take you to Target after you see the foot doctor tomorrow.”
The doctor breathed a sigh of relief and gave me a small smile.
The Young One and I left Ma and Dad to make their way to the lobby while we sprinted to Nebraska to pick up the car, picked up the Weebles, and took them back home for lunch.
The kitchen table has a piece of glass on top of it to protect the top. The glass is broken in several large pieces, and has a huge crack that runs the width of the table. I can’t remember whether Ma or Dad broke the glass (my periweeblepause is showing). I’m sure it really wouldn’t matter because Dad would be blamed for it even if he didn’t break it.
There’s a definite safety issue when setting the kitchen table for more than two people. The Weebles sit at either end of the table where the glass isn’t broken. I asked Ma for a table cloth to cover the table so we could eat in relative safety. She made Dad sit in the seat where crack formed the great divide. The Young One and I shared the other end of the table.
Lunch was progressing pleasantly. There was a minimum amount of griping from Dad. Ma has a habit of placing her cup at the very edge of the table. The cup teetering on the brink drives Dad insane, and he mumbles comments like Popeye.
Now I’m not sure what actually happened next as I was getting something from the fridge so I didn’t see the incident. Dad was griping at Ma for placing her cup on the edge of the table. The next thing, there was a puddle of soda on the table which Dad was blotting with a napkin. I got up to get a roll of paper towels.
Ma was gleefully singing ‘the Stupid Song.’
Dad had been so sure Ma was going to spill her drink, but when he reached for something across the table, his arm hit her cup and the drink was murdered.
They began moving items from Ma’s end of the table, lifted up the table cloth, and with paper towels were blotting the glass. The soda had run like a river and was seeping through the crack. Dad carefully lifted up the glass to slide a paper towel underneath to blot up the soda. Ma, of course, in her ever helpful way, was yelling at him. The usual stupid and how she’s been doing this for years. Watching them lift the glass was a painful procedure like listening to a dentist’s drill or finger nails screeching on a blackboard. They were griping and sniping at one another about the crack.
“Oh, CRACK your head!” Ma yelled at Dad as they finished the cleaning procedure.
In mid-bite of her sandwich, the Young One looked at me with her eyes wide as saucers.
“She said ‘Crack’”, I told the Young One.
“That’s not what it sounded like to me.”
“You have a filthy mind if that’s what you heard.”
The Young One chewed thoughtfully and swallowed. “Well, since you knew what I was thinking, you have a filthy mind too.”
The phrase “crack your head” entertained the Young One and me all the way home. Just hearing it reduced us to gales of laughter.