Sunday, June 29, 2008


Hello, Telephone Company? I want to trade in my hotline for an unlisted number. Thank you.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Call of the Wild

The phone calls almost drove me over the edge. I’ve been swallowing so much Tylenol, I’ll likely end up with liver failure. Dad's calls began on Thursday afternoon.

“Target called. Mother’s glasses are ready.”

“Her glasses are ready in less than 24 hours?”

“Yeah, I think he [the manager] wants to get her off his back.”

A long rant ensued. My rant was punctuated with phrases such as ‘not turning on a dime’, ‘jumping through hoops’, ‘bend over backwards’, ‘my work’, ‘not cancelling my plans', along with assorted phrases in tongues.’

Dad offered such sympathies as ‘she’s an ungrateful witch’, ‘her people have always been like that’, and my favorite ‘I wish I knew where she kept her broom because I’d put it….’

My schedule, by and large, is pretty flexible, but I don’t want to get the Weebles accustomed to me being at their beck and call by the snap of Ma’s fingers. I pretty much jump as it is even though I try to establish boundaries. Fridays during the summer is one of those boundaries. Himself doesn’t have summer classes on Friday. So Fridays are reserved for family outings, or just relaxing and catching our breath.

“I’ll take her tomorrow, but I’m only coming down to take her to Target and then back home.”

“Right now, she’s on the warpath and I haven’t told her yet that Target called.”

Sigh. “Well, call me back and let me know what I’m doing. I have to take The Eldest to work at 10 so won’t be to you much before 11.”

By quarter to nine, I hadn’t heard from Dad so I called him. He picked up the phone halfway through the first ring.

“I was going to call you. She doesn’t want to go.”

“That’s fine. She’ll have to wait until next week.”

“She might not like that.”

“That’s TFB. Too bad. I offered to take her tomorrow, and she doesn’t want to go. I’m not rearranging my schedule next week to suit her. She can wait.”

On the day of the Target fiasco, I had arranged with Dad to take them to Mahket Basket on the Wednesday before the Fourth of July, 2. July.

“Now, you’re sure you have enough money to go food shopping before the funds [Social Security] are available?”

Social security. There’s an oxymoron. The government deposits checks into senior checking accounts on the first of the month. However, funds aren’t released until the third of the month. The third. The day every senior from miles around would be at the Mahket. The day I really wished to avoid.

“Because I don’t want to go on the third because it will be crowded with everyone and their money, and those buying their hotdogs for the Fourth. If not, you’ll have to wait until the following week.”

“I don’t have a problem with that. She might. Look, I’ll see you on Wednesday and if she wants to come along, she does. If not, I’ll go shopping with you.”

I’m hoping Ma will decide she won’t go.

Dad then launched into a recap of his doctor appointments for next week. He ran them all together so even though with repeated questioning, I had no idea how many appointments, dates or times.

“I’m having a full body MRI”


“I don’t know. The doctor did some tests, and he didn’t like what he saw.”

“What tests?”

“I don’t know.”

“When is the MRI?”

“On Tuesday.”


“In Framingham.”

“What time?”

“One is at 10 and the other is at 3”
I'm not sure if he has two separate appointments or if he's having two MRI's

“I can see if Himself can give you a ride up, can you get a ride back?”

“Oh sure, I just walk downtown and sit there and someone usually comes by and gives me a ride home,”

“What are you doing in downtown Framingham?”

“Not, Framingham. Downtown.”

Alice in Weebleland falling down the Rabbit Hole.

I took some more Tylenol.

Friday night, Dad called back to tell me that Ma had another spell.

“She wasn’t feeling good. I had to help her into bed, and had to give her supper in bed.”

Hmmm, sounded to me as if Ma wanted a little wait on me hand and foot with her tea and sympathy.

He started talking about how he has to help her up from the floor. Gets her over to the basement door, where she can pull herself up by the shelving on the inside of the door.

I reached for the Tylenol bottle again.

Dad said Ma was still on the warpath. He had holed himself up in his attic office for most of the day. I could hear his new CD player belting out tunes in the background. Quosimodo in the belfry only he’s not elated his lady love gave him water.

“I hope you don’t turn into you mother.”

From your mouth to God’s ear.

“I don’t think you will. I don’t think you have those genes”

All my good qualities come from my father’s side of the family. He told me how at his mother’s funeral, the entire community turned out to say goodbye. The line to pay respects went all the way out of Rapino’s [funeral parlor] and some two blocks beyond. There were 7 flower cars and flowers enough to fill a couple more. Dad had to tell Mr. Rapino to donate the rest of the flowers to a hospital. He talked a lot about his mama. Too bad, he didn’t find a wife like her. His mother waited on him hand and foot. My uncle once told me that even though the family was poor, they knew who the Prince was. Dad was primo.

Saturday morning, Himself and The Young One headed off to the dojo for a day of black belt classes, teaching, and The Young One is also an instructor’s assistant. I took The Eldest to work, and stopped at Wallyworld on the way home for a few things. With everyone out of the house, I could do some housework without interruptions.

That’s what I thought until I saw the happy, red flashing light on the telephone. My heart sank into the pit of my stomach. I knew who it was even before I played the message. Note to self, keep a bottle of aspirin by the telephone.

“You have one new message…”

I knew it. She wanted to go to Target today. There was also some ragtime about his appointments changing next week, and he was wondering if Himself could give him a lift. Dad said he was probably going out, more like running away, and would call me when he got back.

The dojo happens to be a mile or so from the Weebles’s house. I called Himself’s cell phone and left a message on his voice mail. No call from Dad.

At 1:21pm, Himself called. He was just about to jump on the Pike. He hadn’t listened to my voice mail. I did a recap, and he kindly said since they weren’t that far away, he would turn around and go back to the Weebles to take them to Target.

Thank you, God, for this man I married.

Twenty minutes later, the phone rang. Caller ID indicated Himself’s cell phone. Twenty minutes. Not enough time to get to the Weebles, get them to Target, get the glasses, and drop the Weebles back at home.

“What’s the matter.”

“She didn’t want to go,” said The Young One.

In the background, I could hear Himself. “Tell her, I tell her all about it when we get home. We’re gonna stop for lunch.”

“We’re home!”

“So what happened?”

“Seems your mother wasn’t dressed. She was still in her pajamas, and in her room. I think she was working on her business.”

We both looked to the Heavens.

“Your dad went to tell her I was going to take her to Target.”

Himself is here!

He’s here?

Yes, he’s here.

Why didn’t you tell me he was here.

The Weeble version of “Who’s On First.”

“So I sat down to wait. Your dad was talking. After a little bit, I didn’t hear any movement from down the hall.

Your dad went to check on her, and then there was some yelling. I’m not sure what it was all about. Something about not wanting him to make arrangements to take her even though she told him to.
So I told your dad to tell Ma I didn’t want to rush her, I’d come back on Monday to take her.”

“Did he also tell you his appointment changed and he needs a ride?”

“Yeah, I told him I could take him on Tuesday.”

Thank you, God for this man I married.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Eyes Have It

Himself had chided me about the stress and aggravation I was putting myself through wondering what Hell I’d have to pay when I took Ma to her foot doctor’s appointment.

The Young One and I dropped The Eldest off at work, then stopped to pick up items for lunch. Bulkie rolls, turkey, provolone, chips, pretzels, pickles, and ginger ale.

Ma was tickled pink when The Young One greeted her. Oh, she was the favorite grandchild. She was the only grandchild who came to visit. Doesn’t matter that the other two grandchildren work full time. Still, no complaints from me if The Young One could keep Ma in a sunny mood.

We had a relaxing, pleasant lunch. I had an “Oh, my God, he was right” moment. All the worrying I had done for naught. I let my guard down and then Ma dropped the other shoe.

“After we go to the foot doctor, can you do me a favor?” The classic OPD control play.

I wanted to tell her, it would have been courteous for her to have called me before I got there and asked me for the favor. Just on the off chance I had plans after her doctor appointment was finished. Warily I asked her what she wanted.

“I need to go to…”

I held my breath hoping it wasn’t going to be a trip to Mahket Basket.

“Target. I can’t see with my new glasses.”

Eyeglass adjustment. Sure, no problem. A ten minute trip.

Ma packed up all the lunch things for me to take home. She told The Young One to put them in the car.

“No, leave everything in the bags except the lunch meat and cheese. They’ll spoil in the heat.”

Trip to foot doctor was fast. In and out. I even got a handicap parking spot. Ride to Target was fine, too. I offloaded the Weebles at the front door and pulled into a handicap spot.

I got Ma to the eye department and got her settled in a chair. The manager came out and greeted us. He had suspected Ma would not like the progressive lens so had kept all her paperwork in tact, even though she was well past the return the glasses, and we’ll make a new pair for free period.

Ma whined how she couldn't see to read at night to do her business. It was important for her to be able to keep up with all the paperwork. God forbid, she didn’t get the checks to the scammer on time.

The manager tried to explain how with progressive lens, you need to move your head to find the correct focal point. You couldn't just move your eyes.

Ma frowned.

He then explained the only thing he could do was to grind a new prescription with the bifocal line.

Ma frowned. She didn’t want the line. She wanted the lens like I have (progressive). She kept emphasizing the fact that she’s 90 (in September) as if her age entitled her to preferential treatment.
The manager, who should be put on the fact track for canonization, tried to refresh her memory when she first came in for the glasses. He had tried to talk her out of the progressive lens. Told her they took some time to get used to, and she wouldn't like them. Ma had insisted she didn't want the line.

She was still insisting she didn’t want the line and kept asking me what she should do.
"I can't make that decision for you." In retrospect, I should have stopped there.

A this point, Ma changed from Mrs. Dr. Jeckyll to Mrs. Hyde.

“If you can’t see out of the glasses you have now, have him make the lens with the line. It’s not going to cost you anything as the manager will exchange the glasses for a new pair.” Logical in its simplicity.

Ma didn’t want an exchange. She thought she was entitled to a complete refund and a new pair of glasses for free.

Somewhere a screaming match ensued. We put on quite a show at the Target Optical Theater of the Absurd.

“I haven’t worn these glasses because I can’t see to read.”

I’m surprised Ma’s pants didn’t spontaneously combust. She's been wearing those glasses since she got them.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were having problems with your glasses”

“No one does anything for me. I can’t count on you”

I saw red. Himself and I bend over backwards for Ma. I arrange my schedule to fit with theirs.

The manager and I went round and round with Ma trying to explain to her she wouldn’t have to pay for a new pair of glasses. She didn’t get it. She only got stubborn and insisted she was entitled to a refund. The manager should have told her to taker her business elsewhere.

He left her sitting at the table, and he waited on two other customers who were brave enough to venture onto the stage.

Dad and I retreated to a corner where we sputtered. For an hour. Yup, a solid hour, Ma sat like a stone. She was going to have her way.

After the manager dealt with two happy customers, he again tried to explain things to Ma. He implored me to act as interpreter.

“How much would it cost me if you made a new pair of glasses for me and I kept these?”

“Why do you want to keep those glasses when you can’t see out of them to read?”

“I’m talking here!” Ma screamed at me.

It was at that point, the penny dropped for me. I had an outer body experience watching the scene which was a little like Alice at the Mad Hatter’s tea party. I didn’t need the insanity of jumping up and moving down to a clean cup. This was not my monkey. I wasn’t going to be able to change the situation. I tapped The Young One (who had sat quietly through the entire charade) on the shoulder.

“Come with me.”

We left the optical department with Ma blinking after us like an owl.

“How bout we go to the electronics department?”

The Young One laughed and patted my back giving comfort to her weeble. “It’s okay.”
"I don't understand what she didn't get. The manager wasn't cheating her."
"Yeah, it was like saying I'll give you a dollar for your four quarters."
Even The Young One was astute enough to understand the transaction.

We wandered the dollar bin, the electronics department, the video games, and movies. We headed back to the optical department. Hopefully, Ma would be done with her harangue.

Dad was wandering back and forth by the front doors looking like a deer in the headlights. There was such relief on his face when he caught sight of me.

“She got worried you left,” Dad chuckled nervously

I shouldn’t have been tickled but I was. Evil child that I am. Might do Ma good to get shaken up once in a while.

Dad took Ma by the elbow. “She’s right here. She’ll bring the car around.”

“No, I’m parked right across from here. You can walk.”

Frosty silence accompanied us on the ride home.

I got the Weebles into the house, told The Young One to go get the lunch bag.

“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry,” Dad kept apologizing.

“You have nothing to apologize for. We’re victims.”

The Young One came out with the bag and we went to the car. I gave a general goodbye, but didn’t go say goodbye to Ma. She was going to ignore me. I did feel badly for Dad. He stood at the screen door giving us a half-hearted wave as we pulled out of the driveway. The fornicating he was going to get was definitely not going to be worth the fornicating he was going to get.

I wish I knew where I had put the packet of morning glory seeds. Dad could have used a few too.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I was supposed to take the Weebles to a doctor's appointment. Himself was looking at the calendar.

"I can take them for you. I get out at 10AM, but I have a meeting in the afternoon with the president. "

"You sure you'd have time? The doctor keeps them waiting for a good hour. The appointment is for 11:15."

"My meeting isn't until 3pm, so even if the doctor kept them waiting, I'd still have time."

His offer was an incredible gesture, and I happy danced.

The Young One and I made plans for our free day. We'd drop The Eldest off at work. We'd stop at the bank and head to the mall to do birthday shopping for The Eldest. The post office on the way home would round out our trip.

I called Dad to let him know of the change in the shuttle pilot roster.

Fifteen minutes after my call, and just as The Eldest headed out the door so I could drive her to work, the phone rang. Dad.

"Your mother is all upset that you're not coming to take her to the doctor. She doesn't want to go now."

"Oh for Ch...and I lapsed into tongues."

"Himself is trying to do me a favor since he has to hang around waiting for his meeting."

"I know. Get in touch with him and tell him not to bother."

"I can't get in touch with him. You'll just have to tell him when he gets there."

"Ok. Hey, I took that money and did like you said. I bought something for myself. I bought a player for those little records..."

"That's great, Dad. Listen, I have to go take The Eldest to work."

"I'm having a nice time listening to the music."

"Good, Dad. Listen, gotta run or she'll be late."

In the parking lot where The Eldest works, just for chuckles, I tried calling Himself at his office. Usually, he does not check his voice mail at the end of his workday. Left a message for him to call me on my cell phone and headed off to do the errands. I gave The Young One my phone so she could answer it, if it rang while I was driving.

We stopped at the bank and headed to the mall. The Young One jumped and fumbled in her pocket.

"What's the matter?"

"The phone! The phone is vibrating." She had turned the volume up so we'd be sure to hear the theme song from "The Big Valley".

She answered the phone and tried relaying messages while I sputtered.

"Tell him to hang on. I'll talk to him." I pulled into the parking lot of the garden store we were passing."

"What do you want me to do?"

"You can call to see if she still wants to go. You can just show up over there. Your call. If it were me, I'd say eff her and not bother to call or show up. She deserves to miss her doctor's appointment."

He laughed.

"I'll just head over there and play Mickey the Dope."

"You're a better man than I, Gunga Din."

"I certainly hope so," he said in his best Groucho Marx impression.

At the mall, I sat in the Target parking lot. For the life of me, I couldn't remember what else I was supposed to do besides hit Barnes and Noble for a gift card for The Eldest. Weebles can just suck the brain cells and life force from you body. Even long distance.

"Guess this was the wrong week for me to start Weight Watchers. I'm a stress eater," I explained to The Young One. "I have such an urge to go into the store and buy a bag of Hershey kisses and a box of Cheez-Its and sit out here in the car and eat them all."

She giggled and patted me on the back.

"Have all the animals gone back into the forest?"

The Young One has such a sunny disposition. It's hard to stay in a bad mood.

"Yes. Let's go do our shopping."

I stopped in the coffee aisle to get coffee bags for The Eldest.

"Ooo, look," said The Young One. Tazo Chai Tea. Just like they serve at Starbuck's"

Somehow the box found its way to my hand.

"Are these tea bags?" I wavered and started to put the box back.

"C'mon, it'll be a treat."

I flipped the box into the carriage for an easy two points.

"I need some light bread."

"Can we get some bagels."

Deep sigh. I love bagels. "No, unfortunately, one bagel is equal to an entire loaf of bread."

"There's light English muffins."

A temptation. I reached for a loaf of light bread, and my hand brushed a package of Weight Watcher's Bagels. Weight Watchers. One point for a whole bagel!

"See?" said The Young One knowingly. "God wants you to have a good day."

"Yeah, I guess He does," and the bagels were placed reverently on the baby seat where they wouldn't get crushed.

We took a spin through the video games and The Young One hinted what she would like for her birthday as her birthday is eleven days after her sister's.

"It won't be much of a surprise."

"Beats getting underwear."

"That it do." The game went into the cart.

We stopped at FYE for a couple of DVDs I wanted. If I couldn't stress eat, I could certainly stress shop. A quick run through Game Stop, Barnes and Noble, the post office, and home for lunch.

The Young One planned our afternoon.

"We can have bagels and chai at snack time and watch a video."

I couldn't think of a better way to spend the afternoon.

Himself called after lunch.

"Did you survive?"

"Oh, yeah, but it was something."

"Do tell."

"First she was yelling at your father because he took THE comb. Then he didn't put the part in her hair the right way. She was feeling her head and yelling she couldn't feel the part."

I would have told her where she could place her hand and feel the part.

"Then we got to the doctor's office and like you said he kept them waiting for exactly an hour. Before they went in, they had to have a blood and urine test. Only they forgot and they ate breakfast."

"Oh, for Ch..." and tongues." "They only go to the doctor every three effin' months. They've been doing this for two years! Ya think they would know the routine."

"Yeah, well, it seems your mother got locked in the ladies' room."

"What? She never uses the ladies' room there. She always takes the cup home and then Dad walks back to the office to drop the specimen off."

"Don't know about that. I guess the outer door was too heavy for her to open. Anyway, your dad had to go find her. 'Ma? Ma? You alright in there?'"

"Oh help me Lord, there will be hell to pay tomorrow."

"Yup, your name is Mud," Himself laughed.

"Did she say anything to you?"

"No. But I could tell she wasn't happy. Guess she figured since you didn't have to run off to pick up The Young One at school, she had something she wanted you to do."

More tongues. Tomorrow promised to be a wonderful day in the neighborhood.

After chatting with Himself, I could feel the aura and swallowed a few aspirin. Guess I'd have to load up before the trip to the Weebles tomorrow. Looking out the sunroom window, I could see the morning glory twining its way up the trellis. I read somewhere that morning glory seeds were a hallucinogenic with the same properties as LSD. I didn't plant all the morning glory seeds. Wonder what I did with the packet?

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Giving weebles sugar can be hazardous to your mental health. As Stan Lee was fond of say, "Nuff said."

Friday, June 13, 2008

Lost , Now Found

Last month, the Weebles misplaced the handicap parking placard. They knew it was somewhere in the house. It wasn't in the outer pocket of Ma's pocketbook where it usually lives when not in use. It wasn't buried under Ma's papers. The Weebles looked high and low, but no luck, no placard. Ma blamed Dad for losing it. Dad thought Ma must have tossed it in the fireplace with trash.

Now to me, having the handicap placard is a nicety, not a necessity. Sure, it's cool to get a parking spot in the front row. Nine times out of ten, the handicap spots are always filled. I usually offload the Weebles in front of Mahket Basket or the doctor's office and then I park the car. When they are done, I bring the car around front and pick the Weebles up. No placard, no worries.

Throughout the month, the Weebles hunted and argued about the whereabout of the placard. I went online to the Registry of Motor Vehicles to see about having a replacement issued. Easier said than done. A phone call, a clerk, another phone call to another number and another clerk later, the clerk said she would send a form to Ma that needed to be filled out and returned. Sigh. I called the Weebles to tell them to keep a weather eye out for the form.

The form arrived a few days later, and Ma called to tell me they didn't need the form afterall.

"We found the card."

"That's great? Where was it? In your pocketbook the whole time?"

"No, he found it on the incubator...."

"The incubator?"

"Oh, you know, the microwave oven. He found it on top of the microwave oven inside a plastic container."

Now, I'm happy they found the parking placard, but felt a bit queasy as to where it was found. Misplaced items found in a drawer, a coat pocket, another handbag, but inside a plastic container? Well, as Scarlett O'Hara was fond of saying, "I'll think about that t'morrow.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Heat Wave

We’ve been having a heatwave, three days of temperatures in the 90’s. Tuesday the temperature in the town where the Weebles live reached 100 degrees.

I had called the Weebles on Sunday to make sure they were tolerating the heat. They have central air-conditioning, but Ma doesn’t like it on because she says she’s always cold.

“So, are you guys doing okay?”

“We’re fine.”

“What have you been doing?”

“I was out earlier trimming the bushes?”

“What ah you?! You shouldn’t be doing that kind of work in this heat!”

“I’m fine.”

I could feel that familiar throb behind my left eye.

“Promise me you won’t go out and do more yard work in this heat. And you won’t walk all over town.”

“Don’t worry.”

The famous last words.

Last night, when I came in from teaching, Himself greeted me at the door.

“Your father just called.”

My heart sank. That’s not what you want to hear at 10pm.

“What’s the matter?”

“He was mowing the lawn when the lawn mower died…”

“What is he?!” An example of OPD at its finest.

“Yeah, anyway, I’m going to take your car and stop over there tomorrow to pick up the lawn mower and take it to my brother’s shop.”


I called the Weebles in the morning to let them know Himself would be stopping by.

“Where’s Dad?”

“I don’t know. He went out.”

“He went out? Did he walk?”

“I don’t know.”

Help me, Lord. I told Ma to expect Himself who would take the lawn mower to see about getting it fixed. She wants Dad to get a rider mower. Maybe when Auntie Rose sends that money that should be arriving any day now.

“Your father was trimming the hedges when I got over there today.”

My eyeballs started spinning in their sockets.

“His ankles were swollen something awful.”

I ran for the Tylenol bottle and swallowed a fistful.

“Anyway, I took the lawnmower and brought it to Pat’s shop. He thinks the oil got mixed with the gasoline. He was going to look at it while I waited. I told him to take his time and not rush. That way, I can take my mower to your folks and mow the lawn for them.”

Good thinking. Now if only Himself had taken the loppers away from Dad too.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Three Faces of Ceej

These are the stages of emotions I go through when I have to take the Weebles to Mahket Basket.

First, I hit the roof. How I hate going grocery shopping. How I hate going grocery shopping 14 miles away (round trip) at the Mahket Basket when we could be shopping at the nice, big, clean grocery store two miles away.

Then sadly resigned to blessing all the meat or debating the virtues of Polish Dill Spears over Kosher Dills during my three hour tour.

Finally, how do I spell relief? Driving under the 495 underpass.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Green Eyes

After pounding Tuesday into everyone's calendar, Ma called on Monday to say the doctor cancelled out. I happy danced around the house. Free day! Free day! Ma was hoping I would take them to Mahket Basket. On the first of the month? On the day every weeble gets his or her social security check? What ah you? We'll go Thursday.

Backstory: Three months ago Prissy's daughter came to pick Prissy up for a girl's day out. While out, their car was broad-sided (T-boned for you Dragon Landers). Prissy was taken to the hospital as a precaution. Both women were just shaken, but not stirred. Prior to the accident, Prissy had been having shoulder pain which her doctor at first, had told her was bursistis. The accident aggravated the shoulder and an MRI showed a torn rotator cuff. Prissy couldn't lift her arm to shift the car in and out of gear, so she stopped driving.

Tuesday. I was celebrating my free day by dancing around the living room. I looked out the front window across the street to Prissy's house, and I saw her standing on the front stairs. So like Gladys Cravits, the nosy neighbor on Bewitched, I pressed my nose to the glass to see what was going on. Prissy was dressed up to go out. Her hair was curled into place and she had her pocketbook looped around her arm. She was looking up and down the street. Waiting.

As entertaining as it was to look out the window, I went back to the sunroom to work on the laptop. Movement by the left side entrance of Flo's horseshoe driveway caught my eye. A small, white shuttle bus was pulling in. The Senior Citizen shuttle bus. My eyes turned green. Prissy's daughter didn't have to haul Prissy's butt hither and yon. She didn't have to take her to Price Chopper, or the doctor, or physical therapy. Prissy had called (48 hrs in advance) to request the shuttle. The shuttle that would take her to the Senior Center for 50 cents each way or to an out of town location for a dollar each way. Two bucks round trip. Prissy can make her appointments, come and go when she wants all for two bucks. Two bucks! Why can't my Weebles take the Senior Center shuttle? They could even go to Mahket Basket on the shuttle, though they'd be limited to three grocery bags each. But no! It costs too much! Too much? Two bucks is half the price of a gallon of gas! If Ma didn't send all her money to the scammers, she would have the two bucks! Don't get me started. I need to go get some Visine to get the green out.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Appointment

We went over it at least a half a dozen times.

When's Ma's appointment?


On Tuesday?

Yes, Tuesday.

But I don't have it written down.

Remember I couldn't take Ma to the doctor because my car was in the shop? You walked to the appointment and kept yours. You made Ma new appointment.

I can't find the card.

I called the doctor's office and her appointment is Tuesday.


The phone rang.

When is Ma's appointment?


She said it's in June.

Tuesday is June. 30 days hath September, April, June, and November. All the rest have 31 except February which has 28 or 29 in a Leap Year

Pause. Oh, you're right.

I'll see you on Tuesday.

The phone rang late Sunday night.

Mother said you're coming tomorrow.

No, I'm coming Tuesday. Her appointment is Tuesday.

Oh, yeah, you're right. See you Tuesday.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


Chatted with Ma on the phone. Ma was still huffing about Dad's escape to the Senior Center Spring concert.

"Have you heard those ladies? They sound like cats!"

I had to laugh.

"They get enjoyment out of music, and it probably gives them something to do."

Ma gave a disgusted huff.

"If they stayed in their own homes and did housework, they'd have plenty to do."

Monday, June 02, 2008

Take A Hike

Himself and I were relaxing in the sunroom, watching "Good Morning, America" before we had to start our day. A news item caught our interest. A young couple had gotten lost for six days while hiking through the Grand Canyon. During the interview, the couple stated how being lost for six days was not only a life altering experience, but the realization that their survival depended on each other. They shared cookie pieces, M & Ms, and water, but they didn't ration their love for or dependence on each other.

"Maybe that's something we should do for Ma and Dad?"

"What's that?"

"Send them on a hike into the Grand Canyon. Maybe they could reaffirm themselves."

Himself looked at me with raised eyebrows.

"Can you just imagine? Grandpa rolling along. 'I am a happy wanderer, valdereee, valderah... and then Grandma chimes in, 'You're STOOOPID, STOOOPid, stooopid... "

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Mighty Joe Young

Wednesday, shoe day was supposed to be a happy day. Like a lot of women Ma tingled with excitement at the thought of getting new shoes. Not this day and not Ma. She was still bristling from Dad's outing to the Senior Center annual Spring Chorus. She was screaming at Dad when I arrived.

"Get my jacket. Where's my pockabook?" Each command rising in pitch and not a please among the phrases.

Ma's pocketbook had gone missing. She blamed Dad. We scurried like ants looking for the pocketbook.

"I found it," I shouted. "It's in the kitchen. Buried under a pile of your papers" [the scammer contests].

"Never you mind about my papers."

"Why did YOU [ Dad] touch my pockabook?"

"I'm sure he didn't touch your pocketbook since it's buried under all your foolish papers."

"Stop taking his side!"

I left her pocketbook on the kitchen table and went to sit down in the livingroom to wait out the storm.

"Where's my pockabook?"

"On the kitchen table."

"Why didn't YOU get it for me?"

"Why does he have to get it for you?"

"Because he's my husband."

"I don't expect my husband to wait on me hand and foot when I can do things for myself."

"You're not crippled like I am."

Another pity party.

"Honey, if you can't do things for yourself then maybe you should think about checking into a..." and I said the dreaded H word. My bad.

And then she got me in her sights again.

"Why didn't you bring me my pocketbook."

"Because there's all sorts of sh..papers all over the place. I'm not going to get yelled at because I moved papers or didn't pack what you want."

Course I was getting yelled at anyway. That's the logic of OPD. At moments like this there is the temptation to just up and leave. I'm reminded of a line from the musical Pippin. Pippin is talking to his father, Charlemagne. Charlemagne is whining about his wife, and Pippin's step-mother, Fastrada. Charlegmagne tells his son, "Sometimes I wonder if the fornicating I'm getting is worth the fornicating I'm getting." The line makes me laugh.

So we finally get the wagon train lined up. "Head 'em on up. Move 'em out!" Then another argument breaks out. The handicap placard was missing. The Weebles looked high and low to the tune of "The You're Stupid" song.

The handicap placard allows whoever hauls Ma's butt hither and yon to park in a handicap parking spot. It's a nicety, but not a necessisty as far as I'm concerned. More often than not as the hauler, I've found most of the places we go to are packed weebles and the handicap spots are filled. I end up offloading the Weebles at the front door, and then parking in Nebraska. Even if there are handicap spots available, I usually offload the Weebles at the front door and then troll for a handicap spot. Not a big deal. To hear Ma tell it, she has to walk up hill both ways hip deep in snow.

By the time the last chorus of the song had been sung, we arrived at the medical building. The medical building must have been having a sale as even if we had the handicap placard, all the handicap spots were filled. All the regular parking spaces around the medical building were filled too, even some spaces I'm sure are not legal. I offloaded the Weebles at the front door and headed to the last parking spot in Nebraska. God was smiling at me.

The walk from the parking lot to the medical building was so peaceful that I almost hesitated going up to the foot doctor's office. Curiousity got the better of me and I went to see if Ma was giving the entire office a concert. I pushed open the door to the sounds of silence. I could hear Ma in the examination room being fitted with her shoes. She loved them, they fit, she was delighted.

When the fitting was done, the Weebles safely back home, I stayed to have a cup of tea with them.

Ma was still fuming about Dad going AWOL to the Senior Center Spring concert. She was huffing and puffing about the ladies in the group. I could see Ma's eyes turning green. Dad's ladies. His harem. The women out number the men at the Senior Center, and most of the women are widows.

"What a waste for him to sing," Ma said over tea and talking as if Dad wasn't sitting at the table with us. "They don't even throw pennies at him."

I had to laugh. To Ma, nothing is worth doing unless you get paid for it. I wonder if the fornicating Dad's getting is worth the fornicating he's getting.