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”

“Why?”

“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.”

“Where?”

“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.

2 comments:

Erica Vetsch said...

The broomstick..:))

Nutterone said...

I'll donate part of my liver if you need it!