Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Ancient Mariner

The Young One and I were watching a program.

"Water, water, everywhere. And not a drop to drink," quoted The Young One.

"Water, water, everywhere. And all the boards did shrink," I added. I was pleasantly surprised she knew the quote. "Did you read The Rime of the Ancient Mariner in school?"

"We spend thousands of dollars on your tuition, and they don't teach you the Classics?" My favorite rant.
She fixed me with "the look" as only a teenager can.

"That's because no body cares."

"I care," the English major in me said indignantly.

"That's because you were around when all these guys wrote this junk."

Looks like the mariner isn't the only one that's ancient.

Wipe, Please.

During the last Mahket run, Ma toodled on the scooter to the produce department with me trailing a safe ten paces behind.

Ma stopped and surveyed the department. A hunter getting the lay of the land.

"You know those green peppers you picked last time went bad. Your father put them in the basement."

"That's not my fault if you don't store the food properly."

"I know," she conceded. Ma horned in on the display of green beans.

A younger woman was carefully selecting her choices, one by one, and putting them in a plastic bag.

"You didn't do a good job picking out the green beans last time," Ma sniffed. "Some of them were touched."

I almost commented on what was touched, but kept my mouth shut.

"I want a pound. Pick them like that girl over there is doing."

"Maybe we should let her pick out your green beans," I muttered.

The woman turned as she overheard the conversation. I smiled politely as I pulled a plastic bag from the roll.

My turn came, and I approached the altar of the green beans. Under Ma's hawk gaze, I selected a candidate and promptly rejected it. I was sure there was nothing particularly wrong with that green bean, but it seemed the prudent way to go. I selected another and put it in the bag. Ma must have approved because she zoomed down the aisle in search of other veggie prey.

By now, you've all picked up the fact I hate shopping. I hate grocery shopping in particular, and I especially despise shopping at the Mahket. I don't do the grocery shopping for my own family. Himself came to me as the designated slayer of grocery since he did the food shopping for his mother, and he naturally assumed the role in our marriage. It was either that or starve. Grocery shopping falls under the "not a Little Princess job" like yard work or bathroom cleaning.

I looked at the mound of green beans as if they were writhing adders. I pushed my hand into the underlayers to see if the specimens were any better than the fellows on the top. As I did this, I began to wonder how many people, during the start of flu season, have pawed through the beans before I arrived. Had they washed their hands before they arrived for shopping? Had some child picked and wiped his hand on his nose and helpfully helped his mother select green beans? I shuddered, and made a mental note for next time. Grab another bag and use it as a glove so I wouldn't have to actually touch the produce.

More selecting and my eye caught the sign announcing Fresh Green Beans. Fresh my Aunt Fanny. How fresh can green beans be sitting in a bin that is not refrigerated and sitting in the bin for God knows how long? Do the beans stay in the bin overnight? Does the produce manager have his clerks restock the vegetables into a refrigerator overnight? The beans sitting in the bin can't be fresh. Fresh is being shipped to the produce plant minutes after picking and being flash frozen and ensconced in a polybag. If vegetables are not sealed in a polybag, they shouldn't be brought home.

I took my bag of beans to the scale to be weighed. My hands felt gritty. Another mental note, bring some wipes next time. Better yet, try to get Ma and Dad to subscribe to Peapod, the online grocery shopping service in their area. Though that wouldn't work, I'd be getting calls at all hours that "they didn't send me my green beans."

I found Ma in the aisle looking at polybags of apples.

"I want a bag of MacIntosh."

Shopping with your mother, $200.00. Not having to hand select MacIntosh apples? Priceless.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Major Award

If you didn't go back to read all the comments on the Bloggerversary Contest Winner, Alesia sent this comment:

Thanks everyone! My box arrived yesterday, sadly (yet somehow appropriately) the lottery ticket was a loser. Auntie Rose is now in a place of honor in the dining room hutch.

Just like Auntie Rose to send you bupkiss. She stiffed Ma too, out of $2M yesterday. At least you have the consolation of the Little Debbies. Ma's only consolation was me raining on her parade.

It started yesterday when I brought lunch to have a visit with the Weebles. Ma wanted me to take her to the post office because she had received a registered letter. She took a half an hour to get ready.

In the meantime, I found the card the mailman left to see who sent the letter. There was no name, no company, just a bunch of numbers. A bogus notice. Secretly, I hoped it was from the FBI indicting Ma with illegal gambling or terrorist funding. Or maybe a bill from the telephone company with all the charges for calls to Jamaica that I had the phone company remove from the bill.

I was also wondering why the mailman didn't leave the letter. Ma is a virtual shut in and she's home all the time. If she ventures outside, it's to sit in a chair on the front porch. I guess the mailman knew it was a fake letter and didn't want to bother about it.

Finally, Ma is ready. We drive to the post office. Wait in line for days because there is only one clerk working. A second clerk was at the counter but he was ignoring the line.

Ma got her letter and two books of stamps. As I'm juggling, the letter, her pockabook, and trying to put away her checkbook, she's demanding I open her letter.

"Let's go to the car, Ma. My hands are full and I'm dancing as fast as I can."

I got her settled in the car and she opened her letter.

"I don't have my glasses. Read this to me."

"I can't read and drive, Ma. You'll have to wait until we get home." Besides not wanting to drive into the guard rail, I can't read while driving as I get motion sick.

On the ride home, Ma is dreaming of riches. She'll pay for my girls' college education in full. I'd rather she pay me for the furnace, but I don't say anything. All I can think of is if she won, all the strings that would be attached to the winnings.

At home, Ma looks at the letter and focuses on the big $2 Million printed on an official looking certificate.

She's fairly dancing around the living room with joy. I started thinking of the father from "The Christmas Story" when he won a prize for entering a crossword puzzle contest.

"A major award! A major award. Hot damn!"

Too bad Ma didn't win the leg lamp. At least she would have something to show for all the do-re-mi she's spent on these contests.

"See," she said shoving the letter at me. "I told you I was going to win."

I read the letter. It stated if Ma sent $20 her name would be put in the next round of entries for a chance to win the $2 million. Just like Auntie Rose to stiff Ma again.

"You didn't win anything."

It was sad to see her face fall. All the dreams and all the control she would have with the money.

"All they want you to do is send them more money so they can trick you into thinking you won a contest."

I should have brought Ma a box of Little Debbies. She already has the framed picture of Auntie Rose.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

New Washer Works

A week after the Weebles got their new washer, I called to find out how it was working out and to see if there were any fire works. I related the story to Himself.

"I called to find out how the washer was working. Dad answered the phone."

"What did he say?"

"He was thrilled. 'It really works!'"

"He sounded surprised."

"Yeah, like DUH! I guess he was surprised the machine got faster RPM's than he did spinning the drum."

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Bloggerversary Contest - Winner

Auntie Rose drew the winning entry in the Bloggerversary Contest. She is pleased to announce if you wish to see if your name is on the Winner's List. Send $11.95 to Auntie Rose.

Ok, just kidding.

The winner is....

Alesia! Congratulations, Al, you've won the fabulous prize package which includes a Scary Money Instant Lottery ticket from the Massachusetts Lottery Commission, a package of Little Debbie Cosmic Brownies to savor the thrill of victory or the agony of the eat (don't groan, it's funny!), and a framed picture of Auntie Rose to proudly display as your relative. Which also means we are related because we share the same auntie.

I want to thank everyone for participating and helping me celebrate two years of fine whining.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Exploding Washing Machine

This story appeared in our local news. Exploding Washing Machine Sparks Fears Sounded like wishful thinking. LOL

This is the last day for you to leave a comment on the blog to be entered into the Bloggerversary Contest Contest ends at 11:59PM Friday 3. October 2008. US residents only. Auntie Rose will announce the winner at noon EDT on Saturday 4. October 2008

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Shopping with Popeye

Don't forget. Leave a comment on the blog this week to be entered into the Bloggerversary Contest Enter each day to increase your chances of winning. Contest ends at 11:59PM Friday 3. October 2008

Dad is a mumbler. If you listen carefully, you can hear him mutter under his breath. Sort of like Popeye the cartoon sailor used to make snide remarks and then chuckle. Heh-heh-heh. Dad usually mumbles things like "justifiable" as in justifiable homicide.

We were on our way to the big orange store. Ma has their charge card, and she received a $10 off coupon in the mail for a purchase over $200 if you put the purchase on the charge card. No interest, no payments for a year. Ma wanted to buy a new washing machine. She was excited about the outing and was animated on the ride up.

From the back seat came Popeye's comment, "She needs a good whack."

Sometimes when I hear nuggets like these, I have a hard time keeping a straight face.

Needs a good whack. We'll call Tony Soprano to see if Paulie Walnuts is available to take care of it for ya. Just remember you're dealing with Tony and it's gonna cost ya.

Usually Dad's mumbling isn't too bad unless we are in public, and then it can be downright embarassing.

I had once again reminded Ma of the price for a washer. I told her to expect a price between $450 and $550.

The back legs on Ma's walker, the ones with the Whiffle ball covers, made a screaching sound as Ma made her way to the appliance department. The sound of fingernails on a blackboard echoed through the warehouse. EEEEEEEEEeeeeeee EEEEEEEEeeeeeeee. People stopped to stare like that old E. F. Hutton commercial. When E.F Hutton talks everyone listens. EEEEEEEeeee EEEEEEeeee. I could see people through the entire store cringing at the sound.

Popeye was mumbling behind me.

"Listen to that! Can't even use the walker right."

"Stop it!" I hissed back at him.

The salesman approached us and immediately Ma informed him she wanted to see a Maytag.

"What the hell does she need a washer for?" Popeye muttered.

"Behave!" I hissed again.

The salesman showed Ma a Maytag with a porcelain drum for $419. Ma frowned. She wanted the Maytag with the stainless steel drum which was $100 more.

The salesman showed her a Whirlpool that was less expensive.

No, she wanted a Maytag.

"Where the hell does she think she's getting the money for this? I'm not paying for it!"

"Quit it!"

I know where Ma is getting the money from. Auntie Rose is supposed to send Ma seven grand on the third of October. Auntie Rose didn't specify the year so it could be this year, or next year or the year after.

I moved Dad away from the salesman while Ma looked at the Maytag with the stainless steel drum.

"I know how to make the washing machine work," sputtered Dad. "All I have to do is turn it."

A small shudder went up my spine. The Brother had a friend in grammar school who lost an arm in a washing machine accident. I pictured the boy with his empty sleeve pinned to his shoulder to keep the sleeve out of the way. My stomach clenched because I wasn't sure if Dad meant all he had to do was fiddle with the control knob or if he spun the drum to get the washer moving. I didn't want to ask. I tried not to picture Dad with his empty sleeve pinned to his shoulder to keep the sleeve from flapping around. Lord, I wished I had taken a second dose of aspirin.

The store was running a promotion. Buy a washer and dryer and get $75 off in a rebate. Ma's eyes sparkled with washer/dryer lust. I told her the whole shebang would cost over $1,000. She had a year to pay off the charge without interest. If she didn't send any money to Auntie Rose and the other scammers, she could easily pay off the bill in ten months by sending $100 a month to the big orange store. Yes, she understood. Yes, a good plan. She would be able to pay it off in two months time. I was hoping she was thinking it would take two months of her Social Security checks to pay the debt though deep down I knew she was counting on Auntie Rose to kick in with millions.

She handed her charge card to the salesman. He checked the availability and delivery schedule while Dad huffed and moaned.

The salesman explained the terms to Ma. $75 in rebate. No payments, no interest for a year. There would be a $60 delivery and old machine pick up, but sending in a form would reimburse her.


The salesman escorted Ma to the front of the store to complete the transaction and to print out the rebate and delivery reimbursement forms.

The salesman and I were in lockstep. Ma screeching her way to the front of the store. EEEEEEEeeee EEEEEEEeee EEEEEEeee. Dad a few paces behind us.

"Justifiable...out of her mind...I'm not paying...." floated around us.

"How long have they been married?" the salesman asked me.

"Sixty-five years."

"That's a long time. Do they get along?"

"Yup, like oil and water."

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Washer

Don't forget. Leave a comment on the blog this week to be entered into the Bloggerversary Contest Enter each day to increase your chances of winning. Contest ends at 11:59PM Friday 3. October 2008

The faithful washing machine had seen better days. Ma wanted to go to the appliance store where she's bought all her appliances for the past 56 years. So I loaded up the bus, and we went. It's only a couple of miles down the road. On the way I prepared Ma for what she could expect to pay. $400-$550 for a top loader.

The store was filled with high-end front loaders. Bosch, Whirlpool Duet, LG. All equipped with steam cleaning and from the looks of them, your wash would not only come out clean, but neatly folded. Just like Maureen Robinson's wash from Lost in Space.

A salesman came around to help. He started to talk to me and I pointed to Ma. I was not going to miss an opportunity to keep my mouth shut.

"I want a Maytag."

The salesman started moving towards the Maytag Neptune.

"She wants a top-loader."

"This is what I have in a Maytag," He showed her a washer with a price tag of $519.00

Ma frowned.

"I have a Whirlpool for $419.00"

"I want a Maytag."

"Whirlpool owns Maytag."

"What kind do you have?" Ma asked me.

"I have a Whirlpool."

"I've had my Maytag for 56 years," Ma told the salesman.

Ma's had the washer for a long time, but there was another machine in between the 56 years.

"Is that a fact."

"I've bought all my appliances here."

Ma was angling for a discount.

The salesman smiled.

"I'm 90 years old."

She played the hole card.

"Isn't that wonderful."

"We've been married 65 years," chimed in Dad.

Double teamed.

"You didn't say 65 happy years."

Don't go there.

The Weebles began backpedaling.

"There were happy years."

"He just had an operation."

The sympathy route.

"I had lots of gallstones removed."

I tried shooing the Weebles to the door.

"C'mon, kids, the man doesn't want to hear about your operations."

In the car on the way home, Ma sniffed.

"Those machines were too expensive. I want to go to the big orange store."