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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!"
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.
"That's a long time. Do they get along?"
"Yup, like oil and water."