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Lost In Translation

I didn't see Mom last weekend because it was too hot to move. (she says, slightly defensive)

Last night I went over with the things my sweet friend Anonymous (a.k.a. CP) had gathered for Mom after reading the fairy godmother post.

Mom was sitting outside, she'd had a haircut, not sure why, her bob was looking good. She recognized the car and tried to cut through the bushes to greet me.
"I can't get there!"
No problem, I'm coming there with diet Sunkist and Cheerwine (change of pace).
She mumbles and grimaces as we walk past the person on the med cart.
"Nothing. I'll walk by her, it's okay."
We manage to change shirts, from two dirty to one clean. (Do you see a pattern here?)
Her hair is dirty.

The bag o'goodies is between the seats when we get in the car and she grabs it immediately.
"That's mine!"
Yes, it is.
She puts it back.
"No, I don't believe you."
It really is for you.
"It's so pretty!" She unzips it. Pulls out the delights.

Like an eejit, I left the bag in the car all day, so the rosewater is boiling hot and the lip balm semi-melted. Brilliant.
She likes Glenda, but I'm informed that "she doesn't have a number", as we drive to Rick's Diner.
Then she bonks herself on the forehead with the mirror.

I tell her my friend CP got all the things for her.
She gets a little teary.
What's wrong?
"That makes me sad."
Sad? Why?
"I don't know her."
Well, we can arrange a meeting.
She cheers up instantly and bonks herself with the mirror again.

Glenda got dropped as we got out of the car.
Let's look for it now became "I have a slit?" to Mom.
No comment.

Rick's is empty. Mom decides on corn, potato salad and fried chicken.
Our good-natured young waiter asks, "White or dark?"
Oh dear. We forgot to cover this.
She is unclear on the distinction.
Still unclear.
Leg or booby?

That is the funniest thing I have ever said.

"She needs some help.", Mom declares to the waiter after she stops cackling about the word booby. And decides on leg.

Fried chicken takes a bit longer to cook so we have lots of time to play with the bag and its contents.
She is totally in love with the bag.
"It's very pretty."
She opens it and sticks her head in.
"Are you in there?" (Maybe she's looking for that poodle.)
"Ding ding ding.", she bangs herself in the forehead with the mirror more.
"Wheeeeee!", as she unzips the bag for the umpteenth time.
"I'll whip you!", she brandishes the mirror in my direction.
Whip me?
"I didn't have time."
"I don't know about these people.", she says as she peruses the label of the rosewater bottle.
Since the rosewater has cooled off a bit I put some on my hand and rub it on her arm.
Her skin is rough and cracked. The smell is wonderful.
"Ooohhhh, that seems nice."
I ask her to hold her other arm out, she does, then jerks it back.
"That. You want to...", she nods at the candle I just blew out.
No, I blew it out for that very reason. No parental burning allowed.
She tentatively sticks her arm across the table.

Our dinners arrive. Mom tucks into the corn and then the potato salad.
"It's cold!"
You did say potato salad, not mashed potatoes.
But I archive this information; may need to distinguish between hot or cold potatoes in the future. At the cafeteria she can see the food and then decide, unlike reading a menu or me asking her what she wants.

The potato salad is devoured with gusto, in spite of its coldness.

A woman walks across the parking lot towards Rick's.
"Nice lady. She walks funny."
She had a maxi dress on, so...?
"I like my [holds up bag]."
Then Glenda.
"She's so cute. She's precious."
Do you know what movie she's from?
"The Wizard of Oz."
No hint of remembrance or recollection crosses her face.
"Oh, I didn't know that."
Pretty sure she still doesn't.

The waiter comes back several times to re-fill tea and check on us. Nonsensical conversation and laughing ensues.

Time to pay the bill.
"I'll come with you."
"We need to be hurt.", she says as we stand at the counter.
Speak for yourself there Missy.
The pens are tiny Santas or Christmas trees that light up when you write.
"Oh I want one of those!"
I ignore that and she moves on to the chocolate chip cookie in her hand.

We drive through some subdivisions on the way back, commenting on houses and condos.
"I'll take one of those. No, I don't need that."
She spots Nantucket Grill, "We're almost home!"

I sign her back in and we go to her room. She mumbles and grimaces again at the woman at the med cart.
"I don't like her."
She looks perfectly pleasant to me, smiles, says hi. Who knows. She probably told Mom to take her pills or something. I'll have a chat on the way out.

Right now I have a cunning plan to confiscate more good jewelry to put in the safe deposit box.
Let's look for more Sarah Coventry jewelry.
She's game, so we go through boxes. Thank god she's so easily distracted.
I score a couple of bracelets, one gold, one charm, my dad's high school ring, and the ring my brother and I bought for her with the birthstones of her children and grandchildren.

She still has the charm I received in eighth grade for winning a writing contest. And my Girl Scout pins. All mixed in with eye shadow and pictures of her California neighbor's grandchildren.

Her bedspread is dirty, when I take it off, I discover her wedding ring (pocketed), a paper clip and a picture of Mookie. Interesting combo.

Mom walks with me out to the car to "put me in", so I don't have a chance to talk to the woman she was grumbling about.

"I love you."
Blows me a kiss through the car window. That never gets lost in translation.


The Other Poem

Finally, I remembered to get the other poem off the refrigerator. Hard work that.

"The Little Golden Cloud"
Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841)

The little golden cloud spent the night
On the breast of the great cliff

Early next morning she took to her way,

Into the azure, merrily playing;

But moist tracks remain in the wrinkles

of the ancient stone.

Lonely, He stands, reflecting deeply,

And softly he weeps in the wilderness


A Step In the Wrong Direction

The new psychiatrist just called. Wanted to touch base, get a bead on Mom; wondered if I had seen any recent changes. Mostly her being a bit cranky.

The staff says in the last three weeks Mom has been agitated, crabby, swearing more, and refusing to take her meds sometimes.
They're going to do some tests to make sure she doesn't have an infection. Since she can't express that she hurts or where, it could come out as crabby.

They'll probably increase her Remeron (anti-depressant). I asked if her vitamin D could be increased from 400 I.U.'s. That amount hardly even seems worth taking. Lots of studies out about depression, well being in general, and vitamin D going hand in hand.

She knows I still belong to her somehow, even if she doesn't know my name (or says she doesn't). But she doesn't have any long term memory anymore, hasn't for awhile actually.

Vascular dementia has a step wise progression. Guess this is another step down - towards the basement.

Brave New World

(Colors By Steffi. And Barbara (she of the aubergine idea.)

The wall behind the fireplace will be Jalapeno Jelly, all other walls Butter (light lemony yellow), except the knee wall and the wall over the !%$#* plant shelf (yet another BAD 1980's idea), those will be Smoky Mauve. The darker yellow got canned.

There was a wee hiccup involving the carpenters having to replace the HUGE cabinet they built which stuck out way past the fireplace hearth.
Both parties were guilty - them not sending drawings they promised - twice. And me not pushing for promised said drawings and not staying when they were putting in the huge cabinet. I would have nixed it then - before it was nailed into place. Learning curve.
Funny thing, he said the second one was much easier to build!

I'm happy with the [new] end result; cabinet is same depth as bookcase.

The Jalapeno Jelly is the lighter green on left. (The commercial on TV is for painters tape. I did not plan that.)

Alan, the painter, is painting as I type, with Finn helping him, surely. Alan called yesterday to say that Finn had climbed his ladder and was supervising from on high. Crazy kitten.

Hey, listen to this other brilliant idea from Steffi: put pictures on the knee wall.

Why, hello, outside of the box.

(so much for me being your artsy-fartsy sister, Russ. I never would have thought of that.)

More pictures to come. Because I know you all are living vicariously through me.


Work in Progress

After my house didn't sell, I thought "Fine then! I'll make it the way I want it."

So out with the old "motel bathroom":
(I want to know who thought this was
a good idea or look. Stupidest thing ever.)

Hello door. Well, there will be a door, after today:

Goodbye to the fireplace no-one noticed:

Hello mantel and built-in's (cabinets and shelves coming later today):

It's really amazing how much difference the mantel alone made. The fireplace now has presence, even with the icky 1980's glaring brass trim. (anyone have any ideas on what to do about that? Paint?)

Even more amazing - Finn has not claimed it as his spot...yet.
Bet he's just waiting for me to put all my priceless family heirlooms up there first.


Nature Boy

My father should have been a naturalist or a zoologist or some other ist that pertains to animals. Marlin Perkins of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom was a regular visitor in our home (via TV, not literally people). We owned every National Geographic hardcover book having to do with animals and a set of animal encyclopedias.
I remember being at some zoo somewhere (San Francisco?) and having people ease in to listen to my dad talk about hippos. Zoo keys - who needs 'em? He loved books by Gerald Durrell. (now that guy was funny!)

Many of our family outings were geared towards nature type activities; in Guam we collected seashells (watch out for those coconut crabs!), in Miami we went to the botanical gardens or the Everglades. In Alaska, my dad would often come home and relate what he had seen that day on the ten mile drive to and/or from work: fox, beaver, ptarmigan, marmot.

And then there was the yearly pilgrimage...

to watch the salmon spawn. That's right - every year for five years we, like the salmon, were drawn to a river to struggle mightily upstream.

Now I know what you're thinking...

Exciting right?

Yeah, not so much.

Because, truly, when you've seen one dying salmon flopping around, gasping for its last breath of air, chunks of flesh missing from fights with other salmon, eye pecked out by a raven or magpie, you have seen them all. (and people wonder why I don't eat the fish - gack.)

My mother had enough slides - of just salmon mind you - to fill an entire carousel. I don't know why. Seems one or two would have sufficed.

Salmon are the candy bar equivalent to bears, they love them and the fatty fish help fatten them up before winter's deep sleep. (not sure Kodiak bears truly hibernate, but they do take long naps.) When the salmon are spawning, they make for easy pickings; the streams are so crowded with fish, you could easily pluck one out with your bare hand (or humongous paw), if you were so inclined.
In spite of not listening to Mom's warnings to take pie plates (make noise to let bears know you're there) whenever we went out salmonberry picking (bears like them too), or climb Old Woman, we never saw a bear.
Not even when we were smack dab in the middle of their Super Wal-Mart salmon fest.

But there was this one time:
We hiked up a river, name unknown or unremembered, in and out of little rocky coves, the twelve or so foot high riverbank above us shrouded with grass and foliage.

Suddenly it got very quiet and still; it seemed like even the river stopped running. The breeze quit breezing. Birds stopped singing.

It was eerie, goosebumpy.

I don't remember what Dad said exactly, but it was in a hushed voice - something along the lines of, "Walk, DON'T RUN, back the way we came. Right now."
We did.
And a cove or two down, the birds sang, the river ran, and the breeze breezed again.

I'm convinced that while we may not have seen the bear(s), the bear(s) sure saw us.


She's on a Roll

When I drove up yesterday Mom was sitting outside with a CD (Waylon Jennings) in her hand.
Two shirts on (what is that about?!), in spite of the 97+ degree heat.

We walk back to her room to get rid of the CD.
The display on the shelf today is two small tote bags she got at Target, her Christmas wreath, a bottle of lotion and a ceramic Christmas train, oh, and some CD's.

Inside her room, there are CD's all over the place. I give up on putting stuff back. I keep an eye peeled for jewelery laying about. Don't see any this trip.

I'm able to get her to change both her shirts. Several of the neatly folded shirts on the bed are dirty too.
"I'm scared of you" she said as I held a shirt out for her to put on. What??
She was laughing though, so whatever.
In spite of laughing, she was being a little cantankerous, "Stop acting like Granny." (her mother).
"Oh, how is she? Where is she?", her eyes lit up a bit. Her mother's been dead since 2003 or 2004, can't remember (we weren't close obviously).
"She's in the cemetery, she's dead Mom."
"Oh.", and the light died back.

Her wallet was out, so of course, I looked through it. She'd placed her Hallmark Gold Crown card in the ID slot. I pocketed her ID, SS card and medical cards. "I can't have anything!" Nope.
There was no money, but she should have $60 somewhere, she hasn't been anywhere to spend it. Her purse contains a large bottle of White Shoulders lotion, several small travel bottles of bath gel, a Sarah Coventry pin...and a pair of underwear.
She's all set for The Price is Right. Come on down!

We shuffle off to K&W Cafeteria. The road's been repaired in several places, "tar Pattons" she called the patched places. We laughed and laughed.
"I'm smarter than you." she then proclaimed and laughed her new slightly creepy "heh-heh-heh" laugh.

Sunday lunch meal: pot roast, watermelon, potato salad and buttered coconut pie.
All the carrots were placed to one side as Mom does not like them; I speared a couple on my fork and she said, "Oh dude!" (think she meant "two").

"Are you writing this down? Is this against me?"

A man in his late sixties, early seventies walked past us to pay his bill.
"He's built."
"Built? Was he handsome?"
"Yes. Sort of."
"He's a bit old for you isn't he?" (she does like the younger fellow in her dotage)
"I know."

A few minutes later: "I'm just looking at you to see if it's going." Alrighty then.

More minutes later, she's picking seeds from her watermelon: "Bing! Bing, bing!", as the seeds hit the bowl.
Then, "Oh poodle! I may have a poodle in here. You know how dogs are."


She called me Mommy all damn day.
I asked her what my name was.
No, my real name.
I really don't think she can summon my name up anymore.

She didn't want to go back yet so we went to University Mall right next door.
Bought a jacket on sale at the resort wear store.
Sat in many of the new seating areas, people watching.
Wandered around in A Southern Season.
(Note to self - keep an eye on your five year old mother around the candy jars.)

There's a new store in the mall called "My Fairy Godmother", which is full of just what you'd imagine - pink, wands, tutus, butterflies, and other girly things.

Mom read the store sign and said, "I think mine's gone, don't you?"


Vacation, All I Ever Wanted

My father's idea of vacation was the two - three weeks we had to travel between duty stations. Here's his "vacation" schedule:
06:00 - all hands on deck
06:30 - car packed and inspected
06:35 - all hands in car and heading to restaurant
07:20 - all hands back in car for the required number of miles to be driven before lunch
12:20 - lunch
13:20 - all hands back in car for the required number of miles to be driven before supper
15:00 - possible bathroom stop
17:20 - designated motel

My father was disciplined - if he decided the goal was 500 miles before lunch, then by god, we were going 500 miles - never mind if we passed up the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, or the world's largest ball of string.

Lord help us if the car made a noise or some other thing, invisible to us, happened.
His jaw would clinch, a sure sign of displeasure, and my mother would fold up the map and look back over the seat at us, pleading with her eyes for us to be quiet for a bit.

Which was my sister's (middle child) cue: "I need to use the bathroom! Is something wrong with the car? Is it going to break down? Will we be stuck here forever? Are we stopping? Is Daddy mad? Why is his jaw doing that? Mommy, why are you hitting my leg and telling me to shush? I think Russ is going to throw up. When are we going to eat? Can I have some gum? Kim's looking at me! I said I have to use the bathroom!"

My father was not a hitter or a yeller, when the jaw started clinching, he stopped talking.
To everyone.
For weeks.

Not exactly what you want to have happen on vacation.

But in spite of all the years of traveling with my dad, one year my mother insisted we were going to have a REAL vacation. Disneyland. Sea World. The San Diego Zoo.
We hooked up a rented trailer to the back of the Ford Galaxy and headed south, full of ignorance and bliss.

The first night on the road my brother threw up. Since he was in the top bunk, we were in the bottom and there's this thing called gravity...well you can imagine the rest of that little interlude. Also managed to hit my dad's shoes dead center. No problem.

Things go well at Knott's Berry Farm. And Disneyland.
My sister and I are getting along, having fun even. That's akin to peace in the Middle East.

Then at Sea World, it all comes apart. Dad had spied a restaurant that employed a tram going over the water to transport you to their establishment. My sister, who was petrified and white knuckled on the Disney Monorail, turned a whiter shade of pale and really didn't want to go.
Well, that was that. Even though she said she'd do it. My dad was done. Turns out you could drive there as well but no, my dad would not be moved.

For the rest of the vacation he did not talk to us unless he had to.
At the San Diego Zoo, he decided to punish us by sitting by himself at the entrance all day. He'd show us!

The rest of us had fun without him.

We never went on vacation again. Guess we'd all learned our lesson.

Soul Mate

My friend's (isn't it funny how someone you've never met can be one?) post over at As I See It Now this morning made me think about my mother's life.

Her past life that is.

My parents were an anomaly for their generation.

For instance:
  • My mother had her own checking account and credit cards
  • My father helped with the cooking every night
  • My mother (after we were older) worked and volunteered
  • My father taught me to vacuum
  • My mother (extrovert) had her own interests and friends
  • My father (introvert) was okay with that

For the first eight or so years of their marriage, my father was out to sea (Coast Guard) for months at a time. My mother HAD to be independent; deal with three children and a household on her own, with no family back-up, in Alaska or Guam or Hawaii. She too had to be "Semper Paratus" (always ready).

My parents were both the first (and only) of their siblings to leave not just their families but the states (FL and GA) they grew up in. The two of them secretly dreamt of being nomads perhaps.
Mom, at twenty, flew from Florida to Sitka, Alaska with a two and a half month old baby (me) to set up housekeeping. Talk about leaving the nest!

After my father died, Mom traveled, went to plays, to T.O.P.S meetings and events, talked on the phone for hours, sewed her Barbie clothes - all the things she did before he died. They had been married since she was nineteen; forty-three years. They were a team, and they each pulled their own weight.

But he wasn't her best friend.

I can hear the Oh-that's-SO-sad's right now.
That's what your girlfriends are for.
Don't burn those bridges when going through your "boyfrienditis" stage. You'll be needing them later when you realize NO ONE PERSON - even if they want to - can supply everything.

Spouses/significant others are expected to be and do everything these days: "soul-mates" (a phrase that sends shivers down my spine - in a bad way), "best friends", and the popular "complete them" (gag me!). What nonsense.
Let's set ourselves up for disappointment shall we? Is it a wonder the divorce rate is near 50%? We expect so much from the other person. Who can bear up under that pressure?!

Complete your own darn self.
Let your own light shine. And don't sit around waiting for someone else to flip the switch for you.
You'll be a lot happier and attract a better group of moths.


On Being Southern

The sun is barely risen, but already it's close to 80 degrees. Later in the day, humidity coupled with the heat will make it feel over 100 degrees. Walking from an air-conditioned building to an air-conditioned car is enough to make one miserable.

Close your eyes. Feel the heat. FEEL it. Now:

Imagine working in cotton fields or on a rice plantation in that heat, all the while wearing several more layers of clothing then we are accustomed to wearing now and being pregnant or sick.

Imagine after ten-twelve hours of hard labor going "home" to a two room rectangle, each room about five by eight feet, to cook and clean for your family - all of whom live and sleep in those two small rooms:

Imagine getting up the next day, and the next, and the next and doing it all over again.

Imagine being owned by someone.

Imagine owning people.

When I moved back to Florida in the mid-nineties I got into genealogy - never mind any Southerner worth their salt KNOWS this from the day they're born. I just never paid attention.

There were rumors of a slave cemetery out beyond the fence of our family cemetery, but there were "feral dogs" out there, (my mother relied heavily on putting the fear of feral dogs in us for some reason) and snakes, and besides all the wooden markers were gone. "You'll never find it honey."

In other words, stop talking about it and let's move on. It's in the past. Hush up about it.

Through the miracle of the Internet I discovered:

From the estate of my ggg-uncle:

For Board & clothing of old Man Baccus, a Disabled Blind Negro belonging to the Estate of S. J. E. for 1 Year to Dec. 31st 1846 $20.00.

Recd of Mrs. Ann M. S. her State Taxes for the year 1845 as guardian for J. J. E. (son of uncle)

on 8 Negroes

Expenses for feeding young Negroes---------10.00


Appraised value of Negroes---------------2258.33

My gggg-grandfather:

...Thomas S.,

On this page is a list of Negroes, thirty-six in number, the property of

...the heirs of Thomas S., deceased, brought to Camden County, GA
from Georgetown, SC., to settle them here. Dated Feb. 7, 1803.

My other gggg-grandfather:
Francis B. to Mrs. Mary BACHLOTT of East Florida, bill of sale dated 

Sept. 20, 1800
, conveying slaves.

It made my stomach hurt.

Since I couldn't get to my own family's, I got directions to a well-maintained slave cemetery in GA. Under a big live oak, at the grave of a man named Moses, I wept and repented for my family. For me.

It still makes my stomach hurt.

It still makes me ashamed. Of being Southern.


Sign Sign Everywhere A Sign

I'm driving back from somewhere Saturday and passed a house for sale. "I'm Gorgeous Inside!", it proclaimed.

HA! I snorted. "Me too!" Then I wondered...


Because since Fawn's been here, I fear I have been rather less than gorgeous.

All those deep, passionate posts about her fabulous OTHER friends has awakened in me the slatternly cousin of jealousy:

"Oh, your friend Fawn was delightful!"

"Her blog is great! Makes me want to meet Harrah!"

"She seems like such an interesting person!"

Yeah. Sigh.

That's my M.O. with Fawn, how we got into relationship, with me having to confess that I really didn't like her very much - because I was envious of her. Ouch.
I would have used the word jealous until reading this Wikipedia article on envy.

Ugh. Envy is worse. Seven deadly sins worse.

Excuse me while I go scourge myself.

Gorgeous inside indeed.


Fourth of July

"I'm always running behind the time..." as Joni Mitchell sings in "Just Like This Train".

So here's my behind the time post for the Fourth of July in
Carrboro, NC.

Men in kilts - my favorite!
(no, really!)

Recorded them playing "Scotland The Brave" on my phone, but am not talented enough to get it on here.

Bagpipes always, always give me goosebumps (blood memories again surely) and make me a bit teary. Weird. (PS - I also like accordions. What is wrong with me?!)

They even had a Lambeg drum, though not the full sized one; you can hear and feel those from over a mile away. It would have scared the children.

The Lambeg is tied to the Orange Order, Unionists, Northern Ireland, The Troubles, and other complicated things that are part of my Ulster-Scots (a.k.a. Scots-Irish) heritage. Makes me so proud - NOT.

This post is just a belated remembrance of good friends, small towns, and a birthday.



I love all the little connections in the blogging world.

From my friend Fawn's blog, I found As I See It Now and This One Time. Insightful, often achingly tender posts from these two. Also in the same vein, our wise mutual friend, Warren. All three are spiritual without finger pointing.

I like that.

Then Fawn linked to my friend Rosemary's blog, Love is Forever, who is very under followed in my opinion. She is an extremely talented poet and writer.

Don't remember where I found the link to Inner Fat Girl, but I'm glad I did. She is one funny, savvy, sometimes very poignant, young woman.

Go Ask Alice...When She's 94 made a comment on my blog which I followed to her blog. A serious wordsmith, writing about her 94 year old mother with heartbreaking sensitivity.

My friend Kathiey writes about exploring her world with such joy! Bloom where you're planted is her motto (that's my take anyway).

Then there's the peaceful, creative Vespertine Cafe, which for me is a place to rest, to appreciate beauty and those who produce it.

Maybe if you bug her, Life's A Dance will actually post more. (Good old guilt - what would we do without it?!)

Make it a point to check out the blog links on your friend's blogs - you never know what you might find, what connections you might make.


So Many Things

Selma & Sal, the couple I met last Friday are still on my mind. We exchanged phone numbers, but the piece of paper was in my pants pocket when I washed them and the number - gone. Accident?
(My friend Dan T. would interject here "There are no accidents." Oh shut up and get out of my head.)

I have an idea of where they live, could go looking for them. But do I really want to do that? S & S could be a bit high maintenance me thinks. Is taking on someone else's parents something I'm willing to do? I barely want my own some days. (I KNOW. So freakin' selfish.)

Then I see Selma's eyes tear up as she tells me their daughter wants them to move in to assisted living sooner rather than later. Sal coming back from the car with three pens, "one of which might work." It took both of them to write the phone number.

They reminded me of Madeline Kahn and Mel Brooks in "High Anxiety" when they pretended to be an old married couple going through airport security:
THORNDYKE: If you're loud and annoying, psychologically,
people don't notice you.
Come on.
We can do it. Loud and annoying.

VICTORIA: (ln Russian accent) I can't carry this no more.

THORNDYKE: (ln Russian accent) Celery? You had to buy
in San Francisco? You can't get it by the market near our house?

VICTORIA: Excuse me, I bought the celery in case on the plane
they wanted to serve you a Bloody Mary.

THORNDYKE: A Bloody Mary? Well, I don't like the Bloody Mary
they serve on the plane. No sir. It's too burning.

They don't even put tomato juice, they put snappy peppy.
Murray Weintraub, remember him?
Morning, noon and night he drank the Bloody Marys
with the peppy snappy.

You know where he is now? Dead from that.

VICTORIA: Murray Weintraub is not dead.
Murray Weintraub is alive.


VICTORIA: Morris Turtletaub you're talking about. The one from
Great Neck who walks sideways like this.
(Muttering nonsensically)

THORNDYKE: No sir. Morris Turtletaub didn't walk like that.
Morris Turtletaub, to my memory, walked just like this.

(Muttering nonsensically)

A little irregular. Couldn't help himself.

Trying to sort all this out in my head is hard enough without trying to write about it. Coherent is not my forte. I envy people who express themselves eloquently and succinctly.

What to do...


A Hard Decision

When I left Wynwood yesterday, a woman was deadheading the marigolds in the flower beds. She said to get some because that's where the seeds are. I did as I was told.

Their car was parked next to mine and we started talking. They live in an independent living facility now, but were looking into moving in because their daughter had uttered the words every parent dreads:

They're a burden.

Her perky and peppy husband is in the early stages of Alzheimer's; she has some health issues. If they move into Wynwood, they can be together for the time being (in a very small room), but eventually, as the disease progresses, he will have to move to a locked facility.

There's a fine line between being okay on your own and being unable to realize you need help. In 2004, I asked Mom to consider selling the house in FL and move in with me, but she wasn't ready to do that then. Four years later it was too late, she was beyond that.

This is the between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place that this couple finds themselves - not ready to move, but of course, they don't want to be a burden either.

Is there a middle ground?

Let's Have A Day

Here's a fairly new behavior: outside each room there's a small shelf and she's started displaying things on it; sometimes it's DVD's or knick knacks, other times it's framed photos or piles of folded clothes, yesterday it was perfume and lotion.

Knocked on her door, no answer. Mom was sleeping like the dead, so I used the twenty minutes or so before she woke to collect the jewelry she leaves laying around and go through her closet for too small clothes.
The TV was parked on VH1, (what is up with that?!), but I was afraid if I changed it, she'd wake up and discover my thievery.

She's cranky and disoriented for the first few minutes after waking up. Looks at me like I'm some sort of alien being she's never seen before, doesn't respond to questions.
Wanted to make her bed; that doesn't involve anything since she sleeps on top of the covers, but you have to work around the piles of clothes that line the perimeter. She has probably never slept under the covers the whole year she's been there. She was laying on a lighter and a pair of scissors. I pocketed the lighter when she was in the bathroom and threw it away.

We went to Rick's Diner at their new location next to the Post Office. Bigger, and slower, still working out the kinks. Mom proclaimed their sweet tea "tasted like everything". When we got in the car she said, "Let's have a day!" Okay.

Part of the day involved getting a safe deposit box for the jewelry I'd collected. She waited patiently while I filled out paperwork, etc., I didn't tell her what I put in there.

Then we went to Great Clips to get her hair washed, since it was dirty. That was right across from Target, so we continued our "day" there. A car alarm was going off as we walked across the parking lot and she said, "Someone must have died. They'll be prettier."

She is really attracted to costume jewelry, the bigger and more colorful, the better (note the large fake turquoise ring from the last Target visit).

Then we tried on hats:

(It looks like she's crying in the first picture, but she's laughing)

We circle the store and she spies watermelon, as she fondles a package of pre-cut slices she laughs her new weird fake sounding laugh, "Heh, heh, heh.". I take it she wants some. She wants strawberries too. I herd her towards the check-out.

When we get to the car, she wants to sit in the back seat for the ride home.

And that was our day.


Break It Down - Conclusion (hopefully)

So turns out one set of wires coming into my house from the transformer was loose. That's why only one leg of the circuit was going out. Loose because this giant lug nut holding them in place was "tempered" and could not be tightened anymore. Not good. Needed to be replaced.

Guess what? In the fair state of NC the power company (PC) does not own the meter base - you do. (the meter base encloses the wires and tempered lug nut that needs to be replaced. PC owns wires and actual meter, that's it.)

Guess what? The electrician has to pull a permit to work on it.
Guess what else? My home warranty program doesn't cover permits.

I'll spare you the details of the week's worth of phone calls it took to coordinate the power being turned off (forty eight hour notice please), and the electrician; the permit, thankfully, was arranged by the electrician.

Tuesday morning -
8:30 AM: the power's turned off.
11:30 AM: the electrician is finished. The inspector was there, asked me to call PC and he will also call to tell them to restore power.
11:35 AM: I call PC.
6:00 PM: I go home.

No [%*$@#% are-you-kidding-me?!] power.

It's 93 outside, 87 inside.
The cats are hanging around the cool slate slab of the fireplace hearth, too hot to eat.

I call PC, on phone for twenty seven minutes, twenty five of which is on hold while two different people check to "see what's going on". Second person comes back to phone and says, "I show your power being turned back on July 2."
Ah, no.

She amends that, says someone should be around to turn power by 9 PM.
It's about 6:30.
7:30 PM, PC shows up and in about twenty minutes, power is restored!

Home warranty fee - $60
Permit - $125
Air conditioning - priceless