Our friends, Ken and Mary Lou stopped by for a visit on their drive home from Las Vegas the last week in September. Ken played in a national senior softball tournament there and, like the previous September when he played in the same tournament in Vegas, they stayed with us for a couple of nights on their drive back to Texas.
Mary Lou reads my blog every time I post a story. She especially likes the stories about my mother, who seems to still be hanging around the house even though she passed away on Labor Day in 2016.
Every once in a while Mom does something to let us know she’s still keeping tabs on us. For example, during last year’s visit, Mary Lou announced at breakfast the morning after their first night here, that either the Number Bed in the guest room was broken or Mom had messed around with the number setting. Mary Lou claimed she had it inflated to the perfect number when she went to sleep but it was as flat as a pancake when she woke up.
This had never happened before (or since) and Bill sleeps on that side of the guest room bed at least three times a week to escape my snoring. And occasionally, I sleep in there on the opposite side of the bed to escape Bill’s snoring. Plus our granddaughters have slept on the bed when they come for a sleepover at Nana and Papa’s or they piled onto the guest room bed just to relax and watch TV while the grown-ups talk in the living room.
So I had a little talk with Mom and the second night she seemed to leave Mary Lou alone because the bed stayed pumped up all night.
I guess that explained Mary Lou’s greeting after not seeing us for a year. I opened the front door and she bound in, gave me a hug and, instead of saying hello, she yelled at the ceiling and into my left ear, “Leave my bed alone, Mom!”
And did Mom listen to this edict? Sort of. She left Mary Lou alone and deflated Ken’s side of the bed instead. Only this time she made it permanent.
As they prepared to hit the road at 6 AM on the third day, they mentioned that Ken’s side of the bed was pretty much completely deflated. After they were gone, Bill and I stripped the bed and stared at the sunken right side. We both felt terrible that poor Ken had spent the night sleeping in a pit and we decided to test the bed. We pumped up both sides of the bed to 60 and then waited for a couple of hours to see if the number setting stayed. The left side held the air; the right side plummeted to 10 and resembled a well-used hammock.
After almost twenty years, it was time to replacement our old Number Bed. We never discovered where the leak was coming from. The next day we bought a new bed and made sure to get a brand that didn’t require air pressure to provide a good night’s sleep.
Hopefully, this one will be Mom-proof.
I had an appointment with my oncologist at the end of the week and he wanted my blood again. So I drove to the lab at Cigna to donate a vile or two or, as it turned out, six. When I walked in I got pretty excited because the waiting area was totally empty. Russ, one of the check-in techs waved at me as I approached and called out, “I can help you over here.”
I gave him my lab order, and after answering a couple of questions, he enter all the information the phlebotomist would need to draw my blood. Convinced my name would be called at any moment by one of the phlebotomists, I took a seat in the loneliest waiting room in town and waited expectantly.
After waiting ten minutes, a man approached and Russ called out, “I can help you over here.” He was signed in and quickly taken back for X-rays.
After waiting fifteen minutes, a lady approached and Russ called out, “I can help you over here.” She was quickly taken back for a mammogram.
After twenty minutes had slowly ticked by, a third person wandered in. As she looked around at the empty room, Russ called out once again, “I can help you over here.” She looked startled and glanced around, trying to place the location of the mysterious voice. Russ waved at her and she wandered over to his station. Her check-in process went something like this…
“Your birth date?” Russ asked.
“September 23rd,” she replied.
“Today’s your birthday?”
“No, today’s September 23rd. My birthday is April 27th.”
“Oh, okay. What year?”
“No, what year were you born?” he asked a little louder.
“And you’re Doris?”
“Dr. Allen,” she said.
“I’m sorry, what?”
“That’s my doctor. You asked me who my doctor is. He wants me to get bloodwork done.”
“Yes, I see that,” Russ said with a sigh. “But you’re Doris, right?”
“No, Lewinsky. Doris Lewinsky.”
“Okay, got it. Doris Lewinsky. Have you been fasting, Doris?” Russ continued.
“What about last week?”
“I was here last week.”
“But have you been FASTING?” he enunciated loudly.
“I don’t know who that is.”
“Did you EAT anything today?”
“Yes. No eating.”
Russ let out an explosive exhale, finished entering the information into his terminal and finally said, “You can take a seat, Doris. It’ll be a few minutes.”
“For bloodwork, right?” she asked.
“Yes, for bloodwork.”
“Okay, just making sure I’m not getting other stuff done. I was just here last week you know.”
“Hi there,” I responded when my BFF Mary Lou’s caller ID showed up on my phone last week. Mary Lou lives in a Sun City community, north of Austin, Texas.
She responded to my greeting with, “Have I talked to you since I fell down?”
“No,” I replied, “I don’t think so. When did you fall down? And, did you break anything?”
“Well, let me just tell you about it,” she replied, taking a deep breath before launching into her story. “I went outside on my porch to get the paper but it wasn’t there yet. And then I dropped my house keys in a shrub next to the porch. So I leaned down to get them and… . Did you know that if you try to pick something up that’s 18 inches lower than your feet, you’ll just fall right over? Just like that, right over. Well, that’s what happened.”
“You fell ov…?” I started to ask.
“Right into the bush. And there I was, stuck, with my body in the bush and one foot on the porch and my other leg in the air. Plus, I only had on my robe and underpants. Can you imagine? I was stuck in a bush with my legs sticking up and my robe down around my waist and Ken wasn’t home and if I yelled no one would hear me and I left my phone in the house. Plus we were getting something from UPS but he wasn’t here yet, and he even if he showed up he wouldn’t be able to pick me up anyway, and all he’d see when he got here was me, upside down in a bush with my underwear showing. Plus no one would stop when they drove by.”
“You mean people just kept on going? That’s terrible.”
“They probably thought I was some kind of Halloween display,” she grumbled.
I was trying not to laugh at both the sight of Mary Lou upside down in a bush and the 911 conversation she would have had if she’d somehow managed to make a call. At the same time, I felt bad that my friend was put in this humiliating and helpless position and worried she might have really hurt herself this time. Mary Lou tends to fall down on a regular basis. She took a big spill off her bike last year, she’s gone down in her house on more than one occasion and has fallen out of her car. Good thing she’s bouncy.
“Oh my God,” I exclaimed as she took a breath. “How’d you ever get out?”
“Well, I sort of fell out. But really, really slow. I aimed my legs away from the brick porch pillars and kind of tumbled over the bush and down the little hill where it’s planted next to the side of the porch and I just rolled out on the ground. Which is all rocks, by the way. Our whole yard is rock landscaping because that’s the stupid Sun City HOA rule here. And the rocks are hard and they hurt! And now I’m sore everywhere.”
“So is anything broken? Are you okay? Did you find your keys?”
“Yes and nothing’s broken. I’m just black and blue and yellow all over my body. I’ll probably still have bruises when we get to your house the end of next week. I’m never going to bend over to pick stuff up. In fact, I’m never going to bend over again at all. Ever! Ken can do all the bending down and picking up. And I’m never going to go anywhere without my cellphone.”
“And wearing clothes when you go outside might be a good idea too,” I added.
Olivia is in the sixth grade, her last year of elementary school. Her sister Morgan is three years behind her in the third grade. That means this is the last time they’ll be together in the same school until Olivia’s senior year in high school. It’s sad because Olivia will be losing her campaign manager and biggest fan. Last year, Olivia ran for 5th grade treasurer and lost, but not by much and definitely not due to her little sister’s undying love, persistent lobbying, and passionate support.
This year Olivia is running for office once again. It’s for 6th grade Spirit Secretary. She and Morgan made a campaign video that will be shown in Olivia’s class on election day. We got to see it when Jamie emails us a copy.
It touts Olivia’s great qualities, like enthusiasm, caring and pride in her school. When asked by Morgan, who is acting as an interviewer in the video, why she wants to be Spirit Secretary, Olivia’s animated response is that she’s “a hard worker, honest, and helpful,” and she promises to be “the best secretary ever and to make the Spirit Carnival the greatest ever!”
Now, as far as campaign ads go, I could watch this one all day long. In less than 30 seconds it tells me that this little person is thoughtful, well-spoken and is obviously proud of her school. She’s got my vote.
It’s a stark contrast to all the ‘professional’ political campaign ads that have been clogging up the airways all year spouting misinformation, misleading and out-of-context claims, not to mention outright lies.
Olivia and Morgan’s little video is a wonderful breath of fresh air, like the scent of springtime flowers and clean mountain streams; pure, unfiltered and natural. Unlike the stench of toxic waste dumping grounds and methane-infused landfills that this election year’s political ads bring to mind.
I can’t wait for November 8 to come and go. Especially go. Can you tell?
We were watching Queen Elizabeth’s funeral procession in London. The pageantry surrounding this event has been breathtakingly beautiful and an amazing tribute to the Queen. From the one mile walk to Holyrood Palace in Edinburgh, Scotland after arriving from her Balmoral estate to her procession in London as it made its way to Westminster Abbey, the choreographed display was incredible.
While her coffin was being placed on the raise dais in the middle of Westminster Hall, Bill turned to me and said, “I hope you’re taking notes.”
“Notes?” I asked, looking at him.
“Yup. I want me one of those.”
“A lead-lined coffin?”
“No, the whole parade thingy,” he replied. “You know, with horses and guys in fuzzy hats and people carrying me around on their shoulders.”
“Okey dokey. And where would you like to be placed for viewing since my ancestral castle is probably not available?”
He thought for a moment before answering, “In the bowling alley.”
“The Bell Rec Center bowling alley? Why? You don’t even like bowling.”
“I know, but the floor is smooth and shiny, the lighting is good, and there’s plenty of room for people to come and view me.”
“How about this,” I offered. “We’ll get you cremated because it’s already paid for it and I’ll put your urn outside on top of your Weber for a week so people can ‘view you’ sitting up there on top of the grill stuff you loved.”
“Sounds like a plan, hon,” he responded with a grin.
Last weekend we went to eight-year-old Morgan’s first soccer game of the season. They lost. Badly. And then we all went for lunch at a nearby restaurant to celebrate how great she played and also Bill’s birthday. While Jamie, Bill, Olivia and Ryan were talking to each other at one end of the table, eight-year-old Morgan, who was sitting next to me, looked up and said, “Nana?”
“Do you know what a pose ‘em is?”
“Like an animal? A possum?”
“No, Nana,” she giggled. “Not an animal.”
“Then I guess I’m not sure what it is,” I replied. “Tell me what it’s for.”
“Well if you need something you write it on a pose ‘em and stick it on yourself so you’ll ‘member it.”
“Remember the pose ‘em?”
“No. Remember the thing. Like if you wanted to give me five dollars you could put it on a pose ‘em and stick it on yourself and then you would see it and remember,” she answered with a smile.
“Oh, okay,” I nodded, the lightbulb going off over my head. “Now I know what you mean. You’re talking about Post Its. Those little yellow and pink and green square things that you can write on.”
“Yup, pose ‘ems. Do you have any?”
“I have some at home.”
“Not in your purse?”
“I was going to write a remember and stick it on you.”
“Oh, well, sorry, but I don’t have any Post Its with me.”
“That’s okay,” she said as she began digging through her backpack-style purse. “I have some.”
After a minute, she withdrew her hand and there was a bright purple Post It square stuck to her finger. She gave me a big smile as she wiggled the note at me and sat back down. “Here you go,” she said, giggling some more while sticking the two inch by two inch square on my arm. I glance down at it and read, Give Morgan 5$
“And when am I supposed to remember to do this?” I asked, trying not to smile.
“Well, I guess now would be good,” she said with a grin.
“But I don’t have five dollars. I only have four ones and a ten dollar bill.”
“That’s okay, Nana,” she said as she dug a pen out of her purse. “I can change it to say ten dollars.”
“But it wouldn’t be fair to Olivia if I gave you ten dollars and I only had four left for her. How about I give you both two dollars?”
“Oh, don’t worry,” she replied, removing another purple Post It from her purse and waving it in front of my nose. “I made another pose ‘em for Papa to remember to give Olivia five dollars. But I can change it to ten dollars too.”
“Well, I guess you’ve got it covered, sweetie,” I said, giving her a hug.
“I know. Pose ‘ems are the best!”