“Is that a duck on the wire out there?” Mom asked from the dining room.
I looked across the couch at Bill, who gave me a sideways glance, shrugged and attempted to go back to his Kindle.
“Duck?” I whispered.
“Yup,” Bill whispered back, his eyes never leaving the book he was reading. “On a wire.”
“What duck?” I called out as I slowly peeled myself off the couch and stood up.
“The one out back sitting on the wire holding up the tree.”
I walked out of the Arizona Room into the dining room and stood next to her where she sat, gazing out the window. “What are you talking about?” I asked. “What wire holding up which tree?”
“The one over there,” she said, pointing toward the street. “There’s a duck sitting on the wire.”
I looked across the yard at one of our Palo Verde trees, which was propped up to prevent it from listing too much toward our neighbor’s yard. A bird was perched along the wire that held the tree to a five-foot metal stake.
“It’s a dove,” I said.
“It’s too big for a dove,” Mom argued. “I think it’s a duck.”
“Mom, I don’t think a duck could sit on a wire. They have webbed feet.”
“Oh, that’s right. Well then it might be a goose.”
“More webbed feet.”
“How about a…”
“It’s a dove,” I interrupted. “A big old fat male dove. If we get any ducks in the yard, they’ll probably be in the birdbath.”
“Oh, okay. Well if I see any swimming there, I’ll let you know.”
We’re finally getting some overdue monsoon activity. The first big storm hit the last week of July and included thunder, lightning, blowing dust, rain, the whole works. It hit well east of Sun City first, then build up steam as it moved west before it finally landed over our house about 8:00, which also coincides with Mom’s bedtime.
Right about the time she got settled into bed, thunder rolled overhead and lightning lit up the backyard. Just as the television picture broke into a thousand digital pieces when rain clouds briefly blocked the satellite signal in the southwestern sky, I heard the click, click, click of the Red Menace’s joystick being engaged and a minute later Mom was parked in the Arizona Room doorway.
“There’s feet up there,” she exclaimed over another rumble of thunder. “They’re making too much noise.”
“Mom, it’s thunder, not feet,” I replied. “There’s a storm moving in.”
“Well that may be, but the people upstairs are still making too much noise,” she countered, pointing toward the ceiling. “Bill needs to tell them to settle down.”
Bill glanced over at me with a confused look on his face. “Upstairs?” he whispered. “People?”
“It’s a storm, Mom,” I replied with a sigh. “We’re finally going to get some rain. There is no upstairs, just the attic and it’s got to be 150 degrees up there.”
“I know that,” she responded defensively. “But it’s still feet. Feet in the attic. And it’s loud.” And with that, she turned abruptly and motored away.
“Does she think we have people living in the attic?” Bill asked as she rolled through the living room on her way back to bed.
“Not people,” she called out. “Rats. Big roof rats.”
“We don’t have roof rats,” I hollered after her. “It’s THUNDER!”
“Rat!” came her retort from the hallway. “With big FEET!”
“Guess what I heard?” Mom quipped.
“Oh, I don’t know,” I responded. “A meteor is headed for earth and we’re all going to die?”
“What? No. Is that really going to happen?”
“No, Mom, I was just kidding. What did you hear?”
“You’ll never guess,” she replied.
“You’re right, I’ll never guess. So what is it?”
“Phoenix isn’t the hottest city in American,” she answered with a big grin.
“Really? So where is the hottest city in American?”
“You’ll never guess.”
“Okay,” I said with a sigh of resignation. “I’ll play. Bullhead City? Yuma?”
“Nope, nope. It isn’t even in Arizona.”
“Really? I find that hard to believe. Okay, how about Palm Springs?”
“No, and it isn’t over there either.”
“Do you mean California? It isn’t in California?”
“Yes. Palm Springs, California. That’s where Bob Hope lives, you know.”
“Or at least his mummified remains,” I muttered. “Well, I give up. Where’s the hottest city?”
“Florida?” I responded, somewhat surprised.
“No, it’s another Miami I think. Maybe Ohio. Florida wouldn’t be hotter because it’s got oceans to keep it cooled off.”
“Oh, okay. And I guess we’ve got the shadows of big Saguaros to keep us cool,” I laughed.
“Maybe so,” she smiled. “Or maybe it’s all the dust breezes.”
“Dust breezes?” I replied. “Like the haboobs? You mean those dust breezes?”
“Yes those ones. And the other ones too,” she said, picking up her TV guide and the remote.
“Other ones? Are you thinking of monsoons?”
“No. The other ones that come from the golf courses.”
“I think you mean the Gulf of California.”
“Whatever. California golf courses or Arizona golf courses, they all bring in the dust breezes,” she answered as she turned on the TV and settled in for a visit with Drew Carey and his hair color of the day.
“Patty!” Mom yelled from the living room just as I was getting undressed to take a post-Pickleball shower.
“What!” I hollered back from my bedroom.
“Come quick,” she called out frantically.
Fearing another fall, I pulled my damp tee shirt back on and went quickly down the hall before coming to a screeching halt in the foyer. Mom was sitting on her loveseat, pointing the remote at the TV. “Okay, I’m here. What’s the big emergency?” I asked as I walked into the living room.
“They have a new host! Drew Carey’s gone.”
“Oh no, not gone,” I retorted sarcastically as I glanced at the TV screen which was showing Flo giving Geico advice to a biker. “So who’s the new guy?”
“I don’t know, but it isn’t Drew Carey.”
“Well I’ll check it out after my shower,” I said as I turned to go.
“No, no, wait,” she exclaimed. “It’s back. Look, look,” she said, pointing frantically at the television.
I glanced back at the TV just as the announcer bellowed out the Price is Right rally call of ‘come on down’ and watched as a large, bouncy lady name Shaneeta bound down the aisle to the empty player podium, then watched the camera show the electric scooter waiting to be priced, and finally pan to the stage and the ‘new’ host… who was Drew Carey, with a full head of smoky chestnut-colored hair.
“See, see,” she exclaimed. “It’s someone new.”
“No it isn’t, Mom. It’s still Drew Carey.”
“It is not,” she retorted firmly. “Look at him. He doesn’t look anything like Drew Carey. He’s taller and younger and maybe thinner. And his hair is wrong.”
“Then why does the announcer keep calling him Drew?”
“Because maybe he’s another Drew. Just not a Carey Drew.”
“Mom, it’s still him. He colored his hair. Again. I’m going to take a shower now,” I sighed, turning to leave once again.
“Well I still don’t think it’s him,” she muttered. “If it is, then why does he keep changing his hair? What was wrong with his old hair?”
“I don’t know,” I replied from the foyer. “Maybe he got tired of the white hair, and the blond hair and the brush cut and the buzz cut and the normal cut. I swear, he changes his hair more than a girl.”
“Maybe he’s really one of those transportation genies,” she offered. “I wouldn’t be surprised.”
“Sure. You know, one of those guys that wants to be a woman but can’t make up his mind. So he just wears bras and changes his hair.”
“Okay, Mom,” I laughed. “I think you’re on to something. Drew Carey’s a transportation genie.”
“Who was that yeller?” Mom asked from the office doorway.
“That was Lynn, the guy we write bids for,” I replied. “We just got off a conference call.”
“Oh? Did you get new a job?”
“No, just a new project. It came in a couple of weeks ago.”
“So you’re not retired anymore? You’re free-lancing?”
“Yes, no, sort of. We’re still retired but we do occasional work for Lynn when he needs us.”
“Then why was he yelling at you. Did you do something wrong?” she continued, looking a little concerned.
“No, we didn’t do anything wrong. He just has to talk loud on the conference call so everyone will hear him.”
“Well then I guess everyone heard him alright. I’m almost deaf and I could hear him.” She turned to go, then paused. “Did he say anything important?” she asked
“I suppose to some people. It was mainly about other stuff that didn’t matter me or Bill.”
“Then maybe he should go into politics.”
“Why do you say that.”
“Because politicians talk really loud and don’t say anything that really matters either,” she offered as she motored away.