Stayed with my dad yesterday while my mom went to church. (The choir sang — but did not sign** — the “Hallelujah Chorus” from G. F. Handel’s oratorio, “The Messiah” and the congregation did not stand! My mom was scandalized.) In the time honored custom. she had put a pot roast on to cook before she left for church so we could have a nice lunch after, it being Easter and all. She had just come back from church and was changing her clothes when the doorbell rang. I went to the door, and it was J, the lady across the street who is such a nice neighbor and friend to my mom and dad. She and her husband had been going somewhere and happened to notice that my car, which was parked in the driveway, had a flat tire. Sure enough. The left front tire was resting-on-the-rim flat. Lovely.
Now, my mom is a member of AARP’s version of roadside assistance because members of AARP get a special discount. You pay a yearly fee to this service and then if your car breaks down or has a flat, or you’ve locked the keys inside, or you have a dead battery, etc., you can call their toll free number and they will send a guy out to help you. (For an 89-year-old woman who was in her 70’s before she learned how to put gas in her car, this is a good deal.) So my mom proceeds to call the toll-free number, tells them she has a flat tire and gives them the license plate number of my car, which is sitting forlornly in the driveway with a noticeable list toward the port bow. We (her phone is turned up loud enough that I can hear it halfway across the room) were informed that a guy had been dispatched and would be there within 45 minutes. Now, the last time I had a flat fixed was a number of years ago. At that time, a guy from the tire company came out to my house to air up the tire, and I followed him to the tire store, where they fixed the tire, so when my mom asked me if I had a spare tire or a donut, I didn’t remember. Since this happened on a Sunday, the tire store wouldn’t be open until this morning. I had a doctor’s appointment with the dermatologist at 9:30 this morning about my finger. We briefly discussed how I would get there if I did indeed have a donut, since I wasn’t about to drive anywhere with it.
In the meantime, since lunch was mostly ready anyway, mom has decanted the pot roast, made gravy, instant mashed potatoes, and we’re chowing down. I have to digress at this point. My parents married in 1946. During the first year of their marriage, they bought a set of stainless steel waterless cookware, which is to say stainless steel pots and pans with Bakelite handles and rims on the pots that are specially designed to form a moisture seal around the edge of the pot lid so whatever liquid the pot contains doesn’t boil away. They paid $65 for the set, which was a lot of money at the time ($832.32 in 2014 dollars). They had to make installment payments. She still has the entire set and uses them whenever she cooks things on the stove. One of them is a large deep pot which she uses to cook pot roasts, among other things. She sears the meat, salts and peppers it, puts in raw carrots and onions, a cup of water, and puts the pot on the stove burner at low heat, then she gets dressed and leaves at about 9:30 for Sunday School. Church service usually lets out right about noon, and when she comes home, the roast is done.
Now, my parents’ house faces south and, because of astrophysics, geography, and the house’s floor plan, when a car turns into the driveway between about 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. of a sunny day, sunlight reflects off the car’s windshield/windscreen through the garage door windows, the window of the door into the garage, and into the kitchen. I’m about three bites from being finished eating and my mom notices the flash of reflected sunlight that announces the arrival of the guy the service has sent to fix the flat tire. We look in the trunk and it comes to light that I had a spare tire after all. The tire guy makes sure it has the proper air pressure, switches it out for the flat tire, and we put the flat in the trunk. He gets his clipboard and asks me to sign it to verify that he came, he saw, he fixed. Just in time, I remember I’m supposed to be my mom, and sign her name instead of mine. Off goes the tire guy, I go back inside and finish my lunch, and as we eat, my mom clues me in on where “her” tire store is located. This particular store is nearby and fixes flats for free.
Fast forward to this morning. Right after I get up, I nip outside and check to see if the spare tire is still properly inflated, in case it isn’t and I have to get a ride from my mom to my appointment. It is. I’m out the door at 8:30 and off to the tire store. The tire store guy, with his trusty clipboard, takes my info, looks at the flat, and tells me they can’t fix it. The tire was made in 1991, and they’re not allowed to fix a tire that’s over 10 years old. So, I have to buy a new tire. That’ll be $79.90, thank you very much. As luck would have it, in addition to the $50 that I had left from my garage sale proceeds, mom had slipped me a pair of Hamiltons and a Jackson, Sunday for daddy sitting, so I have $90 in cash in my wallet — I fork over $80 and get a whole dime back in change.
They needed a key so they could put the Crayola in the bay to change out the tire, so I gave them the valet key like I always do. I remembered they needed in the trunk/boot so they could get at the flat tire, so I unlocked it, without raising the lid. I wasn’t thinking that they would have to put the spare back in its place in the trunk and, of course, after they took the flat tire out, they closed the trunk and couldn’t get it back open. They did put the spare in a plastic bag before they put it in the back seat. . . . Since I was in a hurry to get to my appointment, I went haring off.
The dermatologist resident at the VA examined my finger and decided it wasn’t a ganglion cyst after all, but a dermal calcinosis. To prove his diagnosis, he got a needle and syringe and attempted to aspirate the fluid out, but there wasn’t any, thus ruling out a ganglion cyst. He associated dermal calcinoses with osteoarthritis. (But then, so are Bouchard’s nodes). Since I’m less than three weeks away from my move, and the thing’s not hurting or interfering with the use of my finger, he says we can safely leave it alone. I think I’m going to opt to have it removed later, after the dust from the move has settled. If it is removed, it will be biopsied, which will yield a definitive diagnosis. What puzzles me is that he says these calcinoses are slow growing. As big as it is, you’d think I would have noticed it before now. I have had at least one set of hand x-rays through the VA. I wonder if anything showed up on it. Oh, well. As they say, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof, and I’ve got a bunch of bigger fish to fry just at the moment.