Mom and I had a nice lunch at a local cafeteria — we had coupons! This is a favorite place to eat. They have a wide variety of well-prepared food. For a set price, you go through the cafeteria line and get whatever you want from a large selection of salads, entrees, vegetables, breads, desserts and drinks. They invariably have this salad made with grated carrots, raisins and pineapple, which I got, and okra rolled in corn meal and fried, which my mom and I both love, and both got. They also have this salad my mom got made with lime Jello, pineapple, cottage cheese, and nuts, which my mom has made since time immoral*. It’s one of those iconic dishes of the 1950’s like tuna casserole, and the carrot salad mentioned above, the comfort food of that first wave of boomers. Mom made it with the Sunbeam Mixmaster in a rectangular sheet cake pan, cut it into squares and served it on a lettuce leaf with a dollop of Miracle Whip on top. It is associated in my mind with church potluck dinners, and company. It belongs with those tastes of my childhood: Scrambled eggs mixed with canned Gebhardt’s chili, tuna with white sauce and English peas served over toast, spaghetti with ground beef sauteed with onions to which was added a can of tomato sauce (Mom always broke the spaghetti in thirds before putting it in the boiling water so it wouldn’t be so long and messy) and which was topped by Kraft grated Parmesan cheese which came in a pasteboard can with a shaker top. For dessert I had what I think was a variant of Millionaire Pie (you should be that rich!) — it had pineapple and nuts, but it had a cherry flavor to the filling. It was eaten with alacrity, gusto and a spoon.
Mom got a mystery sympathy card from a name and address in Houston that she didn’t recognize. We couldn’t figure out who it was from. I got on Anywho.com and looked up the address, and got a name we didn’t recognize, and a phone number, which mom called tonight. The card turned out to be from one of the nurses who takes care of her youngest surviving brother, H. (He’s 94 and not in good shape at all.) She had met my mom when mom had gone down to Pearland for the funeral of her youngest brother Q — the one closest to her in age. The last four children were A, H, Q and my mom. Only A and H are still alive. Now that she can, mom wants to fly down to visit with them for a couple of days. She usually stays with one of her nieces, E, but E’s husband had heart bypass surgery the week my dad passed away. I’d like to go too if we can go between Monday and Thursday, and I can get a friend to take care of the cats.
It took us over an hour at the bank to take my dad’s name off the accounts, and make new signature cards for her checking and savings, two CDs, and a safety deposit box, with me as the alternate, just in case. Much as I hate to think of it, having me as alternative on her accounts will give me immediate access to money she’s already set aside to pay hospital bills, final expenses, funeral costs, etc. It’s not an idea I’m comfortable with, but it’s an eventuality that will have to be faced. During these past ten or so years, as my dad gradually went down, my mom and I got closer, especially during these last couple of years. I know these are practical matters that have to be dealt with, but that doesn’t make them any easier to face.
It was 3:30 by the time we got done at the bank. When I got home, I had another uncomfortable matter to deal with. Somebody had urped all down the side of chair I keep at the foot of my bed, and all over the rug underneath it. (If my “summer” shoes had been where I usually keep them, instead of on my feet, they’d have caught some of it . . . ick!) I desperately wanted a nap as I’d eaten so much and I’d slept til I got tired of it on Wednesday was up all night working.
I finally got settled into bed at about 4 o’clock and fell quickly asleep, only to be awakened by the phone at 4:30. I swear I’m going to find a way to block phone numbers, if I have to buy a new phone to do it. The phone goes off all hours of the day with “Toll Free Number” on the caller ID, a telemarketer, of course. These nuisance calls usually happen when I’m trying to sleep during the day. Stupid “Toll Free Number” telemarketers woke me up again at 6:30.
The phone rang again at about 8 p.m., but it was my mom letting me know she’d solved the mystery of who that sympathy card was from. I’m glad she woke me up, actually, as I was having this dream about a family with two teen aged girls who had discovered that robots had taken over this one area of Arizona, (the bridgehead of a robot invasion of the Earth) and the robots were trying to get to them to silence them. They were on the lam trying to escape these robots finding out where they were and where they were heading, trying to figure out how to fall off the grid where the robots couldn’t track them (GPS on their cell phones, credit card transactions, ATM use, etc.). The daddy and the older girl had it together and were using their heads but the mom and the younger girl were kind of freaked and unable to cope. It would have made a good TV show, that dream, but it was very angsty and paranoidal, and I was glad to have been woken up from it. It was a rather well-plotted dream, though, if I say so myself.
After I woke up, I turned on the ‘puter and was about to sit down at it when the white one decided to come thoroughly unfed in the area where the living room becomes the dining area. At least it was on the floor and not on the carpet, and so was easier to clean up. Sigh.
Just now, I tried calling the “Toll Free Number” that woke me up twice this afternoon. Guess who it turned out to be: AT&T with an offer they think might interest me! They have a do not call list, but I have to call them back during regular business hours to get on it! Guess who’s going to get an earful tomorrow during regular business hours.
* An old family in-joke.