Well, Wednesday night, the sewer line stopped up again — the third time this month, I might add. By the time I had taken a much shorter shower than I had planned, I was standing ankle deep in water because my bath tub was not draining. I knew better than to try to flush any of my toilets. Of course, by that time it was 10:30 at night. I had an optometry appointment at 9 o’clock Thursday morning, so rather than haul the maintenance guy out of bed to come run the snake down the sewer line I decided to write a note to the effect that the sewer line was stopped up — again! — and needed to have the snake run down it, and put it in the office drop box. Got the note all written, put on some clothes and started to hike over to the office. Of course, the yard light by the sidewalk was out — still — and there are two trees right where the sidewalk T’s that have branches low enough that anybody over the age of 8 will get a face full of them if they don’t duck under them — which I did because I couldn’t see them in the dark. (They’re pine trees and if I hadn’t been wearing glasses, I could easily have been hit in the eyes by a branch full of nice, long, sharp pine needles.) Then when I got over to the office, the key code to open the door to get to the drop box didn’t work. Needless to say, my fruitless errand didn’t improve my mood.
By the time I got back home I was in such a huff I forgot to set my alarm for 8 o’clock so I would have time to get up, get dressed, and make the 15 minute drive over to the VA to see the optometry PA. By some miracle, I woke up spontaneously at 8:25, realized what time it was, jumped into my clothes, brushed my teeth, took my meds, and was out the door in record time, sprinted over to the office (which was open by then), and shoved my note through the slot. I actually made it to the VA, found a parking space, and checked in with 5 minutes to spare! When the check-in lady took my blood pressure, it was 154/88, which is way high, but not surprising considering I had had a large jolt of adrenalin hit my system when I rolled over and looked at the clock and realized my alarm hadn’t gone off and realized how much time I had to get to my appointment in time.
On slit lamp exam, the cataract in my left eye was somewhat worse, and there’s not a thing I can do about it. The primary cause of cataracts is living long enough to get them. My right eye was unchanged and I’ve not had any new floaters. I’ve got to replace my left lens again as my vision in that eye was down to 20/40. My right eye was still 20/25, the best correction I can get, which is not too shabby when you consider that my uncorrected vision is 20/400. (What chart?) Of course, the best outcome would have been that my glasses were good for another year, but having to replace one lens was better than having to replace both of them. The weird* thing is that I have a hard time reading with both eyes, regardless of whether I’m wearing glasses or not. Without my glasses, I can read perfectly well with my right eye — my uncorrected vision is sharp and clear to about arm’s length, but past that, forget it. In fact, I prefer to read without my glasses — and with my left eye closed.
The optometry PA said that Medicare won’t pay for cataract surgery until a person’s vision is at least 50% impaired, which is reasonable. Hopefully, I’ve still got a few more years before I’ll have to have cataract surgery, and when I do, it’ll probably be in my left eye first.
Once I had gotten my optometry appointment out of the way, the next item on the agenda was to get my car washed. The car wash that I planned to go to was across the street from the third item on my agenda. I pulled up to the place where you pay to get your car washed, and the attendant said their sensors were malfunctioning and they were closed until they could get them fixed. Here’s a free car wash with a free paint protecting spray thing that would have cost extra. OK. So, off to item number three on the agenda.
I had been noticing that lately I was putting off washing my hair because it was such a time-consuming process. It takes almost 30 minutes to wash it (and me) in the shower (and the steam from the shower had set off the smoke alarm in the hallway a couple of times), and because I won’t use a blow dryer because blow drying it tears it up so badly, it takes hours for it to air-dry. Because I was starting to begrudge the time and effort, I had decided that it was time for me to get a haircut. Across the street from the car wash was the Supercuts where I had gotten my hair cut last time, which was in 2009 right before my shoulder surgery. Turns out they won’t send your braid to Locks of Love any more. You have to mail it yourself.
After the stylist whacked off my braid, I had her cut my hair to 3 inches long all over my head. The hair on top kind of went “sproing!” as it dried and was super curly, likely due to the fact that there no longer was all that weight of hair to pull out the natural curl. So here I come out of the Supercuts place feeling like a shorn sheep. That done, I headed to the bank to take care of the fourth item on the agenda.
There were two more locations for the chain of car washes I had gone to so I went to the one that was close to the next item on the agenda. Guess what? They were closed for maintenance. Here. Have a free car wash. I still have a dirty car, but now I have two free car wash coupons. So I went to Walmart, got gas, and then got groceries — and 18 red roses for my mom, just because.
Since this was a serious grocery buy, rather than make four or five trips to bring everything in, I deployed my little red wagon, loaded it up, and hauled everything inside all at once. I put everything away, caught my breath and then went to take my rent check to the office, along with a piece of my mind. They’ve supposedly got a new snake which is longer than the one they had been using, and which hopefully has blades on the end that can cut through roots and such that will worm their way in through the joints in the pipes.
My mom had emailed me about us going out to eat for dinner, so I packed up the roses and headed off in her direction. I decided to go to her house by a route which took me by the first car wash I had tried that morning. It was obvious by the customers that they were open, so I redeemed one of my free car wash coupons and the third time was charmed. I participate in the towel deal: You buy a towel to use in wiping down the car interior, and then each time you return, you trade the used towel for a clean one, for free. They also have stalls with free vacuums to vacuum out your car seats and floor boards. With a nice clean car again, I headed off to my mom’s house.
When I got there, I rang the doorbell and waited. Waited a couple minutes more. Rang the doorbell again, and was about to go look to see if my mom’s car was in the garage when the door opened. She had been at the computer and, apparently, the chimes unit of the doorbell that is in the “computer room” had not sounded. She had thought she faintly heard something “doorbellish” (i.e., the chimes unit that is in the den, less than 30 feet away) and had come to the door to see if there was somebody there. I got almost all the way to the kitchen before she realized I had gotten my hair cut. My mom is of the “hair like a helmet” generation (no longer than 4 inches, back-combed as high as possible, and glued down with a ton of hairspray) and she hates my hair long, so she was delighted.
So then we had to play the doorbell game again. After three or four tries, she decided to swap out the unit in the computer room and the unit in the den, and apparently that worked better.
While she finished what she had been doing on the computer, I put the packet of “flower food” that comes with the roses into her vase, filled it with water. recut the rose stems at an angle (like you’re supposed to) and put them in the vase. We sat and talked a while about our proposed trip to Round Top and to Pearland for her Historical Society do in October and watched Jeopardy! on TV, which is one of my mom’s “shows.” Since my mom’s car was in the garage, and mine was in the driveway, I drove, but when we got to the cafeteria where she wanted to eat, they were “temporarily closed for maintenance,” so we ended up at IHOP — which is fine with me. I like eating at IHOP.
After we had eaten and I had pulled into the driveway to drop mom off, I noticed that my odometer read “2997.” As I pulled into the parking lot of my apartment building, the odometer read “3000.”
Next month has a big trap in the middle of it. The 21st would have been my dad’s 93rd birthday. September has an even bigger trap in it. The 22nd will mark one year since my dad died. The 23rd will be my mom’s 91st birthday. November 22nd, I’ll have had my car a year. Time passages.
*English is an exceptional language. In English, even the exceptions to the exceptions have exceptions (– except when they don’t). . . “Weird” doesn’t follow the “I before “E” spelling rule** — which is why I can never remember how to spell it.
**”I” bEFORE “e,” EXCEPT AFTER “c,” OR UNLESS IT SOUNDS “ay” AS IN “NEIGHBOR” AND “wEIGH”.