Tag Archives: my mom

Saturday Night Bath

23 Aug

As I was taking my shower last night, and enjoying the feeling of the hot water on my back, I thought of my mother and her aversion to water.

My grandmother said that even as a child, my mom would have a fit if the bathwater was too deep. She never liked swimming, and seemed to consider showers almost sinful. After she broke her hip, she had to use a bath chair and a hand-held shower head. “I never feel clean. I really need to soak.”

It would never have occurred to my sister or me to use the shower at home, and the house where I lived with the Late & Unlamented didn’t even have one. The first shower I ever had (not counting those horrible mad dashes after gym class in high school) was when I was 30, living on my own after parting ways with the L & U.

Growing up, my sister and I were only allowed three baths a week – one on Saturday night so we’d be clean for church, one on Tuesday and another on Thursday. My mom claimed we didn’t sweat in the winter and in the summer there wasn’t anybody around to smell us. I’m sure that if she could have figured a way to cut it back to twice a week, she would have.

And a once a week shampoo in the stationary tub in the basement.  Who needed greasy kid stuff? By Friday, our hair stuck to our heads as if it had been plastered on.

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Oh, Joy! Oh, Joy!

15 Aug

The Squire does not enjoy any hot beverage. No coffee, no tea, no cocoa. I like all of these, especially coffee. I do not like instant coffee per se, but can’t see making an entire pot just for myself, so I have been drinking General Foods International Coffees, especially Orange Cappuccino for about twenty years.  About two years ago, it disappeared from the shelves, but complaints from consumers brought it back for a short while, until it once again faded into history.

Recently, I decided I was going to contact the company to find out where it could be purchased, and discovered it is carried at Wal-Mart, of all places. This created a  bit of an ethical dilemma for me, as I absolutely refuse to step foot in that store, but I discovered I could purchase it on-line for the same price – plus shipping – as buying it locally. I ordered four cans on the 13th, and paid for the cheapest possible shipping, which would have gotten it here around the 28th.

It arrived today!

Oh, glory, glory! Some of us are SO easy to please! I shall have to nurse it along, switching it out with the Hazelnut flavor, to make it last. Some people are so easy to please!

I have often said my mother was a piece of work. When my dad was alive, he often participated in the Anglican church’s TAPE program – Trans Atlantic Parish Exchange. You decide where you want to go, they match you up with another priest, and you swap churches and homes. You do have to pay for your transportation, but when you arrive, you have a job, a house, a car, a dog, and more dinner invitations than you can handle. (My mother said she never had to cook supper the first three months in any new location.)

My father flat-out refused to fly, so they went to the UK about three times in any two year period on the QE2. Not exactly steerage, either.

So – one evening my folks were visiting here, and I asked my mother if she’d like to try a cup of my Orange Cappuccino. This was a long time ago, back when groceries still had price stickers, and my mother turned over the can, looked at the price, all of $2.59, and remarked, “Humph, your father and I can’t afford that”.

To which The Squire replied, “I’ll have you know, my wife is worth a dollar and a quarter a week”.

She nearly choked.

Psalm 8

15 Jun

Back when I was in high school, one of the TV stations had a special program on the Hapsburgs.

One segment of the program focused on the crypt where many of the ancients – kings, empresses, princes and princesses – are entombed. A number of these people were not put into coffins, but placed sitting around the edges of the crypt, their bony shoulders still wrapped in royal cloaks and skeletal heads crowned with royal diadems.

My mother, never a respecter of persons, watched all this and muttered, “What is man that thou are mindful of him?”

And without  thinking, I replied, “A little lower than the angels.”

It may have been the right answer, but it wasn’t the correct response. Medusa herself never gave me such a glare.

Never Say Die

28 Jun

My mother is going to be the death of me.

Do us all a favor. Make sure you have a will. I don’t care how little or how much you have – make a will. My mother refused to do so, on the grounds that it was just a money-making scheme dreamed up by “crooked lawyers” (a redundancy in her book) and she was quite certain that a) she was going to die of a heart attack before she was 80, and b) my sister and I would share the money equally. Since she was going to die of a heart attack, there was no reason to have a Power of Attorney or put one of us on the account as a co-signer. Lynn and I had worked out a plan of what we would do, and who would get what, and all seemed to be well.

Except – my mom slipped into dementia and died at 90, never knowing my sister died long before her of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). I had a very difficult time handling her money when she was alive. The nursing home didn’t have a notary, and the banks wouldn’t accept anything she signed because they didn’t know either of us, and she was obviously not in her right mind. Fortunately, I have a cousin who is a lawyer, and he went over with us and had my mom sign the proper papers to give me a POA and the notarized them for us. She’d known Ron all his life, and he introduced himself to her. “You remember me, Aunt Audrey”, and mentioned his parents. She nodded, and signed the papers, and after he left, she turned to me and asked who he was. “Never saw him before in my life, and I don’t know who those people were he was talking about.”

No problems when she died – other than putting her in the wrong grave, of course – but now it is time to close out the estate account and get this project wrapped up. I couldn’t find one of her bank statements, and the folks in Customer Service refused to send it to me, even though my name was on the account as POA. “That died with her, and the fact that you are her personal representative on the estate account no longer has anything to do with the old one.”  I finally drove to the local branch, showed the lady that I had every statement from the last two years, and she said she would try to help me.  She got the same story from Customer Service.

Well, to make a long story short (too late, I know!) the rep who had opened the estate account had not faxed the death certificate or the Personal Rep paperwork. “We’ll just find it and send it out.” So a frantic search of the files ensued. Nothing under my mom’s last name. Cute. And then somebody noticed a huge file in the “E’s”. All of the estate accounts were filed under “E”.  Fortunately, within that folder they were under the last name, and there in the “P’s” was my mom’s paperwork. One of the clerks said it was like the old joke about the blond secretary who filed everything under “T” – The Smith Company, The Roger’s Drugstore.

One more week ought to do it. I hope!

Going Bananas

28 Mar

I had a banana with my lunch today, and opened it, as I always do, from the blossom end, which reminded me of my mom, who was a very strange person.

The senior center where she lived frequently served bananas for lunch, and one time she was having a particularly difficult time getting hers open, sawing away at it. She had mashed the fruit inside, but still hadn’t pierced the skin. I took it from her, squeezed the blossom end to get it started, and peeled it halfway down, and handed it back.

She gave me the oddest look, pulled the skin down the rest of the way, grasped the fruit, and turned it upside down, then shoved it back into the peel. She was going to eat that banana properly, by golly, and nothing was going to stand in her way!

It’s a wonder I’m not daft as a hatter.