February Trip to the Island – 02/10/2016
Mom called my cell phone (still regarded as a miracle) at 7:57 to ask if we were having breakfast together. I told her that was our plan, and I’d be there at 9. After closing up the cabin, and walking Tim & Cindy’s property, to check for storm damage in and around the six buildings, I got to mom’s just before 9.
We had another big pleasant breakfast. She cooked for both of us this morning. After she sat down, I heard noise coming from the stove. At first I thought it might be the kettle cooling off. When I got up to investigate, I found she’d left a burner on under the frying pan. When I told her this, she smiled and replied, “Oh, thank you.” The spatula was in the pan. I wonder if this is how things are catching on fire in the kitchen.
Mom seemed enthused about continuing with the painting project. I’m not going to hold my breath, but am encouraged that she’s talking specifics right now, down to what she can spackle & sand verses what needs minor sheetrock surgery before continuing on to the next chosen piece of wall. She also wants me to bring her (from her mainland home) the piece of furniture that goes against the poppy red wall, and discussed where she’d be painting next based on where other furniture goes! Next time I come up, the truck will be full of furniture, whether she’s painted or not. It’s time.
The following dialog requires a little context regarding mom’s geographical life path. She was born in Cleveland, and moved with her family to Phoenix when she was 14. After high school, she ‘ran away’ to college in CA. After graduation she had a short stint in the NW, then lived in the Bay Area (where I was born), then back up the coast in the late 70’s to where she lives now. In the late 50’s she met my dad, while on the Left Coast.
This morning, after putting a watch on, she sat back down at the table and we had the following discussion:
Mom: I sure like wearing Dad’s watch. (I glanced at her wrist to notice a man’s watch).
Me: I know you do, Mom.
Mom: But, the Omega stopped working. I took it to the jeweler here in town, but they said to take it to the watch place off Island.
Me: Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it wasn’t working.
Mom: I wish I knew how old it was.
Me: Grandma & Grandpa gave it to Dad for high school graduation.
Mom: Oh no, it’s not nearly that old.
Me: Oh, how old do you think it is?
Mom: Well, I think we got it in Phoenix.
Mom: Yes, Phoenix (with attitude)!
Me: Mom, when did you and dad live in Phoenix?
Mom: When we moved out from Cleveland, You Know!! When I was 14 (escalating attitude)!
Me: OH! Your dad had an Omega too?? I thought you were talking about my dad’s watch (lightly)!!
Mom: Wait a minute. Oh, I’m sorry, I’m scrambled. I am talking about your dad’s watch! And I think you’re right, it was a high school, or maybe college graduation gift from his parents. Wow, I feel so mixed up.
Me: You just had a generational shift, that’s all.
Mom: (with a smile) Yeah, that’s all!
It’s like she did a geo-generational morph with her memory. I can only assume because she had no first-hand experience with my father receiving the watch, that her brain relied on crystallized memory to reconcile the story of the watch. While it wasn’t emotionally hard to witness this, it made me very sad.
Misc notes from the weekend:
- · When trying to find space in the fridge to put some leftovers away, I started placing vegetables in the veggie drawer and found three yellow onions in some state of partial use. They were in various places in the fridge.
- · The first cheese mom brought out to use with dinner last night was so old that it was unidentifiable. She claimed it was a cheddar. I think it was a hard cheese that is possessed by lifeforms never seen under a microscope on this planet. I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like until yesterday. It could be that this very cheese is where the rumor started that the moon is made of cheese. On my list of ‘Bad Kid’ things to do, is hermetically seal this cheese and dispose of it at the county’s toxic waste facility without her knowledge. She found a parmesan instead and put the horrible cheese back in the fridge.
- · I Frisbee’d a piece of mortadella, expired a month ago, into the back of my truck, after almost being caught at my ‘keeping my mom safe’ shenanigans. I’m sure the seagulls are feasting on it now (I’m writing on the ferry, and parked at the front of the boat).
- · For Monday’s lunch, mom exhumed 4 pieces of elderly looking, individually wrapped, leftover flank steak ends from the fridge. She set about triaging them, tossing unacceptable pieces across the drive for the crows. I made sure not eat any of the steak. My mother must have one of the toughest digestive systems in existence.
- · When I arrived, there was a cup sitting under the fridge door catching drips. It turned out this leak was coming from the freezer. The gasket was encrusted with mildew. After cleaning as best I could, (with mom exclaiming in the background that she didn’t know how it’s gotten so dirty), we thought we’d fixed the problem. The next morning there was water all over the floor. I suggested that we really needed to defrost the unit, pull it out from the wall etc. The compromise was to empty the bottom shelf of the freezer, place a pot of hot water there to melt the flat glacier that had built up on the floor, as well as the ice accumulated on some mechanism at the back. After this was accomplished, she put everything back together. This morning everything was dry!
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