The following story is true. WARNING: Do not try this at home. Disclaimer: No animals were hurt in the process, at least not many…
It all began with a 6am flight to the netherlands of NE Ohio, to join the family for Thanksgiving and to assist in my mother’s move from a hospital to a skilled nursing facility.
The morning was clear and cool. Everything looked good from 30,000 feet. No one was hacking up a lung in the seat next to me.
10am. Touch down. Ladies room. Reapply lipstick. Find a unsweetened iced tea. Check messages. Find the escalator. There’s the baggage carousel, and … no luggage to be found. It seems my bag had an appointment in Washington D.C. , and then decided a Philly Steak was in order in the City of Brotherly Love.
Of course it did.
Tickets. Stickers. Addresses. Delivery scheduled. Fine. Just get it to me.
Off I go through the big doors into the car of my fav brother-n-law, waiting for me with a bag of tacos and a Margarita (salted rim- he knows me so well). Iced tea thrown out the window. Who wouldn’t?
“This is Cheryl.”
“Cheryl. This is Carol. Your mother’s neighbor.”
“Yes Carol. How may I help you?”
“The fire department is breaking down your mother’s door!”
“They’re breaking her door down. The police and an ambulance are here too!”
Big breath…. “Why?”
“Is she there? They say a lady called…”
“She is in a hospital, Carol. She is NOT THERE.” Thank God for the Margarita.
“They’ve done a lot of damage. The door is on the ground and the drywall is all torn-up.”
Of course it is.
Ted and I continue on our way with me releasing a myriad of words my mother told me to never use, and…
We are RUN OFF THE ROAD by two large sixteen wheelers, up over the concrete curb, onto a snowy wet patch of grass stopping 15 yards short of a 30ft steel highway sign which says:
“Welcome To Cleveland”.
Up and over. Back on the highway we continue in silence and arrive to find police tape covering what was once my mother’s front portal.
Yellow is not my color.
(Turns out my mother, somehow, got ahold of her cell phone in her hospital room and called 911, whispered a few desperate words and dropped the phone. The 911 system has her cell attached to her village emergency system, and so with a flip of the switch and a little reverse look-up, they ascertained that the call was coming from her residence, and so… Houston. We have a problem. You just can’t make this shizz up folks).
Where do I find a handy-man two days before Thanksgiving in a city that I don’t live in.
Never mind. I did. And, after securing the door with a piece of wood and a serious kick of my foot, I felt safe for the night.
The door was repaired the next morning for a Holiday price.
Of course it was.
This very same- next- day, I was to expect a childhood friend and the rest of my family- all in to see Mom and to stay a day more to have some kind of Thanksgiving meal that would be mechanized, on a tray, the consistency of mush, surrounded by people being fed, and dashed hopes of recovery.
The night before this splendid meal was to be shared, my girlfriend and I sat around talking blah-blah-blah, and then went to sleep assisted by a half dose of Ambien.
Ring- aling- aling it is 4:38 in the fucking am.
I think I said,”Hello?”. Who can tell?
“I’m in jail. I need you to come get me”, said a very important person.
taking it in…
“What jail? Who is this?”
Deep breath… letting it register… making sure I’m not dreaming, God Damn Ambien, and…
“Okay. Give me 20 minutes.”
“Drive safe, Cheryl. It’s a blizzard out there.”
Of course. It is.
Grabbing the purse, finding the bra, making sure I have the cash, getting the keys to the car (which has bald tires because otherwise the Universe would be balanced and my mother would be on top of her auto care), quietly sneaking out of the house so as to not disturb the guest…
I’m on the road.
Pulling up. Walking in. Paying the bail. Throwing a look… and I have the important person back to where they are supposed are staying.
“We’ll talk tomorrow.”
You bet we will.
And back to my Mom’s house, 2 hours sleep, it is 8:30 am: “Happy Thanksgiving! It’s a day to rejoice!”, says the friend.
That is most likely not true, but we all continue on our schedules to consume the fowl and contact lawyers (Thank God we have several in many states)… and I get an appointment scheduled for the next day. When my village lawyer gets back from killing ducks.
Of course he is.
In the conference. Blah-blah-blahhhhh…. and I get a call from a beloved nephew (who lives in this town) and whom is in distress over a cat that is dying in front of his eyes.
“Aunt Cheryl. I need your advise.”
And I’m listening… “Give me 20 minutes. I’m right around the corner.” (This seems to be the tag-line of the week).
“Be careful. The roads are awful.”
Of course they are.
And so, there I am, with a distraught human and a cat in renal failure.
I call my Vet friend, for a confirmation of my diagnosis. She asks for the signs. I tell her what I see in the ears, the mouth, the eyes. She confirms, and… my nephew and I have the cat put to rest. Together. Holding each other. He expressing sorrow. I expressing more of a ‘What The Fuck Is Going On Around Here?’ kind of emoting.
So… mother moved, lawyers hired, cat buried, turkey eaten, luggage delivered, door repaired, flight connections made, and…
I am back. Back home in New Orleans.
Unpacking… and packing, AGAIN, for our annual Holiday vacation in Mexico. Leaving this week. Leaving in 2 days.
Of course I am.
I’m a glutton not only for turkey, but punishment.