The week has flown by and our company has come and gone. I sat with my mother in the train station until a few minutes before the train was to depart. I always get sad when she leaves. As our parents age each visit becomes more precious and the memories more dear. In some cases, naturally. In others perhaps a larger gap between visits is preferable. Such would be the case of one of my dearest friends whose mother comes for a month at a time and never ceases to communicate her distaste for nearly everything unless asleep. On the flip side, it will be good to return a bit of normalcy to the house and once again slip into the familiar routine Rick, Boo, the Queen of Cats, and I have become accustomed to.
Our other guest, Doc, accompanied Mother on her ride home. They will be sitting as I write this looking out the window at the ocean and playing their third or fourth hand of gin rummy. Doc will win, Mother will grouse, and life will again become as it was. Doc was a dentist, when still working. Surprisingly for being an ex-dentist, though the sweetest man, he tends to be a total pig pen. My usually pristine second guest bedroom looks as if we’d unleashed a Tasmanian Devil in its midst. Going down to survey the damage, I found crumbs literally obliterating the table. Having a voracious sweet tooth (also odd for one in the tooth repair biz) I assume this would be the result of his late night peanut butter and jelly runs. Somehow peanut butter found itself on every available surface downstairs up to and including the floor in the bathroom. Even Boo had a sticky tag behind her left ear. The house can always be clean, but I can’t always enjoy the company of people I love. Tomorrow I will get out the heavy ammunition and unearth what remains of my downstairs, but for today I will put my feet up and read the paper in absolute silence.
It’s funny how as we age we revert backwards becoming more like children then older adults. Things that were minor blips on the screen twenty years prior, as the years pass becoming difficult to accomplish. I opened jars, schlepped luggage, made meals, cleaned up after meals, and generally ran from one room to the other making sure everything was moving smoothly. Both visitors range from fairly hard of hearing to nearly deaf depending on whether or not they’ve inserted their hearing aids. Evenings the TV was on at such a level I’m sure our neighbors enjoyed Jeopardy right along with us, a show both visitors watch faithfully. Conversations are difficult as each sentence needs to be said and then repeated loudly, but we got by. A vacation is in order, and it’s coming our way the beginning of next month.
Some day our children will undoubtedly be writing such things about Rick and I. Between the two of us we have four children. Rick’s daughter, the youngest, is getting married the first of April. The ceremony will be in Arizona so I’ll have to step on board a plane again. Ach. Not my favorite pastime anymore. Over the weekend there were two reported near mishaps where landing gears didn’t deploy. I hope somebody comes up with teleportation pretty soon, so I don’t have to think about it anymore. Yesterday a passenger disrupted a flight. If the landing gear isn’t working that could well be me.
Shopping was in order when I got the news up the upcoming nuptials. Living up here in the tall trees as I’ve mentioned there is isn’t much use for dressy clothes. I’m not complaining, mind you. I’d be happy in jeans or shorts for the most part with a pair of flip-flops on my feet. Most of my life I’ve held jobs where dressing up was part of the package. It’s nice not to have to worry about what to wear in the morning these days.
Mother and I hit the mall on Saturday. For my mother this is a regular occurrence. We stopped by the Lancome counter. Her picture was hanging over the cash register. As usual she was fully lathered up by an attentive salesgirl suggesting Mother’s age to be just past legal drinking age. A lipstick in her favorite shade was tucked in a bag for the hefty cost of $32.00 plus tax. I’m afraid my lips would go naked if that was the price asked for a lipstick in my world. Next it was on to the handbags. One was purchased from their “spring collection” on sale for $150.00. I didn’t ask what the original price had been. My bag has no seasonal delineation. I carry my handbags until the handle drops off, then purchase a replacement.
On to the women’s clothing section. A “one day sale” in progress, the floor was abuzz with activity. Women of all sizes and shapes were moving through the clothing racks like a swarm of voracious army ants. Men, purses on their laps and long faces in place, could be seen in a line sitting on cushioned seats just outside the changing rooms looking as though they would sooner shoot of their own feet then continue the vigil. What amazingly ugly clothing designs they’ve come up with this year. Who wears these? Blousey shirts with no shape whatsoever, paired with ugly prints of wild floral origin such as never seen in nature. Flouncy, overly fussy clothes with no shape. Ugh. I tried to imagine even the bony models walking the runways in such god awful outfits doing them justice.
Sorting though one rack after another I finally located ten or so items I would consider leaving the house in and entered the fitting rooms. A woman cut of generous proportions stood in front of a three-sided mirror wearing an outfit so garish and ill-fitting a peacock would have buried its head in the sand if caught wearing it. A salesperson bustled about her saying how beautiful she looked. I was tempted to whisper in her ear “run, save yourself”, but located an empty room instead.
A half an hour later I managed to find a relatively basic skirt, and a tailored blouse in subtle more muted tones, as well as some silky pants and a top. My turn to be checked out I was helped by a fast talking woman with a British accent who asked if I’d like 20% off. Ummmm, “yup, sign me up”. Once I’d agreed, she asked if I had a store credit card. I replied I’d had one years ago but not now. “That will work”, she told me. “We’ll use that and apply the 20%.” Yea for me. Carrying on a conversation with my Mom, when queried I updated my address. On leaving I was handed my purchases and a small packet and told to expect my new credit card in two weeks. Whoops. Rick is always telling me to pay attention. I’m sure I’ll be reminded again when I tell him I inadvertently applied for and was given a new card. Ah well.
1 medium head of cabbage
3 large carrots generously sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup EV olive oil
1/4 tsp. crushed pepper flakes, or more or less to taste
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Wash cabbage removing any sagging outside leaves. Cut into eight wedges. Arrange in a 13″ x 9″ baking dish in one layer. Place the onion slices and carrots on top. Drizzle oil and stock overall. Season according to taste with salt, pepper flakes and ground pepper. Cover with tin foil and place on center rack in 325 oven for approximately two hours. Turn cabbage wedges once after first hour.
Happy St. Patty’s Day