Aging · Burt Reynolds · Caregiving · Dementia · Insomnia · Musings

Like a Fart in a Frying Pan

Burt Reynolds

I care for a priceless lady who is pleasantly demented. Her mobility has decreased significantly. She marvels that she wants to get up and move but her knees just sit there and do nothing. She stares at and then smacks them and says, “Come on knees!” The way she does that, I keep expecting them to kick up and take off like a donkey that was rudely awakened.

At 2 a.m. last night, she was up for the 3rd time needing to use the bathroom. She has a night light so I don’t turn the light on. It takes me less than a minute to get to her when she pushes the foghorn of a buzzer. No sooner do I walk in than she says, “What are you doing here?”

My foggy eyes still shut, I smile and say, “You buzzed me.”

“Oh yeah. Well you came too quick.” She responds.

I breathe deeply as the last concept of whatever dream I was immersed in slips away. “What can I do for you my dear?”

“I gotta go bad. Let’s do it real quick and we can go back to sleep.”

I raise the head of her bed and tell her to swing her beautiful legs over. She sits there a minute, scratches her head and says there must be bugs in there. Sometimes  it’s “Do you hear that choir singing? Must be at the church.” Or, “We really need to stop opening the windows. Those blasted raccoons marched right through here in a row and now they have cereal all over the living room floor. This is ridiculous!” There’s no end to what’s going on at any given time.

It’s a wonder, and a shame, what we take for granted.  It used to be she could move and talk at the same time. Any more, that overloads the system. Desperate as she is “to go”, she also normally has something she really needs to tell me, which puts her in a bind. Last night her son had called her to chat.

“That kid amazes me,” she scratches her head. “He said he just got his first job out of college and he’s so excited.” In reality he’s in his fifties and has been working forever. “They just love him. I really need to go.”

“Swing those beautiful legs over,” I say.

“These  ugly legs? They haven’t been beautiful forever.” She finds a wart on them and inspects it.

“Bring them right here.” I stand where I need them to be.

“Right there?” She clarifies.

“Right here,” I clarify.

It takes her a long minute to get there. It takes several steps and much coaching to get her feet where they need to be so she can stand. She moves to the spot by the transfer pole where she’ll stand. She’s breathing audibly now and I ask her to stand whenever she’s ready.

“Okay,” She says, revving to go. “Let’s go.” She is her own best cheerleader. She rocks back and forth, rearing like a champion stallion. Nothing happens. She sighs, exasperated. I’m ready to help her but her knees need to join us, otherwise she’s dead weight.

“What’s this on the floor?” She asks suddenly and reaches down.

“Where?” I ask.

“There are bags down here,” she asserts.

I guess the light is coming on. I turn it on, dimmed.

“Oh, they were there a minute ago.” She finds and leisurely fondles another wart.

“Stand when you’re ready.”

“Where are we going?” She asks innocently.

“Right here to pee.” I point to the bedside commode.

“Well, that’s a great idea, coz I gotta go. I don’t know what I’d do without you to tell me these things!”

I’m a regular genius. I snicker.

“Come on knees.” Smack. “Look at ’em. They just sit there.”

“They’re coming,” I reassure her. “You be ready when they are. Keep your hands on the pole.” My hands are on her and her body will give me the feedback I need to know when to hoist her. It just takes the knees a minute. A long minute.

“So this Burt Reynolds is just a regular hunk and he thinks my son is the best thing since lined paper. He told him, “you tell your mother she did a good job raising you, kid!” and I said, well I agree with him but every mother thinks they did a pretty good job.”

“Okay, come up to standing mama,” I say urgently. Her knees give me a narrow window.

“And he is so good looking but I tell my son, “I’m a married woman. I don’t want any shenanigans. So don’t you keep telling him how great I am. God, I gotta go.”

We’re half standing now but she forgets which way we’re going and suddenly heads towards the head of the bed and plops down.

I breath deeply. I can do this.

“Do I lie down now?” she asks.

“Do you need to pee?”

“You know, I do! How did you know?”

“Mama, put your hands on the pole and stand when your ready. I’ll help you.”

“Oh I don’t need help. I’ll just stand and sit on the pot. I wouldn’t want you to hurt yourself.” She puts her gorgeous hands on my face. “I just love you. I’ll never forget you. And if there’s ever anything I can do for you, why, you just let me know.”

“Thank you mama.” I kiss her forehead and fondly rest my head on hers for a minute. “Stand when you’re ready.”

That’s how it goes at 2 in the morning, when you gotta go, but the knees won’t move, and this is where it gets real good because Burt Reynolds, God love him, the way he cocks his head when he smiles that big smile of his, well he told my son…, “knees move!” Smack!

We’re partway up again when she plops right back own and says, “Honey, can you check  if there’s a snake in that pot, coz if there is, you’ll be chasing me clear to Kentucky. You think I’m fast now, I’m like a fart in a frying pan when I see a snake!”

Public domain photo retrieved from Criterion.com

Body of Christ · Emotions · Faith · Family · Fear · Lost · Musings

Baby, Don’t Mess with Your Mama’s Posse of Crazy Jesus Women!

File:Haynes new guide and motorists' complete road log of Yellowstone National Park (1922) (14781067312).jpg

My buzzing phone broke my train of thought. It was a recorded call letting me know that a student in my household had missed 6th block at the high school. Perplexed, I glanced at my watch and realized it was well after 4 p.m. He hadn’t kissed me when he got home. I hate it when he does that. I unearthed myself from under my laptop and other paraphernalia on my comfy chair – which is no small feat- and walked to his room. He wasn’t there. Nor was his backpack.  Very strange.

I texted him to ask him where he was. Two minutes. No answer. I dialed his number. “You have reached…” I hang up. What I had reached was botheration. I texted him again “I need to hear from you now!” Nothing.

This wasn’t like him. I texted his buddy. He hadn’t seen him. I called the school bus company. The driver had driven by our stop a while ago but he wasn’t on the bus. Okay. We have a problem. I dialed the school. It was after hours. I texted his dad that I was freaking out a little because the kid wasn’t home yet. I was heading to the school.

I drove the  busy 7 miles in a minute and a half. A few kids were milling around aimlessly. The building was locked but I slipped in as a student walked out. I waved at the janitor busy inside and let him know I was missing a kid. He let me into the office to speak to the secretary.

“We’re closed!” She informed me firmly.

“Yeah, and I’m missing a kid.” I added, matching her firmness.

“Oh dear,” she said as she looked him up on her desktop. “Well he was 7th and 8th block.” That was good news. At least he hadn’t cut class and skipped the bus. She did an ‘All Call’ over the intercom and announced that he should come to the office if he was in the building. Nothing. We ran through different scenarios. Nothing. Presently she needed to leave and lock down the office.

I walked outside, panic mounting, to meet his dad who had arrived at the school on his way home from work. On the way I texted two of my friends that he was missing and asked for prayer. Immense peace washed over me. I knew that in no time I’d be bathed in prayer and support. I caught his dad up to speed, concluding, “I guess this is where I call the police.” They had to catch the bad guys before they dismembered my baby.

A kind dispatcher took the report. “No, he has never ran away before. This isn’t like him… He’s wearing…” This is a nightmare. What on earth? I didn’t know what t-shirt he was wearing but everything else I nailed to a T.

“An officer will call you back.”

I paced for 20 minutes while his dad drove around slowly. I imagined him hollering his name out the window from time to time like one does for a lost puppy. I spoke my mantra. “I trust you lord, I trust you lord. With tears in my eyes and a knot in my heart, I trust you Lord.” Where is my baby?? I found a good photo to show the officer – if he’d ever get here or call me!! Yes this one will be a good one on the 5 o’clock news. What am I saying? What will I do all night. I had flashbacks of Kyron who completely mysteriously disappeared from school years ago, never to be found again.

Mid-stride at one point, I decided to go through our thread of texts.  The one from yesterday was precious. He had me laughing so hard. I scrolled back in time and my heart stopped – there buried from days ago, was my sweet baby’s responsible request to stay after school on Thursday for a friend’s soccer game, followed by his awesome mother’s response that of course he could. Followed by an “I love you.”

Oh Hannah you are a dimwit. I wanted to die. This was as good a place as any for that. I called his dad and told him to go to the soccer field. I called the police and ate crow while I cancelled the report and turned myself in for buffoonery. I cancelled the  prayer chain and confessed my idiocy. I could hear the communal mama sigh of relief.

His dad called me. I answered immediately. “You need to get over here. Turn south on B and pull into the parking lot just past the soccer field.”

There, fooling around with his buddies, wearing his Joe-cool sunglasses and his signature black baseball cap from New Zealand, was my little man. I’ve never been happier to see him. He wouldn’t have known by my demeanor. My bowels growled and I wanted to pass out. I asked him where the bathroom was. Fortunately he needed to go too.

I recounted my woes on the way. He laughed his head off. “That’s not funny, but that’s really funny, mum.”

“Funny.” Now there’s a word  I hadn’t thought of in all my consternation.

As I got text after comforting text while sitting on his bed later that evening, he marveled, “how many people knew about this?”

“Oh baby, don’t mess with your mama’s posse of crazy Jesus women. We crawl down from the hills when there is any distress, my love, like a thunderous herd of buffalo. We come.”

Image retrieved from: File:Haynes new guide and motorists’ complete road log of Yellowstone National Park (1922) (14781067312).jpg

From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository

 

 

Fall · Musings · Nature · Poetry

Nature’s Free for All

 

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

If you wake up early enough,

You’ll be treated to visible spider webs.

Everywhere.

Delicate strength,

Laden with dew,

Dancing for you,

Swinging, inviting your hair to romance.

They’ll court you this Fall

Bejeweled like pearls,

They’ll adorn your curls.

They’ll drape your neck,

You’ll scream, “what the heck?”

And bat away at nature’s free for all.

Insomnia · Musings · Poetry · Thankfulness

From Sigh to Thanks to Snore

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I lay awake at 2.36 a.m. and got to thinking that time spent marveling is better than time spent sighing.

I yawned luxuriously, and it struck me, slowly, sleepily, that I was grateful for my mouth –

for my upper and lower lip,

my upper and lower jaw,

my 27 teeth (sans wisdom teeth and the one I sacrificed to the roasted banana gods). Thank you for my tongue, my salivary glands, the hard and soft parts of the roof of my mouth, and for my uvula.

Thank you for my nose – my nose hairs, my septum, my columella and sinuses.

Thank you for ears –  my lobes, my pinna – which is my reading glasses holder, and my wet-willy canal. Thanks for my ear drum, hammer, stapes, and anvil. Thanks that I no longer grow mushrooms in my ears.

I am thankful for my eyes – my upper and lower eye-lids, my lashes, and eye-brows. Thank you for my iris, my cornea, my optic nerve and disc, my aqueous  and vitreous humors, my fovea, my caruncle, and my retina.

Thank you for my brain’s frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital lobes; my corpus callosum, my septum, amygdala, and pituitary gland; my sulci & gyri; my Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area, my white and grey matter; my hypothalamus,  pineal gland, hippocampus, and reticular activating system; my pons, my medulla, my cerebellum

My peduncle, my great-uncle…

Sorry if I forgot any parts… or put them… in the… wrong… place… snore…

Drama · Musings · Walmart

My Dumb-Ass Moment of the Day

There’s a reason I need to take naps every day. Driving home from scouts this evening, I told my son, ” The sunset is phenomenal. Does that cloud look like an angry cash slot? I’m so sad that it’s getting late earlier and earlier.

“You mean it’s getting dark earlier and earlier,” he corrected smugly, which earned him a jab in the ribs for being a smartacus.

I was still reeling from my experience at Walmart an hour prior. One just never knows what’ll happen at Walmart. I made it to the check-stand after picking up a handful of items I needed. I like self-checking. I hold my item this way and that, and I’m rewarded with the familiar beep before I bag it. When my shopping cart was empty, I pulled my credit card from my wallet. I looked around the checking contraption which looks like an arcade toy, circus-like noises and lights to boot.  I slid my card into one of the flashing slots, its landing lights showing me exactly where to go. I would have graduated the University of Walmart with flying colors.

No sooner did my card dock, than I realized it was in the cash slot. ‘Shoot!’ I thought. I reached out to grab it and the arcade monster sucked it in spitefully before I could stop it. Said machine started to grind and sputter. The light on the top started flickering and calling a code. A pregnant woman on aisle 9 passed out. ‘Shoot, shoot!’ I said, breaking into a cold sweat.

The attendant manning the self-check area came running. He was young enough to be my grandson.

“I accidentally put my card in the  cash slot,” I said, pointing to the offending opening. It licked its lips in mockery, then heaved for dramatic effect and threatened to hurl. 

“Oh freak! Not the cash slot,” Josh gasped. His hand hit his forehead to help him assess the situation. “Oh freaking grand!” His calculations showed it wasn’t good.

“Oh shoot,” I added helpfully.

He took off in a dead panic towards customer service. Two steps later he spun around and crashed into the gum display. “This isn’t good,” he was saying, both hands now on his head. He lurched to a stop 2 aisles down as though there was an electric fence that he’d  had a previous personal encounter with. He stuck his head this way and that, up and over the electric fence, muttering in his panic. He was trying to get someone’s attention but they were way over there. Obviously, the only thing worse than my felony was for him to leave his station unmanned.

“Can I go get someone?” I offered.

“Yes, quickly. Go over there and call Kayla,” he was hyperventilating. A massive blood vessel was pulsating on his temple.

‘Now what have I done?’ I said to myself, taking off in a sprint towards customer service. As soon as I got there, I heard him yelling, “Kayla, Kayla!”

I spun around and saw a bright yellow vest approaching him from the opposite direction. He waved me down and I darted back their way, my heart in my mouth. Now I’d done it.

I found him trying to find words to convey to Kayla, “This…” he threw his exasperated hands in my direction, “this… lady… oh my God, … she accidentally, oh freak!” A voice-crack escaped his frantic mouth, and the machine belched fire.

I stepped up to help him, expecting her to pull out her wooden yard stick and rap my fingers or chase me around the store beating me with it. (Parents, don’t send your children to Catholic school.)

I gulped. “I put my credit card in the cash slot.” This was not how I’d envisioned the end but I stepped forward bravely, closed my eyes, and tilted my head so she could slice it off with her yardstick. The machine ground the card to shreds and started to smoke and shake like a pot-bellied stove.

She pulled out the biggest pile of keys from her back pocket as she clicked the piercings in her lips. She has 3 on the top lip and 2 on the bottom.

“Let’s see here,” she muttered, opening the crocodiles mouth with a tiny key. Nothing there. She slammed that shut and opened another panel, lined with circuit boards and more lights. Nothing.

“Oh no,” said voice-crack. “This can’t be good.”

Kayla slammed that shut with a shu-shunk, and opened a third compartment. There minding its own little business, sat my credit card like a polite Catholic school girl.

“Oh thank you Jesus! Thank you Kayla!” I exclaimed and almost hugged her. “No problem,” she smiled and waved at someone else who was yelling her name across the store. Who knows what another idiot customer had done.

“Oh, oh, oh man,” said Josh, clutching his chest and holding onto the check stand for much needed support. “Wow, that could have been really, really bad!”

Kayla pushed the “I solved the problem” button and the arcade machine started playing circus music and blowing bubbles for all the happy children. I swallowed my heart back into its spot, grabbed my bags, and handed one to Josh to breath into.

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Amazing sunset today. Kinda looks like a monster card-eating cash-slot, eye and all.

Entering the World · Letting Go · Musings · Parenting

My Cry for the Day

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It’s 8 a.m. and I’ve had my cry for the day.

At 5 a.m. I gave my beloved a sleepy goodbye kiss as he left for work. At 6 a.m. I heard a familiar clomp, clomp, clomp. It’s my older man-child. He has his father’s heavy stomp and wears heavy shoes to boot. Back and forth. And back and forth. I knew what that meant.

Nerves. Today is the first day of school at his new high school. He’ll be entering as a sophomore after 2 amazing years of home-schooling. I walk out of my bedroom and find him fully dressed, backpack on, popping his knuckles.

“Hi, love.” I venture, smiling.

“Hi mum,” He smiles nervously. “I know. I got ready too early.”

The bus won’t be here for another 2 hours. I hug him and  hold on a little longer than he would like. He spent yesterday settling into a new bedroom and that’s kept him busy. He’s a minimalist and all his few belongings are quickly finding their place in his new space. I keep marveling at how much he has changed. His arms are manly, sculpted. When did that happen. His deep voice resonates deep within me. His hairy legs and feet grow by the day. His sense of humor kills me. He loves 70’s music. Who is this man calling me mum?

He feels sick and wants to throw up but he can’t. I suggest toast but he wants nothing to eat. His lunch is already packed. He keeps looking at the clock.  It’s going to be a long 2 hours. I center him in the Lord to calm his nerves. I have him read Ps. 91 and Ps. 121, slowly, prayerfully. I tell him to lean on the Holy Spirit for guidance, direction, and companionship. At one point I sit with him in his room and chat. He is making a soda can tab bracelet. I love to watch him work.  He’s such a beautiful child. I’m going to miss him.

I tell him how much I cherished working with him the last 2 years and what a great kid he is. I tell him how blessed the high school is to have him and what a joy he’ll be in people’s lives. He smiles his little smile and keeps his eyes on mine. He’s killing me.

The hours feel like 15 minutes to me. No, he doesn’t want me to walk him to the bus. He’s popping his knuckles again. God, he’s beautiful. He grabs his back pack. Something deep within my heart is heaving. Upturning. I hug and kiss him at the door. I slap his back and tell him to have a great day. I shut the door. I shut my stinging eyes and the dam breaks.

I stand at the picture window. There he goes down the dirt road. Confident, determined, nervous, beautiful, trusting, brilliant, self-assured. Who is this man? Where is he going? Go get ’em kid!

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