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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Who Knew?

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for anything alcoholic

My 91 year old mother hurt her knee and ended up in the hospital. Hospitals are dangerous germ filled places for people in the 90-99 age group. So many check in but never check out, pneumonia being the usual culprit. I was worried that she would lie there and with shallow breathing catch pneumonia so I drove the six hour round trip to check on her.

I need not have worried on that score. When I got to her floor, I didn't have to ask which room was hers. Those lungs were filled to capacity and bellowing out orders to everyone. She thinks the hospital is some kind of resort.

I spent the entire day with her or someone who had possessed her body. The nurse had given her a vicodin for pain before I got there and Mother then talked non-stop for five hours. I felt like I was watching the weather channel, same thing repeated every hour.

During her five hour ramble, she talked, more than once, about the ninety-five year old twins that had lived across the hall from her for several months. They didn't stay there long. They moved to a townhouse just across the drive-way from my mother's assisted living facility. I have my suspicions as to why. Mother can't cross the drive-way.

Then she complained that she had tried to reach some lady by phone. She wanted her to come and help her clear out a closet. I said "Well, Mother maybe she couldn't hear the phone ring." "Oh, she can hear it ring. She's nine-seven but she can hear." "Mother, you're calling a ninety-seven year old woman to come and help you clean out a closet?" "Well, I'd pay her."

These stories and several others that my brain cannot recall alternated along with her concern for her swollen knee for three hours. The doctor had aspirated the knee, tested, and performed an MRI. We were just waiting for the results. She had already made a couple rounds with her walker with two nurses in tow so I wasn't too worried about the condition of her knee at the present. My sister and I were concerned about what had caused the knee to collapse. If it was just worn out and the collapse was spontaneous, then we had to consider getting Mother a motorized scooter…a very scary thought. Mother had given up driving when she was 85 because of the other crazy drivers on the road. "I've never had an accident," she proudly claims. My sister and I exchange that "But how many have you caused?" look we share.

By hour four of the vicodin trip to fantasy land, I headed for the nurses' station. "I need drugs," I gasped. "For your mother?" They didn't even ask who my mother was or her room number. I guess they had seen that dazed look before. "No, for me. " "Sorry, your mother's nurses on the night shift already took all the drugs not under lock and key. Maybe if you leave the room she will fall asleep." I staggered back down the hall.

By hour four and five minutes, I went in search of a diet coke since the only alcohol I could find was the disinfecting kind, tempting but reason reined temporarily. When I came back, I slid with my back against the wall quietly down the side hall and leaned in to see if Mother was asleep. Just at that moment, she was leaning out of her bed peeking around the corner and caught me. Even at ninety-one, I can't slip anything past her.

After five hours six minutes and eleven seconds, the doctor appeared with the results. "The tests showed this is just a temporary injury. She must have banged it on something." At that point Mother vehemently and loudly proclaimed that she did not bang it on anything.

After talking with my sister, I learned that the Mavericks had played the same night she experienced "knee failure". It was a close and exciting game. Mother is an avid sports fan and armchair coach. The pieces began to fall into place. Mother would never admit it, but I'm sure Dirk was glad she was not at courtside when he missed that shot. Unfortunately, I don't think Mother's knee missed the side table.

When my head stops spinning and my blood pressure drops below 300, I will call my sister and see how Mother is doing tonight. I'd call the hospital myself, but I think the Mavericks are playing game six tonight and nothing interferes with Mother and sports.

I enjoyed the silent three hour ride home. I didn't even play the radio. I was afraid I would catch the Mavericks game. I was afraid if Dirk made a dumb shot, Mother might fall out of bed and hurt her other knee and by the time I turned around and got back to the hospital, she would be re-entering vicodin land. Mothers!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Link Me Up, Scotty!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for search of missing link.

I have been "invited" to link up with several people over the past few weeks. Now this isn't a dating thing, although for some reason my spam file is full of Cougar Find Your Cub mail lately. Linky dink seems to be some kind of business network thing. Since I am retired and heretofore unpublished, I don't know what business I have linking to whatever it is I linked…to. I know it has something to do with making connections but to what and what for, I haven't a clue.

It's like my friends that say they have a thousand "friends" on Facebook. How do they ever filter through a thousand e-mails each day? I don't think I know a thousand people and if I did, I'm sure I couldn't call them by name. Heck, I had to number my kids after a while because I couldn't remember their names. "Hey, Bobby, Billy, Brandon, Baxter, Bolivar, Number Six whatever your name is, stop swinging from the door facing and turn Number Four loose before you drop her."

Maybe they are looking for Baby Boomers to field test cell phones with supersized numbers and letters and speakers that plug into your hearing aids to give the Jitterbugs a run for their money. Or maybe they are testing those walk-in bath tubs with loud speakers attached that automatically say "Don't forget to close and lock the bathtub door" after you get in; course that might link you to the nearest plumber. Now that is something that I wouldn't mind being linked to given the age of my pipes.

I hope it is not like one of those electronic chain letter link things. I have been waiting six months and so far no new romance has come into my life (well except for those M&M dark chocolate pretzels). I haven't received any new recipes, the Publisher's Clearing House people haven't stop by with a bunch of balloons and an oversized check, and I'm way overdue for some good news.

In the meantime, "Link me up, Scotty!" This could be interesting!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bite Me!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for sun-scream!

Sometimes when my husband can't find any playmates, he resorts to asking me if I would like to go fishing with him. "What about the kids?" "Oh, they can come, too," as if they had any choice. This once in a blue moon invitation comes at a price. "What time do we have to leave and when will we get home?"

Leaving at 5a.m. wasn't too bad except the human-alarm-clocks were "dinging" and "coca-doodle-doing" at 4a.m. while yelling "Get up, the fish are waiting. Are you going fishing or not?" My mind screamed "Not" but I grabbed coffee and was tugged and pulled to the pick-up truck. Hubby had already connected the barge and had it loaded with four ice chests, five hundred fishing poles, and six tackle boxes. I wondered if the fleet was going out.

Now I must say that Dr. Hubby does try to take care of his playmates when he goes fishing. He had loaded the port-a-potty into the barge and had even remembered toilet paper. The folding roof was in place and ready to be raised at the first hint of sunburn. He had two boxes of Honey Buns, Dr. Peppers, sufficient Diet Cokes and dark Hershey bars to see me through the day, and an apple. He had the aerator and ice chest for the minnows, frozen ice jugs for the caught fish, and a tiny dip net, oh, and frozen hot dogs. I'm not sure if they were "the bait of last resort" or if that was his idea of lunch.

It took an hour to get to the lake. There is a perfectly good lake not twenty minutes from the house but evidently the fish had all agreed to have a reunion at the lake sixty miles away. The children, true to their nature, slept the whole way. I thought I would take advantage of the situation and have a conversation with my new blue moon playmate without interruptions, but after five minutes of hook, line, and sinkers, I lapsed into a voluntary coma.

I came to when we stopped at Fishing Bait and Tackle Shop #1. "Why are we stopping here?" I asked. "Got to get some minnows," said Cat Fish Charlie. "What about all those tackle boxes full of lures and jiggy things?" I wanted to know. "That's in case the crappie don't bite and we have to switch to bass," said the American Angler Wanna-Be. Quickly he hopped out and as quickly returned. "They only had two dozen minnows. We need at least four dozen," and off we went to Fishing Bait and Tackle Shop #2 for additional minnows.

We arrived at the lake just as the sun was coming up. "Wow, look at that!" said the nine-year-old; "it's beautiful". "Yes, that's the sun. It comes up every morning. If you get up early tomorrow you can see it again," I said. "That's ok" said the six-year-old. "I've seen it before."

Launching the barge was a lesson in frustration due to the additional playmate weight or possibly due to the low water level of the lake. I vote for the low water level. After backing twenty-five yards further out into the lake, the barge floated off the trailer with us in it. Dr. Hubby moored us to a rock, parked the trailer and we were ready to find the crappie hole.

I have an exact formula for fishing. It is a ratio of one minnow per caught fish every three minutes and it was working this morning. The two children and I were pulling in fish faster than Dr. Hubby could take them off our lines, toss the fish in the ice chest, replace broken line, straighten out bent hooks, catch a minnow and re-bait our hooks. I could bait my own hook and did so…after a while. An hour later, Dr. Hubby caught his first fish.

None of the boats that passed by our crappie hole stayed very long, possibly due to the six-year-old shouting "Bite Me" as they trolled by. I guess they didn't know he was talking to the fish.

Once the novelty of fishing wore off and the formula ceased to work (about forty-nine minutes), the eating frenzy began. First the children attacked the Honey Buns. These were washed down with Dr. Pepper's and Gatorades followed approximately fifteen minutes later with potty time…off the end of the boat for the six-year-old and port-a-potty with me as the human privacy curtain for the nine-year-old. Had I been conscious when we left, I would have brought the DS Nintendo's, the portable DVD player, and books to offset the sugar high run-from-one-end-of-the-barge-to-the-other that was soon to follow.

By 9:30 a.m. the temperature had reached 89 degrees. Tempers were getting short but we were still long on minnows. I knew from past experience that as long as there were minnows, there would be fishing. I picked up a pole, told the children to do the same, and we began baiting hooks. "Ooops, that one fell off? That's ok, just put two on this time…and sling your line out there really hard." When Dr. Hubby would bring in a fish, I nicely caught one minnow for him…and threw a handful overboard when his back was turned. Soon it was "Dang! We are out of minnows. Guess it's time to go."

With the barge loaded, the fishing gear and the sweaty lifejackets stowed away, and the air conditioning running full blast in the truck, Dr. Hubby turned and said "Well, did everybody have a good time?" The two children already huddled under blankets, pillow pets scrunched under their head, eyes droopy managed a "Yes, the best…it was ….really….really…fun…"

And it was…in a funny masochistic sort of way. Now when is the next blue moon?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Miss Manners in the Dining Room with a Butter Knife

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for an Emily Post Rewrite

My nine-year-old's Girl Scout troop had been trying for a month to arrange etiquette lessons from a local Miss Manners but scheduling never worked out. As a recovering former Teacher-I-Can-Fix-Anything, I momentarily fell off the teaching wagon and offered to teach a concentrated lesson in table manners at my house. After all, I did have a dining room, dining chairs, and dishes. The fact that I can't cook is irrelevant. I even had my wedding silverware, antique silverware by now, and I had learned how to fold napkins on one of our cruises. What could be easier?

I got the extra leaf to the dining table out from under the bed. After I wedged the leaf into the table, it was only unlevel by a quarter inch in the center. I'd just put a piece of cardboard under that placemat to even things out. I rounded up all the dining chairs from the various rooms. The seat covers all matched except for one which I never got around to recovering. I bought three more placemats after I discovered the dryer had eaten just one. I have three almost complete sets of china thanks to oatmeal, Texaco gas stations, laundry detergent and green stamps. These are also considered antiques by now. After reviewing "Betty Crocker Entertainment Made Easy" I saw that it was ok to mix and match dishes. She, of course, meant it's ok to mix eight matching bread plates with eight different matching dinner plates but I didn't read that part until later…after everyone had gone. So between the three sets of china, I had service for eight.

The silverware was a different story. Yes, I had service for eight but only one butter knife, an integral part to my lesson on "tear off one piece of bread, butter, and eat, then repeat" segment of Miss Manners At the Banquet Table. I substituted plastic knifes. This was just practice, you know.

Since my teaching method has always been to "teach backwards", I piled up all the dishes, chargers, silverware, stemware, napkins, and place cards in the middle of the table. I then instructed them to "set the table." Chargers were placed on top of dinner plates, cups, saucers stacked to the left and the silverware was placed inside the stemware. Napkins lay limply to the side. Clearly time for Miss Manners intervention. I had prepared a poster with the correct place setting glued on…which fell off the minute I held it up for the girls to see. The table was finally set, amidst muffled giggles.

One of the moms served the bread using bread tongs which is my case were some pickle tongs I had found in the back of a drawer. I had wanted to cut the butter into little serving squares and stamp them with an initial like you see at fancy hotels, so I placed the butter in the freezer. Thirty minutes later I remembered the butter and began hacking the butter stick into squares using a butcher knife. Forget the fancy initial unless you are thinking Chinese/caveman hieroglyphics.

Having conquered the bread and butter, we moved on to serving coffee. I forgot I didn't have a silver coffee carafe, probably because I never had one, so I just used my Mr. Coffee pot. The girls practiced turning their coffee cups upside down to indicate they did not want coffee; except for one little girl. "May I have some coffee, please?" she asked. "No, coffee is not good for you; besides the pot is empty. We are pretending practicing remember?" I countered.

On to the main course. The object was to practice using a knife and fork correctly, both the American way and the European way. I served filet-of-wiener; that's a wiener cut down the middle with a bit of cheese in the middle and heated in the oven, not much chance of me messing that up. It was a big success, the filet-of-wiener, not the cutting and forking. That needed more practice.

After correctly placing the knife and fork on the plate in the three o'clock position, the mom-servers removed the plates from the right and served my very elegant dessert from the left; that being the ice cream-on-sponge-cake-with-whipped-cream-and-a-strawberry-on top. The "I'm allergic to strawberries" comment initiated the lesson on how to move food around on your plate and not eat it while holding meaningful conversation and no you cannot ask for substitutions at a banquet.

This led us into table talk. Topics of conversation could not involve body parts, bodily functions, bodily sounds, gossip, or comments on my cooking or d├ęcor.

It was a very quiet meal…mannerly but quiet.

Miss Manners would be so proud.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Scalped Yelp!

By Jody Worsham

All rights reserved for Doggie Do

It was time to get Tia Mia clipped. Not only do I know "nothing about birthin' no babies" I also do not know how to talk to a dog groomer. I call. I make an appointment. I show up with the dog on a leash.

"What kind of cut did you have in mind?" she kindly asked.

"Uh, short? Right now she's got chewing gum wadded up under her neck. I didn't do it. The kids did."

"Chewing gum? Oh my. So you want everything short?"


"Including the tail?"

"Ok, except the tail."

"And the ears?

"Ok, except the tail and the ears."

"And you want the Teddy Bear face?"

Ok, I have no idea what a Teddy Bear face looks like on a dog, but it sounded cute and I didn't want to sound any less knowledgeable than I already had so I said "Of course."

Two hours later I went back for my dog. Yes, I said my dog. The dog that "I must have or I will cry for days" had been unceremoniously transferred by the nine-year-old to the six-year-old back to the nine-year-old, back to the six-year-old and then to me. Each transfer was due to abundant poopage and wet spots in the current owner's room. I guess both "parents" had no clue as to how to house break a dog. "Your dog, you clean it" being screamed at the top of the lungs was a sure sign of an impending transfer of ownership.

I looked in all the cages for my little fluff ball. I guess I wasn't listening closely when the word "shaved" entered into the conversation earlier. All I remember saying was "She isn't a show dog, just cut it short so I don't have to brush."

The only dog remaining was this naked fluffy tailed, puffy faced, skinny thing with black spots. Who knew she had spots…or eyes…or toe nails…or a front end and a back end. Well, I won't have to brush for a while; just flick a yellow Swiffer Duster across her once and done.

I told my friend about it and she cooed "Oh, Embarrassed?" I didn't know if she meant the dog or the current owner, me, but the answer to both was yes. Cold and embarrassed. I put a sweater on the dog to take care of both.

I think next time I'll bring a picture of the do I want and maybe a picture of the do I do not want because what I got was a do that looks like do… well you know.