Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown Down, plus the Traditional "Parental Emergency" Arranges to Appear on Cue.

Crazy Aunt Purl shared the list of Big Things she wrote in 2003. I share her addiction to lists (I heart my Franklin Covey Planner like it is a living thing) but somehow I've never been moved to make a list like this. I think this would be a good end of year project. Considering that basically my entire previous existence is being systematically stripped away from me by forces out of my control, and all that.
So she has inspired me. I'm gonna start working on The List. Now, while I have a lot of time to think about it.

I called my former boss today, he sounded so happy to hear from me, and we vowed to get together soon. He said he had wanted to call but didn't want to use his "Bugging Catherine," chips too early, in case he needed them later (he's on the Left Behind team). I told him to call anytime, and I'd even be glad to stop by and offer assistance in person for an hour or two, I just didn't want to get stuck sitting there all day, every day, until we were no longer needed. I've done that before and it fucking sucks, and my year has sucked enough - no wait, my DECADE has sucked enough already. I am not going to revisit stressful things I did in the 90s, not when the new century is so ready to hit me with fresh, shiny new crises.

Speaking of Crisis Alerts, longtime readers (the few, the very bored) of this blog and its predecessor may remember that my parents have a long-standing tradition of a Holiday Crisis - God Forbid Catherine gets from Thanksgiving through New Years without a parental panic, a medical emergency, faux or genuine, a hospitalization, actual or just threatened, etc.

Last night we had the 2007 event, and it was hilarious and not at all my mother's fault.

My mother has an answering machine at home, she gets a lot of sales calls, she also gets freaked out by randomly-dialed offers of cemetery plots or new mortgages. So Cousin C and I have patiently trained her to let the machine screen the calls. Don't pick up until you hear the voice and you know it's someone you want to talk to! She finally learned to do this. Problem solved.

Yesterday I called my mother at 3 in the afternoon to tell her that I planned to visit today. She didn't pick up, I didn't worry, I thought she was at the store or taking a nap or whatever. I tried again at 4, then 5, 6, and 7. Okay, this is totally not right - my mother does not fail to return a phone call - she usually calls back all breathless, like you are Ed McMahon driving away with her $10,000,000 check. By 7:30 I was genuinely concerned, and called Cousin C to ask if she'd talked to my mother today. She hadn't. So I looked for my mother's neighbor's number, she's unlisted and I thought I had it but it wasn't in the Holy Planner of St. Franklin Covey. Shit. So, feeling somewhat like an idiot but mostly concerned, I called her county sheriff's office - the non-emergency number, of course, and asked if a deputy could do a drive-by to see if she was okay. My mother is, after all, 81 years old, about 4'9" and fragile, and still crazily inclined to do things like clean out closets and move furniture when the mood strikes her.

About 40 minutes later I got a call back from my mother, who was bemused by the whole incident - the deputy was very nice, and told her to call her daughter. I explained that I had been trying to reach her for hours and I knew she wasn't out hitting the bars, so I got concerned and couldn't find her neighbor's number.

To make a long Seinfeldian conversation short, her answering machine was not picking up right, and was cutting off the caller's voice. So my mother was sitting there happily watching a Law and Order marathon, and cursing the damn phone that kept ringing, and "they" kept hanging up. Damn telemarketers! I was of course the they, and I was leaving increasingly concerned messages, including one saying, "You're going to get a knock on the door from the sheriff's office, so if you were just taking a nap, don't freak out."

So today I went over to her house (sounds easy, but it involved about 4 hours of drive time) and checked out the answering machine, got it to reset, tested it, and I think we're good again.

Meanwhile, one of my co-workers (the one who took my place on the left behind team) forwarded an email from a friend I'd been thinking of lately, and was about to email to say Hi.

The Fantabulous D was the best litigation legal secretary the Lawyer Formerly Known as Boss and I had ever had, for a brief, shining time until our employer decided we didn't really need to have her. She is smart, strong, confident, and highly skilled. She could relentlessly pursue opposing counsel or a judicial assistant until we had the depositions scheduled or a hearing time, and she did it with class, charm, and not a hint of pushy-ness. She is unflappable and takes no shit from anyone. She is also unemployed, and emailed me to ask if I knew of anyone that is hiring.

Um, honey, let me fill you in.

Moving back to MD is looking far more likely every day.

1 comment:

Bess said...


Lookin' more and more like I'll be able to bunk down with you at MS&W one of these days.