Monday, December 13, 2004

I Before E...

In an earlier post, I spelled "niece" wrong at least twice.

Please forgive me. I want to be able to sleep tonight.

Licking Envelopes is Tiring Business

I pretty much finished up the offsprings' Christmas shopping on Amazon this evening, while Peter ran out to the store to make copies of the photo he took of them this afternoon, which isn't great but will have to do.

I just finished pressing them into the 50+ cards I wrote and must hit the post office tomorrow.

Still have to get Peter's gift.

As for the girls, I refused to buy the Video Now disks Child One wanted. The last thing she needs is another object that requires her to sit still and stare for long periods. The girl is addicted to television. I'd like to throw that thing out the window, or at least block Disney, Nickelodeon, ABC Family and any other channel that broadcasts loud, obnoxious, stupid sitcoms into the stratosphere.

Child One can sit through the same insipid rerun of Full House or Raven until her eyes fall out.

So, instead of the Video Now garbage, I ordered her a Terry Pratchett book on CD (the girl hates to read, but she likes Harry Potter, and this seems to be in the same vein). I ordered a Lemony Snicket book on CD for her sister.

I also got them the music CDs they've been pining for, as well as a few other things. I'll go to the store at the end of the week and get the spy equipment they want, and the tea set Child Two requested.

Well, it's a relief to have most of it done, and it's a relief to have the cards written and addressed, too.

I'm to interview an author for the radio show on Wednesday, but the book his publicist promised to send has yet to appear. I'm getting uneasy.

I'll put that out of my head for now. Time for some well-deserved relaxation.

Health Care Workers in it for the Paycheck

If you ever want to be depressed, head over to the rehab facility where my mother is currently incarcerated.

It's on 79th between 2nd and 3rd, a beige matchbook of building with an aluminum-type facade so pale you can barely see it. It's surrounded by magnificent architecture, which makes it look even sorrier.

The interior is worse. The walls are institutional green, the floors a dirty pale linoleum. I waited, like, ten minutes for an antiquated elevator to scrape its way up to Mom's floor, and when I finally got one, a crowd had accumulated and jammed in with me. The thing stopped at every blessed floor, and I had to get to Fifteen.

I could've walked faster.

I found Mom propped up in her wheelchair reading the facility newsletter, seemingly oblivious to my father, two sisters, and neice, who surrounded her. She is almost completely bald. She smiled wanly when she saw me and said she would like to get back into bed. She'd been in the chair for hours.

So, Sibling One rang for the aide, who came in rather huffily. "Who's leanin' on that bell?" she demanded.

"Oh," my sister said. "I rang it once. I didn't realize it was still ringing."

"Well," the aide barked, "push it again to stop it!"

Sibling One complied. "Would you put my mother back to bed, please?"

"I'm in the middle of something!" came the response. "I'll be back in a minute!"

At this point, Peter and the offspring appeared, having let me out of the car to buy Mommy socks at Rite Aid while they drove off in search of parking. Peter put Mom back to bed, not a small feat even for a 6'1, 196 pound individual, because the poor woman can't stand without assistance.

I went in search of the ladies room. I found it behind a door marked PUBLIC TOILET in chipped handpainted black letters.

Sibling Two and the neice ran off to meet my brother-in-law. Dad, who spent most of the week in that dire joint, fled to watch a football game (he had it coming!). I had a good conversation with Sibling One, while Mommy slept.

Said sibling is expecting her first baby in 5 weeks and looked energetic. The last few times I've seen her she was dead tired. She has an extremely well-paying but demanding job in the financial industry. Don't ask me what she does because I have no idea.

Eventually, she left, and Sibling Three, my brother, appeared with his sometime girlfriend. The girlfriend has been part of my family since before my children were born, and now that Mom is sick she is back on the scene like a daughter. My mother just loves her.

We all do.

My brother loves her, but, after twelve years of dating, she is not ready to get married. Hey, it's not for everybody.

Peter, the girls, and I left Mom with Sibling Three and Girlfriend at 4PM. The aide still hadn't shown up to put her back to bed.

On the way home, Peter and I took the girls to Bertucci's for dinner. I had always avoided Bertucci's because I was convinced it would be just like The Olive Garden, i.e. corporate Italian food. I'm not Italian, but I am from New York, which is teeming with good Italian restaurants, so corporate just doesn't cut it.

But Peter wanted to avoid our usual, family-owned Italian place in Connecticut because the chairs are murder, and nobody ever looks you in the eye there, let alone smiles at you.

So, we went to Bertucci's.

Boy, were we surprised! Not only did we have a friendly, polite waiter, but the pizza and antipasto we ordered was better than the family-owned place's. So, we are going back to Bertucci's.

To the staff at Vincent's, you just lost four customers!