Friday, June 29, 2012

Notes from the Home XV

   Russ picked me up yesterday and carted me off to Target and a natural foods store, the name of which I don’t recall. The great thing about the natural foods place is the selection of what in more traditional stores would be called junk food. I don’t know if the muffins, lemon cake and chips in the natural foods store are any healthier than those at Piggly-Wiggly and Publix, but they certainly taste as good, and often much better. Besides, it’s an interesting shop to spend time in.
   Not long after we got back, Catherine knocked on my door. She is ninety, and a few weeks after I moved here, she gave me the skinny on signing up for activities.
   “Penelope puts all the activity signup sheets for the month in the book at one time, usually during the last week of the month before,” Catherine said. “There is only room for two wheelchairs on the bus, so you have to sign up early for the things you want to do.”
   Sage advice, indeed.  And Wednesday morning, Catherine and I were together in the back of the bus.  She was on her way to the ear doctor, and I was on the way to the retinal specialist. As have a number of other people here, she became a little concerned when she found out which doctor I was seeing for macular degeneration. The complaints I’ve heard are that he doesn’t spend much time with the patients, but he is so overbooked and it takes forever for him to get around to you, and that he is much too quick to recommend laser surgery. Getting in and out in a timely fashion hasn’t been a problem the two times I’ve seen him, but both times he’s dropped hints about holes in my retina and the how “we” will probably have to have laser surgery. Perhaps, but the doctor in Mentor, whom I saw for nearly a year, never mentioned holey retinas or the possible need for laser surgery.
   Catherine’s purpose for dropping by Thursday was to give me a brochure for the West Georgia Eye Care Center, where she goes for her macular degeneration. I didn’t get a shot Tuesday, and I don’t have to go back until the middle of September. So, maybe this would be a good time to investigate other options.
   Later in the day, Judy, one of the cleaning ladies, stopped me in the hall.
   “Was that your son with you this morning?” she asked.
   “Yep. That was Russ,” I said. “He took me shopping.”
   “How old is he?”
   “He’ll be thirty-four in August.”
   “Wow. He doesn’t look that old. I figured he was a college student; maybe twenty-five at most.”
   Alas, she never said the words I was waiting to hear: “You don’t look old enough to have a son thirty-four.”
   Last weekend, I went to a performance of The Great American Trailer Park Musical, which was staged by the drama department of Columbus State University. Looking at the program, I noticed the choreographer had the same last name as Richard, one of the residents also in attendance. I asked if they were related.
    “She’s my daughter-in-law,” he said. “She teaches drama and dance at CSU.”
   During intermission, I talked to Catherine, whom I hadn’t met before. After we had talked for a few minutes, I asked about her Irish accent.
   “I came to this country sixty-one years ago,” she said. “But I go back every few years for a refresher course on my accent.”
   The air conditioning will be tested this weekend. The predicted high for today and tomorrow is 105. It will be slightly cooler Sunday – very slightly – when the thermometer is supposed to reach 102. I did go out for a couple laps around the building this morning, but whether I’ll do my usual two after supper remains to be seen.
   One of the pleasant surprises about the weather in west Georgia, at least in the three months I’ve been here, has been the less than overwhelming humidity. The humidity is noticeable when I leave the air conditioned building, but just for a minute or two. There haven’t been any days yet when the humidity is a shroud that envelopes you, unseen but very real and very, very uncomfortable.
   And there are times when a little less air conditioning would be welcomed. After the doctor finished looking at my eyes the other day, I called Dennis, the Covenant Woods bus driver. He said he’d pick me up in about twenty-five minutes. My plan was to stay in the waiting room until Denis arrived, but it soon became apparent that sitting in the exceedingly well air-conditioned waiting room dressed in shorts and a T-shirt was akin to spending a November morning in Ashtabula’s Lake Shore Park in shorts and a T-shirt. I went outside and sat in the sunshine until Dennis came to take me home.
   Bethany and Ken are now the United States representatives for Kahles, an Austrian company that makes gun sights. In what seems to me to be a strange example of corporate diversification, Kahles is connected with Swarovski, the famous crystal people. But anyway, Beth and Ken went to a shoot in Wyoming last week and made a favorable impression on all those in attendance. Beth was pressed into service as a range officer. Never having been at a shoot, I have no idea what a range officer does. But though it was her first time in that capacity, Beth was voted the best range officer at the shoot. I’m impressed.
   Skype is now far and away my favorite toy. It makes me feel like a real, honest to goodness grandpa. Debbie was babysitting the other day, and I got to watch as Hayden ate lunch. He pretty much ran the show from his high chair, telling Grandma what he wanted and when he wanted it. Mostly he wanted crackers and little puffy fruit thingies. Several times he seemed to look at his adoring grandfather on the computer screen. Once he reached toward him, and a couple times he even played peek-a-boo with him. OK, he was probably tired and just rubbing his eyes. But I’m an insufferably proud grandpa, and this is my blog, and I say he was playing peek-a-boo. And I also say thank you, Debbie.

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