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Notes from the Home - November 29, 2015

The phone rang at eleven o'clock a couple Monday nights ago. I didn't hear it. Or, maybe I heard it just enough that I was more alert when the phone rang again a half hour later. The ring was muffled, though. I had left the phone in my pants pocket. By the time I'd figured out where the phone was and managed to get to it, it had stopped ringing. The phone was kind enough to inform me that Al had made two calls and that there was a voicemail message awaiting me.
     "Tom, Al here. I need your help. I fell and can't get myself up. I called the desk about three times and nobody answered the goddamned phone. Get your ass up here. Now!"      I opted to call the desk. Warren answered and said he'd check on Al right away. I thought about going to Al's room. Then I thought a little more: It would take me fifteen minutes or more to put on socks, pants and shoes, by which time Warren would have Al back in bed, and I would disturb him. Or Warren would have…

Tis the Season's Opening Day

Three Word Wednesday -  This week's words: Habitual; Illustrious; Jumbled
Christmas comes but once a year, which is just as well, although all the retailers would like to have more so every single week there would be a Black Friday, with jumbled hordes of crazed shoppers outside the store at three-ten in the morning, credit cards in hand. Christmas: a great excuse for a shopping orgy.
The proudly religious also up and orgy over “Season’s Greetings,” a term they don’t take well. And “Happy Holidays” gives the devil a hand, they say. “And we’ll not shop here, not even once more unless the cash registers in your godless store tell the clerks to say ‘Merry Christmas’ by Friday.”
That way, when the saved go shopping on Black Friday they can revel religiously in the orgy

Prompt Responses

The Three Word Wednesday prompt this week is to use the words ragged, threatening and unsightly in a piece of writing.

     With a steady hand on the wheelchair's joy stick, I maneuvered through the dining room of the old folks' home where I live. The management takes offense to the term "old folks home." Their euphemism of choice is "senior retirement community." This place isn't like the old folks homes in the TV commercials of the fifties, where the residents spent countless hours on the veranda discussing their bowels and laxatives. Here, we old folks have those conversations inside in air-conditioned comfort.
     Enough of that. If the management finds out I'm saying such things, I'll get a threatening letter and my rent will be doubled.
    Back to the dining room. Jane waved and said hello, as I approached the table where she was sitting. "What's that?" she asked, pointing to my shirt, I thought. It was a T-shirt with…

Notes from the Home - October 12, 2015

Tuesday began at six-thirty. That's when I woke up after eight hours sleep. Eight restful hours, without so much as a bathroom break. By seven o'clock, I had dressed, taken the daily dosages and started the coffee. At eight o'clock, I had finished breakfast, done two crossword puzzles and was ready to figure out what to do with the rest of day.
     At eight-ten, Al called. "Tom? Tom, get up here immediately, if you're able. Please. Please."
     Al's night had not been pleasant. He held up a towel to show me he had been coughing up blood. His stomach was upset, his head was about to explode, and he didn't know where the hell he was or what the fuck was going on. He had called the desk to tell them he was having difficulty. But when Pat, a nurse's assistant, got there, he told her to "get the hell out."
     "Maybe I should just go to the hospital," he said.
     "Do want me to call downstairs and have them call 911?&…

Notes from the Home - September 28, 2015

Hayden will be five on Wednesday. The one-pound-eleven-ounce bundle of joy is now in preschool. What a guy.
     From two thousand miles away, Hayden and MaKenna bring so much happiness to my life. Beth calls, tells me what the grandkids have been up to and puts them on the phone.  When they say, "I love you, Grandpa," my heart melts.
      From this distance, Beth and Ken seem to be wonderful parents. They are allowing Hayden to explore and go where his intelligence and curiosity lead him. Who knows what the young fellow will discover along the way. I have a feeling it will be a lot.

     Al had a difficult weekend. He wasn't feeling well Saturday and didn't come down to dinner. The people in the kitchen take good care of him, though. When I went to see him after dinner, he was working on the dinner that they sent up to him. He said it was good, especially the chocolate cake for dessert. Al was delighted that I brought along another piece of cake for him.
     …

Notes from the Home - September 22, 2015

Fall came to Columbus and its environs a few days early. Although, I would not have recognized it as fall before moving here in 2012. In Ashtabula, bright sunshine, gentle breeze, low humidity, high of 85 and low of 67 is a pleasant summer day. It would be a pleasant summer day in Columbus, too, if such a day were to occur between May and earlySeptember. It seldom does. There have been maybe a half dozen such days in the four summers I've been here. And not a one this year.
     Now, when I slide the porch door open at five in the morning, cool air comes in, and it's exhilarating. This morning, I left the porch door open and the air conditioner off until nearly noon. At eight-thirty each morning, when I go out and circle the building, it is comfortably cool in the shade and comfortably warm in the sunlight.
     Tuesday morning, Janet, an English woman who came to America last fall, was sitting in her carport smoking a cigarette when I came along. Our conversation quickly…

Notes from the Home - September 19, 2015

Wednesday at dinner, Al said he was having difficulty figuring out a few of his bills. Would I come by sometime and give him a hand? Of course.
    He was one ragged-looking ninety-one year old man when I showed up Thursday morning. Al said he got up about six,  laid back a while later and had crawled out of bed just a few minutes before I got there.
     "When I got up just now, I didn't know where the hell I was. That's happening a lot. I don't know what I'm doing." Over the next half hour, he told me five or six times that he had planned to go to Publix on the Covenant Woods' bus, but he slept late. "Now, I don't know why the hell I wanted to go in the first place."
     The bills were easy to deal with; there weren't any. He picked up an envelope, took out its contents. "What the hell is this shit?" he asked as he handed me a bank statement. "I know what these are" Those were his cancelled checks. That the pa…

Notes from the Home - September 11, 2015

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I awoke full of resolve this morning. This would be the day I resumed writing on a regular, daily basis. OK, on any basis at all. I hopped out of bed into the wheelchair and, within seconds, knocked over the paper shredder. Whether or not promptly cleaning up the resulting mess is a sign of my new resolve remains to be seen.
(The above was written two days ago, and I haven't done squat since. The items that follow are old news. But, since I've been idle for six weeks or more, you wouldn't know that. Kicks in the ass will be greatly appreciated.)



A ferocious alligator, which appeared after a recent storm, yawns as it relaxes behind the C Building.
     Al has had more than his share of difficulty lately. Mostly, he is having respiratory problems. Six weeks ago, the doctor ran some tests on his lungs and discovered cancer in the left one. That is what is causing him to cough up blood.
     He was back in the hospital for two days during the first week of August. That…

Notes from the Home - August 1, 2015