Saturday, October 15, 2016

Notes from the Home - October 15, 2016

I don't learn something new every day, but I did learn something new this week. On Monday, October 11, I posted a "Notes from the Home" diatribe that dealt with Brenda the Ill-Mannered Server, and Alice's Son the The Apparently Deaf Late Night TV Viewer. Tuesday morning, as I wandered through the parking lots, Amy, who is also a server, stopped on her way to the employee parking lot.

"How you doing?" she asked.

"OK, I guess. Haven't been getting much sleep, lately."

"I know. I read it," she said, giggling as she drove on.

"Read what?" I wondered. Amy didn't know anything about the blog; I didn't think she did, anyway. She never mentioned it if she did, not even one smart-ass comment about a blog post, ever. "Maybe she's just being a smart ass today," I thought. After all, Amy is a good-natured smart ass every day.

A half-hour later, as I was squandering another day, Alisha, the activity director called to ask if I would proofread a few things for her. I couldn't pass up a chance to be useful, and five minutes later I was in her office. Five minutes after that, Annie, the activities assistant, walked in.

"Tom, there you are. Your ears must be burning."


"Everybody is talking about you,"


"The stuff you wrote about Brenda."

Annie correctly interpreted my dazed and confused countenance. The folks in charge here at the old folks home have subscribed to a service which looks for any mention of this establishment on the Internet, she explained. When something is found, the link is emailed to every manager and every employee.

Suddenly, I was a celebrity, and everyone was reading my blog. Well, not everyone, but more people than usual. According to the information Blogspot provides, a piece titled "Trite On," which I posted in August 2010, has the most pageviews, eighty-eight, of the over three hundred items I've posted. In less than a week, the saga of the server has racked up eighty-three pageviews.

I would not have posted that screed had I known the entire staff would be invited to read it. The day before I started writing, I'd talked to Orwin, Brenda's supervisor, about the incident. But, the essay did get Roger, the general manager, involved. Brenda still works here. I've avoided her, but word is, she's more considerate, more pleasant, and less demeaning than she was.

No one is upset with me. I was talking to a few of the servers today, and told them I felt like I'd made an ugly scene. I'd prefer to be a little more discrete. "But it had to be done," one of them told me. "When we tell them about her, they think we're just being mean."

At least one resident thinks Brenda is easier to put up with now. Tony stopped me in the hall, Thursday. Normally, he's loud and jovial, but that day he was more subdued. "Tom, I didn't read what you wrote . . . but thank you . . . thank you."

*                    *                    *

I noticed on Facebook today that Cathy and Linda, my erstwhile sisters-in-laws, are in Rome, looking forward to touring St. Peter's and the Colosseum. That brings back of the day Nancy and I set out on the same itinerary one day in late December 2007. We never made it to the Colosseum.

Our tour of the Vatican went smoothly. Because I was in a wheelchair, Nancy and I got to see more of Vatican than the others in our tour group. The route of the regular tour wasn't completely wheelchair accessible, and Nancy and I got to go down several hallways filled with sculptures and paintings that the other folks never saw.

The trouble began when it was time to leave the Vatican. I forget what it was, but there was something to see on the way out. Unfortunately, that way out wasn't wheelchair accessible. Our bus driver told Nancy and me how to get out and told us where to wait at a particular corner, and he would pick us up there. It might be a few minutes, though, because everyone else had to get back to the bus first. 

We waited on the corner for an hour. The bus never appeared, and we decided our only option was to walk back to the hotel. OK, Nancy would walk and push the wheelchair, I'd ride in comfort. 

Finding our way back wasn't difficult. All we had to do was find the right road, and once we did, it was a straight shot. The road, however, was like the road we told our kids we walked to school on: five miles long and uphill the whole way. There was so much traffic that at times, we moved faster that the cars. 

Along the way, a man jumped out of a car and helped Nancy push me for a short distance. Then he kissed Nancy on both cheeks before getting back in the car. He left us in front of what looked to be a hospital. He must have thought that was where we were headed. That would explain the weird looks he gave us when we passed the car he was in, which was caught in traffic.

It took two hours, but we finally made it back to the hotel, much to the amazement of everyone. The next day, we headed to Assisi. Back in Paris, on the first day of our tour, Franco, the tour guide, told Nancy and me, I would have to stay in the bus while everyone else toured Assisi. To get to Assisi, one had to go up a long, steep hill, and Franco didn't think Nancy would be able to get me up the hill. After hearing about our adventurous trip from the Vatican to the hotel, he thought she might be able to get me up the hill. She did.

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