"Life is good at Covenant Woods." That is what the folks who run Covenant Woods say about the place, anyway. For the last four-and-a-half years, I have been in agreement - on occasions, even hearty agreement - with that motto. Not so, this last week.
Wednesday, I joined Mildred, Ethel, and Ruth for dinner. They are delightful ladies, wonderful dinner partners. Brenda was our server. She is seldom delightful, and she very often falls well short of pleasant.
After taking our orders, Brenda returned with three salads: one each for Mildred, Ethel and me. "May I have a salad?" Ruth asked. "You didn't order a salad," Brenda told her in the manner of an angry, impatient mother speaking to her recalcitrant three-year-old. A month or two ago, she spoke in the same demeaning tone to Anna. That night, when Brenda stopped to pickup some dirty dishes off our table, Ethel, who was too full to finish her dinner, asked for a to-go box. When Brenda returned with the requested box, Anna said, "Oh, can I have one, too?" "Why didn't you ask when I was here?" Brenda demanded in her demeaning, disrespectful manner. Ruth, who is ninety-six and doesn't hear well, said, "Huh?" Then Brenda repeated her question in the same tone of voice as she had asked it the first time.
Back to Wednesday: While she was distributing the plates with our dinners, Brenda got snippy with Ethel. Unable to keep my tongue, I told Brenda that she shouldn't speak to the residents in that manner. Brenda put her arm around Ethel and said, "You know I love you . . . blah . . . blah . . . blah . . ." When Brenda headed back to the kitchen, Ethel shook my hand and said, "Good job, Tom."
A few minutes later, Brenda was back and announced she was taking orders for dessert. "I'd like some butter pecan ice cream," I said. "You are still eating, sir. I'm taking dessert orders from those people who have finished eating." It was true, I was working on the last few bites. Ethel was too, but Brenda took her order. When Brenda returned with the desserts, she said, "What would you like for dessert, sir?" "Butter pecan ice cream." "I'm sorry, sir, we're out of butter pecan." I was tempted to look around to see if another server might be in the area, just to verify that there was no butter pecan. But it was Wednesday, and Mayfield Dairy delivers the ice cream on Thursdays. I know, because the yellow truck goes by my window every Thursday morning. So I asked for strawberry ice cream, instead.
Strange, isn't it. Brenda, who was so put out over having to go back and get a salad for Ruth, went out of her way to make sure she had to make a second trip in order to get my dessert. You don't suppose she was playing games, do you?
Alice is my new next-door neighbor. She moved into Leila's old apartment two weeks ago. With her long, thick, bleach-blond hair and her choice of clothing, Alice looks like someone out of a picture taken at Woodstock. That's not the problem.
When Leila lived here, I never heard her television. Since Alice arrived, I hear the television in that apartment quite a lot. Friday night, as I was getting ready to go to bed about ten o'clock, Alice's TV was very loud, and I could hear the voice of a man speaking louder than the TV. I called the desk, and someone came down to ask them to quiet down. I never heard the guy's voice again, but the TV volume remained the same until one o'clock in the morning.
Alice's TV was on Saturday night, but not nearly as loud, and I had no trouble sleeping. But Sunday . . . I took a hydroxyzine, hoping it would help me sleep. It did, eventually. I could hear Alice's TV when I got into bed. It sounded as if she was watching the Trump-Clinton debate. The night of the first debate, her TV went off about the time the debate was scheduled to end.
Not Sunday. The TV stayed on, and the volume never declined by even so much as a decibel. Around eleven o'clock, Richie, who is my other next-door neighbor turned on his TV. What a racket. Until nearly one-thirty in the morning, I was unable to sleep; Alice's TV to the right of me, and Richie's to the left. Once the TVs went off, about one-thirty, I slept until nearly eight o'clock Monday morning.
At noon, I saw Alice in the hall and asked her to turn the TV down at night. "That's my son. You'll have to tell him," she said. I told her it wasn't my job, but I could ask Roger to handle it. "Who's Roger?" she asked. I told her he is the general manager. "Go ahead," she said. I didn't tell Roger, but I did tell Teresa, who was working at the front desk, to give a heads-up to the person working security tonight. Teresa left him a note, and she left a note for Kerri, the business manager. According to Teresa, in cases like this, Kerri writes a note to the offending party to remind them to think about the comfort of others. Only time will tell.
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