Sunday, February 23, 2014

On the Road Again.

Over the past many months I've had to confine my walking to parks and such.  I have missed taking my neighborhood sojourns, mainly because no matter how lovely Blount Cultural Park might be, or how "fast" I can move on the flat track at Ida Belle Young Park, or how much I enjoy seeing the regulars at Vaughn Road Park, or how fun it has been to discover a new place -- AUM's outdoor walking track -- there's something about the chosen unpredictability of just shutting my back door and going that I've been craving again.

So, don't anybody tell my husband, whose worries about my safety had put the kibosh on my "free range" walks, but the last two days I walked in the neighborhood again. The most exciting find was a new home under construction, which probably hasn't happened in this neighborhood for 20+ years.

I am always on the lookout for the little things, though, and this morning's walk did not disappoint.

As I walked by this, the memory of "OOOOH no, Mr. Bill" played in my head. Closer inspection showed, of course, that this alarmed whatever-it-was was not that character, but they surely studied under the same acting coach. 

Just a few steps away there was this:

Wait... Was there supposed to be a real squirrel standing right here and he forgot where his mark was? Is this proof that animals in nature don't act as randomly as we might suppose? Do they need a script? And what does that mean about us? Are we just puppets on this same stage?

Of course, it's possible that this dropped off some kid's school project, but that doesn't make for very interesting philosophical questions for the next couple miles or so.

Anyway, I told somebody once that this blog was about nothing, and I think it's time I start proving that again.

How'm I doin'?

Saturday, February 15, 2014

The Waiting Game

I may be one of the few people living on Earth for whom the prospect of spending a day in a waiting room is something to which I look forward, so in a sense you could say my Valentines' Day Celebration started off just perfectly.

My husband was scheduled for an outpatient procedure and we were told to be there at 6:00. As in ante meridiem. So, yeah. Other than that, though, I had taken some trusted friends with me, so it was all (mostly) good. 

Big cuppa coffee..... a pretty amazing book.... a little iPad just in case they had wireless.... (and they DO, so thank you very, very much Montgomery Surgical Center) .... the day was shaping up to be a pretty nice one. Well, if you were the one in the waiting room and not the one in the back having a colonoscopy, anyway.

We were there just a few minutes before our appointed time. The waiting room at the center is a nice one and practically cavernous, with several u-shaped seating areas, a children's play room, a very nice coffee room, and the aforementioned WiFi. We were the first folks in, and we sat smack dab in the center of the enormous waiting area, close to the restrooms, coffee room, and an outlet for the iPad/my phone should I need those.

God was in His Heaven; all 'twas right with the world.

And then another duo came in, surveyed the entire waiting room and all its empty seats and seating areas, and came and sat down next to us, and while that was sort of weird, it's a free country and who knows? Might have been that they were secret millionaires who had decided to be all weird like that in a waiting room at dawn to decide to whom to leave their millions.  Hey. It could happen.

It could have been true. It wasn't true. Nope. It was THAT GUY. The one who has an unasked for opinion about everything in the world, and who hasn't yet grasped the concept of dialogue. In 15 minutes time, he had held forth on everything from how Kindles were better than books, why places like Amazon and Wal-Mart are the best things that ever happened to the American Way of Life, why medical costs were soaring out of control (it's because of disposable coffee stirrers, in case you are interested), and how he finally got rid of his toenail fungus for good. Trust me, even if that particular issue is something you are heavily invested in solving, you do not want to know more.

Thankfully, I never made eye contact with him, so it was the poor woman he had accompanied who was stuck saying, "Uh, huh" and "How about that?" and "Really?" I am quite sure she was worrying it would never be her turn to be put under anesthesia. I had had every second of this I could take, so I stuck my earphones in, grabbed my book, and dug in.

I'm my mother's child, though, so I always have one eye on the comings and goings of folks in waiting rooms, so when a young Mama came in alone with a sleeping toddler, and sat down across from us, I couldn't help but notice that she was having a devil of a time trying to fill out all the forms she had to fill out while holding her sweet cargo. I got up from my seat and asked her if it would help if I held him for her for a few minutes.

I haven't held one this small in quite a while, and the weight of his little head on my shoulder got me all dreamy. I was sorry when she had finished what she was doing, and was able to take him from me.

(Note to self: Explore the idea of being a stand-in Grandmama in waiting rooms when you retire There are lots of single parents out there who might could use this service.)

Just after I had retaken my seat next to Henry, they called him back, so I plugged my ears again, and picked up my book. I was deeply engrossed when they said I could come back and wait with him, and when I made my way back to the pre-op area I couldn't help but make note of the room to which he'd been assigned.

Oh, there's a good sign.  And turns out, it was an inauspicious one as well. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Henry was enjoying a very good nap -- we'd been up since 4:00, and the nurse kept bringing him warm blankets, so what's not to love? -- and the doctor had overslept or something, so again, I tucked into my book.  Have I made it clear that it is pretty riveting?

He was finally taken back, and I hauled everything back out to the waiting room. Thank goodness for the opportunity it gave me to position myself well away from That Guy, who was alone by this time, and looked like he was about to bust because of it. Oh, and judging by the way he was manhandling it.... his Kindle's battery had died.

There is a God.

Henry's procedure went just fine, but there was a complication that had nothing to do with the colonoscopy. It forced him to stay in the recovery area longer than he should have had to stay, and in order to leave I had to sign papers saying we understood there was a problem before we left, and it meant that there was now another waiting room waiting for us.

I'd be lying if I didn't say that we were unnerved, and I needed a minute to sort of catch my breath. Fortunately, when I went out to get my car to drive 'round and pick him up, I saw this, and it gave me a little lift.

That's right, folks.  I FOUND WALDO. Who knew he was a slightly overweight, middle-aged African-American man?  Total surprise.

After another turn in a waiting room because of Henry's alarming blood pressure readings during and after his procedure (despite having taken his meds for blood pressure that morning), he was finally cleared to come home and continue resting through the weekend. Turns out, a "misunderstanding" about dropping a prescription was to blame, and "of course" it wouldn't be "the fault" of the "health care provider."

Our Very Eventful Valentines' Day came to a close at the AT&T store, where we finally took advantage of their need to actually, you know, compete to keep our business. We were able to change to a much more affordable plan, even while procuring a very attractive new phone for myself, and switching to a family-phone-down upgrade for Henry. (Thanks, Luke and Jackie!)

No flowers. No candy, save for a square of dark chocolate from a bar I bought in December for Christmas but hid so well I forgot about it, which Henry had found a couple weeks ago and been nibbling from. No jewelry. No cards. Not even our traditional pan-seared steak for supper. He had peanut butter on a rice cake and I had a pineapple/banana/chia seed/Greek yogurt smoothie, and we watched the best ice skaters in the world fall down on their Spandex-ed rears, over and over again.

When I got ready to go to bed I had to take off the necklace I'd been wearing all day, the one about which I found myself suddenly very sentimental.

In the hardest times on the worst of days, seeing these in their rightful places means more to me than I seem able to say when I need to say it most.

I love you, Cap.