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The last few days were a bit much. My younger son got a systemic reaction to whatever poison ivy frolics he was up to on the July 4th weekend. Wouldn't go to the doctor, too much work to complete prior to road trip to Dallas, Texas with his brother and their 16 year old nephew. Like talking to a road block or a dead fish. Older son was generally annoyed with me and any road trip suggestions I made. Add to that I had to keep explaining to my husband over and over what they were doing and why.

Three years ago, they started their childhood dream of having their own software company, mainly focused on designing video games. The opportunity to do other projects was almost immediate and frankly, amazing. Sometime back in winter, they signed up for a gaming convention called quakecon, which I'll be writing about more, with my limited knowledge of such matters. As the time for this quickly approached, I kept thinking of all the things that could go wrong, which probably didn't help anyone. Since the conference is a BYOC event and our van is the only car with air conditioning, I let them take it for 10-14 days.

Friday night, just trying to watch something on TV with my husband, my mother calls to tell me she had "a little emergency" while trying to cook dinner. From what I could gather, she called 911 because her oven was making a strange noise. Since her town is accustomed to sending ambulances there, two police cars arrived, three fire trucks, and twelve firefighters. (This part I learned the next day.) I asked if the oven was still making the noise. "Oh, no, they said I need an electrician and a new oven." Unfortunately, my son-in-law had left early that morning for Army National Guard Annual Training for 2 weeks. I told her my husband and I would come over the next day.

The next day, still in my nightgown when I get a call from my mother's next door neighbor. My mother gets on the phone and sounds very flustered and confused. Alarm bell goes off in my head. Dressing quickly, I tell my husband we've got to go over immediately. Luckily, my Mom only lives 10 minutes away. I made it in 7. Running into the house, I notice it's hot and dark and she's nowhere to be found. Run next door and she's chatting with the daughter of longtime neighbors, laughing their heads off. (That's how I got the description of the police and firefighters' dramatic arrival.) Lots of thank yous and hugs; neighbor meets my husband, who was huffing and puffing to catch up to me.

Going back to my mother's house, I first check the breaker box in the dark basement, four fuses left tripped by 14 men. Unbelievable. Turning them back on, I check her water heater, then hear "the oven noise", a loud buzzer that I thought stopped working in the 1980's. While my husband fiddles with that (and somehow manages to stop it), I turn her AC back on, reset microwave, clocks, TV, etc. Her phones have been a problem for awhile, so I switched them with some old-fashioned landline clunkers...only to realize her LifeAlert isn't working. Call LifeAlert guy and he comes over immediately.

Then I attempt rebooting and checking my Mom's computer. The monitor is displaying sideways, seriously. I clicked on every fucking icon I could, nothing worked. LifeAlert guy tries to help to no avail (former computer programmer and E5 in the Air Force during Vietnam). All we could do was laugh. It has now been 3 hours and I realize I never ate breakfast. Decide computer can wait. Meanwhile my husband has helped my mother put up a gigantic new deck umbrella, filled the bird feeders, and I can see he's had enough. We ate dead fish for lunch and left.

Come home and cook a ton of food while my husband sleeps and sons are still working, getting ready. Relaxing with a glass of red wine, phone rings and my husband's sister is having shortness of breath and incontinence, but won't go to hospital. After several more phone calls, she is on her way to the ER in an ambulance and I should be tired, but am not, end up watching A Streetcar Named Desire, then Yonkers Joe. I take a shower and the lines of a song fall with the water...Trouble, oh trouble set me free, I have seen your face and it's too much for me today...

lyrics from Trouble, Cat Stevens

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