Thursday, May 27, 2010

busy wednesday (m)

Wednesday.  Record heat: 95 degrees.  I don't do well in heat, even when I'm not so overweight.

My mother decides TODAY will be the day we put the flowers in the planters and deliver them to the cemetery.  You may recall my very first blog that Memorial Day and cemeteries are big deals in my family.  I tell my mother it's hot as Hades and that we should wait until the weekend.  No go.  The aunties are harassing her about the fact there are no flowers on my father's grave.  As if he cares.

I take H to school, come home and do my usual chores and physical therapy regimen, and make breakfast for Sam who is headed to the beach with his friends.  I wish I could go with him.

Instead, a short while later, I am in AC Moore looking at fake flowers to put in the planters.  I told my mother the specs were as follows:  must look reasonably realistic, must be something that would naturally grow during the summer (no lilacs) and must have enough presence to have impact from a distance vs. the little tea roses she likes.  She looks at me and shakes her head:  I forgot the most important thing: cheap.  They must be cheap. 

So there I am, a former player in Corporate America, on my bum knees, looking at the fake flowers in the mark-down rack at AC Moore.  Just when I thought I hit my all-time low point, a customer mistakes me for a store employee and asks for help.  Just kill me now.

I choose hydrangeas, but my mother likes the geraniums.  She doesn't know if there are enough of the ones on sale to fill the planter.  I hit the wall at this point, storm into the parking lot, lift the wrought-iron planter out of the car and carry it into the store.  I put it on the counter and stuff the flowers in to see if they will do the job.  With a $1.99 bag of Spanish moss, we are good to go.  Oh, and the geraniums were marked down to $1.49 per bunch.  $9.00 filled the planter. Doesn't get any better than this.

After the cemetery, we have lunch.  This is progress for my family.  We used to eat IN the cemetery.  But that's old school.  I tell my mother I only want boiled lobster as it is low in points.  She tells me to drive to Charlestown.  There, under the highway overpass is this dive of a place featuring twin-lobsters for $13.99.  I have that and a salad with vinegar.  It hits the spot.  "How were they?" she asks me.  Good, I say. "See...and you paid $280 for that lobster in Florida.  Ridiculous!"

I take her home and we change to go to a dedication ceremony at the Museum of Fine Arts for a friend's daughter who died tragically last year.  My mother likes to see what I am wearing and then goes into her closet to find a knock-off version.  I wear a white linen jacket, black silk blouse and black skirt with pearls.  My mother also wears black and white head to toe.  She asks how much I paid for my linen jacket and I tell her it cost about a third of what I actually paid.  "Ridiculous.  My whole outfit cost $27."

The dedication ceremony is beautiful.  It is held at the MFA, overlooking a gorgeous courtyard.  The family established a scholarship fund for their daughter who loved art.  What a wonderful tribute. 

I pass up the cocktails (appletinis, etc) and the hors d'oeuvres and even the light buffet.  The dessert table is amazing and I see one of my favorite things: the nougat candy.  I have one bar.  3 points. 140 calories, 3 grams of fat, 9 grams of fiber.

I leave the dedication and head to a political fundraiser for a gubernatorial candidate.  Actually, my husband and I are co-hosts.  The home is packed with people and, while it must have central air-conditioning, the crowd makes it feel like it's 90 degrees in there.  Either that, or I had a hot flash that lasted two full hours.  I run into my husband's cousins, a very WASPy couple who look right at home among the mallard decoys.  We exchange pleasantries and catch up on the last few years.  The only problem is that we are positioned right across from the large, sweaty cheese platter.  I struggled to breathe.

Talk to the candidate for a bit.  Tall, boyishly handsome.  Right out of central casting.  In reality, he's quite substantive and has an excellent track record of fiscal discipline, leading turnaround situations, and streamlining bureacracies.  Everything he's done, he's done well.

Get home and "the boys" are over.  Sam's friends.  They have ordered pizza and are watching the Celtics playoff game. 

I go to my room to stay away from the pizza and just rest.  That's okay, the lobster is still keeping me full.  Protein works that way.

At 10 p.m.,  I remember I have laundry to do.  Sam is leaving in the morning for St. Louis.  We still have no dryer.

I load up the car and head to Midnight Laundry in Newton.  There is only one other customer there...a man in combat shorts, black boots, crew cut, khaki t-shirt.  He's folding his laundry the way they folded the flag at JFK's funeral-- total precision.  I wonder if he thinks I'm as much of a creature as I think he is.

When the laundry comes out, it's 11:45 p.m.   My stomach is growling.

Get home, help Sam pack, clean up the house and have a cup of grapes.

I fall down in my bed and look at the clock.  2 a.m.  In a few more hours I get to wake up and face another day.

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