Saturday, July 24, 2010

girls' luncheon (m)

Was supposed to take my friend, Susan, out for lunch on Friday to celebrate her birthday, but she called to re-schedule.  I was looking forward to a nice lunch at this great restaurant owned by a top chef.  Healthy food, too.

Since I had a "slot" in my calendar, I called my mother to see if she wanted to go out.  We're trying to keep a close watch on her as she had a bad week last week.  Maybe the heat, maybe the heart.  We're not sure.

She said "yes" and to ask my aunts if they'd like to join us.  If you've ever read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie you would understand the slippery slope you are on when you begin anything with my family.

I call the aunts.  Aunt X took a bad fall at a cousin's wedding on Sunday.  She's out of commission....and she's the healthy one.  Aunt Y, however, would love to go.

I show up at their home at 12:35 (five minutes late and they let me know it).  Aunt Y is dressed in grey slacks and a purple top.  A great outfit for Fall, but it was almost 90 degrees and humid.  She is standing in her driveway, clinging to her walker for dear life.  Draped over her walker is a sweater.  She's always cold.

Aunt X is standing there with several bruises on her knees and wrists.  She looks relieved that her older sister has a "playdate" this afternoon so she can nap.

We get Aunt X in the car (step stool, big push, belt her in, fold the walker and put it in the back of the car).  She asks for the seat heater to be turned on.  My mother, who always sits in the back and is always hot, asks me to blast the Air Conditioning because it's "hot as hell back here."  We haven't even left the driveway yet and I'm exhausted.

I let them choose the restaurant.  It's the one that smells like a nursing home.  We arrive at 1 p.m.  Aunt Y hands me her handicapped parking sticker, which I was uncomfortable using.  "I can walk fine; I'll let you off in front.  I'm okay to walk a bit," I said.  No, she insists, thinking it's a privilege for me to have the sticker.  I turn to park and all the handicapped spots are taken.  About 10 spots.  That's the crowd this joint attracts.

We go in and the place is packed.  "Ugh.  This place is crawling with old people," my 85-year old mother complains.

They give us one of those devices that buzzes you when your table is ready.  I give it to Aunt Y to hold.  10 minutes later, we're up.  Aunt Y hands the buzzer to the hostess.  "That's the most excitement I've had in a while, holding that vibrating thing," she says.  The hostess bursts out laughing.

I sit them down at a table (they refuse the booth...."we don't want to get stuck").  We begin with strategic placement.  Having taking them to the audiologist last year, I know my mother's good ear is her right ear (her name begins with R so I used the alliteration trick to remember) and my aunt is the opposite...her left ear is the good one.  I sit them at the corner of the table at a 90 degree angle so their good ears are near each other.  I place the walker off to the side, put their purses on the extra chair, take out the spare pair of eyeglasses (my mother always borrows my glasses even though she has 5 pairs) and read the menu to Aunt Y.

We all get fish and salad. Mine is broiled, theirs is stuffed sole. Aunt Y has a glass of wine.  My mother has lemonade which she said "sucked."  I have 3 glasses of unsweetened ice tea.  They talk about old times and of my grandparents.  I don't know how we got on the topic, but I did learn some things.

Aunt Y pulls the bread in the middle, leaving the crust, which she can't chew.  The loaf looks like a cave.  I picture little pre-historic figures in there like some Flinstone diorama.

We split a dessert, 3 ways.  I have a teaspoon of the pie.  I pretend to want it knowing they would think it extravagant to get dessert for lunch.

My mother and aunt only finish half their lunches.  My mother takes the leftovers and combines them and asks the waitress to box it up and add more bread.  Aunt X will have this for dinner they decide.  The waitress smiles obligingly.  She sees this all the time.

After lunch and a 20-minute trip to the bathroom (it was down a ramp and around the corner, you needed a passport to get there), I load them back up in the car.

We are headed home and Aunt Y asks if we can stop by the cemetery to visit her husband's grave.  We go.  Then they ask me to drive slowly so they can check out the flowers on their cousin L's grave.  Her son is gay and does a "beautiful job."

Their respects paid, they are ready to leave.

We get to my aunt's home and escort her in.  She declares this a "memorable day" and thanks me profusely.

I'm glad this worked out.  I treasure this time with them.

No comments:

Post a Comment