Tuesday, January 03, 2006
Bumps In The Road
Christmas Eve, I flew down to Florida. It was a relatively smooth flight until a twenty something wretched all over the floor next to my seat. She was waiting for the occupied bathroom located right behind me. I’d noticed a greenish tint to her complexion but kept my focus on my book. Then I heard what sounded like a loud splash of water and I just knew it wasn’t something falling from the beverage cart. The splash was then followed with a Code Barf call for help from a stewardess. To think I changed my middle seat over the wing at the last minute to the last row simply for the sake of sitting on the aisle.
In the airport, I reunited with my parents who’d come in on another flight. We fetched a car and hit the road, making an emergency grocery stop at a Bradenton exit. It was a game-show-esque sprint through Publix. I even did a Scooby Doo skid at the deli counter. Kitten heels are great but they don’t corner well. We had exactly seventeen minutes to buy anything and everything we might need to survive in a house stocked with two beds, sheets, linens, silverware and a lovely plastic patio set that quickly morphed into a breakfast room table. We bought things we absolutely needed, like plastic plates and milk, and also bought things we absolutely didn’t need, like baked Cheetoh’s and Cozy Shack Tapioca Pudding.
We pulled into the 55+ community at nine o’clock. I helped unpack the groceries and made up the beds with my mom. There wasn’t a light in my bedroom. The linen closet bi-fold door fell off the track in the first attempt of opening. My mother almost broke her neck trying to hang temporary shades so as to avoid flashing workmen in the morning. But the way the moonlight reflected off the gentle ripples of the water just beyond the lanai made it all okay.
Christmas day, I was blessed to experience the immaculate conception of a UTI. If I am going to get one of these things, shouldn’t I at least be having sex? Only once before have I experienced painful peeing. It was so bad that I ended up in the emergency room. This time around, I wasn’t taking any chances. I broke the bad news over Corn Pops and then spent an hour finding a pharmacy staffed with a pharmacist, quite the challenge on Christmas Day even in Florida where 95% of the population relies on no less than five medications a day. My mom drove me all over Sarasota in search of the Walgreens at 5800 Bee Ridge. My hair was dirty, I wasn’t wearing a bra and I wanted to pee the entire time. That didn’t stop her from taking me on a grand tour of her new town. “And over there is the Ringling Museum. Isn’t it beautiful? Oh! I want to show you Sandy’s old house. You know. The bay front one she lived in before selling it at a million dollar profit and upgrading to a Longboat Key condo with a view.” I heard only every other word because I was too busy repeating a you-don’t-really-have-to-pee mantra.
By night fall, my bladder had started to respond to the antibiotics. I crawled into bed and read by the hallway light cascading in through the open door. Feeling a little chilly, I layered my jammies with a fleece jacket and I stayed bundled until the morning when I awoke to find myself under a sheet, a blanket and two beach towels, my mother’s makeshift attempt at a comforter. Apparently the thermostat was locked to keep contractors from running up the bill. I’ve never wanted to conquer Mt. Everest and if the chill of that night was anything close to the blustery cold of Base Camp One, you can still count me out.
Before heading out the door to help my mom buy essentials like soap dishes and a coffee maker, I threw a load of darks into the washing machine. I haven’t had the ability to laundry in the confines of my four walls in many years. As a result, I eagerly run a machine within reach even if it is to clean just one pair of underwear. The machine wouldn’t fill. It was working hard and making a curious noise but no water. My dad suggested flipping a shut off valve. Great idea if there was a valve to flip. He got up and shuffled to the laundry room to prove me wrong. Turns out Eduardo, the builder’s helper, he no install valve.
All of the mishaps didn’t come as unexpected. The builders had accidentally mixed up the upgraded and tasteful interior of my parent’s home with the interior of a tacky neighbor’s home. My mother just about died when she got a phone call from Sandy Labor Day weekend. “Carol, I think you should call me before I send you the in-progress photos I took. Just not sure this is the tile you picked.” My mom was on a plane within 24 hours.
A guy showed my dad how to unlock the thermostat. Eduardo stopped by for to install shut off valve. By the time I checked in at the gate for my return flight home, I was back to my normal number of daily visits to the ladies room. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the seventy-five degree weather paired perfectly with a pre-flight, curbside indulgence of Cold Stone Creamery. There are always going to be bumps in the road. Pray to God you have good shocks.