The problem with taking so many days away from Livejournal entries is that I don’t know where to begin when I finally sit down to update again.
How about this? The worst thing that happened to me this weekend: I took a sip of cold coffee a minute ago and something tickled my lip. I looked in the cup. A fly was doing the backstroke in my coffee. Ack.
I have spent the last ten minutes gargling.
Best thing that happened to me this weekend? Going to the Syracuse Farmer’s Market with my dad. We bought veggies and sunflowers and fish and doughnuts for my mom.
So here are the details about Operation Elder Caravan.
All in all, the trip turned out really well, especially since nobody died on the road, and I did not crash the way-too-expensive rental car.
For weeks my mother had been saying “We really don’t have much, you might not need to rent a truck, all we’re bringing are my lovely glass table lamps and a few boxes.”
Allow me to translate:
A few boxes = approx. 60 boxes of books and heaven knows what else, plus enough paintings to fill a musuem, plus boxes of clothes, plus a bunch of chairs and a couple tables and a computer and medical equipment
Lovely glass table lamps = you don’t even want to know
I was a little stunned by the amount of stuff, to be honest. But I have awesome cousins (whom I owe HUGE for this, and yes, my offer to take in their teenage kids if they get too obnoxious is good for 10 years) who were incredible helps with the packing and the moving and the cleaning. The sad part of this for me was coming face-to-face with the reality that my mom is a lot sicker than I knew. Emphysema is a nasty, hideous, horrible way to die.
So we packed and cleaned. My Sainted Husband rented a truck from Budget that had a little caboose on the back so we could tow M & D’s car up, too. Remember the nightmare that was my move from Philly? That was because I used UHaul. NEVER USE UHAUL. UHaul is a rotten, terrible, company that should be charged with consumer fraud by the Attorney General. But Budget? We like Budget. No, we love Budget. The equipment was fantastic and the people who worked there as sweet and efficient as could be.
We also needed a big car to transport Mom and her oxygen equipment in comfort. I contacted Hertz and had reserved a sedan like a Crown Victoria or Bonneville. When we got there, the Hertz guy said, “Sorry, we don’t have what you reserved. You’ll have to take this.” And he handed me the keys to a drop-dead gorgeous Cadillac Seville. Yeah, Mom was comfortable. I was a little panic-stricken because the car was ginormous and I’m used to driving a little Subaru. And I kept thinking about how much the darn thing cost and how much trouble I’d be in if I crashed it. When the trucks got too close on the highway I’d chant to myself “Big Truck, go away, Big Truck, go away.” And when Mom’s stomach was bothering her I explained (politely) that she was not allowed to upchuck in the Cadillac. It was in the rental contract. That did the trick.
We drove 500 miles the first day, from Brandon, FL to Columbia, SC, and 600 miles the second day, to Hershey, PA. The last day was easy – 300 miles to Mexico, NY. I had a book on tape about George Washington in the car, but Mom made me stop playing it because she didn’t like the way the author criticized the President. Dad rode in the truck with my Incredibly Sainted Husband. They had road rage about the same bad drivers, with my husband screaming and my father beating his cane on the dashboard and occasionally using hand gestures. (My Dad is 78 years old. Road rage never dies – it just uses a cane after a while.)
I didn’t get road rage. I was too busy clutching an expensive steering wheel, explaining to my mother that yes, George Washington did own slaves, and it was OK to talk about it, and muttering “Big truck, big truck, big truck” every ten seconds.
If you ever need to use an oxygen supply company, use Lincare. This is the best company in America. Seriously – they went out of their way to help us. They had new equipment waiting for us at each hotel and their customer service people called to make sure everything was working well. They could teach UHaul a thing or two.
I had a pork barbeque sandwich someplace in the Blue Ridge Mountains that is still making me burp, five days later.
The autumn colors were just starting to turn at the higher altitudes, and we enjoyed beautiful vistas of the mountains in the Carolinas, VA, and PA. The best part of the trip was when we crossed the New York border. Mom had spent a couple hours quietly staring out the window. When we crossed into NY, she let out a great sigh and relaxed into her seat.
“I’m finally home,” she said.
What else is there to catch up on?
Movie stuff: the National Sexual Assault Hotline reported a more than 600% increase in calls after the first East Coast showing of SPEAK on September 5th. I think that is amazing. In related news, check out this awesome new rape prevention program aimed at educating young men. The DVD version of SPEAK comes out on September 27th.
Random stuff: If you share my love of Xena there is a great Salon article about her. Thanks, Greg, for the heads-up.
Thank you, Kaylee in NJ, and Kristen B. for the nice emails. And yes, Kristen, you should definitely visit Denmark. Awesome place.