Whenever we have weekend visitors, it always takes me a while to catch up after they leave. There are sheets and towels to wash, housework to catch up on (because it seems insensitive to leave the kids with visitors and go off to clean; I might never come back!), phone calls to return (because it’d be rude to be on the phone for half an hour while entertaining visitors), Girl Scout stuff to do….you get the picture.
So Monday afternoon I’m hip-deep in laundry, and the phone rings. It’s Mom. She informs me that her tax preparer called, and she needs to sign her tax forms. This is April 14. Well, it’s too late to take her out today (Mom has more energy early in the day, so I try not to keep her out much past 3 or 4 pm), so I promise to stop over after I pick up Little Sis from preschool in the morning.
“I should be there around 11, Mom.”
“Should we go out to lunch, too?” Mom is a fairly serious foodie. Which probably contributed to her heart disease and diabetes.
“Sure, Mom,” I said.
So the next morning, I stop over after preschool with Little Sis in tow (actually, NOT in tow. She was bounding ahead of me, knocking the senior residents over left and right, like so many bowling pins. At least, that’s my worst case scenario: “Oh, what a sweet little girl….aaahhhh! My hip!”).
So we get there (miraculously without incident), gather Mom up, and escort her to the car. She lives at the end of a ridiculously long hallway, so she often needs to stop and rest once or twice on the way out of the building. But today, it was more like 3 or 4 times.
We got to my minivan, which she’s lately been able to navigate just fine. But today, she needed to use the stepstool I keep in my trunk for such emergencies.
As she climbs in, I flash back to the first week after she had moved out here. It was late November, and we were on our way to see her new doctor. She had been weaker and more fatigued than usual, so I was hoping to get her a shot of Procrit, which does the trick every time. Problem was, with her so weak I needed to get her a morning appointment. I couldn’t get one. So it’s 3 pm, and we’re in my driveway, trying to get her into the minivan. Long story short, she didn’t make it. She crumpled from the side of the seat to the door jamb, then collapsed to the concrete driveway. I had to pick her up singlehandedly with a bear hug maneuver (in front of all the neighbors, who I was sure were watching the festivities). I called to cancel the appointment.
But today, she makes it. We drive over to the tax place, and Mom tells me that she’d rather not go in and have to climb back in the car. I agree, grateful that she sees things my way.
I go inside, leaving Chiquita and Little Sis in the car. The place is deserted. Weird, for April 15! I introduce myself as her daughter, and explain the situation. The tax preparer goes to pull up her return and print out the papers she needs to sign. Twenty minutes later (she had a very LONG, complicated return so the printer ran out of paper!), I take the papers to the car. She signs them, and I return to the office.
But now there’s two new people. The tax preparer I was working with is now working at another desk with one of them, presumably so she could keep Mom’s return up on her screen. She gives me an “I’ll-be-right-with-you” wave, and I sink into a chair to wait. But the other guy saw the little wave, and glares at me because he thinks I’m cutting ahead of him. Meanwhile, the second tax preparer mills around aimlessly, which seems to further annoy my new friend. But apparently my tax girl has commandeered her computer, so she’s stranded.
So I wait.
In the car, Little Sis has climbed into the driver’s seat. She’s wearing my sunglasses.
Finally, she finishes explaining federal tax code to this guy, and comes back to her desk. We finish up, and I return to the car.
It’s an hour later. Everyone’s starved.
“Okay, here’s the deal. How about we swing by Panera and pick up something to take back to the apartment?”
“Nooooo…I want to go to CiCi’s!” wails Little Sis.
“We can go eat somewhere,” says Mom.
I shoot her a look. “Are you kidding? I don’t think you’re feeling up to it,” I try. “I’ll take you anywhere you want to go AFTER you’ve had your Procrit.”
After much negotiation, we end up at Eat n Park. I’m a sucker.
By the time I get Mom back to her apartment, four hours have gone by. I’m crabby, exhausted and frazzled.
Happy April 15th…