My bonus day off

One would thi05123384.tifnk that a bonus day off work would merit a fall frolic somewhere fun like The State Fair, The Dallas Arboretum or at least a picnic in the park. Yesterday’s sudden and serious storm has many of us

without power, including the university where I work. I feel like a kid with an unexpected snow day. But instead of lounging in my PJs with a movie marathon or watching the leaves fall from my porch perch, this is how I roll:

Started the day calling and e-mailing kid’s pricey (but wonderful) private college for clarification on why account is past due with fee assessment when I just made a tuition payment. No answer. Left message.

Called renters to confirm that they were among residents with power so Sears could install new dishwasher. Called installer to confirm 2-6 p.m. window.

Left message for electrician regarding downed power pole from storm damage. Fallen tree hit main electrical line, pulling power pole off house, creating gaping hole in roof. Answered incoming call from drug store, reminding me that my mom’s prescrips were ready and would be put back if not picked up today.

On way to car, dropped cell phone in driveway. Crawled under vehicle to retrieve missing pieces. Left home, stopping at post office to mail bills and belated birthday cards. Slowed by non-working traffic lights, made it to Walgreen’s for prescriptions. Waiting in line, bought on-sale Tylenol for creeping headache. Two of three prescrips ready.

Dropped off broken phone at AT&T for repair while waiting on prescrip No. 3.

Rushed to mom’s house for power line update. Found it still trailing the ground like a child’s jump rope. Tried to drag storm-snapped limbs off porch and sidewalk. Tripped over garden hose, sent sprawling, but did not impale myself on spike-like limbs.

Pride wounded, limped to car and headed back to Walgreen’s for prescrip No. 3. Waiting in line, bought a bottle of not-on-sale wine. Armed with wine and Tylenol, went back to AT&T for fixed phone. Signed in with greeter, explaining that I just needed to pickup repaired phone. Waited hour to be told phone can not be fixed.

Remembered college kid’s discarded iPhone back home. Found phone stashed under pile of bills. Gave prescription meds to mom. Contacted Oncor to re-report downed line. Called electrician, leaving message power line still not repaired. Checked home machine for messages from college, electrician, tree trimmer, installer. No messages.

Went back to AT&T. Stood in line again. Had rep reactivate old iPhone since still awaiting calls from college, electrician, tree trimmer, installer. Waited while technician recharged, transferred contacts, added SIM to new/old iPhone. Bought charger.

Armed with new/old iPhone, returned to car, ripped open Tylenol package with teeth. Thought about wine. Refrained from popping trunk.

Called installer. No answer. Left AT&T. Went to bank to deposit check. ATM down because of power outage. Long line in bank lobby. Skipped line and phoned friend with new/old iPhone to meet me for late lunch.

Met friend at neighborhood restaurant with power. While chomping club sandwich, check new/old iPhone and find missed calls from mom’s heart doc and installer. Returned missed calls while French fries got cold.

Threw cash on table, rushed to meet installer to sign delivery slip. Upon arrival, informed there was a prob with electricity and now need to call electrician. Grimaced through now-throbbing headache. Told tenant to wash sinkful of dirty dishes by hand. Used new/old iPhone to call electrician. Still no answer.

Dropped friend back at car. Rushed back to mom’s house to meet tree trimmer for estimate. Feeling faint, agreed to price gouging. Discovered new/old iPhone does not ring; missed second call from doctor. Called doc back. Got voice mail. Left message.

Set appointment with soon-to-be-flush, headed-to-Caymans tree trimmer.

Went to second bank. Second ATM not working. Waited in line in crowded lobby. Check deposited. Thought about taking all money out of joint accounts and kid’s college fund and disappearing with family fortune and bottle of wine. Decided my pic would be on milk cartons (or wine bottles) by morning.

Headed to department store to pick up mom’s birthday gift. Found slippers in her size. No matching PJs. Paid for purchase. Checked phone. Missed call from doc. Called office from parking lot, got live person, rescheduled appointment.

Went to next store in search of PJs. Nothing mom-like. (Thong bottoms not acceptable.) Settled on a cozy throw and a box of chocolates. Thought about pulling to the side of the parking lot and eating chocolates while sipping wine out of Sonic cup. Popped another Tylenol.

Went to card store. Shuffled through cards and picked a couple. Located gift bags, tissue paper, matching ribbon. Tried to figure out clock on new/old iPhone. Called mom’s caregiver to tell her I was running late. Paid for purchases.

Battling rush-hour traffic — and still missing traffic lights — stopped by bakery to check on birthday cake. Order lost. Reordered for Sat. pick up. Waiting in line, thought about buying another bottle of wine.

Navigated non-working stoplights again, pulled in driveway, noting broken and mangled limbs in our own yard. Saw trash can wedged against neighbor’s fence.

Pulling another handful of bills and advertising circulars out of mailbox, notice ad for new cell phone service with free phone upgrade. Stuff it in bag with mom’s slippers.

Lugged in birthday purchases, stowing them in dining room. Sent caregiver on her way, visited with my mom, fixed dinner, watched mom’s favorite show with her. Helped her get ready for bed and settled mom in for the night.

House is now quiet. Mom is dozing. Slip in and turn off TV, covering my mom with her blanket. Planting a kiss on her forehead, I flip off light for the night.

Check the new/old iPhone one more time for messages. No word from Oncor. No call from electrician. Check e-mail. University financial aid e-mails, apologizing for erroneous message. Account is up to date. Call kiddo in her dorm and tell her she will not be kicked out of pricey (but wonderful) private college. Ask her about her old phone and why it does not ring. She tells me about the mute button and asks me to check it. We share a laugh at her mom’s folly. I thank her. Tell her to study hard, that we will have a Skype date for her grandmother’s birthday tomorrow. Say goodnight.

I pile today’s bills on the desk, plug in the charger for the new/old iPhone. I will write out cards to my mom, wrap presents, adorn gift bags with ribbons. And finally, my bonus day off will come to a close.

I will sit quietly, sipping that glass of wine.

On this, my bonus day off, I have a sense of entitlement. This glass of wine, yes, I do believe I might have earned it.

Sip.

Sigh.

Sip.

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About barriepagehill

A former print and broadcast reporter, I am blogging to document my experience as primary caregiver to my mom, who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease. I find writing cathartic and find it helps me order some of the chaos of my cluttered life. My writing is reflective of my experiences with my mom and matters I find important as I navigate the New Normal of living with a family member tormented by this devastating disease. As my mom's condition worsens, I am grateful for the many blessings in my life. I hope my writing chronicles some of our experiences and documents this bittersweet journey.
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2 Responses to My bonus day off

  1. Lori-Lea Cobb says:

    Honey, you need the whole bottle!! Bless your heart. I bought a bottle of wine today and was prepared to drink it empty, but was good with one big glass. Then power came on! Hugs Barrie!

  2. Hugs back at ya! Maybe we can clink a glass together one of these days!

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