31 October 2015

Machines Two Step Dance

Well, my cousin and I had a bit of excitement yesterday. It was time for her annual checkup and things proceeded relatively smooth on Thursday.  We managed to get out of Dodge reasonably on time.  Only had a couple turnarounds to pick up something we forgot.  Got to Duluth, made the all important stop at Barnes and Nobles, had supper and got to the hotel bout our usual time.  Morning arrives and bam.  Things started going the way of Murphy's Law right up to bout 1500 (3:00 p.m.).

Turned on my trusty computer to do a bit of revising. Ratted, Windows 10 app decided it was time to work and started downloading the whole system. So, whilst the laptop is merrily clicking, whirring and doing it's strange happy dance, I decide to head out for some coffee from the local Star Bucks.

Got downstairs and remembered I'd have to drink the free coffee as it was 0445 in the a.m. and such places of business aren't open at that hour.  Luckily, I was in the casino and proceeded to the free coffee at the beverage station.  The machines started their "come hither" music which all such one-armed bandits use to entice the unwary into parting with their hard earned money.

Well, me and my money were soon parted and I go back to check on my handy dandy laptop's strange little dance.  Course it wasn't finished yet.  Still whirling.  So I goes and gets the new and improved "moccasin telegraph," plug IT in and wait for the flashing green light.  I make some more coffee, fully expecting to get a bit of revision done before breakfast.  NOT!

Both machines were happily doing their happy dances as the moccasin telegraph decides to join its' compatriot.  I try to find something to watch on the TV and it decides it needs a break and is filled with those half hour ads, being as how it must earn its' keep in some manner.  So, I decided to answer the one-armed bandit's call which had found its' way to my room.  I get to the door and bam.

My trusty laptop decides to quit dancing and get down to some serious work.  So I go back, fully expecting it to be done within a half hour or so.  Noooo, its' filled with some even stranger whirring and clicking, finally telling me its ready to install so I'd best save my work and let it get to business.

So, I have to do some fancy moves with my fingers so I can get signed in to my accounts which had been idle since the day I listened to the advice of the good folks over to King dot com and cleared my cache which also signed me out of all my accounts.  And that is another loonng story which I may relate one day.

In the course of doing this, I find I need that moccasin telegraph to stop its' happy little dance so I can get the things synced.  Whilst going to unplug it, my eye moves across the other little machine designed to get us on our way so we will not be operating on Indian time in the wider world off the rez.  Oh!  No.  Can't be.  Only 15 minutes til I have to meet Lucille for breakfast.  Time sure does fly when one wants it to operate in slo-mo.  Why, oh why, can we not have the powers of some of those heroes we watch on that time stealing machine every day?

I get the machines in sync, hit the button the insistent laptop keeps telling me I need to push so it can get on its' way to making my life easier.  Lies, I tell you, lies.  Why do I keep falling for those lies?  Cousin calls and says she's ready.  I look at the time machine's accusing little face and see that she's twenty minutes late.  Yay!

Heeeh. I go down to meet her.  Can't find her.  She's usually waiting for me.  I tell ya, people in wheelchairs turn invisible at times.  Why are they gifted with those powers?

I ask the security guard if he's seen a woman in a wheelchair go by.  This, of course, earns me one of those looks and I shake my head.  Course he sees quite a few of them in the course of a few minutes.  I roll my eyes and he decides to take pity and see if he can remember my particular person.  No.

I head back to the buffet line.  "Miss!" the guard says and points.  I see her.  Ahh, all is right with the world at this point in time.  We have breakfast and decide to leave and get some shopping done before her appointment.

Well.  Therein lay the problem.

Her trusty vehicle decides to join the others in their strange little rituals of flashing lights, weird sounds and funny little stops and starts which must be a universal step for these things.  Being as how I really didn't want to worry her before her appointment with the doc, I don't tell her how serious it might be.  Til she decided we'd have to head up the hill to the mall.  One can only imagine the images that flashed in front of my mind's eye thinking about the flashing lights and what might happen if the vehicle decides to stop ITS' little dance going up that hill.  (Only those familiar with Duluth know that feeling.  Maybe San Francisco?  Or any other city built on hills or mountains?)

Hahaheeheehoho...being from somewhere in the middle of the sticks where we are used to having much things done before the sun has risen a quarter of the way through its' daily dance, we sometimes experience frustration when we find that not everyone operates on the same wavelength.  We had an hour to wait for the stores to open.  She checks her to-do's and we find a store or two that are usually open 24/7.  By the time we get done with a bit of her shopping, that flashing light has been joined by another ominous looking steady light that tells us something is happening with the braking system.

Course, seeing as how those things aren't always accurate cause they decide sometimes to dance just cause they feel like it, I hadn't been that worried.  Til I thought of going downhill to her appointment with the doc.  That steady light caused Cousin to grab her handy dandy instruction book to see just what that light meant.  Not that she didn't believe me when I told her it had to do with traction.  It had been raining off and on and we'd gone through some puddles in the potholes that are waiting on funding from the powers that be to be filled.

"We'll go the Honda store after I'm done." 'Maybe it'll fix itself' flashed through both our minds.  I tell ya, the thoughts and hopes that go through one's mind when one is miles and miles upon miles from home and things are going wrong that'll interfere with reaching that objective.  I'm still shaking my head at that one.

I stop in and see my brother-in-law before we head back up the hill intending on hitting the Honda store.  Cause, of course, the lights didn't magically fix themselves whilst I fiddled with the other flashing lights on that handy dandy laptop that had been operating on it's battery this whole time installing its' new instructions for the new steps of it's chosen lifestyle.

"You can't drive it if the lights are flashing" started us on the hunt for a ride home.  Luckily, my moccasin telegraph had decided it had had enough excitement for the day and decided to behave itself for a bit.  I was hoping my niece was home and would be able to provide us with a place to wait whilst my sister drove down.  Yay!  Problem solved, niece shows up, we have lunch and head to her house.

Whilst there, my trusty laptop decides it must settle down to learn its' new steps which my niece took credit for since she has superfast internet.  We made plans for the rest of the day.  She heads out after trying to tell me how to lock her fancy new door in case the car gets fixed while she was gone which I said she'd have to write out for me.  And anyway, the car wasn't going to be fixed because they had a backlog so I wouldn't need it.

Yep.  The Honda store calls, said they'd found the problem and it was an easy fix.  Seeing that most trusty vehicles all are attuned to their own little dance steps, one of the cogs in that machine had decided it wanted a bit of a rest, which of course, threw the rest off balance and started them whirling in alarm and set off our alarms at the thought of being so far from H-O-M-E.  Niece kindly brought us back to the Honda store and waited to make sure we were safely in the car and on our way.  Thinking bout the day, one would think I'd learn from past experience.  When Cousin's reservation was lost in the hotel's computer system and refused to leave whatever dance it had joined even though she had her confirmation number, others would soon join in.  I tell ya...

22 August 2015


In the one room were four generations of people my mother loved-Sons, Daughters, Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren, Nieces and Nephews and her Sister and Brother. Each generation represented all the parts of her life, from her childhood to her respected position as Elder.  Each of us stood there with their own memories, each trying to let her know we'd bring her home. Or at least, help her to the door.  When she took her last breath of this world's air, we were stunned, even though we'd expected it.

A month ago, I was in and out of the hospital room where my mother was struggling to come home.  I'd called my sisters and brothers, my father and a couple cousins.  We'd all gathered to make decisions. I'd not wanted to have to make decisions any more.  I wanted someone else to take charge.  So glad my sons were with me.  No questions, no pressure, just offering their love and support.

The following days were mostly a blur.  Time warps.  Yeah, those now have a different meaning, at least for me.  Today, tonight and tomorrow will be the first time I've been alone for longer than a few hours.  36 hours? Perhaps 48?  Time enough to sort through my own feelings, my own memories and pick myself up to continue on the path I'm meant to travel.

There's music playing, Mom's favorite, Hank Williams.  Soon, I'll put others on and remember when we'd sit and listen, sometimes turning the music up so loud my son asked if we were having fun since he could hear it all the way out to the road.  Teehee.  Least it wasn't at no 3 in the morning.

We've sorted through her things, putting them in piles.  Yeah, I'd often complained about her pack-rat ways, mostly cause it was hard to clean,  a process sometimes hard to accomplish.  We each had our own way of cleaning.  Mine wasn't the easiest for her to watch.  I knew she'd have to leave the room because she had to bite her tongue.  The kitchen ended up being the only room I'd clean, least the external surfaces.  She would tell me "Looks good" when I was finished and she'd come back to sit in her spot.

When she'd clean, I tried not to hover, especially the past few months.  I'd try to find something else to do.  I was glad when she'd go take her ol' lady nap.  Then I'd check over the dishes, look in the cupboards to find where she'd put things. Find the stuff I used mostly.  You'd think since we were the same height, things would be easy to find.  Not so.

You may be asking yourself why I didn't get my own house if we had to bite our tongues.  The answer to that question is so complex, it'd take years to sort out.  The best way to describe it would be that we'd come to accept each other as women and to respect each other's ways.  We had a give and take relationship once we understood each other's strengths and weaknesses.  And this wasn't something I could understand until I went through the same sort of things with my own sons.  We'd come to understand that we needed each other in this three generation household, four when the great grandchildren would visit.  And we found a way to make it work.

She'd only lived off the reservation for one three month period, then returned to stay.  It was important to her that everyone had a home to return to when they got tired of their travels out and about.  In a subliminal way, I understood that she wanted me to do the same.  I tried to "pass the buck" and told her to give the house to my sons.  When she gave me the look, I said "My sons will take care of their mother."  That was enough for her.

When my sister called and told us we'd better get down there, we finished the setup that now wouldn't be used.  My mom knew that we'd gotten the house ready for her to come home.  And that was enough for me.