Part 1 – Toilets & Toyotas
In one of the photo albums are several pictures of my mom during the time she fantasized about being a model. Back in that era the term supermodel was nonexistent and payment for such a profession was decent but not astronomically high. Mom wasn’t the preferred height of 5’7” and she had the same problem I would later inherit – an inability to walk around in high heels for more than the length of a room.
In a sense mom had regressed to that point even though the thick soled and sturdy slush colored shoes she wears are capable of being nominated as the world’s ugliest shoes designed—ever. She admitted they were less than attractive but said: “They’re comfortable and I can just slip into them.” After seeing them in the laundry room which led to the garage, I decided the only way to deal with that sight is to avert my gaze.
But there are a lot of senior citizen accoutrements mom has acquired since moving into the Hampton Lake subdivision. The padded and raised toilet seat that soars about two feet off the throne is considered a vast improvement over just a regular padded seat. Another new illness she’s been diagnosed with is type 2 diabetes. Her disintegrating body needs that adult toilet seat cushion as are some plumbing problems with the stool stopping disease of hemorrhoids. Put bluntly, old age is really a pain in the ass.
Her bed is covered with about 14 pillows of various sizes. Since the higher than normal bed requires different sized sheets, I’m given the task of changing them as they are too hard for her handle -- so much pushing, pulling and especially tucking.
As we go for our first drive in her 2003 Toyota, it was an embarrassment getting into a car that’s the equivalent of those monstrous shoes—and a similar color. Couldn’t help noticing the big ol’ handicapped plaque dangling from her rearview mirror. God, everything about this vehicle shouts “old lady driver.” And it is made obvious the way she drives. “You don’t have to drive the speed limit, Lisa,” mom says as she concentrates on making a left turn out of the main entrance. We sat there for several minutes as it was a “busy” street. An oncoming car barely in the range of vision was deemed too close. Firmly in lecture mode, she continues, “Just because the sign reads 40 doesn’t mean you have to go 40. As long as I’m not obstructing traffic I can go 20…”
I felt like I could watch my nails grow before she finally made that left turn. In fact, I wonder if her turn signal would hold up much longer as she seems to like using it for long periods of time.
Our first stop on Mom’s Hangout Trail is Arby’s. That woman loves her Arby’s meals and the free coffee or whatever she gets due to her senior citizen discount. Me -- not a huge fan of the place. I rarely eat roast beef and when I do I always end up regretting it as I have to drink so much water to make up for the intense intake of sodium. I have some chicken something or other along with one of their tantalizing sounding sauces that ends up tasting like cheap salad dressing. I violated one of my mom’s rules of saving money, there were actually too many to remember, and that was I didn’t buy a meal but got 3 separate items. Yeah, had to try some of those over-seasoned fries which ended up being lukewarm. Mom was concerned about this problem and immediately suggests that I exchange them for hot fries. Mom seems to be on the verge of hauling herself up from the booth and doing it herself. Heck, she’s always returning or exchanging things. But I told her I liked ‘em like that and she just shrugs.