Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Nonagenarians Can Be Naughty

I was out skiing on Sunday night and decided to call Mom to keep me company.  The lovely yellow peasant scarf I have worn since the third grade works great to hold my cellphone in place against my ear leaving my hands free for ski poles.  I've tried a headset for my phone but for some reason find my calls being disconnected whenever I use one which is very confusing to Mom, so the low-tech scarf solution works just fine.

I called Mom around 6PM; by then it was already dark, but the moon was bright enough to illuminate the snow crystals in a sparkling display as far as the eye could see.  I cast a long shadow as I plowed through the snowbanks breaking trail on our west fence line.  I tried hard to modulate my breathing so she could understand our conversation.  

"You must be out skiing again," Mom said when she answered the phone.

"Yes, and darn, it's that obvious, is it?  Here I thought I was in better shape and you wouldn't notice my huffing and puffing," I puffed.

"What did you do today?" Mom asked.  "Were you home all day?"

"Yes, we were home.  We worked on stained glass this afternoon," I said.  "I went to bed very late on Saturday night and missed church this morning.  Did you go?"

There was a slight hesitation on her end, and then she replied, "Yes, I went to church."

"Did you have trouble getting out of your driveway?" I asked.  "I should have plowed you out this morning." 

"No, I didn't have any trouble getting out of the driveway this morning," she said.  

I sensed something was up right away, though, because she was still being hesitant.

 I had asked Mom about snow blowing her driveway on Saturday night but she told me to wait until Sunday since the forecast called  for two inches of snow overnight.  She decided she didn't want to go to church if the roads would be slippery, so she told me not to worry about the driveway.  After all, I'd gotten out of her yard on Friday and so had the paper delivery guy.  How bad could it be?

I was uneasy about waiting, but decided she was probably right.   I have to admit, I really wasn't looking forward to fighting with the shed doors until daylight.  Due to the cold weather, our old tractor shed's sliding doors have become almost embedded in the frozen gravel floor which has heaved up with the frost.  

Opening the doors requires a lot of strength and pushing and pulling.  And, I'll admit, swearing.  I went off on a bout of cussing the other day when I body slammed the door and jammed the eye-bolt catch into my hip.  But despite the pain, I forced the doors open.  Sometimes it pays to be a big girl, it takes a lot of oomph to get those doors to budge.  No little namby-pamby light-weight would ever get those suckers open.   (Like my dad used to say, sometimes you need a bigger 'convincer' as in sledge hammer vs. claw hammer.)  I'm a goodly sized convincer.
Artsy-looking 'Snow Animal' drift

"I guess the snow they called for went south of us," I said. "That's ok, we have enough.   I'm glad you were able to get out for church, though.  I'll get the tractor and clean out your driveway tomorrow, ok?   So, what did you do this afternoon?"  

"Well, I went to church and then I went to the grocery store," Mom said.  "And then I made dinner, but I didn't eat until almost 3PM."

"Wow, why so late?" I asked, as I skied along.

"Because I got stuck in my driveway when I came home from town," she said.  "I didn't follow the tracks and turned too wide and the car just stopped moving.  It took me two and a half hours to get the car dug out."

"What??!" at this point, I slid sideways off of a snowdrift, lost my balance and flopped over on my side.  

"Why didn't you call me?!" I yelled from my perch in the snowbank.

"Why would I call you?  I figured you were busy.  It was dinnertime and I'm sure the last thing you'd want to hear is me calling, 'Oh, help me, I've got my car stuck,'" she said.  "I took care of it myself."

"But that's not the point," I yelled.  "You are supposed to call me ANY TIME you have a problem, you know that's our arrangement."

"Well, I thought you could see my car out on the end of my driveway, but when you didn't come, I guessed you were busy or not home, so I took care of it myself.  It wasn't that bad.  I carried all my groceries in the house and then got my shovel out of the garage.  I shoveled all the snow out from under the car and then I went and got that five gallon pail of loose gravel you scooped up for me to spread on the icy driveway and stuck it under all my tires.  Did you know that car has front wheel drive?  I put some under my back tires, but that didn't do any good.  Turns out the front tires are the ones that do the spinning.  I wonder why they made a car like that?  Seems to me the back tires should turn, that would make more sense, wouldn't it?"

"No...what would have made more sense would have been for you to CALL ME, Mom!  C'mon, why wouldn't you call me?  You know I'd drop everything and come running if I would have known you were stuck, right?"

"What's the big deal?  I got out by myself. I didn't need any help.  I was really glad no cars went by; I didn't want to have any of the neighbors see my car stuck in the snow.  Besides, I needed the exercise, I haven't gotten outside much this whole winter.  It did me good to sweat a little."

"But, but, but.....," I stammered, as I flailed around trying to get up.  "You're 93 years old.  You're not supposed to be shoveling your car out of a snowbank on a fifteen degree day for three hours.  Lots of people have heart attacks when they shovel snow because they're not used to it.  Snow shoveling is hard work.  Please tell me you'll call me if this ever happens again!"

"It wasn't three hours, it was two and a half.  And I survived.  Gosh, you're getting all worked up for nothing.  I shouldn't have told you. Besides, we all have to die sometime."

"Yes, I know, but can you put yourself in my shoes just a little?  How do you think I'd have felt if I came up to see you and found you lying stiff as a board in your driveway next to your Buick?  You'd look just like that deer we saw on the side of the road the other day!  Do you know how awful I would have felt to think of you suffering?  I know you're independent and all that, and I do admire you for taking care of business, but do me a favor, at least CALL ME when you get stuck and let me know you're shoveling yourself out.  If I 'feel like it', I might come up and lend you a hand."

"I still don't see why you're so upset.  I got stuck at dinnertime and I didn't want to call you because I knew you'd be eating."

"Well, God forbid you interrupt me stuffing my face!" I hollered. 

"I'm sorry, but I'm sure Carl wouldn't like to have his dinner disrupted either and the last thing he'd want to do is have to run up here.  I felt so stupid for getting stuck in the first place. If I would have followed the tracks in, this wouldn't have happened. It was my fault."

"No, it was MY fault for not plowing you out and for not taking you to church and the store," I said.  "And I know without a doubt that Carl will feel the exact same way as I do; we WANT you to call us when you need help."

"Well, I'll remember that, but I really didn't need any help.  And why can't I drive myself to church or the store if I want to?  You can't take all my independence away!" Now Mom was getting huffy.

By this time, I was back on my feet again, standing in the moonlight in the middle of a forty acre field thanking God for keeping my stubborn mother safe.

"You can keep all the independence you like, Mom, but I'm asking you to let me share in your wild and crazy escapades to alleviate the boredom my life consists of, heck, it does me a world of good to have some excitement once in awhile, don't take that away from me, alright?" I started skiing slowly.

"Ok, if you insist.  But I have some advice for you; don't worry so much.  It will give you gray hair."

"Ha! Very funny.  I'm already there."

When I got home, I hung up with Mom after pleading with her one more time to call us when she needs anything.  Then I told Carl what had happened and later on, Joel, when he called that night.  

"I can't believe Grandma can be so stubborn," I sputtered to Joel.

"Ok, Mom, keep this in mind when you get older, ok?"

"Yeah, yeah.  Very funny.  You won't have to worry about me."

Come to think of it, he probably will.  But I wouldn't have shoveled my car out.  I would have gotten the tractor........

Get ready for gray hair, Joel.

P.S.  Here's the infamous 'standing' deer in the ditch which has now tipped over along the highway, courtesy of Joel and Abby who stopped on the busy road to take the picture. 

Poor thing!







Dragonfly Treasure said...

Oh I can just imagine you arguing with your Mom while your phone is tied to your head , falling over and trying to get up, only to continue! What ya gonna do? I love the way you turned it around to have her think of you finding stiif like the deer!! LOL I know it's not funny. but I had to laugh. Reminded me of arguing with know you'll never win but hope you get through. So glad all worked out well and that it doesn't happen again. Some how I think poor Joel will have to deal with something like this many years from now with a gray haired lady that's out skiing in the dark!!LOL
Love to you! LOL
keep warm! *hugs*deb

Alison said...

Mothers, what can you do? Yours is a stubborn one. I didn't realize your mom was still driving, wow! I'm glad you didn't find your mom frozen stiff like the deer. About things like the shed door, Nigel says: "If brute force isn't working, it's because you're not using enough of it."

El Gaucho said...

I know I'm supposed to be concerned about your Mom at 93, digging out her car instead of calling you. But truly, my first reaction was "Dang, your Mom is one bad-ass old lady", wielding a shovel out there in the cold for two and half hours to get her car unstuck. That's pretty impressive.

Toni said...

If we are all half as feisty and active as your mom when we are 93, we will be doing great! I totally understand your concern, but good for your mom to be doing so well at her age!! Wow. Quite amazing, indeed!! Speaking of feisty and active, what about you skiing in the dark and crazy cold weather you have been having?? Sounds like the apple has not fallen very far from the tree??? Just sayin'.... :-)

Pam's English Garden said...

What an amazing woman, Karen! You have wonderful genes. P. x

Carol said...

I love your Mother. If I live to be 93 I pray I am just like her. I love reading about your adventures-It's just always so funny. Cell phone tied to the head! LOL. Have a great day and stay warm. Tell mom that your blog readers love her!

Indie said...

Oh, my! I can totally see my mother doing something like this when she gets older, too. Not wanting to be a bother! That is one impressive 93 year old woman!

africanaussie said...

that snowdrift looks like marshmallow :) I do love your posts, you just tell it like it is! I am so glad that your Mom is doing well.

Junebug said...

A little scary, but you go MOM!!! Isn't it wonderful the independent spark she still has!! I know the worry you must have and I'm sure you will be watching her driveway until Spring with an eagle eye! Hugs!

Lisa Sall - Sall's Country Life said...

God Bless Your Mom! Thank goodness she made it out safe and sound and could survive your wrath, Ha!
Happy Valentines Day to you and Yours.

Lona said...

Mothers, what are you to do. LOL! I know exactly how you feel. I tell my Mom to stay in and not fall and she says yes, okay and then does just what she wants. LOL! It does worry us daughter though.
Happy Valentines and have a lovely weekend Karen.

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Good luck to you and your endeavours.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

sharon malueg said...

Glad everything turned out okay with your mom. I can only imagine you at that age and Joel saying the same things, LOL!!!