Friday, January 18, 2013

Child As Adult

My older son lives in the Dallas Metroplex. We see each other every couple of years, and keep up-to-date on each other's lives through the courtesy of Facebook, Twitter and texting on our phones. But because we're so limited in our personal interactions, I haven't really been able to watch him grow up. He'll be 40 this year (oops, I think I said that out loud!), so he's pretty well grown up. But the past couple of months I've seen him from a different perspective.

We're cat people, and he's had two cats during his adult life. Persephone and Orion became his masters about 13 years ago. Then Persephone passed away in August of 2009. So it's been just T.J. and Orion for the past three-and-a-half years.

So what does this have to do with my watching T.J. grow up? A couple of months ago, he realized something was very wrong with Orion's health. After a lot of worry and several doctors' visits, he learned Orion had a fungus that had eaten his skull away. I watched from afar and read his impassioned Facebook posts about this beautiful and affectionate cat.

What I have seen is a very mature man with an enormous heart do everything in his power to bring comfort to this beautiful animal that has been so special in his life. I'm so happy T.J. had this cat as a part of his life, and I'm so touched by his gentle carrying of Orion to his passing.

I have two wonderful sons. I'm a lucky mother.

Note: the picture above was taken last night by one of T.J.'s former roommates, who also loved Orion.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pay Attention to Me!

I went shopping today. Actual, physical shopping that didn't involve a mouse and clicking. The entire contents of my underwear drawer have seen better days, and I wanted to buy a few new pairs of panties.

Two facts: 1) I Nordstrom. It's truly my favorite store in the whole world. 2) I hate.hate.hate Victoria's Secret, but I like their Supersoft Hiphugger panty. It fits me well and doesn't give me VPL.

In Beachwood Place today, after splurging on a sale Eileen Fisher sweater and T-shirt in Nordstrom ( with excellent assistance from a very nice middle-aged sales associate), I girded my loins (so to speak) and walked into Victoria's Secret. And none of the sales associates would pay attention to me. No one acknowledged my entrance into the store. After I walked around for a few minutes, one young woman asked if she could help me, then pointed me in the opposite direction of the panties I wanted. When I finally found them on my own, no one was around to help me find my size. After I found and selected five pair, I decided I wanted a pair of lounging pajamas to take to California next month. Again, no one offered to help me find what I wanted. After a few minutes, the first girl noticed me. She didn't really try to help me find what I wanted, but spoke in her earpiece to another associate to ask where in the store the pajama room was. The person she spoke to stuck her head around the corner and saw me coming. When I reached the pajama room, she did not acknowledge me nor ask if she could help me even find my size! I couldn't! I took my handful of panties and headed to the register, where I saw only one clerk and five customers in front of me. I walked back to the panty display, tossed the panties on the counter, and walked out of the store.

After a few minutes in Pottery Barn where several clerks acknowledged me and one helped me buy a set of sheets on sale, I headed back to my beloved Nordstrom. Surely the sales associates in the lingerie department would help me find some good-fitting, reasonably priced panties.

Nope. I walked into the department and started searching the racks. Two associates were busily helping other customers. (Good – shows promise.) One young associate was standing at the register, glancing around the department, not making a move from her safe space. I was very visibly lost in a sea of nylon and needing help, but none was offered. After trying to get anyone's attention, I walked out of the department.

Here's my bottom line: If you can't show me a smidgen of good customer service, my credit card is going to stay in my pocket. I'll gladly wait a few minutes if you just say, "I'll be right with you. But I am not going to beg you to take my money.

There are plenty of people in our geographic area who are out of work and would love to have your job. If you don't know the meaning of customer service, please leave and make room for someone who does.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

One Ouch After Another

After visiting my orthopedic surgeon again on January 9, I'm in the brace for three more weeks. During this period, I am to take the brace off three times a day, apply a warm compress to my wrist for a short time, and then attempt to stretch the wrist backwards and forwards. There is but one word for this activity: Ouch!

There is one more newly allowed activity for this time period: Showering! Yesterday I took my first full-body shower in six weeks. It had to be short, rather than long and lingering, as the incision is not yet completely healed. And how strange my arm felt! I attempt every movement with great trepidation. How much pain will be self-inflicted by picking up that washcloth, trimming those toenails, grabbing the end of that towel to dry my back?

But despite the pain–or threat thereof–there is a sense of freedom to having my forearm unsheathed after six weeks of confinement. I allow myself to fantasize that I will be able to do everything exactly as I did before the fall.

And then reality returns. It's going to be a long and painful road back to the operatic accompaniments I was playing all last year. My next gigs are scheduled for the week of March 11. When I am exercising my wrist and feel the pain, I think it will take much longer than one month for me to be able to play again, to be able to earn income again.

And so I repeat my mantra: "It could have been worse."

<Humorous Anecdote On>
I attended the first Cleveland Orchestra Chorus rehearsal of the new year last Monday night. Our director saw me enter the building and came over to greet me. "How did you break your wrist," he asked. "I heard you fell off the piano bench."

That, My Friends, would have been worse!
<Humorous Anecdote Off>