Welcome back, your dreams are your ticket out


I haven’t seen Miss Cathy is about three weeks since she went on her sojourn down south so I drove over to Tony’s last Saturday to pick her up and bring her home around 5pm. I was supposed to pick her up later that night but the schedule changed at the last minute (unbeknownst to me till the last minute, it shouldn’t really matter but you’ll see why it’s a factor a little later).

I get over to Tony & Co where he and Suemi greet me at the door with hugs (nice, expected). I make a little joke to Tony about “…..and so it begins” as I walk down the corridor and into the kitchen where Miss Cathy is sitting. Imagine my surprise when instead of standing and giving me the warm embrace and a kiss hello I’m expecting, she rises out of the chair with a sour expression on her face (and I’m thinking, “Is it me or does she look a little ‘off’?”) and as I lean in to hug her she starts to hit me. Believe me the body blows she delivers feel more like a couple loaves of bread being thrown against my sides then anything resembling pain-but still.

I’m more confused than anything else, is she serious or is this suppose to be funny? I pull away thinking she’s doing one of her “ha-ha this is how we show affection” routines (she usually reserves the rough stuff for Tony) but when I look into her eyes (the right one-the good one) I see that she is seriously pissed off and those were not “love taps” she intended to delivery.

I laughed nervously (what else could I do-slug her back?)

Disclaimer: For all of you who just read the aforementioned “slug her back”, the phrase was intended for comedic purposes only. The author abhors real violence in any form but finds the use of such imagery, terms and phrases funny in the context of “fantasy, wish fulfillment, thoughts, daydreams or purposes of enhancing the narrative”.

Now back to the weekly blog……

Before I could ask if she’d completely lost her mind she says,” Now that you’re finally here I’m gonna tell you…. no, now that I’ve got both of you here (looking from me to Tony) I’m gonna say this just one last time-when I get HOME I’m not leaving NO more.”

“Oh my,” I say,” You went away and came back quite the cantankerous old biddy, didn’t you.”

“Yeah, well, you want to fight about it?” she asks.

“No,” I say in a surprisingly calm voice,” I don’t fight anymore.”

“Oh, you don’t huh, well that’s good.” she said, very satisfied with herself.

“No, I don’t fight but that doesn’t mean that I won’t win in an argument or disagreement with you.” Having said that (and still not quite sure what just happened) I turned to Suemi to tell her that I changed my mind about tasting the food she’d made and offered me before Miss Cathy turned into Evander Holyfield.

Suemi and Tony had been standing there catatonic during our little Punch and Judy act but she came alive, grateful for something “normal” to do like micro waving food. I could feel Tony’s eyes on me so I gave him a “hey, whatta you gonna do” look and sat down.

“What are you eating again for?” Miss Cathy snapped,” I thought you said you just had something before you came over here.”

“I did and now I’m going to be polite and sample some of what Suemi was kind enough to make for me.” I said as condescendly as possible. I wasn’t hungry but I knew my sitting down to eat would piss her off. Besides, I needed some time to recoup and recover.

Tony took me aside a little later to tell me that she had been fine on the drive from North Carolina. It wasn’t until she found out that I wouldn’t be at Tony’s house upon their arrival that she started to get worked up, and when the horrible traffic on I-95 made me that much later he said that she really started to get “snippy” and talk smack about me. Tony did his best to reason with her, reminding her that the plans were changed last minute, that I couldn’t be reached in time, traffic at that hour, blah, blah, blah but she was too far gone to care.

And so, it’s left for me (Tony and Suemi) to record and register her outbursts and distinguish them from what we knew her to be (how do I say this?……umm, and I say this with love-kind of “not nice sometimes” as she became an old lady) and from what is exasperated by the Alzheimer’s. Remember, “Anonymous” (the relative that called me from North Carolina) said that they noticed an increase in her random volatility, too. We’re going to the neurologist’s office next month so I’ll talk it over with him to see if an adjustment in meds is necessary or not.

We loaded grumpy into the car for the drive home along with her accoutrements. On the drive to get her I’d already resigned myself to listening to whatever she wanted to complain about her trip ( kind of a “welcome home” present from me) and sure enough she spent 45 minutes of an hour drive bitching about a falling out she had with one of her sisters.

I half listened and started to sing the theme to the 70’s TV show “Welcome back Kotter” over and over in my head-between “grunts”, “oh really’s” and “what did she say?” to keep up my end of the “conversation”…..”Welcome back!”

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