I’m okay, You Okay? Part l

Standing in my bedroom I could sense “something” coming before I could see or feel it. I guess it’s kinda like the intuition that animals have before something bad in nature occurs, only I’m not feral enough to know what it means or when you’re suppose to run.

Before I could make sense of what was happening the room started shaking and everything around me was moving; the walls, the floor, all vibrating as if it were an everyday occurrence and it was the room’s time to come alive. A lamp on a bookshelf across from me started to fall and I knew that I couldn’t reach it in time but I instinctively reached out to steady the things nearest me as I watched the lamp tumble and bounce for a second or two as the floor moved beneath me.

I stood there, staring at the lamp; the shade crooked, at an odd angle, like it was a person who’s neck had been broken in a fall. Suddenly, pulled out of my dark reverie, I remembered that there was something more important than the lamp or the objects I was holding so I started down the hall to find Miss Cathy.

In the few seconds it took to reach her in the dining room all was calm. I could see that she was visibly shaking as she asked, “What was that?”

“It was an earthquake”, I said plainly, her reaction clearly that of someone who didn’t quite believe what she’d just heard.

I couldn’t blame her really; it’s not the first thing you’d think would be happening, this wasn’t Los Angeles or San Francisco, we were on the East coast, very close to Washington DC where we only read about such occurrences. The only reason I knew with any certainty was because I had experienced an earthquake before. It happened in New York City in the early ‘80’s when I lived on the fifth floor of a six-story apartment building in the East Village.

It was the middle of the night and I remember waking up to what sounded like a loud crash, I thought a semi or some other large vehicle had slammed into the side of our building, that would “explain” the noise but then the entire apartment started to shake. I held onto the bed for dear life not knowing how to process what I was seeing and feeling.

It ended almost as soon as it started but those seconds felt like hours while it was going on, after the vibrations and sound of things falling and shifting there was an eerie quiet that (to me) rang in my ears as loud as the quake itself. There was no major damage from that quake but it was recorded at 5.0 and something that hadn’t happened in New York in more than a century.

Although I didn’t know the official number for our area (yet) it definitely felt a lot milder than what I’ve experienced before. But, being as it was mom’s first quake it didn’t matter if it registered as 1.0 or 10.0-it was just as upsetting.

My instincts told me that the worse was over so I got Miss Cathy settled on the sofa and I walked back through the condo to check to see if there was any damage. I “right-ed” pictures that were askew and picked up objects that had toppled over.

I received a text from my ex, Chad asking “U ok?” and I text’d back, ”I’m ok, u ok” not knowing if he-in the Midwest (or the entire country for that matter) had just experienced the same thing. He’d contacted me so soon after it happened here that I just assumed the same thing was happening to him (later he told me that he was in his car when the news came on the radio so he text’d me right away concerned about Miss Cathy and me).

I rejoined mom in the living room and watched the TV with her. The news reporter announced that a earthquake had just hit a majority of the East coast, registering 5.9 at the epicenter in Mineral, Virginia, about 80 miles away from where we lived. Miss Cathy (now convinced) sat in amazement, digesting what she was hearing and seeing.

“I thought something was going on upstairs in Ron’s apartment.” she said, “I heard this rumpling sound and I looked up at the ceiling fan and I thought it was odd that it was shaking so I thought he fell or dropped something heavy up there to make it move like that.”

She tried calling his apartment but the phone wasn’t working.

Looking out the sliding glass doors that lead to the balcony I could see that neighbors from the apartment complex across the parking lot were streaming outside, coming together as people seem to do when a common experience occurs, huddled together trying to make sense of what had just happened.

“I’m just so nervous, I can’t stop shaking.” She said, “ I didn’t know what in the world was happening, how did you know it was an earthquake?”

I reminded her of my long ago experience in New York and how it’s such a strange feeling that once it’s happened you never forget it.

She seemed to be handling it all pretty well, I thought. I was concerned about her shaking but I wondered if that wasn’t adrenaline-you know, the whole “fight or flight” feeling that takes over our bodies when situations are “heightened” (as this was pretty “high” on the list of things that had happened to her lately).

I asked her if she wanted a glass of water and sat with her after she declined the offer. Given how she’d reacted to recent doctors’ appointments and other mood swings, I have to say (other than the shaking) she was calmer than I thought she’d be but I was no less worried about her. There wasn’t much I could do for her besides sitting with her but sometimes that’s enough.

I had been getting ready to go to work when the quake hit so I got up go back into my room to finish getting dressed. I asked Miss Cathy if she was all right and if she wanted me to stay with her.

“No, I’ll be alright,” she said, “I’ll get myself together after a little while. That’s not going to happen again is it?”

“No,” I said, “probably not, but there are usually aftershocks can come after the initial quake but they’re usually much milder.”

I could see that little factoid didn’t give her much comfort but I had to finish getting dressed and I kept reminding myself that she said she’d be “alright” (I kept repeating this assertion to myself to assuage any guilt I was feeling about leaving her alone).

I must have asked her “are you sure you’ll be alright, I don’t have to go to work, I can stay here with you” half a dozen times. Each query seemed to receive the same tepid “I’ll be fine.”

I picked up my bag and headed for the door going over my rationalizations for leaving
(against a gnawing in my gut that I should stay), using “I’ll be fine” as the green light to go.

It’s interesting isn’t it how we ask a question not wanting an answer so much as permission to do whatever it is that we know we shouldn’t but we’re not quite ready to take ownership of the action, instead, “asking” absolves us of any responsibility for that which we know we shouldn’t do.

Next week “I’m okay, You Okay?” Part ll


Paper Chase Part IV

“Okay,” Cheryl, the lawyer replied, satisfied with Miss Cathy’s answer to her query as to why she thought she was there, meeting with her. She went on to ask mom question after question about what she wanted done with her condo and her belongings. Everything she asked were all the things that Tony and I had gone over with her weeks before but I’m assuming she needed to ask Miss Cathy so that she could hear the words come out of her mouth just to be clear that mom’s wished were being carried out and she wasn’t being taken advantage of.

Then Cheryl asked, “Can you tell me what’s been going on with your health.”

“I’ve got diabetes,” answered Miss Cathy.

“Okay,” Cheryl said, taking copious notes, “ what else.”

“I’ve had a left knee replacement.”

“What else.”

“I have high blood pressure.”

“Okay, what else.”

I could see that Miss Cathy was perplexed, she looked like a little school girl who had successfully named all the letters of the alphabet but the teacher was asking for more so the poor student was wrecking her brain trying to think what comes after “z”.

Tony and I looked at each other knowing what Cheryl wanted to hear but didn’t want to appear as though we were “leading the witness”; finally I looked at Miss Cathy and said,
” Why do you see the neurologist, Dr Aleymahue?”

“Oh yes,” she said, eyes bright because she knew the answer and wanted to get a gold star,” I have dementia and Alzheimer’s.” (Talk about burying the lead!)

Satisfied with Miss Cathy’s answers about her health, Cheryl wasn’t quite finished though, she still had more some questions for Miss Cathy to answer, pen in hand ready to write down everything she said. “What does Ty do for you?”

Now you could see that Miss Cathy was warming up to the subject and she almost gave winked at Tony and me to let us know that she remembered what we’d talked about with her in the kitchen earlier that morning to ‘prep’ her.

“He’s a great help to me,” she started, “he cooks my breakfast.”

“What else..”

“He helps me when I take a shower, he makes sure that I don’t fall.” The back and forth went on as mom told Cheryl what I did to help her during the day. I could see that she was very proud when she said, “He comes in and turns off the TV and light for me at night when I go to sleep.”

Nice as it was to be acknowledged for that, I knew Cheryl was looking for something a little more substantive to help mom apply for a caretaker exception for her Medicaid application, but (to her credit) Cheryl was patient and kept on asking the same question, “what else” until Miss Cathy offered up more relevant help like the fact that I dispense her medication and help her with her daily blood sugar test (that included taking a blood sample and reading the meter.)

Finally Cheryl seemed satisfied that mom was acting of her own free will so moved on and opened up a new folder (one of many that she had fanned out in front of her at the conference table that represented the various programs and procedures that we were undertaking.) She passed the applications forms to me then and then she went over the documents needed to apply for Medicaid, to set up a Personal Caregiver Agreement and a possible assistance stipend from the Veterans Administration program set up for widows of war veterans.

I’d handed over copies of the dozen or so documents that Cheryl requested that I bring for the meeting. She noticed that a copy pop’s birth certificate was not in the pile and I explained that he was born in 1923 and the hospital he was born in burned down decades ago and the all the records were lost.

“Mom did write to the courthouse of the town where he was born to get something in writing stating that the hospital burned down but we can’t find that document,” I said by way of explanation.

She said that it was imperative that we find the letter that verified his birth because without it (even though we have his social security card and discharge papers from the VA) she was afraid any application we submited would be rejected or sent back until they had everything that they asked for.

Cheryl told us that she’d need a couple of weeks to draw up the papers for Miss Cathy to sign (after she had a copy of the missing proof of pop’s birth). Then she gave me a form (Yikes! another one) for Miss Cathy’s family physician to fill out for the Maryland Medical Advisory Board to ascertain her eligibility for assistance as a person in need of a caregiver not living in a nursing home.

As we were wrapping up the meeting Cheryl made a point of telling Miss Cathy that even thought Tony was paying the legal bill and he and I were acting on her behalf that she (Cheryl) was Miss Cathy’s lawyer and her allegiance was to her alone and not to us.

Cheryl and Tony left to take care of payment leaving Miss Cathy and I in the conference room alone for a few moments.

“You did very well,” I told her. I didn’t have a gold star but I did say, “I’m proud of you.”

And I was, too. I knew that her natural inclination when being asked about her health is to say, “I’m fine” and to tell whomever was asking how independent and self-sufficient she is. So, I know it was hard for her to list her ailments and to even suggest that she needed help (in any way).

But, she knew how important this was and even though she’s telling the truth it isn’t the truth she tells herself on a daily basis.

I’ve yet to hear her tell any of her friends or a stranger for that matter that she has dementia (not willingly anyway) and though she’s grateful for my help it’s nothing that she readily discusses and in her mind I’m living here with her mainly because of her ‘knee replacement’ and balance issues.

“Thank you,” she said. ” She seems very knowledgeable, you guys have done a great job putting this together. Man, this is a lot of work, isn’t it?!”

As we rose to leave the office I knew that we were still at the beginning of a long process, and there’s no way we’re going to have an incomplete file now, not after coming this far and all the hard work it took finding all the documents we did have (not to mention paying the lawyer a hefty retainer.)

I knew that we’d looked for the letter confirming pop’s birth in Virginia (the correspondence dated back to the 1970’sfrom what I remember seeing) in Miss Cathy’s extensive files that she kept (and to her credit she pretty much has every legal document necessary and almost always knows where it is stored) but for some reason this particular letter wasn’t where it was suppose to be…we need to find it so the paper chase continues for one more document.

Post script: Miss Cathy hunted for the document for two days like a woman possessed and she found it. The official document was photo copied and mailed off to the lawyer to be included in one of many filings that were to go out after we returned to sign the various documents….more on that as “Paper Chase” continues in Part V

Paper Chase Pt lll

“So, the way I see it, we have three things that we want to accomplish in the meeting with the lawyer,” I said, by way of beginning my prep with Miss Cathy for the meeting with Cheryl Henderson later that afternoon. The day had finally arrived when all of the research, preparation and paper work would come together so that we could finally start the process of getting mom’s (legal) affairs in order.

“The first thing is to get the clock started on Medicare.”

“Medicare?” Miss Cathy queried,” Don’t you mean Medicaid?”

“Right, right”, I said dismissively, eager to get back to my larger point, “Medicare, “Medicaid-I just got them confused, you know what I’m talking about.” I started to continue to outline what the meeting was about but Miss Cathy was having none of it.

“Well, it’s important to say what you mean, I just wanted some clarification.” Sounding like the elementary substitute teacher that she was after she retired from thirty years working with the federal government.

“Okay, but you know what I meant, so can you do me a favor and let my mistake slide, I’ve got a lot of other things on my mind so can you not ‘nit pick’ every word.”

“Why is it that you get to question me but I don’t get to ask you anything?” she shot back, clearly not in a mood to be conciliatory.

“Jeesh, are you really going to start this now?” I thought to myself, “I could be back in New York right now doing something fabulous but I’m here like a good little secretary with my notebook and pen, doing my best Roz Russell impersonation trying to get you ready for a meeting with a lawyer about your “shit” (not mine) and you’re going to play “tit for tat” with me today? Really?”

But, as frustrated as I was she did have a point and I had to acknowledge it so what I said was, “you know what, you’re right, it doesn’t seem fair, you should get to question me as much as you want but we don’t have a whole lot of time before we need to leave and I’m just trying to get through this before we have to go. So, can you do me a favor and just let “one” slide and not correct me every time I say something out of turn when you know what I’m talking about.”

“I don’t like your tone.” She said.

“Okay, I’m out.” I said closing my book and putting my notes away,” I’m going to go take a shower and maybe we can start over again later.”

“Good, you do that,’ she said, “maybe that way you can take some time to get yourself together, it seems to me that you have a little attitude.”

“Jesus Christ”, I muttered under my breath (but loud enough to be heard) as I walked out of the living room.

Tony sat on the couch during this little exchange watching us morph into George and Martha from “Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolff’ without saying a word.

I took a shower and rinsed away any resentment that was building up in me and came back into the kitchen ready to move on. Miss Cathy was cooking breakfast and Tony was keeping her company.

“I want to talk to you when you get a minute”, I heard her say in my general direction, her back to me but I could tell by her tone and the way she kept her back to me that she was as hot as the skillet on the stove.

“Okay, shoot.” I said and sat down and listened as she told me how she felt disrespected and how angry she was. “I don’t like the way you talk to,” she said,” and I will be respected! Now before we go in there and change things you better make sure that you want to be here because you can always go some place else.”

“Wowsa!” was all I could think. Her telling me that ‘I was unhappy’ and ‘could leave anytime’ was turning into a recurring theme lately, but I chose to ignore that and focus on what was more important and that was the fact that she was upset and I’m the one that made her feel that way. I told her (quite sincerely) that I did respect her and the last thing I wanted was for her to get upset and for that I was truly sorry.

“You know, I’ve got to tell you something, I know I’ve told Tony and a few other people but maybe I never told you but I’m the one that chose to be here, nobody asked me too, not you, not Tony, no one-it was my idea and I haven’t regretted it for a one minute. There are a few things that I know for sure and I know that at the end of my life I will always remember making the decision to come stay with you as one of the best things I’ve ever decided to do in my life.”

I looked over at her and I could see that she heard me, that she needed to hear me say that.

“Well, okay,” she said and just like that the storm passed as quickly as it came.

“Do you want eggs to go with your scrapple?” she asked.

After breakfast we finally settled back down in the living room to discuss what she could expect in the meeting. I told her that it was important for her to give the lawyer the impression that what we were doing was ‘her’ idea and that she wasn’t being coerced or manipulated by Tony or me.

Part of the reason for prepping her was so that we could rehearse what she needed to say and tell her what the key points were and hopefully keep her from rambling off topic.

She seemed to understand what we were doing, especially after we stressed that all the preparations for long term care in a nursing home were for ‘down the road’ and that nothing that we talked about would change her life now (or for a long time hopefully).

Tony and I both knew that any talk about ‘nursing homes’ had the potential to get her agitated and upset and we wanted her to be calm for the meeting and to not act like we were conspiring to ship her off to a home and run away with her money. We talked for a good forty minutes or so; entertaining her questions and making her feel as comfortable as we could about everything. She seemed satisfied with what we’d discussed so we set out for the short drive to College Park, Md where the lawyer’s office was located.

Seems like every time I’ve been to Cheryl’s office I’ve always got someone else with me, first it was just me, checking out her seminar, then I came back for a consultation with Tony and now Miss Cathy was with us as the secretary ushered us into the now familiar conference room.

A few minutes after we were settled in our seats Cheryl Henderson, the lawyer walked in and introductions were made. Cheryl greeted Miss Cathy warmly and gave her a hug, and then she looked at me and said, ”Where’s my hug?”

I’m not much of hugger, especially in a business setting but ‘when in Rome’ ….

With everybody hugged and seated we could finally begin. The next hour or so pretty much revolved around Miss Cathy (as I thought it would). On one hand it made sense to prep mom beforehand so that she’d have an idea of what to expect and what to say but in the final analysis it really didn’t matter because her short term memory is so spotty that it’s a crap shoot whether she’ll remember what we discussed and rehearsed so you really just genuflect and hope for the best.

It’s not like she was being interrogated but Cheryl was pretty much focusing all her energy and conversation on Miss Cathy, she’d heard from Tony and me already and she knew what we wanted (on mom’s behalf); now she wanted to hear it from Miss Cathy herself.

I sat silently and tried to look supportive as Miss Cathy answered the questions asked, sometimes faltering but always charming and trying to please. I could see that at times the questioning was getting a little overwhelming but she didn’t complain or get irritated.

“Do you know why you are here?” Cheryl asked.

“Well”, Miss Cathy said hesitantly, then she sat up in her chair more confidently and answered, “I’m here to get my affairs in order.”

Next week, part IV

Happy Birthday

Miss Cathy’s birthday was on the 23rd of last month; it was a god awful, hot Saturday so I told her that I would take her out for a celebration lunch the following Monday. The week ahead was predicted to be hot, but not the African heat we were experiencing. I know that she doesn’t particularly like going out to restaurants but every now and then she’ll go and she’ll actually enjoy herself. It’s a trade off really-she doesn’t like to go out to eat and I don’t like the places that she picks when we do go.

I know that she likes the “restaurant” Ruby Tuesday (a glorified McDonald’s with table service if you ask me, but hey, she likes the joint) so that’s where I planned to take her. I asked our upstairs neighbor, Ron to join us. He’s more than a neighbor, she considers him one of her many “sons”. For many years while I lived other places he would come down and keep her company, run errands for her and was always there with a gift on Christmas, mother’s or her birthday.

So, he’s a great guy and I’m grateful for him being here for Miss Cathy and although she and I had been getting along it’s always nice to have a “buffer”.

Monday rolled around and I reminded her around 11:30 am on my way out to run a few errands that we were going to lunch soon and she said, “Oh, is that today? I thought it was tomorrow.”

“No,” I said, “it’s today, but we can make it tomorrow if you’d rather go then.”

“No, no”, she said, “today is fine.”

By the time I came back a little before 2:00 pm she was sitting in the living room dressed in a smart summer outfit; black top, black pants, white jacket with black piping and a smart, white summer hat to match. I was in cargo shorts and a tee so I showered and changed into a dress shirt, jeans and seersucker blazer to match her festive attire.

Ron drove so I sat in the back and let the two of them gab in the front seat. I tried not to listen but I couldn’t help but hear them talking, especially how she tended to cut him off and not let the poor guy finish a thought or answer one of her many questions. At one point she said, “It’s awful quiet in the back, jump in whenever you want Ty.”

“I’m just waiting for a pause in the conversation”, I said and went back to looking out the car window (what I was hoping for was a moment of silence but it wasn’t my birthday so no point wishing for that gift).

When we arrived at our destination we discovered that the Ruby Tuesday had moved from that location so we ended up at a Red Lobster nearby after Miss Cathy said that she liked seafood. The Red Lobster, to me, is to seafood what The Olive Garden is to Italian food-a place for people that “don’t know no betta’”.

They’re both places that say they’re “of/for/and about” a particular cuisine (and I use the term “cuisine” broadly) and they have the pictures on the menu to proof it, but anyplace that has to show me the food needs to spend less time in the photo studio and more time in the kitchen.

When we were settled into the booth of the restaurant with our oversized, picture book menus I asked Miss Cathy what looked good to her and she said she wasn’t very hungry, that she’d eaten two hot dogs at home waiting for me to come back from my errands.

I asked her why she ate if she knew she was going out to lunch and she just shrugged. Thankfully it didn’t stop her from ordering or enjoying the time we spent together which was the point after all.

What came to the table was an orgy of food; shrimp, scallops and various other former creatures of the sea, laid out on platters dripping in butter, cream sauce and/or batter dipped. It looked less like seafood and more like a heart attack with biscuits on the side but Ron and I ate with gusto and I asked for a doggy bag for Miss Cathy.

She seemed to have a good time, never at a loss for something to talk about. Back at home she opened birthday cards from family and friends and proudly displayed them in the living room.

She’s seventy-three now, which isn’t old these days (I keep reminding her that “seventy is the new sixty” but she didn’t get that memo, for all intents and purposes she acts more like someone ten years her senior-that’s just who she is, it’s as if one day she decided that she was “old” and that was that).

But, she doesn’t want for much, just to be home and not to have to go anywhere. So, I have to remember that the best gift I can give her is the security of knowing that she’s safe at home where she wants to be and she doesn’t have to worry about going anywhere much or doing anything other than what she wants to do.

Happy Birthday Miss Cathy.

False Alarm

I was walking with my friend William down Park Ave after we’d seen the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met earlier today. It was one of those rare, lovely, breezy summer days in New York where it’s a joy to be outside so we were taking advantage of being out in it. We were spontaneously on our way to Grand Central Station because William had never been to the Manhattan landmark before and I was excited to show it to him and show off what I knew about the bustling train station.

I’m in New York City for most of this week-some fun and some work; this was one of the “fun” days (or so it started, but I digress).

He turned to me and said,” How is Miss Cathy doing? Are you okay leaving her while you’re here in the city?”

“You know,” I said upon reflection as we dodged cabs and other pedestrians crossing Vanderbilt Place, “I do.” “I mean, I still worry but I make sure that she has everything that she needs before I leave for a trip, I make sure to go over with her where her emergency alarms and numbers are and I tell Tony to be on guard.”

I keep reminding myself that the doctor says it’s good for her to be on her own (especially now while she still can be) and I just try to let go of worrying about what might happen.

I told him about my increasing concerns over her cooking and forgetting how hot the burner is but I can’t get her to turn the flame to low, so, I have to let that go, too (and I’ve developed a taste for everything being “blackened”- I choose not to see it as burned, kinda like the glass being half full-with bits of char in it).

She had just called me to ask, “Did you just call me?” (I had not) which prompted William’s inquiry. She sounded good, full of her usual chatter about everything that she was doing. When she told me that she’d been downstairs to visit a neighbor in the building I thought to myself, “Good for her! I’m not gone 24 hours and she’s already done more socializing than she’s done in the past month-I should go away more often.”

I was pretty content to move on with my day.

After cocktails and an early supper at a trendy restaurant in the neighborhood known as Hell’s kitchen (I know-only in New York right) I was walking back to the apartment I was staying in and figured it was as good a time as any to check my voicemail.

I’d noticed a call earlier from an 800 number but thought nothing of it when I saw that it was from “Provo, Utah”. I don’t know anybody in Provo so imagine my surprise when I listened to the message that it was courtesy call from the alarm company telling me that the EMS had been dispatched because they couldn’t reach anyone at the apartment and for me to call another 800 with the pass code to find out any further information.

WHAT!? Huh? I had to stop on the street and listen to the message several times to try to remember the number to call and stop myself from going into full on panic mode. I never could get the number it right either because of adrenaline or street noise, which was frustrating. I didn’t have my messenger bag (read: “man purse”) with me (of all days) I didn’t have a pen and paper. I was near the apartment where I’m staying so I got inside as fast as the elevator would take me upstairs, trying to call Miss Cathy in the elevator (and there was no answer) so I rushed in to listen to the message (yet) again and call the number given to find out what was going on.

I gave the young man that answered the call all the relevant information as requested including the pass-code that mom made up (thank God I remembered it or they wouldn’t be able to give me any information). He put me on hold (just long enough to feel like forever and for my mind to start to come up with the most god awful scenarios). He came back on just before I had time to think up the worst and he said that the alarm had been set off three times. They were able to talk to mom and verify that two were false alarms but they didn’t reach her the third time so the police were dispatched “as is protocol”.

I listened then asked for more information but he said that that was all that he had, the only other thing he could tell me from the notes that he had on the computer screen in front of him was that my brother was called when they couldn’t reach me.

I listed to what little he had to say but I needed more. Part of me understood that he was doing his job and telling me all that he knew so it would be foolish to keep asking him questions that I knew he couldn’t answer but I couldn’t stop myself, it was like I had “questioning turrets”-I couldn’t shut up. I had to make myself stop asking him for answers (and lets face it-comfort and reassurance that everything was okay) and get off the phone with him and call my brother.

I called my brother’s cell phone and it went directly to voicemail, I called my sister in law and got the same thing, I called the apartment once more in hopes of reaching somebody and it rang until voicemail clicked in.

Now I was getting really worried but I was more pissed than panicked that no fucking body was on the other end of the line and I needed to know what was going on!

I thought to call our upstairs neighbor; Ron (one of Miss Cathy’s other “sons”) in the off chance that he heard something or hopefully knew something.

He picked up on the second ring (thank you Jesus) and he told me (quite calmly) that everything was okay; it as all a false alarm and that Miss Cathy was downstairs asleep.

“Asleep?! Asleep?!” What the ……I’m sitting here mentally multitasking how soon I can pack, if I need to pack, what time the next train to DC was/is and deciding just how much guilt I’d have time to heap upon myself on the train ride home and she’s asleep!

Of course I said none of this as I listened to Ron, he told me that there was a freak summer rain this afternoon that was very intense and the wind had knocked over several of the plants on the balcony. Miss Cathy was attempting to go out to make things right and forgot to turn off the alarm as she pushed the sliding glass doors open. Apparently the sound of the alarm got her rattled so she forgot the pass-code to reset the system and she really started to panic when the security company started talking to her through security system, which is a box on the wall in the kitchen.

She calmed down enough and was able to give them the information they needed to re-set the system but somehow she set off again, and again she was able to give them the info needed to re-set the system and call of the cavalry but what I don’t know yet (because she’s “asleep”and not answering the phone) is why she didn’t, couldn’t or was too flustered to do the same thing the third time she set the alarm off by mistake.

When they couldn’t reach her the third time they sent out the police who came to the apartment and used the pass-code on the lock-box on the front door to gain entry (which really freaked her out) and she couldn’t find her ID to prove that she was who she is (I had left her ID on the living room table for her but it’s my fault that I didn’t specifically hold it up for her to make sure that she knew it was there-I just left it where I “thought” she was sure to see it next to her daily pill box.

Fortunately, this is when Ron heard the ruckus and came down and vouched for her as the owner of the apartment. The police were still not convinced that she wasn’t being coerced into saying that everything was alright so they conducted a search of the entire apartment to make sure no one was in one of the back bedrooms attempting to do her harm.

Satisfied that it was all a mistake they left and the alarm was reset. Ron sat and talked to her for more than a half hour then left when she said that she was going to bed.

So, thanks to Ron I now know that she’s all right and I don’t have to “worry”, worry. I can only assume that the storm knocked out the cell towers where my brother lives so that’s why he can’t reach me (or not, but I’m not going to lose any sleep worrying about him tonight). I am going to give Miss Cathy what “for” for not picking up the phone.

I know her very well and I know that she sleeps with the phone next to her bed and she can pick it up and answer or ignore it-it’s her choice you know she’d be a “chatty-cathy” and pick up if it were one of her girlfriends calling with some gossip or one of the country relatives of unknown relation calling but just because the “alarm” is over for her-it’s “false” of her to think that she isn’t the only person impacted by the events of her day.

“Luu-cy, u got some ‘spaining to do”