Life turns on a dime

There comes a day in every adult’s life when they have to face the mortality of their own parents. Nothing you do in your life prepares you for the moment when you realize the person who was once so big, so tall, occasionally scary, usually loving, the one who knew all the answers has now become the child and you, the child, are now the one with the money and the answers and have to be in charge.

It is a dark day.

Mine came in December of 2003. I knew my dad had an incurable lung disease and I knew it was only a matter of time. I’d been out shopping that day, getting ready for Christmas when I came home and got “that call” on my answering machine. “We took dad to the hospital…”

He survived that round (barely) and lived just over another year. I spent that year flying back and forth to New Mexico and learned how to drop everything and go. Don’t think, just buy a one way plane ticket and go.

My dad passed in 2005 and so at two years out I was starting to feel a bit more relaxed. I will always fear the sound of the ringing phone, especially at night, but it has lessened some. My mother struggled for a while after my dad’s passing but had taken control of her life and moved into a community of active elderly people. Her health is good and she has my aunt and uncle to check in on her.

So this past week when my sister called and told me “mom doesn’t sound so good” and that she had been sick for two weeks, I was nervous, but not too upset. My mom is prone to flu and I was sure that was the case.

I put off calling her until Saturday. Talking to my mom is not to be taken lightly and must be done with a strength of ego and confidence because she will break them both down in an hour conversation.

Saturday I woke late, lazed in bed, then decided to call my mom and get it over with.

Only to find out my aunt was taking her to the hospital that day. She was convinced she had “Valley Fever” since they are doing construction next door to her apartment. The blood tests earlier this week said no. She’s had problems with ear tumors in the past, maybe it was that. It also shows all the signs of meningitis…..

So my sister and I geared up for the all too familiar. We both paid whatever insane fare the plane people wanted and flew out immediately.

The hospital sent her home with anti-nausea drugs and some incredibly powerful pain meds and set up a doctor appointment for tuesday. I’m going out of my mind because this could be anything from a really bad case of the flu to a really bad relapse of the tumors.

And I’ve spent the past two days tending to, arguing with, and caring for my elderly mother as though she were a child. Her snippy demand that my sister NOT take her temperature will go down in the annals of family lore……

With some pain meds, forcing liquids, getting her to eat and cleaning up her place, she seems to be back on her feet, wobbly, but upright. Don’t know if we are out of the woods. I do know that I don’t like being in this all too familiar place. And I’m sort of rebellious that I missed what looked to be a fine weekend.

But that’s my job as one of her three kids. I can’t abandon her, I can’t turn the other way. It’s the circle of life, right? Painful tho it may be.

In a few days I’ll go back to work and everything will be fine. But every time I have to drop everything and catch a plane to tend to a sick parent some part of me, some childhood wonder and joy goes dark.

The darkness of losing a parent is unlike anything I can describe. You simply, endure.

I don’t think I have to look at that yet. My mom will be kicking for a lot more years…but I wonder how many more times in the coming years I’ll be asked to hop a plane and “don’t think, just fly”.

For now, I’m ok. She’s ok. We’re…calm.

But it’s left me……


Signs of the Apocalypse

(You must know going into to reading this post that I’m something of an obsessively fanatical baseball fan…..)

Yes. It is end of days. Here is proof.

1) I am about to quote from and *agree with* something printed in the Los Angeles Times. : shudder :

2) I am about to defend Yankees player Alex Rodriguez : shudder shudder shudder :

In reading ABQjournal columnist Jim Belshaw’s blog, he pointed to this article.

LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke opines about the state of “baseball etiquette” these days.

He points to a recent incident. I’ll quote this article from the New York times for the details.

“The Yankees were leading the Toronto Blue Jays by two runs in an eventual 10-5 victory when Jorge Posada lifted a lazy fly ball to third base with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. Third baseman Howie Clark camped under it, but he backed off just after Rodriguez ran slowly past him.

Rodriguez said he shouted “Ha” as he passed Clark, who was fooled into thinking that the shortstop, John McDonald, had called for the ball. When Clark backed away, the ball dropped safely onto the turf for a run-scoring single.”

The Blue Jays are ALL KINDS of fired up. Saying Alex is a poor sport (and worse). Saying what he did is “bush league”.

To quote the venerable Mike Krukow, well known announcer and former pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, “any pitch that makes it across the plate for a strike is a good pitch”. Which is sort of a variation on “it’s better to be lucky than to be good” which is what I think happened here with ARod. It was buffoonish, yes.

But it worked.

It was FAR FAR more acceptable and less against the rules than the “bitch slap heard ’round the world” from the 2004 ALCS when Alex tried to strip the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove.

Ok, so he employed a little leaguer tactic.

But it worked.

And worked well. Giambi came up next and got two more runs in. And the ailing Yankees won a game after a five game slide.

It worked. It’s not against the rules. So there.

Meanwhile the Blue Jays continue to cry like little girls. If I was a Blue Jays fan I would probably be freaking OUTRAGED and calling for ARod’s head and generally crying like a little girl.

But I have to agree with all of this quote from Bill Plaschke:

“I feel major league baseball has become a league of extraordinary babies.

It’s rude to pitch inside. It’s impolite to jog slowly around the bases after a home run. It’s unseemly to steal second with a four-run lead. Don’t you dare bunt in the eighth inning of a potential no-hitter.

And, apparently, never try to distract a player trying to catch a fly ball.”

Yep. There are a lot of unwritten rules in the game. But I agree that sometimes this stuff gets out of hand. Some of these “unwritten rules” are what make the game great. But some of them are also starting to tear it down.

Maybe it’s time to hearken back to little league games where you hear “heeeey batta batta” from the outfield. Maybe these guys making multi-kabillions of dollars need to lighten up and have a little fun again. I know it’s their jobs, but it’s also the national pastime.

Meanwhile, the Yanks are still 13.5 games out of first. The Blue Jays are ahead of them in the race and the Blue Jays took the series 2-1. So what do they have to carp about?

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying watching the fall of the mighty Yankee empire……if my team has to suck, they can too……

By the way, for the record, I agree with everything in Bill Plaschke’s column except for anything said by Tommy Lasorda….I can’t condone anything out of that piece of………..

Happy Friday, folks!

“But teacher! He was *mean*!”