(Our feathers have been a bit ruffled of late. Mrs. Hannibal taking a break from the nest.)
My lord, if this State isn’t crawling with both. And they are attracted to each other like giant sucking magnets, pulling gray hair to grease in an inexorable march across 4 lanes, bridges, intracoastals and gulf coast. Please, kill me now. Although before dinner would have been better.
The routine of our life is currently all topsy turvy and my feathers have been ruffled for well over a week. Every day is a new battle. The conflict du jour involved the crummy health insurance company we have for the next 3 days until we have none, the internist’s office and yours truly, alternately snarling and weeping through 4 hours of phone crud. It seems like a simple and obvious issue: it makes good sense to get 3 months worth of our prescriptions filled before March 1, right? Before the insurance runs out? To save almost a thousand dollars? But nitwits are running the world, it seems and Cigna won’t let us fax the paper scripts we have in hand and the internist won’t accept a fax requisition from Cigna since she already handed us paper scripts and heaven knows, I have a plan to sell all of my class C narcotics Synthroid on the street at my earliest convenience. Because junkies swoon for Synthroid. And Lipitor. Together, they’re better than roofies, better than goop, better than E. Slip a girl some Synthroid laced with a statin and have your way with her. All offers to return the paper scripts by mail, filtered through automated menus, receptionists, nurse’s message machine, nurse, physician assistant…OMG. Finally, I get the attention of Tamika who says have Cigna fax it to her and she’ll take care of it. On the other end is 19 year old Cigna’s Tina: giggle, like, you know, like, it’s really hard to send the fax to the attention of a, like, one, like, a single person because, you know, like, there are so many. You know. Giggle.
So, you know, like, I’ve been giggling my way through numerous obstacles but these are also the ten days when Bud comes to visit, get warm, be fed, chat with another person rather than the cats and the television and celebrate his birthday. It’s a very happy time with it’s own set of adaptations. For one thing, he normally has no reason whatsoever to modulate his voice- he’s free to mutter or yell all he wants and the television and cats remain consistently responsive. For another, at home he’s free to do all his sleeping sitting upright on his sofa in front of the television. Here, however, the only television is in our bedroom so he’s been snoring watching with me each evening until I finally, sometime after midnight, say, “Bud. Bud! BUD!! WAKE UP AND GO TO BED!” “HUH??!! WHAT??! WHAT’S WRONG?!! Oh, I saw this movie already. This is where Nicholas Gage has that baby…”
This afternoon Bud and I drove south over the beautiful Sunshine Skyway to meet up with Cousin Betty. We did this last year, too and if we do it next year, I will finally have all 11 cousins and their spouses, dead or alive, all 24 children and spouses, divorced or not, all 38 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren vaguely committed to some blurry family tree.
Bud and Betty grew up together on the east side of Detroit as part of one big extended family. They fished in the Detroit River and raced around like dervishes in those days when kids could run amok and hit each other with baseball bats and adults didn’t intervene. Betty and Bud have great tales to tell and they also have to have the annual rundown of funerals, attended and missed. It’s actually very interesting and entertaining and would be completely fine if only not for…
The Dreaded Crab Shack. Crab Shacks dot the interstates in Florida so old people can “meet halfway” for the “early bird special” and “happy hour” and still drive home before dark. Crab Shacks are full to overflowing with way too many functionally deaf screaming gaily at each other about the demise of Aunt Hazel. Crab Shacks insist you have their signature appetizer special, which is always some sludgy mix of cream cheese, green onions, sour cream, Krab and bits of some white fish. It’s always called Crabby Joe’s or Crabby Bob’s or Crabby Tom’s Signature Crab Dip. It’s always “baked to perfection” and served with melba toast. Sickeningly sweet/sour bad margaritas are very popular as is Long Island Ice Tea. The grease of fried clams, fried shrimp and fried catfish, usually all mixed up in a basket together, is cut with the vegetable du jour, which is always watery succotash. And everybody is just screaming with conviviality. Screaming. It’s like they are all high on Synthroid and Lipitor. If, however, you are the designated driver who is not deaf, this air of jollity starts to wear a bit thin, sooner rather than later. And the grease. With sour cream, butter, cheez whiz, dip, sauce and more butter. Aren’t these people afraid they’ll damage their arteries in later life, like when they are 103?
Still. It was a hoot and I cracked up when the whole wait staff came clapping up to the table with a piece of birthday be–candled Key Lime pie and Bud started clapping too, thinking it was for someone else. And then he was really delighted that it was for him. Happy Birthday, Bud.
(Don’t say anything. Some day you will be paritally deaf and your vision will blur.I took it on my cellphone.)