What a weekend!

by , under Mom, personal

This Mother’s Day, I was treated to a trip to visit my grandmother in Arizona. No kids, just me and my mom. It was intended to be a pretty relaxed weekend, since all of us are the kind who would sit and just watch NCIS all weekend if given the chance (taking breaks for meals, of course).

Mmm... eegee's

Mmm... eegee's

We arrived at her house after running some errands (a trip to a fabric store for my mom, and a trip to eegee’s for me). That’s when we discovered that half the outlets in the house weren’t working, the evaporative cooler wasn’t turned on yet for the summer (and it was starting to hit 100 this weekend), and the internet didn’t work.

Oddly enough, I was fine unplugging for the weekend. It gave me a chance to read and to catch up with my grandmother. (By the way, buy Jenny Lawson’s book (aka The Bloggess). I laughed so hard I was a crying, snorting mess. Which in turn made my family laugh.)

But my grandmother was very upset. All the work that needed to be done had started a couple weeks prior when she needed to get the roof replaced, which led to discovering that wiring needed to be replaced (it is an old house), and everything just seemed to keep snowballing.

Without saying anything else, my mom and I set about trying to take care of things. We called an HVAC man to come out and turn on the evaporative cooler, which hadn’t been turned on yet for the summer because of the roof repairs. I fussed with the router and the modem before I realized that the modem wasn’t registering a connection, so I set up a service appointment for Sunday. My mom called the electrician out to figure out what was tripping the circuit breakers (which she couldn’t get to, because it looked as though the box was locked).

The very nice electrician came right out and pointed out that the locked side was the city’s, but that the otherside was tricky to open. You had to push up a latch on the bottom while pulling the door down to unlock it. My mom got the hang of it, and we were back in business. (The culprit? The electric water heater, which should have been given its own breaker when it was installed, but wasn’t)

Well, after the HVAC guy came while it was dark to set up the cooler (it was already breaking 100 outside and the house was well over 90 degrees. Not what you want for your mother/grandmother), the circuit tripped again. My mom walked outside and POW. That’s what I heard, followed by her shouting “OW.”

As it turned out, she had shocked herself. So we called out the electrician, who gladly came out without charging us because that was dangerous. It would seem that they’d moved the circuit breaker directly under the opening for the downspout from the gutters- which nobody had noticed when they were moving it, and nobody thought about what would happen when the cooler was started. So water dripped out of the opening and created a puddle underneath the breaker box (and cable box).

The next morning (aka Mother’s Day), my mom headed out bright and early to get the pieces to make an actual downspout that would divert around the boxes. And the power kept going out.

Which led to Whitney vs the Circuit Breaker. I pushed the lever like I was supposed to, and tried to pull the door down. But nothing happened and my hand kept sliding down. After fifteen minutes, I went and washed off my hands to get the sweat off of it and gave it another go. That did the trick and it opened.

We got a phone call from the cable company, saying that the tech could come right away. He showed up while my mom was building her downspout, and went around the house. We aren’t sure when, but someone cut the cable line into the room where the computer was. So he put in a new wire, and we had just enough time to get ready for brunch.

We went to a restaurant called Pastiche, which I was informed is well known for its wine and desserts. The food was excellent, though I did have something that had a bit of dairy in it- I admit I was too timid to ask if I could get it without (and the sauce was wonderful). It was breaded sea bass, in a champagne cream sauce with capers. Served with white rice and seasoned vegetables.

The funny thing about the trip is that if you read all of handymen that came in and out of the house, you’d think that it was frustrating. On the contrary. It was relaxing. I slept pretty soundly and ate well. We sat and watched TV while the handymen worked, and joked and laughed.

I even got a pair of fairy wings (that I have to repair- the elastic that keeps it on snapped)! I got to see my aunt and one of my cousins! It was a trip that recharged me completely.

Though there was one sad takeaway from the trip- seeing my grandmother so overwhelmed by the work on the house. If I could, I wish I could be there regularly so that I could handle it for her, keeping up to date on who has fixed what so that I can remind her of what they’re working on- and simplify some of the jargon so that it doesn’t completely overwhelm her.

The trip home was nice. Flights from Arizona to LAX usually are bouncy- there’s something about the air over the desert. We each had vouchers for free drinks, so we celebrated as we did a crossword puzzle together (I’d managed to wear down every device I brought with me).

In the airport, I sent a text to TheBoy to tell him we’d landed and I got a baffling reply: The board concurs. We wondered if a weekend with the boys had driven him insane, but it all made sense when we turned towards the luggage carousel to get the box my mom had checked. There were my dad and my husband, waiting for us.

Pulling in front of our house, I could see two little pink signs hanging off the house. Two little boys flying out the front door. The Oldest Kidlet nearly tackled me, and the Little Kidlet gave me such a tight hug I thought I might pass out.

Just like that, I was home. Not a bit sad at all- ready to face the week and get back into my regular routines.

Here’s last Mother’s Day’s post, if you were curious: Food and Family. My Mom and Me.

Just in case anyone did think this- there are plenty of family members helping my grandma. My mom and I pitched in because we were there. Obviously, I can’t speak to what they do since I’m not there- so this just covers the weekend.

  • http://twitter.com/ShempLabs Shemp DeYoung

    Being far away can be a drag sometimes. My mom really wants to get an iPad and eventually a MacBook. I’m doing as much as I can to help her decide what to get, but I’d love to be able to pop over to help her shop and then help set everything up.

    Of course, part of that is because I love setting up new tech, but the other part is that my dad is good with electronics, but he just does everything himself without explaining what he’s doing. Problem is that this stuff is going to be for Mom to use exclusively, so she needs to know what’s going on.

    So, I’m doing as much as I can via e-mail and phone.

    But, I’m really excited to see her enthusiasm for her tech growth.

  • http://www.whitneydrake.com/ Whitney Drake

    I wish I could get my grandma interested in tech.  My grandpa was the one who loved the computer and sending emails, and now the computer is basically there in case she changes her mind (and so everyone else can have internet access).  The highest tech item in the house is a photo frame that we can email pictures to.

    The distance is extremely frustrating.  While there are family members who live near her that do help her through it all, I selfishly wish I could do it just because she’s done so much for me in my life- just the way to help pay her back for all the support.