Mindy Newell: Moving Day
I had one hell of a weekend, and I don’t mean that in the swinging wild party, gorgeous male strippers in thongs stuffed with dollar bills, wake up and don’t remember what the hell happened. I mean hell in all its Dante’s Inferno Nine-Circles-Of, sturm und drang blitzkrieg, complete with crying jags and sheer, utterly emotional exhaustion.
We moved my parents to what is called in healthcare parlance a “continuous care retirement community.” They’re still living independently. It’s not quite assisted living. Yet.
Not that it’s a bad place. Actually, it’s quite lovely. Their new apartment is more spacious than the place they left; we didn’t have to get rid of any of their furniture, and by the time I left early yesterday afternoon, it looked like “home,” especially after brother Glenn, daughter Alix and her husband Jeff hung all the pictures and what-nots and set up the phone and the cable TV.
Actually, my brother was there with the cable guy when we arrived, so we didn’t miss any of the Olympics opening ceremony. Of course Queen Elizabeth II, with a little help from Daniel Craig, absolutely rocked the evening. Her outfit was stunning – luved the feathered “fascinator” she wore instead of one her standard hats, which I wouldn’t be surprised to find out her new granddaughter Kate picked out – and watching Her Majesty was lots better than watching Team USA wearing Ralph Lauren by way of a Chinese sweatshop.
Previously, my parents had Cablevision but now they have Comcast, so they’re having trouble figuring out how to use the remote, which is waaaaay more complicated and harder to read than the remote you get from Cablevision and Comcast’s channel guide is waaaay more “busy” (visually) than Cablevision’s, which really, really, sucks when you have macular degeneration like my dad does.
And the apartment overlooks a small lake with swans and a walking path and a gazebo. The staff is superb, caring and friendly, everything you could possibly want for your parents. And several of the residents were sort of a “welcome wagon” for Mr. and Mrs. Newell, accompanying them to their first meals in the main dining room.
But the first thing my mom said to me on Saturday morning, when she woke up in her new home was “I want to go home.”
I gave her a big hug, we talked, she went into the shower. I went outside and sat on one of the lovely rocking chairs on the lovely front porch and had three cigarettes in a row…between tears.
But I basically held it together – hung up their clothes in their new closets, folded the shirts and sweaters in the bedroom furniture, even did the laundry for them while they were went to dinner – until this morning, when I lost it completely. The above-mentioned sturm und drang blitzkrieg, complete with crying jag.
Absolutely the wrong thing to do in front of my parents, who are stressed enough. Pissed off Glenn and Alix, disturbed Jeff.
So I went out for a ride. Went to the nearest WaWa, got a whole bunch of bagels – plain, garlic, onion, and pumpernickel. Checked out some nearby dry cleaners, which is the one service the retirement community doesn’t offer. Stopped at Rite-Aid and picked up some personal sundries for Mom.
And smoked some more cigarettes. (I admit it, I smoked a lot of cigarettes this weekend.)
And popped a Xanax.
So here I am, sitting at the computer, writing this column. Meant to write about moving, what it would be like to be Superman moving all that shit, Terran and intergalactic, to the Fortress of Solitude from his apartment in Metropolis. Wondering what was in Diana’s suitcases when she left Themiscrya. And how many times the moving vans have pulled into and out of the driveway of Avengers’ Mansion, with the constantly changing membership of that organization.
And where the parents of super-heroes – and super-villains, for that matter – go when they’re unable to live on their own.
But I’m just too exhausted and emotionally spent tonight to think about make-believe.
Life got in the way for me this week.
TUESDAY: Emily S. Whitten and 15 Minutes