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Saturdays, Dad, and Jim

by Southern Programmer

Weekends Are For Relaxing...

The last few weeks have been pretty hectic due to a project I have been on but at least I had a good weekend!

On Saturday, I spent the morning washing and waxing my car.  I am probably one of the few people that enjoys cleaning my car without the use of a car wash.   I wash my car at least once a month due to a compulsive personality.   I pull out my car wash, my 'Mothers' car wax, my special chamois cloth for polishing and my leather treatment cream.  I then tune the radio to a talk show and spend time cleaning my car and checking it's vital fluids.

After my morning, the day became pretty interesting.

My wife had a few errands for me to run, I swear she saves these for me on the weekends!   Usually I don't mind as it gives me a chance to wander around the stores and observe people which is fun to me.

Errand number one was to pick up some items at Walmart.   I went to the one which opened last year which stands in place of a rundown strip mall that previously occupied it's location.   The 'new' Walmart is quite pretty, they have lots of stores around the mall in a sort of 'Floridian style' type of architecture which is quite nice.

As is usual when I go to Walmart, I wound up buying lots of items that were not on the list such as shirts, magazines, and 'collector cars'.

I have a weakness for 'collector cars', by which I mean hot-wheels or Johnny-Lightning type cars.   I frequently will buy one or two of these and then place them in a box in a closet.   A few of the ones I have purchased over the years have gone up in value.   I don't know if they will ever be valuable but I plan to leave them for my kids one day.  At that point they will probably
say "Dad!  You should have invested that money!"   Of course with todays market perhaps toy cars are a better investment?

After I finished my shopping, I went to the 'self-checkout' counter.   I both like and loathe these things.   I like them because I can usually find an empty one and get out of whatever store I am in very quickly.   I loathe them because I feel if I am patronizing a store they should have a cashier to ring up and bag my items.   One of my complaints with Walmart is they usually have about a hundred cash registers and only 8 of them are ever manned.

After I scanned and bagged my items I attempted to pay the self-checkout with cash.   Obviously this completely confused the machine because it refused to take my bills.   I tried several but it would never register them, this surprised me as I had used perfectly good ink when making the bills this morning and they looked good but apparently I couldn't fool the machine.  Just checking to
see if you are actually reading this...

I finally called an attendent who informed me "I don't know nothing about them machines!".   This really annoyed me, first of all I really hate it when Southern people purposely use bad grammer as it only perpetuates the 'redneck' label.  Secondly, this person did not even offer to call for help.

Finally, I tried my charge card and the machine was happy so I then left on my next errand.

I needed a haircut, I am fortunate to have a full head of hair at my age but it always has a mind of it's own and sticks out all over the place.   But as long as my hair stays on my head I am happy.   I went to my regular stylists place but he was closed which was unusual as it was a few hours before his normal closing time.   My wife was bound and determined that my hair was going to be cut so when I informed her I was going to wait another week she made a few calls and told me there was a small barber shop nearby with someone waiting to cut my hair.

I was intriqued, I had not set foot inside of a 'barber shop' in YEARS.   I followed the instructions and wound up at a small barber shop.   I walked into the shop and there was a man who appeared to be in his sixties with great hair who was dressed in jeans, cowboy boots, and a nice short sleeve shirt.   "Yes sir?"  he asked me.   I told him I was the guy whose wife was sending him to get a hair cut.    He laughed and said "Well lets see what we can do!" as he began regaling me with sports stories.  'Bob' told me he only works three days a week and spends the rest of his time playing tennis and hanging out at the beach.   He gave me a decent haircut and I decided I would use him again.

The next mission assigned by my wife was to pick up some 'meat pastries' at a family owned business.  The business was a small Arabic store she had found.  The store was in a small shopping center near our house, I had passed it many times but had never stopped before.

I went to the store at about 4:30 and it was deserted, I walked in and said "Hello" loudly and a thin dark skinned man came out and said "Yezzir, what kin I do four YOU"   I replied that I had come to pick up some pastries for my wife.   "NAME!?" the man asked in a loud clear voice.  I gave him my wifes name and immediately his face broke into a grin and he said "Ohhhh, [Ms SP]!   She is zuch a nize ladee!   I haff your order in the bak!"   He then yelled into the back "Ah ka lacka lacka lacka" and a pretty young future heart breaker of about 12 came out carrying a white box.  Obviously the
young girl was the mans daughter as his face broke out into a smile of joy when she came out.

He walked her to the cashier and spoke to her in a small tone as she began ringing up my purchase.   With a firm yet tenative voice the young girl told me the total and as I gave her my debit card she expertly processed my card as her dad looked on with warm eyes. 

As I left I could not help wonder how people complain about working in the US when obviously this man managed to open a store and start a business even though he is probably having to learn our language.   As I snuck one of the meat pies out I could see why my wife bought them, I think I found a new vice as those things are DELICIOUS!   They almost didn't make it back to the house.
On Sunday afternoon I went to visit my father at his nursing home.   This trip is always very painful to me, when I see the residents stuck in their wheelchairs unable to fend for themselves I always resolve to watch my diet, insure I work out, anything as long as I am never dependent upon someone else to tend to my personal needs.

One of the residents at my fathers place (Mr. Jim) is 101 years old!  Even though this man is over a century, he walks without the aid of a walker and appears to be reasonably 'sharp' except for one peculiarity....he sings LOUDLY.  Normally, it would be nice if someone sings except that this particular man doesn't sing...he YELLS and he doesn't even 'sing' words other than

"Doodle oodle ooo...doodle OODLE oooo...doodle OODLE OOO.... DOODLE OODLE OOO!!!!!"  over and over and over.

fortunately, he only does this occasionally.

When I entered the nursing home, my father was not parked in his usual space.   I went to the nurses station and asked where my father was.  The nurse told me "Oh, what you need to do..."  OODLE OODLE OOO!!!!! yelled Mr. Jim, "Is to go look for him in the TV room"

I figured he was not in the TV room so I went to his room.

Now, my father has plenty of education.   He has a Doctorate degree and used to teach at a local college.   He keeps up with the stock market and is very well read.  Unfortunately, he suffered a pretty severe stroke a few years ago which has taken away his reasoning ability.  One of the area's he zero's in on is he believes he is going blind.   The doctors tell me that what has actually happened is that the area of the brain that decodes what his eyes are seeing has suffered so he
can't really interpret what he is seeing.   Unfortunately he is absolutely convinced his is blind and we cannot tell him otherwise.

As I stood in the doorway, I observed my father leaning back in his easy chair napping.  He must have heard me come to his doorway because he looked up and said "Oh...[SP]!".   He then leaned forward, looked at his side table and picked up his TV remote.  He then looked at the remote...pointed it to the TV and then powered the tv off.   He then, placed the remote back on the table,  picked up a glass of water...took a drink and then looked at me and said "[SP], I'm blind!"

Now, a reasonable person would realize he was dealing with a senior well into dementia but unfortunately statements of the absurd tend to make me want to argue.

"Nonsense!", I said, "You saw ME in the hallway!"

"That was just a lucky guess!", said my ever wiley father.

"doodle oodle ooo", yelled Jim from next door.

" had the TV ON!" I said triumphantly.

"Eh, I was just listening to it!", replied my father.

"doodle OODLE ooo", yelled Jim.

Exasperated, I said, "But you picked up a glass of water and drank it!"

"Oh I make sure the nurses put everything in a certain place, blind people need to do that you know!" said my father in a reasonable tone.  Then, in order to insure my head blew clean off of my shoulders, my father said "Oh, please close the blinds, the light bothers me!"

" said you were BLIND", I said.

"Oh, well it must have gone away but I dare say I will be blind at 5:43PM today!" my father retorted.

"doodle oodle OOOOOOOO!", yelled Jim enthusiastically.

I wiped my face and replied, "I didn't realize you could schedule blindness"

"You just don't understand, besides I'm upset because these [darn] people left me outside in the rain all night!", said my father.

"You were...left out in the rain last night?"  I said cautiously, knowing full well this did not happen.

"Oh yes!", my father began, "They pushed me out on the lawn in my wheelchair and left me out all night!"

"doodle oodle ooo"

"So, let me get this straight, You were out on the front lawn in your wheelchair all night...getting wet...and no-one saw you?"  I said in a futile attempt at reasoning.

"That's right!" my father snapped.

"doodle OODLE ooo"

"But..when did they bring you in?"  I said.

"Oh, I had to push my wheelchair myself!" my father said triumphantly.

"You managed to push that wheelchair up a the rain...", I stammered.

"That's correct, but there's something worse", said my father...

"doodle oodle OOO!"

"What's that?", I sighed while sitting down.

"I've gone blind again...."

So that was my weekend!  How was yours?

"doodle oodle ooo"


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