Friday, July 09, 2004

11 my b-day, DMV bus, Wendy's, hurt cat ,new job

07/09/2004 Maytime: 11 Ben 16 Tzec

Yesterday, for my birthday, we went to the Mystic Aquarium and shopping. I haven’t been to the Aquarium for a few years, since before they got the Beluga whales (last time I was there, they were building the tank).My mother drove, which was fine with me. It rained heavily around dawn and we hit some showers driving there but once we were there it was ok. We hoped that the rain would keep people away but instead there were herds of children and packs of mothers with aggressive stroller techniques.

We walked around for about 2 hours, saw the Titanic exhibit (not what I expected; it was replicas and photos and a movie). It was a nice time. Dad didn’t get lost or anything, but sometimes when he looks at things, it seems like his eyes are glazing over–as if he’s looking because I am, or my mother is, or everyone else is, but he doesn’t know what he’s looking at or for.

I was happy to see a small exhibit on frogs (and you know I took half my pictures there!). I adore frogs. It was like playing “where’s Waldo?”–each tank had a picture of what frog was in there, and I’d stand there until I found it. I was taking pictures of brightly-colored poison arrow frogs and the flash attracted a blue one who came right up to the glass and looked at me. (The one thing about my digital camera is that the flash ALWAYS goes off. So when I take pictures of things behind glass, there’s a huge splotch of light reflecting. I try to hold my finger over the flash, but it gets really hot for about half a second, hot enough to burn. Ouch.)

I wanted also to go to the outlet stores in Westbrook and to Ponderosa in Groton (and, while I was right next door, the Citadel gaming store). My father is a backseat (passenger seat) driver and he spent quite a bit of time yelling at my mother on the way there. (Watch out! That guy is coming up behind you! Look out for the truck!) I told him he was NOT to shout at me while I was driving unless I was about to be broadsided by a UFO. He gets very anxious when he doesn’t know where he is. He kept saying, “I don’t know where we are,” and my mother would reassure him, “Berta knows where we are” but that didn’t help.In Ponderosa, he wanted (as usual) to sit near the window. The tables near the window are booths, which are just evil in a buffet restaurant. I will not sit in a booth at a buffet unless there’s only 2 of us. There was a long row of tables pushed together with little white cards on them. To me, that means “reserved” so we ended up in the old smoking room in front of the restaurant, next to the window but at a table. He complained that it was too far away from the food. It turns out those little white cards just have the name of the waitress on them. How was I supposed to know? I ran next door to Citadel after we ate and bought myself a birthday gift: the new sixth edition Call of Cthulhu rulebook. I did not splurge on the limited edition leather-bound version for $80, I bought the regular one.

When we got to Westbrook (I drove, Dad did not yell), we walked by a Rockport shoe store. My father said that he bought a pair of shoes there and they didn’t fit right because they sell shoes that are no good. Yes, they sell seconds, that’s why they’re cheap. He said he was never going to buy shoes there again. He is very fussy about his shoes cuz of his flat feet.I wanted to get some more spoons and forks from Oneida and some plates from Phalzcraft. (Yeah I could look up the spelling on the back of the plate, but I’m lazy.) I had a spoon with me. My spoons (“Cassandra”) aren’t discontinued, but they were out of stock. My plates (Amalfi Classic) have been discontinued for years. I did manage to get some nice wrapping paper for baby gifts for Miss Beth’s bambina so it wasn’t a totally wasted stop. My special leg was starting to get stupid as we headed back to the car, and where does my dad go like a magnet? The Rockport store, where he said he would never shop again. From there into the Reebock store, still looking for the elusive green sneakers with green laces (he refuses to just buy a pair of green Converse hi-tops or dye a pair of white Converse). By this time I’m dragging my leg behind me like Quasimodo. (It’s not that it hurts, exactly, it just gets stupid. I can’t lift it and it swells.) It’s getting hotter out, and I’m thirsty. And here’s dear ol’ Dad, browsing for chartreuse shoelaces.

Mom, feeling generous, allowed him to drive home. Just as we’re leaving the parking lot, my cell phone rings. Will is calling to say that someone wants to interview me for a job. He’s trying to give me the information. Meanwhile all the windows in the car are rolled down and air is roaring into my face, the A/C is on full blast and for reasons I don’t understand my parents are yelling at each other. I can’t hear a word Will is saying because he is also on his cell phone (so much for digital being better). And Will expects me to call this guy back from the road? It sounded like a lunatic asylum, not a simple ride in the car.

Mom told Dad to look for the Hammonasett exit. I wasn’t paying much attention and neither was she and the next thing we knew, we’re in Branford, well past our exit. And the highway info signs were saying 5 mile backup at the Q bridge. So we got off at the next Route 1 exit, and my father is swearing at the red light as if it’s on a personal vendetta against him. We went home by a convoluted back way (“I don’t know where we are.” “I do, just keep going.”). I was talking to my mother about my lack of success with tiger lilies in my yard and my father starts randomly talking about Choatees (people who go to/work at Choate Rosemary Hall) jumping in front of his car and that’s why he was going home the odd way he was. Choatees have always walked in front of moving cars (they are all rich and if we hit them, their daddies will sue), it’s nothing new and nothing personal against my father. But don’t tell HIM that. And who knows what it has to do with orange tiger lilies.

Now to back up a day, to Wednesday. I usually have lunch with my mom on Wednesday (just Burger King). Since she’s off, she wanted to go somewhere else than BK. I was hoping for 99 House but she picked Wendy’s. Of course Dad wanted to come and I invited Will too (since we weren’t locked into Mom’s 11:30-12:00 lunch slot; his starts at 12:00). I had to go get my driver’s license renewed first. The DMV bus gets to Meriden at 10:00 a.m. I got to the parking area at 10:40, no bus. Others were waiting too. No bus. So I go to my parents’ house and they say after lunch they will take me to AAA where I can also get renewed (it expired on my birthday, the next day). We go to Wendy’s with Dad behind the wheel. He wants to park in the center section (he doesn’t like to park near other cars, never has, always worries about scratches). I explain that we will be trapped by drive-through cars when we leave. He can’t understand that. Then he wants to park on the far side of Wendy’s where my husband won’t see the car when he gets there. Finally we get him to park in the back under a tree. He orders a chicken sandwich and then doesn’t know what the sauce is. He’s worried he got spicy chicken by accident. (He thinks he doesn’t like spicy food. If you tell him something has spices on it, he won’t eat it. If you just put spices on and tell him it’s plain, he’ll tell you how good it is.) I show him my spicy chicken, which has reddish brown coating on it, versus his uncoated grilled chicken which has some orangey-mayonnaise like sauce (probably thousand island dressing). I tell him it’s mayo, which he loves, and he eats it happily.

After we eat, I reapply my “getting my picture taken” make-up and we go to AAA. (If they had told me it was right off the highway I could have gone by myself–I’m a little old to have my parents drive me to get my license.) I go inside and my parents wait in the car. I’m not in there 2 minutes when in comes Dad, wandering around. “I thought I could help you or something.” He won’t sit down, he’s hovering, people think he’s in line. Finally I get him to sit. The guy comes over and says the machine is broken, we can wait or come back later. I don’t want to do either so I send my father back out to the car. Eventually I am called up. I stand in the spot and wait for them to cue me to smile. They say “all set, have a seat” and of course my picture looks like I’m a half-wit since I wasn’t ready. And then charge me a dollar more because they claim my form is wrong. I complain about the lack of bus in Meriden and the guy says (I couldn’t make this up) “It’s there now.” Well, DUH, how is that going to help me when I’m in HAMDEN now, waiting for their stupid fucking broken machine to spit out a terrible picture of me I have to look at until 2010!

Then we go back to the house and I have to help my father make some phone calls (he just can’t understand people over the phone). I ask him for some information and he starts swearing, throwing around papers, saying it’s none of their business. I am on hold, on hold, on hold. He’s going on and on, “that guy always gives me such a hard time” (it was a recording) and the guy is “breaking my balls” and meanwhile I’m just ON HOLD. I have to answer a million automated questions (press 1 for yes, press 2 for no, press 3 if you don’t know) and since he’s griping at me I miss some of the questions and have to answer “3”. On hold some more, so long that the system automatically disconnected. Call back, on hold, on hold. More griping & swearing. Finally I get a person, say about 2 sentences and she hangs up on me. Call back, on hold, on hold. This went on for over an hour and finally I gave up.

So today (Friday) I had to bring my poor Nutter cat to the vet. He broke his fang and it’s all brown and he won’t eat. And I have to mail my ads into The Door Opener (postmarked today) and finish the calls for Dad and go into my new job to talk to my new boss AND have cake with Will’s mom for my birthday. The vet says there’s nothing he can do for my buddy Nutter except pull the tooth but he doesn’t think it’s necessary. I leave the cat in the car for the minute it takes to run the ad into the post office and then call Dad: “I’m coming over to finish the phone call now.” “Mommy’s home.” “Ok, I’ll see her too.” “I’m leaving now to go clean the cars.” “No, you have to stay. I’m making calls for you.” “Mommy’s home.” “Don’t leave, I’ll be there in two minutes.” And I am, and he hasn’t left. After only 16 minutes of being on hold, I get a real person and he helps us, even goes a little extra. Then my dad leaves to clean the cars and my mother says how mad he was at me for making him stay home. The whole 16 minutes I was on hold he was swearing that “that guy” (the one who gives him a hard time, the recording) wasn’t going to help us.

And I had my cat inside, in his carrier (he was afraid to come out) and the Jasper was attacking the carrier trying to kill my poor old Nutter. Jasper attacked my mother when she took him away from the carrier and also lashed out at my father, at which point my father got more angry because I want him to get a second cat to keep Jasper company (and because he’s too spoiled) and this “proves” that they can’t get another cat. Jasper is going to be sorry when he comes to live with me next week while my parents are away. Nutter is going to kick his butt when Jasper is on Nutter’s turf. So is Zen for all the times Jasper attacked HIM at Grandma’s (which should be neutral territory).My new job is for six hours a week. Better than nothing. And if I do good, I can get bonuses and make as much as I made working for the asshole for 50 hours a week (which included being sworn at, being hit by forklifts, unloading trucks and having things thrown at me). I will do good. (2264)

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