Monday, February 4, 2013

Jack Frost Nipping

I called my mom yesterday and she told me about how she had locked herself out of her house when she went to get the newspaper. My mom is ninety one years old. It was fourteen degrees Fahrenheit, with snow and ice on the ground.

I'm sure my dad thought he was doing the right thing when he bought the home he and my mom retired to. They had no more children in the house, no more relatives to care for. They wanted a place that would be maintenance free and pleasant, so my dad bought a home in one of those places that only sells to old people. Little did he know that he would almost be responsible for my mom freezing to death twenty years later.

So there is my mom in her little house dress, slippers, and a coat, pushing her aluminum walker down the driveway as the kitchen door clicks shut behind her. When she returned with the paper, she couldn't get back in the door. Her nearest neighbor is fifty feet away. That's as good as a mile when pushing a walker with tennis balls through the snow, but somehow she did it. She managed to make it all the way over to her first nearest neighbor. The deaf one, the one who couldn't hear her knocking on the door. When that failed, she started across the street to the other neighbor who was just leaving in his pickup truck. As mom flailed away, waving her arms franticly at him, the nice neighbor waved and smiled as he drove off. For forty five minutes my dear mother wandered around trying to get somebody's attention. The problem is she lives in a development full of only old people. People who can't see very well, who probably thought that was just a snowman in the middle of the street as they drove by. A snowman in slippers pushing a walker around. Luckily the pickup truck neighbor came back home and realized mom wasn't waving to be friendly.

There is a reason I live in a normal neighborhood. A place with kids playing in the street, folks walking their dogs past the house, a place with life. If I were ever to lock myself out of the house I wouldn't have much of a problem finding somebody to help me. I wouldn't ever have to worry about freezing to death while a bunch of old deaf, and blind people whizzed past in their Buicks. But then again, I live in Florida. No way I could freeze here. I'd probably get eaten by some exotic beast instead.

7 comments:

Garrett said...

Doesn't your mom have one of those First Alert buttons to wear around her neck in case she needs help?

Alan said...

No, she likes living on the edge.

Your sister said...

I can laugh now that I read this but it wasn't funny yesterday. How the heck did you get that picture of mom from yesterday?!

peggy said...

Actually she DOES have a LifeAlert button but, just like my mother-in-law, it hangs on the walker. There is no way to convince them that it needs to be a necklace. But besides that, MB found out that she DID push the button-which has 4preprogrammed numbers in it- but for some reason it didn't work. Of course it wouldn't have mattered since the phone was inside and the system opens up the phone so the callee can hear her no matter where she is IN the house! We think the numbers had been deleted when it needed a battery change-dumb system. This is why I carry my cell phone in my pocket when I go outside...of course I didn't use it when I slipped and fell flat on my back in the dog's yard. I was too busy staring up at the sky and cursing a blue streak like my brother! And none of my neighbors came to my aid...they just closed their windows and pulled down the shades!

Alan said...

Mom did agree that she should hide a key out in the garage. I had no idea she had one of those 'I've fawlin and I can't get up' buttons with her. They sound like they might be near worthless.

MB said...

I have to tell you that was my worst nightmare. When Mom told me what happened I couldn't believe it, I thought I had it covered. I realized the stupid button didn't work because when I changed the batteries I had to reset all the numbers too. So I'm looking into a better one, go cheap and that's what you get. I also put a phone outside and I'm getting keys made. You are so right, senior neighborhoods are a bad idea, not only do you sit around and watch neighbors die off, but its a boring ghost town most of the time, with the healthier neighbors at their winter homes and the rest barricaded in their houses. She said her andrenaline was really pumping, she wasn't cold and she couldn't feel any leg pain, as she frantically walked down her cul-de-sac to the main street. She said there was no way that she was going to freeze to death after living 91 years! She's tougher that we think.

peggy said...

Adrenaline got her through 11 childhoods and is probably what keeps her motor running now! At least she has an interesting story to tell anyone who calls her!!