June 24, 2009

Some days are just different

Today was one of those days when the universe pulled a fast one on me.

Well, wait a minute, maybe it really started a week ago when I went to a new hair colorist, Germayne. My hair cutter, Jason, apparently told her what she ought to do to my hair before I got there and she listened to him, not me. When she finished up and I was way blonde, I pointed to a woman across the room with light brown hair and said, “I was thinking more of that kind of color.’ She realized we had miscommunicated big time. I think that was the day I went home and ate a whole cartoon of Ben & Jerry’s Heath Bar Crunch ice cream for dinner. I have been craving more of it ever since. A few days later she called me at home and said to come back in and she would redo my hair free of charge. So I called and made the appointment for today.

At 2 am this morning the smoke detector burst shrilly into full warp drive. I was awakened from a deep sleep, and leapt from the bed to stand befuddled in the middle of my bedroom trying to figure out what was going on before my brain finally registered ‘fire alarm’ not ‘burglar alarm’ or ‘tornado alarm.’ As I bolted from the bed I wrenched my ‘surgerized’ arm, not so pleasant. Then I spent 30 minutes walking around the house sniffing and opening windows and turning on fans to hopefully prevent the alarm from taking off again. We have had past issues with this stupid smoke detector, but never a fire. Thankfully it did not go on again, however I lay there mistrusting, certain that it would. An hour passed before I drifted off to sleep. My last waking thought was that tomorrow I would remove the batteries from the smoke detectors (all seven of them—2 downstairs, 4 upstairs and 1 in the upstairs carriage house out back.)

When I woke up I remembered I was going to pull the batteries out of all the alarms. I didn’t quite know how I was going to carry the ladder around since I am not supposed to use my bad arm to lift anything. The ladder was in my mother’s room so I figured to start there. I placed it under the smoke detector and climbed up. At this point the alarm was perfectly placid, but once I removed the battery the alarm started chirping. ‘Well that’s not going to work,’ I thought as I put in a new battery. There is a button you push to test the battery that causes the alarm to wail, but assures you that the battery is working. I remember Esperando doing that testing last time. So I pushed the button. After emitting an ear piercing scream for what seemed like an eternity, it settled into a nice cheerful but steady chirp. Oh no, I thought, it at least wasn’t chirping before. I climbed down the ladder to where the dog was cowering and trembling from the sharp blast and had to comfort him for a full five minutes to stop his palsied shaking. I realized that even if I could figure out some clever way to drag the ladder around with just one arm, if they were all going to start chirping I would be a total basket case. I shut the door to the bedroom where the alarm continued to chirp intermittently. I called my neighbors, several alarm businesses in the phone book, and even Brinks who alarms our house, but no one knew of a handyman to change out the batteries. In desperation I called our builder who I knew was going under with the stale economy and too many properties he couldn’t unload, but his phone was no longer working. ‘Drat,’ I thought, ‘that’s it.’ Then he called back—I guess he is screening his phone calls closely these days. He offered up he would have Calvin, his former foreman who was now unemployed, call me when I got back from my hair appointment at 11 am. Based on past experience with this builder I was sure Calvin wouldn’t be calling me for a couple of days, but it was the only hope I had. Just in case, I went to the Stapleton website and looked at The Front Porch, which is their monthly homeowner’s rag. It is full of ads and I thought perhaps I can find a handyman there. Sure enough, Bob had an ad listed saying no job was too small. Great that will be my backup.

I had just enough time left to take the dog into the park for a short walk before I needed to leave. We ran into another woman and her yellow lab, Matt. The dogs were instant friends, then Matt fixed me with a steady gaze and made a flying leap toward my bad shoulder with me spinning away just in time to avoid what could have been a really painful accident with my arm. I was sure the other lady thought I was nuts to overreact so, and it was quite embarrassing to me to tell her I had just had surgery on my shoulder. She was really worried her dog had hurt me. Back we walked to Chirping House. I left the dog to go get my hair colored, hoping the alarm wouldn’t go off full bore while I was gone.

Germayne was happy to see me and pulled out a big book with dyed hair swatches so I could show her what I wanted. After pointing out several similar colors that appealed to me we settled on what she thought would be best. When I got through being processed my hair looked strawberry blonde. “Wow, that’s really red,” I said—“oh no, golden,” she said. We both decided it would look better if she could add some depth to it, for me that meant less gold and a little darker, for her that meant darker. Now my 11:00 am appointment with Calvin was getting messed up, but new color was reapplied and I sat for another 30 minutes waiting for it to process. My hair looked fine in the salon mirror when I left just before noon thanks to florescent lighting. Then I got a look at myself in full sunlight in the rearview mirror, my hair was a much darker shade with red highlights. It is way red for my taste-my head is in flames! It seems to be turning into a bad hair day.

I drove home as quickly as I could, but no phone call from the builder or Calvin. ‘I knew it,’ I thought to myself. I looked all over for handyman Bob’s phone number which I wrote down on a small piece of paper, but was somehow eluding me. I spent 5 minutes looking in a 5-foot radius before I finally found it. When I called the phone number, the circuits were busy. ‘What is this?’ I thought. Why are the circuits busy? I must have misdialed, but a second time try came up with the same results. ‘This is really weird I thought, the circuits are never busy.’ However the doorbell rang and this skinny guy stood on the porch. ‘Bob!’ I thought, then I thought, ‘you silly goose, you never contacted Bob—do you think he has ESP?’ “Hi! It’s me Calvin,” he said. “Wow, I would never have known you Calvin, you are so skinny.” “Yeh,” he said, “I’ve had a lot of changes in my life including eight surgeries in the last 4 years and I just got my foot done 2 weeks ago.” I looked down at the cast on his foot. “Wow!” I said. He obligingly went around and changed batteries with very shaky fingers. I felt just awful making him drag the ladder up the stairs, it was exhausting to him. He has gone from 215 to 130 pounds since I last saw him 4 years ago. He was really huffing and puffing with the ladder. Even I wouldn’t have been that out of breath. He can’t eat very well because he only has 7 teeth left because of some medicine he had to take. He can’t get dentures until 6 weeks from now because they won’t do dental surgery until he has recovered from the foot surgery. He has been on disability for the last 4 years. Poor guy. Last time I saw him he was going to have his knees replaced and he had just gotten married. Well he is still married, he is now an ordained preacher in the Baptist Church, they have just started up a church in their home, and they have big plans for a rehabilitation house for battered women that will be based on learning to ride and master horses. It will be a year round facility with an indoor arena. He wouldn’t take any money for helping me, but I gave him a donation for the women’s shelter. I sent him out the door with some good advice, “eat lots of milkshakes I said, that is a great way to gain weight.” “The sad truth is I don’t really like ice cream,” he said. “Oh there are so many flavors, try them all, you’re bound to find one you really like,” I told him.

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