November 25, 2012

God's Waiting Room (Part 2 of 2)

We pulled into Misty Meadows and I was immediately impressed.  The grounds were tidy, the scenery lush and the people friendly.  We toured the facility, met some of the locals and got the lay of the land.  Then while Dad was completing the check-in process we began making preparation for the move in.  This is when we had our first reality check.

 We had moved Dad out of his single-level home in under an hour.  But the path we had to navigate to move him in was a circuitous route from the parking lot, through two double doors, to an elevator, to the third floor and down a long hallway that looked like it could have been used on the set of The Shining.  “Wendy, I’m back!” – Jack Nicholson.


Alan and I looked at each other with our patented “it’s going to be a long day” look, took one deep breath each and got to work.

Hour one: It took a while to find a rhythm.  We learned to walk through the first set of double doors in order to hit the handicap button that was conveniently located on the inside for those handicaps who were trying to get in from the outside.  (I suppose this helped keep gangs of elderly handicapped people from storming the facility, but I think a deep moat full of alligators would have been more effective.)  Hitting the handicap button swung both sets of double doors open at the same time.  If you timed it right you could then walk back outside, pick up your load and scurry through before the doors closed back upon you.

Hour one (continued):  We learned that elderly people like to visit with two nice young men who don’t have anything better to do than move their Dad in and try to get the U-haul turned back before 5:00 p.m.  This wasn’t all bad because they soon instructed us to hit the “close” button on the elevator door immediately or we would be waiting longer than necessary.  I suppose this sort of thing is important to people who don’t have much time left.  Also, we learned that elderly people don’t mind sharing the same elevator with two hard working mover-boys several times in the same hour, probably because elevators are a great way to “capture an audience” as it were.

Hour one (still continued—it was a long hour): There was a game of Misty Meadows horse racing going on in the community room next to the elevators.  Several wooden horses were being propelled along the floor and the participants were betting Monopoly money on the outcome.  The winners could later redeem their cash for such luxuries as an extra piece of bread at dinner or 15 minutes of additional free time with the door to their rooms unlocked.

Hour two: I don’t typically perspire all that much, but by hour two I was sweating profusely.  The combination of the Sacramento Valley humidity and the fact Misty Meadows had their thermostat set on “geriatric” was almost more than I could bear.  Speaking of bare, I was tempted to take my long sleeve shirt off, but all I was wearing underneath was a tank top undershirt that my family affectionately refers to as a “wife-beater”.  So once again, political correctness prevailed over my comfort level, which seems to have become the story of my life.

Hour two (continued): A new set of obstacles appeared for us to navigate.  There was fresh meat in town and word had traveled fast.  Packs of elderly single ladies with precious little time to waste stalked Dad’s hallway like matronly cougars pursuing their prey.  Once they had him cornered they descended upon him like he was an innocent little 68-year-old.  For a second my mind wondered just what kind of freaky, shenanigans went on at Misty Meadows, but I realized whatever it was it would have to be over by 8:30 p.m. at the latest.

Hour three: One of the employees happened to notice my plight.  I don’t know if it was the way I was crawling along the floor that got her attention or maybe my gasps for air as I clutched my chest and prayed in Latin.  Either way she kindly mentioned to me that they had carts available I could use so I didn’t have to carry everything in my arms.  I replied that “No, I did not know that”.  She replied in turn, “Oh, I just thought you didn’t want to use them.”

Talk about mixed emotions.  But I think she may have literally saved my life so for that I am grateful.

Hour four: Job complete, Dad ensconced and boys tired.

We bid Dad a fond adieu.  It could have been a more meaningful, tearful and emotionally bonding moment but Dad was hungry and wanted to get to the dining room and sit with his new friends.   He walked away with joy in his stride and purpose in his heart, no longer in need of our services.  Alan and I decided to linger no longer.

We got the U-haul delivered back on time with no extra charges and we made it safely back over Donner Pass before the snow started to fly.



Nick said...

Sounds like a fun-filled day. Hope to see you and the family whenever you come to visit Dad.

Erica said...

great blog, Tim. I would like to hear the infamous Wal-Mart shopping cart one too...Looks like it will be a comfortable home for your dad

TimmyMac said...

Nick - Thanks! I'm sure we will be taking you up on that!

Erica - Thank you and that's not a bad idea!

Eugene said...

Sounds like you're dad is going to have a great time there. Single men are a rare and prized commodity in retirement communities! He's going to have so many new friends now!

Anonymous said...

Prayed in Latin--Lol! What a day! I'm so glad you and your brother were able to move your dad into his new space. Looks like he'll have lots to do and plenty of people to share that with in his new community! Thanks for sharing your hilarious escapades! -Ally