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"Fade Away"

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The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers

The story of Delicate Pooh

mail to Walt


15 October 2014

Going to Atria today was like stepping through the looking glass, for all sorts of reasons, not all of which concerned my mother's memory deficits.

First we have to return to Friday, when Walt left for Santa Barbara.  He took my mother's clean laundry to her on his way out of town. As always, he left the plastic laundry basket on her bed.  I was surprised that the only thing in her laundry basket was underwear, but it was all of her underwear, so I'm glad I got it cleaned before I was without a car for the weekend.

Monday she called in a panic because "your husband" (she can't remember anybody's name any more) never brought her laundry and she was out of underwear.  I talked her through where Walt left it (no, there was nothing in the basket, she reported) and how to find her underwear drawer, where, to her surprise, she found all of her underwear.  Walt must have put it away without her seeing him, she said.

This morning when I arrived at Atria she told me that the funniest thing had happened and that she had come back into her apartment the other day and discovered that Walt had put her underwear away in her drawer and she never got a chance to see him.

We went off to lunch at the restaurant.  I was happy to see Margaret, about whose health I had worried when she was not there the last two times we ate there (she reported she was worried about me because I hadn't been there with my mother in a long time!). 

There were lots of servers today, unlike recently when service as been abysmally slow.  In fact our server (who was a new face to me) was so speedy that she asked what we wanted as we were sitting down. before we'd opened the menus, and then took away the menus before we could see what the dessert was.  But she also brought our food very quickly, which is a first. 

Sadly, the food was no improvement over the crappy stuff I've had lately.  This was a chicken salad sandwich on a croissant, which sounds like it should be good,  but the croissant was hard as a rock and cold and the chicken salad was under-mayonnaised and if a chicken salad can be dry, this was dry. It takes a lot for me to leave food behind, but I have left half of my meal at each of the last three meals I have had there, they are so bad.  This is in stark contrast to how things were when my mother first moved there.  But she has lost her appetite and doesn't notice what she eats, so I don't complain.

As soon as I finished what I was going to eat of my lunch, it was whisked away and I was asked about dessert.  I told the waitress I hadn't had a chance to see the choices.  She flashed the menu past my eyes and I took the blueberry cobbler.  My mother, as usual, requested an ice cream cone, but she hadn't even eaten half of her lunch yet.  Usually we wait 15 minutes for someone to come, clear the plates and take our order.

In minutes, our desserts arrived and my mother was stuck with a sandwich in one hand and an ice cream cone in the other.  I called the waitress and praised her to the skies for being so efficient, but then pointed out that my mother was still eating her lunch and she should have noticed that before bringing her an ice cream cone.

When we finished I wanted to walk down to the area where the puzzles used to be.  They have now created a big bistro with lots of tables and chairs, and a sign saying they had to close the bistro for awhile.  Behind that in the nice big space where Lucy's Salon used to be is an area which I assume some day will have computers, but now just sits open.

I was so sad to see there were no puzzles at all.  Not only that, but I was sad also to see how this months-long remodel has turned out.   The place no longer has the inviting, "comfy" look that it once had.   Even the beautiful floral display that always stands just inside the front door is now filled with dead flowers.  The care that attracted me to the place originally is just gone.  In its place is a cold, hard place where you can't even find coffee any more.  The chairs and couches do not invite sitting and chatting because they are so uncomfortable, the layout of the front desk, which used to invite conversation between visitors and staff now keeps them apart by a long desk.  I don't even know who works there any more.  And, of course, the chief of staff doesn't give a shit about complaints brought to him.

But as I keep saying, she likes it, so I am satisfied for her sake.

We went back to the apartment and when we got there she wanted to tell me a funny story.  It seems she was waiting for me to come and bring her laundry, but I had to go somewhere and she wasn't sure what she was going to do about clean laundry because she had no underwear.  She took off the underwear she had on and washed it so it could dry overnight, but when she went to open a drawer, she found all of her underwear and she realized Walt had come to see her and put it away for her.   Laundry is definitely the fantasy for this week!

On my way out of Aria, I stopped at the front desk to see what I could find out about the puzzles.  It turns out they have moved them to the second floor, which is the kiss of death for my mother who views the second floor just slightly more favorably than the Black Hole of Calcutta.  I've been upstairs and I didn't see the puzzles, though I know if I tried harder I could find it, but there is no way that my mother will ever find it on her own.

This makes me very sad because it was the only activity at Atria that she enjoyed and participated in.  It put her in the center of a social area and she interacted with people who came to work the puzzles with her.  Now that is gone.

But also going, if not entirely "gone" is her ability to write and spell.  The other day she tried to write "daughter" on a book and spelled it S-[two indistinguishable letters]-t-t-y.  Today she had to write a check and asked me to write it for her and she would sign it.  I notice she kind of screwed up her first name.

Not the greatest Atria day.

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