Tuesday, May 30, 2006

A Nice Homeless Person

I wasn’t sure whether I should call this blob “An au pair for the au pair” or “A nice homeless person” so I opted for the latter. But I’ll tell you why without whining. I can do that because I we’ve have moved from the tragic to the hilarious. In the summer Jordan and I pack enormous amounts of clothing, make-up, books, music and medication and we schlep it to New York. David visits when he’s not shooting. We’re probably nuts but we like being in the city in the summer—maybe it’s because we are the only ones here maybe it’s because we can scream at the tourists, or maybe it’s because when I want to take a break from writing I don’t have to get in my car and drive somewhere. I merely open the door and walk outside to find excitement. Last week, while I was attempting to pack for our trip, I got a call from Connie, (the latest mommie au pair). Connie has some issues which include the fact that; she talks non-stop and doesn’t listen. (Since mom’s hearing is limited, this is not necessarily a bad thing –for mom not me.) Her 24 year old son lives with her and has his girlfriend stay (while the mouse is away…), and he doesn’t feed the dog or the cat. In addition, she immigrated to this country10 years ago and hasn’t passed her citizenship test—she didn’t know the answers. That is usually the reason one doesn’t pass the test. But that threw her for a loop. Then she opened all the windows in my mother’s house and my mother hasn’t been exposed to that much air for two decades—but she didn’t find it unpleasant. However, when mom asked Connie to make sure all the windows were closed at night, Connie was insulted that my mother would think her irresponsible. That’s not the end. Connie said that when my mother tried to eat, her teeth fell out. Needless to say, I was extremely concerned because my mother is rightfully attached to her teeth. We moved on from her teeth to her hearing and then to the fact that this was a very hard job and also she didn’t like having to drive my mother to all those doctors appointments. Is this too much information? Too bad. I simply must go on.

I explained to Connie that a job is a job. It isn’t always fun and that’s why they call it work. I also assured her that I would have a conversation with mom about her ears, teeth, and whatever other physical problems she might have. I reminded Connie that she knew all this when she came to work and in fact, driving, being companion, and making sure mom was safe was all that we had talked about during the interview. I never tried to put one over on her. I did not say, for example, mom is in great condition and yearns to go to Atlantic City twice a week (which Connie would really like to do)… I did say mom likes to play gin rummy and Connie did opine that she prefers blackjack. (Was that a sign?) Anyway, as I said, I was trying to get our move in order for the summer and I just wanted her off the phone. I said goodbye three or four times and David, realizing that I wanted to get off the phone started to shout for me. I hung-up and he asked me if there was a problem. “No”, I said. “It’s just that the au pair needs an au pair.”

We spent the weekend in New Jersey with my mother. You remember my mother from the au pair blob? While she is losing strength and seems to have no energy, her teeth are fine. We took her to the diner and her teeth remained firmly attached to her gums-- in her mouth. She has started to wear one hearing aide because two drive her crazy and this way she can almost hear. Although she thinks Connie is a nice person she also thinks she has some issues—and mom doesn’t want to be a therapist. So I began thinking, so many of us have these problems with our aging parents wouldn’t it be the socially responsible thing to do to find a nice homeless person to care for the folks. Talk about solving two major social problems. We could house and feed the homeless and at the same time avoid storing our parents in one of those terrible institutions. Yep, a nice homeless person is exactly what I need. We’re just sayin….


Anonymous said...

1. The homeless people I work with wouldn't make optimal caretakers. But then, they wouldn't bitch so much either.
2. Having our mom in an Assisted Living situation is working out pretty well - she has privacy, meds given to her, gets 3 meals a day, vans to appointments, activities and socialization. You might look into it for your mom. Find a cool one, THEN take your mom. If you introduce the idea first, it's almost always 'no'. There are Jewish ones, upper-scale ones, all kinds of them. A thought. . . . Di

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