Monday, July 28, 2008

Changes Coming

I hope blogging is becoming a good addiction, like exercising or eating healthy foods, because here I find myself at 2 a.m. on Monday morning in front of my computer. At least I don't have to struggle to find bandwidth on borrowed wifi.

Friday morning in Ocean City was bittersweet. We had decided to eat breakfast out to avoid the fuss while packing. With a combination of listings in the local paper and the internet we were able to locate a gem of a breakfast restaurant called Uncle Bill's Pancake House at 21st and Asbury, a mere five blocks from our home. Jess and I walked there, while Saul drove the girls over and got a table right before a camp bus arrived with 40 teenagers who, luckily, had a private room. The place was homey and spotless, decorated with scenes from Ocean City and old time beaches on the walls. The waitress was friendly and efficient, and our food came out exceptionally quickly and exceptionally delicious, eggs poached just right and pancakes large, light and fluffy. Because of the hubbub in the kitchen, one of the kitchen staff happened to come through the restaurant and was wearing a blue tee shirt that said "Got Pancakes?" Jess has a collection of "Got" tee shirts and had just been commenting that this was the first vacation where a new one had not presented itself. She was able to purchase a new one for $10 that they keep on hand to outfit only the kitchen staff. The shirt says "Uncle Bill's Pancakes" on the back and "Staff" on the sleeve.

We had left Alex packing because he usually only has French-press coffee for breakfast, and coupled with an hour and a half of all of us rushing around after breakfast, we were able to lock up and head home by 11 a.m., fully three hours before the 2 p.m. deadline I had anticipated. I was happy to be on the road so early because Adele had called and spoken to Saul. Mom had been feeling weak and dizzy and her doctor had recommended that Adele take her to the emergency room. She evidently resisted for several hours, but by the time we arrived home, Adele had prevailed, and we learned that it was her heart that was causing the problem. The doctors wanted to keep her overnight to monitor her on some new medication for her heart and she was finally persuaded to comply.

Shabbat dinner at Larry's was wonderful! He and Susan had made a special trip to Heller's Seafood in Warrington and purchased incredibly fresh tuna and salmon. We had soup from Trader Joe's, salad, slices of seared tuna loin with a ginger sauce and poached salmon, tortellini with butter, and fresh local white corn on the cob. I brought homemade challah from the freezer, and for dessert an assorted-flavors pie from David's Cookies that I had purchased at the Costco in Manahawkin and leftover chocolate chip cookies. Susan prepared a spectacular tea! She presented me with a special teapot when we arrived so that I can make my own. The process involves this beautiful glass teapot into which is dropped a specially arranged and compressed dried flower and herb ball. As you watch, the ball gradually opens in the boiling water into a beautiful flower arrangement and steeps into tea. I was amazed to see a ring of delicate white jasmine flowers as the petals opened. Knowing how much Sami likes art glass, she and Ted also presented the girls with artist-made glass pendant necklaces, and Ted gave them cubes of white Post-It Notes on which to draw.

The next day, while Saul took the girls swimming, Adele came over and we went to visit Mom in the new Lenfest wing of Abington Hospital. She was sitting in a chair in a private room, bundled in blankets, when we arrived, but her face looked better than it has in a year. She said she had just returned from a long walk around the hospital floor with her nurse. She told us cheerfully that she was feeling better and that everyone had been commenting about the fact that she doesn't look anywhere near 86 years old. Now that her healthy coloring has returned and the pinched look of anxiety about how she was feeling has disappeared, she really does look much younger. When we returned from the hospital, Adele joined us and we went to the King Buffet in Plymouth Meeting. Adele loves Chinese food and the girls love the miso soup and sushi there. We all felt very good that apparently the doctors have pinpointed what has been plaguing Mom and that the medication is apparently working. The girls are happy that G.G. is feeling better and will be coming home soon. I am also happy at the prospect of havng a visiting nurse checking on her.

Yesterday, while Adele and Ken and Aunt Ruth were visiting Mom, Beth brought Brenna over here so that the girls could play at Beachcomber's together. I packed lunch for all of us, but by the time we arrived there, gray clouds had gathered. We wheeled our stuff down to the pavilion and ate lunch on one of the picnic tables there. By the time we finished eating, the weather had turned really ugly and they had cleared the pool at the sound of thunder. We decided to leave and were pulling out of the parking lot just as high winds and teeming rain began. By the time we reached home ten minutes later, it was beginning to hail. The girls climbed into our bed and watched "Rugrats in Paris," a DVD that Sami had borrowed from Larry, while I took a nap on the sofa. After that, Beth sat at the kitchen table and helped the girls make beaded jewelry from kits she had bought them. While she worked with them, Saul and I did some research on the Internet regarding the 2008 Beijing Olympics for Sami's party theme. Unfortunately, the party store circuit has not produced anything appropriate, so we will have to do our own thing. The rain stopped, but the temperature dropped to 67 degrees F, too cold to go swimming. Then, we discovered that we had lost Brenna's bag. Saul and Beth drove back to the swim club, but couldn't find it. The bag contained not only her clothes, but expensive specially-made earplugs. We have our work cut out for us today trying to figure out what happened to the bag. There was a large family there at the same time we were having lunch setting up for a birthday party.

Ken called to say that Mom had been equally good as yesterday and likely would be coming home today. We took the girls to Franconi's Pizza for dinner and then Beth drove Brenna home. Sami and Izzy climbed into my bed and we watched "Ella Enchanted" before I tucked them into bed for the evening. Ken has been crazy busy because his partner, Jeff, has been laid up with a bad back, and in a troublesome phone call from Ari, apparently he also did something screwy to his back while taking out the trash. He was managing to move around on three Motrins, and I am hoping the damage is minor.

In a few more hours, my computer work will begin anew, Mom will return from the hospital, and I will have party preparations and a birthday cake to prepare. So far, the coming week after vacation appears to be manageable, but any number of misfortunes could be looming that could throw a monkey wrench into my life. So far, so good, though. You never really know what changes could be around the corner.

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