Candy Rant

"I killed a rat with a stick once."

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Adventures With Mrs. Fossilfuel

She died while I was there.

Just kidding.

First, my morning started with my usual happy, shimmering face that I reserve for getting up at 4:30 after 3 hours of sleep. This face brings to mind Nick Nolte's mug shot with a little Karl-Malden-in-urethral-distress thrown in.

Scott, being the astoundingly nice man he is, came out to the kitchen to see if I wanted company. When I looked at him and little evil, flaming mermaids blasted out of my eyes and shat up both his nostrils, he took the hint and went back to bed.

Probably the precise moment he had gotten back to sleep, I opened the refrigerator to take out my leftover Chinese food (for my lunch at Mrs. F-f's house) and out tumbled a huge plastic container of chocolate covered espresso beans. It exploded onto the kitchen floor, sending hundreds of little entities rolling in all directions like cockroaches under a 40,000 watt bulb.

It was at this moment that I cussed so hard that some of the shingles flew off our roof, and fell, sizzling, into the dark swimming pool. By the time Scott made it back to the kitchen to see what had happened, I was loudly questioning my belief in a loving God. I tend to overreact in the early morning.

Finally I was ready to go. Directions to Mrs. Fossilfuel's house in my bag, along with blazing noodles and tofu for lunch, yogurt and a banana for snacks, and attired in my sickeningly sky blue company polo shirt.

Several dark, lonely miles later, I get to her house. I've been told that the overnight care giver will be there to let me in. But the house is dark. I double-check the address, walk to the curb to see the house number again. This is the right address. I have to knock.

Knock knock knock.





Still nothing.

Meanwhile, I am freezing. Because not only does Phoenix actually get cold at night, but it is accentuated by not-quite-dry hair.

I have no choice. I have to call the agency and wake up Mavis, the human resources person who is on call.

Mavis:...mumble, mumble, mpthph...Mavis speaking.

Candy: Mavis, this is Candy. Mrs. Fossilfuel is not answering her door, and there's no overnight person here.

Mavis: Oh, she had to leave late last night...she had a death in the family.

Candy: So what should I do? What's the protocol here?

Mavis: Hold on, and I will call Mrs. Fossilfuel to tell her you're outside.

I hear the phone ring inside, so at least I know I'm at the right house.

I listen to Mavis's end of the conversation:

"Mrs. Fossilfuel? MRS. FOSSILFUEL??......yes, your care giver is outside your front door--"

Mrs. Fossilfuel apparently hangs up on Mavis.

Then my call to Mavis is dropped.

I call Mavis again. She tries to call Mrs. F. again. The line is busy. Phone is off the hook maybe? She's gone back to bed?

Mavis: Candy, walk around to the back of Mrs. Fossilfuel's house and bang on her bedroom window.


Mavis: Candy?

Candy: Um, you want me to go bang on the bedroom window of a 98-year-old woman?

Mavis: It's OK. That's what she told us to do.

I stumble in the dark to the back of the house. There is not only no way of telling which window might be the correct one, but there is also no way of telling which episode of "Cops" I'll be appearing on. I should've worn mascara.

Candy: Yeah. This isn't going to work.

Mavis: Let me try to call her again.

Again I listen to her side.

"Mrs. Fossilfuel? Yes. YES, this is MAVIS. Your care giver is waiting outside for you to open the door. (pause) No. She's OUTSIDE. (pause) This is when she was SUPPOSED to arrive. (longer pause) No. Sherrie doesn't come back until tonight. (pause) All right, Mrs. Fossilfuel, but you will still have to pay for this..."

Mavis: Candy, Mrs. Fossilfuel says she needs to rest today and she doesn't want anyone to come. So you'll get paid for the whole day anyway.

Candy: Well. This is bizarre.

Mavis: Yes, but she does this sometimes, and usually on Saturdays.

Candy: Good to know.

Thus ends my false start with one Mrs. Fossilfuel of Phoenix, Arizona. Although it was nice to begin my (what will probably be short) tenure with elder care with a paid day off, I felt very sorry for her. Awakened in the middle of the night to be abandoned by her apparent favorite, Sherrie, then struggling with her walker to the phone a few hours later. To talk to Mavis. Who is black, and noticeably so, even on the phone. Mrs. Fossilfuel ain't no fan of the blackies.

I am signed up for another shift with her tomorrow, Sunday, from 1-6 p.m. At this point the whole thing is slightly Hitchcockian. As though there is no Mrs. Fossilfuel. I was lured to "her" house under false pretense, for unsavory reasons. Like a middle-of-the-night Mary Kay makeover party with a forced minimum purchase of $100, or a group reading of Rod McKuen poems. I will get to the bottom of this.



But I will tell you that while I stood outside her door waiting, I was very quiet. And motherly.


  • At 9:35 AM, Blogger Jerry said…

    I'd be careful. Lady Fossil is ready to die (anyone 98 is way ready) and she may be irritated enough to take you with her. A person can get shot knocking on a back bedroom window--in Phoenix for God's sake, home of jacking, invasion, and swat helicopters--by a neighbor, for God's sake.

    You probably need to carry your own piece so that you can represent yourself respectably in a firefight. A 92 year old woman wounded 3 police officers in Atlanta when they mistakenly broke into her house, but they managed to shoot her fatally in the melee.

    If this 98 year old is packing, she might decide to go out in a shower of lead and cordite--and take you with her. Just to be sure she knows where you stand, you can take the tough love approach and tell her, "Look old woman, if you do anything I don't much like you'll be praying for Dr. Kevorkian and euthanasia."

    You know...stuff like that. Assert yourself. She may be pushing the limits just to test your metal. If she gets shitty with you, start screaming and cursing--old people like to know who's in charge.

    My point is, how are your friends gonna react if they know you are letting a 98 year old woman disrespect you--even if it is for money. So you need some good stories to make it clear you're not somebody to mess with.

    Comments like, "I wouldn't let her have her meds until she whined and pleaded," or "That old woman is not so tough; I made faces behind her back all day and she didn't do anything." You know...stuff like that.

    Jesus I hate January...and not being rich...and having to work...and the fact that I am beginning to identify more with the old woman than with her caregivers.

    Jesus I hate February...and getting old.

  • At 12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    hmm ... i always think of sneaking around to peer in windows as *very* motherly.

  • At 12:12 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    Jerry, I also identify more with her than with a care giver. For about 3 decades now.

    You've got me scared now. I think I'll roll a cannon over to her house.

  • At 12:17 PM, Blogger Candy Rant said…

    c... Yes. Very motherly indeed.

    Also, reading private diaries can be very motherly. I wonder if Mrs. Fossilfuel has a diary?

  • At 4:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Seeeeeeee???!!!! I was PRAYING for you yesterday 8 am, Eastern Time and not only did you get a full day's pay but you didn't even have to work for it!


    And on a totally related subject, today I couldn't find my pantyhose as as I was getting ready for a funeral and I was cursing my foul luck when something made noise in the closet. Something glass had fallen. But not broken. So I look in the closet and there is a plate that my brother had made me at one of those "decorate your own plates" places. It's on the floor and it isn't broken because it landed on my PANTYHOSE!!!!!!! Cue angel choir.

    I have some kinda connections with God.

    Go on. Wish for something. It's like I got my thumb on the head of the celestial PEZ dispenser.

  • At 5:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    No word from Candy 3 hours into her shift, so it's either going reasonably well or she's at a bar drinking her face off.

    Sorry to hear about the funeral, Ana. Got any Lotto picks?

  • At 1:37 PM, Blogger Citlali said…

    OMG, I'm rushing over to read the next episode NOW. = ]


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