AUTHOR: Beth TITLE: DATE: 8/09/2004 10:31:00 AM ----- BODY:

Back to Back Bummers

After writing yesterday's epic, I spent the rest of the afternoon framing posters, pictures, and the two Globe front pages I kept from the Pats' Super Bowl wins. Then I was trying to get the print I bought at the National Portrait Gallery in London into a frame that unfortunately contained real glass, which I proceeded to cut the shit out of my fingers on. The picture (thanks to the magic of duct tape) is now in the frame, but has slid down to the bottom, so it still looks fucking retarded. Awesome. We still need picture-hanging doohickies (yes, that is a technical term, motherfucker), and so I was only able to hang one picture up yesterday, on a pre-existing nail in the bathroom above the towel rack: a photograph of my mother taken around the time she and my father were engaged. It's black and white, mounted on a board, with an overlay of branches tattooing the surface of the picture. It's very 70's. But my mother, in the soft grey focus of the lens, her long black hair framing a porcelain face, her large, luminous light eyes looking askance at the photographer, is utterly beautiful. She thinks the picture is creepy (as does my sister--and Steve's not too happy to have a picture of my mother in the bathroom), but I'm fiercely attached to it already. After writing and framing came a visit to my grandfather, who is now in the Transitional Care Unit and completely pissed off, which is a great sign considering last week after suffering a heart attack, he was on a ventilator, in the intensive care unit, and being visited by the minister from church. While we were there, with the soft scattered clapping of a golf tournament the metronome for his halting speech, he told a long tale about how the nurses told him he can't have salt, and he needs to bring his salt substitute (who knew there was such a thing?) to put on the bland dinners they ship up from the cafeteria three times a day. But the nurse told him pepper was fine. Now multiply the time it took you to read that little anecdote by a factor of about fifteen, and that's how long it took my grandfather to relay this information. "So, was it good?" my dad asked, when he'd finally shuddered to a halt. My grandfather turned toward him with his customary, "Hm?" which he does every time he responds to something you've said, even though he usually has heard you. "Was what good?" My dad stared, then cracked a smile, then slapped his forehead and laughed. "The PEPPAH," he half-shouted toward my grandfather's hearing aid. "Was the PEPPAH good on ya sandwich?" "Oh," my grandfather said, looking contemplatively out the window toward the sloping hospital lawn. "I didn't use it." On our way out, my mother told me that my grandfather was put on OxyContin yesterday morning. Yesterday evening, he pressed the nurse-call button. The nurse appeared in his room and asked him what she could do for him. My grandfather, sitting stoned in front of the Red Sox game with the volume turned all the way up, looked at her, looked at the TV, looked at her again and finally asked her to tell him what the score was. That's the kind of thing that makes my father look at my sister and say, "Ice floe." As in, if my father ever gets to be like my grandfather, we are to put him on one like the Eskimos do with their elderly. It's also the kind of thing that makes me think, I need to get me some of that OxyContin. Last night after dinner at my parents' house, my sister came over to watch a movie at my house. We unfortunately watched Mystic River, which, while an excellent movie, was perhaps not the best selection for my delicate psyche after the blow levied by Farenheit 9/11. Luckily, Steve came back from his North Tiverton Band gig last night, and sat with me on the garden swing while I had my pre-bed cigarettes, talking in hushed tones about what we'd done since we were apart. Sometimes it feels like Steve is the only warmth in the world. Finally, I closed out this weird weekend by falling asleep to the melodious sounds of Carol and whichever guy is over there screaming at each other like alley cats, but feeling all the noise beginning to fade out of my head and into the night. Today, I woke up late, and still tired.