Driving Miss Jeannie

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

When my father passed away in August, my mother offered me his car, a 2000 Toyota Corolla. He never drove long distances, as is reflected on the odometer that reads 60,000 miles. Weekly trips included the grocery store on Wednesday, the bank on Saturday and church on Sunday morning. He never drove it on the freeway and when I lived on the other side of town, a 40 minute trip via interstate took him 2 hours on the “backroads”. He was meticulous in the care of everything, and this car was no exception.

Never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I accepted the car and turned in my leased 2007 Honda Accord. Needless to say, I’ve had no trouble finding things to do with the extra cash but I have to admit, it’s been tough to transition to such a bare bones little car. My mother likes it, though, because it’s much easier for her to get in and out of than my 2-door coupe.

Last Wednesday, I left work early to take her to a doctor’s appointment. As you know, my mother is not the sweet little old lady that she pretends to be in public. Sure, she’s mellowed over the years, but she can cut me with a stare and she knows all too well how to push all my buttons.

On the way there, she managed to insult both my hair and my driving. Every time we turned a corner she held onto the dash and splayed her fingers across the passenger side window in an apparent attempt to alert those on the outside to the danger she was in.

If I accelerated too quickly, say zero to 5MPH, she would hold her head with both hands and yell out, "Why? Why?"

The temperature in the car was a balmy 78 degrees, when she implored me to turn it up because she was cold. I wiped the sweat off my brow and clicked it up a notch.

I was waiting her to finish her appointment when the doctor’s nurse came out and asked me to come back to meet with him. My mother loves this doctor because he’s one of the last old school docs left. He examines you and then has you get dressed so that you can gather in his office for a consultation. The last time I remember this happening was when I was about 7 and our family doctor ushered us into his fancy office lined with mahogany bookshelves and medical degrees.

"Your mother is physically well but I'm concerned about her mental health." Dr. Kamin said.

I blankly stared at him.

"She's been through a very traumatic event and the solution is not to medicate. I think there are other options."

"Shock treatment?", I mumbled under my breath.

Essentially, he thinks she needs to have more interaction with people and get out more often.

Thanks, Einstein.

My sister and I have tried this a million times already. The city that she lives in has a senior organization that will transport her to appointments or even just to the mall.

She won't use them.

She thinks her daughters should do it.

Neighbors have offered to take her to the grocery store.

She won't go with them.

She thinks her daughters should do it.

She doesn't have many friends left because she's alienated most of them with her nastiness so they aren't an option either. The few friends that do call are doing so because of my father, not out of affection for my mother.

I was pondering the doctor's words as we started to head home in rush hour traffic. We were driving along in stop and go traffic when we were rear ended from behind. My mother started freaking out and screaming and I started screaming at her to calm down.

Long story, short, I had some pain in my neck so the paramedics checked me out. C'mon, you know how I love a man in uniform.

I know this isn't a picture of a paramedic, but it's good, right?

This annoyed my mother because "She had to get home." When the poor paramedics offered to check her out as well, I was grateful that she didn't have any pocket knives or mace on her because they surely would have been seeking medical attention themselves.

Can't wait for her next appointment in February!


  1. Maybe Bernie should drive instead

  2. I feel for you. We are going thru that with my MIL. She just lives around the corner so we are by default the caregivers even tho her son(51) still lives at home. He is still available in case you are interested. Hope you are feeling better.
    Did it tear up your car bad?

  3. OMG Chrissy, I'm reading this story and feeling your pain, but laughing because of the way you have with words....

    "She's been through a very traumatic event and the solution is not to medicate. I think there are other options."

    "Shock treatment?", I mumbled under my breath."

    Bwhahahahahahahahaha! Hilarious!

    Love the photo! Is it scratch and sniff? Woot! Woot!

    Fab post, girl!


  4. Please delete my picture from this post. I sent that to you in confidence.

  5. @R. Jacob,
    Hey, I wasn't the one who hit someone.

    @Simply Suthern,
    Hey, now. Can you hook us up? Car's still driveable. The trunk is all smashed in.

    I've learned to laugh instead of cry. Isn't that pic fab??

    @end transmission,
    Sorry, baby. I was so impressed by your, um, tattoos. I wanted to share.

  6. One certificate good for free neck rub. You might negotiate that to a full body, if you want.


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