Wednesday, October 18, 2006


This morning when I went outside to pick up the morning newspaper, I saw white notices posted on all the trees up and down our block:
Construction Notice: Street Improvement Project--SLURRY
No Parking 8 am to 5 pm - Friday, October 20
"You can't do this to me!" I cried. "Not on the day of the P.E.O. meeting!"
Last May I had agreed to host two of the bimonthly Friday meetings, one in October and one in March.
In September the city had posted notices for this work but had postponed doing it because .01 inch of rain was predicted for southern California that week.
Now, on two days' notice, they were again planning to do the work--on the day my mother and I were going to be welcoming these elderly friends of hers to our house for the first time.
I called the project manager at the city's Civil Engineering & Architecture Division.
"You can't do this," I begged. "I am having guests at my home Friday morning, and they are elderly. They can't find parking places on other blocks and then walk to my home. One of them is in a wheelchair, and some use a walker. They need to park right at my house. Maybe they can use the driveway and my neighbors' driveways if you plan to be working in the street."
"No, Ma'am, that won't be possible unless they don't mind tar on their tires," the man answered. "We will be laying asphalt on the street."
"Can't you do some other street on Friday?" I pleaded. "My guests really need easy access to my house."
"Actually we're doing 15 blocks in your neighborhood on Friday," he said. "I can read you the list of streets that will be affected, but I can't change the schedule. The only thing I could do is drop off some delineators at your house so you can reserve parking places for your guests on 16th Street as close as possible to your house. How many would you need?"
"About ten," I said. "Okay, thanks."
I hung up the phone and cried. I thought of Alva Mae and Dorothy and the other old ladies trying to find my house for the first time, encountering closed streets all around the neighborhood, being unable to find parking or unable to walk to my house after finding a spot.
So much for Mom and me trying to be good members of Chapter R and host a meeting at our house.
I had hoped that restoring P.E.O. to Mom's life last fall would not involve too much work, just two Friday mornings per month for nine months of the year. Now it looked as if this meeting was going to absorb my energy all week long: carpet cleaning, delineators, phone calls, baking...
Dementia must be contagious. I must have somehow contracted it.

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