So… now it’s Saturday, May 28th and C has been safely sent off in style. I am completely exhausted and peopled-out.
Dad was staying through through the weekend, but Sam had to head back home immediately to work on a project, and had a Saturday morning flight. Friday night, he starts looking at his phone.
“Why is an Uber to the airport $80?”
“What are you talking about? It’s $20, tops.” (we live close enough to LaGuardia that, when I had an appointment to be interviewed for PreCheck, I actually walked there.)
He showed me his phone. He’d been trying to schedule an Uber trip ahead of time, and sure enough, it’s the scheduling that costs a lot of money. I assured him, we are always surrounded by Uber drivers, you won’t have any problem just summoning one when you want to leave. And that was true.
So he’s off to the airport, and I start doing whatever bazillion things have to happen (probably laundry, and I had a ton of dry cleaning to hand off). Dad got up, I fed him peanut butter toast or such, and we started our day. First, he asked if he could look through C’s clothes to see if anything fit him that he liked, and I was like, ‘sure, let’s’. So went through the coats in the front hallway, then his bedroom closet. Dad ended up with quite a few things, including a suit, and I ended up (just yesterday, actually) mailing them to him in a big ol’ box. This is also when we discovered that sneaky Mr. C had a hidden jewelry box behind the sweaters.
Then, my big thing is that it was really starting to hit me that this was my apartment now, and my responsibility. Sure, I’ve lived here for 27 years, but C was responsible for the actual maintenance, for the most part. So I led my very handy dad through the apartment, pointing out the bad water pressure in the master bath sink, the window frames that C had stripped down but not restained yet, the door to the maid’s room that wouldn’t shut and so on. I wasn’t asking him to actually fix anything (unless he could easily and quickly), but more in general what would be the next steps to getting them fixed or doing it myself.
I also thought I could knock a to-do off the list and give him something he’d enjoy by having him inventory the tools. We have a little closet/storage space in the kitchen that used to be the dumbwaiter shaft when the building had a dumbwaiter. We kept our tools in there – C had bought a plastic drawer organizational thing, which he’d somehow gotten in there one drawer at a time – but because of the central bar between the two doors of the space, you couldn’t actually open any of these drawers more than about six inches. You then had to sort of root around in the back of the drawer to find stuff. Dad thought this was ridiculous and eventually, with much effort, just took everything, including the storage drawers, out of the dumbwaiter. We put it all on the dining room table (on top of a dropcloth). C would have had kittens. (I did have to keep reminding Dad to remember to avoid bumping tools against the arms of the formal dining room chair he was sitting in.)
My big fear was that Dad’s gigantic reorg with the tools would leave me with a giant mess that I’d have to deal with now rather than later, but it didn’t turn out like that. (although there are now four of those storage drawers stuffed into our storage closet downstairs, to be dealt with when I inventory the storage closet) He went through all the tools, figured out what I didn’t have and needed, and also what I had too many of. He also managed to wound himself on one of the saw blades, so we spent some merry time getting him cleaned up, when I also found out how ancient most of the band-aids we had were. (add to list: buy fresh band-aids. I had – and still have – lists for days with stuff that needs to happen eventually.)
We had lunch in there somewhere, probably cold cut sandwiches from one of the Zabar’s baskets my darling friends had sent. And then in the afternoon, we took an Uber over to the little shopping center over by the Bulova Center – which, incidentally, is across the street from the cemetery – and went to Home Depot. We picked up a bunch of stuff, including a couple of tool bags, went home, got on Amazon, and ordered a bunch more stuff. So I think I’m set for tools for a while.
I figured, by the end of the day, we’d want people to talk to that weren’t each other (and I didn’t really want to talk at all), so I’d put together an impromptu dinner at Uncle Peter’s, with 4th floor neighbors Mariah and Josh and 6th floor neighbors Richard and Maryam, along with Tessa (and Susan, but she had to decline). So that ended up being a really nice evening and Dad was delightful and loquacious with company, and I could just sit there and drink it all in (and drink, which I did heartily, but not to excess).
The next day, I picked up breakfast sandwiches for us from Parva, then Dad organized the tools into the tool bags and put them back in the dumbwaiter. He also utilized the new metal file and the clamp he’d bought to shave the insides of the striker plate for the maid’s room, and now, voila, the door shuts!
The crucifix from the casket was currently sitting on the front hall table, and I had casually mentioned that C had a remarkably ugly iron crucifix above the front door and maybe I’d swap that one out for the casket one, which was nicer, smaller, and (unlike the other one) had personal meaning for me. And then, magically, at some point, I saw that Dad just went ahead and did the swap for me. Thanks, Dad! Side note: how does one dispose of a crucifix? Seems tacky to just throw it out.
I think we just hung around in the afternoon, although I kept buzzing around moving things from hither to yon. For dinner, I decided we’d go to Plaka Grill for Greek food. We walked over, Susan met us there, and the three of us had a great time. I got some big plate of grilled seafood, but only ate about half of it. (Monday’s big meals were Sam’s leftover Thai and my leftover Greek.) We headed back to the apartment, where I broke out the chocolate babka that Renee had sent, and boy, was it good. And then called it a night.
One bad thing: Dad had had eye surgery a few weeks before to replace the artificial lens he’d had implanted years before during cataract surgery. It had detached and ended up floating at the bottom of his eyeball (ick). So they’d gone in and put in a new one. But during the Greek meal, Dad started to have problems seeing out of that eye, and it basically seemed like the new lens was also detaching. He was worried, but was like, ‘let’s see how it is in the morning’. Well, in the morning, it was still bad, and he was really really upset and angry. But we got him on his way to the airport, and he could see well enough with the other eye to get around on his own, and he got back to Durham pretty quickly and then saw a doctor either that day or the next. And it turned out that, although it had started bleeding, the lens was still where it was supposed to be, and the problem cleared up on its own. So, needless drama, happy end.
Thus endeth the funeral week stories. I hope to keep blogging far more frequently than I was earlier in the year, where everything seemed to be in stasis and I had nothing to say. Thanks for reading! Everyone’s comments have been lovely, and I’m delighted that y’all are reading these, but boy, has it been helpful for me to get this stuff out.
One thought on “Tool Time”
This has been a brilliant and wise exercise. I’m pretty sure it’s been good for you, which is nice, and helpful to hovering (but physically distant) friends, which is also nice; and I suspect it will prove helpful to other folks gobsmacked by life at various points. So, well done.
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