SOB (Sister of blogger) and I believe in sharing every heart-wrenching or morbidly humorous moment (sometimes all in one) of taking care of our elders. If one of us has to handle an elder matter alone, it is recounted with every excruciating detail, so that the other commits the event to the collective memory. Invariably, at some point in every vignette, SOB turns to me and says, “this was on Seinfeld.”
SIDEBAR: I was never a fan of Seinfeld. Now I know why. I live it.
So, join us, won’t you on our excruciating journey on Saturday. But first we need to start with a little back story.
BACK BACK STORY: AROB (Aunt R.) is buried. Her undead sister Shirley has been found, and our newly-found cousin and his wife, by their sheer gentle souls, have gotten the sister to speak after decades of silence.
The apartment is still a hoarder disaster. The landlord is starting eviction proceedings. My cousin needs SOB and me to pull him out of the abyss, because it is dragging him down, and he is overwhelmed.
“Cousin, on Saturday, we are taking the valuables to storage in the name of the estate and then you can give up the apartment. SOB and I will cover the costs.”
“I can’t let you do that —-“
“Cousin, SOB and I are committed to put all of AROB’s affairs in order. You enabled us to bury her with dignity, you have looked out for ULOB’s (Uncle L’s) interests, and you have rehabilitated the souls of that entire generation by visiting Shirley because, at long last, someone claimed her as family. So, let me get the storage. Really, this is the least we can do for you and AROB.”
MORE RECENT BACK STORY: I go online and reserve mini-storage locker big enough for the valuables. I receive a confirming email from “Alan Dumpit”. You cannot make up his name. Then Alan calls me to discuss storage conceptually and what I was hoping to gain from my storage experience. No joke. Because there can be no joking with a “storage consultant” named Dumpit. It wouldn’t even be funny if his name were Storeit. We went over everything I did on the website. I thought that is why I chose the impersonal route of using a computer so that I could keep this a non-relationship. No strings. I never wanted anonymity so much as in that conversation with Mr. Dumpit.
Then, he offered me something and, I hesitated, thinking this would cost something, but I realized that if I could throw a few more dollars at this conversation to end it, it was soooo worth it.
So, I get a second email confirmation from Al the Dumpster (we are close now). Friday, I get a call from A the D just to make sure I was coming, as if maybe he would be waiting with flowers. I expect this stuff from people at funeral homes, but mini-storage?
I was freaked out, but AROB’s apartment freaks me out more (you will see) so I resolved to have sedatives at hand on Saturday.
THE BIG DAY ARRIVES. (subtitled: SOB and Blogger dispense some justice, resolve some issues, all without delaying cocktail hour)
SOB and I meet at the Hertz Rent-a-Car near our apartments. I have reserved a big SUV to haul the stuff to storage.
“I am sorry, we have no cars. We were all out of cars by 9am. That train wreck [MetroNorth tragedy] really messed up our inventory! It’ll be 20 minutes. Will a compact do?”
Waitwaitwaitwait. I reserved a car. A BIG car. I am a Gold member (obviously a waste of money). My reservation was backed by a credit card. And my “customer service representative” gave away my car. No apologies. Nothing.
“Um, actually, I need a big car. That is why I reserved an SUV. Why did you give away my car?”
“I can’t really answer that, but allow me to provide you with excellent customer service in getting you another car.”
So many thoughts, some criminal, were playing bumper cars in my head. I was speechless. I hear Quay (my alleged customer service representative) on the phone to another Hertz outlet, saying:
“The customer would like a big car. Do you have one at your location? Yes, she would like an upgrade.”
WAITWAITWAITWAIT. Noooo, I don’t want an upgrade. I want the car I reserved magically to appear before my eyes.
“We have a car for you at 40th Street and Second Avenue. There will be a $75 upgrade fee. But we will pay for your cab [later, I learned that doesn’t include the tip] to that location.”
“I don’t want to pay for an upgrade. I have a reservation —–”
She interrupts, “Shall I add that amount to your bill and reserve the car for you?”
I had an epiphany. Hertz employs genetically engineered pod people to act like flight attendants in economy class. I snap. But SOB takes control of the situation and calms me down (threatening in-patient treatment at the psychiatric ward of a local hospital) and redirects the conversation to a more fruitful, if more costly, conclusion.
We did get a BIG F’ING CAR. We city dwellers do not drive these behemoths. I wasn’t sure whether I needed a trucker’s license and a tattoo. If I were in a highway rest stop, would I go in the car lot or the truck lot?
SOB and me. I’m driving wild and crazy and she is riding shot gun. We drive past where HOSOB is having lunch with Dad. I cross several lanes of traffic so SOB could take a picture of them through the window of the coffee shop and send it to everyone’s smart phones. We are the law. The city was never sooooo dangerous.
TO BE CONTINUED