Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Well, it's that time of year again.  I wrote about the entire business last year - here's the link to Happy Birthday 2010.  Centenarian is one hundred and three years old - that's right, 103.  Yes, it's amazing.  The next question invariably concerns her well-being, which is fair.  Up until a couple months ago, Centenarian was living by herself with regular visits from Main Lady and irregular visits from yours truly, Mad Jack.  That has changed.

A couple months ago Centenarian complained that she was tired all the time.  She was awake but was too tired to do anything, she was cross with the world and there was little hope for her to actually enjoy life anymore.  Well now, this wouldn't have anything to do with her August years, would it?  Against my better judgement, Main Lady took Centenarian to the local witch doctor and got her on some brand new monkey dust, and that's where the serious problems started.  You see, when it comes to drugs Centenarian's blood is more like virgin spring water than anything else and her tolerance for recreational substances is close to non-existent.  Case in point, the woman doesn't drink, and hasn't had anything stronger than a small glass of red wine in fifty years.  Maybe longer.  So now she's getting some kind of pep pill first thing in the morning, and anyone who has had any experience at all with recreational drugs will tell you that any energy you get that is chemically induced has certain side effects.  Paranoia and depression come to mind, as does nervousness and an inability to sleep through the night.  After a week or so of these side effects (mainly depression and paranoia) and the same witch doctor prescribed snake oil in the evening to counteract the monkey dust in the morning.  How's that for a cocktail?

This went on for a while with Centenarian waking up every two hours during the night, extremely depressed, neurotic, paranoid and talking about suicide.  During the day she was always half out of focus, unable to concentrate and has finally graduated to using a walker (she only needed a cane before this, and that only part of the time).  Main Lady has been living at Centenarian's house with occasional breaks when Mad Jack Centenarian-sits.  This being birthday week, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail came into town to celebrate and ended up providing some much needed relief.  Main Lady holds down a job, you see.  Que Bee One stayed home to study for some kind of critter cutter certification, and Ding Bat didn't show - I don't know why and I'm not asking.  If Main Lady wants me to know she'll tell me.  So, things have been just a little hectic lately.

Anyway, although I haven't said "I told you so" because I'm much older and wiser these days, when this whole thing started I suggested a cup of coffee in the morning, and not the colored water that Main Lady calls coffee either.  Follow this with a glass or two of wine at night.  This should tend to work, especially since Centenarian doesn't drink anything with caffeine in it and very rarely drinks any wine at all, and even then it's often watered.

Main Lady, being a licensed clinical psychologist and all, had to get this treed and so I got a call last Friday.

"Jack, I think I know what Centenarian's problem is!"

"The mail man won't ring her bell anymore?"

"No, and if you're going to cut up and not take me seriously I'm not going to tell you what I found out."

Anyone who can figure out what my next line was going to be may congratulate me for stifling myself.

"Sorry, Sweetie.  What did you find?"

"Well, I skipped the Monkey Dust on Monday, and Centenarian felt better.  Then I gave it to her on Tuesday, and she felt worse.  I skipped the Monkey Dust again on Wednesday, and she felt better, and I gave it to her on Thursday, and she felt worse."

"Ah-Ha!  It's the Monkey Dust!"

"Yes!  How did you know?"

"Well, for one thing I never did trust the Monkey Dust.  For another, I'm writing this and I want to make myself look perceptive, intelligent and sensitive to the feelings of others."

So Main Lady has nixed the Monkey Dust.  The Monkey Dust that Centenarian was taking has a half-life measured in weeks, so even though Main Lady discontinued the medication it's going to be a while before the full effects wear off.  After that I hope things will start returning to whatever the hell it is that passes for normal these days.


Who would ever guess? 

A few high points of Centenarian's life are:
  • She was very poor growing up, but never thought of herself as poor.
  • Her husband, Main Lady's father, played first chair violin in the Arlington Virginia Philharmonic.  After he was finished for an evening, he'd trade his tuxedo in for a country style costume and play square dances.
  • She has outlived two husbands.
  • She had lunch with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, whom she met by chance in Arlington while riding a streetcar.  The two ladies were headed in the same direction and discovered they were attending the same event, so Eleanor invited Centenarian to lunch at a restaurant that was close by.
  • She served as a code breaker during the Vietnam war.
  • She met President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary while attending Church services in Arlington, at a Church she'd attended for many years.  She stopped President Clinton in the parking lot and spoke to him for 20 minutes or so while the secret service quietly went nuts.  The Clintons were nice to Centenarian and spent a considerable amount of time with her, for which I'm grateful.
  • She is a beauty contest winner - Miss Virginia.
  • She is a close relative of actress Jean Rogers who played Dale Arden in Flash Gordon.
  • She has a Master's degree, but I cannot remember her major.  I'll ask and update the post later on.

She has many other accomplishments, but I'm not going to list them here.  Time and privacy being what they are just now precludes a detailed biography.

Anyway, once she gets over the effects of the monkey dust, we're taking her out for dinner and dancing.  Yes, she can still dance.  She and I waltz together, and while we won't beat the folks on Dancing With The Stars! we did get a standing ovation last time we danced down at the club.

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