April 2009


place: Boston

occasion: memorial gathering for my MIL

scene I: (hotel room)  After spending seven plus hours in the car, we are finally settling the boys down to sleep.  It is after 11pm.  Suddenly, there is an alarm.  A very loud alarm. An announcement that there has been an alarm (uh, thanks we figured that out) and that if evacuation were needed further announcement will follow.  Panic by boys, dithering by mr. jolt and I – do we need to leave even though there were no additional instructions?  We step into the hall; consensus of those in the hall is that we haven’t gotten evacuation instructions.  The fire doors at one end of the hall have automatically closed and our room door is next to the stairs so we decide to sit tight for the moment.  mr. jolt tries to settle the boys again while I am unsettled listening to various people from floors above us (we are on the 12th floor of a 38 story hotel) clomp down the stairs behind our room.  I call the front desk who appears to state we can leave if we want but the source of the alarm is still being checked out.  We decide to wait.  A half hour later the alarm goes off again, followed by an announcement that the hotel is “resuming normal operations.”  This second announcement is bookended by another series of painfully loud sounds (why, now that the crisis is over?)   We assume that we can assume the normal operations of sleeping at midnight.  The boys are finally asleep at about 12:30, but are up at 7am, which will prove a bad combination later in the day.

scene II: (outside Neiman Marcus attached to mall attached to hotel)  I wait for the funeral services person who pulls up in his red and black smart car to hand over the cremains of my MIL in abox tucked into discreet green paper shopping bag.  I then carry cremains through a mall and up to our hotel room.  They are heavy.

scene III: (lobby of hotel) I meet my mom who flew out for occasion who informs me that the hotel we are staying in is apparently the crimescene of the craigslist murderer.  Great!

scene III: (along the esplanade) throwing portions of the cremains into the Charles River while stopping on our way to the gathering.  I am wearing black and shoes not made for walking and it is really hot.  We are luckily not arrested for throwing foregin material into the Charles (my secret worry).

scene IV: (at the restaurant, which has opened early just for us) I frantically try to hush my boys who are in FULL meltdown mode so that the people sharing stories during the memorial gathering can actually be heard.  In the ensuing fracas, I miss both what mr. jolt says about his own mother and what his grandmother says of her daughter. sigh.  Later, in a subsequent dispute over whether the small chalkboard lent him by a waiter was in fact a permanent gift that can be brought home, LB bites me, which he hasn’t done in several years.   My shriek is loud and I am totally mortified that a side of the family I mostly haven’t seen in 4 years has heard it (we are in a separate room at the time).

scene V: (boston public gardens) we were planning to scatter more cremains, but it is very crowded and we are worried about getting arrested or something, so we don’t.

scene VI: leaving the next morning, as we pull out of the parking garage into 90 degree sunny day, mr. jolt observes that the A/C has stopped working.  We spend 7 plus hours in the car with no A/C.

1) As I said to someone at work today, if my legs ran as much as my nose does in springtime, I’d be a supermarathoner by now.  I work in a sick building – my nose runs ALL day long in there all year round. I go through tissues like crazy, but in the springtime it’s worse because it doesn’t stop once I leave the building the way it stops the rest of the year.

2) Speaking of my sick work building, we have a leak in the roof.  So they removed the dropped ceiling tile and put a bucket underneath the drip.  That was six weeks ago.  It’s smack in the middle of a major hallway, so we keep making bad jokes about “Don’t kick the bucket” and “Sooner or later, everyone kicks the bucket.”  Gallows humor — it should us help once summer hits and mosquitos start breeding in there and we all start dropping dead of west nile virus.

3) BB no longer calls us Mommy and Daddy.  We are officially Mom and Dad to him.  I asked him about it this evening and he said he was too old to use mommy and daddy. Sigh.  At least LB is still calling us Mommy and Daddy.  I would be sadder, but I have to say that BB hasn’t yet learned to whine Mo-om, the way he used to whine MoMEE, so there are upsides.