We were in CVS the other day—exactly 2 hours out of surgery. I had to persuade Sruli that getting his meds was more important than getting his phone fixed at the AT&T store, which is where he really wanted to go, cast, sling, titanium plate, pins and all.
So we get the meds, which are variations on Percocet, and I plop my favorite Arizona Iced Tea, the one with the honey and ginseng, on the counter. If you’ve never tried it, it’s delicious.
“Kinsey” rings us up, and-- zzzbbbzzz zzzbbbzzz!-- out come coupons.
Oh look, says Sruli. Coupons.
The guy just had his wrist sliced open, is high on narcotics and falsely enjoying the pain-supression qualities of something called an arm block. I should know what that is, since I was also there while the anesthesiologist told us, but I couldn’t stop staring at the doctor’s diagonally moving teeth, and thus did not hear anything he said.
Seven coupons in all, zzzbbbzzz.
You want anything?
Let’s see. Two dollars off Pepcid, three off any purchase of fifteen dollars or more of Brilliant Brunette Hair Enhancers. Meaning shampoo. Four dollars off body lotion—please try Eucerin, Neutrogena or Aveeno.
At least it’s not Fixodent, Poise and New Chapter Estrogen Supplements.
I didn’t really need shampoo, but it was easy to rack up the brunette enhancers and hey, three dollars off puts it in Walmart league pricing.
Charlie Re complained her knee was itching the other day, so I please tried the Aveeno natural lotion with oatmeal.
I do some Einsteinian calculations. I have saved seven dollars and am spending twenty-three.
I bring the stuff, plop, in front of Kinsey.
She is very proud of us.
Oh that’s good lotion, she says. Aren’t coupons great?
She has many piercings and is younger than most of our kids.
Zzzbbbzzz, she rings us up. More coupons!
Sruli looks at me with disapproval as I try to snatch the elongated and probably Bisphenol A-infected receipt and shove it, unexamined, into the enhanced bag.
We really have to go and pick up the twins, I say.
Aw c’mon, he says. You know that if you don’t use those coupons now you’re not even going to remember where you put ‘em.
Last week we went hiking up near Rangeley Lake. The twins get out of school early on Wednesdays, and we’ve decided to take some tiyulim—day trips-- around our new and magnificent state.
We drove for hours, oohing and ahhing at the mountains, cooing at the cute towns and their shoppes, getting all excited at the flashing “watch for moose in roadway” signs. By the way, there are no moose whatsoever in Maine and I will not believe there are until I crash into one myself.
We stopped at a supermarket near the lake for sandwiches, and set off on the trail, twins and doggies and lunch in tow.
20 minutes in, Sruli went down. Slippery mud? We were walking on planks over a bog. Ice? They still have ice up there. New boots? Maybe. Maybe everything.
You know that moment when someone is suddenly on the ground and there is a disconnect. Like, why are you not standing up?
And then it’s—ok, you’re just gonna get up, right?
And then it’s—Lisa—OW—I think I really hurt my wrist.
And you stand there as the pendulum swings from nothing to something and you find yourself explaining to 2 six-year-olds that Daddy really has to go to the hospital right now and no we are not going on an adventure after all, and you will have to eat your egg salad in the car.
And then the miserable 45-minute race--passing everyone on those narrow roads, honking in apology-- to the closest hospital in Farmington.
Where we waited, him in the ER and me in the waiting area WITH THE TWINS, FOR FOUR HOURS.
Where I idiotically bought Johnny a ball from the sour-faced gift shop lady.
Whereupon Johnny threw it—right into the crotch of a young man waiting to be admitted.
Whereupon the security guard came running.
Whereupon the security guard thought Johnny was a girl and totally let it go.
Whereupon I resolved, again, never to cut those long blond curls.
Whereupon the admissions lady turned on the waiting area TV to Nickelodeon.
And finally, where they splinted Sruli up without even washing off the mud from the bog.
And then the doctor/congregant who called and got him an appointment with the surgeon the next day. A surgeon who trained in New York, in case you’re worried, and who, apparently has worked on everyone who’s anyone at the shul. And who, I have to say, is darned cute.
Now Sruli sports a titanium plate and pins, screwed into his actual radius, which, on the x-ray, looks a lot like a broom we once got at a Home Show but also looks a bit like a menorah.
He cannot play any of his instruments. Not the clarinet. Not the accordion. Not the (hallelujah!) banjo, either. It must be a terrible and scary feeling.
he surgeon told him he will get everything back. He will have to have some physical therapy, but by summer he should be refulgent in his new rocker on our front porch, pickin’ out tunes on that dagnabbit banjo.
In the meantime, he has found his noseflute. Don’t ask.
So, at CVS, I pick out a garden ornament, a purple dragonfly that I will use to mark the new rosebush I planted, so no one steps on it or lets Teddy the Pomeranian pee on it.
Still have five dollars left to spend. Or save.
Sruli comes over with an enormous jug of ProHealth Mouthwash. Fine.
I don’t want Kinsey to ring us out.
Sruli sees my hesitation.
And we really do need to pick up the kids.
Don’t worry, he says, I’m sure this is the end of the coupons.
Sruli is rarely wrong, but this time he is.
ZZZBBZZZ—TEN DOLLARS! Kinsey exults for us. Anything in the store!!
Oh for pete’s sake.
I look at Sruli, already giddy from this new assignment.
I watch as he disappears into the seasonal aisle.
I am going to have to find subs for him for our upcoming gigs. It takes at least two musicians to replace him. Three if we also need a DJ, which we always do.
It’s going to be hard not being able to leave the kids with him if I have to go out.
He’s going to be tired and cranky from all the meds.
He is going to be bummed that he can’t ride his bike to shul, which he absolutely loves. He can’t drive his stick shift, either.
And he just bought an inflatable boat to ply Maine’s glorious lakes.
And the weather is sublime, now.
But sometimes life throws you down and you land on your hand instead of on your feet.
And sometimes life goes zzzbbbzzz and you get an embarrassment of riches. From companies that know too much about you.
An embarrassment of riches.
His beautiful and accomplished daughter. My boys who are like sons to him. The twinkies. Our warm and wonderful congregation. Our beautiful red house. Me.
I am so, so sorry about this, Sruli.
But you have to admit, most of your breaks have been-- lucky.