Monday, August 8, 2005

An Uncomfortable Day

We had weather again today, but that's not what I'll be writing about tonight. I'm not feeling at all well, but I'll struggle through this entry anyway, between trips to the rest room.

The moment I got up this morning, I was already stressed out.  Today was the day I had promised to work the coffee hour at church, and read from the Book of Jonah for the first reading.  I wasn't sure how I was going to do all that, because a) I was unfamiliar with the St. Michael's kitchen, and what all needed to be done; and b) I'm called upon to be crucifer (cross-bearer) or torch (candle-bearer) nearly every week in the summer, when Proscovia's short-handed.  How was I going to do both at the same time?  And was I expected to provide food myself?  That meant a quick trip to Safeway.

And that wasn't all I needed to do before church.  The appraiser is coming Friday, and I'm running out of time to rent a storage space and get a lot of our junk into it so the house doesn't look too awful.  So I stopped at the storage place on my way to Safeway.  I didn't have to get close to their office door to see the big CLOSED sign, or to notice that the place seems to open at 9 AM every day.  That time was not far off, but I had other obligations before church that took precedence.  I bought danish and cookies and more cookies, picked up Kevin in front of his apartment, and headed north and west to pick up Eva.

Eva on a better day.Eva is my 100-year-old friend, and I've written about her before.  Today would be the first time in a month she had come to church with us, because she hasn't been feeling well or strong.  The heat and humidity conspire with a lack of appetite to make her health a bit iffy in the summer.  But Saturday she called for a ride to church.  Kevin and I were very happy about that.  It meant she was feeling better.

When the three of us got to church, I checked in with Father Smith, begged off from acolyte duties with Proscovia, and put the food I'd purchased on plates in the kitchen.  I'd just gotten some initial instruction in the Art of Coffee Hour from a ten-year veteran when it was time for Mass to start.  I hurried back in, and checked to make sure my hair wasn't too messy by combing it with my fingers.

The first reading went off without a flub (for once), but the same cannot be said for the Gospel.  As Father Smith prepared to read it, Eva slumped over in her pew. Having seen this happen before with Eva, and other older parishioners, Father Smith reassured us that Eva would be all right, and tried to carry on. 

Father Smith's sermon was probably a good one, too, but it was hard to listen too closely when everyone, Father Smith included, was watching Eva's pew.  Several people were bent over her.  Someone called 911.  When the paramedics arrived a few minutes later, Father Smith stopped talking entirely, and watched respectfully with the rest of us.

Then Ross called me over.

I hadn't rushed to Eva's side before, reasoning that there were too many people hovering around her already.  But I wanted to.  When Ross beckoned, I hurried forward.  Father Smith spoke briefly about Eva, and the pipe certificate he had hoped to present to her today.  Then he started preaching again.

Meanwhile, a paramedic explained to me that despite all recommendations to the contrary, Eva refused to go to the hospital (which was right next door, by the way).  He said that if Eva could walk out with only the usual amount of help, and somebody stayed with her for a while, I could take her home instead.  So I asked Kevin to gather up our stuff, and walked out with Eva on my arm.  Eva waved to the congregation on the way out, and was rewarded with a smattering of sympathetic applause.

Father Smith sent some of the Eucharist out to us with one of the lay ministers, and I sent someone back in for Eva's pipe certificate at Eva's request.  Father Smith had been waiting for Eva's return so that he could present her with this honor, sponsored by a number of parishioners over a month ago.  The deal is that for $100, people can sponsor on of the Aeolian-Skinner organ's 2800 pipes, to honor or memorialize someone.  Once Jan had the idea to honor Eva this way, it was easy to collect enough money for it.  Kevin and Jan and I had later picked out the frame for the certificate, a tangible acknowledgement of the honor that identifies the exact pipe involved.  But Eva hasn't been back to church since then, until today.

Anyway, we got the framed certificate, and made room in the car for Toni Sue, who volunteered to stay with Eva for a while.  Kevin and Toni Sue and I were at Eva's place for the next two hours, while church ended and Coffee Hour came and went.  We spent the time listening to Eva's great stories of her youth in Alaska, and of her family.  We also went through a truly outstanding scrapbook one of Eva's granddaughter's made in honor of her 100th birthday in May.  By the time we left, Eva looked and sounded fine.

Kevin and I hurried back to the church.  Coffee hour was over and the kitchen locked, but Father Smith was still around to take back the leftover Communion.  I dropped off Kevin and headed back to the storage place.  That's when I noticed the other sign on the door:

We will be closed on Sunday, August 7th.  We will reopen Monday, August 8th, at 9 AM.

Figures.  I'm due at work at 8 AM. 

After a quick trip home, I went off to Denny's for a self-indulgent breakfast.  This was a mistake.  I was a little unwell by the time I left, and have only felt worse as the day went on.  It's not Denny's fault.  It's the stress and the carbs and the fat, I'm sure. 

I went home to a dark house: power failure, the third one this summer.  Shortly after the power come back on, the phone rang.  My best friend from childhood, Joel, was calling to say that his dad died this week.  The circumstances of his dad's death were less than ideal, and I suspect that my words were less than comforting

Now I'm supposed to be cleaning, but it's hard to clean while suffering through a major bout of IBS.  So I wrote this instead.  Now I'll find something quick and cosmetic to do by way of cleaning.

And then I'm going to bed.

No, wait.  I've got to update the church website first.

Stress.  Don't ya just hate it?

Karen

The photo: Eva on a better day, May 15th, 2005.

3 comments:

ryanagi said...

Ugh! You have way too much going on right now. Hope you feel better soon!

gaboatman said...

Karen
I am so sorry you have been stressed out.  You have a lot on your plate and fate has not dealt you a good week to be so busy.  I do hope Eva is okay, she is lucky to have you as a friend.  Now, the refi is important, but so is your health!  Slow down just a little and it will all get done.  May I suggest you get the phone number for the storage place and call them from the office on a break?  It would save a trip and you could coordinate a time to meet the manager.  Just a thought.  I hope you get to feeling better.
Sam

globetrotter2u said...

Try not to sweat the small stuff. It's always there, though, isn't it? I used to do a lot of volunteer work at my last church and I stopped when I realized that the more I did the more I'd be asked to do. I'm glad Eva is OK and I certainly hope you feel better soon!
Maryanne