What with shows to review and the Oscar telecast, it had been about four days since I was last at Atria. I knew that my mother was close to needing laundry done and, as today is the last "free" day I will have this week, I decided to go and have lunch with her.
As I walked down the hall to her apartment, I was happy to see a note on my friend Nancy's door, saying that she was having lunch with our friend Peggy and if someone was looking for her to check the dining room. Nancy was taken to the hospital 2-3 months ago and then recovered at the University Retirement Community, and finally came back to Atria, but with a note on the door saying that she wasn't ready for visitors. That note has been gone for awhile, but I still haven't seen her out of her room. I was missing her.
When I got to my mother's, she was happy to see me and I noticed something that I have noticed the last couple of times. Her apartment has acquired an "old lady" smell. She seems clean, so I'm not sure what is causing it, but I made a mental note to get some inconspicuous air fresheners to place around the apartment and see if we can get it smelling better.
We sat and talked and she asked me, for the first of about 2 dozen or more times that day, what I was doing this afternoon. I told her I was going to be writing the review for the show we had seen last night. That lead to chats about the shows I've been reviewing and it was the repeated topic for the afternoon.
I mentioned that I was glad to see that Nancy would be in the dining room. She said she didn't know who that was. I reminded her that she told me a few times that Nancy was her best friend at Atria. She snorted and said that if she said that it was because it was her only friend at Atria and that she didn't know anybody else. I reminded her about Peggy and the other two women she eats with regularly and she said "oh yeah," but in a tone that let me know she didn't have a clue who I was talking about.
We sat at an empty table in the dining room and shortly thereafter Nancy and Peggy arrived. I greeted Nancy with a big hug and then started to talk with Peggy while Nancy went to chat with my mother, who seemed to recognize her, at least. Peggy and I compared notes and apparently Nancy isn't in much better shape than my mother.
We finally went to our respective tables when the waiter came around. We were joined by Ralph, from Alameda, who has been here six months. My mother told him that's about how long she's been here too (I know she can't possibly believe she's been here nearly a year). He was an interesting, very soft-spoken man who obviously was interested in talking with my mother and not at all with me until he found out was a critic, when his eyes lit up and he began to ask me questions.
Our waiter took our lunch order. My mother had her usual, vegetable soup and fruit salad and I ordered mushroom soup and a turkey sandwich.
I worry about whether my mother is getting enough to eat because she orders the same thing every time we have lunch together. She takes about a dozen spoonsful of the broth from the soup and leaves all the vegetables, and then eats the salad, which is about half a cup of sliced fruit and then orders her ice cream cone. Today she couldn't remember the words "ice cream cone" and had to ask me what it is called. She eats half of that, now (she used to eat it all) and takes the rest home to put in her freezer. I checked the freezer today and it seems that maybe she actually IS eating all those yucky half-eaten cones, so I didn't clean it out, as I had planned to do.
I don't know if they have cut back on the kitchen staff and/or the wait staff, but my Lord! is service slow lately. Granted these are all old people who probably don't have anything to rush off to and many are enjoying conversations with the others at the table, but how long does it take to make a turkey sandwich? I waited forty-five minutes, while my mother got and finished her lunch. Shortly before my sandwich finally arrived, I heard our waiter apologize to people at all the other tables, and saying that his food "had not come up yet." It's not like the place was full. It's been like this at least the last two times I was there, so this was not just a "bad day."