Is It Still Considered Stalking if You’re a Nice, Harmless Person?

I am just now coming out of the fog that was last weekend – good timing since another weekend is upon me.  What on earth did I do last weekend that was so consuming?  Glad you asked.

We moved my father-in-law within his assisted living facility (ALF).  This required my sister-in-law flying in from Oregon for four days.  She had the job of relabeling all of his clothing and linens with his new room number plus various other organizational activities.  In addition, my husband, my son and two other men from our church joined together to do the heavy lifting and toting all of his belongings down the hall and around the corner from his old, north-facing room to his new, east-facing room.  This is more important than you might think due to the fact that he is legally blind and sunlight is such a treat for him.

Now you are probably asking what that has to do with stalking.  Was I stalking some elderly person in the ALF?  Uh, no, of course not.  Who would do such a thing?

And, why wasn’t I helping out with the move?  Because I had the day off.  This was a gift I suggested for myself several times until Bob offered that he thought I might need a little time off from serving his dad.  Great idea!  And, it’s a good thing, too, or else I would not have had time to go stalking my favorite celebrity.   Okay, stay with me and I’ll tell you the story.

I have a dear friend who lives in Seattle who was considerate enough to visit Orlando and stay at a resort near Sea World last weekend.  This was pivotal to my impromptu plan.  I was scheduled to pick up Margot in the early afternoon on Saturday.  We planned lunch and a little light shopping.

Before heading out, I checked my face book and discovered that a friend was at the Ritz day spa in that area and she had an encounter with Paul McCartney.  (Thank you, face book location services.)  He walked past her while she was holding her grandchild and he couldn’t resist reaching out and holding the baby’s hand.  That put things in motion for me.   I jumped in the car, put on my Beatles 1 CD, cranked up I Want to Hold Your Hand, and headed out.

I asked Margot where she would like to eat and she was pretty open.  I asked her if she would like to go to lunch at the Ritz Carlton and stalk Paul McCartney and she was open to that, too.  So, off we went.

I’m a bit of a novice at stalking people, but I thought I’d be pretty good at it.  After all, I am a mother of four children, so I’m used to trying to observe people when they don’t want to be seen or bothered.

There was a lot of security out front, so we figured we were in the right place.  We walked into the lavish lobby, scoped out the place and asked the concierge for the eatery options.  We were calm, cool and collected.  I’m sure nobody thought twice about two middle age ladies popping into the Ritz for lunch on a day that Paul McCartney was staying there.

Yes, that is a cloth cocktal napkin.  Fancy!

Yes, that is a cloth cocktail napkin. Fancy!

As we headed to our seats we noticed a gathering of his entourage and my heart leaped a bit at the thought that I was so close to people who may or may not be close to Paul McCartney later on that day.  Does it get any better than that?

Unfortunately, no.  That was as close as we came to seeing him.  We did enjoy our fifty dollar lunch and I got quite excited by the fact that my Diet Coke came to me all fancied up with a linen cocktail napkin.  (So that’s what they mean by putting on the Ritz.)

In conclusion, I didn’t have to help move my father-in-law.  I enjoyed a wonderful yet expensive lunch with my friend, Margot.  We saw a group of people who may or may not have been part of the McCartney entourage.  I drank a fancy Diet Coke on a cloth cocktail napkin.  Oh, and I didn’t get arrested for stalking.  Sweet.

At Least the Twitching Has Passed

I am at that point in my life when I thought that things for me would be relatively simple.  The kids are all grown.  The pets have all died.  My husband loves his job.  I don’t have to go to work.

But for somebody who has no job or kids to run around, I don’t find myself home alone much.  I attribute that to the fact that I am part of the generation that provides the bridge between our own children and grandchildren and our parents.  Some call us the sandwich generation.  (In my case, it’s a club sandwich.)  One of the things that I do is transport my father-in-law to doctor appointments a few times a month or run errands with him.  I recently took him to a doctor appointment.  It doesn’t sound too complicated – just pick him up from his Assisted Living Facility (ALF) and drive him to the doctor.  Right?  Wrong!  Doctor appointments begin days before the actual date on which they fall.  Let me tell you the excruciating tale of the last appointment.

Once upon a time, there was a man named Dale who loved to go to the doctor.  (It probably had to do with the fact that it got him out of his apartment.)  Dale had an appointment to get an epidural injection for the relief of his back pain. Since he had various health issues that required many medications, this was complicated.  He had to go off of certain meds during the week prior to receiving the shot.  Dale’s appointment was for a Friday.  I was to pick him up at 9:30 that morning.  Let’s back up a few days so you can see what went on leading up to that appointment.

Two weeks earlier I gave notice to his nurse of the appointment, along with the doctor’s requirement of him discontinuing his Coumadin a week prior to the shot.  We have done this a few times before, so no problem.

Wednesday:  I call the ALF to remind them of the appointment on Friday and remind them I will need fresh blood work to take with me at that time (they already have the prescription for it).  Problem – there will be no time to get the blood work done on Friday morning, so Thursday afternoon will have to suffice.  Fine.

Thursday at 5:15 PM – I get a call from Dale’s nurse saying that somehow he received his Coumadin the night before.  She was very apologetic, and I knew it was unusual for a mistake to be made.  I call the pain doctor, but of course, it’s after hours.  I talk with the answering service; she talks with the doctor; twenty minutes later they agree to allow the injection as long as his blood work looks good.  I call the ALF back and report.  Oops, the blood work was not done; but they assure me they will get someone in very early the next day so we will be set.  By now, I’m actually at the facility picking up Dale to go out and celebrate his 90th birthday with the family.  The family showing is on the light side because five of us have the flu, but the healthy ones still have a nice dinner out to celebrate with him.  My favorite quote of the night was when he said, “I’ve waited 90 years for this dinner.”

Celebrating Bob's father's  90th birthday at Kobe.

Celebrating Bob’s father’s 90th birthday at Kobe.

Later that night – Bob (my husband) takes his dad back to the ALF and reminds him that he is not to eat anything after midnight and not to drink anything after 8:00 AM.

Friday at 9:15 AM – I arrive to pick up Dale only to find that the he does not have the blood work results.  I rush over to the nurses’ station and inquire.  The guy was late to draw the blood.  They try to track him down on his cell phone to have him drop the sample off at the closest lab and fax the results to our pain doctor.  They get his voice mail.  I call the pain doctor who tells me to go ahead and come.  They’ll at least examine him and probably receive the results in time to have the injection.  I inform them I’ll be ten minutes late.  They are gracious.

Friday at 9:50 AM – I’m driving down the road with Dale and we joke about how maybe he’s not supposed to have this shot today after all.  Then it occurs to me to ask a question.  “Dad, you didn’t eat anything today, did you?”  His reply, “Just a half a sandwich at about 7 AM.”  I call the pain doctor from my cell phone.  By now they know my voice.  “Well, he can’t have the shot.  We can’t anesthetize him after eating.  Unless… I guess he could just get a local if he’s okay with that.”  He was.  I inform them we will be about 15 minutes late now that we have entered a traffic-jammed construction zone.  I start twitching.

Friday at 10:15 AM – We arrive at the office only to find out that, of course, they have not yet received the blood work results.  I call the ALF and get their voice mail.  The doctor comes in and prescribes a sedative for me (just kidding).  Seriously, he could see that I was totally stressed out and he was so kind and patient.  He examined my father-in-law and sent us upstairs to await the blood work results.

Friday at 11:15 AM – The results are in – the shot is a “Go.”

On the way home, Dale wants to go shopping or out to lunch, but I remind him that he is to rest for the remainder of the day.  I drop him off at 12:15, confer with the ALF staff and head out.

Friday at 12:30 – I call Bob and let him know he’ll be taking me out to dinner that night.  I should be totally relaxed after treating myself to a massage and a nap.  He was happy to comply.