Thursday, February 22, 2018

Predator and Prey

It wouldn't be a trip to Florida without a picture of an alligator. So there you go. This guy/girl -- not particularly large -- was sunning him/herself on a log at my mom's retirement community. Apparently every once in a while these gators show up, and take up residence in the pond, and eventually get big and have to be removed. Until then it's a gator paradise, with lots of turtles and other snack foods swimming around.

My mom takes a walk every morning, and she always passes the residents' art gallery. It's now exhibiting a collection of whimsical fabric animals made by Leni Mittelacher, who is 94 and has had some gallery shows in the past. I loved this bird feathered with clothing tags.

Yesterday was a day for getting things done. My mom never registered with a GP when she moved to Jacksonville several years ago, so I took her to a local practitioner recommended by my brother and we signed her up. Now, if she gets sick, at least she can just get in a car and drive a short distance to a specific place without hemming and hawing about finding a new doctor. As one of the nurses told us, "You're being proactive!"

Then we went to Target and bought a whole mess of cleaning supplies, and I spent the afternoon cleaning her apartment. I went top to bottom through the bathroom, bedroom, living room and kitchen. She has the limiest water I have ever seen -- it leaves heavy white calcification on the fixtures and on her granite countertop -- and darned if I know how to get it off that stone, because the anti-lime cleaners say you can't use them on stonework. But I de-limed everything else, even the coffee pot. (Hopefully we won't die when we make coffee this morning.)

Last night we joined my brother and nieces for pizza and watched David Attenborough's "Planet Earth" series. Those wildlife shows -- though amazingly filmed -- always depress me. I think of all those animals out there struggling to survive not only with each other but against the ever-encroaching human influences of agriculture, poaching, habitat destruction, fence-building and so on. They're like that gator in the pond -- fine for now, but headed for a reckoning.

Today I depart Jacksonville and head south again!


  1. Does your brother eat anything else apart from pizza?
    You are a damned good son - taking your mother to a doctor's surgery to register and cleaning her apartment. Not everybody's idea of a holiday break in Florida.

  2. L'm glad she is well enough not to need a doctor, and you are a good son.

  3. Oh my goodness! You ARE a good son. You have actually done something which makes your mother's life better. I am so impressed! Her retirement place doesn't clean? What? Why live there?
    Just kidding. Sort of.
    Nice shot of the gator and of the little bird. I especially love the details on the bird's face. What fine needlework!
    I am exactly with you on the wildlife films. Somehow, they ARE depressing.
    "Look how beautiful and wild and amazing! Now! Watch it all disappear!"
    We are all in for a reckoning, I'm afraid.

  4. I love that bird made of the clothing tags but, I'm so fond of the gator. I think it would make me a bit nervous having him/her around all the time. How wonderful of you to go to all that work to clean for your mom and make sure she had a doctor. My GP retired two years ago and I just now got a new one. I just kept putting that search off.

  5. I find it so wildly interesting that there's an alligator living in the pond at your mother's assisted living facility. Now that's some wildlife! Beautiful art work too. You are truly such a good son. Good that you took care of finding a doctor for your mom, and truly loving to spend time cleaning her apartment. This is what we do, we children of the true elderly generation. Fly and drive miles to take our much-loved mothers to doctor appointments and Target. I recognize that behavior!

  6. Yes, lots of work involved in visiting aging relatives. But it appears you're having some fun, too. Watch out for the gators!

  7. Funny how people are not able to make the decision to find a physician.

  8. Echoing others who have pointed out your good son behavior. So many children would make MORE work for their elderly parents during a week-long visit, not less.

    It's good your mom has a doctor lined up now. She'll be so glad it's been done when the time comes that she needs something checked.

    I love that bird - LOVE IT. Now I want to make something similar! Not so fond of the thought of an alligator in the pond nearby . . . do they never come out on the banks and chase people??

  9. I love that bird too - very cool! We had hard water in Xenia & one thing I did was to pour vinegar over a rag on the surface & just let it sit there for half a day. Sometimes it would come up easily after that & sometimes I had to scrape it.

  10. YP: Well, he eats beer too. Does that count?

    E: Not yet, anyway! She's pretty sound, physically, and she exercises every day.

    Ms Moon: Her retirement place will clean, but you have to ask (and pay for) it, and my mom doesn't seem to want to do either. She's capable of day-to-day chores but she needed someone to do the heavier tasks like scrub the shower and clean the top of the refrigerator, that kind of thing.

    Sharon: Finding a good doctor is a pain! The gator is very small at this point -- maybe three or four feet long. When it gets bigger it will be relocated, my mom said. I think it's too small to pose any kind of threat, and a gator normally won't attack people, unless it has lost its natural fear of them -- which usually happens only if people feed them. DO NOT FEED THE GATORS!

    Robin: Yes, I'm sure all that sounds familiar to you!

    Catalyst: I AM having fun. Gators are just a fact of life in Florida. They don't scare me in the least.

    Red: Well, it can be a daunting process, especially in the states where it's a wide-open marketplace. Often people wait until they're sick, but no one should have to go through all that rigmarole when they have a fever.

    Jenny: I know, I thought the same thing! "Could I make that?!" In my case, definitely not.

    Bug: That's a good tip! I wish I'd tried it! Oh well, next time.

  11. yes, vinegar. that's a good tip. and good for you for looking after your mom. I am not enamored of gators.

  12. you are such a good son. and i suppose those gators never venture onto land? i don't most imagine residents of the retirement community could run from them, so i'm just assuming they're not a threat. love the fabric bird!