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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Huh? (01/21/10)

TITLE: Come Again?
By Darlene Casino


“When are you coming to put the plastic on my windows?” she asked somewhat impatiently. “You know winter’s coming and these windows are so drafty. They don’t give you enough heat, and this is Maine, you know…”

“But mom, it’s only the first of September and we have to wait until they stock those winterizing kits.” I whimpered into the phone. “We’ll be up to take care of it the end of the month.”

Here I was, sitting on the deck enjoying the summer sun and mom was already cold. Every fall it was the same thing, but after all, my mom is well into her senior years. Surely it wasn’t too much to expect that one should
be warm at her age!

As promised, a matter of weeks later we gathered up our supplies including the plastic sheets and our trusty hair dryer. We were off on our 3 hour trek to the north country and to mom’s 2 room apartment in an elderly high rise

“That’s so much better, can’t you feel the difference already?” she asked
when the job was completed.

“Not really, mom,” we panted as we wiped the perspiration from our foreheads. “ We were noticing how cozy and warm the room is with your oven on.”

Several weeks later we learned that the adhesive tape had come loose in spots and the drafts were back. Another trip was made. By this time, she was using her Eden-Pure heater to supplement the building’s radiant heat. The television advertisement for the unit gave assurance that it could heat hundreds of square feet by itself; certainly more that this little space.

Checking her apartment more closely we noted each chair in the sitting area had a lap blanket, which she used. Stored in her closet were 2 electric
laprobes. On her bed were 3 blankets and a spread. And there she sat wearing a short sleeved jersey, lightweight slacks and a short sleeved cotton

“Mom, don’t you think you’d be warmer in your sweats?” I inquired. “Not
really…besides the sweatshirts choke me.” she responded. “Did you know that heater goes of and on?”

“Yes mom. It’s a thermostat and when the room reaches the right temperature it shuts off. It’s also a safety feature if the unit overheats.”

Leaving her this time I resolved to find a way to warm her up. After all, Christmas was just around the corner.

Christmas came and went with regular comments over the phone of her ongoing discomfort. Her granddaughter gave her a fleece blanket for her bed.

“Does that help, mom?” I lovingly asked. “Oh yes, it’s wonderful while I’m in bed.”

“What do you think of your fleece pajamas?”

“Oh, they were pretty…I’ll save them for good.

Not ready to give up I inquired about the insulated under ware. “They’re pretty,” I noted, “not at all like the old fashion kind. If they help, I’ll get you a couple more sets.”

“I haven’t tried them yet.” She said in a tone that indicated that she was through with this line of conversation. Finally, she decided to make her view clear. “Look daughter- (ouch, I recognized that tone,) insulated underwear is for outdoors and I don’t intend to wear those things indoors and roast alive.”

Have I told you that my mom is a fiercely independent woman that is somewhat set in her ways?

While my mind scrambled to catch up with her reasoning, she went on:
“Next year I’m going to get me one of those fireplaces my sister has.”

“But mom, that’s only a fancier model of the one you have.” I tried to reason with her. She paused for a moment and answered, “Oh no, she doesn’t have to put water in hers.”

In my head I felt my brain flip one-way and then another as if competing in some gymnastic event. Little electrical charges seemed to pulsate throughout my body, biting here and there. Finally I was able to utter the words in shear amazement.

“Mom, you also have an electric unit. Where could you put any water?”
A long silence followed…

It’s almost time to make the trip again: time to check on her and her surroundings, to give the hugs and to take her to lunch at her favorite restaurant—Denny’s. I have one thing more to try. We’ll exchange units since mine is a bit more powerful.

How long is it till Spring?

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This article has been read 465 times
Member Comments
Member Date
samuel saalwaechter 01/28/10
Have I told you that my mom is a fiercely independent woman that is somewhat set in her ways? - Leave off this line and just enjoy your momma while you still have her
and keep writing. Good job
Jackie Wilson01/28/10
Enjoyed your story. Personally, I liked the "fiercely independent woman" line. It revealed your understanding of the older person's need to stay independent, and it added to the flavor of the story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/30/10
I too like the fiercely independent line. It shows you respect your mom, but know her well enough to know what she's like. It was a nice story with good descriptions.
Marlene Austin02/01/10
Lots of clear detail here. :) I think when writers feel confident their words have given the reader an adequate "picture", they don't find it necessary to summarize their intended meaning in the passage. Nice job, and I hope your mom is warm now.
Mildred Sheldon02/01/10
I enjoyed reading about your independent mom. Kind of reminds me of myself. Keep writing and God bless.
Beth LaBuff 02/02/10
oh... I really enjoyed your plight here. Hope it all worked out and your Mom stayed warm. :)
Fay Ternan02/03/10
Nice bit of tension you've built into your story. Independent was fairly clear but I kept thinking an Alheizmer's diagnosis was next.
Sarah Elisabeth 02/04/10
Hey Darlene, the highest rankings were just posted on the forums, congrats on placing 7th in Level 2! Awesome job, you can view the rankings here: