Antsy

Mom’s apartment might have an ant problem. I went over today to stock her up on disposable underwear and take her some cashews and almonds, her current favorite snacks. We chatted a bit, I scooped the litter. All seemed fine. I often notice little crumbles of cat food scattered near the two bowls of food in her bedroom, and I try to pick them up individually. I was starting to do that today when I noticed one piece had about five little ants on it. I stood there, bent over, examining the floor, and I could see ants in the vicinity of that single piece, ants on another piece, ants crawling around one of the two food bowls. Ugh. Years ago, Mom bought a Dirt Devil hand-held vacuum. I suspect it was used fewer than a dozen times in all the years she had it in her last two apartments. But that thing has come in handy in this assisted living apartment. I started vacuuming up the stray pieces of cat food, following a small trail over to the wall, where a single piece of food was completely black with these tiny ants. I threw away the food and the vacuum contents into the trash and sealed up the bag. I washed the food bowls and refilled them and the water bowl. Mom just watched me, having no idea that this might be a problem. I suppose I’ll have to tell the facility staff, but I didn’t today – I tend to go to the regular weekday crew to report problems or ask questions.

I also have scheduled a haircut for her in a few Saturdays. We’ll have a little lunch and then go to my stylist to clean up Mom’s shaggy head of hair. She has been telling me occasionally that she’d like to have something done with her hair. Today when I told her I made this appointment, she said, “What if I don’t like the haircut?” Heavy sigh. I don’t think I need to worry too much. She looks so messy most days that I can’t imagine having it all cleaned up will make that much difference to her. It will inevitably be shorter, which might startle her initially, but I don’t think it will be a big deal. I tried to trim up the back of her hair once a month or so ago, but I’m not skilled and that left it possibly worse than before. I can tell Mom trims her own bangs from time to time, something she has done all her life. My stylist said something interesting when I scheduled the appointment. I’ve been going to her for years, and have talked a lot about Mom’s illness with her. Her own mother died several years ago of cancer. She had always cut her mom’s hair, and she styled it one last time at the funeral home – something I considered such a loving act. When I thanked her for being willing to take on the unpredictable that Mom may offer, she said, “Hey, I wish I had my mom’s hair to cut. I’m happy to do it.” That’s something I hadn’t really considered.

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