When she moves into her daughter’s apartment, Pat McDermott is forced to ask her “crackling” knees to step up – literally!
Pat McDermott’s knees-up
There is nothing wrong with my knees. I’m just a little stiff from time to time,” I told my GP. “When?” “When I get up in the morning, when I sit down, when I stand for a long time. At a parade, for example.”
“I told you not to join the army.”
“I have talking knees. They crackle when I stand up or sit down.”
He scribbled furiously on a notepad, ripped off the piece of paper and handed it to me. Don’t run marathons. Don’t climb stairs. Don’t lift heavy suitcases or small children. Lose 10 kilos.
Walk in (but not on) water.
Don’t sit on low sofas. Bar stools are more comfortable. That’s why we men sit on them. Things will get worse.
They always do.
I grabbed the paper and tried to jam his fingers in the office door on the way out.
“Now I have to bill you for a long consultation!” I made a familiar gesture over my shoulder as I walked my talking knees down the hall.
“Well, at least we know one of your fingers still works!” he chortled.
People envy our relationship.
After five babies, a lifetime of egg and bacon rolls and a habit of wearing high heels when hanging out the washing, I don’t blame my knees for wanting to give up. But I have one more big ask before I get serious about following the doctor’s orders.
The MOTH (man of the house) and I were standing in the laneway behind our daughter’s apartment building. Courtenay and Nick are away on holiday and we’re between homes while our new apartment is being built. We’d accepted their kind offer of a bed to sleep in. All we have to do now is get to it. We looked up. Way up. Five flights of stairs up. Fortunately, my knees still enjoy a challenge. All I need is a handrail, an oxygen tank and someone at the top with chocolate shouting, “Only 63 more steps.”
My knees still enjoy a challenge. All I need is a handrail.
A few minutes later (okay – 10 minutes later) we reached the apartment door, dragging our suitcases behind us. After we caught our breath, we read the first note.
“Hi Dad. Hi Mum. In case Dad forgets, the code for the door is in his wallet. Have fun.”
“I didn’t forget. I just didn’t remember,” the MOTH mumbled.
There was a scuffle while we found our glasses, and read and tapped in the numbers. The second note was taped to the fridge. “Hi Mum and Dad. Help yourself to everything in the fridge. Be sure to eat the eggs and yoghurt.”
“That means the eggs and yoghurt are going off,” said the MOTH, peering inside. “There’s a lot of healthy stuff in here.” He insists kale and hummus are a threat to civilisation.
“Shhh,” I said. “Courtenay can hear you.” “She’s in Adelaide!”
“She can still hear you.”
A third note was tacked to the clothes dryer. “Hi Mum. Don’t be scared, but the dryer makes a really loud whang noise. Also it sometimes smells like the clothes are on fire.”
The fourth note was on the coffee table.
“Hi Mum and Dad. To watch TV: Face the television. Press green button on black remote to turn on. Use ‘prog’ to change channels. To watch Netflix, turn TV on. Press home button, scroll down to ‘Connected devices’. Select ‘HDML 3’ to connect. PUT BLACK REMOTE DOWN NOW, DAD! MUM – TAKE IT AWAY FROM HIM.”
“She’s yelling at me 1300 kilometres away!”
“You always had a special bond,” I reminded him.
“Pick up small silver remote. Press MENU on SILVER remote. Head to Netflix tab. Make choice. Turn BIG BLACK remote off when you don’t want to watch any more. Everything will go off. IS ALL THIS CLEAR?”
“No!” said MOTH. “Let’s go for a walk.” I thought about the five flights of stairs, I thought about my knees. I thought about my GP. “I’d love to,” I said.