Phone calls in Europe, and a (maybe) happy ending

So I bought a new cell phone today. I cancelled the other one not more than a week ago with the intent to never own another. But then I had to rush home to Hagerstown to see my grandfather and realized just how useful they are. I had to make a 20-minute trip to my mom’s from the hospital just to call Pantaliamon. Had I possessed my cell phone, I could have just called her from the hospital.

I decided to go with T-Mobile, the company that used to be Voicestream, but got bought by some Europeans and offers a more globally-oriented cell phone experience than U.S. companies. Although I have never been out of the continental United States except to visit Canada, I feel empowered that I can go anywhere in the world with my phone and be reached by people who want to talk to me. My phone even works in Uganda and Azerbaijan, two remote outposts of humanity easily accessible thanks to T-Mobile.

One of the first things I did after I got my phone was call my mother to check up on my grandfather. He’s had his artery-cleaning surgery, which apparently did the trick. Blood is now nourishing his brain again, and he’s stopped hallucinating.

Which means he’s going to be getting out of the hospital soon. My mom is terrified of that, so she threw a histrionic fit in front of my relatives, saying that she’s just a poor lonely widow, and she can’t possibly be expected to care for her ailing father-in-law all by herself. One of them, she said, should have the decency to take him into their homes (in Buffalo, NY, some 8 hours away), and give him the proper care and attention he needs.

She loves to play the widow card. Uses it against me all the time to great effect. It worked just as well with my relations. And to think, I was the one planning a histrionic fit -- I intended to give them my great Shakespearean monologue tomorrow, blasting them with guilt (and playing the widow card myself, in support of relinquishing my mother of her caregiver duties). But my mom beat me to the punch.

She whispered happily into the phone that they gave in to her demands -- they’re going to take him back to New York with them. His pastor, who despises me and my mother because he doesn’t think we do enough, thought it was a great idea. Only John C. and his family dissented -- arguing that they love him and think they should care for him. I’m not sure what to make of that -- perhaps they really are after his meager estate?

In any event, this hasn’t been completely resolved, but it looks like things are going to work out for the best. Surprisingly, I’m a little saddened that this might have been the last Christmas and Thanksgiving I’ll ever spend with my grandfather. He’s not going to be living in his little house on the hill anymore, never again will I drive up his gravel driveway to see him, the car perched at a 90-degree angle. It’s an odd feeling. But I’m happy -- happy that my mom is free of him. Happy that the family has finally stepped up to their responsibilities.

Still, things aren’t completely hammered out. Someone might muck it up, but there’s a happy ending in sight.