Certain Man’s Wife has a home visit every month with her case manager from the State Department of Disabilities. The assigned casemanager picks up spending records, medication reports, documentation of doctor visits, and social reports from each of the ladies in the home at Shady Acres. Once every quarter, CMW needs to do a fire drill and document that for someone somewhere in the hierarchy of the state. So often, CMW thinks that whoever is reading these things must find it the most boring thing in the world. And it is great fun to write a report that has surprises or details in it that will cause someone to take a little notice.
Mandatory fire drills are things that make little sense to CMW. Both of the ladies who reside with CM and CMW will never get themselves out in the event of a fire. Someone will need to physically get Cecilia on her feet and guide her out. Someone needs to explain to Nettie why she needs to get out — and supervision is very much needed. This may explain why Certain Man’s house has six smoke detectors and they are careful to keep them in order. The family at Shady Acres knows it will take time to get people out in the event of a fire. However, the state still wants each foster care home to run a fire drill every three months, and to fill out their detailed form.
When CMW went to awaken Cecilia one this particular morning, she suddenly remembered that she hadn’t done a fire drill within the allotted time. With everything that has been going on at Shady Acres, it was one of many things that went right over her head. And this was the morning for the monthly visit from the case manager. So in a sudden burst of inspiration, CMW decided that this would be a good morning to do a drill, and decided that maybe it would be good to have it start while both ladies were still in bed. “After all,” reasoned CMW, “how often do we plan a convenient time for our house to catch on fire and we will need to evacuate?”
CMW hit the button on the smoke detector in their bedroom several times and neither lady budged an inch. So she made note of the time on her wrist watch and went over and Nettie a nudge on her ample rear that was sticking up under the mound of covers.
“Nettie! Hey Nettie! Wake up!”
“Ummmpfff!” She said in a complainy sort of way.
“Hey, Nettie, wake up! We are having a fire drill. You need to get up and get out to the garage!”
“Huh??? “ She said sleepily, “Wha’d’ya say???”
“I said,” Repeated CMW clearly, “We are having a fire drill. You need to get up and get out to the garage.”
“Oh. Um. Okay.” She grunted, and began to swing her legs over the side ponderously.
CMW went over to Cecilia’s bed. Cecilia was awake. “C’mon, Cecilia-girl. We need to have this fire drill. Come on, let’s go.” Cecilia wasn’t impressed, but she got up out of bed and shuffled along with CMW towards the door. As CMW looked back over her shoulder, she saw that Nettie wasn’t really moving much.
“Nettie, come on. We are pretending the fire is in the kitchen. Come on. You don’t have time to get dressed. Just come!” CMW guided Cecilia through the bathroom where she had to forcibly take her past the toilet where she usually sits down immediately after getting out of bed.
“Sorry, Cecilia-girl. I’ll bring you back in just a little bit.” Cecilia was not at all happy with this development. She was in her jammies, barefoot and it was cold. CMW thought about the cold cement at the bottom of the ramp and decided to have some mercy on her. They moved through the laundry room, through the entry way and to the top of the ramp. Right about now, Cecilia had just about had enough. STAMP!!! STAMP!!! Went her stubborn little foot at the top of the ramp. “Huff!!! Puff!!! Snort!!!”
CMW looked over her shoulder. There was no sign of Nettie.
“Here, Cee-Cee,” she said, using a pet name, “You stand right here with your hand on the railing until I come back.” She curled the fingers around the railing and made sure that Cecilia was safely holding on and then flew back to the bedroom to check on Nettie.
Nettie was busy making her bed.
“Nettie, Come!” she said more than a little forcefully. “We are having a fire drill. You need to get out.”
“Wha’?” asked Nettie in her usual slow way. “Wha’d’ya sayin’?”
“I said,” said CMW with just a bit of exasperation, “that we are having a fire drill. Your case manager comes this morning and I have to have a fire drill to report. Come on. You just need to go to the top of the ramp.”
Nettie looked down over her nightgown and back with distaste at CMW. At this point, CMW got a firm grip on her hand and assisted her across the room and through the bathroom, through the utility room, through the entry way and to the landing at the top of the ramp. It was more than a little crowded there with CMW, Cecilia and Nettie. CMW looked at the motley crew, all three barefooted in the morning chill, she and Nettie were in their nighties and Cecilia was in her P.J.’s. Cecilia was mad at the interruption in her morning routine, Nettie blinking owlishly and looking like she couldn’t believe the indignities heaped upon her, and CMW couldn’t help but cover a grin as she checked the time on her wrist watch. She had managed a fire drill!!! One minute and forty five seconds. Not too bad. Hopefully, whoever read it wouldn’t have to be bored at the details, and even though she felt sorry for her two ladies, sometimes their irritation at CMW is a cause for mirth. CMW doesn’t blame them a bit for being provoked. But when she accomplishes something that she really needs to do, and they are both looking so out of sorts – Well, to CMW’s biased eye, they are just plain cute. And somehow, more normal in their aggravation than they are at almost any other time.
And that is the news from Shady Acres where the fire drill got reported, all the reports got filed, and CMW’s day was off to a grand start!