Political calls, forgiveness, and a 400-degree door

Oh, and we have a 2-year-old who speaks in complete sentences. How often does that happen? I really don’t know, but it seems unique.

I mentioned this to mom and she said, “It only counts if she can be understood.”

“It can be understood,” I said. “Sarah’s the one who told the story.”

“Antee-tarah, my ponytayol come out. Can oo fih it, peas?” [Tell me that’s not the cutest thing you ever heard.] “Tank-oo.”


Yesterday Rae Ann came over and cleaned my house while I worked on the longer Obit for tonight’s memorial service. While I was working it out the phone rang and it was one of those political telemarketing calls (can something be exponentialy annoying?); Concerned Alaskans for something or other was calling.

“Mrs. Helmericks, did you know that at this moment in the State Legislature–”

“Did you know,” I interrupted with a voice not-quite-steady, “that at this moment I am writing my grandmother’s obituary, and this is not a good time.”

A gratifying amount of awkwardness ensued.


Last week Natasha came up to me while I was sitting in our big blue chair and asked in her gentle voice, “Mama, do you ever forgive me?” After a Do I ever! laugh, I answered, “Yes, I’ve forgiven you lots of times.”

She embraced my arm tenderly and said sincerely, “I forgive you lots of times too.”


Today I had Jay drop me off at the DMV to renew my months-expired driver’s license. I wanted to be dropped off in case I was asked (with my 4-months expired license) how I’d gotten there.

When I called to ask Jay to pick me up he said something (over our poor cell-phone connection) that sounded like “oven door came off.” I could hear the stress in his voice.

“You can’t be serious!” I said.

“I am, and I’m on my way,” he said.

As soon as I was in the car I pumped him for the story. It seems Natasha had left one of her shoes in the kitchen, and Jay, stepping back as he checked on a pizza in the oven, felt it under his foot. He thought he’d stepped on Maestro or Melody and immediately picked up the foot again. His weight had already shifted, and so he hung on to the door, trying to catch his balance– and found himself holding a 400-degree door, looking at a half-baked pizza in the open oven.

Thankfully, the door wasn’t actually broken; it’s designed to lift straight up once opened, and the angle Jay pulled it at just lifted it straight out. Discovering this it was easy enough to fix, but didn’t entirely remove the panting moment of adrenaline.