My dad has a certain routine that never varies, except in extraordinary circumstances.
He gets up at about 4:45 AM and checks to see if my mom is OK. If she happens to be awake, he takes care of anything she needs.
Then he sits in this chair in the living room and prays for a while, and she dozes off back to sleep for another hour or so.
He puts a small television on the dining room table and turns it to the local news. He prepares a bowl of yogurt with fruit, ground flax seed, and maybe wheat germ. He makes the yogurt himself out of powdered milk; has done for years. He gets out his stack of crossword puzzles and works on the one from the day before that he hasn't quite finished.
He eats his yogurt and works away until the newspaper arrives. He goes outside and gets it. He starts the coffee brewing.
He gets some coffee. He cuts out the crossword puzzle, and also the sudoku puzzle, which my mom works. He finds the daily racing form in the sports section for whatever area track is running that day (Hollywood Park, Santa Anita, or Del Mar) and picks the horses in each race that he thinks will win. He does not believe in gambling; he has always loved to watch the horses run, but does not bet on the races (horses don't bet on people, he says).
He makes my mom's breakfast and gets her squared away. He turns off the television and...
reads the paper. I mean, he really does read all the articles. It takes him probably an hour to do this.
And then he does the household chores.
He keeps the kitchen very neat and tidy.
On Saturday the routine changes a bit. He doesn't watch the TV because the news isn't on. But the main thing is that he always calls me between 8 and 9 AM (which is between 10 and 11 AM my time). Only last Saturday at about 10 AM, Richard asked if I wanted to go to the salvage store. Yes. I did. So we left.
We have an answering machine. In fact, it is a new one and I recorded a nice new message about a week ago, so it's no big deal if we aren't here, right? Dad calls, he leaves a message, I call back.
The electric power here fluctuates quite a bit. We have frequent brown-outs that are not strong enough to dim the lights but do register on the power supply devices that are hooked up to the computers, which "kick in" for a couple of seconds before going back to normal. On Friday, we had one of these brown outs in which we actually lost power for about a second. None of the other electronic devices lost their settings, but the answering machine did because Richard forgot to put a battery in it when he set it up.
The message I recorded was wiped out, which left a weird computer voice saying the default message "At tone, leave message."
But I didn't know this.
So we get back from the salvage store and there are 5 messages on the machine. The first is from my dad who is not sure he has the right number and is wondering what the heck is going on. The next 3 are just background talking with no message left at all. I guess they kept dialing my number thinking they had dialed the wrong one. I know it is from them because my Aunt Vera has arrived there for a visit I can hear her voice in the background offering an opinion. My dad then called my sister to tell her the problem, so the final message is from her, asking me to please call Dad (if this is actually our house) because he is worried and to fix the message on the answering machine.
So I did. I phoned home. And I fixed the message.