My mother lives in a quiet small town in northwestern Ohio, where I escape to every six weeks or so to catch up and recharge. She lives in a big Victorian brick house where "my" bedroom waits for me, even though she and my late father bought the house long after I married. Surrounded by tall shrubbery and drooping pines, it stays cool enough that air conditioning would be a waste. Even in the hottest weather, I slide off to dreamland with a fan to keep the air moving, nothing more. I sleep well enough that most days, my mother has to wake up. Actually, she has to take her two dogs -- a beagle and a sheltie -- downstairs so the noise wakes me up. I made my most recent visit as scheduled, even though she'd warned me there was street work going on. I didn't realize what she meant until the machinery started grinding at 6:30 A.M. in deference to the heat. Why I was surprised by the commotion, I don't know. After all, I was greeted with a road-closed sign and a trackhoe in her driveway when I arrived. Yet knowing work would begin again on Monday wasn't quite like the reality. Because I'm planning a book signing tea at her house, I decided to call the city powers-that-be and see how soon the work would be done. We'd picked Nov. 13 for the soiree; since it was only August, that seemed like a good bet. The phone rang in the city hall. I posed my question. I was transferred. Someone new answered the phone. I posed my question again. And, yes, I was transferred. Finally, someone was willing to talk to someone else and find out what I needed to know. She came back, all chipper-voiced, and said, "The new pipes will all be in by the end of October, and the paving should be done by Thanksgiving." Should be? Thanksgiving? Yikes! After politely thanking her, I relayed the information to Mommykins, who shrugged her shoulders and said, "If people can't park in front of the house, I guess they can walk." See, that's why I love my mother. Even months of dirt, being forced out of her driveway and putting up with machines all day long isn't even to break her spirit. However, if she has to keep driving her sedan over the alternative route, her axle may be broken long before that new paving is laid.