On a recent trip to visit Grandma, a/k/a my mother in-law, we discovered some things about getting older that I swear I will slit my wrists before ever getting to.
Grandma is 79 and has two new titanium hips, two new titanium knees, cataract-free eyes, and gets her hair done every Wednesday.
However, she still goes around with her cane, wears her eyeglasses (even though the doctor suggested she toss them or donate them), and refuses to part with last July 7’s edition of the daily paper. She has almost every single paper since that day, and we suspect every paper for the year prior to.
Hubs started cleaning out her fridge and she went bananas. Mind you, it was because he pulled a bag of chips out of the pantry and wanted a heapin’ help of sour cream to go with. When he pulled the three containers of sour cream she had in her fridge out, each of them was covered with a thick wooly blanket of green and gray.
“That’s my mold and I can have it that way if I want!” she screamed.
He started chuckin’ stuff out left and right as soon as she went out to one of her women’s club meetings, which she threatened to miss because she was afraid he would throw some of her things away.
As he pulled each Tupperware container from the fridge, he would say, “Oh God! Look at this…smell it…”. And of course, knowing better, I would just say, “No!”
Sunnybuns was keeping watch by the window in case she pulled up, and just as Hubs was down to the last container, he hollered, “She’s back! Hurry!”
Hubs pulled the dishdrainer out quickly and opened the last container.
I could smell it from where I was.
“Good Lord almighty, what is that?” I hollered.
“I don’t know, but it’s ugly,” he responded, flipping the switch to the disposal.
We’re fortunate that Granny isn’t quick on her feet, so that allowed for some extra time to hurriedly wrap up the garbage bag and whisk it out the back door so she couldn’t see.
She came in and I pretended to be finishing up the dishes.
She didn’t seem to be too suspicious, and we didn’t let on to a thing.
In doing the quick clean-up, I managed to get rid of two buttermilk cartons that were over a year old. It was no longer buttermilk, as you can imagine, but some stinky kind of sludge. A whipped cream carton read “Best Before 1-11-06.”
I didn’t even bother trying to pour that out. I popped it into a little plastic bag and tied it tightly, dropping it into the garbage bag hungrily waiting for it. Peeeeeyew.
Hubs nipped out and went to pick up some lunch to distract her.
That worked for a little while.
Hubs asked for a phone book and I mistakenly said, “I think it’s in the paper bin in the garage.”
She dropped her fork, grabbed her cane and off she went to the garage.
I slapped my forehead and muttered an expletive (take your pick), and Hubs moaned.
She started barking about all the papers and magazines that were in there, and as she started unloading and the ants crawled on her hands, she started to cry.
That was it for me.
Total Drama Island.
We weren’t trying to boss her, we were just trying to get her de-cluttered. I wasn’t trying to get involved because she ain’t my ma.
I tiptoed down the hall as she railed at Hubs, and Sunnybuns slipped into the den behind me.
It took about a half hour for the battle to subside, and as soon as she took some high blood pressure meds, she was fine.
I came out of hiding and plied her with some chocolate marshmallow goodies, and suddenly the scene was forgotten.
That’s another thing that seems to be going. Her short-term memory. That can be a good thing and a bad thing, and at the moment, it was a very good thing.
I decided to lighten the mood a bit by singing at the top of my lungs “One Day at a Time,” by Christie Lane. You know … “one day at a time, sweet Jesus … that’s all I ask of you” … because it just seemed like the right song for the moment.
And then, because she was feeling better, I got the paper out (that particular day’s paper) and started singing the obituaries in my best Merle Haggard impression.
If you ever want to lighten someone’s mood, sing them the obits. They seem pretty somber til you start singing them. It’s amazing how funny they can be.
I promised her that I would have a colorful reprise for her obit, and that I would save that particular paper. For at least a year.