Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Comedy Central

I'm dusting one of Grandma's fake plants. It's about five feet tall and at least 25 years old. Who knows the last time it's been dusted. It seems to have a never-ending amount of leaves and they all have a solid layer of dust that I'm trying to vanquish.

I'm pretty over this stupid plant and say to Grandma, "You need to take a hose to this thing!"

She replies, "Yeah, I keep forgetting to water it."

Uh oh. This is really bad. Does Grandma really think this plastic monstrosity and dust factory is a living plant? Is that a vision problem or a dementia problem? I look over at Grandma, in her usual spot on the couch. She has a mischievous grin and is practically convulsing trying to keep a straight face! I start laughing, then she starts laughing.

"Dad, did you hear this comedian? Tell him your joke, Grandma."

Grandma is cracking herself up. She can't even repeat her punchline.

"Tell him what you said. It was funny."

Somehow this encouragement gets me a swat for being fresh, which only makes her laugh more.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Drink Up

I'm sitting at the kitchen table enjoying a Fuze Peach Mango, when Grandma walks in.

"Fuze? Never heard of it! Is that a drink?"

"It's juice, but would probably taste good with rum in it."

"Ooooh! Too bad I don't have any rum. We used to have a lot of stuff. Scotch, rum, whiskey, wine. Yeah, Grandpa liked to have a drink every now and then."

"What about you, Grandma? What was your drink?"

She starts giggling. "Oh, I was a cheap date! I'd have one drink and sip it all night. There used to be a tavern across the street. Grandpa would help out there after he retired. They had a trio play on Saturday nights and they would have lots of nice parties, especially New Years Eve. Yeah, that was nice."

Soon Grandma is giving me a rundown of all the bars that used to be in the neighborhood and the families that owned them. One of the traits of Grandma's dementia is that she starts repeating herself and her stories circle around themselves. Within three minutes she is back to the part about Grandpa working at the tavern and one of the owner's sons being a police officer. She'll repeat both facts again before dinner is ready. Still, it is worth it to hear her giggles.


Keep Aunt Dee away from your tub! She has stolen our bathmat again!

All together now, "She sees something she wants and she just takes it! She's got money, she's got a car, she can get her own bathmat!"

Grandma added a new twist to her diatribe, "I gotta go pick up a new one. I can't wait for Aunt Dee to bring it back. Who knows when that'll be."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Battle Line

The upstairs tenants are at it again with their pathetic attempts at laundry!

Grandma is pissed! "I gotta tell them. In this neighborhood, we don't do the wash on Sundays!"
"It's Monday, Grandma."
"It is? Oh."

She calls me over to the window to scoff with her, "Look at how she hangs clothes! I only hang on the bottom line. She uses the top and the bottom."
"So? Everyone has a different style of hanging."
"But, it's my line, and it's old. If it breaks I'll boot her in the ass!"

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Music Man

I returned from a weekend away to a blaring TV. This is pretty normal, Grandma's hearing is not so good, possibly because she is always blasting the TV. Usually she is half-heartedly watching Maury or Law & Order and I can sneak the volume down whenever she leaves the room. But Sunday's programming was different. She had stumbled onto a PBS special featuring nine-year-old pianist Ethan Bortnick and his "musical time machine." Grandma was totally engaged with this little guy, watching about six inches from the TV. "Look at this! He's only nine years old. Oh, he's good!"

I'd never heard of this kid, but apparently he's been on The Tonight Show and the morning shows several times. His website features a video of him interviewing Quincy Jones. He described Gloria Gaynor as a close friend, and before she began "I Will Survive" she announced in a husky voice that Ethan plays the best arpeggio of anyone she's ever worked with.

Grandma is not normally a musical person. She never hums or whistles. She ignores when I put music channels on the television. All that I could tell you about her musical taste is that she likes "The Blue Danube." And yet, this little prodigy has totally captivated her. As PBS showed clips from the performance she was actually singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" softly to herself. Of course the show was punctuated with requests for money. If you donated $150 they were offering two tickets to an upcoming Ethan Bortnick performance. Grandma's response was, "$150? Yo! Cheap tickets, huh?" But beneath the shock over the price, I detected a note of wistfulness, like she really wanted to go and see the young pianist in person, and maybe even sing along.

Frying Pan Found!

The frying pan that vanished while I was away, presumably stolen by Aunt Dee, has been found! I'd looked in Grandma's usual hiding spots of the basement and the hallway closet, but no dice. The pan turned out to be in a semi-reasonable location for a kitchen item - in a cabinet under boxes of wax paper and foil. Hooray!

Of course Grandma had forgotten the frying pan ever existed, so she did not share in my joy at its return. She was back to her original commentary of, "I never saw such a big pan! Where did you get such a thing?"

Maybe Aunt Dee is turning away from her life of crime and mending her ways. Maybe more stolen items like the bath mat will start turning up!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A New Thief in Town!

Yesterday Grandma lost her glasses, so obviously, the first thing she did was complain that Aunt Dee stole them. Like most stolen goods, the glasses are not anything anyone would want. They're huge, thick things, probably from the '70s. I told Grandma Aunt Dee hadn't been over and clearly didn't take her glasses. Grandma remained suspicious.

She wondered if she'd left them at her friend's house, but then decided that her friend would have called. I wondered if she actually went to her friend's house since I haven't seen her go farther than the front porch in weeks.

So we are looking all over the house for the glasses. In her search Grandma finds a pair of my dad's reading glasses.
"Whose are these?"
"They're Dad's. He left them here."
"Why would he leave them here?" Something clicks in her brain. "He took my glasses and left this sh-t!"

Now Grandma is pissed!!! Both of her kids are dirty thieves! For once, Aunt Dee is innocent, so Grandma decides to call her because she's "frickin' mad!" While she's railing about my dad and him taking her huge '70s women's glasses for himself, I look in Grandma's room for the glasses. And there they are, mixed up in her bedspread.

When Grandma's items are found, she doesn't backtrack at all or apologize for any of her wild accusations. I hold up her glasses and she simply says, "Oh, there they are" and hangs up the phone.