Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fat Chance

Even before her 18 pound weight loss, Grandma might have been a little size-ist. But now she's gotten a lot more vocal about it. She spots an ad for The Biggest Loser and starts laughing and pointing! "Look at the fatsos! Ha! I never saw such a thing!"

I start laughing at her reaction.

"What's so funny?"

"Did you just call them fatsos, Grandma?"

"No, I said fat tubs. Did you see them? You should've seen them! Fat tubs! Oh, I never saw such a thing!"

A Typical Exchange

"Are they taking out the garbage tomorrow or are they only picking up once a week?"

"It's Tuesday. They pick up today and Friday."

"I thought they were changing it to once a week."


"Are they picking up tomorrow?"

"It's Tuesday, they already picked up the garbage."

"Then why am I reading Monday's paper? Where's Tuesday's?"

"I don't know. I saw the papers this morning when I left."

"Maybe Aunt Dee took it....."

We also went over garbage pick-up days four times yesterday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Recipe Swipe

I made a batch of turkey tacos on Monday. This is a bit too spicy (ethnic) for Grandma's palate, so I've had the leftovers all for myself. This means that every time I've heated them up we've had some variation of this conversation:

"What are you making?"
"Turkey tacos."
"What's a taco? Never heard of it!"

My favorite might have been tonight's, "I wouldn't know anything about tacos."

Then she spotted the apple pie my mom sent down. "Oh, what a nice pie. My mother used to make wonderful pies."
"What kind of pies?"
"Apple or lemon meringue, I'd help peel the apples or stir the lemon pudding on the stove. Or she'd make strudels or cakes. I used to have a lot of good recipes from her."
"What happened to them, Grandma?"
"Yeah, I wonder what happened to them....They must have just walked out of here."

What happened next was kind of funny. Naturally, Grandma's first instinct is to blame Aunt Dee for the missing recipes. With her track record of thievery, who wouldn't? But, Grandma seems to remember that Aunt Dee doesn't cook. So now she tries to reconcile these two facts in her brain. She works through it by mumbling to herself, "She don't cook, why would she take them? Oooooh, I think she said her husband cooks. I bet she took them for him! I'm gonna ask him how he likes my recipes. Ha!"

Case closed!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

New Treats

I bought some doughnuts for Grandma on Monday night. There were eight in the box and she has already eaten six of them! They were on sale this week, so I may need to stock up for her. It seems they will do in a pinch when she is on the hunt for "a nice piece of cake."

I also bought some eggnog because I like to mix it into my gingerbread tea. (Sidebar, try that combo. It is a seriously delicious holiday treat!). So I bought the eggnog on Monday, but didn't have any until Wednesday night. I go to the fridge and the quart is already half gone! This is the real, full fat eggnog, it is really too rich to be drinking by the glass. Grandma must have been chugging away at it, maybe dipping her six doughnuts into it!

Hopefully these new additions to the kitchen will help Grandma put on some weight. She lost 18 pounds, you know.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Ab Fab

People Magazine just announced Ryan Reynolds as this year's Sexiest Man Alive. It's been on the news a lot and so have his famous abs.

I think Grandma has a new crush!

She was watching the local news which cut to a shirtless pic of Ryan. I hear her whisper to herself, "Oh my gosh!" They cut back to the hosts, then back to Ryan and his abs. Same reaction. "Oh my gosh!"

But really, can you blame her?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A New Tactic

Lately I've been feeling a little guilty for getting impatient with Grandma. Today I came up with a new strategy that, if nothing else, amuses me and keeps me in better spirits.

My dad and I are in the living room when Grandma stomps out of the bathroom. She's at the beginning of one of her usual rants, "When I get more energy I'm gonna go out and buy a new bath mat. I used to have a real nice one and..."

And this is one my brilliant idea hits. I interrupt her. "What happened to your bath mat, Grandma?"

I've cut her off mid-rant, so she is a little disoriented. "What? I didn't hear you."

Out of the corner of my eye I can see my dad cracking up. I try to maintain my composure. I say it again, extra sweetly and innocently, "I said, 'What happened to your bath mat, Grandma?'"

"My darling daughter took it!" Dad and I are in complete hysterics! "She comes in! She sees something she wants, she takes it! I don't mind if she borrows it, but bring it back!"

Grandma sees us laughing. I'm sure she has know idea why we are, but she starts laughing too. My dad asks her, "What else has Dee been taking?"

"Oh, I can't even remember all the things..."

Funny you should mention that Grandma, I just might have a record of stolen items....

Sunday, November 14, 2010

"Where Are Your Slippers?"

As we saw in Grandma's Greatest Hits, Grandma does not approve of bare feet, even in the comfort of your own home. She is always wearing slippers. Slippers were always a good go-to Christmas gift for her, so she should have at least a dozen pairs around the house. Lately though, she has been wearing these raggedy plastic Chinatown slippers. They're falling apart and don't even seem to fit Grandma, especially when she has socks on. I don't know where she found these. If I didn't know better, I would suspect she pulled them from someone's trash off the curb. Clearly Aunt Dee must have taken all of her higher quality slippers!

Grandma is in luck though! A friend of mine has had some slipper mishaps of her own. The company keeps sending her the wrong size, but said she could keep the extra pairs. Knowing how much Grandma loves slippers, she very generously offered a pair to Grandma. These things look like the Cadillac of slippers! Grandma is going to freak when she gets these little booties! Once we have the new slippers, I'll be throwing away the ratty Chinatown ones. I'll just say Aunt Dee took them.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Say Cheese!

Here's a fun new trend in the house. I've been finding half-opened slices of American cheese that Grandma is leaving around. One was by the stove. Maybe she thought about adding it to whatever she was making? That almost makes sense. But, the second piece of cheese, this one defies all logic. The second abandoned slice was in the paper tray of my printer. What the what? How? Why? What?

I'll keep you posted if this continues....

**More stolen items**
Rock salt (Grandma is thinking ahead for winter)

Grandma's Greatest Hits

Sometimes living with Grandma feels like I am stuck in Groundhog Day. It's the same thing over and over again. I try to be patient, but really how many times can you answer a question about the bus schedules? It's boring the first time, imagine how it is the 22nd time. You start off engaged, but your answers get more terse with each repetition. My best friend suggested recording answers so I could just playback a tape. To give you a clearer idea of life with Grandma, here are some of her favorite topics of conversation:

*Seeing Alice's son*
At least once a week Grandma brings up how she ran into her friend's son, my dad's childhood friend, just the other day. In reality, she saw him sometime back in March. I feel like we should tell him that Grandma has such positive and lasting feelings for him.

*Bus schedules and bus fare*
"You have the schedule? What do they charge now? $2.25! It used to be a nickel, but that was when we had the trolleys."

*Train schedules and train fare*
"How much does it cost to go to the city? $6! I used to get a monthly commutation for that! Oh, but I haven't been down there in a while."

*Is Aunt Dee away?*
We all know how wily Aunt Dee is, so you can't really blame Grandma for having trouble keeping tabs on her. What's really sad about this is that Grandma will ask where Aunt Dee is days or even hours after Aunt Dee has taken her out to eat. Of course that could also be because Grandma has a habit of guzzling rather than sipping her glass of wine....

*Tofu? Never heard of it! What's that made of? Soybeans?*
"Never heard of it" is the response a lot of my food gets, even the things that I regularly make and Grandma regularly eats.

*Where'd you get such a big frying pan? I never saw such a thing. It would make a good weapon.*
Every. Single. Time.

*Do Middle Bro and Little Bro live together?*
I'm not sure where she came up with this one. My brothers have never lived together as adults.

*Where are your slippers?*
Grandma is really, really against bare feet.

*I could use a nice piece of cake*
This usually launches Grandma on a discussion of all the bakeries that used to be in the neighborhood.

*How am I supposed to know?*
Grandma frequently pulls out the plug that controls our cable and internet, then complains that the TV doesn't work. This is even though I've repeatedly taped signs over the plug explaining what it does and why it cannot be unplugged. This also applies to when she puts metal in the microwave. Grandma will pull down the signs and say, "You don't need to tell me!"

*They're only picking up garbage once a week now?*
This was something the city threatened, but didn't go through with. Unfortunately, the proposed plan really resonated with Grandma.

*Look at how she hangs clothes! I'd tell her off, but she don't speak English.*
On our poor, hapless tenants and their shameful laundry efforts.

*Why is this light on? You should see my bill!*
Um, because it is dark out? Sometimes I call Grandma "Con Edison" when she's really worked up about the lights.

*I don't need a babysitter! I told her not to come back!*
This is Grandma's standard line about her health aide. I think she's just mad because her aide comes at 9 and Grandma prefers sleeping until 9:30 or 10.

*I'm too weak. I lost 18 pounds, you know.*
One of Grandma's sisters was recently in the hospital, so we had Grandma send a get well card. Not to be outdone, Grandma was sure to mention her weight loss in the card.

and of course, was there any doubt? Grandma's number one repeated phrase is....


**Recent Thefts**
Kitchen Timers
Dish Towels

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Ellen DeGeneres No!

Grandma is not pleased with Ellen's outfit today. "She looks like hell! She's on TV like that? In dungarees? With her shirt untucked? It's awful!"

**Recent Thefts**
paper towels

Monday, November 1, 2010

Cabinet of Wonders

After seven months, Grandma still seems pretty confused about the fact that I live with her. If I've been in my room for awhile she'll say, "Oh, I forgot you were here." When I was away over the summer she asked my dad where I was living. And when she finds my possessions in the kitchen, she always asks, "Is this yours?" and either leaves them out or hides them in random locations (a la the frying pan that went missing). She doesn't know where the items came from or if they're hers and doesn't want to put them away until that's been clarified. But remember, Grandma has no short term memory, so even when I tell her the stuff is mine, she doesn't process that.

So, I've been on a mission to clear out some shelf/cabinet space for my things. Grandma is a pack rat, so this has been quite an undertaking. When I first moved in, my dad and I set to work on the pantry. We threw out all the old items. Things started around 2007, farther back on the shelves we started seeing 2005 and 2004, 2002, 2001. Noodle and sauce mixes from 1999, 1994. Unopened salad dressings, and what we thought was the champion, baking soda from 1989. But, tucked in a corner of the pantry we found the gem pictured here. Kitchen Bouquet! Circa 1974! This prompted immediate texts to my brothers. Middle Bro asked, "What did it taste like?"
My reply, "Food poisoning? A hallucination? I ain't tasting that!" I did smell it, however. It was kind of stewy and had totally congealed. Interestingly, the ingredients had no chemicals and seemed pretty wholesome.

Today's project was the cabinets by the kitchen sink. These held vitamins and medicine. With her condition, Grandma is very much an "outta sight, outta mind" kind of girl. So, these were almost as old as the stuff in the pantry. All told, I had 25 bottles to recycle, plus a pretty substantial assortment of sample pills. The record for this cabinet was 1990, although I had one antique-y looking bottle with no dates. Check it out, and also note the 1970s style contact paper.

This was a pretty tedious job, but now I have two extra shelves to myself and a safe home for my travel mugs.

**Today's Stolen Items**
Dish towels