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Pleeeze don’t be BLUE!

Blue Nails by OPIDear Diary,

Sometimes I feel that I am dealing with a teenage girl! There is Ruth the young at heart, all–”I live in the moment. I’m a fun-loving adventure woman.” There is Ruth the moody- “Who YOU lookin’ at? Leave me ALONE! I’m going to my ROOM.. (slam)!” Then there is my favorite– Ruth working some serious “tude”, sporting lipstick, pearls and a I’M ALL THAT strut. Today’s special.. Ruth in LOVE.
BLAHHH! This role reversal thing leaves me feeling like such a STICK IN THE MUD, S.I.M for short.

I walk purposefully towards the dining room with the agenda being, to label all of Ruth’s wardrobe with indelible Sharpie Permanent Purple Pen ink.. again. I thought the whole purpose and reputation of this pen was based upon it’s ability to withstand WATER, i.e. wash machines, toilet bowl dunkings, and liquid beverage mishaps that involve a certain SOMEONE (Harriet* ) (*Please see past blogs), tossing JUICE at some one’s (my) mother-in-law. Unfortunately when the pen wears off.. Ruth’s clothes go M.I.A. Who knoooows where they go… I have theories, but nothing hard and fast at this point.

I’m spotted immediately by Ruth the… demure, blushing, I’m full of light and bliss– fairy girl? Where did SHE come from? The last time “Fairy Feingold” showed up was…hmmmmm
This is what happens when I skip my Starbucks Zen tea with soy; processing becomes painfully s-l-o-o-o-w-w. When I put all the elements together, and factored in the probability, I realized with the slowly lifting brain fog, that Ruth had found.. herself.. a.. MAN!!(again)

Escaping the clutches of Ruth’s embrace, I happen to glance down, and find myself fixated on something, “toe-tally alarm-ing!”, OMG! Ruth had BLUE NAILS! SHUT— UP!
Really… her nails were painted thirteen year old “stuffed bra, Seven Jeans, Brittney BLUE”..with pink dots.

Me (S.I.M): Ruth, what happened here? Are you feeling O.K.? Is this Gangrene? Call a doctor!
Ruth (giggling): I don’t remember what happened. Isn’t it terrible?
Me (S.I.M) Do you have any other symptoms? Vomiting, fever..?
It really wouldn’t have been such a big deal if it weren’t for the fact that TWENTY-FOUR hours earlier I had taken Ruth to have her nails, French Manicured at She-She Poo-Poo Salon and Spa for thirty-five– yes, you heard right… Thirty-five BUCKS!
Labels? I’ll do that tomorrow!

I can NEVER say this next point enough, My dear Sandwich Generation BFF’s. If you post instructions for the staff to follow, i.e. never, ever, polish Ruth’s nails..they must do as instructed. If we are having some communication issues with any eldercare providers, clear them up NOW.. before they become serious! Red Hair with blonde stripes is so 80’s and NOT a good look on anyone.


Posted 12 years, 10 months ago at 9:43 pm.

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Hair Today

Punk Grandma

Posted 12 years, 10 months ago at 11:23 pm.

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The Hair Piece

Bertha and AmyDear Diary,

Never underestimate the power of hair. It yields power far beyond the comprehension of our species. Even in the chimpanzee family..never mind how homely they are, they go to great lengths to make sure that they don’t leave their tree unless meticulously groomed and presentable to other jungle inhabitant’s. Who needs the flat irons and styling mousse? The right “look” can be accomplished in minutes.. although, judging from the results, maybe they need to re-evaluate the use of saliva as styling gel. Why then does it take so much time to keep Ruth and her “coif” camera ready?

Every Wednesday, like clockwork, Ruth and I get ready to enjoy an intensive “day of beauty”. We’ve had numerous dalliances with hairdressers over the years and have been recently “on break” with Michael, so we are feeling slightly delicate about beginning a new relationship when we’re so raw. But, because hair plays such a big PART in how we feel about ourselves, we move on. Today Ruth and her humble side-kick…moi…will check out Trent (his skills!!!) and feel out whether he posses the qualities we look for in a hair designer. Trent will need to:

A. Be a good flirt–VERY important if he is to obtain high marks with Ruth

B. Have a kind and gentle demeanor. i.e. help her to her seat (it’s my job to make sure she gets her legs over that PAAATHETIC “seat raise” foot bar)

C. Compliments heavily and responds with “NOOOO!! GET OUT!” when she tells him she is 92yrs.(She’s actually 82yrs. but 92yrs. gets a much bigger reaction).

D. Above all else…he must be nice to the help…me!

We broke it off with our last man Michael, in case you’re wondering, because he basically leveled Eldercare Abuse charges at me for much too much “infrequent trims”. I got lectured every time I brought Ruth in and no matter how many times I explained the fact that Ruth has Dementia and some days it’s very stressful for her to sit for long periods of time or remember WHY she has to sit at all… Our boy responds:

Michael: Well than I’ll have her stand

Me: Oh, she’ll stand all right…
(Adrienne grabs Ruth’s hand and exits in huff and puff stage right, music fades, curtain falls.)

Trent turns out to be a dear and now we’re all dating. You know how it is in the early stage of a relationship… we’re all giddy, flushed and full of hope for the future. Great hair too! Ruth can’t wait for next week…definitely gives her something to look forward to…for the next five minutes, until she forgets. Girlfriends of My Sandwich Generation take note, hair is always very important no matter what stage of life you are in. Play hairdresser at home or go out to “Chop and Crop” to give mom some added pampering and help her to feel like a million bucks (without the grand expenditure). Little touches go a long way and when Mom feels great WE feel great (naturally, I would feel better if it were ME sitting in the chair). What ev-er!

On the other hand Grandma Marnie is very low maintenance. What makes her low maintenance? She wears a hair piece and she loves it sooo much she even named it…”Susie”. L-O-V-E that Susie…how can I not? She only needs a good hose down tri- yearly, a nightly comb out by granny, and a few pins to hold her down and BAM! Out we go to the awaiting Bridge Game in minutes. Susie is the third in a line of other, lesser evolved hair pieces. First Bertha (may she R.I.P) Amy (still hanging in there, but starting to show her age) and Susie who has many, many good years left in her so Marnie can be covered until she’s 100yrs .

Remember girls.. when writing your medical directives always include an addendum entitled “Grooming A-Z” and make sure your wishes are clearly represented. Plucked? Waxed? Piece or no piece?



Posted 12 years, 10 months ago at 10:22 pm.

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Bikini Ready

Wonder WomanDear Diary,

This eldercare thing can get pretty hairy. I just try to imagine what I would like to experience if it were me hanging out, living in the moment… eating two lunches and three desserts (because I claimed I couldn’t remember what they tasted like). I could pretty much shout any (censored) thing with my “outside voice” that came to mind, i.e. “that woman’s an idiot” or “she’s not very attractive is she” or this one– a classic, “I’m not doing exercise class because who’s gonna see me naked?” O.K. folks, that attitude is not gonna cut it when I’m leading my killer abs work out hour, with you grannies and pappy’s. Alzheimer’s or no Alzheimer’s you are gonna have a strong core (need this to prevent those pesky hip fractures) and a nice butt, because I have an unswerving “no junk in the trunk policy”.

May I also mention, that I hope all you mommy’s out there are doing the same. Did you work out today? Let me go on record as saying: If I’m going to take care of everyone and their mother and THEIR mothers’ mother, then you can bet your tootie I’m going to be on some kind of device, sweating it out most days.

Work-out music selection is always the biggest dilemma for me. I am so tired of Frank. Oh how I loathe doing bicep curls to “Luck be a Lady Tonight”.
I prefer a little more up-beat approach, say, Icky Thump by The White Stripes for leg lifts and then on to Instant Karma by U2 for abdominals. Hey…they like it. I don’t blast it or anything as annoying as that. It’s always played at a nice soothing level for optimal results both physically and spiritually. My absolute fav exercise is for fine motor… focusing on agility of the fingers. For those of you who wish to try it at home I’ll walk you through our specific exercise. We start with tapping our thumb and index fingers of both hands together at a nice pace..tap, tap, tap. Then we move on to the next finger we’ll call it the “bird” finger and the thumb and so on until all fingers have been tapped. Next we do finger circles, twirl the thumbs, then the index or pointer finger and then…

Just at the moment Beyonce starts singing, “if you like it then you’d better put a ring on it” we start twirling the “bird finger” in unison. As were doing our aggressive finger circles and I’m shouting over Miss B (cause you have to play Beyonce a little louder) “come on people, work it harder, get the whole arm into the game now!”. I glance up to see some possible new recruits and their loved ones watching with amusment our upper-body work out. We keep going exercising the “bird finger” because, 1. you never know when you might have to use it and 2.I love this particular exercise.

The new folk later decided to join our club…shweeeet! Did I say “our” club. This is what comes with six days a week with “my people”. I have people!

Welcome to My sandwich generation! Known for it’s tenacity, creativity and slogan “no whine with meals”.

Time to give mommy a bottle!


Posted 12 years, 10 months ago at 8:24 pm.

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Old School Art Lesson

Dear Diary,

I never know what grand surprise awaits when I go to do my daily visit with Grandma Ruth and Co. It’s pretty much a crap shoot when it comes to the type of reception I’ll get. Responses ranging from delight…”Oh, would you look who’s here! Am I lucky or what?”
To the lukewarm…”Where have you been? I’ve been sitting here doing absolutely nothing all day and then YOU waltz in.” And then the down right abusive…”YOOOOU! You know what they have us doing? Well don’t just stand there–why don’t you lead an exercise class? Do YOU think you can do that? For crying in my beer!” Say wha? Then today, for the first time in years, I got… real.

I had tip-toed in and hung back in a corner to observe the much touted and expensive” Memory Enhancement Program” in full swing. Why look there– the residents are engrossed in an appropriate and dignified project that is appropriate to their cognitive abilities. I came a little closer to peer down at the artfully done……Care Bear coloring book? Color Crayons? Are you kidding me? I look at Ruth and she has this look on her face that says…”there is no way that I’m going to participate in this Bull Shwanky if it’s the last thing I do! And, Adrienne, if you so much as glance down at the table right now…you’ll be living two floors above me in assisted living”. O.K. fine…I need to remove her as fast as possible without causing Harriet to get up and start licking my face. So, I blurt out something about having to go pluck Ruth’s chin hairs and away we dash.

As we took our walk later on, I asked Ruth about the coloring incident. It’s a good place to mention that Ruth is smack dab in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s. There are more days than not when remembering how to wash our hands can be an ordeal. Putting her shoes on may take longer than my 5k PR..which for all practical purposes is not that bad (for the 70-75 age group).

Ruth expressing her feelings can be a little like me with PMS. Incoherent and agitated. The answer I received this time made me question all over again “what’s a girl like Ruth doing in a place like this?”. “Adrienne, I think it’s degrading to have grown men and women given something a Kindergartner would do. How can they (phewww, she said “they”) treat us like children? It’s just not right and I’m not doing it again. So, you do something!”
Are you kidding me? After that monologue…Holy Shmole! Happy Daze Assisted Living Admin. run for cover..”Your hiney is mine(y)!” H-E-L-L-O ELDERCARE “professionals” are you LISTENING?

Well, that’s the way it was. Oh, forgot to mention, this new guy Ted moved in. Such a great man and highly functioning to boot (is that an oxymoron?). I mentioned this to Ruth and she looks at me and rolls her eyes. “He’s married..he’s got a wife.” “Yeah..well, I didn’t tell you to SLEEP WITH HIM!” “Oh, I guess not…” she answers, just a little too wistfully to set me on edge.
I am NOT going there!



Posted 12 years, 11 months ago at 9:32 pm.

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Welcome to Dementia High

Cool GirlDear Diary,

Some things NEVER change! How is it that the “cool” girls in High school can still wield such immense power–sixty-five years AFTER their reign? They huddle together at lunch while waiting for their cream based soups and meatloaf surprise, whispering about the “poor unfortunates” who wander the halls waiting for their “mother” to pick them up. “Your mother has to pick you up?” asks eighty-five year old Selma to eighty-seven year old Kitty, “don’t you have a car?”, Selma’s BFF Virginia gasps, casting sideways glances at the other cool girls all nodding in agreement. “Well, we all drive” Selma continues, putting emphasis on all, “what a shame you can’t.”
Finally when I’d had enough with the exchange I made a point of telling Selma and her posse that it wasn’t Kitty’s mother who was picking her up, it was a limo (never mind that it was Happy Daze Assisted Living’s limo) and that she was going out to visit her heart doctor.A hush fell over the table…Kitty was going OUT!

Well, you should have seen how fast those grannies sucked up to Kitty! The pride was beaming so bright, that the glow was bouncing of the bald spot on Odneys head and causing Ruth to cover her already dark shaded eyes. Nothing better than joining the ranks of COOL GIRL!

More from Dementia High and eldercare GONE WILD..l-a-t-e-r. You ROCK! My Sandwich Generation girlfriends!


Posted 12 years, 11 months ago at 8:19 pm.

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And here’s Granny…

Granny 1 and 2Dear Diary,

Went to pick up Grandma Ruth (mother-in-law) today to get her hair done. Flew to the elevators so fast to make the appointment time and in doing so caused a half dozen residents to scurry for cover. Up I went and before the elevator doors had fully opened, was down the hall and pushing open the faux bookcase, key padded door to Dementia Ville, USA. “Oh look!” there goes Harriet with her stuffed dog Fido. “Uh oh!” I chide Harriet, looks like puppy did a doo-dee. “No”, I’m scolded and given a big hug. “Fido is a good dog”, “Fido wants to go for a walk!” her voice gets slightly louder. “Fido wants to go OUT for a walk, NOW.” “Rats!” what did I get myself into…Turning the corner, I catch her out of the corner of my eye– my Ruth. “Lets get outta here”, she whispers. “It’s a bit nutty today.” Today? Pleeeeze!
Loong day…it just gets better!

Over and out!

Posted 12 years, 11 months ago at 10:42 pm.

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