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Family Jewels

Dripping in jewelsDear Diary,

I have come to the conclusion are a girls best friend. Not just diamonds mind you— but any kind of it a faux Jade stretchy bracelet, shiny cocktail sized ring with a big gaping hole in the center or strands of the most finely crafted, one of a kind, hand painted dry macaroni product. Even if the girl has Alzheimer’s and her vision is so poor that she demands to wear mix and match clip on earrings with just the clips remaining..that deeply ingrained ritual of putting on the jewels will continue till the very LAST GREEN BEAD on her tin Mardi Gras lavalier busts.

My MIL Ruth (dementia) may not remember much these days..but she always remembers that jewelry completes the look of most any outfit. That’s why I was not one tiny bit surprised this morning when I walked in on Ruth decked out in her Laura Ashley pajama top tucked into her Liz Claiborne shorts bedecked in finery from head to toe. Ahhh. Good Ruth. I see you’ve finished off the sporty “come as you are” look with a nice double strand of beige plastic pearls, a crocodile textured cuff..with half of the croc. paper peeled away and one pearl clip on earring..minus the pearl.

“My.. aren’t WE looking nicely put together today. Who’s your personal shop-per?”

We all know WHO her personal shopper is.. HEllO-O-O-O? Ex NORDY girl.. PEOPLE. But, I am not going to take credit once the clothes are deposited in Ruth’s closet (and ruin my rep). That’s when it’s up to my CLIENT to decide how she wants to express herself..create her own special look with the pieces I’ve brought for her.

“I like what you’ve done with that one earring thing. Kind of edgy chic without looking like you’re TRYING too hard.”

“What did you do with my BROOCH and necklace? I‘ve looked everywhere. Did you borrow them and FORGET to tell me?”

Mmmmmm..K. Blame it on me why don’t cha?

“It was my faaaaavorite pin and I have been racking my brain (as if it hasn’t suffered enough) trying to find it. That’s just the s-t-r-a-n-g-e-s-t thing.”

Missing jewels are a common complaint around Happy Daze Assisted Living. You really shouldn’t leave your nice Magical Shrinky Dink plastic flower pin laying around for someone to slip in their pocket..


Not that I’m naming names..but when Greta showed up for lunch and came to sit with us. Ruth and I started to eye her “Brooch” with high suspicion and began kicking each other under the table (OOPS..sorry Fred) and doing small eye circles. That’s when I began some subtle interrogation tactics and she got all..“Do you like it? My husband bought in for me in the South of France. It was so romantic. He got down on his hands and knees and asked me to marry him. I think there was a necklace to go with it..but I misplaced it. YOU know how that is?” Ruth and I fell silent. Does Greta really think we would fall for that tale? Puh-leeze.
He proposed with a SHRINKY-DINK pin?

“Oh that is sooo romantic. How long were you there? I remember the cutest little..”


My turn to ask a few know..see if I could make the old sly fox slip.

“Greta when did you visit France?”

GRETA: Ummm. Did I say that? I’d have to say a month or so ago.

RUTH: Me too!

Ruth had wanted to wear the “expensive” macaroni necklace to lunch so badly.
We spent about a half an hour looking in pockets, searching through drawers and sorting through the garbage (other wise known as the recycle center..everything thrown in..magically reappears). NOTHING. I always have faith that these things happen for a, I decided to have Ruth look on the bright side..

“You wouldn’t have wanted to wear it anyhow. It’s NOT IN. Haven’t you noticed that NOBODY’S wearing them? Look at this (handing her a copy of VOGUE) do you see anyone wearing that necklace in HERE?”

RUTH: I’m surprised.

ME: yeah I KNOW..pffffff.

Of course I rely heavily on Ruth’s bad eyes when feeding her semi-truths such as this. Probably every girl on ROAM (dementia floor) would be wearing her colored macaroni necklace today..except granny. Well, whatever. Out of sight out of mind. There will be others..unfortunately.

Confession time. About that expensive pasta bauble..I don’t know how it happened but.. I found it on the back seat of my car.

I DO know how it happened. I thought it was ridiculous for Ruth to ruin a perfectly good look with some pathetic excuse for an accessory, so I wrapped it up, tucked it in my purse and smuggled it out. I don’t think I had any witnesses..but Greta kept giving me a conspiratorial smirk after lunch, which makes me wonder.

I thought the whole matter long forgotten (10 min. rule) and then tonight my big mouth children called granny:

“It was such a great day. Alien dude had a play date and I got the TV all to MYSELF. Then I went swimming and had ice cream. Huh? We had a great dinner tonight. Yup. We had pasta..”

CRIPES. NOOOOOOOO. Don’t go there. My kid is looking at me like my hair is on fire. I’m mouthing “say goodbye” and he’s just laughing..I am SO going to ground your little..

“ was
PURPLE. Yeah. Purple PASTA. I don’t know how it got that way. You’ll have to ask my mom.” MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM! PHHHHHHOOOOONNNNEEEEEEE!


My Sandwich Generation..May I suggest you hide all of your seniors’ expensive jewels and load up on disposable bling. They’ll feel like a million bucks without setting you back more then $20. Then if it turns up biggie. Now about that ring with the hole in it. Let’s see your finger.

Put a ring on it!


Copyright © 2009 My Sandwich Generation. All rights reserved.

Posted 12 years, 6 months ago at 11:09 pm.

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MIL Ruth on a tripDear Diary,

What’s my most fav thing in the whole wide world? When my MIL Ruth (dementia) gets a brilliant flash of genius. When these flashes occur..I’m almost always rendered speechless and for those of you who know a very hard thing to do. Here I am sipping a pear and prune Mojito out on the Happy Daze Assisted Living’s patio, checking out the eats for the old peeps BBQ and who should my eyes behold involved in what appears to be a cut-throat game of Plastic Pin Bowling..but my MIL. It was hard to miss her because she was the only one in the group STANDING upright. Plus, being the fashionista that she is.. was working the “cool and sassy” Summer look  like nobody’s business. Not to be snobbish or anything..but  everyone else had at least four seasons ago winter knits on..with the exception of Jo..who tends to gravitate more towards the patchwork denim look. Can’t get anymore SCREAMING 1980 then that shirt JOJO. But my girl..FINE looking. Green stripe tank (perhaps a little too much boobage exposure, but so what), white linen Capri’s and a cute little strappy sandal..with hardly a hint of visible support knee-high.. rolled down to her ankle for that innocent school girl bobby sock effect. It works. That’s all I can say.

Because I didn’t want to interfere with her game— I just refilled my beverage cup (for which I will suffer l-a-t-e-r) and headed over to the spectator section to sit with Shirley, Blanche and Ruth’s ex (No.4) John. Ruth looks up for a brief moment with a slightly ticked look upon her face. Would the individual responsible for asking one of the bystanders..a little too loudly— if he was “going to eat all his chips?” pleeeeeze pipe down.

“SHHHHHHH. I can’t concentrate. And you don’t NEED those anyway.”

Rats. I hand back John his chips (minus one or two) and his cookie (he won’t see the bite)..then settle in to watch the remainder of the set. Ruth has the form of a professional bowler. She takes the bowling ball in both hands, brings it back between her two straddled legs and heaves it sky high.

GAWD HAVE MERCY. Heads. Heads.

Watching Helga run for cover is so NOT funny. I jump up to save poor Gart’s noggin all the while motioning to him to throw his arms over his head. Gart’s looking at me trying to GUESS what I am. “No this isn’t charades dude. I’m not an APE. Hands over your h-e-a-d.” If I had to guess..I’d say ole Gartie boy escaped with nary ¼ inch to..                                                        SPARE. WOO H-O-O.. WOO H-O-O. I can hear the impact of the pins as they’re sent flying in a million directions. Not. One. Standing. That’s how you take out the way or another. Let’s go eat granny.. before you knock um even MORE senseless.

There is nothing like Summer over on the beaches in ROAM (dementia floor). All activity screeches to a halt ( IF it ever moved in the first place) and all residents move outside for fun and games in the sun. Long hobbles around the courtyard (10 x 10), people out walking their (stuffed) dogs named Fido, guys “hanging” out (of their wheel chairs) and over their walkers.. watching as the girls go by..

T-W-E-E-E-E-T      T-W-E-E-T

OMG. Did I just hear someone WHISTLE? Old man..How dare you ogle in this direction. Look away Harry..that’s my MOTHER you’re whistling at. Ummm. Oh. MY. Mistake. Better adjust your HEARING AID then.. because someone might get the wrong idea. Ruth steers me in the direction of the cool girls table and floats an idea..

“I was thinking that since it’s SUMMER we should think about a little vacation of some kind..maybe Hawaii would be good…”

Of course! We would have SUCH A BLAST. Why didn’t I think of that? Let’s lay out the logistics. First we’d have to pack. Do you have a swimsuit. Oh wait. Yes you do. The one I got in the MATERNITY section of Wal-Mart. OK. We’re good. Ummm. Going through those metal detectors. I could p-r-o-b-a-b-l-y get you to agree to enter them if I tell you it’s a dressing room at NORDSTROM. Then there’s the seven hour flight to paradisiacal HEL..

Yeah. I can think of NOTHING I we (hubby would naturally be a part of the plan) would like MORE than to board a plane with you and the kids for a nice restful get-away. I can just picture us on the plane..

RUTH (Fifteen minutes into air travel): Are we almost done with the bus ride because I’d like to get out for some fresh air.

RUTH (Twenty-five minutes into air travel): Why are we just SITTING here like a bunch of dummies. Why don’t you go lead a Happy Hands class?

RUTH: (One hour into air travel): I need to go to the bathroom again in that “little closet”. Can we manage to do it this time without you falling on me while I’m BUSY?

I have a better idea granny. I could take you over to Club Pretensia and TELL you we’re in Hawaii. We could lay around..the kids could swim. I could “pop” for a drink with an umbrella and then when you’re ready to sleep in “your own bed”, back in the plane (car) we go to our ten minute flight to Happy Daze. Of course I didn’t count on you recognizing anyone at the CLUB..because that’s not something you usually do. And then you have to start shouting out to her and waving..

“MARILYN? Why yes it is. I’m sure of it. YOOOU HOOO.. Over HERE Marilyn! What a coincidence having to come all this way to HAWAII and bumping into you. I just can’t believe it. After—

All. These. Years.

How long are you staying on MAUI?”


My Sandwich Generation BFF’s..everybody needs to take a break once in awhile from mowing the laundry and chasing after our lower and upper slices. Find a way to escape vacation for even a day..without your seniors. Very necessary in avoiding potential GI distress. There are always options..respite care, temporary at home care, unsuspecting friends.. Just find a way to come up for air and take a big cleansing breath. You have no choice..sinking is NOT an option. Start swimming.



Copyright © 2009 My Sandwich Generation. All rights reserved.

Posted 12 years, 7 months ago at 9:26 pm.

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