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Minding P’s and Q’s

Getting ready to put out

Dear Diary,

One would think that my mother-in-law (Ruth) lives a very simple life over at Happy Daze Assisted Living-ROAM (dementia care). Really. What could POSSIBLY be so tough about getting up, eating breakfast, forgetting that you’ve eaten breakfast.. eating breakfast AGAIN, getting dressed and having your daughter-in-law show up to take you out for fun and excitement beyond your wildest musings. But does become challenging when your “secretary” has very little or NO talent in the “social booking” arena as Ruth’s does.

Today first thing, Ruth and I sit down on the bed and pull out the calendar for this week. Well, there was one little thing that we did before we sat down on the bed.

ME: Ruth I need a sample.

RUTH: What kind of sample.

ME (throwing my eyes towards the bathroom): You know. A S-A-M-P-L-E.

RUTH (light going on in head): Ohhhh. A SAMPLE. I’ll be right back.

This should be interesting.

Why lookie here? Ruth is proudly handing me a mini-size Estee Lauder face cream from (looking at container) if I had to guess I’d say 2006. Maybe 2005. I know this was a gift with purchase because I gave her that for..I think it was her BIRTHDAY three years ago. Came with a Cherry Pink lipstick and matching Blush in a sweet little blue plastic bag.

Close. But not quite what I was looking for. I go over my definition of “sample” with Ruth using medical terms that might spark her memory of my task at hand.


Ruth the RULES of the game are this: you start only on my “go” and not a moment before. If you DO go early, you’re gonna miss the target and you’ll be penalized and brought back to Starbucks to drink yet another Venti Mocha. Do you understand the rules? (Ruth nods her head) Good. I don’t want any mistakes THIS time.

On go the gloves and the little plastic hat (pee collector). Please have a seat Madame.. We’re off and running. SCORE! Caught it on the first try. Ruth is a little irked that I made her “put-out” without telling her before hand. You really can’t blame her. How would I like it if my DIL showed up and said “I need three ounces and I need it now?” I just don’t like to mention these things prior to delivery for fear of performance anxiety. Then it’s all DRIP.  DRIP.  DRIP.  and what am I going to do with that?

Back to the business of the day; the illustrious social calendar. Ruth wants to see what I’ve got booked for her so far.

I clear my throat and begin my decidedly amateurish presentation..

“As you see on graph A. Ruth, I have scheduled you cousin Jan from 11:00-11:45 on Monday, thus giving you time to have lunch and be ready for your 1:15 nails with Xuck.” Then I put Debbie..You remember little Debbie? I placed her in the 2:00-3:00 time slot, for maybe a nice walk– a cup of free tea and cookies downstairs, whatever. Then you’ll come back and lay down. From 5:00-6:00 your old neighbor Djimon Hounsou and his friend Kimmora will stop by and bring you down for dinner. At 7:00-8:00 some of the gals from your old Bridge game thought they might have a prune-tini or two with you and then..bed no later the 8:30.

I glance up at Ruth so proud of the orderly and skilled way I have organized her day. What a fab girl I am. Well rounded. Together. Medically trained.

Ruth has a completely befuddled look upon her face.

RUTH: I can’t do Monday.

ME: What do you mean “you can’t do Monday”? Of course you can do Monday.

RUTH: You’ll have to call..what did you say her name is?

ME: Jan.

RUTH: Who is Jan? I don’t know a Jan? Do I know a Jan?

ME: She’s your cousin.

RUTH: I don’t have a cousin named Jan? Are you sure it’s Jan and not JOAN?

ME: Ummm. Well, it could have been Joan..

RUTH: Well, I can’t do Monday with…


RUTH: I thought you said her name is JAN. WHICH is it? I have a bus ride that I’m not giving up on Monday. Don’t you remember that we go EVERY Monday? Honestly. (Quick internal pause) And dinner’s out. It’s “happy hands and a movie” night. You’ll just need to switch it around.

FEHHHHHH! Look what I’ve become? Maybe Ruth should just text Djimon herself.

My Sandwich Generation Mama’ won’t even KNOW how to answer your own CELL phone, when your own yummy eldercare mouthful arrives on it’s plate. This is what I’ve settled on:

“Thank you for calling Ruth’s social secretary’s office. This is Adrienne. I’m away from the phone right now— probably driving Ruth to some appointment or function. Please leave your name—spelled out s-l-o-w-l-y, date of birth, social security number, mother’s maiden name and phone number and how you know Ruth and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can remember what I did with your number. Thanks for calling. Have a nice day. Don’t be a stranger.



Posted in Uncategorized 15 years ago at 11:21 pm.


4 Replies

  1. That was a very funny episode. Go Ruth. I wondered if she knows about the blog?
    Has she ever read it?

  2. Adrienne May 13th 2009

    Hi Julia,
    Thank you for your comment. Yes, Ruth reads the blog on a regular she can REMEMBER what we did that day.
    All the best!

  3. Ummm….Adrienne dear, you might want to change the incentive to ‘hit the target’. I think I would miss on purpose if I could go to Starbucks again for another Vintage Mocha.

    I’m just sayin……


  4. Adrienne May 14th 2009

    LOL! No kidding. I’ll take you for a Venti mocha “L” any time you want to go!