Previous Post: Sugar-Free   Next Post: HUNG UP

Self Service

Ruth being waited on hand and foot

Dear Diary,

I put my life in danger EVERY single day. You would think it would be an easy task— taking care of my mother-in-law Ruth (dementia) and my granny Marnie (electric scooter bound girl). But oh how wrong you are. I have now officially lost track of how many times I have been scolded for doing “too much” of the right thing.. the wrong way. How hard can this be? Marnie gives me a list of foodstuffs she needs for her apartment kitchen. Fine. I’m reviewing the list and I make a mental note (for what THAT’S worth these days) about the few inconsequential elements I find to be missing from her list. On the backside of a slightly used napkin I read scribbled in pen:

1-case Diet Pepsi
2 Bags Fresh Express premium Iceberg salads
2 dozen cherry filled Danish (marked down- day old)
1 plastic lemon filled with “juice”
3 Bags Oreo Cookies
Velveeta processed “cheese”
Prunes (duh)
Fiber One Cereal
Bag of Jolly Time popcorn
2 Red Wines
2 White Wine
(Marnie’s sleep aid of choice)

There were two more items— but I couldn’t quite make out what they said. Apparently they were ordered to assist the prunes and Fiber One in their strenuous job ahead. Off I trot to the store.. pathetic nutritionally unbalanced list in hand thinking to myself how I will spruce up the list a bit with perhaps a vegetable or two, maybe a fruit (no bananas because we get those for free) and some kind of protein..

As of today..I have been officially taken off any kind of grocery duty for the sin, which I committed. Actually sin-s-s-s. I bought a few little..ummm “extras”:

One rotisserie chicken, 3 lbs of lemons, a sour cream coffeecake, 3 bags of baby carrots, a tub of large curd cottage cheese, a smoked salmon (in case Marnie entertains) and a few more things that I would prefer to not mention for fear of looking foolish. I thought they might be enjoyed, that’s all. Feh.

Why do I even bother to try and make Marnies life easy? She doesn’t WANT it easy. If it’s easy what the heck is she going to talk about with the other old girls when they sit around the bridge table? I.. by my pathetic timing have all but destroyed her reputation of being “completely self-sufficient” and never needing to “bother” anyone to help. Cripes! I walk into KillJoy Assisted Living and run into Marnie and her posse playing bridge. They were in the middle of a discussion lead by who else— MARNIE. Topic? How difficult it is to be left all alone without anyone to help. TAAA DAAA! Here I show up with a truckload of groceries announcing to all— the four-course lunch menu of the day. BUZZZZZZZ. MY BAD. Because of my careless behavior and timing issues, my poor Marnie will be ostracized for being “different”. No one wants to be pegged as different. Marnie has informed me she has chosen to “suffer” rather then let me “help” with the shopping and a few other tasks..

Task1- Refrigerator Cleaner- Status: terminated
I THOUGHT I was being helpful when I offered to clean out the refrigerator. Did I know you hide hid your nicest expensive fake ring in the faux rusty Schlitz beer can? Hello? Lock Jaw? Plus.. You DON’T DRINK BEER!

Task2- Public Bathroom Door Holder-Status: terminated
I didn’t know you wanted to get OUT of the flipping bathroom stall Marnie. I thought you were trying to help me keep the door CLOSED so it wouldn’t swing open while you were in process..

Task3-Wheelchair Pusher-Status: pending upon further review
In my defense the slope of the hill did not look to be that big of a deal and you have great tires. Further more.. I see no reason why we can’t go over all types of terrain. One more thing Marnie.. It is so not my fault that I took you down those steps facing forward. I THOUGHT you wanted to admire the many varieties of flowers they planted. (I guess you did THAT:)

Good luck trying to get all that “junk” food in your scooter Marnie. It’s just a matter of time before you get really sick of VELVEETA. You had it so good. How could you FIRE me?

So herein lies the problem.

Knowing the inside scoop as we NOW do My Sandwich Generation peeps..we’re faced with the difficult decision. Should we do it for them or let them do it themselves? This is not an easy call. We WANT our senior family to have their independence as long as they can..believe me..I can’t say this enough. AS. LONG. AS. THEY. CAN. But, we want to make their life easier at the same time. I find the “wait until asked, but offer frequently” approach that I use with Ruth works super great.
I offer.
She agrees.
I do.

Always at your service-

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


7 Replies

  1. Adrienne May 28th 2009

    Glad you enjoyed. Thank you for the comment! I post every OTHER come back soon!

  2. Awesome post! Been there…damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Write more please!!

  3. Loved your post. My mom lives with my sister, so some of what you are experiencing is 500 miles from me. I have offered upteen times to have mom for a visit here, to give sissy a break. But my mom refuses to fly anymore. I’ll be back.

  4. Ted Eleftheriou May 29th 2009

    This is so funny. You’re killing me! And I swear I’m not stalking you!! (@HollywoodTheo). Signed up RSS.

    Reminds me of how my wife’s grandma used to put loaves of bread in the microwave. She thought it was a breadbox. She never even plugged it in. Probably a good thing!

    In the Fridge well, no Schlitz or for that matter Pabst Blue Ribbon beer, but other relics of archeological significance. Empty metal ice trays, year old tuna salad in the ice box, and I’m not sure, could have been the top of her wedding cake 67 years ago. Didn’t want to eat it on their 1st anniversary. It was too pretty.

    Lived in a housing project for the elderly. Always used to blame “those people” for stealing the buttons in the elevator. Whoever “those people” were. If I’d ask, she’d say, “You know… “T - H - O - S - E PEOPLE!”

    “Oh” I’d reply. As if by saying it louder and slower I’d get it the second time.

    Hey keep up the great job!

  5. Adrienne May 29th 2009

    Ted you are awesome! I am so appreciative of your support and SO glad you will be following Granny through RSS. I love YOUR GIL story.. it is so par for the course. It’s these universal experiences that just crack me up. The TUNA thing I know so well. The cake–classic! Wishing you and all T-H-O-S-E people the best.
    Thanks a million “Hollywood”.


  6. Adrienne May 29th 2009

    Thank you very much Bevson for visiting and reading. You are a big support to your sister..I can tell. Good for you! If mom won’t budge what are ya gonna do? Just ask sis what SHE needs in the way of support or break. That action, it itself will speak volumes.
    Wishing you all the best.

  7. Adrienne May 29th 2009

    Sandwiched..I am sure you have been in the EXACT position..LOL! What’s a girl to do? We just keep on laughing that’s what we do!
    Sending you all support champ!