I know I am not the only one with a crazy relative in the family. Maybe for you it’s that aunt that knits those lovely holiday sweaters, or a distant cousin once arrested for public indecency, or maybe it’s your mom, who packs you lunches of Spam sandwiches even though you are 35 and no longer living at home. For me, it’s my Grandmother. My friend Tracie and I swear our Grandmothers are sisters, somehow separated at birth. She verbalizes her every train of thought, stalks the neighbors, and viscously guards the mailbox every morning until the mail carrier arrives to safely transport her mail.
We live on the same land as my Grandmother, right next door, so we are front and center for all of her antics. A common sight in the summer in our joint yard is what we call the Pink Darth Vader. She garbs up to mow the lawn in long pants, a long sleeved shirt (usually over a T-shirt), a pink shower cap (so she won’t have to wash dirt and grass out of her hair, but after all that sweating in the 100 degree Texas heat, you would think she would wash her hair anyway), a pink face mask and plastic goggles. If she dons gloves, there is less than 2 square inches of skin showing on her total body. Two summers ago, she had to wear a foot/ankle brace for a couple months. She covered it up with a plastic bag when she mowed to keep it from getting dirty. This topped off the Pink Darth Vader outfit perfectly. I snuck around the house, taking pictures of her out of my windows for 15 minutes. (Maybe I’m the crazy one) (You can see the pics on my facebook page.)
A few more examples of her silliness:
Someone bought her a cute metal ladybug bird house one year. The birds enter through the black “spots” on the ladybug’s wings. Now it hangs on the porch with a yellow grocery bag sticking out of the bird holes. Why? She doesn’t want birds getting in there.
Often, she calls my mother with news such as this: “I just happened to be looking out the window (the most inconvenient window in the house to get to, in the back bedroom, behind a bed) and noticed that Jordan’s car was gone all night!” My mom may or may not remember to mention this in passing to me. This could mean our car was in the shop, one of us had a late night out, or simply, she didn’t see it. Her vision isn’t the best.
She spends a lot of time spying on us and the neighbors. Sometimes when we are outside, we can see her finger poking through the blinds in the window. She’s trying to be stealthy and see what we are doing without us knowing. I’ll just wave at her real big. Her finger will slowly retreat back from the recesses of the blinds as she pretends she was never there. Frequently, she just “happens” to see things that only took two seconds to happen. Like Riley picking a flower, or a bird flying by, or one of us dropping a pen. She sees all. It’s spooky.
All of that to give you some back ground info… here is a conversation I had with her recently when she mentioned she had a sore throat.
Me: “Did you take Tylenol?”
Me: “Why not?”
Gma: “Well I take Drug X and they say (she always says “they say”) you can’t take any pain meds with it.”
Me: “I think they mean narcotics, not Tylenol.”
Here I place a phone call to a pharmacist friend to verify that yes, you can take Tylenol.
Me: “You can take Tylenol.”
Here I basically cram the Tylenol down her throat. Okay, well, not cram, but I did go get it (and it was actually in date!) hand it to her and bring her a glass of water. (I went over for some ibuprofen last week. She gave me some that went out of date 11 years ago, but that’s okay because “they say” it’s still good.) I told her to take it again in 6 hours, even if her throat didn’t hurt.
I call her later to make sure she is still taking it.
Me: “Did you take your Tylenol?”
Me: “Why not?”
Gma: “Well, my throat doesn’t hurt as much anymore.”
Me: “That’s because you took Tylenol.”
Gma: “No, it’s not because of the Tylenol.
I give up. She calls me a couple hours later to ask about taking more. Apparently, it WAS the Tylenol.
Gma: “Well, this paper I have says not to take Aspirin or Exedrin or …”
She proceeds to name off a whole list or other random stuff that most normal people would never take in their lifetime, like Ginko Biloba (she butchered the pronunciation) or Melatonin.
Me: “Tylenol is not on that list.”
Gma: “Well, what if something has Tylenol in it? What’s Feverfew?”
Me: “It’s not Tylenol!”
Gma: “Well…. I don’t know.”
Me: “Just take the Tylenol. Every six hours.”
Gma: “Well… okay.”
I call the next day.
Me: “Are you taking Tylenol?”
Gma: “Well, the doctor called me in an antibiotic.”
Me: “Ok, but if your throat still hurts you need to take Tylenol.”
Gma: “Well, the girl didn’t say anything about taking it.”
What I wanted to say: “Well the girl on the phone figured that you were smart enough to take it if you were hurting. People don’t tell people to take Tylenol. They should just know to do it on their own. An antibiotic does NOT contain Tylenol. TAKE THE F***ing TYLENOL!!!” But I said it nicer than that.
I guarantee you she found a 4th reason to not take it. But she said she feels better today, thank GOD. She’s a MESS when she’s sick. She carries around an empty yogurt cup with a tissue crammed in it. What does she do with it, you ask? She spits in it. No, not stuff she is hacking up, just regular ole spit. She won’t swallow it. She spits it in that yogurt cup. Just mention Grandma’s spit cup to anyone in my family and you get disgusted faces all around.
So there’s a little about my Grandma. To change gears…I’ve not even started on my “non-twoweektrial” blogging and already I’ve had a protest from an old friend that wants me to keep the two week trials going. So give me some ideas. Some NICE ones. I know where most of you live.
I also thought I might have certain days where I write about certain things. I read a really great blog from a hilarious writer here, and she has “My Single Male Friend Fridays” and “Writing Wednesdays”. I like the idea of days being assigned a topic… like “Mexican Tuesdays” in my husband’s work cafeteria and “Margarita Thursdays” on the set of Chelsea Lately. I could try something like that. What do you think?