Thursday, April 17, 2008

Why I Dislike Thursdays!

Thursday is my day to do errands for my grandmother - she gets her hair done at the beauty salon. I pick up her prescriptions and get her groceries and anything else she needs done. Except for the times when she is under the weather, as she has been lately, I have pretty well reduced my time spent with her to this one day a week. A couple of years ago I was talking to her by phone every day and visiting her a couple to three times a week, and it was just not pleasant. It had gotten to the point where my husband voiced concern that I was going to end up with bitter feelings toward my grandmother... and that would, sadly, be how I remembered her.

I could say, "It's a beautiful day today," and she would wind the conversation around to a complaint or a comment that would escalate into an argument. I consulted my pastor as to how to regain my sanity and keep the peace, and his suggestion was to limit my time to one day a week. His contention was that there were plenty of people seeing after my grandmother - Home Health nurses and aides, neighbors and friends who visited often, and other family members. "Don't call every day," he said. "Limit your visits to the errand day and phone calls to once or twice a week. She will fill in the gaps if she wants or needs to talk to you."

So, I limit my visits to Thursdays, when possible, knowing full well that my grandmother tells everyone who will listen that "Debbie doesn't call or come by much, and she almost never has time to just sit and visit." Occasionally I will sit and visit on errand day, and lately, I have spent lots of extra time with my grandmother, taking care of many of her needs while she has been ill, dispensing her medications into the little daily pill boxes, filling out forms so she can get the check from the government to boost our economy! Until recently, the arguments - and opportunities for them - had greatly diminished.

Today, I spent my morning rushing from one task to another. I wanted to get some paperwork done at my desk. I needed to bake a meatloaf so we would have something to eat this weekend, as we are going to be busy, and meal prep time will be short. I wanted to make brownies to take to an old neighbor whose mother passed away. I needed to load several items into the car in preparation for my afternoon of errands in town. I needed to sneak in a walk for my health and sanity. Then it was time for lunch and a quick shower. Since my afternoon activities included attending a funeral, the shower/dressing took a little extra time. I still managed to make it all fit and be out the door by 1:10 p.m. My grandmother's hair appointment was 1:30, and I knew it would take about 10 minutes to get to her house, and another 5 or so to get her to the hairdresser's. There is no sense being early to a hairdresser, especially when you have been sick and are weak and tire easily. I figured 1:30 on the dot made perfect sense, especially today!

I arrived at my grandmother's house and opened the door, and there she stood. "Well," she said. "I wasn't sure you were coming." I asked why she thought that, and she looked at the clock, "It's 1:20," she announced. I told her that I always came about 1:20, and we were right on time. I gathered her grocery list and garage door opener, helped her down the steps and got her on her walker and out into my vehicle. We got in and started to buckle up, and she said, "Are you like my friend, Ruby... do you watch a story (soap opera)?" I told her no, and she said, "Well, I just wondered if that was why you don't like to come early - if maybe you were a watchin' a story." I told her I didn't have time for a "story," and I showed her my list. I said, "This is what I have to do this afternoon, and my list for this morning was just as long." That didn't faze her.

I got her to the hairdresser, who insisted we were NOT late... although I am not sure that registered with my grandmother either. On my grandmother's grocery list were "minute steaks." She had raved yesterday about some wonderful "minute steaks" she had put in the skillet and slo-cooked - they were delicious, she said. She told me my mother got them for her at Wal-Mart, and she described tenderized meat... a staple of my mother's table when I was a child. She said, "I want more of that!" So, I perused the meat counter at Wal-Mart and found two packages on sale and bought them both. As I drove her home from the beauty shop, I told her about the steaks. "They are pork, aren't they?" she asked. "Nooooooooo..." I answered, thinking that omigosh, here comes a bomb! "Minute steaks are beef!" Here it comes... "I don't eat beef!" she yelled. "I can't eat beef!" I told her it never occurred to me that her minute steaks were pork, and yes, I knew she doesn't eat beef, but she DOES eat a hamburger occasionally, and I just thought she must eat a very tender minute steak occasionally, too! Besides, I mistakenly perused the pork case first, and there weren't any minute steaks, and that's when I realized that - DUH - minute steaks were BEEF - and I found them in the beef case!

My grandmother said, "Well, minute steaks ARE pork. That's what I eat. I don't eat beef!" I told her I knew that, and I realized now that she meant pork. But honestly, they didn't have any pork steaks. "Yes they do!" she retorted. "No, I promise... I looked!" I told her. "Well I know they do!" she argued. I told her, "Mam-ma, they just might have been OUT of pork steaks today!" "Well, whatever," she said. "Just take those beef steaks home with you and eat them. They're paid for." I told her I would. "Just take 'em home. They're paid for!" I told her that was fine... I would take them. "Well, they're paid for!" she said again..."you may as well take 'em!" I said, "Okay, Mam-ma, I will take the steaks home." Later she said, "Now if you don't want to take those steaks today, just put them in my freezer!" I told her "No... I am taking the steaks!"

So, I got my grandmother home from the hairdresser and returned to the pharmacy for her medicine, and to another grocery store for PORK minute steaks! I finished my errands and attended the funeral, and then returned to her house yet again to dispense her medications into the little boxes. She "helped" me by watching me and talking while I was trying to dole out the pills. Instead of halving the heart medication, I halved one of her blood pressure pills and had to go back and put two halves in each compartment! She never will understand that one... and I finally had to tell her, "I messed up." I wanted to add... "because you were talking to me and watching over my shoulder!" But I held my tongue - for once!

I don't want it to be this way. Each Thursday, I pray that God will give me peace of mind and kindness of heart and tongue... and that we will have a good time together. So far, I am batting pretty poorly. I know there are lessons to be learned here... I'm just not sure what they are! I know I am not the only one going through this...and if you are on the same path... welcome! If there is truly safety in numbers, we oughta be just fine!

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