Thursday, April 30, 2009

How to Buy a Bra for a 96-year-old

Whew! I have been on the run since last week! Last Thursday was my "errand day" with my grandmother, then Friday, I took her for a six-month checkup with her cardiologist in a city 30 miles away. We started off with car trouble, but thanks to my husband, we recovered fairly quickly and were on our way. Thank goodness the car broke down in my grandmother's driveway and not out of town!

We made a day of it... had lunch at Dixie Cafe, shopped for new bras for my grandmother (which was a dead end - they no longer make woven cotton bras!), Tetley Tea (the only brand she drinks - that city's Kroger no longer carries it), went to Hancock's and bought fabric for baby bibs and burp pads, hit a few yard sales, and got home late afternoon! My grandmother declared it a "wonderful day," in spite of the misses on bras and tea! She told a lady at the garage sale, "Debbie never has time for me when she takes me to the beauty shop - she always has something else she needs to do. Today was MY day - I spent the whole day with her."

I managed to squeeze in an auction Saturday morning before working PR at a fundraising 5k that evening for the American Cancer Society. Sunday, I took my mother-in-law to another auction, and since then I have been catching up on household chores (like laundry) and cleaning. So it is no wonder that I got mixed up on my days and thought that Tuesday was the day to take my grandmother for her pacemaker check at the local hospital. In actuality, it was not until Wednesday! So I had another day to catch up on things, and yesterday, we did indeed get the pacemaker checked and ate lunch at the hospital cafeteria. I managed to work in some furniture dusting and vacuuming afterward before heading to the church to practice with a junior-high boys' quartet!

So about the bras... we arrived at Penney's and headed for the ladie's underwear section. I directed my grandmother to the Playtex area... "No, it's not Playtex, it's 'Cross Your Heart.'" "Yes, I know," I replied, "Playtex IS Cross Your Heart." "No, it's not!" "Yes, it IS... Playtex has made 'Cross Your Heart' bras for a hundred years!" "I'll just find a saleslady," she retorted. I went ahead shopping for myself, while my grandmother toddled off to find a salesperson. Soon she was back with a lady who led her to the Playtex display. "All we have is the 'Criss-Cross' bra," she explained. "That's it!" Mam-ma said. The lady removed the bra from the box, and Mam-ma shook her head... "No, that's NOT it! I need cotton. I can't wear this polyester." We finally determined that Mam-ma meant woven cotton, and the lady explained that she didn't think anyone made a woven cotton bra any more. "WELL!" Mam-ma declared... "I'll just make do with these old things then... polyester breaks me out." Now she wears polyester camisoles and sometimes polyester panties, but she insisted that a polyester bra would break her out. So we did not get any bras. She said, "I'll look in my catalogs," meaning Old Pueblo Traders and Blair. I looked online at home and found NO woven cotton bras - except an organic draw-string gizmo from England! NOT!

At Kroger, I searched for the Tetley Tea, and when I went back to the car without any, she was aggravated... "well my friend just bought me some here last month." I told her that her friend must have bought the last box, because Kroger didn't carry it any more, and I even asked a manager. "Well, he doesn't know what he is talking about!" she said. I told her I hoped he did... he was the manager - surely he knows what his store carries. She insisted that no tea is like Tetley Tea, and she even told my mother and her husband as much over the weekend!

I decided to look at Wal-Mart for a cotton knit bra and see if that might work. I found one today that looked like it might be a possibility, and they only had one in her size - 36C. So I bought it. I took it home and showed it to her, and I said, "Try it on and see if it will work. If so, the next time they have some more in your size, I'll get them." She tried it on - it fit just fine. I took the tag off and stuck it in my pocket for reference. "Next time I see these at Wal-Mart," I told her, "I'll get some more." She folded the bra and set it aside, saying, "Well one time I got a 36B and it fit real good. See if they have a 36B. I'll not wash this one just yet." I questioned her and realized that she doesn't plan to keep the 36C (which was what she asked me to get) if the B-cup fits! I still had to return to Wal-Mart to get OUR groceries, so I said, "I'll look for a B-cup," and she said "Now don't go back to Wal-Mart for that today!" I told her, "I have to go back to Wal-Mart anyway - for OUR groceries. If I find a bra for you, I'll return the C-cup NEXT week." She said that was fine, as she would not want to keep it. Geez!

Wal-Mart did have one B-cup bra in this style. They also had Tetley Tea! I bought two boxes, and my mom had already bought her a box. So that crisis is averted momentarily, as well. Now all I have to do is return the original bra next week, and we should be okay - at least on the "foundations" front!

Did I mention that my great-nephew is due to come into this world at any minute? Yep, we are on BABY WATCH! From one end of the spectrum to the other, there are no dull moments in my household - and I'm juggling as fast as I can!

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