Friday, April 30, 2010

Fodder for the Blog

You can't make these things up.  Today, I ran over Mam-ma's walker!  The day had been going fairly well.  I had run errands for myself, then picked up Mam-ma and dropped her off at the hairdresser's.  She didn't need many groceries, so I decided to buy mine at the same time.  That, too, went smoothly.  I even stopped at the meat market for some steaks for our dinner.

When I returned to the hairdresser's, Mam-ma was sitting in a chair waiting on me.  The hairdresser was running behind when I left, but somehow she had managed to catch up - and then some.  Also waiting was a little friend of ours - and my birthday buddy - whom I call "Maw Mac."  She will be 92 on our birthday in July.  Maw Mac's daughter Marsha arrived in Maw Mac's Buick, and she parked perpendicular to my vehicle - and part of another - in the street.  So we weren't going anywhere until Maw Mac was loaded.  Marsha walked out with Mam-ma and up the passenger side of my vehicle.  She instructed Maw Mac to follow me around the driver's side of my vehicle, because that would put her in the right spot to get in her back seat.  Both ladies had walkers.

I never gave Mam-ma's walker another thought.  She got into my car.  I showed Marsha and Maw Mac pictures of Timothy, and then Marsha helped her mother into the car.  I got in, and when Marsha had driven away, I backed out of the parking lot.  I knew right away I hit something - but what?  I looked around and there was nothing behind me... and then I realized... the walker!  I stopped and got out, and there it lay, beside Mam-ma's door... warped, flattened along one spot, and ruined.  Mam-ma had folded it up and laid it against the back door on her side of the vehicle.  She NEVER does this.  I always fold and put away her walker.  Had she left it... we would not have hit it.  But it was partly my fault, too for not remembering it.

So I will take another walker that Mam-ma has - the one with the "roly-poly wheels" - and have a new walker outfitted for her on Monday.  She was not the least bit upset, because she is not happy with her current walker situation anyway, and this represents an opportunity for something new.  She had just commented inside the beauty shop that she wished her walker had feet on it like Maw Mac's - some sort of flat contraption I'd never seen before on the back legs.  I'll just have to see what the Medical Supply store can offer us.  I had cold groceries today and it was 80 degrees, humid as the tropics, and stormy, so I was not stopping now.

I rolled into Mam-ma's driveway and parked beside her friend Ruby.  I said, "Wonder what Ruby is up to..." and Mam-ma said, "Well, I'm sure we're going to the grocoery store!"  I had Mam-ma's groceries in the back seat!  Sure enough, we unpacked Mam-ma's groceries (buttermilk, "sweet" milk, orange juice and Three Musketeers) and she grabbed her purse.  I got one of her spare walkers for her, and she said, "Oh, no... I'm not taking that.  I don't take a walker to the store."  Ruby chimed in... "She holds onto my arm to get into the store, and then she pushes a buggy - she doesn't know what to do with that walker in the store."  I just shrugged and said, "Have a good weekend, girls!"  It was all I could do.  I'd bet a dollar to a donut Mam-ma buys more groceries while she is out with Ruby.

Fridays are always an adventure!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Can You See Me Now?

This is a big week for my grandmother.  Thursday night is the annual "Widows Banquet" at her church.  I did not make up this name - they really do call it the "Widow's Banquet."  Each deacon at the First Baptist Church is responsible for the care and nurture of assigned widows.  My grandmother's deacon is wonderful... and he does many very nice things for Mam-ma.  This banquet is always a HUGE deal - as much as the prom is important to any teenager.  We moved Mam-ma's hair appointment to early Thursday, so that her hair will look nice, and she will have plenty of time to rest and dress.  Usually her deacon brings her a corsage, and she wears her nicest outfit.  The church social hall is decorated, the meal is always "delicious," and there is generally live entertainment - usually a musical group.  Mam-ma talks about it for weeks before and afterward.

So Monday, as I sat down to eat a late lunch and visit with my husband and mother-in-law, the phone rang.  Mam-ma wanted to know some details about her funeral.  I explained that everything was taken care of - I had personally spoken to two owners of the funeral home, and all would be handled to her satisfaction.  Then she said, "Well... I want His Eye is on the Sparrow and Beulah Land" (meaning she wants these songs sung at her funeral).  I wrote it down.  I told her I had heard from my mom that she wanted a certain church member to sing Beulah Land after it was sung at another funeral recently.  She said it didn't matter who sang it... and I pointed out she had previously told me she wanted a men's group to sing, and she retorted, "Why, they can't sing Beulah Land!"  I laughed and made notes.  I also asked about the hymns she had told me several months ago she wanted sung.  Now she wants His Eye Is On the Sparrow and Beulah Land.  I told her this was fine - and I would note that today she wants these songs. 

Then I asked, "Are you planning on kicking off any time soon?"  "No," she laughed, "but when you sit here by yourself all alone and think about things, you get to thinking about this."  Later my mom pointed out she doesn't plan to die before the banquet!  Anyway, I tried to console her and reassure her that we would carry out her wishes.

That evening, Mam-ma phoned again.  "Debbie," she said.  "I just sat on my glasses and broke them all to pieces!"  We talked about what she could do - didn't she have another pair that was very similar and close to the same age?  Yes, but she couldn't see out of them (I didn't understand this) and they were "great big."  No, that must be another pair, I told her, but she insisted.  I told her I wasn't sure when I could get there to help her... I was expecting to have the baby the next day and Greg had afternoon appointments.  She said, "Well, that's okay... but I need to be able to see for the banquet."  I pointed out that there would be no way to get new glasses by Thursday.  Maybe these could be repaired.

So Tuesday morning, I called the eye clinic and asked if we coudl come in and see about the glasses.  I dashed to Mam-ma's and collected her.  She was wrapping her glasses in a handkerchief - mangled wire frames with both lenses out - but not broken.  I hoped the girl could repair them.  She thought she could, but there was a piece broken that required a special solder, so we were unable to repair the old set.  New frames were ordered - they will be ready in two weeks!  Mam-ma said, "I can't see out of these others."  The girl checked, and they were misaligned, and she was seeing the bifocal at the same time as the other part, so hopefully that is better now.

We had quite a discussion about whether Medicaid would pay for the glasses.  At first the receptionist said that Medicaid would pay... but when I questioned this, based on past experience, she investigated, and Mam-ma has some sort of "QMB" Medicaid that doesn't cover glasses, apparently... at least not very frequently.  So we will pay $119 - and maybe that is "our" portion for Medicaid - for new frames.  As we left, Mam-ma told the receptionist, "Now I do have Medicaid."  She replied, "Yes ma'am, I know." Under my breath, I told her, "The less Mam-ma knows about how much this is costing, the better."  The woman answered... "I gathered that!"  On the way home, Mam-ma asked, "How much are these glasses gonna cost me?"  I told her around $100 - and that she can afford it.  She always tells me how "broke" she is!

I took Mam-ma home to rest... she had washed her windows yesterday (inside), and she was exhausted. Hopefully she will feel good for Thursday. I got home before Timothy arrived... now he is giving us a workout! Timothy was 11 months old yesterday. My mother reminded me that I was his age when my sister was born! Hmm... an infant and a toddler vs. an infant and a grandmother... there is no "winner" in either of those scenarios! Both have their challenges AND rewards. Some days they are just easier to see.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spice cake, Michigan apples, and Balance!

Last Friday was a day of juggling and balance!  I ran some errands in the morning, in anticipation of the arrival of Timothy around 12:30 p.m.  When I got home, he was just arriving.  We hurriedly ate a Sonic lunch I had brought home, and then I dashed off to do Mam-ma Polly's errands, leaving Timothy in the capable hands of his Uncle Greg.

Mam-ma's errands were pretty straightforward... I'd already picked up her medications at the pharmacy, so all I had to do was take her to the hairdresser's and grocery shop for both of us while she was there.  She seemed a little addled and forgetful, but nothing too serious.  She had made a spice cake and wanted to share some with us, but when we returned, I was in a hurry, and she forgot, and I got home without any spice cake.

By the time I got home, Timothy was napping (albeit briefly), and Mam-ma was calling to apologize for not remembering the cake.  I assured her it was fine, but she said, sternly, "No, it's not okay... I meant for you to have it."   She said she planned to play dominoes with her friends on Saturday afternoon... that she didn't really feel up to it, but she was going because they didn't have enough players without her.  I assured her she would feel better for having gone.

The next morning, we had not been awake long when Mam-ma called, "I am so sorry I forgot that... I don't know what was wrong with me."  I was not sure what she was talking about, and I told her, and she said, "The spice cake.  I meant for you to have that!"  I told her we had discussed this on Friday, and it really was no big deal.  But it was to her.  So I asked, "Did you make more than you can eat yourself?"  "Well yes," she answered.  I suggested she freeze it and I would get it the next Friday.  She said she guessed she could try this.  So I must remember to ask for the spice cake on the next Friday.

Meanwhile, Timothy was a joy, and our Friday evening and Saturday passed quickly.  On Sunday, his grandmother picked him up around noon... and we entertained company that afternoon.  Getting ready for company and managing a household and a baby is either more of a challenge than one realizes... or I am getting old!  I was very tired.  Timmy didn't sleep well, and we were up late into the night - and slept later in the mornings.  Such is life with a baby!

Timmy returned at noon on Tuesday and stayed until noon on Thursday. We had wonderful spring weather and strolled every day - some days more than once.  Mam-ma has not felt well this week - a stomach bug, we think - so the next errand day may be interesting.  She says she will have a big grocery list (meaning laundry detergent and bleach and such), so we will see. 

One funny thing... last Friday as I returned to Mam-ma's after her hair appointment, I asked about her friend Ruby... how was she doing?  Mam-ma said, "She's fine... we went to Alp's this morning for apples, and she was fine."  Now, Alp's is a grocery store.  I was, at this very moment, unloading groceries for my grandmother from the back of my car!  She said Ruby had gotten some apples at the store that "were delicious - they were Michigan apples."  I am not sure if Michigan apples is a brand name, but surely no apples come from Michigan in March!  At any rate, Ruby had come by and picked up my grandmother Friday morning, and they had gone to the grocery store for apples.  Why they could not also get milk, bread, orange juice and a couple of other things at the same time is beyond me.  But I was not surprised.  Ruby has told me more than once that she and my grandmother grocery shop several times a week.  She is astounded that Mam-ma still has a list of items for me to pick up for her on Fridays.  I'm not surprised at all.  And Friday I may have to search for Michigan apples!