Friday, July 9, 2010

Another Mistake...

Last Friday, I shopped for Mam-ma while she was at the beauty shop.  I was not brave enough to venture to Wal-Mart.  Let me explain... we live in a resort community that hugs a 40,0000-acre lake known for its clear water and recreational opportunities.  It beckons people far and wide to come for a visit and a swim, jet-ski and/or boat ride, and more.  And they do... in droves... especially on the July 4th weekend.  An early morning trip to Wal-Mart had done it for me.  I was not going back for a dozen eggs, some milk, and a couple of other items.  So I shopped downtown in a neighborhood grocery store.  My total bill was $14 and some change.  I grabbed the groceries, picked up my grandmother and returned her to her home and got her settled.

July 4th is my birthday, so Mam-ma had a card waiting for me, with cash inside.  She always wants to know what I plan to do with the money, although right away she says, "Now you buy whatever you want with that."  I told her I had decided to buy new kitchen utensils... spoons for cooking, a good sharp knife, and maybe a cutting board.  She said, "Well, that sounds just fine."  Knowing her love of cooking, I figured that she would be pleased.  I thanked her again for the card, said "Good-bye," and headed home.

I was barely in the door when the phone rang - Mam-ma... "Well, I thought *I* was the only one who forgot things."  I asked her what I had forgotten.  She replied... "You forgot to sign the check at the grocery store.  They called me and I told 'em you would call them."  I told her nobody said anything about signing a check... and some places, it's all done electronically and a signature isn't required, so it never occurred to me that I didn't sign the check.

I had my receipts, but I told her I would call, and I reaiterated that *I* had not made the mistake... that honor belonged to the store clerk!  I did call the store, and the person I spoke with wanted me to come in and sign the check.  I told her I was not coming back that day... but I might stop on Sunday on my way to church and sign.

As it turns out, I got some sort of nasty virus and became really sick Saturday night.  By Tuesday, I felt just well enough to dress and drive to the grocery store to sign the check.  My husband said, "By this time, they will have deposited it without a signature."  They had not, and the clerk said, "I called her, and she said you were supposed to have come in Sunday and signed this."  "You called my grandmother again?"  "Yes, this morning.  She said you do all her shopping."  I explained that yes, my grandmother will be 98 this fall, and I did not want her upset with this, and the woman said, "Oh, I'm sorry, I didn't know... I've been calling people all weekend.  You are not the only person who didn't sign their check, and many of them were for a whole lot more than your amount!"

I shook my head and left... grumbling that now, not only did Mam-ma think I screwed up initially... she would be upset that I had not taken care of this on Sunday.  Mam-ma did not remember to call me on my birthday, so she had no clue I was in bed, sick with a virus.  And just as I suspected... by the time I got back home, she had already phoned to complain about the check, and my husband had assured her I was at the store at that moment, providing the signature.

This seems like a small thing, but if you are caring for an older adult, you know that they zero in on things like this.  So months later, long after you have forgotten the incident, your loved one says, "Well, you've made another mistake!" - the comment my grandmother tossed at me one day when she thought I had bought her the wrong bra size. (see archives).  There are enough day-to-day challenges without these little added "delights."  Okay, so the grocery store clerk didn't know she was phoning a little old lady about a $14 check... but c'mon people, it was a $14 check!  Were two phone calls really necessary?  If that clerk only knew...


Mark said...

I wonder, too, whether it was her habit to dredge up preferably forgotten mistakes when she was younger. I know folks who have done that all their lives!

Debbie Robus said...

Mark... MUCH of what I write here is nothing new for my grandmother - nor attributable to her age. She has been like this in many ways for all of my 53 years... and longer, from what I hear! ;-)

Somehow, I was "blessed" with two grandmothers who were both "characters" in their own way. I'm trying to learn from all of this! ;-)