If there ever was a time when I wished very much that I could live-action blog, it was this past Saturday when I spent the day with my maternal grandmother (my only living grandparent). I wasn't sure what to expect as I hadn't spent any extended amount of time with her ever just by myself. And if you don't take things too seriously, the day was delightful.
I pulled into her driveway at 10:30 on the button. She was at her mailbox checking to see if there was anything even though "I don't normally get anything on Saturdays." She would go back out a few hours later to check because "You can never tell when the mail will come."
The first words out of her mouth were "I didn't think you was coming." Because it was 10:30 (read: You're late.).
I called my mom about as soon as I got there to ask a quick question, and was told that Grandma would want me to take her to Rural King, the Dollar Tree, and the Goodwill. And, "You'll know that she'll want to eat at McDonald's, don't you?" Yes, I know. As soon as I hung up with Mom, my grandmother walked back in probably unaware that I was talking to Mom and said "Well, I was thinking we'd go to the Rural King, then stop by the Dollar Tree and Goodwill. You can drive." My mom...she was spot-on.
Rural King is simultaneously confusing and highly amusing for me. I'd like to say that it's just this way in southern Indiana, but it's not. Heightened, yes, but exclusive...no.
We were price checking packets of pea seeds in Rural King. $1.79 is too expensive. My grandmother had already been out to her garden with her shovel to check about working the soil. In mid-January. Jumping the gun, a bit?
We forgot to check for seeds at the Dollar Tree. I did find some canned beans there, though (which we could not find at Rural King). Unfortunately, they were only "light red beans" and not "chili beans" as requested. We didn't buy any. I did help Grandma find a new word search book, though. Channeling her inner Goldilocks, we found one that was not too big and not too little but juuuust right.
I also found out that my grandmother eats a lot of junk food, judging by the amount she bought and comparatively the amount of healthier options that she outright dismissed. Applesauce? Not on your life. Sour cream and onion chips? Yes, please.
When I'm 88, I want to eat like she does if that means that I eat whatever I darn well please with nary a thought about nutrition. At some age, it just seems like you earn the right to eat however you want. Though I enjoy fruit and veggies a plenty, I might well forget about them some day if it means I can eat any form of bread and potato chip as much as I want. My grandmother seems to have figured out how to prioritize.
I brought her some soup, some mini muffins, sugar cookies, hot chocolate, and homemade marshmallows. She still bought a large package of faux-Oreos. And then I ended up making her an entire batch of chocolate chip cookies before I left. She proceeded to eat one or two, practically straight off of the pan as I took them from the oven. Apparently, she's averse to screamin' hot chocolate chips because "Of course, they're the best when they're right out of the oven." Apparently, we have different understandings of what that means.
I helped Grandma find a "dress jacket" in the Goodwill. She was looking through the size 10s and 12s before I suggested that she look through the smaller sizes...like the 4s as she's definitely "old lady slender." She responded with "Well, I guess this is my size then" and took that size 10 jacket down to try on. And bought it. Well, then.
Grandma defied expectations and decided on Arby's for lunch, whereupon we ran in to her Sunday School teacher (!) and his wife. We talked about the weather again (snow was in the forecast). This was about the 3rd or 4th time that we'd been through the weather since I got to her house about 2 hours before. The night before, I told the boy that "I have no idea what Grandma and I are going to talk about." Thanks be to winter weather.
But you know what, we spent a few minutes in silence on the way back to her house, and it was comfortable. I knew Grandma was tired, and it feels good to know that she was ready enough to sit in companionable silence with me. That's a level of comfort that should not be taken for granted.
I tried to get Grandma to ride with me in my car, but she was having none of that. But she also told me that she can't read the gas gauge in her car, so that was all it took for me to shove her seat back and fold myself into the cramped driver's seat of her car. I don't know how a 4-door sedan can feel like a mini-compact, but I guess when you're as tall as a 10-year old, you contort your seat into unexpected positions in order to see, which leaves the rest of us feeling claustrophobic. Also, the heater in her car works quite well, I assure you.
She bought her car brand new 15 years ago (I checked), and it only has 49,000 miles on it (I checked that, too). Unheard of.
She usually spends less than $100/month on groceries for herself. I can't fathom that. That would open my budget up to purchase that giant sticker faux-tile backsplash that I found at either the Rural King or the Dollar Tree. Six of one...