It starts off with lunch. Our monthly lunch that was her Christmas present. This time I am going to have to be tactful and very careful about what I say - neither of which is a strong point.
My uncle was gonna throw away all the stuff in her house. I rescued a lot of it, both because I wanted some memories, and because a lot of it could be sold. No one else bothered to help or was interested. They said - you want it, YOU do all the work. So I did.
Of course, they didnt tell her they were gonna throw everything out. They didnt tell her that they decided together that anything she gave them they would accept and then throw out. But when she had a fit they told her I was putting stuff in storage, acting like I was doing it for her rather than for me (and to save it from the trashman). So she keeps telling me "When you get a chance, get the ---- out of storage and give it to so and so."
So I now have to walk a fine line. Ill be happy to give anything to anyone in the family who wants it but I am not gonna give stuff to people so they can throw it out. They pay her own money and pretend it is for stuff they gave to their friends. So now I have to either lie, be really careful about what I say, or start some family trouble that will blow everything wide open.
So no more just for fun lunches.
At lunch she hands me coupons that are no good so I ask the waitress to pretend they are and pay her the difference. She gets upset with me because I dont dip the french fries in ketchup before letting Face have them.
She wants to go to Boscovs to shop. In three minutes she has 3 shirts. I discover my son is a dreaded "runner" - a kid who runs the second you put him down in public.
"You going to try those on?" I ask.
"Nah, I know my size."
She tells me she doesnt have her checkbook and could I pay and she'll pay me back. I pay by credit card and we leave. As we walk out, she asks "Can I return these if there's something wrong with them?"
"Dont worry," I reply, foolishly thinking the fact that I paid on my credit card was her concern, "I'll take you if there's a problem."
We are not out of the parking lot when she pulls out her blouses ($80 for 3!). "I wonder what these are made of" she muses "Cotton? Nobody wears cotton anymore! I dont want to iron anything."
I say nothing. Really, what's the upside of freaking?
As we drive home she points to a driveway three lanes over and 10 feet away ' - "Oh I have to go there!"
I pull in, no doubt pissing off plenty of people. She tells me that this store is selling a cane she wants.
At this point Ill mention that I damaged my hand cleaning out her house. I was really scared I did something permanent. I have no insurance and I need my hand. My right hand. Whatever I did meant I couldnt use it to pick Face up, I had to use my wrist and my left hand. Compensating for an injury is tiresome. Making me even less happy.
I find the cane for her. It is the MOST hideous thing Ive ever seen.
"Now no one will confuse it with theirs." she says. As if that was some huge problem. Hid-e-ous, people. No one would steal this, nevermind pay for it.
We get up to the counter. I push the cart with Face past the cashier - grandmom is in line with her cane and a small duck holding jellbeans. She places the duck on the belt. A few minutes later she turns to the man behind her and says something I cant hear. He shakes his head. She turns to the cashier and says "Why did you take my cane? It was mine, not hers!" (points to the lady walking out the door)
"Ma'am, it's in your hand."
No apologies from gram! The man behind her is very nice "I do that all the time" he says.
The cashier rings my grandmom up and when my gram starts to put the cane into the man's cart she says "That's not yours."
"I just paid for it!" Snaps gram.
"The CART isn't yours."
Gram starts toward me as I thank the genes I dont blush. We are 5 feet away when, no doubt thinking she couldnt be heard, my grandmom says "That cashier is so grumpy! She always has been, every time I come here."
I am soooo glad I dont embarass easy.
On the way home, I feel bad about how Im feeling and ask her if she'd like to come to my house for Mother's Day (my parents went out of town and my uncle would never). "Let's see what other offers I get," she replies.
I take her up to her room and as she is writing me a check for her blouses I look around. You have to understand that she has two sons - my dad and uncle. Who she calls "Jimmy and MyBobby". Really. I used to think that was his name. Mybobby.
In her room there are pictures everywhere. Of Herbobby. His 3 grown kids. Her 3rd great-grandchild by one of Herbobby's kids. Multpile pictures. Everywhere. Not one of my dad, my mom, me, or any of my sibs. And one pic of the 2 great-grandkids I gave her. Together, of course, lest she have to waste another frame.
I saw her write the check. But she never gave it to me. She thought she did and I let her think it cause I already know we will be taking the stuff back so Ill just float her the money until then.
Of course this meant I had to borrow gas money but whatever.
Turned out it wasnt my grandmom but the universe that day. As I was telling my woes to J on the phone as I drove (yeah, yeah). Face was wailing, as is his wont, everytime he wanted to be given another jellybean.
So I pull up to the light and this 20 year old guy is hanging out of the passenger side of a van.
"Lady, is your baby crying?"
"He was crying a minute ago." I said. "Why?"
"I just think it's a shame. Your baby is crying and you're on the phone."
God, if there is a God, has some 'splainin to do!