Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Wake of Hurricane Grandma

Hurricane Grandma hit land at approximately 1:00 p.m. yesterday, leaving death and destruction (and a clean kitchen) in her wake.

A little background about my Grandma Val. Once a possum found it's way into her trailer house. She caught it with her bare hands, took it outside, and, holding it by the tail, swung its' head against the sidewalk till it died. She had a leak in the roof, but no one around to fix it. So Grandma, well into her seventies, grabbed the ladder, climbed up on the roof, and fixed it herself...in August. You might imagine her as a big, burly woman. But she is a stick. She once told me not to hug her so hard because it hurt. Now Grandma has lung cancer and has been taking chemotherapy for a few months. My parents have been taking care of her and took her to her doctor's appointment yesterday. While they were in town, they called ahead and said they'd like to come over for a visit. Now, I'm not quite the housekeeper my mom was, and though she would never say a word about it, my dad has been known to make a few comments here and there. So I do try to make things a bit neater than normal when they come over. I'm over trying to make it all perfect, but I put in a smidge of extra effort to make them comfortable. I was barely out of the shower and dressed when I heard their knock on the door at 1:00, even though they were supposed to be here between 2:00 and 2:30. Grandma doesn't even bother to wait for me to open it before she blows right on in.
"Why isn't your door locked? You're supposed to keep your door locked! Too many crazy people in this world!"
"I know," I say as I lean over to hug her. "How are you?"
"I'm hungry!" She makes her way to the kitchen. "I haven't had a thing to eat today. They wouldn't even let me have coffee! I want a pancake!"
What happens next is a whirlwind of activity, so I'm a bit foggy on the details. Mom went straight to the kitchen and got the coffee pot going and starting asking where I kept the baking powder and flour and salt. I pointed her in the direction of the laundry room, where the pantry is, as Grandma exclaimed, "Good Lord, Donna (my mom)! I don't know how you're going to get to anything! Look at the dishes! That sink is full!" There were a few big items in the sink that wouldn't fit in the dishwasher, so I guess that made it look full. I winced as Mom made her way to the laundry room, knowing full well Grandma would have something to say about the state it was in. As soon as she opened the door, Grandma hit me with another one. "Good grief! How can you get any laundry done? Would you look at the stuff piled on that dryer!" Grandma takes off her coat and rolls up her sleeves. She runs dishwater in the sink while Mom mixes pancake batter quietly. The crockpot containing cheese dip from our SuperBowl party the day before really gets Grandma going. The two of them are zipping around my kitchen, washing, cleaning, cooking, clearing the table, all within about two minutes of their arrival. I look at Dad, mouth agape. He rolls his eyes and says with a grin, "Where's your vaccum?" But Grandma has no patience for idle hands. "Why are you just standing there, girl? That's why you can't get anything done!" Ouch. That one stung. I smiled and pretended to be listening to one of the kids. I decided to get out of the way before I got run over...again.

Grandma softened a bit after eating and having some coffee. But continued to hop up and down the entire time she was here, never really stopping to visit. I'm pretty sure she didn't realize she was speaking to Supermom. After all, most civilians see me as a mild-mannered housewife when I am not wearing the cape.

It's a good thing I cleaned the pee from the bathroom floor before they came. That might've sent Grandma over the edge and I wouldn't be standing here today.


heartsjoy said...

Laughing. I have experienced things like this as well. Somehow it is much more funny hearing your story than actually living it. I'm sure she thinks she is being helpful but... Sorry you had the comment that stung, that never feels good. I'm glad she was in better mood with food and coffee. Thanks for letting us look in and laugh at your hurricane.

LiteratureLover said...

Hmmm, I think Grandma needs a day at your house with the kids and WITHOUT you! She might decide she'd rather sit for a visit next time!! And just for the record, you walk circles around me everytime we're together. In context, she was probably just having a low blood sugar moment. Next time try giving her one of those squeeze-till-it-hurts hugs each time she makes an ugly comment. On the upside, at least the kitchen's tidy and vacuuming's done! ;)

h b said...

so when is the movie coming out, seriosuly. i can just see your face, partly smiling, partly confused, and partly "hey, at least they're cleaning." good grief, donna!