Monday, July 03, 2006

Why? (A Long Grandma Update and Rant)

I have to wonder why we do this. Why do Mom and I subject ourselves to this mental abuse? We love Grandma, but it's getting harder and harder to deal with both her and the family's attitudes.

TAFH was in this weekend. She immediately turned off the air conditioner. She saw that Grandma had her sweater on (and shorts) and made like it was too cold in the house. It was 76 degrees. TAFH was cold, after all, and there's no reason for Grandma to wear a sweater if she's chilly. Never mind the fact that it's simply habit for the woman to pull the afghan over her when she's not even cold. Especially never mind the fact that when TAFH comes in and other time the thermostat MUST be set at 68. "Just put on a blanket, Mom." But it was too cold and we had to open the doors. She's a cheap little bitch. I apologize if any minors are reading this, but that's the nicest way I could put it. Grandma just backed her up and told me I was wrong when I stood up for Grandma. I was then chastised for not having read the owner's manual of Grandma's air conditioner.

That was just for starters. There was the strawberry-picking adventure, the Chinese take-out fiasco, the cutting remarks and the pure illogic of the woman. Coming back from Pallman's Farm, where we pick the strawberries, she had to pick up sugar and gelatin. We were going to pass right by Gerrity's and both Grandma and I were perfectly amenable to wait in the car for the few minutes it would take her to run into the store and get the stuff. We actually even agreed that it made more sense for us to do that. Of course that wouldn't fly. We had to drive right by Gerrity's, go home and unload the entire car, then TAFH went back to Gerrity's. *sigh* She'd make a terrible Vulcan.

The best was at the very end. Apparently, Mom and I chose the worst week for everybody else as our week to take our vacation, even though it was literally the only week we could take given our schedules. Oh, and two months notice isn't enough time for all of them to figure out who is going to take care of Grandma when. She actually told me that we don't have to schedule our lives around them, but that's what it sounded like to me. None of them ever ask us about whether or not their vacations, dates, book clubs, nights out with friends (What the hell are those anyway? Not friends, but nights out...) might be happening at a time inconvenient for us. They rarely (practically never) offer to help us with Grandma.

Aunt L comes over every Saturday, early in the morning to bring over some fruit that she picks up at Aldi's and check to see if there are any bills to be paid. She does this early enough that Grandma and I are still both asleep so she doesn't really visit with Grandma or give me any time to myself. Uncle B occasionally asks her over for dinner. Both of them will come over and watch her if we absolutely need them, but we're nearly always made to feel guilty for asking. Like tonight: B, the lady who watches Grandma during the day, told Mom this morning that she's off tomorrow because she doesn't work holidays. This is news to us, by the way. No one ever mentioned this. I had to call Aunt L and she was quite grudging about it. I can't afford to lose a day's pay. Neither can Mom. Aunt L's a teacher. I'm sorry if she had plans, but this is for her damned mother!

And then there's TAFH. This charming woman does give us time off when she's in, but is it really worth having one night out every month or so, to have to put up with a near-constant stream of negativity and belittling? If she doesn't have something to complain about, she's not happy. I swear the woman is pure poison. I'd say she's clueless, but I think she knows precisely what she says and takes pleasure in the fact that at least one of us (me) can't say "boo" to her, no matter what she says. I deserved a medal for my silence in the Chinese take-out fiasco.

I was going to order salads for Grandma and I before TAFH got home. She didn't want salads. She preferred Chinese. Grandma doesn't really like Chinese, but she agreed to get it anyway. TAFH, of course, had to tell me that Mom and I were wrong about the spring rolls. They apparently "don't have just a little bit of wheat, they have a lot." Fine, we were wrong. We've never had a problem with them, so we'll look out for them from now on. She was a snot about it, though. Then the air conditioner thing happened and I retreated upstairs. When the food finally arrived, she wanted me to give her ten dollars to pay the delivery guy. I told her I'd put it on the credit card. She apparently thought I was saying that I would put it on the card. I kept repeating that I put it on the card, but once something gets in her head, she's unstoppable. She only stopped paying the dude when I asked her to make sure my card wasn't charged. Of course, as we were unloading the food she had to give me a grammar lesson and tell me I spoke unclearly and was wrong. Hello, this is the woman who is such a bad writer she can't get published on her own. She's a professor going for tenure, so publication's a big thing. I am the one that has had articles printed under my byline in a newspaper. Granted, it was local paper and small, but I was still published, paid and asked to write an article for them. I was editor of a college 'zine. I was copy editor at my college newspaper. I think I know something about grammar and proper usage of language. Snide, pompous pain in the arse.

Oy! Toss in my father's side of the family and we have the true dysfunctional American family.

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