March 21, 2011

Driving Mr. and Mrs. Daisy

For the past few Mondays I've been taking my grandma and grandpa to the doctor. Somehow my dad and my aunt have mysteriously become incredibly busy on Monday afternoons and since I'm the oldest of my generation this sort of chore goes to me next by default. At first I was pretty excited. It's a solid excuse to get out of work every Monday afternoon and the women at the office all laugh and go awwwww when I tell them the stories of my exploits with my elders. I also need to spend more time with them because my grandpa really only has so much time left. The doctor gave him six months to live about five years ago.

Now don't get me wrong, I love them very much, but after spending about an hour with them I started to realize why my dad and aunt are suddenly so busy. Old people are crabby as hell. They really are like children, if you take them out and they start getting tired they get crabby and start pitching fits. The only difference is I've got no problem scolding a kid when they start acting like a brat, scolding my elderly grandparents though? I'd look like a monster to anyone within earshot. I've decided to just ignore them and read my book. If they want to yell at each other and cause a scene that's their business. The main reason they argue is that they can't hear each other at all. For example, my grandpa was filling out the medical forms for my grandma. He was asking her what the symptoms of her various allergies were. They went through most of them without any trouble but when they got to diarrhea they suddenly couldn't hear each other. This of course led to my grandma yelling "diarrhea! diarrhea! diarrhea!" as loud as she could in the crowded doctors office. I kept reading Oscar Wilde.

They're also very different people and while they both have characteristics I admire, they're personalities can also lead to conflict. My grandpa is a conservative former insurance salesman and my grandma is a free-spirited, classically trained artist. Last week I had to take them to Sears after their doctors appointment so my Grandpa could order a new pair of glasses before the sale they were running expired. They both use walkers at this point and getting them both where they need to go is always a challenge. As we're walking through Sears at a snails pace, my grandma suddenly spots some quilt on the other side of the store whose texture and design for some reason or another really inspired her. Somehow she all of a sudden gets that walker going at the speed of light and darts off in that direction. My grandpa absolutely cannot move fast at all and needs to rest periodically in the store so I'm walking down the center aisle chasing my grandma while my grandpa is behind me screaming "Juanita! Juanita! Dammit! Wait for me! Glenn! Jonathon! I mean, Chris! Grab her!". I seriously think he half expected me to go tackle her and make her wait for him. At that point I decided it was just best to let her go wander off and get my grandpa to the vision center. I dumped my crabby grandpa off on the unsuspecting optometrist and went to go find where my grandma had run off to. It took me a half hour to find her. I never realized how big Sears stores were until that day. Eventually I broke down and started asking random Sears employees if they'd seen an old lady with a walker anywhere. One of them told me they saw one head for the bathrooms so I went there and waited, like some sort of creep, next to the ladies room for about ten minutes. Eventually she came out and said "There you are! I've been looking all over for you!". I rolled my eyes and led her back to where my grandpa was.

I wonder what sort of adventures we'll get into today. I seriously want to find a couple of those leashes that some parents put on their toddlers.
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Image taken from: http://americanthings.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/film-driving-miss-daisy/

14 comments:

  1. Haha aww that's cute! Followed! alphabetalife.blogspot.com

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  2. Awwww!!! this is really cute, but poor you :D

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  3. Just be glad they don't have those Hoveround things! Chasing them around Sears would take on a whole new meaning.

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  4. At least with crabbit kids, you can drop them off at the creche. I noticed with my own grandparents that the older they become, the more they act like children. I think you're doing the right thing, keep ignoring them...

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  5. Great and SO true. I went through that before my grandpa passed, my aunt and I taking granny to the grocery store and running laps to get everything and hoping she'd hang on to the cart for dear life so we could get outta there. Then as my gramps started losing it, more and more got put on me to come over and keep an eye on them, including middle of the night when he'd wake up and ask me "are you Ugly Betty?" -nice huh. But I miss him every single day.

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  6. This post killed me. Damned funny, man. And it reminds me why I hate taking my grandma to the grocery store. I'm pretty sure the bagboy is planning to bust a cap in my ass.

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  7. and i seriously want to see pictures if you do put your grandparents on those leashes that parents use on toddlers.

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  8. Eventually you will look back upon this time fondly.

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  9. OMG! Diarrhea! Maybe you need to find Harry Potter's cloak of invisibility???!!! And it's true--as we get older, we regress and act like children. Which is why I'll never grow up. Why fight it?

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  10. Having never herded cats or children, I'm not sure if I can truly appreciate your frustration... but it is hilarious to read.

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  11. I understand this perfectly. There are not so many grandchildren on my mother's side and the oldest one has actually taken it upon himself to do everything that needs to be done. Just last week my Grandma complained that Sweet-n-Low prices were so high and you couldn't find it anywhere. In two day she has a huge box filled with the stuff that my cousin ordered on amazon.

    My grandmother drives, but there are some places she is afraid to go by herself, like the bank, so I had to take her yesterday.

    Sometimes she can get on my nerves, but grandparents can be very entertaining. Cherish the time that you have with them, funny stories will linger.

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  12. i actually lolled at the "Glen! Jonathan! I mean, Chris!" part. my mom and grandma both pull this move with all the female names in the family. depending on which name you get called determines how insulted you are.

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  13. Oh, Chris. :) I enjoyed this post immensely. You are hilarious and this was SO easy to read. Seriously, you could write a book on your family or something. I love that you can take simple stories like going to Sears and going to the doctor and make them incredibly interesting.

    And I do think it is super sweet that you are giving your time to drive your grandparents places. That is a true gentleman. My older male cousins would have been like "Hell. No." Sigh.

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  14. So funny. You know, this not much different from being out with my kids. Except my kids have pretty good hearing - yet they still yell. You're a good grandson. ;)

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