Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Herding turtles

Just got home from my non-paying, full-time job.  My "your crown in heaven is really getting loaded with jewels" job.  Over six hours today of putting the elders through their paces.  Doctors appointments, lunch at Olive Garden, Office Depot and Costco.  Like herding turtles, I told my son.  I have to wonder what a couple of people in their late eighties and early nineties need with that many sandwich bags, and two gallons of milk at once.  But it was quite a time.  It wasn't my first trip to the large box store with either of them, but the two of them together?  Not for the faint of heart, and this morning, when I first heard Grampie's cheerful voice on the other end of my phone saying, "We're at the front door waiting for you," I was definitely the faint of heart.  See, I'd thought this was my day with Thyrza.  But there they both were, sitting on the little bench by the front door of their residence, bags in hand and smiles on their faces.

This can be a hot button issue for me.  Have I mentioned that before? The other day a friend, who also spends a lot of time driving her mother-in-law around, was talking about this exact thing.  These elderly, non-driving people tend to get in a car, then think of several other places they want to go as long as they're out.  The problem is, they don't tell their drivers ahead of time.  At least my elderly charges don't.  No matter how often I request it.  My friend said, "When we had toddlers who wanted to go somewhere, if it wasn't in our plans or on our timeline, we just picked them up, buckled them into their carseats and let them cry."  I think she hit the nail on the head.  I thought of it as I wandered around that big box store looking for them, wandering if they'd made a break for freedom.  I finally called Grampie on my cell-phone and rather than in the cereal aisle, where his wife had told him to get oatmeal and Raisin Bran, he was over at the photo center.  Funny, that, we'd already spent an hour at the copy center at Office Depot, working on his photos.  I tell you, that man's brain runs on a loop.

"Did you get the cereal?" I asked.
 "OK, I'll get it.  Do you remember where you're supposed to meet us?"
"Hmm.  I don't think I do," he said.
"At the nuts," I told him.
"The nuts."
"What did you say?"
"THE NUTS! I SAID THE NUTS!"  Yes, there I was standing in the middle the busiest aisle at Costco, during a very busy afternoon, yelling these words into my cell phone.

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my life?

Have I also mentioned that after the doctor's appointment Thursday afternoon for Grampie (and yes, Thyrza is tagging along--but she told me ahead of time), and the test at the hospital for Thyrza Friday morning, I'm driving away with E to Eastern Washington.  She's leaving me me at my sister's for a week so I can help her do some sewing for her daughter's wedding.  See my mother, who won't know me from a hole in her head (which she used to say to us all the time). Just sit and be in the wheat fields when I'm not sewing.  I can do that for a week.  Yes, I can.  Funny, leaving for a week meant organizing things for the elders just the way I used to have to for the kids.  Make sure someone (like Beve or E) could cover the transportation.  Change the appointments that were possible to change.  Yes, it really is a lot like having children again.  Just older, more stubborn children, as slow as turtles, with a great need for sandwich bags and milk and toilet paper.

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