My husband and I have moved about every ten months to a different state for work since we’ve been married. Between moves, we occasionally stay with my folks for a couple months here or there, when we are between houses and cities. My grandfather lives there too. This was originally written back before my other grandfather passed away, and two of the below dogs were still alive. However, as my live-in grandfather is now moving in with my uncle, which is upsetting to all of us, I wanted to revisit this blog about living with him.
Living with my parents is a special kind of hell. Not that my parents are bad people (they aren’t) or difficult to live with (they aren’t.) It’s just that, as humbling as it is to have to move in with your parents at age thirty with your husband, it’s also more or less a round-the-clock circus.
My husband and I have two dogs and a cat. My parents have two dogs and two cats. My grandpa lives here too and has a dog, and my brother’s dog lives here most of the time because he’s never home. So at any given moment, there are five adults, three cats and six dogs running around. Not that I mind the dogs. It’s like having a really cute, really useless entourage follow you to the bathroom. And they’re all around the same size.
Two of these:
Two of these:
One of these:
And one of these:
|Except Gusbuster is way, way uglier.|
Before I get into what it’s like living with my granddad, I will preface these stories by saying that he’s not losing it or anything, he’s just old. And a little eccentric. Okay, a lot eccentric.
Since we’ve been here, he has used my mother’s loofah on a stick to scrub all of the toilets. Yeah, one of these:
For those of you who are still baffled, one is supposed to apply soap to the poofy end, and then use said item to wash oneself in the shower. I can’t say equivocally whether or not this particular loofah was used by my mother subsequent to being used on the toilets, but I can tell you that she was somewhat less than amused to learn about its having moonlighted as a toilet scrubber.
On another occasion, I found granddad in the kitchen around lunch time, and I asked him if he wanted me to fix him something to eat. He declined, and said that he would fix his own. Somewhat curious about his concept of what constitutes an acceptable lunch, I observed. Apparently, a bowl of strawberries with cream and sugar and an extremely large vodka tonic is perfectly reasonable. The best part? He poured his (24 oz) vodka tonic into one of his medically delineated plastic mugs with a lid, which are marked off so that one can measure how much water they drink in a day. Stealth drinking at its finest.
I was asked to make clam dip and snacks for the big game last week, and Granddad was going to help. Actually, he came in and started pulling things out of cabinets, and I asked what he was doing.
Me: What are you doing?
Granddad: Making clam dip.
Me: No, I was asked to do it; let me.
Granddad: (looking frustrated) But you won’t make it right!
Me: Well, why don’t you tell me how to make it then, and I’ll do it your way, but let me do it.
Granddad: Mix up the clams with ketchup, mayonnaise, and a little horseradish.
Me: That’s not clam dip, that’s fry sauce with clams in it.
Granddad: Well, that’s the way I make it!
At this point, I pulled out a can of refried beans so that I could make bean dip as well, and he said “If you mix those beans with the clams, I’m not eating it.”
Me: (Sigh.) I don’t mix the beans with the clams.
For the record, a proper clam dip is two cans of clams, two packages of softened cream cheese. Drain the clams into a bowl so you can save the juice. Mix the cream cheese with the clams and also a can of diced water chestnuts and diced green onion. White onion will work also. Flavor with minced garlic, a splash or two of Worcestershire sauce, about a half-tablespoon of horseradish, a splash of tobasco, a splash of lemon juice, ground black pepper, a little salt, dill weed, and add back in the clam juice a little at a time as you mix so that it ends up the right consistency. Toss the rest of the clam juice.
The winner, however, for the most awkward conversation ever had with one’s grandfather in the history of the universe, goes to this one. My other granddad, who lives out of state, is currently not feeling very well, so my mother has gone to there to visit with him. A little history – my out-of-state granddad was a doctor in a small town, and my parents grew up in the same place, so both sets of my grandparents have known each other for years.
(after telling granddad that my other grandfather is sick.)
Granddad: I’m sorry to hear that. He’s a nice man. As a matter of fact, I remember when I met him.
Me: Oh? When was that?
Granddad: Years ago, I twisted my groin up something terrible. Had a testicle blow up like a balloon, so I went to his doctor’s office to have it looked at.
Me: So the first time you met my other grandfather, you showed him your balls?
Granddad: Pretty much. He had to drain them out. Stuck an eight-inch needle in there and the water from twisting it all drained off.
Me: (gagging) Eww.
So to recap, not only do I now have the mental picture now of my grandfather having his balls drained, I have to picture MY OTHER GRANDFATHER DOING IT.
The retelling of this story prompted this remark from my husband:
“I’d like to think that your grandfathers met in a porno, and they were two of the original lemon party guys.”
Me: I suppose meeting in a porno is the same as meeting in a doctor’s office. Other than the method of having one’s balls drained.