May 18, 2005
Dad informed me at dinner that cousin Bill was coming to “board” with us, starting on Saturday. Apparently this had been in the works for weeks, but it was the first I was hearing about it. Bill would watch Grandma during the day while we were at work, since he worked overnights. Now, Bill was a real nice guy and all, but I had no idea what it would be like to live with him. He was a real disheveled and disorganized individual, and he suffered from all kinds of facial tics and contortions due to his Tourette’s. Not to mention his heart problems.
After dinner I smelled something burning in the kitchen. Dad has a habit of taking pots off the stove and putting them back without shutting off the burners. This time he emptied a pot of spaghetti and put it back on the burner. By the time I discovered it, the plastic strainer was melting into the pot. Good job.
That still didn’t beat the time he put a tube of caulking into the oven to soften it up. He just cranked up the dial and went upstairs to make a phone call. Forty minutes later he returned to the kitchen and found his caulk on fire. He grabbed it with the oven mitt and dashed out the front, spilling white drops of hot goo all over the floor. Not to be outdone, a few weeks later he was sitting on the floor in the den soldering a pipe when he accidentally burned a hole in the side of the couch.
And to think I was worried about Grandma setting the herself or the house on fire…
Anyway, I stopped to see Grandpa over the weekend. I got there just as dinner was over and I talked to him for maybe twenty minutes. They still had him drugged up as all get out, so he was largely unresponsive. He just sat there with his chin on his chest and his tongue lolling out. He had barely enough strength to even lift his head.
I didn’t see hide nor hair of cousin Bill over the weekend, but Dad told me he had been in during the overnight to drop off clothes. Meanwhile Dad was hiding a Mother’s Day card that came from Uncle Chuck for Grandma. I saw it opened on Dad’s desk upstairs, so I brought it down to show her. Grandma had no recollection of seeing it before, although she didn’t recall much anymore. But Dad had obviously intercepted it, because when he came home and saw the card in her hands he asked where she got it from.
Grandma told him that I gave it to her, and Dad fixed me with a sour look. I was unapologetic, so he just stalked away muttering darkly. I didn’t know what the hell that was about, but apparently he didn’t want her having any contact with Uncle Chuck. Meanwhile he tells me he never takes or opens other people’s mail. Right. Either he takes me for an imbecile or he really is delusional.
And poor Grandma. I heard her yelling nonsense in her sleep again in the middle of the night. The next morning I was getting ready to leave the house to join Dad at work when I saw her shuffling down the hallway in her nightgown. Next thing I knew, I heard little pop-pop-pop of things hitting the carpet. Then I saw her bending down and grabbing things of the rug. What the hell…? I hadn’t seen her carrying anything; was she losing more of her marbles?
Unfortunately she was. After she went into her room I made my way towards the kitchen, and I stepped in one that she had missed. I looked down and saw that it was a marble indeed.
A marble of shit. Holy God.
My grandmother just shit on the floor. And I stepped in it.
Now, I didn’t have any shoes on.
And I didn’t have any socks on either.
So I hop-skipped-limped into the kitchen and I immediately hoisted my foot onto the edge of the kitchen sink and started scrubbing it off. I was washing my foot so furiously that I splashed water all over the counter and floor. There was so much water under my other foot that I slipped and crashed down on top of the tiles. I hit the floor so hard that the dishes rattled in the cabinets. And Grandma – who could hear a duck fart but not a train horn – was oblivious to the ruckus I was making.
The last thing I saw when it went black was the shitty dish rag slipping off the edge of the sink and coming down to land on my face.
Needless to say I showed up to work in rare form, getting out of the house as fast as I could because the smell of old lady feces was overpowering and stinking up the whole joint. I told Dad what happened and his face fell comically. Apparently Grandma was having trouble pooping so Dad fed her stool softeners with breakfast. Guess what Dad? They worked. Fuck you.
It was then that I started seriously thinking about moving out. I couldn’t deal with that kind of shit. Literally.