Archive for grandmas

Post #78 Moments of joy and things I hate…in honor of my mother—

Posted in Family, memoir, nonfiction, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

My apologies for being AWOL. The freelance transcription job that was supposed to be 15-20 hours/week has turned into working from dawn until midnight some days, which doth threaten to kill me, though I do REALLY like the job.

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Secondly, today, would’ve been my mother’s 77th birthday. Sadly, she died from cancer in 2007, and I miss her every day. She was one of the sweetest women ever born, who once bought $20 worth of groceries (including a jar of peanut butter and a chocolate bar) for a homeless woman named Jo-Beth, who was living in the restroom at a public park.

When Mom handed Jo-Beth two bags of groceries, she burst into tears and was barely able to whisper, “Thank you.”  How many people do you know who would actually do that? And being a bratty 16-year-old, I was a little short with Mom because her act of charity made her 30 minutes late picking me up from work at Wendy’s that afternoon.

“I’m sorry, Mom,” I said, tearing up, overwhelmed by shame, because my only reason for annoyance was that I hated sitting in that cold dining room (where the AC was always up too high)  in my ugly, scratchy, polyester uniform that reeked of Ranch dressing and French fries. And I was hungry, but I’d never missed a meal ever in my life, unlike Jo-Beth.

Obviously, Mom was a good person, but she was also the most upbeat/positive person I’ve ever met. Even when she was dying, she smiled at everyone who walked into her hospital room.

That said, in honor of Mom and for other reasons I’ll get to in a moment, I’ve decided to chat about what makes me happy and what makes me SEE RED as Mom would say.

Additionally, my friends are always asking me how I deal the misery that is living with Nana, I also decided to enumerate the positives in my life…and to the particulars of that nightmare (of life with Nana), check out this post:

https://tenaciousbitch.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/as-my-mother-lay-dying/

Anywho, the third reason I chose to compile a list was a book I stumbled upon while doing some research for a project I was working on. It’s called—The How of Happiness. When I read the description on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/How-Happiness-Approach-Getting-Life/dp/0143114956/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1351203474&sr=1-1&keywords=how+of+happiness+by+sonja+lyubomirsky

I couldn’t stop laughing. SHIT! No wonder I’m so unhappy! I haven’t developed a strategy, and I don’t have the workbook!! Holy fuckballs, batman, I don’t know HOW I’ve managed to enjoy one nanosecond of my life without this BOOK! DAMN…

It’s difficult to imagine anyone plunking down $10.88 of their hard-earned cash, so that someone ELSE can dictate a formula for happiness?!  I was married to a bi-polar alcoholic who treated me like shit. Did I buy a book OR draft a strategy? Yes! I left his sorry ass and didn’t looking back. There. Done. That’ll be $10.88 for all you ladies who might be in similar predicaments! 🙂

Okay, so maybe, I’m being harsh. Maybe, some people really NEED a book like that to figure out why they’re unhappy. However, this how-to manual seems like the literary version of the snake oil salesmen to me, simply a con to convince people their product is THE answer to their problem (hmmm…not unlike the answer to infection??).

My mother always said chocolate would cure whatever ails you, but nowadays, I guess, it’s incumbent upon finding a doctor who’ll over-prescribe your poison of choice until the 5-0 catches him, or over-consuming alcohol or street drugs, or last but not least buying yet another self-help bible.

That said, ahem, take note…in lieu of a strategy and a workbook, I have a list:

THINGS THAT MAKE TENACIOUS BITCH A HAPPY GIRL (NOT in order of preference):

1)        Eating dinner with my husband while watching Warehouse 13, The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, etc., without the soundtrack of mega SIGHS of disapproval from the antiquity known as NANA. To-wit, I say, you have a TV in YOUR room. Go watch the FOOD CHANNEL, C-Span, or Dancing with the Stars in THERE because the Tardis just broke down, and the sonic screwdriver isn’t functioning!

2)        Being at the BEACH, ANY beach, anywhere in the world, as long as it’s 80 degrees-ish (Fahrenheit) where I can sit in lounge chair with a good book all DAY long. If I’m with the husband, such is double GOOD 🙂 or a few friends, but alone is fine too.

3)       Doing Yoga or exercising (at home) for an hour without Nana squawking over her monitor about what Paula Deen is making on TV and/or complaining about what Mrs. Obama is wearing at some political function (WHO THE f#ck cares?) and/or without odd looks from passersby (like Max’s friends) who gawk at me in horror as if waiting for my spine to snap, or LEER at me in a way that—um, well, ain’t even going there.

4)        Sitting in our hot tub with a cold beer or a luscious glass of Merlot alone or with Charlie in the dark! We’ve been together 15 years, so sex would be a great perk but not required (just so you know…).

5)         When my husband does the dishes when it’s actually MY TURN because he knows that my plate of chores is ready to topple over.

6)         Thunderstorms—enough said, unless said storm is occurring while I’m in the hot tub~TRIPLE plus good.

7)         Reading a good book that isn’t predictable, has original characters and keeps me up at night, regardless of the genre or author – OR watching the Sequel to a GREAT movie that doesn’t suck like the second TERMINATOR…:)

8)          Winning another Writing Award, but I don’t have much control over that one, guess that’s because I don’t have the workbook!

9)           When I’m having a bad day and unexpectedly find an adorable photo of my kids when they were little.

10)         Going shopping alone or with anyone but Nana and her endless,  complaining about how no one carries GOOD shoes or clothes that she likes, etc., etc., anymore…and the unrelenting insults about “fat” people, which she MUST utter within their earshot. Just what overweight people need, some 95-year-old stranger making derogatory remarks about their weight.

11)        Spending Christmas/birthdays with my family–particularly sneaking off to hang out with my cousins in Indiana.

12)       GIRL’S NIGHT OUT!

13)       Eating an ice cream sandwich with a glass of Merlot with my cousin Shauna (and her sister and our cousin Sharona if they happen to be about)…just because.

13)      Sitting alone on my coma couch late at night reading or watching MY SHOWS that my husband doesn’t like, i.e. The Good Wife.

14)      Playing with my cats!

15)     Putting on a pair of jeans/sweater/whatever from LAST YEAR that are now too big! 🙂

And THAT, my friends is the happy list. Stay tuned for the WHAT THE I HATE LIST…

Thanks for visiting my STOP AND SMELL THE CRAZY life…

~TenaciousBitch and her band of truth-spouting hippies…

P.S. Happy birthday, MOM!

** For an amusing post regarding a certain clash with the police when Shauna and I were in high school, check out:http://tenaciousbitch.com/2011/08/29/blog-30-%E2%80%93-an-ode-to-barboursville-and-the-days-of-yore/

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Post #77 – My Funeral Fiasco, of sorts…

Posted in Family, nonfiction, relationships, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 2, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

As mentioned previously, my husband’s grandmother died last month. The funeral was at 11 AM near Cleveland, which is a 2-hour drive (with no traffic). I tried to find someone to stay with Nana to spare her such a long trip in one day.

After calling several neighbors and agencies who provide companions to assist older people, I resigned myself to the fact that Nana would be tagging along because no one was available on such short notice.

My husband and his family were naturally distraught over losing Grandma (Katie) Cala, so I also preferred leaving Ms. Cranky Pants and God knows what comments she might make, at home…

For an example of Nana’s sparkling opinions, check out: http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/08/07/post-71-can-we-rewind-and-erase-please/ 

Additionally, it “rushes her [Nana] to death” to arrive at the beauty shop by noon at a neighborhood salon. At 95, just changing clothes exhausts her.

The night before the funeral, I heard Nana on the phone, telling her friend, Nancy, that she was getting up at 5:00 in the morning. I almost laughed at this classic sign of tailspin behavior caused by her intense phobia of being late EVER.

However, despite this neurotic fear of tardiness, we almost missed my mother’s funeral in 2007 because Nana drug me all over town shopping for knee-highs to match her off-white suit. Never mind, no one could really see her hosiery under her PANTS, but I digress.

“There’s no reason to get up at 5:00. I’ll bring your breakfast at 6:30. That’ll give you 30 minutes to eat and an hour and a HALF to get dressed, so don’t get up until I call you, okay?” I asked.

Nana nodded, but I could see the decaying marbles careening around her brain as she attempted to follow my timetable.

“What time do we have to leave, again?” she asked.

I explained it all three more times that night. But when I got up at 6:15, her television was booming off the walls, and I sighed. I strolled into her room a few minutes later with her grub. Her hair was still a short, floppy mess, and she was sans makeup, but she was completely dressed, shoes and all.

I scolded her, and she said, “Why? What time was I supposed to get up?”

Insert mental sigh…but, NO, she doesn’t have Alzheimers or Dementia…

“Six thirty.”

She responded with a puzzled look.

“You’re going to be worn out before we get near Cleveland.”

“I’ll be fine.”

My eyes almost crossed from the restraint required to avoid an eye roll.

At 8:40, I was all set to leave. A little late, but not catastrophically behind. I headed for the door to the garage with the baked spaghetti I’d made to take to Grandma Cala’s after the service when Sasha, my cat, zipped toward me. I lunged for the door, trying to slip into the garage before Sasha did.  We live very close to a 4-lane highway, and I’d rather my beloved feline not become roadkill if she managed to escape. I lost my balance and dropped the spaghetti – in its GLASS casserole dish!

The dish landed on a rather sturdy throw rug, and, thank God, the glass didn’t break. But some of the contents bounced onto the rug and the hardwood floor. The sauce splashed everywhere.

I looked down at my skirt in total anguish. “Oh, my God!” I yelled, just as Max walked in.

The sauce-blighted skirt in question.

“Shit!” I sputtered, dashing toward the kitchen.

“What happened?” Nana called out from the living room where she was waiting for me to help her down the front steps.

“I dropped the spaghetti, and the sauce splattered all  over my brand new skirt I bought in Vegas. I’ve never even worn it,” I sputtered while grabbing a clean towel and running it under the faucet.Though the skirt is dark blue, the red blobs of sauce were quite obvious.

“Can’t you get it out with a wet cloth?” Nana asked.

I tried to blot out the sauce with the towel, but I knew instantly, it was a futile endeavor.

“Goddammit,” I bellowed, stomping back into the dining room. “I just wanted to take SOMETHING. I rarely ever do.”

I couldn’t see Nana, but I’m certain she reacted to my swearing with a crinkly mouth buttoned into an ugly frown and a flat-eyed glare in my direction. I don’t give a rat’s ass about her idea of propriety. I am who I am. When I’m upset, four letter words fly out of my trap faster than lies tripping from the yaps of politicians! 🙂 And I’m thinking, neither man nor beast can alter either one…

“I have to change,” I hollered to Nana while looking helplessly at Max, who was scooping up handfuls of the meat and cheese from the rug and plopping them into a dirty towel.

Sasha*, and her daughter, Samantha, were happily wolfing down bits of Italian fare on the hardwood floor.

“Leave that alone,” I hissed to the cats. But they didn’t budge.

Sasha, the innocent-looking pasta thief…:)

Samantha, Sasha’s daughter and thief in training… 🙂

I started to help Max, but he said, “You go up and change. I got this.”

“Thanks, Max,” I said, greatly relieved but still angry with myself for my clumsiness.

Of course, I was wearing a flowered blouse that clashed with everything in my closet except a wrinkled pair of navy blue pants or white dress pants, which were AWOL. In a total panic, I grabbed another skirt and blouse, and made the wardrobe substitution ASAP.

The substitute skirt…

We finally departed around 8:53. Max texted Charlie that we might be late, but he didn’t seem overly concerned – though I was. Charlie

and Grandma Cala were extremely close.

I hated not being there for him BEFORE the service, but there was nothing I could do but hustle northward at breakneck speed. However, traffic was sluggish through downtown, but luckily, not the rush hour parking lot it can be.

Nana chattered away the whole time. About midway, she began prattling on about the Miller family cemetery in West Virginia. “It was way up yonder on a hill, didn’t even have a road for decades.”

“Yeah, I remember walking up that mountain after Geraldine’s funeral, and I got poisoned ivy.”

Geraldine is Nana’s oldest sister who died in 1970.

“You remember that? You were only, what? Four?”

I shrugged.

# # #

We arrived at the funeral home, miraculously, at 10:55. BUT – I drove RIGHT past it. I’d only been there once in ’09, after all. After turning around, we arrived two minutes after the minister began his odd eulogy. He told some story about four horses at a county fair in the 40s that hauled 1200-pounds together – though individually they could only tow 200-pounds.

I got the strength in numbers idea, but the connection to Grandma Cala was a little weak – in equating this to her feelings about the importance of family unity.  I kept waiting for a personal story about Grandma Cala, but none was offered in his slightly sterile tribute to a sweet and wonderful woman.

Afterward, we joined the funeral possession. Ten minutes later, Nana was squawking about the drive. “How much farther is it?”

I tried to explaint it wasn’t far, but we were only going 19 MPH, so we weren’t exactly running off the rails, but she continued complaining.

“Why are we going to the cemetery anyway?” Nana moaned.

“Nana, we just talked about walking up the hill to the Millers’ cemetery after Geraldine’s funeral.”

I sighed, noticing Max giving me an eye roll in the rearview mirror. He put his headphones back on and shook his head. Wish I could tune her out with my I-Pod, I thought wistfully, but it’s illegal while driving in Ohio. Go figure.

Obviously perplexed, Nana said, “But we don’t do that any more.”

“Yes, we do. When Mom died, we stood over her grave while the Priest read bible verses.”

“I don’t remember that.”

I tabled this bizarre conversation by exiting my Escalade. I grabbed Nana’s walker from the back of my car and opened the passenger door, but she didn’t move.

“Aren’t you going to pay your respects?” I asked because Nana and Katie Cala had been good friends.

“I’m too weak,” Nana answered. “I can’t,” she whispered, her eyes cast straight ahead, knowing what was coming.

“See, I told you not to get up so early, but did you listen? No. You’re as bad as a five-year old.”

Her only reaction was a rather defiant snort. I shook my head, shut the door and sashayed over to Max and my husband, standing by the casket.

Finally, we arrived at Grandma Cala’s. When I set down the baked spaghetti (most of which had survived the crash), I noticed the strange assortment of food: Tater Tots, corn dogs, fried mozzarella and meatballs surrounded by a large array of cookies, cake and and a plate of donut holes. No potato salad. No tuna casserole like most people bring for the bereaved. There wasn’t even any bread!

“Good thing I decided to bake that spaghetti at the last minute – even if I lost some of it to the cats,” I muttered to Charlie.

“Well, we hadn’t planned on making anything,” he replied. Equally STRANGE. Why would HE, an immediate member of the decedent’s family, cook anything?”

I learned later that since Grandma Cala died on a Wednesday, her neighbors had brought a meatloaf/other food on Thursday/Friday, but the funeral was Monday…so, they didn’t bring anything. Then, Grandpa Cala’s sisters (all four of them) told my mother-in-law, Sarah, they were bringing desserts, which would be “just fine”…HELLO, the funeral was at 11:00 AM, so cookies were okay for lunch these days? Yeesh…can you say CHEAP, or just lazy? Idk…

That said, Sarah and Charlie bought what would feed the most people, I guess. Regardless, he and Sarah should NOT have been taxed with shopping/cooking, and if I’d known, I would’ve brought chili and potato salad and anything else I could think of.

Sadly, I wasn’t privy to the shopping conundrum.

Otherwise, the funeral chaos was limited to the acrobatic spaghetti, and we were all very grateful for that… :)…

Over and out from the MIDDLE EARTH of insanity, and then some –

~TENACIOUS BITCH and her truth-spouting posse… 🙂

* Sasha’s comical history about how she came to be a member of the family/household is detailed in Post #60 at: http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/05/11/post-no-60-my-confession/

Post 73 – Dragging Nana outta the closet…

Posted in nonfiction, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on August 13, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

Every single day I dread eating lunch with my Grandmother, to the point that I often manufacture the excuse of being on deadline for a project in order to eat at my desk (an entire, blissful floor away from her, and she NEVER travels upstairs).  And, yes, the guilt pangs have made huge skid marks on the floor of my conscience.

Unlike the salad days pre-dating Nana’s arrival, I can’t watch any of MY favorite TV shows like Rizzoli & Isles or Suits during lunch because of Nana’s constant jabbering. While I love hearing her stories again, as in more times than your average politician lies – like the riveting yarn about her resignation from a surgeon’s office in Macon (Georgia) in 1979. She walked out when a young, smart-assed doctor dumped his secretary’s work on her for the umpteenth time, tasks which were clearly NOT her responsibility as the head of Bookkeeping.

Alternatively, if she doesn’t regale me with regurgitated tales from her past, she’ll SIGH rather loudly signifying how much she HATES my choice in television viewing.  If you don’t change the channel, the volume and frequency of her nonverbal protests (the sighing), increases exponentially to the point you’re certain that she must be hyperventilating…:).

Nana’s Plan C involves sucking her teeth in order to destroy my TV fix instead. And she vacuums her teeth so loudly, that I now have permanent grooves in my palms from clenching my fists every time I hear that excruciatingly annoying sound. And, btw, boys and girls, I often get to enjoy THAT sound over the monitor in her room* as well. I think she does it when she’s alone so as to foster the idea that sucking her teeth is an unconscious habit and not intended to send me screaming into the idyllic pastures of madness.

That said, the FOOD CHANNEL is the only channel she’ll allow day or night if Dancing with the Stars or American Idol isn’t on – lest we risk the death knell sighing. Yesterday, some reality show about a restaurant in Harlem was on at lunchtime. The owner had fired the head chef because he was late all the time. They were also losing customers because he’d removed some very popular dishes off the menu, and replaced them with entrees that the owner, Nicki, considered really BLAH.

When Nicki introduced the new chef to the kitchen staff, Nana said, “Wow, there sure are a lot of black people working there.”

??? Yeah, ALL of the kitchen staff were African American. The only members of the Caucasian persuasion were the hostess and one of the waitresses. So what?

However, at first, I laughed and said, “Well, it is in Harlem.”

She obviously didn’t hear me because she mumbled, “Must’ve hired them in cheap.”

AGHAST, you say? Um, yes, and FUCKING furious with a capital F! “Nana, she hired that black guy because he had a MUCH better attitude than the white guy she fired, and everyone thought he was a better cook. What would Lena think if she’d heard you say that, or Jasmine?”

Lena is a lovely black woman in her late 70s and a very close friend of Nana’s whom she’s known since the 60s. Lena has been the secretary at Nana’s church in Georgia for as long as I can remember.

Jasmine is another friend of Nana’s, who is also black. They worked together for almost 20 years when Nana worked in the credit department at Macy’s.

“What do you mean?”

“Well, do you think Lena got her job at the church because she accepted a low salary?”

“Why, of course, not, she’s a hard worker.”

“Then, wouldn’t she be insulted by what you said about hiring black people for less money?”

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Then, how did you mean it?”

“Maybe, the salary was lower, so white people wouldn’t apply.”

I rolled my eyes. “Why would you assume the salary was crappy just because there were more black employees than white employees? The guy she fired was white.”

A blank look. “I was just making conversation.”

“I see. Well, next time, maybe you should think about what you’re saying before you offend one of my friends or yours.”

“But Lena and Jasmine live in Georgia,” Nana scoffed.

“What does that matter? I have friends who are black, like Lila, and Jenny Cole, whom you haven’t met, but still, and Charlie’s friend, Trexler, and-”

“I don’ t know what you’re getting all upset about. There’s no one here but you and me.”

“That’s not the point. You have friends who are black. You’re always nice to black people, strangers, in public to their face, but you say such awful things about blacks or other minorities when they’re not around, which in my mind, means you’re prejudiced.”

“I am NOT!” Nana shouted, her face flattened in anger.

“Then, why in God’s name would you think there were a lot of black employees at that restaurant because the salary was too low for white people as if black people didn’t deserve more money?”

“That’s not what I said.”

“But that’s what you implied, and I clearly remember when President Obama was running you said, I don’t want one of THEM people running our country?”

“I like President Obama. I’m voting for him this time.”

“Yeah, NOW…but that’s not how you felt four years ago.”

A frustrated grimace began to twist and grind upon Nana’s face. A second later, she looked away and said, “Excuse me, I have to go to the little girl’s room,” and then, in a voice heavy on sugar, she said, “Would you mind getting me another glass of tea?”

I bit my lip, knowing no matter how hard I tried, I still hadn’t drug Nana out of the bigotry closet where she’d been hiding for decades. “Sure, Nana, no problem.”

She waddled away into the bathroom.

Later, I threw darts at a photo of her that I had tacked up on my office wall for that very purpose about a month after she moved in with us…

SIDE NOTE: Earlier this morning, Bruno Bailey, one of my cats, unplugged Nana’s speaker while I was on the treadmill. I didn’t have the heart to discipline the poor lad

Bruno Bailey, one of Sasha’s babies

because I knew it was a choice between suicide and the beautiful silence we heard when the Food Channel stopped squawking after he cut the power. I’m glad he chose the latter because he is such a damned adorable kitty as evidence by the photo over….

.<<<<<<<<<<< there…. 🙂

OVER and out from the headquarters of NIX NANA FROM THE KKK…. 🙂

TENACIOUS BITCH and her TRUTH SAYING lap dogs and cats…

*When Nana moved in with us, I bought a set of baby monitors, so that if she falls or has a heart attack or something, she can call out for assistance. Therefore, the speaker for said monitor has become an obnoxious umbilical cord that I so love carrying around with me as I go about my day…however, on the bright side, I can hear her walker rumbling down the hallway toward the kitchen over the monitor well before she comes into view, which is convenient, makes it easier to run upstairs away from her when that butcher knife gets a little too close to my throat some days…

Post #70 – More BALONEY from Ms. Cranky Pants…

Posted in Family, grandmothers, memoir, nonfiction, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 31, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

I sat on my couch numb-struck for a moment because my brain was SIZZLING and crackling with ANGER.

“I’m sorry, she said, what?” I asked my mother-in-law, Sarah, who was sitting next to me.

Wearing a grim expression, she replied, “When Nana* and I went grocery shopping, she said she wouldn’t buy DIRT at Kroger and that Charlie buys cheap meat.”

“That’s bullshit.”

“I know it is. I reminded her that Charlie frequently makes Porterhouse steaks for everyone on Memorial Day, and last time I visited too, and he bought her filet Mignon,” Sarah explained in a bitter tone.

“And the only cheap meat I’ve ever seen in your fridge in the 15 years since you got married,” Sarah continued, “is that Kroger brand deli meat that Charlie buys for himself because he doesn’t care what brand he buys. And there’s nothing wrong with Kroger meat anyway, but I know he didn’t buy that for her HIGHNESS. She also said that you never bake anything and that her room hadn’t been cleaned in months.”

“What the hell is she talking about? I clean her room every Saturday! And I just cleaned it the day before we left for Vegas. Was it dusty or something because of her opening the window?”

“No. I told her that her room was spotless when I got here until the dog took a nap in there and got blond fur all over the place, which I vacuumed up while she was in the shower.”

“And I stopped baking anything for her because she’d eat maybe two pieces of cake or a couple cookies or something, and I’d end up throwing the rest out unless it was something that Max likes because she wants a different damned desert every day except when I made donuts. And she ate TWO donuts every day.”

“I know. She told me,” Sarah said.

“She just doesn’t understand. I’m already spending 3-5 hours every day cooking, washing dishes and trying to keep the house clean, which as you know, doesn’t leave near enough time for me to work. So, I’m sorry that I haven’t had time to bake Ms. Cranky Pants a fresh dessert every day. And she’s the ONLY person who eats all that anyway. Charlie and I are both trying to lose weight. And Max is here so little now with his work schedule and everything that he only eats dinner here at 10 or 11 o’clock at night when he may or may not be in the mood to eat angel food cake or whatever.”

Sarah nodded. “I know. I don’t understand her attitude. And what’s wrong with Kroger? And I told her that all the stores carry about the same thing. So, why go over to Giant Eagle or whatever when everything is going to cost 50 cents or a dollar more.”

And for the record, since Nana moved in with us 18 months ago, I’ve made: Coca Cola Cake THREE TIMES, and all of the following at least twice: blueberry muffins (from scratch), chocolate chip cookies, oatmeal cookies, Snickerdoodles, blond and chocolate brownies, chocolate chip muffins, sugar cookies, peanut butter cookies, pound cake, lemon cake, cheesecake, honey bran muffins, and homemade bread more than 20 times because I prefer it to store bought bread.

I’m thinking this lack of RECALL is a pretty good indicator of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, is it not?

Sarah nodded. “I know. I don’t understand her attitude and how she can be so ungrateful.”

“And how tactless to badmouth my husband to his MOTHER of all people.”

Sarah nodded.

I was so furious that I avoided Nana for the next three days, and then I couldn’t help it. My inner most BITCH broke free and lambasted the old bird.

I walked into her room, sat down on the bed and said, “You and I have to have a serious chat.”

“Oh, is something wrong?” Nana asked innocently.

“Yes, you can disparage me ALL you want, but if you EVER make another derogatory comment about Charlie or my boys, you’ll be living in the street!”

“What’re you talking about?”

“Sarah told me what you said about Charlie buying cheap meat and that you wouldn’t buy dirt at Kroger.”

Nana blinked, her eyebrows furrowed. “I didn’t say that.”  But I could tell by the way her eyes were shifting nervously that she was lying.

“Really and you didn’t hoard any money to give Cathy, either, did you**?”

Nana grimaced and began taking deep and rather loud breaths like she might hyperventilate, which is ALL an act because she stopped doing it like 30 seconds later.

“Yeah, Sarah made up awful things about her own SON? So, I suggest you keep your obnoxious and insensitive comments to yourself from now on or start packing!” I hollered, slamming the door behind me.

For those of you who might not GET why Nana’s comments infuriated me so badly, take a gander at:

https://tenaciousbitch.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/as-my-mother-lay-dying/

Nay, what she said on my mother’s death bed was worse. However, this latest defaming of my husband’s character was a major turning point in my life. A few days after I got back from Vegas, I started researching nursing homes…and that’s ALL I’m gonna say about that for now.

THANKS for tuning in, boys and girls. I must go now, the Geriatric Beast is yowling for more tea…

Over and out from the FLAMES of Paradise LOST…

TenaciousBITCH and her band of bullshit QUASHERS!

~TB

*For a humorous story about Nana, check out #18 The Oatmeal Incident at: http://tenaciousbitch.com/2011/06/02/the-oatmeal-incident/    …or Post #62 – http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/05/25/post-61-macys-alleged-faux-paus/

** For info on that, check out: http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/07/11/the-attempted-con-of-ms-cranky-pants/   …. and Post #69 – http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/07/19/post-69-the-brooding-nana-vs-the-world-of-its-all-fine/

© Tenacious Bitch/Kennedy Smith 2012

ALL posts:    © Tenacious Bitch/Kennedy Smith 2012

Post #68 – The attempted CON of Ms. Cranky Pants…

Posted in Family, memoir, nonfiction, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 11, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

As most of you know, my 95-year-old Grandmother/ aka Ms. Cranky Pants (aka Nana Maude), moved in with me, my husband, Charlie, and my son, Max, 18 very LONG months ago. For the 411 on Nana, go to Post #1 – https://tenaciousbitch.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/as-my-mother-lay-dying/ regarding her migration from Georgia to living with us (in Ohio) after my brother, Danny, fleeced her for approximately $50K.

Otherwise…read on. This week Charlie and I are on vacation…i.e. the photo below of my feet and I soaking up some sunny respite yesterday…

The joy of lounging at our timeshare in Vegas…or are we at the resort in Aruba? Sorry, Merlot-muddled brain isn’t functioning at top capacity… :)..have to ask the husband later…

A couple of weeks prior to our joyous departure, Nana asked me to withdraw some money from her bank account EVERY single time I left the house. First, to buy a few lottery tickets, so I retrieved $20, but she only bought $10 worth.

And the 2nd time, she said, “I want some money to go shopping at the cheap store. Forty dollars, I guess.”

The “cheap store” refers to our favorite thrift store, about a mile from my house. “But they take debit cards,” I reminded her, hoping to save myself another trip to the ATM. I already had a pretty full slate that day, i.e.:  mailing a manuscript back to a client, returning a book to the library, getting a prescription for Nana, and buying a long list of groceries.

“I know, but…” she said, followed by a pregnant pause, as if she were struggling for words. “Cash is just easier.”

I sighed in annoyance. Even though she does have arthritis, Nana has NO TROUBLE whipping out her bank card at Kmart or Walmart.  Why the hell is it suddenly so difficult to pay via debit card at the Thrift Store?

I did as she asked, so she’d quit bugging me, and, big surprise! She bought NOTHING at the “cheap store” during our next visit.

As I was leaving for a doctor’s appointment a few days later…she asked:

“Would you get $20 out for me-?”

“Nana, you’ve got $50. Why do you need more than that?” I asked, once again feeling my blood pressure rising to crimson levels in my face.  I really didn’t want to make another stop since going to the doctor was going to consume half my day as it was, nor did I get this sudden need for greenbacks!

“I wanna take Sarah to lunch at Bob Evans.,” Nana answered.

Sarah is my saint of a mother-in-law who always takes care of Nana in my absence.

“You could buy lunch there for you, Sarah and half the neighborhood for $50. Use your debit card.”

She just looked at me, her eyebrows furrowed. “But I wanna go to the Cheap Store too, while Sarah’s here.”

I groaned. Too fatigued to squabble anymore, I groaned and said, “Okay.”

Her guilt must’ve sprung a leak because she said, “Well, if you have time. I know it’s a long drive to the doctor’s office.”

YES, you demanding old bat, it’s a 50-minute drive round-trip that I have to make because of YOU. I had a huge patch of psoriasis festering on my shin from Nana-induced stress, hence the trip to the dermatologist…

However, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe she wanted to do some Christmas shopping while I was gone. Last year, she complained about having trouble buying anything for me because I always took her shopping, so she gave me a check for $50, which is FINE by me. I’d prefer she save her money for emergencies like long-term medical care, but I wasn’t going to bring that up NOW.

You’d THINK after obtaining $30 more, that’d be the end of Nana’s cash obsession, but you’d be SO wrong. The next day, I didn’t wanna deal with the nightmare of cooking her midday cuisine*, so I decided to go get KFC for her. After I hollered good-bye, Nana called out, “Don’t forget to get some cash out for me. I wanna take Sara to Bob Evans.”

For fuck’s sake? SERIOUSLY? “Nana, you’ve got $80 already.”

“No, I don’t.”

“Yes, you do,” I snapped. My temper was definitely ready to detonate. Aside from packing, I had a lot of cleaning and such before vacation. Arguing with Ms. Cranky Pants was NOT on my list of action items (and if you don’t know what “action items” are, for Chrissakes, go watch FIGHT CLUB already :)).

I marched into Nana’s room, snatched her purse and handed it to her. “See for yourself.”

She opened up her wallet, which contained ONLY $20. YES TWENTY DOLLARS!

“Nana, where’s rest of that money?” I inquired, somewhat panicked.

“What money?” She asked, flat-eyed, and seemingly unconcerned.

“You had EIGHTY dollars yesterday. Remember? I went to the ATM after I saw Dr. Spender. What’d you do with it?”

“Oh, that’s right. I forgot. I don’t know . It’s in a drawer in there somewhere,” she replied with a shrug.

I trotted back into her room, rifled through every drawer and the closet, to no avail. Nothing under the bed and in her hamper either.

“Well, don’t worry about it. I’ll find it later,” she replied, smiling, as if losing $60 was no big deal.

WTF? Last Christmas, she misplaced a $50 gift from her friend, Margaret. She kept saying she’d given me the check to cash for her, but I knew she hadn’t because I couldn’t have cashed it since my name wasn’t on it, which I explained NUMEROUS times.

She fretted about that check for weeks. She finally found it buried in her dresser somewhere in March. But THIS TIME she’d misplaced $60, and she wasn’t upset, AT ALL.

Her attitude completely invalidated my Christmas shopping theory. I assumed that Nana had finally succumbed to the treacherous wasteland of Alzheimer’s, or there was a rat squirming around that ancient brain of hers…

Turns out, it’s the latter. She told Sarah yesterday that she didn’t lose that $60. No, no, no Nana’s been HOARDING money to give to Cousin Cathy, who lives in West Virginia.

Cathy is my 2nd or 3rd cousin, whom I’ve only met once. She doesn’t work, and she milks some mysterious and seemingly nonexistent medical issues as a means to convince everyone, including her shrink, that she can’t work.

However, when I’ve asked about Cathy’s health, her answer is always the same, “Oh, I’ve got all kinds of things wrong with me.”

She’s NEVER more specific than that. The only medical maladies she’s actually talked about is being constipated or having insomnia. And last I checked, neither of those prevent full-time or part-time employment.

Additionally, during a brief period of sobriety, when my brother Danny, lived with Nana, he mentioned Nana giving Cathy a lot of money, including $600 for dental bills, then another $400 while I just happened to be visiting in March of 2010 also supposedly for dental work.

When Cathy called the day before I left Nana’s, I asked, “Are you feeling okay? Nana said you’d been to the dentist?”

“Yeah, I, uh, had a filling replaced.”

EXCUSE ME? “Why would that cost $400?”

“Oh, and I fell on the ice a few weeks ago too and broke a tooth.”

“Good Lord, Cathy, I’d change dentists.That’s way too much for that-”

“Well, um, that’s what he charged.” And it was quite obvious by her tone that she was LYING.

“If your co-pay was over $1000, why bother with dental insurance, which Nana said you have, right?”

“Um, well, can I talk to Maude? I don’t have much time before church.”

But she told Nana she doesn’t go to church, that she hasn’t found a minister that she really likes…

Aside from that, Cathy and her husband, Bobby, are always on the verge of starvation though Bobby has a decent job repairing bulldozers and such for a construction company.

However, one day last fall Cathy told Nana about having only $200 for groceries for an entire month. A week later, a round of violent thunderstorms took out electric service for 50,000 homes, including theirs. Too dumb to put their food in coolers or merely move a lot of it into the freezer, covered in ice, they allegedly lost everything after 36 hours. We lost power for two days once and only lost a couple frozen pizzas…After a lengthy call to Cathy after these storms last October, Nana said, “Oh, my God, I’m so worried about Cathy, I don’t know what to do.”

“Why is that, Nana?”

“She hasn’t eaten in two weeks. I have to send her some money.”

I almost laughed. “No, you don’t. She told you last week she’d spent $200 at Kroger, so she just voluntarily stopped eating PRIOR to the power outage? And if she hadn’t eaten in two weeks, she’d be dead or in the hospital.”

“Well, I don’t know about the dates, but they lost everything.”

“Nana, she just wants you to send her some money.”

“She’s never asked me for any money.”

“Yet, you sent her more than $2,000 last year.”

“No, I didn’t.”

“I went through all your bank statements, remember? So, I could figure out how much Danny had stolen from you. I added up the checks to Cathy. I’ll be glad to show you-”

“Well, that may be, but they’re always hard up. Bobby doesn’t make that much money, and they don’t have a thing to eat until he gets paid next week.”

“And that’s their problem that would be solved if Cathy would get a job.”

“Oh, she can’t work.” And Nana says this with SUCH conviction!

“If she can spend for two hours making you peanut butter fudge like that batch she sent last month, and vacuum and mop and all that, cleaning her house top-to bottom like she’s always telling you. Then, she can work as a nurse again, or SOMETHING.”

“Well, I don’t know about that. I don’t know what her doctors have told her.”

“It’s all bullshit, Nana. She just doesn’t wanna work. And you cannot afford to give ANYONE any money. Your Social Security check is only $875 a month, which barely covers your expenses, not to mention all those bills Danny never paid when he was managing your finances, like that $300 phone bill.”

Nana stopped asking to send Cathy money until my mother-in-law assumed the helm. Nana thought she could covertly send Cathy some cash for more food allegedly spoiled during a power outage from the thunderstorms 2-3 weeks ago in Ohio and West Virginia.

But Sarah is privy to the scourge of Cathy’s half truths and imaginary hardships. And Nana actually told Sarah that poor Cousin Cathy hadn’t eaten in MONTHS!  GOOD GOD almighty! I can’t believe that my Grandmother who was the Credit Manager for a HOSPITAL in the 80s – is actually believing this load of CA CA.

Thankfully, Nana doesn’t have any stamps, and there’s no way Sarah will mail anything to Cathy.  Nana will likely assume Cathy’s windfall was lost in the mail…

Does it make me EVIL to smile about the END of the cons, both Nana’s and Cathy’s? 🙂 At least for now.

Charlie said it best. “Your Grandmother didn’t learn a thing from her experience with Danny.”

SO, THERE YOU HAVE IT! Not only did Ms. Cranky pants lie about the allegedly lost $60, but she also lied about the need for cash.

I might bad mouth the old curmudgeon, but I ALWAYS pay her bills. I don’t con her into giving me money, and she eats like a Queen, no matter how much she HATES our healthy food with our brown rice and broiled fish and the occasional meal of STEAK and POTATOES… 🙂

TA for now!

Tenacious BITCH and…………………….                                                         her band of soothsaying bullshit QUASHERS!

* To read all about how delightful it is to cook for Nana, see post #66, BALONEY PORN or is it Bologna Porn, or Post #18 – The Oatmeal Incident… 🙂

Post #66 – Baloney Porn…or is it BOLOGNA porn?

Posted in Family, grandmothers, relationships, true stories, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 28, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

My Grandmother, as mentioned previously, is illogically bizarre and particular about food. Yeah, feel free to check out Post #18 – http://tenaciousbitch.com/2012/06/ called the Oatmeal Incident, as a reference for her peculiar and often hilarious antics regarding food.

Or…if you’re interested in the story about how my brother stole Nana’s life savings, check out Post #1 from March 2011 – As My Mother Lay Dying through…somewhere around Post #23…from June 2011.

Otherwise, back to Nana’s meals. I absolutely DREAD discussing the menu for lunch every day because it usually goes like this:

“What would you like for lunch today, Nana?”

“I don’t know. What can I have?”

“Whatever you want. We’ve got macaroni and cheese, and I could make a meatloaf sandwich from the leftover-”

“No,” she moans, while looking at me as though I’d just tossed dog POO in her face, pretty much like this:

Yes, SWEAR to that big Salami heaven in the SKY, that’s how she looks at me…:)

“I don’t want any of that.”

“Or I could make chicken noodle soup and a a hot dog, or I could thaw out that homemade potato soup,” I say, earnestly, hoping she’ll want SOMETHING easy, but I can tell by the look on her face, that’s NOT gonna happen. “Or, let’s see, we have chicken pot pies and chicken fingers in the freezer or that fish stick dinner you like. I could also heat up one of those, and we’ve got leftover mashed potatoes to go with the chicken.”

And by that, I mean, the HOMEMADE chicken fingers and HOMEMADE mashed potatoes, which, btw, totally rocked. 

She shakes her head. “No, none of that sounds good.”

“What do you want then?”

“Well, what do we have?” she asks innocently as if I hadn’t already mentioned a dozen different entrees already!

“We have bean soup as well.”

“I’m tired of bean soup.”

This is where I SIGH, and begin suggesting her favorite fast foods. Today, I asked, “How about I order a personal pan pizza? You haven’t had pizza in awhile.”

PLEASE LET THE TORTURE END! Please let me call someone else to make your FUCKING lunch! And I could SPIT on Pizza Hut from my back porch, so if they’re really busy, I could drive over and pick it up in THREE minutes – even walk over in less than TEN.

She shakes her head. “No, I’d really like that soup from Olive Garden.”

THEN, WHY DIDN’T YOU SAY THAT initially!!? “You mean the Chicken Gnocchi, the soup with the dumplings?”

“Yeah, that sounds good.”

Of COURSE IT DOES. It’s the farthest away from the house. It takes 20-30 minutes to drive there and back, but AT LEAST I don’t have to spend an hour in the kitchen making French Onion soup or something else that would trash my smashingly sanitary kitchen, which took me 45 minutes to clean up after breakfast…

That said, on weekends, my husband is kind enough to relieve me of the mind-fucking business enacting the 20 Question Quiz regarding LUNCH. And GET THIS…last weekend he inquires about the midday cuisine, and she looks at him as if she’s completely baffled and says, “Do you like bologna?” a.k.a. baloney…

“Yeah, I like bologna. Why?” Charlie asks, rather puzzled.

“I do too, just wondered. I haven’t eaten it in awhile.”

“Wow, you should’ve mentioned that before. Would you like a bologna sandwich for lunch, maybe with some mustard?”

“Oh, my God, not mustard!” she says wearing a seriously DISGUSTED expression. “Can’t you put Miracle whip on it?”

“Sure, no problem.”

Three or four days later, I decided to skip her 20-Question Quiz, and go for the jugular instead, “Would you like me to go get some Kentucky Fried Chicken for you today, or maybe, Taco Bell?”

She shakes her head, and I want to cry. Thinking PLEASE don’t make me go to OLIVE GARDEN! It’s 100 degrees outside, and I’m low on gas…

“Do we have any more bologna?” she asked, a sparkly TWINKLE in her eye…and I could hear her mind clicking…I NEED A FIX…do we have more of that wonderfully slimy pork substance, chock full of chemicals, pig snout and rectal tissue from many beasts? Please, TELL ME WE DO!

Actually, we did. We had half a package of un-brand, imitation Kroger pig-like meat known as bologna/baloney, which contains:

Pork shoulder, mechanically Separated Chicken, Mechanically Separated Turkey, Pork, Water, Corn Syrup, Modified Food Starch, Dextrose, Salt, Contains 2% Or Less Of Beef, Extract Of Paprika, Flavorings, Sodium Lactate, Potassium Lactate, Sodium Diacetate, Sodium Phosphate, Sodium Nitrite, Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid), and safflower oil. May also contain residual amounts of sugar acetone and corn syrup solids…and MORE salt than a 95-year-old woman should have in a MONTH…

With a big smile and feeling TEN POUNDS lighter that it only took 11 seconds to ratify the lunch treaty, I JOGGED to the kitchen before she changed her mind.

When I was a kid, I loved bologna, but I haven’t eaten it in at least 7 or 8 years since going on the South Beach Diet and/or it’s maintenance plan. So, it’s been a REALLY long time since I’ve attempted to slay the DEMON known as bologna. However, I couldn’t help but laugh when I noticed what sort of creation was born in my frying pan…

Baloney/BOLOGNA porn!!

Now I ask you, does that NOT look like a deformed and slightly charred NIPPLE?

Need I say more. And thank GOD, she did not notice the large bubble that formed in the center of the baloney (the nipple I speak of)…and she smacked her lips and clapped her hands when I put the BALONEY PORN sandwich on her tray!

But even in her ecstasy to consume the BALONEY PORN SANDWICH, we still had to watch Rachel Ray mutilate a perfectly good roast on the goddamned FOOD CHANNEL! Does Rachel not EVER take a vacation??

Sigh…

EIGHT days until vacation PEOPLE! 8, yes, EIGHT days until I languish/punch the time clock by the pool from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. (later on Sunday… :))…and gamble by night…

TA for now from the headquarters of the Baloney PORN STUDIOS…

All the best,

TenaciousBITCH and her porno CREW! 🙂

TB/KS

© Kennedy Smith 2012

Any and ALL the material/stories/true stories, photos, musings, ideas, emails and journal entries written by Kennedy Smith/TenaciousBitch are the intellectual property of Kennedy Smith and Lynne Logan. As such, any and all information, true stories, etc., presented on http://www.tenaciousbitch.com are copyrighted by Kennedy Smith and Lynne Logan.

© Kennedy Smith and Lynne Logan 2012

Post #62 – Macy’s alleged faux paus

Posted in Family, family battles, grandmothers, nonfiction, relationships, true stories with tags , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2012 by tenaciousbitch

Yes, another dilemma with Nana (my 95-year-old Grandmother). The feather pillow that she brought from Georgia is really worn out, “Flat as a flitter,” she says. And it’s probably 20 years old at least.  So, a couple of months ago, I took her to the mall to buy a new pillow. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a large selection of feather pillows at Macy’s, and the first one we saw was $248.99.

We looked around a bit more, and finally, she found a cheaper one. When the very nice, rather handsome African American clerk rang up her purchase, his eyes seemed to dilate. And he stuttered, “Um, hold on, let me check on… that price can’t…” and his voice trailed off.

The clerk was sans wedding ring, and I immediately recognized the bachelor’s dilemma. He looked to be around 25, and I assumed he’d never been shopping for linens and such with a girlfriend as yet. I smiled and said, “Yes, this pillow really is $70. That’s almost half off.”

“For real?” asked the clerk, looking at me wide-eyed. “Yeah, I see that now,” he mumbled, glancing at the computer, “It was originally $149.99.”

“It’s goose down,” I said.

He stared at me, an abyss of confusion whirling in his dark eyes. “What kind of goose charges this much?” he asked grinning, “Cuz, I’m thinking they’s some pigeons on my street that…” at which point, his jovial mood was shut down by the flat-eyed glare from Nana. I felt so bad for him. He was being so nice, and he had no clue who he was dealing with…

I smiled and looked away.

He cleared his throat and smiled again. “Will there be anything else, today, ladies?”

“No, thank you,” Nana replied in that tethered tone of hers.

After she bought the new pillow, I thought finally, I wouldn’t have to hear about her pillow and all of its uncomfortable glory, but I was SOOO WRONG.  The next morning when I brought Nana her morning medication, I smiled and asked, “How’d you sleep last night on the new pillow?”

“Oh, it was terrible,” she whined, rubbing the back of her neck. “It’s hard as a brick.”

Perplexed, I went over, grabbed the pillow and checked it out. I squeezed the pillow with my hand and said, “Feels pretty soft to me.”

She shook her head, and gave me this disgusted look. She pushed down on the pillow frowning. “See that,” she said, almost snarling. “It’s made with trashy feathers.”

I’m sorry, Nana, but  I’m not familiar with the Trashy-Feathered Goose? Is that the one who lives on the wrong side of the tracks, the one my mother warned me about? The one with tattoos, who dies her feathers pink or purple?

I busted out laughing. I couldn’t help myself, and she looked at me as if I were auditioning for an Alzheimer’s ward.

“Why are you laughing?” Nana asked, obviously annoyed.

“There’s no such thing as trashy feathers.”

“Well…you know what I mean. It’s not real goose down.”

“Nana, they can’t label something as goose down on this tag,” I explained, pulling back the pillow case and showing her the little tag attached to the pillow that did, INDEED, say:

100% goose down.

“If it’s not goose down, that’s fraud. I don’t think Macy’s is going to risk a lawsuit over a pillow.”

Nana merely scowled, emphasized by a “hmpf.”

Therefore, Nana’s diagnosis of her new bargain from Macy’s seemed a little more than inflammatory, given the original cost of the hard as a brick item full of trashy feathers.

“We can take it back if you like,” I offered….while I was thinking—at some point, not anytime soon because every time we go to the mall, she BITCHES and moans the entire way there and back about the traffic because “down home” (in Georgia) they never had any traffic. To-wit, I could only shake my head.

Her house is 20 minutes away from the beach, and the nearest mall is about 6 minutes away. And though it’s not as BIG a tourist attraction as Hilton Head, it can get really congested at times in her little berg. However, she was rarely out and about during rush hour down home.

Plus, driving from my house to the nearest mall to my suburb takes about an hour round trip due to the current construction on I-270 (our beltway), which is beyond my purview to remedy.

And getting her out of the mall after 2-3 hours sometimes requires a bit of trickery—like saying they’re closing 270 for a parade or something. Yes, I’m going to hell for telling falsehoods so that I don’t have to spend 4-5 hours at the damned Mall with Nana. Feel free to prepare the tar and feathers. Just make sure they’re not TRASHY FEATHERS! 🙂

A few days later, she changed her mind, and decided to keep the trashy-feathered pillow!!!

Yes, I have undeniable proof: There is a God…

I felt really bad that Nana’s neck still hurt even with the new pillow. However, at her age, her neck would probably hurt if she were sleeping on CLOUDS.

Over and out from WTF county, somewhere in the Buckeye state…

HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND, ALL!

~KS/TenaciousB