Fridays are typically my least productive day. On Fridays, my grandmother, who suffers from dementia, gets her hair set into the classic “football helmet” style favored by octogenarians. I usually take her to the hairdresser’s in the morning, and an hour later, one of women in my family picks her up. Our habit is to take her to lunch afterward; other than church, this is the only social life she has, now that her mind is deteriorating.
Every Friday we debate the lunch options. The restaurant has to service my mother, my grandmother, my sister, her two-year old daughter, the 3 month old that my mother babysits, and me if I’m around. It’s challenging to find a kid-friendly, reasonably-priced place with a menu that suits everyone’s palate. After lunch, we run errands—often for groceries my grandmother needs—before we end up back at home in the afternoon.
Today was particularly long. Granny had to be at her hairdresser’s an hour and half earlier than usual. She got the “works” today, so we were later than usual heading to lunch. We decided to go to Columbia, which added 30 minutes to the commute. Lunch was great, as long as we didn’t mention any of the subjects guaranteed to get Granny “started.” There are certain subjects that she can’t handle mentally anymore, and she’ll ask the same questions over and over and over. She just can’t comprehend the answer. We managed to talk about old vacations and our travels to unique places, which got her laughing and reminiscing a bit.
We went to JoAnn Fabrics, where my sister wanted to get some craft materials for a craft show she’s entering. Olivia, my niece, gets bored easily in place like JoAnn Fabrics. There are dozens of things to attract her attention, but nothing that she can really play with, without knocking over home decorations or bolts of fabric. The baby was starting to get hungry and fussed until her cries became full-blown wails, and I was trying to distract her by moving the shopping cart back and forth. My grandmother wandered slowly around the store, always an aisle or two behind us, so we had to constantly stop and call for her to catch up. Then there were potty breaks for the toddler who’s being toilet-trained, and the long line at the cutting table to wait through. Everyone was already feeling frazzled and frustrated when Olivia hurt herself on a shopping cart; her grandmother had to take her red-faced and screaming to the bathroom yet again to check for bleeding. We managed to get all the children and senior citizens out of the store and loaded back into the car by 4:00 pm, and they all took a nap on the way home.
I need a nap. . . .