Wednesday, August 31, 2011

blame the baby

that baby there? that's me. and I am the reason gammer is known as gammer. aaron, who is a wee bit older than I am, calls her grandmother, which I've always found very cute. well, he's cute anyway, but that's beside the point! when I was little, I couldn't pronounce "grandmother" properly. it came out as "gammer" and somehow it stuck. and I don't mean just stuck with a bit of that nasty white glue you use in elementary school, i'm talking gorilla glue, you will never unstick this even if you attack with a jackhammer, kind of stuck. the reason i say that is because now, TONS of people call her gammer (or shortened to gam). mary, bruce, leslie, dean, collin, all of my friends, even the bellman at the trapp family lodge. but for those who don't know until recently, or even never knew, gammer is really constance miriam pratt wheeler.

my old kentucky home

gammer and I went out to dinner last night and it was wonderful. we ate yummy food, giggled, and surprise of all surprises, gammer had a bourbon. now, this is something gammer used to drink more often, but as she's gotten older she has cut back (that sounds bad! i don't mean it to!). i actually burst out laughing when she ordered it, because it caught me off guard. life is full of surprises. :) so gammer drank a maker's mark on the rocks and her face got quite pink and afterward we went to see mary at work. she loves seeing mary at work and we never get out the door without gammer saying, "doesn't she look good??" and frankly, i think we're very entertaining for mary's coworkers. on the way out, gammer turned to me quite seriously and asked, "WHAT did I have to drink?!"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

gammer's new boyfriends

well golly! i had started this post about gammer's new boyfriend and no sooner had I begun to type when she found another one! she's boy-crazy, i tell you!

it all began with the new issue of Majesty magazine. gammer found a dashing photo of prince harry and when I told her he's my boyfriend, she said, "oh no! you saw him but i'm older." we had a good-natured and giggly squabble over who gets to be harrys girlfriend; gammer won. :(

and then there was novak. the djoker ( won his match at the us open today so he's currently being interviewed by darren cahill (ooh la la) and hannah storm. gammer took one look at novak and gasped, "who is that?!", hid her face behind her magazine and peeked at me and asked if he's married. i told her he is not, she pondered that for a minute, and then said, "well, i'll let you have him."

generous girl, my gammer. :)

Monday, August 29, 2011

rainy day

hurricane irene, or what was left of her, made her way up north yesterday. gammer, who had been somewhat frightened by the dire warnings on the news, was suddenly blissfully unafraid/unaware and we had a few disagreements about her taking the dog out. we spent the day in our cozy house and I was grateful to have a comfy and secure home. the kittens decided to snuggle up to gammer for a little while, which is not something they do very often. gammer kept laughing and said "maybe the dog will be next". the kittens have been a huge blessing in unexpected ways. they make me extraordinarily happy and gammer, who wouldn't let me have a cat for years, loves them. it's fun to hear her from a room away, suddenly start laughing at something they are doing. she loves to watch them play and is always talking sweetly to them.

speaking of which, i think the plumber thinks we're bonkers. he was here to fix a sink and the bird was cooing, so i cooed back and then gammer, who can't tell the difference between my coo and the bird's, started to coo as well. it doesn't help that the last time the plumber was here it was to fix the garbage disposal. the reason it was broken? three of my little plastic toy dogs from the machine at the grocery store had gotten down in there. which was gammer's doing, not mine. so yeah, the plumber probably thinks we're a bunch of nutters. :)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

happy anniversary, part 2

in the spirit of things, i found the photo album containing gammer and grandpa's wedding photos. also in the album were clippings and an invitation. the newspaper clipping from the rutland herald begins, "Before an altar banked with white gladioli, Miss Constance Pratt of Proctor was married yesterday to Dr. Dean Herbert Wheeler of Burlington." now that's a wedding announcement! :) there are also little slips of paper that show, in gammer's handwriting, where they went on their honeymoon. they drove all over the east, driving through pennsylvania, virginia, north carolina and tennessee, before making their way back to philadelphia, where grandpa was going to graduate school at the university of pennsylvania. this photo is from the day of the wedding, as they departed for their big adventure.

update: gammer is now looking at the album and found a photo of the whole family that she really likes. after I told her I could make copies of it, she started to say she'd send one to jean. unfortunately, jean has not been alive since the 1980s and gammer quickly realized that. her comment: "my brain is free-wheeling". :)

happy anniversary!

on this day in 1949, gammer and grandpa got married in proctor, vermont. i had actually forgotten until glory of all glories, gammer reminded me. :) she has a stellar memory for things that happened a very long time ago and remembers her wedding day very well. i think she was a darling, beautiful bride.

really. very. irritating.

what exactly do I do? when i catch up with people i haven't spoken to in a while, I feel that I have a hard time explaining exactly what it is I do. i kind of do everything, to be blunt. that's the thing about living with and looking after someone who is a bit aged and fairly confused.

a list of questions I am frequently asked:

"what day is it?"

"where's *fill in the blank*?" *this is usually someone who does not live within a 250 mile radius of our home

"have you seen the dog?"

"has the mail come?"

"is it really *insert time of day*?"

"where are the others?" who the others are, besides being the residents of a horror film is part of the fun, because you have to figure out who she's talking about

"whose baby is that?"

"what are we going to do about supper?"

"do you know what we're having for supper?"

"is it time for supper already?"

"do you know where aurora is?" this is probably my favorite

"where have you been?" this is usually asked when i've moved exactly one inch to re-situate my butt in my chair. gammer tends to spend a lot of time on the sofa so if she doesn't see me for a while, even though i haven't moved, she seems surprised to see me and wonders where i've been.

now, the next way to play this game is to choose about half of those questions, multiply by 10, and there's an average day of questions at my house. of course, you can always expect the unexpected, like "is that a coeducational school?" while watching harry potter or "when does a cat stop being a kitten?" i think it may be good practice for being a mom.

i'm not perfect and honestly, some days are really hard to get through. but some days are great and sometimes you get a little bit of the bad, a little bit of the good. that's life, right? :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"the help"

gammer and I saw "the help" last week. it's a really good movie and has some brilliant actresses in it, particularly viola davis, who was also awesome in "doubt". viola plays aibileen, a black woman who raises white children. after the movie, gammer and I got to talking about Marie, a woman who worked for gammer's family in washington in the late 1920s. Marie, from what I understand, cooked, cleaned and was essentially a housekeeper. she was what was known then as a "hired girl" even though I don't think she was a girl, per se. gammer says that she loved Marie, but Marie's real pet was Alan and gammer said she could still see Alan sitting on Marie's lap. I wish I had a photo of that and I wish I knew what became of Marie. did she love our family? was she sad when they moved back to vermont? did she have a family of her own? I don't think I'll ever know. I love thinking about gammer when she was a little girl, giggly and rambunctious. :)

vacation shmacation

so, we were supposed to spend one night in vermont, at the lake mansfield trout club. it's a beautiful place and my family has been going there since my mom was a toddler. unfortunately, as gammer gets older, more tired, more confused, it gets harder and harder to travel. sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. gammer and I spent over a week in florida this spring, and after a rough beginning, we had a great time. one night at the trout club? didn't work. we had a nice few hours of swimming and relaxing and suddenly she was ready to go. and when an 88 year-old wants to go home, you'd be a total jackass to say no (unless you're in florida and you're driving home: "well no, we can't go home right now, we're about 1500 miles away and it will take time to get there"). so home we went! i did get one single photo of gammer sitting on the porch. the cutest part was on the ride home, when she said she might not have been as homesick (how do you get homesick that fast?) if my mom had been with us. she's too cute, my gammer. :)

bottom line: traveling with a senior citizen can be hard. it can also be super awesome. you just have to make sure to pack a lot of stuff you might not even realize you need, like nightlights, and expect the unexpected.