Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Shooting the Shit with Grandma

I thought that once Ellerie was done with diapers my days of talking "shit" would be over.

No more dissecting diapers to determine what she ate.

No more wondering about what the color of the poop signified.

No more talk of loose stools or rock hard nuggets.

Yes, I was gloriously done talking about poop, but all that changed when my 87 year old grandmother arrived for Thanksgiving.  When she arrived I learned that at the end of your life talking about pooping or not pooping is the thing to do.  Apparently, the elderly have a pooping affinity. In fact, my grandma's first words to me after a two day long trek in the car was, "I need a laxative!"


And, although Grandma was probably accused of figuratively being full of shit at least once in her life,  this time Grandma was literally . . . full. of. shit.

And really, let's face it.  This was a tidbit that I really could have gone without knowing.  Happily.

At breakfast the next morning, we sipped our coffees together and shared warm cinnamon rolls.  I was enjoying the pleasant conversation with her and with my mom until talk turned to number two. 

"I'm still constipated, Annie."

Oh lord.

Where do you go from there?

"OK MomMom.  I will make sure you poop before the day is over!"  I declared to grandma.  I was on a mission.  A mission from God to get this woman to poop.  It was a holy war.

That is why later on that day my grocery cart contained Colace stool softener and prune juice for her and all means of necessary wine for me. 

Lots and lots of wine.

 So, after a pill, prune juice, fresh fruit and other carbohydrates,  Grandma emerged from the bathroom and announced triumphantly to everyone within earshot, "I've had a breakthrough!"

A literal breakthrough, of course.

And just like when the kids were little and were successful during potty training, we did the happy dance (fueled by a few glasses of wine) for Grandma and her poop.

It was the circle of life . . .

after all,

shit happens.

Special thanks to my mom who puts up with grandma's "shit" every day.  Love you!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tim McGraw in the City?

"Maaaaa-ooooomm!"  Ethan bellowed from the back seat.

Turning the music on the car radio down, I answered impatiently, "What?"

"Is this country music?" he asked.

Wondering where he was headed I answered, "Yes.  So?"

"Well," he paused,  "can you turn on the city music?"

"City music?" I repeated.

"Yes.  City music.  You know, the good stuff."

Apparently my hopes for having a future Tim McGraw are all for naught.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Goodbye Uncle Chucky

When I was a kid, I always loved to visit with my Uncle Chucky.

You see, even though Uncle Chucky was my dad's baby brother, he was definitely the coolest of all the uncles.  He was one of the first people I knew to have a gigantic boom box in the eighties, and he listened to the kind of music that I liked too which was a major bonus.  In fact, when Kool and the Gang would belt out "Celebration", you could usually find Uncle Chucky doing his famous half strut/ half dance move and encouraging the rest of us to join in with him.

In short, Uncle Chucky was an enormous kid . . .an enormous kid with a giant heart.

I remember when my grandfather, Cap, died, I was just shy of my 12th birthday.  It was Halloween time, and all of the adults were mourning the loss of their dad.  And even though Chucky had just lost his dad,  he would have no part of me or my cousin's missing Halloween or my birthday.  We pieced together costumes from our cousin's house and we assembled in my grandparents' front living room.

"Everyone ready?" Chucky asked.

We all nodded eagerly, and then Chucky looked pointedly at me.

"Annie, WHAT is that?"

Not knowing what he could be talking about, I answered with a blank stare and a shrug of my shoulders.  He walked over to me with purpose and grabbed the plastic grocery bag I was planning to use to collect candy. 

"This!  What's this?  THIS will never do!"  Chucky explained, and then he was off.  He ran up my grandmother's stairs two at a time, and when he returned he carried pillows from her bed. He stripped those pillows of their cases and handed them out to me and to the other pillow-case-less cousins.

"NOW we are ready!" he declared when he finished, and then he led us through my first experience with sprinting during trick-or-treating.

That night I came home completely out of breath and exhausted, but I had an enviable mound of candy in my pillowcase that was probably almost as tall as I was, and I had a memory of my 12th birthday that is still etched on my heart. . . all because of Chucky.

Of course, Chucky was always up for a good time, and he loved a good game of cards.    He especially loved to hold all of his cards until he was just about to go out.  And when he did go out on you, he inevitably left you holding a fist full of face cards.  It was exasperating.   I swear,  the man was part "Rainman" in his ability to count cards.  And the worst part?  He would sit there smiling that sly smile of his while his eyes would dare you to try him again.  It was a challenge that I fell for many a time.

One Memorial Day Chucky loaded all of the kids into his car to take us to a parade.  Even though we were quite scrunched in the back seat and there was no air conditioning, even though our legs stuck to the leather of his seats, and even though his car over-heated on the highway on the way home, it didn't matter to us.  Uncle Chucky spoiled us that day.  He cranked the music loud in the car, he bought us every imaginable piece of junk food that the parade vendors hocked, and he took turns putting each of us on his shoulders so that we could see the parade better.  It was a great day.

And there were many great days.  I will always remember when Chuck sang and danced to Right Said Fred's "I'm Too Sexy" during our Mardi Gras family reunion.  I will remember his visits to my Florida childhood home and especially his stories about the not one, but two tickets he received on his drive down there.  I will remember his hearty laugh that bent him over at the waist when something tickled him, and I will remember the way that he liked his tea, "just so", with milk and sugar.  I will always remember Uncle Chuck the eternal kid splashing with my kids in the pool, just like he had splashed me oh so many years ago.

My, Uncle Chucky . . . he was one of kind.

And there is a hole in my heart today as I learned of his death.

But I am going to make myself a cup of his tea,
and crank up the music loudly,
and play rummy with my kids. . .

All in the hopes that Uncle Chucky is out there smiling.


Love to all of my family.~Annie

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