The Patriarch of the Family

If you’re a regular viewer, it’s been a while since the last Grandpa episode – and I mean EPISODE!Grandpa is wheeled into dinner:

Grandpa: “I’m not going to say the dinner prayers anymore. The Lord told me the head of the house is supposed to say them.”

Robert: “Well, I still want you to say them.”

Grandpa: “Well, I don’t want to say them anymore. You’re the head of the household.”

Robert: “Well, I still want you to say them!”

Me: “You are the head of the house dad. You’re the oldest one here. I want you to say them, too.”

Argument begins to escalate here. Voices rise. Grandpa and Robert exchange orders…”Yes you are!” “No, I’m not!” “Yes you are!” “No I’m not!”

Me: “Dad, why do you have to always change things. We’ve been doing it this way for a long time. You need to do what you can do for the family.”

Eric: “You’re the patriarch, Grandpa. You should say them.”

Grandpa: “That’s not the head of the family. The Lord told me, the head of the family is supposed to say the prayers.”

Me: “Let’s take a vote. Who wants Grandpa to still say the prayers.” Everyone raises their hands, except Grandpa.

Eric: “I don’t know Grandpa. I don’t think God would tell you to stop praying (in other words, could it be SATAN? Sometimes the enemy pinches Grandpa when things have been going along too peacefully).”

Robert: “You can eat in your room until you decide to say the prayers.”

Me in Grandpa’s bedroom trying to reason with him (why do I bother?): “Actually Grandpa, we have two heads of the family. You’re the head of my side, and Robert is the head of the children’s side (I wasn’t born the middle child for nothing, ya know).”

I can see Grandpa’s wheels turning with the thought of two heads to the household, even if one of them is technically 92 going on 6:

Grandpa: “Well, that’s one way to look at it.”

Maybe I’ve made an inroad to the brain inside the head with the hoary gray hair (I say that in all due respect).

Me: “I don’t have any more energy for you, Grandpa.”

Eric continues to minister to Grandpa by trying to get him to eat. I wonder why he isn’t hungry anymore?

I go back to the dinner table and finish my soup and sandwich. I can’t even taste it, giving credence to the Bible verse: “Better a dry crust with peace and quiet than a house full of feasting, with strife.” Proverbs 17:1.


Life’s Crosses

The crosses of the present moment always bring their own special grace and consequent comfort with them; we see the hand of God in them when it is laid upon us. But the crosses of anxious foreboding are seen out of the dispensation of God; we see them without grace to bear them; we see them indeed through a faithless spirit which banishes grace. So, everything in them is bitter and unendurable; all seems dark and helpless. Let us throw self aside; no more self-interest, and then God’s will, unfolding every moment in everything, will console us also every moment for all that He shall do around us, or within us, for our discipline.
Francois De La Mothefenelon

Twitter, Really Now

So Grandpa asks me at dinner, “What is Twitter?”

I was really taken aback.

“Where did you hear about that?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he replied looking at me mater-of-factly (like, what do you think I am, dear daughter, socially and technologically inept? I may be 91, but I am aware of a lot more than I let on…).

I just sat there, a bit stunned. I was just telling the family this morning, I can barely keep up with this guy. His aspirations are a lot more than I can handle.

I think he needs a full time secretary.

This is why his computer is not connected to the Internet.

Can you imagine?

I told him, “I don’t even do Twitter!”

Program Wars – Been There, Done That!

Grandpa has been on my nerves lately.

He finally finished writing his book, Yeti: The Adventures of The Abominable Snowman and sent it off to a publisher for what he hopes will be a lucrative book contract. He wrote for something like 175 days days straight, with a few breaks here and there. However, near the end of his compulsive writing streak, his eyes started bothering him, and he had to take more breaks. I thought it was cataracts (he has them in both eyes) but the eye doctor said he has a low grade bacterial infection in both eyelids.

I can only think that he used the facecloth he wipes his nose and mouth with (a persistent drainage symptom due to medicine or Parkinson’s) to wipe his eyes. We were given special eye drops to apply two times a day, and Grandpa applies hot compresses to his eyes to release the oil which will aid in healing. We go back to the doctor in a couple of months to see if the infection has cleared up. I’m so thankful that we found out about the infection.

Anyway, after Grandpa finished his book, which was like birthing a baby (at 91 no less), he immediately fell into a funk otherwise known as post writer’s depression syndrome. He started resting his eyes because he thought they were shot. But to rest them, he needed something other than writing to occupy him. So he started wheeling up behind me while I was working on the computer, just hanging around, or sitting out on the porch for extended periods of time.

The weather has been pretty hot so porch sittin’ isn’t preferable in 90 degree weather, although Grandpa thought it was fine.

I finally let him sit out one day when it was about 86 degrees. “If your ear turns bright red, I’m bringing you in,” I told him.

“Oh, it’s just right for me out here,” he said trying to convince me that the heat agrees with him.

“Seniors don’t know when they’re over heated Grandpa,” I told him.  “I’ll keep and eye on your ear.”

The next day it was 90, so I had to withhold Grandpa’s only form of entertainment. This led to a somewhat heated exchange of words:

Grandpa: “I want to go out on the porch.”

Me: “You can’t go out, Grandpa! It’s 90 degrees.”

Grandpa: “No it’s not. It’s 85 degrees.”

Me:”No it’s not, Grandpa. It’s 90 degrees and I have no one to help bring you in.”
Grandpa: “I can still go out there.”
Me: “No Grandpa. It’s too hot. It’s supposed to cool off tomorrow. You can go out there tomorrow.”
Grandpa looking at my computer: “Is that spiritual?” he says, making a reference to the fact that it’s Sunday.
Me: “What did you say (now I’m the one who is pretending I’m hard of hearing)?”
Me: “You’re really making me mad, Grandpa. You’d better leave me alone.”
He’s starts rolling around the floor on the other side of the dining room table. Finally he settles down and reads the Sunday paper.
My skin starts crawling…I guess you could say, Grandpa is bored and I’m going crazy.
So I decided right there and then that I needed to get Grandpa a TV. He had a nice one before, but my brother kept it when we moved. We have watched movies and programs with Grandpa on our computer, but I needed to get some work done on that same computer, and I didn’t have the energy to pacify Grandpa.

I looked on Craig’s list and found a lift chair recliner that he could relax in and when I went to pick it up, the seller gave me a TV set for free. Mind you this isn’t one of those wide screen digital models but a good old table top model for which you need a HD converter box.

So we surprised Grandpa yesterday with his new baby sitter – I mean TV and a pair of earphones. He practically cried, and I don’t blame him. Now, he can watch sports again.

But as usual, Grandpa strikes again!

This morning he wanted us to move his new TV set out of his bedroom and into the living room. Bob who wasn’t awake yet said no without asking why. Later, when I had the opportunity, I asked Grandpa why he wanted it out of his room. He said so he could do his writing for the Lord (he’s working on a fictional story with creepy monsters (real spiritual, I’m sure). He has a terrible way of combining the Word of God with fiction…but I digress. I suspect he’s experiencing  conflict because the  TV is sitting on the table next to his computer, staring him in the face. It’s kind of hard for him to concentrate when he could be channel surfing, even if he only has ten channels. We don’t have cable.

Anyway, I told him I didn’t want it in the living room, and that he was going to have to watch it in his bedroom. I told him I didn’t want the kids and me getting lazy, laying around on the couch watching the one-eyed monster (because that is exactly what happened the first two years we took care of Grandpa at his house).

He smiled kind of funny, but agreed.

I suspect the real reason he wants the TV in the living room is so he can have some company while he’s watching “his” programs. We went through “program wars” for the first two years we took care of Grandpa at his house and those days are over.  Now that we’re all in the same house and don’t have a family room to separate us from our livingroom/kitchen/computer area, Grandpa will have to stay in the east wing (the master bedroom) and watch football and other programs of his choice, by himself, with his earphones.

I love it!

You can’t even tell that football is on.

Anyway, I hate football.



The Answer to Grandpa’s Prayers

“I love my bedroom,” Grandpa said. While he was in the nursing home, he prayed that he would have a room someday all by himself where he could write. And he asked for a room with a view, too. His bedroom has windows on three sides facing north, south, and east. So, technically this move is all a result of Grandpa’s prayers – not to mention mine. Sometimes we have to wait a long time, but God is faithful!

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