Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Early Bird Special at Canyon Creek

Up until Saturday afternoon, I hadn’t visited Grandma since Christmas Eve. My days off fill up pretty fast sometimes, but this past weekend I was free. Last time I saw Grandma I brought her soup. She was at lunch when I came by so I brought it to her table in the dining hall. She accidentally spilled it all over and felt SO bad. I told her I’d bring her soup again, and so the other day I made some mushroom and barley soup, hopped in my car and drove myself to Canyon Creek.

When I walked into her room, she was laying down on the bed and told me to come join her. This picture is of her asking me questions such as "Who are you dating these days? What makes you happy?" and "Where's your father?" She asked if I wanted to join her downstairs for dinner. For some reason I said "sure!" like it was the best idea I've heard in a long time.

And it was.

On the way down we ran into other residents, and some nurses that work there. Everyone greeted Grandma with a “Hi sweetie!” “Hi Betty!” “Hi cute thing!” and that annoyed Grandma to no end. It was so weird. This little nurse said, “Hi sweet Betty” and then before Grandma could interject, the nurse beat her to the punch and said “Oh, stop that!” This scowl came across Grandma’s face like I’ve never seen.

“Grandma, what’s wrong?”
“They always say, ‘Hi Betty, How are you Betty? Good to see you Betty!”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“Betty is such a common name.”
(Me laughing), “You don’t like your name?”
“I think Elizabeth is nicer, don’t you?”
“Is Elizabeth your full name?”
“No. Laura is a nice name. There’s a whole movie about a girl named Laura”

And then she started to sing the theme song to the 1944 murder mystery.

We sat down to dinner and realized I couldn’t order anything because I didn’t have a meal card, nor did I want to buy one (I wasn’t hungry). But they gave me a Dr. Pepper. Grandma briefed me on all the ladies that would be joining us at the table up in her room. She told me all about Maureen, Charlotte, Edith and Carol. Edith is in love with Shane, their physical therapist and she is 96, but she looks younger than Grandma (91). Charlotte is from Georgia, and Carol lives off scrambled eggs and Coke.

I sat at Maureen’s place because she was gone. Carol and Charlotte joined us eventually.

Grandma ordered the soup.
Charlotte ordered a hot dog.
Carol ordered scrambled eggs and a Coke.

Apparently Carol always orders a Coke at the table and then one to go so she can drink it up in her room and stay awake for Craig Ferguson. “If you ever have indigestion, drink a Coke,” Carol said as she fished the ice out of her cup with a fork and put it in an empty cup (much like another person I know). I told her I prefer Dr. Pepper. Carol agreed it was tastier. Grandma started to talk about how Dr. Pepper is better for you than Coke...that discussion went on for awhile.

Then we talked about Craig Ferguson. Carol formulated a detailed argument about why he was funny that eventually satisfied Grandma.

After about 10 minutes of conversation Grandma finally tasted her soup. She took two bites and then sent it back. Then she went on and on about the soup I brought her last time I came. “Did you know, Laura brought me some soup, and I spilled it all over the table.” The ladies seemed familiar with the story. So familiar in fact that they could tell it back in better detail than Grandma could. Then Grandma told Carol that I brought her some mushroom and barley soup. “Doesn’t that sound delicious?” she asked, to which Carol replied “No, it sounds awful. I don’t like barley and I don’t like mushrooms.”

We talked about Charlotte a little bit (she was sitting at the table, but she wasn’t so talkative). Apparently Charlotte and her husband moved to Hercules, Utah (didn’t know there was such a place) because her husband was going to work on the atomic bomb. “And then they had six nuclear kids” Carol said.

But most of the conversation was centered around the less than satisfactory food they serve at Canyon Creek. They complained about the chef and how he is cheap and doesn’t know how to cook. He always serves cake with a dollop of jam on top and no one at that table likes cake.

It wasn’t long before the waiter brought out dessert. Tonight it was little saucers with a scoop of chocolate chip ice cream. Grandma, Carol and Charlotte, to my surprise, all picked up their forks to eat the ice cream. Charlotte, after saying virtually nothing for the past 45 minutes says, “Does anyone have a blow torch?” That's when Grandma started to laugh so hard tears streamed down her face. “You see, they scoop out the ice cream,” (ten seconds of laughter), “and then they put it back in the freezer” (laughing), “and then...and then he takes it out and gives it to us when it’s hard as a rock.” They all started chipping away at the ice cream with their forks and ate two or three little shavings at a time.

During dessert Grandma and Carol talked about healthy food, vs. unhealthy food. Grandma got a little impatient and looked at Carol to say, “Just because you married a doctor doesn’t mean you have all the answers.” Carol’s response is what earned her my favorite person of the week award:

“I’ve never used that as an excuse.”

Edith, who eventually joined us at the table didn’t touch her ice cream. She told the waiter she didn’t want it. The waiter took it away and my grandma said to him, “Well, are you just going to waste that?”

“No, we have a freezer we can put it in for tomorrow.”

I'm definitely doing this again.


Jess said...

This post made me laugh. Loved it. And that top photo is really beautiful!

Carter said...

As always, top-notch entertainment from a Laura/Grandma post.

Lisa Marie Trent said...

Last time I was there she gave Jack a ride on her walker. It was awesome, except for the parts when JAck would demand she go faster. But he had fun. Then grandma's neighbor had a visitor who brought her maltese, "Sissy" and he played with her for about an hour.

We had a great visit last time.

Ilene said...

I understand the coke and scrambled eggs thing. It is hard to screw up scrambled eggs and coke taste-wise. Of cours the pairing of the two tends to make me gag.

Keep the Grandma Durham stories coming.

SRA said...

Awesome. Just so great.

Jergs Family said...

This is a great story Laura! It's always fun to visit Grandma. I'll have to go have a meal with her sometime - it sounds like just the dose of laughter I'll need! Did you meet Dr. LeCheminant? I hear she's got quite a crush on him!

Laura Lee said...

Thanks for spelling LeCheminant for me. Grandma did tell me about him but she said it was someone she was "supposed to like"...hmm...someone is being a little coy...

Jergs Family said...

That's funny! I had breakfast with her and mom a couple of weeks ago and she talked a lot about him. He sounds interesting...

Anonymous said...

Laura, I came across your blog via Mandi! I really like your blog :) This post is hilarious! I want to go to an old folk home now...in fact I secretly wish my Grandma was in one so I could go and visit her and meet her friends. hahaha Love that you posted everything about the visit and the conversations!