I’m glad I recorded this week’s episode of True Blood because it was completely forgettable. Seriously, when I got an email from my friend Sheila this morning (flagged as “urgent”) asking if I’d seen it yet I realized I had already forgotten what I had seen a mere 8 hours before. After a refresher from Sheila and watching again tonight I have the following observations:

  • I wonder if Eric would be as tender in bed as he is in Sookie’s dreams. My guess is no. 
  • And while were on the subject, is it too late to bring up the fact that Eric is clearly hotter than Sam? 
  • Why didn’t Mary Ann know, through her great evil powers, what was going on a Merlottes and just come and get Sam herself?
  • Classic line award goes to Lafayette: “Jesus and I agreed to see other people but that don’t mean we don’t still talk from time to time.” 
  • Oh! Egg’s is the name of Tara’s boyfriend! I was wondering the first time around why she needed eggs when she came out of her trance. 
  • Apparently this episode was only 45 minutes. I didn’t even notice.

Overall, this nonsense with Mary Ann has gotten completely out of control.  If they continue on this route they might as well turn the show into a cartoon.  They’re halfway there already. 

I went to visit my grandmother yesterday.  It was the first time in months.  I know, I’m horrible.  How many other 42 years olds can say they have a 100 year old grandmother living in a nursing home they avoid? 

But come on, everybody knows how miserable it is in those places.  To see what used to be your strong, tidy, meticulous grandmother, turn into one of those dreary old ladies rotting away in a wheelchair is tough.  It’s disturbing and heartbreaking and just plain sad.  It’s also awkward as all hell. 

The last time I visited, I found Grandma sitting up in her bed, happy, cheerful and covered with the beautiful quilt my mother made for her last Christmas.  We chatted for a few minutes and then one of the caretakers came in and said, “OK Hetty! Ready for me to take the bedpan away?”  See? Awkward! 

Sometimes when I go Grandma is sleeping.  A little awkward, and waking her up is even more so.  Although now that I know that a 100 year old lady can be very disoriented when first waking up from a nap I’m always prepared for the visit to be short and predictable, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  After Grandma gets over her usual grogginess and we establish who I am and how we are related the conversation usually goes like this:

“Oh Karen, how nice to see you dear! Do you have the day off work?”

“Yes, I certainly do. It’s Saturday. How are you doing Grandma? Everything going OK in here?”

“Oh sure! How’s Jerry?”

“Jerry’s good.  He’s busy with work as usual.”

“So where are you living now?”

“We live in Castro Valley. We’ve been there for six years now.  We like it.  Do you remember Castro Valley Grandma? Do you remember stopping at De Luca Deli?”

“Oh sure….”

There will be a pause while we both sit there and then we will cycle through the same conversation again.  After three or four goes at this Grandma will start throwing in “Well it was really nice of you to stop by” which is my que to go.  It’s short, sweet and everyone is happy. 

But sometimes the mid-nap visit doesn’t go so well.  Like the time Grandma was really groggy and we never quite got past settling on the correct time of day, (she kept looking out the window and saying “It sure is bright for 5am!”) or establishing who I was.  When I told her I was Karen she said, “You know, I have a really good friend named Karen.  She lives in Castro Valley with her husband Jerry.” Again, awkward. 

My visit this weekend was actually pretty good.  Grandma was neither sleeping nor peeing when I got there.  She was fully dressed, sitting in her wheelchair by the window and knew perfectly well who I was.  I ended up visiting for well over an hour.  After we cycled through our standard conversation I pulled out a copy of “More Home Cooking” by Laurie Colwin and read out loud chapters on Grandma’s favorite foods: coffee, butter and biscuits.  It was a lovely afternoon.  And save for a minor wheelchair incident in the hall with another old lady, there wasn’t a single awkward moment. 

After threatening us with a fine for $5,000 and assuring us that we could answer “decline to state” for questions concerning race and ancestry, we finally succumbed to the demands of the U.S. Census Bureau last weekend and spent an hour on the phone answering survey questions posed to us by a woman who barely spoke English. 

Now that it’s all over I’m wondering why all the fuss.  The questions were completely ridicules.  We should have told them we were a Canadian immigrant couple with three disabled children adopted from Mexico. 

As it was, we tried to answer the questions accurately but because of the absurd choices of categories combined with the heavy accent of the woman on the phone I believe that according to the official census records I am legally blind and sometimes have problems getting dressed in the morning.  (The latter is actually true.)  They also think that we have an aging Persian lady living with us named Mrs. Borowick. 

As for Jerry’s strong stance on not answering questions about race or ancestry, I think they have one over on him.  I know damn well they put him in the angry Portagee category.  You can’t hide that over the phone. 

The other Sunday night I came up with, not exactly a motto, but definitely three items which, if I could simply accept at inevitable facts, would probably make me a happier and more productive person: 

  • lotto is a bad investment
  • retirement is a long way off
  • booze is a temporary fix at best

You know those self check-in kiosks at the airport?  You know how you have to check through a bunch of questions including ones about carrying flammable materials or firearms?  Don’t click on the “yes” box at these questions.  Even by mistake.  If you do they will print out a boarding pass that says “DANGEROUS GOODS” in bold.  And it will tell you to immediately stop all your travel plans and visit the special check in desk which has a long ass line and you will have to stand there with a bunch of people with dogs.

Luckily your “DANGEROUS GOODS” boarding pass makes you immediately known to all the check in agents who are standing around and they will come up to you and call you by your first name and ask if they can help you.  If you are really innocent looking and stammer a lot they will take pity and direct you to the agent they usually only let the first class passengers see.  If you explain very nicely that you hit the “hazardous goods” box by mistake (and if you look especially pathetic they will understand) they will print you up a new boarding pass and send you on your way without too much time shaved off your pre-boarding drinking time.