1. We would not share a kitchen.
2. We would not have family dinners at 3:30pm on weekdays.
3. We would not have "burgers on the grill," every long weekend to fulfill random food cravings of my mother.
For the most part, we follow these rules. However, every long weekend, my mother leaves a note, which she follows up with a lengthy speech about "burgers on the grill." Which, out of principal, I do not serve on Memorial Day, July 4th or Labor Day out of spite.
It is nice having her around because when she needs something fixed my husband does not have to drive 1.5 hours to Bucks County, but can instead spend 1.5 days repairing things that really should not be broken. It is also nice having her around because we love her and all her nuttiness and my kids have access to their grandmother whenever they want.
I love when we have doctor's appointments and the doctor goes through the psycho-social portion of the exam. (Who lives at home, they always ask. Once Lily, who was about 4 years old, said "My Imaginaries!" and refused to acknowledge that she lived with actual people, like her parents and sister). My children list the regular suspects, the pets and then "My grandmom lives with us, but we do not share a kitchen or have early meals together or anything like that."
Anyway, yesterday, I needed my mom to leave the home with the girls because I needed to go live on Facebook for Happy Family and do a cooking demo. Her apartment door is off of my kitchen. She cannot be trusted to not pop out and say "MY AIR CONDITIONER IS MAKING A FUNNY NOISE"
My girls cannot be trusted to abstain from fighting over bathing suit bottoms and the plot of "Bunk'd
I decided they would all go to the mall--the air conditioned, retail joy of the mall!
Anyway, these are the exact conversations that were involved in the "fun" mall trip:
Me: Can you take the girls to the mall and lunch tomorrow? They both have spending money and I need a silent house for about 2 hours to film a video for work. Nicholas will be at Summer rec.
Mom: sure! I’ll take them to the Dollar Store. It should take about 30 minutes.
Me: I need all three of you gone for 2 hours. Please take them to the mall. Don’t come back until 1:15 at the earliest.
Later Monday Night
Mom: We’ll be back by 1! I saw something at Walmart so we are going there.
Me: can you please just take them to the mall? They really want to go to the mall and Walmart will not take 2 hours. No one wants to go to Walmart.
Mom: well, there are nice things at Walmart!
Me: Can you please take the girls to the mall?
Mom: okay. But this is a Dutch treat right? I am not buying them lunch.
Me: whatever. Just go! I don’t care! The girls will be ready at 11:30 to leave.
Tuesday, at 9 am, my phone rings:
Mom: Where is everyone? I am ready to go.
Me: the girls are at swim practice. I told you they would be ready by 11:30.
Mom: oh. Okay. But what about Nicholas? I think he is a bit young to be home alone.
Me: he is at Summer rec!
Mom: okay! Looking forward to going to Walmart
Me: the mall! Take them to the air conditioned comfort of the mall!
Then, at 11:15am:
My girls: We are ready. Grandmom said we needed more money to pay for her lunch.
I open my wallet and give them everything!
Me: Do not come back until 1:15
Mom: We will be sure to get back at 12:45!
Me to my girls: If Grandmom tries to leave mall before 1:15 please run away from her.
Then, while I am going Live on Facebook being PROFESSIONAL. I receive the following texts, in rapid fire like that automatic pitching machine has gone mad and is shooting out baseballs without pausing:
“Grandmom made us all share one meal.”
“Grandmom will not let me get Starbucks she says it is too expensive.”
“Grandmom tried to make us buy broken clearance items”
“Grandmom does not like half shirts on young girls and she said that the game kiosk is for gambling!”
“Grandmom wants to leave. What should we do?”
“We tried to explain logically the time situation to her and I think she needs hearing aides.”
“You did not give us enough money for hearing aides”
“She wants to take a bubble bath. What should we do”
“Since you did not answer we are going to hide between cars in the parking lot”
Then at 12:45, while I am making waffles live on camera for a major baby food brand:
“She rushed us out. We are hiding between parked cars. I think you should pay us for our time. Elder care is hard work.”
And friends, that is it, living with your grandmother is hard work. But they did it! They arrived home at 1:17pm. My mom got her bubble bath in the middle of the day. And the girls spent 3 hours arguing over "the best fidget toy on the market." Then, my mother asked me where the dog was and if he was dead. . .
(He's not! He was asleep!)