Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Caught between a sock and a hard place.

July 21, 2009

My Aunt Bernie is 90, residing in an assisted living facility near me. She moved there after living independently all of her adult life. For the majority of that life she cared for a mentally retarded sister (Down Syndrome had not been invented at that time, so my deceased Aunt Teresa will always be lovingly referred to as "retarded" in our family). Her devotion kept my Aunt Teresa at home free of institutionalization, even though she functioned only at the level of a three year old. In the 70's when My Aunt Bernies father became ill she took care of him also. Offered marriage and perhaps an escape from her family obligations, she declined. Several times.

Now its my turn to take care of her but SHE WILL NOT LET ME WASH HER SOCKS !! I visit my aunt 2-3 times a week and another sister of mine sees her when I am unable. Together we do her housekeeping, medications, shopping and laundry . Except the friggin' socks. My Aunt insists on washing them herself. She rinses them out every night and hangs them in the bathroom to dry, or on the back of her chair, or the doorknob. They are not getting very clean. She is losing the ability to scrub. This follows immediately after losing the ability to tell fresh milk from sour milk, which is why we do not buy her milk for her little frig anymore, just single serving juice.

So when I visit and see the socks I will sneek them into my laundry bag to take home and wash properly. Yesterday she sees me doing this and yells "What the hell are you doing !?" I state the obvious, "I'm taking your socks home to make puppets out of them to distribute to the arts deprived children of Appalachia." She does not fall for that story. She may be confused at times, but never gullible. "The hell you are !", she responds. "Put them back where you found them, if I can't wash my own socks you might as well throw me over that railing there." She has a small balcony off her studio apt. She's been using the throw-me-off-the-balcony-threat more and more. I do appreciate the drama of it.

So I put the socks back on the edge of the tub. But when she came into the bathroom to get ready for supper, I took several pair out of her socks out of her dresser drawer and hid them in my purse. When she finds out I am going to be sooooo grounded.

1 comment:

  1. that's a great story, funny, sad and happy all in one.