Friday, November 27, 2009

Sometimes Ya Just Gotta Laugh!

A word of advice: Dementia and pie DON'T mix!

Our Thanksgiving dinner was "interesting" to say the least.

Traditionally, we host Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. My parents cook for Christmas Day and Easter. My Mom has always made the pies for Thanksgiving. This year we KNEW that my mother had failed to the point where pies would be a disaster....we were right.

Z and I TRIED to talk Mom into letting us bake the pies. My Dad has been doing all the cooking for the past couple of years, but Dad has NEVER baked! Dad was all for us baking the pies, but Mom insisted that it would be "No problem".

We knew we were in trouble the minute they walked through our door. Dad started ranting about how the crust "just wouldn't work right", and asked me what pie crust recipe I use. "I've always used Mom's recipe". Then Dad proceeded to make excuses for Mom by stating that a friend had stopped over with a deer heart and liver for their dog. OK, that story explains the burnt pumpkin pie in the top picture...BUT...WTF happened to the banana cream?! There's NO crust, the bananas are on top, and Mom obviously baked this whole mess, as the instant pudding is all cracked and shriveled and the bananas are gummy. Mom and Dad sampled a piece of pumpkin pie before they brought it over. They decided it would be OK to serve. Alrighty then...

Z took a peek at the pies when he put them in the fridge, and wisely opted out of dessert. L never has dessert right after dinner, but this year he foolishly decided to have his pie right away. As Mom was cutting the pumpkin pie, she asked us what kind we wanted. Dad and I said we wanted pumpkin, so Mom goes over and starts cutting the banana cream. "Ummm, Mom...the pumpkin pie is over there." "Oh, is it? OK."

Fortunately my parents don't hang around after dinner. (Long story. I'll explain it to you sometime.) It's a good thing they left because we all burst into laughter the minute they got in their car. Z immediately got his camera and took those pictures so he could email them to SME. We then called SME and Doug and we all laughed 'til our sides hurt. Laughter IS the best medicine! It beats the hell out of crying!

Our dinner conversation revolved around all the people who had died this past year. No matter how hard we tried to change the topic, my Mom kept changing it back to death. Z finally had enough and said: "Um Grandma...this isn't a real great subject for the Thanksgiving table." Mom smilingly agreed, then proceeded to tell us, for the 3rd time, about the phone call they received from a friend when their son died.

We had already discussed trying to talk my parents into letting us have Christmas dinner at our house. Meals have become "iffy" over there. Dad tries to cook, Mom gets in the way and then they start bickering! Portions have become increasingly skimpy and either over or under cooked. My parents expect us to go over there at noon and spend the whole day there. This year my Dad has an unreasonable aversion to putting up their Christmas decorations. Z says he refuses to spend Christmas Day listening to my folks' bickering and watching Grandpa nap, while FoxNews drones in the background, in an undecorated house. L and I agree.

Now we just need to diplomatically convince my parents that they would have a more relaxing Christmas Day at our house....wish us luck.


At 11/27/2009 11:20 AM, Blogger Jeannie said...

I wish you a mountain of luck. Convince? I would insist! Either that or ask to be able to provide the main dish so your folks won't need to go to as much trouble.

Are they really ok on their own? Shouldn't they be in at least a minimal care community?

Whatever happens, I would have food ready to bring with you or to enjoy when you get home.

You DO have to laugh. Your poor Mom. Is she really unaware of her condition?

At 11/27/2009 11:53 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

Jeannie, yeah, Mom doesn't have a clue, and Dad is in BIG-TIME denial! They refuse help of any kind. Social Services told me that only a doctor or law enforcement can intervene in these circumstances. I can only wait until they fail on their own.
I've got to write a post about this situation. It's a MESS!

We have a whole list of arguments for having Christmas at our house. At the top of the list is the fact that Christmas week will be Dad's week for chemo.

At 11/27/2009 5:07 PM, Blogger SME said...

The pumpkin pie still makes me shudder. You and Dad deserve medals for at least trying to eat this stuff...

I don't think Grandpa's as much in denial as he's trying to keep everyone else from figuring it out. But he MUST know, on some level, that the pies were a dead giveaway.

At 11/28/2009 1:24 AM, Blogger Grizzly Mama said...

I can't believe that half of each pie was eaten!

Insist on Christmas at your house. No debate.

Good luck. I feel for you.

At 11/28/2009 7:24 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

SME, I dunno...remember Grandpa hired a lawyer to get Grandma's driver's license back...

Z and I think we should go on the world poker tour. We've developed inscrutable poker faces from dealing with your grandparents. ;)

Grizz, we didn't eat much. We sorta pushed it around our plates and nibbled a bit. I couldn't cut the pumpkin pie with my fork when I got closer to the crust. EWWW!

My parents are HUGE control freaks, so insisting with them would just break off all relations with them. We gotta handle this situation with kid gloves and a LOT of patience. :(

At 11/28/2009 7:34 AM, Blogger Vancouver Voyeur said...

With their memories the way they are, maybe you can convince them you have already come over for Christmas and it was such a nice meal you'd like to thank them by having them over for dinner, um, say Dec. 25th, just don't call it Christmas. Good luck!

At 11/28/2009 7:48 AM, Blogger tshsmom said...

VV, LMAO!! Don't laugh, but that COULD work if they didn't watch FoxNews 24/7. Maybe I could sabotage their TV? Hmmm...

At 11/28/2009 7:02 PM, Blogger Barb Patch and Mark Spurrier said...

okay, now I understand what you meant by "interesting"


At 11/29/2009 1:01 AM, Blogger Cherie said...

I'm sorry, but I'm cracking up! You tell the tale with such description and humor, Tshs. And the funny thing is that my folks are heading down the same path - things are getting weirder all the time. Yes, laughing is better than crying - by far.

Those pies! Wow. At least she has an excuse. My sister in law makes pies like that with no excuse. Ha!

I'm beginning to think there is a correlation between those who watch FoxNews 24/7 and dementia. I feel sorry for Z because I know EXACTLY how he feels!

Be creative - you can do it, save Christmas, I mean. Good luck!

(He hired a lawyer to get her driver's license back. Holy cow!!)

At 11/30/2009 8:31 AM, Blogger tweetey30 said...

Sorry but I cant stand pumkin pie but now banana cream on the other hand.. But no way is there any cream in that banana pie.. LOL.. I am hoping you best of luck to get your parents over to your house..

At 11/30/2009 12:30 PM, Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

I'm sorry to say this, but I too laughed at that second picture. How can you not laugh at that?

Yeah, I know. You're not supposed to laugh at someone else's misfortune but dang, that's hard not to do.

At 11/30/2009 4:24 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

GWB, told ya so! ;)

Cherie, no apology necessary. Like I said: Ya just gotta laugh.

I think we should do a study on the FoxNews correlation. You may be right. Now I have a good excuse to avoid it like the plague. ;)

The driving thing is a l-o-n-g story. I'm trying to get a post together to update everybody on this stuff.

We'll have to be each other's support network through the travails of the next few years with our parents.

Tweets, I baked a pumpkin and banana cream pie over the weekend. We just missed having Thanksgiving pie to munch on.

ZS, we had a helluva time not laughing before my parents left. We're developing excellent poker faces. ;)

At 12/06/2009 5:50 PM, Blogger DirtCrashr said...

Sounds like you succeeded! Meanwhile good luck to your dad with his therapy.

At 12/08/2009 3:22 AM, Blogger Gardenia said...

Oh my! I was sort of chuckling over the pies and relieved when I got to the part where you guys were laughing too. Still - there is that element of danger with them cooking - my mother has the habit of putting on a big pot of something to cook for her dogs and then falling asleep in the recliner. And I remember being invited to grandma's for lunch and having a salad of cut up lettuce and plastic wrap from the lettuce.

I may be going downhill - all we got up for Christmas this year is a potted Norfolk Pine - oh yeah, a wreath on the door. Good thing old age comes gradually, if I knew some of the things I would be facing and am experiencing came all at once, I think I would have signed euthanasia papers....guess that's not a very good joke, but I so don't want to put a burden on my kids.....I guess that's life - I took care of my grandma for a long time and I loved her - - and humor really helped me over the humps. It does get more difficult when they won't cooperate.

Yet, I looked at a picture of her sitting in front of a turkey (she always wanted it on the table whole) - it was as big as her shriveled 90 year old body almost - and I miss her. I lot.

I was in grocery store today and a friend putzed by in a cart - I was leaning over the grocery cart I was pushing - she said why don't you get a sit down cart. My thoughts were - "over my dead body."

But you know - as things get harder with us as we age - I hope my kids have the grace and personalities to laugh!!!!!

At 12/08/2009 5:28 PM, Blogger Garnetrose said...

Good luck with this. We were lucky as my mil decided a long time ago that she would no longer cook meals for anyone but herself. She was a great cook but that went by the wayside and I am more than happy to cook the holiday meals.

I hope you win...

At 12/10/2009 5:41 PM, Blogger tshsmom said...

DC, we all think Dad's doing very well with his chemo. We can't convince HIM of that though. :(

Gardenia, a LOT of what my parents do has "an element of danger" right now...especially driving.

I KNOW my kids will laugh if I get that bad..probably to my face...and I'm happy that they feel comfortable enough with me to do that.

Garnetrose, WELCOME!
My parents both used to be wonderful cooks. Now they're both too forgetful to put out a complete meal for all of us.

We don't mind cooking holiday meals either. It gives the 3 of us more together time.


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