Personal Statement

Personal Statement

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Southern Girl 101: Sandwich Generation

Given that this is a post about being a Southern girl, perhaps I should have titled it "TEA Sandwich Generation"?

Mom had foot surgery on Friday, which means that she is wheelchair-bound until next Friday.  Being a good Southern daughter, I appointed myself chief cook and bottle washer for the duration.  In such capacity, I have been:

Baking.  A lot.  Chocolate walnut brownies, salted caramel bars, peanut butter buckeyes, pumpkin spice muffins (made healthy by the substitution of applesauce for the fat), etc.  Took those over to the house Friday morning, along with three houseplants (a basic green plant, a miniature rose and a kalanchoe) in decorated containers.  It was that or cut flowers, and - as noted in a prior post -  I'm more of a live plant girl.

Preparing meals.  And making sure to stagger my meats.  Because Dad's not much of a chicken guy, plus you want to introduce some variety.  Hence barbecue, followed by a really stellar chicken and mushroom lasagna (recipe to follow in another post), followed by pot roast, with some delivery Chinese thrown in.

Serving as meal traffic cop.  Neighbors and friends wanted to help out, as did my sweet mother-in-law.  Since it made sense for me to handle meal duties over the weekend when I was off of work, I took that shift, and plugged everyone else in around that.  Funny moment when the across-the-street neighbors, Roberta and Across The Street Bob, came over.  (Why is he Across The Street Bob?  Because my dad is also Bob.  Just Bob.)  Anywho:  Roberta and Across The Street Bob are Methodist, so of course Roberta came packing a cream soup-based casserole.  My dad found this notable, because (1) I am Methodist and (2) I have mentioned before the Methodist propensity to go the "cream of" route.  Call from Dad:  "They brought over a chicken casserole.  Pretty sure it had cream soup in it." 

Me:  "Which one?"

Dad:  "Um, cream of chicken?"

Me:  "NO.  Which CASSEROLE?"

Dad:  "Poppyseed chicken.  It was good - had some sort of breadcrumb topping on it."

Me:  "NO.  Not breadcrumbs.  RITZ CRACKERS.  Diced chicken, undiluted cream of chicken soup and sour cream, topped with crushed crackers, melted butter and poppyseeds."

Dad:  "Seriously?  You can just rattle that off?"


Dad:  "There was a salad, too, with this mixture of nuts on top . . . ."

Me:  "Sliced almonds, toasted pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds?"

Dad:  "Actually, yes.  Now you're kind of scaring me."

For the record, the nut mix is not so much a Methodist thing as an Old Fort Worth thing.  It's called Tours Nut Mix, they used to make a salad with it at a restaurant of that name, and people still make the salad long after the restaurant bit the dust.  They even package and sell the stuff at local stores as "Tours Nut Mix." 

I assemble my own from the bulk bins at Central Market.

Running errands.  Actually, the bulk of the errand-running has befallen to Spouse.  God love him, he is a wonderful husband, son-in-law and grandson-in-law.

Loading and running the dishwasher.  Mom insists on unloading.  It makes her feel useful.

Setting up the coffee pot in the evenings.  Because my mother trusts my father to turn it on, but not to fill the water reservoir and scoop the coffee into the filter.

Looking after my grandmother.  The day of the surgery, this task also befell to Spouse while I was with Dad at the surgery center.  But then my phone rang, and the caller ID said "Schools," which meant that ONE of the boys had taken ill/gotten injured/gotten in trouble.  It was the older boy, and he was puking.  So Dad took over child duty, and I hunkered down with Grandma.  We watched the Golf Channel and "Grease", and I tried to get her to eat lunch, but she didn't want anything that I offered her, so I ended up feeding her peanut butter buckeyes on the theory that, hey, peanut butter is protein.  Since then, I have been in charge of laying the groundwork for her morning routine, which includes laying out her morning pills on a paper towel, placing a teaspoon to the left of the pills (for her morning coffee) and a small juice glass of water (with which to take her pills) to the right, and then circling the pills on the paper towel with a broad-tipped green marker.  The circle must be green, and you only set out the spoon for her, not the mug, because she likes to get the mug herself.  I didn't ask.  She's 93; she can do whatever weird stuff she wants, as far as I'm concerned.  Including lunching on peanut butter buckeyes at 3 in the afternoon after refusing a proffer of a sandwich or leftover stir-fried beef.

Spouse says that he reserves the right to divorce me at any time in the future, on the ground that "yo family be crazy."  To which I say:  "Right back atcha."

And I really wouldn't want to have it any other way.  Crazy families equal normality in these parts.

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