One of the hallmarks of losing one’s mind is cruelty where there was none before, and another is blowing seemingly minor things out of proportion – mountains from molehills, if you will.
We signed an official lease with my grandmother today. We are now, officially, tenants of the Clark Street house. We signed this paper around 3:00 today. My brother, also named as a tenant, will sign both copies when he returns from his job in the woods.
At 7:15 p.m., Nana called. She called the house phone. When she wants to talk to me, she calls my cell phone. But no one else was home to answer the house phone (Boogermonkey LOVES answering the phone), so I did.
“Oh, Jenni! I didn’t want to bother you, I figured [Booger] or [Llamaface] would pick up.”
“[Llama] took [Booger] to the store to get dessert, what’s up?”
What followed was a three minute, 47 second tirade on nothing other than our signatures and how messy they are.
I WISH I were kidding.
“No one can even tell that’s a name.”
“That’s the point, Nana.”
“You can’t tell me they accept this at the bank.”
“Every time I write a check, every time I sign for my credit card, yes they do.”
“Well you’ll have to write me a check and bring me to the bank so I can see it for myself.”
“Okay, Nana, whatever you say.”
“When the IRS checks up on this, they’re not going to believe you’re a real person!”
“I seriously doubt, unless your tax guy is totally inept, that the IRS will look at anything, Nana.”
Her handwriting, due to age and dementia, is going to shit. I can hardly read her shopping lists anymore and her signature is an E followed by bumps and an S followed by more bumps; she swears you can see every letter in her name just fine. “But I guess I was raised in a different time, when you didn’t have to worry about people using your name illegally.”
This is what I live with. Every damned day. And if her doctor dares tell me that there’s nothing wrong with her, I’m complaining to the medical board. Six months, a year ago? She wouldn’t have dared criticize me. She and I are too much alike, and criticizing me means criticizing herself. But now that Mom’s gone (may she rest), I have taken her place (g-d help me). That means Nana will be mean to me the way she was mean to Mom. Hang on folks, that means more stories.