Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Irvington Index

While at my grandparents' home in Springfield, Massachusetts for the past three days, I found so much to ponder. I realized after a little while that numbers played a significant role in the goings-on, and began to catalog them in my head. I will share many of them for you here in a manner that will be familiar to some readers.

172: The combined age of my maternal grandparents.
63: The number of years they have been married.
50: The number of years they have lived in their large, beautiful home.
9: The number of months they are likely to have left there before relocating to a small senior housing apartment.
2: The number of blind eyes between them.
0: The number of good ears between them.
0: The number of them who is allowed to drive.
1: The number who does drive.
7: The number of times their simultaneous, mixed up, and shouted directions nearly caused my cousin to drive us off the road
2: The hours it takes me to fly there.
2.5: The hours it takes 2 grown women to make an extremely simple dinner with my grandmother (spaghetti, sauce prepared before our arrival, with a garden salad and bread).
2.5: The hours it takes 2 grown women to clear and reorganize my grandparents' medicine closet.
1989: The expiration date of one medication found in the medicine closet we were cleaning out (or, as my grandmother says, "hoeing out")
1,285: The number of band-aids "hoed out" from said medicine closet.
22: The number of times my cousin and I collapsed with laughter about the phrase "hoeing it out" - we felt we'd been remiss in not wearing some kind of ho-bag outfits to our grandparents' house.
11: The number of priceless video clips I gathered for posterity.
1985 : The date of the oldest magazine found in the magazine rack that sits right next to my grandmother's easy chair in the den.
5: The number of trash bags filled with the old newspapers and magazines between those easy chairs.
874: The times my cousin sneezed from the dust raised by our, um, "hoeing".
40: The minimum age, in years, of the mattress I slept on for the past 3 nights.
8: The number of sweet, bright elderly women we met at my grandmother's bridge club meeting. I wanted to hang out with them all afternoon, but they understood that when there's hoeing to be done, ladies can't stick around playing bridge.
52: The number of times my grandmother looked at something old and heinous that she forgot she ever owned to begin with, and completed the sentence, "Well, then I suppose I ought to ____" with the words, "hang onto it!" when we fully anticipated, "throw that one out."
7: The number of king size sheet sets that remained in the closet after 2 hours of haggling over them. She felt she'd really, well, "hoed that out".
2: The number of large black trash bags full of crap that we tried to sneak out to Goodwill before realizing that our blind grandmother could remember exactly what used to be in that particular drawer, and had to sneak back out to the car trunk to retrieve. Oops.
36: The number that sat on my birthday cake last night as my grandparents sang in silly voices and danced around the kitchen in a scene that closely resembled the memorable craziness they pulled on my 18th birthday - half my lifetime ago. The angel food cake that was kindly baked by my uncle's wife, made with fresh egg whites from their own hens, and dripping with delicious blueberry sauce.
562: The minimum number of combined tears that were shed by my cousin and me, starting on Sunday night when my grandmother described what she could see of us as we sat 2 and 4 feet away from her in the den (hint: this did not include our facial features), and then continued as she went on to say that as long as she and my grandfather were together, they'd be fine. This on the heels of cardiac issues for them both, dizzy spells, a recent middle of the night fall, and the advisement that, really, neither of them should be operating a motor vehicle. They are truly living on borrowed time.


Christopher Tassava said...

That's a really moving post. Someone should read (a perhaps edited version of) it to them!

Oh, The Joys said...

Heh. You are the Harper's Index of parenting!

Susan E said...

Can I just tell you how much I loved this post? Beautiful. It brought me back to this same experience many years ago with my own grandmother. And, of course, to all the "hoeing out" I need to do at home.