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It’s Just Cats Being Cats, But Still… Yuck

, , , , , , , , | Friendly | April 9, 2023

Content Warning: Graphic Death Of An Animal


Once upon a time, in the 1950s, my grandparents moved to their first apartment. They were adopted by a somewhat feral cat they called Mama Kitty, who found her way into the apartment by jumping off the basement entrance doors, to the awning over the first-floor window, and leaping to the ledge outside the second-floor kitchen window. Mama Kitty had her kittens in Grandma’s pantry, which is when she picked up her name.

On Easter Sunday, Grandma and Grandpa went off to the church. That’s when Mama Kitty decided the kittens should learn how to hunt.

Mama Kitty tore the screen out of the window and jumped down her normal route. She caught a rabbit and brought it back in over the basement entrance doors and to the awning over the first-floor window, and then leaped up through the second-floor kitchen window, all while the rabbit was still alive! She then taught her kittens how to hunt in Grandma’s pristine kitchen.

By the time my grandparents came back, still nicely dressed in their Sunday best, there was blood and bits of fur everywhere!

And that’s the story of how Mama Kitty and her kittens killed the Easter Bunny.

We Should Totally Just Drown Our Salads

, , , , , , | Related | March 15, 2023

I wrote this story where my grandma, the drama queen, called an ambulance because she had a tickle in her throat and didn’t want to wait at the hospital, and this story where my grandma, the narcissist, refused to understand that my gluten-intolerant mother might actually know a thing or two about what’s in certain foods.

Grandma has been diagnosed with one of the least threatening forms of congestive heart failure, given medication to take, and told to go on a low-sodium diet. Some people in her situation might say, “I’m ninety-two years old; I’ll eat whatever I [expletive] want to eat.” Not her. She insists that she needs to go on a low-sodium diet. The problem is that she doesn’t really know what “low-sodium” means, and she won’t listen to us because we aren’t doctors.

One day, shortly after Grandma gets back home, we have chicken parmesan for dinner. While she was in the hospital, she asked for a grilled cheese sandwich and a nurse told her the cheese had too much sodium in it, so Grandma has written off all cheese. We make her a piece of plain chicken for dinner while the rest of us have chicken parmesan. My mom has prepared a salad and gives Grandma some.

Mom: “What kind of dressing do you want?”

Grandma: “Ranch.”

Dad gives her the ranch and she proceeds to completely drown her salad in it.

Dad: “Would you like some salad with your dressing?”

Grandma: *Laughs* “Good thing it doesn’t have too much sodium in it.”

Mom: “Yes, it does!”

Grandma: “No, it doesn’t.”

Mom takes the ranch bottle.

Mom: “It has [about 300] mg of sodium in it.”

Grandma: “That’s for the whole bottle!

Mom: “No, that’s per serving.”

Grandma: “No, that’s for the whole bottle!”

Mom: “No, that’s for one serving, and one serving is only two tablespoons. You’d be better off with your usual blue cheese dressing, which only has [about 250] mg of sodium.”

Grandma: “I can’t have cheese!”

Mom: “They probably served American cheese on their sandwiches, but other cheeses are lower in sodium.”

Grandma: “I can’t have cheese! It has too much sodium!”

We let Grandma eat her dressing with a hint of lettuce. She also ate three slices of Texas Toast with extra butter, but we didn’t say anything about that.

It wasn’t until about two weeks later when a home-help nurse came over and told her that ranch dressing was high in sodium that she gave that up.

We Should Totally Just Drug Grandma! (Not Really), Part 2
We Should Totally Just Drug Grandma! (Not Really)
We Should Totally Just Stab Caesar! (Salad), Part 2
We Should Totally Just Stab Caesar! (Salad)

Great-Grandma Sure Knows How To Live

, , , , , , | Related | March 9, 2023

Back in 1988, when I was two years old, Mom had me out at her grandmother’s farmhouse one day because her dad wanted to show off the garden he’d been working on. I was sitting down, and seconds later, I had wandered off.

Mom and Grandpa freaked out trying to find me. They knew I couldn’t have gotten to the street because the entire yard was fenced in, but I could easily have toddled off to the back of the property where a giant pond sits. My grandpa ran off in that direction to find me, while Mom ran inside to get her grandmother and her aunt to help look for me.

The house had a kind of unusual setup, so when Mom ran into the living room, she calmed down for a split second when she saw me in the reflection of a mirror, but then she panicked again when she saw what was happening.

It was nothing nefarious, but my great-grandmother had a pure white quilted blanket that she bought for about $100 back in the 1940s. Having survived the Great Depression, this was a MASSIVE luxury to her. She loved that blanket, and she would throw a fit at anyone who so much as got close enough to breathe on it.

I was sitting on that blanket, and my hands and face were covered in chocolate.

Mom: “[My Name]! No! What are you doing in here?!”

She ran in, only to see my great-grandmother handing me the chocolates. I would stick my finger into the chocolate, and if I didn’t like the filling, she’d set it aside and hand me another to test. If I liked it, I’d eat it, and then she’d give me another.

Mom: “Grandma? What are you doing? Why are you feeding [My Name] chocolate on your quilt?!”

Great-Grandma: “[Mom], I hope when you’re an old lady, no one tries to question you about how you want to spoil your great-grandkids.”

She passed away three years later, and I inherited that same blanket. I no longer eat chocolate on it, though.

We’re Not Crying; We Just Have Music In Our Eyes

, , , , , , , , | Related | March 7, 2023

I just lost my grandmother this week. While she was ninety-five years old, she had been doing pretty well until a sudden illness. She has been one of the most important people in my life. She has been the purest source of unconditional love, and it is thanks to her total acceptance, support, and love for me that I made it through some of the most challenging times in my life. Needless to say, losing her has been very difficult. I cried plenty the day she died, but for the last several days, it has been difficult even to eat or sleep, much less cry. I’ve felt in a sort of numb haze.

Today, I took the subway home. I walked into the station just as my train was pulling away. Frustrated and cursing my timing, I started to head into the station to await the train when I heard a busker playing a beautiful classical piece on his violin. Realizing I had nothing better to do until the next train came, I stayed and listened. He played beautifully, giving each note soul. When he finished the piece, I applauded.

Busker: “Thank you! Not many people have the opportunity to stay and listen.”

Me: “Thank you. It’s been… a really difficult week. You made it better.”

Busker: “Next week will be better than this one.”

I dropped some bills in his violin case and headed for the train. When I got to the train, I was thinking about his music and how much Grandma would have loved it. She was the daughter of a classical composer, and she adored classical music. The music felt like it had been a warm hug from her. Something eased in me, and I was finally able to cry. My grief feels tinged with warmth and love now, rather than just totally overwhelming.

Thank you, subway busker. Thank you, Grandma.

Switch Off Your Audacity, Lady, Part 2

, , , , | Right | March 6, 2023

A middle-aged woman and an older woman are shopping and while I try not to stereotype what the average gamer looks like, these two are looking a little lost and bickering among themselves.

Me: “Can I help you, ladies?”

Middle-Aged Customer: “Yes, I want to buy one of these “Twitch” games for my son, but they all seem so violent.”

Older Customer: *To the middle-aged customer, her daughter.* “They’re Switch games, and like I told you, my grandson wants the Pokémon games!” *To me.* “Thank you, dear, but we’re fine here.”

Middle-Aged Customer: *To me.* “But they seem so violent! This game is all fighting, isn’t it?”

Me: “While the game does involve combat, it’s all child-appropriate and doesn’t involve anything overly violent. It’s mostly just cartoon-like animations.”

Middle-Aged Customer: “I’m… I’m just not sure.”

Older Customer: *To her daughter.* “Oh, for crying out loud! They’re harmless! Look, we discussed this. There are two games, Scarlet and Violet. You buy one, I buy the other: one happy grandchild!”

Middle-Aged Customer: “I’m just not comfortable with all the fighting. I think I will buy this game.”

She picks up a puzzle game, featuring sudoku, math problems, etc.

Older Customer: *To her daughter.* “Well if you want him to pretend to like your gift you can do that. I will be buying him what he actually wants!”

They continue their bickering but eventually make their purchases while I wisely step away. I explain the encounter to my manager, and we both get a good chuckle out of it.

A few days later, my manager and I have just opened the shop and a very angry-looking mother is standing outside.

Middle-Aged Customer: “You sold me a game that made me look stupid!”

Manager: *Wisely take over.* “Can you explain your issue, madam?”

Middle-Aged Customer: “I bought this “Twitch” game—” *Throws the puzzle collection on the counter.* “—for my son’s birthday and he hasn’t even used it! But you sold my mother those stupid Pokémon games and he hasn’t stopped playing them!”

Manager: “And what would you like us to do, madam?”

Middle-Aged Customer: “Make my son stop playing the Pokémon! It’s making me look like a bad mother!”

Manager: *Taking a moment to come to terms with the WTF-ness of this request.* “You would like me to stop your son, who isn’t here, from playing a game, that your mother purchased, that also isn’t here? This is the same game – that if my employee tells it correctly – your mother told you your son wanted for his birthday?”

Middle-Aged Customer: “Yes! Isn’t there anything you can do?”

Manager: “Madam, it sounds like your mother tried to use common sense on you, but it was not very effective.”

The mother grumbles loudly but struts out. My manager and I can’t wait to see Poké-granny again, though!

Switch Off Your Audacity, Lady