I hope they serve Cabernet in hell

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November 1, 2008 by 8junebugs

My grandfather called my cell phone tonight for the first time. I think he must have called my uncle to get the number. I also think, having heard an alternate story of what he told me, that I have figured out where my mother’s penchant for changing the story comes from.

So, there’s this barber in my hometown. My first hometown, not my second one. The barber has a niece or a granddaughter or something who’s a “beautician” (not a glamor technician) and has been doing it a lot of years and has one leg and a donated kidney that her body’s trying to reject. And also a husband who has one leg.

Or…maybe an uncle? I got very lost when Grandpa was trying to “bring me up to speed” on the people in the story. (No offense, Addison County, but sometimes, you make my head spin.) But there are definitely two people who each have only one leg.

The moral of the story is that someone might want to buy my mother’s shop. Maybe. He thinks.

The rest of the conversation went something like this:

Me: That’s great, Grandpa, but it’s not a good time. I’ll be up on Thursday and they can talk to me then.

Grandpa: Well, no, they’ll talk to me, and I’ll talk to the landlords, and…

Me: Grandpa, the timing is inappropriate and you aren’t authorized to make decisions about the shop.

Grandpa: Well, it would be better to sell it instead of trying to sell the equipment off bit by bit, and the landlords are being really good about all this, but they won’t wait forever.

Me: They will wait until at least Thursday. I agree that selling the shop would be ideal, but you’re not in a position to make any deals or agreements about Mom’s business.

Grandpa: Well, don’t get cranky with your grandfather…

Me: Grandpa, my mother’s dying and I’ll get cranky with whomever I need to.

Grandpa: Well, my daughter’s dying and I hope you understand that.

Me: I do, and that’s why I wish you’d recognize that this is not the right time to talk about this. We’re not putting any of this on Mom’s plate — all she needs to know is that we’ll take care of the shop and the house and whatever else needs taking care of.

Grandpa: Well, I’ll just let you go and get back to having fun…
[I assume this is because I said I’d just returned from Boston?]

Me: Grandpa, do you really think I’m having fun? Do you think I’m enjoying this? Because I am doing the best I can, and so is KidBrother, and I’ve about had it with all the judgment we’re getting about we do and do not do.

Grandpa: No one’s judging. I thought long and hard about whether to call you.

Me: Fine. I’ll be there by noon on Thursday.

The alternate version of the backstory is that Grandpa talked to the barber about buying the shop and the barber said he’d have to think about it — it seems the cosmetologist in question isn’t even out of school yet.

There’s a history in Mom’s family of no one ever being “able to say no to The Old Man.” I have escaped this, likely because I’ve lived half my life away from The Old Man. I am respectful and affectionate, to a point — he’s not one of my favorite people and never will be, but he is my grandfather…the only one I have left. That said, I’m an adult and, in this case, I am absolutely within my rights.

I did call KidBrother and Uncle Steve and apologize in advance for any fallout from this conversation. I’m sure one of them will hear about it, although Grandpa will get more sympathy, surely, if he turns to one of my aunts.

Let me be clear about my objective from here on out: Within my power, I will do whatever is best for Mom, KidBrother, and me, as well as for Uncle Steve and his lovely wife, who have been doing everything I can’t do from 500 miles away. I have no use for anyone else’s opinions about what anyone on that list should or should not do or have done. This is hard enough, thanks.

(I actually agree with KidBrother that not coming up until Thursday gives Mom a short-term goal. One last Christmas is a long shot…but the Philles won the Series this year, so anything’s possible.)

Standing up for myself is something Mom loves about me and has expressed a wish to emulate. I’m not letting it slide just because (a) this REALLY sucks or (b) the people I may have to stand up to share my bloodline.

For the record, this does suck. Quite a lot.


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