Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Mother's Day In the Nursing Home


Oh, fuck. I lean back in my chair and try to make eye contact with one of my relatives. "Someone plug Poppy back in."


"Oh, no, what's wrong? Is it--"

"Poppy? Is Poppy okay?"

"His leash," I call over there, "you gotta plug it back in."

"Where? What?"

Tom starts snickering, "Poppy unplugged, live in New York!"


"What's the sound?"

"You need to reattach his leash."

Tom leans towards me. "Rass? Rass, did you hear that? I said, 'Poppy unplugged, live in New York!' You know, like--"


"Yeah, like the MTV show, I get it,” I give a little false giggle and call over to my aunt. “See the thing clipped to his shirt?"

Proud of his joke, Tom yells over to his dad. You'd think for an educated family man in his thirties, he would be mentally beyond re-shouting one-liners until he got his desired crowd reaction. "Dad. Dad. DAD. You know how Rass said to plug Poppy back in? Ha. Well I go--"


"No, I don't," Aunt Mary is absolutely frantic, "see it...anywhere--"

Uncle Dick starts getting pissy. “It’s not like it’s the end of the goddamn world, just plug the old bastard back in.”

My aunt’s hands are quaking as she searches Poppy’s sleeves. “But I don’t know—“


“Dad? Dad?” Uncle Dick hollers over to Poppy, who’s fast asleep. “Show ‘er where it is.”

"Just below his shoulder,” I say. I had to plug him in earlier. Granted, I figured that shit out after about two seconds.

"Is it--"


"Turn the television down." Nonny stops ripping her precious floral Mother’s Day cards for a minute and looks slowly up from her plate of crumbs and scraps of our love, Hallmark-style.

My dad rushes over to her. “Ma? Those cards are presents for you. For Mother’s Day.”

“Oh, okay. Why are you so fat?” Nonny giggles and shakily punches her son in the gut with her feeble gray hand.


"Hold on, I'm coming over there." I stand up and start shoving chairs aside, I don't care if there's someone sitting in them or not.

My cousin’s son blocks my path. He’s seventeen, autistic, and upset by the commotion, so he slips into a continuing loop of repeating his newest joke. “Poppy is unplugged, but that’s okay because I just saved a bunch of money on car insurance by switching to Geico.”


I just do not want to hear that goddamn eeeping sound anymore. I clap my hand on Drew's shoulder and try to guide him out of my way. “Nice one, Drew.”

“Thank you, thank you, but it’s okay, because I just saved a bunch of money on car insurance—“


My aunt sighs in relief. "Oh, found it. What do I—“


"There's a little magnetic plate--"

"Got it." My aunt snaps the leash into place.

Eeeeep. Eeeeep. Silence.

“Poppy plugged? Gee, Pop, when did you decide to go electric?” Tom laughs at his own highly original hilarity and turns to his brother, bragging out of the corner of his mouth. “Get it? Because before? I go um...I go, ‘Poppy unplugged, live—‘”

I sit down in the nearest chair and give a thumbs-up and to the nurse standing in the doorway, who nods, thankful her patient didn’t get out of the wheelchair she magnetically leashed onto him to ensure he wouldn’t crumble his gangrenous foot when trying to stand.

The nurse smiles, and points at my grandparents before walking away. I turn to look at them, just in time to catch Nonny clutching her dentures, happily licking the food stuck between pearly whites.

Like a Labrador with a bone.

Happy Belated Mother’s Day.



Red said...

Gee, is Tom married? 'Cause she'd be one lucky girl!

Anonymous said...

aaaaaaaaaaaargh! you've magically transported me into the room. how the fuck do you stay calm without recreational tranquilizers?

Erin said...

I'd urge you to take a full flask to that place, but I'm afraid it would dull your powers of observation.

Mia Watts said...

Awesome line: "and looks slowly up from her plate of crumbs and scraps of our love, Hallmark-style."

You have fantastic voice, Rass. And you must be the most highly polished stone in a family full of interesting rocks.

I hope you're collecting this shit for your memoirs.

Anonymous said...

But you didn't tell us the most important part--did Poppy have his pants on this time?

Blues said...

I love your family.

The Ambiguous Blob said...

I'm so glad my family is fully psychotic and weird too. Just so I can appreciate stories like this.

Sarah said...

I worked in a nursing home for a few years and I know all to well what you're talking about. Good times indeed.

Great post.

Love Bites said...

You are so fucking brilliant at dialogue and stories. Damn. I wish I had a fraction of your talent.

Heidi said...

hilarious... I just found you from Nikki and I have to say lady, you are my kind of girl. I will sooo be back to stalk.

Rassles said...

Red: Oh, he's married with children. And I do like him, usually, until he gets into repeato mode. Whatever, I can't hate, because I do it too.

Daisy: I have amazing restraint. But only with my family.

Erin: I feel like that would only heighten them and exaggerate them, but then I wouldn't be able to drive myself home afterward.

Mia: Dude, this blog is my memoirs.

Franklin: Yeah, he did. But he wasn't very happy about it.

Blues: I do too, sometimes. I wouldn't trade them, that's for sure. Even if they're a bunch of douchebags.

Ambiblob: In the end, I'm pretty sure everyone's family is psychotic and weird.

Sarah: I could never, ever, ever work in a nursing home, but thanks.

LB: What are you talking about, woman? I've read your shit. That stuff is gold. I can observe other people well enough, but writing about my own feelings? So much harder. And with you it just spills out, no facade. I just hope I can properly portray myself by showing how I relate to others.

Heidi: Well, if you decide to keep reading my bullshit, then you're my kind of stupid.

Gypsy said...

Seriously, this should be in a movie. About your life. Who would play you?

Rassles said...

Gypsy: I have no idea who would play me. In fact, that's something that keeps me up at night.