213 – The Auckland Food show and family

Today we went to the Auckland Food show. We got free tickets and thought it was a good way to entertain the children – they have been cabin feverish and fucking mental all weekend, if you’ll excuse me saying so. The GD has worked all weekend and is exhausted and I am shattered from last night at the hospital and general PMS shite. I tell you what though – going to these events in the last two hours of the last day of four days is the way to do it! The boys were obsessed with finding the meat. The GD wanted the cheese. I may have sampled a wine or two. Doesn’t count in a thimble. The stall-holders were very conscious of how much stock they had to move before they packed up and they were just giving stuff away. The GD can’t turn down a free anything – you know that – so we brought home 6 packets of vacuum packed beetroot, a Good Magazine freebie bag with a magazine, bag of popcorn and a half-dozen eggs. And 6 bottle of Lewis Road Creamery milk. All free – you should have seen how happy my grumpy Dutchman was about it. He kept running up to people and showing them his beetroot.

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It’s been quite a 48 hours though. I am exhausted and the working week starts again tomorrow. I made a note on my phone for myself saturday morning; ‘You know you’ve glutened yourself when you can hold the mixing bowl on the bench with your belly alone’. That was when I could still hold a coherent thought.

Aside from following my children around in a pre-menstrual, barely contained rage – mostly without any trigger and I tried to keep it under my hat. I may have put myself in a time out a couple of times I admit. It’s not fair being the only girl in the house. And you would think they would have learned to just push chocolate and coffee under the door and stay well clear. But no. We tried to hang out. Terrible idea.

On Saturday evening I got a call from my stepmum to say that my Dad’s Mum, my Nana Betty is near the end. This isn’t a surprise, she has been virtually immobile for a couple of years, trapped in her body in a nursing home and although she has been able to speak and communicate up until now she is clearly over it. I went out on Saturday evening and sat with Dad and Dianne, watched while the priest came and anointed her and basically just was there. She is still holding on, I think she is waiting for everybody she loves to visit. A combination of not being very close with my Dad growing up and having young children of my own has meant that I see her mostly at holidays or special occasions but it’s important to be with family during this stuff I think.

When we were kids going to Hillpark primary school my brother and I used to walk with Nana to her house in Peguero place (named after my late Grandad Ray Peguero) on Thursdays for dinner. Our parents were already separated by then and we probably saw Nana Betty and Grandad Ray more that we saw Dad. We used to help Nana round the house, hang out in the garden (it used to be fields as far as the eye can see there) and then have dinner before we went home. Grandad Ray had a strict rule about going to the toilet before we ate – he HATED anyone leaving the table during a meal and he could be scary – I still have a nervous wee before meals. I remember we would get this thick, bright orange cordial in either a purple or a gold metal cup. I inherited these when Nana moved from the big house to the nursing home. We’d sit at the formica table that folded out from the wall, in the little booth in the kitchen and have our meat and three veg and I would stare at her wonderful collection of both the green lettuce shaped bowls with the lobsters (you know the ones eh?) and the big brightly coloured murano bowls. I LOVED them. We’d finish dinner off always with jelly or similar. And then, right before we left, Grandad would call us in for a kiss goodbye and he’d have a Mars bar for each of us hidden under the Tv guide.

Nana was obsessed with teddy bears and had a whole room dedicated to them – and the rest of the house was succumbing too. She has a whole wall at the nursing home too that is teddy-bears. When I got my degree she got me a little teddy and sewed it a graduation gown and hat and even made a little hood in my degrees colours. It’s one of the few that I managed to hide from my lads and keep safe.

She kissed like she was head-butting you. My brother and I used to joke about being knocked out by her when she was really pleased to see you. And yet she was teeny tiny – I think she only comes up to my shoulder standing. She adored my brother and she practically had to climb a ladder to kiss him.

So I am waiting to hear. I am not very good at the heartfelt words thing and I don’t need to tell you that we could do a better job of looking after our elderly in this country, I have certainly spent enough time in elderly care facilities in the past year. In so many myriad ways the elderly get trapped. Trapped in their memories, trapped in a body that has betrayed them, trapped with no voice or not allowed an opinion on things anymore because they aren’t trusted.

I am waiting to hear if Nana is free.

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