Monday, February 2, 2009


I have a Nana. That is her on the right, doing a jello shot at last year's Christmas celebration. She is technically my Grandmother, wife of my beloved Gramps. I lived with her and Gramps when I was little, while my Mom got divorced from my bio-father and before she married my way better adoptive father. I am sure my brother and I were the center of the universe for them, and a welcome diversion to whatever my mother was imploding in her life at the time.

So now, Nana is 92 and still a major player in the movie of my life. She lives with her cousin in an old lady bungalow (that even has mint green living room walls!) in a yuppie infested city. I am sure the neighbors are waiting for the day that those two old ladies head to the heavens and someone will bulldoze their home to replace it with a McMansion that will increase their property tax values. (In Michigan, no less. Dream the hell on.)

Nana and her cousin prove my theory that even as you mature in life, you simply cannot live with a roomate. They fight like Don King protegees. Nana bitches about cousin Dorothy in top decibel on the phone, forgetting that she is deaf as a doorknob and cousin Dorothy's ears hear quite sufficiently. Nana is as subtle as an oncoming semi truck.

My friends are regaled with Nana-isms. And now you will be too. Here are some of my favorites:

Pulling up to the drive through at Taco Bell:
Welcome to Taco Bell go ahead with your order.

Nana: I would like a Taco Bell.

Excuse me?

Nana: A Taco Bell. I would like two. No lettuce. I have diverticulosis.

Ma'am, I cannot understand what you are asking for.

(This is where I cave, and jump in to help the Taco Bell associate)
Nana would like two soft taco supremes minus lettuce with sour cream.

Nana - "Like I said, two Taco Bells".

Phone call from Nana:

Nana: Kimi, we need to go to the bank.


Nana: They are going to close and take all my money. These banks are going broke and they will steal my money and we must go get it out tomorrow.

Nana, you belong to a bank that has been around for 100 years. Your money is insured by the FDIC.

Nana: They are crooks. Damn fool crooks. Damn George Bush.

(I would like to point out here that I pick my battles with Nana. Non-negotiables include: Thursday is hair day, world without end, amen. We go to the Kroger with all the other old people. We will not utilize the drive through at banks because that tube will surely get lost and Nana's money will be stuck underground. We only go to the Comerica bank in Birmingham, because branches located elsewhere simply cannot be trusted. We deal with Dorothy and Paulette at the bank because no one else knows what they are doing, and Dorothy and Paulette are "lovely colored women". Her words, not mine).

Knowing full well I am beat, I pick Nana up the following morning and we travel to Comerica in Birmingham. Nana ignores the appoinment sign in sheet and the half door designed to keep senior citizens at bay. She storms up to Dorothy the Bank Lady's desk. She plops her File Folder of Important Bank Papers on Dorothy's desk and announces to Dorothy that she is here to take all her money out of the bank.

I would like to add that I adore Dorothy and Paulette the Bank Ladies. They know exactly how to handle my Nana. They are the epitome of class. They have long laquered nails and use a pencil to push buttons on the computer and phone. I could take lessons in patience and manicuring from them.

Dorothy: Mildred, surely you don't want to take your money out of Comerica?

Nana: Well, Dorothy, what am I to do? I know those bosses of yours are shady characters and they will surely steal my money. I watch those men on FOX news, before the Young and the Restless comes on.

Dorothy: Now, Mildred, I assure you that your money is insured here, and we are financially secure. We would never let anything happen to your money. Please, let's keep it in it's place.

Nana: Oh, Dorothy, I knew you would tell me what to do. Thank you. I think I should leave my money here. I was telling Kimi that very thing on the phone last night. Now Kimi, you can take me to lunch.

I raise my glass to Dorothy the Bank Lady, for the knowing look you give me, and for all you do for my Grandma. We all know I am a dumb ass who knows nothing.

Scene: Kim is trying to discreetly shop for underwear at Marshall Fields. She is in line with her purchases, and Nana is on the prowl in the lingerie area.

Nana: Kimi, come over here.

Nana, I am in line, I will be there when I am done.

Nana: Kimi, let me see what you are buying?

Nana, I am buying underpants. (I have a total aversion to the word "panties", I refuse to say that word out loud.)

Nana: Well, show me which ones you bought.

I proceed to tell her that they are the ones on the rack to her left. She begins to look through the rack, and I present my purchases to the saleswoman.


What Nana?

I turn to see Nana holding up underpants suitable for a 70 year old 400 pound woman. They are so big they totally hide her head, making it look like my tiny Nana has a head made of giant underpants, a la Pee Wee Herman in the 80's.

Nana: Put those other ones back, these are the size you should be wearing. You can't have underpants riding up your crack at work. People will talk.

I take a cleansing breath, because you see I am so immune to this behavior by now that I am not even one bit mortified. The man behind me, however, is. I calmly motion for the clerk to ring my order up. I tell the man behind me that he has chosen a lovely bra and panty set for some lucky girl, and accept my bag of new underpants. I approach Nana and gently remove the giant underpants from her hand. I bribe her with a promise of lunch at Beefcarver. As we leave the store, she says, "You should listen to me. You'll be sorry when you have to pull those underwear out of your crack when you are doing that CPR on people".

Nana always has the last word.

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