Sweet Potatoes Part II.

c4966565240f8b946921653Lois is sweet enough to let me go to church on Sundays (I stay with her for 48 hours straight on Saturdays and Sundays) as long as I pick her up a cheeseburger and strawberry milkshake on my way home.  I ask her every week if she’d like to go to church with me, and her response usually goes something like this:

Lois:  “Do you know how exhausting it is for an old lady to get ready for church?  I’m too old, and God understands that.”

Usually she takes her morning nap while I’m gone and when I get back I wake her up for lunch.  When I got back from church this morning, however, Lois was waiting for me at the door…

Lois:  “There’s something wrong with Baby!”  (Baby is the most spoiled feral cat on the planet.  She lives in Lois’ basement and only comes up to eat, which is about 5,000 times a day, and Lois obsesses over her CONSTANTLY.)

Me:  “Why do you think there’s something wrong with Baby?”

Lois:  “She must be sick because she refuses to eat anything!”

Me:  “Well I fed her half of a can of wet food before I left for church this morning, so she can’t be too hungry.”


Me:  “Okay, settle down, I will put some food out for her…”


By then I had managed to step into the house and I was able to see that there was a plate on the floor with mashed sweet potatoes on it.  I made my way into the kitchen, and all together I counted 6 plates of sweet potatoes that were set out for Baby.

Oh boy, here we go again…

I picked up the plates and set them on the counter.

Lois:  “Baby can’t get to her food if you put it up this high!”

Me:  “I think Baby just needs some fresh food, so I will open up a new can for her…”


Me:  “Okay Lois, let me explain something…this is not cat food on these plates.”


Me:  “It is actually our leftovers from dinner last night.”

Lois:  “We had CAT FOOD for dinner last night?!”

Me:  (deep breath) “No, we did not have cat food.  We had baked chicken and mashed sweet potatoes, and what you put on these plates for Baby is the leftover sweet potatoes.”

Lois:  “Baby doesn’t like sweet potatoes.”

Me:  “I know she doesn’t.  Most cats don’t.  So how about you let me open up a fresh can of cat food for her, okay?”

Lois cracked up:  “Well NO WONDER she wouldn’t eat!”

Me:  “Yep.  No wonder.”

Lois:  “Who the HELL thought it was a good idea to make cat food out of sweet potatoes?!”

Me:  “You got me, Lois.”

Lois:  “Well by golly, that’s about the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of!  Since when does a CAT enjoy eating POTATOES?”

Me:  “I really don’t have an answer to that…”

Lois:  “What brand is that cat food anyway?”

Me:  “It’s ‘Fancy Feast’.”

Lois:  “Fancy Feast MY ASS!  What’s fancy about a sweet potato?”

Me:  “There is absolutely nothing fancy about a sweet potato.”

Lois:  “DARN RIGHT!  Potatoes are the poor man’s food.  Well, I guess I’d better call Baby upstairs for lunch…BABY?  BABY?  BAYYYYY-BEEEEEEEEE!”

Nobody Feeds Baby a Sweet Potato.

Sweet Potatoes.

813500677Lois (hollers from the kitchen):  “What the HELL is this?!”

I quickly made my way toward the direction of her voice.  Me:  “Oh, that’s the leftover sweet potatoes from dinner.”

Lois:  “What the HELL are sweet potatoes doing in the cat food?”

I was confused:  “Um…there shouldn’t be sweet potatoes in the cat food…are you trying to feed the cat?  I will open a fresh can of food for you.”

Lois:  “I don’t NEED a new can!  I want to use the rest of THIS can!”

Me:  “But Lois, that isn’t cat food.  Those are sweet potatoes.”


Me:  “Okay Lois, just calm down and let me explain this to you.”

Lois was panting at this point because she’d gotten herself so worked up.

Me:  “The container that you are holding right now is NOT cat food.”

Lois:  “BUT..!”

Me:  “I am holding the cat food in my hand right now and I am about to put some of it on the dish for Baby…”


Me:  “I’m not giving her sweet potatoes, Lois.  I’m giving her the salmon flavored kind.”

Lois:  “Salmon flavored SWEET POTATOES?!”

Me:  “No.  Salmon flavored cat food.”

Lois:  “Why are there potatoes with salmon?!  Everyone knows that you should serve salmon with RICE!”

I took a deep breath, realizing that there was no winning this debate.

Me:  “How about some milk?  Does Baby like milk?”

Lois:  “Yes, but only if it’s warm.”

(internal eye-roll)

Me:  “Okay, I will warm up some milk for Baby.”

Lois grumbled.

Me:  “What was that you said, Lois?”

Lois:  “I said ‘just don’t mix any SWEET POTATOES in with the milk’…”

I just pretended like I didn’t hear that statement.

Lois grumbled again:  “I just don’t know who thought it would be a good idea to put any kind of potatoes in cat food; sweet potatoes or otherwise!”


Don’t worry, I said that last statement internally.

Spelling Bee.

joe_dotI could hear Dot in the bedroom asking Joe, “What’s that girl’s name?”

Joe:  “What girl?”

Dot:  “The girl who was just in here taking care of you.  What was her name?”

Joe:  “There wasn’t any girl in here taking care of me.”

Dot:  “I think I remember, her name starts with a W…”

I could tell that this conversation was going nowhere since it was the short-term memory equivalent of the “blind leading the blind” so I started to walk to the bedroom.  I was already entering the room when Dot shouted my name at the top of her lungs.

Dot:  “WHITNEY!!!”

She scared me half to death and Joe cracked up when he saw me jump (Dot had her back to me).

Me:  “I’m right here, Dot.”

Dot turned around:  “Oh yeah…um…now I forgot why I was calling you in here.”

We all sat in silence for a couple of minutes while Dot tried to collect her thoughts.

Dot:  “Oh yeah, now I remember.  Joe needs to S-H-I-T.”

Joe:  “What are you spelling, Dot?  Are you trying to keep secrets from me?”

Dot:  “I’m not keeping any secrets.  I was only telling Whitney what you told me that you have to do.”

Joe:  “You told her that I have to take a shit?  Why do you have to go and tell people about it?”

I tried not to laugh:  “Hi Joe, I’m just going to help you get on your commode okay?”

Joe:  “My what?”


Joe looked totally confused, so I clarified:  “Your toilet.”

Joe:  “Oh yeah, okay then.  What do I need to get on the toilet for?”

Dot:  “So that you can S-H-I-T.”

Joe:  “Why the hell do you keep spelling everything?!”

Dot:  “Because I don’t like to swear.”

Joe looked at me and grinned:  “She’s a good Catholic girl.”

Me:  “Yes, she is.”

Dot looked very proud.

Joe:  “Well, I guess I’d better go to the bathroom and take a shit…”

Me:  “Thank you for being so specific, Joe.”

Joe grinned:  “You’re welcome.”



imagesJoe has recently been admitted into hospice care, and poor Dot is really struggling to come to terms with his rapid decline.  We are still caring for him in his own home, but now we have a hospice nurse that checks in once a week and a bath-aid that comes in twice a week.  Joe is in bed most of the time now and he is very weak, but he has not lost his sense of humor.

Dot comes in every morning and gives Joe a kiss square on his lips.  After they share a smooch, Dot asks him:  “How did that feel?”

Joe has different reactions depending on how lucid he is feeling on that particular day, but he always gets a giant grin on his face.  Some of his reactions include:

“Pretty good, I guess.”

“I didn’t feel anything.  Maybe we should try again…”

“Is that you, Dot?”

“What was that?  Was that a kiss?  I hope that was Dot…”

“Well it was better than a shot in the arm…”

“It wasn’t nothing to shake a stick at, I’ll tell you that much!”

However Joe responds, and no matter what time of day it is, Dot sweetly strokes his face and says, “Good morning Sleeping Beauty!”

Joe:  “Mornin’ Honey.”







50 Good Years.

Birthday_candlesI was trying to help Lois get ready for bed, and as usual she ran through her check list for the night; reminding me to check all of the doors to make sure that they are all locked, check on the cat to make sure she’s got enough food, turn the heat up, etc.

Lois:  “My god, there is just so much that you have to remember when you get old!”

Me:  “Yeah, I guess there is a lot to remember.”

Lois:  “I mean, seriously, don’t you think that people are living too long these days?  It would make so much more sense for God to give us 50 good years and then on our 50th birthday He should let us conk off.”

Me:  “As long as we conk off painlessly.”

Lois:  “Well of course painlessly!  I’m no martyr!”