Babci: Taking the Walker to the Packie.

by Sandy L on September 15, 2014

This post has been sitting in my drafts for a while.  Not sure why I didn’t post it sooner.

I have so many pent up stories in my head I don’t know where to begin. As a quick update, Babci is living with us. Her house is for sale, we’ve had one offer on it but it fell through and we’re waiting to get it sold before we move the rest of her stuff in.

She is sleeping upstairs in a spare room until her first floor bedroom is done but that requires major changes like moving stairs to access the “gimp room” as we call it. The gimp room is a windowless storage room you can only access from the garage, but it would make a perfect bedroom if you could access it from the back apartment and put in windows.  Right now, it’s the smelliest room in the house due to lots of things living there and I think the cows lived there at one point too. It has a very barny, musky smell but I digress. A house post may come at some point but I still haven’t figured out how to fix the glitchy issue I’m having with my captions not aligning under my photos.

It’s been a while since I told a Babci story.  With our long winter, she has been going a little stir crazy and doing stupid things.  Back in March, when it was 10 degrees out on a Saturday night, I got a call from one of my neighbors.  She’s like..”Um, I just saw your mom walking down the middle of the road in her walker and it’s dark and I almost hit her. Do you want me to get her?”  “No, I’ll get her.”   So, I figured she wanted to go to the store for something. Why, at 8 at night, she felt the urgent need to go to the corner store, when I had just taken her shopping that day, I don’t know.  I also knew she was getting cabin fever, so that very day, I bought her a dozen baby chicks to keep her occupied.  So, I get in the car and am like..what the hell, and at the same time least if she lived with us, the fire and police station are on the same street.  If she keeled over, someone would be more likely to see her on our new road.

I first stop at the corner store (us New Englanders call corner stores that sell alcohol “the Packie”, short for the Package Store). “Have you seen an old lady with a walker?”  “Yup, but it was like 20 minutes ago.”   The store takes my mom about an hour to walk to, so sometimes she goes to the biker bar across the street from it and calls a cab.  I’ve never had her do this in the winter though…or at night.  I walk into the bar with my ski clothes still on. Even though I was a biker babe 20 years ago, I look grossely out of place.  “Did a little old lady with a walker come in here?”  No.  Everyone’s looking at me, like, what are you doing in our bar, but luckily, the most tattoed patron sitting at the bar said he saw her walking down the street about 10 minutes ago.  I thank him and leave.  I find Babci.  She is moving at a snail’s pace.  She’s got a 6 pack of Heineken in the little basket that hangs off the front of her walker.

What the hell are you doing?  “I needed exercise.”  “At Night, in the Cold, In the middle of the street?”  Get in. She’s mad that she’s been found out.   “I’m fine. Nothing was going to happen.”   And that’s the thing with Babci (and a trait I also inherited).  She still feels invincible even though she has a heart condition.  She never thinks about the worst case, but the best case.   Sure, go for a walk and get some exercise, but do it during the day when people can see you if something happens.  Turns out she started her walk when it was still daylight but it took her a lot longer than anticipated to get there with her shortness of breath.

So..even though we are spending a fortune fixing this 2 family, I’m SO glad she’s living with us now, so her antics will be a little more closely monitored.  There is also lots to do here but that’s a whole other set of posts.

So, with every Babci story, I try to get to the heart of why/how she chooses to do something.  I think I understand why sometimes she fails to see the risks of doing certain things. If she only thought about the worst case scenario all the time, her already dreary life would have been unbearable.  When you grow up in a war torn country, the worst case is death and/or starvation.  You can’t go there mentally or it would destroy you. Hope is what keeps people going in the most dire of circumstances.  She also would have never come to America in her late 30’s.  The hope of a better life by taking a leap of faith was the way she ended up where she is today…and although my dad wasn’t all he was cracked up to be, at least she got me out of it, which probably was worth all the suffering after all.

So that’s a quick Babci Story for the week.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Carolyn Hirst-Loucks September 15, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Have missed reading about Babci. Although a subscriber to your blog this is the first post I have received in a long while so it was a treat to go back and read some of your previous posts that I missed. Good luck in your renovations.


Mutant Supermodel September 15, 2014 at 4:50 PM

I’d like to think when I’m old, I’d totally hustle down to buy some beer with my walker. It’s a good thing 🙂


Linda September 16, 2014 at 8:32 PM

You just nailed it! 🙂


Sandy L September 17, 2014 at 5:15 PM

Yes, I hope to be that cool someday too. I’m just glad she was alright.


Linda September 16, 2014 at 8:31 PM

Ah, I missed the Babci stories! I hope she really enjoyed that beer after all the effort it took to get it.


Ally September 17, 2014 at 12:54 AM

Yes, I’m an RSS reader and this is the first post to come through in MONTHS! If it wasn’t that you made no reference to a long absence from blogging, I probably wouldn’t have clicked over here and discovered there were posts I didn’t know about…


Sandy L September 17, 2014 at 5:17 PM

It’s been a long break. We have had a lot to do on our house. Most of my free time has been used to get my mom’s apartment ready for her to move in and her old house ready to put up for sale. It’s been a crazy year.


Ally September 17, 2014 at 12:56 AM

Or not. I got confused by seeing an August post below and now I see it says 2013… It’s just been long enough I’d forgotten it… Oops! Now I feel like an idiot! Anyway – welcome back to the blog!


Crystal September 27, 2014 at 10:39 AM

That’s hard core. As her daughter, you worry. Makes sense.

My grandparents (ages 88 and 85) would explain her behavior in a different way though (I’ve asked them why they take some of the risks they take). “When you get really old like us, what’s the worst that can happen? You die? Well, that could happen now…or now…or now…you get the point.”

They told me that like 5 years ago. They still drive at night even though they probably shouldn’t. They still go into random places like local bars just to see who’s hanging around. But they’re happy and if they ever reach the end of their luck, they did it on their own terms.


Sandy L October 16, 2014 at 5:27 PM

That’s a really good perspective to have. My mom also has the idea that one’s date to die has been pre-destined and is out of your control, so it also justifies her recklessness.


Revanche October 11, 2014 at 4:12 AM

Reading this, I was having flashbacks to my mom doing the same thing when she was alive. She’d escape, day or night, when everyone was occupied and go for a walk. Except she’d have blackouts and couldn’t find her way home, or she’d fall and be unable to get back up. One time she fell so badly she smashed a few teeth. She felt cooped up, as your Babci did, but wouldn’t stop putting herself at risk. I was living in quiet terror that she’d end up getting run over or so lost we couldn’t find her.

Best of luck with the renovations, I hope she’s comfortable soon and will be well occupied puttering around the house.


Sandy L October 16, 2014 at 7:46 AM

Well, I’m sorta glad I’m not alone in this. She has not ventured off property unattended since she moved which is great. I think just having people living with her is making a huge difference. She also doesn’t have to call me 12 times a day because I’m right here most of the time. We are still working on the work from home boundaries though. She got all in my face trying to urgently talk to me about something that was not urgent while I was on a customer call the other day. It helps that she sleeps in, and now she’s having trouble with the stairs, so she can’t get to me that easily if I’m up in the office, which helps.


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