November 15, 2010

Babysitting Through the Ages...Literally

Ruth, my oldest stepdaughter, IM'ed me to ask a favor. Of course, my first reaction (without hearing what she wanted), was "sure".

She needed me to babysit on Saturday morning. Usually, Desiree, who is 13, is in charge of her brother Eli (he's 5, and in Kindergarten). But she was busy volunteering at church.

A rare photo of Eli, he likes his privacy

Second in command is Nate, who is 11. But he was running in his second 5K race. Last year, he had the fastest time of everyone 18 and younger, and scored a gift card and bragging rights.

Nate, before 5K

Nate and friend - muddy after 5K
Nate's time in the 5K? Twenty-two minutes, 16 seconds.

So I was needed. But I wouldn't just be watching Eli this time. I'd also be keeping an eye on Tammy's dog, Murphy (Tammy, Frank and Seth are out of town so Frank can run a marathon).

Murphy had me wearing a path back and forth to the door. He wants out...he wants in. Out. In. Out. In. 

Murphy has commitment issues, I think. 

I was also tasked with making sure that Grandpa Gus, my father-in-law, ate real food for breakfast (instead of pecan pie or other sweets, as is his custom).

Grandpa Gus, leaving the dinner table
Grandpa Gus recently moved in with Ruth. She's his oldest, and favorite, grandchild. 

I was a little nervous about this. Grandpa Gus and I don't know each other very well.

He thinks my name is Beverly.

When he finally ventured out of his room, he said, "Who are YOU?"

He had forgotten.

After introductions were made, I got a kiss on the cheek - and a constant companion for my time there.

The man can talk...even without his false teeth.

Conversation can be challenging - he doesn't hear well, so shouting is required.

I think he likes me. And he even remembered my name for a time, before he reverted back to calling me Beverly.

I told him I'd wear a big name tag next time.

He became impatient with the interruptions from Nate and Eli. He wondered why I'd make them food when they are more than capable of fending for themselves any other day.

I think he may have been a wee bit jealous.

I told him it's a grandma thing. I explained that I don't spend that much time with the kids, and enjoy doing things for them - just like I enjoyed preparing breakfast for Gus.

Gus thinks I could be a party girl - and said that I'd fit right in, no matter the social situation.

He quizzed me. He asked me where I would hide 2,000 people, in plain sight, so they couldn't be found.

I said I'd fly them to NYC - surely, they could disappear in a crowd and wander the streets at will.

The right answer, according to Gus? Take them all to a baseball or football stadium.

I said I liked my answer better.

Then he wanted to play a game. Let's say he won the lottery, and had unlimited money. He decided he wanted to create an oasis, complete with a casino boat, in Alexandria, Egypt.

To do this, he'd have to remove ALL THE SAND, and get down to the bedrock.

The question? Where to put all the sand? 

Where would I put all the sand if it were my project?

My answers were not to his liking (though I thought they were correct, and logical).

First of all, nobody in Egypt would sell property to me, as I am a mere non-Egyptian WOMAN.

I felt confident that gambling was not legal in Egypt.

And the sand? I had no idea, so I made up shit.

  • I'd build an hourglass factory, and fill 'em with sand. 
  • I'd sell it to golf courses. 
  • I'd sell it to sandpaper manufacturers.
He didn't care for my answers. He said he'd use the Mariana trench (the largest underwater trench.

And he'd fill up all the dormant volcanoes with sand.

Obviously, he'd never heard of an environmental impact statement. Where would all the water go when it was replaced by sand? Can you say loss of habitat for sea creatures (Nate suggested that)? Possible coastal flooding? Perhaps even a tsunami?

And the volcano filling thing? Couldn't the weight of the sand cause some shifting of tectonic plates that could turn dormant volcanoes into active ones?

Can you say lava?

Overall, it wasn't the kind of conversation I expected with an 82-year old guy.

He said I have a pretty face...and little ears.

And that it's a tossup as to whether me or The Mister is the smarter one in the family.

I figure two more visits, and I'll take the top position in his rating.

He'll soon be bragging that his daughter-in-law Beverly is one smart cookie.


  1. You did a good job of "babysitting" should be commended..

  2. Hourglass factory....hilarious answer!

  3. What a great story....Beverly LOL Really, your FIL sounds awesome :O)

  4. I love how easy going you are, as well as quick- minded! I'm sure the FIL thought you were Lynda Carter with all of your super knowledge! Sounds like a fun day. Thanks for sharing!

  5. This was the funniest post I've read in a long time! How old is Grandpa Gus? My husband's 86-year-old aunt just might be the perfect woman for him. Most of our conversations with her sound terribly like yours with Grandpa.

  6. A great story. Actually having a conversation with, and answering the questions of, an 82 y/o is a wonderful gift to him. My guess is you are already his favorite, "Beverly". :)

  7. Gus sounds like a real character ... and that Beverly sounds like a real clever gal!


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