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Don't mess with Grammy

A winning mix: Grandma, vodka and scouts

November 06, 2010|Chris Erskine

I packed Grandma away with the Halloween decorations the other day. Honest mistake. You know how it goes; you get a little rhythm going and pretty soon you're just throwing everything in the box, boom-boom-boom. Fortunately, my wife heard Grandma yelling from the box in the basement later in the day. Seriously, she couldn't have been down there more than a few hours.

"What's that?" Posh asked.

"Just my stomach," I said.

"Mom?!!"

So, we unpacked the old heirloom and plopped her on a stool near the kitchen TV. Nobody was really to blame, of course, yet Posh seemed a little frosted over the whole episode. I explained to her that there was no real danger, for Grandma's perfume would've eventually set off the carbon monoxide alarms near the furnace.

And Grandma could not have been more understanding. She said it was a little uncomfortable in the box, but still better than going through LAX. To reward her for her patience, I made her one of those giant vodka tonics she slurps up like tap water. In a few minutes, she was hydrated and everything was right with the world.

Salud! Cheers! Bingo, anyone?

That's right, Grandma is visiting, always a joyous occasion. Estimates on her departure range from a few weeks to never ever.

"I hope you never leave, Grammy," the little guy tells her.

"Me too," I lie.

I can't get a straight answer out of Posh. She always gets a little sassy when her mother is around. "What are you two doing today?" I'll ask, or, "Could you please keep down the cackling?" and she'll just stick out her tongue or some other major extremity in a gesture of disrespect.

Honestly, if Posh keeps up this attitude, I'm returning the Louis Vuitton baseball glove I ordered her for Christmas.

I don't know what it is about visiting grandmas. They add another level of tension to an already-tense relationship. Plus, Grandma's blow-dryer is loud as a leaf blower and twice as powerful. Once took all the wallpaper off the bathroom wall.

This current visit got off to a bad start when I grabbed a fistful of Grandma's meds off the kitchen counter, mistaking them for candy corn and almonds.

"Good trail mix," I noted while choking down 50 pills.

Suffice to say that, after pounding down Grandma's meds, my cholesterol has never been better and I've had no pain in my joints for almost three days. Thank you, Medicare. Thank you, Pfizer.

"Hope you never leave, Grandma," I say.

"How about another vodka, Sport?" she says.

On Monday, I discovered I was supposed to entertain her while Posh went off to work. There I was, spooning in bed with our 300-pound beagle, cupping one of his breasts, when Posh knocked on my skull in an effort to gain my attention.

"Time to get up, buttercup," she said.

See? Sassy.

Posh told me that she would be gone several hours (actually, seven) and that I was to take Grandma out somewhere to show her the town, such that it is — full of movie stars and mansions, none of them really worth seeing.

"Maybe you can introduce her to that Rex Harrison," Posh suggested.

"He's dead," I told her.

"Don't start with the excuses," she said.

Grandma's visit comes on the heels of the Cub Scout Halloween party we hosted, an elegant affair, plastic pumpkins everywhere. I set up a small but effective haunted house in the storage area where I usually keep the grill. The main feature was the Aquarium of Death, filled with red Jell-O and gelatin body parts. Scouts are into dismemberment — it should almost be a badge.

"Boys, there is an aura in there that even I cannot explain," I warn the scouts before letting them enter the haunted house. "The spirits are very restless tonight."

Their Cub Scout eyes got really big — you know, the way Gary Coleman's used to when he got really mad at Conrad Bain — and a couple of the scouts vomited a little. Then we all marched into the haunted house, brave as we could be under the circumstances.

I am proud to report there were no casualties. They spun around in the fake spider web and nearly choked to death on their own laughter. Just the usual.

In the end, the boys seemed sort of underwhelmed, because there was no actual dismemberment taking place and the spider presence was a little subdued. Little boys like spiders because there is no stigma attached when they brutally massacre them.

I made some notes. Next year, I plan to add a few more attractions to the haunted house, including real zombies. From what I've read, zombies are much more effective than ghosts, or even poltergeists.

I'll put up signs well in advance. "Wanted: Zombies. No experience necessary. Must work well with grandmas and scouts."

chris.erskine@latimes.com

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