Sunday, December 13, 2009

Turning the Titanic

Everybody knows the saying 'You can't teach an old dog new tricks', right? I say, sure you can. And it's not the 'old dog' that's the problem. It's that none of us really likes to change.

We like to eat the same familiar foods, drink the same three cups of coffee a day and stick with the same brand of toilet paper we've always bought. Nana examines everybody's plate when we're eating out but won't ever order anything but the Baked French Onion Soup that almost every restaurant offers. And Grampa George gets up at six, just like clockwork, every morning, only to collapse on the sofa an hour later for a nice long nap. Old habits, can be terribly inconvenient.

Grampa George's early to bed, early to rise routine is fine, for him. But since Nana prefers to sleep late and doesn't take her last pill before bed until at least midnight, when her Hawaii Five O reruns are over, it means I only manage to get about five hours of sleep a night.

I have to be up before Grampa George is, to give myself enough time to get dressed and ready to take his weight and blood pressure before his pills and breakfast every morning, which means setting my alarm for about 5:30 am. Once he's ready for his first nap, I'm taking my son to catch his train to school. By the time I'm back, Grampa George is usually looking forward to his second cup of coffee while I struggle to keep my face from falling into my first cup waiting for Nana to get up.

I realized that once you're using extreme mint gum to keep awake while driving, you're already in the danger zone. It was time to make a change. Before putting Grampa George to bed the night my husband decided I was going too far to make life comfortable for my two charges, I told him we'd be sleeping in the next morning. My left eye wouldn't stop twitching for hours after Grampa George told me he'd been getting up early every day so that he wouldn't keep me waiting. We agreed to make it seven, since it was Saturday and all.

I took my usual fifteen minutes to get ready the next morning, having had 60 glorious minutes of extra shut eye and was ready for Grampa George at 7 o'clock sharp. Since his bedroom door was still closed and no lights were on, I figured I'd succeeded in turning the Titanic. By 7:05 I flopped down on the sofa to wait for him to get up. At 8:00 I heard his door squeak, my signal to pop up from the couch as if I'd been awake the whole time.

When I met him in his room a few minutes later to go through his morning routine, he shook his head apologetically. "Don't know what happened. Must have slept in."

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