Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Last-Minute Change Of Plan

Yesterday was another busy day for us.

In the morning, Andrew and I ran errands for Andrew’s mother. We visited the Post Office, the home improvement center, the dry cleaner, the florist, and two food stores.

As soon as we returned home, we deposited our items, picked up Andrew’s mother, and headed out again.

Our first stop was the care facility, where we had lunch and a short visit with Andrew’s grandmother. In truth, there was no visit, and no meaningful conversation, because Andrew’s grandmother recognized no one. It was very sad.

There was one moment of semi-lucidity on her part. Toward the end of lunch, Andrew’s grandmother looked at Andrew and asked, “Can you remind me what happened to my Pillsbury?” It was apparent that she had mistaken Andrew for Andrew’s father.

“Pillsbury was sold to Grand Metropolitan more than twenty years ago” was Andrew’s answer.

“But I thought I bought Pillsbury back?” was Andrew’s grandmother’s response.

“A few years ago, General Mills bought Pillsbury from Grand Metropolitan for a song, after Grand Metropolitan had made a mess of things” was Andrew’s answer.

“So Pillsbury is back in Minneapolis?”

“Yes, Pillsbury is back in Minneapolis.”

“And I still own Pillsbury?”

“Yes. Through General Mills.”

“Will I have to attend any meetings this week?”


“Are there any papers for me to sign?”


And that was the extent of Andrew’s grandmother’s semi-lucid interval.

From the care facility, we went to the Galleria in order to continue our Christmas shopping. Andrew and I bought a couple of gifts, but we did not find much of interest in the Galleria. We walked around for a couple of hours and returned home.

Last night was another quiet evening. Alex joined us for dinner—Swedish meatballs and noodles, served with lingonberries and snap peas—and we spent much of the evening discussing a trip to Greece. We are almost ready to book.

Today Andrew and I braved the Mall Of America. We arrived at 10:00 a.m., and we remained until almost 5:00 p.m.—and, when we departed, we had our Christmas shopping completed. We walked for what must have been miles, and we encountered crowds of a size I had never seen at a shopping mall, but we got the job done.

We were exhausted—and famished—when we got home, but we did not have to wait long to eat. Dinner was creamed chicken over rice, served with carrots and grilled red peppers.

Alex joined us for dinner and, from tonight through the rest of the holidays, he will stay with us at his parents’ house. Today was his last day at work until January 4, and it had always been his plan to move over to his parents’ house to spend the Christmas holidays. It should be lots of fun.

There has been a change of plan regarding Christmas Day. The original plan was to celebrate Christmas Eve at Andrew’s parents’ house, and Christmas Day at Alec and Lizbeth’s house.

The weather has thrown a monkey wrench into the plan.

It began snowing this afternoon, and the snowfall is expected to continue, nonstop, through midday Saturday and perhaps beyond. The winter storm is expected to be the most severe to hit the Twin Cities in thirty years, leaving at least two feet of snow on the ground—and perhaps considerably more—and causing miserable driving conditions.

As a result, all Christmas celebrations have been moved to Andrew’s parents’ house. Alec and Lizbeth have decided to move to Andrew’s parents’ house, too, “for the duration”. This will obviate the need for everyone to drive back and forth between the two houses in what may soon prove to be impassible streets.

In fact, around 8:00 p.m. tonight, Alec and Lizbeth decided not to wait until tomorrow morning to make the move but to make the move tonight. They and the kids arrived just in time for the kids to be put to bed. The decision had been prompted by the most recent weather forecast, predicting six-to-eight additional inches of snow overnight (to go with the four or five inches already on the ground).

The very minute the kids were put to bed, Alec, Alex, and Andrew and I drove back to Alec and Lizbeth’s house in order to collect the Christmas presents that had been hidden from the kids and to gather the turkey and ham and other food items that were part of our intended Christmas dinner.

The streets were in bad shape, but we made it there and back safely.

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