I opened the door slowly and stumbled into the kitchen, juggling my laptop, a change of clothes and my purse.
“Well hello!” my grandpa said, greeting me cheerfully. This was a pleasant change from the last time I saw him when he had decided he was going to “lay me off”. Apparently his personal aide, Heather, is so wonderful, he doesn’t need granddaughters anymore. “The circus came to town today!” he chimed with a grin.
“It did?!” I asked, surprised. “Did you go to the circus or did it come here?” I tried to evaluate the situation and looked around for any sign of visitors. Nothing stood out. Damn Heather and her amazing cleaning abilities. I swear, she’s like a tiny, little Martha Stewart, minus the federal offenses and hardened exterior from jail time.
“Well it came here of course.” He laughed at my blatant silliness. I should have guessed, since almost every day is a circus at grandpa’s. He started to push me out of the kitchen. “Lets go see! There’s a new alligator in the back room.”
I followed him down the hall to the scene of last week’s toilet disaster, prepared to find a similar scene but hoping for Siegfried and Roy. Instead I found a shiny new white throne.
“Look at THAT.” He smiled proudly and gave his hands a small clap. “It’s better than the old one. Remember when you broke it?”
I blinked, surprised at the surfacing of a memory. As the story goes, my sister had been giving me a piggy back ride around the house and when she threw me off her back onto the toilet seat in exhaustion, my head flew back and cracked the rim of the tank. My skull was fine but the toilet suffered some physical damage. There were tears and lectures and threats of a life-time’s worth of allowance being saved to buy my grandma a new toilet. In the end, some super glue and a sincere and tearful apology was the peace treaty.
I laughed out loud at the memory. “Yea, it’s all in one piece! I promise I won’t break it!” I admired his new fixture.
“Look how long it is!” He pointed to the oval shaped bowl which was much larger than his old pink toilet, and less reminiscent of the poor tastes and tacky drug habits of 1980.
“Yea. It’s a bit bigger, huh?” I patted his back, “I’ll bet it’s because people are larger now.”
“They’re what?” He widened his eyes and put his hand to his ear to signify he hadn’t understood.
“People are…well they’re bigger!” I said a bit louder, holding my arms out and puffing my cheeks.
“Yea. I see fat people everywhere.” He agreed, then patted his belly in concern. As though on cue, he wandered back to the kitchen. A toilet for “fat” people only means one thing in my grandpa’s mind; he can eat more cookies.
“Oh look!” I exclaimed as we came across the shining tiled floor, “A new dishwasher!” I don’t know how I missed it on my first examination, but there it stood. My fingers wiggled in anticipation after a month of pruney hands and smelly, crusty dishes being left on the counter.
“Where?” Grandpa asked, wandering further into the kitchen.
“Over there!” I pointed into the far corner of the kitchen where the beautiful piece of machinery winked in the sunlight.
He wandered in the direction I was pointing, examining the microwave, the cabinets, checking the breadbox, the dish towels.
I giggled. “The DISHWASHER, Grandpa.” I said, enunciating each syllable.
“Well we don’t HAVE a dishwasher.” He exclaimed, remembering somewhere deep down that his had been removed.
I pointed down towards the machine, two inches from his belt. “Right here!”
He looked down and backed up in surprised. “Well I’ll BE!” He bent over at the waist and pushed a few buttons, making the numbers blink on the panel. “I’ve NEVER seen this before. The circus must have brought this! I was here but you know, I let that boy handle everything. I don’t care too much for circus folk.” He stood up matter of factly. “Well. Good for us!”
I laughed. “What shall we do now?”
“I think….” He twisted his mouth to the side and tapped his finger on his bottom lip. “Well I think we should take a nap.” With a quick nod of his head he went straight back towards the welcoming arms of his large leather couch, exhausted from all the circus ruckus and technological discoveries of the day.