On Living with Old People

My grandparents are lovely souls. They are novel and strange in exactly the ways you expect old people to be. Except that living with old people is very much akin to living with toddlers, in more ways than I can truthfully enjoy.

That being said, here are a few of my observations, for good, for bad, or for weirder.

The toilet

You see, women, through more or less their entire lives, minus infancy and nights of drunken shenanigans, can pee in the bowl of a toilet with no extenuating issues coming up to complicate the procedure. Men, on the other hand (or what seems like no-hands-at-all), have difficulty with this concept, which has been documented by comedians, statisticians, wives, girlfriends and daughters everywhere.

Old men are no exception. Always wear slippers in, near, or around the bathroom when living with old men.

The eternal question

Just today, my grandfather, lovely man that he is, sat down beside me and told me how important my happiness was to him. I thought the conversation was going to progress in the “Here’s $10,000 to go travel and create memories,” route, but I was, as usual, sorely mistaken. Instead, he said being happy involved being around people I loved, enjoying life, working hard, etc, and of course, getting married.

Oh, betrothal: you are a tempting vixen to aging folks in all corners of the world who have nothing to do except complain about food and wonder about their grandchildren’s future life plans.

You see, my grandfather’s girlfriend has a grandson. This stupendous grandson has won medals for some aquatic sport and now he is graduating as an upstanding member of society, my grandfather told me earnestly. The fact that I have been in a committed, 5-year-long relationship is pretty irrelevant here, because any idiot can see that it is a life-or-death necessity for me to keep my options open.

This comes from a good place. But it confuses me, too, grampa! Alright? One day you’re asking if I’m marrying my SO, and the other you’re asking me to marry another boy. When I told him that I might just adopt some cats and call it a day, I could see his pupils dilating.

“I’ll give you a few days to think it over just in case,” he said, after my voice had totally broken saying “No” repeatedly for 10 minutes. No, grampa, I don’t want to Skype with your girlfriend’s grandson.

The habits

I’ve been co-habitating with some form of grandparent since I was 11-years-old (when the first set moved to join us in the new Canadian world). First, my dad’s parents, and now my mom’s. There was an uncle in there somewhere as well, and a bunch of family friends.

When my grandparents first moved in, they were awesome. They are still awesome, in many ways, but old people are very specific in very very specific ways. Let me explain.

My grandmother talks to herself while cooking. Endearing, sure, but strange when you are trying to do your homework and keep hearing a conversation from a party of 1 coming from the other room.

My grandfather uses only 1 cup at any time always and just rinses it out, so that its insides look as black as tar since he won’t let us put it into the dishwasher. That is his cup, and god forbid anybody should ever even look at the thing.

My other grandfather, in his life-long attempt to build everything, needs to go to Canadian tire every weekend for a wrench that he just doesn’t have. While at Canadian tire, he, of course, finds several other useless things to buy. Like tiny pliers, glue, binoculars (true story), a small blow-up boat, tires, and fishing rods. He goes fishing once every year, and hasn’t been in a boat since he was 30 years old.

But not only does he BUY these things, he also looks through the fliers every week to finds SALES on these things, and will only buy the specific things on sale, even if there are other, better quality pieces at the same price as the sale item. Old people logic.

These things are lovely qualities of people I dearly love, and they certainly make for a very hilarious family, but sometimes, it’s too much.

Have you ever lived with old people (related or otherwise), and if so, what kind of habits/things did you experience?


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