Introducing Grumpydeafgrandad: "Hi Grandad, how are you?" #grumpydeafgrandad: "I'm too hot & the boy hasn't got me a whisky yet!" The Boy (me) happens to be 45. This is going to be a VERY LONG visit.
Anyone who has followed me for some time on Twitter of Facebook will know that I tweet about #grumpydeafgrandad, my father.
Yes, he's grandad, he's very very grumpy and he's pretty deaf too.
My parents were happily married for 56 years before my Mum passed away. What was more remarkable was that they remained so contented despite the fact that they worked together in the family business every day for that period.
My mother was always the more outgoing of the two. She was an optimist, always having a 'half full' outlook, was garrulous and gregarious. I knew that my father was none of these things, but didn't realise quite how much he was the antithesis to my Mum until she passed away.
My mother had a fall and was in hospital for just over two months before she finally succumbed to the poor health she had borne stoically for so long.
During her hospital stay it became clear to us all that were my mother to return home she would need some considerable support. We therefore decided that it would be best for my parents to take a sheltered housing unit in preparation for my mother's return home. As a consequence, my Dad moved in to the development where he currently lives about three weeks before my mother's death.
With hindsight, I think that move helped my father in the respect that he never shared his current home with my Mum. However, he has never been able to get past the loss of his life partner and sole-mate. He views everything through the prism of my Mum's death. For example, watching the children open their Christmas presents he won't enter into the joy of the moment, he'll comment on how much my mother would have loved to have been here to witness the fun.
The fact that my Mum's passing coincided with our adoption of our son was also very tough for my father. He felt, I know, that we should have postponed our son's adoption. You can read a little more about that time on my adoption blog here.
Grandad's negativity could be a source of misery for us, and indeed it could easily cause conflict. J and I choose not to allow that to be the case. We attempt to embrace it by turning it into a source of amusement for us both. I've chronicled that over time on Twitter and Facebook and consequently #grumpydeafgrandad has developed a small following all of his own. If I don't provide an update as to his most recent foible every couple of weeks I'm reminded to do so by a number of people.
So, to introduce him to those of you who have not come across him previously, and to provide those of you who do know about him with a classic tale from the past, here's the story of #grumpydeafgrandad (GDG) coming to dinner one summer Sunday afternoon:
We ensure that GDG eats with us at least once a week. This particular Sunday he arrived to find no one waiting for him in the kitchen where he expected them to be. His greeting was its usual positive self:
"Huh, gone out to avoid me have they?"
J and our then five year old son emerged from the Sitting Room: "Hello Grandad, how are you?"
"I'm too hot and the Boy," (yes, he still calls me 'the Boy' when referring to me in the third person, despite the fact I am well into my forties), "the Boy hasn't got me a whisky yet!"
J and our son decide suddenly that the dog needs a walk. I mutter something about 'traitors' as they disappear out of the door. Five year old has been watching Ben 10 on the tv, his absence gives GDG, whisky now in hand, opportunity to settle down and switch to one of his favourite police intercept programmes.
As I suspected five year old returns to find GDG in front of the tv engrossed in Police Intercept Uncut or something similar. Five year old is NOT HAPPY!
GDG is oblivious to five year old's dissatisfaction however, as Police Intercept have just stopped an immigrant family for driving an overloaded car. He's never happier than when the police stop an immigrant driver, it ticks so many boxes for him.
GDG's police intercept immigrant nabbing nirvana is interrupted by five year old getting hold of the tv remote and switching over to Waybuloo. This is children's yoga instructed by fluorescent cartoon aliens if you've not seen it. Five year old starts showing GDG his yoga moves.
Clearly unsure what to be more appalled at; the affront of five year old changing tv over, the fact there are aliens on tv doing yoga or that five year old is copying them in front of him, GDG begins to splutter wildly.
The (relative) peace and tranquility of five year old's yoga session is shattered by GDG carrying out a smash and grab raid on the tv remote to return the channel to Police Intercept.
There is now no peace and tranquility in our household as five year old and GDG kick off in row over tv remote to background of loud police chase.
J decides to intervene at this point, telling both five year old and GDG to lay the table for dinner, as it's a lovely day we are eating outside. They comply amidst much muttering and signs that now they have a common enemy peace may have been restored between them.
Table laid, all goes quiet. This isn't necessarily a good thing, it generally means they are up to something. For example, I once went out to find GDG instructing our son in how to best to dispatch a rabbit with a spade!
This time, GDG and five year old are playing 'Titanic'. Indeed, they are re-enacting the final scene where Jack disappears beneath the waves. Five year old is Leonardo, GDG is Kate. At this moment it feels that my life can get no more bizarre!
Despite the temperature approaching 30 degrees, GDG is pressing to eat inside. His new best friend and co-conspirator is backing these calls. I'm quite happy with that suggestion, they can eat inside and J and I can have a pleasant dinner à deux on the patio. J's less happy with this idea, raising the prospect of five year old and GDG, if eating alone, getting into a food fight, which is real. He therefore vetoes separate dining plan.
Dinner therefore eaten outside, with much grumbling about it 'getting chilly' and swatting at imaginary flies from GDG.
There's relief all round when, as J washes up, I drop GDG back to his sheltered housing; fuller, happier and more jolly than we he arrived. Well, there's nothing better than watching Police Intercept, drinking whisky, playing Titanic and getting to moan about all of the above on a summer Sunday afternoon!