Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Teaching your Okaasan to boil eggs.

Okaasan didn't make it out yesterday either. The third hula class she's missed now.
She tried (wet floor and about facing boots in the entrance hall) - but she came back again quickly.

I got home from last classes of 2010 at 4 pm to find her in the kitchen.
There was water in the bath - maybe she'd had one?
There were wet towels, pants and trousers on the bathroom floor and kitchen counter.
There were food packages, orange peel, dirty bowls, chopsticks, supermarket flyers etc around the kitchen.

And amid it all: Okaasan trying to boil an egg.
"I'm hungry! I didn't eat lunch. Did I?"

Yes, yes...you did...here ... look...you ate half the chilli tofu in this pan, and here is the rice bowl and here is the soup bowl...I left you food here this morning...you ate it...

She was standing in front of the electric cooker with the hob light flashing, but not actually ON. We bought this cooker because it cuts out if overheating or left unattended too long - but the switch ON button and the hub start dials pretty confound Okaasan. About 50% of the time she doesn't get it ON at all, and the other 50% of the time she has it ON too high and burns the pan.

So, as I chatted about icy roads and hula class and bad luck etc I sneaked in a hand and turned the hob on so the egg in the pan would start cooking...and I wondered how long she'd been standing in front of the cooker waiting for the water to heat and boil.
Quite often I've come home and found bits of boiled egg and egg shell floating in water in a pan...and I think Okaasan often fails to cook the boiled egg. Often she starts peeling the shell and discovers uncooked egg inside!
(Must talk to Yujiro about making a cooker operating sign for Okaasan).

I took my work bags upstairs - last classes of 2010!!! Free until January 6th!!!

Came down 10 minutes later.
Okaasan was standing in an almost dark kitchen, with a packet of salt on the table.
In one hand she was clutching the peeled, boiled egg - and the other hand was dipping into the bag of salt and smearing it on the egg. And eating it.
A very strange sight really. Like a child doing secret eating. Not at all like a respectable 80 year old Japanese lady. Standing eating and dipping a finger in a salt bag. I just put on the kitchen light and trotted on to the bathroom....thinking about dementia books and their comments about "return to childishness"....

So. Three hours later dinner and lots of lovely chat. Got Okaasan all laughing and chatty again.
She was fine again...like a clock that needs rewinding to get the hands going round again.

I'm gonna do it.
Take her out shopping for New Year food ingredients!!!
THIS is my good deed to end 2010.

I chatted to Okaasan about osechi (New Year food), and asked her advice about it all. And then asked if she would be so kind as to escort me to the supermarket today to help me buy the best/correct food. She jumped at the chance. Poor woman hasn't been out since last Friday.

I'll take her to the up-scale supermarket two subway stops south of here, where comfortably-off suburban housewives shop, it must have good quality vegetables and stuff. Okaasan has very high standards. Then we'll do lunch on the way home.
Should be a good outing for her. Some exercise round a big supermarket and the mental stimulation of choosing foods, people, lights...action.

To be honest: I haven't done many Okaasan and Me alone outings in the 2 years she's lived with us.
Partially because I've been all wrapped up/exhausted/stressed with my own life problems and on my non-working time I have no more energy or will to do extra with her.
And also I always have a bit of a fear about too much time alone with Okaasan. Like - what will I actually TALK about? Is my Japanese language ability up to a concentrated time alone with her?

But now. I think I can. I know I should. And I think I have the energy/patience/determination to try.

Let's see how it goes: Okaasan and Me go for Shopping and Lunch.

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