Margo is still living with my mum and dad, who are saints. She's been there over a year, since we bundled her on a plane for a 'visit'. Margo will be 96 this year, and still goes up and down stairs like a young gazelle, eats well and gets very cross sometimes, packs her things and announces she's going back to her mother's.
I have Margo's folding drying rack, and I use it nearly every day.
"I need a new drying rack" Margo announced one day in 2010. The one she used was wooden, and looked nice but had a tendency to fall apart. Margo wanted a much smaller one, which was sensible. So off we went into town and shopped 'til we dropped, but no drying rack was exactly right. Never mind, we had lunch in the department store, looked at the new line in Jaeger, and I chalked it up as a 'win'.
The following day:
"I really must get a new drying rack. We will go to Beales today."
"Ok, but do you remember, we went yesterday, and they only had great big ones? Maybe we could try another store."
"Did we? No, I'm sure Beales would have one."
"Ok, Beales it is."
So off we went again. And lo, they didn't have one. And the kind staff at Beales, being used to elderly people, pretended they had never helped us shop for a drying rack the day before. After Beales, I suggested Argos.
"Oh no, I am sure Beales will have one."
"Just been there Margo. Remember we saw a really big one?"
"I know, let's try Argos, they may have something. And then we can try Beales."
Margo decides to humour me. We see a drying rack at Argos, which she insists is too big. It is tiny and perfect. I make a mental note to come back tomorrow on my own, buy it, install it and pretend that Margo bought it herself. I take her home and assume she is tired enough to fall asleep for the afternoon.
The next day:
I turn up at Margo's to find her entire spare room taken up with a MASSIVE drying rack from Beales. She had snuck out the minute I left, gone downtown and bought it. Then she had forgotten who she was and where she was and the kindly staff had called a taxi and sent her home with her massive purchase. Which she installed and then went to bed and completely forgot the events of the afternoon.
"I have a bone to pick with you!" she announces. And throws open the spare room door dramatically. "WHY have you bought this? It is much too big for this room!"
"Umm... Is it?"
"You know, I CAN manage. You keep doing this. I know you're only trying to be helpful. But look!"
"Yes," I sigh, "It is definitely too big for the space, you're absolutely right."
"Well," says Margo, softening, "I suppose it will have to do for now."
And it did, for another month or so, until mum came and we sent her off to live with her loved ones in warm climes with gin and tonics on the verandah in the evenings. She was not impressed and could never remember the lengthy discussions, the agreements, the logic that went into the loss of her independence. In the last year her memory has deteriorated so much. But whenever I hang clothes up to dry indoors on the family-sized drying rack I've inherited I smile. I miss that old lady!