Fully Loaded Sweatpants


Dear Dementia,

While Garland is settled downstairs eating his breakfast, I quickly empty the dishwasher and tidy up the kitchen upstairs. When I venture back down into the Abysss, all Al-Z breaks loose:

Garland is standing at the kitchenette counter in front of the microwave and he’s wearing Meryl Claire’s slippers! He’s once again gone into her bedroom while Meryl Claire sleeps blissfully unaware of Al-Z’s antics.

 “Garland,” I say, “whatchya got on your feet? Those don’t look like they’re yours.” He stares at me blankly. I squat down and begin to remove the slippers.

“What the hell are you doing to me?!!” Garland exclaims.

“These are Mom’s slippers. They don’t belong to you, so we have to take them off, ok?”

“They aah too myen,” he says, his old Boston accent making a sudden appearance.

“Nope, you got these from Meryl Claire’s bedroom.”

“I didn’t do it. Those people, who do the things, with the … one, two, three, four,” he mutters, Al-Z redirecting him to count the cabinets overhead.

“Well, these are girls slippers. They are for women.”

“For women?!”  Heavens to Murgatroyd! Al-Z whispers to me, and I can’t help but smile.

“Yes, so let’s take them off. You don’t want to wear women’s things, do you?” That strikes a chord and Garland has a feeling that I’m right, so he allows me to slip them off his feet. He’s not entirely happy about it but he’s not sure why. Then it hits him.

“I have nothing on my feet. I have no shooooees,” he whines, elongating the vowels.

I hold up my socked foot. “Look, I don’t have any shooooees either. We don’t wear shoes in the house. We’re shoeless joes.”

“Shoeless,” he mimics back with a sigh, accepting his plight.

“C’mon. Have seat over here. Come sit on your throne,” I suggest, directing him to the comfy chair. He sits, finally content, and I begin to wash his dishes.

“What’s this in here?” he asks my back, his voice rising a little too joyously.

I turn to see him holding a brand-new tube of Sensodyne toothpaste. “Al-Z, what have you been up to?” I wonder.  For a moment I access the mental note I made this morning to buy more Sensodyne because I noticed Mom is running low. I walk over to Garland, who has his left leg stretched out on the ottoman and his right leg bent at the knee. I pat his calf. Lumpy.

“Hey, what’s in here?” I ask, still patting his leg.

“I didn’t do it!” Garland reacts defensively. “I don’t know who did. Those people. They’re supposed to do the work. But they didn’t do a very good job.”

I reach into his sweatpants from the opening above his right ankle and pull out a second tube Sensodyne. And like a magician pulling scarves from his sleeve, I pull out a third tube. I promptly tear up that mental note.

“Wow! Where are all these coming from?” I ask bemused.

I reach farther up his pant leg. The magic trick continues. There’s something soft. Voila! A red king-size pillowcase. I pat his left calf. Lumpy.

“Oh! What’s in here?”

“Nothing,” Garland protests.

“Oh yes, there’s definitely something. Let’s see what it is.” Now I’m intrigued.

I pull out a fourth tube of Sensodyne, three pairs of granny panties, two pairs of socks, and one packaged almond-oatmeal exfoliating bar of soap. I make him pull them down to be sure there’s nothing more.

Ta-dah! That was some trick!

Al-Z taunts me with song, a “12 Days of Christmas” parody: “Four tubes of toothpaste, three granny panties, two pairs of socks, and an almond-oatmeal bar of soap!”

I double over laughing. Garland starts to laugh too but has no idea why. I laugh even harder, gather all of his pants booty, and head toward Meryl Claire’s bedroom to return them to their rightful places.

“Where are you taking that? That’s mine!” Garland suddenly stops laughing.

“Oh, no these are not yours. These are women’s underwear. Do you want to wears ladies’ underwear?”

Garland looks at me as if I’ve spoken gibberish. I wonder if I have.

 “Nooooo. I don’t want to wear women’s things.”

“Ok, so I’m gonna put them back now, ok?”


And that’s the end of that.

Thanks for the laugh Dear Dementia!

May the next generation conquer you.

With love,

Belinda Jay