I listened to a book on tape recently of the late Nora Ephron’s ” I Hate My Neck”. I do not hate my neck…yet. But her piece on “The Perfect Purse” was so “me”. She discussed that huge dark cavern where all things are, but you can’t find any of them. She commented that a flashlight would be helpful, but if she put a flashlight in her purse, that too would be lost in the cavern. She talked about her quest to find the perfect purse, one with enough pockets – but not too many as to be confusing, one that would go with everything, that was big enough, stylish enough, yet affordable. I even purchased one of those handy inserts that supposedly would hold all your essentials, would slip down inside most purses and you could then easily transfer it from purse to purse. Didn’t work, didn’t hold all my stuff, and I can’t remember what purse I last placed it in.
On to my newest revelation. The “Sandwich Purse”. My mother doesn’t carry a purse often any more. In her purse in the drawer of the nightstand at the assisted living, she has her wallet -but of course, I removed all pertinent cards and most money. I leave about ten dollars in there so she can feel as though she has some independence but even that has been stolen twice at the assisted living. Several tissues, her plastic rain scarf and a tube of lipstick round out the contents. But when we do go out, her purse is one more thing I have to juggle as I load Mom and her wheel chair into the car. And then she must hold it in her lap when she is in the wheel chair and often she just hands it to me. If we use her walker, she can’t hold the purse, so sometimes I hang it on the walker, but then it falls off – so then I have to carry it as well as mine – so we now rarely take her purse when we go out and about.
On the other hand, MINE is now more full than ever. Along with my own wallet (which is quite full of necessary things- just last week I actually needed to know my adult kids’ social security numbers to put on a legal document, and yes, there on a jagged slip of paper in my wallet were their social security numbers- I have: sunglasses; an extra pair of regular glasses (sometimes I am forced to remove my contacts for various reasons); old receipts; a dried-up tube of lip gloss; a list of things to do from three months ago; a comb; some Dramamine from the last trip I took; the plastic bag with the three ounce bottles of lotion and contact cleanser ( I keep them in the bag, in my purse so I don’t have to remember to do it next time I travel) charger to to my camera; tissues ( hard to discern if used or unused) ;old business cards; a slip of paper with someone’s phone number ( wonder whose?); mints in a container; more mints that have escaped the container; loose change; and various other interesting but at one time necessary things. Recently, it has become necessary to add a few more items.
Now, in my new role as a grandmother, I have my Grandma Photo Album!! And as a Sandwich Caregiver, I have: extra photos of the baby to place in my mom’s photo album; a Depends ( just in case Mom has an accident when we are out); Mom’s check book and credit cards; her insurance cards; list of her medications; a bottle of headache medicine ( I seem to have them more frequently nowadays); a bottle of antacid pills ( again for me, not Mom); the latest invoice from the assisted living; the envelope with the check for the assisted living that I forgot to give them yesterday when I stopped by; an envelope with cash to pay the private caregivers; a key to the mausoleum where my Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Carl are “resting”( they had no children, I am now in charge of all cemetary flowers as that used to be Mom’s job); a small umbrella, and coupons for fifty cents off my next purchase of Depends.
i am pondering whether I should ignore Nora’s advice to NOT add a flashlight. It actually might come in handy. I really need to find that headache medicine. I know it is in here somewhere and I think it will help my aching shoulder.