Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A nice sturdy box

I admit that I'm getting tired of my mom's absurd situation.   Particularly as it is now rolling into month two with no change in sight.  Well, no change in my opinion.  From Mom's perspective, things have now reached a crisis point.  

My cell phone rings.

Me:  Hello?
Board and Care Owner:  Hi Sharon.  I'm calling about your mom.
Me:  [Panic sets in].  Is she OK?  What's wrong?
BCO:  Oh, she's wonderful.  Totally fine.  In fact, she's had a visit from hospice today and they were chatting away in there.   She just had dinner and everything's great.
Me:  [Now aware that Mom wants something and has talked this guy into calling me]  I'm so glad to hear she's doing well.   What can I do for you?
BCO:  It's about the TV.
Me:  The TV?
BCO:  The TV in her room.   You see, the TV actually belonged to another resident, but we had left it in there since the family never let us know what they wanted to do with it.  They've gotten in touch, and we're going to need to move it out.   Your mom seems very attached to it, though.

[A long pause as we both recognize this as the understatement of the century]

BCO: [Charging ahead uncomfortably] So we were wondering if maybe you had another TV that she could use.
Me:  Um. Sure.  I have her old TV.  I could bring that over.
BCO: [Clearly relieved]  Oh, that's good news.  Really good news.  And there's really no rush.  Anytime this week will be fine.
Me:  Honestly, it's no problem.  Thank you for calling.  Can I talk to my mom, please?
BCO:  Of course.  Of course.  One moment.

[I hear him telling her I'm on the line.]

Her:  Hi, sweetie.  How are you?
Me:  I'm fine, Mom.  How are you doing?
Her:  I'm good.  I had a nice bath today.   But I think they're going to take my TV.  I told them they should just buy it from that family so I could keep it, since it seems like for what they're charging, the room should come with a TV.   They should realize that I can't get up and go to the living room like everyone else, you know?  I'm on hospice, for heaven's sake.  But I guess that just isn't going to work out.
Me:  Well, don't worry Mom.  I have your TV in the garage, and I can bring it over.  The guys will help me set it up for you and everything will be OK.
Her:  Oh, thank you, honey.

[A pause.]

Her:  And maybe you could bring a box to put it on.
Me:  A box?  What for?
Her:  Well, this TV is so much bigger than my TV.   I think you're going to have to raise my TV up a lot to make it work as good as this one.   At least 24 inches.
Me:  Mom, it's going to sit up on that big dresser.  I'm sure it'll be fine.
Her:  It's just that I don't have to sit up to watch this TV.  It's perfect for me.

[She sighs.]

Her:  Maybe if you put it way off to the side of the dresser, I can watch it at an angle lying down.   That could work, I guess.

[She sighs again.]

Me:  OK, Mom.  I'll look for a box.
Her:  Thank you, honey.  Since I can't have this TV, a nice, tall, sturdy box should be just the thing.
Me:  I'll do my best.   Have a good night.
Her:  I will, honey.  I feel much better already.

Maybe if I put her way off to the side, I can watch this whole thing at an angle.  Lying down.

Until then, I'm eating this chocolate cobbler.

Susan's Granny's Chocolate Cobbler 
I clipped this recipe when it was first posted on the Tasty Kitchen blog because it sounded both bizarre and delicious.   Turns out it's not bizarre at all.  But it is super delicious.   My adapted version* is below.

1 c. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
7 Tbs. great quality cocoa powder**, divided
1 1/4 c. sugar, divided
1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 c. very hot water
1 Tbs. strong black coffee

Preheat the oven to 350.   You will need an 8 inch square, oval or round baking dish.   You don't have to grease or butter it, just have it handy.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, 3 Tbs. of the cocoa powder, and 3/4 c. of the sugar in a medium mixing bowl.    Place the remaining 1/2 c sugar and 4 Tbs. of cocoa in another bowl and reserve.    Add the milk, melted butter, and vanilla o the flour mixture, and stir until smooth.   Pour the mixture into the baking dish and set aside.

Add the brown sugar to the sugar and the cocoa, and stir to combine.   Sprinkle half of this mixture generously over the batter.    Combine the hot tap water and the coffee, and pour that mixture over the whole thing.  DO NOT STIR.  Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture on top.

Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the center is set.   Allow to cool for a few minutes, then serve with vanilla or coffee ice cream.  Or, if you have just been on the phone with my mom, both.

* I added the coffee.  It just makes it that much more chocolate-y tasting.  If you like, throw in some mini chocolate chips, too!
** I splurged on a small tub of Valrhona unsweetened cocoa at Surfas a while back and have never regretted it.


  1. Sharon, brilliant perspective! My dad was in hospice care for 14 months , who knew? It was quite a ride and of course I miss the hell out of him now. Have some wine with that cobbler.

  2. 14 months..my god! It's nuts how these things play out. Thanks for the wine suggestion. I was just piling on the ice cream.