On Monday I helped my granny with her semi-annual paperwork confusion chores. The goal is just to replace outdated investment statements with the latest round and file it all away, but it is about the most spectacular display of granny management I’m ever required to produce. It’s guaranteed hilarity, paranoia, and a clear view to the inner workings of gran, twice a year.
I need to catalog a few things about the 2nd quarter 2005 edition.
- Gas bills from 1995 on, from companies that no longer exist3
- Eaton’s4 account statements from the nineties
- A notebook with handwritten household bookkeeping from 1978 – 19855
- Monthly credit card statements from 1998 – 2000, pinned to receipts with dress pins6
- Blank airmiles card offers
- Half a page of grampa’s income tax assessment from 1997
- Such quantities of bank statements that we had to stop because the poor household-rated shredder started to smoke.
1 Depression-era reuse of household waste. Noble, yet absurd. See also: wrapping leftover food in the inner bags of cereal or cracker packages, storing legal documents in marketing folders that came in junk mail.
2 Granny has technology at her house, but I have to make it go. You probably guessed. I like calling her house and getting myself on the answering machine.
3 Granny is a world champion worrier. Leaves no stone unturned.
4 Granny is patriotic. We had a small conversation about the demise of Eaton’s. I actually got a little sad, thinking about the role of the T. Eaton Company in The Hockey Sweater.
5 Granny’s house is one of those breeding spots for history. No matter how many times we empty her deep freeze, there are always packages marked “Blueberries ’86” or “Quince ’91.” I wonder where the rest of these notebooks are hiding.
6 More determined cross-purposing of household objects. Also, comprehensive lack of normal stationery supplies. Only giant scissors, only giant paper clips, etc.