Old Grandma Hardcore

This blog is the chronicle of my experiences with Grandma, the video-game playing queen of her age-bracket and weight class. She will beat any PS2, XBox, GameCube, etc., console game put in front of her, just like she always has. These are her stories. She is absolutely real. She lives in Cleveland.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Holiday Shopping For The DAMNED

We waited until today to go Christmas shopping for a number of reasons this year; the move was our principal excuse for delay, (why buy more things we'll just have to move later, adding to our troubles?) and the second primary reason is- we just don't have a lot of money this year because of the move, and we all sort of feel bad about the inability to get each other much.

Grandma and I knew what we were driving into before we left the house; a solid line of unmoving, red, brake lights divided by morse code of white headlights trickling back from the shopping battlefront- giving us a clear, naval message: "TURN BACK--STOP--NOT WORTH IT--STOP--GET THE BASTARDS GIFT CARDS--STOP."

We went on anyway.

The parking lots at Best Buy and Target in Chapel Hill were filled to capacity, but we have one weapon that few had to match- Grandma. Grandma's knee replacement last March has left her in agony; sleepless nights with a heated pad under her leg are still common. The good thing that came from the surgery is her official Ohio Handicapped Person's parking space in-a-box tag, which she would swipe from the car she usually drives so we could take the van and fit all the little people in the back; FAR in the back where we would not have to hear them. Grandma truly needs that tag, so we thought we wouldn't feel guilty taking it with her as sort of a Grandma bonus.

We forgot the tag.

We dropped Grandma off at the front entrance of the store so she wouldn't have to walk and parked the car off over the horizon and started our way, shopping.

I remember the first time I went Christmas shopping. It was a complete accident. I was at that age where I still dug the whole "Santa" routine; we had gone out to an early dinner with some relatives and then they drove back to the house where presumably they were to drop off certain people and go by themselves. Grandma and Mom, however, forgot I was sleeping in the car- so I was just as thrilled as I imagine they were when I woke up just as they pulled into the mall parking lot screaming "Awesome! We're going shopping!!" (Going to the mall was a big deal for a kid.) Ever since then I've made it sort of a habit to go along and help out with things. Grandma, Mom and I would go Christmas shopping and I knew all the dirty, horrible secrets that the rest of the family wouldn't know for another month.

I was on the goddamn INSIDE, man.

This year, again because of time constraints and income, there are no secrets. All six of us went shopping together, picked out a reasonable thing we wanted in full view, and went home happy. Compared to upper class folks it might seem humble, but in contrast to those without- it was a bounty. I got a set of computer speakers. My ex still has my old ones, and she can keep them; no hard feelings. Grandma got a new quilt; her gaming needs already met by Dana and Melissa, she moved on to "other" things. I got some cable management supplies from RadioShack to make her un-named game room a sense of neatness, and my credit was good enough to finally get my ass a cell phone, a near necessity as a stringer.

I had a beautiful find at Gamestop, a used copy of Final Fantasy Tactics in near perfect condition. It was $12.99 but we were already out of cash.

When Grandma went to Marc's Grocery Store earlier the place was fucking PACKED with people trying to squeeze in hurried consequences of hasty decisions manifested in the honey-glazed ham and bottles of advil and gin in their shopping carts. The lines curved nearly into the center of the store. As Grandma finally approached the check-out lane after a bit of a wait, the cashier takes one look at her and yells loudly: "Hey!! Didn't I see you on TV the other night?!!"

Every head in the whole damn store turns to Grandma like a motherfucking cartoon. It was a single action- just *blink!* and they're all looking at her. Forgetting that gestures only assist sound to travel to the human brain, she waved her arm, shook her head, did that little thing with her finger over her mouth half screaming half whispering "SHHHH!! Shut up! Forget about it!! Let me just get out of here!!" A strange sound of mumbling took over the store like the detective just told the guests that the killer is, in fact, among them. A few words can be picked out of the noise like "...games...Playstation....Xbox......Nintendo....MTV....blog....hardcore..." enough to know she had been clocked by the crowed, recognized and observed.

It was great ;)

She was embarrassed a little of course, but she had fun and a good laugh out of it. It's just Grandma, you know! She still thinks this whole deal is funny as hell.

We got home just a few minutes ago, now 11:45pm on the East Coast, to find two great gifts not under the tree delivered by a fat man in a red coat; rather two, delightfully corrugated cardboard boxes delivered via UPS by, as Grandma likes to believe, a stunningly handsome man, ripped with muscles in brown, UPS issue hot pants.

I don't know what it is with Grandma and dudes in shorts. I may never know.

The first package contained Dragon Quest VIII, dutifully on time from EBGames.com; a gift whose travels we have documented in our last post- the product of a generous gift card from Dana, a long time reader who wanted to spread the holiday joy. You bet your ass you know what Grandma's doing tomorrow.

The second package held a brand-spanking new copy of Melissa et. al's latest piece of awesome- Call of Duty 2: Big Red One. Treyarch and Activision put together one fucking AWESOME game, people; and this is for the XBox, not the 360; so if you're like us and have to wait a few more years of pinching pennies before the Beast is yours, or if you just want to shake your house with a brilliantly crisp FPS, then pick this up NOW. You bet your ass you know what Grandma's doing tomorrow.

Thank you so much, everyone. It was going to be a tight holiday for Grandma, but now: Christmas has come early, and she's not waiting to open her presents.

Except the quilt. If she has to freeze her ass off tonight without it, we don't care; she has got to open SOMETHING under that fucking tree.

Game on!!


  • At 1:36 AM, Blogger Anne Packrat said…

    I'm glad Grandma is getting the gaming goodness. Happy Holidays to you all!

  • At 9:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's.not the money, although some is good... It is the togetherness - and the First Christmas in your Mom's home - a home that is hers, not someone els's. Be proud. Enjoy Christmas together in a very special place.. home!
    Game on to all.

  • At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm glad to hear the feedback on Call of Duty: Big Red One. I was worried of how the game was going to turn out considering that most of the focus at Activision has been on COD2 for XBOX360. Thanks to your recommendation, I think I will give Big Red One a try as my next Gamefly rental.

    By the way, I know people have said this before but you guys really need a Gamefly subscription. Think about it: How many games do you buy a year at $50? I imagine quite a few for you guys. Gamefly is $21.99 a month to keep out two games. That is roughly a little over $250 a year. If you rent and beat more than 5 games from them, you've already saved money.

    Just a thought. OMG, I just realize that I sound like an advertising whore for their company. Cheers and Happy Holidays.

  • At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Happy Christmas to all, and to all a game night!

  • At 11:53 AM, Blogger Unknown said…

    Wishing you and yours, a happy and peaceful Christmas. (not too peaceful!)
    from the Elderly Gamer

  • At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    May your Christmas be full of gaming fun and family. The ultimate gift is home and family. You guys have both so celibrate. As far as the name for the game room what about Grandma's Fantasy? Merry Christmas and Game on....

  • At 7:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Name for Grandma's game room - "Grandma's Grotto". Have a Merry Christmas to all.

  • At 10:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Many hugs and best wishes to all you guys for Christmas, and I hope your day is filled with all kinds of fun. Here's to a wonderful holiday season, and more great times with OGHC and the crew! CHEERS!

    Now let's call G4 and scream at them until Grandma's on Attack of the Show (and also tell them to put Icons back on the air, the rat BASTARDS!) Wheeee-ooooo! I'm gettin' me some eggnog. ::grin:: I wish you guys all kinds of fun and happiness tomorrow and always, and I can't wait to hear more of Grandma's exploits.

    All the best to each one of you, take care, be well, Merry Christmas, and GAME ON!


  • At 3:03 PM, Blogger Brinstar said…

    Happy Christmas, Tim, Grandma, and to the rest of the crew!

  • At 3:25 PM, Blogger RandomDave said…

    Merry Christmas Grandma... :)

  • At 4:09 PM, Blogger ivorynetsuke said…

    Woohoo, glad to see things are working themselves out. Happy Holidays to everyone!

    By the by, every UPS driver I've seen in Florida is HOT. What can Brown do for me, indeed ... heh.

    Game on!


  • At 8:58 PM, Blogger mw said…

    Sweetness, I'm so happy you had a wonderful christmas. I feel you about being on the inside. I've had to wrap my own gifts for YEARS! my mom is anal about the tree looking nice, but she sucks at wrapping and putting up the tree. I started my duties at 6 lol.

  • At 1:47 PM, Blogger Collin said…

    Merry Christmas Tim and Grandma! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas Day and are enjoying the heck out of each other and your new games!

  • At 2:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is.not really the amount of money, evenCheap GW2 Gold though some is a useful one... It is the camaraderie * plus the Initial Christmas time with your Single parent's home : a home which is hers, definitely not another person els's. Become happy. Delight in Holidaycheap RS Gold collectively within a specific position.. house!


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