Sweeping Stinginess Under the Rug

Joe and I have been living in this house for about three years now. We bought it from my Grandpa, who moved in with my parents due to age and some minor health issues. The man turned 88 this week and is still playing the field at the local senior center.

Grandpa has always been a little… odd. In a conversation with my mother, he once expressed his fear of losing all his belongings in a disaster because gosh, he wouldn’t have anything left to live for if he lost all his stuff! Mom gently reminded him that he has a loving family, including SEVERAL GRANDCHILDREN, to live for.

Though admittedly his stuffed animal collection is probably
worth WAY more than our collective lives.

So, back to us. Before moving in, Joe and I painted every single f*cking wall and removed all the carpeting in the house. In the smallest bedroom, there was a rug under the carpet. I was a little disappointed that instead of finding a smaller rug under that and an even smaller rug under that, we discovered a twenty dollar bill that had probably been chillin’ there for at least 40 years.

We found this kind of amusing because Grandpa is known for being somewhat… tight with his money. We called Dad to share the story and he happened to be in the car with Mom and Gramps.

I swear on the children I will absolutely never have that my dear Grandfather proceeded to ask for the twenty dollars back.


That’s right. He asked for $20 from half his life ago back. And you know what? We gave it to him. That exact twenty dollar bill. Because, you know, it was his.

Dad made us promise to never ever tell Grandpa about anything we find in the house that is of any value whatsoever. I guess that would include the dirty jar of quarters we found in the back of the overcrowded kitchen cabinets…

To be fair, his ultimate generosity is what allowed us to buy the house. We love him very much, he just has some bad habits.

How about you? Which of your relatives are notorious for bad behavior? We’ve all got’em!

16 thoughts on “Sweeping Stinginess Under the Rug

  1. My Yiayia (Greek grandmother) would always use a paper napkin from a restaurant to wrap up any uneaten fries. This was not so much a doggie-bag as it was an actual treat for her dogs. The smell of the fries mixed with the Trident in her big purse is something I will never, ever forget.

    • What a nice thing to do for her dog and a great way to ruin perfectly good purses! Speaking of smells that will never leave you, I can still remember my old babysitter’s purse smelling like various gum flavors (specifically mint, cinnamon, and bubblegum combined) and leather. It is probably my oldest memory of a smell.

  2. Oh, what, you’re not going to give me any credit for all the rooms I painted in your house? All the corners I cut into, or all the ceilings I painted?

    My favorite grandpa incident: coming downstairs on the morning after Christmas a few years ago to see him working on a list. When I asked him what it was, his response: “A list of my favorite songs.”

    He was updating the list. It had 1,000 songs on it.

    He was changing the order of the songs!! Not because he had just discovered the new Sufjan Stevens, but because he was changing his mind. Grandpa didn’t have a spreadsheet open in Microsoft Excel. He was doing it by hand. Please consider for a moment what it means to change the order of 1,000 songs on a list written in pencil on paper.

    This from the same grandfather who, as one of the world’s biggest Scrabble fanatics, has on paper the score of every single Scrabble game he has ever played. Amazing. I didn’t beat him at Scrabble until I was in my 20’s.

    Happy birthday, Grandpa! I love you!

    • He was just talking about the song list last night! I think that might’ve been the first Joe had heard of it. That’s the kicker — he doesn’t update it because he has found new music. He updates it to REORDER THE EXISTING ONE THOUSAND SONGS.

      “The Way You Look Tonight” is in the lead currently.

  3. my Nana (mom’s mom) constantly changed (maybe still does?) price tags on items in stores. the funny thing is, she only ever shopped at thrift stores and places similar to big lots (which we didn’t have out west). so she was maybe saving pennies. she also stole every possible condiment every single time we ate at restaurants. you know those jelly things made of plastic that sit on tables in like Denny’s and them? she would steal the whole thing, filled with the jelly packets, and put it in her huge purse. my mom once said “we’re lucky she stopped taking the plates.” i don’t think she was joking. that’s why the Seinfeld episode about old people stealing always cracks me up: they’re thieves and i’ve witnessed it!

    • I’ve heard it said before — and I believe it to be true — that it’s partly a generational thing. When they were growing up, you HAD to pinch pennies.

      Thankfully, that doesn’t make it any less hilarious to me.

    • I found that by searching “say what” .gifs, and my reaction the first time watching was, “what does this have to do with OHHHHHHHH.”

      • I was about to leave this exact comment. There is SO MUCH to comment on in this entry and comments–lists of songs, stuffed animal collection, rugs under rugs under rugs…

        but all I want to talk about is that gif. ALL NIGHT LONG.

        • Our grandfather is a gold mine for this kind of thing. That fridge we recently got rid of? It contained a box of frozen veggies so old that they didn’t have a date stamp. It was before things were dated FOR FOOD SAFETY. We estimate they were from the 60’s or 70’s.

          Yeah, that .gif is amazing, right? Like, when I found it I was like, HELLO.

  4. I got some awesome shit when you guys moved into that house! That sweet lamp/table combo, the trunk, a wearable blanket(the original Snuggie?) etc.

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