The Ex-Files – The Bath

When my daughter was about 3 and I was pregnant with my son, I was running a Day Care in our home. CP wasn’t working (what else is new, right?) and I was bringing in enough money to keep the family fed and keep the electricity on. I had to put aside money each week to make the rent each month. Things were extremely tight.

While I was wrangling 5-7 kids Monday through Friday, from sometimes 6am to 6pm, CP was off visiting (or shootin’ the shit, as he called it) with his cousins. I was exhausted at the end of the day! He would come home and go to bed, sometimes without dinner, as if he was exhausted. So many nights I wanted to coldcock him upside the head with a frying pan while he slept. But that’s just not who I am. I mean, who the hell would take care of my kids if I went to prison for murder? But I digress…

One Saturday morning, I figured I’d better go get some groceries with the week’s pay because I was going to have one of my Day Care kids on Sunday morning for most of the day. My daughter wanted to stay home and her “Pop” was home so why couldn’t he watch her for an hour or so? He agreed although I’m sure he would rather be doing something else. Before I left, I asked him specifically to please not let SR play in the dirt because she just had a bath the night before. I didn’t think he needed any further explanation and he didn’t ask for one either. I left after telling SR to save the playing in the dirt for another day.

I was gone maybe an hour and a half. About the time I had finished lugging the groceries in, CP and SR came inside from the backyard. She was covered in mud. She had dirt in her hair. She was wearing semi-decent clothes that were now covered in filth. I was pissed off, to say the least.

I asked CP why he let her play in the dirt when I asked him not to. He said, “She wanted to play in the dirt and I didn’t see any harm in it.” And then he added, “I made a decision as her father.” To that I replied, “Well, since YOU are her father and YOU let her play in the dirt when I asked you not to, then YOU can give her a fucking bath!” I also explained the reason for not wanting her in the dirt was because I was exhausted and didn’t want to deal with a bath since it was my only day off that week from Day Care. He acted like I was over-reacting and that a bath wasn’t that big of a deal.

I was busy fixing dinner while he was giving SR a bath. I thought it was going smoothly, but then I heard crying. I heard CP talking sternly and then SR cried more…and then more. I stayed out of it though. I wanted HIM to take care of this. I was sick and tired of always being the one to take care of everything!

Soon SR came out of the bathroom with a towel wrapped around her and streaks of muddy water running down her face. She had gobs of shampoo still in her hair; it was all sudsy and muddy. I asked CP, “Why didn’t you finish washing her hair?” He angrily said, “I washed it but she wouldn’t let me rinse it so she can just sit in it and suffer.” He walked away. Dumbass, I thought. I took SR back into the bathroom, ran clean bathwater, and started over. Oh, I turned dinner off and decided that CP can just starve. I’ll make SR a sandwich or something after her bath. Screw dinner.

Image by Eduardo Davad from Pixabay

In the tub, SR was crying. I told her, “It’s ok Baby Girl. Momma will get the soap out and get you all cleaned up.” SR kept crying and saying she was sorry. I told her again, “It’s ok, Baby Girl. Pop just doesn’t know how we do it, that’s all.” She was very cooperative when washing and rinsing hair. You just have to use your brain. The way I did it was with a big cup that was always in the tub specifically for that use. I’d tell SR to “look up at the birdie” as if there was a bird up on the ceiling. She’d look up and I’d remind her to keep looking up at that birdie, as I used the cup to pour water over her hair. My hand placed upon her forehead along the hairline helped guide the water back instead of towards her face. Easy peasy. That’s how the momma does it. A washcloth quickly run over her face at the end, finished the process and she was happy as the invisible birdie on the ceiling.

After my son was born and I was still in the hospital recovering from a C-section, I had to depend on CP to take care of SR. I knew that wasn’t going to go over well with SR but I had no choice. Since my C-section was planned, I was able to make sure SR had a bath the night before, and that pajamas and clothes were laid out. I knew she’d want to come see momma and her baby brother. The morning after my surgery, in comes CP with SR and she was a mess. Her hair and teeth hadn’t been brushed. She had pancake syrup on her face. She was in the clothes she had on the day before, which were covered in dirt. That fucker let her play in the dirt again! He didn’t bathe her. He didn’t put pajamas on her! He just stuck her in her clean bed even though she and her clothes were filthy. I couldn’t do anything about it because I was in no shape to do anything major for at least a week. His excuse was that she was too tired for a bath, and fell asleep before he could clean her up and put her pajamas on her. That morning, she wanted to come see momma and the baby. He told her they’d come after breakfast so after breakfast they came! He didn’t even bother to wash breakfast off of her face or change her clothes. I mean, come on!

I never, ever again asked CP to give either of our kids a bath. I never expected him to do anything regarding the care of our children. I saved myself a lot of work just doing things myself. I learned along the way that the old saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself,” is absolute truth.

70’s Musical Inspiration

If you grew up in the 70’s the musical and educational cartoons of Schoolhouse Rock probably still echo in your brain. We all learned different things on Saturday mornings just watching these little cartoon shorts. Do you know what I learned? (Aside from the obvious, I mean.)

I learned that anything – ANYTHING – can be turned into a song. To this day, I make up songs about all kinds of things. This “skill” of mine is in part, the result of watching Schoolhouse Rock. I say ‘in part’ because there was something else – I should say someone else – I learned this from. I will explain after the following videos from Schoolhouse Rock:

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I think y’all might also remember Mac Davis if you grew up in the 70’s! He had several hit country music songs (Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me, It’s Hard To Be Humble, and In The Ghetto, to name just a few) and he had a variety show once upon a time. I recall at the end of his tv show he would go into the audience and ask for phrases that he could make up a song about. He would then just make something up on the spot, and it was always hilarious! His sense of humor and his ability to make shit up like that was amazing to me as a child! It was the best part of the show. I couldn’t find much in the line of his improv on YouTube, but I think you might get a kick out of what I did find:

I spend much of my days of this crappy “2020 Isolation Game” making up songs. (Of course, I have always done this sort of thing, I just do it more now!) Some days are more ‘musical’ than others but I always crack myself up!

Thank you, Schoolhouse Rock and Mac Davis, for inspiring me, teaching me, molding me, and entertaining me. It is very much appreciated!

A Glimpse Into The Past and Father’s Day

As you must know by now, my Dad is my best friend. He’s been the glue that keeps things moving smoothly, the comic relief, and the man who helped me raise my kids when their own father couldn’t be bothered to even write or call.

Dad and I haven’t always been close. That wasn’t his choice, nor mine. I know people get sick of the blame always being placed upon the mother, but in this case it was definitely my mother’s fault.

When I was a little girl, my mother pretty much had me scared to death of my Dad. She would comment things like, “Don’t let your Dad hear you say that,” or “Better clean up that mess before your Dad gets home.” She always ended those warnings with remarks about being spanked or sent to my room. I don’t recall my bedroom ever being messy. I remember Dad sometimes working overtime and not being home for dinner. In order to get me to finish everything on my plate, Mom would warn me of the consequences if I didn’t finish by the time Dad came home. Often she gave me portions that I’m positive were too big for my little tummy. I was a scared little girl.

When I was a little older, Mom kept me in line much the same way. She always made Dad out to be the bad guy. One time I was 5 minutes late from walking home from school and she told me how lucky I was that Dad wasn’t home! I remember running home from school many times after that to avoid the wrath of my father. Of course, Dad was never the authoritarian meany-head Mom made him out to be.

When I was around 12 or 13 years old, I wanted to start shaving my legs and Mom showed me how but told me, “Just don’t tell your Dad. He’ll be mad as hell.” And when I started wearing makeup, I sneaked it because I knew what she would say. I would buy a little makeup with my babysitting money and put it on when I got to the bus stop in the mornings, and took it off on the bus on the way home from school.

I could go on with more examples but you get the idea. There was a lot of manipulation going on.

Dad and I became closer as I entered adulthood. Somehow, Mom knew then that she couldn’t do what she had always done. She had lost her control. Once she left us (her family) behind and left the state, things began to change. I don’t know how anyone could be afraid of my Dad. I don’t know how I could have ever been so afraid of him. It just goes to show you how impressionable small children are. Dad was never anything but fun and funny – if you can visualize a 6-foot tall man riding a tricycle, then you’ll get a good idea of what I mean.

Dad is much older now, 83 and counting. He’s been a great Dad even when Mom made him out to be strict and mean. He’s been there for me when shit has hit the fan full force, and has been there for my kids as they were growing up. I don’t know what I would have done without him.

For Father’s Day this year, I collected funds from my children, my sisters, I threw in my share, and purchased a pole chain saw for Dad. I had extra funds so I also added a battery and charger for the pole saw. He won’t use a regular chain saw anymore. He’s wise enough to know that it would be dangerous for an 83 year old man who sometimes loses his balance to use one. A pole saw is a bit safer since a stumble would result in the saw part landing further away from him. He just needs to remove some tall bushy limbs off some shrubs and trees around the house. Nothing real major. I will keep an eye on him like I always do.

To end the day, my son, his wife and little boy came to visit. They brought wine. Dad loves wine. The Hudster (my grandson) warmed up to us quite nicely. He doesn’t see us often so prior to this visit, he was a bit leery of us. Dad and I both got hugs and The Hudster was playful and silly. I enjoyed the visit as much as Dad did. Dad loves playing with little kids, always has. I hope he has many years left to play!

Take care of your fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and all the father figures in your life. They have shaped the person you’ve become. You won’t have them forever. Treasure the stories and the memories. Happy Father’s Day, to all the great fathers out there and especially to my Dad – the BEST FRIEND and FATHER a daughter could ever have!

Dad, as a young man fresh out of high school. Age 18.
Dad and baby me… He was making me laugh way back then!
Dad, 2020, age 83.

Random Amusing Memories

Some of my best memories are of my kids as they were growing up, their friends, and my nieces and nephews. I really miss those days. I was younger, not disabled, and they were the best years of my life.

I’ve found myself being reminded of several events this past few days. I’ll see something on tv, read something, or see a photo that reminds me of something from the past. Sometimes it makes me laugh, and sometimes brings a tear to my eye. I’m sharing a few of those memories with you today.

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My son’s first day of Kindergarten didn’t go as planned. He wanted to wear his new Batman flip-flops to school and I didn’t see a problem since the weather was still very hot. The flip-flops looked something like these pictured. Within 2 hours of being in school, one of the flip-flops broke. He was devastated. When I went to pick him up that day, his teacher told me that it ruined his entire day.

via Amazon.com

That very same teacher, when my son was an adult and out of school, saw my son and I in the Walmart parking lot. She yelled, “Chuck, is that you?” My son yelled, “No!” I must have laughed for 30 minutes!

I recall one April Fool’s Day, my son and his then-girlfriend decided to play a prank, and it was a good one. I had no clue what they had done until mid-morning when I went to get a fork for my pancakes. I was completely shocked as the drawer was completely void of knives and forks! “What the hell happened to all the silverware?” I yelled. I walked into the living room and there they sat with smirks on their faces holding back the laughter the best they could. Suddenly, something caught my attention from above and I looked up. Lo and behold, every knife and fork we owned was taped to the ceiling!

Another April Fool’s Day, my son thought it would be pretty funny to hide the car. (He was old enough to know how to drive.) He moved the car behind the shed, out of sight. It was after lunch before I looked out the window and noticed the car was gone. I thought someone had stolen it!

I was 35 for 5 years before my kids did the math. Yesterday, my daughter pm’d me and asked what I would like for my birthday this year. I replied, “Oh fuck. Do I have to have another? I’m too fucking old already,” to which she replied, “What? You’re only 35!” Of course, I laughed my ass off just being reminded of those years when I got away with being 35 years old!!

From the ages of 6 to about 12, my daughter would wake up in the middle of the night, and sit with us in the living room. She always had this glossy-eyed, out-of-sorts look on her face, which told me she was sleep-walking AND that she actually got up to go pee. We would sit and carry on complete conversations with her, until I told her she should go to the bathroom. She would get up and go, and then head right back to bed. The next day, she wouldn’t remember a thing!

One time, my son and I were going to Walmart and it started to rain – POUR down rain – just as we got there. We decided to make a run for it. He was only about 4, so I was holding his hand. I hit a giant puddle of water and landed face-down, taking my son down with me. We got up, soaking wet, and my poor little boy looked up at me and asked, “Why’d you do that for, mommy?”

A friend of my son’s came over one day after school. I think they were in high school at the time. I don’t recall what we had that evening but the friend stayed for dinner. Afterward, he told me that he’d rather I take his plate to the sink, because he didn’t want to break our good China! It was very thoughtful of him but I assured him, they were Dollar Tree plates and definitely NOT good China…although they were probably made in China! We all laughed. It was pretty funny at the time!

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Well, there’s a few random memories that are now documented in type, so I won’t ever forget…unless my blog gets deleted. Ugh. I’ll bet you have some pretty funny (and fond) memories, too.

Throwback Thursday

I was going through some old photos I took when my granddaughter was little. I stumbled across these; my favorites in a sequence. They are a bit out of focus but you can still see the humor behind them. Starting top/middle/bottom, moving left to right: These photos show little Daph squeezing between the chair and side table, getting stuck, waiting patiently or thinking how she would get out, and then finally the look as if to plea with Grandma to help her out of this predicament and stop taking photos!