The Back Story

Someone recently asked me how I came to be living with my Dad. I guess it’s an honest question and I don’t blame people for being curious. After all, I am 50-something years old. I guess you might think it’s just weird. Well, I really don’t care what you think. How’s that for honest? Having said that, I will tell you the story of how me living with my Dad came to be.

Back in 1992, my mother lived in SW Missouri (as I do now) but she had left my Dad and her family behind. We were all still living in California. She was killed in an auto accident in 1992 when she was thrown from her pick up. She wasn’t wearing her seat belt. Although it was terribly sad and hurt my heart deeply, I knew something bad was going to happen. I just knew. (That’s another story for another day.)

After she was gone, we (my Dad, my ex and I) had started talk of moving to Arkansas or Missouri. Dad wanted us to come with him because he didn’t want to be alone. He wanted to go somewhere where he could afford to purchase a home. Mom had pretty much spent every last dime he ever made and he could never afford to buy a place of his own. So, we talked a lot about when and where, and how we would pull it together. We would pool our incomes and help each other out with household duties, child care, etc. My grandmother (mother’s mother) would come with us because there was no way I would leave her in California with no one to take care of her.

The plan was that Dad was going to rent a Uhaul, pack it up with the things we didn’t want to leave behind. He would leave in May of 1993. Before he left, he bought plane tickets for my kids, my grandmother, and I. We would be leaving in July. (My ex was supposed to follow around December but it was apparent before we even left that he was just itching to get rid of us and had no intention of following us out here at all. Another story, another day.) 

Before we left, I packed a few boxes of items we wanted to keep but needed up until the last minute. I shipped those boxes via UPS to my sister’s house in Illinois. We would be staying with her for a little while until Dad found a house and got it ready for us all to move in. It took a little longer than he expected to find a place so we were at my sister’s house for 3 weeks. I bet that was a long 3 weeks for her! 

So, fast forward…. My Dad, my grandmother, my kids and I are living in the same house. I was working full time and my kids were in school. Dad took on ‘father figure status’ and took care of the kids when I was at work; he made sure they were fed, clean, nice to each other and that they did their homework. My grandmother tried to help but caused a lot of trouble in the process. (Another story.) I worked my butt off until I had the opportunity to start my own home business. I learned about marketing and how to build a website. I learned everything I could about websites and online businesses so that I could work at home. I learned how to make my own bath and body products and my business was finally being noticed. I had many repeat customers.

I could have moved out of the house and created a home for my kids elsewhere, but by then my grandmother had passed away and that would have left Dad all alone. The whole reason he wanted us to move here with him in the first place was so he wouldn’t be alone. Besides, Dad’s house was my kids’ home.

Dad is 80 now. The kids are grown and moved out. I have had health issues that have led me to close my home business. I can no longer work and I receive SSI benefits. I still try to take care of Dad, as best I can. I make sure he eats, takes his medications, get him to his doctor appointments, etc. Dad helps me too. He’s a big help with many of the household chores that are now difficult for me. He unloads the car when I go for groceries. He washes dishes and helps with the laundry. He is a very entertaining housemate, and if you read Shit My Dad Says, then you will understand the extent of humor in our house! He is my best friend and I’m not going anywhere!

So, that is the story! That’s how I came to be living with my Dad. I wouldn’t change that for anything. Questions? Just ask.

Not My Turn….

It never fails.

Last night, I brought dad a Boost nutritional shake to go with his pizza bites. I swear, it’s like he’s a little kid. He doesn’t want vegetables. “I get tired of vegetables all the time,” he says. How can he get sick of veggies if he never eats them? He will rarely eat a salad. He eats garbage. And wonders why he has digestive issues.

Anyway, I shook his shake and loosened the lid, as I always do. He has trouble getting them open sometimes. I always tell him that I opened it for him already. Last night, he forgot. He shook the shit out of it and chocolate shake went all over his lap, and on the carpet. He got up and I couldn’t help but laugh! It was all over him. Good grief.

Today, I reheated the stew from the other night. He said he was fine with that for lunch. I actually got him to eat a small salad, too!! Since I’m still trying to lose weight, I decided to have a salad with my Nutrisystem White Cheddar Mac n Cheese for lunch. I gathered up spoons, forks, napkins, and our food and wheeled it into the living room on my handy lunch trolley. I thought Dad might want seconds, so I put the lid on to keep the stew hot.

After we finished lunch, Dad starts to wheel the dishes back to the kitchen on the trolley. He asked me, “Are you cooking something?” I said, “No,” and before I could say anything else he says, “Did you know you left the burner on the stew?” OMG. What an idiot I am. I got up to see what the damage was. Holy Bon Jovi. I burnt the royal shit out of that stew!!! The veggies and meat were all stuck on the blackened pan bottom…..and absolutely no broth left! How can I be so stupid? Good grief.

I told Dad later, “It’s your turn.” “What?” he asked. I reminded him of his Boost bath last night, and mentioned me burning the stew today. I said, “It’s your turn to screw something up now.” He said with a chuckle, “Yeah, I guess it is my turn!”

It just never fails around here. I think I need to keep notes because every time I turn around one of us has screwed something up. Good grief.

A Woman’s Poem

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A Woman’s Poem — Does any of that sound familiar to you? If it does then you have most likely wanted to take a cast iron skillet to your husband’s head a few times. But, we don’t. Why? Because that’s not who we are. We are friends and we are mothers. We are daughters, sisters, aunts….. What will our loved ones do if we go to prison? We don’t want our children to live without their mother, our sisters to lose a sister, a mother to lose a daughter…..so we either a) put up with the bullshit or b) LEAVE. There’s also a C: Put up with the bullshit, walk on egg shells for a few months or years…and THEN leave. My choice was C, mostly because I felt stuck. (No job, 2 little kids, no where to go….)

Seems that I was always being compared to how his mother did it or how his uncle did it.  OR: The way HE would do it. I didn’t clean the floor the way HE would have, I didn’t make the sauce the way his uncle did it, I made the beans the way my dad liked them because he was coming for a visit instead of the way HE liked them, or the famous “That’s not how my mom did it.” Well, you know what? Too damn bad.

The problem at first was ME. Yes, me. I was looking for acceptance. I didn’t get acceptance from my mother. I was never good enough or I never did something the right way in her eyes. So, what I really needed was acceptance…from someone, anyone. My ex SAID he accepted me, he treated me as if he accepted me, at first. When all the criticism came, I felt like I wasn’t good enough. I wasn’t doing my job correctly. I felt like a complete failure. I was always looking for that acceptance so I always tried to do it the ‘right’ way, to please him.

When my daughter started preschool, I started meeting other parents. I witnessed other husbands taking the time to show interest in their child’s education, showing respect to their wives, and actually participating in the family as a whole. When my daughter’s class arranged a Father’s Day celebration and my ex couldn’t take the time to show up, it really opened my eyes!! Boy, was this an eye opener!! My daughter’s teacher sent her to the office to call home and I went to the school immediately to sit in for her father. She was very upset. The thing is, I told him about this event 3 weeks prior. I reminded him each week that it was coming up. Still, he never even attempted to get that day off, not even a half day. For his own child. 

I started to realize that the way I had been living was NOT normal. Screw this relationship. I was doing all the work. I was mother, father, nurse, teacher, playmate, house keeper, cook…. If I was going to do all the work myself I might as well do it BY MYSELF!! Oh, he went to work to provide….blah, blah, blah. He went to work sometimes. He didn’t always work. When he got laid off, he sat around the house drinking coffee and then beer, playing solitaire, all while in MY way. I was running a Day Care in our home to put food on the table because he couldn’t be bothered with finding another job to tide us over until he got called back to work. We were always 3 months behind on the rent because I didn’t make enough money and he sat on his ass. All he did was tell ME how I wasn’t doing something the right way, and not lending a hand to help at all.

Some things happened that I will save for another post, but this relationship ended June 6, 1993. That’s when I knew it was over and there was no forgiving, no forgetting, no going back. I made every attempt after leaving him to keep him connected to his children but he couldn’t handle it. He said, “It hurts me too much.” Seriously. I can’t even imagine how the kids felt when their father all of a sudden just stopped communication with them. My kids were 6 and 3 when we left.

I never looked back.

 

 

 

 

No Rain by Blind Melon

 

Yes, my life IS pretty plain, but it’s mine and no one else’s. I love the simple things in life. I love watching the rain fall, watching for rainbows, and waiting for the birds, rabbits and squirrels to come out and play. I love the blooms that Spring brings, the chirping sounds of nature, and the warmth of the sun. I love rock music, suspenseful movies, and spicy food.

I love to sit down with a good book and a cup of tea. It’s a great escape from the simple, sometimes boring life I live. I complain about things that don’t seem right and when things seem much more difficult than they should be. I don’t sleep all day but sometimes wish I could.

I sometimes have an odd point of view and many people don’t ‘get’ me but those who do are near and dear to my heart. They’re there for me when times are tough and they understand my tears. As long as I have the people in my life that I love, then I’ll have it made. Those who think I’m insane? Eh. Their problem, not mine. I’m ok with that.

Giving Thanks

This time of year, most people are planning their Thanksgiving dinners. Some folks head out to spend a few days with relatives. Some folks stay home and prepare the big meal for family and friends.  My family and I are staying home, wishing that my sisters and their families could be here. No matter where we’re going or who we’re with, we’re giving thanks for all we have and those we love. Of course, we shouldn’t wait until Thanksgiving to give thanks. We need to slow down and appreciate our lives, our loved ones and all the little things that we many times take for granted. What are you thankful for?

I’m thankful for…..

*My family, who have always been there for me.
*My father, who is my best friend.
*My children, and that they are safe and healthy.
*My grandchildren, who are beautiful, healthy and light up my life.
*My friends, who are always there to listen and give helpful advice or lend a shoulder for me to cry on.
*My health, although it isn’t the greatest at this moment. I’m alive and still able to take care of myself.
*The food on our table every single day. Some people aren’t that lucky.
*A roof over my head, even though it leaks a little.
*A bed to snuggle up in, to keep warm on these cold winter nights.
*The clothes I wear, although not very stylish or extravagant. I’m comfortable.
*My furbabies, who are every bit a part of my family as my children and grandchildren.
*The warmth of the sun on my face when I step outside.
*My ears that enable me to hear babies laughing, kittens purring and beautiful music.
*My eyes, to see my children and grandchildren, flowers blooming, kittens playing and the ability to drive my car!

There are so many things to be thankful for, although sometimes things aren’t always what I wish them to be. I’m so thankful to be alive and experiencing this life with the people closest to my heart.

Happy Thanksgiving All!
Be safe and thankful…..