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Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday on the Road. With John.

I spent a great deal of yesterday with my father. I always look forward to hanging with my father and, after it's over, I swear I'm not going to volunteer for this duty again.

It's not that I don't LIKE my father, I do. I love my dad and I like seeing him. I have the idea, however, that he doesn't really return the favor and if I wasn't toting his grandsons along with me we would see each other on Christmas and possibly Easter. My younger son, when I mentioned this recently, opined that it's not that my father doesn't LIKE me, he thinks he has no idea what to DO with me. He feels that, had I been a boy, we would have a more stable relationship. I don't mean that it's unstable, I think my father frankly, has no clue how many inconsiderate things he does do me.

He interrupts me constantly, usually to change the subject. It's not like I'm talking about my sex life, it's usually something like, oh, Costco. I'll say something like "Oh, I was at Costco last Wednesday" and he will ask "Which one?" and I'll say "Burbank, and it was just before closing..." and that's pretty much it because he then leaps on "Burbank", launches into a diatribe about the terrible parking at that store and then goes on to a screwdriver he wanted and got via the internet and it took forever to get delivered..." A couple of months ago he did this and I waited 10 minutes until he was done. At which point I said "well, as I was saying..." at which point he became quite deaf in that ear.

I used to attribute his rudeness to his lack of hearing. They guy spend his LIFE working around machinery, of COURSE his hearing isn't what it used to be. But it seems he always hears whatever my kids are talking about so maybe the kid has something. It's possible he just assumes that, because I'm a girl, I MUST be talking about Barbies or lipstick and he has no interest.

Well, yesterday he really did us a BIG favor. We took a train to the Inland Empire and he picked us up at the station and drove us to the outlet mall, where the boys bought shoes and I, true to my plans, bought a hat. Two of them, in fact. And a non-stick skillet. We were right next door to the Indian Casino, and the boys asked if they could spend a half hour there. This was met with a repeated "no". This didn't put them in a very good mood.

My father did, however, want to buy us lunch at the local "you can't eat here unless you're accompanied by someone on Medicare and you better have cash because we don't trust those credit card things..." cafe. There were four of us in total and he got change back from his $20. I had the chicken cordon blue lunch with iced tea. The line was out the friggin' door. We crawled our way up through the velvet roped stanchions. The place was packed. Blue hair, plaid shirts and old men in shorts and sandals with white socks. Why do they DO that? My son lives in shorts too. He wears them with tennis shoes and clean white socks, looks rather nice.

My father then took my older son, who is always eager to please, into the dining area where he appropriated a booth and dumped the kid in it to hold it. THIS annoys me to no end. Not just when HE does it, when ANYONE does it. IF people would just wait their turn in line and THEN find a table there would BE one. It's a sort of ebb and flow thing. The person who just picked up their food at the counter sits down and eats. The person at the back of the line is IN that line for 10-15 minutes. At which point the people eating have finished and a table frees. But NO...the place is full of people holding down empty tables for the people in the back of the damn line.

Which means the people in the front of the line who don't have willing grand kids with them are now wandering around the dining areas, looking for a place to sit and eat, all the while passing clean, empty tables being held by six year olds. Okay, my son isn't six, he's 22, but you get the idea.

Now once we were seated, my son and I, in conversation, brought up the new movie "Sherlock Holmes" which was the reason I went to the outlet. To buy a hat. My father asked which moves, as Sherlock Holmes never wore a Fedora, at least according to my father he didn't. I explained to him that it was the movie which, when he stood under the building sized poster for it prior to it's Christmas Day opening last year, he pronounced "Oh JEEZ, they're trying to remake Sherlock Holmes? Who ARE those guys? It's gonna BOMB. Why do they waste good money making crap like that?"

I must admit, it gave me no small amount of pleasure to point out that that movie had "bombed" to the tune of over two hundred million dollars and another one is in the works. He rolled his eyes. He asked if it was true to the books, which he mentions he has read several times over. Yes, we told him. I explained about Holmes shooting the initials "V.R." into the wall. My father announced that we were crazy, that wasn't in the books, someone made it up. Yeah, dad...Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made it up. And mentioned it frequently. But we kept it light. Because, after he went on about the great detective we all dad never read the books, he watched the movies.

We changed the subject. Or tried to. He was now off on a movie that he had rented and he wanted to know who made it. I'd never heard of it. He said it was new and when he rented it and tried to copy it there was a copy guard on it that he couldn't crack. He had to transfer it to VHS and THEN put it on a DVD for himself. I pointed out that maybe he shouldn't be bragging about this in such a loud voice and in a public place as he was, for all intents and purposes, stealing the movie. "It's called "piracy", dad" I said. "Yeah, I know, what's THAT about? There were all these people in the market this morning pretending to be pirates, it's some sort of stupid pirate day today." The then proceeded to try and imiatate several checkers having fun with "Talk Like A Pirate Day" which was yesterday. My father's impression of anyone under the age of 60, or anyone who doesn't listen to The Best of Rush Limbaugh, is him raising his voice an octive and saying "wah, wah, wah". I'm SO not making this up. Well, after we got the video piracy thing separated from talking like a pirate, he announced:

"Stealing? I'm not stealing anything! I PAID to rent the damn thing, didn't I? And besides, the rental store had to pay for it too. Hell, it's been paid for a dozen times at least."

We love him to death, but we change the subject a lot. We did it again. My boys are getting pretty good at this. It occurred to me though. You know that guy on Twitter, the one who started the feed called "Shit my dad says"? My father's been saying shit for YEARS. Do I start a damn website to post all the stuff he says? Hell no, I mostly try and shrink into a corner when he gets going. But this guy starts posting it on the internet and now it's a freaking TV show with William Shatner and the guy's on easy street! Most of us bang our heads on the walls when our dads get going. This guy turns it into big bucks. What were WE thinking?

The chicken cordon blue, btw, (and yes, they spell it "blue") consists of a breaded, flaked and formed "chicken" patty with a slice of sandwich ham and a piece of swiss cheese on top. This is warmed up and then dropped on a piece of garlic toast and presented with a little plastic cup of mustard sauce on the side. I've had worse.

Well, we hit the road, he wanted to drive us home. He's leaving the state for a few days, apparently my step-sister, who has been seriously ill, was given a very positive bill of health, to which she reacted to by "freaking out" in my father's words. Now if it were me and I'd been through that I would have reacted by stripping naked and running down the middle of the street drinking Dom Perignon out of the bottle but, I suppose, that might be considered "freaking out" by some people too. I try not to judge.

Well, they're driving up to see her in the hopes that she'll let her mother in, as she's pretty much throwing everyone out of her house. He said there's a 90% chance she'll throw them out of her house too but, hell, I'll take a road trip for pretty much any reason too. No, I'm not saying that she doesn't need her mother, and maybe her mother can help. She's been hanging up on her mother recently though, so I'm thinking maybe not. We all react differently to stress and we all need help dealing with it. She's reacting with anger. So the cavalry is assembling. I think it's great that they're doing that. I also am aware that if I were "freaking out" my father would say "well, good luck" and leave for bingo. At least that's what he did the last time.

The kid's right, he has NO idea what the hell to do with me.

He liked my hat, though.

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