Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 19
• You may recall that on day one of this chronicle, I mentioned my father’s difficulties with his cell phone. I recently retrieved a bag of clothing and other personal items of my mothers, from a convalescent home she stayed at in Sunland, California, a few weeks before she passed. Among the items found was a red cell phone in a black case. In the black case was a folded up piece of paper with different family member’s phone numbers on it. The hand writing is unmistakably my fathers. Put aside for a moment the fact that a cell phone, which contains a built in contact list, is housed in a case with numbers scratched on a piece of paper. The obvious question is whose red cell phone did I find nineteen days ago? Sadly, there were no Direct TV remotes in the bag.
• As my father will be losing my mother’s social security income, he is rightly concerned about money. His answer? Get a literary agent. How will he do this? Research the process? Nope. Attend writer’s conferences where you pitch your book to agents? Nope. Write query letters? Nope:
o “I’m going to have to bug your brother-in-law about finding me an agent.”
My brother in law is a commercial TV agent. He helps actors land parts in TV commercials. In the words of my sister, “It’s like asking Picasso to paint your house because he’s a painter.” My father has been told this before, but he either refuses to believe it or doesn’t understand it.
It’s Groundhog’s day again and my brain hurts.
• Various lessons learned after five trips to visit my father since August:
o Stop buying travel sized anything. I’ve been here five times since August so I need to just buy full sized everything once I get here and leave it here. I’ll be back soon enough. Also, my mother left two hair dryers, so I need to stop bringing one.
o Always bring your worst underwear (waistband fraying, small hole in it, etc) and just toss it before returning home.
o Cool it with the booze. I may be close by the local tiki hut and be tempted to have one (read “five”) of those fruity cocktails that go down so easy, but it takes its toll. I need patience for the family (read “father”) and my wits for fending off his requests to find him an agent or a lawyer. And I don’t want to lose my cell phone…on the kitchen table (yeah, I did that). Plus the bruises and cuts from rolling in the gutter can’t be covered up in the summer when I wear shorts (this doesn’t mean it’s OK to drink during the other three seasons though.)
o Read the parking signs and write down where I parked in my phone’s note pad. The time the car needs to be moved should go into the phone’s calendar (another reason not to lose the phone on the kitchen table)
o Call my wife and daughter every night before I go to bed or their bedtime, whichever one is earlier (another reason not to lose the phone on the kitchen table)
o Get my fiber and eat my veggies. It’s hard to do when I’m stressed and only a few blocks from the Bun Shop and King of NY Pizza.
o Bring ear plugs (Jeezus that TV’s loud!)
© Curt Weiss 2014