Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 27, part 2

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 27, part 2

• He lost my mom’s debit card.

“Why are you using mom’s card? You have your own. You also have power of attorney and notified the bank months ago. You have full access to her account.”

The reasons are convoluted: needs to have access to the balance info of a pension she receives. Has he contacted the pension office? Half answers and mumbles. Sitting in the banker’s office, I keep waiting for him to mention she’s dead. Instead, there’s the term “non compos mentis.” Did he forget?

“Can’t he just get a card that allows access to both accounts?” I ask? I’m too shocked to hear the answer and in less than a minute I move to the waiting area, hoping that by not being in the room I won’t be stained by his omission. More people seem to be helping him. Three in total. What’s taking so long? Am I paranoid or is the frog march next? Maybe…I’ll just wait outside the front door.

Finally he ambles out. “I don’t know what took them so long,” he crows. “Dad”, I say, “don’t ever do that again.” “Do what?” he says. “Tell a bank officer a lie while I’m in the room.” “What are you talking about? I need her card.” I’m starting to fume now. “I’ve spent 26 days here Dad, and it wasn’t so either of us would end up in jail.” More denials. Finally, I’m screaming, pointing and cursing. I’m frothing. First I think he may hit me. Then I see he’s wounded. It’s come to this at long last. The narcissist will put me at risk for a few hundred dollars a month. It’s time to get back to Seattle. It’s not funny anymore. I need Korean food…badly.

© Curt Weiss 2014

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 27

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 27

• I can’t get him to part with any of the furniture. “How do I know if my next place will have any closets?” I’m sure he won’t need seven…how many black outfits can he have?

I keep throwing things out nonetheless. All of my mom’s makeup: gone. Used shampoos and skin moisturizers: gone. I think anytime there was a sale on this stuff, she’d buy it and try it out as there must have been at least 20 of each and almost every one of them opened.

My sisters and I have packaged up most of the clothes and should make a Goodwill run before I leave town. The shoes go in the garbage though. Except the leopard loafers and house slippers. They’ll all get a second look.

My dad doesn’t seem to set foot into my mother’s half of the apartment. My wife did have the patience to clean my mother’s desk. Everything is organized in manila folders and piles. My guess is it will stay exactly as is and my father will never look at it. It’s not an emotional thing though. It’s just that he doesn’t care about stuff he has no use for. Until he does…then he’ll get on the phone and blame someone else. There’s also TV shows to partially watch…very loudly. Oh yes: he really does have hearing issues.

My wife found documents from a lawsuit he brought against his prison for a broken tooth he received in the mess hall while eating a fish filet in 2000. They say if you teach a man to fish he’ll eat for a lifetime. Give my dad a fish filet and he’ll sue you.

© Curt Weiss 2014

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 26

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 26

• After my father spoke at my mom’s memorial, a casting agent said he should do commercials. His response? “Can she find me a literary agent?” How about being happy with a commercial agent? “I wouldn’t know what to do?” So, just listen to your agent! I can imagine what he’s thinking: “Listening? What’s that?” He seems to be rehearsing every time he gets on the phone. Today, while seeking senior housing, he put on a voice where his breath sounded halted as he explained to the other person on the line that he’s about to be evicted (not true) and has breathing issues (he thinks this will get him a place by the beach). He sounded infantile. NOW THAT’S ACTING!!!

• He seems to like multi-purpose tools, unknowingly making him a champion of green living and sustainability. For example:
o A back scratcher used to turn on an out of the way light switch
o A butter knife used to scratch his back
o Napkins used to pad his elbows on the hard kitchen table
o A television with volume so loud, that it can be used as a hair dryer
o Family members used to find a literary agent

Life’s just a two for the price of one bargain.

• According to my sister, he’s very particular about which emergency room he goes to. When he’s called my sister with a request to drive him to an ER on the other side of town, she’ll tell him, “I’ll take you to the closest one only. Otherwise, it’s not an emergency and you can go take the bus.” He says he likes the doctors more at certain hospitals but we suspect it’s because he has malpractice lawsuits pending at the closest hospital. Greed can be very inconvenient.

© Curt Weiss 2014

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 25

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 25

Today’s edition is slightly different from the previous 24. Yesterday was both my mother’s memorial service as well as the day Leee Childers passed. The first was followed by the traditional eating of the foods so Jewish (we went to Canters). The second necessitated the traditional drinking of the vodka. Therefore, as I was not in a position to write a new entry, I’ve chosen to post my comments from the memorial. As they contained several comments relating to the Rockats, without knowing it, I was also thanking Leee for the joy they brought my mother, as without him there would have been no Rockats.

I’m Elissa’s son Curt. Some of you may know me as Lewis and that’s alright too. We are one and the same. I’d like to talk a little bit about my dear mother. The Weiss’ have always been an irreverent, inarticulate, tangential, long winded and sometimes inappropriate bunch. I hope I can live up to that lofty expectation.
First off, the music played during the photo slide show is by an artist named Don Rondo. I’d never heard of him until my Uncle mentioned the other day that my mother was the president of his fan club. Seemed like the most appropriate music to use.

Growing up in my family in the 1960’s, it was assumed that your parents wanted you to be a doctor or a lawyer. After some film of the first heart transplant surgery was played on television in late 1967, most of the family watched in awe, but I was traumatized, covering my eyes, screaming “Change it, it’s horrible!!” My mother said at that point she knew I’d never be a doctor. “I could only hope he’d be a lawyer,” she said.

Luckily, I had an interest in history and politics, and as most politicians were lawyers, my mom still thought there was hope. She got me biographies of the presidents and we had a set of encyclopedias that I would do research with. Soon I could recite the list of presidents by memory, both backwards and forwards and knew all sorts of useless trivia. “Mom, did you know that William Howard Taft was the fattest president? He got stuck in a bath tub once but he was a very graceful dancer.” My mom’s reply would usually be something like “Oh, my son: he’s so smart!”

In time I realized that what my parents really wanted me to be was happy, so I pursued music and chasing girls mostly. I did keep paying attention to politics though and in the mid-70’s when the Watergate scandal was unfolding, I was in heaven as I was full of revolution and I hated Nixon with a passion. But what stayed with me was a speech he gave on his last day in office as a farewell to the white house staff. I’m sure my wife and daughter are rolling their eyes at this point, as I never miss an opportunity to talk about this event and if it’s on TV I always watch it and cry like an old man at the opera. Nixon, looking as if he hasn’t slept in days, uses this opportunity talk about his parents, their hard work and struggles. When he mentions his mother he says, “There will probably be no books written about my mother. But I’m sure you could all say this about your mother. My mother was a saint.” In their darkest times, it seems everyone calls out for their mothers and recognizes their sacrifices…even scoundrels like Nixon.

Well, of course: my mother was a saint. OK: Jews don’t have saints, but if they did, she would certainly be the Patron Saint of Leopard Print. She loved leopard printed anything!! Perhaps she was a leopard in a previous life? Over the past few months as it became apparent that she was near the end of her days, I took stock of all of the leopard print items I could find in their apartment.

Here’s what I found:
Chairs
Pillows
Throws and blankets
Rugs
Towels
Hair Scrunchie
Barret
House dresses
Slippers
Blouses
Belts
Bowls
Gloves
Address book
Note pads
Bill fold
Toothbrush holder
Key marker
Eye Glass Case
Picture Frame
Light Switch Cover
Water bottle
Workout clothes
Candles
Tote Bags
Teddy Bears
Auto floor mats
Neck Ties
Tissue dispenser
Bras and panties

Another thing this list implies, was my mom was a great shopper. My dad would say she had as many shoes as Imelda Marcos. She knew how to get the best out of shoes too. She would tell me that it was important to have more than one pair of shoes. She’d say “Ya know Curty, two pairs of shoes lasts like three. They wear out slower”. On the surface this is straight out of the Gracie Allen School of Logic but I think she’s right though. The more worn out they are, the faster they wear out. So the more shoes you have, the slower they wear out and the longer they last. So the more you buy the less you need. You save money by buying more. That’s why she bought so much stuff: she was saving money!!!

She also shopped for clothes for me with gusto. When I was about 5 years old, she was able to find a bowtie just like Soupy Sales, my favorite TV show at the time, and had cobbled together a complete Soupy outfit for me to do the Soupy shuffle in. I also had Beatle boots, Monkees double breasted shirts, Nehru jackets, bell bottoms…my mom made sure I was the coolest kid at school…in my mind anyway.

If anyone ever saw the inside of her refrigerator or pantry, you knew she had no problem shopping for food or setting an inviting table. I think that at one time or another all of my friends had dinner at our place. One time, in the late 80’s, my girlfriend and I came to stay with my parents for a weekend by the beach when they lived in Long Beach New York. They even said we could invite another couple to stay over with us. When my parents picked us up from the train station, my mother insisted we go grocery shopping on the way home. I figured we’d grab some hamburgers and hot dogs, but no, that wasn’t enough for my mother. The rest of us stayed back and were amazed as my mother filled a grocery cart with more food than a UN humanitarian airlift. It was a finely choreographed dance as she moved from aisle to aisle filling the cart. I didn’t think you could put that much food in one cart. Food was teetering over the edge. Right as we’re getting to the counter to pay she remembers, “Oh, Erica’s coming mid-week. I better get a roast.” Erica was a vegetarian at the time but she could not be stopped.

There was no such thing as a small plate with my mother either. I remember in my twenties, trying to get down to rock star weight, if I was visiting I’d always tell her I just wanted a little bit at dinner. The plate would always arrive overflowing with enough food for three people. My father and I would look at each other and shrug our shoulders. My dad would say “There’s no such thing as a small plate with your mother.”
My mother always encouraged us to have friends over. It was a way of keeping an eye on us and sizing up our friends, but it also made them feel good to know that we had friends and a support system, because one day we’d leave the nest and they wanted to know that someone would be there for us. My friends all would say I had the best mom, but I always thought it had something to do with the fully stocked candy cabinet.

When I think about the times I drove my mother most crazy, food often played a part. I couldn’t have been more than 6 when I begged her for hot cereal. She must have given me Cream of Wheat and not read my mind that I wanted Maypo, so I balked. She dumped it on my head. Another time I begged for eggs and she gave them to me scrambled instead of assuming I wanted them sunny side up. I got my face pushed in the eggs for that. Another time, in my teen years, I was particularly obnoxious…hard to believe; an obnoxious teenager… and I had infuriated her so much she just trembled and turned red in the face and you could see she was about to blow. She had been chopping a carrot, so she whacked me on the head with the carrot. Better than the knife that was in the other hand I guess. But I forgave her. And she always forgave me for whatever horrible thing I did: breaking things, failing classes, cutting school, endless youthful indiscretions. She always forgave me. She forgave all of us when we fell short. That’s unconditional love.

She always encouraged my musical efforts, getting me guitar lessons, then drum lessons, piano lessons, letting me play a drum set in our apartment in Brooklyn and then our house in the Rockaways and coming to all the school band performances. When I made my first record with a band called the Rockats in 1981, she brought a copy to her beauty parlor and found out that one of the girls there was a fan of the band. She was so proud that even though the record peaked at #198 in the charts before falling into oblivion, you would have thought it was a giant hit. Also, she had this way of saying “Rockats” that no one else did. She would put the accent on the “Kats” instead of the ‘Rock,” where by everyone could see all the dental work my father paid for as plain as day and a giant smile on her face. Last year, over 30 years since she had last seen me play, the band was invited to play at a festival in Las Vegas. My parents came, one of my sister’s family came, my wife and daughter came, my uncles came… it was a grand old time. My mom’s health was obviously fading but it was a chance for all of us to be together. And just to embarrass my wife, while several family members noticed my mom was struggling in the Vegas heat, Karen was the only one who could convince her to use a wheel chair. And anytime I spoke with my mom after that, she mentioned what a wonderful wife I had, who would be so concerned for her and treat her so delicately in what could be an awkward situation for an in-law. And I want to thank my wife Karen for being so loving to my dear mother.

I never doubted that my mother loved me or my sisters or her husband and her brother. But, frankly it was nothing like how she felt about the grandchildren. To my daughter Emma and my nieces Gracie and Paulette: my mother loved you all so much. I know sometimes you may have thought she loved one grandchild more than another. Not so: she loved you all as much as a grandma could love her grandkids. She never stopped talking about you three or asking about you. You all made her so happy by just being you.

When my mother passed, I was one of those that were with her. She went quietly and seemingly painlessly. She had been there for me in the beginning and at so many other times in my life, it was the least I could do, to be with her as she started her next journey and to wish her well. She was a great mom. I could not have asked for more. She gave me everything a mother could give.

Thank you.

© Curt Weiss 2014

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 24

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 24

• My Uncle – “Your father has been confusing his personal history with the movie ‘Matawan’ for 25 years. He has no idea what the truth is.”

• Listening to satellite radio in the car and Pilot’s “It’s Magic” comes on. I remember how much my Cousin Miltie loved that song.

*Me – “Dad, ya ever hear from Cousin Miltie?”
*Dad – “Nope. No idea whatever happened to him. Didn’t like his wife though.”

He’s skipping the part where he asked Miltie to do him “a favor” after his federally paid vacation and he didn’t come through. At that point he cut ties with him.

In the 70’s Miltie was in his 40’s. He had bell bottoms that didn’t need a belt, white patent leather shoes, tinted sunglasses, a pinky ring and a comb over. He would pick up chicks at singles bars in Sheapshead Bay, smoke pot, snort coke, pop pills and have a grand old time. He had a skinny girlfriend named Sandy who worked on her tan as if she was getting paid for it. They dated for years but when they finally got married it fell apart in just a few weeks. Lord knows what she found out about Miltie but he spent the next few months on the beaches of Miami and came back to New York broke. My dad took him in and he lived with us for about a year. The kids loved him. When my parents would go out they’d leave Miltie to watch us. When they took my sister off to college in September of ’76, they were gone for about three days, but not to worry: Miltie would watch us! We had a massive teenage party which Miltie joined about 3AM. He would tell us stories about anal sex and could handle a bong with aplomb. At some point in the story he would look at you and say “Am I right?” We didn’t exactly want to grow up to be Miltie, but he was a gas nonetheless. Last I saw him was in the mid-80’s at a family wedding and we carried on just like the old days.

What did my dad ask Miltie to do? I’d bet something illegal. Am I right?

• My dad has the most conflicting relationship with prescription drugs. On the one hand he won’t take much of what his endless doctors prescribe to him, for fear of the side effects. On the other hand, if you tell him something works for you and he has the same ailment, he wants one. My ears get stuffed up easily, and since I moved to Seattle in ’91, I have allergies that no doctor has been able to pinpoint. As my dad has been having similar problems I mentioned that it may be hereditary and perhaps the same meds would work for him that work for me? As he’s on all sorts of drugs, I gave him a print out from the web description that listed all of the side effects and warnings. Not only did he not read it but he said “Ok, give me one.” His cavalierness shocked me. He’s completely comfortable with taking prescription drugs not prescribed to him. This morning, I couldn’t find my prescription. I’m not accusing him, but I’m just saying…

© Curt Weiss 2014

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 23

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 23

• Verbatim driving conversation
o Me – “Dad, are you checking out the ladies?”
o Dad – “I’m just looking at their hair.”
I’m thinking: ‘The ladies don’t have hair where you’re looking dad.’

• My wife and daughter came into town and joined me and my sisters to look through my mother’s clothing and jewelry. We had to assess what should be sold, kept for sentimental value or thrown out. I thought my father would join in and enjoy the time with his family. Even the sister who treats my father like he has the plague was there and acting pleasant. Like he did while my mother was in the hospital, he left after only a few minutes “to get coffee.” It comes down to the fact that he can’t get emotional in front of his children. I understand this whole “be a man” thing, and it can be embarrassing crying in public, but even Nixon cried at his wife’s funeral. Heck, I cried like a baby on my daughter’s shoulder a few months ago after it became apparent that my mother was not going to live much longer…sure, I had a few cosmopolitans to stoke the boiler, but if you can’t cry over your closest loved ones who can you cry about? Maybe he needs to drink something a little stronger than prune juice? Maybe I need to visit the dive bar real soon…I mean, eat some Korean food? Heck: I should just throw caution to the wind and take him to the dive bar. I bet we have some real quality time then!

• A friend of his tried contacting him on the facebook page he knew nothing about. As this fellow knows something about computers (according to the pre-senility mind of my dad), he wants to speak to him. I know what this means: it has to do with his long running efforts to get an appeal and new trial for his arson and insurance fraud conviction from the mid-90’s. He believes there is suppressed evidence that will “exonerate” him (What a pompous word, “exonerate”. He can’t say “prove my innocence”. He has to say “exonerate”) It’s also something I want nothing to do with. I told my dad I’d give this computer genius his phone number but I wasn’t getting involved in anything more than that. They spoke on the phone and my father wrote down his e-mail address to exchange more details.

o Dad – “Here’s his e-mail address Curt. Write him an e-mail.”
o Me – “Dad, you know how to write e-mails. I don’t want any part of this.”
o Dad – “I forget how to do it.”
o Me – “Let me see the address…….Dad: what is that?”
o Dad – “That’s his e-mail address.”
o Me – “It says ‘chengo#2’. That’s it? No “@ anything dot something’?”
o Dad – “Nope that’s what he gave me.”

After a large sigh, I contacted the computer genius again and got an actual e-mail address. By the way: My dad thinks anyone who can print a page of a Microsoft word document is a computer genius. I also think he’s guilty as hell.

© Curt Weiss 2014

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 22

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 22

• “What does your daughter eat for breakfast?”
This is what constitutes “one on one quality time” for my dad.

• He doesn’t seem to watch any television programs through to completion. Here’s what was watched in a 30 minute period last night:
o C-Span
o The Bible Rules (History Channel)
o Life Below Zero (National Geographic)
o Fox News
o MSNBC
o Good Luck Charlie (Disney Channel)

Who said there’s nothing good on TV anymore? I heard some Spanish language TV as well. This is what I call ‘Short Attention Span Syndrome.” What next? BET? The Weather Channel? Real Housewives of Atlanta? I’ll have to ask him for some reviews. That should be entertaining.

• After speaking to the building manager of a complex in Inglewood, my dad said we needed to check out a HUD subsidized apartment.
o Me – ‘Dad, did you actually speak with someone that said to come out there?”
o Dad – “Yes, they said I could see an apartment.”

Well, if you’ve read any of these entries over the last three weeks, you probably know what happened next: They only had applications to get on a waiting list that was 80-90 people long. He also shouldn’t expect to get an apartment there for 9 – 18 months. They could have e-mailed the application to us.

I just can’t trust his evaluative skills. Hell, I can’t trust him even for the weather report. I did completely ignore his driving instructions to Inglewood though and trusted the GPS. Better living through technology.

© Curt Weiss 2014

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 21

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 21

“Look at that fella. He’s gotta have diabetes.”

If you think you’re too fat, too skinny, have bad skin, a big butt or any sort of physical appearance phobia, you can be sure that my father will notice. I kind of think my thighs look like Patrick Starfish’s head, but my father’s never seen “Spongebob Squarepants”.

He hasn’t stopped trying to get me to go to the gym with him since I got here, which is his way of saying, “You’re fat.” He doesn’t realize that those are my moments of solace when I don’t have to be concerned with his every demented request. It’s a short, yet pleasant, respite.

I need my buffer zone back. When it came to parents Jerry Seinfeld understood:

“Any thought pops into their head… I’m used to a 1200-mile buffer zone. I can’t handle this. Plus, I’ve got the dinners, I’ve got the pop-in’s. They pop-in! It’s brutal.”

It’s a continuous brutal pop-in, living with him. Nope: not going to the gym.

Another reason I’m not going to the gym with him is that’s his social circle and every out of work actor or screenwriter he’s befriended will be thrust upon me. He’ll say I work in the movie business (I don’t) or that my sister won an Emmy (not even nominated) and start working out some deal where the two of them are writing a screenplay and I’ll finance it and sell it. “You can rep it,” he’d say, as if he’s offering me a gift.
Once back in the 90’s I walked into the gym with him and I was traumatized for life. This was the day I met Captain Cool.

Captain Cool was another out of work actor/screenwriter. He had a skit he would do for schools and youth centers in and around LA to get kids to keep away from drugs. As if kids believe an adult is cool because he says he is. My father had met him and somehow thought his own son, who’d never financed more than a small starter home in Haller Lake, Washington, was going to finance and sell a kids TV series for PBS. I had worked with people who did this, but I didn’t know how to do this, nor did I want to. I appreciate my father’s confidence in me but…well actually, it was more a sign of his own desperation. He had already been indicted for arson and insurance fraud and was out awaiting his trial. He’d lost everything in the process and was trying to come up with a big score.

So, under the guise of “Come with me for a ride. I need your help in carrying something”, I take a ride with him. We get to the YMCA. “I just need to pick something up. Come in with me. It’ll just take a minute.” After I come in, I see a man sparing in the boxing ring. He sees my father, stops sparring and bounds on over. “Lou, is this your son?” My father had barely gotten the word “yes” out of his mouth, when this sweaty little man puts his arms around me and kisses me. “He kisses everyone,” my father later told me. “You think he could do that after he showers and dries off? He’s permanently stained my clothing!” My father told him that I work for “PBS, Channel 13.” Wrong: I worked for a local PBS affiliate in Seattle named KCTS and we were channel 9. “Curt’s going to help us get this financed and sold.” The rest of the conversation was a blur as my irate mind could only see red. When we got out of there I said, “Dad, what are you talking about? I can’t do any of those things. Leave me out of this. I’m on vacation!”

He had blind-sided me with the old “reverse pop-in” tactic. A brilliant pincer move on his part. And I fell for it.

Never forget these three rules:
1. Never tell him what you do for a living
2. Never go to the gym with him
3. Keep your buffer zone

Whatever you do, beware of the pop-in. It’s brutal.

© Curt Weiss 2014

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 20

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 20

• “That neighbor of mine I introduced you to: she’s got to be at least 275 pounds…and at least 175 of it is breasts.”

• April Fools day with my father. Guess which one really happened:
o After speaking with his agent, he’s releasing his fifth book of poetry, titled, “Sonnets, Odes and Haikus: How I Mastered them All.”
o Take him to the local NPR station to speak about business ethics and management challenges in the modern workplace.
o Volunteers at the Y to help underprivileged youth.
o Contacts social security to inquire as to how to return an overpayment.
o Purchases the Kindle version of “The Monastic Life: Giving More and Living with Less”.
o Has a conference call with his attorney and management team to discuss his multiple screenplay offers. Leaning towards Harvey Weinstein as he’s a nice Jewish boy.
o Stop at Ralphs to buy dinner

• Like most of us, he struggles with bureaucracies. However, while most of us will try and work things out over the phone, he wants to go to the source. He had me take him to three different offices yesterday to seek help in finding affordable housing. Each time, it turns out to be an administrative building where they either hand you a pamphlet or a phone to leave a message whereby someone will call you back to set up an appointment. What he doesn’t seem to recall is, he did much of this two months ago. My sister and I got a social worker to assist him in this process. My dad’s expectations were unreasonable and they refused to work with him after only two days.

It’s only going to get worse.

© Curt Weiss 2014

Observations on quality time with my 84 year old father, day 19

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