Left Eye Lopes (Five Dollar Complaints #6, #7, #8)

Readers, you need either a thank you or apology up front. I realize this place, which I consider to be more of a front porch sit on a hot afternoon with a glass of tea than anything else, has been more of a hospital visit on a cold, sleety, Tuesday in February. Yeah, I don’t want to be there either. I’m glad you still come and visit though, because I sure as hell need to hear my own voice even if I don’t like what’s coming out of my mouth. And you are very, very good listeners. I will bake you cookies.

At dinner on Saturday, my father said three things in my earshot.
“Hi kiddo”
“I love you”And a chuckle when RR told her favorite joke (What do you call a snake on a car? A windshield viper.)

This may have been because he was barely breathing as his cold/pneumonia/something persists nearly three weeks later. My mother says to me, “Well what’s the point of taking him to a doctor. I mean, their job is to make you better and they can’t do that, so what’s the point?” (That’s five dollars for #6, thanks, I’ll just owe you) You know, there IS still a point. You could keep him alive a bit longer. Or, at least, see if you can get him breathing again. Respiratory illnesses actually kill people. This is a known fact. Perhaps this is a good reason not to take a cross-country trip on Tuesday.

They were at our house on Saturday because Debra and I were planning to spend the day on an adventure, leaving RR with them. Come Saturday morning, my mother remembered this as going to see a movie in the late afternoon. “Come at 5”, I said, giving up the struggle. Grouchily, as Debra will tell you. Come at 5. They arrived at 3:45. Long enough for chatting, but not long enough to go anywhere. Given that I had been through a full 4 different plans to celebrate my wife’s birthday, this was just another drop in the bucket (#7).

My mother, who needs someone to talk to because I cannot imagine what it must be like to live her life right now, joined me in the kitchen. I actually can’t imagine it because of the ugly sobbing (mine) that follows. Oh you know, she says, thanks for letting me rest at your house this week. You know, those eye drops really made it hard to see. I inquire. Oh yes, I can’t see out of my left eye anymore, she says covering her right eye for effect. You see, you’re not there at all anymore! Says the woman who is hoping to drive 500 miles a day for the next three days, hauling a beast of an RV behind her (#8).

So, there you have it. Numbers 6-8. I’m exhausted just thinking about it. But now I have to figure how to get you to come over to listen to my work problems. Or maybe the ugly sobbing problems. Or my wifely duty problems. I’ll bribe you with pictures of my daughter but I won’t blame you if you have to stay home and wash your hair, instead.

As for those cookies:


Where’d She Go? (Five Dollar Complaint #5)

I have so many questions.

Why would you leave a heap of wet towels on someone else’s bed?

Why are there Doritos on the floor?

Why did you lose track of my daughter?

No, actually, really. How exactly did my mother not notice that RR and her out-of-town-just-turned-seven-cousin-she-has-no-memory-of-ever-meeting-before walked through the woods, crossed a busy intersection, and traversed a street with no crosswalks? We could blame it on the cousin. We can blame it on RR, who, by the way, took responsibility anyway. But mostly, we have to look hard at the grown-up in the situation.

You guys, there is just so much. Do you know ridiculous it feels to find yourself wondering if your 5-yr-old daughter is always going to let strangers lead her away without question? How ridiculous it is to just assume she’s safe with whatever cousin or uncle or aunt we toss at her, especially when we barely know them? And how ridiculous, really, that there I was, picturing my pony-tailed teenager traipsing starry-eyed after some boy or girl with a to die for dimple and losing her over the edge of some lemming cliff.

It’s times like this I wonder if we should helicopter parent more.

I’m Not Digging It (Five Dollar Complaint #4)

You know what I’m not digging lately?

The dropping of the civility curtain. If I’m talking to you in person, you’re likely to err on the side of assuming we’re on the same page until proven otherwise. I’m not sure what it is about the digital universe that pulls the curtain aside and permits folks to forget they are talking to another person who, in all likelihood, is not trying to be an asshole.

Speaking of the the digital universe and civility, I’m also not down with folks “engaging in intelligent dialogue” that cloaks judgement, invalidates experiences, or flat-out shares anti-gay sentiment.

Also, what makes you think that I’m okay hearing, “You know I love you but someday we’re going to have a conversation” about the marriage equality decision? Why would I want to discuss my rights with you? There’s no possible outcome that will result in me being happy or you being satisfied. I’m not down with that.

On the home front, my mother came in my house and moved all the furniture away from the walls looking for a phone jack. She didn’t put anything back but left us a half-eaten rotisserie chicken.

My daughter is a five!-year-old going on 15 and still having accidents.

Thumbs down to having to go back to therapy and my mother not going to therapy.

Fuck not being able to sleep at night.

Also, brain cancer.

I’m definitely not okay with feeling checked out (and desperate to check in) – of my garden, of my family, of my life. I’m both over-sensitive and disengaged which is ridiculous and aggravating. I’m not digging it.

For the first time in my life I’m wishing it were winter. You know, that miserable time of year where it’s just come home, cook dinner, enjoy kid, read book, go to sleep, eat breakfast, go to work, repeat.

I’m pretty sure that adds up to more than five dollars. But, as I’m going back the therapy, I’ll need to keep the change.

Five Dollar Complaint #3

You’ve had those days. The ones where you wake up with a lead weight in your stomach and a sharp sense of dread. I expected to see tomorrow morning come in lighter and more certain but it won’t now, because the appointments for my dad were moved to Thursday. Because the labs aren’t in, again. They expected them last Monday and thought Wednesday at the outside. And when they weren’t done on Wednesday, we were all a bit frustrated but were reassured. Of course they will be in before Tuesday, they said. And then they weren’t. Thursday, they tell us.

This brain cancer. It kills folks in weeks. We’re not talking about being annoyed because our Christmas plans might be spoiled, we’re worried about Father’s Day. Intellectually, I know that, if it really is just a month or two, delayed labs are not the problem. But in the interim, this period without prognosis or treatment, it’s exasperating.


Five Dollar Complaint #2

delicate balance

There is a delicate balance here.

While we were on vacation, both sisters, my mother, and my aunt stayed in our house. Since my mom and dad took our spare bed, there is only our bed to sleep in.

When we arrived home, we realized that the rug had been moved and the bed had been moved. Just slightly but in no way that could have been an accident, given the heavy furniture on the other side of the rug. Today, one side of the bed base collapsed.

Come on man.