Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Friday, February 19, 2010
I was in the middle of talking, when *fart!* ... I couldn't stop laughing, and all I could think to do was offer my boss one of the Pop Tarts. He declined.
Friday, February 12, 2010
First of all, I'm not sure if "Masshole" needs to be hyphenated, and second of all I know exactly who wrote this sign - it HAS to be the landlord's daughter. She's such a curmudgeon with Transitions lenses and the ability to hold a grudge like no other. (For example, one time I had (loud) friends over and she knocked on my door at 10 pm on a Saturday, and said we'll wake the neighbors. Translation: I'm trying to watch my stories, and you're not allowed to have fun. After that she didn't say "hello" to me for like a month.)
Anyway, I was carrying many bags of groceries home when I saw this, but was laughing so much I had to put them down and take a picture. It felt really good to laugh, and I haven't seen this car on the street since.
Saturday, February 6, 2010
I usually just write about funny things that happen to me (see: falling down in front of coworkers at LaGuardia, almost getting into a fist fight in Queens), but there is something decidedly unfunny going on in my life right now.
My father is an alcoholic. He always has been, and continues to make drinking his mission. Right now, he’s in the hospital after my mother had to call 911 because he was breathing shallowly. Once there, they said his blood alcohol level was 6.1 - my mom said anesthesia is at around a 4.
As he’s always been an alcoholic, I’ve seen the levels of severity over the years. When I was 12, I found a bottle on the couch downstairs at our house in Connecticut and confronted him. He cornered me and begged me not to tell my mom what I found. When I was 8, I caught him drinking in the garage from a water bottle. He acted weird and surprised when I saw him doing this, so when he left, I smelled the stuff in the bottle. Naively, I asked my mom if water ever smells like rubbing alcohol. She’s a nurse, so I figured she would know these things. (And, yes, I hung out in the garage when I was younger - that’s where the Barbie Dreamhouse was, ok?)
In addition to a few more incidents like that, my dad had a basic schedule: he would come home from work and start drinking Coors Light and just be, I don’t know, generally creepy. He’d sit in his arm chair, not reading or anything, and just stare at whoever walked by.
I assume this was the source of much of my parent’s fighting when I was growing up, and they fought a lot. One fight in particular that I remember was my mom trying to lock my dad out of the house. The problem was he was already halfway through the door, while she was trying to close it. It was really frightening seeing my dad trying to come through the door while screaming at my mom. Not recommended.
Over the years, to deal with my father’s drinking, my mom started drinking as well. She’d have a bottle of wine a night, along with a lot of food. She’d gained quite a bit of weight, while both my parents slipped deeper into their depression.
But, then, my dad disappeared for a few days. We never talked about where he went or why, but when he came back he wasn’t creepy. He had stopped drinking. I found out later that his work had sent him to a mandatory detox because there had been complaints that he smelled of booze and was showing up to work still drunk.
So, after years of his drinking, my mom was finally saying, “This is the man I married. I’m so happy you get to meet him now.” And she was right, he’s pretty awesome. Those were the years I found out how funny my dad is, what a crazy life he had when he was younger - basically I found out he was a person, not someone who just lived at my house.
A few years after he stopped drinking, my mom did, too. In retrospect, I had a lot of anger towards my mom that she continued to drink while my dad was in “recovery”. At the time, I thought stopping drinking was as easy as not buying it anymore. I now know that’s not the case.
Cut to four years ago. I was living in NY and in a really bad work and relationship situation, so I did what any sane person would do: quit my job, packed up my apartment and drove cross country home to Los Angeles in three days! I thought it’d be a good place to recharge my batteries, save some money and figure out what my next move was. My parents have an apartment at the beach and a spare bedroom - what could go wrong?
Within a week of me being home, my father’s mistress calls my mother. He’d been having an affair for some time with a woman he worked with. The fighting was astronomical. She kicks my dad out and he moves to a depressing apartment 20 minutes away and I’m tasked with helping my mom pay rent at their apartment. So much for living out my freeloader fantasy of being an unemployed beach bum - and yes, I’m aware this makes me sound like a spoiled brat who demands bean feasts. But, I assure you, I’m not.
At this point, he had to have started drinking again. For someone who’s never been to a formal rehabilitation program (outside of a detox), he didn’t have the tools to cope with his actions. Consequently, my living at home did not last long as I became my mom’s sounding board, and heard things no child (no matter how old) should hear about their parents’ relationship. Given everything he’d done, she still took him back.
So, I decided to move back to NY to give the relationship I’d left another shot because he had “changed” and “loved me”. So, my dad was going to be my co-pilot on the drive back to NY.
While grateful I’d have company on the long drive, by this time it was 100 percent obvious he was drinking again. He’s always hidden alcohol, but there are always a few signs he is drinking again: taking a lot of walks, and also, strangely, ordering non-alcoholic beers at restaurants. I think that’s almost a charade to say, “Look! I’m not drinking SO MUCH SO that I order non-alcoholic things - and ENJOY them!”
It was confirmed me though, when I was supposed to fly to NY for an interview at my now job. My dad dropped me off at the airport only for me to find out a few minutes later that my flight had been canceled due to a snowstorm on the East Coast. I called him to come pick me up (my parents live literally 5 minutes from LAX), and when he got there 20 minutes later, he was drunk. I should have told him to pull over and let me drive, but something happens and you revert back to being a little kid who’s afraid to upset their dad. We made it home in one piece, but that made me so anxious about the impending cross-country drive.
Armed with father/daughter anti-depressants, we set off on the road where at every hotel stop, he’d go on his walks and then just go right to sleep. I always offered to do most of the driving because I wasn’t sure if he was still drunk, and I could also drive at 90 mph to get me to NY sooner.
Now (if you’re still reading), he’s at the lowest point of the disease. He was laid off from work at 61 years old, and couldn’t deal with it. Christmas was terrible, and, for now, I’ll leave it at that. My mom and brother spent New Year’s Eve in the hospital with him, and now my mom’s dealing with him in the hospital again. He has pneumonia and his pancreas is shutting down, and if he ever drinks again it will be so painful for him that he won’t last much longer.
With the length of time I’ve known my dad as an alcoholic, I’m having a hard time feeling anything about this last hospital stay.
I called him after his New Year’s hospital stay and asked him to go into rehab. I told him I wanted him to walk me down the aisle (if I ever trick a man into marrying me), and that if I have kids, they should have a granddad. I said all this through tears in a convention center in Atlanta (not my finest moment). I mean, that is some Hallmark heavy stuff to say, but it was met with no reaction. I know it’s the disease, I know he’s depressed, but that’s sort of where the switch got turned off for me. I said if he wanted a relationship, he’d have to call me sometimes, too. He’d have to say “I love you” first before I did sometimes. I haven’t heard from him since.
So now, when I found out he was in the hospital I probably should have been upset. But, honestly, I’m protecting myself from getting too disappointed or too hopeful. It’s embarrassing to say, but the Time Warner Cable guy came to my new apartment to install internet/cable and it didn’t work out for some stupid reason, so now they can’t come for another THREE WEEKS to try installing it again - after he left, I cried (I mean, don’t they realize it’s the last season of Lost??). All that to say, I’m not a robot, and I probably needed that release.
To be clear: my callousness aside, I truly do wish my father would get the help he needs, I really do want him to get better and be my dad again. So, any good thoughts my way are appreciated, and I promise soon I’ll write about how I accidentally farted in a meeting, or how tired I am seeing the “Look at me I’m comfortable being naked” ladies at the gym. I wasn’t sure if I should have written this because it’s pretty personal, but I need to work on opening up - apparently that also includes on the Internets. Anyway, I know this is all pretty heavy stuff, and I know it’s not very funny, but it’s real and it’s what’s going on right now.