Our Conversations

This is the conversation we had last night while watching the news. So it makes some sense to you I should let you know that the news stories were about the Boy Scouts discrimination against gays, an asteroid nearly hitting Earth, and the blackout during the Super Bowl.

Me: Don’t you think it’s odd that the Boy Scouts have banned gays yet they have an activity called a jamboree?

My dad: If a gay asteroid wants to join the football team they should let him.

Me: If a gay asteroid wants to be queen of the jamboree I think they should let him do that too.

Okay, maybe knowing what the stories were about didn’t help that make sense. Since when do conversations have to make sense? With me and my dad it’s more like I say something, then he says something totally unrelated, then I say something else, then he says a whole lot of stuff.

If you throw my stepson into the mix then you really have an interesting conversation. My dad says something that is the completion of a thought going on in his head that none of us are aware of. I say something. My dad explains himself. My stepson says something very loosely related that involves mentioning a dictator or political figure’s name. And so it goes in a round of confusion. We do still manage to communicate though.

Note: I have no idea what a jamboree is, but it sounds like a big party where people dance and wear clothing that sparkles. Maybe it’s kind of like a rave with less ecstasy and more neckerchiefs.

Another note: In case you didn’t know, we are still trying to buy a house. That’s why we’re still living with my parents. You can find out about our latest adventures in house buying on my guest post at Aiming Low.

Our Real Christmas Tradition

I’m here to admit that all the stuff about the underground bunker in the last post wasn’t true. My parents don’t have a bunker under their condo. I just had to set the record straight to avoid any problems from the condo association. My parents got hassled enough when they replaced their windows, so I know an underground bunker wouldn’t go down well at all.

We really do have a family Christmas tradition. It happens most years without fail and we like to affectionately call it, Pam-I-Don’t-Feel-Good. As Christmas Day progresses Pam-I-Don’t-Feel-Good can morph into another tradition that we like to call I-Have-To-Go-To-The-Emergency-Room.

This year there was no emergency room visit, but the Pam-I-Don’t-Feel-Good tradition continued. It was manifested in the form of low back pain that prevented my father from carrying anything and made him walk extremely slowly, and of course, there was a lot of complaining. What’s Christmas without an ailment and complaints? It’s nothing.

Powerball Fever

Apparently there is something about the Powerball jackpot being the biggest of all time or some such thing. I only know because people who don’t normally buy lottery tickets are buying tickets for this, including my father. When I asked why he bought a ticket, he said, “It’s 300 million dollars. I need 300 million dollars.” I just looked it up and I think it’s actually 550 million dollars, but what’s a few hundred million among friends, right?

I think it’s funny that people would rush to buy a Powerball ticket because the jackpot is 550 million, like they couldn’t use the 3 million it is normally. Oh the winner only gets 3 million, that’s not worth the trip to the convenience store to buy a ticket. You can tell I never play the lottery because I don’t know what the prize is normally.

Anyway … I hope my sister wins because she is convinced that she will win the lottery one day. Living in Florida apparently raises your odds of winning a bit.

More Pie

My father has been struggling with kidney problems for years and is starting dialysis this week. This means he’ll have to make some changes in his diet. The other day I overheard this conversation while my parents where looking over his dietary guideline.

My mom: This says you’ll have to eat more protein.

My father: Protein?

My mother: Yeah, you should try to eat protein with every meal.

My father: Does that mean I can eat more pie?

The Best Invention

I think the telephone was one of the most important inventions ever. It’s hard to imagine what life was like before it. How did people in the 1700s call 911 or vote for their favorite contestants on American Idol? Could the world have truly functioned without the telemarketer? Now that we are free to receive political campaign calls when we’re eating dinner all is right with the world.

There was a time when the telephone was associated mainly with teenage girls, but now that smartphones have all the teenagers texting, the telephone is a bit passee. For my father the telephone is still the ultimate invention–along with the piano and the television. When he isn’t playing the piano whilst watching CNN or taking five hours to wash and fold a load of laundry, he’s talking on the phone.

Just the other day he spent several hours having an in dept phone conversation. He talked about his two favorite subjects his kidneys and politics. At the end of the conversation he said, “Man, I had no idea you knew so much about politics. You take care okay.” Then he hung up the phone.

“That was a long conversation,” I said.

My father started laughing and said, “I have no idea who that was.”

“You didn’t ask when you answered the phone?” I said.

“No, I picked up the phone and he just started talking to me. I don’t know who that was.”

Having a nearly two hour conversation with an anonymous person now that’s what I call dedication to the telephone.

What are They Going to Do About That Car?

My parents like to know that they are getting the best deal possible. My mother is especially proud of her frugality. She loves to tell you about what she saved by shopping at the dented can store. But, my mother’s thriftiness when it comes to food and household items is out matched by my father’s nose for a good deal on a used car. That’s why we told him to start looking for one for us when we decided we would buy a car to keep in Florida. He’s got some nerve too. He’ll offer someone $1000 for a car they’re asking $3000 for. “It doesn’t hurt to make an offer. Maybe they’ll take it,” he says.

There is one aspect of his method of finding cars that I find a bit disturbing though. My father called me the other day to tell me that one of his neighbors died. “She was up there three days before anyone found her,” he said. Then he asked the next obvious question. “What do you think they’re going to do with her car?”

As soon as someone dies my father sees it as an opportunity to get a new vehicle. I’ve even heard him speculate about people who haven’t died yet. “He’s really sick. He’ll probably die soon. I bet I’ll be able to buy his car for cheap. That’s a good car too.”

If I point out his insensitivity he responds with, “What? They’re gonna have to sell it to somebody. It might as well be me, right?”

I guess his method works. No one had to die for us to get our car, but we did get a really good deal.

Butter Makes It Better

I used to have quite a problem with depression, but that has gone away. I’m telling you this because today when I talked to my father on the phone he asked me if I was happy. “I mean you haven’t been depressed or anything have you?” he asked.

When I told him that I hadn’t he seemed pleased. Then he said, “That’s because you’re married now and you have a good husband.”

“That’s interesting,” I said. “I thought it was just because of all the butter I’ve been eating. Butter makes everything better.”

Don’t believe me. Try it. You’ll find that it’s true. I believe in butter.

The Worrier

I wonder if worrying is genetic. My father is a chronic worrier. He sits on the sofa rubbing his bald head and worrying about any number of things on a regular basis. Sometimes, he calls me up just to discuss his latest worry. Usually his worries are about his health. Most often, they’re about his blood pressure.

My husband says I do the same thing. I tend to deny his accusations, but I have to admit that if I look at the situation honestly, he’s right. Don’t tell him I said that.

About a week ago I started to have a nagging pain in my low back. I should have realized that this pain was the result of sitting in the same position curled up on the couch for hours on end while editing my latest novel. I am a massage therapist afterall. I know about back pain, but I jumped to the worst conclusion possible instead. I decided that my kidneys must be failing.

Once I made that decision, I wasted a few days looking up all the information I could find about kidneys and kidney failure. I convinced myself that if I went to see my doctor she’d tell me that my kidneys were shirveled up and I’d have to go on dialysis. So I decided not to go to the doctor because I’d rather die than be on dialysis.

I didn’t let the fact that I had none of the symptoms of kidney failure sway me. I knew my kidneys were failing. I just knew it. I started making burial plans and wondering what my family would do without me. I put off renewing the lease because my husband probably wouldn’t want to stay in our flat after I died. I even started composing a will, but then I realized I had nothing to leave to anyone.

Even though my back pain went away eventually, I still wasn’t convinced my kidneys had recovered. The slightest twinge in my lower back still sends me into a spiral of possible kidney failure senarios.

Everyone has hobbies. Some people collect stamps. Some people hunt. Some people dress their pets up in ridiculous outfits. I worry. It’s a family tradition.

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