Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Why Father's Day sucks

This is a repeat of a previous post, but it's still accurate.

I’d love to tell you all the warm and fuzzy tales about my Dad and our relationship, but that would be utter bullshit. There aren’t any. Growing up, he was always busy – working or playing golf with his friends, or going out to various functions. He didn’t sit around the house much and wasn’t interested in playing with his girls. I always wanted him to love me and he may have, but not enough to pay any attention to me.

Still, at age 11 when Mom and Dad started fighting openly and Dad left, I was devastated. My world crashed down around me and reality took a big bite out of my ass. Daddies didn’t leave. They stayed and loved and protected their little girls, watched them grow up, and then walked them down the aisle and passed them on to their husbands. They didn’t leave!

My parents’ separation was ugly. I remember screaming and shouting and seeing Mom chase Dad through the house with a cast iron skillet and a tennis racquet. It scared me to death. I begged them to stop fighting and my father not to leave - but of course he had to. He was caught having an affair with his secretary and in our very small town this was very big news. My Mom moved my 2 sisters and me to another town 250 miles away and we saw Dad occasionally for the next few years.

When I stayed with him in the summers I worked, either as a bus girl, maid, porter or sometimes at the front desk of his hotel. It kept me busy, but created long, lonely memories. I once overheard one of his employees commenting that I seemed to be a very sad girl. She was right. He didn’t know how to give me what I needed most – his time and attention. I was in his life but not part of it.

I went to college in the town where he lived and worked for Dad part time while in school. Having him in the same town was an advantage because I got to see him occasionally, I had a job, and a lot of people in town knew him and watched out for me. It was a disadvantage because a lot of people in town knew him and watched out for me. I learned to be very sneaky – or so I thought until he ended up having to extricate me from a couple of embarrassing situations. He never said anything except, “Try to be more careful next time.” I think in some ways I was too much like him for his comfort. I wanted him to love me and only seemed to get his attention by acting out. I acted out frequently.

We disagreed on almost everything. He was a staunch conservative Republican who boasted he never voted for a Democrat in his life. I was and still am a liberal Democrat and never tired of reminding him that at every election I was proudly and deliberately canceling out his vote. In fact, that was one of my prime motivating factors for always voting.

When I moved to Chicago the first time, because I was still rather shy and not assertive, Dad decided I needed something to bring me out of my shell and prevent me from being eaten alive by all those big city folks. So, he made me go to a Dale Carnegie course which was a good thing for me. Those were the type of things he did that indicated he might actually care for me. They didn’t happen very often.

When I went back to college and got my 2 master’s degrees Dad gave a party for my graduation and even told me he was proud of me. It was the first time I ever remember hearing him say that. I didn’t believe him.

He married twice after my mother. The first stepmother – the secretary with whom he had cheated - gave new definition to the term wicked . Unfortunately, she lasted 10 miserable years. She left for another man whom she thought had money. She had big plans for him. I heard he dumped her. Karma!

My second stepmother was wonderful and took good care of Dad. He still wasn’t interested in his girls, but since my sisters insisted, she encouraged him to get to know his grandkids. Since I didn’t have any kids, there wasn’t much reason for him to see me. They lived in Florida for the last 15 or so years of his life. In all that time, I was invited there once and it was a command appearance. It was his 75th birthday party and I was told to come, given accommodations and plane fare and then summarily dismissed when the big party with all his rich friends was over.

I dutifully sent Father’s Day cards, birthday cards and Christmas cards and he dutifully sent cards and money on birthdays and Christmas. Occasionally we talked on the phone but there was never much to say so we talked about my 2 sisters and their kids. It was really the only thing we had in common.

He died July 19, 2000. I cried briefly but more because all hope of ever having a warm happy relationship with my father was gone forever than because I was truly sad he was dead. His picture sits on my mantle, but it doesn’t evoke any strong emotions.

The ironic thing is – I look just like him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The light at the end of the tunnel

I see it! It's faint, but getting brighter every day. Stamina and energy are returning slowly and my naps have been reduced to 1 or 2 per day. It's a good thing I didn't realize how debilitating this surgery would be because I might have postponed it and tried Voodoo or something.

However, it's over and my recovery is well under way. I learned:

  1. I'm a horrible, impatient patient.
  2. My hearing is selective (i.e., Dr. says, you can probably return to work part time after about 10 days." I hear, "You'll be working full time in a week.)
  3. I'm a total optimist, except when I don't feel good and turn into a grouchy pessimist.
  4. I hate being incapacitated in any way.
  5. I'm going to start eating really well and exercising lots and get really healthy so my senior years won't be spent alienating all my friends with my crappy attitude.

Sorry I haven't been around blogland lately, but napping, sleeping, drugs and work have required all my energy. However, I'm going to start rectifying that tomorrow by visiting all your blogs and saying hi. Just hi for now. Since I'm so far behind, catching up is going to take a while, so please be patient with me. If you're really good, I'll post a picture of my uber attractive scar!


Monday, June 9, 2008

Book Review - "Queen of the Road" by Doreen Orion

“Soon I couldn’t take it anymore and rather dramatically announced I was going to the back of the bus to kill myself. As always, Tim brought me back to earth. This time with the observation, “So I guess you’ll be in the bathroom, trying to slit your wrists with your electric razor?””

Considering how different Doreen Orion and her husband Tim Justice are, the fact that they are both psychiatrists and able to analyze each other may have prevented a journey to divorce court. Tim being one of the world’s most patient men probably helped too.

She, the princess from the Island of Long who is happy to stay in her pajamas and work from her bedroom all day, is a martini drinking shoe addict. He is an easygoing, beer-loving outdoorsman, dedicated to his patients and practice. When he finally convinces her to take a year off and wander around the country in a 340 SF bus, everyone is stunned – including Doreen.

This isn’t just any old bus. It’s a converted Prevost (the kind rock stars use) with a hand blown glass sink in the bathroom, rare granite countertops, cherry cabinets, stainless steel tiles, full refrigerator, dishwasher, washer/dryer combo, a custom appliqué ceiling, merino wool window coverings, and every electronic device known to man. It’s furnished and equipped better than my house!

The shakedown trip almost does her in, but somehow he convinces her to only take 100 of her favorite pairs of shoes and head out on a journey that will cover 22,000 miles and 47 states.

Each chapter of the book starts with a new cocktail she has invented to reflect her mood on that particular leg of the journey. Here are a couple of my favorites:

1 part rum
2 parts Midori
1 splash pineapple juice
1 splash sweet ‘n Sour
1 white-knuckled squeeze of lime
Pound martini shaker against emergency exit until window breaks or ingredients sufficiently mixed for tasty self-medication.

Love Me Bender
2 parts passion fruit liqueur
2 parts champagne
1 part raspberry liqueur
Rest shaker on hip, gyrate, drink. If you can still recall the love of your life is making you live on a bus, repeat.

It’s a wonderful book filled with humor, love and transformation. By the end of the journey, they still love each other, both have mellowed, and Doreen finds she can do without many of life’s “necessities” when she realizes she only wore 6 of the 100 pairs of shoes.

“Queen of the Road” is a fun, easy read, appropriate for both sexes. I highly recommend it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Health update

Thank you to everyone who has e-mailed and commented asking about my health. I am well on the road to recovery, but it's a steeper road than usual. Normally, recovery is a quick process for me. This time it seems to be taking forever. My strength is finally returning along with my appetite, but soft foods still go down best because of the swelling in my throat. Stamina is an issue and the desire to nap several times a day is beginning to subside. Headaches, numbness and random pains plague me, but at least they aren't the same or as intense as before the surgery.

Forgive the irregular blogging and know that your thoughts and jokes have helped tremendously. I hope to be shoe shopping again soon!