Sunday, May 17, 2015
Monday, May 4, 2015
I Had Some Dreams; They Were Clouds in My Coffee
One morning, I wake up and want to get my cup of coffee for the day. There's a kink in my plan: Dadzilla is in the kitchen doing who knows what. Sometimes I can deal with this dilemma, but usually, I'm simply not up to being pestered first thing in the morning. I diddle around on the computer for a little while, then I make like I'm going into the bathroom. He's still out there. He must be making lunch. He does everything early-- breakfast at 6am, lunch at 10am, dinner at 3pm, then snacks most of the night.
I hear Dadzilla enter his room, which means he's probably on the way to his bathroom. I make a mad dash for the kitchen. Son of a bee! He's got his spread out for lunch and his meal is in the microwave. No coffee for me. I head back to my room, irritated. I wait a while longer, til I think I hear him go to his room again. I rush back out to the kitchen. The table is clear, so he's done eating. I immediately put the coffee on, and go back to my room.
A few minutes later, I open my door to go check on the coffee. Dadzilla is coming out of his room. He asks if I can take him to the hospital; he's having trouble breathing. I rush out to turn the coffee maker off (naturally, it's finished, but I am denied). I get my stuff together, he gets his stuff together, and we head out to the car.
Half way there, he notices he forgot his wallet. We continue on anyway. I know he's not feeling well, because he's not talking a mile a minute like usual and complaining about anything and everything. I drop him off as close to the emergency room as I can and find a place to park. They admit him even without information and insurance cards from his wallet. He's on the computer system, so there's no trouble.
We're led to an examination room after a short wait. It's not at all like any ER I've seen on TV. I had no idea they made you wait. Apparently, his case isn't critical enough since he can still walk on his own. They examine him and take blood. It takes them about an hour to even get the needle in because his age makes his veins incredibly hard to access.
The man who can't breathe well talks and talks and talks, jokes with the nursing staff and doctors, nags me to go outside and get fresh air. I tell him that if I wanted to go outside, I'd be there already. Even in his condition, the man has to be annoyingly meddlesome.
That's not all. When we're alone he talks again about how we need to “get the hell out of Arizona”. He blames inanimate objects for his ills, so a whole State is nothing. And he has money coming whenever they finish his case. I wonder if it's the same type of case he had for 20-30 years in NY that made that State Dadzilla Enemy #1. It's the mesothelioma class action suit everyone has heard about. Of course his breathing difficulty has to do with mesothelioma from chemicals he once worked with. It couldn't possibly be from smoking for 55-60 years. They took his case anyway, so who knows? What kills me is that he dismisses out-of-hand the possibility that his trouble has to do at all with smoking for decades.
“Wah wah wah wah, wah wah, wah wah wah”. Charlie Brown's teacher is all I hear since I now have a headache. That doesn't stop him. “Wah wah wah, wah, wah wah”. I wonder if they've ever taken someone's voice box out just for the hell of it.
After all is said and done, they tell him his blood work and exams all come out normal. Therefore, they give him a nebulizer to use right there in the ER and a prescription for one for home. They also give him a prescription for some topical cream for some type of ringworm they say is pretty common. He still swears up and down it's from the black mold in his shower. Dadzilla the expert doctor.
Turns out the nebulizer works, and we're back on our way home. There's more pep in his step and he talks the entire way home, so I know he's ok. I'm telling you, he doesn't stop talking for 60 seconds the entire way. Sweet Jesus, get me home! Oh, look. No parking spaces, so I get to park up half a block after dropping Dadzilla off at the entrance. I can never park straight on the street, but I figure if both tires are within a foot of the curb, all is well.
I go through our gate. He is telling his trials and tribulations to some other tenants. I go into our apartment and get my coffee I finished brewing 5 hours ago. The coffee helps my headache. I go online and check email and so forth. Then...oh, good. The awesome internet we have decides to break, just like every other weekend at some point. I'm fed up. The coffee gets rid of my headache, but doesn't prevent me from taking a nap. So that's what I do.
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
Ignorance Is Bliss...But Not for Dadzilla
I don't know if it's my meds or middle-age creeping up on me. Seven days and my innards are at a standstill. Luckily, I made an appointment on Friday for Monday in case I'm still having issues, and I am. It's also my yearly check-up so I can keep getting my meds.
“Where ya' goin'?” There's no getting around Dadzilla. He's still in the living room 18 hours per day, guarding both kitchen and the door out to freedom. It galls me how he gets to come and go everyday, as he pleases (which is the way it should be), yet I get inspected like Mexican fruit. He should pretty much be ready for a smart answer when he starts the probing. I simply, curtly reply “Out.”
Simple appointment with the usual questions and measurements. I tell the doctor about my concerns of week-long gut trouble. I have never had this kind of trouble in my entire life. She renews my prescriptions and adds an order for five strong diarrhetics. Of course there are issues with the five pills, and I don't get them til Friday. I resort to using a bag of prunes and it works.
Since the creature is in the living room all the time now, it doesn't go unnoticed, my many trips to the bathroom in a short period. He starts twitching. “Got trouble?” Here we go. “Yes.” I close my door. The trips back and forth continue. “What's wrong?” God, will I ever get peace? What I do in the bathroom is no one's business but mine.
Why does he think he has to know anything and everything. Yes, he's my father, but for the love of all that's good in the world, stop micromanaging me! I grit and clench my teeth. “I have stomach problems.” Of course, that's the problem. Why the hell else would I keep going in and out of the bathroom? To cook dinner?
Speaking of dinner, for that night, I decide to just have some rice with soy sauce. “What are ya' makin'?” Gahhhh...Sweet Jesus, get a life already. I clench my teeth some more, “Rice.” I can usually refrain from creating additional tension, by choosing the path of least resistance. I suspect that's what everyone has done with him most of his life, lest they invoke the spectacle of a temper tantrum, followed in short order by a migraine. I think he thinks people are afraid of him, so he gets what he wants. Not true. I think they give him his way like a spoiled 2 year old, because they don't feel up for all the noise at that particular moment.
I've told him several times that you can't force people to do what you want them to do. What I don't tell him is that that applies to him too. That's why when I need him to do something, I sometimes have to resort to trickery and psychological warfare. It doesn't always work, but it's better than a lot of other options. But: one day I will escape this Dadzilla of mine.
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Does It Make Me Old If I Remember Rotary Phones?
|originally from GeezerPlanet|
So...I'm not elderly by any standard, but I grew up with a rotary phone in the house. I never even thought about that until just now.
Elderly Man Just Wants to Float in the Water
|Originally found at GeezerPlanet|
Friday, April 3, 2015
As If It Couldn't Get Any Worse
One day Dadzilla has trouble moving at all. He manages now and then to make trips to the kitchen. He can even go out to the picnic tables under the gazebo, but whenever he comes in, he talks about how difficult it was for him. I encourage him to make an appointment with the doctor. He waits and waits and waits, then finally goes when he has an appointment for something else.
He tells me ahead of time that he'll need a ride. Of course, I'll give him a ride. Just tell me when the day before the appointment. I don't hear a peep out of him. It's hard telling when the day before the appointment is since he says nothing. I wake up on what is the day of his appointment (I found out later) and he's gone. A couple hours later, he shows up and tells me they took X-rays of his lower spine. I wonder aloud why he drove himself. Oh, he didn't want to wake me. Didn't want to wake me? He wouldn't have woken me if he told me the day before like I'd asked. These are the kinds of things that make me feel less sorry for him and his situation; he takes a difficult situation and makes it that much harder on himself.
Seldom do I push anything further. Why? He'll just have some cockamamie excuse, and the egg shells I continually walk on will shatter and he'll throw a temper tantrum. It's kind of like when he asks me what I need from the store, I tell him, he comes home, and then proceeds to tell me something like he couldn't find it. It could be milk, and he'd say something asinine like he couldn't find it or they were out or something else unbelievable.
So they took the images of his lower spine and tell him that he has some degenerative
disease. Groovy. I don't know what we're going to do if he gets worse quickly. He'd have to get a nursing assistant or other caregiver if it meant toileting or showering issues. I know neither one of us would be comfortable with my doing it. Besides, I don't do poo. I can't physically manage it without vomiting.
They give him some pretty strong pain pills. This doesn't stop him from getting up several times per night to go out in the living room to watch TV because he can't sleep. I suspect he's not taking his pain pills, but I say nothing because of aforementioned reasons.
What his sudden night owl behavior has the nasty effect of doing is having him in the living room even MORE of my waking day. It sounds selfish, but if he acted in any way like a “normal” person, it wouldn't be an issue. Every time I go into the kitchen he has to have something to say, or some snooping to do. Sometimes he'll be especially cranky and ask me what the hell I'm doing out there, that I'm making too much noise. Are you serious?! Too much noise from the man who can't stop banging on the wall and telling the upstairs neighbors to shut the hell up? I've mentioned it a couple times, how hypocritical he is. All I get is flat out denial and yelling. Hypocrisy from him is usually the thing that makes me mad enough to say something, even though I know the result well ahead of time.
Since I now have almost no time alone outside of my room, I go stir crazy. I work more on my internet stuff than ever, trying to make a living to finally be on my own again, live like a normal person, and finally have peace again. I always think to myself, “God, it can't possibly get any worse.” Yet, somehow things usually find their way there: an even worse situation.
<Reminiscences> <cont'd in future post>
<Reminiscences> <cont'd in future post>
Sunday, March 29, 2015
Momzilla the Ostrich
I come out of my room and make like I'm headed for the hall bathroom. I hear the door and Dadzilla. Is he coming or going? He's going, because I hear the rustle of a garbage bag. I wonder if he's just going to take the garbage out or if he'll stop by the picnic tables and sit down to talk.
I can only hope he'll stay out a few minutes, but it's not looking good because it's hot out today. I'm hungry, so I start my frozen dinner in the microwave.
I hear the rattle of keys and I know Dadzilla is back and the door opens. One thing about him is he's seldom quiet, but then I usually have ear plugs in. I head for my room while my dinner heats up, and I manage to skirt Dadzilla. I was undetected, but I'm sure he'll hear the microwave.
I head out to the kitchen after a few minutes and get my dinner. God almighty, he starts whistling. He just can't be quiet and motionless. It's like dealing with an ADHD child. I start on my way to my room. “I don't understand you, Dad. You want everyone else to be quiet, meanwhile you sit there with the TV on whistling.”
“Well, it doesn't matter about the people upstairs; they make so much noise they deserve it. They probably won't even hear me. I guess you don't like it either, huh?”
I take that as a rhetorical question and just continue on my way to my room. Same old drill. He won't listen anyway, so why waste my breath?
Today is my late mother's birthday. She would have been 75. I get to thinking about how she'd make the same trip to her room behind a closed door because of his behavior. He was younger then, so he'd actually follow her sometimes and yell outside her door. Whatever they were arguing about: “The truth hurts, doesn't it?”, “That's right, go bury your head in the sand.”, “Your friends and neighbors think I'm crazy? I'm crazy like a fox.” , “Goddamn New York! This was your idea and I'm getting the hell outta here!”
These are just the recurrent phrases I can think of off hand that I heard repeated throughout my childhood.
I also remember him telling me almost proudly, “You know, I never hit your mother.” Back then, I didn't understand the full scope of the statement. Today, sarcastically I think, “Gee, what an achievement to never have assaulted and battered your spouse. One day, I might aspire to those heights.”
Tuesday, March 17, 2015
It's All Chinese to Me
It's another one of those evenings. I'm hungry and
don't feel like waiting for Dadzilla to go to bed before I enter the
kitchen. I decide on a bowl of cereal because I don't like the
frozen dinner situation. It's been almost six frickin' years and he
still can't remember which dinners I like. I've been asked what I
want before and I know I've told him and written things down, yet
some things never appear in the freezer, despite being on sale and
“You can't have cereal for dinner.” Oh, good.
More orders, as if I'm some sort of impetulant teenager who doesn't
know what's good for themselves. “Why aren't you eating those
frozen dinners? And what about the lunch meat? There's that in the
drawer in the fridge.”
I'd like to know what kind of evil I've done in a past
life to deserve this now. Surely, I was Vlad the Impaler. “As I
know I've said before, I don't like those dinners or that lunch
meat.” I know I'm kind of picky when it comes to meat. Whether in
lunch meat or frozen dinners. I've made suggestions too. If you're
in doubt, then get something vegetarian. I can almost guarantee
there won't be a problem with that AND vegetarian items tend to be
cheaper than meat items. There's also the option to just not get
anything, which is WAY more favorable that going over the same crap
over and over and over for years.
“Goddamn it! What the hell do
you like?” I start gritting my teeth. The same thing every time.
“I'm gonna just stop getting dinners. Ta hell with it!”
“And that's fine. I prefer it to this every other
time I come out to the kitchen.”
“Don't be stupid. You've gotta eat. You're not
Chinese or Vietnamese...”
“What does that have to do with anything.”
“Because you like that kind of food.” You've got
to be kidding me. As if that's the only type of food I eat. As if
non-Asian people aren't supposed to like Asian food.
I hurry up with the cereal and get the hell out of the
kitchen and make a bee-line to my room. Dadzilla says something, but
I'm not sure what it is since I wear earplugs an inordinate amount of
time. I keep going to my room, because I just don't care anymore.
“Don't you turn your back to me, goddamn it!”
Tuesday, February 3, 2015
Dadzillas Spoil the Broth
I hate going to the kitchen when Dadzilla is awake. This is why he doesn't think I can cook. I seldom make anything from scratch if he's around. I had to learn how to cook. I was a vegetarian for over five years in college. He must be telling the people around here that he cooks and I don't, because they were joking about it one day. That's fine for me. Not only will Dadzilla not expect me to cook anything, but neither will any of the tenants and management.
Why do I hate being in the kitchen so much when he's around? It's not hard to figure out, given his personality traits. Half the time he appears leaning on the counter poking his nose in whatever I'm doing or he “just happens” to need to throw something out when I'm there. In either case, he'll give me orders or start telling me where ingredients are, as if I get confused easily in the kitchen. I may get really lucky and he'll start complaining about any number of old issues that still don't sit right in his craw, some after decades.
If he's in the living room, then he'll just bark from there. Usually I have ear plugs in, because he doesn't stop yelling at the TV or the upstairs tenants. It makes it interesting to be able to hear him. If it's early evening and he's lying on the couch, he'll “What the hell--?” at any noise whatsoever. Just normal noises people make in the kitchen trying to get a meal drive him over the edge. Yes, it angers him, the same man who sits on the couch all day long with the volume on the TV turned up to maximum all day long. He doesn't want peace and quiet; he wants everyone ELSE to be quiet.
The same man who is diabetic will also eat sugar-filled hard candy, soda, pastries, frozen treats, etc all day long. I can understand why he might not want to follow the doctor's recommendation of limited sweets. What I can't understand is why he denies it or lies about eating that stuff. There are only two of us here, so if I didn't eat it, obviously he ate it! Unless, of course, these goodies have developed legs and ran away like he's always afraid the mail will do.
Whenever I get mail, he acts like it's of the utmost importance that I get to it right away. Sometimes, he'll deliver it to my door. Then I look and it's nothing but junk. Are you kidding me? “Better to get it before it gets lost.” Lost. Like those advertisements are going on a mad dash to the desert in a New York minute if they're left unattended! The only way they'd get lost is if he puts his mitts on my mail. It's bad enough I'm not even important enough to warrant having a key to our mailbox.
And I'm not sure how many times in the past I've told him I don't want most phone calls. I think someone I wanted to talk to has called twice in five years. Oh, that and the phone is in his room. Every time I hear the phone ring, no matter what he's doing, he'll hear it (yes, the same man who sets the TV volume on high all day) and rush to get it. I've explained the voice mail to him, but he doesn't care. Knock knock “Uh...someone wants to talk to you on the phone...” I get it, and either they hung up or it's someone taking a poll or something along those lines. This is why, for 5 years, the phone ringer was turned off. He never caught on to that either, so I had a few years of peace from the phone. Kind of funny he wanted to throw it out, because he thought it was broken. So I inherited a phone when he got a new one.
Thursday, January 29, 2015
Escape from Apartment 196
really like to know 'WTF'?! Not 3 minutes go by that I finally get
the plastic reclining chair arranged by the community pool on a mild
winter's day, then it goes from peaceful and silent to filled with
cacophonous noises. It's like I have a prisoner's anklet on that
lets the complex know that I'm outside and (un)ready to be pestered.
start making nonsensical noises in an upper apartment. Do I live on
a Tourette's ward? Someone comes out with country music blasting
while their cigarette smoke naturally wafts over in my direction. I
hear what I think are more Tourette's-stricken grunts at the complex
door entrance. After a few salvos, I peer over and see some guy. I
guess someone has to let him in, but guess what. It ain't me! If he
lives here, he should have a key; there is a phone box if a friend or
delivery person shows up; and I'm dozens of yards away behind a
locked pool gate. I'm wondering if he has a pair of binoculars to
see me in the first place.
don't hear grunts anymore and I speculate that he may have gone away.
I'm not curious enough to look in case that initiates the grunting
country music...God, more guttural pleas to be let in...I could have
sworn I heard the sound of a cane. The cane only means one thing:
Dadzilla is nearby. I look out of the corner of my eye. Nope, not
him. Not sure who just went around the corner.
good. The noisy jackass that lives right above me. His room that he
shares with his wife and small daughter is right above mine. He's
hocking up loogies. Pleasant, but typical.
older guy from an upstairs apartment has finally finished his
cigarette after about ten minutes. I looked up to see him once. He
was pretty quiet, so it wasn't an inconvenience. I just kept feeling
him staring at me.
Country Music has left his door open, as if he's providing the
marquee entertainment this evening. Sorry, sir. I didn't buy a
ticket for this show.
hear the spinning of a dryer in the laundry room. I find comfort in
non-human induced sounds. It is white noise. It's something I
prefer hearing with its mechanical monotonous tone..
there's a lady with a preschooler. This lady fancies herself a
singer, but I can't make out the language.
have to ponder the irony of it all. I came out to what I saw as a
quiet, peaceful place. I should have known that any place remotely
public would eventually come alive.
are the lengths one is willing to go when escape from Dadzilla and
sanity is at stake. I initially came out here because he came
inside, whistling all the way.
Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Theory of Negativity
Don't mistake my being incredibly critical of Dadzilla as loathing for him. I do love my father and when he's gone, there will be no one left in the world to love me unconditionally.
Sometimes I tell my online pals that I love my dad, I just don't like him all the time. There is more to a parent-child relationship than meeting financial needs, even when the child is an adult. I will always be grateful for any monetary support he has given me in my life.
What's more important is emotional support. Sometimes he provides that, but more often than not, he adds to the burden. I know he doesn't necessarily mean to, but he does.
How can constant complaints and general negativity NOT affect anyone detrimentally? He knows I've suffered from depression since at least 1997 and I've asked and pleaded with him to stop certain behaviors, but he continues. I suspect that he is the biggest factor in my constant fatigue. I try not to be around him; he won't change his behavior, so I have to change mine.
Every now and then he “nabs” me and there is no escape. It's like radiation. During this time of intense exposure, I absorb more negative energy than I usually do in a month.
Lately, it's been “goddamn Arizona” and “I have to get the hell outta' here.” According to Dadzilla, prices aren't just rising, but they're rising too fast, so fast his social security can't keep up. The thing is though, when you complain about everything, no one takes ANY of your complaints seriously. It's hard to tell if he's exaggerating or not. I've known him my whole life and I still can't tell.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
The Dice Whisperer
Every now and then, I get thinking about involving Dadzilla in some activity. Sometimes I think about asking him to play Yahtzee or a dice game we used to play called Ten Thousand. That is until I remember why I stopped playing games with him in the first place.
For one thing, I used to have to bring a pillow for him to put his arm on because he'd consciously shake his arm and hand which made the whole table shake. It wasn't something like Parkinson's that caused it either. It was more like a combination of anticipation and irritation.
I've mentioned he yells at traffic signs and lights. Well, dice are no exception in the inanimate object department. “I still need a large straight. Goddamn dice. I can't get 'em to do nothin' for me today.” A large straight is the second hardest combination to get, yet he expects to get it every single time. He'd constantly roll the dice a little too hard and one or two would wind up on the floor. “By God, I'll shake the spots off these dice yet!” And he'd rub them together incredibly hard, as if that would teach those demonic dice a lesson.
I could handle the shaking of the table, tossing dice on the floor, or even talking to the dice in a normal tone of voice. What I can't deal with is how he works himself up into a frenzy and the yelling. Ask him nicely to stop yelling, and you get one of or a combination of: flat out denial, an accusation that you do it too, the “stink eye”, or more yelling.
Friday, January 23, 2015
Like a Good Neighbor, Dadzilla Is...Yelling, Banging, Cussing, Giving Me a Headache
- The neighbors upstairs turn out to be no picnic either, but then again, Dadzilla tends to exacerbate any problem ten-fold. They are exceptionally noisy; he's right. The way he goes about his protests though, leave a lot to be desired. He sits on the couch and watches TV for several hours throughout the day. Inevitably, the people upstairs make some clank, crash, or boom Dadzilla doesn't appreciate. I'm not sure why, since the TV is always at maximum volume and you can barely hear the sound of police helicopter rotor blades directly overhead.
- I'm telling you, these people have no sense, and certainly no common courtesy. Who lets their toddler jump on and off their furniture and run in the house, not even occasionally, but constantly? I don't know. Maybe it's me. At 40 years old, am I that out of touch? If either my brother or I ever jumped on and off the couch as kids, I can assure you, I'd have a hand print on my butt that would make me remember to not do it again. I don't even believe in corporal punishment, but there are still such things as rules and discipline. Don't mention corporal punishment to Dadzilla though; he'd be happy to see the little girl upstairs shuttled off to a nunnery up north, never to be heard from again.
- Personally, I like solutions. Dadzilla likes to moan and groan and yell. Which is what he does everyday as soon as any noise begins. “Can't you smack that little girl across the ass? Don't be afraid of her!” directed toward the grandfather upstairs. Sometimes, it sounds like a herd of elephants just got home. “Pick up your feet, goddamnit!” He will sit there for hours yelling. Why would someone sit there and yell like a lunatic for hours, day after day for months, when obviously that strategy isn't working?
- Oh, he says he's talked to the apartment manager, and he says “we all have to get along.”
- He can't be bothered to say anything directly to the people up there though. Once, I left a note that was worded very politely on their door. I asked them to please be more courteous. Specifically, I asked if they could get their daughter to refrain from furniture-jumping and running in the house, not just to be polite, but because it's dangerous. The only response I heard about was the grandfather came down here and Dadzilla got the door. “I think we have a problem,” he says, showing the note I left. “I ain't got a problem,” he says. I didn't even know about this since I was in my room with my ear plugs in like I have to do for most of the day. He doesn't have a problem?! The man who spontaneously combusts at any noise whatsoever, nevermind the noisy people upstairs? He said they argued and he stormed up back to his apartment. I think there were idle threats bandied about, but that's about it. It did absolutely nothing to abate the noise.
- So, there we are, a round of hostilities later and nothing to show for it. I'm at a loss for what to do. There is one more step above the apartment manager, and that is the owner. I've only heard of one conversation he and Dadzilla have had and it sounded positive. He's not around that often, and that would involve action from an unapologetic dreamer, who would rather use his cane to bang against the wall and yell, rather than make any real attempt at rectifying the situation.
- Meanwhile, my ears get sore now and then from having in ear plugs twenty of twenty-four hours per day. I don't care. If I lose my hearing, it could be a real blessing. That blessing wouldn't even be in disguise; it would be twerking around naked.
- <The Nose Knows> <cont'd in future post>
Thursday, January 22, 2015
My Dad (Dadzilla) will be 77 in a couple months. His auto insurance has been going up every year since he was 75. This is a great way for him to check the rates of auto insurance provides (in the US).
Of course, if you're younger than that, it will still show you competitive rates for the coverage you want, Just click on the image and enter your zip code in the appropriate box in the new window.
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
The New Apartment -- Not All It's Cracked Up to Be
- When he was looking for a new place to move, it kind of fell in his lap. The neighbors that we had, moved and liked the place they were now living. He kept on and on trying to get me to move over the course of several weeks. I wasn't really unhappy with where I was. I had air conditioning, a phone, cable, and high speed internet in my room. Since Dadzilla likes to poke his nose into everyone else's business, he also took on everyone else's problems by proxy. All of those problems, very few of which were his own, led him to wanting to leave.
- I really hate moving. So much work. It kills my back and I'm already tired all the time. I was sore for about a week after we finished. I found out during the move that we would have upstairs neighbors. I knew then I'd see no peace. Even if the neighbors were reasonably quiet, Dadzilla would still complain. I didn't even see the place once before we moved in and I didn't really care, since I knew I'd have no say at this point anyway.
- They swear up and down that my new room is much bigger than the old one. It looks the same size to me, maybe a little smaller. I disagree with Dadzilla and our old neighbor. “N-n-no. It's bigger.” I can't be bothered to argue over the inconsequential and let it drop. His room is larger and he now has his own bathroom, and that's a good thing for him. So, we gain a bathroom. I, on the other hand, lose my own internet, cable TV, and a phone in my room. The only phone we have is now in his room. God, why me? Something else to get entangled with him that will surely cause trouble somehow.
- I have to share wifi internet with other people in the complex. That doesn't seem like it would be so bad. It ends up being hell. It goes down all the time and doesn't work right half the time when it's up. I spend lots of time in McDonald's and Starbuck's parking lots, mooching internet access. I feel homeless somehow. Will I make it a habit of depending on the kindness of strangers for what I need in life?
- I remember getting to dislike Key West a great deal by the end of my tenure there. Too much hedonism, not enough responsibility. Too many personalities to deal with, depending on who was on what illicit drug. It was beginning to once again look like paradise compared to my current situation.
- <Banned if I Do> <cont'd in future post>
Monday, January 19, 2015
Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner -- Not So Much
- Ever since we moved into the first 2 bedroom apartment, I haven't been allowed to go shopping with him. I asked him why and he claims I spend too much money. I don't know how that can be since almost everything I get is on sale or generic. What I think is the real issue is that it gives me more choices that are out of Dadzilla's control. He just has to micromanage or he's insecure. Nothing like getting smothered.
- He asks what I want sometimes and puts me on the spot so I don't have time to think about it. He complains. If I'm ready for him and make a short list, he complains. If I take the initiative and leave the list on the table, he complains. Sometimes he'll take the list, then he doesn't come with half the things. He claims he couldn't find them or that they were out of whatever it was. Again, I feel he's exerting control.
- It does no good to say anything; he'll just argue. If you tell him he argues all the time, he'll argue and deny it on top of that. I come up with the “DART” behavior theory to apply to Dadzilla. Deny, Argue, Reflect (as in “you do the same thing”), Temper Tantrum, but all of them don't always occur. If they all occur, then I might get lucky that the argument was big enough he might not talk to me for a day or two.
- Another thing he usually does at the grocery store is stop by the pharmacy and pick up my meds. Sometimes, it's “I'm not your servant, goddamnit.” One time I didn't ask him to get my meds, then I went out to get them when he came home. He wanted to know where I was going and why. I told him, “I'm going to get my meds, because you told me this week you were tired of being my “servant”.” He says nothing and looks away. Then another time I don't tell him to get my meds, and I go get them. I get home with the meds, and he asked what I was doing. “Jesus Christ, I could have gotten those for you while I was there.” Often, there is no winning with Dadzilla.
- When he gets home with the groceries and I make the mistake of making an appearance too early, he has to go over the grocery order. As if I can't figure it out. As if I'm blind, deaf, and dumb. Of course, this probably isn't the first time he'll have gone over the order. This is at least the second time, because he talks about the order before he goes. The order is pretty much 80% the same every week, the one I'm not allowed to go get. It's really not that confusing, and if I'm not allowed to have any say in what I get for groceries, why should I care?
- Oh, yes. Sometimes he'll come home with an exact duplicate of cereal that we already have. Other times he'll bring something home that I don't like, so I don't eat it. We've discussed it, it does no good, and I give up. At any given time, there's generic lunch meat in the “rotter” drawer in the fridge. I've told him that I can't do generic meat; I'm afraid of what the government might allow them to put in it. He'd be better off just getting more vegetables or something. They are cheaper, and there's more of a chance I'll eat them. This never happens. Then-- “What's that smell in the refrigerator?” and the mystery meat that's been in there for a few weeks is tossed.
- I'm also not allowed to have 1% or skim milk. Every week, there's that red lettering of the whole milk glaring back at me. I take meds for cholesterol. I can't imagine why. I tell Dadzilla, nothing changes. Oh, he acts like he'll get skim or 1% next time; that's what he drinks and it would actually make things easier. I am denied. I'm wondering if he's a masochist, always making things harder for himself. A lot of his torment is of his own making.
- Like with just about every other chore, I've offered to do some things. “N-n-no! I can do it. It'll give me something to do.” Then I let him continue doing any particular chore. “What the hell? I'm not your maid. You need to start helping out around here!”
- The very next time I offer, I get pushed aside. Damned if I do, damned if I don't. The groceries are kind of like this. I get tired of the games, so I just don't offer anymore and hide in my room if I hear the outside door open.
- <Dadzilla Threatens> <cont'd in future post>
Saturday, January 17, 2015
China Bitch...and Bitch and Bitch
- One day, Dadzilla suggests we go out to get Chinese for dinner. We both like Chinese, but I'm apprehensive about going anywhere with him, whether he's driving or a passenger. Who needs the aggravation of a screaming old man at the slightest provocation? Yearning for something different for dinner, I acquiesce, and off we go the couple miles to get Chinese at a chain place.
- I avoid as much as possible making left turns with no light in the middle of the day anyway, now I'm extra careful. One false move and there could be an explosion. Driving on egg shells doesn't matter; there's ALWAYS something to complain and yell about. I think back on the rare occasions my mother was in the same vehicle as him, and why they were so infrequent. I repent for being a stupid kid, encouraging her to get in the same vehicle as he was. I guess all kids want their parents together, even as they argue bitterly and they lack any wisdom to see it's much better off that they separate. I wonder what kind of insecure, micromanager I would have become had Dadzilla actually lived in the same house as me past the age of 6.
- Uh oh. It's one of those yellow lights you have to brake kind of suddenly for, as there isn't enough time to make it through before it turns red. Three “what the hells”, a “goddamnit”, and a sexist epithet later, and we're back on our way. Is all this worth it for Chinese? He's not shutting up.
- Finally, we pull in, place our order, get our order and get out. The second we pull out and get stopped at a light, he continues his spiel about how the lights in Arizona are rigged to the detriment of the drivers. “Wah wah, wah wah wah wah, wah,” on and on and, apparently, on. We get home and he gives me an order. I don't even remember what it was, but I guess it didn't sit right that particular day, already hearing him rambling on almost the entire time driving.
- I declare, almost yelling, “Stop giving me orders! You do it all the time!” Dadzilla's eyes widen, as he erupts. “I wasn't telling you what to do, goddamnit!” and “I oughta hit you a good one!” Violence is always the answer, but I won't tolerate it as an adult. “I wish you would hit me, then the judge can ORDER you to go to anger management. You've needed it for YEARS.” I've disputed the authority of Dadzilla. This will not do. He accuses me of being selfish. I don't understand the connection between wanting him to go to anger management and being selfish, but I've already had enough.
- I gather up my Chinese food and head to my room. I have to come back out to the kitchen to get a drink. I'm not the only one who forgot my drink. Dadzilla is again cursing because he left his drink somewhere in the restaurant. “Ta hell with it! I'll just go on without it.” Being the selfish person I am, I drive back down to the restaurant alone and bring back his drink. I place it on the table next to his food. He has nothing to say.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
No Sugar Tonight in My Coffee
- I feel bad sometimes that Dadzilla and I don't do many things together. I wish it were different, but someone with anger management issues is not fun to be around. I almost always drive if we're going someplace together. And that would be fine except for all the anger, rage, and hostility that he exhibits. At the most mundane things even. OK, everyone might get mad now and then about certain things on the road, and I'm certainly no angel myself. He's a passenger. He shouldn't be concerned with minor things now, or any other time, really. I often wonder how he's made it to his age without having suffered a fatal heart attack brought on by one of these fits. Red lights, slow drivers, fast drivers, drivers who are in any way a minority, buses, tractor trailers – all a part of life driving, all a part of Dadzilla's righteous crusade against what he perceives is a slight against him. And, because it IS a crusade, it doesn't last just a minute or two. He's been known to go on and on ad nauseum about what most people would consider a fact of life.
- The fact is, Dadzilla has always been this way, ever since I've known him. As a kid, I was afraid of him and his outbursts. It's not as if my brother and I were hit much at all. I think maybe the old fashioned coffee pot incident might have made him really think twice, but I don't know for sure. That was when he went to smack my brother across the table and he knocked that coffee pot into my face, causing profuse bleeding. Judging by the noise, his yelling, Mom's yelling, my anguished shrieking as blood poured, you'd think a bomb went off. I was whisked away to the hospital for stitches above my right eye. The doctor asked, “Did your Daddy hit you?” I responded, “No, my brudder was being bad. He tried to hit my brudder, but hit the coffee pot by accident” They had a good laugh at that one for years. But I can't help wondering if it was just coincidence I don't remember anymore physicalities beyond this point or if there was fear of Child Protective Services snooping around when they considered it undue corporal punishment.
Sunday, January 11, 2015
The Government is Still No Friend of Dadzilla
- Various correspondences and paperwork with signatures are shuttled back and forth via postal service. Oh, just think: you'll be able to get a business going or start whatever it is you wanted to do and stop struggling. So says Dadzilla. After a couple of months of this paperwork boomeranging, I get the all-too-familiar “denied” form letter. Oh, groovy. As if that's a shock. Normally, the law office would help in the appeal process, but they misunderstood. It seems I am now short work credits, and nothing can be done in my case. Wunderbar.
- Dadzilla is livid. “What d'ya mean? I should have known. No one in this goddamn state is any good! Crooked politicians and crooked lawyers!” And I get to listen to him blow his top for the next 5 or 10 minutes. Then again, a red light makes him blow his top. Lucky me.
- A few weeks go by, and all is quiet on the Dadzilla front. That is, til one day “You can still get money, you know. From Social Security. I know because I went through this before.” Right. As if I've forgotten that argument. Like he hasn't harped on it any chance he got. Like anyone in the entire complex doesn't now know the story. Maddening. “But Dad, they denied me because some of my work credits have expired. Nothing can be done.” “Don't give me that, goddamn it! I just told you: I've been through this before! I'm not just saying it for the sake of saying it! I went through it!” I lose control of my mouth as I grab my coffee and head for my room. “You never listen. I hate even coming out here.” Once in my room, there's silence, then a slam of the outside door. The jury is still out on this debacle.
- <Dadzilla Social Security pt 1> <cont'd in future post>
Saturday, January 10, 2015
The Government Is No Friend of Dadzilla
- I was no stranger to depression and treatment. A couple of doctors think my constant fatigue is a manifestation of the depression that isn't being addressed fully through meds. I think chronic fatigue is a possibility since I had mononucleosis twice. I never have a whole battery of tests done to exclude other things that it can be. When you have State insurance, it's a complicated dance of what you're allowed to do with which doctor at any particular point in time. The whole thing is disheartening and I don't press the issue.
- “When are those doctors ever gonna do their jobs and fix what's wrong with you?” It's at least a weekly question, and it's one of those questions that Dadzilla asks all the time precisely because it has no answer. I think he hates silence. “I don't know, Dad. I just keep getting medicine. I don't feel depressed when I take what they give me. I just feel tired all the time.” “When are you gonna hear back from Social Security?” The other question he asks repeatedly. “They denied me, and it's going to the next step in the process. You know how they do.” Dadzilla would be the first one to tell you about how the government makes you jump through hoops. He's gotten all sorts of Social Security for years because of his age and for a variety of disabilities. I'm only in my 30's and seem relatively healthy, so I don't stand a chance. I picture a maniacal bureaucrat with a stamp marked “DENIED” with red ink being slammed down on my application at every point in the appeal process. Then, said government lackey laughs with glee as he gets to deny yet another set of paperwork. And here it is, only shortly after his 8th break before lunch.
- When Dadzilla gets a notion stuck in his craw, it doesn't subside until absolutely all action has been taken, so long as he isn't the one having to take the action. This is why a year or two later, he harps on re-initiating the social security process, this time with a lawyer. I try to make him listen to reason, that I already went through it all up to the step of a hearing before a judge before my final denial.
- He wants to hear none of it, “Goddamn it!” After all, he went through the process himself not that long ago, and he had to go through so many steps it would make your head swim. I try to explain to him that a decade plus can make a big difference. We're in a recession now, some laws have tightened the government's grip on their money. Though I'm not sure, I think States can distribute the money, and I know Arizona is not generous when it comes to their resources. Above all, I WAS JUST DENIED NOT THAT LONG AGO. “It doesn't matter, goddamn it. I was...” “wah wah wah wah wah wah wah...” “...and he just saw a lawyer on TV and here is a number and the website address. They're based in Phoenix, but they do Tucson.” I acquiesce, and just do it to shut him up.
- I get a toll free number for these people from the internet. Of course, they've been around for 40 years and can win almost all cases big or small. They specialize in Social Security claims. Yada yada yada...and this is just on their webpage. When I talk to a woman on the phone, she gives me the whole spiel. This included what I read on the internet, and then some. Will I accept their service in return for handing them 25% of backpaid money? I agree.
- <Early to Bed> <cont'd in future post>
Friday, January 9, 2015
...Not Healthy, Nor Wealthy, Nor Wise
- One day Dadzilla has to go in for an operation. They install a pacemaker. He's in the VA Hospital for several days. When he comes home, he has to take it easy for a while. He also has follow up appointments I take him to. He insists on leaving for his 3:00pm appointment at 12:30pm. “You're going to sit around bored, Dad.” “No I won't; sometimes they take you early if you get there early.”
- Hours and hours later, while I sit sleeping in the car, Dadzilla hobbles out on his cane. The look on his face tells the whole story. The words in his mouth retell it, just in case I had a peaceful rest. “I waited there for 2 hours! Goddamn doctors and nurses!” “Blah, blah, blah.” All I can hear is Charlie Brown's school teacher: “Wah wah wah wah, wah wah wah.” “...and I have to come back in a month.” Oy. A cacophony to my ears. Maybe we can just sleep in the parking lot overnight and save ourselves the mad dash back to be 2 hours early.
- Dadzilla gets better. I continue to fritter my days away, minding my own business in my room. I dream of having a job that pays well that I enjoy, working on the internet. After several bad bosses in the restaurant industry, I simply cannot deal with that whole thing again. I have a degree, for all that's worth. A bachelor's degree in sociology doesn't lead to a princely living, especially when you are in debt to the tune of over $150,000. Taking out student loans to pay for out-of-state tuition for graduate school wasn't one of my better ideas. Dealing with the “real world” terrified me, so I hid in a world of academic tedium paid for with loans.
- <Dadzilla, Anger Management> <cont'd in future post>
Thursday, January 8, 2015
Lady Gives Funny Speech at Award Dinner
I do not own the rights to this video, so I will post a link to it, rather than embed it on the blog. It gets funnier after about a minute and a half: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPFCn3itBFE
Social Security, Anger Management, Dadzilla, and Me
- So, after a year or two at this place, we have our routines down. If it's summer, we stay inside most of the time, I in my room, Dadzilla in the living room. If it's cooler weather, he likes to chat with the neighbors, maybe go for a ride. I stay in my room. I figure I hear everyone's business from Dadzilla. From the way he tells it, I don't want to get to know most of the neighbors anyway. This is fine with me, because I'm so tired all the time. With my meds, I'm not depressed, but I sleep a lot. Any combination of sleep and sleep apnea device doesn't help. Still always tired.
- I apply for different forms of Social Security, but after over a year of processing, I'm denied a final time. I can appeal, but it would be before a judge at a hearing. I just drop the case. I'm too young. I'm not sick enough. I can still walk without being in agony. Maybe if I show up in a wheelchair drooling on myself.
- Meanwhile, discontent is building in the apartment complex and more people are leaving and are not being replaced quickly enough. Finally, after several months go by with the habitability of the apartments worsening, the place is put up for auction for non-payment and sold. No more John and Joan who Dadzilla was complaining about just about everyday now. One time John made an off-the-cuff remark to Dadzilla, who was sitting down, chatting with a neighbor. He jumped up and threatened to hit John where he stood. Oh, yeah, did I mention Dadzilla has an anger management issue? You probably gathered that already. That is what makes Dadzilla, Dadzilla.
- So, John and Joan out, Jeff in. Things are looking up. It seems he actually cares about the complex and addresses many of the problems. He hires one of the neighbors to be kind of a caretaker of the place in exchange for dismissing his rent. The place starts looking nicer than we've ever seen it.
- <We Meet in Tucson> <cont'd in future post>