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Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Own Private Ida-Hell

My Escape from Apartment 196

Escape from Ida-hell

I'd 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.

People 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.

I 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 again.

More 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.

Oh, 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.

The 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.

Mr. 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.

I 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..

Now, there's a lady with a preschooler. This lady fancies herself a singer, but I can't make out the language.

I 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.

There 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.

This is why it's all too probable that I will never have peace until I'm once again away on my own.

<Dadzilla Cried Wolf>                                            <cont'd in future post>

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Dadzilla Who Cried Wolf

Theory of Negativity

Dadzilla's 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.

<Dread and Circuses/Dice>                                         <cont'd in future post>

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Dread and Circuses

The Dice Whisperer

Dadzilla 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.

He does these things in normal everyday living. Who needs more during a game that's supposed to be fun?

<Make Some Noise>                                                   <cont'd in future post>

Friday, January 23, 2015

Make Some Noise for the Upstairs Boys (and Girls)

Like a Good Neighbor, Dadzilla Is...Yelling, Banging, Cussing, Giving Me a Headache

Dadzilla Hates Noise

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

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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 Nose Knows It's Time to Move

The New Apartment -- Not All It's Cracked Up to Be

The Nose Knows

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

Banned if I Do, Banned if I Don't

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner -- Not So Much

Winner Dadzilla Chicken Dinner

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

Dadzilla Threatens to Strike

China Bitch...and Bitch and Bitch

Dadzilla Threatens to Strike

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.

<A Little Coffee Pot>                                                            <cont'd in future post>

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Little Coffee Pot Never Hurt Anyone...Except Me

No Sugar Tonight in My Coffee

Dadzilla Coffee Pot Incident

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.

<Dadzilla Social Security pt2>                                      <cont'd in future post>

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Dadzilla on Social Security (part 2)

The Government is Still No Friend of Dadzilla

Dadzilla Social Security 2

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>

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Saturday, January 10, 2015

Dadzilla on Social Security

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.

Dadzilla Social Security

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

Save Money! Don't Be a Dadzilla!

You don't have to be elderly to use coupons!  Save money, don't be a Dadzilla!

Early to Bed and Early to Appointments Makes a Dadzilla...

...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.”

Elderly Man w/ Dentures Out

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

Funny YouTube Video about Growing Older

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:

Hi, My Name Is Dadzilla and I have Anger Management Issues

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.

Happy Sad Angry Kicking Ass

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>

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

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We Meet in Tucson Where We End Up Living

And this leads us to: Dadzilla Takes Tucson...

So, we agree to move to Tucson. He was in Minnesota by this time, which is where he grew up and some family still is. I was in St. Petersburg, FL, spinning my wheels in the sand, not having any momentum, nor any direction. The reason I chose Tucson was because Dad had lived in and around Phoenix before and he liked it there. I thought he'd like a smaller city in Arizona a bit better.

Oh, he'd go metal detecting, and maybe pan a little for gold, maybe even go fishing if there was some sort of lake fed by a spring someplace. Those were pipe dreams...for both of us.

Intro to Elderly Dadzilla

First week here after we met up at a long-term rental motel, a couple guys broke into his van and stole some of his stuff. Of course, it was the “goddamn, bungling police” who couldn't do their jobs and find the thieves. And, naturally, the thieves were believed to be Mexican, since someone had seen part of the event unfold. More Archie Bunkeresque comments about putting up a fence along the border and giving no more warnings, just start shooting. No, “Deputy Dawg” never did find any of his things. But the Sheriff, Governor, and Senators did get something from Dadzilla. That came in the form of many-paged letters written by his hand with accusations and all. Though, I'm not quite clear if he included any of his favorite epithets. Oh, no, he wouldn't be surprised if they threw him in prison. I pointed out that they would just take it as the mad rantings of an aged man, since he didn't actually threaten anyone. I figured, even if he did, he'd be safe; the political fallout for throwing a disabled, elderly man in prison would probably be too great for anyone to pull off. Believe you me, I still get to listen to this tale every now and then.

Almost two months later, in August, we finally find a place that seems acceptable. What a treat it was having him riding in my passenger seat. “Goddamn light! They need to fix these damn lights here in Tucson. Red, red, red! C'mon!” “Look at that! Putzing along, putzing along! Figures! It's a woman! Wanting everyone to cater to her!”

We're almost to the new place after what seems like hours. Negative comments about this, that, and the other. John and Joan are the landlords, and they seem like decent people. We get our keys and, after much ado, move in. Neither one of us should be moving heavy things, but at least my back trouble isn't life threatening. Dadzilla uses a cane for a reason, but foregoes its usage moving our things. Other than fighting because he constantly barks orders at me, it goes without a hitch, which is a surprise in and of itself.

<How Do I Survive Living With Elderly Father?>      <continued in future post>

How Do I Survive Living With an Elderly Father?

Elderly Man Making Face

Dadzilla Takes Tucson!


How Do I Survive
Living With
An Elderly Father?


 Since the elderly is the fastest growing segment of the population in the developed world, is it surprising that more adult children live with their senior parents? Health care costs are out of control, as are the rents of halfway decent assisted living facilities. For this reason and others, some of us are bound by duty or insanity to have one or both parents living in close proximity.

My mom passed away in January of 2008. My brother and sister-in-law covered a lot of her expenses when she moved into assisted living. If it weren't for that, Mom would have spent her waning days in some sub-par facility that the government qualifies as adequate. Because my brother had a large hand in providing for her, I felt inclined to help Dad. That's actually the minor reason, believe it or not. The major reason is that when one parent dies on you, it changes your perspective on life a bit. At least it did for me.

I hadn't gotten to see my mother for several years and I guess I didn't quite realize what the gravity of her situation was. She had fallen several times. She was getting thinner and thinner. Mom once asked me, “Wouldn't it be nice if I could just have a “touch” of anorexia? Not the whole thing, but just enough to lose some of this weight?” I don't think this is what she had in mind.

Finally, after one of these falls, she broke some ribs which punctured a lung. Most of her trouble was COPD, probably emphysema by that point too (yes, she smoked until her early 50s). She could ill-afford to lose anymore function in her breathing. She was asking for items from her room one minute, then it seems like the very next day she was gone. I guess the quickness was really a blessing in disguise. But...

I never got to say goodbye; I was in no financial condition to take off from work. It never really bothered me, even though I think about her every day. I didn't go to her funeral or remembrance event for her older grandkids to have closure. I wanted to remember her living life, not as a pile of ashes in some urn. I've never been to a single funeral in my life, and here I am almost 40. There's just something too macabre about it all, something that would give me too uncomfortable a brush with mortality, literally staring death in the face.

So, why am I telling you all of this? It is to help you understand the decision making process I went through. You see, after the trauma of one parent dying, you go through a whole range of emotions and thoughts. For me, it made me think of my other parent, who probably doesn't have too many years left either. He has always been incredibly hard to get along with. I would never have even entertained the notion before Mom passed, but there it was - glaring at me.

<home>                                                                                                     <continued in future post>