Tuesday, November 29, 2005

'Tis the Season to Be Crabby

*Today is part one of a long, personal rant. You have been warned.

So, another Thanksgiving has come and gone. I trust everyone had a happy one. I spent mine with my parents. Deem from that what you will.

I'm an only child. I love my parents. I've always thought of them as ageless, never really perceiving them as "old." That's changed over the last few of years as I've realized that they are indeed getting old...and on my nerves.

As some of you may or may not know, I chose to spend the holidays alone last year. Though I initially had qualms about it, I reminded myself what the previous year's holidays were like and that made it just that much easier to arrive at my conclusion. The holiday season brings with it some industrial-strength stress. It was so nice not to have to deal with it for once. If I had no conscience I could continue to celebrate the holidays alone. However, I have that self-induced fear that "this could be their last Thanksgiving/Christmas." Guilt sucks.

So, this year I opted to have them over ON the day of Thanksgiving, in lieu of them spending the previous night. I've decided I can't deal with the overnights, however brief, anymore. It's way too much work. It's comparative to pulling a retarded, deaf, three-legged dog on a leash through the park.

Here's some background into my parents:

My father is 75 and my mother is 10 years his junior. Contradictory to beliefs ingrained in their psyches, they are not crippled, deaf or physically unhealthy. My father was diagnosed with Cancer (lymph nodes in the throat/tongue) over 2 years ago. In the process of his chemotherapy he lost a considerable amount of weight and claimed to have lost the ability to taste things. He's been milking it ever since. He wields it whenever and wherever it will garner him the most attention. He's fallen and he can't get up. Before you get sad or say "Awww," (after reading the next few paragraphs) let me inform you that he successfully completed chemo and is now Cancer-free.

How do I know he supposedly can't taste things (though people he knows that have gone through the exact same ordeal, and same physical location, have somehow managed to regain their sense of taste)? Because he reminds us anytime we go somewhere to eat as well as at least every 45 minutes about how he can't taste this or that "anymore." Yet he manages to have taste buds when it comes to things he likes. It's a miracle! Praise the Lord! Is this to say that he never, truly had taste issues? Of course not. I'm just saying the ship has sailed on this excuse. Meanwhile, his teeth will rot out of his head from all the things he CAN taste. Gee. Who knew ice cream, pie, cake, McDonald's, pizza, cookies and all his favorite dishes would be so doggone tasty? Go figure. But somehow, easy meals like soup, sandwiches and leftovers are now "yucky."

In addition, he never ceases to work into a conversation (at least once per visit) how loose his pants, underwear, shirts, etc. are now. Because he's so svelte. Cancer: the ultimate calorie burner. He brandishes his weight as if he single-handedly invented the concept of weight loss. We get it. You lost weight. Congratulations. Now either buy some clothes that fit or shut the fuck up about it. News Flash: You're not the only Cancer survivor in existence.

His most recent prize-winning move: Recently while ordering LUNCH at Whataburger, he inquired about breakfast and was informed that they stop serving breakfast at 10am. He then proceeds to tell them that Jack in the Box serves breakfast all day long. Guess what, asshole, this ain't Jack in the Box. Welcome to Whataburger.

Bullet Points:

• My father's back is always "killing" him. He's been dying since 1982.

• My mother has gotten into the habit of asking me the same question repeatedly. She apparently thinks that if she asks it enough I'll eventually give her the answer she wants to hear. And no, she doesn't have a hearing problem. I made her go get her hearing checked. Perfect hearing.

She's dug a hundred different assorted sweaters/sweatshirts, etc. out of the closet that used to be mine when I was in grade school. They're all "so nice" she's convinced they'll still fit me. Yeah, maybe when I was 11. I pick out the few I want for sentimental reasons, and leave the rest:

Mother: How about this one?
Me: No, I picked out the ones I wanted already. Thanks, though.
Mother: Are you sure? Look at it. You used to wear this all the time. You don't want it?
Me: No.
Mother: But it's orange. You love orange. You could wear it under a sweater.
Me: I said "NO"
Mother: Okay then. I don't know why you wouldn't want it though.... (picks up another one) How about this one?
[ This goes on until I finally have to tell her: "Look, I'm not going to keep doing this with you. I know you're not deaf. I told you I picked out the ones I wanted. Do I have to start ignoring you completely?" ]
Then she puts on the faux "sad-face" and says okay. Fifteen minutes later we go through it all over again, but this time it's with canned goods, laundry detergent, mothballs, plants, knickknacks, kitchen utensils...

• My Dad is perpetually on the verge of financial destitution...yet always somehow manages to buy yet another riding lawnmower, multiple mechanical weeders, fixer-upper vehicles, etc. I've heard stories that make Oliver Twist look like an episode of Full House. Though he has multiple things he could sell if he were truly as hard up as he claims (land, multiple vehicles, multiple properties (bldgs), duplicate landscaping equipment, etc.). These tales of woe have been falling on deaf ears since 1986.

• My mother is perpetually digging in her goddamn purse for something. We could be in an airplane, plummeting to our fiery doom and she'd be digging for a goddamn Kleenex, pill, car key, exact change, mirror, fingernail clippers, lipstick, eye drops, etc. It especially drives me INSANE when she does it while we're trying to watch a movie at home. She inevitably misses something because of it and then is hopelessly "lost."

• When visiting, my mother feels compelled to give me a running commentary on what she is doing at all times and why. She's going to the bathroom, but she's not going to flush it because Daddy is going next and it'll save water and she's going to get a glass of water in the kitchen and she's putting her glass "right here" so don't put it away and she needs to blow her nose but she needs a Kleenex first and her foot itches, but she doesn't know why... She's never not talking.

These are the same exact questions my parents have been asking me for the last 25 years:

"You like tomatoes?"
I've never liked tomatoes. Never.
"You don't like watermelon?"
I haven't liked watermelon since I was 7.
"You like beans?"
I haven't liked beans since I was 4.
"What kind of popcorn is this?"
(It doesn't matter. They will never pay $5 for a box of microwave popcorn when they can get a box of shit brand microwave popcorn for $2 (or less!), then complain that it doesn't taste as good. Gee, imagine that. Besides, I've been telling her "Pop Secret: Homestyle" for the last 10 years and she's yet to buy a box of it.)
"What do you want for your birthday, Christmas, etc.?"
(It doesn't matter. You stopped listening 15 years ago. Whatever it is it's never cheap enough. Why go through the motions? Just send me a card.)

And for the record: Yes, I'm thankful that my father is Cancer-free. Yes, I do realize that some people's parents are no longer around (all the more reason for me to be grateful). Yes, I am thankful my parents are still a part of my life. Yes, I will miss them terribly when they are gone. Yes, I will most-likely be lost without my parents. And to reiterate: Yes, I love my parents dearly. Yes, I'm grateful that my parents love me so much. There, hopefully that will deter any mournful, scornful comments from bleeding hearts.

NOTE: Normally, I make a conscious effort not to blog about personal matters, so be content in the knowledge that this is a rare post. After all, I have to vent somewhere, and like it or not, this is it. It's here or the clock tower.

*Tomorrow, part 2: Thanksgiving Day: The CliffsNotes Edition


Anonymous Dave2 said...

Wait a second... after all that build-up, we get a TO BE CONTINUED?!?

You are a total tease! :-)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 2:41:00 AM  
Blogger Shelly said...

This sure has me appreciating my nearly 80-year-old father more than ever. My mother died in 1982. And it reminds me of my aunt and my grandfather. He died when he was 95 and up til then, they had conversations that remind me of you and your parents. I once asked her why she just didn't say whatever he wanted to hear and be done with it.

I know tho that you can't win. So maybe concede a few victories? I would've taken the sweaters, said thanks, then dumped them later on. I've actually done that with stuff my father gives me. I take the things, toss them when I get home, and he's happy. It's such a simple thing. :)

And I think people's quaint little habits get more and more annoying as they get older. They simply can't help it.

I'm eagerly awaiting part 2. :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous kris said...

Ohhh, I love these stories. And you don't like watermelon or tomatoes either? I think we're soulmates. BFF!

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Nathan said...

You should get personal more often. I enjoyed reading that.

I'm not saying I enjoy things that irritate you. I'm saying I enjoy learning more about you as a person.

That's what blogs are for.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 10:36:00 AM  
Blogger Mariana said...

Every time my husband and I meet my mother-in-law she always makes us feel like apologizing for whatever we're wearing, because she always asks us "Are you cold?" (as if we were too bundled up in clothes it's ridiculous) or "Are you feeling warm?" as if we were wearing so close to nothing we aught to be ashamed of ourselves.

Whenever she can't think of a clever answer she always laughs at you, as if you were being silly and she was so superior.

In her eyes my husband (her son) is always looking too thin, and he should eat more. He's one of those people who are naturally skinny, no matter what he eats. He's always been like that ALWAYS. And yet every time she sees him he's gotten somehow miraculously "thinner." If she were right he would have disappeared by now.

There, people stink. ;)

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 2:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Princess Wild Cow said...

There are really some great reasons to be glad I have no parents...and you just listed them all...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005 8:09:00 PM  
Blogger Clublint said...

My parents only pulled the "we're dying" stunt once.

My sister and I both got a box of coloured dot stickers and went around the family home putting stickers on stuff we wanted after they'd both croaked and they both bought a clue.

Every so often my sister and I will still find something with a sticker on it and we break out in gales of laughter.

I'm sorry your parents are acting like, well... parents. I plan on doing it to my children when they're older too.


Wednesday, November 30, 2005 2:07:00 AM  
Anonymous ocB said...

wait, you don't like tomatoes?

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 2:13:00 AM  
Blogger Kirkkitsch said...

{practices looking coy} I sorry. But seriously, if I'd posted alllll the stuff I was going to, it would have been one long-ass post and most people would have lost interest/dozed off halfway through. LOL! That's the only reason I decided to make it a 2-parter.

BTW, I am loving your travel photos, as always. Very "pretty" for lack of a better word. :)

Oh, Shelly, Shelly, Shelly. It all looks soooo easy...from the outside. BUT, once you're on the inside (much like the interior of a Venus Fly Trap), there's no escape. It's a little more tricky to pull off.

Trust me when I say that I've considered exactly what you've said (re: concede a few victories). It never seems to work the way I think it's going to. If I'd taken those sweaters and dumped them in a Goodwill box somewhere, she'd inevitably want to see them...or wonder why she never sees me wear them...or want to borrow one. Plus, there's the "Step-n-Fetch" factor, where once I take some random crap off her hands, she'll come to expect me to continue to do it, because, after all, I did it "that one time."

Thanks for the compliment! I'm a narcissist at heart, when it comes to my blog, so the fact that anyone is anticipating something I wrote, is always a compliment! Thank U. :)

Thank you! You made my day!! :D

And no, even though everyone here in Texas considers it one of the cardinal sins not to like watermelon, tomatoes or beans, I just don't. With the tomatoes and watermelon, it's purely a texture thing. I like watermelon-flavored candies and/or tomato sauce/paste, but not the actual items themselves. And with beans, I only like snow peas, green beans (tolerable) and the occasional bean in some Wendy's chili (it's inescapable).

Now, if you only lived closer, we could shun the food shackles of this oppressive red state! LOL! ;)

Aw, thank you. To be honest, the reason I don't (get more personal, more often) is because I always doubt anyone wants to read about my dramatic bullshit. LOL! Which is ironic, because I, on the other hand, enjoy reading about other's lives. I guess I just think my life is so yawn-worthy that people will get bored and eventually stop reading. "Oh good Lord, here he goes again. What's he bitching about today?" Or at least, that's what I imagine people saying to themselves when I do get personal.

And speaking of, you've actually inspired me to start working on a post about the whole "gay experience." A while back you had a post ("Let's Get Deeper...") where you asked people to submit/share their gay experiences. I wanted to, but my "coming out" was kinda boring and uneventful. However, I have plennnnnnnty of other homolicious stories, which I will share in the future. So, thanks for igniting the flame (so to speak)! ;D

That's almost as bad as the "Is that what you're going to wear?" back-handed compliment. People like that are just aching to be ignored. For those types, I revert to auto-pilot status and sail through in a zombie-like fashion. Kinda like how I've come to deal with my parents.

Oh, and trust me, if she didn't think your husband was looking too thin, then it's be too fat or too old or something. Some people just aren't content until they've imposed their issues onto everyone around them.

And BRAVO! It's about time someone adopted my personal mantra: People stink! ;)

Princess Wild Cow-
That's what I'm here for. To enlighten and invigorate. LOL! ;D

I'm glad you were successful in nipping that potentially life-long problem (no pun intended) in the bud. I managed to do the same when it came to my mother's oh-so-sad crying-at the drop of a hat-ways. I finally had to just tell her "That no workee," and she eventually got the message.

You're cruisin' for a bruisin' aren't ya? Aren't ya!!? Nah, I'm not a tomato fan. I like it in a sauce or spaghetti, pizza, dish, etc., but I detest chunks of it or actual raw tomatoes on hamburgers, in salads, etc. Like I told Kris (see above), it's a texture thang.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005 4:18:00 PM  

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