Saturday, October 15, 2011
Change ain't just a jingle in your pocket
Since we last spoke, I had an interaction with my Daddy that aired out some laundry so to speak. One of the items on the agenda was, in fact, the laundry or lack thereof. I was concerned that when I washed his clothes on Saturdays, I found but one lone pair of underwear, pants and socks. For the entire week. Now I am not one to go searching for household chores. Truth be told, if it weren’t for this Southern Baptist guilt related to the cleanliness/Godliness connection, I’d have those Merry Maids, making merry all up and through here.
However, when the stench can rouse you from sleep like the most unpleasant of alarm clocks, something must be done. “Old Man Butt with Feet”. Talk about the worst Yankee Candle scent ever. As I have previously mentioned, but feel compelled to repeat, this odor proves to be more than these new Febreze canisters (that supposedly can cover the smell of a room full of rotting meat and/or animals) can take. The funk has got to go, do you hear me. And I said as much.
During the ensuing discourse on habits that are just flat out wrong, I spoke so eloquently of the need for portion control when eating, better aim when peeing and the actual definition of a clean dish, grown men wept and Shiite Muslim terrorists loudly sang the national anthem. I mean, it was awe-inspiring and downright patriotic. I assure you, if I’d have spoken even one more sentence, Mary Lou Retton might have flipped through the living room in her American flag unitard, a sparkler in each hand.
And I think I got my point across. Now, you have to realize that portion control for him is the most quixotic of pipe dreams. Giving him free reign of the kitchen and expecting him to control himself is like giving the most felonious of carnival workers full access to the funnel cake/corn dog cart. It’s just too much temptation not to end in a gastrointestinal nightmare. And he seems oblivious to the connection. When I explained that the average person does not use a roll of toilet paper every three days unless they are decorating someone’s lawn, he seemed genuinely shocked.
I recently attended a retreat with my church choir and he was left to his own devices for exactly 46 hours. When I returned, the level of carnage in the kitchen simply defied logic. Had he been my teenage child, I would have immediately accused him of having either a party with 80 of his closest personal friends or having offered housing to a small family of refugees. Either way, more food than could have been safely consumed by one person had disappeared.
You have to understand my father views eating as a competition. It isn’t an activity to enjoy so much as it’s a means to end. And it doesn’t matter if it’s good; as long as it’s a lot. This intake of food is Olympic level. That chubby little dude on Food Nation is an amateur, people, compared to mi Padre (that’s Spanish). And his need for crackers is nothing short of an addiction. I fixed him BBQ pork roast, macaroni and cheese and broccoli for dinner the other night. And he asked for crackers to go with it. When I asked why on earth he needed crackers, he insisted if he didn’t have “bread” he didn’t think he could enjoy himself. I told him I felt pretty certain he’d survive. If one of the tenets of parenting is a mastery of sarcasm, I may be parent material after all.
I tried to explain that if he insisted on getting full every meal, he would never lose another pound. And since his only exercise is walking to the toilet to relieve himself, his food consumption should have a commensurate decrease. He accused me of speaking French and went in search of a sugar free Popsicle.
And I don’t know what he’s doing in the bathroom, but there is pee EVERYwhere. It’s as if he were a urinating Willy Waterbug. You remember those water toys from the 70s that had little tubes that sprayed water every which way? Imagine this, but with pee. I mean, how else do you explain urine on the rug in front of the sink and on top of the toilet tank? Try to un-picture that, dear friends, I dare you.
And I realize I should have left well enough alone, but I just had to slip the last topic into the conversacion (also Spanish). Now I am fully aware that you can’t un-poke a bear but I just had to ensure that he understood the real definition of washing dishes. See, he has decided that “his chore” is washing the dishes after I cook. And as a harried homemaker, I appreciate the effort. However, washing dishes is not his forte, as it were. Mind you, there are both dishes and water involved but oftentimes they do not meet. I have witnessed him wetting the silverware, with cold water and then wiping it with his fingers and placing is ever so gently onto the towel to dry.
At first, I tried to give subtle hints by placing still-dirty dishes back in the sink to be washed again, but it was to no avail. Now I don’t know if his eyesight is such that he truly can’t see the food remaining. However, a good rule of thumb for cleaning should definitely be “if you can still smell the chicken, the casserole dish might be dirty.” Just sayin’.
But apparently our “talk” worked. He has been toeing the proverbial line for the past week. I washed four, count them, four pair of underwear today. And he even ate the pre-portioned meals I cooked with very little pouting and protestations of hunger. Have we reached a middle ground? Or is he just trying to lull me into a false sense of security? Surely he hasn’t matured that quickly. He couldn’t possibly have grown as a person in a week, could he?
I should have known he’d do something so nefarious, so diabolical. I mean, how dare he become a better person, just when I've begun documenting this social experiment. See how selfish he is.