Sunday, August 26, 2012
If Queen Elizabeth goes to Mexico I can get her a watermelon
As I write this, it is 8:43 am and my Daddy is asleep. This is an unusual event and, after checking to ensure he is breathing, I celebrated with a subdued “happy dance”. I haven’t had a morning to myself since he moved in almost a year ago. It is an amazing thing. It is so quiet in my house. No slurping of coffee, no muted strains of 1960s country music, no random snorts from Lulu; just peace. It is so quiet, in fact, that I can almost hear the Hispanic couple in the parking lot of the Super Mercado Y Taqueria across the street from my neighborhood arguing over something that sounds vaguely sinister in their foreign tongue but is more than likely a spat about the mini watermelons that are 2 for $1. I looked up what they said and sandia does mean watermelon; I thought at first they were saying Santeria which is some sort of voodoo-adjacent black magic thing. The odd part was the sentence they used online por ejemplo (which is Spanish for “stop saying stuff in Spanish”) was “The watermelon is corky”. “Esta sandia esta corchosa”. What does that even mean? Corky? I have never used corky in a sentence in reference to a fruit or other foodstuff. The very few times were in reference to 1980s TV characters from Murphy Brown and Life Goes On respectively.
All that aside, it is unusual for him to be asleep this long. I know he awoke at his usual 4:45 am as I started to hum “Up on the Housetop” in my sleep due to his clip-clopping into the kitchen. And I know that he made and consumed his oatmeal as the remains were left on the table, countertop and sink. It boggles the mind how he remains overweight as a good percentage of his meals and snacks end up on various surfaces of my home, not counting expected places like the dining room floor or the bathroom. It is sad that ‘bathroom’ is an unsurprising location for eating. I once asked him why on earth he would eat food in the bathroom and he asked me, without a shred of shame, “Ain’t you ever needed to (use the restroom) while you were eatin’?” My reply was to assure him that I had not. When I followed up with the statement, “If you have to use the restroom, I think you might not actually be hungry”, he looked at me, confused, and said, “But my Popsicle would’ve melted if I waited.” There are no words, people. Well, there are words, but none that are fit for thought much less print.
Caffeine is a stimulant for the average person. It says so on most packaging. However, I have come to find that what works for most, does not work for him. He derives no alleviation from pain with the use of morphine. I, on the other hand, can’t remember my name when on prescription meds. I once was issued Vicodin for tendonitis and after I left the doctor’s office, I went home to take said Vicodin and go to bed but before I went to sleep, I called my office and told my assistant that I did not want to be disturbed. Apparently at some point in the afternoon I called her and yelled at her for calling me. I remember none of this.
My father has taken 3 Oxycodone at once with no effect. None. On the hand, a pint of chocolate ice cream can cure most any ill, he swears. People drink coffee to give them an energy boost; to wake them up. My daddy can fall asleep while drinking a 2 liter of Jolt cola. I, on the other non-macho hand, can simply say the word caffeine after 6 PM and be up half the night. It is a sad thing.
And I was never a coffee drinker. It’s not that I don’t like it; I just never really had a craving for it. At least that used to be the case. Now that my Daddy makes coffee each morning and I drink a cup with him, I’ve gotten used to it. What I drink is an actual cup of coffee in a regulation sized coffee cup, which if I were to measure probably holds an exact measurement of a cup. My father states that he drinks 2 cups per day. What he means to say is that he drinks 2 tureens of coffee per day. I use a cute little cup and saucer that I got at an estate sale. It is red with multi-colored polka dots; just enough whimsy to start my day on a good note. He has commandeered the beer stein my brother brought him from Germany and loudly wonders why I have chosen such an un-macho vessel for my coffee transport.
As I like to structure my day in my head before I leave for work, I am not much of a talker in the morning. It has nothing to do with my mood; I am a morning person and thoroughly enjoy embracing a new day. Sleep to me is overrated but necessary. If I am tired, I find that if I can get comfortable and just sit quietly for an hour or so, I am capable of recharging and seizing another part of my day. My father’s days are pretty much the same and I know this because he gives me a play-by-play each and every morning at coffee and each and every evening at dinner or when I come home, if I’ve had dinner with someone else. He even gives me the run-down if I’ve had dinner and played Pub Quiz (and won and, yes, I’m bragging) and don’t get home until after 10 pm. He will wake up and regale me with the minutiae of his evening. What times he peed, what he did or did not eat (mostly lies and mis-remembered mini-meals based on the food wrappers poorly concealed or containers hastily washed) and what TV shows he did or did not enjoy in between bouts of “nodding” (read sleeping) and furious crocheting. In the mornings I am entertained by the hourly trips to the toilet and the position and length of times sleeping in those positions. On his left side on the hospital bed for 45 minutes, on his right side on the bed in the guest room for 2 hours and on his back with his left leg cocked up over the side arm in his recliner for the remainder of the time ‘twixt ten and 4:45.
I am like one of those parents whose child left the nest and then returned, unable to find employment thanks to those yahoos in DC. Full disclosure: I hold a mixture of suspicion and disdain for all political parties unless they are approved by John Stewart. The only difference between these parents and me is I have a bouncing baby boy of 71. Such a fun age, full of wonder and excitement. Potty-trained only in the sense that he knows there is a special room for such activities, but has poor aim. Like a cat, he does not like baths and like a child who has just received the JC Penney Christmas Catalog, he wants everything he sees that is shiny. Fortunately this child o’ mine can be left for extended periods of time alone, although he would never throw a party in my absence. He doesn’t like people enough to do that, except for his home health aide.
I guess there is a pressure to chat to someone whilst they doctor your nether regions every other day. The Hows and Whats of their conversations are beyond me as he is hard of hearing and she is El Salvadorian, not “Messican” as he reported after their initial meeting. I can only imagine the conversation that took place for that piece of information to stick.
I do know they have at least discussed me on more than one occasion as she seemed oddly familiar when she chastised me for giving him a slice of cake for his birthday the very first time we met. It’s an odd feeling to have to defend yourself to someone who you’ve never met but is privy to your activities, clandestine or not. They have also discussed London of all things as he asked if she could borrow (Lord Mayor of London) Boris Johnson’s witty book on the History of that city. As I have what my father has described as a “metric crap ton” of books, I offered to let her keep it. I have a rule that I must give away a book each time I buy a new one so this presented an opportunity to raid the local Goodwill for a new tome; this one about the royal sisters, QEII and Margaret. I love QEII (Queen Elizabeth II, for those not on my wavelength). I know it is viewed as a betrayal of my generation to not prefer Diana, but I simply do not. Literally a lifetime of service before self and 60 years of fantastic hat/coat ensembles deserves our admiration, people.
As I try to remember that, although she is the Queen, she is a regular person to a point and someone’s Granny, I wonder do her ladies-in-waiting get bombarded with the minutiae of her nights and days at breakfast or bedtime. I would love to read QEII’s diaries. I wonder would she read mine. I read a pilfered copy of Andy Warhol’s Diaries, from a friend’s ex-boyfriend’s house, not Barnes and Noble, dear readers. My friends are shady; I am not. And I use that information to this very day although it’s mostly to recognize the names of those people in those photos of parties that appear in Vanity Fair.
I suppose I should be happy with my Daddy’s information. All knowledge is good for something, right? And it means he is still around to generate said information and that’s a good thing. If only they had a pub quiz category like “Sleep Patterns and Bad Habits of a Displaced Country Boomer”. Maybe I’ll suggest it next week. What? It’s not any more esoteric a topic than “Bridges of Eastern Europe” or “Attendance Statistics for Sporting Events”, of which I somehow knew the answer for the first Super Bowl. Incidentally it was not called the Super Bowl, but the NFL-AFL Championship Game.
The answer is 61,000. And that is all I’m saying.