Sunday, September 23, 2012

What if Goldilocks was a Red-headed Dude?

                It has arrived.  We celebrated Daddy’s one year anniversary in California with the purchase of a new recliner.  He also celebrated with a bag of iced animal crackers he stole from my shelf in the pantry and he thinks I don't know, but I do.  This new recliner is leather because that particular material is less prone to retaining smells and subsequently my monthly Febreze supply can be at least halved.  This will free up significant cash reserves to be used for all manner of fun things like SusieCakes salted caramel apple cupcakes and thrift store sweaters, as the fall season is upon us.  Well, not so much ‘us’ here in the sorta-western-central-just-south-of-Napa-Valley part of CA, but for the rest of you people who have to suffer through extreme weather outside of the 55-80 degree year-round range.  Apparently, money can buy happiness.

                Now I’m not saying that anyone out here in Silicon Valley used their significant brain power to harness the weather and make it as wonderful as it is.  I’m simply positing that the Steves, Jobs and Wozniak, had to have spent their youth doing something besides playing three dimensional chess, paintball and inventing computers, if I am to believe the hobbies and interests portrayed by the nerdy geniuses on the Big Bang Theory.  If Sheldon built a CT Scan in the wilds of Texas, one of the Steves could have built a weather-controlling device at the behest of a golf-loving father.

The unnervingly nice weather is one of the things that delights and confounds my father, who has spent all but three of his 71 years in locations where the presence of any moisture, like saliva, is a sign one is from elsewhere.  The one three month stretch he spent in California, during the summer before my senior year in high school, was as a welder in Boron, which is reportedly as fun as you would imagine a town named after an element in that section of the periodical table would be.

As my Daddy has a shoulder injury from long ago, I was able to talk him in to getting a remote controlled chair that will recline the back and lift the feet with the push of a button.  As persnicketiness is apparently hereditary, he was adamant that he ‘tryout’ the chair prior to purchase.  This required a sojourn to the La-Z-Boy showroom in Santa Clara, about 15 miles from our house.  He is a lifelong customer of this particular merchant as their name is his retirement mantra.  And they are sole producer of what is known as a ‘Big Boy’ recliner.  To the uninitiated that pretty much means a loveseat with elevated leg supports.  This recliner, while just a smidge smaller than his previous chair, is still wide enough to necessitate full size sheets were one to outfit it properly for sleep, which is the activity most enjoyed in this particular piece of furniture.

You can only imagine the circumstances that arose when he, not unlike a dog, felt the need to ‘mark’ his territory by subsequently farting in each chair.  He ambled his way around the showroom and sat in every chair including those I knew he would never buy, like ones with floral chintz or wooden legs.  This was while he was still using his wound vac for the “lower back” surgery.  The vac is housed in a shoulder harness that looks like a tiny messenger bag.  He was very self-conscious about tha bag when anyone of any level of brain power could see there were tubes running from his “man purse” to his body and deduce it as a medical device. 

However, to ensure that all and sundry knew of his macho-ness, he, very loudly, stated that he was “not carrying a man purse”.  He was but a simple macho paratrooper forced to wear a “contraption” because of my “a-double-s surgery”.  My face turned the color of my orange chinos and I immediately took up with an Asian family standing nearby, convinced them I was an in-store designer and helped them find the perfect sectional sofa.

He was looking forward to getting his chair that day but it had to be special ordered because he wanted one that had an extra-long leg rest for reasons known only to him.  His inseam is 27” but his patented way of sitting (a series of leg hikes, contortions and scooting) and his need for 100% of his feet and shoes to be supported by the chair make it almost impossible to find the perfect chair.  And the perfection of the chair is important because he spends all day and all night in this de facto bed.

Lately, however, due to his increased pain from his back he has been spending an inordinate amount of time in an actual bed.  He has a hospital bed from the VA but he says the mattress is “too hard”.  I put an egg crate mattress topper but he is adamant that it is still too hard, like an overweight Gingerlocks as his hair is still red, despite the copious amounts of white in his beard.  He is forced, he says, to sleep in the guest bedroom, which is the most attractively decorated room in my home.
When I first moved into this house, I chose this bedroom for its central location and it became an art deco haven filled with my favorite furniture like a cream linen headboard and mirrored dresser, nightstand and lamp.  The boldness of the purple accent wall is tempered by the pewter comforter and occasional chair with pops of pink and lime green found in the wall art, throw pillows and vases.  It is an amazing room from which I was summarily roused by the nightly brouhaha that emanates from his bedroom due to his and apparently Lulu’s sleep apnea. 

I now reside in the former guest bedroom which while it is well decorated with a leather wrapped sleigh bed and a color scheme of coral, aqua and off-white, is not a room to make one ‘feel fancy’ which was one of the main purposes of the art deco world I attempted to create.  If one cannot make up for childlessness with fabulous décor, what is the point of celibacy?  I would have ridiculously fabulous children were I to ever find a woman brave, forgiving and fantastical enough (like, say, a former Miss America) to undertake a life filled with more pizzazz than is warranted outside of a theatre.  I am the physical manifestation of jazz hands, dear readers, and I am aware that I am a bit much, at times.

My father protests that there is too much “fancy” in this house, but I think it interesting that he chose the best bedroom with little fanfare.  I came home from work one day and there he lay, like a dead sea lion oddly placed in the housewares section of better department stores nationwide.  Don’t look at me like that; Tractor Supply hats and suspenders do not scream art deco people.  What it does scream is, “Help Me!” a point that is, by now, moot.  He looked so out of place I almost thought there had been an attempted burgle from a narcoleptic criminal.  What?  I prefer burgle to burglary.

He has insisted that the mattress, a pillow top from Serta, is “too squishy” but it seems that it is more than “just right” as he has slept in that bed for the last two weeks, on a blanket on top of the comforter lest his ‘old man smell’ ruin the ice-pink 800 thread-count sheets from the people who brought you the pyramids.  What?  I’m not being mean, it’s not like the man sleeps in pajamas; he sleeps in the same clothes he wears all day.  The only difference between his ‘awake and going to Wal-Mart’ outfit and his ‘dozing/sleeping’ outfit is that the latter doesn’t include the hat, glasses or teeth, but does include the phone.

So it has fallen to me to break in the recliner, if you will.  I spent most of Saturday afternoon watching a Big Bang Theory marathon while he slept away the effects of his medicines and it was a revelation.  You would imagine something that large would seemingly envelop you and you would be right.  I was so comfortable curled up in that chair, I chose to skip my snack as it was all the way in the other room and my body said, “Seriously dude, do not get up”.  Apparently my body’s inner voice has assimilated to California-speak much more quickly than the rest of me.

With the level of comfort in was experiencing, I made the decision to watch the latest Dr. Who episode without the added delight of Snapple or Garden Salsa Sun Chips, my latest favorite thing, when Daddy chose the stroke of 6:00, the start time of said BBC sci-fi selection, to arise and request assistance with medicine, food, etc. 

No worries, I told myself, it will re-run at 9:00.  You can already guess that he arose again at the stroke of 9:00, demonstrating that timing is everything.  And the timing in the future shall be that of a move to the nursing home nearest Shreveport, LA and his sister, if he makes me miss another episode of one of only four shows I watch in any given week.  What?  It’s not like I haven’t admitted to being downright persnickety.

Y’all need to pay attention…and buy my book ( And that is all I’m saying.


  1. Hilarious and delightful to read, as usual Dustin!

  2. a LaZBoy, a LaZBoy, my kingdom for a LaZBoy!!!
    so, what, might i ask, became of the "old" chair?