Beware, or I'll eat you alive.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

More about family at Easter~~~

Well Sweet Things, I've been to the Range and "Baby" worked beautifully, I now haver her waiting to be cleaned, which I will do this evening, but I'm going to go to the Claremont for a breakfast treat and a spa treatment, then tonight I willl get into "zen mode" while I'm taking care of "Baby".

Baby sis called me last night and told me what the plans were for Sunday with Mom, so I'll call her tomorrow evening to wish her "Happy Mom's Day", but tomorrow I'm treating Lillian to Lunch, her children all live out of state so she has been receiving cards and some will call tomorrow evening to talk to her, so it's my treat for her.

Some of you have asked me to post more on what happened with the family while I was down there for Easter.

Thank goodness for flashdrives for saving my memories because a lot happened. What I'm posting is what occured on Thursday the day after I arrived and a lot was revealed to me about Dad's (yes, Dad) tranformation, it was really a long process in happening but sometimes a jolt is what one needs to make it happen.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I slept soundly Wednesday night and woke up the next day to music, classical music. Baby sis was up and dressed already, and pointed out the clock radio, “You like it?” she asked, and I did. I quickly showered, dressed and joined everyone for breakfast.

Mother and baby sis dashed off to do errands. Father and I took our time slipping our 2nd cups of coffee, I saw the new refrigerator, just like the old one but as I opened it up to put back the cream, and I could see the difference. I also saw the new dish washer with a front that blended into the style of the kitchen.

Trixie waited patiently and once in a while got a bit of toast dipped in coffee from Father. He looked at me guiltily saying “I don’t know if it’s good for her but…” I said I would check into it for him.

Father finished his coffee, stood up, grabbed Trixie’s leash and asked “Want to walk with me?” so I joined him. We walked slowly around the block while he pointed out this house or that building and told me what was happening, how the neighborhood was improving and getting better.

My Parents house stands on a corner on a deep lot. Traffic can sometimes be busy even though the streets at tree lined and look residential, it’s one short block off of a busy commercial area, which in many ways is good, it’s only a one block walk to the connecting bus lines, a chain pharmacy, grocery store, dry cleaners, shoe repair and other businesses that are essential to a community.

But one has to strain a bit to see the back side of the businesses, the trees from the rear of the old Victorian houses hides much of it so that one forgets that there’s a business area so close, but I noticed as we returned to the house that three of the old Victorians that use to be apartments now contained light businesses, a couple of lawyer offices, dentist and such, things that wouldn’t make much traffic.

Dad sat down on one of the wicker chairs on the porch; even they were a new addition.

Keeping Trixie on her leash, he calmed the little dog down when she saw a cat, “She’d chase every cat she saw if she could, can’t let her out the front of the house without a leash”. Father and I talked about this and that, he asked me about my work and I asked him about his, then I said that I hadn’t really noticed before that the Victorians were now businesses, Father looked at them and said “Yes, each apartment was converted over into business offices as each tenant left, it at least preserves the buildings. It’s been happening the last 20 years.” Then he looked at me and said “I own them”.

He saw the surprise on my face and motioned to me to come with him into the house, “Let me explain in the den and then you can help me with some decisions.”

I was still digesting this bit of information as he took Trixie off the leash and walked into the den, with Trixie close on his heels.

He sat at his desk and I sat next to him, he brought out a large file, in it he showed me all his holdings, “There’s a photocopy place and we can make copies of this for your own information, I’ve also included my account numbers and passwords” he continued to inform me that Mother and baby sis knew about this file and how important it is, he also showed me his copy of his trust directives.

Then he told me how he got started in this, he bought the first old Victorian just before baby sis was born, but plowed all the income from it towards paying it off quickly, then when it was paid off, saved some cash and bought the next, then the next one and other investments. Father was a wealthy man; even with the difficult economy he had made his purchases when they were financially feasible.

His income was such that making all the changes and improvements on the buildings and now in the house were not a hardship, he had so much set aside and a very sufficient income besides his salary from his job.

He designed his trust so Mother would be well off financially if he predeceased her and then after, when Mother passed away things divided between baby sis and myself, she would get the family home and one of the three Victorians and I would get the other two with everything else divided equally between us, but I asked him to change that and said to give her the two Victorians plus the family home and I just get one, and we can divide everything else evenly as he listed.

Father wondered why I would prefer that and I said that it’s possible she will get married and have children, that raising children is not cheap, especially with college and everything.

Father looked at me and asked “You’re not planning to get married?” and I said no, and explained to him my thoughts on things, I had gone so long without the idea of marriage and the fact I had not come across the right man, even though I’m dating, that I felt that it was not essential for me to be married, that I had become what is known as a ‘careerist’. I also told him about my two recent income purchases. After hearing how I had made the purchases he approved my choices and my reasons behind it.

Then I asked him point blank “Father are you ill? Is that one reason why you’ve been doing all these things?” He looked at me for a long time and finally said “Not in body or health, but I was for a long time sick in mind and soul, only I hadn’t realize it until these last 2 years. What you said at church and then to me last Christmas, finally convinced me that I was in danger of losing you, your sister, even your Mother.”

He revealed to me what had influenced him at a young age and what was slowly bringing about a change in him which culminated last Christmas.

The story is long and really deals with him trying to please his father and his grandfather, and not being true to that which is inside of you. After his father had died he kept doing what he was doing out of a sense of duty, but after I left for college he questioned more and more if what his father and grandfather had taught him was right; because of this he became more and more afraid of change, it twisted him and pulled him until he became bitter.

I said that it couldn’t have been just what I said, and he said that it was the jolt he needed, that he felt such a tremendous dis-satisfaction with everything, he even accidentally over heard some of the staff referring to him as a tyrant and a happiness killer, this bothered him internally.

Over 2 years ago a new person started working at his office, the son of one of his church’s parishioners; this man, Andrew, had left my Father’s church a number of years before and Andrews’ father said, when asked, that his son was dead.

Father asked Andrew, to join him for lunch one day, and brought up what Andrew’s father had said. Andrew was very honest with my Father and told him about his spiritual revelation about God, he left the church of his father and joined the Episcopal Church, and it was there he met his future wife. Andrew said he continues to check in on his father, even though his father barely acknowledges him, but does it out of a sense of duty and to make sure that his father is taken care of. Andrew said he could never turn his back on him, it wasn’t right.

Father has been meeting Andrew for lunch once a week to talk about things, and Father began to realize what had happened to himself, but wasn’t sure how to make a change, and then when I stood up in church and shocked everyone, he realized that he was losing everything that really mattered. He realized that he was a mental abuser. It was his epiphany.

But he wasn’t sure how to go about beginning over, the confrontation that we had last December made him fear my anger at him and what he had done over the years had destroyed everything, even any hope of reconciliation.

He was angry at himself; he realized that he had this vanity of pride, of demanding respect, when subconsciously he knew respect is earned not demanded.

He told me that the day before New Years just after I had left to return home, he had come home from work early and found Mother sitting at the kitchen table crying. Water was everywhere, the front of Mother’s house dress was soaked, she had been defrosting the old refrigerator and the water and ice spilled all over her onto the floor, she was so tired that she hadn’t started dinner, that it was the final straw.

Father he put his arms around her and kissed her for the first time in years that it startled her, he said to her to go up stairs, change into dry clothes and he would clean things up, which he did. When she came down again he said for her to forget defrosting the refrigerator that it was going to be replaced with a newer model.

He told her to forget dinner, when baby sis came home he took them out to dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant that was nearby. And that evening when they got home, they sat down at the dinning room table he got out a tablet of paper and a pen and asked them what it would take to make improvements in everything.

He had more than enough money to make the changes, and he saw how in a few weeks everything was brighter, happier and how Mother and baby sis were happy finding things to improve the house, even he found himself being carried along, the changes were happening fast it made him a bit dizzy, but they always sat down at the dinning room table to discuss purchases and the next steps with him, he liked that, it gave him the feeling that he was still respected but he didn’t have to be a tyrant of the family.

“I even told your mother to go to the beauty parlor, of course she went with a old fashion hair style but it suits her, even had her do a make up course, she looks as beautiful as the day I first met her, and I know she’s happier, so is your sister especially when I sent that other young man away, and I like Ted, he’s like I wish I could have been when I was younger and has a good head on his shoulders.”

He found out indirectly that even his staff are beginning to like him, make sure of their well-being, seeing how the work is progressing, having an open door, everything a good manager should be.

So it wasn’t his health, he recently had a complete physical, and is in good shape for his age, walking the dog has helped in many ways “Got to know our neighbors better, Trixie is a great ice breaker” he said. Mother had also seen a doctor and is also doing well.

This was a great relief for me. But the greatest revelation was that he had started leaving his father’s church and started attending the Catholic church that Mother use to go to before she married Father, he even had Mother contact her sisters and brothers again, much to their surprise.

He told me that there are some things he is resistant to, he refused to replace the rotary phone in the living room, but did get a touch tone phone for the den, “It’s the only way I can do banking with checking the accounts, all that ‘push this and push that’, I have to concede there.” He still writes checks but accepts the debt card, he has only one credit card for everything “I don’t like credit cards---it’s really being in debt but some times it’s a necessary evil.”

No television, at least not yet, “There is nothing new on television, I don’t like having it invade the house, but I have accepted the radio and that CD-phonograph thing, but none of that music the gives you a head-ache” I had to smile at his remark.

He did accept the microwave, “It does save time heating leftovers”, he bought Mother a brand-new dryer, “now she doesn’t have to dry things in the garage during the winter, but she said she still likes to line dry things during the warm months.” And eventually he said he may have to accept the concept of the cell phone, “For road side emergencies, that I can see,” he said.

But he can’t accept the way young people dress, “No sense of class, or decorum, it’s alright to dress casually depending upon the situation, like going to the beach or working on the house or car, or just visiting friends or neighbors, bar-b-quing, I don’t mind the jeans or pants that women wear, especially in relation to what they are doing, but those baggy jeans men wear or bare mid-drifts and facial and body piercing it discusses me, but I guess it’s a ‘tribal’ thing, ladies earrings I can understand but this other stuff…” and he’d shake his head.

But what he was willing to do was amazing. I asked him what the neighbors think, and he said “It doesn’t matter; they can think that we’re eccentric and that’s fine” He told me that not too long ago, baby sis and Ted took Father and Mother to a Art Deco Antique Show, Father said it was heaven, so much to look at and so many people appreciating the old things. “That’s where your sister bought the tie, now I’m hooked, we picked up a number of business cards for shops, but I’m quite content. I think and hope your Mother is.”

Then he took me out to the back yard, and I noticed that besides of grass and the clothes line, there was a vegetable garden, herbs and flowers, the clothes line was now a umbrella device, instead of the a long line, but I also noticed that the back of the garage was different, there was a long concrete pad with a heavy duty portable covered garage over it, and under it was an old car from the late 30’s in a state of being worked on, “Ted’s working on it, asked if he could work on it here, paid to install the pad and look at the back of the garage.”

Instead of a wall there was a set of double doors newly installed, Father took me through and there were side by side a mid-50’s Buick and a late 40’s Ford, the doors were off of the Ford, and the Buick had body work done waiting to be painted. “The Buick runs beautifully, but we are having a hard time choosing a new color, it had been painted over a number of times. Ted had all three cars stored but it was hard for him to work on it, I opened my mouth and said store and work on them here. Your sister is happy about that.” And I saw that he had a smile on his face and he winked at me. Ho, Ho I thought.

We walked back through the house and sat on the front porch, Trixie on her leash to not run after cats, and Father and I talked and talked and talked, everything was so revealing of what was in his soul, that he just poured himself out, so many things caused such a tsunami of events, my outburst at church, Mother covered in water, then finding Trixie on the porch. Father said “When I found that little dog, I felt that God was saying that there was hope for a second chance.” I reached over and held his hand, it was the first time that I could remember volunteering to touch him, and I said “It’s never too late, Dad.”

We both burst into tears and hugged one another, I have no idea how long we were there, but then we heard a car pull up, it was Mother and baby sis. I told Father, now Dad, “Lets tell them we were laughing so hard that we cried over a joke that will explain why our eyes are so red” Dad agreed that it was much easier to explain.

I helped Mother and baby sis putting things away, while Dad took Trixie for her afternoon walk, baby sis had to go to the library to get some research materials but said she would walk, so that left Mother and I alone.

Well she got it out of me why Dad and I were crying, but she was happy for us and happy that Dad was not ill and now I can call her Mom.

We put together lunch and she told me that in the afternoon we all were going with Ted to an Vintage antique show and sale, that would have an evening dance. A Dance!! It was too much, but still it was a wonderful Easter Surprise.

So much more happened that day that it’s left me breathless, I’ll have to continue it in another post.

~~~~~~~~~

And that Sweet Things is what happened so far, when I have a chance I'll post more, many things happened that were funny and then on the Monday after Easter something happened that I could not have imagined years ago.

1 comment:

Fram said...

Sounds good, Diva. It appears father and daughter have been on the same page in regard to property acquisition without even knowing it.

It is nice that going home is fun for you at last and finally, after all these years.

Some stories do have happy endings.