My dad asked me what I was listening to on my headphones last night while he and my stepbrother were watching Hogan's Heroes.
"Oh, I'm editing some Prince albums."
"I never liked Prince," my dad, who doesn't listen to many artists whose careers started after the early 1970s, says. "He didn't look right .. too many hats ... too much purple ... flamboyant. He was too flamboyant looking."
"But he's an amazing musician."
My dad makes a stink face.
"Have you seen his guitar solo for 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' at the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?"
He had not.
Now he has.
Verdict? "Ho shit. Does he always play like that?"
Me: "Not always. But often. And when he did, it was magic."
My mom: I can tell you're on the ferry. I can hear the seagulls.
Me: Those are people. I'm sitting inside the boat in the non-seabird section.
Mom: Your suitcase is too heavy. You'll have to pay extra.
Me: I don't think so.
Mom: I'll get the scale. You take the books out.
I take the books out.
Me: See, it's only thirty pounds.
Mom: It feels heavier.
Me: I don't have twenty pounds of books in this pile, so I'm going to put them back in.
Mom: I don't know. How heavy is that one?
I take my copy of The Working Girls' Bible and put it on the scale.
Me: Seven pounds! Still, the rest of the pile is probably about four pounds.
Mom: Weigh it.
Me: Three pounds. That's a total of forty, which is still ten pounds under the limit.
Mom: Don't forget you still have to put in your bathing suit.
Me: Yes. My twelve pound concrete bathing suit is what's going to push it over the limit.
Mom: Victoria is coming after seven with some fresh baked brownies for you.
Me: That's very nice of her. Is this going to be like the orange bread that Sue made that I never got a chance to try because you and your husband ate it all?
Mom: You are not ever allowed to tell Sue that.
With all the badness of this month, so far, I need to give credit to the people my dad forgot were looking after his mom.
When he got to the house, he said there was paperwork everywhere, and several personal items were missing.
When her husband died thirteen years ago, the people who were supposed to be taking care of him had pilfered some paintings and books (none of them actually valuable), so my dad was heartbroken that they had taken precisely the things my grandmother valued: her old radio, her favorite clothes, her record player, etc.
But they weren't stolen. My grandmother was in a nursing home for less than a day, but for that day, the wonderful people looking after her made sure she was surrounded with as many familiar things as possible.
And that paperwork? All the bills they helped her keep track of and pay for the last several months when she couldn't keep track of her own thoughts.
I'm really grateful to those people, only one of whom I even know, for making her last few months as comfortable as possible.
Continuing decades of absolutely terrible communication skills, my dad calls to tell me he's picking up his mother.
Me: "Oh, she's going to live with you now?"
Dad: "Nah. I'm picking her up from the morgue."
Me: "What happened?"
Dad: "She died."
Me: "How?" She was 95, so probably not skydiving or in a bank heist.
Dad: "I don't know. No one will tell me. But the cops just showed up to let me know she's dead. None of her caretakers are answering their phones. So I'm going to Connecticut tomorrow. I have no idea what I need to do. I guess I'll call you when I get there."
Me: "Ok. Let me know if there is anything I can do."
Dad: "Talk to you later."
2019 can suck a bag of porcupines.
My Dad: "I see you brought chicken broth. How much did you pay for it?"
Me: "I don't know."
My Dad: "Tomorrow is Black Friday. You could have gotten two boxes for $4."
Me: "Then I wouldn't have had it to make dinner with today."
My Dad: "We should pick some up tomorrow so you'll have them for next year."
Me: "I'll pass."
Me: Did you ship something to the store this week?
My Dad: Yea.
Me: I thought so. You addressed it to yourself and you didn't put the store name on it, so nobody was sure who it was for.
My Dad: Yea, I wrote my name with your address on one label, and your name with my address on the other. I figured the address was the important part.
Me: Ok. What's in it?
My Dad: Oh, I got you a pair of jeans, a windbreaker, and a leather jacket.
Me: For my birthday?
My Dad: Oh no. It was your birthday?
Me: Yea. Tuesday.
My Dad: I didn't even get you a card.
Me: But you got me jeans and two jackets*. I can wear those. I can't wear a card.
This man has bought me clothes exactly once since I was in high school. A few years ago, he sent me four xxxl t-shirts and a pair of jeans I could have used as a hammock.
My Dad: I think I got you the right size this time. If not, you can return them.
Me: Ok. Where did you get them?
My Dad: From a catalog.
Me: Ok. What catalog?
My Dad: I forget the name of it but I put the catalog and a bunch of coupons in with the clothes, in case you wanted to order more.
Me: Ok. I'll let you know if everything fits.
My Dad: Sounds good. I'll work on getting you a birthday present sometime soon. What did your mom get you?
Me: A card.
My Dad: You can't wear a card. Does this mean I win?
Every Member Of My Family: Are you hungry?
Me: No thanks.
EMOMF: Want me to pack you a lunch?
Me: No thanks. I have a long bus trip to work, and I'll sleep through most of it.
EMOMF: I packed you a lunch anyway.
EMOMF: It's two sandwiches.
EMOMF: I remember that you don't like condiments so I've slathered them with mayo and tomatoes, which you have hated since you were six.
EMOMF: And a bottle of Diet Dr. Pepper. Two because I know you don't like diet soda.
Me: Of course.
EMOMF: And I put a king sized box of crackers in there.
Me: It's just a two hour trip.
EMOMF: And a tin of almonds.
EMOMF: You liked last night's steak, right?
Me: Yes. Thanks.
EMOMF: I packed four of them in your suitcase.
Me: I have to go to work. They'll go bad.
EMOMF: I froze them and when you get up, I'll wrap them in plastic and your towel.
EMOMF: And cookies.
Me: I told you I'm not going to be hungry.
EMOMF: We should leave the house by 630. Should I wake you up at four?
Me: No. Not ever. No.
EMOMF: It's 315, why aren't you up yet?
Me: I set my alarm for five. Go away.
EMOMF: It's 330, are you awake?
Me: This is why I don't visit very often.
My Dad: There's cream cheese in the fridge in the garage.
Me: When did you buy it?
My Dad: It's still good.
Me: Dad, this cream cheese is older than my cats.