Here She Comes Again

 

As each of my children has grown, there has been a tearful goodbye, and, once the door had been closed and locked behind them, a celebration my wife and I have shared in silence, through glances that scream joy and gratitude. “Another one out.”, was never said, but my how it was celebrated.

“We have to talk.”, my wife said the other night. “What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?”

“I’d prefer no news at all.”, I answered

“Well, that’s not an option.”, she said, as she sat down beside me, and turned the television off.

“The good news is”, she began, “your daughter is breaking up with Rick.”

“How is that good news?”, I asked. “I like Rick.”

“Well, there really is no good news, then.”, she replied. “It’s just bad news, and even worse news. She’s moving back home.”

“Hell, no.”, I shouted. “Don’t we have some kind of no return policy?”

“I’m afraid not.”, I was informed. “She needs you to rent a truck and help her move.”

“When does it end?”, I asked, although I didn’t really expect an answer. And yet I got one.

“She’s our daughter.”, came the reply.

I was well aware of who my children were, but I really thought that by the time I was old enough to start collecting Canada Pension, my obligations to them would have long since gone. I truly believed that life would return to that blissful, euphoria when my wife and I free of responsibility and obligation. A time when I could do whatever I wanted to. And now, the dream was over. Just like that, she was moving back home.

“They’re like a virus.”, I stated. “Just when you think you’re over it, it comes back, and starts all over again.”

“It won’t be for long.”, my wife continued, “It’s only until she gets back on her feet.”

“Right.”, I said, with an obvious hint of sarcasm. “She was already on her feet, and that took 25 years. I really can’t wait that long to wait for her to leave again.”

“It will be fine.”, I was told. “You’ll see.”

“I hope so.”, I said. “And let her know that I stopped wearing pants in the house.”

“She knows.”, my wife replied. “Everybody knows. And while we on the subject, we have to get her a bed, and some furniture for her room.”

“She doesn’t have a room.”, I replied. “Not for two and a half years.”

“Well”, my wife advised, “her old room. She will be moving back into her old room.”

“That’s my office.”, I stated.

“I know.”, came the response. “And it was very nice. But now it is being converted into a bedroom for your daughter.”

“Which I have to refurnish.”, I added.

“And by the way.”, my wife went on, “We’re going to meet with her on Sunday and talk about what’s going on with her.”

It was raining on Sunday, quite pathetically ironic I thought,  and as we found my daughter in the coffee shop, I was reminded once again to behave myself, which really meant that I was to not say a word. My wife and daughter began their conversation as I sat quietly, drinking a double cappuccino. They spoke at length about making better choices, and thinking things through, and whether she was sure that whatever was going on between her and Rick was irreparable.  Suddenly, my wife was overwhelmed by a craving for pastry, and excused herself to stand in line and purchase herself a Boston cream donut. She did not, by the way, ask if anyone else had wanted something. I took the opportunity to instruct my daughter that she should try and make it work with Rick. I told her I loved her, and she could always come home, but she needed to be sure. She got a little teary eyed and when my wife returned, she noticed. “What did you do?”, she accused me. “What did you say to her?”

“Not a thing.”, I replied. “We were just talking.”  On the drive home my wife informed me that there were problems in the bedroom between Rick and my daughter. “I don’t want to hear this.”, I stated. “We agreed that we wouldn’t share that kind of information. This is why I want them out of the house. I don’t want to know anything. Let them live their lives, and leave me to age peacefully in my naivete.”

“Well”, my wife added, “She’s decided to stay put for now. She’s going to tell Rick what’s going on, and give it 3 months to see if anything changes. She’s going to look for a job, and hope to find a place of her own.”

“What happened to her job?”, I asked.

“Oh, she quit the clinic 3 months ago.”, my wife informed me.”

“It just gets better and better.”, I stated.

“Anyway”, she continued, “you can keep your office, at least for a little while. And you may as well leave your pants off.”

“Is that an invitation?”, I asked.

“Why not.”, she answered. “You’re a lot of work and a lot of trouble, but never in the bedroom.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Living In The Real World…

 

In an attempt to save even more money that we could put away in the event of some natural or man made disaster, my wife has subtly began her mission to  get rid of Netflix, and install TV antennas in order to watch television.

“What is this?”, I asked. “1963?”

“No”, she said. “I’m just trying to save some money so we can retire.”

“That dream is long gone.”, I told her.

“Well”, she said. “We need to do something. They’re talking about an economic disaster worse than the great depression. People won’t be able to keep their homes, or even have food to eat. We need to start stock piling can goods.”

“Okay.”, I told her. “Go out and buy all of the canned goods you can find.”

“I’ve already made a list.”, she informed me. “I think we should go on the weekend.”

And so, as my wife seems to excel in dealing with these sort of crises, we continue to prepare for them, one after the other. There has been much talk of ‘living off the grid’, and as I have no idea what the grid is, I have been reluctant to give it up. My wife informs me that we would live somewhere, isolated from society, and fend for ourselves. We would create/generate our own heat, and apparently electricity, and obtain our own food through planting and harvesting crops, and hunting & fishing. She has been watching television shows about jut this sort of wilderness living. Surviving as pioneers, with none of the amenities of modern life. “I have no idea how to do any of the things we need to do to survive.”, I told her. “Do they have something like The Home Service Club for off the grid livers?”

“No!”, she said, not amused by my sarcasm. “We would just have to learn how to do things ourselves.” Now prior to this latest carnival of survival, we had dealt with Tiny House living, trailer living, and the ever popular squatting. All I really want is for the damn internet to work properly. I do not want to live in the middle of nowhere in a tent, or a hut, or a cave, surviving on my instincts. My instincts are somewhat limited, not generally useful, and usually only serve to send me to the fridge to grab a beer. I am not certain, but I don’t see that as a big help in wilderness living.

So, the pantry, kitchen cupboards, bedroom closets, and dining room floor are filled with assorted canned goods. We have chick peas, fava beans, peas, beets, tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, assorted fruits, tuna, salmon, and I have even seen canned corned beef. I have never eaten canned meat in my life, and I have expressed to me wife, my reluctance to ever do so. “If it is the last thing to eat, I’m sure you’ll give it a try.” perhaps she is right, but I am still uncertain. I have expressed my concern that the shelf life of this so called meat in a can is over 1 year, when meat in my fridge is only good for 3 days. It is concerning and confusing. Nonetheless, I am the proud owner of corned beef in a can.I did insist that we purchase several cans of pie filling. I was adamant the I have my rhubarb-strawberry pie filling. In the event that I cannot eat canned meat, I will at least have a viable substitute. The shelf life for this product is almost 2 years, so when my wife’s corned beef has long since expired, I will still be eating strawberry-rhubarb pie filing.

“I think we’re all set.”, she said as she conducted a thorough inventory of our food stuff. “Nobody eats any of this now.”, she added. “Leave the pie filling alone!”, she told me.

“So we wait for it to expire, and then have to do this all over again?”, one of my daughters asked.

“No.”, my wife explained, “if it is close to expiring, then we will eat it.”

“And what if the food shortage never comes?”, another one of my daughters asked.

“Oh, it will.”, my wife said. “Sooner or later, it will happen.”

“You need to stop watching the news.”, my daughter advised.

And so it was, and continues. A wait and see game with fate. A cat and mouse game between global economic doom, and expiration dates on cans of meat. If I were a betting man, I would wager heavily on my wife, and learn to develop a taste for canned meat. I just may have to. We have so much of it stored in the pantry.

 

Sex, And Drugs, And Rock ‘N’ Roll

 

“Did you do a lot of drugs when you were younger, daddy?”, one of my daughters asked me.

“Why would you ask me that?”, I responded.

“Well, mommy said that back in your old hippie days, you were on drugs most of the time.”, she informed me.

“Really?”, I inquired. “And why would you need to know about that?”

“We have to do a project in school.”, she answered. “I have to gather information about what my parents were like when they were younger, and present it to the class.”

“I don’t think they’re looking for that kind of information.”, I advised. “I think they want to know where we lived, how many brothers and sisters we have, where we went to school. That sort of stuff.”

“No, Mrs. Kennedy said to gather as much information about your parents as you can.”, she told me. I was pretty sure my wife was not aware of the purpose of my daughter’s thirst for knowledge about my past, but now I had to figure out how to stop the flow of that particular information.

“Why did you tell Melinda about shit I did when we were kids?” I asked. “What were you thinking?”

“Relax.”, she said. “Its no big deal. She doesn’t even know what I was talking about.”

“Oh, she does.”, I quipped. “And interestingly enough, its for a class project. She is going to present her findings to the class.”

“You’re kidding.”, my wife barked.

“No.”, I continued. “That’s what she told me.”

“Well.”, she said, as she chuckled. “Its not that bad, is it?”

“Well, I hope you can keep laughing about it. It gets worse.”, I responded. “I told her that you were a stripper.”

“You’re kidding?”, she snapped.

“In my defense, it was before I knew it was for a school project.”, I replied. “And, if its any consolation, I told her you were very, very good.”

“What the hell are we supposed to do about this, now?”, she asked.

“Well, I could get high, we could put some music on, and you could start taking your clothes off.”, I suggested.

“Really?”, she asked. “That’s your solution? Sex and drugs can’t fix everything!”

“And rock and roll.”, I corrected her. “Sex and drugs and rock and roll. And yes, I’m pretty sure it can make everything better.”

“Not this.”, she said.

“Well”, I stated, “I don’t think it could make it worse.”

“Be serious.”, she pleased. “We need to figure out how to stop her from announcing those things at school.”

“Its really not that bad.”, I said trying to ease her anxiety.

“Maybe not for you.”, she responded. “You were only a druggie. Big deal. Everyone was doing all kinds of shit back then. But I’m going to have to face our neighbors and the parents of every kid in her class, with everyone thinking I was a cheap stripper.”

“First of all,”, I explained. “They’re now referred to as exotic dancers, which sounds pretty sweet, and secondly, I never said you were cheap.”

“I’m glad you find this funny.”, she said, as her Spanish-Moroccan eyes started burning holes in my cranium.

“I’ll take care of it.”, I told her.  I found my daughter sitting at the kitchen table working on her school project.

“Listen”, I said. “I made that stuff up about mommy. I was just angry that she told you about me using drugs. She never was a stripper. You would be lying if you put that in your project.”

“I wouldn’t put that in my project.”, she told me. “It would hurt mommy’s feelings.”

“I see.”, I said. “But your okay telling everyone that I used all kinds of drugs when I was younger?”

“Ya.”, she said. “You don’t get upset like mommy. Her feelings get hurt very easy.”

“Really?”, I replied.

“Don’t you know that?”, she asked me in response.

“I guess that I never really thought about it.”, I said.

“Well, you should.”, she advised me. I thanked her for listening, and headed off to the family room.

“I think I’ve just been scolded by your daughter.”, I informed my wife.

“Well, you deserved it.”, she said.

“No doubt.”, I replied. “When did she get so smart?”

” You know, she’s my daughter too.”, she told me.

“I hear you.”, I stated. “I’m going to go to bed.”

“I’ll join you.”, she said as she turned off the television. “Maybe, if you’re lucky, we’ll see just how good of a stripper I really am.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rebellion of 2010

 

Moving with my family was one of the most horrifyingly traumatic events in our lives. My wife and I were busy in our search for a home in the city’s downtown core, while my kids were opposed to leaving their lives in suburbia.

We searched and searched for the ideal home, but everything we saw raised at least one significant issue with my wife. It was  too far from a school, or not near enough to a subway station. There were homes that were too close to the main street, or too far from a grocery store.  And  the search seemed to continue for what seemed like an eternity. After intensive investigating, and viewing, we finally found something she could live with. It was just blocks away from a high school, right next door to a grocery store, a few blocks from a subway station, and about a 1/2 hour walk to a hospital. “Well.”, she said, “I suppose its as close to perfect as we’re going to get.”

“What do we tell the kids?”, I asked.

“Leave that with me.”, she said. “It will be a piece of cake.” Now, I don’t eat cake. I never did. I just don’t like it, but I was almost certain this would not be a piece of cake.

We sat down with the 4 remaining kids still living at home, and my wife broke the news. “We’ve found a place. We’re going to be moving downtown. You guys will love it.”

“What the hell?”, one of my daughters shouted.

“I’m not going.”, my son said. “I hate it downtown.”

“I can’t believe you’re doing this to me.”, another daughter chimed in. “I love it here. I’m not going.”, and she burst into tears. They all got up and left the room.

“Well, that went over well.”, I said to my wife. “Perhaps they don’t like cake either.” And, as I have so regularly been subjected to over the years, my wife gave me the Moroccan death glare, the one that implies “I could kill you with just a blink of an eye.”

“You could have helped out a little.”, she said.

“You said to leave it with you.”, I replied. “Remember? It was going to be a piece of cake.”

“What do we do?”, she asked, “Do we stay here?”

“I think we just leave it alone.”, I told her. “They’ll get used to the idea. It’s not like they have a choice.”

Well, things went from bad to worse, and of course, I bore the brunt of the blame. My son had decided that he was moving out. He had a friend who was looking to share an apartment, and my son was moving in with him. One of my daughters was okay with the move, as long as she had her own bedroom, and we took the dogs with. The 2 other girls were emotionally wrought, filled with anxiety, fear, and hatred. They said that they would not move. They informed me that I could not make them move. They threatened to contact Children’s Aid, and have themselves placed in foster care in order to stay in outer suburbia.

“Its all fixed.”, I told my wife. “We lucked out. One is moving in with a friend, and two are going into the care of Children’s Aid. So we have 4 out of 5 kids no longer living with us. And, just to let you know, there was no cake involved. I substituted pie.”

“Nobody is going into Foster Care.”, she bellowed. “They’re coming with us. It doesn’t matter what they say. We are the parents. We decide what’s best for this family.” She often said we, but in reality, she meant that she decided what was best for this family.

The kids continued to be adamant about not moving, singing rousing versions of ‘We Shall Overcome’, and  ‘I Shall Be Released’, that came out as “I hate you”, and “I wish I was never born”. Over the following days, and weeks, they began a campaign to try to force us to change our minds. They employed subversive tactics such as ignoring us when we called them, refusing to do their chores, and refusing to clean up after themselves. They kept their lights and televisions on, and stayed up late in the early morning hours, on their computers. They posted on social media just how unfair and cruel their parents were. They left us notes stating that they would run away, and we would never see them again. I bought them suitcases on wheels, like a good and thoughtful father, so their departures would be easier.

As the moving date neared, their defiance heightened. They flat out refused to pack up their things. They would hold sit ins in their rooms so my wife and I could not pack for them. “It’s really a simple choice.”, I told one of my daughters. “You can leave with your stuff, or without it, but you will be leaving.”

“You can’t make me move.”, she replied.

“That’s true.”, I told her. “I just hope the family moving in doesn’t mind having you here.”

By moving day, my daughters had, I thought, surrendered, given that they had packed what they wanted to take with. Once we arrived at our new home, they amped up their disapproval of downtown living by refusing to eat, staying in their rooms, and giving us the silent treatment. My youngest daughter gave up the battle soon after we moved in.

The older of the 2 dug her heels in, with letters expressing her absolute and total disapproval of our parenting style and decision making process. Apparently, she believed that she had rights, which my wife and I had violated. I reminded my daughter that, since she was over 16 years old, I no longer had to allow her to live with me. I could, if I so desired, toss her sorry ass out on the street. She reminded me that she had rights. “Not in my dictatorship.”, I advised her. “You’re not obligated to stay here. You can pack up, and leave. Sail away to undiscovered lands, and start a new life. But if you choose to stay here, remember, this is not a democracy. I am not taking votes.”

“I want to talk to mommy.”, she said.

“That’s up to her.”, I said. “But I will ask.” I spoke with my wife about my daughter’s requrest.

“What am I supposed to say to her?”, my wife asked.

“I guess you don’t want to try that cake thing again.”, I remarked, as her Moroccan eyes darted back and forth searching for her prey. “Just tell her the truth. She will come around.”

“And what if she doesn’t?”, my wife inquired.

“Well”, I responded, “she really has no choice. Where is she going to go?”

The negotiations were long and arduous. Hour after hour, day after day of back and forth bargaining had the parties at a standstill. “Why don’t you say anything?”, my wife asked me one night.

“I am using my silence to confuse and befuddle her.”, I said. “I will talk when it is time to deliver the one crushing blow that will bring this to an end once and for all.”

“This isn’t a game.”, she said.

“Ah, my dear wife,”, I advised her, “but it is.”

About 1 week later, my daughter made a fatal mistake, and I could see the end in sight. She had made plans to spend the weekend with a friend in suburbia. She approached my wife and I, asking for money to finance her trip. I took money out of my pocket and placed it on the table in front of her. “How much do you need?”, I asked.

“$20.”, she said.

“Okay.”, I said and I picked up a $20 bill, and held it in my hand. “Let me explain how this is going to work. As long as you need to come to me and ask for money, there are rules that must be followed. I will always provide for my family. It doesn’t require you to like me, I really don’t care if you do or not. It does however require you to respect me and your mother. Nothing is free. This money is not just money, it is time taken from my life that I can never get back. It is mine. I have the option of sharing it with you, or not. I am under no obligation to provide with anything other than food, shelter and clothing. I don’t even have to pay for your cell phone. In fact, if this continues, I will cancel it. Do you understand?”

“Yes.”, she said.

“So”, I asked, “What do you want to do, because today we are resolving this. The revolution is over, and we now need to negotiate peace”

“Can I use the money you were going to give me to go to see my friends to paint my room instead?”, she asked.

“When do you want to paint it?”, I responded.

“This weekend.”, she told me. “I don’t think I want to see Elana right now, anyway.”

“Go and get dressed, and we’ll go get paint and the brushes.”, I said.

“I’m sorry.”, she said as she walked to her room to change.

“Me too.”, I told her.

“Well”, my wife said, “that turned out okay.”

“Okay?”, I questioned. “That was a superbly executed act of patience, power and control.  I told you not to worry.”

“I am impressed.”, she added.

“Thank you.”, I replied. “And notice that there was no need for any cake.”

My daughter remained with us for another 5 years, before moving in with her boyfriend, who resides in an outer suburban community. She calls her mother everyday, and comes by and visits at least once a month, whether we want her to or not. She learnt her lesson, and I was proud as hell of her for at least attempting to overthrow the powers that be. None of it really matters to me anymore though, as her boyfriend, who we care for very much, has inherited the little guerrilla inside of her, laying dormant, but waiting for the opportunity to jump out and usurp power and control before he even notices that it is gone.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Disappearance of Lily Belle

 

“She’s gone, daddy! She’s gone!”, My daughter shouted hysterically, as she ran into the backyard.

“Who’s gone?, I asked, taking her by the hand.

“Lily Belle, daddy!. Lily Belle is gone”.

dollMy heart sank. My wife turned ghostly white, her eyes filled with despair. “Find her daddy. Find her.” And so began one of the most trying events my family has had to endure.

We searched everywhere. Under beds, and in closets. In laundry hampers, and trash cans. We checked the garage, and the basement. Lily Belle was indeed gone. “Maybe you should go look outside.”, my wife said. “Check the neighbors. And the park.”

“Really?”, I asked.

“We have to find her.”

I walked from house to house, checking front and back yards. I walked to the park, and she was not searchthere either. “I couldn’t find her.”, I told my wife.

“We have to do something.”, she said.

She was right. We had to do something. “Like what?”, I asked.

“I don’t know.”, was the response. “But I can’t go through this again.”  Lily Belle had gone missing before. Her disappearance then had created a night of hysterical screaming from my daughter. Lily Belle was part of the family.  When my eldest daughter was in a children’s hospital, she found her in a bin, and kept her  during her long hospital stay. When she was finally discharged, she took her home. When my youngest daughter was born, Lily Belle was passed on to her, and now, they had become inseparable. So here we were, in the midst of a search and rescue mission for a torn and tattered, wadding stuffed, pile of cotton.

“I think we just put an end to it tonight.”, I suggested. That seemed to be the most logical thing to do. If the disappearance was permanent, this would never happen again. “I say Lily Belle never comes back.”

My wife looked terrified, as she held my daughter, covering her ears, as if to shield her from the terrifyingly evil plot my mind was hatching. Truth be told, I had hatched no plot. As I explained to kidnapmy wife, we had 3 choices. “First, Lily Belle ran away, never to be heard from again. This would be devastating to my little girl, as she would inevitably blame herself, and feel that Lily Belle never loved her. Second, Lily Belle was kidnapped. Heartbreaking, but a ransom note could be found that discloses just how much Lily Belle loved and missed my daughter. Most kidnap victims never return. Even if the ransom is paid”.

“And third?”, my wife asked.

“Third”, I continued, “aliens.”

“What?”, my wife asked in that tone I have heard so many, many other times.

alien“Aliens.”, I repeated. “She came from another planet to help sick children feel better. And now she had to go back and take care of a very sick alien child. We could write a goodbye letter.”

“That’s all you have?”, my wife asked.

“That, and the truth.”, I said. “We lost the friggin’ doll.”

“Let’s just keep looking, and hope she turns up.”, my wife said.

Over the next 2 days, we continued our search, and came up with nothing, although I was almost certain that I had seen 3 toed footprints in the backyard. We emptied drawers and suitcases. We climbed trees and went up on the roof to look. At the end of the second day, I issued an executive order to call off the search.

“It’s enough.”, I told my wife. “Lily Belle is gone. And she wont be coming back. I will talk to Step tomorrow when I get home.”

“What are you going to tell her?”, my wife asked.

“I have no idea. Although I am quite excited about the alien story.”, I said.

On the drive home the next day, I kept trying to rehearse what I would indeed tell my daughter. Nothing seemed to come out right. I didn’t want to hurt her, but I couldn’t seem to find any words that would not create pain or anguish in her.

When I got home, I called her outside. We sat on the top of the picnic table. “I want to talk to you about Lily Belle.”, I told her.

“Its okay, daddy.”, she said, “Mommy told me what happened, and I know you didn’t mean to do it.” She turned and gave me a hug.

accident“Well, I’m glad you understand that, Steph.”

“Mommy says that you don’t drive real good anymore, because your eyes are bad, and you wont go and get glasses. I know you didn’t mean to run Lily Belle over.”

“No, I didn’t”.

“But daddy”, she said, with her mother’s tone of disapproval. “You really need to get glasses so you can see what you’re doing.”

“Ok, Steph. And thank you for understanding.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pucked Again….

 

My wife enjoys playing video slot machines. She loves to gamble. She says it is in her Spanish Moroccan blood, coursing through her veins, much like her temperament. It makes her happy, so she says, so we go. She is a VIP, at our local casino. In effect, she has spent more money, win or lose, than the average non Spanish Moroccan , and so is entitled to certain perks and privileges slot1reserved for the most exclusive of guests. She has become a member. She gets a black card now, only for VIP club members, and she carries it proudly among the white card carrying general public. This black card, is the pathway to the perks.

She collects points for every dollar wagered, and these points can, in turn, be converted into meals, event tickets, and VIP members only galas. We have been to no gala, and while we have dined at the facility’s restaurant, the food is far from appealing. “It’s free.”, she says, justifying the garbage we are about to consume.

“Really?”, I ask. “You understand that you are about to eat an overcooked, over seasoned $500 steak, right?”

Interesting that this doesn’t concern my minimalist, frugal wife.

I do not play the slot machines. Often times she will give me $100 or so, and ask me if I want to play. “Of course.”, I tell her, and take the money. I put it in my pocket. Why not? She has questioned me several times about whether I really played or not. “What difference does it make if I put the money in the machine and lose it, or just put it in my pocket? It doesn’t cost you any more.”

slots2So there we were, at the local slot emporium, ready to roll, when I noticed a sign at the VIP room entrance offering a VIP Toronto Maple Leafs event. It seemed that for a significant amount of points, we could get 2 tickets which would gain us access to an executive suite at the Air Canada Centre for an upcoming hockey game. Free food. Free beer. Free Hockey. “We should grab a couple of tickets.”, I told her.

“I don’t know if I have enough points.”, she replied. She checked, and yes she did. More than enough. In fact there were enough points for the tickets, and another culinary adventure in the hall of disappointing dinners. We scooped the tickets. “Happy are you?”, she asked.

“You have no idea.”, I replied.

As she entered the very special room in which you can lose very special money, I wandered off to hockey1watch others enjoy the art of casino gaming, with $100 in my pocket.

On the way home, she suggested that we give the hockey tickets to one of my daughters and her boyfriend. “Are you kidding?”, I asked her.

“No. They never go anywhere. They have no money. It would be nice for them to go somewhere nice.” I thought about this for almost no time at all.

“How about we send them to the movies.”, I suggested.

“I think we should give them the tickets.”, she repeated. “Neither one of us can sit there that long. We can’t eat most of the food, and how much beer can you really drink?”

“But its an executive suite.”, I reminded her.

Practical and logical as ever my wife added that there would be no smoking, and I would not be permitted to cuss or curse.

“I’m not happy about this.”, I told her.

“I know.”, she said. “I know.”

On the day of the game, my daughter and her boyfriend arrived at the house to pick up my tickets. “Are you sure?”, the boyfriend asked, alternately looking at me and the tickets.

hockey2“Not at all.”, I told him, “But you go and have a good time.” The little guy couldn’t thank me enough. I still don’t think he did. After they left, I retired to the bedroom, feeling somewhat dejected. No, pissed off. I was feeling pissed off. I put on my Detroit Red Wings Jersey, and sat on the bed waiting for the game to begin. My wife entered the room. “Here.”, she said. “Help me with this.” I looked up, and she was carrying a 6 pack of beer, an order of wings, and a small, thin crust veggie pizza, with extra olives.

“Much better than the executive box.”, she said as I helped her with the delivery. She got up on the bed, and sat beside me.

“Much better.”, I said.

“Who’s playing?”, she asked.

“It really doesn’t matter, anymore.”, I said.

 

 

 

Of Mice And Menopause

 

One of my daughters who still lives at home, has decided that she NEEDS a pet to make her life complete. She cites loneliness, and heartbreak, following the demise of her Beta Fish, as the driving force. She has asked to many pets over the years. She has requested a hedgehog, an armadillo, and a pig. She got none of them. She has tried to get me to say yes to a donkey,a tortoise, and a goat.

She gets this from her mother. Many years ago, my wife called me and asked if I thought we should get a dog. I have always ones dogs, and I knew that I, not my wife or kids, would be doing all of the work. I’m told hermit didn’t think it was a good idea. She begged and pleaded. I dug in, and told her I didn’t think so. She cried. I said nothing. Her crying turned into hysterical sobbing. I said yes. And, as I told her that fateful day on the phone, I had to train the dogdog, walk the dog, feed the dog, and take the dog to the vet. She told me she was sorry, and blamed menopause for her crying.

A few years later, she told me that the dog seemed lonely, and she thought we should get another dog for him to play with. “Perhaps the dog wouldn’t be so lonely if the kids spent time walking him.”, I suggested. She started crying again, explaining that she really wanted a puppy. It occurred to me that the reason we had so many kids, was simply that she liked babies. Once they great up a bit, she wanted another one. And now, she was after another dog. I knew it really didn’t matter what I thought, said or wanted. She brought the new puppy home 2 days later, and again I was the walker, feeder, and trainer.

She has not supported my decision to get ban pets. She keeps watching animal videos on the internet. She regularly oohs and ahs over videos of puppies, pandas, and most recently an owl. She animalsinsists that I watch the video clips and asks “Isn’t he cute?”. I don’t respond. “Well”, she says, “Isn’t he?”.

“No pets.”, I tell her. “No animals.”

“I just think it would make her happy, if we got her a small pet”, she says.

“How small?”, I ask.

” I don’t know”, she answers, ” something like a guinea pig. They’re small”.

” It’s not happening.”, I say quite sternly, ” I am no going to clean that damn rodent’s cage.”

evil-mouse” I’ll clean the cage.”, She replies. We both laugh. We both know she will never, ever clean the cage.

“Perhaps we should just get her a field mouse. A free range field mouse. It will live outside, and much like her, will come around whenever he feels like it. If we leave food all over the place, it may come more regularly. Maybe bring a friend or 2.” My oratory complete, I sat there like a peacock. If only I owlhad a sceptre. My wife agreed. No pets. No animals.

“You have to watch this”, she told me, “they’re adorable. Look how cute they are when they’re paying. Ahhh. Ooohh”

“Ah, hell”, I thought. “We’re getting an owl!”.

The Man Who Lived Upstairs

There was something weird about the man who lived upstairs. Day and night he was at it. The sound of power tools, from drills to circular saws, axes to hammers, led us to believe he was up to something. Quite likely, something sinister.

We had never seen him, and so we had been forced to speculate just what he might be doing up there in the dead of night. All of the most plausible suggestions were rejected by the expert panel of demented daring do that I live with.

2adc44b206391da1cf4fb13163b94500The silence of the peaceful night was shattered by an electric saw, working tirelessly to cut through something seemingly uncuttable. This was followed by a power drill, and then a hand saw. After a few moments of silence there came the sound of an axe,  crushing through something not meant to be axed, and then hammering. It would go on for hours. We would sit and listen. “You should go up there and see what he’s doing”., my wife said “And tell him to stop.”

“You understand he has weapons of slash destruction.”, I replied.

My daughter was convinced that he was some sort of serial killer, torturing the poor souls he regularly abducted. Another daughter suggested that we simply go up and ask.  It didn’t matter to me. He had, at his disposal saws and axes, and there was no way that I planned to knock on his door and find out what he was doing up there.

My daughter revealed that she has heard weird noises coming from upstairs. Not just the power tools, but moaning and other strange sounds. My wife decided that we must do something, She called building security. “Let them go see what he’s doing up there.”

45 minutes later, the noises were still ringing out. “I don’t know why security hasn’t been up there yet?”, she muttered.

affe2d949928ebaecb1758b52e16ff47-d4we8ks“Perhaps they did go”, I offered

“I’m calling security again”, she replied..

The news from security was not what she expected. A guard did attend the unit. They will dispatch another guard.

There was a silent, but visible “Oh hell” frozen on everyone’s face. “He killed the security guy”, my daughter mumbled. “Probably cut him up in little pieces”.

“I can’t take it anymore.”, my wife said, “it goes on all night”.

We had all agreed that something horrific was going on upstairs. We had to find out. The next day my wife called the property manager and described the situation. As luck would have it, while on the phone with property management, the sawing and drilling began, and was clearly heard by the property manager. He promised to investigate at once.

“If this doesn’t stop”, my wife stated, “we’re moving. I can’t live like this!”

Several days passed, and we heard nothing from property management. “Doesn’t anybody care that there’s a lunatic living up there?”. my wife queried.

download-1“I will go up and see.”, I told her. Putting on my brave face, and grabbing a baseball bat, I bid farewell to my family, and headed out. I stood before the door that might have hidden secrets of the criminally insane. I could hear the whirr of a chain saw as I knocked.  There was no response, so I knocked again. I had my bat on my shoulder, ready to swing. The sawing stopped. From behind the door, a voice called out. It was hard, and gruff, cold, as if devoid of all feeling. “Who is it?” I wasn’t about to tell him. I really had no idea what to say.

I returned home several minutes later. “So”, my wife spoke out, “What did you find out?”

I sat down on the couch, and presented my wife with a hammer. “I found out that I could borrow the hammer for a few days.” I  took a deep breath. “I have no intention of taking it back. We may as well start packing now.”

By the end of the week, the sounds had stopped, No sawing, no drilling, and no chopping. It was eerily quiet. The police had been around a few days after I borrowed the hammer, and the noises stopped.

“They probably arrested him”, a daughter said. “for murder or something.”

“Maybe he just moved.”, I suggested.

“Yeah. To prison.”, she added.

“You know,” another daughter chimed in, “there might be blood or something on that hammer. I wonder if the police will come looking for it, or for you.”

We never did find out what the man who lived upstairs was doing, but I got a pretty nice hammer out of that experience.

 

 

 

 

Blue Fish, Red Fish, One Fish, Dead Fish…

Things just keep getting stranger and stranger. My wife bought my daughter a pet Beta fish, as my daughter had been asking for a hedgehog. 1 week into pet ownership, and my daughter found the responsibility too daunting, so she handed the fish bowl back to my wife, with the encouraging words “here, you fish1take care of it”. My wife took to Beta rearing like a fish out of water (hahaha). She named the fish Billy. She spoke to it every day, and would regale us with tales of how excited Billy got whenever she peered into his bowl. She told us, about how his little fins would move back and forth so quickly, when he saw her face. She fed the little guy, and cleaned his bowl religiously.

One day, she noticed that Billy seemed sick. He wasn’t swimming around so much. He seemed lethargic, and wasn’t eating. A call to the pet store resulted in little information, except confirmation that Billy was indeed, not well. My wife took on the challenge of saving Billy. She cleaned his tank, changed his fish3water, and put special drops in the bowl to keep it bacteria free. she wrapped a towel around the base of the bowl, so the water wouldn’t get too cold. Over the next few weeks, Billy seemed to have days of appearing better, but then, as fate would have it, he relapsed, again and again. “I think he’s dying”, she said.  Indeed, it seemed that way.

“I don’t want him to suffer”, as tears welled up in her eyes. But he was suffering. I didn’t have the heart to tell her. So we waited through more water changing, more bowl cleaning, and more anti bacterial drops. One day, she found Billy on his side. Not moving. “I think he’s dead.”, she said. But when she gently tapped the side of the bowl, Billy moved his fins. The following morning, it was a Sunday, my beautiful, kind hearted wife peered into the bowl, and sighed. She took the bowl and left fish4the room. I followed her into the bathroom, and saw this gentle woman, bludgeon the fish into obliteration with her bare hands. She looked at me. She cried. I hugged her. She flushed the corpse, or rather the remaining pieces. “What do you want for dinner?”, she asked, and walked out of the room. We never spoke of the murder. Not once. I am not sure how to even begin the conversation, but every night she asks me why I am just laying in bed with my eyes open.