Since late last night our internet connection has been down. I have always known that email, IM, and blogging keeps me from focussing on other household duties but this morning really proved it. By 11 AM I had roused, fed, and dressed each child, taken Sophie to school via bike, done two loads of laundry, made beds, finished the dishes and cleaned the refrigerator, made homemade pizza sauce for tonight’s dinner and brownies for dessert, and finished the machine-sewing for Nels’ latest pair of pants (there’s a story to these pants I will sew-blog later). The efficiency and pleasantness of the morning is almost enough to make me forgo Inter-Tron during my morning hours. Almost.
One reason I am a badass is that I biked Sophie to school in not only rain but gale-force winds (with the help of The Stills on iPod – thanks J. for the suggestion!). I suspect this will be my life for a while until I can figure out how to come up with $793 for my van and it’s fubar’d fuel pump. P.S. I just got the estimate yesterday by phone and tried to hold off telling Ralph who’s having mental and emotional problems with the realities of our financial situation. It’s too bad we couldn’t be down to one car during the lovely summer months we just spent.
Due to the storm I wasn’t feeling as excited about my normal modes of getting around (biking, walking, bussing). So this morning I’d called to ask my mom if she’d give Nels and I a ride to the library (my current locale as I type here). She was headed to a funeral today – my lifelong next-door neighbor died last week. So I asked for my dad and he agreed to pick us up.
My father is an intelligent, laconic, grumpy person who likes to rudely tease his three nuclear family members in some sort of twisted way to relate to them (example, “Got a job yet?” in a snotty tone to my brother who is currently living below poverty-level – albeit in a nice home with at least one month’s rent paid – while he searches for one and daily grows more anxious and sad). I have decided to choose to believe my father loves me, because his behavior towards me could / does indicate a lack of respect – often. I love him and will always love him. And yes, he can be helpful. When he took me out to my van last Friday he assited me in trying to get a jump and evaluating the problem to be needing a tow, or not (it did. Shit. P.S. I surmised fuel pump and was correct as it turns out. Perhaps I should try to hone my auto-psychic skills to make a quick buck). After we left my van to drive into town he not-so-helpfully treated me to a deriding monologue about how this van is a piece of shit and has been giving us problems from Day 1. When it comes to looking for advice and guidance this kind of meanness / weirdness really clouds my judgment at whether to look to him for assistance and mentorship, or not.
So today when he dropped me off as I packed my son out of the van he abruptly grunted, “What are you doing?” (which meant, “Dear daughter, I am concerned at how you will get home in the storm. Would you like me to pick you up and take you back home when you’re done?“). I said, “I’m just going to use their computer and pick up a hold.” He said, “You’re not coming over later?” I said, “No… I’ve got to get home and do some chores.” He said, “I could drive you back,” in his patented half-offer, half-belligerant delivery that is so uniquely Dave Fisher. I told him we’d bus home, I thanked him, and said I’d see him at 5 when they came over for dinner.
I love my father and that’s one of the major, and I mean major reasons we moved here – to be near my family while my father was facing the last days – or months, or years; whatever his cancer affords him – of his life. But sometimes he and my mother tire me out. His grumpiness, and even more so her excuses for it (for her own personal settling and to encourage my brother and I to settle for it as well). I still love them both and more than ever. I don’t feel victimized by them in any way; I am fully aware that I can bring my desire for different behavior to them at any time, and I have in the past. I am proud of Ralph and I for giving them the kindness of moving my family close to them. I am glad for their help, strings-attached as it sometimes seems. Today, I was glad for a trip to the library out of the wind and rain. That, and the bus-fare I stole out of their van for the trip back home.