Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thanksgiving redux

Yeah, so it's been a few days and the story has well-nigh rendered itself obsolete, but Thanksgiving was a far more depressing ordeal than imagined in my wildest dreams. You know how I thought it was gonna be awkward with my grandpa and dad in the same room, since they're all of a sudden estranged from one another? Well this is even better! My grandpa called my sister-in-law at the last minute and told her to tell me he wouldn't be coming. She asks him if he wants my number to tell me himself, and he says "no" and hangs up. I was actually relieved to hear this, since I don't really care for the old coot. I was just trying to make up for the fact that I never go visit him, even though he only lives about a mile away from me. An atheist can only so take so much sermon from an old man (particularly one who evidently thinks you're retarded and needs to explain everything he says) before an atheist wants to peel the skin off her face. So yay, no preachy old grandpa.

"How could Thankgiving have been worse, then, and not better?" you might be asking yourself. Well it could, and here's how: Remember how my mom died last April? Well this is the first (non-Hallmark-invented) holiday since her death, and my dad looked like he wanted to fucking blow his brains out. He felt like a fifth wheel (unsurprising, since it was Scott and me with my bro and his wife). I tried to distract him from his misery by asking how the job search is going. Yeah, he has no job. After the meal he just sat on the couch, his head hanging very low over his cup of coffee. After he left I talked to Jeremy and Sandy about things, and it doesn't sound so good.

After my mom died I knew my dad would be completely fucked, not just because he lost the only person in this universe who would tolerate him, but because theirs was a household absolutely dependent on two incomes. My family's broke, pretty much always has been. A month after mom died, the Blazer or Bronco or whatever got repossessed because he missed some payments. I ended up paying for her funeral and everything so he wouldn't hafta worry about it, but I knew he needed more help than that.

So I pressured Jeremy and Sandy into moving in with him. The house is plenty big enough, I figured, and the baby would lift his spirits a little bit. They'd pay a little less than what they were paying in rent for their apartment, and everyone wins, right? Not so much. My dad ended up quitting his job a couple of months ago and according to Jeremy he sleeps in 'til noon every day, drinks coffee for about three hours, goes out for awhile returning with a stack of DVDs that no one can figure out how he's affording, and hasn't been following up on job leads. He's not getting unemployment (since he quit), and even though I made him a resume and Jeremy faxes them off for him, he's not really trying to find a job. It sounds like he's just given up on life, and I'm worried that he's gonna end up homeless or something. The man is an island, and no one can seem to reach him. He needs to finish mourning so he can begin his life again, but he's just so miserable. Jeremy and Sandy are getting fed up with him jumping in on their arguments (they've only been married a year), and they don't have much privacy.

Anyway, after everyone left on Thursday Scott and I cleaned up, while I went through my usual mental broken record-loop, "what can I do to fix this? what can I do to fix this?" I know that I can't save my dad from himself. I just don't know how to make this better. I can't help feeling like I should take the situation into my own hands, because frankly, no one else will. But it's not my job to keep bailing my dad out, he's an adult. On the other hand, he's also a motherless child who's never not had a woman to tend to him. And at 53 years old, he just needs to grow up. I just hope things don't have to get any worse for him before he realizes that.

Dinner was good though. White bean turkey chili last night was even better.

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