1 hour a week…dinner with my dad! This should be interesting!
Alot of things have happened in my life to lead up to this and I am really not even sure where to begin. So, for now, I will just tell you the most recent events…
Dad’s wife, Patti, of 35 years died in April, at the end, she was fighting Lung Cancer, Covid and a massive stroke. And last week my big brother, Paul, died…depression, drinking and Rx don’t mix (even though he had been mixing those for years…to oblivion)! Paul was like my grandfather…it’s either zero or 100, there is no in between!
My dad and I have ALWAYS clashed. I was the one he fought with on everything, probably because I was the only one that would argue EVERYTHING with him. About 5 years ago, I had had enough and decided I was done…done with the fighting, done with the rejection, done with trying to find SOMETHING in common with him, done being miserable because he made me feel like I was that 10 year old little girl that he could push around. JUST DONE! (and justifiably)
I am calling this my last ditch effort at trying to have a civilized relationship with my dad…or at the least, have enough compassion for his losses (and mine as well) to tolerate sitting through dinner with him.
Yesterday, I went down to my dad’s and we drove over to the Credit Union to add me as a share holder to his accounts, so that I have access to the accounts, without the red tape, if something happens to him. When we were leaving Essington, the Oil Freight train locked us in…normally it would have been awkward, because he would get pissed that we were sitting still and I would get all like…dad, the train isn’t going to speed up for you or some smart ass remark like that. But this time, he looks at me and says “you know, this is the FIRST time ever that I let you drive me”…the defenses came down a little!
I have told a handful of my people my intentions of taking him a hot dinner once a week and I am getting mixed opinions (I am grateful for their honesty and I appreciate their thoughts and opinions!) My defenses are still up and I know my dad will say many things to push my buttons, but I can try this…1 hour! I’m just hoping he will take advantage of this olive branch.
I was talking to the owner (Keith) of the company that I work for (Dial Connection LLC) this evening…he told me that the company would like to donate to a charity that would be important to my brother. I couldn’t think of a thing that my brother/dad wouldn’t consider a waste of money, so I asked Keith to let me talk to my nephew and see what he thinks. During the conversations, I had told him that I was going to pick up dinner every Monday night and sit and eat with him. So Keith says, let the company pay for the first 4 weeks of these meals. I thanked him and told him that I would let him know if it doesn’t last 4 weeks 🙂
Dad called today to be sure I was coming over and that he didn’t need me to bring him food (unless I was already cooking it). So we’re not having dinner together tonight…the goal is to go through a suitcase of paperwork to see if we can find the titles to his cars or the boat & trailer.
For a guy that wants everyone to leave him alone and mind their own business, he sure did buy a house in the middle of all of the Wiernicki’s. Judy, (his first cousin) across the street…couple houses over…is outside watering her landscaping…so I can’t not walk over there and talk to her. She told me that her brother, Ronnie, stopped in to visit my dad today…he lives a few houses down from him. (Judy’s daughter, Dawn, lives in Aunt Dot and Uncle John’s house, which you can see from Judy’s front porch and Kelly, Judy’s youngest, lives right across the highway in Lester, but in walking distance)…so everyone knows everyone’s business, even if you dont want them to. Good thing I have active relationships with all of them. Not forgetting Brian, Judy’s middle child, and his wife Ginny…they just live outside of Essington. I love the time I spend with all of them!
The first thing he wants to do is ‘fix’ his spreadsheet…this is a spreadsheet that Patti made for him/them that is like a bank register…he added his trip to the market today and now all of the cells have #NOVALUE…that was actually an easy fix…removing 1 of the 2 decimal points 🙂
On to finding the titles…we went through a suitcase of pictures…I never would have thought my brother cared about pictures…(I will post a bunch tomorrow)…my dad wanted to get rid of any pictures that didn’t have a person he knew in them…I knew 95% of the people in the pictures…the other pictures were cars, trucks, work on the house or work pictures, those are the ones he wanted to get rid of.
It went without any kind of arguments and we both put the brakes on a couple subjects that were triggers…but there were also some serious conversations as we went through them. My brother asked him if he should go to my mom’s funeral…my dad said that was a “toxic environment” because mom’s ex husband’s family would be there…apparently he forgot that mom was married to Jack-Pop for 25+ years…after Paul Gill! And my brother had many pictures of Paul Gill and his present wife…so I call BullShit!
After 4 hours of going through pictures, he was feeling strong enough going through the room that Paul was living in…I was starting to get really emotional…there were hundreds of DVD movies (that I know are Paul Jr’s) and bags of clothes under the bed. That is when I told dad that Paul Jr and I have been doing zoom meetings and seeing each other almost every weekend for almost a year (and he hasn’t asked me for a dime)…that is his big bitch about Paulie, is that he was a “money suck” on Paul, I asked why is not ok that Paulie ask his father for help, but it’s ok that he hands Sandy 5k (today). I didn’t want to make a big deal of this, but I couldn’t bite my tongue! I told him, if you are giving Sandy 5k, can I get mine too? He asked if I needed it and I said, “I could”…what he doesn’t understand is why it bothers me…and I’m not sure he will ever. Sandy needs furniture when the gf moves out…I get that, but my question is…can she afford the place by herself? (I know the answer to that…I asked her).
If I had $200,000, I would buy a $200,000 house, if Sandy had the same, she would buy a $400,000 house…and eventually would fall behind on the payments, possibly lose the place and it’s ‘poor Sandy, take more money’…meanwhile, I make the sacrifices (if necessary) and I am the one who has everything handed to her…he is giving sandy $5000, but I won’t get that, because I don’t need it.
I really try not to start arguments, but he pushes the buttons…I am (and always have been) super protective of Paulie. I don’t believe I will ever really open my dad’s eyes, but I did enjoy having the conversations with him that didnt turn into arguments!
When I left, I said…see you next Monday! And he said…if I need anything before then, can I call…So I am thinking that he enjoyed the evening too!
Yesterday I went over the bridge to get some Jersey corn and tomatoes to take up to Paulie’s. I can’t believe how hard it hit me when I drove past the street that I would have turned on to get to his house…back when he had a house. Every time I have ever gone over the CBB, I drive past there and would want to stop in…and I also have this memory that comes EVERY time I am in NJ. When they first bought the house…Cheryl said…go over the CBB, go over 130 and then right after the PureLand sign, turn Right (onto Bridgeport Rd)…what she didn’t say was IMMEDIATELY after the sign…like 20 yards…I drove right past it! Yesterday, I drove past it…in tears!
Tonight, I showed up at dad’s around 10 of 6…he wasn’t sure I was going to be there….and he was glad to see me. First thing we did was talk about a few things…I will be the executor of his will…he wants to put me on the house so I don’t have to deal with Inheritance tax, he had called his lawyer today to set up an appointment to change his will…He does NOT want an Addendum! Then we went to his computer and removed all of the OLD billing stuff from Patti’s cancer doctors…he doesn’t want to see them every time he pays the bills….I don’t blame him!
At one point, I said, “I’ll be here every Monday until we get sick of each other” and we both laughed. He said ‘our lives have taken us in different directions over the years, but we should be able to do this with no problems’…I sure as hell hope he is right! I also think that I talked him into letting me bring him food from “Mission BBQ”, I will have to print their mission statement to give him some background…then maybe he’ll like it even more! We shall see!
He wanted to get Paul’s clothes out of the extra room…it’s too much of a reminder that he isn’t coming back…so we filled about 8 garden trash bags…not the kitchen bags either…with stuff from 2 dressers, the closet shelf and the closet floor…and there were another 6 bags down in the basement. He wanted to take it all to GoodWill…I wanted to take it to Buds, let him go through it…hell, some of the clothes probably belong to him. My dad didn’t want to burden Buds with it all and I think he needs to stop “protecting everyone”, let us take some of this off of him and let the healing really begin! We loaded it all up in my truck, I will take it up to Paulie and let him go through it as he wants…or if he wants me to help, I am there!
There are still a few more things he wants me to take out of there…one being the big screen TV (that doesn’t have a stand or a power cord…or a remote). This made me laugh out loud…when I was at Paulie’s last weekend, we were in his garage and he asked if I should take the TV Stand and the remote to my dad, because he had the TV…when Paul left Paulie’s, he was pissed off…took ONLY the TV…took it right off the wall mount (left the mount on the wall)…so now I also have the TV in the back of my truck…sitting on top of all of the bags of clothes (and I put a tarp over it, just in case there are any storms before I get it up to Honey Brook). Fun with the Wiernicki men 🙂
Speaking of Wiernicki men, took this last Sunday : Paulie with his youngest, Remy! LOVE them!
A couple weird moments…1st, he was glad to see me, and 2nd, he was actually happy that I brought him a meal. He has fought me on this so much, but him and I sat at the table and ate together…not sure if we’ve EVER done that…well, maybe when we would go to Betterton, MD during the Boeing shutdowns when I was under the age of 11…but nope, I can’t remember us sitting down at the same table, unless we were in a restaurant. I was telling him about Mission BBQ last week thinking that their ‘message’ would at least let me bring it in the door.
I asked him what he’s been doing with his time, he said…I went to the ShopRite today, and I’ve been watching alot of TV (he also informed me that this wasn’t good)…he had also stopped at Ronnie Wiernicki’s place but he was still at the beach. Ronnie is probably the only person he really likes being around right now…because Ronnie’s wife Karen passed away about 4 weeks before Patti did…I hope they do alot of hanging out together, I really like Ronnie!
This week, we went through Paul’s stuff that was out in the garage…mostly tools…and loaded them into the back of my truck! He was surprised that my truck was emptied from last week, I’m not sure he believes that we see Paulie and family at least once a week. (We even do Zoom every Sunday night…or if we are there/or them here, we joke about having to get home for our zoom).
I still can’t believe Paul is gone! I am grateful that my path was different, but I really wished that he would change his. It’s such a hard thing to explain…he was so lonely, but even when we were kids, he never let anyone get close and if he did, he pushed them away! He was dating this woman Leona a few years back…I really liked her for him, he would tell me that he was not going to marry her, that he wasn’t even going to ask her, then she would tell me that they had plans to get married. I don’t think she was making that up!
But anyway! There was a suitcase full of paperwork in the garage…so we went through it looking for the titles to the cars/boat/trailer, everything was Debbie’s (the ex-gf, that moved to FL). While we were going through it, my dad pointed out a dusty pile of ~20 boxes that he wants to get rid of. This was a pile of brand new “prizes” that Patti had won down the casino. (electronic monopoly (i’m guessing it has an ATM and credit cards), lunch box/cooler, cookware, and some other boxes with no labels). At first I was thinking, wth would I want them for and then he told me that they were worth about 20k (Patti’s casino debt) and every time he sees them he gets upset (even though we had just laughed about it)…so I told him I would get them out of there next week. He may change his mind by then, but that’s ok…I am just trying to help him declutter the emotions!
Until next week!
Yesterday was a super stressful day at work and it took a lot for me to finally shake it off. Even when I started to relax, some other stupid little thing would stress me out. I ended up staying up late..because I was hell-bent on watching the Womens Beach VolleyBall gold medal match (I have been following it all the way through the matches)…so I am a little tired this morning!
I seem to have 2 thoughts that are on repeat mode in my head, so I am hoping to get it out on here and be done with it (as much as I can be)…1st, Paul…I always thought that if something happened to him, that it would be a boating accident, small boat overtaken by wake, racing his boat and losing control or his drunk ass fell overboard. Whenever I heard of any kind of boating accident on the Delaware River, in the back of my head, I thought, he would do something like that…not “DRUG USE”
then the thoughts go right into the 2nd thing that runs through my head…no obituary…I know my dad is hurting, but it happened…he DID exist and he is gone! He’s not a crotchety old man, he’s always been this way!
why am I doing this Monday night thing? It’s for me, right? I get the chance to make a difference!
I also can’t let it drain me…I just need a little strength to draw on…or I just need a good bike ride 🙂
dad cancelled on me last minute…said he was up late last night, had to get up early this morning to take a friend somewhere…needed a nap! I will send him a txt tomorrow to check on him.
He really enjoyed the Mission BBQ Black Plate Special but he really hates that I “buy”. Oh well! He also told me that I don’t have to come down every Monday…I told him that I have been enjoying it! (So for now…he has to put up with it! and he is enjoying it also!)
He wanted me to “fix” his AOL web page (where he reads the news)…as much as I would like to tell AOL what to do regarding their layout, all I could do was make his task bar smaller (somehow he had doubled it…and it was “locked”)…that made him happy!
I don’t watch much TV news, so when he had the news on, I was glad…I really wanted to know what was going on with the Taliban. President Joe Biden had announced that he was pulling ALL US troops and dignitaries out!! That if the people of the country weren’t willing to fight, then why the hell should we!! My dad agrees with Biden whole-heartedly!! He feels this should have been done with Vietnam as well as Korea!
I should just call him Archie (Bunker)! He’s a super racist!! But I try to look at it from his life and circumstances…he is 77…he was brought up in a different generation (where all men ruled the world and women were sex slaves (I mean wives)…and there was only 1 or 2 black families in a 10 mile radius)! NO MATTER HOW MUCH I DISAGREE WITH HIM, I will not argue with him regarding religion, politics or racism!!
We did have some civilized conversations in the mist of all of this (because I would keep changing the subject)…so I can tolerate another week! But next week, I plan on counting how many times he says the N word. (He blames everything wrong with this country and his life on the blacks…to me, it is really fucking crazy how much he feels this way! He doesn’t even say it under his breath…I am surprised no one has shot him yet!)
Computer stuff first…he needed me to add in the Aqua Sewer Insurance for auto-pay! Done!
5 times he asked what I wanted for dinner…since last week he insisted on pizza…that’s what I wanted! We went over to his favorite pizza place and grabbed a pizza…I can’t remember the name of the place but it was right across the street from Kelly’s (she wasn’t home…dad said she never is LOL)…the pizza was VERY good so I will look it up, just for future reference.
While driving, he saw some guy on a motorcycle with a shaved head. Apparently he thinks that is stupid…unless you are already balding. So then the conversation went to ‘comb-overs’. He told me this story…after my cousin Tommy passed away, they found about 4-5 bottles of hairspray in his glove-box…to keep his comb over in place. Everyone knew that Tommy had a comb-over, (and they were all ok with keeping his secret) so it was really just for his peace of mind! Dad proceeded to tell me that him and Tommy went out on Ronnie’s boat (Tom’s brother) on the Delaware…and the faster they went, the more Tommy’s comb-over stood up, flapping in the wind…He had me laughing my ass off at this point…because there was a very accurate visual!
While we were eating pizza, he actually started talking a bit about Patti…not alot, but all good! Patti was a terrible cook, but she had him snowed over. She made boxed mashed potatoes, he thought she was cooking potatoes, slaving over a hot stove, getting all the lumps out. I was laughing, telling him about some of my memories from the last time they had the big Xmas Eve party…at the Prospect Park house (right before Justi passed away)…Patti had cooked a Turkey for 2 days…at 125*…it was awful…dangerous…disgusting! But worth many great laughs! This also went into a short conversation about Justi…I knew she would only be at the party for a short time (and she was avoiding me…she thought I was still mad at her for trashing my house when she was house/dog sitting)…so I brought her a box of all kinds of different Chinese foods to take with her for hanging out with her friends. I don’t think he even knew about that! I actually saw him smile a little. I also had a great memory of Patti’s shenanigans…and I had to share (Jen said I can’t give away all of her secrets LOL)…there was an end table with a drawer next to my dad’s side of the sofa (it was a sectional with Lazy-Boys)…Patti wanted to light a cigarette, so she opens the drawer, pulls out a lighter, flicks it a couple times, throws it back in the drawer…she pulled probably 5 lighters out, threw them back in before she actually found a working one…I said, why don’t you throw them away? she told me that she finds pleasure in torturing my dad when he tries to light his! Ha Ha!! She got back at him in little ways! When I finished this story, he laughed so hard and said she always pulled shit like that!
When I got there, he was watching a recorded TV version of “A few good men”. I liked this movie, the story line…but the famous ending “you can’t handle the truth” is awful. Jack Nicolson plays this hard-ass, non-breakable Marine…but he breaks under pressure in the court room…only after a few questions (but still a good movie!)
My cousin, Ronnie stopped in to drop off some Mahi that he caught 25 miles off of Cape May the previous Saturday…it was great to see him…he hung out with us…it was nice! We all started talking about fishing and how much it costs. It was then that I knew why I don’t really have any kind of collections…dad went on a rant (not necessarily a nasty or mean spirited rant, but a rant, nonetheless) about how much money and time Ronnie and his son (Ronnie Jr) invest in their fishing “hobby”…they head out at 3am, goes miles out, have expensive rods and thousand dollar reels! My response was like “good for you, if you’re going to have a hobby that you love, what better investment?”
I remember living as cheap as I could when I put myself through college and was working 70-80 hours a week, (NEVER…and I mean NEVER did I ask him for $$) I had a CD collection (still have some of it)…but at some point my father made some hurtful comment about how much money I wasted on those cd’s…that I probably spent a couple thousand dollars on them. (It’s not like I bought them all at the same time). These are the stupid things that I would get hung up on…why did he care what I spent my money on? it wasn’t his money! I wasn’t even asking him for money! I was in my mid-late 20’s…and it and the stereo were some of the few thing I had that was really worth moving after graduation!
All in all, pizza with dad and Ronnie went well, it was a nice evening!
2021-09-06 Labor Day
Since this was a holiday, I started the day with a bike ride with Mike and we went to Grottos for lunch (yesterday, we went to the Sun Diner (fka as the Marcus Hook Diner), both mornings I needed to stop at the Home Depot in Claymont…
Jen went to visit the parents in State College for the weekend, so I was trying to finish up some projects (basement subfloor and carpet tiles – still need to update my blog ourhouse.ilearnedthehardway.com
While I was cleaning up for the day, I missed a call from dad…”hey kid, don’t come down tonight (with it being a holiday, you probably didn’t plan on coming down anyway)”, and then he says that a couple of his buddies called and invited him down to the boat club. I think this may be the first time that he has gone down there since before Patti passed back in April…
I got a call from dad, he had some Mahi for me and Jen and wanted to drop it off. He hasn’t been in my house for at least 5 years (he tried to plant a T RUMP sign in my front yard, that didn’t go very well)..and my mother just happened to be here. That was probably more awkward for me than mom…but I think it threw my dad…
Before that visit, the last visit was right before the kitchen remodel in 2012…so he had never seen the work we did in the kitchen…or any project since then. I showed him the kitchen and he couldn’t believe the change and how good it looked. So I took him down to the basement to show him my newest project, the subfloor and the new carpet tiles. He said I have many talents! He actually said something nice!! And then he proceeded to give me hell for not asking him to use his table saw…that I didnt need to buy a new one! He still tries to push my buttons!!
Things are starting to feel a little normal…my guard is down a little, so I still need to be careful and dance around triggers 🙂 I don’t want to fight! I want to put my energy in better places…happy places!
Football Block Pools…this is one of the things that we have always had in common…football pools…back when he worked for Boeing, he would come home with the pools, had all the games for the week, college and pro, with the spreads. You could play $1 per pool or $100, that didn’t matter, it was making sure all of your teams won that you picked. I never won, but I liked trying. We didn’t do it every week, but it was fun when I was included.
I stopped at the “Famous CrabCakes” and grabbed a couple crabcake entrees…he hadn’t eaten, so this was a nice sit down! This week was a bit strange, it may have been because I was still recovering from 4 days of small Wiernicki children. Paul and Kat went to AC for their 14th Anniversary (first time they have been away without the kids in 10 years)…It was a great weekend, but I (and Jen) are dragging ass today! but anyway…he locked himself out of his bank account. Patti had set up the online banking, so he didn’t know the answers to the security questions (and his guesses were wrong)…so he calls the bank and they will SEND him a new password. I know this pissed him off and spiked his BloodPressure! He told me that they told him that he doesn’t have to yell…he only wanted them to reset the password! I had a thought of trying the FORGOT MY PASSWORD link, but my brain wasn’t there! While we were talking, I figured something out and said “how much did Sandy hit you up for this time?” His response was “How did you know?” I told him that he should just set her up on AUTOPAY, because she is just going to keep hitting him up! He told her it’s coming off the top of her inheritance! Guess who has 2 thumbs and is the shareholder AND the executor?? This Girl!!
I just need to out-live dad LOL!
It was a short visit because I was tired and really wanted to stretch out and watch the Eagles game…I only made it to half-time! BTW…I did NOT win this weeks block pool! (or last week, so maybe this coming week against KC)
Stopped and grabbed some Fried Chicken from “Famous Crabcakes”, yep, love their chicken too. A friend of dad’s had dropped off a dozen clams and he cooked them up and he wanted to share them with me…bleck!! don’t even like them a little bit!! I did let him know that I appreciated the thought…so he ate them as an appetizer. He was almost playful tonight! I am on-call this week, so every noise from my phone needed attention…so after eating dinner, my phone started, some of the things were being taken care of and a couple things I could do when I got home, but it was kinda relentless. So after an hour or so of me picking up my phone constantly, I said, I better get out of here and go take care of this, he said something like…Oh! I’ll be ok, after 40 minutes (it was a couple hours), you’re going to leave me alone! I told him that I brought my laptop, I would just need to get on his network…he said, no, see you next Monday, or before!
He asked me about Thanksgiving & Christmas and if we had any plans…this is such a tough question, pre-pandemic, we started going to Florida…and I want to go back…every year! If we do this again, we will drive and not fly! Pandemic Christmas, we did a Santa Express Wine Run…that was a blast! Delivered wine for fresh home-made cinnamon buns, talking to friends through glass doors and finally getting to Paul Jr house (we had been doing alot of Sunday night Zoom meetings, so it was nice to get there!) This year, whatever we end up doing, it will include Paul Jr and his family…we are still the BlackSheeps and we stick together! Paul Jr and his crew have rebranded the Wiernicki name 🙂
How can I leave dad out of this?? maybe this requires a family vote! I could invite him to swing by and to be on his best behavior…I’m sure he would know what I mean by it too!