I woke to a thudding noise that filled me with horror. Max was repeatedly standing up, walking a few steps, and then falling over. His incontinence had continued and after a few falls he laid back down on his sleeping mat. My father and I took him to the Langhorne Animal Hospital and in his weakened state I had to to lift him into the car, then into the hospital, then into the examination room. Some initial diagnostics suggested that he had a case of Lyme Disease that had blown out under his prednisone-weakened immune system. When done and while my father was attending to paperwork, I saw a family with a small girl walk into the hospital. The girl held a drawing in her hand that said “GET WELL SOON” and she said to her parents “I made Mittens a picture”.
My father was shaken by Max’s time in the hospital. He couldn’t physically move Max in the same way I could and I was also keeping track of Max’s medication. This has reminded my dad of his own limits but also reminded him that there are others. I’ve found the compassion required to care for this 82 lb dumb mass of incontinent, quivering, yet loving fur to be effortless and to tap into my “this is right” well that rarely gets touched. I hope I am equally able to draw from this well should the people around me one day need me to clean up after then, take care of their medication, and lead them through a medical structure where they have no idea what’s going on.
Mom: How’s Terry taking to unemployment?
Dad: He keeps weird hours now and is poorly shaven.
Mom: That is in no way a change.
Dad: Your weight loss has come along well, what are you down to?
Me: About 260. I have another 50 or so pounds to go.
Dad: Then what?
Me: I’ll probably get an abdomenoplasty to get rid of the extra skin.
Dad: I’ll pay for it.
Me: It’ll probably cost around $7000.
Dad: I’l pay for half of it.
My family was planning on going to Delaware to visit my aunt for Christmas. She hadn’t been feeling well leading up to today so I had purchased Christmas dinner parts just in case. Then, at 9 AM, word came down that we were staying put.
Dad: Well, we’re not going to your aunt’s. Where do you want to go instead? Everywhere will probably be crowded.
Me: I will make dinner.
Dad: Ok, I guess we should go get a turkey…
Me: No, my terms are as follows. I will pay for, prepare, and clean up after dinner with the understanding that I have full control over the menu and I get the kitchen to myself for four uninterrupted hours.
Dad: What are you planning on making?
Me: Bacon-crusted roast pork, turkey tenderloin, mash potatoes from a box as god intended them, an assortment of cheese and crackers, truffles, a raspberry tart, crescent rolls, and possibly a soup.
Dad: Are you sure we can’t have a whole turk…
Me: Those are my terms, they are non-negotiable.
Dad: You’ve thought about this.
Me: For five years, yes.
Dad: What if I pay for the…
Me: No whole turkey.
Dad: What about drinks?
Me: Christmas will be BYOB.
Me: Lovely to work with you, now get out of my kitchen.
Dad: I thought Sneakers was peeing everywhere because his litter box was a solid block but he’s still doing it.
Me: When did you clean out his bin?
Dad: Two, three weeks ago.
Me: You have to do it more often, probably weekly.
Dad: Why would people put up with that?
Me: Well, you changed diapers a few times a day for years.
Dad: Good point. I like the cat more than most babies. I can change the litter once a week.
Dad: What did you do today?
Me: I made a bunch of prints for work. I was going to do five but I ran out of pink ink.
Dad: How much is a replacement?
Me: $12.97 for a 1/3 of a fluid oz or about $4500 a gallon.
Dad: What’s it made of?
Me: Well, four things, I think. Pigment, and some sort of semi-aqueous fluid as a suspension medium. The 3rd and 4th ingredients make up the lion’s share and are unicorn blood and profit margin. I’m not sure what the ratio is though.
Dad: What are all the packages?
Me: Socks. I finished my 12 part sock bracket and the Thorlo Unisex Wool padded hiker and Wigwam Merino Wool comfort hiker socks won. I guess it was more efficient to have four smaller boxes or they came from different sources.
Dad: I wish you had told me.
Me: About my socks?
Dad: Yes, I just purchased 12 pair of crappy Hanes when I realized that life was too short to wear bad socks.
Me: You can always give the socks to Max [our dog, a prodigious thief of socks. -Ed.], he’d love you forever if you did.
Dad: He’s a dog, he already does.
Me: But now he’d love you forever, and have a sock to show for it.
Dad: So you’re rescheduling it for next Saturday? Who’s running it?
Dad: But it’s your brother’s wedding.
Me: But it’s the Klondike Derby.
Dad: He’s only going to get married once.
Me: One, that’s presumptuous, two, my obligation to the 300 participants outdoes watching my brother get married.
Dad: *grabs wooden spoon*
Me: What are you doing?
Dad: Scratching my back.
Me: That’s my wooden spoon, please don’t do that.
Dad: It’s my backscratcher, don’t worry, I wash it.
Me: Before or after you scratch your back?
Dad: Before, why would I do it after?
Note to Self: Buy second wooden spoon.
Dad: Terry, I need to find a restaurant in Chadds Ford, but none of the buttons on the iPad seem to do that.
Me: I could load something on that could do it.
Dad: I don’t want a new button for every thing I do.
Me: You could just use the web browser. That’ll almost always do the job.
Dad: What button is that?
Me: It’s labeled Safari and it’s a web browser. There will be a search bar in the corner, just type what you need and point your way to victory. If you run into problems, search again.
Dad: Seems like that button could replace all the others. Is it catching on?
Me: You could say that.
My father received an iPad yesterday and he used it unaided for a solid 15 minutes. At one point in the evening my father showed my mother a video, she indicated that playing a YouTube video at a holiday part was rude to which I replied “let him flourish. And give me my happiness!”
I came down stairs this morning at the crack of noon and the Ipad was on the table. I could tell from the streaks on the stream that he’s used it so I unlocked the device and saw that he’d been watching videos of trucks fording creeks that were far too deep for them. Thank you, Steve.