Sunday, August 28, 2005

Ain't Nuthin' Goin' On But The 'Rents

Okay, so enough about my surgery and all the gross stuff that goes with it. Let’s get back to the fun stuff and the weirdness that, as you are aware, is my life.

So I am living with my parents for the next three weeks or so recuperating. In truth, someone needed to take care of me after the fact, so Mom and Dad are as good as anyone else.

It’s been 20 years since I have actually LIVED with my folks. I have stayed with them occasionally over the years, usually just two nights on a weekend. The most I have stayed at one time might have been 4 nights, but probably more like 3 nights, but usually it’s just two. My parents have been married for 44 years – their anniversary was just this past Friday. They have been living without children in the house for about 12 or 13 years now. The occasional grandchild (of which they have 8) will stay now and then, but mostly its just the folks.

I kinda feel like I am a zoologist living in a primate society and documenting ritualistic behavior (I kinda get the feeling of what Dian Fossey must have gone through). My parents have their routine down and it varies little from day to day.

Dad is set to retire January 1. He turned 66 two months ago. He has wanted to retire for the last two years but my Mom, who retired about 6 years ago, wouldn’t let him. She was afraid he would end up just sitting around the house and doing nothing. Dad still puts in 14 hour days sometimes. Mom told him to cut back his hours first and then retire. But Dad is simply too nosey to stay away from work. Even after he retires, he will probably go back to his office a few times a week to make sure everything is being done properly without him.

They get up together every morning at 5:30 AM. Every freaking morning! It wasn’t so bad when I was sleeping in a bedroom, but for this go around I am in a hospital bed that is set up in the living room. So I have been getting up at 5:30 AM every morning since I arrived last Tuesday. Of course my folks don’t realize that I have been waiting for them to go to bed so I can cruise bigmuscle.com without fear of Mom walking in behind me and innocently asking, “Wha’cha looking at?”

Dad goes off to work around 7:30 AM and Mom heads to Curves. She is back by 9 or so and then begins her housework. I am not sure how much dust two short people can create, but Mom feels the need to vacuum everyday. Two people in a house and Mom is doing laundry every day. All this is done by 11:00 AM or so. She shoots up her insulin (Mom is diabetic – yet another flotation device in my gene pool to look forward to), eats lunch and then, since I am here, spends quality time with me.

Mom preps the house each day just in case she gets company. While she is doing her housework, there is always something baking. My mother is the ultimate hostess. She likes to be prepared in the event that someone will just drop in. With me staying here, the chances of that happening are more likely. So Mom stays a step ahead of the world. And if no one shows up during the day, one of my brothers will visit in the evening and devour whatever she has put in the cake tin.

Mom eats dinner alone around 5:00 – she has to eat on a schedule. And then she sits with Dad while he eats, around 6:30 or so. My parents communicate extremely well. They laugh a lot and call each other their best friend. They have no secrets from each other. And as close as they are – they have separate living rooms.

Mom’s room has pale blue walls, fluffy sofas, a country-kitsch/shabby chic kinda feel. Dad’s room is paneled (yes, I said paneled) with brown carpeting and walls full of his beer stein collection. Their living rooms are separated by a foyer. And they will sit in their separate rooms each night, and talk across the foyer to each other. Sometimes they are even watching the same thing on their televisions. And both begin to fall asleep in their rooms around 9:30 or so. Dad stretches out the recliner and embraces his early slumber. But Mom refuses to even admit she was sleeping when you wake her. Eventually, one will wake the other and they both go off to their bedroom around 11:30 PM.

And then I get online.