Ever seen the movie "Life with Father"? It was a 1947 movie starring William Powell and Irene Dunne. It's based on a book by Clarence Day Jr. about his childhood and memories of his staunch, set-in-his-ways Father. I had read the book in elementary school and loved it. The movie is also quite good. It pops up on TCM every now and then.
I take care of my 83 year old dad. It's interesting to say the least. Old people?..well.. they do old people stuff, just like God intended. Why God intends this, I do not know. All I know is it's scary at times and other times, it's pretty dang funny. The best times are when scary and funny combine together to make you laugh while you are running for your life.
One morning I walked into the kitchen ready to go to work. I smelled gas. It wasn't from dad even though old men tend to do that...a lot. It was coming from a gas line somewhere.
Me: "Dad, I smell gas."
Dad: "I don't"
Me(opening cabinet doors under the stove top): "It's coming from the stove but I can't tell from what, it's too dark"
Watches dad take box of matches from cabinet...
Me: "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?!"
Dad: "I was gonna light a match under there for more light."
Combined laughing and crying to now commence...
I didn't know if he was kidding or not. I wasn't staying around to find out. When the Firemen left, I realized he couldn't stay at home alone anymore. And no, he didn't blow the place up, I discovered that when you call the gas company to report a leak, they call the fire department. I also found out that said fire department frowns on people running down the street screaming for everyone to run for their lives. Apparently neighborhood evacuations are taken seriously and you can't just whip one up willy nilly. Fine.. THEY aren't living with the geriatric UniBomber.
Now for a more calming story...
Dad has a table lamp beside his chair. It is his favorite table lamp. I know this because for the last 4 years, he has had to twist the bulb back and forth to turn it on and off. They obviously had a working relationship. The last straw was when the lampshade would not stay tilted towards his favorite chair, where he read his favorite newspaper every morning. It bugs me to no end that the lampshade stays tilted but he says he doesn't have enough light to read if it's not. In that case he really needs an amplifier next to his head but I have a sneaking suspicion that it's not so much that he's hard of hearing but that he is pretending I'm not there. However, he no longer bothers to stick his fingers in his ears when he goes "LALALALALAAA" while I am speaking. Of course, that may not have a thing to do with drowning me out. I may need to check his meds.
Well..my sister came to the rescue and bought him a new lamp for Fathers Day. He was happy but his happiness was short lived for it seemed that the wall outlet also favored the old table lamp. The outlet was pouting and would not accept the plug from the new intruding trollop of a lamp.
I told him the outlet was pining away and I'd have to fix it later. Apparently that did not register with him. I hear:
Dad (yelling to me): "Bill, this lamp won't work."
Me: "I told you the outlet needs changed."
Me: "Dad! The outlet needs changed!"
Dad: "It still don't work.."
I tell him yet again that the outlet needs changed and I then go on to think about other things. A few hours later I go into the kitchen to grab a snack. I hear him get up off the couch cause it's his bedtime. As he casually strolls by I hear him mumble..
"...guess I won't be able to read the paper tomorrow either..."
Sigh... Obviously the project could not wait one more day, somebody would die, probably me.
Well.. thats how it goes in my house. My heart goes out to everyone who has had to become the parent and care for the elderly. To all those who's parents are still young and vibrant.. Your day is coming..
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