Disclaimer: *My last post was super serious.* This post? Well, it’s serious to me, sort of, but I see the humor. That’s right, God. I see what you did here. Cute. Real cute.
I like to think of myself as a decent human being. I mean, I don’t run around telling people how magnificently magnanimous I am or anything, mostly because I really don’t like people. There are about 10 in this world I can tolerate for long periods of time, and even then I have a 3-at-a-time limit and that limit has a specific expiration time and date.
I know my truth.
Still, though, I think the world would be a better place if more people loved people instead of finding something to be angry about all the time, generally speaking. At least, I did, until my father-in-law got moved into my home.
Please allow me to pause for a moment until the violent shudders pass…
My father-in-law has been through at least three wives (the history here is murky and a little frightening) and has fathered two sons (my husband and his older brother) and one daughter that we know of, but whom we discovered posthumously. He has been single for about three decades and, while he did work during that time, he was never what one might call “successfully employed.” Oh, don’t get me wrong, he was employed. No one could call him particularly lazy. But, well, he always relied on his employer for shelter, too, rather than what most of us expect, which is a simple paycheck, thanks. I mean, yes, he got a paycheck, but he has always relied on other people to house him and feed him.
He was always far too busy smoking and drinking to have time to worry about food and shelter. They always seemed to be there, because he has always been that pitiful, and because he’s not exactly what one would call picky… or tidy… or clean…or…well… moving on.
Apparently, my husband gets his effervescent personality and extroversion from his father, but I never would have guessed that had others not told me stories (which, I admit, I still categorize with fantasy stories like the novels that inspired True Blood, anything Tolkein, Narnia, et cetera). We can’t go anywhere – not even the restroom – without the hubs being stopped by 18 people he knows who need to have a hilarious conversation or a beer with him. The grocery store is excruciating because it’s like cocktail hour on the red carpet. Every 10 feet there’s a new person we have to interact with because his network is so varied and vast, and meanwhile I’m all like, “Honey, did you want the Bunny Bread Honey Split-top Wheat or the store brand?” … *blink, blink* … “Honey?” …*blink, blink*… *blink* …. “Hello?!” … *sigh* … *blink, blink* … * foot tapping, sigh, blink* … “HUSBAND!?” And his friends are all, “Psst. I think that hobbit girl over there wanted to ask you something about bunnies.”
Did I mention I dislike people? Great. Wouldn’t want anyone to forget.
I couldn’t tell you what drew me to my husband in the first place, except for the fact that when our personalities combine, we make one balanced, good person. It’s volatile chemistry at best considering all the outlying factors that can affect one’s mood and personality on any given day, kind of like hydrogen combustion (you know, you mix hydrogen and oxygen and you either get water or Chernobyl – there’s really no in-between). But his dad… ugh, his dad…
His dad is a drunk, and when we used to see him at the occasional grand-child’s optimist league basketball game or softball game, he smelled rather like the fermenting rooms at bourbon distilleries, probably because those rooms are filled with thousands of gallons of beer mash cooking and cooling in order to draw out alcohol, which is basically what was happening through ol’ Pops’s pores. There was also an underlying smell of unemptied ash trays, like curtains that have been hanging in a pool hall since 1970, and together it made for a decidedly particular aroma that no one else could ever quite manage. Some people smell like they’ve spent one too many hours in an Abercrombie store, and then there’s Pops. Between the two, I’d be hard pressed to say which is worse.
We had to move him into our home for a couple of weeks (ha) back in July. See, he had fallen at his then-home early one morning and broken his hip, so he had to have hip replacement surgery and then 6 weeks of physical therapy at a rehab center. Then, he needed to have home supervision for a couple more weeks when he was released from the center in July. Now, I would like to point out that when he fell at 9 AM that fateful morning, he was not drunk. The beer he had been reaching for was still sitting on the coffee table unopened, so we do know that for a fact. I’m also fairly convinced he had a stroke late last year while he was working, because he blacked out and fell there, and while his boss and sons were waiting on the ambulance, he snuck into his truck and drove off, disappearing for 3 months in order to avoid the doctors. He hasn’t been able to speak clearly since.
I am not even joking.
So, suffice it to say, between the probable stroke, malnutrition (he eats only peanut butter M&Ms, honey buns, and pop-tarts and drinks only Mountain Dew outside of the alcohol), and his consistently high blood-alcohol content level, he’s not what one might consider to be ambulatorily stable. He’s wobbly, we’ll say.
So, we moved him into our teenage daughter’s room since it would only be a couple of weeks, and we started working on finding him an apartment.
Only, we called every complex and real estate management company in our area and there was nothing he could afford, and we can’t afford to help a ton (did I mention we have a teenage girl? and she has a little brother?). Plus, his Physical Therapist decided he wasn’t going to be able to be on his own until September.
Okay, fine. So it would be two or three more weeks until he could move out.
Meanwhile, he doesn’t bathe – refuses to, in fact, because he says he can’t balance well-enough to get into the shower and stand there. Fair enough. We offered to get a chair. Still, he has refused.
It has been 6 months. He doesn’t bathe.
He smells like dead people.
And yes, I know what dead people smell like. My brother is a police officer, and used to find it hilarious to show up to my home every time he’d spent time around a dead body. Looking back, is it any wonder I moved over 150 miles away from him? No, no it isn’t.
My father-in-law also smokes. And he was told he wasn’t allowed to smoke at our home, because I have crazy-stupid-hyper-sensitivity to cigarette smoke due to being allergic to it as well as an asthmatic, and our youngest has asthma, too.
So, naturally, my dumb@$$ brother-in-law thought it would be okay to buy him some cigarettes because he won’t tell the man ‘no,’ and father-in-law goes outside and smokes them and then comes back smelling like it, and then he listens to me hacking and asks if I’m okay.
Why no, Pops, I’m not okay. I’m dying, and it’s your fault. Thanks.
Also, he knows I won’t let him drink at my home, because if he falls again, I’m the only person home and I have to lift him, and I’m hobbit-sized and have the arm strength of a chewed-up spaghetti noodle. So the drinking is prohibited until he’s steady without a walker, and he’s not, because he refuses to do his exercises now that his insurance won’t pay for PT. So, he keeps asking his two sons (not me, because he knows my answer) to buy him beer. It took some threats to his happiness, but thankfully my husband has wizened up and refused his requests. Still…
Also, my husband has told me since September that he would be here “just two more weeks.” It’s December. Call me crazy, but something seems off about that math.
To top off all of this grossness (not to mention the issues of having a 15-year-old girl share a room with her 10-year-old brother indefinitely), I’m an introvert.
And I mean full-on, at-the-edge-of-the-scale-just-before-hermit introvert. People are unappealing to me (see above statements), so when I do spend a lot of time around people, I need at least an equal amount of recharge time to spend ALONE so I don’t become a homicidal psychopath. I can’t just be in a different room if there are other people in the house. I need TOTAL. ALONENESS. I need it silent. Dogs and horses are acceptable company; no other living organisms are allowed.
Now, let me go back and say again that Pops is immobile. He is unable to leave the house. Also, to make it fun (again, God, I see what You did….hi-larry-us), the hubs’s car broke down in September and he had to use mine for three months due to our lack of financial ability to fix it and his lack of give-a-crap about it.
Oh, and I have mild PTSD from a traumatic event in college. So I’m a light sleeper, and Pops gets up an average of 4 times a night, so it’s safe to say I haven’t slept since July.
Needless to say, I’m a teensy bit edgy. The good news is that Pops is moving out this week. I’m currently trying to figure out how to cut that room off the frame of our home and burn it since I’m fairly certain it will smell like dead people and unfiltered Marlboros for the foreseeable future. Also, I’m super excited (sarcasm) to get to replace the entire bed and all bedding in the room, as well as the carpet. And no, that is not an exaggeration. All of it is legitimately ruined due to Pops’s lack of hygiene and his refusal to eat dinner anywhere but in his room and from anywhere but off his lap – also without a napkin – among other issues with apparent incontinence (or laziness, which is what I’m pretty sure is the problem).
So, new rule: NO. FAMILY. MEMBERS. EVER. AGAIN. *outside of the two children who fall under the statute of limitations on residence in this household which will expire on their 18th birthdays or the day they each go to college, whichever comes first*
And thank GAWD there are no clock towers anywhere near here for me to climb. It could have gotten ugly.