Sunday, August 19, 2007

Similarities and Differences...

This is my Dad. (You can see where I get my figure and monkey-ish looks from, huh?!) He's 63, in case you were wondering. He came up yesterday afternoon to take a look at my car...AGAIN. This time he brought some air conditioning coolant because mine had all leaked out or something. My car is soooo great for the environment. ;) He works on cars some but mostly on really large equipment. Before he got really tired of working at the Air Force Base in Warner Robins, he worked on the large equipment that they use on airplanes. He was only five years from retiring from there, when he decided he didn't want to put up with the b.s. anymore---so he quit that job and now works on school buses for Bibb County. My mom almost killed him! He likes it better though and is a much happier person, so I think she is ok with it now. My grandpa is also a mechanic. He's been retired for a really long time though and had his own successful shop, right across the road from his house. Anyway...the tool that my Dad borrowed from his Dad to make the coolant go into the air conditioning of the car--broke as soon as he hooked it up. I think my grandpa must have not used that crusty thing since the late 80's when my car was made! So, being the man who can take apart a toaster and turn it into a stereo, my Dad cut off the bad ends of the tube and rigged it up nicely with some magic parts that came out of his bag that seems to hold everything you need---aside from a new car. I watched him take out THE knife. This knife has been around since probably before I was around. THIS knife that used to scare the beegeezies out of me was the one that he used for everything. This includes pulling the cactus needles out of my stomach when I was running around in the yard--which by the way, I got into trouble for running in the yard. I don't know why this cactus was even there. I remember being amazed at the fact that there was a cactus growing amongst dirt, pine straw and pine trees...because that is all we had in the yard. I also climbed small trees a lot when I was a kid and that knife was used to get the splinters out--I screamed and cried when he would get the knife out to dig the splinter out because it hurt so much. This resulted in me living with A LOT of splinters in my fingers. And finally, that same knife was used to cut many in-grown toenails out of my big toes. WHICH HURT...BADLY. I hated to see him sharpen the knife, because I knew any day that thing would be digging something out of my body. It was his solution to everything. While out in the scorching heat, I got bored helping him (just like I did when I was a kid and he'd make me hold a flashlight or hit the brakes on the car for what felt like hours to a 10 year old with no interest in car repair) so I amused myself by taking note of our similarities and differences, because anytime we got into a fight (which was often) my mom would yell in frustration that it was because we were so much alike!! One similarity is that he has no patience for other people...same here. But a difference is that he expects you to have patience with him when he's taking forever to get something right...I usually don't involve others in my quest to get something done, so they don't have to have any patience with me. (Maybe that is why he prefers to do these things alone until he absolutely must have help). I noticed that the reason I have no patience when I ask someone something and they don't respond right away, is because of HIM! I would ask him a question out there at the car and he wouldn't say I think "did he not hear me, is he ignoring me?" So I have to ask again and again, which really pisses me off. Answer me the first time and we can move on with life. So this thing I have with having to have the answer right away, comes from years of trying to carry on a conversation with someone who never answers back. I think this is why I prefer to find my own answers these days...waiting on someone to answer me tends to really get on my nerves. I also noticed that he doesn't sweat very much...that might not mean anything to you---but let me tell you that sweating is a gift. Be glad if you sweat a whole lot because I don't and apparently he doesn't either. It's so hard to get cooled off when you're outside and you don't sweat. Sometimes it's nearly impossible for me to sweat...a good reason to stay in the 70 degree house. When he was finally done with everything he wanted to do with the car for the day...he pulled his cooler to the back of the truck and filled a little cup up with something that looked like straight up pee. Of course I asked him what it was...shouldn't have bothered. Here's how the conversation went down. "What is that?" No answer. "Dad, what is that you are drinking, is it Gatorade?" "Sort of." "Well is it Gatorade or not...GOD?!" So instead of just telling me what the hell was in the cup...he hands me a cup full. I try it and knew it wasn't gatorade. I said, "Is it Tang?" No answer. "Dad, IS THIS TANG?!, You know--the stuff in the orange and green plastic container?" He said, "It's comes in this kind of container..." and I'm not kidding you---the man pulls out an orange and green container just like I described. I'm like, "Yeah--that's exactly what I said." Geez. When I called mom to tell her he was on his way home (because that's a hang up of hers...must call when leaving and arriving someplace new) she laughed her butt off when I told her about this conversation. She said, "But you guys didn't fight did you?" "No mom...just one of our normal conversations." What a trip!


Anonymous August 24, 2007 at 6:44 PM  

I read this blog several days ago and I've had you and your dad on my mind a least what's left of my mind....You see, I only have 2 fond memories of my real father and I keep them pretty close and closed in my dad is, as far as I know, still alive, but we just don't have a relationship...BUT, I probably had the neatest stepdad around....he was very ill with a heart disease all the time he and my mom were together...they lived together for a long time because his former wife wouldn't allow him to divorce her...anyway, they were "married" for around 18 years....about 15 years longer than his doctors told him he would live....they loved passionately every day....not just the sex thing but every part of their life....he always had a project and, like your dad, was a gifted man with his hands...he actually rebuilt my mom's wrecked car from the axle up....he also built our first camper from scratch....I loved him and still do. He gave our family such completeness that we've never had before or since his death in 1979. Dad's are unique in their own way..I know you and yours have a good relationship and you'll grow to appreciate him, like you are doing now, more and them completely....Lee.

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