The Worst 3 Days . . .

Wednesday was the start of the worst 3 days of my life.

The morning started off easily enough.  All I needed to do was call our local internet service provider to find out why the taxes on our bill went up by $17 in a single month.  I made the call, and learned that they were already aware of the problem.  The Customer Service agent said that there was a meeting going on to sort out the problem, and she’d call me back with the update as soon as she had an answer.  All I needed to do on my end was stay awake until the call came in.  So, I started watching “Hell’s Kitchen” on the tubi app on my Playstation 4.  No problem, right?

Well, that was at 9:00 am local time.  I didn’t get the call back until about 1:30 pm, at which point I was already feeling pretty worn out. I was watching “Captain Marvel” just to stay awake. Shortly after I got the call from the Internet company, I decided to finish watching the movie I was already in before trying to get some sleep.

That was a bad idea.

Before that movie  ended, I got a call from my sister, Tammy, telling me that my dad was in the hospital.  He’d had a stroke.  I told her I’d be there as soon as possible, and called my wife to come get me.  Because she was on the hiring committee for a new staff member at the library she works in, she was supposed to pick up a candidate for the job so the staff could meet her for supper.  Of course, she arranged for someone else to do that, and left work early to come get me.

Just to be up front, my dad is going to be alright.  He’s suffering some speech slurring, and has a minor amount of motor control trouble, but he’s alert and communicative.  The real problem was something that happened while we were visiting in his room.

He got a call on the hospital phone from my brother Wally.  While he was on the phone with Wally, dad expressed that he wanted someone to call my mother.  I agreed to do it – IF  I could use dad’s cell phone to make the call.

It was probably the single biggest mistake of my life.  I still awake from nightmares – 21 years later – of the single worst sentence I’ve ever heard anyone say.  It was my mother telling me that she’d prefer that I was dead than following my heart to practice Scientology.  I’ve never experienced a worse betrayal, and I was 36 at the time.

So, when I called her to tell her about dad being in the hospital, she did thank me for the call.  But she couldn’t restrain herself from trying to have the last word on our relationship.  Ever since, the only way I can get any sleep is to get so drunk that I pass out.  It’s been nearly 3 days.  I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, and I can’t bring myself to return to dad’s hospital room because she might be there.

What is it?

I have a photo (actually 2 of them) to share from a recent experience.  First, I should warn you that the images may be disturbing to some people.

So, what is it?

Ha, ha.  I’ll bet you thought it was my choice of Halloween Costume for this year!  Not even close.  It’s also not photographic evidence of my wife beating me up.  Such a thing has never happened. Here is another view:

Okay, I’ll spill.  Actually, that’s what I did.  I spilled off my front porch Saturday morning at around 9:30 am Central USA time zone. This is an example of why multi-tasking is such a horrendous idea that it should be outlawed.  I was heading out to the front yard to trim some more tree branches, and instead of watching where I was walking, I was thinking about where I was going to make the cuts.  Turned out, I didn’t make any!  What I did instead was a beautiful swan dive off the porch, head first into the sidewalk at the bottom of the stairs.

So, I did have to go to the ER – about 10 stitches in my right eyebrow, and a broken bone in my right wrist. Other than that, there is a lot of bruising that is keeping me uncomfortable, but I’m alright.

Eckhart Tolle wrote a whole book on the importance of “NOW”  Veterans of Scientology would call it “Being in present time”.  It all boils down to this lesson:  Whatever you’re doing, make it the ONLY thing you’re doing, do it well and completely, and only then move on to the next thing.

Updates . . .

Two things we’ve done this past week have been upgrades.  The first was a new toilet, and the second was upgrading the bed my wife sleeps on.  Both require more exposition to understand.

When we bought this house 9 years ago, it came with that ugly “early ’70’s Harvest Gold” colored toilet and bathtub.  Now, the bathtub can be recolored, but not a ceramic toilet.  In addition to that, the tank on the toilet held 3.3 gallons of water, and used all of it for every flush, making it a huge water waster.  After talking to our plumber, we realized that if we replaced it now, we could pay it off in a year or two with the savings on our water bill, AND have checked off one purchase we would need for the future total bathroom remodeling project.  So we did.  The toilet we got has a dual-flush system to increase how much water we save.  When we only pass fluids, we can push one button on the tank and it only uses 1 gallon of water to flush.  When there is more material to flush, we push the other button, and it uses 1.4 gallons of water.  It looks great, and works perfectly. We’re happy with the result.

Shortly before we decided to move forward with that project, my wife made a trip to the chiropractor complaining about waking in the morning, EVERY morning, with back pain.  The chiropractor looked her over, and told her she probably needed a mattress that provided better support.  My wife took that to mean a firmer mattress my wife sleeps on. But, when she priced mattresses locally, the prices she saw ran from $250 to over $3000.  So as a compromise, I suggested we trade beds until we’d saved the money to get her new mattress.

Enter act 2 of that saga.  She had planned to go shopping for the mattress this morning.  In the interval time, I’d been having trouble sleeping on the same bed she did – to me it felt like a brick already.  I couldn’t imagine how you’d make it more firm, short of removing the mattress and putting a 4″ thick steel slab on the box spring.  But Merlin (one of our cats) decided to NOT let me sleep at all last night, and I realized it wasn’t about how FIRM the mattress was, but the unnatural way that my body had to bend to try to sleep on it at all.  The only points of my body making contact with the mattress were my shoulders, hips, and ankles – none of the area between those spots.  So, I had an idea – a Memory Foam Mattress Topper, to provide full support to all contact points of the body whether she’s on her side, back, or front.

When she got up this morning, I’d already briefly searched eBay just to prove my theory was possible, and explained to her what I’d figured out – including that the mattress topper was, at worst, half the price of the very cheapest mattress she’d intended to look at.  Also, no delivery fee, because she’d be able to put it in the car to bring it home with her.  She liked that.

Ultimately, that is what she got.  It worked so well, when she tested it after we finished installing it, she loudly exclaimed, “WOW!  This feels like one of those luxury hotel beds I always want to get lost in forever!”  Of course, the FIRST member of the family to actually sleep on it is – MERLIN.  LOL!

Updates . . .

About the whole envelope that my dad delivered yesterday, I decided to leave the decision to my wife, and she opened it.  Inside was a standard birthday card that you can buy almost anywhere, and $10 in cash.  No note, letter, or anything.  I told my wife to donate the $10 to a local charity that supports the Humane Society, and tossed the rest back in the trash.

So, nothing has changed, except that I know for certain my mom thinks money can buy her way back into my life.  Please note that she didn’t even TRY to apologize.

What I didn’t mention yesterday is that we have had storm activity here every day since Friday last week – except on the 23rd.  So, I was exhausted and not thinking my best when dad ambushed me with that card.  It would have been the perfect occasion to tell him that she (mom) should be grateful she got to finish her life outside of a prison cell.  What she did to me is, in Kansas law, called “deprogramming” and it is a felony.  Since it happened in Kansas, I could have reported her and pressed charges.  Instead I let her keep her “good name” and only wanted to never receive any form of communication from her ever again.