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.

I should have known better . . .

As anyone who’s been following my blog for very long will realize, today completes my 57th lap around our sun.  Nothing very special about that, at least in my opinion.

Through the course of the day, I was called with birthday greetings by my dad and my daughter, at different times (of course).  When dad called, he suggested the possibility that he might be traveling into town (he lives in a very small town about 17 miles away) today, and if he did he’d stop by for a cup of coffee.  I welcomed him completely.

Please remember that I’ve not only written here several times, but I’ve also told him several times, that I do NOT in any way, shape, or form, appreciate his willingness to be a conduit for my mother’s efforts to reestablish contact with me.  I’ve told him over, and over, exactly why I discontinued talking to her, and that IMHO she’s already dead.  Mostly because she specifically stated that she wished ME dead as a preferred option to being an adult who made choices she didn’t approve of.  Still, every year when he called for my birthday, he also relayed the expressed birthday wishes of my mother.  Last year, I told him that I didn’t care what he did with her, but I did NOT want him to ever relay that message again.

This morning when he called, he wished me “Happy Birthday” just like usual, but did not attempt to relay a message from my mom.  Instead, he suggested that he might be coming to town, and would like to share a cup of coffee.  I was happy to oblige.  I very rarely get visitors.

I should have known better.  I know, I already said that.  Still, whether you call it optimistic, naive, or even dim-witted, I hoped for a good visit with my dad.

One of the first things he did when I opened the door for him was produce an envelope, addressed to me in care of him, from my mother.  He said, “I hope you’ll accept this in the spirit that I believe it is offered in.”  I immediately threw it in the trash, right in front of him.  He expressed confusion, and suggested that I might actually want to open it before tossing it away.  I had to explain, yet again, that no matter what I ever felt for her, I can’t erase the pain of hearing her say, “I’d rather you were dead than a member of (that cult).”  I was 36 years old when that happened.  The day she said that was the day she died as my mother.  IMHO, every effort she’s made since to regain a relationship with me has just been her insistence on having the last word.

Still, I’m uncertain about leaving that letter in the trash. Is there anything she could say, that I’d actually trust to be the truth, that could be a step at healing that deliberately inflicted injury?  I doubt it, but not 100%.  I don’t want to open it, but a small part of me believes that I should.

What do YOU think?

I’m a bad person . . .

I know there are a lot of people who will think that of me, after they read what I’m about to write.

I don’t care.

Almost exactly 21 years ago, my mother tried to kill me.  My step-father, who was an ordained minister of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), stood by her side and used religion to justify her actions.  That was the day my faith in organized religion of any form died.

Today I got a phone call.  The caller was informing me that my step-father had passed on.

I feel no sense of loss.  I’m not sorry he’s gone.  I intend to hold a mostly private party, with my wife, tonight – to celebrate the first step to the end of a 21 year long trial.

Giving Thanks . . .

Today is the Thanksgiving holiday in the USA, and most people will sit down at some time today to elaborate meals shared with someone they care about, in celebration of the holiday.

For me, today has special significance because I was recently reminded of someone that I considered a dear friend when I first moved to the St. Louis metro area.  It was December, 1994, when we met, and she was one of my superiors at the job I moved there for.  No, she was more of a mentor, because we both did the same type of work there.  Her name was Francine.

Last Saturday, my wife saw a Facebook post by one of Francine’s relatives, announcing that Francine is dying of cancer.  The relative used the phrase “has finally admitted that she is . . . ” which says to me that Francine has been sick for some time.  She was expected to die within days, but I’ve heard no update since.

Anyway, this got me to thinking of the many people I knew and liked at that job – and how many of them have died of cancer.  Not many have died, but to a person, ALL who have died did so of cancer.  What does that say about the place where we worked?  Most died while still working there.

So, today I’m giving thanks for the MANY wonderful people who have touched my life over the last 55 years.   Some had minor appearances in my story, some inspired whole chapters.  They were all special, and I’m forever grateful to have known them.  It will be a while, but eventually I will see them again.  The great video game of  LIFE always respawns with a new character.

10 Years for US . . .

but a whole lifetime for him.  I’m talking about our pet cat, Merlin, who joined our family 10 years ago today.  You can find our original announcement here:

https://mr-spock-rocks.com/2007/11/01/hes-here/#comments

Sorry I don’t have any update photos to share, but he still doesn’t pose for cameras.  He does purr a lot, and he still chases shadows.  Now, though, he prefers to chase shadows that we aren’t deliberately making for his amusement.

Simple economics . . .

Well, it looks like my run as an internet blogger is coming to an end, due to simple economics.

When we first moved to this area, we had a fairly reasonable rate for internet service, and we were happy enough with the provider that when I cancelled my cell phone we called them up and got internet phone for the house, using the same number.  The main problem is that they have been the only broadband internet provider we could use in this area.

Over time our internet cost has escalated to where it is no longer affordable.  It is now nearly 50% higher than it was when we started with them, and the quality of service has declined noticeably.  The last 3 months in a row, the bill has gone up every month.  There is another provider that has started moving into the area, but they can’t provide service to our address yet.

So, I’m going to call Cox in a few hours, to see if we can get a slower package, or find some way to reduce our bill.  If we can’t, it will be time to pull the plug on our internet, and that might take our phone with it.

RIP to an uncle . . .

I learned a little while ago that one of my mom’s brothers passed to his next adventure early this morning.  While I can’t say he was someone I felt close to, he treated my family alright when we got together while I was growing up.

Still, it is a fitting capstone to a particularly gruesome week.  In my last post, I stated that I woke up with another migraine.  So, imagine my surprise when my wife reads to me from an email newsletter by Dr. Sears (I hope I spelled that right) that Imitrex actually CAUSES migraines – and makes them worse by both intensity and frequency.  This is because of a physical manifestation known as a rebound effect.  In other words, what it does to provide relief is only a treatment of symptoms, and the problem is worse when the medicine wears off.

Well, I’ll vouch for the “makes them worse” part – this last migraine lasted 5 1/2 days, and for the last few months the classic ID tags of a migraine (light sensitivity, upset stomach, audio distortion) have been showing up in pairs about half of the time.

Oh, and the rest of the story on how this week went?  Before the migraine had run it’s course the National Weather Service was posting severe weather watches for this whole area.  The storms started about 10:30pm (2230 hrs) last night, and it’s been pretty steady ever since.  MIGHT end tomorrow, but no promises.