Saturday, July 22, 2017

Ch 6 Jack has oral surgery and blurts out some truths to Sly and Doris, i.e., in vino veritas

Stephanie: Sly and Doris are really pissed at Jack.

Me: Why?

Stephanie: They gave him a ride home from the dentist because I was at work.

Me: You would have given your ex-husband a ride? You are nice to everyone.

Stephanie: Yes. I have to keep a good relationship with him. We have kids together. Besides, I don’t hate him. He’s not a bad person. That restaurant killed us. I think we would still be married if we had not moved here and he had kept his old job.

Me: OK. So they gave him a ride home. That was nice of them. They won’t pick us up at the airport but it’s nice to know that they will do a favor for someone sometime.

Stephanie: Yeah. He had something with drugs where he wasn’t allowed to drive after. They asked him why the kids don’t ever want to come over to their house and why they don’t seem to be happy when they are at their house.

Me: They don’t know why? I’ve known your kids for a lot less time than they have and it’s pretty obvious to me.

Stephanie: I guess not. He was still drugged, so he told them the truth. He said they don’t like being criticized all the time about how they talk or what they wear or about their jobs and college and what they eat.

Me: This was news to them?

Stephanie: They say it’s for the kids’ own good.

Me: So they know they are doing it and they do it anyhow?

Stephanie: Right? They are so mad at him. They have sent him a bunch of emails telling him he is wrong.

Me: He told you about the emails?

Stephanie: No! They copied me on them.

Me: Who does that?

Stephanie: They do.

Ch 6 Primo is on the path to perdition and I worry because you know, addiction does run in his family

Primo: My arm still hurts. I took some ibuprofen but it still hurts.

Me: Why don't you take some more?

Primo: No! I don't want to get hooked.

Me: What? Like ibuprofen is a gateway drug to aspirin?

Ch 6 Primo makes sure No Bacon is Left Behind and I am so proud – he clearly understands what it means to be a part of the tribe of We Who Do Not Waste

Primo: I can't believe you left all this bacon on your plate.

Me: I ate the lean out of it. That's just the fat.

Primo: I can't let this go to waste.

Me: You cannot eat those chunks of fat! That's disgusting!

Primo: It's the good part!

Me: It's gross and besides, it's cold!

Primo: I'll warm it up.

Me: It's still gross. I cannot believe you are going to eat that.

Primo: It's not like it's Oscar Mayer. It's Benton’s: It's the good stuff.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Ch 6 Primo plans to ask Sly about Sly’s old-age plans again, hoping that Sly has re-evaluated and updated the plan now that he has seen what it’s like to be even less mobile than he is used to

Primo: The wrist and my dad’s surgery have made it really clear that they are not prepared to cope with any kind of challenge. Their plan really cannot be just that I visit them twice a year.

Me: Boy no kidding. They don’t want to ask for help and they resent the help they do get.

Primo: I need to know what my dad wants to do if my mom goes first.

Me: I hope your dad dies first. Your mom deserves a few years of peace. She would be happy in a retirement community where she could have some friends.

Primo: He won't take her anywhere. He isolates her.

Me: She is lonely. I feel sorry for her.

Primo: But he is in a lot better health than she is.

Me: Your poor mom. She doesn’t deserve this.

Primo: My hope is that he will want to move near his sister. He has mentioned that before.

Me: You wouldn't bring him here, would you? I don’t want him living near us.

Primo: No! He wouldn't want to be here. He and his sister get along.

Me: Really? Does she know what he's like?

Primo: She is his sister! And they talk on the phone. He considers her an intellectual equal.

Me: I doubt that. He doesn’t think anyone is his equal. We are all pond scum to him. But does she know what he is like in everyday life?

Primo: Well, he says he couldn't live in the same house with her. Just near her.

Ch 6 I send Doris a note about her wrist, but I probably have a bad attitude about it

Dear Doris,

I was very sorry to hear the bad news that you broke your wrist. I hope you recover quickly and are not in any pain. I also hope that you are at least able to read books and magazines. Heal quickly!



Ch 6 Sly and Doris complain about Stephanie's help because there is nothing worse than someone driving over to your house to do the crap work like cleaning the litter box and putting out the trash and not sucking up to you while she is doing it

Primo: Stephanie has been helping.

Me: I know. I was messaging with her the other day.

Primo: They are complaining about her.

Me: Why?

Primo: They don’t like her attitude.

Me: Her attitude about what?

Primo: About helping them.

Me: She is helping them and they are complaining about it? They don’t like how she is helping them?

Primo: Yes.

Me: But she is not even related to them anymore. She is their ex-daughter in law. She has no obligation to them.

Primo: I know. But she still goes over every day to help them out, take them groceries, do the dishes, whatever.

Me: Why isn’t Jack helping?

Primo: They are waiting for him to volunteer.

Me: Yeah, that’s what Stephanie said. So let’s see. They turned down an offer of help from Ted. They won’t ask Jack to help. And when Stephanie just shows up every day to check on them, they don’t like her attitude?

Primo: My dad says she doesn't seem enthusiastic about it. She acts like it's just some kind of obligation. She doesn't seem happy.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ch 6 Sly and Doris’ neighbors help them and Sly and Doris are gracious and happy (not really)

Primo: Some neighbors have brought food for them.

Me: That’s a really nice thing to do. It’s hard enough for your mom to cook when she does not have any broken bones. I’m sure they are getting tired of pizza delivery.

Primo: One neighbor brought a pie.

Me: That was really nice. A pie is a lot of work.

Primo: They didn’t like it.

Me: Why not?

Primo: They said it was dry and tasteless and she used a store-bought crust for the pie.

Me: I hope they didn’t say that to her face.

Primo: I hope not, too.

Me: I might make a pie for your parents but I would not make a crust from scratch.

Primo: That’s mean.

Me: No it’s not. Wouldn’t it be enough that I was making the pie?

Primo: No! You would be giving them bad crust.

Me: But making a crust from scratch is a lot of work.

Primo: So?

Me: That’s something you do for people you love.

Primo: Then why make a pie at all?

M: Because that’s what you do. When someone in your family is sick or when a friend is sick, you take food. If I lived near your mom and dad, of course I would make them a meal.

Primo: So you would make a crust from scratch for your friends?

Me: Yes.

Primo: But not for my mom and dad.

Me: I would make them a pie. Maybe. Probably cake, because it’s easier. And a meal. That’s enough.

Ch 6 Stephanie is helping Sly and Doris, which is so far beyond what she should do – the woman should be sainted

Stephanie: I call them every day to ask if they need anything.

Me: That’s really nice of you.

Stephanie: They always tell me no, but I have been going to the house anyhow just to check on them.

Me: But they are so mean to you.

Stephanie: Yeah, but Doris wasn’t always like that. I feel sorry for her.

Me: You are a better person than I. Primo told me that Ted volunteered to fly down to help and they turned him down.

Stephanie: I don’t get that. I mean, I get not wanting to be around Ted , but I don’t understand why they won’t accept help if it’s offered.

Me: But I thought the rule was the child had to offer – that Sly and Doris will not ask.

Stephanie: It is. They will not call Jack and he won’t call them. His attitude is if they need help, they can ask for it. Theirs is that he should call them –

Me: But if he does call, will they reject his help the way they did Ted’s?

Stephanie: Probably. You can’t win with them.

Ch 6 Doris breaks her wrist and my first thought is, “Drunk”

Primo: Oh no!

Me: What?

Primo: Jack just called. My mom fell when she was visiting my dad in the hospital and she broke her wrist.

Me: Oh no! How bad is it?

Primo: She’ll be OK, but she won’t be able to use it for a good while. And it’s her right wrist.

Me: Is she right handed?

Primo: Yes.

Me: What happened?

Primo: She tripped on some of the lines in the hospital room.

Me: I don’t understand. Aren’t hospitals pretty good about making sure there aren’t hazards by the bed? I don’t remember ever having to look out for lines when my dad was in the hospital and he was in two different hospitals and in multiple rooms.

Primo: I don’t know.

Me: Is it possible – do you think alcohol might have been involved?

Primo: Probably. Ted once said that my dad turns wives into alcoholics.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Ch 6 Sly needs surgery and we wonder if Primo should fly down to help because neither of us know that old people who have incapacitating surgery should go to a rehab center, not straight home, once they are out of the hospital

Primo: My dad is having his shoulder replaced.

Me: Hasn’t he already had a hip replacement?

Primo: Yes. And he needs both knees replaced.

Me: He is becoming the bionic man. When is he having it?

Primo: Next week.

Me: Do you think you need to go down there?

Primo: I don’t know. I didn’t ask.

Me: And they didn’t ask you?

Primo: No. They don’t want to ask for help.

Me: What are you talking about? Every time you go there, they give you a list of chores.

Primo: OK. But they think I should ask them what they need, not wait for them to ask. When I was little, my dad would get mad at Nancy and me for not volunteering to help around the house.

Me: They wouldn’t ask? They didn’t tell you?

Primo: Nope. He said we should know what needed to be done and offer to do it.

Me: But kids don’t know that stuff. That’s something parents teach them. There was no doubt in my house what my chores were because my mom and dad told me. There was even a list on the refrigerator. We kids were responsible for cleaning our bathroom, setting the table, drying and putting away the dishes, feeding the cat, and cutting the grass. And of course for keeping our rooms clean, putting away our laundry, and making our beds. Plus other duties as assigned. If my mom had waited for me to ask her what chores I could do, she never would have heard me talk.

Primo: Ted did offer to fly down and stay for a few days to help, but they told him that it was too much trouble for him.

Me: They could have had help but turned it down?

Primo: Well, really, they just didn’t want him around. When I am there, if Ted calls, my dad goes like this – (Primo motions a “no” signal with his hand). He does not want to talk to him.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ch 6 Doris asks Primo to fix their computer maybe because she thought Primo was lying to Sly

Primo: Guess what?

Me: What?

Primo: That was my mom.

Me: Didn’t you just talk to your dad?

Primo: Yep.

Me: What does she want?

Primo: She wants me to fix their computer.

Me: What?

Primo: I know.

Me: Did she think that you wouldn’t fix it just because Sly had asked and that if she asked you, you would decide it was OK?

Primo: Maybe.

Me: Or maybe they thought you were lying to Sly but would forget the lie if they just waited five minutes?

Primo: That could be it.

Me: Your parents are both crazy smart, but they seem to be having a problem grasping the difference between here and there. As in, “here” means you can look at their computer. “There” means nope, you can’t see it. Thousand miles away.

Primo: I know.

Me: Although I wouldn’t expect your dad to get it. Sure, he has a PhD, but it’s in English. But your mom is a scientist. She understands the difference between here and there and she also gets physics, as in, it is still not possible to tesseract, as much as I would like to.

Ch 6 Sly asks Primo to fix their computer, even though Primo is nowhere near their computer and does not have that magic that lets him repair objects he cannot see

Primo: My dad wants me to call back tomorrow and fix their computer.

Me: He wants you to fix their computer?

Primo: Yes.

Me: But – you are over a thousand miles away from them.

Primo: I know.

Me: And – you cannot actually see the computer. If you were a corporate IT person, you could ping into their computer, but – you are not a corporate IT person and do not have that power.

Primo: I know.

Me: And – this is completely irrelevant because of the points I have already made – why can’t they do this now on a Sunday afternoon instead of tomorrow when you have to work?

He shakes his head.

Me: Oh! Because it’s time to start drinking?

Primo: Yes.

Me: What’s wrong with it?

Primo: I don’t know. Something with the wireless. And it’s a Mac. I am a PC guy.

Me: What did you tell them?

Primo: I explained that I don’t know Macs and even if I did, I could do nothing from this far away.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Ch 6 We argue about high-fructose corn syrup, an argument I never thought I would have because honestly, I do not care

Primo: You don't have enough chocolate in your house.

Me: There's an entire chocolate drawer in the refrigerator.

Everyone has a chocolate drawer, right? And a bin full of Nutella and chocolate peanut butter in the basement, next to the leftover M&Ms from Halloween that yes, I totally intend to use this year because do kids notice if candy is a year old? No they do not.

Primo: I mean like chocolate cookies.

Me: There are chocolate graham crackers in the cupboard.

Primo: These have high fructose corn syrup in them!

Me: Then don't eat them.

Primo: (silence)

Me: I mean it. Are you a man of your principles or not?

Primo: (silence)


Primo: I'm going to eat them anyhow.

Ch 6 Doris thinks Primo should cultivate a relationship with Ted

Primo forwarded an email from Doris to me. I am not sure what to say about this so I won’t say anything. Except – “uppity?” Really?

I encourage you to cultivate Ted's family tie because, without his bullshit, he seems to have a keen mind. We will never be able to understand Jack because he simply doesn't communicate with anyone.

Ted'sWife is also a very complex and interesting person--her sense of entitlement seems to have come from her upbringing as a diplomat's daughter in households that always had servants and "uppity" social circles.