Mowing Dad’s Yard
3:19 p.m. and I’m at my dad’s watching my stepdaughter mow his yard. This is her first time using a push mower and boy is she doing an awful job. He finally admitted that his back was totally fucked up, he wasn’t the strong and undefeatable man that he once was, and that he needed someone to mow his yard.
The “someone to mow his yard” is me, obviously. But I’m trying to teach the kids that you have to work to earn something, be it money, food, or whatever other shit they want, and since I despise mowing decided to pay one of them to do it for me. I doubt my father will pay me, so I’m accepting of the fact that I’ll probably have to pay her out of my own pocket to be lazy, not mow, and write this angry blog post in the meantime. When I think about it, $20 is totally worth it.
I had to mow his back yard because the grass was nearly a foot tall. She couldn’t even get the mower through the mess, so I took over and knocked out the back yard for her. She’s doing the front, and I’ll still foot the bill for the her labor, the full $20. I forgot how shitty mowing yards are, especially if you’re using a push mower.
Another favor for my parents where I’m sacrificing something to assist. Time, money, peace of mind, convenience: something. They did raise me and I’m appreciative of that fact, but aren’t my parents — two fully functional adults — able to be a little more self-sufficient than this? Always borrowing money. Rarely paying me back. Requiring me to come get the money that they’re paying me for some reason, like a guy from the bank showing up at my home if I had a payment for him. Having me pick up cigarettes for them. Footing the phone and insurance bills for them monthly. Just being all around pain in the asses to me in a way that I don’t think is good for anyone involved. Sure, I’ll help when needed, but my help seems to be required all the time to where it isn’t helping anymore. It feels like a permanent assistance plan. Especially for my dad who seems to be kinda conservative, I wonder if he equates his opposition to “social safety nets” — those damn welfare queens getting free money and food and shit — to anything I’m doing to help him. The world has a way about making you into a total hypocrite if you’re not careful.
FORD: Found On
Road (Driveway) Dead
We hopped in the car to drive to my dad’s to be greeted by this message in the Ford Focus Electric:
Oh no. Recall that this is a fully electric car and while I love the thing, when something does go wrong all it does it blast this message which doesn’t let you drive the car at all. You do have to appreciate shitty mechanical gas cars for your ability to actually fix them. I called Ford Roadside Assistance to get it towed 20 miles to the closest dealership that can fix the thing. (For free. Fuck Ford. Their shitty car broke again and they can pay to have it towed.) At least I bought a used Honda Civic a few months ago with 195,000 miles on it that can act as a spare. I swear that car will never die.
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems
More money down the drain. Hopefully it isn’t over $1,000 like last time. Oh yeah, I still need to pay $500 for a dorm deposit fee for the other step-kid…
A Pointless Car Trip
Before that? My dad stopped by to drop off food for some reason. Yes, we were going over to his house to mow in a few hours, but for some reason he felt the need to stop by and give us food and some tomato plants. We could’ve picked them up when we went to mow, but no. Once again, I have no idea why he did this — it doesn’t make sense — and seems to be a larger inconvenience than anything.
The Favor Dictator
While he was over all he did was act passive-aggressive the entire time. He said he had to “wait on me” and that he had “stuff to do” or something, once again proving my point that when I do someone a favor them seem to want to dictate the details. If I’m nice enough to mow your yard, maybe not be such a demanding ass all the time? I wake up around 11 or 12 and it still takes me at least 30 minutes to caffeinate and nicotine up to where I can function; apparently this is much to late for my dad’s liking. Nagging, but subtly, about me getting my ass in gear and getting his yard done despite him having no actual plans to attend to today. I can’t help that he wakes up early, is antsy, and really wants his yard mowed. If someone is doing you a favor, work with them a bit.
Phone Call Excerpt
“What are you guys having for dinner tonight?” he asked on the phone before he came over.
“I don’t know. We never have plans. I have no fucking idea what we’re going to have.”
“Well, why not?”
“I don’t know. I never cook the meals really.”
“Well why not?! You need to help out around the house too. Does your wife need any more tomato seeds? Any tomato plants? Do you guys want some potatoes?”
“I don’t know. You should probably call and ask her; gardening is her hobby/project. It’d be like asking her about my solar panels or…”
Click. He hangs up on me.
Father Knows Best, Or, You Don’t Know A Fucking Thing
We had some fermented apple juice laying around today. About a half gallon, and I didn’t want it to go to waste. Straight apple juice doesn’t really turn into a strong wine, so I opted to add a few cups of sugar to it to really get the alcohol content up to wine-like levels. I grabbed a funnel, measured a cup of sugar, and dumped it in.
Apparently this caused all the dissolved carbon dioxide in the juice to instantly fizz out, ala Mentos and Diet-Coke, causing an impromptu volcano of fermented apple juice to spray violently all over the table. I laughed — Wow I didn’t expect that! What a fucking mess! — and was overjoyed to have fucked up so badly and been surprised as much as I was. I had a moment of sheer childlike wonder that I rarely experience anymore. But apparently my dad and my mother-in-law didn’t appreciate the volcano of juice as much as I did. “Why didn’t you do that outside? What were you thinking? Clean that up now, quit watching it spill all over the floor and laughing about it.” Fuck, I didn’t take it outside because I didn’t expect it to blow the fuck up. Duh.
So I’m cleaning the table and my dad has to point out to me that I should lift up a few jars, cups, and cans and wipe under them. You see, as my dad explained, the juice can collect under the cups or whatever and you must lift them up to really clean everything up. “Goddamnit dad, I know how to clean a damn table off, holy shit.” I was really losing it about this time. I’m a thirty-year-old
fully mostly functioning adult and it’s offensive that he thinks I can’t clean a table or something. Fuck off, man.
I went to add more sugar after I cleaned the mess up. More nagging. “You’re going to do that again?! Why don’t you take it outside this time?!”
“Goddamnit, dad, ALL THE CO2 DISSOLVED OUT ALREADY, IT WON’T FIZZ ANYMORE.” And it didn’t do anything dramatic when I added more sugar.
Phone Call Excerpt #2
“Where are the kids at?”
“I don’t know.”
“Why not?! You should spend time with them.”
“I’m writing right now. Trying to get a blog post out.”
“*passive-aggressive sigh* Jer, you need to spend time with your kids. Take them to the park. Play with them.”
“I have a list of things I need to do. I’ll take them outside later.”
“*Sigh* Okay. Whatever.”
Towing the Car, Or, I Do Everything Wrong
The tow truck finally showed up to take the derelict car to the dealership. Yay, I could get that mess dealt with finally. I took the kids outside, a five and a four-year-old, to watch the guy put our car onto the flatbed tow truck. Kids are kids and love seeing new and unusual things and I knew they’d be interested in watching the car get loaded and towed away, and I wasn’t wrong. They didn’t know what was happening and I loved explaining what was going on and watching their wonder. When the man drove away, they ran to the end of the yard waving and smiling and the guy smiled and waved back. I knew that the two little curious kids totally made his day. Like he’d go home from work and tell his wife and kids about the two excited children he met today. Totally excited about his mundane job that he probably hates and gets little joy out of. It was cool and I felt good about it.
But apparently this was not the right course of action, at least to my wife. She was worried about the tacky clothes they dressed themselves in today, as if that matters at all to the tow truck guy dressed in his dingy work clothes. And apparently he had a cough so she was pissed the fuck off at me by having the kids outside around an obvious COVID-stricken person. We stayed more than ten feet away from him! The kids are scared of everything — loud trucks, strangers, big machinery — and they never went anywhere near him. Well, fuck me right? 8 p.m. on a dreary Saturday and I’m once again feeling that no matter what I do doesn’t seem to be right.
Mow my dad’s yard? Get shit on. Mow our yard? Get shit on. Car shits on me. Try to show the kids something new and exciting, and guess what? Yes, get shit on. I’m really feeling the bad vibes today and I’m sure after I make this ranting post I can get shit on for whining about getting shit on. I cannot wait. Oh well, there’s nothing else to do on the weekend besides piss time away, and this is serving its purpose nicely. Maybe Sunday will be a better day; at least I can drink on Sunday.