I’ve been trying to get TOM to quit smoking ever since I discovered my 6th grade health textbook. Sandwiched in between photos of a uterus and a pair of men’s balls was a horrid image of ash-covered, blackened lungs. My dad’s lungs. Losing my mother to cancer only exacerbated the fear that my pop would someday die a too-early death thanks to stogies. Five years ago, I offered to move home from NYC if he quit smoking. I bought him The Easy Way To Stop Smoking by Allen Carr. I said I would pay for patches, meds, gum, candy, robotic cigs, whatever it takes. Needless to say, I moved home a year ago only to wave smoke out of my face.*
A conversation we had last week:
Me: Do you still have that Easy Way To Stop Smoking book I bought you a couple years ago?
Dad (deep sigh): Yes, Tina.
Me: Maybe you can try reading it? It says you can still smoke while you read it…
Dad: OK, Tina. Can we talk about something else?
A conversation we had today:
Dad: I’ve been reading that Easy Way To Stop Smoking book whenever I’m on the shitter.
Me (trying to contain my excitement): Really?! That’s so great!
Dad: I’m still smoking.
Me: I know.
Dad: It’s really interesting. I only read it when I’m going to the bathroom, and I go to the bathroom at least 12 times a day. I’m on page 80.
Me: Wow! It means a lot that you’re reading it.
Dad: Yeah, it’s good. Sometimes I go to the bathroom when I don’t even have to take a shit. I just pull down my pants and sit on the crapper so I can read that book.
* I get that cigarettes are addictive and probably harder to quit than booze, chocolate and prostitutes combined. Harping on my dad doesn’t help. He needs to quit in his own time, when he’s ready. I know this. But nonetheless, losing TOM to lung cancer is a very real fear that keeps me up at night. Don’t worry — I’m going to therapy.
My dad called this morning while I was on my way to pick him up for an Easter egg hunt.* I often can’t help but get annoyed when he calls for asinine reasons, considering The Ol’ Man is twice my age and
generally sometimes occasionally smarter than me.
Dad: What’s the weather like outside?
Me: Why don’t you walk outside and see?
Dad: Because I don’t have any clothes on.
Me: Why not?
Dad: Because I just got out of the shower!
Me: Well, why didn’t you check beforehand?! Or look on your iPad? I don’t know! I’m wearing a dress! And boots! And I brought a sweater! Why do you…
This is when TOM hung up on me. I recognize that it would have been much easier to simply answer his question. But dealing with my pop is never easy, and discussing the weather makes me panic. In New York, I would often find myself stranded without an umbrella, freezing without a jacket or sweltering in jeans in 90-degree weather. I do not know how to answer the weather question. If I can hardly prepare myself for Mother Nature’s surprises, how can I prepare someone like TOM?
*It was a children’s Easter egg hung with a friend’s family. Not to be confused with an adult hunt consisting of a lingerie-optional dress code, fancy lattes, Jameson and candy-colored balls filled with cash.
My dad has been talking about wanting an iPad for the past six months. He said if
Santa I got one for him for Christmas, he would happily pay for half of it. Well. About a week before Christmas, we got into an argument. (As close as we are, we bicker quite a bit. I don’t talk about this on The Blog so much.) I am usually to blame for our fights, but this time, I Was Right. I wanted to make my dad feel bad for how he was acting, so I told him I got him an iPad for Christmas (which I was planning to buy). He was sad the surprise was ruined. So was I.
Two days later, I came up with The Plan of All Plans. I told my dad that due to a conversation I had with my accountant about paying my 2011 taxes, I unfortunately wouldn’t be able to afford the iPad like I’d thought. I apologized. My dad was sad again. He thought about going to Best Buy to buy one himself. I reminded him that he recently spent a lot of money fixing his truck and had to
buy me Christmas presents be responsible with his funds. He agreed. Continue reading
My dad just asked me (again) when I am moving out. He says he wants his house back. I don’t blame him. I would also like my 30-year-old life back, because living with my father brings out the 13-year-old in me.
For over 10 years, I have worried that my dad has some undetected form of cancer. He has a headache? It’s brain cancer. His feet hurt? Foot cancer. My dad has been smoking for 50 years, and I am all but convinced there are tumors growing throughout his blackened lungs as we speak. The thought of no longer having access to my dad’s hugs scares the macaroni & cheese out of me. He is 85% of the reason why I moved home. So I can get those hugs while I can. Not to mention the fact that I need quite a bit more time to be a good daughter* to the ol’ man.
This morning, my dad was being quieter than normal. I left my
daughter cave bedroom and inquired.
Me: What’s wrong? Why aren’t you talking to me?
Dad: I don’t feel well. Let me watch this TV show.
Me: But what’s wrong?
Dad: Tina… I fart every time I take a step and feel like I have to take a shit every three minutes. It’s been like this for the past two weeks, I’m sick of it.
Me: Oh. Why didn’t you bring it up to the doctor?
Dad: I don’t know. Let me watch this TV show.
I go back to my cave and frantically start inputting symptoms on Web MD. Colon cancer. There it is. I grab my laptop and run into the living room. Continue reading