Psyche Ward

As you all probably know, I’m a little too close for comfort to the parental units. Yes, mom and dad live downstairs from me. My mother is retired, so she usually takes care of the grandkids or goes shopping, but she gets depressed a lot due to not working. She used to work in retail with lots of people—so this was a big life change for her.

Now there are a whole lot of advantages to living in an apartment above mama and papa.

1. We’re all like best friends, we love to make martinis and hang out.

2. Being that I work a non-conventional type of job, I get to take mom out to lunch, and we always remember—it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

3. Mom is a great cook. We get invited for dinner often- hell we just go down there when we smell something good brewing. She loves company—actually craves it.

4. I don’t even make my own coffee, she brews her coffee in one of those old peculators that Alice had on her stove on the “Honeymooners”. It’s so good that I can’t go back to regular coffee.

5. The rent is cheap, the view is outrageous, and my friends who have visited us usually refer to our house as a bed & breakfast.

All those wonderful qualities, and yet I have another list of disadvantages. It’s not that I am unappreciative, but they are valid points, and anyone who knows me, including family who read my blog will get a chuckle out of it…because they know how true it is!

1. I was once caught ‘about to have sex’. No lie. My mother came bashing through the door, and I was in my living room being attacked by my girlfriend. I’m going to therapy for that one.

2. We have the same pipes going through the house. I always get calls upstairs, “Deb---dad’s taking a shower.” The thing is, I sometimes get them two or three times per day. I’m glad my father is such a clean guy.

3. Ring! Ring! “Is your water running? I hear water running…is your toilet broke again?” My mother doesn’t realize that Madelene also takes showers. This happens frequently.

4. My parents are smokers, so I can sometimes smell the smoke through the vents of the house.

5. My mail sometimes gets sorted out by the little lady of the house. Yes—she has opened my mail quite a few times.

I’m much like a gay man. Total mama’s boy, but in this case, ‘mama’s girl’. I mean, I can sit here and kvetch about every little thing, but I’m sure my mother has her list of complaints as well.

The other night, Madelene and I took mom out for dinner and drinks. We enjoy doing that with her. She’s a lot of fun to take out. My mother has a huge pet peeve about waiters or waitresses hovering over you like a fricken UFO, to see if you’re done with your dinner. Meanwhile, you have a ton still left on your plate, and they seem as though you’re being rushed. We were talking about that before we left to go out to dinner.

As my mother was in the middle of her dinner, the waiter came walking towards us.
“Oh good- another glass of wine for me!” I thought. No. My mother says to him,
”Go away!”
“Ma! What are you doing?” I asked in horror.
“Big tip! Don’t worry!” I yelled out to the waiter.

I guess it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She had it. She was fighting back. No one was going to rush her.

“I’m going outside to have my cigarette.” Mom says, as she whips out her pack of cigarettes and heads for the door. I paid the check, gave a 50% tip---yes---that’s how embarrassed I was about it, and then headed for one more drink at the bar. Our waiter was also the bartender. I apologized to him, and explained the pet peeve my mother had.

“Well I saw your glass empty.” He says.
“So did I…I almost cried when she sent you away.”
“That’s okay--at least you know your way to the bar.”
“It’s that obvious, huh?”

As we were driving home, my mother starts lecturing me about what I should tell dad when we get home. I didn’t understand this—he knew we were going out to dinner.

“Don’t tell ya fatha’ that I had a few drinks.”
“Ma, we always have martinis together, you think he’s gonna believe that?”
“Ya fatha’ gets upset when I go out to have drinks.”
“I’m not saying anything.”

Oh yeah, I can just imagine my ‘fatha’ thinking that my ‘mutha’ is out having some wild affair at the age of sixty-nine. She’s a beautiful woman, but come on now! I brought her inside and my father was sitting there, smokeless. He didn’t have a cigarette in his hand, and his living room didn’t smell like smoke at all. I was expecting to walk into a thick cloud of fog. Nothing. Nada. Nothing but clean air.

“Dad? Are you okay? You’re not smoking.”
“I’m tryin’ to quit—ya mutha' smokes around me all da’time. No support at all.”
“Wow, I’m proud of you dad!”
“Ya mutha’ bugs me about it, so it stops da’naggin’.”

My father has emphysema, he had a heart attack at one time, high blood pressure, and diabetes. This is another reason why I don’t feel right about leaving them alone. Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night, and I get a phone call from mom asking me to come downstairs.

I walk into his room, and he is hooked up to a plastic tube for his oxygen. He gives me a look as though we were all crazy. Whenever we call an ambulance for him—he refuses to go every single time.

“Ya mutha’s crazy. It’s just gas.”
“He’s having chest pains, should we call Carla?”
(my sister)
“Well yeah, after we call an ambulance, don’t you think?”
“He won’t go, believe me.”
“Ma, he can be having a heart attack. How about I drive him to the ER?”
“I’m not going anywhere you freaks! You’re all crazy I tell ya!”
My father yells out, laughing.
“If you don’t get out of this room, I’m gonna light a cigarette and blow up this oxygen tank!”
“Oh---let me do the honors dad!”
I said to him—as he chuckles so hard, he forgets about his pain.

My sister Carla usually comes rushing through the doors. She’s not a doctor, but let me tell you—she knows ten times more than a surgeon at times. This is like a ritual with us. Dad has chest pains, we all come to help him—he refuses---and then we sit there trying to make him laugh and reconsider going to the emergency room. It’s getting more and more perfunctory each day. I’ll be the one making living arrangements at Shady Pines for them.

Dysfunctional? Are you kidding? It’s like a psyche ward full of alcohol and oxygen tanks. He was threatening us with a suicide bombing scheme---him---a lighter---and an oxygen tank. I bet a million bucks, he’ll definitely be disappointed about the lack of virgins waiting for him in heaven. I’d be disappointed if 72 virgins did show up—I want my women with experience!

Maybe I should just print this post out, and mail it to my psychiatrist. It’ll save time and I won’t have to talk as much. Sorry to ramble on about my crazy life here. You have better things to do.

Go on! Get out of here!