Showing 1 - 10 of 84 posts found matching keyword: dad

DAD: Easter is not a federal holiday.

ME: I didn't think it was.

DAD: Everyone should get a day off for Easter. Postal employees should get a day off for Easter.

ME: A day off... on Easter Sunday?

DAD: Yes! Martin Luther King Jr has a holiday. Everyone gets the day off for him. I don't think he's more important than Jesus.


I seriously can't tell when he's being serious and when he's jerking my chain. I try to assume it's always the latter, but when he says things like "I can't vote for anyone who looks like Stacey Abrams," I do have to wonder.

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Today we put down my father's 7-year-old poodle Scarlett because we discovered that cancer had eaten her liver. She'd been lethargic for the past week, had stopped eating, and at the last, her skin and eyes turned yellow. But she didn't complain. She wasn't that kind of dog.

Scarlett's last haircut, Oct 5, 2021

Scarlett loved chasing squirrels, walkies (especially when she was stalking a squirrel), belly rubs, and escaping through open gates to chase the squirrels who wouldn't stay inside her fence, probably in that order.

Scarlett wasn't my dog, but she kind of was. And I miss her. Even the trouble.

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I watched only 8 new-to-me movies in October — partly because I spent time watching several movies I had seen before, movies like Unforgiven, The Bad News Bears, and Metropolis. I'm still 17 short from 150 on the year with only 2 months remaining. Will I get there? Oh, the drama!

125. (1984.) The Rocket Man (1954)
Plot: A boy with an unusual voice is given a magic gun by a spaceman who wants him to do good; hijinks ensue. Is this what ran in Saturday morning matinees before everyone had television? (Fact: I watched the whole thing just because the female lead was Spring Byington, and my Mom likes Spring Byington.)

126. (1985.) The Secret Life of Pets 2 (2019)
This movie was widely panned for its lack of focus, but I think I enjoyed it more than the original. Damning with faint praise?

127. (1986.) Penn & Teller Get Killed (1989)
This dark, dark comedy is not a great movie but is still totally worth a watch for Penn & Teller fans, but it blew my mind when I discovered that the director of this movie also directed Bonnie and Clyde. How does that happen?

Drink Coke! (Penn & Teller Get Killed)
With Penn & Teller, you half expect one of them to drink the drain cleaner. Drain Cleaner: the original uncola!

128. (1987.) Frozen II (2019)
Two-thirds of this movie is better than the original, but illogical third acts are what this franchise is all about, I guess. (This was watched on Disney+, by the way. I finally went ahead and just reset Dad's password. Sometimes a manchild has got to do what a manchild has got do to.)

More to come.

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I think father is getting well. In fact, I'd day he's almost back to normal. Yesterday, he watched several hours of Fox News and praised the governing efficiency of Hitler's Germany.

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Dad has been released from the hospital into my care. I'm not convinced he's ready, but I understand why the hospital wanted to be rid of him. I made the mistake of telling him that CVS had sent a text warning that his new prescription for melatonin was not covered by his insurance. "Good," he said. "That's the drug the nurses were using to hack my phone!"

I left behind a giant bowl of Halloween treats for the excellent staff of Piedmont Hospital Newnan's 8th floor who cared for him for the past two weeks. In essence, I traded the nurses my Dad for a bowl of candy. Trick or treat! It's nice to still have a father, but I'm pretty sure the hospital got the better deal.

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True Tales from the Hospital*

NURSE: Your son is here. Walter's here.

JIM (irritably): Walter Shears? I don't know Walter Shears.

NURSE: What is your son's name?

JIM: My son is Walter Stephens. I've never known any Walter Shears. Send him away.

*That Might Be Heartbreaking If They Weren't Objectively Hilarious


Also funny (and totally true): thanking his nurses after they settled him into a fresh gown and sheets, he said "Thank you. You've done a great job. That's how I know you're not really my nurses. They're not this good."

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While Dad's been in the hospital, you'd think I'd be watching movies on his Disney+ account. But I don't have the first idea what his password is, and he is in no state to tell me. Let that be a lesson to you, kids: steal your parents' passwords early and often.

112. (1971.) Onward (2020)
I did, in fact, watch this on Disney+ with Dad long before the current health complications. It's as well-crafted as anything you would expect from Pixar, but I'd say that level of polish removed some of the potential sparkle. I'm sure I would have loved it more if I had seen it with young eyes.

113. (1972.) The Rainmaker (1956)
I don't think that either Katherine Hepburn or Burt Lancaster were particularly well-cast in their roles in this Music Man-ish unmusical romantic dramady. But then, I didn't much like the whole movie, so maybe it wasn't the casting that was the problem.

114. (1973.) Katharine Hepburn: All About Me (1992)
The actress presents her own autobiography directly to the camera (including an admission that she had a "more-than-friends" relationship with a woman before such things were publicly tolerated). I've always admired her, and everything I saw here only reinforced that opinion.

115. (1974.) The Duchess and the Dirtwater Fox (1976)
The only word for this is "awful." Worse than just a Western with no heroes, it's a comedy with bad timing. Blech.

117. (1976.) Gorky Park (1983)
It's a relatively dry crime suspense thriller set in contemporary Moscow that wisely uses a Soviet empire crumbling under its own mismanagement to its advantage. I liked it.

118. (1977.) Taxi! (1932)
James Cagney plays my least favorite Cagney cliche, the little man with a giant chip on his shoulder. Getting past that was hard for me, but there are plenty of other enjoyable, mostly comedic, moments from the supporting cast.

More to come.

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Dad has been in the hospital since Tuesday.

His colectomy surgery to address lingering problem from his 2018 diverticulosis episode had originally been postponed because the hospital was full of COVID patients (but they later found room after calling in support from the National Guard). Measures designed to prevent the further spread of COVID within the hospital mean that he is allowed only one visitor per day. COVID is stretching hospital resources so thin that staff have been forced to leave Dad lying on soiled sheets because clean and sanitized sheets were not immediately available.

One thing I cannot blame on COVID is Dad's hallucinations, presumably resulting from a combination of medications and lack of sleep. In the midst of a waking dream, he removed all his catheters and drips and tried to tear out his drain. This last bit may have damaged his sutures. He's now subject to a more robust watch by the nursing staff, which in practical terms doesn't mean as much as it might because the staff is already overtaxed tending to patients suffering from COVID*.

The point here is that I'm finding it increasingly difficult not to be rationally furious at every idiot who has participated in extending this fucking pandemic that for 18 months and counting continues to make life both more difficult and more perilous for everyone on the planet.

As I waited to pass screening into the hospital yesterday, the lady working the front desk was trying to be apologetic about the hospital's restriction procedures. "Numbers have been going down the past two weeks. It may be over soon," she said. I said, "I've heard that before." She gave up trying to make small talk with me, a lesson everyone should probably take to heart, at least until we can all talk to one another safely without masks on.

*UPDATE: I've been sitting in the hospital room all afternoon, and the staff couldn't be nicer or more attentive. I should not impugn their Herculean efforts. The COVID era sucks for them, too.

UPDATE 2021-09-26: Today, Dad developed a case of hospital delirium and escaped from the hospital on foot. Full credit to the entire staff, including the nurses who were bowled over by a fleeing, bow-legged senior citizen and the security guards who peacefully returned him to his bed. I mention this so specifically because the hospital staff continues to do a great job under the most trying circumstances. (Personally, I would have let him just keep running, which is the best argument for why I should never work in a hospital.)

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My father was supposed to have surgery this past Tuesday to finally address complications resulting from his diverticulosis in October 2018. It didn't happen.

We've spent most of the past three years dealing with his heart issues, which made doctors uneasy about intestinal surgery. First an artificial valve, then a pacemaker, then another pacemaker.... Now that those are resolved, Dad was all set to finally put (most of ) his abdominal issues to rest. Unfortunately, things continue to work out not as planned. This time, the hospital had to cancel. It seems they ran out of room.

Late this week, Piedmont Hospital Newnan was forced to call in the National Guard for help against the latest surge against COVID-19. They didn't need that help back in January, so that tells you how bad this wave is. According to one report, they are booked to 125% of capacity, with the Emergency Room waiting room converted to temporary overflow COVID-patient holding.

(Side note: They say that most of those currently ill with the Delta variant weren't vaccinated. I wonder what the overlap is in Georgia between those who chose not to vaccinate and those who have no health insurance? I'd ask a high school student to draw that Venn diagram, but masks are optional in Coweta County schools, and I don't want to end up in the hospital myself.)

Both Dad and I like to think that one day he'll finally be fixed enough to avoid his current monthly visits to a urologist and surgeon. Maybe so. But the way things are going, it doesn't look like it's going to be any day soon.

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I typically say something snarky here, but I'm proud of that pasta

That there, that's homemade spaghetti. And I made it! And it tastes great!

Yeah, I know. People have been making homemade pasta — essentially just flour and eggs — for centuries, maybe millennia. But none of those people have ever been in my kitchen.

As it happens, my father gave me the pasta roller/cutter and drying rack you can see in the image above for Christmas... Christmas 2019. (I might even have asked for them.) Which means I've had them throughout the pandemic of 2020-21. Despite all the "free" time that gave me away from restaurants, I never made any pasta until now. Why not? I guess I was intimidated. I thought it would be a lot of work. Turns out it is.

I got the recipe from my favorite cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, and I used advice I've picked up over the years watching Joe Bastianich criticize would-be Italian cooks on MasterChef. ("Salty like the ocean!") I understand now why that show always has so much footage of people struggling with pasta rollers. While the dough itself is a breeze, the little home consumer counter-mounted pasta roller is a bastard. I christened mine "Mussolini's Revenge."

So it is all a lot of trouble, but it might be worth it. I can now attest firsthand: fresh pasta is good eating.

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To be continued...