My Dad is Better Than Your Dad

Image from father2navy.com

One of my first memories of my Dad is of him yelling at me after I picked up a red hot bolt while trying to “help” sweep up his garage. He owned a Shell gas and service station in our small town and he had just gotten finished working on a car. Of course I screamed scaring him half to death. I would like to tell you he ran over and cradled me in his arms, but that would be to Leave It to Beaver-ish. I remember the smell of his work clothes, a combo of grease and gasoline, which I still love to this day. He plastered thick jelly onto my burn and continually asked me what the heck I was thinking? He wasn’t exactly a patient man.

We laugh about it now.

At 35 he had a heart attack which resulted in a triple bypass. He had a scar that ran from his throat to his ankle and every time I saw it I was reminded of how easily he could be taken from us.

The surgeon told my Mom the bypass could give him a maximum of 10 years. A secret she kept to herself until he died 23 years later, four months after I was married.  I can’t imagine the stress she was under counting down the years with two young girls to care for.

My Dad taught me how to ride a lawn mower and a mini bike both of which I always somehow jammed into the neighbours chain link fence. I can still picture him coming out the back door shaking his head. Or through the snow on the coldest days because I stalled the Ski-doo half way across the field.

Yes, maybe there was a reason he was impatient…

Lucky for me I got three traits from him;  my patience, deep forehead wrinkles and a freakishly long back with a hint of a butt attached.

Thanks Dad.

He was honest, humble, hardworking and kind. Everything a straight up man should be. He had the kindest eyes I’ve ever known and the most genuine smile. He whistled when he did chores, watched The Guiding Light (he’s gone now so I can tell you), ate chicken wings against doctors orders, loved Archie Bunker, stole smokes behind the shed and spent many hours in his “workshop” where he made tables, shelves and drank beer with his BFF.

Everyone in town knew him and liked him. He made no enemies.

He also snored like a freight train, wiggled his foot back and forth the entire time he watched TV and crunched chips incredibly loud. He built a pontoon boat with my uncle that almost sunk half way across the river. He smelled like Icy Hot, chewed Rolaids, always had dirt under his nails, took forever to BBQ anything, swore like a sailor when he thought I couldn’t hear, taught me how to whittle with a pocket knife, probably wished I was a boy and said he hated the dog but secretly loved him.

He hardly ever raised his voice but when he did shit was about to get real and whatever it was my sister or I had done you could be sure would never happen again.

He was an astounding Grandfather and had all the time in the world for my sister’s kids. Suddenly patience wasn’t an issue. I wish he could’ve met mine. What an incredible loss for them.

The moment my son was born I saw my Dad in his eyes. Now, when I watch him play ball and he sits all hunched over on the bench, the way I’ve seen my Dad sit a million times, I feel him there.

It’s been 13 years since I held his hand when he lost his last battle and I’m grateful to have been there, to have been able to say my goodbyes, to have had the extra years I didn’t know was borrowed time. What an incredible gift.

When we made the procession from church to cemetery, bells tolled and policemen came out of the station to salute him in the street as his body was driven past. I’ll never forget it.

My Dad was a man of honour, a master of duck tape, a trusted friend, and an incredible soul with a stubborn streak. No, he wasn’t perfect.

But I miss him every damn day.

Sex: Then and Now

Picture from www.sodahead.com

Its been said when a woman reaches her forties her sex drive increases. Without getting into details I’ve found it to be true, but I don’t know if it’s a biological thing or a psychological shift.

Sex just wasn’t fun for me when I was younger. It was serious business. I had extraordinarily high moral expectations. It was all about love and feelings. It was supposed to be magical and mean something.

Gag.

In reality it was all awkward and embarrassing. I was a chubby girl with an insane fascination for bad boy musicians. Do you see the conflict here? Instead of settling for the math geeks who wanted to date me, I stood my ground insisting on a bad boy with long hair, preferably in a band with a sexy snarl who wrote music that would sing to my soul.

You can stop laughing now.

I was deep. A fat girl with standards. A rare breed.

I spent all my high school years waiting for them to realize the skinny, easy girls couldn’t satisfy them emotionally like I could. You can see how my judgement was a bit flawed.

My second year of college I lost weight. Suddenly bad boys were everywhere including one I’d had a crush on for months. I gave it the old college try but found my heart just wasn’t in it. I was still caught up in feelings and it bugged me to know he was only dating me because I was skinnier.

And that’s how I pretty much looked at every guy from then on. The problem was my judgment still didn’t match my morals. I was still attracted to the wrong guys; the difference was now they were attracted to me. Be careful what you wish for.

Somehow I always thought I was going to find that diamond in the rough, but time after time I would always end up thinking, “Would this guy be with me if I was thirty pounds heavier?”

The answer of course was a firm no. And that’s why I was never good at the one night stand. Which probably pleases my mother to pieces, but DAMN why did I have to think so much? I didn’t want to be that way. I wanted to let loose and have lots of sexual experiences but somehow my standards always got in the way of all the fun I was sure I was missing.

Of course the guys didn’t make it any easier. One time I ran into a guy I’d actually met the year before but because of circumstances our “alone time” had been interrupted. This time when alone again, he looked at me all sweet and sexy and delivered the same EXACT line he had said to me the year before. WORD FOR WORD. Of course, being who I was I had to point it out to him…this led to him making a big girly scene, which totally proved I was right and single-handedly set my head straight. I met Homer not long after.

Now I’m so grateful to be older, wiser and not so intense. My body issues are still there, but they’re my issues and have nothing to do with my relationship, except when I eat something bad and then complain for hours. So not sexy.

I’m at ease in my relationship and that makes sex better. I still have high expectations, but Homer ignores me and it all works out.

I have my regrets about not being more promiscuous, but not enough to tell my daughter to have at it when she’s ready. Sex is for the experienced, not for immature heads filled with deceptive fairy tales of what a relationship should be.

Did I mention Homer’s a drummer? Just sayin.

Book Review: Between You and Me

By: Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus
Release Date: June 12, 2012

What happens when you are followed by millions . . . and loved by none?

Twenty-seven-year-old Logan Wade is trying to build a life for herself far from her unhappy childhood in Oklahoma. Until she gets the call that her famous cousin needs a new assistant— an offer she can’t refuse.

Logan hasn’t seen Kelsey in person since their parents separated them as kids; in the meantime, Kelsey Wade has grown into Fortune Magazine’s most powerful celebrity. But their reunion is quickly overshadowed by the toxic dynamic between Kelsey and her parents as Logan discovers that, beneath the glossy façade, the wounds that caused them to be wrenched apart so many years ago have insidiously warped into a show-stopping family business.

As Kelsey tries desperately to break away and grasp at a “real” life, beyond the influence of her parents and managers, she makes one catastrophic misstep after another, and Logan must question if their childhood has left them both too broken to succeed. Logan risks everything to hold on, but when Kelsey unravels in the most horribly public way, Logan finds that she will ultimately have to choose between rescuing the girl she has always protected . . . and saving herself. (courtesy of Simon and Schuster)

After spending the last few months engrossed in non-fiction, I was looking forward to a witty, light, non-thinking story. I wasn’t looking for much but I was hoping for more than this.

My biggest issue was with the main character, Logan Wade. She’s extremely one dimensional, but there was something else that bothered me I couldn’t put my finger on. Early on when she reunites with her cousin Kelsey I thought the problem was they lacked a connection. Kelsey outwardly ignores her until all of a sudden she falls asleep with her head in Logan’s lap…

Okay wait.  I’m sorry, but who does this? I have a cousin I haven’t see in what seems like forever. I would risk my life for her but the only time my head would land in her lap is if I tripped and fell on her…carrying on.

Then I thought maybe it was the way she came across like a doormat, taking direction from anyone willing to take charge. I kept hoping she would snap out of it. There is a moment at her turning point when she finally stands up for herself and for Kelsey, but it’s quickly dismissed and she once again simply follows orders. Sigh.

Even her love interest is yawn-worthy. But, that wasn’t it either.

As I skimmed through a second time it became clear what my issue was with her. She wasn’t the heroine . From the moment Kelsey comes into the picture she steals the show. Albeit a show we’ve seen before. Her story being a rip off the Brittany Spears meltdown. A seemingly sweet pop star gone over the edge, a diagnose of Bi-Polar Disorder, a strange drugged out appearance on TV, right down to the turning point where Brittany Kelsey barricades herself in the bathroom with her baby.

I didn’t want to like Kelsey either. I wanted play bored with the whole “child star losing it” story, but I have to admit there was something about her that made me think of her when I wasn’t reading.

Don’t tell anyone.

But let’s be honest, it’s exactly the reason the book might do well. We’re addicted to celebrity train wrecks. And yes, I’m guilty of it too as long as it doesn’t involve a Kardashian. I draw the line….it’s a faint line, but it’s there…

All was not lost however, highlights can be found in sporadic bits of witty dialogue, like when a roadie is addressed by Logan about the stench in the air.

“It smells like I’m trapped in a foot.”

He pauses and says, “Just wait til we drive through Parma. It’s like a yeast infection in the ass of a pig.”

BEST LINE EVER!

Too bad the roadie didn’t have more appearances.

Between You and Me will be released June 12, 2012