Dad

Dog show!

I hurt my back on Sunday and, until I found some 800 mg fake Motrin pills this morning, was hobbling around like the old woman who lived in a shoe, if the old woman who lived in a shoe only had one child but that child was very heavy and insisted on being picked up all the time. It was stupid, all I did was pull a door closed. But it's almost never what you do, it's that your back was just waiting for an excuse. Ironically, I had just mailed a book to my father, whose back also just went out, called Healing Back Pain. The author believes that many people with back pain don't have anything physically wrong with them, and that back pain is the mind's way of diverting attention from the real (mental, emotional) problem. I can tell you that the other three times I have been knocked out with back pain have accompanied (1) a change in job and a moving-in with a boyfriend, (2) a father-in-law-to-be dying of cancer, and (3) going to Mexico on vacation when I didn't want to go because I don't really like going to Mexico. So, of what am I in fearful denial right now? Root canal? Being pressured by in-laws to have another baby when I don't think I ever want to give birth again, despite the fact that it went fine that one time I did it? Still being mad about losing my job, though I should be over it by now, especially since I just qualified for extended unemployment benefits? All of the above, plus the whole apartment still smells like onions from Jack's Jacques Pepin moment in the kitchen last night and I am still not quite up to hauling out the garbage. And who suffers? The children.

Funniest thing that happened this weekend: Jackson sneezing with a mouthful of cottage cheese.

Second funniest thing: Taking Jackson to the Santa Barbara Kennel Club Dog Show at the Earl Warren Showgrounds. (Yes, that Earl Warren, the one who headed the commission that determined that a lone gunman with a magically ricocheting bullet killed JFK. But that's not the funny part.) Dogs running around in the ring and being judged wasn't that interesting to Jackson, it was too far away, even though there were big, highly visible Irish wolfhounds. But outside on the grounds where people were grooming their dogs and just hanging out we ran into a couple with two English bulldogs, Clyde and Spot. Clyde was the most perfect little gentleman bulldog I've ever met, no drool, no attitude, just sixty pounds of pure love, but he had that classic need to bury his nose in someone's crotch, and the crotch he picked was Jackson's three-hour-old-diaper crotch. I've never seen a look of such pure confusion on a child's face, but I'm sure he'll get that all straightened out by the time puberty rolls around.

We also took Jackson to the basketball court to show him how it's done. Yes, mommy can still make a nice right-handed layup, even when doubled over in pain, but daddy can't dunk for shit anymore, at least not without hurting himself. And check out the silver Nike baby sneaks! Dad's got on some nifty blue Puma Californias, I see. We *heart* outlet shopping and wearing last year's rejected fashion, because it still looks good on us.

I'm not sure why he has to be Irish

My father, who doesn't think I should curse on my blog, constantly sends me e-mail jokes. This one actually made me laugh. It contains NO SWEAR WORDS.

An elderly Irishman lay dying in his bed. While suffering the agonies of impending death, he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favorite chocolate chip cookies wafting up the stairs. He gathered his remaining strength, and lifted himself from the bed. Leaning against the wall, he slowly made his way out of the bedroom, and with even greater effort, gripping the railing with both hands, he crawled downstairs. With labored breath, he leaned against the door frame, gazing into the kitchen. Were it not for death's agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven, for there, spread out upon waxed paper on the kitchen table were literally hundreds of his favorite chocolate chip cookies. Was it heaven? Or was it one final act of heroic love from his devoted Irish wife of sixty years, seeing to it that he left this world a happy man? Mustering one great final effort, he threw himself toward the table, landing on his knees in a rumpled posture. His parched lips parted, the wondrous taste of the cookie was already in his mouth, seemingly bringing him back to life. The aged and withered hand trembled on its way to a cookie at the edge of the table, when it was suddenly smacked with a spatula by his wife . . .

"Back off!" she said, "They're for the funeral."

Episode

One morning last week, at about 7:00 a.m., my father started feeling a little funny, so he went to his recliner and lost consciousness. My mother came in a short while later, sat down next to him, and fell asleep reading the paper. My oldest brother, who moved back in with my parents a few years ago, after his girlfriend died, came in about 11:30 a.m. to say Hey. My father roused a little bit but his speech was so slurred that my brother couldn't understand him, so, since my brother had been up all night watching movies, he went back to bed. He didn't check back until about 6:00 p.m., at which point my father could barely speak or move his arms or legs. My brother called 911. Paramedics came, roused my diabetic father with insulin, and hauled him (he's a big man) to one hospital that turned them away because they were too busy. After getting him into a less busy hospital and giving him a CT scan to make sure he hadn't had a stroke, they gave him a sandwich and a piece of chocolate cake ("make sure the diabetic in bed twelve gets extra chocolate cake!") and sent him home. My father was so ridiculously blasé about this whole episode that after getting out of the hospital he went to Dairy Queen for ice cream. I have to say, this kind of perverse behavior runs rampant in my family. Just last week I had a practitioner tell me to cut caffeine and sugar out of my diet, and what did I do? I woke up the next morning and had a double latte and a chocolate-chip scone. I couldn't help myself. I want things even more after I've been told not to have them.This bizarrely spiteful impulse also caused me to reach for a pair of baggy-ass jeans this morning, after Jack had taken the time and trouble to pick out two new pairs of sporty, butt-loving shorts that look great on me. Because -- sheesh! -- why would I want to do something that would actually set a fella's pecans on fire? I know it's more complicated than that, of course, but I'm not one of those insightful blogging people, I'm one of those the-baby'll-be-up-from-his-nap-in-twenty-minutes-so-I'd-better-get-cracking blogging people.