Photo: The journal has been seeing a lot of action this week. I feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone, oscillating between “OH MY GOD, it’s WEDNESDAY!!!! How am I going to get it all done!?!?” and “For the love of God, is it only Wednesday?”
I decided to call my Father on Monday because I hadn’t spoken to him since Father’s day. Though a lot has been happening around here, he never has any clue because it would seem that his phone is quite capable of receiving calls, but never making them. Still, I was homesick and wanted to know what was up with the whole China crazy crazy, so I gave him a call.
He’s not going to China anymore. He said that he couldn’t get the work visas to teach over there despite all of his best efforts. Am I a little relieved? Yes.
But the obsession still continues. He’s incorporated himself, and he is starting an exporting business where he will ship American goods to his (Chinese) in-laws who own a few small stores there. Supposedly you can’t export Chinese-made goods from America to China to sell (which makes sense), but anything else is golden? I dunno… I had a lot of questions for him and he had an answer for every one.
“We fixed up your grandmother’s place really nice, and I think we’ll all move down there if things really take off. I’m going to need to build a big shed in the back,” he explained, “you know, to keep the inventory… Anyway, I wish you’d come down this summer to see it. Would have been nice for you to see the work we’ve done down there…” (longtime readers will understand why this is an annoying thing for him to say.)
He explained the costs and the small-business discounts. He explained how he’s applying for a business credit line (Me: “Did you have to present a business plan for that?” Father: “No. They tie it in with your personal finances.” Me: “But, you do have a business plan, right?” Father, frustrated by the question: “No. Why waste the time?”). He explained and explained and explained.
For an hour.
It took an hour for him to stop talking, take a deep breath and get to, “So anyway, enough about me! How are my grandsons?”
And I tried to get out a story about some of the DIY and our adventures. But it always seemed to get back to him and the export business. Eventually, the conversation came to the house. My house. You know, the house he hasn’t seen? The house he has no plans to see?
“Didn’t you say that you have a lot of space at your place? Maybe, if we get things going and you’re willing to help, if you let us put some of that inventory at your place, I’d pay you for it…”
I want absolutely no part in this… which seems to be fine by him, because this was the best line in the whole thing:
Father: “You know, I’m really thinking about things differently this time around. I’m really thinking about my legacy, you know? I’m not going to be around for a large chunk of [youngest half-brother’s] life, and I want to make sure he has something. I just want to build something that I can pass down to them [his two sons].”
You wonder why I write a lot about invisibility?
Though I found the conversation to be a pretty disappointing affair, Father did send me a few interesting things. Namely, some photos of my paternal grandfather’s discharge papers from World War II. Super interesting to look at. I can’t help but geek out a little bit from reading them and seeing the dates (he was honorably discharged from the army as a staff sergeant in 1946). He also sent me copies of my grandparent’s degrees from The Hampton Institute in 1950. The best picture of all, though, looked straight out of a Blaxploitation film: My father, shirtless and in flared bell bottoms, big ol’ afro atop his head, raising a trophy over his head with a big grin on his face while surrounded by some three white women clapping in delight. If there were ever an image that could capture my Father’s entirety, it would be that photo. I almost, almost used it for my featured image today, but I decided not to. I don’t have his permission and, despite myself, I respect his privacy.
Patience and grace must be tested from time to time… you know… just to make sure you still have them. It’s like a renewal on a certification or something. I’ve never mastered either, and probably never will. This is just one of those weeks where that is especially apparent. I’m in the middle of day three with no nap and children who, I’m not going to lie, I don’t like right now. The both of them, in their own ways, have been so obnoxious… and I admit that I’ve had a few bad mothering moments this week.Not having at least a one hour break from the stream of consciousness/requests/fights/demands/screams is a lot on the brain.
I thought that I could separate them today and get Ursa Minor (who does, sincerely, want to sleep sometimes) to nap while his brother played downstairs. He wouldn’t let me leave him alone in the room, so I laid down on the carpet and watched him nod off, just a little. Until, of course, his brother came upstairs, announced that Super Why was on, went back downstairs (at my urging) but then returned with toys to play with. I thought, in all sincerity, that I was going to hurt the boy. I couldn’t effing believe it.
And, of course, because of all of the disruption (and the cleaning and other prep I’ve been doing), I haven’t written a word of fiction since Monday. That only compounds the stress I’m feeling, of course.
And remember, I don’t get a respite this weekend. I’ve gotta get through this week. Get through this weekend, and then do it all again next week. I know I can do it, because I have no other choice, but I understand that there is also little to nothing to look forward to. It is what it is, as they say.
I hope that you are being more productive than I am on this beautiful and hot Wednesday. Don’t forget to give your plants a little water today. I know that my pretty little bushes out front are looking a little thirsty! And if it’s super hot, make sure you check in on your elderly neighbors, just to make sure they are ok. It’s a good thing to do, you know.
Anyway, see you Friday for
screaming screeching shrieking pathetic whimpering Quiet Thoughts.