My drunk father is back with a vengeance. One thing I definitely did not miss during his two years of sobriety was his pervasive intrusion and paranoia. Now when I call my parents’ house, he either answers the phone and monopolizes the conversation or he secretly listens while my mom and I talk (his heavy breathing gives him away). He opens any and all mail delivered to their house, regardless of who it is addressed to (I remember never being able to open my own mail growing up). I have him blocked on Facebook, but he goes on my mother’s tablet and logs into her account to be able to look at my page (and then emails me about the things he reads). He is just out of control. This time I am farther removed from it…having moved out of their house over a decade ago, but I am still exposed to it almost daily because my mother still lives with him and she and I are so close.
One of the things I hated the most about my father growing up is a strange complaint. He wrote on EVERYTHING. That mail I mentioned? Not only was it open, he would write “notes” on the envelope. “Who is this from?” or “Opened 12/10/98, 4:34 pm” or “Junk Mail”. He did it on manuals for new electronics, newspaper articles he printed from the internet, etc. But he also wrote elaborate, repetitive, insulting notes out by hand and would leave them on the counter for my mother- in his in all capitals print. SO MUCH WRITING. His most famous medium was Post-it notes. Oh god, they were everywhere. I would come home after school to Post-it notes on the front door, kitchen counter, by the phone…anywhere you could stick one. I jokingly sent my childhood golden retriever into the family room covered head to tail in Post-it notes once to make my mom laugh. It’s crazy what starts to become normal after you have lived with it for so long. Then came…the photocopy machine. That really upped his note game. My father would write out notes all over a piece of paper and then make 20 copies of it to spread around the house. You literally could not get away from them (because they were sometimes stuck under the windshield wiper blade on my car).
I recently bought my mother a calendar blotter to put near their home phone. My dad was always complaining he never knew what she was doing, so I figured she could write down doctor’s appointments and stuff on it (she is also becoming a little forgetful, but that’s another story). Yesterday while we were shopping, she mentioned she needed to buy a calendar and I was confused. I asked her what happened to the one I got her. She somewhat reluctantly confessed that my father wrote all over it. I assumed she meant his typical BS, but I asked what he wrote. Apparently, he filled in the block for each day with a handwritten “DO NOTHING”. That is my father’s favorite insult for all of us- we are a bunch of do nothings (my sister and I are do nothing takers). I’m not sure why hearing my mom tell me this affected me so much- I would like to think I am pretty immune to my father’s ridiculous behavior and verbal abuse or that at a minimum that I am good at trying to not care. I guess I adapted to having a sober father surprisingly easy and now it is a readjustment to have this guy back. It just sucks. Sorry, that’s not great writing and I would tell my high school students to think of a more elegant way to express that feeling if they wrote that in an essay, but it does. It just sucks.
So, one of my new year’s resolutions will be to just distance myself from my father again. No more calls, less visits, ignoring his emails. I tried with him so hard and for so long and now I need to refocus my efforts on other areas of my life. As far as my father is concerned, in 2016, I will live up to my nickname and will be a proud “Do Nothing” 😉