My poor dad. I feel for him and I hope he heals quickly. He’s currently down and out on stress leave with a set of blown-out vocal cords, a bunch of burst blood vessels in his eyes, 2 burst eardrums, and what they’re saying is an extreme form of exhaustion. So, happy belated birthday Dad, I hope next year goes better…I’M KIDDING!!
He’s fine!! I swear though, these are definitely the kinds of injuries he could sustain every time he talks to his mother. No joke!
As I’ve written before, my father is quite the character. If you’ve read, you’d know that he’s provided us with many enjoyable and memorable stories over the years about his pitfalls and shortcomings, uniting us all with laughter. Honestly, it’s enough to make normal folks cringe and possibly cry, but if you knew him, you’d certainly find humor in the unfortunate stories about his mishaps. You can’t help but love the guy.
So, it was my dad’s birthday on Monday, and of course, I awoke to a text message, very, very early in the morning from him asking what day it was. My response, as always was,
Yes, Father, today is your birthday, happy birthday and no I didn’t forget…I just got out of bed…it’s only 6 a.m.…gimme a chance, will ya?
I’ll never forget March 1st…ever
How could I possibly forget? Every year since I’ve been able to identify pictures, he has always had March 1st scrupulously circled in ink with a bunch of arrows pointing at it, which covers the entire calendar page containing March, so I grew up declaring that all of March is his birthday…I had no idea he loved to color…none! As you can tell, he gets pretty excited about his birthday. Some people just never grow up I guess.
As it was his birthday and he text and called everyone to remind them that it was his birthday, his mother, as always, called him. Every year, like clockwork, Mama calls her son to wish him a happy birthday and this year was no different. The problem is, well, Mama is kind of getting up there in age…she’s 92 in a few days, and with that, things seem to have stopped working entirely or have apparently gotten worse.
I suppose you need a little backstory about this woman and why my father is currently attempting to heal from some very extensive mental trauma. We cannot possibly be the only ones who’ve dealt with this, but I don’t really talk to many people so I truly wouldn’t know. As such, here is my kick at the can in trying to explain everything.
My dear granny
So, a quick history of my dear granny. She is a catholic gal, who is very staunch in her beliefs and by golly, if she doesn’t like you or something about you, well she’s just gonna let you and everyone around you know about it. This can sometimes be highly inappropriate in certain situations (I guess that’s where I get it from…crude jokes should only be told in certain places and at certain times…I do try but sometimes I just can’t help myself, HA!) and I have been unfortunate enough to be at hand to witness these moments.
In fact, I was expected to tame the beast when I was the only adult accompanying her a few times…like I have any control over what she says. She’s my granny and what am I gonna say? So yeah, she doesn’t drink alcohol and frowns upon it, and well…babies out of wedlock…ermahgerd…and the list goes on. Yeah, gotta love her flair.
She’s told us that using condoms is like wearing socks in the shower and we know for a fact, that in the past, she has said something highly inappropriate to the people who work at the mom-and-pop pizza place in the town she used to live in. All we know is that when we called to order pizza and used her home phone to do so during a visit one day, they said that they weren’t taking orders from her phone number, without any explanation (we had to use a cell phone to place the order and that’s how we found out about this alleged incident). When we confronted my dear granny, well, all I can say is that she had this look about her like she’d been caught with her hand in the cookie jar whilst feigning innocence…we still wonder to this day what she said.
I can only imagine
It must’ve been pretty bad because even the people who owned the joint wouldn’t even fill us in…and neither would she. Man, I admit, kind of bugs my ass that I don’t know. How bad could it have possibly been? Wait, maybe I don’t want to know.
So, she’s got a bit of a spitfire side to her and I honestly believe that because she’s deaf as shit, she has no idea that she utters her opinions loud enough for it to be considered yelling. And, herein lies the issue. She’s deaf as fuck.
How deaf you ask? Well, I’m happy you asked. I shit you not, what you are about to read is absolutely 100% true. No joke.
Bribery and tag teaming
Any time my folks come to town they always try to lure us into going with them to visit my dear old granny. You’re probably thinking we’re horrible people, but I have a perfectly good explanation for all of this, so sit tight. First things first, my folks have always tried to bribe us to go with them to visit her (although they’ve never paid up…what is with that Mom and Dad?), in the hopes that there’d be enough of us to form a tag team who’d be able to last for the duration of a visit. 30 minutes is usually our best timeframe and if we make it an hour, we celebrate with a drink (sometimes a few) and go to bed at 5 p.m.
Tag team? Yeah, tag team, except we’re not all in a bunch of pink and purple sequined banana hammocks in a wrestling ring (maybe we should’ve been wearing these things or something similar to The Road Warriors or The Legion of Doom tag team duo depending on how you remember them). Oh no, we’d be in my dear granny’s dark, dank living room back when she still lived in her house. She’s been in a long-term care facility now for a couple of years and I hate to say it, the same visiting format still applies to this day…I wonder what they think of our visits?
We’ve often discussed lugging in a few supplies when we go, like spit buckets, sweatbands, Vaseline (just cause), water bottles, and stools for 2 corners. Costumes with sweat-wicking material would also be appropriate (I want a cape). I often wonder what the neighbors would’ve thought if we had shown up with all of this shit being brought into her house way back when?
Yelling should be classified as a sport
I’m absolutely certain that they heard every single one of our conversations over the years. And really, they weren’t conversations, it was like we were questioning some perp over and over who’s only answer of eehhh, prompted the repeating of the same questions over and over. At least there was no booming or banging going on like we were throwing people around in the house. There was just a lot of yelling.
So, a 4 person tag team has always been a struggle but doable because we’d all be able to take long enough breaks in between yelling and creating charades in front of her and still be able to catch our breath in between turns. 8 people is definitely a better tag team amount, but that has always been a rarity, and 2 has always been damn near impossible. Honestly, I’m surprised none of us has died yet.
Before anyone says anything, I have to say this, my grandmother, much like my father, is exceptionally cheap. The reason we are all yelling is because she’s always purchased the cheapest, shittiest hearing aids on the planet and she never changes the batteries, even when we buy them for her (at no cost to her) and purchased by the case. She’s always had ample batteries, always or she just won’t wear the bloody things…what good are they if she refuses to wear them? I think we’re all tired of yelling at her that she’s gotta stick them in her ears or ask her to turn them on…yeah…sometimes they’re in but not even on.
Cheap, cheap, cheap…it ain’t no bird
Cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap. That’s the noise my father makes when he walks and I’m sure my grandmother is the same, except she’s so bloody cheap, she won’t even walk because she doesn’t want to make the sound. CHEAP.
On with the show. So, as you can now imagine, Granny is extremely hard of hearing, and throughout the years, no one has ever been able to convince her to use her bloody hearing aids or change the batteries if necessary, let alone use the best hearing aids we’ve all offered to pitch in on and purchase for her for our own bloody sake. Stubborn? Actually, I don’t think there’s a word dedicated to this level of stubbornness yet.
Have you ever yelled for an entire 2-hour long visit? If you haven’t, it’s fucking exhausting and painful as shit. You end up hoarse, sweating profusely, and exhausted within minutes. Not only that, you can only yell the same fucking thing over and over again before reaching the point of insanity whereby you’re more than happy to throw yourself in front of the next random vehicle driving by at school zone speed, just to end the fucking lunacy. This is what it’s like to visit my lovely elderly grandmother and yes, we love her profusely.
Testing the human limits
It’s not that no one wants to go and visit, it’s just that it takes months for our vocal cords and our sanity to heal. Watching my parents arrive home after a visit with granny, completely hoarse and sitting on the floor in the corner of a room, banging their heads against a wall for hours on end is a scary thing to witness. She breaks people.
On top of that, the amount of cardiovascular training that it takes to maintain an octave that high and for that long, takes an infinite amount of time to achieve. We’re talking Olympic level lung capacity here…a lifetime of training. If you don’t believe me, try yelling an entire children’s book (the ones with barely one sentence on a page) and then get back to me. If you’re not purple, exhausted, sweaty, deaf, and mentally taxed, you haven’t done it right.
In addition to all of this, my grandmother has surprised us a time or two and answered questions whispered between us, not even directed at her. Isn’t that something? Can you tell me how she cannot hear us when we’re yelling things to her, but she can pick up on a whisper barely spoken between 2 people across the room? Is she shitting us?
I swear, this was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen
Oy, I’m having a good laugh right now. I’ve just been transported back to my father trying to have a conversation with my grandmother this summer while he was here visiting, and him yelling hello over and over, with her yelling eehhhh for 5 minutes back and forth, ending with her hanging up on him because she thought no one was there or it was a prank call. He’d call her back and just continue to yell hello and she’d keep yelling hello back and eehhhh and then say a few nasty things about assholes before promptly hanging up…yet again. Why the hell she even pays for a phone is beyond me.
Now, my dad has become quite a patient man over the years, in comparison to his younger self, but this took the cake. I remember him having to put the phone down after 45 minutes and just walking away because he was so bloody flustered. Honestly, I don’t know how he survived without yelling the most obscene profanities at his mother and beating the phone on the floor while screaming in frustration. I’m sorry, but I laughed…it was funny as hell because I heard everything she was saying and it was hilarious…my poor dad.
It was after this episode that he and I joked about starting a business where you take out all of your frustrations on a phone. We’ll put you in a room by yourself, with a phone, and we’ll call you and pretend not to hear you and say hello over and over and make that annoying eehhh sound continuously while you just beat the ever-loving shit out of the phone once you reach that level of frustration. We provide the frustration and you just let it all out…sounds good, doesn’t it?
I wonder how the birthday call went?
I can honestly say that this was the first time I’d ever witnessed my father walk around my yard in circles for hours on end while doing some very deep breathing and muttering to himself…she has a gift. In person you can usually add to the conversation with the clever use of charades, but with the lockdowns and very few visitors allowed in LTC facilities this summer, the phone became a maddening endeavor. So, hearing aids that don’t work/she won’t use and having to call her on a phone where she can’t see you and not know you’re on the other end of the line has been nothing short of fun. Calling the front desk of the facility is completely useless because they’ve tried to communicate with her but she just ignores them and can’t hear so yeah…call me sadistic, but it’s actually been a fascinating and comical thing to watch.
So, now that you know all of this, I’m sure you can imagine what my dad’s birthday phone call was like from his wonderful mother this year. Apparently, according to my mother, my father could be heard yelling from miles away HELLOOOOOO over and over to the point that search and rescue was dispatched to search for an alleged trapped/lost person somewhere out in the Canadian wilderness. Mom said it was his best showing yet.
She claims that the decibel levels he hit have never been attained by any other human being in the history of man. His vocal cords and eardrums have been shattered and his eyeballs are blood red from all of the force he put into vocalizing his presence through the phone. He made it a whopping 67.5 minutes all by himself with no one to spell him off for the entire duration. World record!!
One of the best birthdays ever…right Dad?
That’s impressive but he’s also a dumbass. He should’ve just hung up after the first minute. This was completely unnecessary torture.
Mom said he finally went off the deep end and began to slam the phone on the kitchen counter around the 67.5-minute mark, shortly after his mother finally broke the hello and eehhhh streak by quickly uttering happy birthday quietly and then hanging up the phone. Ermahgerd, my dad lost his shit.
Apparently, he hasn’t spoken anything since, other than whispering,
She couldn’t have just said that in the first minute she called?
Oooh, she broke him good
That was just before he smashed the shit out of the phone and plummeted into his broken state. He’s sort of catatonic still, but not to worry, he’ll snap out of it I’m sure…well, we hope. Yeah, I guess she broke him pretty bad this time.
It took a few days for him to bounce back after the summer incident, so we’ll just have to give him a little time. The sick side of me can’t wait until she calls him again. I hope I’m around to witness this crazy phenomenon, it’s really fun to watch AND, I’m off the hook for tag team duty so double yay!
I look forward to hopefully seeing my folks soon…admittedly, I do miss them…just a little…like a smidge. Oh, and Dad! I almost have our little business venture ready to launch, I hope you’re ready!