"Wanna work on that pantry shelf in a little while?" Geez that man is desperate to take a break from taxes. And seeing as how my mother left a basket of ironing for me to do before she left for bridge, I was sharing his eagerness to rip something apart and rebuild it. "Sure, but I was going to go outside and write for a little bit. Is that okay?"
"Oh yeah, fine. Hey, am I keeping you from your work? I don’t want to impose."
"Dad. I can work from anywhere. And out of us four kids, I’m the only who can do that. Besides, I have a great boss and if I need to, I can call him right now and tell him he won’t hear from me for a month. It’s no big deal! Plus, Scott’s working 14-hour days right now. Melanie’s enjoying her independence and has Kelly, whom she calls, "my other mom" right up the street. It’s the perfect time for me to be away from home. Besides, aren’t we having fun?"
"I’m not having fun. Nothing personal." Pffft! Nothing personal taken at all. I mean, I’m not the guy whose doctors told him he needed another open heart operation only the guys at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN were qualified to do. Yeah, Minnesota in February. It’s 87 degrees right now in South Florida and the pool water to my right is a sweet 84 degrees. I’m not sure he evens owns a winter coat anymore. I know I’ll be borrowing gear from my college roomie and her daughter who luckily live right up the road.
The fun part? Amazingly, it exists. I’m 44 years old. I moved out when I was 17 and have always lived a day’s drive away from my parents. Had you told me three years ago, even two or one, I’d have spent the last week alone with my mom and dad and enjoyed it, I’d have, in a fit of sarcastic laughter, fallen off of whatever piece of furniture I was on.
Somehow, we found things to laugh about while dad hospitalized for five days. Hello? Let’s start with the food. Then there are the gowns, other patients, coral smocked volunteers and the best? The singing orange tree. Actually, the singing orange was a rather scary. Never mind.
Sunday afternoon we went to the neighborhood pool. This is an "Over 55" community. I felt transported into a scene from Cocoon, shot deep within New Jersey. But we laughed. We had fun.
Sunday night, we put on our jammies, sat around their gigantic TV and watched the premier of a new prime time television show. On the Disney Channel. So I had wine instead of chocolate milk. I covered my dad in a blanket instead of the other way around. But we laughed. We had fun.
During the commercial break, mom and I struggled to put on the pool cover. We tripped over wheels, got wet and walked away with chunks of blue vinyl in our hands. But we laughed. We had fun.
And I plan to keep it that way for the next two weeks…and if we’re lucky, for years to come.