My Dad and Mom live here 3 months of the year. It’s their retreat from Wisconsin winters. Some term this a respite…assuming they need a respite being the retired folks they are. Isn’t the point of retirement to hole up and retire from the world? Well that’s just a wrong thought it turns out!
The reason they come down here is so they can keep up the frenetic pace they like. They don’t sit still. They don’t even sleep much. They don’t enjoy quiet. They for sure don’t enjoy the fine art of doing nothing. And they sure don’t like it if that’s exactly what I’d like to do.
My Dad has joined a toy club, visits hobby shops like they were old friends, and goes dumpster diving and recycles stuff for the library. My Mom does water arobics at the health club she has joined, volunteers at a hospital every Tuesday, attends and does stuff at the church she attends down here, and walks every day. She also practices the piano at my house nearly every day, and she does her ironing over here….if you saw their apartment you’d know why putting up an ironing board might be a challenge. They have a key to the house and have made themselves at home.
My brother is visiting from Seattle. He is getting away from phones, deadlines, house chores, and the constant clog of teenage girls that his daughter draws…not that that is something to get away from, it’s just nice to take a break, someplace different than home, warm, but not too unfamiliar. He’s like me a little, he’d be happy to breathe the same air. He’s self entertaining and happy to not have to make decisions just now. My parents on the other hand think that a visitor means activity. Go. See. Do. And the more the better.
Yesterday we finally settled down into my living room and were talking…not that awkward talk of folks who need to find their way again because they haven’t been in the same room since 2004…but nice catch up chatter and lots of laughter. My dad got all restless and wanted to go somewhere. He paced a bit. We settled him. Then he just got a little fit to be tied and we all relented and got into the car to go. Where?
On the list of where:
Hardware store out on 90…he’s not shopping for anything, just figures my brother needs to see this hardware store ,and maybe they don’t have hardware stores in Seattle.
1604…he wants to drive around loop 1604, the entire loop.
Flea Market on the south side, again, no need for anything.
Then there is the list of people he wants my brother to meet or talk to, far and wide.
Not on the list:
Any of the usual San Antonio stuff, Riverwalk, Alamo, Mission trail
Church with me
Sitting with me to work on my family project
Staying with us
What’s funny is the reasoning behind having my brother stay with my parents in their tiny apartment on a rollaway bed verses in my guest "wing." Because it would save them driving back and forth. I can see where there’s a need to cut back don’t you?
My dad is a talker. He makes friends with the extroverts of the world and annoys the introverts. He’s up for a party at the drop of a hat. He likes to be the center of attention. He pretty much takes over. My mom is quiet but deadly. She is the master of control in a Catholic sort of way. Don’t get me started….
Anyway, who are these people? Are these the same people who raised us? My sisters and I have decided they are not. These folks are pod people replaced at some point and with no off switch or ability to throttle down a notch. I actually used the word "chill" yesterday after swearing I never would. Chill Dad. Take a deep breath, relax. Enjoy the conversation and breathing the same air.
Notably, I am sitting here writing, and they are off on their tour of 1604.