Thursday, January 23, 2014

Traveling with Parents

I've recently returned from a vacation with my parents. They have a house in Scottsdale, AZ and a couple months ago, after I got my Christmas bonus from work, I decided that I was not going to pay off ALL my bills, I was going to get my ass into the sun to refill my vitamin D levels (you know how gray it gets in the PNW this time of year?) and relax because I've been so stressed out.

It was a wonderful trip, and coming home was bittersweet. My mom didn't want me to leave. She was staying there another week. I could have stayed there with her, the weather having been in the upper 70s the entire time I was there, but I had children, a job and a boyfriend I wanted to get back to.

Being on vacation alone with my parents, I learned a few things about myself and them that I thought I would share with you.

My parents:

~ They've turned into the Bickersons i.e. my grandparents, but only where two things are concerned, driving and cooking.

When they picked me up from the airport, traffic was heavy, as I came in during rush hour. They decided to take an alternate route. As I sat in the backseat, I listened to them squabble about which street would take them which way, which went through, etc, etc,. I felt like I was a kid again on a cross country road trip. I wondered where my barf bag was and why my brother wasn't slapping me in the head.

My dad and I put together Bracioles for the football games on Sunday, and there were a few debates when it came time to cook them. My dad didn't heat the oil first. I told him to, but he didn't listen. When my mom saw this...then it was too much oil, then not enough get my drift.

Other than those two things, my parents are a loving couple who take care of each other well.

~ I'm not sure what's going on with my mom's hearing, but it's a little contradictory. I'll be sitting there right next to her talking to her and have to repeat everything I say. But if I'm sitting at my computer and I say something inadvertently to myself, she could be in the other room and hear me. Mind you, she will still say, "What?" but she still hears me.
~House cams are cool...and creepy. My dad has one at his home here and one
down in AZ. He says it's for safety, I think it's so he can check on his cat, Maxx and make sure he's being properly taken care of. And he can talk to you through the camera. He did it to me in AZ and it scared me to death at first.
~ They have a set routine. This may just be the vacation routine, but here it is.
  • Dad up, coffee, breakfast, newspaper.
  • He gets mom up to take pills, makes her breakfast, she drinks coffee, reads the paper, watches TV.
  • He takes a walk (which I did with him).
  • Mom and I would sit outside while my dad tooled around the house. I have no idea what he was doing. I know part of the time he was on his computer, but he wears a pedometer and has to get his 10k steps in, so I know he's also doing other things like taking out the garbage, probably changing light bulbs and stuff, because he always gets his 10k in.
  • Lunch is somewhere in there.
  •  Errand running (this is sometimes done after the walk, but many times we did it in the afternoon).
  •  Down time. Mom would nap, I would write or play on the computer, my dad would do his tooling around again.
  • Dinner.
  • TV, which consisted of three game shows, Let's Ask America, Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy, then many episodes of some type of Law & Order show. I didn't even know they watched Law & Order.
  • Bed.
Drinks were spread sporadically between  down time and bed. We threw in a couple other things, went to the neighbors to visit during the 'Down Time' one evening. Mom and I went shopping  one morning after I walked with my dad, must most the time, the above was the schedule. And I could only stomach one or two L&O episodes then would adjourn to my room for Damages, reading or sleeping.

~ My parents are still two of the smartest people I know. Seriously, just watch Jeopardy with them.


~ I'm not too shabby myself, when it comes to Jeopardy.
~ Replacing a heat pump is expensive and loud. Avoid it at all costs.

~ I can still read a book in days if I set my mind to it. I read Insurgent by Veronica Roth in 5 days, and that was only at a couple hours a day. Do you know how thick that book is? I even bought Allegiant for my Kindle while I was there (I never read on my Kindle, of course I ordered the hardback as soon as I got home. It should be here today). I'm going to try to make more time to read more books this year.
~ I have no will power when it comes to Italian bread. I can resist any kind of sweets you throw at me, but throw a loaf of Italian bread in my direction, and it's all over.
~ I need to take some time to recharge. I just normally don't know how to do it. On vacation with my parents, I'm forced to do it. I'm forced to sit and do nothing but take walks, read or write. I have to find a way to balance everything I have at home, but to squeeze that time in too. It may be a matter of giving on some other things. Social life, Netflix...but I know it will be worth it. I feel so good after a long weekend of doing nothing.
~  Avoiding becoming a Bickerson, I want the same kind of lasting and loving relationship my parents have.  My mom has had some health issues this year, and I see how my dad has lovingly cared for her. This June they will celebrate their 50th Anniversary. I know I will not have a relationship that lasts that long; if I found someone right now and lived another 50 years I'd be 95 (okay it's possible, but probably not plausible). But seriously, all kidding about their bickering aside, they have a love that has endured hardships and pain, good times and bad, and I hope I find one even half as binding as theirs.

Next trip: Weekend road trip with 8 teenagers. Oy. Wish me luck.

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My Dad. He's awesome.

John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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