You know, for someone who doesn’t make a dime off her blog, I’m incredibly reliable, fueled only by your follows, likes, and comments. Maybe it’s because I think too much and without some kind of outlet, beyond Gail, I’d drift slowly into madness…
… or quickly.
It’s a unique disappointment though, when a favorite blogger writes less and less consistently, gradually weaning themselves into oblivion. If you’re anything like me, in your blog reading, you become truly invested in the characters. You want to know what happened with that interview/date/visit to the couple’s therapist. When I’m following a blog and reading about the trials of new marriage, the heartache of divorce, or the stress of watching children grow up and move away and then they just stop writing…
Maybe I put too much stock into the lives of strangers. The thing is, I love reading someone’s story as it’s happening. When I read your dating blog, I’m not just experiencing your disastrous online dating efforts. I’m watching the montage at the beginning of the love story and who wants to stop after the montage?!?! And so, it is with this little rant that I apologize for my sporadic posting, as of late. I have been working 60 hours per week, saving for a summer without substitute teaching, in addition to…
… drum roll please…
Big Girl Woes.
Y’all, I love being an adult. I see and hear constant complaints and ecards about how “being an adult isn’t going to work out for me” and I’m all whhhaaaa?!?! Being a grown up is the greatest and I mean that in a Tom Hanks in the first half of Big sort of way. I get to stay up late for no reason, eat candy for breakfast, have random snack foods for dinner, never fold the laundry, make the bed only when I change the sheets, and have trashy Netflix chick marathons all summer long. Even better, no one hits me, the bills get paid, and there are no compromises at all.
The last few weeks, however, everything has just seemed to snowball. It started with needing new tires… then my phone died forever… then my Judybug cost me $250 in X-rays to diagnose him as a drama queen… but through all that, I didn’t accept a dime of help, because I have an awful lot of pride tied up in the fact that I take care of me. I haven’t accepted help on that front since my daddy paid for my last graduate course, so I could get my diploma. Then the washing machine broke down…
Dad: “I transferred $100 to your account.”
Me: “I’ll pay you back by the middle of next month.”
Dad: “Don’t worry about it. It’s fine.”
$100 does not a Big Girl make. That’s not so bad. Right?
… then finally my car (with its new tires) was no more.
Mechanic: “Well, what’s wrong with it?”
Me: “It just.. stopped working.”
I’m an articulate gal. I promise. Just don’t ask me about cars.
By God’s infinite graces, I was able to get back to my sub job in time for class and borrow my daddy’s Jeep in time to be at the library by 5:00. I didn’t have to rent a car and my car insurance covered the towing. I however, did not receive the news I was hoping for, that my repair would be Cheap As Free.
Mechaninc: “It’s going to be expensive.”
Me: “How expensive?”
Mechaninc: “Well, I don’t know for sure yet. $1,500 to $2,000?”
Fine. Lesson learned. That wasn’t just water leaking from the undercarriage after the rain we haven’t had lately. Don’t just turn up the radio, when you hear that noise. Also, never buy a car from a company that prompts the question “Wait. They make cars? I thought they just made motorcycles.” If it hadn’t rattled like a box of nails, I might have considered said noise to be more significant and if it weren’t so low to the ground, I might not have blamed a puddle.
So, it is with this stroke of fortune that I spent last Thursday evening shopping for a new car, rather than writing my latest blog post.
Dad: “Well, if you need another $500 for the down payment, just holler.”
Me: “Yeah… I’m just gonna take you up on that, then.”
Me: “I had to accept $500 from my daddy to even be considered for financing. Growing up takes so much longer than I had planned. I’m 26. I have a master’s degree and work two jobs. Is it ever going to happen?”
Gail: “You know, people don’t talk about borrowing money from their parents. This is really just something people do sometimes… which is why it’s so scary when your parents die, because you are truly on your own.”
Bee tea double ewe, if you ever find a friend who will spend her only night off that week, suffering through the pain that is buying a car, keep her forever and let your kids call her aunt.
I did it, though. Almost on my own. I made the negotiations. I went all Rosie the Riveter and quoted Kelley Blue Book, when they tried to get me to double my down payment. I signed the papers for my very first car payment… and only had a small panic attack while doing so. I got all the documents sent into the financing office and switched the insurance. I even paid the mechanic and made the arrangements to have my deceased roller skate of a car towed to the salvage yard and picked up the check. Still, everyone seemed to think it was the wrong move.
Bo: “70,000 miles on a Nissan isn’t bad. But if you’d had dad cosign, you might could’ve gotten a new car for the same payment.”
Me: “I’m 26 years old. I don’t need my daddy to cosign on a car, if I can get approved. I want to do it on my own, as much as I can. Besides, I don’t think Lena would be cool with that.”
Bo: “It’s really none of Lena’s business.”
Me: “Um, she’s married to him. His credit is her credit. That’s totally her business.”
I figured that, surely, my daddy would agree when I told him the next day.
Dad: “Well, I’m gonna help Bea out, when she buys a new car.”
Me: “Yeah, but Bea’s 20 years old and in college. I’m 26 and could get approved, just at a higher interest rate. I’d rather do it myself and refinance, than be tied to you financially for six years.”
Dad: “Yeah, but if I’d cosigned, you might could’ve gotten a new car for the same payment.”
Today, all the trouble was supposed to be over. The Freon was supposed to be charged, as agreed upon in the initial sale, when the car salesman assured me that’s all it was. Alas, another lesson has been learned: never buy a car with a broken air conditioner. Fortunately the dealership will cover the repairs, despite the fact that the warranty doesn’t apply for a preexisting issue… all but $100 that I just don’t have.
Me: “Can I have $100 if I promise-”
Dad: “Well, sure.”
God’s infinite graces? Certainly.
But I may have officially lost the title of Big Girl.
For the last few years, my dad and I have been having semi-weekly daddy/daughter lunches at a local restaurant of his choosing, since he pays. The man has this great cackling laugh that you can hear a mile away. If you are in the building, you know he’s present by this laugh and I get to hear it at these lunches a lot. My dad is surprisingly supportive of my marital status for a Southern father of a single 25-year-old girl. I think part of it is that he got married and had children young himself and he’s glad I’m enjoying my youth and building a career. Mostly, I think it was hard enough for him to watch his baby girl struggle through a hellish marriage once and he’d prefer she choose more carefully the next time, so he doesn’t end up in prison.
Still, my brother Bo has made it clear that my uterus is going to start to smell if I don’t use it soon, so I feel the need to reassure my dad of my dating efforts. I love my daddy, but I’ll admit we have a peculiar relationship, a fact to which the waitresses who’ve served us will attest.
Dad: “Baby, you don’t need to worry about that right now. You’ve got plenty of time.”
Me: “Well, I know, but I do date. I just date douche bags.”
I realize the waitress is standing next to us, with a surprised and amused expression as she refills our drinks.
Me: “One guy asked me to come over and watch Arrow with him. He didn’t own a TV. The day I find a guy who’s not a bag of dicks, I’ll call you up and tell you there’s someone I want you to meet.”
Dad: “Well that’s the way to do it. Don’t listen to your brother. He’s been married since he was fuckin’ twelve years old. You enjoy it while it lasts.”
So, yesterday, when I woke up, I sent my dad the following text:
When I didn’t get a response, I sent:
He told me he wasn’t sure and he’d call in a bit. Soon, the song Cowgirls Don’t Cry filled the room…
Dad: “Watcha doin?”
Me: “Commenting on my blog.”
Dad: “What do you say we do something different today?”
Me: “Okay. Where do you wanna go?”
Dad: “How ’bout you meet me over at Twin Peaks at 11:00?”
Me: “Sure. Works for me.”
Now, I had never actually been to Twin Peaks before yesterday. I’d heard mixed reviews, some comparing it to Hooters, but others comparing it to Buffalo Wild Wings. I just pictured conveniently tight t-shirts. I had told my dad 11:10, thinking it would take me longer to get there, but arrived at 10:50. I knew he hadn’t yet, as his work truck wasn’t in the parking lot. I immediately realized that I was not, in fact, at what was basically Buffalo Wild Wings. I also realized that, as the apparent only female customer in the place, I was both over dressed and under dressed in my ruffled pink flip flops, jean shorts, and pink “I ❤ Springfield XDM” t-shirt. You see, at Twin Peaks, the female dress code is apparently…
The counter was crowded with girls wearing plaid bras, khaki panties, and mountain boots as I entered… alone… thinking:
Seriously, Dad? Seriously?!?!
I don’t think less of people who work for their money. Food service is one of the few jobs I skipped while I worked my way through college, because it’s hard. I may have been surprised and felt out of place, but I had no intention of being disrespectful to girls who had friendly smiles on their faces, so I just gave them one in return as I stumbled through asking for a table.
Me: “Hi. I’m waiting for my dad…” Motherfucker, how creepy does that sound? “He should be here soon and he’ll probably be wearing an electric company shirt…” Look at their faces. Look at their faces. “… so if I could just get a booth, that would be great.”
I was soooo glad they had booths, because I was concentrating so hard on looking at their faces, I hadn’t even noticed the layout. Honestly, this wouldn’t have been so bad during the dinner hour, as there would’ve been at least a few other female customers. This was lunch, though, and the only people who eat lunch at Twin Peaks on a Tuesday are these guys.
I quickly realized that I was literally the only woman in the place not wearing a push-up bra and flannel and it was beginning to get crowded. I looked over the menu, briefly, and realized one of the choices was a sandwich called The Mile High Club.
Seriously, Dad? Seriously?!?!
As I sat alone, each man who passed my table seemed to give me a subtle (or not so subtle) second glance.
“No, no. I’m just waiting for my da–. Wait. I mean…”
I think my server realized I felt a little awkward, so she sat down across from me and asked…
Server: “So, Belle. Do you think it’s gonna rain all day?”
Look at her face, look at her face.
Me: “I’m not sure. I didn’t even realize it was raining until I checked Facebook this morning. Fortunately I take the Turnpike to work, so I won’t have to deal with any flooded streets or anything. Honestly, I’m loving the rain. I’m so sick of all this sunshine and so over summer and ready for fall. I saw a spider the size of a baby squirrel the other day and I. Am. Done. It wasn’t really the size of a baby squirrel. I did kill it, though. It didn’t like just go missing, which would’ve been terrible. I don’t even know how it got in, since I live upstairs.”
Fuck, Belle. You have been talking since THE BEGINNING OF TIME. Shut up!
Server: “Yeah, I know what you mean. I’m ready for some colder weather, too”
She didn’t stay much longer, since she had tables. It was super sweet of her to sit and chat with me, though. While I had been babbling like a lunatic eating her own hair, I saw my dad’s truck pull in and gave an internal sigh of relief, figuring he’d be in any minute. I’m pretty sure he rescued a baby badger and raised it to adulthood in the parking lot, though, because it was at least another two and half years before he walked through that door.*
I was so relieved to end this awkwardness, that I immediately hugged him and said
Oh… weird. Don’t say ‘daddy’ in a Twin Peaks.
He sat down and we started chatting. He seemed to think nothing of sitting across from his daughter while a very sweet girl in flannel pasties took our order, so I brought up the sexy plaid elephant in the room on my own.
Me: “Just so you know, it is super awkward to be having lunch with my dad in a strip club.”
Dad: ::cackles:: “Hey, I come here for the food.”
Me: “Clearly. Let me guess, The Mile High Club?”
Dad: “Hey, that’s a great sandwich and it’s huge. You could eat off of that thing for days. Lena’s always askin’ ‘Where’d you go for lunch today?’ and when I tell her Twin Peaks, she never believes me when I say it’s for the food. Hooters may have good scenery, but their food sucks. At least when I come here, they’ve got the scenery and they have great food.”
Me: “Classy, dad.”
Dad: “Classy! That’s it! It’s a classy restaurant.”
I did not bother to clarify my sarcasm that it was his comment I was calling classy, not…
Me: “Yeah, yeah. I get it. They’re bringing you food, not lap dances.”
Dad: “Hey, I’ve known women who’ve put themselves through school doing this kinda thing.”
Me: “Well, duh. Hell, if I didn’t like gummy worms so much, I’d be working here.”
Honestly, the food was just meh, but the company was still great. My daddy gave me life advice and we caught up on family gossip. I bragged to him about my blog being Freshly Pressed and doubling my followers in a day, since he’s the one who always tells me I need to be a writer. He’s super supportive of my writing efforts and makes it clear the pride he has in me for both these and my Master’s degree. Despite that, we sort of have this unspoken agreement that he’s not going to actually follow my blog, because no matter how nontraditional our relationship, he doesn’t need to read all of those jokes about my vibrators. It’s a very unspoken agreement. Since he doesn’t know how the whole blogging process works, I’m pretty sure he just nods along at this topic like when I start rambling about how awesome it is to be a librarian. In fact, I’m almost certain that every time I start talking about these things, in his head I’m telling him all about the unicorn story I wrote at school today and I look like this…
Regardless, he’s as supportive of these updates as one might expect from a member of the Duck Dynasty family.
Me: “I love you daddy. Thanks for lunch.”
Dad: “Love you too, baby. Sorry it was at a strip club.”
Me: “Oh, that’s okay. I’ll just write a blog about it called ‘Looking at Tits with My Dad.”
*Fun fact: I actually looked up the age of maturity for a badger. You can’t say I’m not thorough.
I’ve had the epiphany that every close relationship I have in my life is unconventional for the title. Gail isn’t just a friend and Gramma isn’t just a grandma. My dad and I are no different. The best way to explain my father is to admit that I watch Tim Allen in Last Man Standing, because it reminds me of him, as does every other Tim Allen character. Even Buzz Lightyear grossly exaggerated everything. Yeah. That’s where I get that.
My dad wasn’t in my life during my teen years. If he had been, there might have been structure and actual parenting involved, and my whole world would be different. But I like my life, despite the parts I leave out of the fantasy tale I accidentally spun for my coworkers. I also love my relationship with my dad. While I will be ‘kiddo’ until the day he stops dropping his G’s, I have a strangely adult bond with him with no Freudian context. Perhaps this is because I’ve not considered him a true authority figure since I was 12, so I don’t have to watch my mouth or my thoughts. Perhaps it’s because he gave me his humor in addition to his laugh. It’s probably a combination of things, including its age, as we started to grow close again when I was about 19. It’s becoming less tentative now as we have weekly lunches and even the occasional text conversation, but as cherished as it is, it’s not exactly from a country song and I don’t know if I’d change that. It’s foundation is simple: the things that shouldn’t be said… and the things that should.
– These are all direct quotes. –
The Things That Shouldn’t Be Said:
Discussing the family drama that had pissed him off because it made his little girl cry, and the cause, a woman who has a bad habit of discussing far too personal things.
Me: “Why would I even want to go to her stupid Thanksgiving dinner? So she can talk about her clitoris over turkey?”
Dad: “As far as I”m concerned, the best part of her ran down her momma’s leg.”
Please… no one give the man a microphone at my next wedding.
Me: “Ugh. I’m never getting married again. If I decide I want children, I’ll either get in vitro or pick up somebody in a bar. Just what you want to hear from your daughter, right?”
Dad: laughs “Yeah. Exactly.”
Me: “Yeah, Gail gets mad at me for saying ‘trolling for dick.'”
Me: “So I called Gail and told her ‘We’re gonna be WEINER BUDDIES!'”
Dad: “Hell, just go write yourself a Fifty Shades of Grey book and make millions.”
Me: “Dad, I’m not so sure you want me to go out and get the experience it would require to write that.”
Dad: “Well, shit, apparently she didn’t know what she was talking about either.”
Over lunch, my brother had just said that he didn’t believe a priest could keep a vow of celibacy, as I sat next to my dad.
Me: “Why’s that so hard to believe? I don’t have sex with people I don’t love.”
Brother: “Yeah, but for the rest of your life?”
Me: “Yeah, if I don’t find someone I care about, probably.” not lying or being pious… have deep-seated emotional issues
Brother: “Yeah, well, I’m a man and I don’t believe men can give up sex like that. Men are different.”
Me: a little too loudly in a restaurant “Oh, my ass! Just because I have a vagina, doesn’t mean I don’t like sex!”
Dad: roars with laughter “I always said your sister could stand up for herself.”
My dad holds a high-level blue collar position with the electric company, but still has to climb poles when the weather’s bad.
Me: “I love you, daddy. Be careful in this. Don’t fall off a pole or anything. Make me your sole benefactor if you do.”
Dad: laughing “Alright.”
Me: “You know what I always tell Bea. When you die, I get more.”
Dad: “I’m gonna do it. I’m gonna buy my Kimber.”
Me: “Oh, you are so full of shit. You’ve been talking about buying that gun for two years now. My ass.”
– These are all direct quotes, too. –
The Things That Should Be Said:
I was 9. It had just hit me what aging was. Time was passing and I couldn’t stop it. I was sitting on my bed and bawling my eyes out, while watching a home video.
Dad: “What’s wrong?”
Me: “I want to be a baby again!”
Dad: stunned silence for a beat as he hugs me “Well, hell, I wish I was 10 years younger, too.”
Me: Knock on door
Dad: “Well, hey kiddo, whatcha doin’?”
Dad: “Do what?”
Me: “I’m getting a divorce. I’m sorry I ruined Christmas.”
Dad: hugs me as I burst into tears “You did not ruin Christmas.”
Me: defeatedly “What about me is so terrible that it makes the people in my life who are supposed to love me want to hurt me… my husband… my mom? What did I do to make God want to punish me?”
Dad: “Hey, now. There is nothing wrong with you. The only thing you did wrong is let these people hurt you. The rest is on them.”
Crying hysterically over the phone after failing my graduate portfolio
Me: “I don’t want you to be disappointed in me.”
Dad: “Hey, you listen to me. No matter what you do, I could never be disappointed in you.”
Dad: “My biggest regret in life is that I didn’t take both of you kids when I left.”
Me: “Never again will I be with someone whom my family doesn’t approve of.”
Dad: “Now, I don’t wanna hear that shit. I want you to be with someone who makes you happy.”
And that is precisely why I’d trust his judgement.