Fathers’ Day

I’ve been on a bit of an accidental blog hiatus. There’s something that’s been rattling around in my brain that I’ve been wanting to write about, and I can’t seem to get past that roadblock. Also, I’ve been pretty busy with work, food prep, party prep, and the new season of “Orange is the New Black.” I can’t quit you, Alex Vause.

Some random info:

  • Whole30 is over. Thursday was the last day of reintroduction (day 42, for those of you counting). Chris and I were both afraid we’d go on some sort of binge yesterday. I pictured myself rolling in to work with doughnuts for a necklace and a Frappuccino as big as my head. Instead, I went to Chipotle and got my pre-Whole30 healthy-ish go-to (plus guac) and an iced coffee from Starbucks. The giant basket of chocolate on my desk was only reduced by three four pieces by yours truly. And it was Sarris chocolate, so that explains it. All in all, I’m doing okay without the training wheels.
  • Last night, my post-work treat — my favorite German beer (a grapefruit radler). Hooray!
  • I’ve been walking on my break every day for the past few weeks. Well, except for Friday, because I wrote this blog instead. It’s because I care. You’re welcome.
  • Today is the last big day of preparations for the engagement party. We’ll do other random stuff next week, but it’s the big push. I do love a good to-do list.
  • Sunday – Pride and Arts Fest! It’s an especially exciting Pride this year, what with having that giant “we can get married” thing to celebrate. Universe, let’s not ruin it by making me run into any exes, friend-wise or romantic-wise.
  • Just kidding about that one above. I know I’ll run into someone. It’s not that big of a city. I just hope it’s civil and not awkward.
  • Oh, yeah, and one other thing. It’s Fathers’ Day weekend, and I hate Fathers’ Day. Because it makes me miss my dad.

me dad

Yeah, that last one – that’s the thing that’s been rattling around in my head.

For those of you who don’t know, my father passed away 11 years ago in July. I was 26 at the time. Not super young, but…young enough. I think about him a lot. I can’t say it’s every day, because who keeps track of that kind of stuff? “Well, that’s the third time today, I thought about him. Only once yesterday. Better try for four tomorrow.”

I’ll try to keep this brief because not everyone needs to ugly snot-cry about my dad, but I do want to talk about him a little. Since it’s Fathers’ Day, let’s celebrate him a bit, shall we?

I played basketball for seven years and volleyball for four, and he never missed a game…until I could drive myself. He would sit in the stands and (embarrassingly, at the time) have his head buried in a programming book, but he was there, damn it. And I will always remember that. Oh, and I wasn’t any good at any sport ever. I’m a non-lesbian-stereotype there. And yet…he was always there.

He is the reason I was able to get a B in Calculus my first semester in college. In high school, a B would have mortified me, but I was happy to get it in that class. He had graduated with a minor in math 20-plus years before and was still able to teach me more effectively than the PhD who taught the class.

The man had zero fashion sense. Like, zero. So embarrassed when he would roll up in his steel-toed-dress-shoes-white-undershirt-and-sweatpants combination to pick me up at school. (I guess that one isn’t very celebratory. But very true.) For a big work trip to Germany, my mom had to color-code his shirts, pants, and ties so he knew what would go with what.

He could do anything. For serious. I realize there’s a lot of daddy/daughter hero worship in that sentence, but it isn’t far from the truth.

When I was a kid, he read to me before I went to sleep every night, and every night, I wanted him to read some “Sesame Street” book that almost all of the words began with L. I could tell he grew tired of it, but he always read it. I mean, obviously as a kid. He didn’t read to me in high school.

He taught me how to drive all of the places. After I got my learner’s permit at 15, he taught me how to drive in the hills (and highways) of West Virginia. Towards the end of my freshman year at college, he handed me the keys and told me I was driving home, and I had my first experience with the musterbluck of the four lanes on the Fort Pitt Bridge. He taught me how to drive a standard — well, tried to. (Insert joke of your own making.)

He grew up in a rather secluded part of West Virginia, not the most liberal or open-minded of places. He had gay friends as long as I can remember. After hearing raised voices at a family Christmas, when I asked what my mom and others were shouting about, he just told me to “close [your] ears.” He didn’t want me to hear that his mother was sending the preacher to talk to her gay nephew because “the bible said it was wrong.” When I came out to him, he said he was surprised but that he didn’t really care. I think he was mostly concerned I was going to run my mouth to the wrong person. Hasn’t happened yet, Dad, and I’m almost 40.

Sometimes I get sad because I look at other fathers – ones I judgmentally deem worse human beings than my father – and think, “Why him?” Well, because. That’s why. No one knows, and that’s just going to have to be okay. So stop being such a snotty punk, huh? I know. It’s one of the few things I let myself wallow over because, well, I miss him.

I’d be interested to hear his take on all this gay-marriage-legalization business. I wish he could help me with some home maintenance and repair stuff. I wonder if he’d like the tiny garden we planted or think it’s ridiculous. I wonder if he would have laughed at my “cutting a snake in thirds” story. Maybe not. He was a pretty quiet guy. (I take after my mom.)

And I wonder what he would think of Chris and our ridiculous life. I’m pretty sure he’d like her (he always liked my pretty friends), but I’m not sure he’d think much of her (now transferred to me) wanderlust. He liked being at home — in the house he built, the house that my mom still lives in. The house that they moved into the basement of a few weeks after my brother was born; moved upstairs when my mom was pregnant with me. Probably think it’s good that we’re getting to do something we like, but maybe not understanding why we like it. You know, like when I got that degree in Theology. (“You’re going to study what?”)

He wasn’t perfect, but he was a pretty good guy. And I miss him. Not every day, but…a lot of them.

grad

Happy Fathers’ Day, Dad. I hope wherever you are, you’re doing something awesome. And that no one is making you talk.

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