With father's day coming up (and lots of grad stuff between now and then) I wanted to take a few moments to share some insights on my dad. Last year, I wrote about all the things he taught me and how he did his best with what he had. This year I thought we'd touch on a snapshot of Dad from about 1995, when TOG and I bought our first house... This will explain, as nothing else could, what a great guy he really is.
It all started with Dad pushing us to buy a house. We didn't think we were ready but he encouraged us to start the process anyway. We spent months finding one we thought we could afford, made the offer and finally closed on the house. Dad was so excited... he couldn't wait to help us move!
The night before the move, TOG and I wanted to drop a few things off at the house... paper towels, cleaning stuff, snacks and juice... just to get ready. It's completely dark and as we pulled up, we thought we saw a light in the backyard. Then it was gone. Then it came back. Weird. We quietly walk around around the side and stopped, slack jawed.
There's a construction truck on our patio. My sister in law is on the patio looking up the ladder at a guy on our roof (her husband) with a saw who has just finished cutting a hole out over the kitchen! We were stunned! What the...
As it turns out, Dad was so excited for us, when I told him that the kitchen cabinets were really dark, he thought he'd lighten the place up by having my SIL and her husband install a skylight in the kitchen! Surprise!
Dad remained sky high for months after that. I didn't really see the pattern when he showed up after dinner one night at dusk with a huge box of electrical wire and some lighting fixtures. Oh... that was the night that TOG and I helped him to install recessed lighting in our living room. I'd told him that there were no lights in there and apparently, he registered it as a call to action!
Even then, I didn't fully see the path he was on with this. I really thought his interest would subside after a while. Then the plum tree incident happened.
While at our house, Dad... the master gardener... had been talking with TOG about our front yard. TOG had mentioned that he hated this huge 20 foot shrub in our front yard. Dad agreed. Too big, blocked the light, yada, yada... end of conversation. A few weeks later Dad pulls up in our driveway on my day off. I think nothing of the tree in the back of his truck because he's always buying trees. He leads me out to the truck and starts unloading the tree, telling me what a unique plum tree it is and how beautiful, etc... etc. Then he backs his truck up to the big shrub and hooks a chain around it. Bam! Jerks the giant shrub out of the ground! It looks like the thing exploded! There's bark and leaves and roots and dirt everywhere... all over the street, all over the driveway and into our back yard, where Dad drags it for TOG and I to cut up later. Then he goes over and plants the plum tree in the enormous hole where the shrub had been. All the while, I'm trying to think how TOG might not notice the trail of desecration when he comes home from work...
He noticed. He was a little peeved because he wanted to decide what to do with that corner of the yard. So I talked to Dad and told him that TOG and I had decided to slow down on making changes to the house and yard and that we wanted to come up with a plan. Oh, no problem... he understood. He agreed.... make a plan!
That was a few days before he showed up with the apple tree. He'd noticed that we didn't have an apple tree. Everyone needs an apple tree. Where did I want it? Back by the garage?
I'm weak. I let him plant it. He was so excited.
Then I called my step mom and told her that he needed to stop. That his rehab of our house was emasculating my husband... and causing a wee bit of tension. You'd have to know my step mom, but lets just say she was horrified that Dad was the cause of tension.
"But he said you liked the plum tree..."
"Well yeah. It's great.... But I think TOG wanted to pick out his own tree... and maybe he wouldn't have planted it there..."
"Can't you tell your dad?"
"I tried. I think he needs to hear it from you..."
Well, Dad got the message. I didn't hear from him for a week or so. Then he dropped by to take me out to look at tile... he wanted to start remodeling the kitchen.
He's toned things down somewhat since then. He's dying to come over and put drip irrigation in our back yard, but so far I haven't said yes. Oh... and last year he wanted to tear out our lawn and lay sod. TOG said no.
That's my dad.... He's all about "helping". You just have to love him!