Monster Man

Papa’s a Monster Man.

That’s my dad.

He “rescues” monsters from under beds, detangles them from closets, and saves them from the horrors of dark, drafty basements, then returns them to their natural habitat – The Dump.

Haven’t you ever seen Nickelodeon’s classic cartoon “AAAHH!!! Real Monsters!” ??


When EldestDaughter was little, she adored this show, & lived its tenets religiously. Monsters lived at the dump, and went to school there. They only came to human homes to practice their scares, and if they were still there by daylight – well – they had to be rescued – of course.

When EldestDaughter ended up with one caught under her bed… She knew.

Time to call Papa.

And of course, he came right over. Because what else do Papas do when their granddaughters call? I ask you?

So, he “rescued” the monster, stuffing it deep in his pocket (so the daylight wouldn’t hurt its eyes…duh…), and EldestDaughter then announced that she simply had to go with him to the Dump to make sure the monster was properly released.

Uh… Ok… 

Well, he took her, anyway, & they released the monster, which promptly scurried off into its proper hole to get back to “class”. 

Or so EldestDaughter informed me when she got home. I’m trusting her imagination on that one.

But the tale doesn’t end there…

Papa’s reputation as a Monster Man was solidified when EldestDaughter retold the story to one of her friends.

Cut to a couple of years later….

Papa gets a phone call from said little girl’s mother. 

(By this time all the kids in town called my dad Papa because EldestDaughter called him that. It stuck for many years until he retired from his janitorial position at the local school)

*Mother of Girl*: “Papa? I need you to come to the house”

Papa: “Oh, MoG? What’s the problem?”

*MoG: “Seems there’s a monster in the basement, and Girl says you’re the only one who can rescue it. I can’t get her to go down to the basement -at all. Please?”

Papa: (laughing) “Sure, MoG, I’ll be right over.”

When he got to the house, he had Girl stand at the top of the basement stairs with a laundry basket.

Papa: “Now, Girl, don’t you move. You stay right here at the top of the stairs. I’m going down there, and I’m gonna catch this monster…but if it gets away from me and runs up here – you be quick and catch it with this laundry basket…OK? But whatever you do…don’t come downstairs!”

Girl: “Ok, Papa. I’ll wait for you!” 

So, Dad clomped down the stairs, banged around some, hollering & clanking things together for a few minutes…putting up a fight, you know.

And when he came upstairs…lo and behold, there was a suspicious lump in his coat pocket, which he kept confined with his hand, telling it to “settle down & behave” because he was “taking it home”.

Girl was all smiles, & made sure to watch as Dad drove away in his pickup – and HE made sure to drive in the direction of the dump, and stay away from their house for a little while before returning. (They were close neighbors, had to make the timeline believable!)

Another satisfied customer of the Monster Man.

But the story still isn’t over…

The Dump closed a couple of years ago.

And Girl is now a grownup…who recently got married & lives out of state.

And my dad likes a website called ThinkGeek.

Ever hear of the Eviltron?

Well, its a tiny, magnetic speaker. That makes various, creepy noises.

Dad built a small box, & attached this doohickey to a rare-earth magnet inside the box.

And mailed it to the unsuspecting new, young bride.

After turning it on…of course.

He included a note telling her that, since the Dump had been closed, SHE WAS GOING TO HAVE TO BE ONCE AGAIN RESPONSIBLE FOR HER MONSTER – SO HE WAS MAILING IT BACK TO HER.

Is 20 years a long enough time to dedicate to a joke?

My father received a beautiful thank you note in the mail later, telling him that this was the single most memorable and original wedding present ever received.

And she would be opening it far…far…

Far…from the house.

Thank you very much.

Signed – Girl, and her Boy.

I am now in possession of the last of my Dad’s eviltrons, and having used it on all of my coworkers, successfully…

I think it’s time to return it to Dad.

Seriously – I think he needs to build one more monster box – for EldestDaughter.

The originator who gave the Monster Man his reputation to begin with.

Get her, Papa. She’ll love it.

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Commencement

OnlySon has graduated.

It was a fairly quick ceremony, compared to both of my daughters’, inexplicably, as the class sizes were comparable, but for whatever reason, it went easier. Which was alright with me.

I teared up a couple of times, when they first walked up, realizing that this was my youngest, my baby…and he was now old enough to claim his high school diploma & entry into adulthood…leaving childhood behind.

And when he stood in line to await that diploma, that final walk before he left his mother’s care, and her home, to venture into the wide, wild world as his own man.

A Man in Motion.

He was not to be stopped.

With a grin on his face, he kept going…leaving me to find my own way from here on out.

Letter to Myself

Dear Jen,

I just wanted to drop you a line, to check in, and to let you know…

It’s all going to be Ok.

I promise.

I know that things haven’t been great for you recently. I know that you’ve been struggling to find your balance, your peace, with everything that’s been going on, and that you’ve been beating yourself up over that.

Stop.

Stop right now.

You don’t deserve the pain you’ve been putting yourself through- you truly don’t, and I’d appreciate it if you’d cease and desist. 

Your friends would appreciate if you’d cease & desist.  They truly do care about you, you know this, and they’ve told you so. Listen to them. They’re smart.

E putting you off for 3 years is not your fault. You’ve been holding onto hope for so long, and I know it hurts when you have it dragged out this long, but seriously? He needs to put up or shut up, and you need to stop feeling guilty about thinking about moving on without him.

Someday, you will find someone who will treat you with respect. Someone who will love you, and will not only tell you so, but will prove it.

B ignoring you is not your fault. You tried to talk to him, and left the door open for conversation, so it’s his decision and choice.

Matter of fact, you’re not responsible for anyone else’s feelings and/or reactions. 

Only your own.

K’s problems with G are not your fault, either. Yes, it’s like reliving your past a bit, but there’s nothing you can do about it, nor should you. You can provide compassion, a comfortable shoulder to cry on when necessary, and love to boost her back up. That’s all that’s required, as it’s her life, so she’s the one who has to decide what to do.

And you need to stop letting others get you so worked up, and take more moments to breathe before you react. You know that if you just sleep on it, or give it at least a little more time, you’ll calm down, and be able to see things a little clearer.

And if it’s still worth getting worked up over, you have the extra rest to use.

And you do know how to kick some ass, when necessary. You’ve been fighting for others for years, and have gotten a pretty good reputation as a bouncer when needed.

Just learn how to do it for yourself, too, would you? Please? For both of us?

Thanks.

Sincerely,

Me

Remembering the Fair

It’s fair week in my city, and yes, I went with my Youngerdaughter and Onlyson today. 

It seems as though I have to go to the fair once every couple of years to remind myself why I don’t go to the fair anymore.

I enjoyed wandering around with the kids, talking as we looked at the sales booths, joking about them playing PokemonGo, deciding what we wanted to get to snack on as we meandered our way back out of the fair.

But the rest, I could’ve forgone. I would have been just as happy to pick up snacks & go for a walk in the park. Happier, in fact, to avoid the pressing crowds, the yelling Carneys, the messy walkways in between stalls & down the main pathway of the fair.

It was hot, especially out in the full sun of the midway, which is intensified by the pavement underneath, the heat radiating off the rides, & the up-close-and-personal crowds.

I used to love haunting the fair when I was younger. As a teenager, my friends & I would spend the whole day running around, riding rides, watching enduro car racing, playing games that we knew were rigged, but hoped that maybe the carney would like us enough to let us win, goofing off & running into people we knew.
I’m not a kid anymore. I don’t have any desire to ride the rides, & I don’t have any younger children who want to go on the little kid rides. I have no desire to pay for overpriced, and oftentimes, shoddily made items that will simply sit around, collecting dust, after a week. I really didn’t miss the filthy, awful-smelling bathrooms. And Goddess knows, even though the mini donuts are awesomely good, especially with a strawberry smoothie, if I don’t have them…it’s not the end of the world. 

The $10/person admission for the 2 hours we spent there, plus the extra $25 spent on our snacks (1shaved ice, 1pretzel, 1 small bag of mini donuts & 1 strawberry smoothie) would’ve bought us all supper & ice cream… But whatever.

Chalk this up to an afternoon spent talking to my kids, while the world spun around us. And next year, I think I’ll skip the sunburn and the sweaty hair.

I’ll take them to the park, and we can sit around eating dairy queen while they hunt the ever-elusive MewTwo.

And now, for the news…

ElderDaughter is going to make me a Gramma×2! It’s been confirmed, and we can expect our newest bundle of joy in late February, or early March! We’re hoping for a visit at Christmas, when they’ll come from Washington to collect all the baby things they left here. It’s been so long now, since I’ve seen her and Schnicklefritz, I’ll probably burst into tears as soon as she tells me they’ve hit the city limits…oy.

YoungerDaughter has gotten a promotion & a raise, and will soon be teaching preschool at the daycare where she works. She’s also found herself a new apartment, which will be much better for her, as right now she’s living out of her bedroom in a house with 8 girls. Oy. She’s also coming home next weekend for a visit, and I can’t wait to see her! We’re going to have to do a movie marathon night, just to catch up.

OnlySon has finally gotten his driver’s permit! Oy. The boy who hates to drive will now be forced to practice with me in the passenger seat…or maybe in the backseat, where I can pretend to be chauferred around town in the style to which I hope to become accustomed, someday when I win the lottery. He’s going to hate driving AND me by the time he’s able to get his license, but at least he’ll have plenty of practice! 

As for me? Well…still here, still waiting…still wondering what the hell I’m going to be doing. Otherwise, no news is good news, right?

Promise Me Not

I seriously dislike promises.

No, really.

Just ask my kids.

For years, my girls’ paternal gene donor would make and break promises as though they were nothing but twigs. He would make plans, promise the girls they’d get to do this, or be taken there…and then he’d call, often right before he was supposed to pick them up, and cancel.  Sometimes, hours  after he was supposed to pick them up.

As though they were an afterthought. 

Hairy little fucking leprechaun. 

“Here’s the pot of gold, girls, go ahead and….WHOOP! Nope! SYKE!”

bastard.

And it wasn’t just him.  Other family members of his would do it, too.  One of his sisters once ended up destroying YoungerDaughter’s birthday, by begging me to change YD’s plans for a party with her friends, so that she could have her, take her swimming & shopping…

Only to cancel the whole thing after it was too late for  me to fix it & get the party & friends back online.

It all ended in a screaming match between myself & YD’s aunt, on the phone, and YD in inconsolable tears.

I swore, after all the years my daughters had to live with the broken promises from their father’s side of the family, that I would never make a promise I didn’t know damn good and well I couldn’t keep.

And I’ve kept that one promise, that vow, to myself, and to my children.

If I made plans, and decided to tell the kids, instead of simply surprising them, it was always “We’re going to try to do this, or go here, but if that doesn’t work, I have an equally fun alternative.”

Or, I’d simply keep my damned mouth shut, until I had the means in hand to fulfill the thing I wanted to do with\for them.

I’ve had enough promises made to me, as well, over the years. 

And enough of them broken.

I don’t believe in promises anymore.

You want to do something for me, or with me?  Just do it.

You want to spend time with me? Make the time.  

If someone wants to be with you, spend time with you, share space with you… They will find a way and make it happen.

Promise me not.

Because, I won’t believe you.