I was jarred out of my deep and peaceful sleep by the damn telephone continually ringing and messages being left. They were all from my father. I looked over and squinting at my clock, it showed that it was only 7 AM. Damn it !
Thinking that something may actually & legitimately be wrong, I finally forced myself out of bed & quickly returned his call. He sounded in his usual agitated mood and asked (actually demanded) that I drive over to the house as soon as I could, as he wanted to speak with me on a 'private matter', as he put it.
As it was now quite evident that I was not going to be able to continue my much-needed rest until I appeased my fathers annoying request, I quickly threw my groggy self in the shower and then headed over.
I noticed Mom at the side of the house watering her plants as Dad hurriedly gestured to me and ushered me in the front door.
"About bloody time you got over here!" Dad barked angrily. "The days half over and by the looks of you it's like you've just woke up - it's shameful!"
I looked down at my watch; it showed that it was slightly before 9 AM. Before I could point out this little fact to my father, he continued his monologue.
"I've been up for hours, already have read the paper, watched the news and now going to go wash the car." Dad advised. "When I was your age, I would always get up early. No time to sleep the day away, Boy. There will be enough time for sleep after your dead. Remember that!"
I remained silent, hoping my father would eventually tire out listening to his own monotonous voice. As he rambled, I grabbed a cup and poured myself some coffee and then plopped myself down on the kitchen chair. I was still exhausted.
"So what's up, Dad? What is so urgent that you needed me over here?" I asked, finally realizing my Dad had now finished his preaching all of his 'In my Day' stories.
"I don't want this to be overheard by your mother." Dad explained. "This is why I couldn't talk to you properly on the phone, she can creep into the room silently, just like a cat. So be on your guard, if she suddenly appears in the kitchen, change the subject right away."
Dad looked cautiously around the room and then moved over and silently closed the kitchen window after he determined Mom was still outside watering her plants. He then turned to me and began his story.
"As you know, it's your mothers' birthday coming up at the end of this month." Dad remarked. "You may also know that last year I had accidentally forgotten about it and have paid the price of that unfortunate mistake every day since. So this year I thought I would do something big, something special..."
Just then the back door opened and my fathers eyes widened in panic. "It's your mother! Change the subject, quick!" Dad ordered, lowering his voice to a whisper.
Due to both my extreme fatigue and perhaps a 'little' alcohol still left in my system, my mind went completely blank as Dad said this. I remained frozen & silent to my fathers' horror, and Mom entered the kitchen.
Suddenly Dad looked over at me and blurted out "No! I will not agree with you, Boy! I'll never agree that Hitler was a good leader & simply misunderstood. You can argue yer point till yer 'Blue in the Face' - it won't change my mind in the least!"
This time it was my turn to look horrified. I mean WTF ?
Mom turned around and looked at both of us rather suspiciously. She then advised us that she was off to buy some groceries and grabbed her purse off of the kitchen counter and left.
"What the Hell, Dad!" I gasped aloud, once Mom had disappeared from view. "Are you nuts. Saying something so ridiculous in front of Mom. She will think I am some kind of crazed Aryan Nation member or something. Why would you even think to say that?"
"I had to think quickly, Boy." Dad replied determinedly. "You were sitting there like a 'bump on a log' in complete silence. So it was up to me. It was the first thing that popped into my head. And it was a damn good cover in my books. Your old mother has no interest in politics, tuned us both out. Exactly what we wanted."
"So thinking her first born child is some kind of 'Nazi sympathizer' is what we wanted?" I asked incredulously. "Are you completely mad?"
"It's not always about you." Dad responded quickly. "We dodged the immediate bullet, now let us all move on. Try and stay focused, we have work to do still."
I sat there totally speechless. How does one even respond to such complete insanity? I had no idea.
As usual my father did not notice my outrage and continued on with his narrative as if nothing had happened.
"I bought your mother and myself two round trip tickets to London, England for her birthday." Dad announced, sounding quite pleased with himself. "She's always going on about wanting to go visit her sister Elizabeth again, so I thought this would be a nice gift for her. No expense spared for your mothers' happiness. That's just the thoughtful kind of man that I am. Generous to a fault."
As Dad waved the tickets in the air, I could see that one of the ticket envelopes appeared to be much thicker then the other. I quickly grabbed them both and had a look.
"What's this?" I demanded, after examining the tickets. "Generous to a fault, indeed....It looks like one additional round-trip ticket in your name to go from London to Aberdeen?"
Just to give you some background, my father is originally from Aberdeen, Scotland and Mom is from London, England. Almost immediately after they were married (over 50 years ago!) they emigrated over here to Calgary, Canada & have lived here happily ever since.
Dad still has a few very close friends living over in Scotland & went back a couple of years ago for the first time since leaving and now it seems he cannot get enough of it. Mom, on the other hand, loves England but has absolutely no interest in ever going to Scotland as she always describes all of Dad's friends as a bunch of 'Elderly Degenerates' and 'Hooligans way past their prime.'
Dad looked rather sheepish at my discovery of the ticket, however he regained his usual composure almost immediately.
"Well your mother and her sister won't want me around, like a third wheel." Dad explained, almost as if he had rehearsed this speech previously. "Once those two get together they will 'rabbit on', gabbing and catching up for days. This is best for all. A small sacrifice on my part for your old mothers' happiness."
I started laughing out loud at Dads' explanation. All I could respond was "I hope you can come up with a couple of better excuses when you talk to Mom, since this one is really lame."
"HAHA, boy" Dad cackled aloud. "Don't you worry about your old man, here. I can be pretty crafty when I need to be. By the time that plane touches down at Heathrow, your mother will be more then happy for me to be going away for a week or so!"
Now that is probably the first accurate statement that my father had made this morning, I thought to myself.
Then suddenly it struck me. The last time my parents went over to Europe a couple of years back, I was forced to move into their house and look after everything. That turned out to be a complete nightmare for me. (you can read about those disastrous events here: HERE ).
I thought it was best to inform my father right away that there was no chance of me doing that again. It's not even a consideration.
"Well Dad" I began, slowly. "As much as I want you and Mom to have a nice holiday, there is no way I can move in here. I've got too much on the go and also looking for work makes it all impossible...."
Before I could continue, Dad raised his hand and interrupted my somewhat 'creative' excuses.
"No Boy, we're only going for a couple of weeks." Dad explained. "I just need you to agree to check on the house, bring in the mail and maybe cut the lawn once or twice. That's it. I still recall the last time that there were quite a few 'incidents' that we have no desire to repeat."
"What about Charlie?" I demanded anxiously, now referring to the demonic geriatric dog of my fathers. "I 'm not taking care of that filthy animal."
It is a well-established fact that ever since Charlie entered our lives; his one mission in life is to antagonize me in every way possible. This includes (but is not limited to) chewing up my valuable possessions, biting me numerous times without provocation, lifting his leg on my shoes, etc. Unfortunately Charlie, who now must be well over 100 in dog years, only does this to me and is the most lovable pet to everyone else in the world, at least according to my father anyway.
I figure this is all part of the dirty beasts cunning 'master plan' to discredit me even further. As a result I try & keep a wide distance from him whenever possible, which may hopefully explain my concern today.
"Not to worry about our Charlie!" Dad responded cheerfully. "He's going to go over to your sisters' house and stay there. The kids really love him and he loves playing with them. So that' our plan. He's never much really 'taken to you' has he boy? HAHA!!"
Once I was guaranteed that 'Cujo' aka 'Charlie' was not in the picture for me, I easily agreed to my fathers' request of picking up mail and checking the house. After that, my father once again reminded me this was all top secret and not to be discussed.
So all of this happened around mid-August with the 'surprise' being unveiled to Mom just at the end of the month, for her birthday. She was overcome with happiness, not only about the wonderful surprise trip & Dad's thoughtfulness, but also because he had actually remembered her birthday this year. Something that according to her, has been forgotten more then just the one time by him.
I drove them to the airport to catch their flight and just before Dad got into the car, Mom confided in me that she had called the travel agent to confirm some minor detail and found out that Dad had a 'secret trip' planned to Scotland. The 'cat was now out of the bag.'
Mom was not upset or mad, but rather highly amused at my fathers secretive actions and laughingly commented "I wonder what kind of nonsensical excuse he will come up with during our flight to try & convince me he must go to Aberdeen. It's going to be almost as entertaining as the trip itself!"
Mom was definitely right there. I am also looking forward to hearing these excuses once they return home later this week.
In the meantime, I am just enjoying this quiet time as I can now actually sleep in without being interrupted with another one of my fathers' crazy schemes. Sweet!