No, Dad, I am not going to apologize for the fact that you can't take a hint (long).

Rhymer family drama, obviously, though nothing major. Mostly I’m just venting. Here’s the basics:

Yesterday I got home from work to find a passive-aggressive message from my father on the answering machine saying that he was praying for my soul; an aggressive-aggressive message from my insane sister* on my answering machine, saying she wasn’t talking to me† because I am not only a bad son but a self-hating nigger; and a bemused wife, in person, saying “Hey, you know when I said you should be nicer to your family? I don’t know what the fuck I was thinking, and I’m sorry.”‡

Why did these three things happen, you ask? Because I wouldn’t let my father come up to my apartment Saturday when he asked.

Why did I do that, you ask? Well, that’s the story.

On Saturday, my wife & were planning a sit-down dinner party. Our purpose was threefold. We wanted to celebrate my recent promotion; my wife wanted to get drunk as a skunk in a safe environment; and we were arranging for a single, available, lesbian friend of mine who’s been looking for a setup to meet a single, available, lesbian friend of hers in the same boat. We invited six guests: the two aforementioned friends plus two couples. I did the cooking, my wife did the cleaning and decorating, and with the aid of one of the married couple chose the wines.** Her mother had the baby for the weekend, something she (my wife’s mother) has been wanting to do for quite a while.

Dinner was planned for seven. At five I was cooking when the buzzer rang. My dad was downstairs and wanted me to let him in. He had not, incidentally, called to say he was coming over, or to ask if he MIGHT come over.

“Dad, I’m a little busy right now,” I said. “Is it an emergency?”

“What are you doing?” Dad replied.

“Cooking dinner. So is this an emergency? I’m busy.”

“Stop cooking. I’m here to take you and your wife and the baby to dinner!” he said. “You and your wife and the baby and My Female Friend Whom I Refuse To Call My Girlfriend Though She Obviously is, I mean.”††

“Sorry, Dad, no can do,” I said. “The baby’s with her grandmother, the wife’s out, and we’re having a dinner party.”

“Okay, fine,” Dad said. “Okay. I’ll just call MFFWIRTCMGTSOI, and we’ll join you.”

Did I consider this? No. Not for a second. For one thing, there’ll be drinking and Dad is an absolute teetotaler who feels obliged to tell my wife that if she drinks she’s imperiling her immortal soul. For another thing, one of his favorite dinner topics is how the advent of gay rights & gay marriage is a portent of America’s damnation, a topic which will not be helpful in the aforementioned setup. Lastly, I have this silly notion that my wife and I should have absolute veto on who comes to our parties.

“Um, That’s a problem, Dad,” I said. “See, it’s a sit-down dinner, and there’s only room for eight at the table, and all the guests have confirmed, so there won’t be any place for you and Your Female Friend Whom You Refuse To Call Your Girlfriend Though She Obviously Is to sit.”

“Somebody can just sit in the kitchen,” Dad said.

“Dad, I’m sorry, but I don’t think you’d really care for it. We’ll be drinking and I know you don’t approve–”

“Why not? And why are you allowing liquor in your house? Haven’t I taught you better?”

“Dad, I’m busy. I don’t have time for a long conversation. I’m happy to come see you tomorrow for our standard Sunday afternoon visit. Talk to you later, okay?”

“So you’re not going to let me up? Boy, what is wrong with you? I am your FATHER!”

A thought occurs to me. Dad’s already pissed. If I continue this conversation, I will become pissed and Dad will become more pissed. If I hang up now, Dad will still become more pissed. If I let him come to the party, he will become pissed and at least two of my guests will be pissed. Since every course of action results in Dad becoming pissed, I might as well hang up.

“I’ll call you tomorrow, Dad,” I said.

And hang up.

Results thus far? Dad didn’t answer the phone when I called Sunday. I called a few times and he never answered, and as I hate showing up unannounced I didn’t go over as I usually do. This, of course, was a trap, as it gave him the chance to call me unappreciative and ungrateful and a couple other things on the phone because I didn’t come over, not to mention criticizing me for “allowing” my wife to drink. He also complained to the aforementioned crazy sister, who insists that, since she and our sisters always show up at Dad’s without calling and he never complains, and he shows up at their houses without calling and they never complain, I should get with the program and let Dad show up unannounced and not complain. The fact that I don’t is, like the fact that I like to have sit-down dinners and married a woman pale of flesh, proof that I am arrogant and saditty and a self-hating nigger. The non-crazy sisters and brother, though apprised of the latest drama, all wisely choose to stay the fuck out of it.

That’s the irritating part. The good part is that my wife has been thoroughly disabused of the notion that I should be nicer to certain members of my family. Oh, and she tastes very nice when kissing me with red wine on her breath.

That is all.
*I have five sisters. Only one is batshit.
† In addition to being insane, she is also confused as to how to best go about not talking to someone.
‡ Just as all lists require at least four entries, footnootes should always come in groups of at least three.
** Because we wanted **good **wines, of course, and thus needed the assistance of someone who knew about booze, which ain’t me.
†† Okay, those weren’t his *exact *words.

The reality is as much as we love our parents, some of them are just f*&(ed up. I do wonder why you couldn’t have explained all of this after you let him up, maybe gave him a to go plate? And why did your sister make it a racial thing/ self hate? Where your dinner party guests not black?

None the less I empathize.

…So what happened to the two hot single lesbians?

Who knew someone else’s family drama could be that entertaining to read?

And, yes, what happened to the lesbians?


I’m confused - did this conversation take place in person, or on the phone?

Are you sure that you and Sampiro aren’t related? I swear some of your family is in fact, some of his family.

I can provide links if you need to review the material before committing to an answer.

ETA: Easiest link to remember.

Woman behold thy daughter, daughter thy mother, & BOTH OF YOU LOSE MY NUMBER!

Sounds like dad was on the intercom in the apartment lobby, and Skald was talking to him through the phone. I did a double take on that one too.

Skald, I feel for you man. I’m fortunate to have very decent, hands-off parents; well dad’s not around anymore, and maybe it’s because I live 400 miles away.

Sam’s crazy-mom stories are much funnier than my crazy-dad tales. I can prove it. Besides, I’m pretty sure he lacks a natural tan.

Over the intercom. In our building, when you hit the whatchamacallit to be buzzed in, you’re connected by phone to the apartment, and the apartment dweller has to hit 0 on the phone to unlock the door downstairs. Admittedly, Dad’s been known to sweet-talk residents entering with their key into letting him in, as he’s a harmless-looking old man, but nobody came buy during our conversation.

I never commented on their hotness or lack thereof; nor do I intend to.

I didn’t let Dad up because I was busy cooking, and when my wife got home she’d be busy, and he doesn’t know when to stop talking. His relationship with time is … odd. He doesn’t know what “five minutes” means; in fact, he denies that ANYONE really means a specific time when they state a specific time. A couple of weeks ago we were there on a Sunday afternoon (having called first) and I was making him spaghetti. He asked how long it would take, and I said about 30 to 40 minutes from start to finish. He said it couldn’t possibly be done that quickly, and he was insistent that he was right and I was wrong–THOUGH HE DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO MAKE SPAGHETTI. When I replied, “No, Dad, spaghetti’s trivially easy as long as you do things in the right order,” blah blah blah, he insisted I had to be wrong, because no one ever means a specific time when they give a specific time, and. Just to be a jerk I timed myself while cooking, and it was 32 minutes, including gathering the ingredients. I thought about pointing this out to Dad but in a rare, unSkaldian display of good judgment and basic maturity decided that time was better spent playing with the baby.

I couldn’t have given him a go plate, incidentally, because dinner wasn’t ready yet. One of the cakes was ready, but there was no way I was going to cut into it before the guests got there, any more than I was going to cancel my plans because of his surprise.

In other news, I seem to have forgotten to give Dad my new extension at work, and I’ve gotten messages from my former admin that he’s called twice today. Happily she’s smart as a whip and has not given Dad the new number.

ETA: As to the racial thing from my sister: It’s a bone of contention between us. We got into an argument recently because, in an otherwise-innocuous conversation, I used the word “innocuous.” She complained that I was using a big word; I replied that she has a master’s degree in social work and so surely knew that word, and at any rate I had used the first word that came to mind; she said that she doesn’t like using her brain after work, and anyway only someone trying to sound white would use that word. In her message, she claimed that the fact that I was doing a sit-down dinner with a set guest list was an attempt to be white. She’d probably have objected to the lack of collard greens, too.

Sadly, I went through a similar thing about a month ago. Except it wasn’t my father, it was someone I am no longer dating.

Your girlfriend tried to crash your dinner party? I hate it when that happens.

Why do you continue to talk to them?

They shound toxic (no offense). But toxic families are real , and a real issue.

Oh Skald, stop it already. Just STOP. Stop apologizing for standing up to your dad. Stop letting him (and your sister) push your buttons about stupid stuff. I hate to think that you are unhappy about the words and actions of two people who will likely never, ever change.

Oh, and CONGRATULATIONS! on the promotion! That’s wonderful news!

This white girl intends to use the word “saditty” at the next available opportunity. I might even be tempted to create said opportunity, if the conversation flags.

He was going to explain that part, but he ran out of footnote symbols.

This is where you messed up. Having dealt with my passive-aggressive and aggressive family for many years, I know you NEVER give them a reason.

“Sorry, I’m having a private dinnner party. I’ll call you back later, though, ok? Thanks!”
If they repeat,
“I really gotta go. Something’s burning on the stove! I promise, I’ll call you back tomorrow!”

You never, ever give them a foothold to ask any questions.

ETA: I had to go look up saddity.

You know I love you as much as my icy heart allows, Mika, but you don’t know my dad. He was going do demand a reason no matter what. Moreover, the reproduced dialogue does not capture the spirit of the conversation, as it gives the impression that Dad actually waited for me to finish answering any of his questions before asking another. I love the man, but he’s very difficult to talk to, as he never, ever waits for anyone to finish what they’re saying before talking. He’d be fired in five minutes if he worked for me.

I’m mildly impressed that you know the word. Where are you from? Also, you should consider using the word 'flicted as well?

My dad is not devoid of good qualities. I was a total shithead when my son (now deceased) was alive, and he and my mother took much better care of him and his mother and sister than I did (as I was, as mentioned above, a total shithead).

My sister is also not devoid of good qualities. Racist though she is, she was unfailingly supportive of my wife at a very difficult time.

Anyway, you can LOVE people without LIKING THEM.

Fool of a Took! I* will† NEVER‡ run• outₒ ofⁿ footnote‾symbols‡‡!

I’m not apologizing, just venting. I feel no need to respond to either of their dysfunction; it will simply annoy me. Time will heal it.

Thanks for the congrats!

Quoting a young woman I know to her father:

This is the cycle of grief, as your father gives you agita, so will you do the same for your children someday. It has always been, and always will be this way.

Congrats on the promotion and commiserations on the mentals in your family.

I just came in here to say that I enjoy your writing; you seem very articulate.

For a black man, I mean. :smiley:

I love members of my family and don’t like them, too. I understand that. I have the advantage that a lot of them are really far away - my dad is two hours, my one aunt is in Colorado, and the other one is in Michigan.

Some people really get along with their parents. I wonder if I’d had a few years with my mom, would I maybe get along better.

The only way my family and I even got to the point we’re at, though, Skald, was that I laid the law down. If they didn’t listen to me and respect me, they wouldn’t get to see me. I stayed away for years. Love isn’t enough for me to tolerate bad behavior. Now they respect me…somewhat more, even if not perfectly.


I laughed.