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He’s had his lunch, it’s 2 o’clock, so Charlie decides to take a break from swearing at technology for an afternoon nap.

In addition to the technology – which I’ve come to hate with a passion – Dad’s naps have become the curse of my current existence. He sleeps about three times a day, sometimes unintentionally, and far too often within ear shot.

  1. One to two hour naps shortly after breakfast and/or lunch.
  2. One hour in front of the TV, computer, etc. usually when attempting to stay up passed 8pm.
  3. Eight hours of semi-regular sleep from 9pm, which hopefully carries on into the next morning.

Having spoken to others on the subject of old people and naps, I know this is a pretty common occurrence. As you get older the body slows down, you have less energy, and thus require more down time. Based on this theory, I’d assume millions of people over the age of 60 are taking naps at any given point of the day. I have to wonder, however, while the frequency tends to remain the same, do all retirees also choose the most random of locations? And how many have daughters slowly being driven mad by proximity and nap-related noise?

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Location, Location, Location

Charlie can fall asleep anywhere:

  1. In church
  2. In front of the computer with his head propped up on his elbow
  3. Sitting in a booth at Denny’s while waiting for his usual, senior discounted Country Fried Steak with Coleslaw

All completely random and without warning.

Dad even sleeps in the car. After kindly offering to drive me to the store, though he knew I’d need at least 15-20 minutes to get ready, Charlie still went straight out to the car and proceeded to take what seemed to be an unplanned snooze behind the wheel. Did he forget he was in the car or did he really mean to sit there, coat on, key in the ignition, and head tilted forward like he’d taken a blow to the back of the head?

It’s like he’s some kind of elderly, absent minded narcoleptic.

And God forbid if you try to wake him up. Even if you’re successful, Dad ALWAYS tries to pretend that he wasn’t. Teeth clinched, claws out:

“GrrrGRRRAH!… Huh… What?!… NO! I wasn’t SLEEPING!” Continue Reading »

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Feel free to tug on Superman’s cape and take your chances spittin’ in the wind, but I do not recommend asking my dad if he wants your help with something.

Anything. Not ever.

If you do (and God bless if you do), one of two things will happen:

1) You’re shot down with a resounding, “Hell NO!”

2) You receive the “Why Would You Even Ask Me Such a Stupid Question?” look (Charlie ™).

Such was the case when the handle on our kitchen sink broke and Dad begrudgingly mustered up the energy to actually do something about it.

The week began with me attempting to fill a glass (or some form of container) with water using the tap at the kitchen sink. On employment of said device, the handle immediately popped out of the base causing me to yelp, “What the…?” and resulting in no way to turn the water back off again. The former drew Charlie’s attention straight away as he lunged head first into playing the blame game.

Piscín the Wonder Kitten

Now before I go on, I should mention I am not a physically burly woman. I’m tall, about 130 lbs soaking wet and have the upper body strength of a small kitten. I suppose, if I really wanted to, I could probably rip the whole thing out with my bare hands (after several days and the assistance of a herd of steroid-fueled pro wrestlers), but in this case my only intention was to simply get a glass of water.

“Don’t pull the handle so hard!” Dad shouted across the room.

“I didn’t! It just came out!” I answered, swinging the handle indignantly in his general direction.

This went on for about a week; handle popping out and me or Dad resentfully popping it back into place. Then one morning Dad had apparently had enough of either my complaining or his own procrastination on the topic and finally took on the task of replacing the kitchen faucet. Continue Reading »

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It’s pretty well established at this point that my dad, Charlie, is addicted to computers or – more specifically – “fixing” them. It has also been stated that while Dad is unquestionably knowledgeable in the area of electronics from the 1970s, he lacks the required formal expertise in modern-day computers and related technology. These facts, coupled with his stubborn refusal to admit his aforementioned limitations, more often than not, lead to disaster.

I wish I was making the following story up. I assure you, I am not.

Charlie’s latest forage into the realm of attempted computer repair came at the expense of a young woman’s poor, defenseless Toshiba laptop. The woman, an acquaintance from church, heard through the grapevine of Charlie’s hobby and asked if he would mind taking a look at her broken laptop screen.

One broken laptop screen? Check. Continue Reading »

Photo Credit: slightlywarped.com

I asked my dad, Charlie, today, “What’s

your favorite movie?”

Dad: “Don’t have any.”

Me: “Don’t have any?”

Dad: “Hell no!”

Doesn’t everybody have a favorite movie?

“Did you like James Dean growing up?” I asked, assuming the answer had to be “yes” based on his pompadour hairstyle in high school and his trademark white tee (worn with or without a dress shirt depending on the occasion).

Dad: “Yeah, I suppose. That’s old stuff (though).”

Okay, this was going to be a challenge! What movies would Charlie consider worthy of his rigid approval? I know he’s got a preset list that, if you ask, he’ll always watch no matter the time of day, what he’s doing, or how recently he saw it last. My goal, however, was to create a Charlie’s Top 5 Favorite Movies and I only had 4 sure things.

Me: “Humphrey Bogart?”

Dad: “Nah.” (said with a grimace)

Me: “The Rock?”

Dad: “The what?”

Me: “Chuck Norris movies?

Suddenly Charlie’s eyes lit up.

Dad: “Oh, they’re fine, I like them. In fact I’ve got one of the trilogies!”

Armed with Chuck-fueled gusto, Dad immediately dashed over to his limited DVD collection and made a brief, futile effort to hunt down the Missing In Action omnibus (they were probably in the cabinet whose door is conveniently obstructed by an enormous speaker). Had he been successful I have no doubt we would’ve been treated with a marathon after dinner.

So now, armed with the assistance of Chuck Norris, without further ado, I humbly present to you the reader:


Charlie’s Top 5 Favorite Movies!
Continue Reading »

Before traveling in from Europe (where I’ve lived the last few years) to embark on my Summer With Dad, I developed my own bizarre addiction: Sewing.

What started as a basic need to hem a pair of pants became a full-time fixation on material and thread. At one point, I actually found myself bargaining, though I’d started my day a slave to the needle at 9am, that if I just angled the table right I could still interact with family and friends well into the night while also maintaining a steady rhythm of stitches.

Is that any more weird than Charlie’s obsession with computers? Will I too find myself eventually surrounded by hundreds of machines in various states of disrepair? And why couldn’t I fit the damn thing into my checked baggage?

So shortly after I arrived, and without my trusty sewing machine (twas too heavy for the ole carry on as well), I had to find a way to feed the monkey. Continue Reading »

To know Charlie is to be well aware that he has a terrible addiction. For the last several years, this addiction has become increasingly debilitating and all-consuming. As with most unhealthy obsessions it hurts not only Dad, but his family as well. To be honest, this tragic situation has us all living in our own personal Hell. The number of bruises and stubbed toes alone…!

Yes, I’m ashamed to say that my father is addicted to computers. Not the Internet, mind you, though he does seem to download viruses (usually unintentionally) from less “respectable” websites a little too often. (How he keeps finding them, I’ll never – and don’t want to – know.) For Charlie, being able to get a computer on the Internet or play Hearts is only the end game. What he is addicted to is the collection and dismantling of PCs, laptops, or anything with an artificial pulse. Continue Reading »

My dad’s name is Charles Schulz; yeah, just like the Peanuts guy. When his name would come up in conversation, I used to tease people that he was the Charles Schulz. It was a joke always revealed within a minute or two, until the day I said it on first meeting my father-in-law. As it turns out, he actually worked with the man for many years and thought it an uncanny coincidence. Needless to say, as often happens with Dad, my joke didn’t get over as well that day and I lost my mischievous enthusiasm to use it again soon thereafter. Continue Reading »

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