You know those people who can't stand the idea of their parent(s) selling the house they grew up in? Who look forward to going home once in awhile? I am not one of those people.
I'm sitting in my dad's living room right now, in the house we moved into when I was in the 5th grade, and I wish I had the money to have this place completely dozed and build him something from scratch. 28 or so years of neglect. The normal wear and tear of kids growing up here, of course. Women who spent most of their time either sleeping or sitting around smoking while their kids and animals destroyed the house. Days upon days of deep cleaning wouldn't touch this place. It's worn out.
This house that should be paid off but isn't thanks to the stepmom who racked up as many bills as she could before abandoning us all. Thanks to the stepsister who got in a car accident because her boyfriend ran a red light driving the car my dad had given them but they hadn't yet put in their name, followed by them suing my dad since the car was still in his name. Thanks to the next woman who moved in with her son after I left - who then went on disability and sat around doing nothing but smoking, collecting first editions of romance novels, using my dad to take care of and help all of her ungrateful children.
I'm angry at the number of people who have taken advantage of my dad. He's a gruff guy - often times downright scary if you don't know him. He made a school nurse cry once. A vice principal cry another time. But underneath that gruffness is a guy who will do almost anything for just about anybody. As much as he complains about doing things for people, he needs to be needed. I think it drives him crazy that I don't ask for anything. Every conversation ends with, "If you need anything, call me. Do you need some money? I don't have much, but I can give you some. Call me if you need anything. You sure you don't need anything?" I just say, "I know, Dad. I promise I'll call if I need anything." But I won't. I'll have to be pretty down and out before I ask my dad for anything. He doesn't have it to give, but he'd try like hell. And people hone right in on this and take full advantage.
But I also realized tonight, my dad has his own role in this story. He continually chooses women who take advantage of him. He doesn't say no enough - to most of the kids he's raised (not even his biological children), to the women he meets, to his customers. I think of the times he finally had enough and got the moochers out of his house, only to still end up paying bills for them or moving a new one in. The times he's helped one of them by co-signing for something, as if they could be trusted to make the payments.
Looking around the house tonight, I realized it's more than just the structure I want to raze, it's the memories. This place saddens me. It's dirty, stained, chipped, and just plain worn out. Maybe I feel like a new place would help give dad a new outlook on life. Or maybe I just want to be more comfortable when I visit - which isn't often enough at all. It's about me - because I'm not sure it bothers my dad all that much. Then again, I don't really know. Maybe this will be a chance to talk to him about it. If two people who would rather just do something for someone than talk about it can have that conversation!