Just a quick note to let my gentle readers know that I survived Christmas with my family. It was held at my brother's place in Decorah and was really low key- lots of eating with no gift exchange. At mid-afternoon, I taught my niece and nephew and their mates the card game Nuts- basically group competitive solitaire. My niece is apparently fiercely competitive and has a vocabulary while in competition that is quite, shall we say, stunning? So, the festivity portion of the day went fairly well- that is, until I had to take my dad back home.
The house I grew up in, and where my dad still lives, is on a hill with a very steep driveway. Generally, this isn't a problem. Today, however, we had a big winter storm with lots of snow and ice. My dad has never been one to hold back on his criticism, especially for his children. Here are a few of the comments on my driving that I got, all within 100 yards of our driveway:
"Jesus Christ, aren't you going to slow down to make the turn?"
Followed immediately by:
"You better speed up so you can take a run at it!"
I managed to maintain my composure at this commentary, but it didn't last.
Seeing that the driveway is covered with several inches of snow and ice, I took a run for the hill. Just as I'm just about reach the top, my car stops, starts spinning its wheels and sliding backward toward the ditch. (If you know the driveway, one side is a smallish ditch, the other side a minor ravine. Guess which I was sliding for?) And what do you suppose my dad says? Hey, let me tell you:
"Well, Jesus Christ, don't you know how to drive your own god damned car?"
Snap! Because I was attempting to stay out of the ditch, I couldn't stuff a cork in him. So instead I barked: "You are so not f*cking helping right now! Just sit there, be quiet and LET ME DRIVE!" You would think that having sensed my irritation he would have kept his remaining comments to himself. Oh no. All the while I'm trying to back down the hill, he's commenting on my technique and the direction I'm headed, and on and on. [Please, gentle readers, if in 30 years you see me embodying these characteristics of my father, shoot me. No warning or explanation required. Mind you, I also have great affection for many of my father's less irritating qualities. I just couldn't find them in that moment.]
Anyway, I ended up being able to wrangle the car to a spot beside the bottom of the driveway and regained control of my breathing. My dad, who is 80, whose vision is not what it should be and is very unsteady on his feet, had to be left in the car while I walked to the top of the hill to get his 4 wheel drive truck to retrieve him. Even though a little hypothermia might have quieted him down, I did follow through and get him back up the hill. After setting him in at home, I left to go meet some friends for dinner.
Another joyous family holiday drawn to a close.