May 11, 2018

thanks Whatsapp - a lack of communication would have been a real drag

I  never really shared the highlights of my Scotland trip.  Remember?  Back in March I traveled there with the girls and my Dad (who turns 78 today).  Um.  Highlights.  In addition to missing our connecting flight and spending another 7 hours in Heathrow- well, almost all of the food was laced with gluten.  The weather was COLD.  As predicted, navigating a foreign country without a cell phone was a bit more adventurous than what I had the energy for.  
Scotland trip survival guide.  Plus gluten
 free protein bars, not pictured here.
I'd like to point out that I have no
idea how to take a screen shot with my phone.
 I take them all of the time BY ACCIDENT.
  When I need to take one, I have no
 idea what combination of buttons
I am supposed to hit.  I had
to take a photo with my ipad and
email it to myself.

Thanks to my lack of smart phone service, I used an app called: WhatsApp for texting . . . only available on the rare occasion when I stumbled into a WiFi zone.  With WiFi, I was also able to access the internet.  I looked up restaurant menus, which really did us no good.  We couldn't walk far with Dad, and we were trying to stay under a non-ridiculous price point.  So, pub grub it was.   

All of the above I anticipated.  I braced myself for it.  There was just one factor I hadn't considered.

It never occurred to me that my sister, Marie, would manage to drive me batty from across the ocean.  What did I expect?  I was, after all, traveling with her Dad.  Don't get me wrong.  He is my Dad, too.  It is obvious that she believes that this is 'her' Dad and the rest of us are just well-intentioned family members taking up space in the universe.  Puke.  

During the trip, Dad had a tendency to request that I text my sister, Marie, for various information.  ‘Text Marie and ask her who won the election (for various offices) in Illinois.’  I quickly pointed out to Dad that I could easily google the information that he needed.  Thanks, WiFi in the airbnb.  ‘No need to text Marie for that.’  The last thing I wanted to do was feed my sister’s ‘I’m Dad’s #1’ persona.  

Don't worry- I am not so disillusioned to ignore the fact that I am most likely a tad jealous.  After all, I am only useful to dad as a chauffeur for treks to Gettysburg.  (His topic of his quest to bring the younger grandkids to Gettysburg this summer surfaced while in Scotland).  I do delight in the fact that I lead a productive life despite my severed umbilical cord.  So, I have that going for me.  

The sun shines out of Marie’s ass, as far as Dad is concerned anyway.  It is increasingly important to Marie that everyone acknowledge the strength and brightness of these shining-out-of-her-ass beams.  They light up Dad’s world- even if this light only benefits Dad.  It is nauseating.

I googled election results, and shared the news with Dad.  Simple.  

The day before we flew home from Scotland, Marie texted me.  ‘Please let Dad know that Dee Dee got into College A and College B.  College A will give her a $28,000 scholarship.  She will hear from College C tomorrow.’  Dee Dee had already been accepted into College U (U here stands for ultimate).  Dad is an alum of College U.  

That night I was trying to get everything packed up for our late morning departure.  Dad (the accountant) asked me to text Marie and ask her what the net cost would be of each of Dee Dee’s college options.  People, we were headed home in the morning.  It didn’t seem totally necessary for me to text her about something that didn’t involve me.  Something that she and Dad could easily converse about in another 24 hours or so - without my involvement.  

I tried to convince Dad that ‘net cost of college’ was a conversation that he could initiate with Marie once he was home.  I envisioned them sharing a pitcher of Kool Aid as she shared every last detail.  

He demanded that I text her.  I drafted a snarky text to her.  A nanosecond before I hit send, I reached out to Coach in Florida via my WhatsApp.  I admitted to him that I wanted to tell Marie that it might be time to cut the cord.  I was begging him to talk me down.  Coach has been around long enough to know the nutty dynamics of my family.  Sometimes he can see clearer than I can.

Coach texted back that Dad was being crazy.  He blamed Dad for being so demanding.  Ultimately, we decided that I would indeed text Marie.  I would make it pretty obvious that this was kind of a bad time since I was trying to get our bags organized for the trip.

Marie can’t take a hint.  After forwarding her texts to Coach in Florida, it became clear to him that Marie is just as much a part of the problem as Dad.  They feed off each other.

‘Don’t really see why this is important to text about now while I am trying to pack, but Dad is demanding that I ask you the net cost of each of the colleges Dee Dee has been accepted to.’  Marie ignored my ‘bad timing’ text and texted back a lengthy list of details about what each school was offering.  One school offered a renewable scholarship.  One offered financial aid that wasn’t guaranteed year after year.  This was info I was supposed to relay to Dad.  By now I thought Dad was asleep.  
I am guessing he would be much more relaxed
if he wasn't involved and informed up to his eyeballs.
Is this just a weird dynamic in my family,
or have you experienced it too? 
Maybe it is just an Irish thing.
Do tell.

I tried not to gag when I read the texts from Marie.  They included snipets like:  ‘Tell him that we have to support her decision.  Remind him that the engineering professor at U College told the applicants ‘We want you to love it here, but if you don’t love it here, we want you to love it somewhere else.’  Also:  ‘Dad has a big day tomorrow.’  Oh, so condescending.  

I wanted to text back, 'Thanks for reminding me, Sis.'  I’m the one that has to maneuver thru the airport with him and try not to miss another flight.   

The night before as Dad stewed over Dee Dee's decision during our pub grub dinner take 6, I pointed out to him that all of these colleges were great options.  She couldn't go wrong.  He wanted her to go to College U.  One of his reasons, 'So we can visit her.  It is closer to home.'

I pulled a fast one on him.  'Oh.  Well, Laddie went to a college only 2 ours away last year to play football (he has since transferred out east to play water polo).  You didn't go visit him.'  

Mini stifled a chuckle as Dad 'hrumffed'.  


Gigi said...

Family...what can you do?

As for the screenshot least with my phone, if you hit the power button and the volume down button at the same time it will take a screenshot. At first, it's kind of tricky.

Ernie said...

That might be it. I find it hilarious thought that it is tricky, but yet I unknowingly take several screenshots a week.