Ties That Bind…

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…And gag.  Ugh.

Bondage, anyone?

Nope, not today.  I’m (un)tying knots of a different kind, and the only kinks I’m dealing with are in my back because I slept for shit last night.  So if you’re not in the mood to read stream/river/ocean-of-consciousness writing from a Feverish mind, I recommend you go away.  Now.

So back to the ties that bind and gag.  A.K.A.  The Family.  *Shudder*

My family is…erm…

Uhhh…

Well, most of them are…

How shall I put this?

Did you ever play recognition games when you were a kid?  You know, the kind where you line up several items and then have to decide, ‘Which one of these is not like the others’?  Well, let’s just say that I have a severe case of not-like-the-others-itis.  I’ve never ‘accidentally’ gotten pregnant, I’ve never been arrested (not that I don’t fantasize about men in uniform though; oh, hellllooooo, officer…), I’ve never used/possessed/sold illegal substances, I’ve never relied on my fists to solve my problems, (which may by one of the reasons why) I have all my own teeth, and I’ve never had a cavity.

The kin to whom I am blood and/or legally related (I have steps, you see ~ plus I’m legally – via adoption – the child of a man who did not contribute to my creation; I’ll get to him in a minute) are just…

Well, they’re not like me.  Let’s just leave it at that, shall we?

But despite the illicit and sometimes illegal behaviors demonstrated by the ones they spawned, the parents of this brood are fairly decent human beings.  Go figure.  And my dad (who was actually my stepdad, but then became my legal dad – see adoption note above) is going to be visiting for a few days.  Starting today.  In about two hours.  As a matter of fact, I’ll be picking him up after my dermatology appointment this afternoon (apparently there is a shortage of dermatologists in this country, so I’ve been waiting for months to have my ‘pre-cancerous skin cells’ on my face re-examined; oh joy of joys) and from then until late Friday evening, my house will become the den of…

The Zuulfather.

I see you are wondering, What, exactly, is a Zuulfather, Feve?

I’ll tell you!

My friend Sklor (I’ve written about him before and Sklor is, indeed, my friend’s proper nickname), who happens to be part of the family I choose (yes, I consider him a brother) calls me Zuul (Ghostbusters:  There is no Dana, only Zuul) and has dubbed my dad (who is the father of Zuul) the Zuulfather.  Which is kind of fitting.  Because if anyone could outweigh Marlon Brando’s Godfather, it is he.

So here’s the thing about the Zuulfather:  He’s soooooo not in touch with reality when it comes to his own self.  Ever lived with someone who has PTSD?  How about someone who has it but is in total denial that he has it?  Mmm-kay.  You with me now?  That was my reality during my time under his roof (which only amounted – thank God – to only six years, because I was OUT OF THERE when I was 18) and he is just now (FINALLY!!!!) realizing that maybe (just maaaaybe, possibly, perhaps) there might be something to all this PTSD nonsense (*snort*) after all.

Hmm.  Ya think?

Let’s recap my teenage existence, shall we?  Maybe not.

How about an example?  Okay:  I took my life into my own hands (or rather, put it in his hands) once and approached him while he was sleeping.  I will NEVER (never, Never, NEVER!) do that again.  This was just one of many (many, many, manymanymany) instances that demonstrated my dad’s post-war…issues…and was only one in a long line of freak-the-fuck-out moments.

So now ~ 24 years after the aforementioned…uhmmm…’event’ ~ the Zuulfather is on a mission quest to analyze and dissect The True Meaning Of This Newfound Thing (PTSD) so that he can define The Errors Of His Ways in an attempt to Fix The Past.  He is, of course, still totally military (he’s a Vietnam veteran) in his thinking and behaviors, so along with his ‘coming out’ statement of “I have PTSD,” I was handed two books on the subject and ordered – yes, ORDERED – to read them. (Do I strike you as the kind of woman who follows orders?  Cuz I don’t.  Ever.)

And I, of course, being the kind of daughter that drives a man like that (read:  a military-esque order-giver of the first degree) crazy (I think the raising of me was somewhat akin to herding cats; I’m intelligent and imaginative and I question authority), said, “You’re not telling me anything I don’t already know.”  Followed by an eyeroll.  Followed by, “I don’t need to read these books.”  Followed by, “So I was gonna make macaroni and cheese for lunch.  Are you hungry?”

Dumbfounded, I tell you.  Daddy was dumfounded.

Sigh…

But I let him leave his books here and agreed to fill out a little questionnaire for him about his behaviors (this thing reads like a military manual…oh, go figure…it’s from the V.A. hospital) and to date (I was given my orders three weeks ago; I have yet to act on them) I’ve sort of…

Well…

Forgotten about it, truth be told.

But my memory has been jogged.  And I expect my memory will be jostled and jilted and upended and tossed about over the next few days, because The Soldier and The Man who is My Father have to come to grips with one another and attempt to find some peace.  Even if they (ah, the Triune Dad) disrupt my peace while doing so.

Which is more than you ever wanted to know, I’m sure.  That is, if you even read this far.  (I realize most of you probably ran screaming into the night after my fairly warned, “Go away.  Now.”)  And if you did read this far, you probably think the Zuulfather (and my other assorted relative-types) is slightly…erm…’off’…  But remember this:  Just because my family is bat-shit crazy doesn’t mean I don’t love them (well, actually, I do not claim to love ALL of them – but the ‘rents, for sure), you know.

Ahhh…

Family.

The family. We are a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.  –Erma Bombeck

0 thoughts on “Ties That Bind…

  1. thedomnextdoor

    Just a thought – has he ever talked about being in country? What he did? Saw?

    A friend of my father’s was one of Merill’s Marauders in WWII. Almost 3,000 went into Burma. 130 walked out. He didn’t talk about it.

    A good friend of mine was, for a time when he was in country, a tail gunner out of a Bell Huey attack helicopter. The guys who blindly fired tens of thousands of .50 caliber rounds into the foliage. He doesn’t talk about it.

    1. mrsfever Post author

      Most combat veterans are not exactly chatty. The Zuulfather is no exception. But to answer your question… He has, on occasion, opened up to me. And I’ve honed my listening skills over the years (color me perceptive) to be able to hear what he’s *not* saying. His silence (particularly after reading/listening/seeing something related to Vietnam) can be particularly deafening, which is when I pay REALLY close attention. So I know a fair amount about his experience.

      But if you’re asking whether he’s ever talked about it ~ as in, ‘Has he spoken with a psychological professional or even just a minimally qualified head-shrinker?’ ~ the answer is no. Actually, the answer is NO. Hell NO. However, I’m proud of these baby steps he’s taking toward acceptance (over 40 years after he was in country), and while he’s still got a long way to go before he reaches a state of understanding or a sense of peace, I applaud his effort. (Every journey begins with a single step, right?)

      Meanwhile, I’ll try not to snort while answering questions like, “Did the veteran in question ever exhibit any paranoid delusional behaviors?”

      *Snort*

      Woops! Well, hey! I said I’d TRY. I didn’t say I’d succeed…

      1. thedomnextdoor

        Thank you for the wonderfully insightful reply. I wish him well. Our veterans gave far more than most will ever dream to and deserve far more than we usually give back.

        While not all the time, if I see someone with “(name of conflict) VETERAN” hat I try to shake their hand and thank them for their service. I’ve had a few gruff guys get soft eyes pretty quickly that way. The wives beam, which is not why I do it, but perhaps they know the dance you just described.

  2. furbal1972

    You know the “mbc” from my ‘other blog’. He’s a Vietnam Vet and has been trying to open up to me lately. (He really wants me to see his leg. .. I don’t wanna see!) That really came to the forefront last Saturday. (I didn’t write about it.) . He’s soon to be 65. Maybe a little younger than Zuulfather? .. He is so proud of being a Marine!

    Um, I got lost after reading the comment(s). ,… Anyway, what I was really going to say was that we are so complete opposites.. I constantly had tooth problems. (From when I was little I ALWAYS had cavities. You don’t even want to know what happened with my wisdom teeth.) My siblings were quite the opposite, although we ALL had braces. I was the one who got in trouble. (ie. the black sheep) I did set a good example of what NOT to do. lol … Although ALL of my siblings now wear glasses and I have 20/15 vision.

    I tried to disown my family, but now I’m so glad they didn’t let me.

    Maybe we’re not complete opposites. I can’t be forced to to homework either. lol

    1. mrsfever Post author

      The Zuulfather was Army Airborne and did his first tour in 1969. He’s actually a tad younger than your bc. For a long time, he was anything but proud. He’d served a country that rejected him upon his return and he suffered (still does, I think) from survivor’s guilt. He visited the memorial wall in Washington, D.C. A few years ago and it wasn’t until after that experience that he’s ‘claimed’ his service openly.

      The Mister’s mouth is a dentist’s wet dream, LOL. He opens up and they see $$$$$$$$$. Bridges and fillings and extractions, oh my! Thank goodness dental insurance is part of his benefits package!

      And I haven’t disowned my family; we just don’t have much in common. Shrug. Which is why, to paraphrase a line from ‘Hello, Dolly!’, they’ll go their way and I will go mine.

      Preferably with half a continent between us. 😉

  3. deviant wench

    Erm.

    I think we grew up in the same family.

    In fact, we may be the same person.

    (I was convinced by that bit about intelligence, creativity, and questioning authority).

    On second read….nope, definitely not. I got the whacked-out extended families AND really pathetically bad parental figures. Not a good ‘un in the lot, except the one that died when I was 9 mo. old.

    Hope the visit has gone well. 🙂

    1. mrsfever Post author

      The Zuulfather has left the building…

      The visit went well but my home always feels *invaded* when he’s here.

      So I have reclaimed my space with an orgasm. The Mister and I had a…erm…’cumming home’ party after the parent-type skidaddled. 😉

  4. archer1972

    I’m perusing your blog at the moment and responding for the time being where I see myself referenced. This is all a bit overwhelming for my simple Sklorocity.

        1. mrsfever Post author

          The one and only! 😀

          I love my Sklor. He’s awesome. In a shambling-giant-who-crunches-bones kind of way. Lol.