On this day 113 years ago, Adolf Hitler
was born. It was also on this day, 41 years ago, that my father was born.
And being the darling daughter I am, I had spent the previous week downloading and burning 11 Weird Al Yankovic cd's as a birthday present. Last year I completely forgot what date the occasion was and he ended up with no birthday wishes from his two daughters. This meant this year had to be twice as great, to make up for missing the big 4-0!
Heh, wishful thinking. Last night as I was noding my ears met a huge bang, followed by the sound of a lightbulb exploding. Up I jumped...
SHIT! MY COMPUTER!
I darted to the power point in less then 2 seconds and dived for the switch, turning it off at lightning speed. My heart was racing -- if I lost my computer I'd be completely and utterly SCREWED. I've known many people who've experienced power surges and had computers that ended up useless.
Within 5 seconds of the first bang, a second sounded and the power went out. I will not lie -- I was shit scared. It was all so sudden! And although I first suspected it was a power surge, I'd never had one before and was later beginning to suspect it was part of the devious plot of some weirdo about to murder me. Dad was out at his girlfriend's house for the night and I was alone in this cold pitch black house.
The torch... there must be a torch around here...
And tactfully avoiding the shattered glass on the floor, I found that torch. I made my way over to the phone but it was dead. Everything was dead. I peered out the window and found that everything belonging to my neighbours was dead too. Phew, at least there ain't no serial killer. But without power I had nothing to do! Although, it was 1 in the morning and I should've be heading to bed soon anyway.
The next morning I was awoken at 9am by the sound of banging on the front door. All our friends know we only use the backdoor to our house, so it must have been a stranger at the door. Bang Bang Bang! Ring ring! Grrr... whoever it was had found the old doorbell. There was no way out of it, I had to go around to the front of the house and greet the stranger. In my pyjamas. Ick.
"Hi, I'm here to fix your power." The stranger, a middle aged man with a bald patch, gave me a warm smile.
"Ahhh great! What exactly happened?"
He cleared his throat. "Last night a guy hit a power pole. Alot of the houses in the area lost their power last night... I'm just going to replace a few fuses and hope that works, ok?"
I nodded and waited for a brief moment.
"Alright," he said with a hint of kindness, "If you could just go inside and check all your electrical appliances and tell me if they work, that'd be great."
"Yup." And I ran in the house and checked the only thing that mattered -- my computer! It worked! It was alright! I had saved it! A wave of joy had come over me, and I ran back outside.
"Everything's fine! Thanks so much!" It wasn't the truth, but hey, aslong as the computer worked, I was happy!
His face gave off the impression of disbelief. "Er, you sure everythings fine? Is your stove working?"
"We have gas." I informed him, still bearing that mile wide grin.
"Well, thats one happy customer. Sorry about the inconvienience." Once again he smiled and walked off, but this time I wasnt sure if he was pleased with the fact I told him all our appliances were working, or that I was unaware I had unintentionally left one of the middle buttons of my pyjamas open, revealing more than anyone needed to see.
So anyway, I went inside and decided to really make sure the surge didn't damage any of our appliances.
Bugger. The tv wouldn't work, the lighting was screwed, the heater, fan to the fireplace, fan in the bathroom, microwave, tape and cd player, microwave and the whole electrical circuit in the loungeroom was now not functioning. Gee, I thought, dad's gonna be real pleased! In the end he wouldn't foot the bill, but the inconvience to follow was the last thing anyone needed.
9:15pm, I rang dad up. Told him the whole story. Listened to him groan about it. He told me he'd be home in an hour. Then I remembered it was his birthday. He wouldn't be able to play his Weird Al cd's on his cd player for a while. Heh.
He came home, called the sparky, sorted out the damage with some sort of inspector and was told he wouldn't be able to get repairs done for a month if he wanted the energy company to foot the bill. He didn't look happy; I'd be surprised if anyone was happy about the situation. But these things happen from time to time, it was just unfortunate that on all days it had to happen on this one.
"Do you remember that family on A Current Affair that had to give up their tv for a few weeks?" I asked. "And how I kept poking fun at them?" He burst out laughing. It was nice seeing him laugh. We were that family now, but we had no tv for a MONTH. I know I'll cope, I use my computer a heap more than the tv. Dad on the otherhand... well... he'll have to find some otherway to pass the time.
Dad went out to his parents after that. When he came back to drive me to my netball game, I told him I felt sorry about his shitty start to his birthday. Every year just gets worse, I've come to expect it, he muttered. Damn thats depressing, I thought.
"My dad told me about this farm up in the country, near Yea. I'm thinking about buying it." He paused and looked at me. "I'd sell my house and go live up there."
He dropped the Bombshell. Argh fucking fucked up fuck! THE COUNTRY?! I ONLY MOVED IN WITH YOU TWO AND A HALF MONTHS AGO AND NOW YOU WANT TO MOVE US TO THE COUNTRY?! These thoughts ran through my brain. He's joking. He has to be. He loves to stir me.
"Tell me you're joking." I ordered in a serious tone. I'm a city girl at heart. I love the city. I hate this stupid country and its dry outback. The grass isn't even grass out there! Everytime you drive your car it leaves a trail of dust behind! It's not for me! "If you move out to the country, I'm moving back in with my grandparents. I'm not changing schools and I'm not changing neighbourhoods."
"I'm not joking." He laughed. He was forever telling me that no one took him seriously when he was telling the truth, yet they always fell for his jokes. The question now was, which one was it? "I'm going to take a look tomorrow. It's about $700,000." (around about $350-400k US)
For the rest of the car trip I bitched and whined, pleaded for him to change his mind and to not go. I asked him about his friends. He raised his middle finger. I brought up his business (he does office partitions). He said work was slowing down and it was time to give it up. I enquired to what his girlfriend, Kerrie, would say.
"Fuck Kerrie! She's too fucking selfish." One of the things I love about my dad is that he's serious and mature when he needs to be, but has the heart of a teenager. He'll swear around me, let me swear, buy me Bacardi Breezers and let me stay up on the computer all night, if thats what I want to do. However, it slowly became clearly to me that he was unhappy with his life these days and needed the change of lifestyle. This was not good. After being kicked out of my mother's home when I was 12, I invited myself to live at my grandparent's home. While I was there I was treated like a princess, with the oldies acting as though they were my slaves. I felt guilty. It felt wrong. So at the end of February, one year after I had moved in, I left my grandparents and did what I should have done in the first place. I moved in with my dad. Since then I've had the time of my life, and it was now clear that I might be about to lose it all.
For those who care, my team lost the netball match by 7 goals. The outcome of the game seemed irrelevant to me, all I could do was think about the whys and what ifs. What if my grandparents decided they did not want to take me back? Would I be forced to go back to my mother's home, and relive the years of emotional and physical abuse of my childhood? Chances are she would not allow me back in her home. That was fine by me. When I left, I told her I would never come back to live. I intend to fulfill that promise, although I am certain I will one day regret the bitterness we held between each other.
In order to dispose the confusion and stress, I spent a couple of hours playing Sim City 3000. Dad went out to Matthew Flinders, a sort of family restaurant/pub/nightclub/poker machine venue all rolled into one. At 7pm he rang home, asking me if I wanted to eat dinner with him there. I told him yes, and he came back home 5 minutes later to pick me up. As I heard the car pull up I rushed outside and found my father talking to a man and a woman in their mid twenties. It turns out they are our new neighbours, Peter (which is also my dad's name) and Mary-Anne. Peter is a minister, and they're living in a home owned by the church two doors down.
They were robbed today, sometime in the afternoon. Which was ironic, seeing the power surge resulted in their VCR not being able to properly function, it was one of the items stolen.
We had a brief chat and I found that they were extremely kind. Mary-Anne had around her a strong feeling of warmth and kindness. Peter was a very easy going guy with a great sense of humour. I decided that I really liked these people.
The conversation came to an end and my father and I drove to Matthew Flinders. We were greeted by two of his friends when he arrived, Michael and his Chinese girlfriend, who I will refer to as Yu, as I couldn't quite hear her when she introduced herself.
"Is this... this girlfriend?" Yu asked my father, pointing to me. She was not fluent in English and searched for the correct words to form her sentence, but we still understood what she meant.
My father laughed. "Oh no, she's my daughter!" He glanced at me and joked, "Now you know why they call me Peterphile!"
Michael was an Irish man, 49 years of age and bald. At the time of our introduction he was slightly tipsy and continually laughed at his own unfunny jokes. He was kind to me though. He asked what I studied. I said I was in Year 9. Wha? He had heard me right.
"Yes, I'm still in High school. I'm in year 9, I've still got a while to go."
He took a sip of his beer. "Oh my, I thought you were a university student!" The comment was flattering, although the man was intoxicated by this point and I made a mental note not to take anything he said too seriously. He kept looking at my boobs. That sucked, he's 49. And drunk. *shudder*
Around this time dad decided to call his girlfriend to see if she was going to show up. They briefly argued, she said she wouldn't turn up if a certain so and so was their, and he said that if he loved her she would come. He would dump her if she didnt celebrate his birthday with him because she didn't like one of his friends. He told her to come at 9pm if she really wanted to keep their relationship intact.
Yu and I connected well at that place. I learned from her that she had a strict Chinese upbringing, had married once and gave birth to two boys, but her husband left her for someone much younger as she approached her middle years. She told of how she believed a woman's role in this world was to care for her family, that my father should stop feeding me take-away food 6 nights a week and teach me how to cook, and girls in China during her time were treated as lesser beings in relation to boys. She was a shy character yet very warm. I liked her.
The highlight of the night however, was seeing my dad at his drunk state. Oh, the humour in seeing my father paying 6 children $1 each to go into the pokie room to play on the 'Big bright machines'!. Its even more funny when the bouncer notices the children in the room, freaks out and sends them back to their families.
I'm only 14-years-old. Dad freely offered me alcohol that night but I declined, due to the fact that this was a night I wanted to remember when I woke up the next morning. He joked about sneaking me into the nightclub and keeping all the guys who tried to hit on me away. Michael and Yu almost successfully snuck me in to the pokies room until my father told them I'd get caught, and I agreed that I wasn't up to the risk.
Good things must come to an end. Daddy drove me home at 10:30. His girlfriend never turned up.
"Looks like your father is single again." He announced, sounding rather pleased with that word. Single. Free of so many limits he had imposed on him for years. To hell with the possessive, self-centered girlfriend he had been meaning to ditch for months. I think I was happy too. Happy that my father was now happy again, which made me think about that dreaded country lifestyle.
He pulled into our driveway and came inside for a minute before he went back. I made a phone call to one of my closest friends, Rosie, to organise our plans for the next day and to let everything off my chest about the whole farm idea. As I was talking to her on my phone line, Dad's rang. Caller ID said 'payphone'. He knew it was Kerrie.
He reluctantly picked up that phone, engaged in a brief argument with her and told her it was over. She said that she was going to go there now, which shits me because she wouldn't make the effort before. Rosie heard my dad in the background of our conversation and I filled her in, letting her know all the juicy details. My dad went back to Matthew Flinders and I ended my phone call with Rosie. This is the point where I started this writeup.
Halfway through this my dad came stumbling through the open door, drunk as anything!
Giggling like a school girl, he told me what events unfolded soon after I left. "Stupid cow! I let down ALL of her tires except ONE." He raised up one finger as he said this.
"Whoa dad slow down... who's tires?"
"Kerrie! She threw a beer on me... can ya see?" He showed me his unbuttoned black shirt, which appeared slightly damp. "So I threw one back on her! And got kicked out!!" The giggles kept coming. "And then I let down all of her car tires! Except one!"
"Dad, you are SO dead!!!"
"Yeah, but now you can come to Queensland with me if you want. No fuckin way am I going with her now!" Way cool. They planned a holiday there from May 1st to 7th, perfect timing for me to miss the school's cross country carnival (YES!)
I couldn't stop laughing. I love my dad. Together we're the Gilmore girls, even though he's a male. I'm Rory. Rosie always tells me I'm just like Rory, personality wise. Perhaps thats true, but my dad is Lorelie. Witty, with a take no shit attitude and damn funny!