True story: family mishegas


My father has always been difficult.   I now realize he had Asperger’s Syndrome, but no matter.  he has alienated friends & family members, & what follows are  2examples of the reasons why.

I had called my sister  on the phone to  tell her I was doing my taxes, and I had gotten a 1099, forwarded to me by my father, for  dividends on a life insurance policy he had taken out for me, on me,   in 1972.  About 3 year ago, I called State Farm,the issuer, to find out what the policy was worth, and they told me it was $13,000 and some change.  Now, because I am looking to pay down my mortgage,  I called again, and they told me the cash value is $8200.  It has fallen in value.  How does that happen?  State Farm is not  transparent about its investments.  My father paid in to the policy until the  dividends paid the premiums, and that started so long ago, he really doesn’t remember what the premiums were. Worse, he claims he paid $7000  cash for the policy  in 1972.  If he had just put $25 a month into some bank account, even with no interest, the  account (with the $7000) would now be worth $19,000. Yet I am the bad one for not adding to the policy (a policy I probably signed, but did not have a copy of), and for wanting to cash it in—& for calling his insurance agent dishonest.

My sister has a better story of aggravation with my father.

Let no good deed go unpunished.  Remember, comedy is tragedy plus time….

As she told me:

My dad and step-mother are in Florida until end of March. They go for 3 months each year.   My step mother insists, and she may even  pay for the trip.
My dad owns a small chemical cleaning company. He sells soaps and cleaners to businesses.  He had me go to his house every other week to take his car out to drive it so it moves while he’s away. I take it to the post office. Go to his lock box and grab his business mail and deposit any checks he gets. All should take about 30 minutes of actual time. From start to finish about an hour from my house.   I do not have a key to the house. I just go into the garage.  The reason for this is….my step-mother does not want her stepchildren going into the house.  No other reason.    This is an important part of this story.
So yesterday was my day to do it. I also needed to go to the grocery store and few other errands. It’s almost 11am.
Now to add to the story, my parents have a neighbor who lives one door down. She has MS. She sold her house  and is waiting for her new apartment to be completed which it should be in an about a month.  She is staying in my father’s townhouse until her place is ready.
Two weeks ago my dad tells me I need to go to his house and go down stairs to his office to send him some business checks. Normally I never go inside the house when I visit. There is a key pad on the garage door so I usually just go in through the garage, take his car, close the garage door and do my thing. However, they have left the inside door to the house unlocked if I ever do need to get in and in this case, I needed to for my dad.
I go in, go downstairs to get the checks and call my dad. I’m on the phone with him and he tells me at that time that Seri, the lady with MS is going to be moving into the house. I then hear someone upstairs and it’s her daughter, Andi,  who is just beginning to bring things to the house. I finish with my dad and speak to this adult daughter, Andi. I introduce myself and let her know what I do regarding my visits. Advising her  I do not have a key to the actual house and normally I do not have to go inside. This was an unusual exception for me having to come inside to get these business checks. She tells me her mom would probably feel better if she could lock the garage door leading into the house and I told her that was fine and for any reason I need to get back inside, I would call Andi and we would arrange a time for me to come to the door for her mom to let me in, if I needed to get back downstairs to my dad’s office. Okay… following me so far?
Also the daughter, Andi,  asked me if I had a spare garage door clicker. I told her I only had the one in my dad’s car and gave it to her for her mom to have her mom’s car’s remote set up so that the clicker in her mom’s car would get set to the house code so her mom, with MS , didn’t have to get out of the car to open the garage door. This makes sense to me. Oh, if it had only been that simple.
I went to my dad’s last week and used the key pad on the outside of the garage door to open it and it did open with my code, but Seri, the lady staying at the house had not returned the garage door clicker to my dad’s car. Okay, a bit annoyed, I pulled Dad’s car out, got out of the car and manually closed the garage door on the key pad. I had also rung the door bell to the house since Seri’s car was in the garage, but I got no answer.
I did my thing, ran the post office and bank errands and returned the car to my dad’s. Again opening and closing the garage with the key pad that is attached to the outside of the garage door.
So, if you’re still with me, I begin my day yesterday. It was sunny and I knew the snow was coming so I decided to do a quick run to my Dad’s to take care of the mail.
I get  to the house and I see 2 days of newspapers on the driveway. I grab them and go to the front door and I see another newspaper. What the hell is going on? These are  Seri’s newspapers and here my parents are not home and now it shows everyone no one is picking up the newspapers. I ring the door bell and get no answer. My day is just beginning.
I go to the outside garage key pad, put in the code and nothing happens.  I try it again. No luck. Great!! I get back into my car, which is not parked in the driveway, but across the street in the visitors parking space. I call my Dad in Florida. He tells me Seri fell, broker her hip earlier in the week and is in the hospital. Great. I tell him I can’t get into the garage. Remember, I do not have a key to the house. He tells me to call the daughter, Andi. He has no idea why the garage door won’t go up. I hear my step-mother in the background asking why am I trying to get into the house. I have NO business going into the house!!! Remember:  she is very aware that Seri is NOT in the house at the moment, but yelling at my father that I am NOT to go into the house. He only briefly yells back at her that I need to get in since the keypad is not working. It’s at this point, I really should refer to her as the wicked queen. Hansel and Gretel have no idea how good they had it.
I call the daughter, Andi and she tells me when they found her mom, they just grabbed her and went to the hospital and she says she believes they left the key to the house in the house. I tell her I will call my step sister, Laurie, to see if she had a key to the house. I don’t have her phone number as she just moved, but is in the  same  town as my parents.
Andi also said if Laurie has a key, I have her permission to go into the house. I would not just walk in without her or her mom’s okay, as they were given the house by my Dad and  Iwould not presume to just walk in, as I had stated earlier when I first met her. I call my Dad.
Here where Ripley’s Believe it or Not begins. I call my Dad. He is standing right next to my step mother. She is on her phone talking to my step-sister, Laurie. I need Laurie’s phone number.  Dad is trying to look it up and can not find it. I tell him I can hear my step-mother in the background talking to Laurie, just ask her for it. My father yells at me he can NOT Interrupt them. WHY NOT??? He says he just can’t.  I tell him, if I can’t get to her, I can’t get to his car and in his car is the bank key to his PO box and the deposit slips to the bank. It’s his business and he needs to do something to get this resolved. He finds a phone number for Laurie, who you and I know is being spoken to by my step-mother right then on the phone. Laurie is at work and I need to leave her a phone message to call me TONIGHT to resolve this. Really?? He messes up the middle 3 digits of the phone number and I try calling a few versions of it. 2 don’t go through and one is a baby talking. Okay, I huff and call my dad again. Dad is getting pissed, my step-mother is still on the phone with Laurie and I’m sitting there thinking, let’s all say it together, WTF! I tell him about the baby voice and he says yes, it’s the right number:   Laurie’s youngest, who is now like 9 or 10 years old, I think, recorded that 9 or 10 years ago. OMG!! So I hang up and leave a message for Laurie to call me. Oh and my father reminded me to leave a nice message and not be mean to her. Really? Why would I be mean to my step-sister? I have no grudge with her. So I leave the message and I am about to pull out of my parking space to leave but I see a car NOW is in my parents drive way!
Are you still with me? I re-park my car, get out and it’s my step sister, Laurie still on the phone with my step-mother Biv.  Really. My step-mother could not tell my father that Laurie just happened to be around the corner from the house and was on her way there right now and for me to wait.  Really?
Okay, taking a breath. I walk over to Laurie who is out of the car and is trying the code. Again, no results. She hangs up with my step-mother and we talk. She thinks she has a key at her house, near by. We get in her van and drive over there. I tell her on the way there about not having a key and Andi saying if Laurie has one we have her ok to go into the house. Laurie then tells me “oh, that is not what my mom told me! She said you wanted to walk in, that is what your Dad told her”.   One: my step-mother never talked to me and TWO they both know I don’t have a key to their house because that is what my step-mother wanted. Crazy!!
We get to her house, she finds a key, we drive back and get in my dad’s  house. We open the garage door by the button inside the garage. We go to the outside key pad and we still can’t get it to work. Laurie walks back in the house to find a screw driver thinking the battery to the key pad is dead. She then calls Andi and begins a long conversation with her and I’m stuck there because Laurie is parked in the middle of the drive way and I can’t get my dad’s car out to run the errands. But wait… it gets better.
She finishes the call, unscrews the key pad,  and promptly looses the mini screw holding the bottom half of the keypad. Pad still on the wall, and thankfully,  the bottom with the battery pops off and can be re-snapped back on. Okay I say, I’ll get a new battery. We’re about to leave and Laurie says she has to use the bathroom. I’m in the garage again because I can’t leave until she does and she then comes out and asks if there is a toilet plunger in the garage!!! LMAO NOW, not then. Are you with me? I’m thinking, Really??
We go back into the house and I use the plunger on the toilet, she flushes and you guessed it, it overflows!!! Of course it does! She grabs towels (my stepmohther’s fancy guest towels. I ask her if she know if there is a paper cup I might be able to take some of the water out of the toilet so I can plunge it again and she goes and gets me a coffee mug!! OMG, I’m thinking, really?
Okay, it’s her mom’s house, not mine. I use the mug to get the water out. It’s a slow task. We flush and it over flows again. It’s not the first time today, I’m beginning to question if someone has it out to get me today. We clean it up again.  All now all is flushing fine. She takes the towels and begins the washing machine. She tells me I can when I get back, put the towels in the dryer. I again remind her I don’t have a key to the house. She says she will come back after work which she had left when her mom called. Okay. I empty the dish washer which was locked and put the mug in it per Laurie’s instructions. Let this be a warning to everyone to avoid coffee mugs at my step-mother’s house.
Okay, she locks up and then it occurs to me, does the garage door clicker that the woman finally re-placed back into my Dad’s car work? And the answer is – – NO!! Of course not.  Hmmm, the key pad doesn’t work and now his clicker doesn’t work. Great. Laurie and I decide, I will put my car in the garage and I’ll run get batteries, to the post office, bank and back. She locks the inside  door leading into the house and the front door and she’ll return later and will re-close the garage door from the inside and use her key to re-lock the door when she leaves. Okay …we have a plan.
Not so fast my friends. I go to Walmart and they don’t have the A23 or the V12 mini batteries. I go to Walgreens and they have the garage door clicker battery, A23. I purchase one. Go back into the car and before I open the new battery, it looks like maybe the clicker should have 2 batteries in it? Did Seri take one? I don’t know, but I walk back into Walgreens. Return the 1 battery and purchase the 2 pack battery pack. Back to the car and no, it does only need one. Okay we have an extra. I don’t care. I run to the post office, no checks to deposit. I go back to Dad’s. I click the garage door click with it’s new battery and guess what? It doesn’t close. Okay so it’s not the battery. It could be the door itself, but I’m thinking  Seri… when she took the clicker to the dealer somehow the code got changed. Not sure how that could possibly happen, but honestly, It’s 2pm and I really just don’t care anymore. I didn’t find a V12 battery, so I put it back inside the outside garage key pad. Click the bottom in place, as you recall Laurie accidentally lost the screw and I call Laurie to let her know Dad’s car is in the garage. I have taken the car key, the bank key, the deposit slips and I won’t be running the car anymore until he gets home at the end of March. I’m done. She said she’ll look to see if she finds a V12 battery.
I then leave the scene of the crime, realizing I must go grocery shoping and it’s 3pm before I get home.
I sigh in relief after my story is done, but the punch line doesn’t come to this story until later that night. My dad calls me and says, are you ready for it?….. He says, “Okay, I need to tell you where the hidden key to the house is.”  Honestly?? Really? OMG! Welcome to my life.

&  it’s stuff like this—-all the time…

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