Saturday, July 13, 2013

Scarring Your Son For Life...For Dummies

I do the best I can as a parent.  Sometimes it is good enough, and sometimes it isn't.  If you are a fan of John Irving, and life's sometimes dark twisted humor, then you probably understand that all children are destined to become incredibly warped and scarred by their parents, regardless of anyone's intentions.  It has always been this way, and will continue to be this, we might as well enjoy it and learn how to see the humor in the ultimate destruction of our children...right?  They'll turn out ok, whether they have our genes, or our nature, our worst fears and traits await us, like a mirror...patiently awaiting us to stare at our broken selves in their faces.  Wondering how in the world I could break such a delicate and beautiful thing, and twist it into something far more fun and infuriating to the average parent.  

If you caught some humor in that paragraph, this post is for you...  On the other hand, if you had visions of me dancing in the dark with Freud and whiskey, there are updated baseball scores here:

I helped coach my son's baseball team.  During the end of the season tournament, my son was scheduled to leave on a trip with his grandparents, and would miss the last few games.  My wife reminded me, "Remember this is his last night to play, so make a big deal out it with the team and make sure he gets to say his goodbye's."

After the games, (they played two), I was walking back to the car with my son, and the head coach, when he said, "Well Malcolm, I guess that was your last game of the season."

Doh!   I suck so bad...Horrible Dad awoke from the back of my mind, "you dumbass, you are such a dumbass, oh my, this is hilarious, you are completely insane and intent on breaking your son's poor psyche, you are hilarious my friend".

Tears ensued on the ride home, and I listened to Horrible Dad, and worked to find Compassionate Dad, who was absolutely nowhere to be found inside my guilt ridden head...almost like he was saying "Yeah, I'm out on this one, you idiot".

Fast Forward...

Boy goes on trip with Grandparents and is gone for around three weeks.  He's having fun, hanging out with his cousin at DisneyWorld and enjoying life.  

I'm taking care of his guinea pig.  Frappaccino.

Frappacchino had been with our family for two or three years, and was the first pet my son bought with his own money, and cared for him (most of the time).  A fat little guinea pig, that did all the things guinea pigs do, which is basically nothing.

I had no problem caring for "Pig" as he had come to be known in family circles.  I fed and watered him, played with him a few times during the day, and we had a genuinely wonderful relationship.  I would talk to him about his secret spy missions regarding watching the dog, who loves to abscond with defenseless stuffed animals and sleep in beds when the doors are left open.  Pig's job was to alert me when this happened.  He was pretty bad at it, but enjoyed his job immensely, so I let his performance slide most of the time.  

Feed, water, play, discuss missions....coaching sessions, reprimands for cavorting with the enemy (I think he and the dog had an agreement).

About 5 days before my son would return, I noticed that Pig hadn't touched his food or water.  I wasn't too alarmed, got him out and played with him, he was spry and cuddly, and apologetic about letting the dog sleep in the bed, so I thought he must not be hungry, having gorged himself on food and water over the previous days.

4 days before my son would return, I repeated the check on the pig, who still hadn't eaten, but was still having a good 'ole time, as pigs do, whenever it is they aren't on duty watching for the dog.

2 days before my son would return...

I check on Pig, and he's laying there, spread out on his bedding, not looking too spry.  I pick him up and realize "Houston, we have a problem!".  His breathing had become labored, and his eyes were all crusty, and he didn't really want to move.

Horrible Dad: "You're gonna kill the piiiiiig!, you're gonna kill the piiiiig!  This is awesome, you are gonna kill your boy's pig, and it's gonna be all your fault, man, where is my popcorn and Dr. Pepper, I'll be right back..."

Compassionate Dad: "You got this, he's sick, but, you got the Internets, and you can fix this...if he's terminal, all you gotta do is keeping him alive until the boy gets home, take him to the vet, spend hundreds of dollars on a poorly performing spy, and if he dies, it'll be in your son's culpability on your part whatsoever."

I was pretty sure Compassionate Dad didn't like Pig, but he gave good advice.

I texted a 911 message to a friend, whose wife is a vet.  Then I took to the internets.

I checked my work schedule, since I work from home, the internet portal and my work portal are next to each other.  I dialed into a conference call and went to work on Guinea Pig Illness Diagnosis 101.  Which was pretty good, those guinea pigs have organized their owners and gotten them some web skillz.  I was able to quickly diagnose an Upper Respiratory Infection based on the symptoms.  Antibiotics needed.

Waiting on friend's vet wife. 

Working on conference call.

Internets:  Try to hand feed and water the ill pig, in order to keep its energy up.

Me:  Sitting in the living room, with a towel, Pig, water bottle (with vitamin C for all those sticklers out there), and a carrot...on a conference call discussing critical defects needed for an initial delivery of software to a very large bank in Eastern U.S.

20 minutes....tick-tock tick-tock....

Me: Sitting in living room, on conference call, now wet, pig shit on towel (and me), getting a little water in him, and he's trying to munch on carrot.

Horrible Dad: "You are actually trying to save him...[munch munch, nom nom, slurp]...I mean you can't make this stuff up, you think you're a vet or something, Pig is toast dude...just admit it, you suck, and you're gonna kill your boy's guinea pig...awesome stuff, you suck!"

Compassionate Dad: "Uhm, this is not going well, maybe the internets will have some more information or training that will help you become a vet in the next 10 minutes or something."  

I left Pig on the towel, (not like he was going anywhere), stopped to actually speak on the conference call for a few minutes, while I further consulted Al Gore's expertise on Guinea Pig URI's.  

Horrible Dad: "Did you catch that part about how URI's travel fast, and you have about 36 hours to get the antibiotics...Pig's dead dude, You killed the Piiiiig, You killed the Piiiig!"

Compassionate Dad: "You can still wait to hear back from the vet and get the antibiotics, just keep water in him and you have a chance."

Horrible Dad: "Yeah, or you can call 968-273-382533."

Compassionate Dad: "That's too many numbers."

Horrible Dad: "you-are-fucked....get it....get it....this is hilarious, why don't you move to Alaska or something, they need things killed there....I'm here all day folks [slurp]."

Me: I'm confused, angry, trying to work, trying to save pig, have pig shit on me, a dying pig, my boy's out of town, my software's in the tank...I'm living the dream.

I pick Pig up again, this time I give him some food pellets, since the carrot isn't working.  Great news, he's trying to eat.  He's weak, but he's working on the pellets.  

Compassionate Dad: "Uhm I think he's trying to swallow them whole, no teeth moving...dude, do something"

Me:  [digging pellets out of tiny guinea pig's mouth]  I think I got it.

Pig shudders, or convulses.  

Me: [On conference call], "I'm gonna have to drop, I've got another...thing, to go to"

I take Pig to the bathroom, where he looks at me with his crusty eyes.

"Oh, no, you are not going to die on have to wait two more days, until boy gets back, you are not gonna screw me like this."

Horrible Dad: "Oh yes he is, and it is all because you suck [chomp, chomp]...I live for this stuff."

Pig convulses heavily, it takes a minute for me to recognize this is what is happening...then goes limp, gasping for breath.

Compassionate Dad: "I think you better do something, you're losing him...this is where professionals would call in help from the crack medical you know guinea pig CPR?"

Me:  No.  [Trying to give some version of CPR to Pig, trying to see if his airway is obstructed]

Horrible Dad: "This is awesome, I'm gonna call some friends, he's giving CPR to a guinea pig!!!  This is better than when you killed his fish over Christmas by turning the Thermostat down to Manitoba to save'd that work out Pig Killer?"

[Text Message:  wife worked early, still asleep]

[Lots of cursing, Pig shaking, squeezing, more cursing, shaking, cursing]

Text Message to Wife: "we're screwed, Pig's dead"

Text Message from Wife: "yup"

RIP Frappaccino