The Tale of the Packrat Papa

I love my dad. I really do.

It’s just hard some days when I feel like my only value to him is as an ATM or a storage unit.

Yesterday, for the second time in two days, he calls. He wants to know if he can drop off more stuff to store in my garage. I begrudgingly say yes. I hang up and yell. My sister, who lives with us, and my hubby know immediately who called. He has more stuff from one of his storage units he needs to drop off.

Oh, wait. That’s him calling. Right now. He needs to cover a check. By 2 p.m. Can I write a check for him to deposit to cover it? He’ll pay me tonight. It’s $200. Why does my father not have $200? Aargh…

To be continued, as I now am going to walk from my office to the bank. At least it’s not snowing…

I’m back. And I think I am only angrier. So I just called my DH to tell him how absolutely insane this is. Why, why, why does my father put me in situations like this? It’s a no-win situation. If I say yes, I’m out money, my side of the garage, whatever. If I say no, I’m the bad daughter.

What parent asks their child for money? I guess maybe the parent of a super rich person. But I’m a journalist, my hubby’s a photographer. And if we were super rich, we would have given our family money already. But we aren’t.

It only infuriates me all the more because I’ve told him it’s weird and inappropriate to ask his children for money. Yet he does this all time. He says he helps us out, we help him out. I guess I assumed paying for college and giving us some money for our wedding was just part of the whole parent thing. Not something to hold over your child’s head and make them feel like crap.

For example, I had stored in my garage for more than a year his old Chevelle (no engine, two flat tires) that was filled with boxes of his crap – and seriously, it is crap, old papers, broken whatevers he will never fix, etc. I begged and begged him for it to be out of our garage for the day-after-our-wedding party we were having at our house. Yeah, he got it out. Three hours before the party. Two years later, it’s still sitting on blocks in his driveway. I’ve had to pay his storage units because he gets behind on rent. I put it on the credit card, months later he pays me back. He’s asked my mom – his ex wife of 25 years – for $35,000 but wouldn’t tell her for what the money would be used. He asked my sister to ask my grandfather, his ex father-in-law for that $35K.

And before you think I’m super mean, I do find it incredibly sad that my father has to borrow $200 from his daughter to get by. It totally is.

But take a deep breath as you read this next sentence. My father spends around $40,000 annually on storage units.

And it’s not like storage units filled with expensive cars or fine antique furniture. No, it’s 75 expired fire extinguishers, miles and miles of tubing, broken, dilapidated cars he can’t bear to sell for scrap. I can’t feel too sorry for him about having no money when he spends $40k a year crap, literally, when it equals two IVF cycles. Two chances of a family…

I just worry that his packratness affects me. I don’t keep crap like he does. But I hang on to things internally. I try to live without regrets – I say there is nothing you can do about what you did in the past but do right and better today and tomorrow. But don’t think I don’t still kick myself for hooking up with this guy or not taking that job offer or seating this person at that table at our wedding or going in February not December to get the pap that since turned my babymaking into babywaiting.

I do. I am a packrat of my past – these feelings of guilt and what I could have done better.

I am trying to be a better person and let go. I’m trying to be a better daughter and not be so mad at my dad and accept him for the weirdo he is.

But it’s hard. I don’t know how to let it go and to forgive myself. I believe it’s partly my Libra nature – I want everything harmonious even if it means inside I’ve boxed up negativity that gets unpacked to where I see the mess but it never really gets thrown away.

Maybe this is why the universe is putting the babymaking on hold. So I can do some spring cleaning and finally kick out the packrat that lurks inside.

*Note: I have lived with my sister longer than anyone. It’s not like we enjoy it always but it just is that way. As her latest return to our house is from her roommate buying a condo downtown and my sis owning and working at her own shop in the suburbs. Financially, she just can’t afford to pay rent and run the shop, so she lives with us. It was only supposed to be temporary though. She moved in in August and was supposed to be out by October into a condo owned by my dad that is ONLY filled with his shit. Been that way since about 1985. Yep. It’s April. When we ask my dad says he’s too busy to clean out the condo. We know it’s never going to happen. Why’d he promise her it? I really don’t know. Awesome. Frickin awesome.

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One Response to “The Tale of the Packrat Papa”

  1. Mary Ellen and Steve Says:

    It sounds like you need to set some boundaries with your family Jen. You have enough on your plate right now. I know that you love them, but it sounds like they are taking advantage of your kindness. Sending you a hug.

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