Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hissy Fits: A Family Tradition

 I've spent most of this week and weekend, attempting to de-clutter and rearrange the contents of our house so that we might (Ha! Yeah right!) get a little more space. In my last post, I mentioned that I am definitely turning into my father.I've had many, many, many hissy fits during the adventure, just like the Old Man would, and I was reminded of this little gem from days gone by. Enjoy...

*****

My dad's a laid back fellow - the strong, silent type for the most part - but when the mood strikes him, all hell breaks loose and he unleashes with the most amusing hissy fits. It's alright to snicker at his discontent, just as long as he doesn't catch you laughing.

One of my favorite Old Man hissy fits took place in the summer of 2004: it was a beautiful afternoon, and Dad had been doing some yard work ."God damn it, you'd better get that taken care of while it's nice outside!" He mowed, he moved rocks, he puttered around just looking for things to 'take care of'. 

The rest of the family, enjoyed his antics from the comfort of the old hammock and patio set, cold glasses of sweet tea in hand. We may or may not have made comments regarding the fact that he was going to work himself into a heat stroke wearing Wranglers and steel-toe boots, doing all of that manual labor in the humid July sun. He may or may not have told us something along the lines of "If I don't do it, nobody will. Wouldn't want you guys to get your hands dirty..." 

After a particularly long stretch of polishing his lawn mower - a favorite activity among old men - the Old Man decided to take a break. He came over to sit down on the ancient hammock and drink a glass of tea with the rest of the family.

Just as Dad sat down and fully relaxed, the rusted old frame buckled, dumping him onto the ground! "Well sonofabitch! God damn hammock....*grumble grumble grumble*" There were silent giggles and looks of amusement exchanged all around, but of course, only until Dad got himself up. Then commenced the fixing of the hammock. "Come on boy, we gotta fix this piece of shit before someone kills themselves on it." Jimmy, it seemed, would be getting his hands dirty.

While they went to the garage to find something to MacGuyver the hammock back together, Mom and I sat laughing over the Old Man's hissy fit and after a few minutes had passed, they returned and the hammock was fixed.

Dad, true to the ways of a dictator, never fully trusts his own craftsmanship and prefers someone else test out his repair work. "Jennifer, sit down in that hammock and make sure it isn't gonna break again. Should be good now." Hesitantly, I did as I was told and the hammock held my (then) 100lb body with ease.

Satisfied that he'd done his part and had earned the chance to relax, Dad pulled up a plastic patio chair and collapsed into it with all of his might. Sadly, the beautiful lawn at the old homestead is filled with small hills, and the Old Man's chair was positioned on one of those hills. When he sat, the chair leaned back at an odd angle and a leg snapped off. The Old Man and the chair both went tumbling down the hill much like Jack and Jill in the old nursery rhyme - tea glass and ice cubes flying through the air!

This time, we didn't even attempt to hide our amusement as he stood up yelling, bits of Zoysia grass stuck to his Harley cut off, tea on his Wranglers, clutching the detached leg in one hand. "Mo-ther! Fuck-er! This sorry piece of shit! Just once in my life, I wanna own something that doesn't break as soon as you fucking touch it....*blah blah blah*" And then, because we were all laughing at him and that's definitely not allowed, his temper really got the best of him and he attempted to kick the broken chair across the driveway! His foot missed the chair, of course (Dad's no athlete - "Sports are for pussies who are too lazy to get a real job!"), and then we really laughed!

At that point, he laughed too. He still cussed, but laughed all the same. Then he threw the broken patio chair into the garbage and went inside to take a nap. The recliner is always an old man's safe place!