Luddites, Psychiatrists, Alkies and Going Home for The Holidays

Hey all,Off to Idyllwild tomorrow morning. Will be there for a week to spend time with my dad and wicked stepmother. She’s not really wicked. Now his second wife, that bitch was the anti-christ. Idyllwild, California is in the San Jacinto Mountains and sits above Palm Springs. 6000 feet above Palm Springs. It’s a tiny village of about 2500 people year round, and probably 5000 people in the summer. A lot of folks in Palm Desert, Palm Springs have their summer homes in Idyllwild.

This is the view from the deck of my old home in Idyllwild.

Haven’t seen my father in almost two years, although we talk weekly on the phone. The trip is my birthday gift.He has a beautiful Knabe concert grand piano, and you can bet I’ve packed some sheet music. Am working on two songs right now and debated packing the only copies of those pieces that I have. Threw them in. Decided if my baggage is destroyed it’ll be a sign that the music sucked. Dad’s down to working only 2 days a week now and attempting to retire. Finally. He called a few weeks ago excited as hell“Do you know what I did today?” he says“No” say I.“I was finally able to cancel my malpractice insurance!” he laughs.You have to understand that psychiatrists pay a huge amount in malpractice premiums, onlythird to anesthesiologists and gynecologists. Yep. Even surgeons pay less. Psychiatrists also spend 12 years in high education, which is 2 or 3 years more than any other discipline in medicine. There are therefore fewer psychiatrists than any other specialty.

Looking back I’m not sure how I made it through 4 years of college.My dad’s malpractice premiums were in the neighborhood of $20,000.00 a year. That’s a big chunk of money, especially for a guy who would see people for whatever they could afford to pay, accept Medicaid, and take all kinds of weird stuff in trade. One year everyone in the family got a case of jams, because his patient’s family owned orchards and the patient offered to pay in this particular commodity.My dad won’t treat people who he feels need an AA or NA program first. He should know. He has twice the amount of time clean and sober that I do. He’s going on 25 years. He tries not to prescribe meds unless absolutely necessary. He’s a good guy. Totally fucking whacked but a good guy. Let’s face it, people who go into the mental health field do so because they’re nuts.The next time you diss doctors remember all of the good ones out there.

Well, I miss dad and will be glad to see him. I’m not looking forward to seeing old friends. When I left I was a successful respected (ha!) business owner. Now I’m a ne’er do well who’s pale and plumper than on my last visit. Not only that but my original store is there. I sold it and it’s under new ownership, but still I’ll be sad. The idiots who purchased it changed the focus and almost ran it into the ground. It’s still open though. This was prior to my Cabin Fever store in Michigan. Argh.So the bags are packed (4 carry on size bags since I can’t lift a suitcase) and the flight leaves tomorrow at 10:55 am.Dropped the cat off at the vet for boarding this morning, and the kid claims she is packed as well. I’m not even gonna stress on that potential debacle.My father is a Luddite when it comes to computers. He wouldn’t even know how to turn one on. There is one computer in the house. It’s at the top of a steep spiral staircase on the third floor, and, there’s a dial-up connection.

Don’t look for any new blogs for a week.I’m gonna relax, let Cate hang out with her daddy (he lives in Idyllwild as well) and read. I will not be compelled to clean because it’s not my house. Besides, it’s immaculate anyway. Not only that but… they’re carnivores! Finally real food.This will be an interesting visit. All parents and children have a rocky past, at least the ones I know. My dad and I were estranged from some years but have been very close again in the last 15.

There’s nothing cheerful, happy or good about growing up in an alcoholic family. I’ve blocked out most of my childhood. Literally years of it. My younger sister remembers so many things that I have no recollection of. Even though my parents divorced when I was 8, the darkness of those years, and all of the years until I went away to college helped to shape me.I don’t know anyone who came from a ‘happy family’. If they say so they’re in denial. People are too unpredictable and we can only try to keep from making the same mistakes that out parents made with us. We get to make new ones. Cool.Getting older means making amends and realizing that for the most part our parents did the absolute best that they could at the time. It’s about forgiveness of our own behaviors as well, and gratefulness. In my case, those old wounds have healed over and the scar tissue has made a stronger and more enduring bond than any Band-Aid ever could.

I’m lucky in this respect because I know that many people will never forgive their parents or themselves. They will never be able to see the good in any person, because it is so easy to find fault. Yeah my parents made some shitty mistakes. I’ve no doubt that my own daughter will some day say the same about me. I take solace in my sobriety, for I became sober when Cate was a baby. In Idyllwild. I’m also lucky in that she considers me her best friend, at the age of 13 yet. When I was 13 I wanted my parents to both self-immolate.As David Byrne sang…. Some good points. Some bad points.I started this essay to just give a quick See ‘ya in a week. Instead you’ve gained a small glimpse into my mind.

That’s what this blog is for though.A writer writes. Sometimes it’s crap. Sometimes it’s accidental self-revelation, sometimes it’s simple observations. It’s all necessary. Hope that you have a great Thanksgiving, take time off, eat till your pants are tight and give someone you know a call. I deem these necessary as well.

~Miss R

Currently listening:
Talking Heads: 77
By: Talking Heads
CD Release date: 25 October, 1990

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