« Gated Immunity »

Yesterday and today, my dad came over and started to demolish the patio walls he built here in 2003. I had a secret rejoicing in me for that. The period when he built that patio was the most painful for me since at least 2001 when I found out he molested my sister ages ago. My old man is a cocky SOB who just can't do shit the way other people do it. He certainly doesn't do things better than people would, he just has to do things his way. Couple that with his property holdings, and he can pull a lot of rank on people who are dependent on him. Such is my experience. My mom and my step mom both had that sort of treatment. He even tried to pull it on his own mother at her house! The patio was just one of the latest instances of that.

In 2003 he had started his first piece of work here in many months once we had a leaky pipe at the ground level inside the bathroom where the rental rooms are. He took a sloppy and heavy handed approach to fixing it, and since we already had admitted to needing to remodel the bathroom anyway, he stripped out the tile/ceramic sink area and ripped out drywall. He put a cheap ass piece of linoleum down before he even went to work finishing off the drywall, then put a coat of paint down before he even sanded the drywall mud he put up. All of this was done in a really shoddy manner. I was disgusted. I found that the paint he had applied by one of his homeless laborer buddies would peel up. It wasn't a finish coat, nor would it work as a primer. Why it was painted was a total fucking mystery to me. It peeled off in sheets or bacon like strips. What crap. So once I found that out, I started peeling it up so they would be forced to do it again, maybe right. We had one roommate leave the week before all this happened, and one remaining. So Willy was down by a room's rent. There was no reason this bathroom/hall/carpet job could not have been done in a week, but he was doing this crap work, and I decided he should do better. So, instead of actually bothering to do this work better, once he saw me peeling up the paint in footlong strips, or sheets the size of a guitar's top, he just abandoned the job. It took me an awful long time to get that paint off, once it came to detailed spots. He totally left the work to me. He stopped coming over to work, and didn't hire anyone. But he'd come over and tell me how he was losing rent money and that the room would need to be rented. I was working a full time job for 3 weeks in March and found myself having to work on this bathroom after that, or whenever I could. He'd call and remind me to hurry up but would offer no real support. I managed to get the paint stripped and got the drywall to look like it was passable, then hired my friend Gene, who did the other bathroom a year before. Gene did the drywall mud texturing. I painted the stuff with a primer that was supposed to work, but didn't! So I found myself stripping the whole damned room AGAIN! I was pissed off beyond belief. Finally, I got it stripped and reprimed it and got it painted. I hired Gene to come in and do finishing work to install the cheap ass vanity cabinet and new sink, and to replace the shitty ass linoleum with the surplus piece I had from the other bathroom job. At least it matched. I got the old man to pay for Gene's work, but this whole project lasted SIX fucking weeks. My wrists hurt from all the scraping and sanding and painting. I couldn't play guitar for shit for a couple weeks. Willy, instead of helping me to get that work done, or doing it himself, was over here anyway, in a kind of mocking way. He was building a fence/gate on the side of the house. We didn't need this to be done. He thought it would be a good thing. While he was troubleshooting the water leak, he discovered the plumbing there was not the way he wanted it. So he took it upon himself to reroute the hot water only directly from the water heater straight across the attic space to the kitchen sink, with the tubing being partially outside. The idea worked, but his timing was shitty. He was doing all this while I was busting my ass in the bathroom, a job I never really asked to do.

In the end, he lost two months of rent on one room plus the cost of materials and labor for Gene and for whoever his cheap ass worker was. AND he also had to replace the carpet in the hall alone, while letting one room air out, and the bathroom be a total fucking mess for six weeks. He didn't want to replace ALL the carpet in the affected areas, so to this day, there is still a bedroom with the tiles intact, while the hall and the other bedroom have had their tiles stripped out. These tiles should have been stripped out before the carpet was put in back in 2001. But he was in a hurry to rent the place, and treated me with no respect then, nor in 2003, and not now...

About the time the bathroom was getting done and the place was rentable again, in mid April 2003 or so, he started to demolish the old patio cover that Bill Francis had built in 1997. That alone wasn't the problem; Bill's cover was not too great. It was pretty ratty. But while Willy had the thing stripped down to the slab, I was making suggestions that he build it RIGHT. I wanted to make sure that there was lots of light, as before, particularly from the south and the west. I wanted big windows on those sides, since he was determined to make it an enclosed room, albeit not as though it was a room in a house. It was supposed to be some sort of rec room. But instead of listen to me and put big windows in that would allow lots of light into the otherwise unlit living room, he did the opposite. Not only did he not use new windows, he used the small 18-24" tall windows that he planned to put at the top of his design... which was to be about five feet of bricks on all sides! The roof was solid, which made the living room dark. Then he had the brick walls built up ever higher so that there was about a 30" gap between roof and the top of the bricks. It got fairly dark in there, but his western wall also perfectly blocked the view from the dining room to the yard. I was pissed off as hell. He just ignored me. Anything I said, he did the opposite. He gave me nothing but lame ass sarcastic excuses and ass backward reasoning for why he had to build it this way. Supposedly we needed more privacy. What the fuck does he know about my need for privacy? From who? Why now, after years of an open and breezy patio cover/enclosure? He was just being a total asshole.

His workmanship was crap, as he always manages to provide here. His joints were sloppy, his straight lines weren't straight. His bricklaying was utterly shitty. At least he had the good sense to hire a guy after he did a section. In one of his usual cheap approaches he had a new layer of concrete poured on the slab to cover up the breaking slab below it. He built a door frame INTO the slab. The door itself was nicer than the one on the front of the house, and still is nicer than the one we eventually put on the front of the house, but its frame and threshold are submerged in cement. Everything about this fucking project but for maybe the roof was total crap. It was an abortion. Shit. His plan for closing in the gaps around the windows was to lay a piece of textured particle board over the window, nail it up, then cut out the space where the window would be. Who the fuck ever works like this??? This was horrendous, and he didn't give me the time of day. Instead, he laughed at me and offered to let me do it. I told him I just wanted him to do it right or not at all. I still had a front door to replace, an oven and heater to fix, and a French door to install. Thats not to mention that my big room needed a total remodel, and my bedroom needed to have its floor replaced, and lots of painting to go around, including the front of the house where he did his carport-garage conversion. It's not like there wasn't stuff that NEEDED to be done. His shitty garage work out front still was left without finish paint. But here he was, building this shitty box outside the living room. It looked like shit, it was illegal, it was repressive, it was totally unnecessary.

In August, after a summer of feeling like my roommates were ignoring me and my requests to have them clean up and keep the place in decent order, and enduring the building of the patio jail cell, I was going off the deep end in depression and anger. My home was being attacked by people both inside and outside of its walls. I couldn't get the old man to give me any support till August when we asked Eric the fat ass to leave. Robert left on his own. But by that point, I was just out of my mind. One day when Gus the Greek came to interview for the room Robert had left, the old man came by and started talking to him, and gave him the key on the spot and Gus was in just like that! Gus turned out to be a good roommate, but while he was being interviewed, Willy was condescending to me, he was talking about all the great things he had done for the house (as I am standing there, just seething with anger that this room was getting built, and that after the whole bathroom episode earlier in the year). I was pissed beyond belief. He's in my house, picking roommates for me, and telling them how I can't do this myself, and talking up a big plan for this room—stuff like 'oh, we could have a pool table, or foosball, or thisthatandtheother...' All this stuff going on, and I am just window dressing.

Around that time, I called the city to report this piece of shit work that only ever stood to satisfy him. Within a few days of that, I wanted to kill myself, and ended up at Halcyon, a nervous wreck racked with anger and fear and frustration, not only at this bunch of dad issues, but my own personal existential issues, and my decision to quit music.

While at Halcyon, I did manage to get him to hear a thing or two about how I was feeling, but despite the crisis state of things, we never really got past anything. We did have a conversation or two that seemed to break new ground, but after I got back, there was one day, a day less than a week later, when it just all flooded back. Kelli and I were in the back yard doing some painting on some little items, and he was here sitting like a king in his castle, in the patio. It was late September and I had asked him about installing the French door we had sitting in the garage since February, right before the whole bathroom/hall/bedroom issue was discovered. He probably made a comment about how he wanted to finish the patio first. Whatever it was, it escalated and I was getting more and more upset with him. He turned to look at Kelli, making talk like 'you hear a noise?' and 'he needs to learn to grow up' or any other such nonsense. He just ignored me, and talked to her. Finally, as I was yelling to be heard a few houses away, he just walked off and left without a word. I grabbed a brand new framed window (not even appropriate for the patio) he hadn't yet put in that was sitting there outside with us. As he closed the door on me, I picked it up by the frame and just heaved it down on the concrete in a fit of rage. Being only about three weeks since the day when I wanted to just kill myself, I was still really tender, and this sort of encounter was exactly the stuff I didn't need. I was seething in anger. How could he forget what nearly happened? Weeks before I wanted to knock myself off because of him. I thought maybe he'd give a shit and not push my buttons. Was his patio more important than me?

He left that day, and at some point soon after, he sent an email expecting me to replace the window by the end of that week. Not long later, he started on a new thing. Whenever I got upset about his work here, or called him on his shitty treatment, he now started to talk like, 'Hey, it's getting to be more trouble than its worth. Maybe I should just sell the house and be done with it.' Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck YOU asshole. Fuck you who didn't even wait for your mother to be dead in the ground before you came over here three days after she died and started building your fucking garage. Fuck you. Fuck you who wants to avoid paying for competent work to be done but will lose two month's rent money instead of getting it all done in a week, quite possibly for less. Fuck you who wants to "raise the value of the house" by doing shitty work and riding roughshod over my feelings and needs here. Fuck you who can't bother to call before you come over or can't bother to knock when you do show up. Fuck you who walks away from me when I am talking. Fuck you who shows me little human dignity and respect. Fuck you who continues to fuck with me by a nick here and a nick there, after chasing away the women in my life by your fucked up ways. Stay the fuck away from my wife. Fuck you who claims you love your only son, but can't bother to not participate in the sort of shitty behavior that almost killed him. Fuck you who says that there is no one else who matters in this world, but carries on like I am a hinderence to your greater potential as a landlord/property owner. Fuck you for reminding me how much you could get for this house if I were not here. Fuck you for turning our relationship into monetary terms. Fuck you for molesting my sister. Fuck you for making my junior high school years absofuckinglutely miserable. Fuck you for peeping on my girlfriend as she sleeps with me. Fuck you for moving my car out of the driveway when it was being worked on, at the same time as you were such an asshole that I finally moved house. Fuck you for telling me to move all my stuff out of here on new years day 1997 when I had nowhere else to keep it—it wasn't even your house. Fuck you for siding with the enemy when you listened to someone other than me about why I broke into the house here at 3:40 in the morning on a stormy new years day after a gig. Fuck you for talking down to me. Fuck you for not giving me encouragement to do what I wanted to do when I was learning how to play drums. Fuck you for talking your backwards and upside down talk when I need a straight answer. Fuck you for telling me its black when I am looking at white. Fuck you for all those days in Kmart when you picked seven shirts or pants and told me to pick three of them, all of which were ugly as hell. Fuck you for snagging this house and not respecting the wishes of your mother, or the people who knew her wish that I would live here without this shit you give me. Fuck you for playing your little game even after the goalposts have been taken down and the crowd went home. Fuck you for telling me to leave home because your imaginary Russian bride would be coming anytime now, but who never wanted to move in with you. Fuck you for bugging me to get up in the morning to find work at the same time you stopped working on account of getting fired. Fuck you for telling me that paying rent is an adult thing to do while you keep treating me like a kid that needs to be seen and not heard. Fuck you for getting in the way of my studio project in 1994-1997. Fuck you for throwing my dog over the fence when I was a kid. Fuck you for keeping Eda away from me after the divorce. Fuck you for forcing my mother to pay child support so I could go to Europe, so that you in turn could gloat about how great you were to have the foresight to see that I got to Europe like you did, and how she never would have provided such a thing if you weren't there to police her. Fuck you for pissing in my face and telling me its the spring rain.

But watching you have to take down the walls you built makes me smile. All you've done since you got this house is build walls, gates, fences. Barriers to keep people out, or to keep people in.

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