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Mom: "We went to Mandarin for H's birthday"
Dad: "I tried to invite you, but you didn't answer"
Me: "Oh, that's a bummer. I hear it's a nice buffet"
Sister: "Yeah it's great."
Me: "One of my employees was going on and on about it then discovered they took crab off the menu. Now he hates it"
Sister: "Yeah, I heard other people are disappointed about the crab"
Dad: "You could have gone if you'd talked to me."
Me: "Oh gee. I'm not that hard to get a hold of. Did you leave a voicemail?"
Mom: hint of sarcasm "Your father doesn't leave messages"
Me: "Or email, or call the house, or Facebook, or ask the techs to page me...
Dad: "I didn't realize I needed an appointment to see you."
Me: "What? No, but I didn't realize I needed to watch all my phones 24 hours a day for the rare possibility you may call."

In short time, he interrupted me in the middle of something important I was talking about so make me fix his computer. He wasn't listening, and whatever it was was not as important as his wifi crapping out.

This is "Knives-out" in my family. I know your families throw literal knives and set each other on fire, so no1curr, but this is the most sass I've given in a while. I'm actually a little proud of myself. Mind you, I suppose I should have used a different language.

"You sound disappointed I didn't go dad. I'm disappointed I didn't get to see you, either. Maybe we can work together to get in the habit of keeping in touch."

But I don't wanna.

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He didn't leave a message, and yet.

UGH. What passive-aggressive crap.

Honestly, I half dread contact him because of weird subtle mixed messages.

The other half because he needs me to do some stupid shit. I visit and I'm spending the visit working on his virus-riddled computer. Or my brother in law and I are hauling a fridge.

He helps his fussy disabled neighbour by picking up his leaves and bagging acorns. He complains he's talked to K's kids saying he can't do K's yard anymore and they just chuckle. (My dad has a tractor. He's not doing it by hand.)

Then after complaining about K's ingrate kids, he's asking me "are you coming to the cottage to help with the leaves?" me, coldly "if you need me to, I'll go" "Naw. That's all right" SO DO YOU WANT ME TO OR NOT, DAD? I'm not going to beg to rake acorns. I'm going to translate all these mixed messages in the way that doesn't leave me sweaty and itching and trapped with my parents for a weekend.

I'm surprised it's only half-dread. You need a freakin' cypher to figure out the messages--but I love that you default to "nooooope".

Here's the thing. He's doing leaves and raking acorns to please the old guy in the neighbourhood because he doesn't want the confrontation. He doesn't want to do it. We're all subtle and non-confrontational. The one who breaks the shame centipede is the asshole.

I'm somewhat familiar with that position. But if you do it then everyone else can, too. You're giving permission. You are a goddamned hero.

No, it's just "Sigh! That's just Steven..."

Then my sister will feel responsible.

My dad told my sister she can have his chafing dishes when he dies, then they made sure I know. I'm like ok. "You're sister's going to get all the stuff. But you can have the model cars" "Oh, I'm sure after you shuffle this mortal coil, Patti is going to walk all over me." Group Lololol-whyisthisaconversation?

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