Driving Mister Dad – Part 2

We also visited four different Wal-Marts (San Jose, Gilroy, Mountain View and Roseville).  The San Jose (Monterey Road) and Mountain View stores were smaller than average with a limited grocery selection.  The first time Dad and I visited the Mountain View store was 6:30AM on Black Friday after Thanksgiving in 2005 where 16 police cars were outside for a riot that broke out over a cheap flat screen TV. On these two recent occasions, he was able to drive an electric cart around the store.  If he was driving the truck, he would’ve been arrested for DUI because of his medications.  Although he managed to run over my feet a half-dozen times, he didn’t kill anyone despite all the near misses and plowing through the crowds.  He didn’t like the Gilroy super store because the grocery department was on the wrong side (left instead of right), selection was limited and prices were higher than the local grocery stores.  The Roseville super store was, of course, perfect.  Except he was mad that three electric carts were out of order and the other two were being used by people more mobile than him.  Angry Senior Citizen in a wheelchair was less frightening than Angry Senior Citizen in an electric cart on full throttle.

Last month I had to take my car to the shop to replace the vacuum hose, fix a ground fault and install a new Interstate battery.  I was able to take the old battery back to Kragen for a warranty exchange and the shop bought back the battery.   However, that wasn’t the end of my car troubles.  This month I started having trouble starting up the car.  Went back into the shop where all the mechanics groaned when I drove up.  This time the ignition switch and right headlight was replaced.  Dad took the ignition switch apart to confirm that the contacts inside were worn down, which might’ve been the cause of all the electrical problems in the car.  The brand new Kragen battery was diagnosed as bad—the third one in a year.  I bought an Interstate battery from the shop.  When the clerks at Kragen found no record that the recent battery was exchanged under warranty six weeks before, they took back the battery and gave me a full refund.  Dad paid $800 USD in repair bills to get my car up and running again.  Whenever he complains about that, I remind him that he gave me a lemon—or a lime, the car is green—for my birthday three years ago and the yearly cost of insurance, registration and smog is more than the blue book value of the car.

Dad will have his last doctor appointment next week.  Whether he gets a clean bill of health or not, I’m kicking him out.  After two months of putting up with Angry Senior Citizen, I’m looking forward to getting my own place back.  He’ll be happy to get his own place back in Sacramento where all the over-the-air TV channels are in English and his neighbors are white as slice bread.  (He’s not racist, just stuck in the 1950s.)  I’m treating his departure the same way I treated the departure of the bedbugs a few summers ago: renting a rug shampooer to clean the carpets, putting my dedicated office space back together, and cleaning the apartment from top to bottom. I’ll be driving up to Sacramento every week or two to visit him and make sure he’s doing fine now that I know how to get to his trailer park and have the endurance to put up with the long drives.

Fortunately, my car doesn’t come with a backseat driver in the passenger seat.