Wish every day was your birthday, dad

By: Carol Feineman, editor
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Unfortunately, I often drive my dad crazy with my reasoning. I don’t mean to upset him, but sometimes, I act like a little kid when I disagree with advice he gives me. And I can be stubborn, insisting my way is right. My dad, though, can also be stubborn as he just as quickly tunes out my arguments. For the record, my dad’s usually right. This scenario repeated itself this week when my father looked at a home-inspection report for a Lincoln house I’m moving into next month. I thought reading the report would make him happy since my parents are counting the minutes until they can reclaim their house. They’ve graciously let me, my constantly-needing-attention-but-very-cute dog and my 20 unpacked boxes stay with them since I moved back from San Francisco in November. Showing my dad that home-inspection report, though, was the wrong decision to make. My dad became very agitated when he read that the 21-year-old roof was made of wood. My dad questioned why I would buy a house with the kind of roof that doesn’t stand a chance if a fire erupts in the surrounding area. At that moment, I felt like I wasn’t the smart, successful adult that I constantly tell my parents I am. I felt like I was a 6-year-old who once again forgot to look before crossing the street. I’m embarrassed to admit that my dad and I stopped talking to each other that night. I was mad, thinking my dad didn’t consider I was competent enough to deal with the repairs. After all, a cultural center’s board of directors, none of whom I was related to, in the 1990s trusted me to look after their 100-year-old national landmark that was deteriorating on a daily basis. The morning after our “disagreement” about the home-inspection report, I realized how childish I was being. A quick search on the Internet showed me that wood shingles have the worse ranking. Once again, I was reminded that my dad has my safety as his No. 1 priority. Just like he has since the day I was born. I then remembered my dad is quite knowledgeable and is considered pretty intelligent by his friends and acquaintances. After all, how many 86-year-olds still consult as a reliability engineer for Bay Area companies? Or are paid to tutor students in the Nevada Joint Union High School District? Not only that but my dad gets calls from adults wanting to apply for grad school who need help studying for their GREs. Did I mention that he’s at the gym at least four days weekly? Or that he and my mother usually come in as the top players every week at their duplicate bridge games. He carries out all these activities, despite his having suffered serious heart trouble, a ruptured disk and colon cancer, along the way. While others with those ailments might understandably complain about their obstacles, my dad has never grumbled about his ailments. That was true even when the doctor told him he might not walk again because of nerve paralysis. And still no complaints from my dad. Even if it meant he had to give up playing basketball when he was 74. Instead, my dad approaches the beginning of each day as the gift it is. I’m really proud of my dad. And I know that I’m extremely lucky, and I’m very grateful, that I can still turn to both my parents for help. Happy birthday, dad. You deserve a wonderful day, not only on Saturday but every day of the year. And please, dad, keep giving me your thoughts on the house. I’m really listening. And treasuring each word. Carol Feineman can be reached at 774-7972 or at carolf@gold