Since my dad moved into the apartment above my house I can honestly say that I've been entertained and every day is an adventure.
Before I head off to work, I always go upstairs to tell dad that I'm leaving. Usually he's sitting in his Archie Bunker chair watching an old time classic movie on AMC puffing away on a Pall Mall Red 100, Wilbur sprawled out on the floor at his feet.
The other day, I went up to bid dad farewell and as I entered his apartment I could see it was filled with smoke. Not a thick smoke, but a "something ain't right" smoke. Something was burning. At first I thought maybe dad had something in the the oven or toaster. Nope.
"Dad! What's burning?", I called out. Dad appears from his bedroom totally unaware that anything is wrong. "What are you talking about? Is something burning?" he asks.
"Dad! You entire apartment is filled with smoke and I SMELL something burning!! Don't you see or smell it?" I'm now looking for the source of smoke frantically searching from room to room and dad has his head in the fridge searching for a piece of ham.
"Oh, yea. Now I smell something", dad replies as he slowly saunders onto his back porch and picks up a black garbage bag. "It's probably something in here", then he puts the bag back down and starts walking back into the kitchen.
"Dad! If you think it's in THERE then why the hell don't you get it out of here" I grab the bag tear it open and realize that nothing is burning in it.
As dad opens the fridge to grab another piece of ham, I slam the door shut on him. I'm panicked. I run into his living room and there, next to his Archie Bunker chair is a plastic garbage can on fire. Of course dad is still in the kitchen. "Dad! Your fricking garbage can is on fire! Did you dump your ashtray in here?!"
Dad's eyeballs nearly popped out of his head when he saw me enter the kitchen with the garbage can in flames. "Holy Shit! The garbage can is on fire!" I could see the panic in his face now. Dad turned on the kitchen faucet and I doused the flames.
"Geez Chrissa, I'm so sorry. I'll never dump an ashtray like that again. I'm so sorry" dad kept saying over and over again. I could tell he was scared now, realizing the seriousness of what had happened, he was embarrassed and ashamed. I just shook my head and laughed, "What a Polak!" I said as I leaned in to give him a big hug. That's what everyone who loves him calls my dad...The Polak... and he loves it because he's proud to be Polish.
The story has a happy ending. My house is still standing, dad's not dumping ashtrays in garbage cans anymore and now when I enter his apartment I announce, "Fire in the Hole!" and he responds "Fuck you!"
Never a dull moment with dad around.