COLUMN: Rats in my loo - Dad’s offside behaviour

Dave Kelly is our latest guest columnist, talking about life living with his dad.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 8:24 am
Updated Friday, 29th March 2019, 9:43 am

My dad moved in with me following the sad, but ultimately inevitable, time of my mum passing over last October.

As he had to give up his adapted flat, we looked at options of other places and, because I had the space - and, well, because he is my dad - the obvious choice was to move in with me to the ultimate bachelor pad in Holbeck. I also inherited my nephew, who had temporarily moved in to support my dad caring for my mum in her final months, which shows he has a good heart. It would help with bills, be good company and my dad would make his famous chips every night!

We would be like Three Musketeers as opposed to Three Stooges ... best laid plans and all that!

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

I have lived alone for ten years, a few short-lived lodgers aside, so I’m used to things being a certain way - knives in drawers, different level of unwashed clothes in piles, garden like a scrap yard - order to my chaos, that sort of thing. Before they moved in, we agreed on a few ground rules we would all try to make work by changing the way we did things. And this worked ... for about nine days!

As the months unfolded and my dad unpacked the contents of his flat into one bedroom, slowly starting slyly to introduce his tat across MY house, this resulted in a daily rebuttal of what I considered to be offside behaviour. This continued for months and resulted in a few rows after finding a fez in the larder and rubber rats left in the downstairs toilet - nearly resulting in cardiac arrest in the middle of the night.

Things went on in the house of fun! When I tried to throw out his giant fishing net, that adorns the pantry, he grabbed it off me and said “I need that”. Two weeks later, after a visit from another nephew, he came in and informed us his son had dropped his car keys down the drain. Cue my dad leaping into action with his fishing net and unbelievably retrieving them while I was on the phone to the AA. Touche pop!

Living alone can desensitise you to what others see as normal everyday routines. Having family around 24/7 was feeling more like a burden and I began picking faults. My dad is 73 and from a post-war generation that grew up on bomb sites in Greenock, used to saving and re-purposing items, as times were hard and you made do and mended. Or hoarding as I would call it.

Don’t get me wrong, It’s not all been bad. My dad cooks, cleans, washes clothes, buys shopping, gets stuck into the garden, all in the name of keeping busy. After all, now he has a lot of time on my hands. Then it hit me! He was married to my mum for 50 years. Now, she isn’t here anymore. How hard must that be?

I post his antics on Facebook, where it looks like a riot at my house, and sometimes we still have our flare-ups, me being king of my castle and him being Alfred to my Bruce Wayne. We are season ticket holders with my kids at Elland Road and go to Holbeck Club a couple of times a week. I try to make sure he socialises where possible. He helps me enormously. I know that his latter years should be full of joy, not carrying on with me over things that, in the grand scheme of things, really shouldn’t matter.

I’ve learned a lot of things from my dad. A friendlier guy you couldn’t meet. He deserves better than the hand he has been dealt, although I’m sure he would disagree. I love him with all my heart, even when I’m in the toilet, only to look up and see a stuffed owl glaring at me.