My father lost his battle with cancer on Saturday, November 20, 2010. We got him home on Friday, fully awake, and knowing all of us were there with him. The last conversation I had with him went exactly like this:
Dad: (waking up from dozing off) “What are you doing?”
Wormy: “Hanging out with you”
Wormy: “Cause this is where the party is!” (and then he fell back asleep)
The man loved to party. Trust me…just ask my friends and relatives. Carlo WAS the party. He made sure you had enough to eat, drink and he personally provided the entertainment himself. He was the funniest person I have ever met. Especially after a few rum and cokes. Sometimes after too many rum and cokes, we called him “Carlo Two Time” cause he would tend to say everything twice, but that’s another story.
Hospice came on Friday and gave us a checklist of what to expect when someone is about to pass on. On this list it states that the last thing to go is their hearing. My dad went into a sleep/coma state on Friday night and all I could think about was that I wanted him to laugh. Laugh at memories of the old times, reminisce about the good days and have funny recollections going through his mind instead of him being afraid. It’s the last gift I got to give him and I thought I would share it with you cause its some pretty funny shit.
Dad, remember that time me and Lushie ran your phone bill up to $400 calling 976-CHAT?
Lushie is my childhood friend and one of my BFF’s to this day. We were about 14 or so, I know we didn’t drive yet and I was stuck going to my dad’s every weekend cause my mom needed a break or it was a court order or something. Fourteen year olds get really bored really easily, and pre-internet, a service was invented called 976-CHAT. This prehistoric social media venue charged something like $2.99 a minute and my dad had 3-way calling on his phone (big mistake), so me and Lushie (who was also stuck at home) would burn up the chat phone lines every Saturday night talking to lonely 40 year old men that lived with their moms. We did this for about a month…until my dad got the phone bill. OYE!!! I was in a shit ton of trouble, but as you will see, it wasn’t the last time!
Dad, remember the time we took a family vacation and I got a bad donut in Breezewood and puked all over the rental van? And then Girlfriend #982403950243 took me and “Bad Influence” out for driving lessons in the rental van?
Vacations were not a common occurrence for us, and I’m using the term “family” very loosely. My dad had A LOT of girlfriends. Pattycakes was the soup de jour (meh, she lasted a few years) and she had 2 kids the same age as me and my brother. Her daughter “Bad Influence” got me into all sorts of trouble over the years. This particular trip to Ocean City, MD was really bad since I hurled Boston Crème donut all over the place before we even got to see the ocean, ruined my brand spanking new beach towel and causing a chain reaction of 5 other people dry heaving on each other with my dad screaming “Jesus Christ!” as he is trying to pull the van over on the side of road doing 100 miles an hour. He didn’t want to have to pay for the cleaning bill in a rental car. A few days later, Pattycakes decided it would be an awesome idea to teach me and Bad Influence how to drive, since BI would be 16 in a few months and I was soon to follow. What we didn’t bank on was dad’s OCD. He kept track of the mileage on the car and the next day when he got in and realized the odometer was 2 miles more than when he parked it, we were cold stone busted. Pattycakes took the heat for that one. She was the adult in this scenario after all. I had nothing to with it. <Teehee>
Dad, remember the time me and Bad Influence went for a “walk” and came home 6 hours later to find out you had 4 township police departments out looking for us?
I told you this girl was trouble. Me and BI were bored. 976-CHAT was off limits by this time so what else are teenage girls going to do but look for trouble under the guise of going on a walk. We were bumming around at the Quick Mart and ran into some dude BI knew. He asked if we wanted to hang. We said sure. Next thing you know, we are driving to a bar, getting a 6-pack and cruising around getting “drunk”. We were 15/16 maybe? La te da…we stop at a diner for a bit, we cruise some more, we drink the rest of the 6-pack and before we know it 6 hours had gone by. We were like, “we really should get home”…..only to find the police from Scott Twp, Greentree, Mt. Lebanon and Carnegie at my dad’s house. They had our pictures and were getting ready to canvass the area. As soon as Pattycakes saw us she started violently vomiting into the bushes for like 10 minutes. Um, yeah….we were trouble again. We had to sit with the cops and get a stern talking to about wandering off, all the while hoping they didn’t smell beer on our breath. Thank God I didn’t smoke pot yet, I can never hide that shit.
Dad, remember the time you thought I was a lesbian?
I’m about 25 at this point and hadn’t dated anyone serious in a very long time. Every time I talked to my dad he would ask if I was dating. After months of saying no, he finally couldn’t take it anymore and needed to know if his suspicions were correct. He actually said to me “You do like boys, don’t you?” I’m like, “Yeah! Are you asking me if I’m gay? Are you serious?” Yes, he was serious. The cool thing is, he couldn’t care less if I was gay, I just think he wanted to know what the deal was.
Dad, remember the time I puked and passed out on your bathroom floor on New Years Eve in my ball gown and you threw a bag of frozen peas at my head?
This is the infamous “Spill a little rum in it this time, Sparky!” incident. This is one of Hot Mama’s favorite Wormy Stories. For the record, don’t ever repeat that statement to a bartender, ever. They will fuck you up. Not only did I say it, I said it about 10 times cause I thought I was oh-so-cute and boy o’ boy did he spill some rum in it. My dad and step-mom, and me and my step-brother (during my pseudo-lesbian days) all went out to a big swanky affair for New Years at a hotel. IT WAS EPIC. One thousand people (no joke), everyone dressed in gowns and tux’s, dinner, two comics, a band and an open bar all night lead to one of the most insane nights of my life. We make it home, for which I have no recollections….all I could think was I had to make it to the toilet. And I did, in my fancy gown blowing chunks of dinner and White Russian’s up and crying. Don’t forget the crying. I haven’t had a White Russian since. My dad kicks in the door and starts screaming….and then throws a bag of frozen peas at me. I can’t tell you how wonderful that frozen bag of peas felt. It was like clutching your teddy bear when your scared of the dark, only better. When I was done puking, my dad picked me up and put me in bed, with my peas…no one was prying those peas off of me. New Years Day, I wake up at 2pm, to my dad standing over me yelling “I WILL NEVER DRINK AGAIN! SAY IT WITH ME WORMY…I WILL NEVER DRINK AGAIN!” My head is pounding, my mouth is sticky. I start crying….he starts laughing. I love that man.
Carlo was a Vietnam Vet, a husband twice, a father of 2, a step-father of 2, a grandfather of 3, a self employed painting contractor, a sharp dresser, an Extreme Home Makeover volunteer, a high school wrestler, a softball player, a fantastic dancer, a lover to many, a puke cleaner-uper, a heart attack survivor, a wiper of tears, a piano player, a lover of cigars, cigarettes, rum, Michael Jackson, the Steelers, Motown, the beach, laughing, good food, good times, and loved being the life of the party. And most of all, he was my dad.