Hello, friends! I'm back in Minnesota!
These past few months have been a roller coaster. I'll try to summarize them the best I can.
Last year, in June 2015, I moved with Natalie to her parent's house in Minnesota. Natalie's parents provided us with food and board as long as we worked hard on our animation careers. We accomplished a lot in 6 months (you can can read about it here!) All that came to a stop in December when my Dad became mortally ill.
I flew back to Salt Lake City during the holidays to care for my father. He had a severe flu and had been taking sleep medications with alcohol to cope with his depression. All these symptoms made him despondent and hardly conscious. In time I was able to nurse him back to health and get him to a functional level. He then told me his final wish was for me and my brother to inherit his estate, repair it with his savings, and move in with our families.
Natalie and I had no desire to move back to Salt Lake City because the living conditions for us there were horrible. The house was in disrepair and would require years of renovations to be up to code. Natalie and I struggled for months to scrounge up enough money to leave Salt Lake City behind and now we were being sucked back in!
But I owed it to my father to try. He adopted me and took me in as his own. He helped my Mother gain citizenship and avoid free labor under the threat of deportation. He paid for my education and has always been there for me. My father was now giving me everything he had in his possession in exchange for help and it would be cruel of me to turn away and let him drink himself to death.
At the same time, I did not want to sacrifice my dreams and the progress that Natalie and I worked so hard to attain. We came to a compromise with my father that we would live in Salt Lake City and repair his home until my brother finished his service in the Marines. My brother would then take our place and look after my Dad.
I got to work immediately with my friend, Michael.
Together we got my room to be in a "liveable" condition and even began installing a bathroom.
Unfortunately my friend Mike had his own company to run and it was up to me to slowly finish the rest of the house. I lost steam after a month and left to go pick up Natalie and our dog, Shady. We moved back to Salt Lake City in March and hoped things would work out from there.
I was immediately overwhelmed.
The house was more than I could handle. The balcony is falling off, black mold stains the corners of every room, the roof is warped and leaking, there's cat hair and dust everywhere, the only portion of carpet in the house hasn't been vacuumed in years, and doing so could unleash more mold spores. Cat shit litters the garage and the walls are stained from my father's decades of smoking. There are many more details that I'm leaving out. I had a lot of problems to take care of on top of being a caretaker, "husband", animator, and having a regular job to sustain myself.
Three stolen vehicles were parked in our backyard in the span of a month and a half. Our garage was broken into. My father welcomed a drug dealer into our home hoping that I'd sell my old car to him in exchange for help putting up drywall. I declined the offer and my Dad was furious that I let an opportunity go to waste.
Working with my father proved to be difficult as he wouldn't let me make the home suitable for me and Natalie. After the second stolen vehicle and garage break-in, he refused to let me build a fence in the backyard (for some weird unknown personal reason?) His compromise was that we take garbage, consisting of tree limbs and construction debris, to litter the backyard and make it unappealing for strangers to lounge around. So instead of having a fence, we would be being protected by a wall of garbage.
My father valued the cat's whims over our own safety. We installed bolt locks on the front door to heighten our security and my father would undo it by leaving the front window ajar for the cat to freely come in and out of the house any time of the day. After failing to reason with him, Natalie and my father began to ignore each other.
My father is an old man who doesn't have good hygiene habits. He would use a rag instead of toilet paper to clean himself and would not wash his hands afterward. He would then drape the rag over the faucet and knobs of the bath tub making the only sterile room in the house filthy. He would also pet our dog often and we had to lock her in our room because we couldn't keep her clean.
Overall, things just sucked. Things weren't going to change.
My Dad kept drinking, my job wasn't paying enough, nobody in the family was able to help me, and I didn't have any time to finish the remaining construction.
In the beginning of July I visited California and talked with some animator pals of mine who talked some sense into me. They helped me admit that this was a dead end and I had to start looking out for my future and what I wanted in life.
I apologized to my father that I couldn't fulfill his wishes and drove back to Minnesota with Natalie on short notice.
I'm now getting settled in Minnesota feeling depressed about my decision. But I don't regret it.
I worked really hard, I tried, and I learned a lot about myself.
My father is awesome and I hope to preserve what he gave me.
An education, a chance in life, and knowing what it's like to have a father who cares about me even though we're not blood related. Even though things didn't work out, I hope he'll stick around to watch me kick ass.
Love you, Dad.
P.S. I turn 28 today. Happy Birthday to me.