Wednesday, April 27, 2011

#26 Loud Sneezes

What is that rumbling? Was that my stomach? Am I hungry? You walk into the kitchen to quench this hunger to see Dad bracing himself against the counter holding a tissue. What just happened? As you turn around to exit the kitchen, Dad starts making noises you've only heard on cartoons.


Dad lets out a thundering sneeze that causes your Dog to perk up and scurry into your room and hide under the bed. Dad holds out the last bit like the ending of a song.
"Much better" Dad says with a sigh of relief. "Dad, is it really necessary to sneeze like that?" "How else am I supposed to get the germs out?" Dad asks quizzically. Good point.

Dad does a lot of things discreetly, but sneezing is not one of them. This is his announcement that He is Man, and that He has germs. The sneeze is a release not only of the germs but all the tension Dad has built up from day to day tasks at work, nagging from mom, as well as strain on his body still felt from putting together your Fisher-Price playset in the backyard.

It is not only the sneeze itself that is unique to Dad, but also the build up. If you're lucky, it is like watching a nature show. Dad will halt his motion and perch up. Dad wiggles the nostrils and moves his arms slowly to his sides as if a ghost has just touched the back of his neck. The sneeze is coming and there is no stopping it now. Dad sets his head back for a heaving motion while braces himself by grabbing any countertop nearby (sometimes grabbing his own belt loops or tshirt as a last resort). Dad heaves his head forward while releasing the magnificent sound that you and your friends fake to get out of class: AAAACCCHOOOOOOOOOOOOO (just when you think its over) OOOOWHHHOOOOOOOO
Dad pulls out a handkerchief from who knows where and wipes his face. "Much better," Dad smirks. Yes, Dad. It doesn't get much better than that.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

#25 Hiding Easter Eggs

It’s Easter Sunday, which as a child you woke up on a scale of one to Christmas is probably around a four. There is usually church and brunch involved, but as a kid you only think about the Easter egg hunt. Combining the thrill of hide-and-seek with the rewards of Halloween, you are on a sugar fueled scavenger hunt through the house so find chocolate and Peeps. You feel as if you have combed the house and checked the usual spots, but Dad mentions that you haven’t even found half of the eggs. The Easter Bunny (aka Dad) has done it again. He has hid eggs in impossible locations that will take hours to find.

Dads love to make small occasions such as Easter egg hunts comparable to seeking the Lost City of Atlantis or the Fountain of Youth. Cramming eggs behind televisions, in flower pots, or even balancing them on the top of the living room fan; Dad is perpetually scouting new locations to hide those orbs of sweetness. Some Dads even utilize the ultimate Dad tool, duct tape, to tape eggs to the bottoms of tables or under the ottoman so that eggs can avoid detection for hours. These situations call for the classic “hot or cold” game for the children to find the remaining eggs so all can be accounted for.

Veteran Dads must keep a mental count of how many eggs are still active so that no egg is ever forgotten. In this rare situation, an Easter egg could be left in hidden until someone is rearranging the furniture in the middle of August and a hot pink plastic egg falls out from behind Grandma’s urn. Sometimes a leftover egg will be found during the next year’s search, the mark of a legendary Easter egg hider.

Someday Dad will pass on his knowledge for important Dad functions: how to grill a steak, rake the leaves, do the taxes, and other important matters. If you are lucky, he may just pass on how to scout and hide the Easter egg horde.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

#24 Piggyback Rides

"I can't possibly take another step" you exclaim while dragging your feet across the sidewalk as if it were quicksand pulling you down. "We've been walking for miles!" You protest. In reality, you have walked about 50 yards but it has taken 10 minutes because of your consistent complaining. That is when you see the second best image (The first being new presents under the christmas tree) in your life: Dad is bent over crouching, signaling that He will give you a piggyback.

Your legs instantly feel refreshed as you run full speed and jump into Dad's back and link your arms around his neck. "Oooooffffff" Dad breathes out for his last normal breath for the next 20 minutes. Dad lurches you higher up his back for support and to stop you from choking him. That's when you get the view.

You can see EVERYTHING. Mountain tops have nothing on you. You see the cotton candy vendor across the park. You see poor little kids having to hold their moms hands as they walk. You see Dad's bald spot. There's the set of seagulls all in a bunch again that you just chased away. (Time to teach them another lesson). This is the best feeling in the world.

Meanwhile, Dad is feeling the backsweat form, the constant gasping for air due to your strangling arms, and kicking into his love handles (your legs have fallen asleep so they dangle and kick furiously). Dad is willing to do this for you though because Dad understands how vital it is to get to the destination. It validates Dad as a navigator as well as proving to mom that He doesn't need to go to the gym because He's still got it.

Sadly, you reach the destination and Dad must set you down. "No! Just a little bit longer!" You yell as you're torn from Dad's back. Dad pulls out his Neosporin from the fannypack to address the scratches you left on his neck. Your legs feel like Jell-O and it seems you forgot how to walk. You look up to Dad with those puppydog eyes as he is rubbing his shoulders. Dad looks down and can't resist. "Okay, hop back on." Life is good again.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

#23 Braided Leather Belt

Being a Dad is really hard. From puttering around the house to lugging around that massive shoulder mounted video camera to record every waking moment, being a Dad puts a lot of stress on the body. The machine that is a Dad’s body requires a lot of fuel that may not be the healthiest so a Dad tends to gain and lose (mostly gain) weight during their Dad tenure. With this yo-yoing body style Dads around the world need to have a reliable instrument that allows them to wear pants of all sizes. That is where the braided leather belt steps in.

The weaved feature of these belts allows for Dad to have a belt with almost an indefinite number of holes so it always has the perfect fit. If Dad just put down a couple of beers and chili just to make mom mad, you better believe that belt is being loosened a few notches. They can be worn nearly everywhere too. Braided leather belts are formal enough for the office Christmas party and casual enough for yelling at the umpire at a Little League baseball game. They also last forever due to the multiple strands of high strength material. This creates a redundancy feature that is necessary when dealing with the strain of Dad’s belly pushing against the belt.

The Braided Leather Belt is a powerful weapon in the Dad’s arsenal. Coupled with prescription sunglasses and orthotic inserts in his white New Balances, Dad can take on anything that is thrown at him.

PS- Dads can reach legendary status if they wear braided leather suspenders. They are out there people.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

#22 Eating the Leftover Food on Your Plate

"I can't eat another bite. I'm so full" you mutter out inbetween heavy breaths. That meal was delicious. But classic rookie mistake, you took more food than you could handle. Your plate still has a full meal on it. You've been playing with the vegetables and scattering them around your plate to make it look like you ate it. There is some meat leftover but it's mainly just the fat, and who eats that? And lastly, the half of a biscuit that you just couldn't choke down.

"Honey, will you please finish off your kid's plate?" Mom kindly asks with a matter of fact tone. Dad's eyes light up.

Dad has been put on portion control by mom. But when it comes to scarfing down remaining food on a plate, Dad does a better job than the garbage disposal. At first, Dad simply nibbles a bit off your plate. Dad tries the vegetables to make sure they're still warm. Dad cuts a piece of the meat as if to savor the flavor.
Next step is Dad takes the food from your plate and shifts it onto his. Dad must maintain proper manners and table etiquette even when eating your food.

After this motion, you figure Dad has taken what he can handle and start to excuse yourself from the table lifting your plate to clean it off. "Hold on, hold on, there's more left" Dad coughs out between bites. "Just gimme that!" In one swift motion, Dad has removed the plate from your hand while sliding the half a biscuit into his mouth. Instantly, Dad has two stacked plates in front of him. You turn to mom with concerned eyes and a hidden grin. She motions that you can leave as Dad enjoys his second dinner.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

#21 Waking up to Own Snoring

How is Dad always awake before you? Granted he does fall asleep while sitting on the couch, but every morning without fail, there he is: awake and ready to go. Sometimes you don't even hear Dad's alarm clock go off.

The secret is in Dad's sleeping patterns. Dad closes his eyes and starts to doze off. Dad's muscles relax and mouth opens slightly. His breathing slows down and becomes heavy. You notice his chest begin to move up and down like the robotic sleeping santa display that you've always wanted. Dad looks at peace while asleep.

That's when the sounds come out. It isn't your typical snoring sound that you and your friends make during a boring class presentation. Instead it has hints of dolphins dying and a 1960 VW Bug having trouble starting up. Mom relies heavily on her earplugs but still hears the consistent thunder from the other side of the bed. The snoring is even more prominent than your relaxing cd noises that you got from the white elephant game at Christmas time. How does Dad produce that type of snoring? It is these precise noises that cause Dad to wake up effortlessly. Because not only is Dad keeping you awake with this snoring, it also wakes himself up.

Dad abruptly wakes up to his snoring and either rolls over for round 2 of sleep or simply licks his lips, scans the room to see if anyone noticed, and sits up ready to face the day. Dad's body knows he must get up to either start cleaning the gutters or start on his massive breakfast because you had a friend sleep over. You should be thankful because now is when you can finally go to sleep and not wake up until 11, which Dad will kindly point out wasted half the day.

Monday, April 4, 2011

#20: Pool Tossing

Its summer time. You are floating in the cool pool water getting away from the July heat when you feel a presence. You instantly feel as if you are weightless as you twirl through the air and splash into the deep end of the pool. You look around trying to figure out what the hell happened when you find the culprit. Dad, with his prescription sunglasses and thick layer of sunscreen, is laughing hysterically in the shallow end because he succeeded in the great past time of throwing kids in the pool.

Dads often perform the sneak attack but they are also known for happily taking throwing requests at the family pool, community pool, and country club. When one Dad performs the throw, kids will line up like they are waiting for a roller coaster. Dads have many types of throws in the repertoire. There is the standard “bodyguard” throw named after Kevin Costner’s fine role in The Bodyguard where he protected a young Whitney Houston. This is performed by holding a person by the neck and under the knees and then throwing them via a swinging motion or if performed out of water, by performing the grapple and then walking into the pool. Another standard is the “under the armpits” where a Dad performs a two handed throw by launching the target into the air via grabbing them under the arms.

An extremely advanced maneuver is the “team approach” which requires the Dad and target to work together. The Dad throws the target into the air by launching the target via their foot/feet while the target extends their legs as if they are jumping. This results in an action that is a amazing as the trampoline double jump. A good working duo can perform launches that can put the target into low orbit or on the radar at the nearest airport. This must be performed under extreme caution but a Dad can reach legendary status if executed perfectly.

Do not be scared if a Dad throws you while you are in or near a pool. He is only doing what comes natural to him. So embrace the throwing because when you grow up into a Dad, you will do the same to your kids. It is the circle of life.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

#19 Aftershave

It is date night for mom and Dad. Dad slips off his white new balances and lays down his sharp suit on the edge of the bed. Dad wrestles with mom so that he gets a chance to shower and use the bathroom. You venture upstairs just to find out where they are going (Is it worth sneaking friends over while they are gone?)
That is when you enter the bathroom to that all too familiar Dad fragrance.

Dad is putting the finishing touches on combing his hair while you breathe in the deep scent of masculinity and Dad cologne. "Which cologne did you use tonight, Dad?" You inquire sifting through the many glass bottles on his bathroom shelf. "Oh I don't really use any of those. I just put on aftershave." That's the smell all these years!

It finally makes sense. Dads have a certain aroma and fragrance to them. But somehow they've always had a stocked cologne shelf. Truth is, Dads use the aftershave to subtly promote their masculinity. Mom loves it and Dad loves not having to screw around with the correct amount of sprays of cologne to use. Simply put, aftershave is the scent of Dads.