Thursday, December 29, 2011

#65 Staying Sober...enough

With New Years around the corner, you're making plans for a wild party. OMG this is going to be the best New Years Ever! (It won't be). But because this is going to be one of your first New Years not in your basement watching Dick Clark, mom and Dad have been a tape recorder: "Stay safe! Don't drink. NO DRIVING!" They heed warnings of safety...for your own good.

But mom and Dad get to party all night. How do they stay safe?
"I stay sober. Gotta avoid the riff-raff" Dad answers succinctly. Then you start to remember all the family events and parties you've been to. While mom drinks the bottle of wine like it was the fountain of youth (which it kind of is), Dad stands stoically, sipping occasionally from his scotch and letting mom be the life of the party. Because Dad knows that his biggest duty as a Dad is to get everyone home safe. Even if that means carrying mom out over his shoulder. I miss falling asleep on Dad's shoulder...

While mom deliberately goes and talks to your crush's mom to set up your marriage, Dads gather in a circle to discuss sports and what in their outfit was chosen by their wives. While mom exposes that you sucked your thumb til you were 12, Dad sifts through the trailmix appetizers in a bowl hoping for a handful full of M&Ms (who doesn't do that though?). While mom loses one of her high heels, Dad savors every ounce of his drink.

So here's to you Dads! As we embark on a New Year, we know that you will be celebrating responsibly. From all of us here at That's So Dad, we wish you a Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

#64: Terribly Wrapped Gifts

Awaking before the sun is up, you rub your eyes and look at your Advent Calendar and cannot believe what you are seeing. IT CAN’T BE! IT IS FINALLY CHRISTMAS!!! The greatest of all days is finally upon you. All those days of acting good for Santa, the infinite stretching of time as the big day inches closer, the impossibility of sleep on Christmas Eve have all lead to this moment. Waking up your parents you dash downstairs to ground zero, the holiest of holies: the Christmas Tree.

The beautiful bounty of gifts awaits you in all its shining glory. You see that most gifts are from Santa and then there are some from mom and some from Dad, the parents have to help out Santa of course. The gifts from Santa are wrapped exquisitely, perfect folds and use of ribbon. They are sealed tighter than the vaults at Fort Knox. It is a fully fledged effort to find the seam so they can be ripped apart to reveal their fruits. mom’s gifts are the same way, perfectly wrapped and taped. Dad’s gifts are a whole other story.

Dad’s wrapping is not pretty. Sure the gifts are great, but they are covered in layers of wrapping paper placed haphazardly and tape used more as a fixer upper than anchoring. The bow is used to cover up a hole in the paper and the ribbon is tied in an impossible to undo square knot on top of a double knot. Unwrapping the gift is a labyrinth of challenges. Other gifts are so poorly supported with tape that the gift just falls out of the wrapping paper which isn’t so bad because it improves your Unwrapping Efficiency. Dad says with every gift, “Sorry, I cannot wrap gifts too well.” But what he really means is that mom wouldn’t wrap his gifts so he did it last minute.

From all two of us at That’s So Dad we wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Joyous Pancha Ganapati, and of course a Happy Festivus. Enjoy the holidays with those close to you, especially deal ol’ Dad.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

#63 The Santa Hat

Much like Dad enjoys wearing his bucket hats, baseball caps, and beanies, Dad trades them all in come holiday time for the Santa Hat. Santa does get a lot of recognition around the holiday time: Jewelry commercials, coke cans, and cookie cutter shapes. So Dad naturally hops on Santa’s coattails and wears the Santa hat around as if to say “I could be Santa if I wanted to.”

He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake…Dad, how does Santa know all that? “Because I tell him. Me and Santa are buddies…see we have the same hat.” Your mind sorts trying to find evidence to prove otherwise, but none comes. Dad and Santa are friends?

Dad skips away with the red hat bobbing before you can ask any follow up questions. You better behave because that Santa hat has some sort of connection and it isn’t coming off until Dad trades it in for the sparkling New Years 2012 hat&glasses combination.

Mom likes Dad wearing the Santa Hat because “its festive.” You don’t mind it except for when he wears it out in public. Do you really need to wear it to CVS? “OMG THEY HAVE A GREEN SANTA HAT TOO?” You hear Dad exclaim from the next aisle over. There’s $12.99 your family will never see again.

The Santa Hat shows Dad’s joy for the holidays and gives him a sense of purpose on Christmas morning. Even though Santa was out all night delivering gifts, Dad knows the real work is Christmas morning in the sorting of the gifts. Dad puts the Santa Hat on like a required uniform and sorts through gifts meticulously, creating mini piles of each person’s gifts. I just wanna know who the big one is for. Then Dad carefully delivers each gift to you, mom, and your siblings in the order that Santa meant for them to be opened. So they are friends…

Thursday, December 8, 2011

#62: Shoveling the Driveway

Winter is upon us. The days are getting shorter and colder, socks are constantly wet from slush, and everyone has a constant craving for chili. With winter of course comes snow if you live in a legitimate city (editor’s note: I used to live in Miami. Not a real city). Snow is magnificent; endless bounties of fun are possible: building forts and snowmen, having snowball fights, sledding, skiing, just to name a few. But, with snow comes menial labor. Dad knows all too well and you hear him grumbling every time the slightest dusting of snow falls, “It’s time to shovel the driveway again.”

Dads everywhere dread snowfall because it means they have to put on layers of clothes, thick socks, and trudge out into the blizzard to clear a path for him to be able to get to work. Some Dads like the task of shoveling snow because it is a way to get some exercise, but with the constant fear of pulling their back the risks outweigh the benefits. Some Dads avoid the task altogether by getting a snow blower, but that is not a real Dad unless the snow blower has an 800 horsepower engine with a supercharger (see Classic Dads #4: Tim “The Toolman” Taylor).

Most Dads will just shovel off the snow on one pass through and call it a day. A dedicated Dad, one who takes pride in a barren driveway, will also make a pass with an ice shovel to pry up packed snow and then bury the driveway in enough salt that it makes the Dead Sea taste like Evian. “It keeps the ice and snow from piling up!” he says, but little does he know you could preserve meats in that eight inch thick salt layer. I guess in the spring when the surrounding grass is dead will he learn his lesson…

When the deed is done Dad will kick open the front door, allowing the cold and snow to drift inside. He immediately begins stripping down to his base layer and each layer is sweatier than the previous. His glasses foggy, his White New Balances looking even whiter with fresh snow caked to them, his bald spot glistening from perspiration, he looks at you with a tired look. “Okay, I have done my exercise for the day, it is time for a beer.” Before you can argue that it is only one in the afternoon Dad is reclined on the couch with a fresh High Life in his hand. Welcome to winter.

Friday, December 2, 2011

#61: Savings Bonds and $2 as Gifts

After the candles have been blown out, after the horrible singing, and after scarfing (literally scarfing) down the cake, it’s time for presents. You open birthday cards, gift bags, and the random shaped wrapped gift that turns out to be a nerf-football. Then it is time for not Dad’s gift, but for Dad’s Dad’s gift; Grandpa’s Gift!

Let us not forget that Grandpa still technically is a Dad, so in typical Dad fashion, he gets you a gift that wasn’t on your list. “What’s this?” “HARHAR (because Grandpa doesn’t have a typical laugh) That is a savings bond! You’ll be thanking me for that later.”

A Savings bond? Apparently they were a big deal back in Grandpa’s day. “It’ll be worth a fortune in a few years.” “Thanks Grandpa…” you sigh out as you go for a hug. That is when Grandpa’s eyes gleam and he states with his snicker “You didn’t think that’s all you’d get, did you? Course I got you something you could use today!” While your heart beats out of excitement, Grandpa pulls out a crisp $2 bill. “Don’t spend it all in one place!”

In the end you got a gift that you can’t use for another 10 years and the other is less than what the Asian kid in class got for New Years in February. I still don’t comprehend that. But you smile and hug Grandpa because it’s the thought that counts. And part of you understands now why Dad is the way he is.