Thursday, May 31, 2012

#88: Coolers

How does one keep things cold but also portable; Say if they were going to the beach, on a picnic, tailgating, or just looking to drink on the outside patio? That question today is answered by Dads with a quick trip to the garage. Dads bust out the classic Cooler ready to be packed with goodies and piled into the trunk of the car.

The Cooler is an essential tool for Dad. It allows him to bring snacks for long family road trips and vacations, or it serves as a safe place for his beers while he goes around fixin’ stuff.

Coolers come in all sizes; from the personal portable lunch box cooler to the giant 100 quart Styrofoam one time use cooler, Dad is covered. The cooler game has expanded to different sizes and colors, but the classic Igloo white lid and blue bottom is classic Dad. No Father’s Day BBQ is complete without pulling a beer from it.
Whether it’s a Coleman, an Igloo, Sterns or even a Durachill, as long as it holds ice and can fit a 24 pack of beers, it’ll work in Dad’s world. 

Thursday, May 24, 2012

#87: Golfing

Dad likes to think he is an athlete. He always talks about that one time he almost started at quarterback in high school and that time he hit a walk off home run in Little League. But nowadays with Dad’s bad knee, back, elbow, and/or neck he cannot be the competitor he “used” to be. That is where the “sport” of golf comes in to save the day. Now the writers here at TSD are golfers so we are not here to make fun of it. We are Dads in training and are learning the game so we can be prepared when we become Dads in the future.
Golf is a great activity for Dads because it combines a lot of the great aspects of life: being outdoors, being with other Dads where they complain about their kids, smoking and drinking at will, gambling, and of course minimal physical exercise. Dad isn’t playing at Augusta or Pebble Beach on the PGA so you know he is using a golf cart. That reduces the amount of walking by 98%, leaving only the five yard saunter to the tee box as the longest trek of the day. Of course Dad does burn off some calories fishing for his ball in the creek or chopping through Vietnam density brush when his slice comes into play.
Any game where Dad plays better with a drink or two in him is a special game. On the range Dad will complain about previously stated injury from high school and how it is making him hit the ball thin. But on the journey from the range to the first tee, Dad has an ice cold beer and unleashes his inner Arnold Palmer, hitting every green in regulation. Some frown upon this saying that drinking has no place on the golf course but if Dad has been hitting triple bogeys all day a cocktail is needed. And any place where it is accepted to drive a mini car with an open container is a place people want to be.
So don’t fret when Dad takes a weekend afternoon to hit the links. He just wants to be out in the fresh air hitting some balls. He just wants to do it away from the family where he can forget about being Dad. Out there he is just Walt, the man with the 300 yard drive. It is a magical place where Dad can disappear and justify that chicken fried steak for dinner because he got “exercise” on the course.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

#86: Binoculars

All young boys dream of the day of being a secret agent or a navy seal. Not because of the dangerous missions or the under-cover identities, but rather for the chance to use night-vision goggles. 9.5 out of 10 guys don’t get to live that dream and when they become a Dad they find the next best thing: Binoculars.

Even as Dad ages and needs glasses, he can count on binoculars to help him see things far away in great detail as if it were the back of his hand. They must be viewed with a leather strap around the neck as well as leather case for protection. “This isn’t a toy” Dad says sternly as he lets you look into them. Binoculars are the definition of Dad’s look, but don’t touch toy. He holds them as you gaze into their wonderment.

To you, binoculars just make things far away seem very close. To Dad, binoculars allow him to enter another world. Whether he is bird watching and explains the intricate detail of the feathers he can see or if he is watching the baseball game and can tell that Soriano’s swing is off because he saw his shoulder slump, the binoculars tell all.

So while you strain your eyes to see across the park, Dad can tell you how many wrinkles the old man feeding the ducks has. James Bond has his laser pen as his go-to tool, but Dad has his binoculars.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

#85: Fixin Stuff

Uh oh, Dad isn’t on the couch for his normal Sunday afternoon nap in between the massive breakfast and the massive meat grilling fest that happens when the weather is nice. Nope, Dad is going to work on his “chores”. That can only mean one thing, Dad is trying to fix something.

Whether it is that broken screen door or the constantly running toilet, Dad will always take a crack at fixing it before calling the experts. You know, the people who fix stuff for a living. Dad will make it look like he knows what he is doing, but in reality he is just going to take that lawnmower apart and hope he can put it back together. As long as it allows him to finish a six pack of beer in the process, he really doesn’t care.

Armed with his trusty tool belt and jean shorts, Dad has everything he needs. Hammer, screwdriver, duct tape (which will be used for everything), WD40 (also used for everything), space for previously mentioned beer, and of course way too many power tools than are needed. Does Dad really need a 75 horsepower jigsaw and diamond coated belt sander just to fix the lawn furniture? No. Is it important to have them. Of course it is, these are his toys.

Eventually Dad will come in to the house covered in sweat, grease, and blood cursing under his breath about the fresh burn on his hand. The old air conditioner is in pieces all over the garage and is as close to working as the day it fell out of a second story window into mom’s rose garden. All of his power tools need recharging and he has run out of beer. Looks like Dad is calling the fix-it man, which is how this story always ends. Unless of course you have one of those Dads who can fix anything, then odds are you are reading this in your three story tree house or your personal submarine Dad made out of pine wood.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

#84: Driving

We’ve already covered Dad’s magical ability to park anywhere but what we didn’t say is that is because driving is Dad’s responsibility. The car and the road belong to Dad. That isn’t to say that women nor mom can’t drive. But when you’re in the car and mom’s driving while Dad sits passenger seat, it feels rather eerie. Something is off.

The car is one of Dad’s many sanctuaries. As our classic Dad Phil Dunphy said, what do we call the car? “Dad’s cone of trust.” What happens in the car is forever in Dad’s control. Dad will often use this time to reminisce of other road trips, his first car “oh that baby could drive for days…just with no A/C.” He’ll make family announcements on road trips, pretending to be the conductor of a train or pilot of plane, using the radio buttons as an intercom to the backseat “psh—this is your captain speaking, we are approximately 5.5 miles away from the next bathroom break. Please hold your bladders and keep all arms and legs inside the car until then. We appreciate your cooperation. Thank you—psh.” 

Even though you wish to never be seen driven to school by Dad, you feel a sense of security and comfort while Dad is at the wheel. Even when you’re definitely lost, you know Dad will give the dashboard a love tap, pretend to find the northern star and get you on the right road.

And when Dad’s not making announcements nor getting you lost, he is blasting his music. Forget your bubble gum trash music that the radio plays, Dad will play REAL music. And as Jimmy Buffet, classic MoTown, and Jazz (who owns Jazz cds?) blast from the all of a sudden surround sound speakers, Dad will gyrate the car to the beat. The car has better dance moves than Dad does. But then Dad will suddenly cut the music off. Silence fills the air… “Hear that tink?” Dad will only turn the music off so he can hear the engine. “Listen to the purr...” Dad pronounces as if he knows it’s a life lesson he is about to impart. “Your engine is the soul of the car.” Okay Dad… Then Dad will turn the music back on and continue driving to your destination that is still yet to be determined.

So as you embark on your next driving journey, do remember to keep your hands at 10 and 2 while channeling your inner Dad. You’ll arrive at the destination safe and sound.