Thursday, August 30, 2012

#101: "GO TO YOUR ROOM!!!"

Uh oh, now you're done it. You have been getting on Dad's nerves all day by making a racket throughout the house and it looks like knocking over mom's favorite vase is the straw that broke the camel's back. Dad is done yelling, Dad is done negotiating. He then bellows those four terrible words: "GO TO YOUR ROOM!!"

Like a prisoner on his way to Guantanamo Bay, head down, eyes closed, you slink off to your dungeon without any knowledge of how long your sentence will last. You might as well be in the Dark Ages because there is nothing fun in your room. Unless you are one of those lucky spoiled kids who has a TV in his room, this is gonna be a long ride.

Dads have to have a ton of patience because maintaining order of a pack of wild dogs aka toddlers is brutal. His tactics range from the quick shout to the snap-and-point. But the ultimate weapon besides the Weapon of Mass Punishment (aka grounding) is the banishment to the room. Much like the French exiling Napoleon to St. Helena, there are no means of escape and will be used as a last resort. Dad tells his child to "think about what he has done" while Dad tries to figure out what to do. In reality, Dad wants some peace and quiet and a beer or two. The kid is left to going through old picture books and being as quite as possible so as to not stir the beast within Dad.

Dads love their kids with all their hearts, that is a fact. But sometimes punishment is needed to steer a kid in the right direction or just to give Dad a few moments of silence. Although it hurts in the moment, being sent to your room is really just a mind game. Stay strong little man, just page through that old Calvin and Hobbes book until it is time for dinner. It will be alright.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

#100: "The Works"

Dad is cooking tonight! Excitement rolls over you because Dad only cooks massive Sunday breakfasts or grills out. But because it isn’t Sunday morning and Dad’s grill is out of propane, that means Dad is taking you out for dinner! And let’s be honest, that means you’re heading to the local burger/hot dog joint for some grease on grease.

As you ponder if you want a cheeseburger or chicken fingers, Dad has already placed his order with the owner with a single nod. “Just gimme the works” Dad stammers out. Dad doesn’t need to choose between mustard, ketchup, relish, mayonnaise and special sauce because why limit yourself? The only veggie decision he needs to make is whether to have onions or grilled onions (hint: real men get grilled onions). 

The works is a classic Dad order. Much like he devours your leftovers off your plate, Dad devours burgers and hot dogs that have more toppings than your ice cream sundae. The food arrives overflowing from its plastic red basket. Somewhere underneath the peppers, cheese and chili are some fries. I guess this is why Dad never orders chili fries. When your regular cheeseburger with extra pickles arrives, it looks like a happy meal compared to Dad’s behemoth. And yet, Dad is able to finish off your last fries at the end of the meal.

Dads have a developed pallet for ordering “The Works.” Those kind of ingredients aren’t for the faint of heart. While Scotch puts hair on Dad’s chest, “The Works” puts a smile on his face…until the heartburn sets in.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

#99: Tending to the Fire

Slight departure from normal this week. Instead of having veiled references to the staff’s Dads, this week I will begin the post with a true story of my Dad.

So last weekend my family was at our house in Wisconsin and for some reason it was actually somewhat cold on Friday night. Now I mean cold by early August standards, like mid 50s at night, so our thin summer blood saturated with booze was not used to it. The family decided to have a fire while we watched the Olympics and finished what was probably our fourth round of drinks. Over the next 90 minutes, my Dad religiously fed the fire by making a half dozen trips to the wood pile (So Dad: we made a weekend of splitting wood last fall) so we always had a roaring furnace of flame and constantly picked and placed wood for optimal combustion. It was like watching a sculptor work on marble, a surgeon perform open heart surgery, a line cook at Waffle House prepping your hash browns. In other words it was pure magic. Now onto the show…

When the first notes of a brisk fall descend upon us we think of many things: the morning smells of a football tailgate, the leaves rustling in the wind, hungover parents arguing with refs at AYSO soccer games. But one smell that reminds us of the changing of seasons is the brief musk of burning wood emanating from chimneys across suburbia. The family fire is always big in my family as we spend the weekend watching football games and reading the paper as a roaring flame keeps us toasty. Dad is the champion of fire, the lord of burning, the man who toils in silence because much like clean gutters and a green lawn Dad loves a perfect fire. He always wants to teach the kids how to build and start the fire using the right kindling, minor sticks, and fuel logs. How to crumble up the newspaper and light the corners just right so you minimize start up time. A true Dad can start a bonfire using half a match and one page from the Sunday Comics while wearing an Ugly Christmas Sweater and his old sweatpants from college.

So take notice in the upcoming cold, dark months at the forgotten toils of Dad. Although the lawn he preened over all summer is buried in snow, the fence he painted is covered in slush, and the cleared gutters are filled with leaves, Dad’s work shifts to the indoors (when the driveway is shoveled of course). People think Santa Claus works the hardest in the winter but Dad’s constant stacking of wood, bending over to blow on adolescent flames to urge growth, and feeding the appetite of a full raging fire is the true effort of the arctic months. Well done Dad!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

#98: Taking the “Shortcut” that no one else knows

“Dad, we’re already running late!” you complain as you’re sure all your teammates are waiting for you at the championship game. My team can’t win the Championship without me! (In reality you ride the bench but your cheers are the loudest—Dad says it gets in the head of the other team). “Okay—I’ll take a shortcut” Dad replies. The car immediately turns on to a road that you think is someone’s driveway.

Dads have an ability to find “shortcuts” that no one else knows. Obviously since these shortcuts are So Dad, the short cuts actually make the trip longer. Dad’s shortcuts cut through neighboring alleys, side streets, and even someone’s backyard. Yet somehow missing the 3 stop signs and one street light doesn’t save any time because Dad’s shortcut isn’t a shortcut. Just because no one else knows this route doesn’t make it a shortcut.

The funny thing is, all Dads know the same shortcut. Yet you never see them taking the route at the same time. Ever notice Dads at a BBQ laughing by the grill? If they’re not talking football, golf or the latest way they embarrassed you, they’re discussing the newest shortcut they’ve discovered.

Eventually you make it to your destination to which Dad will say with a smirk “Good thing we took the shortcut or we’d still be driving.” Whatever you say Dad, whatever you say…


*The lesser known Dad shortcuts are those that involve hikes. These are dangerous as poison ivy and falling over tree branches are often involved. Beware*

Thursday, August 2, 2012

#97: Miller Genuine Draft

Just like everyone needs to do after a long work day, Dads need to kick back too. That brief moment in time between entering the door and having to do lawn work, help the kids with that last minute shoe box diorama, or do what the wife says to do is a special time for relaxation. And to help with that time, Dad needs the unofficial beer of Dads everywhere: Miller Genuine Draft.
Miller Genuine Draft (MGD) is not the beer you or I drink, it is a premium lager to be enjoyed by those with a mature palate but don’t mess with all this microbrew riff-raff. In short, it is made for Dads. While college kids drink Busch Light or Keystone and think that Bud Light is top of the line, Dads know better. MGD puts hair on your chest but it takes it from that bald spot on your head, a common mark of a true Dad.
Let’s be real, MGD does not taste good until you hit the age of 45. Based off of the High Life recipe (my Dad’s favorite) but with a few touches to make it a “higher end” beer, it allows Dad to forget his workday woes for a small fee. Those of us at That’s So Dad cannot comprehend the phenomena surrounding Dads and MGD but much like golf polos, witty aprons, and hiding easter eggs we can easily say we will understand when we are older. It is a Dad thing, you just don’t get it.