Thursday, November 29, 2012

#114 The Thermostat

It is winter time, so many of you are starting to put the heat on in your houses and apartments. It becomes a necessity when the third blanket on the couch isn’t keeping you warm. You promptly go over and crank the heat to 70 degrees.


Much like Dad’s chair, the thermostat is not to be touched without permission. Dads know the temperature in any room, area or situation. Much how their bones can tell when it is going to rain, they can tell when a thermostat has been changed before the room temperature is affected. In classic Dad style, his reasoning for the thermostat is economical. He’ll give you a classic Dad-ism

“Ya think money grows on trees? If you’re cold, go put on the parka grandma got you.” Not only is Dad saving money, but he’s also getting you to wear grandma’s hideous Christmas gift. Knocking out two birds with one stone, something else Dads do best.

“When you have your own place, you can crank the temperature to whatever heat wave your heart desires. But under my roof…” You’ve already stopped listening because your shivering is too much. You can’t wait until you have your own place to have control of your own thermostat. That is, until the monthly bill comes.      


Friday, November 23, 2012

#113: Thanksgiving Leftovers

**This is a special Friday edition of That's So Dad. We took off Thanksgiving (actually just forgot to write the post) so enjoy this week's article.**

So it is the day after Thanksgiving, the whole family is recovering from an orgy of turkey, pumpkin pie, and green bean casserole. The laziness is staggering as are the noises being expelled from your brother's body. But there is one person who is not ready to let the party die. As you contemplate suicide to end the pain of a severly overstuffed stomach, Dad starts busting out the aluminum foiled pecan pie and ziplock bags full of turkey and mashed potatoes. "Who is ready for Round Three? The turkey is still moist!" Dad exclaims as the rest of the family begins dry heaving just by the mere thought of food. Dads and Thanksgiving Leftovers go hand in hand since the era of the Pilgrims.

Dad's appetite is always curtailed by mom. She will always shut down Dad's true hunger. "Do you REALLY need that fourth hot dog?" "I think you should just get the small popcorn." "He will have the 12 oz. steak, not the 48oz Sir Loin-a-Lot." But Thanksgiving is not a time for portion control, it is a time for pure gluttony. So when Dad sees the inevitable leftovers of the Thansgiving carnage, he goes into forage mode. He WILL eat every bit of that turkey like a bear preparing for hibernation. It usually isn't a plate identical to the main attraction, rather it is a sandwich stacked higher than a Big Mac on top of a KFC Double Down (and more calories too). Dad piles up turkey, turkey skin, mashed potatoes, gravy, more turkey skin, stuffing, cranberry sauce, even more turkey skin, and green bean casserole between two slices of white bread with some gravy on the side. It takes a Civil Engineering degree just to build a sandwich of this magnitude. Dad demolishes the meal with a tall glass of milk, nothing else. It must be milk.

As you sit there, slack jawed that Dad put a bowling ball sized sandwich down his gullet, you realize that it is an occasion more special to Dad than having the family around the real Thanksgiving table. It is not a time for manners or pomp & circumstance. It is for gorging, plain and simple. It is only 364 days away!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

#112 Packing & Moving

Moving: The biggest pain for any person. As a child it means leaving all your friends (even if you’re moving 2 blocks away—it ruins the memorized 8 minute bike ride to your best friends’ house). When going to college, it means packing away your life into compact bags and boxes, making life decisions on whether to bring ALL your hooded sweatshirts or make room for your stylish pajama pants. And post-college it means sweating through a hangover by moving broken furniture that should be on the corner with a “For Free” sign. But never free, any time you have to move or pack, Dad is there to answer the call.

Dad’s have an uncanny ability to make anything fit in a suitcase, box, trunk or drawer. “There, the bag is full” you state as you wipe off the sweat. “Not quite,” as Dad goes in for good measurement, simply rolling up your tshirts, shifting a few trinkets and he magically has made your three favorite jerseys fit for the move.

And when Dad isn’t making everything fit into your moving boxes, he is busy throwing out his back by lifting your non-flat screen TV. Dad will move all furniture in an inefficient effective manner. That spiral staircase? Yeah Dad is moving your dresser down that. Your tempurpedic mattress? Yeah, Dad will be dragging that to the U-haul.

When the truck is finally packed with boxes, lamps and bed frames, Dad takes over his duty as transporter. Jason Statham couldn’t drive a U-haul better than Dad. No mirrors? No problem—Dad will weave in and out of alleys, six corner intersections and under trees as if he has driven that automobile his whole life. 

And when everything is finally moved, Dad will give you the slight nod of “you owe me.” And while Dad will complain about “the time he helped you move” for the next five Christmas’, you know that Dad secretly lives for it. 


Thursday, November 8, 2012

#111: Soft Knee Braces

As we all know, unless your Dad is one of those really weird super fit guys who gets up at 4AM to run a marathon before work, Dads are well past their physical peak. They have beer bellies, flat feet, bum shoulders, no cardio fitness whatsoever, and that nagging neck injury from that one time they actually got into a football game in high school. With this laundry list of injuries you would think Dads would avoid the sports they played as teenagers. You thought WRONG. From Late Night Basketball Leagues to Roughhousing Dad keeps trying to be the physcial specimen he was in college. But Dad's body does not always agree with his brain and it fights back with sore joints. How does Dad fight back at his stupid body? With Soft Knee Braces.

Every Dad has at least one bad knee (shoot I have two of them, and I am 25) that creaks and groans with every basketball crossover or swing of a softball bat. Dad makes sure it holds up until he gets home with that simple Neoprene compression sleeve with a knee cap cut out. Or it is the thin straps that hold a ligament in place. Or it is super duty and actually has a metal brace frame. Whatever it is you can bet Dad self-diagnosed in the CVS pharmacy and bought the first Mueller (the #1 name in Dad Knee Treatment) knee brace he could find. Now Dad uses it for every physical activity. He even wears it Golfing and Shoveling the Driveway. He says it "keeps everything in place" but you are pretty sure all it does is collect sweat and smell awful. They even become a conversation point at those Dad sports leagues because every one has a different ailment that is solved by the knee sleeve. Dads discuss injuries, how they got the injury (usually throwing a touchdown in the state championship back in '78), and how their miracle of neoprene solves their problem. Although these braces only have one real use, they solve more problems that duct tape and WD-40 combined.

But it does not stop at knee braces. Dads have an assortment of wrist straps, ankle braces, hamstring compressors, tennis elbow straps, heated shoulder wraps, and an armada of ice bags and Icy Hot to fix their ailments. It is a tough job reliving the glory days of Little League baseball and high school tennis, but someone has to do it. And the soft knee braces will always be there.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

#110 Trick-Or-Treat Escort

“Daaaad! Hurry up—before all the good candy is gone!” you yell while impatiently waiting at the front door in your costume. It’s brilliant but somehow was snubbed for best costume in the class contest this afternoon. Dad emerges sporting either an oversized bow tie or a clown nose that you chose out. Dad sets out for his Halloween role: trick-or-treat escort.

While you run house to house with the biggest pillow case you could find (*real trick or treaters used pillow cases, if you used a bucket I feel bad for you*), Dad examines the neighborhood with his keen Dad eye. “Check out those decorations!” Dad says while you lose count of how many Butterfingers you got from the last house. Dad is all about looking at decorations and admiring pumpkin carvings. Dad knows other Dads put hard work into them and as so they should be admired.

After each house, after you say your “thank yous,” Dad does the responsible thing and tests your candy. “Dad! Stop eating all my candy!” “Didn’t the police officers come to school? I have to check if it’s poisonous!” as he inhales the 5 mini-snickers you just worked so hard to get.

When the night is winding down (aka when you are crashing from your sugar high), it is time to head home to count your earnings. Dad comes over: “time to pay the trick-or-treat tax.” You smugly look at him and come up with a great idea: “Okay—just one handful.” Much how Dad forced you to only use one handful at each house, you assume this is a great rule to enforce back to him. Mistake.

One handful is a lot bigger when Dad takes it. His hands make Paul Bunyan’s seem like a Smurf’s. How did Dad just get half my candy with just one hand? “Now don’t eat it all or you’ll get a stomach ache” advises Dad as he leaves to finally rest from the day. Trick or treating may be hard work, but it’s even harder for Dad to supervise you doing it.