Thursday, February 28, 2013

#127: Cleaning the Garage

Spring is knocking on the door (although these Midwest blizzards say otherwise) and moderately warm weather is around the corner. Where we come from, if it cracks 40 degrees and the sun is out, it might as well be a beach day in March. The first Saturday that meets these criteria, Dads everywhere descend on their last true domain of the house, the garage. Although Dad is the King of the Castle, the TV room gets taken over by the kids, the lawn is used by everyone, he barely can cook so the kitchen is out, but the garage is the last true place where Dads are the master. No one else likes going in there except him, but somehow all this crap gets piled up in there over the fall and winter. That is where the annual spring garage clean comes in.

You best avoid Dad when he is on his garage cleaning stint or else you will end up stacking ladders, or coiling up cords, or even worse hauling down lawn furniture from the upper levels of the garage. It isn't difficult work, it's just time consuming which is right in Dad's wheelhouse. Dad will spend hours organizing nails, hanging tools he never uses, and sweeping the garage floor of the last 364 days worth of crud. He will always do this work in groady sweatpants and a college sweatshirt older than you. Sometimes he may even bust out the jeans covered in old paint to get the job done. Whatever it is, Dad will be wearing functional and stylish (in his mind) clothes.

Dad will take at least a few hours to do the job. From cleaning the gardening tools to organizing the paint cans to hanging EVERYTHING up to hauling five trash cans worth of stuff to the curb its a dirty job. The final task is to powerwash the floor and the garage exterior. Dad loves powerwashing because it is a serious powertool but it isn't dangerous enough to kill anyone. It can be used to clean anything and everything. Dad will spend 60% of his time powerwashing just because he can. While he is out there he may just strip the paint off the car. Why? The answer is why not!!! Powerwashers are the duct tape of the cleaning world, they can do it all.

When Dad is done with his task, he will call you in to check out his skills and give a brief tutorial on where everything is now. Just nod and zone out because in a week everything will be in disarray. It is the Chaos Theory at work.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

#126: Classic Dads: Mr. Matthews (Boy Meets World)

 You’d be quick to think that the Father figure in the show is Mr. Feeny, as he offers many advice and life lessons to Cory, Topanga, Shawn, and Eric. But let’s not forget the true Dad in Boy Meets World: Alan Matthews. Mr. Matthews is the latest edition to our classic Dads for his ability to embarrass his three kids, play a behind the scenes role, and part upon wisdom when needed.

Mr. Matthews had to balance Eric’s girl crazy mannerisms while trying to maintain Cory & Topanga’s whimsical growing love. He then struggled with his youngest, Morgan, as he was just used to raising boys, a classic Dad move. Let’s not forget his fatherly doings to Shawn…before Shawn moved in with Mr. Turner.

Let us not forget that all this fatherly advice, care-taking and raising was done while being a manager at the local supermarket. It wasn’t the most glamorous of jobs and he definitely passed the lesson of money along to his sons. Even when he made the mistake of quitting his job without notifying his family, he made a Dad adjustment and found a new job as the owner of an Outdoor & Sporting Goods store. 

Although they lived in Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, we shouldn’t be quick to forget the effect that Mr. Matthews had on Cory & Eric. Because without Alan’s Dad-ness, Cory & Eric may not have been getting into as many hi-jinx. And we hope Cory is just as good of a Dad for his daughter in Girl Meets World. 


Friday, February 15, 2013

#125: Trench Coats

We are getting towards that time of the year where the weather changes almost hourly (or in Chicago every 5 minutes) but no matter what temperature it is, clouds or no clouds, humidity, whatever, there will ALWAYS be precipitation. Snow, Sleet, Rain, Hail, Thundersnow (never forget Snowpocalypse 2011), acid rain, the list goes on. The world will batter you until you are soaking wet waiting for the school bus but you do your best in rain boots and a shell jacket. But Dad has to roll in style AND stay bone dry. How does he do it? Simple...a trench coat.

Trench Coats are a perfect Dad clothing item because they are timeless yet antiquated, functional yet not cool, and have pockets for everything. How do you think Inspector Gadget could hold all those cool toys? It wasn't just the biomechanically enhanced body, it was the infinite amount of pockets holding stuff to defeat Dr. Claw. In fact I am certain every character in Goldeneye64 wears a trench coat to hold the 90+ weapons within arm's reach. And what are Inspector Gadget and James Bond? DADS of course (you bet your butt Bond has an illegitimate somewhere in Monoco or Prague).

Every Dad looks the same in a trench coat because I am sure there is only one trench coat maker and they only make one color: faded olive/khaki. It isn't a trench coat if it isn't off-brown. And the coat is almost always soaking wet because Dad had to walk from the train station home. It does provide a shelter from the elements because rain slides right off, wind cups around Dad like a swift moving blanket, hail bounces off like Dad is wearing Kevlar. It is the shining plated armor of the suburbs. And much like sweater vests and braided belts, trench coats are fit for any occasion. Versatility at its finest.

So when you are out there shivering your butt off because the rain just went down the back of your neck and your entire body is damp just remember that even though Dad looks like he is straight out of the 1920s he is dry and warm underneath that wondrous cloak. And if he pulls it off like the Dad above, he will look straight bad ass.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

#124 Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pistachios, Almonds…

 With daylight savings on the horizon, the groundhog not seeing his shadow, and pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training, it seems reasonable to discuss one of Dad’s favorite spring activities: eating nuts.

Now this is a year round activity, often times Dad takes notice of the seasonal nut: Eating almonds and walnuts at Christmas, eating all the nut candies in the fall for Halloween. But spring marks Dad cracking open thousands of peanut shells, pistachios and sunflower seeds.

Everyone eats seeds, from professional ball players to the girls trying to look classy at the bar. (Side note: don’t ever eat nuts left at the bar). But those habits, routines, and ability to eat the nut original from Dad’s teaching.

Think about it. Dad is the first person you saw eat that paper skin on peanuts. Dad taught you how to eat a sunflower seed by cracking the shell in your mouth. “Don’t you dare use your hands.” And pistachios? Well the shell-less nuts in the bag are for wimps. Dad treasures the nut not only for its ability to show off his Dad strength by cracking open the one that no one else can, but also for its “energy and health purposes.” The $8 bag of trail mix at the airport is destined to be inhaled by Dad. While you pick out the M&M’s, Dad takes a handful and scarfs it all together to create a trail mix smoothie in his mouth. Gotta get that protein and fiber.

So as the snow melts and the flowers bloom across the coming months, be on the look-out for sunflower seed packets and peanut bags to sweep off the shelves. Dad will take a break from cracking your skull to shovel the drive way and instead focus on cracking some nuts.