Thursday, March 28, 2013

#131: Telling Bedtime Stories

The dreaded time is nigh. Dinner is done, homework is finished Ugh, TWO worksheets is wayyyy too much work, and you are relaxing watching some TV at the end of the day. But it is shattered by those awful words uttered by mom, "Alright, it's bedtime! Go get ready for bed." UUUGGGHHHHHH. You shuffle off to take a brush your teeth, pretend to floss, and put on your PJs. It might as well be torture to get ready for something you don't want to do. How come mom and Dad get to stay up late? When I grow up I am going to stay up allllll night! But there is one good pre-sleeping activity: Dad is going to tell a bedtime story!

Bedtime stories are when Dad can get really creative. His audience is riveted, hanging on every word, ready to take on every twist and turn of action. Dad uses funny voices, sound effects, hand gestures, audience participation, and everything short of CGI to create entertainment. I can't imagine what its like when Michael Bay tells bedtime stories, it's probably filled with asteroids, the White House exploding, and huge robots teaching lessons about how they got powerful by eating their veggies at dinner. Of course, all of Dads stories are "true". From the time he fought off ninjas to the time he dug to the center of the Earth. Sure he may have just wandered into a small cave once, but that won't stop him from talking about the mole people he met ten miles below the surface. Is there anything Dad can't do???

Dad usually cuts it off after 20 minutes or so, mostly because he is out of material for the night. It is hard to BS a monologue like that, but Dad has a true talent. The ultimate goal is for his kid to be out cold, but that usually is not the case. If worse comes to worse, at least he kept his kid from complaining about going to sleep for just a little longer.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

#130 Shoe Polish

    “Shoe shine! Get your shoe shine!” Who actually uses those? Wait—is that Dad? Dad has taken a moment from the hustle and bustle of the airport to use the shoe shine station that you thought no one ever used. It looks like it’s been there before airplanes were invented and the shoe shine guy might brush his teeth using the polish—aka, he has none. But Dad insists it must be done. “Nothing like a good pair of shiny shoes” Dad musters with his signature smirk.

While you’ve been taught to stay away from shoe polish because of its ability to stain anything, even your skin according to mom, Dad embraces shoe polish for its renewable and rejuvenating effect on his beat up shoes. Much like Dad’s sweatpants or college sweatshirt, Dad’s shoes have been around and seen a lot. You’d never guess by the layers of shoe shine on them.

You do notice how worn out they are when Dad returns from work and claims “his dogs are barking.” Since when does dogs mean feet?  But you oblige Dad’s request and take off his shoes. That’s when you’ll witness the years of shoe shine and scuff on those shoes. From far away, they are professional, but up close you see the scratched character and smell from Dad’s “dogs.” 

“Dad—you need a new pair of shoes!”
“These things? Nothing a little shoe polish can’t fix.”

And off to his closet Dad goes. He reveals brushes, canisters, plastic bags and a mess of things almost as complex as his toolbox. Some of the things have multi use in his shaving kit, but that’s another story. And to your surprise, a couple schwoop schwoop brushes and the shoes look good as new. Shoe polish is Dad’s multi-purpose friend…well after duct tape

Saturday, March 16, 2013

#129: The Hardware Store

The hardware store is Dad's equivalent of Chuck E Cheese, Disneyworld, and Willy Wonka's Factory combined. An endless wonderland of hammers, rivet guns, and most importantly: MULCH. If Dad had it his way, the entire world would be covered in that glorious manure and woodchip mixture. As a kid though, there is not a more boring place than the hardware store. It is filled with stuff that you can't touch because it's really expensive and you will break it. Also most of the stuff a kid sees he does not have a damn clue what it does. A hardware store is filled with the cacophony of kid's questions. Dad, what's this?? Socket wrench. This? Hose clamp. Oh, and this? A reciprocating saw. Now stop asking questions Daddy is trying to figure out how he can buy this pneumatic hammer without making mommy mad. So the kid sits there in silence staring at tools that might as well have come off a UFO ship they are so strange. Dad usually does not even know what they do, he only knows that he WANTS them.

Dad's trip to the hardware store is not a short affair. Like mom going to the mall to exchange some jeans, its an all day journey rivaling Frodo's walk to Mordor or Forest Gump's little jog across the USA. He may go just to get some nails or a key cut, but before you know it he is weighing options on whether he wants to fix the roof, asphalt the driveway, or do a full bathroom makeover. It's quite an ordeal and you are stuck in purgatory, nay call it Child Hell, until you escape the clutches of Home Depot.

So stay strong young child, Dad may be there all day but at least it will keep him in full puttering mode while in the store and while he tries to fix that damn leaky sink. The only help he needs is calling the plumber when he floods the entire 2nd floor of the house.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

#128 Directions & Instructions

When it comes to asking directions, men don’t do it. This is also true for Dads. Now when it comes to following directions, Dads still don’t do it.

Now this holds true in different aspects. In driving, it is clear that Dad won’t ask nor follow directions. Dads may have a GPS in their fancy new car. But he’d be damned if he used it (secret: he doesn’t know how). Instead, Dad creates short cuts to places you didn’t know cars could pass through. He’ll take the “scenic route” in order to take kids somewhere that is good for them. And when mom finally busts out the map or asks the gas station attendant how to get somewhere, Dad still refuses to take that way. “If I didn’t know how to get there, I would’ve asked myself.” Directions say turn left, Dad stays straight. Are we there yet? 

Now this also holds true in following directions and instructions for setting up items. When Dad isn’t falling asleep at IKEA or public places, he is back at home putting things together. The new TV at Best Buy that comes with free installation? Not needed because Dad can wire electronics easily. Psssst Dad most TV’s are now wireless. What ensues is Dad claiming the instructions were only sent in a foreign language, but he can put it together. Instead Dad starts speaking in a foreign language consisting of @&$(#* characters while putting your brand new desk together. He busts out power tools and channels his strength in his bad back to create a desk “worthy of a king.” And since it took him 5 hours to construct the desk, he has to wait until next week to install the TV.

 So when it comes to directions, they just aren’t necessary. “Assembly required” might make you cringe, but Dad sees it simply as a challenge. Challenge accepted.