Wednesday, April 24, 2013

#135: Burying Kids in the Sand

Summer is getting closer and closer, even though the Midwestern weather doesn't say so, and that means beach days are coming! Kids love the beach because it has a myriad of activities. Building sand castles, chasing sea gulls, play frisbee, swimming, trying to body surf, accidentally swallowing a mouthful of salt water while trying to body surf, the list goes on. But Dad really goes to the beach to relax AKA be really boring and fall asleep. His nap tends to be cut short when his rugrat keeps saying he is bored or if Dad wants to play or just does not stop screaming. Dad has a solution that allows him to bond with his son AND get the kid to calm down. Bury him in the sand.

Every child that has gone to the beach has had the idea of just digging a gigantic hole. I loved getting down to the water table where the hole had a little pool in it. Or sometimes I got my Jules Verne on and tried to dig to the center of the earth. The end result of course is wanting to get buried in the hole so only your head sticks out. Dad is more than happy to oblige. This is Dads favorite beach activity that involves moving (besides digging through the cooler for another beer). Before you know it Dad's gargantuan hands shovel the sand snuggly around you and only your head is exposed, like a beach ball chillin on a sand dune. If Dad has done it well, he has packed the sand tight enough that you can't move. It's virtually a tomb, a strait jacket, purgatory, a time out while Dad gets some shut eye. You have been duped. At least the view is good until Dad decides to help did you out.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

#134 Talking to Strangers

When Dad isn’t falling asleep in public places, you can definitely count on him making some new friends. Since you’re too busy ignoring Dad (because geez, so embarrassing), Dad talks to anyone within a 5 foot radius of him.

It’ll usually begin with a Dad-ism. “I wish my bananas were THIS ripe! AM I RIGHT?!” So embarrassing and yet the grocery cashier chuckled. And that’s when Dad thinks he found his new best friend. And you’ll be stuck there for the next 30 minutes as he tells the same story over and over.

And then once they’ve become friends, Dad realizes he’s been rude:
“Oh I’m sorry—this is my son. He wet the bed until he was 8.”
Really? Why?
Dad is always set to embarrass you.

You’d think Dad would set a better example, considering how many times he tells you not to talk to strangers. But do as Dad says, not as he does. These interactions happen with anyone. Grocery cashiers, bank tellers, waitresses, the random person walking their dog. Dad’s conversation skills are non-discriminatory. If you are within earshot, he will converse with you. And pray you don’t see anyone wearing the same or similar shirt as him. Because that conversation will not be in the form of talking, but rather a bunch of finger pointing and Fonzie like “Eeeeeyyyy”s.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

#133: Galoshes

Spring is upon us which with it brings baseball, birds chirping, and days where rain never ends. How is Dad supposed to walk to the train for work or mulch the yard for the summer with all this precipitation? Well young man he just slips on his overshoes, his rain boots. Or what real Dads call them: galoshes.

Galoshes, for the uninitiated, are thick leather or rubber shoes you slip over your normal shoes so they don't get ruined. They are also another name for rain boots. In true Dad form, although he tends to look ridiculous in galoshes, he knows they are VERY practical. They gain bonus points because they also embarrass his kids when he runs errands in them What?? You expect me to walk through a wet parking lot WITHOUT my galoshes?? They usually are caked in mud from what ever project Dad made up in order to get away from the kids for a few hours. Usually something like digging a drain pipe, tilling the garden, or coaching an AYSO soccer game during a tsunami. They NEVER get washed off either since Dads see the mud as battle scars, something to compare with other Dads on the block as they discuss the virtues of manure for the rose bushes or compare notes on garage maintenance.

Dad may even have a supplemental pair of galoshes exclusively for rainy travel days. After spending all morning making Dad noises in the bathroom getting ready for work and splashing on that bottle of Old Spice aftershave that he bought when David Lee Roth was still in Van Halen, the last thing Dad wants is for the rain to ruin his commute. So of course he grabs the ol' umbrella, puts on his sweet trench coat, and slips on the galoshes to protect his tasseled loafers. It isn't too common when Dad drives, but if he takes the train you better believe galoshes are worn the second it even hints at spitting rain. Commuter trains in the morning are filled with galoshes, all identical with their thick black hides. Dads don't even acknowledge them they are so commonplace. The new Dad on the train will wonder why these weirdos wear shoes over their shoes, but he will learn the second he gets off the train and a cab soaks his Cole Haans. Veteran Dads will just shake their heads in his ignorance, he has so much to learn...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

#132 College Tours

It is spring break for most people, which means college campuses are being bombarded by prospective high schoolers. As you try to look cool in your varsity jackets and color rubber-banded braces, Dad is pestering the tour guide about every nuanced detail of the college. See when Dad isn’t interrogating you at the dinner table as if it were a job interview, he’s asking those questions to someone else. And what better time that on a college tour, something that will define your future for the rest of your life.

“Can you tell us about the student faculty ratio?”
“What do most people major in? Is there a specialty? How often do kids switch their major?”
“What is the retention rate? What is the graduation rate? What is the international student percentage rate?”
How many questions can you ask using rate?

While you’re concerned if Greek life exists, (and if so, does it haze?), Dad needs to know the ins and outs of the school. Dad claims this is about your future, but in reality it’s about the investment he’s making with his bank account. With all the questions Dad is asking, he is mainly trying to get the answer to” “Can my kid go here and not become a screw up?”

So while you claim that the school is your top choice because it “felt” right, Dad is making sure that you’ll have a great experience at it. Yes, education is important, but Dad wants to be able to compare his college stories with yours. And compare old college sweaters