Thursday, June 27, 2013

#144: Conserving Things

"Don't throw that away, there's still plenty left!" exclaims Dad as you are throwing away the bones from your ribs. You licked them cleanly, but Dad notices meat and fat on the ends. When Dad isn't eating the leftovers on your plate, he is keeping them for another meal. "I could make a mean stew out of this." I hate Dad's stews...

Dad loves to conserve things. From using the very last bit of ketchup from the bottle to saving every last penny, Dad knows how to make use of every last thing in your life. Some call it being thrifty, Dad calls it common sense.

This thriftiness is also economical and sentimental. His torn t-shirts may scream unfashionable to you, but to Dad they say "look at the money you've saved by not buying new clothes." And why is Dad saving all your old clothes? He really does miss you as a baby. (You'll thank him in college when you have the best themed party outfits).

That's why you can find your batteries in the freezer "because they last longer when stored in there," or get yelled at for touching the thermostat, you understand Dad is just looking for ways to make things more efficient. While mom sees beauty in all things, Dad sees opportunity in all things. Another man's garbage is another man's treasure? Wrong.

Another man's garbage is Dad's treasure.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

#143: Camping

As the days get longer, the weather hotter, and the clouds of mosquitoes larger Dads have a tendency to try to get everyone out of the house. "IT'S A BEAUTIFUL DAY, STOP WASTING IT BY PLAYING THAT NINTENDO GAME!" But he has hatched a plan for the weekend to get you outside, which will of course be revealed at the last possible moment, the whole family is going camping.

Dads live their weekdays chained to a desk, drinking mediocre coffee, while reviewing spreadsheets and going to boring meetings (us here at That's So Dad know this all too well). They want to get OUT on the weekends and camping is the exact opposite of the office. Where can he wear thick hiking socks jammed into Tevas, a huge floppy hat, and his hiking brace without looking like a total weirdo? The campsite! And no matter how much you don't want to be pulled away from your Playcube 64, fancy smartphone, Facespace, and Tweeter you are going camping and that is final!

Dads have this sense that they are all great outdoorsman, when most of them aren't. However it allows them to show off their skills in knot tying and tending to the campfire while also taking three hours to set up a tent. However, Dad will truly shine later as he roasts the perfect marshmallow and tells the scariest ghost story that happened in this. very. forest. Dads use camping to teach valuable life lessons and have deep discussions, because he knows you can't go anywhere. Common sayings on camp outs include: "Boy I wish my Dad took me camping when I was your age." "Now THAT'S a sunset!" "It's 4AM and the fish are biting, who wants to get out there!" and of course, "Aw it's only a little downpour, I am sure the rain will move right on in a bit." (Hint: it won't). Dadisms are passed out like Tylenol after an All-Dad basketball game.

So suck it up and go camping with Dad. You might just enjoy it after you get past the 15th horsefly bites you, numbing your hand enough that the 16th hurts only a little.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

#142: Buying Gifts for Himself

 Father’s Day is quickly approaching, so better think of some gifts to get Dad. What should I get him?


Still stumped.

Why is it so hard to get gifts for Dad?
The problem is that when Dad isn’t purchasing a gift for you that he secretly wants, he is using his hard earned money to buy himself gifts. Rather than wait a week for the gift for his birthday, Father’s day, or Christmas, Dad just buys it for himself. It’s as if he is following his advice and Dad-ism, “Why do something later that you could do now?” This is why it is so hard to get gifts for Dads. That’s why Dad’s always have to pretend to like their Father’s Day gifts. The ties, shoes, and cards are custom cop-out gifts. It’s what we give when we have no idea what Dad actually wants.

You had ideas—the newest gadget from Sharper Image? Dad bought it last week. The tickets to the sporting event, Dad bought them with work buddies. The brew your own beer set, Dad bought that when mom wasn’t looking. The new power tool adapter? Dad bought it during the infomercial.

So good luck with your last minute gifts this weekend for Father’s Day presents. Dad has everything he really wants. But because of that, Dad appreciates all the random knick knack gifts even more.


Thursday, June 6, 2013

#141: Knots

"DAAAAAAAAD!!!! I forgot how to tie my shoes agaiinnnnnnn." Dad just taught you again how to do the loop, swoop, and pull (or Bunny Ears, whichever tactic) and here you sit with laces all tangled into the most complicated slip knot since Houdini's coffin. Dad comes over, kneels down, and magic happens. Those calloused, hairy hands (Dad's always grow hair in weird places)  have the magic touch and create a perfectly symmetrical loop-swoop-pull knot that would keep your shoes on in a hurricane. How does he do it?

Dads grew up before there was cable TV, video games, the KFC Double Down, and cartoons on demand. That meant Dad actually played outside for most of his youth and in so doing he learned a variety of knots to tie up kites, raise clubhouse flags, and all that other stuff you see on Leave it To Beaver reruns. As he grew up Dad graduated to sailboats and Boy Scouts where they are taught that everything in the world can be solved with an intricate knot. Clove hitch, Double Fisherman's, Slippery Eight Loop, Carrick Bend, even the barely useful yet awesome Monkey's Fist, Dad can do it all. When the family goes camping Dad's tent construction is supported only by knots but a Japanese Tsunami would not knock that tent over. It is indestructible.

If you have ever been on a sailboat with Dad, you can see in his eyes the excitement he has for tying knots. He gets to use his whole repertoire and does not hesitate to use the EXACT knot for its EXACT job, even though another knot will do just fine. "That's not the right knot!! Use a Buntline Hitch if you're gonna attach the spinnaker to the halliard rope!!!!" Okay Dad, I just want to pretend I am a pirate...You don't complain because you know Dad is right. That boat could be a 6ft Sunfish or it would be the Titanic, it WILL have proper knots.

So when Dad is fumbling around with the rope swing

or trying to tie together some fishing line, be sure to pay attention. You might actually learn a thing or two about the amazing world of knots.