Crazy Nights and Hamburgers

So I went to see Kiss on Tuesday night.  It is, afterall, the Final Tour Ever.  First thing is Paul Stanley still sings everything.  No backup singers.  When I saw Motley Crue in 2012, Vince Neal barely sang anything.  He had two backup singers and I’m pretty damn sure those two ladies carried him through that entire concert.  Paul singing all the songs was almost as impressive as him wearing a vest throughout the show without a shirt underneath.  A 67 year-old dude in all his hairy chested glory.  Go Paul!

KISS

Second, Crazy Nights is a great song.  Never really realized it before but it kinda has the same message as We’re Not Gonna Take It.  And nobody likes a good solid rock song that gives the middle finger to the elite know-it-alls more than me.  The music snobs like to rip hair metal for its lack of sophistication, its lack of social messaging and its embrace of over the top cheesiness.  Well, screw you.  Go listen to Green Day and hang out with Pete Buttigieg and scold us for being part of the problem because we like to eat hamburgers.  And by the way, what the hell is the deal with the left and it’s war on tailgating?  AOC wants to ban cows, Mayor Pete says if you eat hamburgers you’re part of the problem.  Cows/hamburgers are the backbone of the American Tailgating Experience.  But again, I’m just a simple 49 year-old Midwestern Dad who likes football, hamburgers and hair metal.  If that means I’m part of the problem, well, like Paul sings in Crazy Nights – “And they try to tell us that we don’t belong, But that’s alright, we’re millions strong, You are my people, you are my crowd, this is our music, we love it loud.”

Third, you don’t see it much anymore but Kiss is just 3 guitars and drums.  And explosions.  And flamethrowers.  And Gene spitting blood.  And Paul suspended from a rope flying over the crowd.  It was pretty cool.

Last, nobody knows how to finish a show like Kiss.  Last song was I Wanna Rock And Roll All Night.  Complete with beach balls falling from the arena ceiling and about 15 confetti cannons going off during the song.  Add in the whole arena screaming at high volume and you have a recipe for pandemonium.  It was eerily reminiscent of my senior prom when one guy, a huge Kiss fan, got up on a table in white tux with tails and used his white cane as a microphone and belted out I Wanna Rock And Roll All Night when the DJ played it.  And that was also awesome.

I’m patiently waiting for the next hair metal band to stop in Des Moines.  Because I’m gonna be there.  And I’m gonna have a cheeseburger.  And a crappy non-craft beer.  And its gonna be freaking awesome.

Advertisements

The First Day of School

The first day of school is tomorrow.  At least it is for the now high school senior and sophomore.  The soph in college doesn’t start classes until Monday.

First day of school is an adjustment for everybody.  Kids and parents.  We aren’t any different.  The biggest adjustment for Mom and I is twofold.  First, we have deal with all the whining about getting up early.  Our strategy is relentless indifference punctuated by random unpredictable explosions of outright derision.  Kinda like the political left’s strategy in regards to the First Amendment.  Second, we have to brace for the whining about homework.  Our strategy is persistent questions and reminders about their homework.  It’s a war of attrition.  Eventually the girls’ resistance crumbles and they get their homework done simply because they want us to go away.  It’s basically how Jerry Jones gets his way so often with other NFL owners.

The soph in college is different.  She left for college on the 11th.  Her sorority had to get ready for primary recruitment.  Which is what everybody used to call rush.  They got the house ready for a week and then they spent this week, well, recruiting.  Today they’re done.  So if I still have the math correct from when I was in college that means they’re going drink their asses off until Sunday.  But maybe that doesn’t happen anymore…

Because lots of things don’t happen anymore since I was college.  There are some obvious examples.  Nobody listens to hair metal anymore.  Which really must suck for the students.  You’re not allowed to fly the flag anymore – unless of course it’s the hammer and sickle.  Hell, last year the 19 year-old and her roommate didn’t even have a TV in their room.  Yeah, I’m totally serious.  It’s f’ing insane.  No idea what they did on Sunday afternoons.

Now she’s living in a room with 9 other girls.  Which, if I’m being honest, sounds absolutely awful.  Like being forced to listen to rap.  When all the three girls were home this summer it was impossible for me to get dressed without pulling long blonde hairs off all my clothes.  Every single item of clothing I have.  EVERY SINGLE ONE.  Socks.  Shirts.  Shorts.  Doesn’t matter.  It’s even worse because big t-shirts are evidently cool again so the girls all feel like they can “borrow” any t-shirt in my closet.  Most of our furniture has a nice extra blonde layer.  Plus it looks like the kitchen floor has fur.  If we turn the fan on there’s blonde hair tumbleweeds blowing across the kitchen.  I shudder at what that 10 girl room looks like.  I bet they hang machetes outside the room so they can cut their way back in after class everyday.

Anyway, do you remember the start of your senior year in high school?  Your sophomore year in high school?  I’m not gonna lie.  Senior year was awesome.  I’m pretty sure it was awesome from start to finish.  I mean how could it not be awesome when you’re driving a sweet 1981 diesel Volkswagen Rabbit listening to the supremely hot Sheena Easton sing “U Got The Look” with Prince wearing a pair of Guess Jeans with some white Reeboks.  Don’t let anybody tell you 1987 wasn’t awesome.

No idea if our senior feels as strongly about Sheena Easton as I did but she does have fairly strong feelings about her white bib overalls.  Turns out it is a tradition for the senior girls to get a pair of white bib overalls and decorate the absolute crap outta them and then wear them to the home football games.  If you were to go just by the sheer number of hours she’s put in decorating them, you’d think she was studying for the bar exam.  Luckily for her, the sophomore is a hell of an artist.  And she was somehow convinced to not only help her senior sister decorate the bibs but also to help three of her friends too.  So part of the garage was turned into a small laboratory equipped with a lot of paint and glitter.

You know what is only thing on the planet harder to get of than long blonde hairs?

Freaking glitter.  But at least the garage and driveway are really shiny now…

Who’s Excited for Summer?

wildthingSummer needs to get here.  Fast.  Not because of my impatience for Season 3 of Stranger Things but because it is entirely possible that our 15 and 17 year-olds aren’t going to make it.  Seriously, they just might not get there.  Not because school and activities are grinding them down, moreso because there are times I feel like Mitch Williams coming outta the ‘pen for the ’89 Cubs.  I’m volatile and unpredicatible with my parenting decisions.  And if you’re not paying attention, you might get a 99 mph fastball high and tight.

I mean, okay, maybe I’m overreacting.  Maybe its true that they’re worn out from 9 months of school.  Maybe all the studying for finals has them really stressed out.  Maybe those two things combined with track and softball is just overwhelming them.  Or, maybe, its just a whole helluva lot of whining and laziness.  And those two things mingling are really just the girls inviting me to punch them in the face.  Verbally of course.  I don’t want to give any of you online parenting stormtroopers the wrong idea…

Listen, I get that it becomes harder once the weather gets warm, the grass gets green and the grills get smokier.  A cold Miller Lite, a home grilled burger and Poison playing in the background makes me happy too.  School ends on May 31st and it remains unclear how the 15 year-old is going to make it.  Seriously, she’s checked out.  Like she might be more checked out from school than Jerry Nadler is from reality.  Okay, that’s not fair.  Nadler is living in a carefully constructed alternative universe in which he’s taken seriously.  The 15 year-old is only in the process of checking out of a universe in which she knows we don’t take her seriously.  She combats her ineptitude in getting us to take her pretend exhaustion seriously by being whiny and lazy.  As each day goes by, she’s checks out a little more.  Which, if you think about it, is f’ing crazy.  She’s 15.  She’s a freshman in high school.  What the hell is so hard about the life of a high school freshman?  Mortgage payments?  Paying cellphone and car insurance bills for 5 freaking people?  Being stuck in an age demographic that somehow thinks socialism doesn’t always end in theft, murder and poverty?  Okay, that last one does suck but it shouldn’t affect her energy levels.

Anyway, here’s an example.  She has to be in her desk in her first class at 8:20 a.m.  This has been the case since August and isn’t a real high bar to clear.  It’s like if you were a new member of congress and you proposed a giant socialist manifesto proclaiming your greener-than-thou moral superiority and the only bar you had to clear was to not back up the manifesto with arguments about banning cow farts.  Anyway, you’d think after about 9 months of school, the 15 year-old would be used to this.  Shouldn’t her internal clock have moved into autopilot and the whole getting up and having all your stuff ready to go be second nature?  Well, of course not you stupid moron!  Expecting a 15 year-old to show some semblance of consistency when the weather is warm would be stupid.  High level stupidness.  I mean you’d have to be a complete imbecile to somehow come to the conclusion that by the end of freaking May, your 15 year-old daughter would be able to get out of bed, walk the 12 feet to the bathroom, get ready for school, have her track and/or softball stuff ready for practice/meet/game and – and this is key – drive herself to school in a timely manner.  Yeah, she gets to drive to school even though she’s only 15.  School license.  She doesn’t even have to make it to a freaking bus stop.  She has to walk into the garage and succesfully back the car out of the driveway and make, totally serious here, 4 total turns to get to school.

But as I mentioned earlier, that would make you stupid.  Because here’s the thing, at some point in May, the autopilot begins to malfunction.  This is due to something called “Idon’tgiveacrapitis” and we’ve all been afflicted with this ailment.  In high school, in college, as a parent and at your job.  I understand it, you understand it.  And, truth be told, I like to fully and vigorously embrace it at times.  But, here’s where parenting is bullshit, the 15 year-old doesn’t get to do it.  When she’s a senior?  Sure, I’ll probably let it slide a bit.  But not now.  Her life is not hard.  Somehow we’ve allowed her to become soft.  She’s like the media’s questions for Obama after he weaponized the IRS to go after any organization who dared oppose his reign.

Regardless, I need summer to get here so the arguments can be limited to which of the three girls gets a car for the day.  Because the constant vigilance necessary to make sure they study, turn in their assignments, take advantage of any and all retakes/extra credit while also ensuring they are on time and have all the correct track and softball is bullshit.  Now, I know some of you are acting all bad ass and saying, “Yeah, whatever man, if they didn’t have the right gear – TOUGH!”  Yeah, okay, but you know you’re getting a call from the 15 year-old about an hour or so before her first softball game saying, “MOM, I forgot my uniform pants!  Can you bring them to the field?!!!”

Seriously, that just happened.  She forgot her pants.  I wonder if Jerry Nadler forgets his pants when he freaks out about his meaningless subpoenas?

 

 

 

Ah, Spring…

So its spring.  The wonderful time of year when your allegies cause your brain to swell and your teenage daughter obessess over prom.  We’ve already been through three proms with the oldest.  So another prom didn’t seem like a big deal.  And, turns out, it really wasn’t.  The best part, for me anyway, was writing this.  Why?  Because nobody rolled their eyes at me while I meandered my way through my memories of April of ’87.  And, listen, I have three daughters.  I can identify an eye roll when I see one.  It is one of those skills that Dads of daughters involuntary master.  Like the selective hearing it takes to enjoy a game broadcast by Dan Dakich.  Or Jim Acosta and his unflappable ability to have zero self-awareness.

But back to prom and 1987.  Top Gun just came out on VHS.  George Michael and Aretha Franklin were singing I Knew You Were Waiting For Me.  And my friends and I somehow finagled a hotel room at a local hotel in which about 20 of us partied the night after prom.  I didn’t bring that up with the kids.  But I did bring up that Prom ’87 was the first time I heard Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again.  Because that’s a key moment for anyone who was in high school in the late 80’s.

The middle daughter, who happens to be on the edge of seventeen, had this whole thing planned out.  I’m not kidding.  She could teach a class on logistics and transportation.  They had a fairly decent sized group all going together.  The girls met at our house early to get ready.  She staggered the times a bit to make sure everyone had a sink and mirror in front of which to prepare.  To no one’s shock or amazement, I’m still perplexed at not only how long it takes teenage girls to get ready for prom, but also how much attention to detail they have during the getting ready process.  I’m a dude so the entire process of getting ready for prom for entailed taking a shower, putting on a rented tux and wearing these:

blue wayfarers

But with girls it is a process.  A process honed by hours and hours of practice.  It also include lots of discussion about various methods and different techniques of getting ready.  I assume it is the teenage girl version of an off-season meeting of defensive coordinators discussing the best ways to defend Tom Brady.

Regardless, I was happy to be uninvolved with all of it.  Similar to how I approach math homework.  Not a lot I can contribute, so I leave it up to Mom and provide a wide area in which she can operate.

Transporation from our house to the picture location was seemless too.  Again, mostly due to the tireless attention to detail provided by the 16 year-old and her fondness for planning.  Yeah, so instead of taking pics at the house, which is what I did back in the spring of ’87, they all pick out a picturesque locale in which to take the pics.  They picked a business close to the house that had a pond, decorative flower pots and fountain.  The picture taking process was made easier and far more enjoyable by the beers I drank prior.

The 16 year-old got pics with her boyfriend.  With each of her friends.  With most their dates.  Plus varying group pics, with assorted poses and looks – some planned, some unplanned.  When that was finally completed they ALL came back to our house to kill some time before they headed to dinner and the actual prom.  This was one of the few things that was not mapped out ahead of time by the 16 year-old.  So she volunteered our house as a spot where they could reorganize and, I assume anyway, be uncomfortable in their formal wear.  We left out a 30 pack of bottled water and some pop for them.  They were clearly and sternly informed that was all they were to drink. I also informed them of exactly how many cans of beer were in my basement fridge.  If any were missing, the only thing more obvious than the fact it was them who drank it is that Alexa is not only spying on you if she’s in your house but that she’s also the precursor to Skynet becoming self-aware.

So I’m not sure how they do it at your kids’ high school, but at ours there is generally a house where the group sleeps over.  Yeah boys and the girls.  I was as shocked as anyone to find this out three years ago.  Somebody’s parents host, and by host I mean they are tricked into having everybody stay overnight.  You generally provide some snacks and drinks for the promgoers and some semblance of a breakfast.  Your breakfast effort is largerly based on – 1) your devotion to breakfast, and 2) your skills at preparing breakfast.

A couple years ago we hosted the group after the Homecoming Dance.  We bought them some donuts and called it good.  The family that hosted the group after prom this year made them an actual breakfast.  Pancakes, eggs, etc.  Yeah, that’s just f’ing crazy.  I thought we were generous with the 2 dozen donuts.  They were Krispy Kremes.  The 16 year-old got home and if you were judging what the best part of prom based on what she talked about the most, it was the breakfast.

Teenagers can be easy to please…

 

A Weekend in Olathe

Who spent last weekend in Olathe?  Nobody?  Okay, just me then.

Actually I wasn’t alone since the 16 year was there too.  She was, truth be told, the only reason I was there.  Not that I have anything against Olathe.  It was my first time there and it seemed a lot like every other big suburb of a major midwestern city.  She had a softball tournament Saturday and Sunday.  The high school team divides itself into what is essentially the varsity and the JV for spring tournaments before practice starts on May 6.

So we left Friday afternoon about 4:30ish and drove down.  Nice enough drive except for the fact that Missouri has zero interest in maintaining any semblance of smoothness on I-35.  The first ten miles or so once you cross the Iowa/Missouri border have more craters than Adam Schiff’s credibility.  But here’s the thing – the 16 year-old is a talker.  She likes to share.  She also has strong feelings about her various playlists.  There’s the driving playlist, the homework playlist, the hype playlist, the getting ready playlist and a couple more that she told me about but my brain went into “ignore politely mode” so I don’t remember what they were.  She did ask if I wanted to listen to her throwback playlist.  Naturally, I said yes because I’m 48.  Most of the songs I like only exist on throwback playlists.  What I wasn’t really contemplating was that to the 16 year-old not only are the Backstreet Boys throwback material but so is Flo Rida.  Yeah, who knew?  I was expecting some Def Leppard.  Maybe some vintage disco.  But whatever, I like Flo Rida.  I even like his collaborations.  Especially that one with Pitbull and Lunch Money Lewis.

But I got to spend 3ish hours with her.  Which was pretty cool.  For me anyway.  Not sure of her feelings on the matter although she did only talk about stuff she cared about for those 3 hours.  But again, not sure I really care because it really isn’t that often you get to spend 3 hours alone with your junior in high school.  That kinda thing doesn’t really happen organically.

We talked about a lot of stuff.  We talked about prom.  We talked about softball.  We talked about my music vs. her music.  We talked about the various high school dramas unfolding around her.  We talked about whether or not Mom and I partied in high school.  We talked about what she should major in once she gets to college.  I tried to talk about how the Steelers would adjust to life without Antonio Brown and who I thought they’d target with their first few picks in the draft…but to be honest I think I was really just talking to myself on those things.  Which truth be told is just how it works in my house when it comes to the NFL Draft.  Mom likes football, but she’s not a nerd about it.

Anyway, the 16 year-old was stunned to learn that Mom partied a little bit in high school before cutting loose in college.  Her and her sisters have this belief that Mom did everything right in high school – never got in trouble, always got good grades, etc.  Which made me curious about their impression of me in high school.  She said they were pretty sure that I partied in high school and college.  Not sure what that says about my skills as a parent.  But I managed to graduate in both cases and went to arguably be a productive member of American society.  But I did ask some questions regarding this assumption.  I mean what makes it obvious that I partied and Mom didn’t?  It’s not like I’m carrying around a 30 pack of Stroh’s, a fake ID and a handy story on why I missed my curfew…that hasn’t happened since the spring of ’88…

The thing that simultaneously interested and repelled me was all the drama.  And it seemed like a lot.  But I haven’t been a junior in high school for 32 years.  So maybe when you’re that age there’s just more drama.  You also probably have a higher level of tolerance for it because of its prevalence.  But I’m not the best gauge in regards to appropriate or even normal levels of drama.  Mostly because I have an exceptionally low tolerance level for drama.  Like if the drama scale were to be measured from 0 to 10 with 0 being no tolerance and 10 high tolerance, I’d be a -47.  Or if you were using — as a measurement, I’d be —.

Now listen, everybody will say they hate drama.  Everybody.  And they’ll mean it.  Some people will even insist they have tolerance levels resembling mine.  They’d also be resoundingly wrong.  I have a pathological aversion to it.  Like it might be diagnosed as a mental health issue.  An issue I hope to pass along to the girls.  But listen, having three daughters hasn’t helped me deal with this either.  In fact, I believe it actually has led to the current state of my drama tolerance levels.  Not that I’m complaining.  I like being the guy with absolutely no reason to participate in your drama.  I like anchoring this curve.  Now, I won’t go out of my way to denigrate your drama-filled concerns.  I’m not mean-spirited afterall.  I’ll just ignore you.  You may misinterpret that as me not caring.  You’d be wrong.  I do care.  It’s just I care very much about ignoring your drama.  Or I’ll just quietly, albeit unapologetically, walk away.  Because here’s the deal – drama likes other drama.  Drama attracts other drama.  If drama runs into anti-drama, drama will work tirelessly to ensare the anti-drama.  Because drama can’t exist on it’s own.  There are people who are attracted to drama the way fat kids are attracted to cake.  They want their lives to be a reality show.  They’ll claim that isn’t the case, but they just can’t help themselves.  They’ll cannonball right into the drama pool.  Doesn’t matter if it involves them or not.  If their lives have somehow wandered into a drama desert, they will create it.  It’s like they have a superpower they are unaware of that can conjure drama out of the clear blue sky.  Group of friends getting along really well?  Boom – time to drop a drama grenade into that room.  You have a friend who is getting along really well with their boyfriend or girlfriend?  Time to drop some sabotage in between them to set yourself up as the arbiter.  Friend seems content with the current state of their lives?  Time to passive aggressively attack that friend for the contendedness.

So the upside is that I was able to express my views on drama to the 16 year-old.  And she couldn’t escape.  Calling that a win.

 

Magnum and Hallmark

The 15 year-old said something recently that got me thinking.  I mean legitimately made me stop and think.  It was like the opposite of what happens to me when Kamala Harris speaks or when the girls watch The Bachelor.  Anyway, Mom and I were watching Magnum.  Yes, I realize that I’ve previously stated how it was predetermined that the reboot would suck.  I also am fairly certain that I was not alone in this assumption.  Mostly because nearly every attempt to recreate the awesomeness of any original 80’s movie or TV show has utterly and completely crashed and burned.

Red Dawn. The communists are bad.  America, with all her imperfections, is awesome.  Solid premise.  Also I’m pretty sure the original would have come true if Carter had been re-elected in 1980.  But the remake was awful.  Like if I laid out a scale of 80’s awesomeness and at one end you had Mel Gibson’s hair in Lethal Weapon and at the other end you had Walter Mondale’s acceptance speech at the ’84 DNC, the Red Dawn remake wouldn’t even be even with Mondale.

The A-Team.  Since Taken, Liam Neeson normally makes things awesome.  Not so in The A-Team reboot.  It’s not like it was hard to take the premise of the TV show and turn it into an awesome movie.  The Equalizer was essentially the same TV show and they managed to turn that into a freaking bad ass movie.

Miami Vice.  C’mon Hollywood.  This thing was, for all intents and purposes, a manual on how to absolutely and entirely ruin something awesome so completely that anyone who actually watched the TV show is now unable to ever explain to their kids that Miami Vice was, at one point, the coolest thing on the planet.  So pretty much what lefty academia is doing to free speech on college campuses.

Not that they always get it wrong.  The Goldberg’s is great and their attention to 80’s detail is extremely satisfying.  Stranger Things is one of the greatest shows of all time and having it set in the mid 80’s only makes it better.  Although Season 2 consistently got the music wrong.  They were a year off.  Season 2 takes place in November of ’84.  At the Snow Ball, they feature Twist of Fate by Olivia Newton-John.  The song was the theme to the extremely underappreciated Two of a Kind…which came out in 1983.  Perfect song for moment but they were a year off.  And Ready Player One is an 80’s trivia nerd’s dream.  So naturally, I liked it.

If the rumors are right then we’ll be seeing remakes of Escape From New York, War Games and Weird Science.  Which fills me with a great sense of anticipation…and also feelings of incredible dread.  Basically the same feelings I get when watching Chris Boswell kick field goals for the Steelers.

Regardless, there we were watching Magnum.  And the 15 year comes downstairs and says, “Is this Magnum?”  To which was naturally answer, “yeah, be quiet.”  To which she responds, “This show is basically a Hallmark movie.  It’s exactly the same thing.”

MagnumHigginsSo two things.  1)  Higgins is hot.  Not something I’d have said about the original but a stone cold fact in reference to the reboot.  I mean one of the main reasons I watch the show is because of Higgins’ British accent and hotness.  And I don’t care what you say, that is a perfectly legit reason to watch the show.  Same reason why I’ll watch just about anything with Salma Hayek.

2) Magnum is not a freaking Hallmark movie.  I mean clearly it isn’t Christmas.  And nowhere is there a woman who recently broke up with a long-time boyfriend who works in New York at an investment bank who also is really, really wrapped up in his career and the all the status that goes along with that.  Also nowhere to be seen is the small hometown to which the recently single woman must return to visit her parents or her ailing grandmother or to save the Christmas Tree Farm that is about to be bulldozed by the investment bank to put up some environmentally ignorant condos.  And surprisingly, she runs into an old high school boyfriend who never left the hometown but has a successful carpentry business and wonderful old house who also desperately believes the Christmas Tree Farm must saved from the corporate a-holes in NYC.

Magnum is an ex-Navy Seal who had a rough experience in Afghanistan.  Along with his buddies Rick and TC, they use their training to crack cases and help the underdog on the island of Oahu.  All of them have a few skeletons in the closet that are tough to talk about.  And yes, things do get wrapped up in the end but not so tightly that there aren’t a few loose ends that always come back to haunt Magnum from his past…hey, wait a minute…

Ended Up With A Nice Little Saturday

Until about 7:00 this morning, we were getting ready to head to Kansas City for a two day softball tourney.  But then spring in the Midwest happened.  Turns out rain for two days and then snow overnight followed by more rain today cancelled the tournament.  It was almost 70 down there a few days ago and is supposed to be warm again next week.  Which is good because we have to go back down there next weekend for another tournament.  Now whether or not you agree with youth sports being an addictive chemical fed to parents to bleed them of cash is immaterial to my story but is a point I felt that needed to spelled out nonetheless.

But here’s the thing – driving to KC takes us about 3 hours.  And we needed to be at the fields 75 minutes prior to our 1:00 game.  So – quick math – we thought we’d leave no later than 8, make some time for one stop, and bingo bongo we’re at the fields a little early.  Except the weather happened.  But we were already up – on a Saturday – just before 7.  Yes, I realize some of you are smirking and saying, “yeah doofus, go back to sleep.”  Well, my body just doesn’t work that way.  Anymore anyway.  Like joint pain, hair loss and college tuition payments for our oldest, it’s just the way it is now.

So we’re awake with a whole Saturday morning unaccounted for.  So I suggested, “Hey, wanna go get breakfast somewhere?”  Mom gave the thumbs up so we headed out the door.  So, just follow along here.

Lots of options available.  There’s a local bagel place that’s pretty good.  You got Perkins of course.  But we headed down the street to…Panera.  Mom got an ham & egg sandwich – no cheese.  I got a steak, egg and cheese sandwich on an everything bagel.  First time I’ve had it.  Pretty good.  Nothing special, but yeah I’d eat it again.  But, truth be told, breakfast sandwiches are amongst my favorite foods.  Not totally sure on the approval rankings as of today but nachos, donuts, cheeseburgers are the other front runners.

Regardless, we get our drinks and proceed to do the following.  We grabbed a paper off another table.  The actual paper, not like a shareable Panera iPad.  An actual physical newspaper.  I grabbed the sports section and Mom went right for the word jumble. Then two things happened.  1) I had to put on my +1.25 readers because I can’t see shit, 2) Mom got a pen and filled in the jumble even though it wasn’t our newspaper.  It was just a random paper that somebody left there or that Panera was providing to its customers.  Either way I thought it was inappropriate for her to fill out the jumble.  Who does that?  What if somebody else wanted to figure out the jumble?  Too late motherfu*%er, Mom ruined it for everybody.  So yeah, we were at a freaking Panera early on a Saturday morning and I was reading the newspaper wearing  my readers and Mom was doing the jumble.

But then we left Panera and went to Bed, Bath & Beyond because we evidently had yet to prove to ourselves that we’re no longer 22.  But you gotta draw a line somewhere.  And my line is evidently waiting outside a Bed, Bath & Beyond at 8:50 on Saturday morning because the store doesn’t open until 9 as you notice the grandma parked next to you doing the same thing.  That’s my line.  We immediately left.  Felt like I needed to go home and rewatch The Dirt just to remind myself that we used to be cooler, younger and far less concerned getting new towels.

So anyway it was a weird morning.  Like the interlude of spanish dinner music in the middle of Sleezebeez’ underappreciated hair metal hit Stranger than Paradise.  But you know what?  We still ended up with a nice little Saturday…

nicelittlesaturday

Chargers

No, not the team quarterbacked by Philip Rivers.  Not that I’m adverse to discussing them, it’s just that unless we’re talking about the Chargers of Dan Fouts and Air Coryell then I’m not really interested.

What I’m talking about is phone chargers.  Adapters.  Cords.  The lifeblood of your mobile electronic device.  Is this specific case, iphones.  Now I don’t own an iphone.  I own a phone that uses android technology.  Not that I have a preference, it’s just that I’ve always had an android and I don’t want to learn how to use an iphone.  And please read the next part very carefully…I DON’T CARE HOW EASY YOU SAY IT IS.  AT ALL.  I also don’t care how much you talk about how all your devices are integrated and can talk to each other and make plans and take each other out to dinner.  Two words: Sky. Net.  Your annoying insistence on talking about your affinity for your iphone and all its integrated devices is only topped by millennials’ annoying insistence that everything they say and do is morally superior to literally everything anybody else has ever done in the history of -and let me phrase this right- ever.

I mean you have a phone that millions of other people have.  You’re not special.  Plus Apple Jedi-mind tricks you into buying a new version of the same damn phone every other year while also fooling you into buying a a freaking watch that does the same crap your phone already does.  Then forces you to spend time in the most Godforsaken place on earth…the i store.  So good job morons.  So while I understand that, much like progressives, you believe the only reason I don’t do what you do is because I’m an ignorant, backwoods a-hole.  I’m not.  I just don’t care about what you care about.  And yes, I do realize that won’t stop your never-ending sermonizing regarding how you’re making a impact while achieving a healthy work/life balance while influencing the values of your organization while you’re just being you in you’re own unique way.  Blah, blah, blah.

That being said, against my free will I’ve been forced to care about iphones.  There are 4 of them on our plan.  Mom has one and the girls each have one.  So, much like corporate business incentives, MSNBC and liberal bias in public education, I’m forced to pay for something I don’t use, want or need.

So I went to Wal-Mart.  And I’m not a big Wal-Mart guy.  But Wal-Mart electronics section is pretty bad ass.  I found four chargers, each a different color, and gave them to each of the iphone users in my house.  I did this for one very specific reason.

To make them all be quiet.  When it comes to iphone chargers, I assume the budget shutdown discussions between President Trump and Speaker Pelosi are similar to the ones amongst Mom and the girls.  There’s yelling, sarcasm, condescension and an astonishing amount of blame.  Then that is quickly followed by a helluva lot of shoulder shrugging and a complete and total inability to look for the simplest solution on their own.  I mean, it’s a phone charger.  Maybe look around your damn room, in your damn car.  Or how about in your damn backpack.  You’re not looking for Jimmy Freaking Hoffa. It’s a charger, not Flight 19.  I mean next to the actual iphone, the charger is the most important possession they have.  You’d think they would treat it the way Texans treat the 2nd Amendment.  Instead they treat it the way Jim Acosta treats his credibility.

So for the last few weeks we’ve had this uneasy detente.  I’m skeptical of its duration.  So I’m planning more trips to Wal-Mart…

So I Had This Dream…

miamivicecrockettYou know how you have a dream that is so awesome, so compelling, that you simply enjoy the dream as if you’re watching a great movie?  You might even realize at some point that you’re really asleep and what you’re experiencing is only a dream.  But you don’t care because the dream is so gripping that you can’t look away.  Like the Miami Vice episode when Crockett gets shot by that Columbian drug lord’s girlfriend while Phil Collins’ In The Air Tonight is playing during.  But then the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the one thing you don’t want to happen actually happens.  You wake up before the dream is over or at least has reached a point that you’re satisfied with the outcome.

That happened to me right before Christmas.  Granted the dream was powered by Miller Lite and tacos but it was still awesome.  I got up the next morning and immediately wrote it down because I didn’t want to forget any details.

So Mom and I are at a Peter Gabriel concert.  Don’t really have a historical context for the point in which this concert was taking place during Peter Gabriel’s career but I’m comfortable saying it was during his  greatest hits phase.  We’re sitting in the back row on the end of the aisle.  The seats are arranged in a half circle.  We were super pumped about being there which is kinda weird because I’m not really a big Peter Gabriel guy.  Never have been.  There’s really only two, maybe three, songs that I like.  But here’s the thing, Peter Gabriel was only sitting one minute versions of his songs.  Who does that?  I distinctly remember it pissing me off because I had hauled my arse to a freaking Peter Gabriel concert and I wasn’t even going to hear the full version of Solsbury Hill.  Which, as we all know, is Peter Gabriel’s best song closely followed by In Your Eyes with Shock the Monkey a distant third.  I realize you could make a persuasive argument for Games Without Frontiers for that 3 spot.  I’m just saying that I’m not going to help you with that argument.

Anyway, I had a spiral notebook at the concert and everybody was stepping on the notebook tearing all the pages off.  The presence of the notebook and the reasons behind its presence remain unclear.  Regardless it was there.  At this point everybody in our row needed to get up and leave the concert or at least the row we were in.  I assumed the short ass concert was over.  So I turned to my left and let everybody leave the row and then I picked up the now loose and torn pages of the trampled notebook .  I was very angry about the notebook being torn up and combined with the unannounced and thoroughly unacceptable plan for Peter Gabriel to only sing one minute versions of his songsStill extremely mad we only got to hear a one minute version of Solsbury Hill.

As we got up to leave our seats we turned to leave but instead of stepping into the aisle we stepped out of the driver’s side back seat of a stretch limo.  Don’t really remember being confused by this occurrence either.  Regardless, we just stepped out of a limo.  And I was barefoot.  Yeah, as we were walking to our car to leave I realized that I was barefoot.  I know, weird.  So I turned back to the limo to get my shoes out of the back seat.  The shoes were my brown Birkenstock clogs.  Don’t laugh, they’re super comfortable.  But as I turned back to get the shoes the limo driver is walking across the street to this shanty looking house and he gives my shoes to the people at the house!

voodoohenchmanAnd these folks were those creepy looking voodoo guys like Yaphet Kotto’s henchmen in Live and Let Die.  So I casually, but in a sternly confident way, walked up to them to get my shoes and – poof – they were gone.  Like voodoo magic.  So I yelled at the limo driver “Yo, Yo, Yo, those are my shoes!”  But the creepy Cajun guys just smiled toothy unsettling smiles and opened the door to the shanty.  There, directly in front of me was a staircase to an upstairs room that looked like your uncle’s den from 1973.  Gold carpet, wood paneling, crappy fold out table for a desk.  The guy at the desk was the big fat black guy with the gravely voice and big glasses from the Kandy Bar in Weird Science.  I climbed the stairs and a quick conversation ensured.  Turns out to get my shoes back I had to agree to buy some homemade alcohol in a super weirdly decorated bottle.  The bottle kinda looked like a homemade maple syrup jug.

But it was apparent that this was now a bargaining process to get my shoes back.  Unbeknownst to the guy from Weird Science, I had this giant crumpled up wad of cash in my pocket.  But, like any good negotiator, I didn’t want to take the money out because then he’d know how much money I had and the price of getting my shoes back would undoubtedly go up.

So I offered $30.

gravelyvoicedguyweirdscienceFor some reason I knew the price was $50 so I tried to lowball him.  He said “higher.”  So I said $40 and he just laughed and walked away.  That’s when two of my nieces, Mom and one of Mom’s sisters started walking up the stairs at various intervals.  And their hair was wet because they had all taken showers.  And I thought, “Wow these creepy weird Cajun voodoo guys are letting everybody take showers after the horrible Peter Gabriel concert, that’s really nice.”  But then Mom walked into the den where I was and asked the big fat black guy from Weird Science if she owed anything else.  I turned to her with the WTF look on my face.  I was naturally confused because I was negotiating for my shoes which had nothing to do with Mom.  And I was completely and utterly unaware of any previous business dealings between Mom and Weird Science guy.  So I said, “What are you doing?  He wants me to pay for this stupid homemade moonshine to get my birks back.”  But then the guy says to Mom, “No we’re square. $58 dollars.”  So I was super mad now because how is this guy doing business with Mom and I had no idea.  And what the hell cost $58?

Even weirder was everybody from Mom’s side of the family was there and waiting outside the shanty.  I mean everybody except the few that were lucky enough to score shanty showers.  Anyway, they all wanted to leave the absurdly short Peter Gabriel concert so I was feeling a lot of pressure to get the moonshine for shoes deal done. So now the Weird Science guy knows that I didn’t know Mom had some side deal going and that I’m under pressure to wrap it up.  Both of which undermine my credibility!  Then I notice this one guy from work is also there.  He was wearing a red and black track suit and was also wearing his blublockers.  He’s also getting irritated with me to get this thing done because he had to ref a soccer game at 1:00 and it took two hours to drive home from where we were.  And, he was tapping his watch telling me it was exactly 11:06.

Which made me even angrier because now I’m losing even more leverage in the deal making process.  Which, of course, means the price to get my sweet Birkenstock clogs back is not going to go down.   So I offered $50 and said you win.  But he said that was the old price, the new price is higher now.  So now I’m moving from feeling pressure to being just plain angry.  So angry that I start doing what Denzel Washington was doing in The Equalizer when he checks his watch to time himself on how long it takes to kill all the guys in the room.  Evidently that got me so angry, I woke myself up.

So I did what everybody would have done.  I frantically tried to go back to sleep to find out if I ever got my shoes back and how much damage I caused in the process.  Didn’t work though.  Instead I woke up Mom to tell her that if she’s going to negotiate side deals with big fat gravely-voiced dudes from Weird Science then I’m going to need a heads up.

Things are getting better…

We have a busy December. But, in America, that’s just how we roll.  We have family coming to house the next two weekends.  Then right after Christmas, we’d headed to San Antonio for the Alamo Bowl.  This weekend the 16 year-old volunteered to host the secret Santa party for the softball program at the girls’ high school.  So about 30 girls showed up about 10:30 in the a.m. on Sunday and stuck around for about 90 minutes.  At first I was a little apprehensive about the whole thing.  But who can blame me?  I am a seasoned veteran when it comes to trials and tribulations of the aforementioned teenage girls.  I already have had YEARS of teenage girls living in my house.  Why the hell would I purposely invite an extra 30 girls between 14 and 18 into my house?  No, seriously, why would I do that? 

But I gave my approval.  Mostly because I’m a seasoned veteran and know which battles to pick.  Piece of advice for all you Dads of little girls out there.  Anyway, even though I knew it was a good long-term decision, it still had me pondering what in the name of the Burl Ives was I thinking.  Turns out it was mostly cool.  They organized it all themselves and helped clean up afterwards.  In fact, the food they brought over was awesome.  Breakfast pizza, egg casseroles, donuts, cookies, bagels, muffins and chocolate milk.

Plus I had to drive up to Ames and pick the 19 year-old.  So I flipped on the radio to the station that plays the old top 40s.  Today was this week in 1987.  So yeah, I was singing my ass off.  Top 5 songs for the week ending Dec. 12 1987:

5- Is This Love – Whitesnake

4- (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life – Bill Medley & Jennifer Warnes

3- Should’ve Known Better – Richard Marx

2- Heaven Is A Place On Earth – Belinda Carlisle

1- Faith – George Michael

So let’s break this morning down.  First, my house was invaded by teenage girls.  This is a normal occurrence.  So I was relatively unfazed.  Like John McClane when he finds Hans checking the explosives in the Nakatomi Building.  He knows it’s Hans.  But Hans doesn’t know he knows.  So John is unfazed.  He’s not relaxed, his cop senses are on high alert.  But he’s unfazed.  That’s how I felt.  Because these invasions are normally conducted by small raiding parties of less than 5 girls.  Sometimes they only come in pairs and I don’t even notice they are in the house except for the extra shoes by the front door.  Today it was a platoon of softball girls.  But I wasn’t there for most of it.  And, instead of bringing drama, they brought delicious breakfast foods.  Unfazed.  Also a tad bit hungry.

Second, on my way up to pick up our oldest at college, I enjoyed the best music from the Christmas season in 1987.  Notably absent from the top 40 were two songs I distinctly remember from playing an outsized role in the soundtrack to the fall of my senior year in high school.  Those two songs?  Casanova by LeVert and Say You Will by Foreigner.  Man, that LeVert song, now that I listen to it again, is…still freaking awesome.  It might even be better.  Im-freaking-possible not bust out your best dance moves.  Better than I remember.  Say You Will still rocks too but it just didn’t have the same surprise impact that LeVert did.  But go back and look at that top 5.  Not sure you can make a credible case that you’re referencing an actual top 40 list from the late 80’s unless Richard Marx and his power mullet are on the list.  Okay, quick, you have to listen to a Richard Marx song…what is it?  Should’ve Know Better?  Satisfied?  Endless Summer Nights?  Not easy is it?  Because nobody is going to pick any of those songs.  Unless you’re drunk and playing name that tune with your friends as you search for somewhat memorable Richard Marx songs from the 80’s.  Also go play Heaven Is A Place On Earth and don’t sing along.  

Can’t do it can you?  It can’t be done.  There is something physiological that happens.  Some kind of chemical that is released in the human brain when you hear Belinda Carlisle.  Involuntary response to said stimuli is to sing your ass off.  

So I know it sucks that wokeness police are trying to kill Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  And I know they killed any chance you were going to watch the Oscars by sacking Kevin Hart.  And now you have to worry about anything you said when you were 14 years old because the USA Today is going to dig it up and turn it over to the woke Stasi.  But I ended up with free egg casserole and sweet tunes from December of ’87.  So that’s a win dudes.