High School Graduation and it’s Trappings

Our oldest graduated from high school.  This a major rite of passage for any kid.

It is also a rite of passage for parents.  Because it’s weird.  They are kids for a long time.  Then they get to high school and you’re all, “holy crap I can’t believe I have a kid old enough to be in high school.”  Then, in a flash, they start driving and then they graduate and are getting ready for college.  And yes, it kinda feels like it happens that fast.  So all the graduation stuff starts getting thrown at you the summer before they graduate.  You have to make sure they take the ACT and/or SAT.  You have to get applications in for college.  You have to apply for scholarships.  You have to get all registered for financial aid.  You have figure how much to drink to make the stress of tuition payments go away.  It is all very disconcerting.  Not because it is especially complicated – it isn’t – but because you’re just not ready for it.  So it all feels foreign.  Like James Comey and the truth.

Anyway, you navigate your way through all that crap and then you get to May of your kid’s senior year – and graduation is literally days away.  But first you have to do something.

Have a grad party.

Yeah, this is a thing.  Some of you are reading this and saying – aloud – “Yeah, no sh*t Sherlock.  And guess what else?  Water is wet, socialism always fails and golf is stupid.”  Well, I didn’t know that.  I mean of course I knew water was wet and that socialism always fails and that golf is stupid.  But I didn’t know grad parties were such big freaking deal.  Now, those of you who just mocked me incredulously for not knowing grad parties are a thing, are now incredulously mocking me for admitting it.  Because here’s the deal – I didn’t have one.  I don’t really remember going to any.  Disclaimer – if you had a grad party in 1988 and it is a really special memory for you and I attended but now don’t remember attending – I sincerely apologize.  My brain is mostly filled with useless facts and movie quotes.  So I didn’t realize the importance or enormity of the grad party then or now.

But it is a big f*%king deal.

All of our senior’s friends had parties starting the first week in May going all the way through the first week in June.  Every weekend.  There was even one on a Thursday night.  We’d ask what she was doing and the answer was always, “going to grad parties.”

weirdsciencepartyNow just so we’re clear, as you’ve likely assumed, I did not realize how big of deal this was.  I was thinking, yeah, we’ll order some pizzas, get some gatorades for the kids and I’ll have a cooler of Miller Lites handy for me and other bewildered Dads.  Because in my head, channeling the 18 year old in me who sometimes shows up unexpectedly, I was thinking that most of these high school seniors want to have a grad party that is similar Wyatt and Gary’s blowout in Weird Science.

I got yelled at for this.

And not in a funny TV sitcom, “oh Dad you’re so silly” kinda way.  It was in a “you stupid ignorant moron” kinda way.  Which I thought was unfair.  I mean how the hell was I supposed to know the attention to detail that was about to commence in preparation to this party.  Because, as I mentioned above, a party to me is friends, beers, and I suppose other stuff.  But I’m a simple guy with uncomplicated thoughts on parties.

But that is clearly not the way these things work.

Here how it works – the kids stagger the starts of their parties using some kind of shared  – but secret – matrix.  Then marauding packs of high school seniors party hop from one house to another.  The family hosting the party invites family friends, family members, neighbors – mostly people who have some connection to the graduating senior.  Then the senior invites EVERYBODY THEY KNOW.  If the senior has siblings, the siblings invite a few of their friends too.  The hosting family is to provide some type of food and drinks along with seating.

But that’s the easy part.

We had to pick out invitations, pick out pictures for the invitations and then mail them.  There was a whole editing process.  Which we of course screwed by putting the wrong date on the invitations.

Then one of the mandatory things you are supposed to create are picture boards.  Mom was on me like Joe Dumars on Jordan in the ’88 playoffs to go through old pictures.  My response?  I did virtually nothing.  Which is my go to move in situations like this.  Kobe had the step back jumper, I have the lazy possum.  She poured through pictures.  She was like a Bletchely Park analyst going through reconnaissance photos of the D-Day landing beaches looking for obstacles for the amphibious landing craft.  She did it for days.  Our 18 year-old did the same.  So much so that they created two.  One with pics of her as a little tiny kid – titled the throwback board –  and one with all her high school friends.  Oh and did I mention that we had a double party.  Yeah, we combined graduation parties.  So our senior and her best friend had their parties at our house.

First we had to set up tables and chairs.  And table cloths and center pieces.  My reaction to the center pieces was basically WTF.  I can’t be alone in my thought process here.  I mean if I line up 10 people, 5 people at most are going to notice the center pieces enough to mention them.  To me they are just one more thing to clean up.

Then came the food.  Right, so I’m thinking a bowl of pretzels.  And, well, maybe Cheetos I guess?  Little smokies?  Once again, my instincts proved incorrect.

We had homemade salsa, guac and queso with chips, cups of custom made ice cream and specially designed cookies with the girls names on them.  Yeah.  Fancy.  Then coolers of pop. water, gatorade and…beers.  Yes!  But we somehow had to keep the 18 year-olds out of the beers.  Did pretty well.  But that lies mostly with a couple our daughter’s friends who caught a few people trying to sneak beers out of the basement fridge.  So they laid the smack down and took care of business.  It was mostly a stare down and pointed comments, not the Chuck Norris roundhouse I was hoping for…but I still managed to avoid being the parent who allowed the seniors to drink beers at the grad party.

Lasted about 3, maybe 4 hours.  Had to give some grudging respect to our 16 year old’s friends who stopped by the party early then left for another party but then came back because the food at our party was kick ass.  It was.  I was eating homemade guac for days afterwards.  Also the Dads might stop back later to help you finish the beers.  Regardless, it marked the official end of high school stuff for our oldest daughter.

It was a quick transition too.  A few weeks after the grad party we did college orientation.  So I have some thoughts on that too…

 

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The Most Depressing Time of Year

Well, it’s the most depressing time of the year.  It’s February.  The worst month of the year.  If you were ranking the months from top to bottom, February is easily 12th.  January is probably 11th and I’m really sure what month would be 10th.  But it really doesn’t matter because February sucks so much.  The only thing worse than February are probably Tuesdays in February.  Because, as we all know, Tuesday is probably the crappiest day of the week.  It serves no purpose other than being the ass end of Monday.  Anyway, the real reason this is the most depressing time of year is that football is gone until August.  Yes, we get the combine and the draft – both of which are awesome – but football is still done.  Although for most of us that happened when our teams either missed the playoffs or were knocked out.  Or in the Steelers’ case, simply forgot to show up for a quarter and a-half in home playoff game against freaking Jacksonville.  Hopefully Roger Goodell will, for the greater good, step down as NFL Commissioner in the meantime.  Since that seems as likely as Lord Vader allowing minor construction delays to go unpunished, maybe he will simply see fit to allow a catch to be a catch.  Jesse James scored by the way.  That was a touchdown.

Regardless, you see a lot of lists this time of year about the top 10 NFL playoff games or the or the top 10 Super Bowls or the Top 10 reasons hair metal was and is better than grunge.  But since I’m an NFL dork I went back and looked for something else.  The best playoff games that didn’t happen because somebody lost a round early.  Granted, I didn’t nerd out on it too much so you may find my research a bit rudimentary.  I mean if you care about looking up NFL playoff games that didn’t actually occur.  But if you’ve read this far I’m guessing you have more than a passing interest in the great “what ifs” of NFL playoff history.  Or you’re bored.  Either way, here’s what I came up with…in no particular order.

1975 Rams at Vikings in the NFC Championship.  Didn’t happen because Drew Pearson pushed off on Nate Wright and caught the Hail Mary at old Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, Minn.  But back in the 70’s contact down the field was just football so no flag.  The real question is what the hell was Paul Krause doing on the play instead of flying over to knock Pearson into the first row.  Nobody remembers that on that game winning drive, the Cowboys converted a 4th and 17 just prior to the Hail Mary…although it is still questionable that Drew Pearson actually got both feet down to complete that catch. drewpearsonhailmary

That ’75 Vikings team was not only going for it’s third consecutive NFC Championship, it was probably the best Vikings team of the 70’s.  But the wildcard Cowboys beat them.  Yeah, the Don Coryell Cardinals won the NFC East that year, not Dallas.  Yet somehow Dallas played their way into the Super Bowl by beating the Rams the next week.  The Rams tied for the best record in the NFC in ’73, ’74 and ’75.  Their overall record for those three years was 34-8.  Their ’75 team had the best defense in the league.  The Vikings had the 3rd best defense, the 3rd best offense and had the NFL MVP in Fran Tarkenton.  The Hail Mary is legendary but it prevented a great, great matchup between LA and the Vikes.

Bradshawchargers1979 Steelers at Chargers in the AFC Championship.  San Diego beat the Steelers 35-7 in week 12.  And had they not inexplicably lost to the Oilers, who were without Earl Campbell and Dan Pastorini, they’d have played the Steelers again in the AFC Championship.  Chargers fans love to talk about this game that never happened as if it’s a foregone conclusion they would have ended the Super Steelers dynasty a year early and went on to their first Super Bowl Championship with a win over the overmatched Rams.  This is of course crap.  The 35-7 victory was not nearly as lopsided as it appeared.  The Steelers had 8 turnovers.  Total yardage between the two teams was 218-193 in favor of the Chargers.  There was actually pretty good defense in this game but the Steelers offense gave the Chargers several short fields due to the turnovers.  And instead of making the game 21-14 midway through the 3rd quarter, Bradshaw throws a 77 yard pick six.  And it’ s 28-7.  Really wish this championship game would have happened as we’d no longer have the Mike Renfro touchdown catch controversy and Chargers fans would have been silenced after the Steelers smoked them in the AFC Championship.

Ericwilliams841984 Broncos at Dolphins AFC Championship.  This is the game we not only did not get in 1984 but…ever.  Elway and Marino never met in the playoffs.  Which is, of course, some sort of cosmic crime against humanity.  I mean this was the match up of the mid-80’s.  Imagine Star Wars without Luke running that trench and ignoring his targeting computer.  Or Huey Lewis without the News.  Or Alex P. Keaton without his middle initial.  That’s what the ’84 Championship was like without Elway.  But thanks to Eric Williams’ interception of #7 late in the 4th quarter of the divisional playoff game between Denver and Pittsburgh, we never got to see Elway and Marino battle it out in the playoffs.  Denver went 13-3 in ’84.  Marino threw 48 TDs and for over 5,000 yards.  We were cheated out of this matchup.  The only thing more 80’s than these guys fighting it out in the AFC Championship game are reruns of TJ Hooker.  Seriously, they were never this close again for the rest of their careers to playing for a Super Bowl birth.  Even though it benefited the Steelers, it ruined a great matchup.

New-England1985Marino1985 Dolphins/Bears Super Bowl.  Long before the Patriots were stealing signals and video taping their opponent’s walk throughs, they were blowing up the 1985 season.  The Bears obviously dominated the fall of ’85 but the Raiders and the Dolphins were both extremely good teams that year too.  The Dolphins famously knocked off the Bears on Monday Night Football ending their run at an undefeated season.  And because the Patriots not only knocked out the Raiders but then went to Miami and knocked out the Dolphins, America’s dream of seeing the Bears-Dolphins rematch was ended.  As an aside, even though I’m a huge Dan Marino fan, he really didn’t take advantage of the years when he was surrounded by a really good team – ’83, ’85, ’90, maybe ’92 when he played in his last AFC Championship.  But outside of the Dolphins inability to build around Dan, his loss in the mud to New England sorta crapped on the end of the ’85 season.

thanksmckyer1994 Steelers/49ers Super Bowl.  Team of the 70’s vs. Team of the 80’s playing in the 90’s for total and complete global domination and hegemony.  Way to go Tim McKyer.  You couldn’t cover me and you gave up a TD pass on 3rd and 14 to cheat us out of this epic matchup.  Blame can also be spread to Steelers offensive coordinator Ron Earhardt for running the freaking ball on 1st and Goal and losing two yards after O’Donnell went 7 on 7 on the drive to Chargers 9 yard line after Tim McKyer’s gaffe.  Whatever.  This was also the first example of Cowher’s penchant for pulling the full Schottenheimer in the AFC Championship.

There are a couple more that I would have liked to have seen but just didn’t think they rose to the same level of frustration as the five I listed above.  For example, the ’83 AFC Championship would have been a helluva game if it was the Raiders and the Dolphins.  But the Killer B’s couldn’t stop Dave Kreig – Dave Freaking Kreig – from going 80 yards in about 45 seconds.  Maybe the ’93 AFC Championship would have been better if the Oilers had managed to get past the Joe Montana led Chiefs that year to set up a rematch of their epic ’92 meltdown against the Bills in Buffalo.

Anyway, is it August yet…

 

Published in: on February 6, 2018 at 6:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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We’re Not Good At This

Mom and I have been married for 20 years.  That’s a pretty long time.  Over the course of these 20 years we’ve also learned we’re good at certain things and we’re not so good at some other things.

Here’s an example:  Mom is really good at getting stuff done.  To completion.  She’s also really good at the self congratulations about whatever she completed.  She’ll finish a book, weed the yard or paint a room and she’s pretty damn sure that not only did she do a really good job, she’s pretty sure that you’re sure she did the best damn job.  And she’s going to point it out to you.  When it comes to me, I’m really good at assessing risk.  At identifying the potholes or obstacles and how to avoid them.  Or as Rye would put it, pointing out everything that might go wrong or exaggerating the aforementioned obstacles that may present themselves thereby preventing us from having any fun.  And that’s fair.  Anyway, together we’re really good at kicking ass.  Kidding.  Together we’re really good at making fun of the shows the girls like to watch…like the Kardashians and the Bachelorette.

Here’s what we’re not good at.  If you watch a movie and think said movie is hilarious, you may think to yourself, “Hey you know who would enjoy this unrestrained hilariousness?”  If the answer to that question is Mom and I, you might decide to bring over the DVD or blue-ray because you know we’re too cheap to have Netflix.  You might also decide to leave that DVD or blue-ray in an obvious spot like the kitchen table or the middle of the most active spot on the kitchen counter.  Why?  Because you want us to watch the movie.  Because its funny and rehashing funny movies with your friends is not only funny but it is a wonderful reason to sit around a drink beers.

But we suck at that.  Not the drinking beers, we’re good at that.  Especially when we have no responsibilities the next morning.  But we suck at the whole actually viewing the movie.  Some good friends of ours gave us Ted to watch about 3 or 4 years ago.  We’ve never watched it.  Mom’s sister and her husband gave us The Change Up to watch 3 or 4 years ago.  We’ve never watched it.

I’m really not sure why.  I mean once we get into January and February we have quite a few unobligated Saturdays.  So we have time.  Maybe it’s the whole 2 hour commitment.  As we all know, Mom doesn’t just to do just one thing.  If she’s watching a movie at home, she also wants to be accomplishing something else.  Like reading a book or making her meals for the week or nagging the girls about their homework.  Plus, if she were being honest with herself, she’d really rather just watch HGTV.  All day.  Every.  Single.  Day.

But last Saturday, as luck would have it, TBS was showing The Change Up.  And we watched it.  It was hilarious.  Like watch it 6 or 7 more times hilarious.  Probably shoulda just watched it when the DVD was left in our kitchen.  Next step is to watch the unedited version.  Favorite line courtesy of Ryan Reynolds when he perfectly summarizes helicopter parenting:

“These are called children, or dependents.  Never disparage your own child. Everything they do is miracle from God.   When they’re bad it’s only because they’re tired or going through a phase.  When other kids are bad, it’s because of indulgent parenting or innate defects in the child’s character.”

Then, this weekend, we watched Ted.  Again, hilarious.  And again, probably just shoulda just watched when the DVD was left in our kitchen.  Granted we’ve seen so many clips from it that a lot of the really funny stuff we’d seen before.  But it really didn’t matter.  Not sure how Mark Wahlberg sings the Thunder Buddy song without laughing.  Plus Ted’s derisive observations of the sound of 90’s music along with the fact you can sing any song from the 90’s with just vowels is not only hilarious but a statement of fact.  Because if we’re being honest, 90’s music sucked.  Really, really sucked.  Blues Traveler?  Awful.  Dave Matthews?  Terrible.  Green Day?  Amongst the crappiest music I’ve ever been forced to listen too.  Pearl Jam…Ok, maybe some of this was good.  Generally speaking the best thing that happened to music in the 90’s was that it gave us the death of grunge.  Not that boy bands were any better…

Anyway, I’m thinking there has to be a list of hilarious movies that we’ve missed…or ignored.

 

An Awesome Time Machine

Time travel is cool.  And thanks to the magic of Youtube it is possible.

I can’t be the only person who has sat down and watch an episode or two of Magnum, P.I. and Riptide on Youtube.  I mean c’mon, Nick and Cody lived on a freaking boat in L.A.! Nor can I be the only one who has watched the Monday Night Football game from October 20, 1980 between the Raiders and the Steelers when we all realized the dynasty was over.  And there’s no way I’m alone watching old MTV videos.  Now, don’t get me wrong, if given the choice I’m watching old NFL Films highlights all day.  And maybe a couple of the Riptide episodes when the all-female crew of the Barefoot Contessa were featured.  But if you really want to go back in time, go watch the videos.

Like this doesn’t take you right back to the May of ’83?

How about May of ’85?

May of ’87?

But here’s the thing, it is still just a video.  You’re not there.  Granted, you’re experiencing nostalgia at awesome levels.  Actual time travel, while elusive, is possible.  You can get there.

Again, if you went to high school or college with me in the 80’s and early 90’s, this might make some sense…especially after watching that Poison video.  Mom and I went to Def Leppard, Poison and Tesla a few weeks ago.  Five years ago we went to a similar version of this concert when we saw Def Leppard, Poison and Lita Ford.  The common factor – I mean besides the fact that Phil Collen is like 57 years old and still doesn’t wear a damn shirt – is going to these concerts is like experiencing an awesome time machine.  Its like you’re in one big giant DeLorean.  I love going.  Because just for a few hours, you’re back! Which, at our ages, is really all we can handle at this point anyway.

You get into the arena and you immediately do two things that you didn’t do in high school or your first couple years of college.  You go buy a couple of these:

Defleppardbeers

That’s $18 worth of Miller Lite right there.  You need a salary and health insurance to afford these.  You don’t have that in high school or college.

Then you buy a $36 concert t-shirt because its freaking worth it. Here’s mine:

deflepconcertt

After you get your second 25 oz Miller Lite you head to your seats.  The first beer is a walking beer.  Meaning its the beer you drink while walking to get your sweet new concert tee.  Once in your seats I always take a look around at the folks sitting in my immediate area.  I like to know who will be rocking it old school with me, flashing the horns and belting out every single freaking lyric.  Who are my co-pilots on this awesome journey back to the late 80’s and early 90’s?  Also its good to get a feel for those who won’t be doing that so you have an idea who you are going to be annoying for next 3 hours or so.

Tesla is first.  I wanted to hear 4 songs – Getting Better, Little Suzi, Signs and What You Give.  Ending up hitting .500 as they left the stage without singing Getting Better and What You Give.  And I gotta be honest, it felt a little empty without hearing Getting Better. But…Little Suzi, well she’s on the up.  It was awesome.  And the only person who probably liked it better than me was the woman in the row below us and off to the right who was absolutely rocking.  She was belting out those lyrics so loud she was shaming the rest of us.  We became immediate friends.

When they hit the first few chords of Signs there was an impressive roar from the Gen X dominated crowd.  And we clearly – CLEARLY – preferred the unedited version as we sang, “So I made up my f*#&ing sign!”

Poison was next.  And Bret Michaels obviously understands who his audience is.  No messing around with their new stuff.  Listen, it was a good thing they can dial it back a bit with Every Rose Has Its Thorn and Something to Believe In because I probably would have needed to take a knee just to regroup.  Ride the Wind, Fallen Angel and then Nothing But A Good Time…I was exhausted.  I mean that’s A LOT of air guitar.  My fingers were cramping up.  Plus Nothing But A Good Time is synonymous with the summer of ’88…along with my sweet ’81 diesel Volkswagen Rabbit, Stroh Light and the Lakers going back to back.

Then Def Leppard.

DefLeppardSugarDef Leppard dominated my senior year of high school. Dominated.  Like Markie Post’s hotness dominated the set of Night Court.  Sure Micheal Jackson got in there with Man in the Mirror and David Lee Roth kicked our asses with Just Like Paradise and Arnold Schwarzenegger was in every freaking movie. Anybody else think they should remake The Running Man?  No?  Just me then. Anyway, point being Def Leppard was awesome in the ’87-’88 school year and they are still awesome. Armaggedon It is a like flamethrower showering us with late 80’s nostalgia.  Plus it melts your face off. Pour Some Sugar On Me hits you like city bus filled with all your high school memories.  Like the time my buddy Pete almost blew his finger off in the front seat of my car as he lit a bottle rocket that recorded a total travel distance of his side of the dashboard to mine and then exploded. Or The Longest Day (Feb. 27, 1988) when my buddies and I, allegedly, used fake IDs to load up at EJ’s Liquors to keep us hydrated throughout an entire Saturday.

It all hits you.  You feel it.  And for a few fleeting instances, you’re there.  You’re really there. And then you realize you’ve spent $54 dollars on a six pack of 25 oz Miller Lites and you have to be up early to make sure your 7th grader has a ride to school.

But it was still awesome…

You’ve Got To Learn To Be The Ball

Being a parent presents you with some interesting dilemma’s.  Do you buy your kid a car when they turn 16?  They’ve obviously done nothing to deserve it.  But it will also simplify your life significantly if they can drive themselves to school and pick up your other two kids from school, practices and activities.  Do you, through steady but almost undetectable daily pressure indoctrinate your kid into being an Iowa State fan even though their Mom went to Iowa? Naturally some are more important than others but almost all can be approached with some wisdom from 80’s movies.  Don’t leave your wingman, never get involved in a land war in Asia, screws fall out all the time, the world is an imperfect place.  But if parenting and the 80’s have taught me anything, its you’ve got to learn to be the ball.

For example most parents preach good decision-making to their kids so they are armed with enough sound judgement that can make tough decisions in the course of their day.  So…parental dilemmas, be the ball, good decision-making…

A couple Friday afternoons ago, I’m driving home from work listening to Lita Ford’s underappreciated early 90’s hit “Shot of Poison.”  If you’re wondering what 1991 sounded like wait till the 2:13 mark of the song and that’s exactly what it sounded like.  1991 was the year I turned 21.  So the song reminds of beers…and Friday afternoons…and beers on a Friday afternoon.

Which led me to think about my old neighbors.  A thought which they’ll appreciate.  One of them is a huge Duke basketball fan and Duke tipped at 6:20.  But it was only about 4:30.  Hmm…

A quick phone call, a quick stop at the gas station with the walk-in beer cooler and I’m sitting in my neighbor’s garage just as the SMU-USC game ends.  We have a few beers, talk college basketball and…have a few beers.  This is literally my favorite thing to do.  That isn’t hyperbole or a superfluous use of the word “literally.”  It combines several things which I – and you if your’re being honest with yourself – enjoy.  That’s not to say I don’t enjoy them all independently.  I do.  But I really enjoy them all together.  Kinda like nachos.  Chips, cheese, meat, salsa, etc.  All good on their own but really good together.  Let me further explain.  I like beers.  So I stopped and picked up a six-pack of Miller Lite tallboys even though I was fully aware that my old neighbors had close to a full case of Miller Lite in their fridge…mostly for me when I drop by unexpectedly.  And probably when I do it expectedly.  Regardless, the Miller Lite is for me.  In addition to beers, I like Friday afternoon right after work.  It’s my favorite time of the week.  The whole weekend is ahead of you and it’s the only time I totally and completely feel free to unplug from the my responsibilities as an adult.  In addition to beers and Friday afternoon after work, I love that first weekend of the NCAA tournament.  32 games (of which I picked 30 correctly this year) and games nearly around the clock.  In addition to beers, Friday afternoon after work and the first weekend of the NCAA tourney, I like hanging with my old neighbors in their garage.  We named it the DT – short for Downing Tap – a few years ago.  Best neighbor bar I’ve ever been too.  Plenty parking, the bathroom is clean, Miller Lites are cold, there’s a TV in the garage and if you forget to bring your own chair they almost always have an extra.  Plus, if you’re lucky, you show up on a day they’re serving food.  This particular Friday was such a day.

Let’s review – beers, Friday afternoon after work, first weekend of the NCAA tourney, the DT.  Naturally I stayed until about 10:30.

What?  All I did was essentially FAC.  It was okay in college and its okay now.  But here’s the cool thing.  Mom took all the girls down to Kansas City on Thursday morning.  It was like my own mini-version of the National Day Without Women.  Or whatever that was supposed to be.  I can’t keep track of all the awareness outragery that I’m supposed to care about.  Here’s the thing, Mom said they get home about 7:00 Friday evening.  I’m no math wiz but I figured they’d home in plenty of time in case I needed somebody to come pick me up.

Which I of course did.  Anything would have been surprise.  I texted Mom and told her I needed a ride home at some point and she might want to send Rye and Kinz over to pick me up.  Rye’s had her license for over a year and Kinz has her learner’s permit.  And I needed somebody to drive my truck home.  So Rye drops off Kinz, I give her the keys and she drives us both home.

Now depending on your level of judgmental smuggery and/or condescending moral superiority, you’re assessing my fitness as a parent.  While some of you, if you subscribe to the same child-raising handbook as me, are smiling and nodding to yourself thinking, “yeah, that’s just smart parenting.”

How is that those of you in living the land of Smuggington contemptuously ask.  Simple.

You’ve got to learn to be the ball.  I combined beers, Friday afternoon after work, the first weekend of the NCAA tourney and the DT into a real life lesson on what to do after you’ve had one (four) beer(s) too many.  You know what that makes me?  The best Dad on the planet.

Favorites

So I noticed the girls were having a serious discussion the other day about favorites.  It sounded a lot like when my sisters and I used to do Mad Libs back in the day.  But different.  So maybe it wasn’t like Mad Libs at all.  Anyway, Kinz stapled together 14 Post-It notes.  Each Post-It alternated between a question and that question’s answer.  For example the first question asked you for your favorite TV show.  And she was quizzing Bails, Rye, our neighbor and anybody else who was around.  And well I couldn’t really help myself.  I mean she was essentially conducting an opinion poll and I really like opinion data and I don’t mind at all registering my opinion in said data.  So I engaged.

Favorite TV Show – Kinsey’s answer was Full House.  Yeah, that Full House.  Didn’t really watch the show back in its prime.  I mean how many 19 year-old college dudes are watching Full House?  The ones who probably played Dungeons & Dragons.  Not this guy.  Too busy trying to earn the Beers Around the World t-shirt.  Just by drinking 325 different beers from around the world you get a free t-shirt.  What?  I wasn’t a math major.  Anyway, now that I’m a Dad I have a whole new appreciation for Full House.  This, my friends, is a wonderful show for your daughters to watch.  DVR it and make them watch it.  Do it.  Not kidding.  Enforce it as a house rule.  I didn’t realize it at the time but it’s a late 80’s/early 90’s version of the Brady Bunch.  Excellent lessons and messages are tackled in every episode.  It’s like having an extra parent around.  Who knew John Stamos was a role model and not just a hair model?  All three of the girls are watching the show.  And remember they range in age from 9 to 13.  But my answer wasn’t Full House.  It’s not my favorite show.  But it is my favorite show for the girls.  Mine?  Person of Interest.  It’s got a little bit of LOST in it.  Totally sucked into The Following too.  Also love The New Girl.  But Person of Interest, that’s my favorite.  Well, I mean if you aren’t including the NFL Network’s coverage of the Combine this weekend.

hedgerow cutterAlthough I gotta admit I’ve spent most of the last two weeks catching up on The Walking Dead.  Don’t do this.  Not being flippant here.  You can’t watch 15 episodes over 3 days and be the same guy.  This show changes you.  I backed out the garage on Sunday night to pick Bails and Kinz up from softball camp and I was seriously checking for walkers.  I was running through scenarios in my head about how to react if I came upon a herd of them.  Front of the truck needs to be modified with those hedgerow cutters our boys welded onto the fronts of their Shermans back in the Normandy bocage in ’44!

After all those episodes its pretty damn apparent that I am completely and utterly unprepared for the Zombie Apocolypse.  I don’t have the right kind of weapons.  Well, really any weapons of note.  I don’t have any supplies.  Not only would I have to keep Mom and the girls safe but myself too.  That’s five freaking people.  I wouldn’t last the first 48 hours.  Not ashamed to admit that its kind of stressing me out.  I spent ALL DAY at work on Monday thinking about The Walking Dead.  My house has way, way too many entry points that would need to be sealed off and barricaded.  It’s the suburbs so there are terrible sight lines.  There could be a herd of walkers down the street and we wouldn’t even know it.  No natural barriers exist.  And now I can’t keep myself from watching the trailer for World War Z.  Seriously, I gotta stop.

Next question was favorite band.  Kinsey’s?  One Direction.  Boo and boooooo.  Mine?  Close finish but probably Poison.  Def Leppard, Tesla, Guns N’ Roses and AC DC are all close finishers.  Kinda like Rick Springfield a little too.  And Huey Lewis.  Anway, it’s Poison.  Why?  Because they didn’t have any of the political statements or social commentary like all those asshat bands like Green Day.  They just wanted to rock out, drink beers and have a good time.   And when you consider that Poison was at it’s peak between ’88 and ’93 and when you also consider that I was between the ages of 18-23, I think the correlation is pretty clear.

Favorite Animal.  Hmm.  Well Kinsey’s was a dog.  Actually a puppy.  Mine?  Well I have two tied for first place.  Favorite animal 1A is one that isn’t my pet.  Love those animals.  Favorite animal 1B is one that will keep rabbits and chipmunks out of my yard, eat carrion and have the presence of mind not to live in the yard.  Used to be the Siamese cat that lived up the street.  Now it might be the opossum that lives in the neighborhood somewhere.  Both were pretty good enforcers.  Like Jason Statham but with fur.

Favorite Clothing Store.  Kinsey’s is Aeropostale.  I guess that’s fine.  If you’re 10.  And a girl.  Me?  Scheel’s.  Local sporting goods store.  Place has everything.  If it had its own microbrewery, I’d probably sleep in the store room.

Favorite Food.  This is a tough one.  Kinsey was really on target with her choice of donuts.  Can’t go wrong with donuts.  Some folks might go with pizza.  Myself?  Well, I considered a pizza made out of donuts.  But Donut Pizza isn’t really a thing.  Yet.  So naturally you’d move to cheesburgers here.  And I do like cheeseburgers.  But I’m really partial to one pot meals.  Or, in essence, a big pile of stuff I like mixed together.  Which is what nachos are.  Hence their perch atop my list of favorite foods.  Chips?  Good.  Cheese?  Good.  Jalapenos, black beans, onions, salsa, guacamole?  Also good.

Favorite Sport.  Kinsey had gymnastics.  Which I considered a small upset over softball.  But I’d venture a guess that Kinz’ favorite sport sorta moves with the seasons.  Mine does not.  Football.  Now if you were to ask me about my favorite sport to play then the answer would be cricket.  No, I’m kidding.  Cricket?  C’mon man you gotta be smarter than that.  Basketball.  Loved playing basketball.  But a couple of rearrangements to God’s design inside my knee kinda set that aside.  But nothing beats watching football.  Especially the NFL.  I even kinda miss the USFL every year around this time.  College basketball finishes a strong second.

Favorite Color.  Blue.  No, yellooooooooooooow…  Monty Python reference.  Kinsey’s is hot pink.  Not real sure here when it comes to me.  Probably Houston Oiler/Carolina/UCLA blue.  Do like cardinal and gold on Saturdays.  And black and gold on Sundays…

So I guess there you have it.  You’ve gained almost nothing from reading this.  Other than now contemplating how unprepared you are for the impending zombie apocalypse.