Monday, February 29, 2016

10 Signs You May be an Old Dad

Boys pants, and Curtains were perhaps in same
section of Sears 1975 catalog?

I love being a dad!  I really do.  But the truth of the matter is that I didn't exactly get an early jump on the game.   Sometimes I feel like an old dad.  But that's because I am.  I'm 48 with a 3 year old, so I think I qualify.  

How about you gents?  If you are a dad, younger than me and reading this, you might wonder if you should you classify yourself as an old dad too.  Well, if you aren't sure, no problem, because I've listed 10 handy signs that may just indicate you really are an old dad.  

See if any apply.

1.  Your memory is such that when your son asks you to tell him a story about when you were a little boy all you can muster is "Ancient Chinese Secret!"

2.  You're not too disappointed when your kids have bad dreams in the middle of the night, because that also means that after you put them back to bed you can make a much needed pit stop on your way back.

3.  Your 3 year old spills milk on the kitchen floor, and since bending over to wipe it up seems like too much effort, you decide a better option is simply soak it up with your sock.

4.  After looking at hundreds of digital pictures of themselves your kids want to see pictures of you when you were a kid.  Unfortunately, all you have are a pathetic few tattered, misaligned, and color-faded prints.

5.  After looking at said color faded pictures, you're very thankful the Sears Catalog is no longer the most convieient method parents have for back to school shopping.

6. Whenever your kid gets the slightest nick or scrape you pipe in with "We can rebuild him, we have the technology!" while simulating a choppy, slow motion, bionic run.

7.  After you both hear a great song on classic rock radio your kid is visibly confused when you tell him "I think I used to have that one on tape."

8.  You make a special trip to Costco just to 'Buy ibuprophen'.

9.  You kid laughs when you tell him you had a party phone line growing up, and the party consisted of 'some nosey neighbors who could listen in on you'.

10.  When challenging your son to a game, and he says 'You're going down', you respond by saying "No, you're going down.  Down, down, down, to a Valley Deep Below".  

Bonus sign:  You interrupt your son, whose very deeply involved in a game of Minecraft, just to tell him "You know Buddy, I used to kill it at Galaga."

Done?  Need more time? Nodded off in the middle? Well, If more than one of these apply, you should probably consider yourself a member of the club.

I'd stay to chat about it, but I'm tired and really feel like going to bed now. 

Hopefully someone will have a bad good dream and want to wake me up to tell me about it.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Logical Dad Blogger Song

As they are young, it seems that life is so wonderful,

A miracle, oh it is beautiful, magical.

And both of us in the wings, well we are singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully, watching with glee.

Ah, but we have to send them away to teach them how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical.

And while we work away, they're shown a world where they can be so dependable, more verbal, intellectual, mathmatical.

There are times when both of them are asleep,
The possibilities run too deep
For such a simple dad.

"Won't you please, please tell me what you've learned?"
I know it sounds absurd
I want to write about what you've heard.

Need to watch what I write or they'll be calling me too comical,
unreadable, fanatastical, whimsical.

Write down all my ideas, to find something acceptable, respectable, presentable. While still making them eat their vegetables!"

And at night, when both of them are asleep,
The possibilities run too deep
For such a simple blogging Dad.

I must please, please, write down what I've learned
Write down what I've heard
I know the notion sounds absurd
But they can read it when they're old. 

When they say "Please tell me who I am!"


My deepest apolgies to Supertramp, from whom I've borrowed here. But you're logical. You know that.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A REAL CHANGE of Perspective

Consider picking up one of these papers
next time you see a vendor.  Well worth the $2

Tonight was another night where we had dinner out with the kids.  

Truth be told though we would have just as well eaten back at home, but we had eye appointments for both kids this evening (You've seen their glasses), and didn't get finished until nearly 6:00PM. 

Immediate nutrients were a requisite, lest we all melt down.

So pizza was on the menu, at a joint on Seattle's Capitol Hill, which was not far from the eye doctor's office.  As usual we ended up ordering too much pie.  The kids are actually smaller than they seem when they are hungry.  I know, go figure.

Anyway, after the meal we eventually packed up the kiddos along with our leftovers, and headed down the sidewalk on our way back to the cars.  We were walking hand in hand - as it was dark and it's just nice to hold the hand of someone you love.  

As we were walking along paying most of our attention to those of us aged in single digits, I glanced up to see a man approach.  He wasn't dressed well, and it was immediately obvious to me that he was not in the best of places.  He asked for some cash.  Unfortunately I don't usually carry cash so while still passing by I told him that I was sorry, but couldn't help.

After a few steps though, Mrs. LIAYF looked over at me and told me to "give him the pizza". Of course, this immediately seemed pretty obvious to me as well.  He clearly needed it more than we did. So I back tracked to man, who was walking the other way and offered him the extra pie.  But he just kept on walking.   Thinking he didn't hear me as I usually talk softly, I approached closer and offered again a bit louder.

That is when he turned towards me an very angrily yelled "NO!!" right in my face.  Then mumbled some incomprehensible words as he walked off.

I was startled a bit by that, but accepted his decision and rejoined my family.  It was then that Lukas, who looked a bit shocked himself told us "I'm scared."  

"There's nothing to be scared of Bud" I told him, "Your Mom and I are right here with you."  We resumed our walk, and Mrs. LIAYF and I began to explain to our son about people who are struggling and whose brains don't always work in ways that others would expect them to, but that doesn't  mean that we shouldn't still try to help these folks out when we have an opportunity.  That there are a lot of folks looking for a bit of help, which might just make a huge difference for them.

Ironically, about the time we were walking and explaining this to him, we were also passing another man, selling papers.  I immediately recognized this as a REAL CHANGE vendor. The vendors are homeless, and sell the papers to earn much needed money.  Money they use to survive. Mrs. LIAYF and I usually include them in our year end giving.

So, I stopped our family for a second time and although I still didn't have any cash on me, used the opportunity to approach this man and again offer our leftover food.

"Absolutely!" he beamed, flashing a huge smile - obviously thrilled at the prospect of a hot meal on a cold evening.  "Thank you so much.  And please take a paper.  Please." he extended one to me, which I gladly accepted and returned the gratitude. 

Literally a few moments had passed since the first encounter, and here we were able to see such a different reaction to our offer.

It was powerful. 

With that, we once again we resumed our walk to our car.  And were able to use this new encounter to greatly enhance the learning experience the kids were getting.  We explained to our little ones that as they could see, you can't make assumptions about people based on what you see on the outside.  

Sure there are going to be times where people act badly, but it's usually for an understandable, if unfortunate, reason.  But that more often you will see how people are good and appreciate any amount of genuine help we can give, even when they are struggling the most.

That was a lesson worth so much more than a few slices of leftover pizza.

Sunday, February 21, 2016


It was a major, dare I say 'epic' haul last night, as we returned home from dinner out with Grandma and Grandpa.

Lukas, Annabelle, Mrs. LIAYF and I met my folks at a local 50's themed diner for burgers, fish and chips, milkshakes, and classic rock and roll. There's a jukebox in this diner where, for two bits, you can choose from any number of classics.

Somehow by randomly punching at the jukebox buttons Annabelle chose the song Teenager in Love, prompting a near hyperventilating howl of laughter from Lukas. He's 8.

Anyway, all those things were cool for sure but were NOT the highlight of the evening for the kids.  There was something much cooler in this establishment to occupy their time.

If you are thinking to yourself "I bet there was also one of those vending dispensers of cheap trinkety toys in little bubble shaped plastic containers there as well"  Ding, ding, ding and DING! crown yourself king of the Internet for the next 30 seconds, because you're good at this game.

On this particular evening our happy kids lucked into the perfect storm, or perhaps more appropriately, the Bermuda Triangle of tiny plastic treasure pieces, when the combination of Grandpa, vending machine, and change dispenser formed a soul and dollar bill sucking triangle just outside of the two tables we had pulled together to give the other patrons a barrier between themselves and our pinballing children.

And our kids deftly took full advantage of their good fortune (it's rare they get to deposit more than one quarter into such machines) by raking in such amazing treasure pieces as plastic bracelets, plastic rings, plastic heart shaped key chains, rubber aliens, plastic watches, compasses, and spinning tops.  All in multitudes.

Personally, I was a bit sad to see that not one of those tiny plastic bubbles had a sad looking tiny plastic boy in it. Not a single one.

Perhaps Lukas was looking for one for me though, because he and his sister just kept feeding the machines.  First the change dispenser, then the trinket barfing hunk of metal and glass. Over and over.  This machine even seemed to be looking up towards the grownups and laughing every time it coughed up another plastic bubble.

On a side note, If that's not already the theme of a horror movie, it should be.

When it finally did stop, Mrs. LIAYF's body was adorned with much of this haul. She looked like a much prettier,  plastic adorned version of Mr. T - circa 1982 and Rocky III.   Apparently she was acting as the safe deposit box while our little pirates were out looting.

I would have loved to have found a way to leave all those trinkets right there, at the diner. Perhaps for another less fortunate and Grandparent-less child to happen upon.  But alas, it was not to be.

The haul was gathered. It was brought home.  It will find it's way into the nooks and crannies of our home.  It will take it's rightful place there amongst all the other trinkety treasure that my kids have gathered over the years.

One day, a long time from now, no doubt there will be a headline that reads something to the effect:  'Scientists break open Seattle home  - Are appalled at the number of tiny plastic pieces they find.

Yes, welcome home endless tiny plastic pieces of junk.  You have now arrived at Trinketville.

Enjoy your stay.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Lumpy Blanket

Lump1 and Lump2

I have no idea what initially triggered it, but I ended up spending much of our post dinner wind down time this evening engaged in a game of Lumpy Blanket with the kids. I played this game with both kids, but in truth it was mostly with Lukas.  

We've played on many occasions over the years.

You've never played Lumpy Blanket before, you say?  Well, the game is played something like this.  Player one (that would be me) is walking from one room to the next in the house - let's say from the kitchen to the living room, because that was where this game actually started - and right there in the middle of the floor sits a large blanket.  

It's just sitting there in a lump.

I'm sure there are other versions of this game, but tonight as I approach this blanket, it's a bit squirmy.  I take the bait and the game commences.  "What is this blanket doing in the middle of the floor!"  in mock exasperation I ask to no one and everyone all at once.  "Can't you people (referring to my loving family) pick up after yourselves?"  

It's at this point that I animatedly pick up the blanket to toss it on the couch, and it's heavy.  I mean like a 60lb sack of potatoes heavy.  But I throw it onto the couch gently nonetheless, and go about my business.  But somehow this lumpy, heavy blanket ends up back on the floor again.  Then it happens again, and another time.  But I keep playing.  

Once as I was tossing the lumpy blanket onto the couch it actually let out a muted fart, then giggled.  "Did you order the Amazing Farting Blanket from that infomercial we watched recently?" I asked Mrs. LIAYF.  "Cause if you did, it really works."  She denied this.

This elicited a laugh from the blanket.

I'm not sure why I kept playing this game.  Especially when I had to haul this very heavy blanket up the stairs to Lukas' bedroom not once, or even twice, but on three separate occasions tonight. Only to find it back downstairs in the middle of the floor again.

I have to admit that I felt this afterwards.

Why play for so long? I guess it's because, despite this seriously exhausting me after a long day at the office, I wondered to myself all the time just how much longer I would get a chance to carry a blanket such as this one around the house, up and down the stairs.  

This amazing, woolen, lumpy, heavy, giggling, farting blanket - The only game piece associated with this fun for the whole family, but seriously under-marketed game -  just keeps growing bigger and bigger.  The game is getting more difficult as time passes.  

And I fear that much much too soon I won't be able to play this version of Lumpy Blanket any longer.  

That will be sad.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

You Can Not Stop Our Apple Fun!

A Tiger, a Lion, and a Dog walk into a bar balancing fruit on their heads.
"Cider!" they demand in unison.
The bartender, who is a Bear holding a mop, looks visibly agitated.
The Tiger points towards the Lion and asks the Bear "How do you like them apples?"
It's at this point that the Bear, who is not amused, assembles an angry mob and takes out after the three thirsty patrons determined to put an end to the madness these unlikely friends have wrought.

Or something like that.

Sorry, but I have read the Dr. Seuss classic 'Ten Apples Up on Top' to Annabelle so many times lately that I am starting to make up alternate versions in my head.

She loves the story though.  Demanding it each and every night at least once before bed.  It's pretty cute how she reads along as we turn the pages.  "One on Top!  Two on Top!" and then gets visibly concerned for the Dog, Lion, and Tiger as the mob of angry birds and bears chase them, trying to stop their apple fun. 

"A Mop! A MOP!" she will exclaim in her squeaky but high pitched toddler voice, then express sheer joy when the cart is run into at full speed and the explosion of apples end up landing on top of all the parties involved.

Lukas, who loves to read to his little sister, or Mrs. LIAYF will usually start her off with a couple pages before sending her off with me to read the rest of the story.  Of course, I always have to start over.

In fact, I have read this story so many times recently that I think it's soaked into my subconscious.  And not in a good way  - ie: my lame attempt at a bar joke above.  

Another example of the saturation of this children's story into my brain came at dinner last night.  As is often the case with Annabelle after a long day at preschool, she was tired and loopy, and didn't want to eat her dinner.

Mrs. LIAYF and I were determined to get her to eat something though, knowing of course that if she didn't she would put a sudden halt to her bedtime routine later and demand a bedtime snack.  We were unsuccessful in getting her to eat the grilled chicken I had so lovingly cut into tiny pieces for her plate.

So I tried the apple slices.  

This is where my brain, which was obviously full from alternate story scenarios, failed to make the correct neural connections in my prefrontal (or maybe postfrontal) cortex where decision making is housed.

"How about eating your apples, Annabelle?" I started.  Seeing three slices there I then followed with "Just the three apples Annabelle."  I should have stopped there, but the rest just sort of came shooting out. 

You know where I'm going with this don't you?

"Three Apples up on Top!" I exclaimed, realizing immediately I had made a mistake I couldn't unmake.  

Yes, almost immediately our 3 year old tired girl grabbed those apple slices and smashed them onto her head right there at the dinner table and with an extremely loud and exuberant howl yelled "Three on Top!!"  before letting out a laugh that was well out of proportion to the joke. It came out as almost maniacal.

She then hopped down from her chair and, like the three beasts in the story, started to dance around and try to do tricks with her apple slices still mucking up her hair. Trying to stop her was nearly impossible at this point.

My face instinctively made a sheepish expression as I glanced over at Mrs. LIAYF, who was giving me a look most husbands are probably familiar with.  Without saying a word, she was saying "Really?"

Mea Culpa.  I could only blame that blasted book.  The book, the book!

Yes, we did stop her apple fun.  In this case, after triggering her I had to become the Bear with the Mop.

But, as is par for the course in our household, watching our 3 year old cutie pie do anything absurd, you can't be irritated for too long. A while, yes, but not long.

We all ended up laughing at her humorous display, but letting her know it wasn't appropriate for the dinner table, and directing her back to her meal.

We have shelves and shelves of kids books.  

It may be time to pick another for bedtime.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Happy Cakes

"What do you want for breakfast this morning? I asked Mrs. LIAYF on Sunday.

As is customary in our household, I make breakfast on weekend mornings and we eat together as a family.  Usually banana pancakes and scrambled eggs are on the menu at least one day, if not more.

I have a nice system for getting them made and on the table.

"Oatmeal" came her reply.  "I feel like we need something healthier this morning, and we had pancakes yesterday."  I was prepared for this answer, and was, quite frankly, feeling the same way.  Some Steel Cut oats sounded pretty good.

However, when I announced this to Annabelle, she was visibly disturbed.  "NO!" came her stern reply.  Being 3 years old now, she is not shy about voicing her opinion.  And acting on it.

It was at this point she emphatically marched over to the cabinet where the pancake mix was stored (yes, I use a mix most of the time - I didn't say I was a gourmet), pulled out the heavy bag, and started trying to lift it over her head onto the counter top above.

Annabelle loves eating pancakes for sure.  But what she REALLY loves is making pancakes, which enevitably involves eating some (a lot) of the batter.  That's absolutely one of her favorite things. But we can't have pancakes every weekend morning, so I decided to make a mini stand.

As if.

"Honey, I said we are having oatmeal this morning.  Not pancakes."  I let her know, a bit more firmly.  She responded by reiterating her position.  "Pancakes!"  

I was beginning to get annoyed at the fact that she was obviously not listening to me, when I looked at her cute little face and decided that, in this case, it wasn't worth starting the morning off on a sour note.

"Okay sweetie" I relented.  "Why don't we make both pancakes AND oatmeal?" This was greeted with a huge smile.  

Yes it was a bit of extra work making two separate breakfast meals (I felt like a short order cook), and we had to make sure our kids got healthier fare down their gullets later that day.

But when Annabelle looked up at me while mixing the pancake batter with so much care - batter which, by this time, was then also dripping slowly down onto her chin - and gave me a one word status update, I knew I had made the right call.

"Happy."  She proclaimed, as she flashed another big smile.

"Yeah, me too Sweetie."  I had to acknowledge  "Me too!"

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Younger Self: May I Present what Old Really Is

Focus on the car, not the skydiver in front of it.

You know how sometimes you say something cliche' out loud to yourself? Something like 'If I only knew then what I know now....' or 'I wish I was a young as when I first thought I was old"?  No?  Well, If that's your answer then you are most likely too young to understand this post.

My guess is that you can understand it just fine though, considering my demographic.

That being the case you will totally get what I was feeling the other day as the I was looking back on an old post I wrote here nearly 6 years ago.  It was called 'File Under Dating Advice' and it had a picture of my High School set of wheels (seen above), a very cool '74 Malibu with swivel bucket seats, new rims, a cool new paint job, and a totally awesome cassette tape sound system on which I cranked the likes of Van Halen and Def Leppard while cruising through my junior and senior years of High School.

Hint: If you read that old post, you'll probably be envious of my pants so unless you want to spend the rest of the weekend green you shouldn't do so.

Yeah, those were the days(Not really as I have found much happiness since - read my archives)

You know, as I reminisced about my old car that my Dad and I fixed up I realized something that could either make me chuckle a bit, or else feel pretty envious of my younger self.  I realized that my 'Old Car' was only a mere 10 years old when we fixed it up.  And that we bought it for only about $500.


I say ouch because currently, along with Mrs. LIAYF, I own two cars, 2.  One of these cars is already 10 years old this year (we just paid it off a couple months ago), and the other is 15 years old - half again as old as my first HS car -  and we still have 2 years of payments left on it!

Plus, both my current rides have backseats sticky with crumbs and remnants of long ago used kid snacks.

Just part of the joy of being a parent.

Oh how I wish I had that 74 Malibu still sitting in my driveway, all paid off and ready to drive to the grocery store to pick up....well overnight diapers or cold medicine, or something like that. But you get the picture. I would surely have many driveway moments finishing off a Quiet Riot song.

I would just have to dig out my classic cassettes, stick my pinky in one of the holes to tighten up the tape, hoping it hasn't twisted.

And get wild, Wild WILD!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

The Big Squeeze

I won't deny it, I love hugs.  Who doesn't, right?

In fact, I'll take them anyway I can get them.  Taking them is often the case when it comes to the kids, as I have been known to grab a passing Lukas or Annabelle from behind and pull them to me for a big ol' daddy bear hug.

Lukas has taken recently to dangle his legs when this happens, and exaggerate being squished.  Like I am squeezing the insides out of him or something.   When that happens I usually just pick him up a bit and swing him side to side gently before giving up and letting him go on to wherever he was headed.  I can't believe that would be somewhere more important than in the arms of his loving father, but he may not (and does not) always agree.

So, it was with utter delight a couple nights ago at dinner that he got up mid meal (note: this is usually a no no.) and came over to my chair and gave me a big hug of his own while sitting on my lap.  This was after a long day of work for me, so I found it especially nice and I correspondingly have him one of those big squeezes.

But this time, instead of groaning, he let out a happy sound.  "That feels real good Dad" he let me know.  So I squeezed eve tighter, but not enough to hurt him of course.

That's when he whispered in my ear "I love you Dad".

And even though it was Monday, and I had a lot to experience in the next few days, my week was made right then and there.

Yes sir.  I can never get enough hugs.  Especially the kid kind.  The ones where you squeeze real tight and never want to let go.