Month: August 2017

The Cant Opener

The loneliest place in the world… when you start to make a fresh batch of five can soup and the can opener breaks. Mother of all things righteous, why have you left me defenseless against fate? Have you ever stabbed open a large can of diced tomatoes with a Calphalon steak knife?

I have.

I can tell you that there are prettier situations. While stabbing is good for dealing with unresolved aggression it is not handy for keeping metal shards out of your soup. Or blood. Probably a conspiracy by the “Big Bandage” industry.


What has our world come to? In this age of improving things with science and technology and materials engineering, how do we still have such shitty hand tools? A can opener should last longer than five months. I bought the most expensive one at Wal-Mart. I counted the additional cost as a wise investment, something that would pay back over time. Instead I bought a goodtime Charlie that abandoned me at the first sign of a struggle.


My great grandmother had a can opener that I am pretty sure was made during the great depression. Forged from carbon steel and tears of sadness. That can opener was made to beat the Nazi’s and spread freedom. It could peel through a Panzer tank. It might actually be how the Russians got into Hitler’s bunker.

They made things that would last because their lives depended on it. Imagine trying to survive the apocalypse on canned goods with a can opener that won’t grip the side of the can. Spoiler alert… you would die from exhaustion while trying to smash open your cans with a rock. Granny’s can opener might have required three hands to operate but it would cut through steel ball bearings if it had to. Not like this lifeless wad of steel that can barely push its way into some whole kernel corn. I’m disappointed in humanity.


If you have ever had a cheap utensil break mid-use, this post is for you. There is a thin line between civilization living with the brutality of a cave-man life. That line is long term food preservation. All you need to cross it is a damned can opener. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Totally Got Mooned

Hair Cut

I always enjoy my midday texts. This one was funny.


Not to Supermom. She cried. Lady Bug has long flowy hair. She wanted to have a haircut like her sisters and she was obviously not happy that her hair stylist left things so long. She did a decent job.

We like random funny things. We have a collection of cat-butt magnets on the refrigerator. Supermom and I marveled at the accuracy for a little while today.


Who is tasked with modelling cat butts out of clay and thinks, “This is pretty good but it is missing something… I know! A really detailed butthole!”

My Facebook friends might have heard this one already. It was a deep thought. We were driving home the other night from my mother’s house. There was a deer at the edge of the roadway.

Child: Daddy! Look it is a mommy deer.

UD: Oh I see it! How do you know it is a mommy deer?

Child: It isn’t horny.

UD: That is a sure sign…. Good eye.

I am planning on having a discussion on antlers versus horns in the very near future.

Solar Eclipse

After thinking long and hard about the consequences we decided to drive to a nearby state to watch the solar eclipse hit totality. I remember a partial eclipse from my childhood and I also remember holding two note cards and staring at a little shadow circle with a little wedge missing. My deep seated memory of that amazing celestial event could only be described as “boring as hell”. I wanted to see some spark from my own children and when the center of totality is only two hours away what else are you gonna do?


I live for this look. I put effort into my insane responses just to get this spunky look laid upon me. 

We packed the van as if some strange virus from “I Am Legend” was sweeping the land and we would have to live on the shoulder of an abandoned highway. Waters. Juice. Peanut Butter. Snacky snacks. Watermelon. Picnic Blanket. Chairs. Small Folding Table. Trash Bags. Frosted Mini-Wheats (To dip in Peanutbutter, Trust me – best thing ever.) Powerade. Energy Drinks. Homemade Trail Mix. Fake International Passports and Stacks of Multi-National Currency. You get the idea. We were ready to survive if some shit went down.

I mentally prepared for gridlock traffic. A grueling ten-hour drive when normal conditions would allow for a two-and-a-half-hour trip. The warnings from media outlets described national emergency levels of chaos. I heard some communities were threatening to use snow plow equipment to keep roads clear.

We loaded the kids in the van and departed town at 7 o’clock am. Zero traffic. We drove straight to our destination with a smooth three hours to spare. We had cell phone service the entire time and live streamed the coverage on the west coast. The kids all wore their masks correctly and enjoyed watching the moon creep up on the sun. It was magical.


Hmmm. I’ve seen this before…


Similar? Did cavemen watch an eclipse?

Then came the solar climax. Our group gathered in an open field and watched through our glasses as the small orange sliver disappeared. Once our solar glasses went dark we took them off and stared at the glowing ring in the sky. It was beautiful. It was like a black hole surrounded by a crown of light. Bugs and birds and frogs created the sounds of nighttime. The wind and traffic calmed. The world around us was still and dark and perfect. No one in our group reached for an iPhone. That was how good the moment was. Everyone knew that it was rare and limited to a precious few moments. No picture could capture totality. None of mine anyway.


Lauren Athalia Photography was able to capture it. She got lots of good shots and is selling prints I think. Check her out on FB. 

The term “totality” might be the only good description for the event.

For once, in what seems like a long time, my world was filled with people looking in the same direction at a beautiful moment in life. There weren’t any people offended by the eclipse or threatened by it. Maybe some conspiracy people were concerned but I think they were sort of excited to see if their bat-shit-crazy ideas might somehow come true. Flat-earthers might have been hard at work explaining the event but for two minutes they were looking up in utter confusion. We all watched objects that exceed our concept of size and power. We were reminded that no matter what stands in your way, if even a tiny spec of your light escapes into the world, there can be no darkness. Being exposed to less than 1% of the sun still requires special glasses.

How does a 100% sun not make us burst into flame immediately?

As the light returned I realized that I had been absorbed in the moment. I may have had a small tear resting at the edge of my eye. Probably allergies. We traveled several hours to sit in the front yard of a relative stranger and stare at the sky for almost three minutes. We left with a memory that will last a lifetime. And perhaps a small white dot in the center of our vision. Time will tell.


Zero matching socks…

To those who chase memories, this post is for you. You’re welcome. For the people who didn’t make it to the direct path remember that we have another chance in 2024. The difference between 100% and 99% isn’t 1%, it is literally night and day. Make the drive. Skip the classes. Be prepared to pee behind a bush on the side of a rural highway. No one dedicates delicate oil paintings to the shadows made from solar viewers made out of note cards and cereal boxes. #Sorrynotsorry

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Total Eclipse of the Part

The Perseid Meteor showers are gracing our skies this weekend. YouTube conspiracists promise the brightest showing in modern history sprinkled with end-of-all-humanity. I haven’t bothered to Google the event because it is partly cloudy here and I probably won’t get to see the action. Plus, we are only on Episode 9 of Season 3 in The Flash. The binge watch is real. I have become addicted to the characters more so than the plot lines but it is a fun show with some good complexity so I will keep watching. My dishes may lie dirty in the sink. My laundry may live in limbo between the floor and the dryer. My friends and family may report me missing and fear I have died but I know one thing… I will find out if Barry and Iris are really meant to be. This means that I probably will fail to notice the setting sun and I will wake up in the recliner, having completely missed the world’s most impressive meteor shower. Thank you Netflix.

That will be okay because on August 21st there will be a full solar eclipse. I plan on watching that event with my family. Our only decision to make regarding the solar eclipse is where we are going to watch and how we can avoid being part of an Interstate National Disaster. Experts expect millions of people to flock to the “Totality” zone where the eclipse will be an absolute darkening of the sun instead of 90% in the 100 miles adjacent. The ensuing traffic jam promises to become a disaster urban legend. I must decide if we will brave the migration of sky-watchers or settle for something less than amazing. My track record suggests the latter. I buy generic coffee for my Keurig because it is “good enough”. We clean out our van when we become unsure of “that crunching sound”. We are, generally, terrible at self-motivation and superstars at procrastination. (I’ll write a blog on that topic tomorrow.)

Not this year. We are cramming in some quality family memories. We are going to Disney in October. That should be amazing and exhausting. We will take pictures with every character that we encounter. We will buy the fifty-dollar, plastic and felt Mickey Ears Hat. We will be the best parents that selective photo posts on Facebook will allow.

As a warm-up, we are going to watch the solar eclipse in nine days. We might even try for a dinner together as a family afterwards. Anything is possible. No pain no gains.

I’m excited about the solar eclipse. I hope it makes a special memory for the girls and they aren’t preoccupied with having to go pee or wanting to listen to silly songs on XM radio. That is expecting a lot from a demographic group that mistreats toys but insist on playing for hours with empty Tupperware. Maybe the memory will be more powerful in their future adult brains.

I remember the first time that celestial objects seemed like real things. Not just bright spots in the sky. My sister and I went with our Grandmother on a road trip to Indiana to visit family. My Aunt and Uncle had a really cool house with a heated pool and a next-door neighbor who played football for the Colts. One night we were in the backyard laying on the trampoline, staring at the stars. My uncle pointed out a star that was moving faster than the other stars across the sky. “That’s a satellite”, he told me. It was a cool moment. It moved space and satellites from something imaginary to something I could observe and understand. We watched at least ten more objects coast across the sky over the next couple of hours. I hope the eclipse will do something similar for my girls. Of course, I will probably leave out all the dirty jokes my uncle was telling while we stared up at the heavens. I doubt the girls would appreciate tales of frogs who perform sexual favors or dogs who lick themselves and the old men who say, “You better pet him first.” I thought the jokes were hilarious. They were a hit at school later that fall. Thanks Uncle J.

If you enjoy the wonders of the cosmos and dirty jokes, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Return Of The Lizard King

We have had a setback. Over the last few months we have been slowly getting rid of animals. We sold the sugar gliders. James, Lily, Harry, and the future twins. Our snake escaped into the great wild beyond. Our gecko sneaked (snuck?) out of his open cage and was nowhere to be found. It was a very positive trend aside from the fact that two of the animals were reptiles and were roaming inside my house. At the current rate I expect we would be animal free in six months. Oh happy day!

Then one came back. Vanderwal the Gecko is alive and well. He was hanging off the side of the bunk beds about five feet away from his cage. The poor guy was emaciated and shedding a layer of skin. Probably just barely surviving on abandoned Froot Loops and idle cups of juice. We got him collected and lined out with water, food, and a heat lamp. Time will tell if he will survive. I can’t believe he made it this long.

Sometimes the things we are in charge of are stronger than we know and survive despite our poorest efforts. Thank goodness for that.

If you are a poor steward of health and safety, this post is for you. You’re welcome. Be careful what cages you leave open.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.