Hero’s journey.

Hitchcock Fortune and Fame

Scare Tactics

The kids are at it again. I hope. Any other explanation is unsettling.

You might recall the incident a week ago when I had the bejezus scared from within my body. The American girl dolls were standing on the stairs looking at me as I walked through the living room. Well, tonight they struck again. I left the house to get Supermom a Sonic Blast for Valentines Day because I am super thoughtful and good at Valentines. The best. You wouldn’t believe how good. I know several Valentines experts and they ask me, “How do you do it so well?” Incredible.

Anyway, the children were in bed and the dog was fast asleep on the couch. The creepy dolls were nowhere in sight.

Twenty minutes later I returned with the prized treat for m’lady and who is ready to greet me? The same two dolls. Standing in the doorway to the kitchen. This time was even better because they had a handwritten note.



My first instinct was ransom note or death threat but, apparently, I had them all wrong. They just want to know what’s up and if we could Netflix it up sometime. Sorry ladies. I’m married and you are possessed by the devil, it just wouldn’t work. XOXO to my BFF American Girl dolls Kitt and Julie.

Jane later admitted to writing this with her left hand to confuse me. Nice.

Crappy Situation

It has been a while since I posted a rough picture. Luckily, my children are getting less gross as they grow older. No one has crapped their pants in at least a year. That phase should be passed. But as I learned last week, that doesn’t mean I wont be exposed to general grossness out in the world.

While eating Chinese buffet food I realized that I needed to use the restroom. Upon walking into the restroom I realized that someone else had used it before me. Recently. There was an odor in the air that was more intense than the usual Kung Pao backfire. As my eyes began to water and my nose to burn I looked for the source of the problem. I found it quickly.


Someone had missed the toilet completely and attempted to clean things up with a handful of recycled brown hand towels. They smeared it around nice and thin to completely stain the grout and volatilize all the odor carrying compounds. It was overwhelming. I left. No one has to pee that bad.

My fortune cookie put it all back into perspective.


If you want to go to the bathroom, you have to tolerate the feces smeared on the neighboring stall. See how that makes it all better? Such wisdom.


Three Shades of Grey?

Fifty shades freed. A good title for the movie because that is how I feel after the third and final installment of this series. No matter what happens I know that next year won’t involve a trip to a premier for Christian and Anastasia. Out of all three movie, this was the weakest premier. No lady popping pills behind us or telling us all the things the story made her feel. There were about twenty people in the theatre for the seven o’clock release party. I’m not saying the movie was a total let down but I will tell you that when we got home Supermom cleaned the drain in the girls’ bathroom sink.


What is this black garbage?

When a soft-core porn trilogy goes bad enough that you clean house afterwards it is probably time to stop making the movies.

While the movies and storyline are completely ridiculous I did find a nugget of truth. The three phases of a relationship get represented well. The excited phase where life = sex + activities. The settling down phase that has some soul searching and struggle with commitment. And the nesting phase where you are consumed by house hunting, friends getting married, and finding out your wife is pregnant and reacting badly to it. All that was pretty well on par. The thing I struggled with for the movie was the steady disappointment of meeting a good character and having a strong introduction only to waste it on the back end of the story. Don’t get me emotionally involved in a character who will only play a minor role for the rest of the entire movie. Like the real estate lady who helped Elliot buy an engagement ring. That story still doesn’t make sense. Anna should have called him on that BS but married couple phase doesn’t allow for rocking the boat and breaking bro-code.

I guess that is enough updating for now. Next time I want to include some info on Mr. Jasper and what he has been up to.

If you like creepy dolls and B-level sexy movies. This post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Brains and Bravery

The human brain is a magical thing. The way it filters a constant stream of input from our senses helps us thrive at the top of our food chain. Apex predators who can see and understand the world.

Think about the amount of information processed from your eyes alone. Megapixels of colors and shapes and shades. Your brain, a neural network supercomputer, looks at each image frame-by-frame and decides if objects are moving. Where are they moving? How fast? If you move along a fence fast enough your brain will piece together images through the gaps and let you see what is on the other side. Your brain has a buffer and temporary storage. That is about the coolest thing ever.


Sometimes the brain makes assumptions and jumps to conclusions. Loud noises. Bright flashes. Features hidden in the shadows that look like faces. Our brains are hardwired to jump to emergency mode. Fight or flight.

Or freeze in pants shitting terror.

Mine does that last one sometimes. On special occasions I make weird sounds and swear.

Last night was a special occasion. I was walking into the darkened living room. On a quest to get a drink of water from the kitchen. On my right are the stairs that ascend into the bonus room over the garage. The light in the stairwell had been left on and was casting a glow down the stairs and into the living room. In that shadow was an outline. A very human outline that my supercomputer brain immediately identified and flagged as a curiosity. I turned my head to find the source of the shadow and examine it myself. Who was making this shadow? Why were they in my house? Should I confront them or go find a weapon first?

In a split-second I had my answers. The neurons fired and told me a series of instructions.

  • Holy mother of Jesus. That is a fucking demon.
  • Oh shit. There are two of them.
  • You are going to die.
  • Shut down your internal organs and stop breathing.
  • Try to scream and warn the others. Oh wait. You just shut down your internal organs which includes your diaphragm and lungs. Oh well. Utter something unintelligent like “Meerr fuck nubly.”  They don’t stand a chance against demons anyway.
  • Wait… Those demons look familiar. Like American Girl dolls.
  • American Girls dolls have metal stands that hold them upright so they can be posed and more interactive. This helps to foster reality and make the play experience more vivid and real.
  • Those are just dolls. Take a deep breath.
  • Sorry about your pants. Restart all normal organ function.
  • Sit down for a second you silly chicken-shit. Some protector of the family you are… Disgraceful. What would you have done if that was a demon? You are useless.

Here is what I actually saw.


This is what my brain told me I saw.

It serves me right.

One of my joys in life is hiding at odd times and scaring the absolute Bea-je-zuz out of my children. I even scared the dog the other night and she screamed like a human child. It was awesome. I didn’t know dogs could scream like that. Supermom thought I stepped on her and my children thought the closet monster was eating her. It was fantastic.

So turn-about is fair play. If you have ever had a less-than-manly moment, this post is for you. It happens. Kids do some creepy stuff. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Snowmageddon 2018

The last few days have given us the gift of togetherness. We have no option because we are snowed in. On Friday a winter storm dumped an inch of sleet and four inches of snow. All of that came on the heels of an inch of rain which made preparations, like salting, impossible. Typically, a southern snow will be gone in a couple of days because we live on the boundary of the battle between the Arctic Vortex and the Gulf of Mexico. I’ve seen many days where a six inch snow in the morning is melted by a seventy degree heat wave that afternoon. Not this time.

The oldest two children went to Mamaw’s house on Thursday night. They planned on helping with the farm animals and getting an early start on the snow day. The sunshine after the snow has done very little to melt things thus far. We are going on day three and our road is a solid sheet of ice.

Day One:

My Facebook feed is full of bad driver and icy pileup compilations. This was one of my favorites.


Everyone becomes an expert driver. So many people get out for stupid reasons and end up in the ditch. Lots of people drive for perfectly reasonable reasons and also end up in the ditch. We decided that we had no reason to be out and about. Instead, we bundled up and ventured outside.

We made snow angels.


Not everyone is jazzed about the process.



My snow angel. Awww.

While they enjoyed the snow I filled up two buckets with snow for snow-cream. In a tremendous show of my will power and self-restraint, I only had three bowls.


At least the bowl is organic.


Day Two:

Netflix and Screen time. All. Day. Long. Lots of food and two more bowls of snow-cream. I learned to use SketchUp.


Its a water control structure. I’m a water nerd.

Day Three:

A lot like day two. We did make it outside though. We journeyed through a field across from our house to see how messy the road was between our house and the highway. Spoiler: The road was an icy mess. Our walk was a good one. We stopped by a pond to toss ice chunks onto the surface and listen to the cool sounds that echo through the surface.

On our walk back I took a picture of a moment that caught me just right.


She is plotting her course.

The snow and ice had built up on top of the grassy field and wasn’t actually on the ground. Lady Bug was struggling with the walk because each step would break through the ice and throw her off balance. She started to walk in the same places where I had stepped because it made her work easier. I blazed ahead of the group trying to plot our course through the field. Supermom urged me, “to slow down and ease my stride because she was trying to follow in my footsteps.” It was one of those moments when a shallow comment speaks a deeper truth.

Slow down and ease your pace because she is following in your footsteps.

Leave it to a snow day and cabin fever to teach a lesson like that. We made it back to the house and surprise, surprise… ate more snow-cream. Baths. More Netflix. We will see what tomorrow brings.

If you sometimes need Mother Nature to pump the brakes for you, this post is for you. You’re welcome. I’m looking ahead to more snow and a low of eight degrees. My HVAC unit is making a weird noise so I can bet which day it will self-destruct.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Here We Go

That didn’t take long. For all the optimism about the new year, things are starting out rough.

For starters, our Christmas tree is still up. We are next level lazy because we are still plugging it in at night. Full on denial. Today isn’t looking much better than the rest as far as inspiration is concerned.

Second point of 2018 suck is the cold snap that has settled over the eastern half of the US. Freezing pipes and sheets hanging over misaligned doors is bad but the worst part is my newsfeed being consumed with amateur meteorologists giving me the play-by-play on what the exact temperature is at the moment. I have three ranges of cold; 40-60 = chilly, 25-40 = cold, 25 and below = f*%king freezing (FF). It has been FF for two days and will continue to be FF for about four more. As much as it bites for us normal folks who have to endure a car heating up and windows defrosting, I can’t help but think about a guy I met a few weeks ago on some railroad tracks in the woods. I’ll get back to the list of complaints in a moment but let’s have a side story.

While inspecting an old railroad crossing a man came walking up the tracks. We had an interesting conversation. He was dressed in multilayered Carhart jackets, worn work boots, and carrying a large pick axe. Our talk went like this:


Man: I don’t want no trouble.

UD: That makes two of us. How are you today?

Man: I’m good. People say I ain’t got no home but I got a good home. Right over there. Been there about five years.

UD: Sounds good to me.

Man: You guys saved my life.

UD: … your welcome?

Man: And Jesus. Jesus saved my life too. You might remember me. I got hit by a car two years ago over on Airways Blvd.

UD: Seems like I remember that. Uh… how, how are you?

Man: I got better.

UD: Good. Good.

Man: My name’s Rufus. I watch the front here. Ol’ Caveman he watches the back.

UD: Good to meet you Rufus. I’ll be sure to say hi to Caveman as well. I notice you have a large pick axe…

Rufus: Oh this. There was some city types coming into my tent and stealing food. Ain’t nothing worse than a damn thief. We are good people over here. No stealing. There is a woman living out here.

UD: Sounds like a good community.

Rufus: She got two kids too.

UD: It sounds like a rough life for children.

Rufus: We are just houseless. That over there is our home.

UD: No argument from me.

Rufus: Lots of snakes though. I bet I killed sixty cottonmouths.

UD: This is their habitat. I’d say you have seen a few.

Rufus: Let me ask you something…

UD: Okay

Rufus: You believe in Jesus?

UD: Doesn’t everyone?

Rufus: Not everyone. (Twirls his weapon)

UD: He’s kind of everywhere, I don’t see how you get past that.

Rufus: EXACTLY. Let me ask you something else.

UD: Sure.

Rufus: What do you think about the Old Testament?

UD: Several books. Lots of weird names. God creates the world and incites a lot of war. What do you think of the Old Testament?

Rufus: My deacon says we can’t listen to it anymore. He says it ain’t no good. Can you believe that?

UD: I can’t.

Rufus: I mean the Old Testament is half of the Bible! How can you ignore it.

UD: I feel exactly the same. We are on the same page. By the way. You can set that pick axe down if it is getting heavy. I don’t mind.

Rufus: Nah, I gotta get going. Hey, thanks for being so nice. People aren’t usually nice.

UD: I guarantee Rufus, if I see you out here I’m going to say hi.

Rufus: Be sure you do!

And with that he walked down the tracks and back into the forest. Now I think about the homeless people living in the outskirts of town. I hope they are warm and the children fed.

The third part of the New Year suck was coming home at ten minutes until midnight on New Years Eve to the distinct smell of soured milk. Most would say it is a sweet vomitty odor. It had been eluding us for a day. Supermom said she smelled something the day before but I couldn’t quite make it out. Now I smelled it for sure. We searched all around the chest of drawers. Nothing made sense and the smell was everywhere. Then I spotted an overturned travel shampoo bottle with oozing liquid seeping from the top. There was a brown and white chunky liquid inside the bottle. After further investigation we solved the mystery.

Our Elf-On-The-Shelf, Elsie, fell from her perch on the ceiling fan one night a few weeks ago. She needed to rest in a make-shift bed on our chest of drawers.


Jane decided that fluids would help her heal faster so she made a magic concoction of milk chocolate and water. She sealed it in a travel shampoo bottle and left it hidden for two weeks. The perfect recipe for a room to smell like vomit. So at midnight, in the first few moments of the new year, I had a hand full of Clorox wipes trying to knock back the smell enough that we could sleep. Pro tip: Using a diffuser to try and overpower the smell with Eucalyptus oil does not work. It just opens your sinuses to the vomit smell.

So here we are. Day two and hoping for a turnaround.

If you like finding rotten objects or random encounters with homeless people, this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Happy Old Year 2017

As 2018 gets up and running everyone is quick to dismiss 2017 as a total loss of a year. No doubt, it had some less than awesome moments. There was loss and sadness and a series of unfortunate events. But there was also good. Since my blog is really supposed to be an inappropriate time capsule diary sort-of-thing, I wanted to take a few minutes and about twenty five pictures to document what was good about 2017.


This annual event is usually the bookend to any year. It is the day-after-Christmas get together for my Dad’s side of the family and has been a tradition for about eighteen years (probably more but my memory isn’t what it used to be). All traditions change and move around due to the ebb and flow of life. I have a feeling this year was the first rumblings in a transition. I included the above picture even thought it was from 2016 to commemorate the spirit and be thankful that we still have Grandma and she was able to steal a frog ornament in Dirty Santa.


We got tickets last Christmas to go see Garth Brooks in Memphis. The concert was amazing. He sang songs until midnight and we sang right along with him. This guy is a showman. If you have the chance, go see him.


I had the opportunity to visit a nuclear power plant. I am fortunate enough to have friends who were invited and they had the thoughtfulness to say, “Hey, you know who would really enjoy this? Underdaddy. That’s who.” They were right. It was awesome.


I had the opportunity to spend the night on a working tow barge on the Mississippi River during the high water inspection. I am fortunate enough to have friends who said, “Come take a trip on the Motor Vehicle Mississippi and bring your wife. She will love it.” So I did. And Supermom did too. We loved it.


We threw a birthday party for Jane. The birthday party is becoming a rare event with four kids. We have started towards a trend of the whole family going to a movie and dinner along with a small gift. Jane wanted a birthday party and to share the joy of farm animals with her friends. The day was in April and the weather was cold and rainy. Near the end of the party the weather changed to “inland hurricane”. Everyone was soaked but they got cake, hot dogs, and were able to pet goats. Success.


I got the chance to visit my brother-from-another-mother and eavesdrop into his life in California. It was in between floods and fires so the trip was really nice. We’ve been friends for almost two decades so it was good to see the life he has built since moving west.


I include this picture only because it is awesome. The only thing that would make it more perfect would be catching a photo of the steaming nugget on its way to the ground.


We made it out to the safari park. The safari park is awesome.


We sold the sugar gliders! Suckers! Im so glad to be rid of those little bastards.



Any day out of here is a good day to be thankful. And if you have to be in here, be thankful for the nurses!


We welcomed two new family members this year. Dex-Mex and Alex. One of them decided to show up much earlier than the recommended gestation of forty weeks. He has bounced back and is full on infant. Now my siblings all have children in diapers and I don’t! (Evil laughter)


I caught a cool snake while participating in a local stream cleanup.



I love this look when I surprise her with pictures. She gets annoyed I think, but it is my favorite. 


Supermom made a really cool wedding cake that we had to transport a couple hundred miles down the interstate. Thanks to my super engineering skills and wicked-cool carpentry, it made it to the destination unharmed.


We attended the wedding also and watched our cousin get married in a beautiful church surrounded by family and friends. It was my first foray into Catholic weddings. The priest (father?) conducting the ceremony had lots of energy and good humor. I enjoyed it. I was a little surprised at the sharing of communion tradition. The priest divided the groups into three lines; Catholics in good standing, Catholics who are making the baby Jesus cry, and others. The last two categories didn’t get snack time. At least that is what my girls thought. I told them they wouldn’t get booze either way. The other memorable thing was when one of my group farted during a quiet part of the ceremony. Crop dusting in the House of the Lord… frowned upon.


Papaw broke his leg while walking. He is not a man who accepts defeat or logic or reason. He figured out how to operate his Cub Cadet mower with his crutches.


We found a green snake and detained him for a couple of days. He escaped and we had a mysterious snake living inside our house for about two weeks. That was a fun time. When he resurfaced we released him to the great outdoors and wished him well. We released him into a big plush bush since it would have good cover from predators and give him a fighting chance. This fall, when the leaves fell off, I noticed a birds nest inside the bush. Woven into the bird’s nest was a snake skeleton. Sorry buddy.


We attended another cousin wedding and it was in a beautiful church as well. They were surrounded by family and friends and the upside of this ceremony was the fact that none of my children farted mid-vow. I got stung by a bee on the way to the reception and enjoyed most of the rest of the day high on Benadryl. Good times.


The girls got an inflatable Pegasus for the pool. They played on it for HOURS.


The moon covered the sun and we got to watch it live. Supermom made special viewing glasses. The path of totality was worth the trip. I would do it again in an instant.


Too cool.


On our way to Disney, we stopped by my sister’s place. She leaves near a beach so we thought it would be a good stop over for a night and then get a little beach action before continuing on our road trip. This picture was taken during an active evacuation warning for a hurricane that was expected to make landfall later that afternoon. Needless to say, we didn’t swim. The water was just too choppy. We did find lots of shells and managed to get sand into everything.


We went to Disney. It was awesome. I have a few posts on it so I wont get into too much here except to say that it was a miracle trip. The girls were good on the drive both ways. They never complained or fought with each other. We rode tons of rides. It is something we will always remember.

School pictures were awesome again this year. My girls never disappoint.


She delivered a baby while wearing those pearls. True southern woman. 


Supermom showed off her high pain tolerance and potential for badassery. The piercing is supposed to reduce the number of headaches which I think has happened to a small degree. Not eliminated but they are definitely less.


We got the chance to go stay a couple of days in Memphis and see the Avett Brothers in concert on Mud Island. We ate fine foods and drank adult beverages. It was a kick-ass mini vacation. I am still dreaming about the pancakes from Automatic Slim and have considered a special trip to get some more.

We phoned it in so hard on Halloween this year. Jane was trying for “goat” but ended up closer to “Satanist Cult member”. It sure befuddled some old ladies though. Good job!


So cute you almost wouldnt know he rolled in poop in the yard. 

We added a new four legged member to the family. Jasper. He is a sweet heart. Not the brightest bulb in the box but neither is Judy Cornbread so they make a good team. Her tail hits the wall and they both go crazy barking at intruders. Gentle doofuses.


I do purchase shows for my children. Just FYI.

We travel across state for Thanksgiving this year which is our bi-annual tradition. I got to fry a turkey with my father-in-law or Jungle Papaw as the kids call him. They call him Jungle Papaw because he lives in the woods and not because he swings from vines and wears animal skins as clothes. Just to be clear. It is cool to see how the family has grown and changed through the years.
Jane won third place in her science fair. The experiment was cool. I hope it energizes her for science and academic study. She has the mind for it but sometimes needs the motivation.



Blue Skies in the Big Easy (For Ten Minutes)

I had the opportunity to travel to New Orleans for work. The food was incredible. The conference was great. The weather was shit. It snowed and iced for the first time in a decade in New Orleans and caused the interstate to be closed. I was expecting a milder climate and brought only a light coat. Walking to lunch and dinner was really, really cold. During this same time, Noni graduated with a Bachelors Degree and Supermom went to celebrate with her. Good Job!!!

There are other things too. I fell in the river and ended up in a pink Snuggie while my clothes dried. We had all the adventures of the Christmas season but I think I’ll let that roll forward to the next time. Our Elf fail will be a good story on its own.

If you are hopeful for 2018 and have a mixed bag of happy and hurt from 2017, this post is for you. You’re welcome. Here to a New Year! With love…

-Underdaddy to the rescue.