Life

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.

SnowDay_BadDriving

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.

SnowDay_LB_SAngel

Not everyone is jazzed about the process.

SnowDay_Donna3_SAngel

SnowDay_SM

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.

SnowDay_SnowCream

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.

MFFD_LabyWall_Front

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.

SnowDay_Moment

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.

Candle Hug

Some people are unspoken leaders. Unrecognized.

They lead through actions, often from the back of the pack.

They are gentle and kind. Giving example and reference.

Their influence comes when other people decide to “act more like so-and-so”.

Seeds are sown that grow and blossom at odd times. Usually in the winter of discontent.

Love grows when and wherever it needs to. Maybe the seed is more like a flame.

I’ve read that love is like a candle’s flame. It can light a thousand other candles and the heat and flame the first candle carries will not be diminished.

Each love that burns has unlimited potential. Each flame extinguished is immeasurable loss.

No wonder that new love excites us and a loss is bitterly mourned.

When people are sad about the death of a loved one they are offered the words, “Sorry for your loss.” It feels misplaced. Don’t feel sorry for me. My friend carried the flame of love and it often warmed my heart. I’ll carry it always. Grieve for your own loss; one candle that you didn’t get to see in action.

Tend your flames. Don’t grow cold.

Hug someone long enough to realize they are warm. Enjoy it. Its why we hug. To verify love is alive and to keep it that way.

 

If you sometimes meander in your thoughts, 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.

2017_Fam16

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.

2017_Garth

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.

2017_Nuke

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.

2017_MSRiver

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.

2017_BDayRain

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.

2017_CaliGolf

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.

2017_Easter

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.

2017_Safari

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

2017_Sugar

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

 

2017_Dex

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)

2017_RingSnake

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

 

2017_WeddingCake

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.

2017_Wed1

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.

2017_BrokeLeg

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.

2017_GreenSnake

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.

2017_Wed2

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.

2017_PoolPegasus

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

2017_Eclipse1

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.

2017_Eclipse2

Too cool.

2017_HurricaneBeach

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.

2017_Disney

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.
2017_Pics

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

2017_Piercing

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.

2017_Avett

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.

2017_Halloween
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!

Disturb_4

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.

2017_Thanksgiving

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.
2017_Science
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.

 

2017_NewO

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.

 

Dryer Ressurection

Tonight I regained my man card.

With these two hands, and the problem solving skills of a love-child woven from the DNA of both Sheldon and McGyver, I reassembled a fully dismantled dryer. That’s right ladies and gentlemen, the myth of the handy husband is myth no longer. An appliance ninja snuck in and assassinated the faulty thermal overload switch.

Sure, I didn’t use my own tools. No big deal. Plus my wife ordered the parts from Amazon. Anyone could have done that. I resurrected a fire breathing dragon that keeps modern life in business.

You may remember that the last condition of this dryer was scattered in multiple pieces under our Christmas tree. Get back in the workshop Santa. Daddy made some room tonight.

Yes sir. I dusted off that Y chromosome and put it to work. I wont even mention the two bags of garbage that I took to the curb. Like a domestic God bestowing gifts to the adoring mortals circling around my legs, asking me for juice. I waved them away to the living room while I sat in the kitchen, arms crossed, staring at the dryer working its magic. That big majestic whirlpool son-of-a-bitch. I hope it doesn’t burst into flame.

If you ever successfully did something that made you feel remotely useful, this post is for you. If you act like a hero after cleaning the cheese off you pizza plate. I feel you brother. You’re welcome. If you are a man who did something useful then take a rest, you must be exhausted. We aren’t built for being productive like women. They read instructions and would have completed this days ago probably. We have to take our victories where we can. Be careful out there. Pace yourself. You never know when man-flu might strike.

We did good today boys. We did good.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Tell Tale Cart Returns

I’ve lost faith in humanity. A weekly occurrence but this one was deep. This one cut me to the bone.

Supermom and I were entering the Mecca of merchandising known as Walmart. I was reflecting over the logistics problem presented by shopping carts. I was actually thinking… if everyone entering the store would bring a cart back inside then we wouldn’t have a cart issue. Underpaid teens wouldn’t have to stand in the rain loading up wet carts. Shopping would be a happier experience. Ergo, world peace.

I do my part. Whenever I go to Walmart and see someone nearing the end of their shopping cart usage I ask, “Hey can I take that inside for you?” or I say, “I’ll take that.” People usually respond with a Thank You and I have time from the parking area to the shopping are to decide if I like the cart. If I am near the entrance to the actual store then I ask for more details from the cart owner. Something like, “Does that cart make a thumpy sound or pull hard to the left?” It was in a scenario similar to the latter where my faith was shaken.

Back to the story. It went something like this.

Supermom and I were walking into Walmart. A lady in her later-twenties was leaving and taking a single shopping bag out of her cart. She made eye contact with us and immediately was able to assess that we didn’t have a shopping cart. Mostly because we didn’t have a shopping cart. She pushed her cart towards us and said, “Do you need a cart?” I replied, “Awesome. Thank you!” Then she added, “It isn’t bumpy or weird or anything.” She added that comment of her own free will as if it was assuring me that we made a good decision to trust her cart suggestion. We were standing beside three rows of newly returned carts so it would have been easy for this lady to stay un-involved. To leave us to an uncertain fate.

But she acted. She heroically offered her experience and opinion. I felt like the luckiest man alive. Here someone had given me a rare gift. A fully functioning shopping cart at Walmart. A unicorn. Guaranteed to be bump and weirdness free.

We pushed our way into Walmart and the happy adrenaline began to wear off. By the time we reached the aisle of Clearance items behind the greeting cards, I realized the truth… That bitch lied to me. This cart was bumpy AND weird AND everything. It shook like Michael J. Fox and sounded like a pair of tennis shoes in a dryer. There was a loose weld on the bottom rack and the metal slapped against itself the whole time. If I had purchased buttermilk it would have been churned by checkout. The handle had a filmy greasiness along the bottom edge. Body lotion or boogers? Who knows. I was confused. Violated.

Why on earth would she have offered me this total piece of shit cart? Why would she have put in the extra effort to tell me that it was neither a) bumpy or b) weird. I didn’t ask about the cart. I didn’t indicate I needed one. She sought me out for discomfort and despair. Was she following me? Laughing at my misfortune? Am I going to be on a candid camera show?

I don’t care. I’m enraged and disappointed all at once. I trusted her. She screwed me over. I had flashbacks of the Tell Tale Cart. We have enough struggles in life and now I have to worry about random sociopaths sandbagging me with shitty carts at Walmart.

If you get confused by people in public, this post is for you. Me too. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.