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.

Dry Humbug

One week until Christmas; my fifth favorite holiday of the year. This will be my annual Bah-Humbug post so if you are feeling warm and fuzzy with a cup of hot chocolate in front of a fire while Burl Ives sings something in the background, maybe you want to set a reminder on your iPhone and just read this tomorrow after the cold sting of Monday has punched you in the face. Not that I want it to, that’s just how Monday rolls.

We have just completed Christmas shopping within a 48 hour window. I am quite certain that we have overspent and under-delivered on the holiday. They are good gifts. They are evenly distributed and a fair balance of fluffy nothingness mixed with useful clothes. I just feel like I am under-delivering when none of the children really defined what they wanted. In fact, they said a few times that they didn’t want anything. While this is indeed a selfless attitude and very apropos for a Jesus-based celebration, it is not helpful for the corporate American rewards based Christmas. I need a feverish obsession for some obscure toy that I have to work tirelessly to find. I need something I can check off my list and say to myself, “I may not be the best dad but, by God, I found a tickle me Elmo.” Then on Christmas morning I would bask in the joy of my giggling child as she tickled that fuzzy red fucker within an inch of his cotton-stuffed life. These are the Christmas memories I need to justify the crowds and the bank account balance. Not a gamble based on the fact that they like ponies so I guess I’ll buy another horse themed toothbrush set.

My Grandmother made the mistake of letting a few family members know that she thought frogs were cute. As she grew older and enjoyed a more settled existence she became harder to shop for at Christmas time. No problem right? Grandma likes frogs… we’ll get her some frog stuff. She has five children who have children who have children. Not everyone got to spend quality time with Grandma and know her deeper interests but you can bet your ass everyone knows that she likes frogs. Over time she has amassed a healthy collection of amphibians. I’m not sure how many exactly but the last person to see a wave of frogs like that would later free the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. I’m not saying that it is a bad thing. I’m just as guilty as the next relative for going to the frog default but my point in all this rambling is that we have this cultural requirement to show a certain level of appreciation through gifting and when you are hard to shop for you better be all-in when you default to a personal theme. Else, frogs. (I encourage you to share any themes that you have been saddled with in the comments section. Talking it out is good therapy.)

The other holiday point I struggle with year-to-year is the constant cycle of disposability. The kids don’t care about new toys or types of toys just that they get to open presents. I have witnessed them make dolls out of bits of paper and place the bits of paper on top of actual dolls whom they were using as furniture. (Did I use whom right? It sounds stupid.) We fight the endless battle of shoveling toys out of the living room and wading through piles of dirty clothes. Usually we beat the stuff back just far enough to have room for opening Christmas presents and BOOM more stuff.

Our stuff is out of control. We have a storage unit with things we want to give away. What in the actual hell are we doing? Paying to keep things that we want to donate but haven’t yet. We have a box in the garage at this very moment labeled CHRISTMAS STUFF WE DON’T USE, DON’T THROW AWAY! On what planet is that rational? We need an intervention but who has the time?

To add insult to injury, our dryer broke this week. I fancy myself a logical problem solver who can work through trouble shooting a dryer. After all, a dryer is a tumbler with a blow dryer attached. How complicated can it be?

(Insert Jeopardy theme song.)

Three hours later. Instead of surgery, I have performed an autopsy. The problem was with the smallest piece buried behind ALL of the other pieces. It is thirty dollars and will take a week to ship.  Our house of six cannot dry clothes for a week. The week prior to Christmas. Fantastic. In a moment of joy and overflowing with something that can only be described as the embodiment of the Holy Spirit, I stacked the dismantled carcass of our dryer around our Christmas tree and laughed until even the dog was uncomfortable.

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We paid to have our dryer duct cleaned last year and the technicians removed a small dog worth of lint. That same amount of lint filled the interior of our dryer and looks like it caught on fire a couple of times. Clean your dryer folks. Real talk.

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Bottom left. All lint.

Also, in a totally unrelated subject. I saw a really interesting storm water drainage structure. It is a progressive design that takes into account a distant future where global warming creates a 435’ rise in sea-level. Strong work Nostradamus. Shout-out to the City for stringent technical review as well. Nice job all around.

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A masterpiece.

If you are experiencing Pre-Merryment Syndrome (PMS) this post is for you. You’re welcome. I’ll be better. I just needed a little vent.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Teethpaste

Today’s confession will be a short one.

Lady Bug was going to bed the other night and I asked her, “Have you brushed your teeth?”

She made a sour faced expression and said, “No!”.

“Why not?”

“I don’t like the new toothpaste. It is yucky.”

I silently muse to myself, I don’t think I have purchased new toothpaste recently…

“Show me which one you don’t like.”

She stomped her way to the bathroom and pulled out the top drawer where the toothpaste is usually stored. I immediately saw her problem.

Teethpaste

I didn’t even ask which one she used. I located the actual toothpaste and removed the miscellaneous creams.

Fun fact: Toothpaste was invented in Alabama. In any other state it would have been Teethpaste.

If you are laughing and not judging, this post is for you. Also, the headless Santa is a decoration in my parent’s garage. I don’t know what happened to his head. Halloween at Christmas. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Disturbia

My children do things that disturb me.  I have worked hard to have them embrace their weirdness. To bolster their self-image and give them a sense that they are free to be who they want to be. I dare say the scheme has worked. They could give two shits what anyone thinks. They laugh at things they find funny and they use the word “fart” freely in public. I’ve instructed them in the fine art of shutdown of a bully through a sharp wit. I’ve heard them tell a boy that they didn’t care what he thought and they are way weirder than he could imagine so back it off. When we get a notice from school that the kids can ignore uniform rules on a Friday, Jane will pack a Lord of the Rings style cloak into her backpack and wear it all day. I caught her wearing a fox tail into school one morning and she was too far away for me to stop her. They have personal confidence. I can probably put this ship on autopilot for a while. I might even need to shame them a little for balance.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Supermom found her old Barbie’s in boxes in the attic. We brought a couple of the boxes home and the girls have been playing with them non-stop. The only problem is how they are playing with the Barbie’s. They think old style Barbie with non-existent underwear is the funniest thing ever. I have found half-naked Barbie in terrible poses all around the house. The kids hide her and then wait for me to find her topless torso in the kitchen utensil drawer while they look on from the other room. I act surprised and they die laughing only to run off and hide another Barbie somewhere else in the house.

Last night the game escalated.

Supermom called out from the bathroom, “You have to come see this.”

I walked into the bathroom and found this on the sink.

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I assume that Barbie crossed Skipper one too many times. Maybe the right-sized Barbie got jealous of the long legs and skinny arms from vintage Barbie. Either way, the kids thought this was really funny too.

What other disturbing things have they been up to? Hmmm. Oh wait I know. They insist on sleeping together every single night. All four of them in a make-shift king bed (two twins pushed together). I laugh a little at the thought of some people who probably had to share a bed thinking about how nice it would be to have their own space while my wolf cubs insist on sleeping like sardines. That isn’t the weird part. In fact, I find their strong urge to co-sleep kind of endearing; as long as they stay out of my bed.

The weird part was two nights ago.

I heard a strange series of thumps and, being a competent parent, I went to investigate. I found Donna Threeto curl up inside a large plastic container that she had placed in her quadrant of the community king bed. I dumped her out of the box and took it away. She was angry. She insisted that she wanted to sleep in a box. Twice she snuck out of the room to get the box and put it back in her bed. I locked it away in the closet. What in the world? Who tries to sleep in a box? The other girls acted like it was the most normal thing ever. This is coming from the same kid who has pondered the tooth fairy and instead of questioning her existence decide to call our bluff by cutting her hair and placing it in a ziplock bag under her pillow. I asked her, “Why did you do this to your hair?”. She replied, “I’m getting a dollar from the hair fairy.” She then stared at me to gauge my response to the idea of a fictional character. Well played Donna.

I didn’t dare leave a dollar for hair. We would all wake up bald when she realized what a goldmine was all around her. Not my head so-much but her sisters.

Also worthy of note. Supermom has embraced the small dog and bought him a sweater. Meet GQ Jasper.

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And Jane is working on a Science Fair project that is centered around swabbing animal spit and watching the bacteria grow. We want to see which animal has the most aggressive mix. Our test subjects are Cat, Dog, Squirrel, Rabbit, Gecko, Horse, Goat, Chicken, Human, and a blank Control sample. Leave a comment to guess which animal was the worst. I’ll share the answer in my next post. The horse is shown as the cover photo to give an idea of what it looks like when animal spit is cultured in a dish.

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This should be one of my kids. I would be so proud. 

Life rolls on here at the Underdaddy house. If you enjoy quirky everyday stories, this post was for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Bday Movie Night

Another birthday in the books. Thirty six feels like… something much older than my twenties. It came with drinks, dinner, and a movie. I had a hard time deciding on the movie.

I love what Marvel has going with the Avengers and the whole Marvel Universe. Guardians is my favorite. They are incorporating Spiderman and if Venom turns out half as awesome as it could be then I might not be able to handle it. Last night we saw Thor: Ragnarok. It was a natural selection for the evening. It was awesome. Classic Marvel. During the credits they left a good preview of the next step in the saga. There was also a preview for Black Panther and I have high hopes for that one too.

But I was still curious about Justice League. DC has always had the darker side of comics and I have wanted to be a fan of what they were putting out but nothing really seemed connected. Batman vs Superman seemed flawed from the beginning. How is that even a contest? Don’t say Kryptonite because that is a cheap trick. The writers of Superman knew he needed a flaw so the only one they gave him was a glowing green rock. And Batman is wealthy and used to be a character who was driven by his darkness but evolved into a guy without much direction who just buys expensive tech and gets roped into weird plot lines. The Dark Knight series weren’t built for spinoffs which was short sighted. I was starting to lose faith that the universe would make sense. Then Wonder Woman came out and started to turn things around. There were connections to build off of. Maybe it was an island full of powerful women who were scantily clad. Maybe it was her purity of heart. Either way, her movie was good and as soon as it was over I wondered when I would get to see her again. DC has a poor history of follow-up.

We have started watching the Flash on the CW and caught up on the last few seasons via binge watching. We watch Teen Titans GO! On cartoon network and got to know the lighter side of Cyborg. I noticed lots of familiar faces in the Justice League trailer so I almost picked it. But Flash won’t be Barry Allen that I remember and Cyborg won’t make silly dude jokes with Beast Boy. Batman will still be Ben Affleck.  I realized that the only character that I knew I liked and wanted to see was Wonder Woman. Maybe we will get back to the theater soon. The critics aren’t being kind but some people have seemed to enjoy the movie. Let me know what you think if you have seen it. Is Gal worth the effort? Should I have chosen Bad Moms instead?

Aside from birthday fun, I have another update that is a little overdue. We have added a new member to the family.

Jasper “JTP” Waggingham Sr.

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He is an older Maltese who needed a home and seemed reasonably well behaved. He came to live with us about two months ago. JTP had the breath of a dead swamp rat which turned out to be a tooth abscess and he had to have the top two teeth removed. Now his tongue hangs out a little bit and gives him a goofy blank stare. He is a good dog who spends the majority of his time curled up in bed. Sometimes he is too curled up and a few times I have even thought he was dead. He hasn’t been here long but finding him dead would still be traumatic. His only other flaw is that he eats the cat’s food and it makes him vomit. The girls love him and he adds to the family character. I’m certain we will have some fun stories to share about JTP.

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If you are into comics, sagas, and new pets; this post is for you. You’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.