Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Way (Jason's June Post)

     Jon and Lorelei 

    Jon and Lillian

    Happy Father's Day! From now on Jason will be doing a post each month. I hadn't exactly planned on this month's being Father's Day as I had hoped to do a post with photos of Jon with both of the girls but seeing how I have yet to take a shot of the three of them together since the day Lola was born and my favorite lens got ruined at the beach and I won't have my new one for another week or so I decided to go ahead and let Jason have Father's Day. I would like to give two disclaimers though. First, most of this will only be funny if you know our family (especially our dad) and second, we really aren't quite as cheap as he makes us out to be....okay, we are kind of, but he is definitely the worst!

    I do want to quickly wish my husband, dad and father-in-law all a very Happy Father's Day! I am so grateful for you and love you so much! And also, if you all could continue to keep Lorelei in your prayers we would greatly appreciate it. We are headed to the Children's Hospital for the 8th time tomorrow morning for two more surgical procedures.We are praying that by tomorrow afternoon we will have some answers (although we also will have to wait on some pathology reports again, too) and then they will know how to properly treat her and she will be on the mend very soon. Once she is, we will be headed up to New Hampshire and I have a ton of projects and posts planned! 


    Here is Jason:

    I realize that there very well may be a few readers out there who are rather disappointed to discover that I will be contributing to the Dear Lillie blog on a somewhat routine basis. After all, my sister’s readers are likely drawn to this site by an interest in home decor, photography, babies, and/or clothing… and evidently none of these are objects of my expertise. However, with Jenni’s available time currently at a premium and my own increased involvement with Dear Lillie, the two of us have decided that it would be best for me to show my literary face from time to time. That being said, I promise that I will attempt to keep my topics of choice somewhat related to the general theme of the blog (or at least mildly relevant in some way or another).

    While today’s post certainly won’t help you pick the perfect color scheme for your nursery-in-the-making or offer a step-by-step guide to refurbishing that yard sale gem you found last weekend, it does manage to at least revolve around a certain “holiday” occurring as we speak (which by my standards fits the “mildly relevant in some way or another” claim I made a few moments ago). Still not satisfied? Well then you’re just going to have to cut me some slack—I already used every decorating term I know in the topic sentence of this paragraph.

    Now let me discuss something that’s been bothering me for the past week or so… Father’s Day. The whole concept of Father’s Day has just never quite sat well with me (now that I think about it neither has Mother’s Day, but that’s an entirely different conversation). Yes, I understand that fathers often go without recognition for their many self-sacrificing efforts, but c’mon—If they are really so selfless then why have they claimed their own day of acknowledgment? Sure, I guess every loving father deserves an annual (and largely proverbial) pat on the back, but does simply being a father really warrant the receiving of a pat and a gift?

    I guess its not so much the idea of Father’s Day itself that bothers me but the fact that it requires me to actually purchase my father a present—something that I believe should be reserved solely for birthdays and Christmas (unless, of course, I am on the receiving end of the gift exchange). And why is that? Don’t worry, I’m not about to get philosophical or anything. My disdain for purchasing non-Christmas and non-birthday presents is based entirely on the fact that I hate spending money. I can grit my teeth through the Christmas and birthday seasons (our family's birthday season occurs every year between late February and the end of March), but getting my dad a Father’s Day gift makes it seem to me as if he is somehow being awarded with a second birthday.

    Now before you go calling me a penny-pincher, at least know that it runs in the family. We are all ridiculously cheap. Dad has been wearing the same holey, cut-off shirts for twenty-plus years. Mom continues to fill up cartons of tap water at my grandfather’s house every day because bottled water is too expensive (apparently we have too much iron in our well… tastes fine to me). Jenni can change the entire feel of a room with a gallon of leftover paint and a twenty-dollar gift card. Jamie built her house by employing (without pay) nearly every member of her husband’s extended family. Ask anyone who has ever been out to eat with me and they will undoubtedly tell you that they have at one time or another felt the brunt of my “I can’t afford to pay for this meal” routine (my cousin Michael and his wife Dani still fall for it every time). Dana doesn’t quite fit the mold. In fact, she effectively breaks it by convincing herself that by purchasing new articles of clothing she is making a sound financial investment. However, Dana’s frivolous spending somehow manages to grind to a screeching halt when it comes to gifts—which essentially puts her in the same boat as the rest of us.

    Dressed for success.

    To help counteract the cost of the dreaded Father’s Day gift, last year our dad had what initially appeared to be one of his best ideas of all time. Instead of asking for some random souvenir, he asked the four of us kids to make him 365 index cards—each one with a different memory from our childhoods. With “divide and conquer” in immediate effect, that meant 91 or 92 memory cards each. Not too bad, right?

    Sadly, it turned out that coming up with 90-plus childhood memories is actually much more difficult than you might expect. I don’t think I am alone in arguing that it was significantly worse than just spending money for a gift because we actually had to put thought, time, and effort into creating the cards. I legitimately considered paying Dana to do mine for me (and I’m sure she would have taken me up on my offer, as no amount is too small to invest at the Williamsburg Outlets).

    Needless to say, my sisters and I reverted back to our old ways this year and pooled our money together for something our father will absolutely never use. Easier than making the cards? Yes, but I’m still not a fan of Dad getting two birthdays. To combat this predicament once and for all, I have come up with a foolproof solution for next year’s Father’s Day—a full day in which our entire family attempts to do everything exactly our father’s way.

    I’d be lying if I said I’ve never tried to have a second birthday too.

    For many of you reading this, my suggestion may seem like just another generic cop out in my never-ending effort to avoid parting with my hard-earned money… but rest assured, it is anything but. In fact, I am willing to bet that even one of us completing a single day in which everything is done exactly according to Dad’s ever-changing list of rules and expectations would truly be an impossibility. Due to the ever-changing nature of his regulations alone, I would be shocked to find that even he could successfully complete such a day.

    Nonetheless, I decided to make an itinerary for what such a “Father’s Way” Day might look like based on our Dad’s likes, claims, and tendencies.

    June 17, 2012

    5:30 AM – WAKE UP CALL
    Our father claims to both rise and shine at this ungodly hour each and every morning. However, on the very rare occasions on which I have been awake at said time, he has never been up or about. But I guess this is his day and we will be doing things his way, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt on this one. Regardless of historical accuracy, at exactly 5:30 AM a far too chipper Dad will yell “Top ‘o the mornin’ to ya!” at the top ‘o his lungs—which is exactly the sound I woke up to every morning of my high school career.

    Everybody needs to know the gameplan. No excuses. Play like a champion.

    6:15 AM – BREAKFAST
    Dad will craft his culinary staple of French Toast. While it may seem harsh to make him prepare breakfast on his special day, lets be realistic… no one else is functioning right now. Also, I’m sure that even if someone started cooking for him, Dad would inevitably take over all kitchen duties because he has a tendency to straddle the fine line between obsessive and compulsive.

    A modern-day renaissance man.

    7:00 AM – WOODY HUNT
    Nothing says “family” like the whole clan helping our father take down his arch nemesis and namesake, Big Woody. This apparently intelligent and ill-willed woodchuck has managed outsmart Dad for the entire decade that we have lived on Moose Mountain, but I have a feeling that I could catch our furry foe if given the opportunity.

    Since everyone is back staying under the same roof in the scenario, Dad will certainly feel it necessary to remind everyone of his “Shower Rules” and “Outdoor/Indoor Shoe Rules.” While this meeting will simply serve as a reminder for us all to shower quickly and avoid walking through the living room with “outdoor” shoes, it will inevitably drag on far too long. Let me also be the first to point out that the definition of “indoor shoe” and “outdoor shoe” are dicey at best when applied to the one who makes the rules.

    C’mon, it’s a new rug!

    10:30 AM – MOW THE LAWN
    Twice. On the lowest blade setting. Then we will wonder why the grass looks so burnt this year.

    Why don’t we take her for another spin?

    While many hands may make for light work, Dad will still want to cool off at his favorite swimming hole—the creek (or “crick,” as he likes to call it) that runs through our woods. Many a rumor has surfaced about Dad’s crick attire (or lack thereof), but I for one will be bringing my trunks on this very crowded occasion.

    Seats six not-so-comfortably.

    1:30 PM – LUNCH
    Nothing particularly exciting for lunch as the menu will consist mostly of “make-your-owns.” However, I am willing to bet that Dad will be compelled to pull nearly every object out of the fridge and place it on the counter—only to ask one of the girls to put it all back in after only three or four of the items are used.


    The topics this time will be the “Driveway Rules” and the “House Ventilation Rules.” I don’t even know where to begin with the driveway rules. I imagine the concept itself is rather hard to grasp for someone who has never been given step-by-step instructions on navigating our half-mile thoroughfare, so I will grossly over-condense it. Our driveway is essentially half paved and half dirt, with each portion having separate up and down slopes and each slope having a different set of directions (oh and don’t turn your wheels when you reach the top during the summer months). Think I’m kidding? Not at all. In fact, every UPS and FedEx driver in the region has been warned not to maneuver past the access road that marks the first third of the journey. As for the ventilation, let me just say that after the sun goes down our house becomes a practically uninhabitable wind tunnel.

    Never too young to get them started… Ten and two, Lillie!

    Regardless of season, the driveway is treated as if it were kin.

    One of Dad’s favorite past times is, of course, sitting in the shade of our front porch, which overlooks what may as well be a modestly-sized wildlife preserve. This reflective setting will also give him an opportunity to brag about his self-made stonewalls, his newfound and surprisingly persistent reading habits, and his lifelong support of the Boston Bruins (which the rest of us only became aware of a few weeks ago). I will be unspeakably bored after about thirty seconds of this aimless assembly.

    He knows them all by name.

    For absolutely no reason, we will move all of the cars in our driveway and park them in a different order.

    According to Dad’s latest fixation with having every dinner at exactly five o’clock regardless of anyone else’s schedule (read: my golf schedule), we will end up eating supper just a few hours after lunch. This cookout will take place on the back deck, and I will probably be given the task of “watching people cook hot dogs” (this is exactly the assignment I was given for our cookout last week in North Carolina). While our deck is spacious enough to hold our family and a number of guests, there happen to be numerous portions on which no one is allowed to stand… but whatever, Jamie only fell through once.

    We put in all of this effort, yet it rots every year. Time to give up, I think.

    7:00 PM – MINI GOLF
    As a means of exercising our collective competitive streak, Dad will certainly expect the family to engage in the most cutthroat round of mini golf you’ve ever seen. On the way off the property he will without fail and without remorse break every “Driveway Rule” he posted earlier in the afternoon. Upon arrival at the course, he will take on the persona of his alter ego “Black Mamba,” relentlessly talk trash to all of his opponents, be obnoxiously friendly to complete strangers, and finish in dead last.

    The Mamba also strikes at the local par 3.

    9:00 PM – FAMILY WALK
    Yeah, it’s as miserable as it sounds, but on this day I am left with no choice but to join in on what I am ashamed to say one of my sisters considers to be exercise.

    Would hate to miss out on this.

    After falling asleep on the couch within five minutes of returning home from the walk (and with the remote clenched firmly in his palm), Dad will wake up with a startle, claim that he was simply “resting [his] eyes,” announce that it is “way past [his] bedtime,” and yell “Bedtime for Bonzo!” as he skips “up the golden stairs.”

    All-in-all it sounds like it could be a pretty good day on the Mountain. But when my second birthday rolls around this year keep in mind that I’d prefer straight cash.

    Happy Father’s Day! - Blog
    @evensmallertalk - Twitter

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Father's Way (Jason's June Post)

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