Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

T-shirty AWESOMENESS — Blogging For Good

18 Aug

shirts header

 

 

OHMUHGERD!!!

This is the post that has all my geek-buttons lighting up.

Are you a proud dork yourself? Do you have a giant dork in your family? Here is your chance to stand up loud and proud and show the world that the dorks have inherited the Earth.

For TWO WEEKS ONLY, exclusively from Dorkdaddy.com these hardcore, dorktastic t-shirts will be available through our partners at Teespring.com. But it gets even better. Teespring.com has generously agreed that 100% OF THE PROFITS GENERATED WILL BE DONATED TO BENEFIT THE FAMILY OF OREN MILLER, a fellow blogger and father who was recently diagnosed with stage IV cancer. (for more about how this came to pass, see below)

So feast your eyes on the nerd-candy below. Remember, they will only be available for two weeks. Grab ‘em while you can. Buy some for your friends. And please, for Oren and his family, SHARE THE HELL OUT OF THIS POST.

“Dorkdaddy And Proud Of It”

 dorkdaddy
Admit it, there is no swagger like the swagger of knowing exactly who you are. There is no shame in pouring everything you’ve got into your family. Sure, you may still get a little tingle when you walk by the action figure aisle at the toy store. Sure, you may have more superhero t-shirts than dress shirts. Sure, you may have very strong feelings about the sequence you show the Star Wars movies to your kids. Your wife may have perfected the eye-roll when you quote every line from “The Goonies,” or when you obsess over the slightest statistical minutia for your favorite sports team. But at the end of the day it’s about sharing the things you love most in life with the people you love most in life. For that, you make no apologies.
Are you a Dorkdaddy? Own it.
Do you have a Dorkdaddy in your life? Own it.
Now there’s a “Dorkdaddy And Proud Of It” t-shirt. Own it.
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

“Stay On Target”

 stayontarget
Remember that time when you were speeding down the trench to blow up that giant space station? Your dad was hot on your trail, trying to blow you out of the sky and your boss was all up in your face screaming “Stay on target. STAY ON TARGET!!” Of course you do. Who could forget an experience like that. Emblazoned on this shirt is the image seen on your targeting computer in the moment just before you destroyed the home-improvement project your father had been working on for years. Wear this shirt with pride. Been there? Sure. Done that? Of course. But now you can say “bought the t-shirt.”
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

“Don’t Get Cocky!”

dontgetcocky
Remember that time you slipped out from right under your father’s nose and ran off with your scoundrel buddy in his souped-up hotrod for some serious hijinks? Your dad was so ticked he actually sent out a couple of local henchmen to apprehend you and bring you back in. Little did he know your buddy’s dog could handle the driving while you and the scoundrel manned the turrets and told your dad’s lackeys exactly what you thought of them. Lucky for you your targeting computer grabbed a screenshot of the action. We’ve printed it for you here on this shirt, along with the words your buddy had for you when you got a little too excited. “Great kid. Don’t get cocky!”
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

“Dork”

dork
Are you a Master-Builder? Are you “The Special”? Do you have an appreciation for little Danish interlocking plastic blocks that exceeds what some people would call “normal”? To heck with “some people.” Walk tall with the confidence of knowing exactly who you are and what you’re all about. You may be a “dork”, but that word doesn’t mean what it did back when The Breakfast Club was doing detention. The dorks have inherited the earth, and you are proud to count yourself among them.
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

“Dork” (ringer)

ringer
In your day you and your buddies roamed the neighborhood in a wild pack of Schwinn bikes with banana seats and nobody wore a helmet. In your day video games cost a quarter. In your day you sat in the back of the station wagon with the groceries, where there were no seatbelts. In your day cartoons only came on Saturdays, Hulk Hogan and The Macho-man were unstoppable and “knowing” was “half the battle.” In your day the coolest kid at school was the one who had the t-shirt with the sweetest iron-on. Now that kid can be you, only the iron-on is a righteous silk-screen proclaiming to the world you know exactly who you are. You’re a dork, and you’re damn proud of it.
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
Here’s the history:
 
The entire reason I got into blogging in the first place was to meet/find/create a community of like-minded dorky dads. I found that community in the Dadbloggers Facebook group, founded by dadblogger Oren Miller. All the members of the Dadbloggers group have come to think of Oren as our founding father. When he was recently diagnosed with stage IV cancer, we were all rocked to the core. You can read Oren’s heart-felt feelings on his diagnosis here.
 
A fundraising site was set up in his name. We knew we couldn’t do much to help Oren’s condition, but we still wanted to make a difference. What could be more important for his family moving forward than memories. That’s what we wanted to do for them. So we are raising money to give Oren and his family as many awesome memories as possible.
 
When the good people from Teespring.com came to me looking to partner up, I knew I’d found a way to turn this blogging adventure into something good. As I stated above, 100% of the profits made from these t-shirts will go towards the fundraiser for Oren and his family. So please, if there’s a dork in your life who you think would appreciate one of the shirts above, pass the word along.
 
Remember, the shirts will only be available for 14 days, so SHARE THE HELL OUT OF THIS POST.
 
Thank you for your continued readership. It means more to me than I can say.
 
-Dork Dad
 

Finding Comfort In Fatherhood

14 Aug

Fatherhood Header

 

letter I remember being a youngster, old enough to stay up late enough to be in the room when the adults were watching the evening news on TV. It was the Regan-era and although it wasn’t the height of the Cold War, the sabre rattling and the ideological posturing between super powers was as fevered as ever. Although I was too young to appreciate the nuances, I could certainly appreciate the gravity of what was being reported. I knew what a nuclear bomb was. I knew we were pointing ours at them and they were pointing theirs at us. I knew exactly what nuclear war meant, and it scared the shit out of me. There were at least a few nights as a young boy where I remember staying up in bed unable to sleep, too anxious and afraid of what would happen if… *if* somebody pushed that “button.”

Since then I can’t remember ever letting the “news” du-jure effect my mood. Sure, I cried when the Challenger exploded, but in my defense I was in 6th grade at the time and I was convinced I was going to be an astronaut when I grew up. Beyond that, I am too much of a relativist by nature to take the “news” to heart. Newscasters sensationalize stories to look important and networks pander to narrow-minded ideologies to sell commercials. I like to think I float above all that stuff, avoiding getting caught up in the weeds… but damned if I didn’t find myself in a funk yesterday.

Sometimes it seems like the entire world is on fire. Russia is again making trouble, this time in Ukraine, and daring the world to do anything to stop it. ISIS is beheading children in Iraq. The genocide/civil war in Syria has become so old-hat the media has stopped reporting on it. Israel and Palestine have decided that they like bombing one another more than they like talking to each other. Unarmed teenagers are being shot and killed by police officers right here in the US. Children are coming across our borders, fleeing violence in Central America, and we’re trying to send them back. CHILDREN! Two friends of mine have recently been diagnosed with cancer, one of them terminal. Ebola is running unchecked through Western Africa in a way that mirrors every disaster/plague/zombie movie we’ve ever seen. And of course earlier this week every website in the world was talking about depression and suicide and Robin Williams

Ugh.

My entire 2-hour commute was awash in those news stories yesterday morning, and after duking it out with the big city commuter traffic I was in a dark mood when I finally arrived at my destination. I pulled into the parking structure and checked my phone quick before I went in to work. When I turned it on this was the image I saw:

 774362_4422974058091_2117383338_o

It’s a picture I snapped of my daughter at a local beach more than a year ago. THAT was precisely the image that I needed to see… that the WORLD needs to see. Yes, we may live in a world that sometimes seems to be falling apart all around us, and as a responsible citizen of that community we are obligated to be aware of what is happening in that world.

But that world isn’t my life.

You see, I am a father – and there is no greater joy in the world than the joy of loving your family. When I saw that picture I immediately thought of the young lady, just on the cusp of entering the “tween” years. She loves legos and all things Harry Potter. She conquered a task in the heavy surf this summer that would make a grown man think twice. Her biggest concern in life right now is whether or not she gets the 3rd grade teacher she wants when school starts up on Monday. She bosses her brothers around, has drama with the boys on the playground and still likes me to do the voices when I read to them at night.

*SHE* is my life.

Then I thought of my oldest son. He has recently turned a corner in his skill with a soccer ball and a baseball. He boldly tries any meat he can order on the menu (much to my vegetarian wife’s disgust). No animal is too esoteric. He just lost his first tooth and he requested fish, crab and BBQ’d shrimp (and beer!!!) for his 6th birthday party. He can build a Lego set faster than anyone I know and he has a special relationship with his grandmother. Although he’s the youngest kid in his class he loves the fact that he is also the tallest (by far). He loves to figure out multiplication problems in the back of the car. He loves guessing the movies for the film score music I play and he still likes me to do the voices when I read to them at night.

*HE* is my life.

10603578_10152654794175909_8101206507323671274_n

Then I thought of my youngest son. He loves getting grownups to smile by being silly in any way he can. He loves naming the Star Wars characters he sees in books or on t-shirts (and he knows them all). He loves putting on his brother’s/sister’s/mother’s/father’s shoes and clomping around the house with the declaration “I’m wearing tap shoes.” He puts the poor dog through more trials than any dog deserves and he pleasantly says “OK” when you tell him to clean up his mess. He loves steamed tofu (plain, yuck!) and is happy to point out all his body parts to anyone who will listen… yes, ALL of them. When you ask him how old he is he either says “ten” (he’s 2) or “I’m a big boy.” He’ll sell his siblings for an M&M and he hates it when I read to him at night “No Daddy get me ni-night. MOMMY get me ni-night.”

*HE* is my life.

1493124_10152134203285909_1986340951_n

Then there’s my wife, who is so far beyond my station in life words fall utterly short. I could blog for 100 years and still not say enough about how lucky I am to have her. She is neat where I am messy. She’s organized where I’m cluttered. She’s calm where I’m obnoxious. She’s strong where I’m weak. She is the rock-solid center of my universe…

…and she still looks damn good in a bikini.

*SHE* is my life.

You see, the world may very well seem like it’s burning, especially when you’re paying attention to what’s going on around you. But my life? My life is big and beautiful and brilliant and wonderful…

 

…because I’m a father.

ERWSTSc

 

-Dork Dad

 

DORKNADO!!

11 Aug

letter you know how sometimes it feels like there’s nothing good on TV? I present to you the most awesomest of awesome elevator pitches. THIS is how we bring network television back from the abyss. Somebody call someone. How do we make this happen?

 

 

 

DORKNADO

-DorkDad

 

6 Parenting Lessons I Learned From Indiana Jones

5 Aug

ijheader

 

 

letter My buddy Carter Gaddis (see? I spelled it right this time) at Dadscribe.com recently made a splash with his post “9 Things That Han Solo Taught Me About Being A Dad”. Not to be outdone, fellow dadblogger John Kinnear at AskYourDadBlog.com responded with “6 Parenting Lessons I Learned From Dr. Who.” But listen, gents… there’s another action franchise out there that has lots to teach us about parenting. Let’s not forget:

 

6 Parenting Lessons I Learned From Indiana Jones

 

#1 “Asps. Very dangerous. You go first.”

asps

Is there anything we wouldn’t do for our kids? If we could we would suffer every scraped knee, every broken heart for them. There is nothing more pathetic than seeing your child sick, or more terrifying than seeing your child hurt and knowing that there is absolutely nothing you can do for them. If we ever had to cross a seething pit of poisonous snakes, we would venture down first to make sure it was safe before we ever let our precious ones even step foot inside. But of course we also know that the challenges of life are what make you grow. Without the skinned knees and the broken hearts our children wouldn’t have the tools they will need to navigate adulthood, and so “you go first” moves from the third-person to the first-person. Eventually there comes a time where you have to stop yourself and let your child take the first shaky steps into the dangerous unknown.

 

#2 “Who knows? In a thousand years even YOU may be worth something.”

 

1000 yearsWhat parent doesn’t feel like they’re taken for granted. We are taken for granted. We SHOULD be taken for granted. We pour our heart and souls into our children and of course it goes largely unnoticed by the very young people we are nurturing. At times it can feel soul-sucking. There are 1000 challenges during the day and most of the time we never know which ones we win and which ones we lose. But every once in a while you get that spark of pride when you see your 6yo look an adult in the eyes, offer a firm handshake and say with confidence “Hello. My name is…” We don’t do it for the praise. At best all we can hope for is that someday when they’re adults they’ll look back and say “My mom and dad did a damn good job.”

 

#3 “No time for love, Dr. Jones. We’ve got company.”

 

short roundSometimes I wonder how we even managed to make children #’s 2 and 3. Having children is absolutely draining. As if you weren’t tired enough after a long day of work, you get home and the next two hours are a battle to get them to eat dinner, a battle to get them a bath, a battle to get them in their pajamas and a battle to get them to go to sleep. By the time they’re all tucked in you’re so tired all you want to do is flip on something from TiVo and fall asleep before you get the chance to fast forward through the first commercial. If, by some miracle, you do have the energy for sexy-time, just when things shift into 2nd gear the baby in the other room calls out “Mommy! Daddy! Put my blanket back on!” And let’s not even think about what might happen if you forget to make sure the door’s locked…

 

#4 “Here, take this.” [[hands a torch to Marion]] “Wave it at anything that slithers.”

 

slithersMy buddy just announced that he and his wife are having a girl. This weekend via text message I fondly relayed a conversation I had as a newly minted father of a daughter with a colleague who had only one son. She told me “Here’s the thing. I have only one penis to worry about. You have…” she pointed a finger across the horizon in a long, slow arch, “all those penises to worry about.”

Yeah. Fatherhood.

 

#5 “I don’t know. I’m making this up as I go.”

 

making it upThere are no instruction books for being a parent. Well there are, but none of them are worth a damn. Nature has a way of telling you when to be a parent, but nobody tells you how. Things come up every day that you didn’t expect, things you couldn’t possibly plan for. You question yourself, constantly. You agonize over whether you should have raised your voice earlier. You toss and turn over whether to let the baby cry it out or go in there for the hundredth time. What that miracle positive discipline strategy that all the parents are raving about at school is completely powerless on your own children. We remember what our parents did that seemed to work and avoid the mistakes we thought they made. But that covers about 3% of the total parenting experience. For the rest of it, you’re on your own.

 

#6 “It’s not the years, Honey. It’s the mileage.”

 

not the yearsI look at pictures of myself as a new daddy and think “who the hell is that guy? That was 20 lbs ago. I barely had any gray hair around the temples, and while we’re talking about hair… DAMN! Look at all that hair I had!” Gone are the days of an impromptu romantic weekend getaway. Gone are the days of a mid-day trip to the gym followed by a lavishly cooked dinner. These are the days of wrestling matches on the front lawn, hauling the baby on your shoulders all day around Disneyland and stepping on wayward lego pieces with your bare feet in the middle of the night. I freely admit that I don’t know half the people in “People” who are allegedly famous these days, and all of a sudden I’m censoring my own music playlist, the exact same songs I had no problem playing when I was living under my parents’ roof. There is an entire ocean between 40 with kids and 40 without kids… and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

-Dork Dad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Real Me

28 Jul

letter I take most of the pictures in our family. That’s just how it is. I’m more of a “gadget” person than my wife is. That generally means that Daddy doesn’t make it into 95% our pictures of the kids.

Lately though, UnDorkMommy has been making an effort, and I daresay she’s getting better. Framing, composure, lighting… these were all concepts that she had to learn, let alone remembering to pull out the old iPhone at all.

Every once in a while, if you snap enough shots, you get lucky. In those rare instances where someone gets lucky with a camera and I happen to be in the shot with my kids I am that much more grateful.

Last night UnDorkMommy managed to snag a picture that I am very grateful for. There are 100 people in my life, and each of them may see me in a different light. But this picture, this is how I see myself. Like any decent superhero I go to my day-job, slog through the mundane stuff, and then come home to put on my superhero garb and do what it was that I was put on this planet to do. If you ask me, THIS is the real me, and I thank my wife for capturing the moment for me.

real me

Feel free to share this if being a father is the best thing you’ve ever done.

-Dork Dad

Real Househusband

15 Jul

Real Housewife of New Jersey Bethanny Frankle recently blew up the internet with a picture of herself wearing her 4-year-old daughter’s pajamas.

Untitled

 

Dish Nation quickly jumped in with a picture of their own Kellie Rasberry proving she could rock her kids PJ’s just as well. They then issued a challenge to anyone out there to post a picture of themselves with the hashtag #KidsPJs. Well I’m here to say that dads can rock the kids pajamas as hardcore as any real housewife out there.

pjammas

Surgeon General’s Warning:

Prolonged exposure to the above image has been known to induce symptoms including but not limited to diabetic shock, hysterical pregnancy, post traumatic stress syndrome, severe disorientation, contact dermatitis and hyperventilation. People with weak hearts and obsessive compulsive disorder should consult a physician before exposure to the above image as complications could be life threatening. Consult your physician if symptoms last longer than four hours.

 

-Dork Dad

Do You Science?

10 Jun

Sciencebanner

letter big surprise: I used to be a middle school science teacher before I was a dentist. I know – shocker, right? So it’s safe to say I know a thing or two about the “school science fair.”

In fact, surprising though it may seem, my undergraduate degree has nothing to do with science. I was an elementary education major. (Long story. Don’t ask.) As I went through my program it became pretty obvious that smart as my fellow education majors may have been, and as cool as they though science might have been, let’s just say that science wasn’t really their thing. In a world where teachers need to worry about standardized tests , overpopulated classrooms, shrinking budgets and differentiating individualized instruction, it’s no wonder that come science-fair time the finer points of what science *REALLY* is tend to get lost in the noise.

At my kids’ elementary school students get their first taste of the science fair in 2nd grade (at the very end of the year when their attention couldn’t be less focused). “Science” as an entity looms large in our house, so when the assignment finally came Episode IV was all charged up and I, in turn, was all charged up to make this a *REAL* learning experience, rather than an end-of-the-year afterthought.

Kids that age think science is just something cool where some person in a white coat does something dramatic with dry ice, or liquid nitrogen, or giant 3-inch locusts (all of which I have done in their classrooms). That in itself is wonderful. It sparks their interest and gets them excited. But science isn’t a sideshow. Science is about asking questions, rationally collecting information, and then shaping our understanding of the world based on where that information leads us. From that perspective, the first thing kids need to learn is how to formulate a proper (testable) question.

mentos

Case in point, a real conversation at our dinner table:

“So, have you thought about what you want to do for the science fair?”

Episode IV thinks for a bit then, going for the gross-out factor, “How about we get a cow eyeball…” (we had talked about dissecting a cow eyeball for a classroom lesson) “and a human eyeball and dissect them both and see what the difference is!”

Gross, though not surprising if you know this kid. Clearly she was not in the right headspace and needed some proper instruction about what a real scientific experiment is. That sparked a great conversation around the table about control, and variables (two concepts that are most definitely within the grasp of a 2nd grader if presented to them properly) and how to formulate and test a hypothesis. We brainstormed for a while and eventually settled on an idea expanding on the tried-and-true mentos and diet cola experiment.

“CANDY AND SODA — Is there anything that makes it explode better than mentos?”

DorkDoggy got in on the action too

DorkDoggy got in on the action too

Now it should be said that I am also well aware of the “obviously-the-parent-did-this-science-fair-project” factor, and I was determined to let Episode IV do as much of the project as she could. But kids also need guidance and instruction. If someone doesn’t show them HOW to set up a proper experiment, and doesn’t show them how to rationally interpret the data, they’ll never learn anything. So from concept to presentation, letting her do as much work as possible without leaving her floundering, we definitely took a “let me show you how to do a proper science fair project” approach for this first foray into the world of science fairs.

Mentos and diet soda -- it never gets old.

Mentos and diet soda — it never gets old.

That Saturday morning I loaded Episodes IV and V into the car and off we went to the candy aisle at Target. There they picked out as many different candy types as they could get their hands on, and we cleared the shelf of 2 liter bottles of diet coke. Giddy at the prospect of exploding soda (and leftover candy) they bounced in their seats until the car pulled unexpectedly into the Home Depot parking lot. “Why are we here, Daddy?”

Jellybeans and soda... not so great.

Jellybeans and soda… not so great.

“Where else can you get an eight foot piece of border molding and a roll of black duct tape?” They blinked at me, incredulous. “Trust me,” I said.

We got back to the house and, eager though they were to tear into the candy, I made them watch/help as we used to duct tape to mark out two inch stripes on the border molding. “How are we going to measure the explosions if we don’t have something to measure it with?” I stood the zebra board up next to me and the light of understanding clicked on in both of them. We spent the rest of the afternoon gleefully exploding diet coke all over the backyard, taking pictures, eating candy, and writing our results down in a log.

truth

…and wouldn’t ya’ know it? We got a result that none of us were expecting (OK… maybe I had a suspicion, but they didn’t). It turns out that the thing that makes diet cola explode even more dramatically than mentos is a spoon full of BAKING SODA!!

After dinner as the kids were crashing from their afternoon-long sugar binge, drunk on science, sunshine and saccharine, we skipped the usual bedtime YouTube clip and snuggled into Mommy and Daddy’s bed to watch a TiVo’d episode of “Mythbusters.”

Baking Soda And Diet Soda -- Who Knew?

Baking Soda And Diet Soda — Who Knew?

Truly there is no show better suited to entertain the whole family, and joyfully illustrate the sound principals of the scientific method. That night my kids went to bed with visions of glorious science in their heads.

Addendum:

Fast-forward a couple of days. I was tooling around the internet when I discovered that the Mythbusters live stage show was coming back to our area. UnDorkMommy and I went to see it from the nosebleed seats a couple of years ago and it was great fun. We both agreed that it was totally family-friendly and perfect for a kid just about the same age as Episode IV.

mythbusters

So I went into high gear and found that there were still a scant few awesome VIP-level seats available. One swipe of the credit card later and Episode IV and I have front-row seats to see Adam and Jamie bust some myths live on stage in fantastic Mythbusters fashion. And if that wasn’t enough, the VIP level seats also come with “Meet The Mythbusters” access. That’s right. After the show Episode IV will get to go backstage and meet Adam and Jamie in person, the very guys who performed the definitive television experiment on mentos and soda.

When I told Episode IV about it she said to me “Do you think they’ll be interested in our experiment? Can we show Adam and Jamie what we did?”

“I know they will, sweetheart, and yes we can.”

 

-Dork Dad

Not So Fast

9 Jun

notsofast title

letter back when I interviewed Ron Fugelseth about his amazing “Toy Train In Space” video, naturally the conversation turned to parenting. Without prompting he used the exact same words to describe his parenting that I constantly think of to describe my own.

“I just want my kids to be able to look back on their childhood and think, ‘That was awesome.’”

Not “good.” Not “great.” Not even “normal.”

Awesome.

When I look back to my own childhood, the experiences that stand out most are those that were outside the range of “normal” childhood experiences. Sure, there was the paper route. There was biking in the streets with my neighborhood friends. There were little league games and cub scout camping trips and piano lessons. All of these make up the tapestry of my childhood in the same way they do for most other kids who have similar (identical) experiences. I am grateful for those experiences.

But nothing can compare to the time that I went flying with my grandfather up in his airplane and he told me to put my hands on the co-pilot’s wheel. He showed me how it was tied to the pilot’s wheel so when he turned his wheel, mine did as well. I remember feeling my hands turn back and forth with the wheel as Grandpa steered the plane gently right and left. I remember watching out the window as the wing dipped in synchronization with the wheel turning in my hands. The wheel turned left again and the plane leveled out and then… the wheel went limp in my hands.

I looked over to Grandpa to see what was going on and he was leaning back in his pilot chair, hands *OFF* the wheel and laced behind his head, cigar puffing away and a huge smile on his face. “That’s it, buddy. You’ve got it. You’re the pilot now.”

!!!

It’s the experiences like that, the ones that every other kid on my block didn’t have, that I remember best. Those are the experiences that made my childhood awesome. Those are the experiences that I want my kids to have. Whether it’s a backyard hovercraft, or a locust dissection science lesson in 2nd grade, or building a Hobbit hole in the backyard (we just launched that project this weekend), I go out of my way to make sure my kids get as much awesome as I can give them.

10259838_10152463083660909_6538691544467156288_n

For this reason I also feel a natural kinship (if not inferiority complex) to the likes of Ron Fugelseth and Mike Adamick (links provided for your convenience) who inject their steroid-infused, gamma ray creativity into their parenting to provide nothing but “awesome” for their kids. It’s a frame of mind that you can’t necessarily turn off. When I see something I think is awesome my first instinct is to share that with my children. I found myself in that position again this weekend.

Early Saturday morning I found myself at a continuing education course in the staff lounge of a local Oral Surgeon’s office with a half dozen other dentists. There we sipped coffee and orange juice while we watched a particularly interesting and complicated surgical procedure piped into the room on a 60” flatscreen in real time as the procedure was taking place two rooms away. The procedure was fascinating, but for the lay person it would be tough to get past what was essentially a very bloody procedure.

instruments

Nobody would blame you if you cringe at that sort of thing, but it was a room full of dentists. It’s what we do. Sick as it may sound, we all found the procedure completely amazing, and watching it happen in real time was totally awesome.

When the procedure was done we were each handed a flash drive with a video file of the entire procedure and, for better or worse, my very first instinct was “So cool! I can’t wait to get this back, load it up on the computer and show it to my kids!”

*needle scratch off the record* Not so fast there, Tex.

Enthusiasm is great, and I am very lucky to be in a position to provide amazing, out of the ordinary experiences for my kids. But there’s an adage in dentistry: just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. My daughter is an amazing human being, with more character strengths than I ever had. But one thing she continues to struggle with is empathy.

She will bug her brothers just for the pleasure of making them scream. She will torment the incredibly patient dog just because she thinks it’s funny. If there was one scoop of ice cream left in the container she would throw elbows and pull hair to get at it first. Thus far the entire universe revolves around her and despite our best efforts to show her otherwise she has yet to figure out that there are other people in the universe, each with needs and feelings that are equally as important as hers.

So yeah… empathy. It’ll come (hopefully) but as of yet it’s still underdeveloped.

As I drove home I wondered if showing a video of a guy getting his rotten teeth pulled, his gums sliced open and peeled back and his bone shaved down to a girl who struggles with empathy might not be the best parenting decision I could make.

Long story short, I didn’t do it and it was the right decision.

Because you know… good parent first, awesome parent second.

 

-Dork Dad

2 Cups Of Love

12 May

2 cups of love title

letter In the DorkDaddy household my ability to screw-up Mother’s Day (or anything else for that matter) is legendary. I would like to think that given infinite time and infinite resources I would be able to knock it out of the park every year, but I’ve come to believe that there’s something in my DNA that practically *requires* that I blow it somehow.

instructions

Truth told, genetic predisposition aside, I’m sure my epic Mother’s Day screw-ups would be less “epic” with just the smallest incremental increase in the free-time-factor. Between work and kids, our agendas are scheduled right up to the bleeding edge. I see patients from 7am to 6pm, with about 30 minutes (at home) for lunch. Dinner is at 6:15, then it’s bath time, pajamas, stories, bedtime… suddenly it’s 9:00 and I have just enough time to fall asleep in front of a TiVo’d rerun of “Big Bang Theory” before it’s time to wake up and do it all over again. Weekends are packed with soccer games, swim lessons, birthday parties, homework projects, play dates… Needless to say, as Mother’s Day 2014 crept up this year I hadn’t had the mental bandwidth to dedicate one brain cell towards planning something special for UnDorkMommy.

egg1

May is T-ball season, and this Saturday just happened to be the day we were in charge for snacks/drinks for the team. Naturally neither of us had the time during the week, so Saturday morning rolled around and UnDorkMommy sent me out to the grocery store in my pajamas to buy oranges, crakers and juice for 15 (and Starbucks for UnDorkMommy).

beater1

I spent more time than I care to admit roaming the aisles ((where the **** do they keep the ****ing Pirate’s Booty?!?!)) Eventually I found myself in the baking section and a solution to my Mother’s Day problem presented itself. Thank you Betty Crocker.

cleanup

On the way back from the store I dropped off the supplies at my MIL’s house (she’s just around the corner) and informed my wife that after the game I would be taking the big kids with me for an hour or two after the baseball game. Game finished, I swept up Episodes IV and V and we disappeared over to Grandma’s house for a little lesson in following directions, kitchen life-skills and last-minute Mother’s Day shenanigans.

frosting

All told, the experience turned out great. We had a ball on our little project. I was amazed to see how well the kids managed the eggs, measured the ingredients and handled the electric beater. When we were all done it might not have been the prettiest cake ever made, but it was made with an overabundance of love. When we presented it to UnDorkMommy Sunday morning (DorkDaddy knowing full well that she doesn’t particularly “like” cake) she had to admit that the extra helping of love made it the best cake she’d ever had.

siding

 

-Dork Dad

cake

Stitches

13 Mar

sutures

 

letter I’ve written before about that special magic that Mommy has. If it’s a cold, or a boo-boo, or a bad dream, Daddy will do in a pinch. But when push comes to shove, it’s Mommy’s special magic kisses that put the monsters back in the closet and make the skinned knees sting a little less.

Thank goodness my children have that in their lives. I have to admit, it’s a super power that I envy. Certainly we have our roles to play as parents. My wife shows her weakness when the kids need a super geek-out Minecraft session, or discussing the finer nuances of Wookies vs. Ewoks, but all too often it feels like the things DorkDaddies are good at is the *fluff*, where UnDorkMommy is the one to call when things get serious.

You see, my wife is pathologically self-sufficient. She is a fantastic role-model in that way. My kids will grow up knowing that a woman absolutely does not *need* a man to get on in the world. (I won’t get into what that does to a DorkDaddy who pathologically needs to be needed. That’s an entirely different ball of wax.) The bottom line is, very rarely does a situation come along where UnDorkMommy can’t handle it, and she has to call on DorkDaddy to come to the rescue. But in fact that’s just what happened on a recent trip to visit Grandma and Grandpa at the lake.

Episode V and Grandpa having a picnic on the rocks.

Episode V and Grandpa having a picnic on the rocks.

The drought in California has left the water level at Grandma and Grandpa’s lake particularly low, which presents its own opportunities for awesomeness. Episode V got to have a picnic with Grandpa way out in the lake on some rocks that are normally underwater. Episode VI got to have his first walk-out-in-the-water experience with his DorkDaddy. And the big kids got to walk way out under the piers in the mud (and duck sh*t, and dead, rotting fish) to explore all the flotsam and jetsam they couldn’t normally get to.

So c-c-c-cold...

So c-c-c-cold…

And that’s where the problem arose.

It seems that decades ago someone dropped a metal sink (sink?!?!) into the lake and never fished it out. There it sat, festering, among the algae and gunk and bacteria and who knows what else, waiting for my daughter to walk by. From inside the house I heard my father calling for me “Get a wet towel!”

Out under the pier.

Out under the pier.

What in the world? The kids were out in the water, why would he need a wet towel?

I went outside to find this:

Ouchie.

Ouchie.

I knew enough from my pre-med days as an ER medic that this needed stitches. I got her into the shower and washed all the botulism, e-bola and flesh eating virus out of the cut and confirmed my suspicions about the stitches, so naturally my first instinct was to text UnDorkMommy (who was out grocery shopping, so this one was all on me) “Do you have Episode IV’s insurance card? She’s going to need a couple stitches.”

All wrapped up.

All wrapped up.

But the more we thought about it, the less appealing that idea was to me. I didn’t want to bring my precious little 8yo to an ER in the meth-capitol of California. She’d wind up waiting for hours in the waiting room with the bleeding, puking, drunken, cursing, distressed, belligerent denizens you’d expect to find there. There would be bureaucracy, and paperwork, and waiting, and stress, and a $500 co-pay, all for a procedure I knew damn well would only take 5 minutes.

Two amazing women.

Two amazing women.

If only we knew a doctor in the area.

Wait! *I’M* a doctor!!

I’ve watched literally thousands of sutures placed in my pre-med, ER days. They even teach suture technique in dental school, which I tested out of on my first try because of my ER experience. I know exactly what to do and how to do it. I could *TOTALLY* put the stitches in. (This idea made UnDorkMommy visibly nervous. She gave me the “are you sure” look, but stopped short of actually, verbally questioning my competence.) I even have all the stuff I need in my office (every dental office has it, even if they never use it). But my office is 5 hours away. If only I knew a dentist in this town.

Lidocaine.

Lidocaine.

Wait! I *DO* know a dentist in this town!!

One of my favorite instructors from dental school has his private practice in my parents’ town. They are his patients. I know him. He knows me. This could totally work!

So I called his emergency number and, may the dental gods forever smile on him, he opened up his office for me on a Saturday night, set out the equipment I would need, and after I presented him with a bottle of wine in gratitude, told me to just turn out the lights and close the front door when we were done.

sewing

sewing

I brought with me my mother who has spent her entire professional career as a RN. If there was anything she was meant to do on this Earth it’s care for people. To her credit, despite the fact that the nervous patient was her granddaughter, and the nervous doctor was her son (who has placed precisely 12 sutures in his entire life… 10 on a stretched out shammie, and 2 in a patient’s mouth under the supervision of an instructor in dental school) she flipped right into professional-mode and instinctively made every right decision to keep both patient and doctor calm.

She was amazing, and so was Episode IV.

And I even saved the pedi.

And I even saved the pedi.

I am happy to say that in my entire professional career I have now placed precisely 14 sutures: 10 on a shammie, 2 with an instructor over my shoulder, and two in my daughter’s toe. There was no scary ER for her that night. My daughter will remember being in a safe, calm environment, wrapped up in the arms and listening to the soothing, whispered words of someone who loved her, while her daddy came to her rescue and fixed her boo-boo.

S'mores around the fire-pit and staying up late. Reward for being so brave.

S’mores around the fire-pit and staying up late. Reward for being so brave.

I will remember a very special evening where *I* got to be the superhero for a change, because I was the only one in the house who had the super power we needed to save the day.

1 week later, all healed up. Time to take the stitches out.

1 week later, all healed up. Time to take the stitches out.

 

-Dork Dad

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,095 other followers

%d bloggers like this: