Tag Archives: Skunk

Planning For Next Father’s Day Or Rushing For This One

Dads are easy. We have to be, considering how much we’re getting shorted in the national holiday of appreciation competition.

Father’s Day didn’t exist until 1909, when the daughter of a single father from Seattle came up with the idea. Wasn’t until Richard Nixon set aside the third Sunday in June in 1972 that it became a national holiday. And this is America? Probably one reason for it. I mean, we celebrate the Founding Fathers every July and the vast conspiracy of Moms felt that was enough.

 In 2011, Dads who received a gift averaged $106.49, which was a nice jump from 2010, when dads only saw gifts worth $94.72, but still not a patch on moms, who averaged $140.73. In 2012, dads only raked in $117.14, while moms bumped up to $152.

“His gifts usually range from a simple tie for work to a new spatula for the grill—all of which can make dad very happy.”

 Mother’s Day gifts, by contrast, tend to be more luxurious than Father’s Day presents—jewels, flowers, a trip to the spa, or dinner at a restaurant, for example.

The most popular gift was a card, and, even then, dads lag behind behind Moms, lovers on Valentine’s Day and people trying to kiss up to Santa on Christmas.

Which is exactly what I thought was happening when my youngest little dude referred to me as a superhero. I swelled with pride. And then he told me my superhero name” the Wondrous Wallet, because I’m the one who gives him the money. He’s having a birthday on June 13 and wants to go paintballing. I’m allowed to go with him, but can’t participate, must only be there in my superhero guise. Who, in addition to being free with the money, is mostly invisible.

The number one reason why Father’s Day doesn’t get as much attention is because it happens during summer break for schools. Moms get the attention of the child in school, teachers who, in elementary school are most likely moms themselves, and have their classes make something for mom.

Moms rake it in because, just like Valentine’s Day, there is an entire industry based around the idea that not getting the mom in your life an expensive, amazing gift is tantamount to saying, “I hate you. You’re worthless, now go get into the kitchen and make me a sammich.”

But, enough whining. Although, if you’ve been around me for more than three minutes, I think you’ll realize whining is what I do. Anyway, enough of it for now. Let’s talk about ways to make dad feel loved on this special third Saturday in June. See if we can’t make up for the appalling $30 gap in gifts.

  1. Move Father’s Day a week back to June 22. That way he can go to Heroes Con, one of the largest comic book, pop-culture conventions in the country. Once there, Dad can mix and mingle with the other super heroes in his guise as the . . . Wondrous Wallet!
  2. You know that tie you’re going to give Dad? You remember: the one that looks suspiciously like the same boring tie you gave him last year? Yeah, that one. Ditch it. Use it to hogtie a, well, a hog. Ties are the dead, bloated skunk on the side of the road that somehow gets into the space under the driver’s seat on a hot summer day and then stay undiscovered for months of gifts.Ties stink, is what I’m trying to say. If it’s too late, if you’ve already purchased one, then do something useful with it, like maybe burning it. Or maybe Mom can give Dad a tie in one of those shades of gray I’ve been hearing about.
  3. I’m different in that I was lucky enough to stay home with my sons and be the primary caregiver, but I know a lot of my fellow dads weren’t that lucky. One of the greatest gifts you can give us (even dads like me who sometimes begin twitching uncontrollably when certain words like (shudder) art project are used in our hearing) is time. Make a date with Dad. Go to the movies. Go out to eat at a restaurant that takes more than seven minutes to serve your food.
  4. Every once in a while the universe demonstrates that I might actually have done a good job with the young dudes. I asked middle son, Zippy the College Boy, what he would do to make dad feel loved and he said, “I’d go to his amazon.com wish list and get him something. Every man has a wish list. It just doesn’t have to be written down.” Of course, that could be just me. But if it’s not, remember that going to smile.amazon.com and buying stuff will lead to amazon.com donating 0.5 % of the purchase plus $5 to the charity of your choice.
  5. Robert L. Brown is a cab driver in Washington, DC. He gave Zippy the College Boy and me a ride over the weekend. During the scariest cab ride of my life, during which I clutched Zippy the College Boy to my chest and prayed for mercy, Mr. Brown told us his idea of perfect parent gifts. He suggested giving three inexpensive gifts. Always and only three gifts. Each gift stood for a single word. I. Love. You. It didn’t matter what the gifts were, but just to let him know “I love you.”
  6. Take dad out for a day of paint ball. Because nothing says I love you quite like sneaking quietly up through the bush, parting the tall grass with the barrel of your gun and firing until your gun runs dry, blasting enough paint to cover a four-story mansion in two coats of paint and leaping joyously into the air while doing the dance of victory over the thoroughly broken. . . erm. Uh. So I’ve heard. I don’t even play paintball and you can’t prove differently.
  7.   Take dad out to the movies. Kids, let dad pick the movie and I can guarantee you’ll enjoy it. You ladies might not know this, but I think you’ll be surprised to know just how very similar a dad’s taste in movies is to that of a 12-year-old boy. You’re on the same wavelength, kids.
  8. Don’t buy dad a card. Seriously. Just get a piece of paper, fold it in half and then write something nice on it. Or even draw something. It doesn’t have to be good art, but just knowing you spent time thinking of dad, and did something you thought would be cool for dad is an amazing gift.
  9. Give the wallet back. Don’t look at me like that. You know what wallet. I’m just going to close my eyes for one minute and, when I open them, I expect to have the wallet right here on the table.
  10. Fly fishing, golf, bike ride, football game baseball game. All at once. But make sure you sell the TV rights first because I think golfish riding basefoot games are going to be huge.
  11. Hugs. Lots and lots of hugs.

I keep telling my young dudes and my loving wife, known to me as She Who Must Be Getting Better Looking By The Day, that I don’t actually want stuff for Father’s Day.

Spend time with me, I tell them. Although I mean time quite differently when I’m talking to my blushing bride than I do when I’m talking to the young dudes.

It’s time and love and hugs, dudes. That’s really what we all want. I mean, nobody wants to reenact their own version of “Cat’s In The Cradle,” do they?

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Hidden Talents: The Stinkening

by Richard

This is one of those hidden talents that probably should have stayed, well, hidden.

As I said yesterday, I recently found out that I can do household repairs slightly more complicated than changing out a light bulb, which will be of great comfort to those family members for whom I’ve already done what I laughingly call repairs. Oops. Oh, well. I can make the repairs to the repairs now.

What accounts for this new-found competence? No idea. Maybe I’ve just been touched Ouchdarnit!where’sthebandaids?, the god of household repairs. Whatever. It means I’ve been fixing things.

Even when I shouldn’t. Take, for instance, hidden talent #2: What’s that smell?

This problem hit all at once. I was busy shoveling the remains of a particularly bad dinner down the garbage disposal when the silly thing backed up on me. I tried the usual remedies. I shoved my hand down there and cleaned it out — just after I remembered to actually turn it off and wait for the blades to stop spinning. I tried to plunge it clear and managed to shoot disgusting water/food slush out the other sink and all over the kitchen floor. I even used Drano on the thing. (I know, I know. What can I say? I was desperate.) Nothing worked.

It was time to get nasty.

I cleaned everything out from the cabinets under the sink and brought out my 5-gallon bucket. I put the bucket under the u-bend in the pipes down there and started loosening pipe. Eventually I did manage to get the u-bend off and water flooded into the bucket. Remember when I said it was a 5-gallon bucket? Yeah, well, turned out there was 5.2 gallons of water and gunk in the pipes. Yeah.

After I cleaned up that mess, I got down to business. I started shoving things through the u-bend pipe, looking to dislodge whatever was in there blocking the water. Nothing. I cleaned a little more pipe that would had been attached to the u-bend. Still nothing. So I put all the pipe back together and tried the disposal.

Speaking of nothing. . . It still didn’t work. I sighed and got back to work loosening pipes. After cleaning up from the water that spilled out when I forgot to put the 5-gallon bucket down again, I decided to concentrate on the one pipe I hadn’t cleaned earlier. I pulled out the pipe that lead from under the sink out through the wall and away.

That was when I noticed the smell. Something like a cross between 10-day-dead squashed skunk, that waxy gunk you sometimes find between your toes and what happens when the toilet paper misses just a bit and you’re in a hurry. So, yeah. Bad. Not knowing when to leave well enough alone, pack up and sell the house, I continued.

When I finally got the pipe out, I saw that it was filled with this black, jelly-like substance that stank so bad I could see the stink particles coming off it in waves (Hey! A physics joke. Enjoy.). I dropped the pipe, ran upstairs and caught a giant breath over the cat litter box in Zippy the Monkey Boy’s bathroom and got to work. I carried the pipe outside and upended it over a lush patch of grass, which began to brown before the gunk even touched it. Sticks, leaves and other yard detritus served to clean out the pipe and leave it in a slightly more serviceable condition.

I got everything put back together and, wonder of wonders, it actually worked. Well, except for a small leak, but I managed to fix that with the plumbers friend: crack sealant (that was what we call a punne or play on words).

So, two hidden talents discovered and two repairs made. The next time something goes wrong, I think I’m going to discover a new hidden talent: Finding the name of a good handyman.

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Someone Pooped in My Couch

There is some sort of funk in my family room. I can’t smell it all the time, but once or twice a day, I get this whiff of stinky stench that makes me want to double over and do the dry heave. I’m not sure I’d call it interesting, since that implies that I actually want to know more about it, but — oh, what the hell? — it is interesting that I can’t locate it (not sure I really want to). I try to zero in on it when I get the whiff, but then it vanishes like Richard when the check comes.

I first started noticing it Friday night. I thought it had disappeared by Saturday morning, but then I got home after the boys’ basketball game and it hit me upside the face when I walked into the family room. Of course, my wife smells it also. But, the kids; nope.

Not a one of those four little noses, which can smell candy in the air likes sharks can smell blood in the water, noticed a thing.

At first I though that one of the dogs rolled in something. They DO smell. But this phantom funk is a whole different level.

It’s actually embarrassing. A mother came over to drop her son off yesterday and I was appalled to think that she could possibly get a whiff. But, she let him sleep over anyhow, so I guess she did not notice the stench. Then again, she may have been nice enough not to say anything. Me, on the other hand, would have blurted out something like, “Man, that’s worse than a pig farm on slop day!” or “That reminds me of the summer I worked for the Port-O-Let guy!”

Dude!, these things happen with shorties running around. I would not be surprised some time in January to find a science experiment that has achieved invisibility, sentience and a killer defense mechanism that would disable a skunk growing under there. Maybe I could patent it and then make money renting it out on revenge missions.

— Barry
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