Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lessons Learned from Dad: The Geyser

Greetings Bonehead Faithfuls!

It's been a hot, hot week here in Arizona. In fact, Satan moved in next door and told us he's been looking for a little property for when it gets cold in hell. As far as the kid report is concerned, Parker gave a talk in church last week. He is only 9 but he asked the Bishop if he could give a talk on faith. How do you say no that face? So there he was in front of the whole congregation and talking about faith. For about 10 minutes. I was having a HUGE proud dad moment. What an amazing kid. The rest of the crew is doing well and keeping Neish and I on our toes. The boys have recently concocted a money making idea, namely to rent themselves out for yard work under the title of "Lawn Ninjas Inc." They have a flyer and everything. I'll try to post one if I figure out how. Well, enough banter, on to business!

Dads know everything. At least we're supposed to. No matter what the emergency dads are supposed to know exactly how to fix it. In becoming a dad I have discovered something both valuable and terrifying: Dads do not know everything! But I can't tell my kids that so I do what every dad has done before; I make crud up. When I shock myself I tell them that I needed to check how strong the current was. When I break the tent pole while trying to shove it into the ring-pin, I tell them "They don't make em like they used to!" Stuff like that. After a recent incident involving my remote controlled helicopter and an insane idea that flying it in the wind might be really cool, he told me "When you're experimenting it's best to do it when no one is home." That's some good wisdom there. It would save a lot of explaining. Mostly because I'd have a chance to clean up before anyone saw what happened. Like the time I accidentally set off a rather large artillery shell firework in the garage. Whew! That was exciting! I hope my dad isn't following my blog.

But it's really my dad who instilled in me the notion of experimenting with the world and learning new stuff, and making up stuff about what you didn't know. Allow me to explain. Dads want you to try things that will "toughen you up" (the reason they give you when you get hurt doing what it was they thought you should do). With that in mind let's remember the lesson of the geyser.

We have a cabin in Yellowstone National Park and as children spent some time there every summer. One of our favorite things to see each year was Old Faithful. Its uncanny ability to go off each hour or so was awesome. When visiting the geysers my dad would explain where all that hot water came from and not to go near it unless we wanted to end up looking like a cooked macaroni noodle. One time after visiting the park we asked mom and dad if we could go swimming. Dad drove around a while and eventually saw a small waterfall and pool off the side of the road. Excellent. "A perfect spot!" says my Father. We piled out of the car and hiked down the trail to the edge of the pool. Then came the sixty-four dollar question: "Is it cold?" His answer to us trusting, innocent, pure children was "No! It's completely warm. This water's straight from the geyser!" Well we all knew that geysers were way hot and so having the river mix with the geyser water would make it perfect. The three of us lined up on the side of the pool, counted to three and jumped.

Remember what I said earlier about dads not knowing everything? Yeah, this was one of those times. It took approximately .003 seconds for our nervous system to tell us that my dad was a git. At about .007 seconds our nervous system told us if we didn't get out of that pool right now we'd turned into popsicles. Needless to say my dad feigned complete surprise that the water was anything but warm (a ruse he continues to this day) and we spent the rest of the day huddled in blankets trying to keep our toes from falling off.

That's all the news that's fit to print so stay tuned next time for the tale of The Very Strong Lid.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lessons Learned from Dad: Road Safety!

Hey Everybody!
It's update time and with it another wisdom filled episode in the "Lessons Learned From Dad" saga! But first the news...

We've recently returned from a 4 DAY LONG FAMILY REUNION. Neisha will say, "Isn't that awesome!" I will say, well I won't say anything because I'd get in trouble. But I survived and am still alive to write in the blog! Anyway, we're back to almost normal which is about two levels beneath insanity :)

And now, another lesson learned from dad.

Fathers are great. Never has there been a creature so willing to go through so much in order to teach a simple lesson. For example when my dad showed us kids the importance of not playing in the road.

There comes a time when every child must learn not to run out into the street. There are real dangers out there! Not the least of which was my dad attempting to teach us the danger of playing in it. Poor laundry basket. (Allow me to explain).
One day we kids were out playing in the yard and my dad walks up carrying a wicker laundry basket and says, "C'mon kids I'm going to teach you a valuable lesson." Now if you know my dad then you'll know that when he says "C'mon kids I'm going to teach you a valuable lesson" that two things are going to happen: #1, you will most likely witness something that is about to go horribly wrong and #2, it will most likely involve electricity, cars, or tools, and usually results in pain (see The Lesson Of the Crank Washer).

Today's lesson took place in 1982 and involved the Blue Goose (our family car which was a 68 Bel Air Chevy and closely resembled a tank with blue paint on it), a wicker laundry basket, and a serious amount of overkill. He began by telling us that "playing in the road was really dangerous and if a car were to hit us we could be killed." Not wanting to leave it at that he said, "Kids, it's really important that you know this so I'm going to show what would happen were you to be hit by a car." Then, taking the laundry basket he placed it in the road and said, "Kids, pretend this is you. I'll be right back." he then got in the tank and drove off down the road out of sight.

There we stood at the side of the road wondering why we were pretending to be moms laundry basket. Odd. Then, from off in the distance we hear the unmistakable roar of a fast approaching, large engined tank that sounded a lot like the Blue Goose. We looked down the road and sure enough, dad was racing toward us with a crazed "I've always wanted to do this!" look in his eye.
"Is he going to run over mom's laundry basket?" my brother asked. The answer came about two seconds later as dad, reaching flux capacitor speed slammed into mom's wicker laundry basket with the force of a train. Words cannot describe the look of utter shock on our faces as mom's favorite, I might add, laundry basket was turned into a handful of wicker toothpicks. A minute later dad came back, rolled down the window and said "So never play in the road ok?" I think we spent the next six months hiding in the basement. In the corner. Behind the boxes of Pop Shoppe Pop. You know, I never did find out how my dad explained the whole thing to my mom. I can just imagine the conversation now:
"Hi Honey! Hey a, remember that laundry basket you used to have?"
"What do you mean 'used' to have? Yes, I still remember it. It's my nicest one. What have you done to it?"
"Who me? Well, nothing really. It was mostly the car. Do you want to go out to dinner tonight?"
"Lou, Where is my laundry basket?"
"Ah, it kind of broke. You see I was teaching the kids about road safety and I wanted to show them what would happen to them if a car actually hit them and well, I couldn't very well run one of them over so I had to find something similar."
"Are you trying to tell me that you used my NICEST laundry basket as a crash test dummy!"
The rest of that conversation would probably not have been g-rated so I'll stop there. And you know, as weird as that whole thing was we all still remember not to play in the road.

Follow up 2009: in the spirit of trying to be a good parent I told my kids about it hoping to instill in them a healthy respect for the road. Their response? "Awesome! Let's run over all the laundry baskets!" sigh.