Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father’s day, and EVERY day

It seems a bit unfair that these kinds of things only get posted once a year, because being an awesome dad is definitely one of those “every single day in every single way” kinds of things.

But at the same time, I suppose it would get a bit tiresome if I went on and on and on about how awesome a father the husband is all the time.

Because he is an awesome father, every day.

There’s all the usual “good father” stuff: When they were small, he would sing them awake in the morning with silly songs he made up on the fly; he would settle them down for the night with stories made up from words they would toss out to him.

And he faced even the nastiest of diapers with unflinching strength.

And we used CLOTH diapers for quite a while, gang. <= +500 Amazing Points for dealing with that added Nasty Factor.

He takes them for haircuts and dentist appointments.

He watches really lame movies with them.

Runs them to the mall when they want to meet up with friends and Mom is all, “Nope, no way, huh-uh, I have so damned much to do today plus you have no idea how tired I am because blah-blah-blah-40-minutes-of-whiny-lecturing…”

But that’s just, you know, the everyday-life stuff.

There’s so much more, the things that they don’t even realize he does for them…yet. But someday, they’re going to look back and realize just how much he did for them, and they’re going to realize just how much of their self-confidence and self-love come from these things.

Things like holding them accountable for their grades and behavior not in the “because it is all about me, and I don’t like it” way, but in the “because you are smart and capable, so, don’t act like you aren’t” way that reinforces the message that above all else, he believes in them.

Telling them they can too do or be something when they felt like they couldn’t.

Listening to them and giving them both his council, and his permission to disagree – so they never had to be afraid to tell him what they really-truly believe, or how they felt about something…because they instinctively knew that even if he didn’t agree with them, they wouldn’t lose his love and support.

He showed them what a good man – a good person – looks like. Loyal to his friends and family. Incredibly honest. Strong in all the right ways. Protecting and providing for his family without demanding constant worship for it.

He has taught them that being loving and respectful toward his wife does not mean trading in his man-card and becoming some kind of emasculated, subservient creature. That having an equal partnership can work, and work well.

And that no matter what they might see on TV or hear from their friends, it is not “just the way men are” for them to raise either their voice or their hand to their family, even when they are really upset about something.

I wish every kid could have a guy like him for their father; I truly believe the world would become a much better place if they could.

Happy Father’s day, honey. You really are a kick-ass dad, and the best husband a wife could have.

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Apparently, delivery people do not appreciate porch snakes

I think…Sir Geoffrey of Doughnut has given up.

Oh. That’s our gopher snake.

Yes. We named the snake. Because for a while there, he was hanging out on the porch rather frequently, and eventually it started feeling rather rude to keep calling him, “AHHHHHH!!!!!!!” or “Git, dammit” and such.

So I started calling him Geoffrey and the kids a) wanted to call him Doughnut and b) felt that a name like ‘Geoffrey-with-a-G’ required some kind of knightly title, soooooooo, we compromised.


He hasn’t been out on the porch for quite some time now.

Probably because of the delivery lady.

SEE…a couple weeks ago, I was sitting here at my desk wrapping up my work day when suddenly…I heard this positively bloodcurdling scream that sounded like it could have been coming from inside the house.

Needless to say my curiosity was piqued.

So I jumped to my feet, ran to the front door and threw it open.

There’s the big old truck, and a lady huddled on the far side of it screeching and hollering and pointing, and I looked where she was pointing and there’s Sir Geoffrey.

And he was PISSED. I don’t know if he was dozing and she startled him awake, or possibly stepped on or very near him or what, but man, he was putting on a real show before I even opened the door.

Usually, Sir Geoffrey is a real chill dude. I have a habit of going through doors like a bull charging the red cape, so I was constantly launching myself out the doorway and then realizing that I was practically stepping on him out there – and he’d never gone into that kind of performance for me. Shoot, half the time, he’d just sort of raise his head a little bit, regard me sleepily for a moment, and then give a shrug of his non-existent shoulders and hie it for the rosemary bushes before I could go get the broom to shoo him off.

“Oh. Hey. How’s it goin’. Some weather we’re having lately, huh? Welp! that’s enough chit-chat for me today, later!” {slither-slither-slither}

If you’ve never seen a gopher snake doing their best defensive show, it can be…quite the experience. What they do is a really good impersonation of a rattlesnake. They wriggle their tail like they’re rattling, and simultaneously make a hissing noise that, depending on the skill of the actor, can sound an awful lot like a rattlesnake. They suck in air to make themselves look bigger, coil up and raise their heads like a viper, and even – get this – flatten their heads from their normal ‘capsule’ shape into a more triangular shape.

For bonus points, they don’t back down readily, either. They’ll often keep up the show until you leave, and even make strikes at you all viper-style.

I could be wrong and I’m too lazy to Google it, but I have a hunch it comes down to the fact that they are not particularly fast moving snakes: They aren’t going to be able to outrun much of anything, so their best chance at getting out of the situation alive is going to be making the predator run for it.

This probably works really well on things like hawks, coyotes and other such predators…but with man, well, we go get the shovel and KILL the bastard.

Which is a shame, because honestly-truly, they are a good kind of snake to have around. We’d be hip-deep in rodents without them, and given the choice I’ll take a gopher snake over {shudder} delta rats ANY day of the week.

But I digress.

So there’s Sir Geoffrey, and he’s all, “I am a scary rattlesnake! You’d better run! Seriously! You’d better! Watch as I flatten my head and make it all triangle-shaped! Ooooooh, so scary!…why are you not running yet…?”

And the delivery lady is still screeching and carrying on, so I reassuringly yelled, “Hang on, I’ll take care of it!”, grabbed my broom and started sweeping the porch.

Sir Geoffrey and I have an understanding, see. He figured out real quick that if he didn’t skeedaddle, the broom would start sweeping right under his tail.

So he gave me one last really disgusted look…slithered lazily off into the rosemary bushes, where he skulked for a moment before making his way along the house and zip! under the fence into the backyard.

The Great Snake Menace thus resolved, I turned back to the poor delivery lady and hollered, “IT’S OK, HE’S GONE NOW!”

She stood up, executed a perfect Picard Maneuver™, and hollered back, “OH no, I am not going anywhere near that thing! You come over here and get it!”

I can’t say that I blame her at all.

So I obediently trotted over and collected my box of vitamins and told her about Geoffrey: that he’s just a harmless gopher snake, he won’t hurt you, more hiss than bite, blah blah blah.

She was not one bit convinced.

And I tell you what: When she put that van in gear? She lit out of the court like she had topped it off with jet fuel that morning. Vroom!

…and I haven’t seen hide nor hair…er…scale of Sir Geoffrey anywhere in the front yard since.

Or that delivery lady, come to think of it.