Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Man's Man's Advice to His Wife

Surviving Black Friday

I can’t fathom why anyone would subject themselves to shopping on Black Friday, but they do. Personally, I don’t see myself braving the crowds to save $2 on the next big thing.
Not trying to be sexist here, but this is almost purely an affectation for women. Men hate crowds (unless it’s a sporting event) and we hate to shop (unless it’s for cars, tools or grills.)
I have some experiences in life that can help you prepare and make your Black Friday more fun and more successful. For one thing, I picked up some survival skills when I was lost in the woods for almost two hours. As someone who enjoyed sports back in the day, I know to stretch and stuff. And I planned to be an Eagle Scout, until I realized I’d have to make my way through Webelos before becoming a boy scout, which was a deal breaker.

Plus, as a guy, I just have an overwhelming need to solve problems.
So here's my advice to the ladies venturing out on Black Friday.
Carbo load the night before.
Shouldn’t be a problem, considering the day was Thanksgiving and most people ingest the equivalent of a bushel of wheat in carbohydrates. But, make sure to eat a good breakfast. Get some protein, so you won't get hungry.
Pack a survival kit.
Yeah, I said it. Pack one. Include some snacks, drinks, an extra jacket and some band-aids, just in case it turns ugly. 
Fill up the night before… with gas.
Saves time. Who knows what the lines will be like. And under NO circumstances should you go inside a convenience store or gas station for anything. If you didn’t pack it, you don’t need it.

Buddy up.
Shopping with someone can keep you motivated and it’s always good to have support. But choose wisely. Leave you know who at home. You won’t be able to concentrate when they start whining. You’ll lose time when they wander off. They’ll want to get something to eat two or three times. You won’t want to deal with them asking why you’re buying that. In short, don't take your husband.
Be prepared for a fight.
You’d do anything for your family, right? Remember, what happens at Target, stays at Target. If it’s not worth fighting dirty for, it’s not worth buying.
Travel light.
Nothing bulky. Nothing heavy. Leave the big purse at home. You’re not laying siege. You’re hitting quick and moving on. LikeBritish Special Forces but with better dental hygiene.

Take a couple of bottles of water with you. And remember the runner’s rule: If you’re thirsty, you’ve waited too long.
Early and often. You might even consider picking up a 5 Hour Energy and a couple of Starbuck’s Double Shots. Actually stopping by a coffee shop could cost you valuable minutes and mean the difference between getting your daughter an Ipad and getting her new clothes.
Stop for a light lunch.
Quick energy… something from the four basic food groups. Avoid anything that involves using a spoon, OK? Soup is slow. Sammiches are for winners.
Wear comfortable shoes.
Don’t be a hero and wear flats. Or sandals. You’re going to be traveling far and fast. Tennis shoes, or lightweight hunting boots, even. For God’s sake, get something with some support… arch AND ankle.
Dress for all conditions.
Layering is the key. Most likely, it'll be cold in the morning, but warmer in the afternoon. As you're working, you may start to feel warm. That's not good. Wear light layers that can be shed quickly. Avoid a heavy jackey, if possible. The last thing you need is a coat taking up valuable rolling real estate.
Use social check-ins.
Unless you don’t LIKE saving money or knowing that they're serving snacks somewhere in the store.
Don't take down the first thing that comes along.
Stopping off to find clothes in junior miss, no matter how good the deal, is a rookie mistake. That sweater will be there in an hour. The new Tranformer won’t. Hit toys and electronics first.
Cash is for amateurs.
It does slow down the process. If you lose your wallet, it’s a hassle, but credit cards can be replaced. Cash can’t. Flash a lot of cash, and you just became a target. Make sure to have some coin on-hand for parking meters and bell ringers, though. That’s pro preparation right there.

Let your husband go play poker when you get home.
That’ll do it. Happy shopping. I’m out.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Open Letter to My Dad

Dear Dad,
It's been a long time. I'm not saying that to be an asshole or anything, but it's been 11 years since I got that phone call at 6:30 in the morning on November 12, 2001.

We knew it was November 11 when you left, because there's no way you made it to midnight that day. You worked around the farm most of the day, and I know for you, that day was probably about as perfect as you could get. In a place that you loved, doing the things that you loved, working around the farm, cooking up some venison, having a few
and some of your favorite deer camp "horse dervies" which no one in their right mind would eat

By the way, that pronunciation died with you. But I'm bringing it back. Along with the camel joke.

For the first time since you left, November 11 was Veteran's Day for me. I didn't think much about it being your last day. And I know you wouldn't want it any other way. "Ten years is a long time to grieve," you'd say.

Like almost every other thing you said, you'd probably be right.

But the thing is, there's not a day goes by that I don't think about you. Everyone misses you and still talks about you like you're still here, even eleven years later. That's strong, Dad.
Dad with his little buddy, Levi, sporting the do-rags.

I'll let you know that I finally visited you. Twice now. The first time, I lasted about 15 seconds. But it broke the ice. This past Memorial Day, I went with Toby, his buddy, Mike and Ashley and we drank a beer with you. For you, I guess is the more appropriate term.

I still haven't been down to the farm. I may never go, even though I know it is a special place you chose because you wanted to retire there someday. Someday just came way too fast.

I know what you'd say about that, too, Dad: "I wanted this to be a place where you boys could go and take your families. You should go."

But I really only know it as the place where you died and would only know it without you. Toby and Duke know the place with you there. They got to see how you looked at it and talked about it.

I know that's where your spirit is. Danny has said he's seen you there. I hope he's right. But he knows the place with you there, too. I think that's why I've been reluctant to go: I'm afraid I won't see you there. It would just be the place where your journey ended and I don't want that. Hopefully someday, I'll be able to make that trip and walk your land with you.

I miss the way you'd laugh. The way you'd grin, with the glint in your eyes because you knew something funny was coming. There was that snort thing you'd do. Then three or four chortles that could be mistaken for a coughing fit. Now I'm thinking that watching you laugh is the reason I try to make people laugh.

I think what I miss most about you is how damn philosophical you were. I'm not really sure that others know that about you. But there was just so much I learned about how to be a man shooting pool with you. You taught me more about life playing pool and drinking a few beers than all of my professors put together. You were my greatest teacher. I want you to know that.

I guess I've come to the reason for this: I'm working through some things that I need to change about myself. I don't have your patience, and I sorely wish I knew your secret. I don't have your wisdom, even though I'm as old now as you were when I graduated high school. I'm still not half the man you were, but I'm trying, Dad. I'm trying.

So for me, November 11 was Veteran's Day. I'm fairly certain you'd be comfortable with that. But your birthday's coming up next weekend. That's always been harder for me. I don't think November 19 will just be Saturday.

Love you,
Number one son (I even remember the Charlie Chan reference)