Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A New Day For Stay-At-Home-Dads Everywhere!

Today I participated in a study of Stay-At-Home-Dads for a nice young woman.  She is doing a study on those fathers in my line of work.  I guess you can study anything in college and get away with it.  I mean, I got a degree in Recording Arts, so who am I to judge?  How could anyone know that the music industry as we knew it would crumble and reemerge as something completely different?

Back to the study.  I was asked questions on my decision to become part of a growing community of dad's that bear the brunt of the child rearing, the ease of my job, and the social backlash I have witnessed and/or felt.  All through the questions and my very enlightening answers, I kept getting this feeling that I was doing really well at my job.  Feeling like I was succeeding at my craft, so to speak.  I mean, I was giving the answers;  they were coming from my mouth.  I guess it's just nice to hear it once in a while.  Even if you are the one saying them out loud.

We were about finished with our little phone conversation when a call tried to butt in.  It was the school calling.  I just wrote it off as some Robo-call about this activity or that meeting getting cancelled because there was some snow on the ground.  (The world does stop when snow falls, right?)  Promptly after my interview was finished, I checked my voice mail.  It was the dreaded NURSE'S office!  Don Don Daaaa!  (Insert the Imperial March theme from Star Wars here)  Turns out my older one was feeling a little under the weather.  Ms. Nursey Nurse-lady was concerned about my little one because "She is not one to complain, but she wasn't feeling that well.  Her stomach was bothering her.  There is a bug going around."  (Not one to complain?  Do you even know my kid?  Come spend some time at our house.  I am positive you will hear enough complaining that your ears will bleed like a hemophiliac.  And show me a six year old that doesn't complain.  I'd like to visit this mythical world in which you practice medicine.)  No Crap, Lady.  That "bug" you speak of already has worn out it welcome at our house.  That nice houseguest visited the older one and her father last week so I doubt she picked it up again.  I had my suspicions as to why my "never-one-to-fib-about-her-health" wanted out of her school's activities.  She received a Rainbow Loom last night and has been compulsively making rubber band bracelets since.  I think she just missed her new toy.  Or she has come down with Craft-itis; where one MUST craft at all hours of the day or she will die!

So I go bail her out of her pseudo prison that is elementary school.  The secretary informs me of the bug and I instill in her my theories of the mysterious "sickness" my child has come down with.  We both agree on the validity of my hypothesis and the resourcefulness of one first grader.

We get home.  A bracelet is made (big surprise).  Pick up her sister at preschool.  And have lunch.  And she is no worse for the wear.  Praise God.  She is cured!  Its a Christmas Miracle!

I just hope this isn't the start of a pattern of behavior.  I just hope I won't be getting similar calls on History Test Day.  Or from the SAT proctor.  Or from her College Bio-Molecular Professor.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Ahhh. The smell of Christmas.

It is that time of year again.  The time of year where the stench of parental despair is replaced with the fresh scent of pine.  That's right folks, it Christmas time.  Where we all (or most of us Christmas Purist) get a real tree and prop, or tether it to the nearest four walls, and hang some sentimental (or really gaudy) ornaments.  We string them with lights; white if you were born after 1980, or multi colored if you are real old skool and fill the rest of the decorating spaces within your abode with other holiday nick-nacks and chochkeys.  We use this time to tell our offspring about the sentimental meaning of each of the "Baby's First Christmas" or SnowBaby riding a Harley thing hanging from the shrubbery that was just savagely torn from its home (or picked up from the local garden store or volunteer fire department).

We set out this morning to "Free a Frasier Fur" from any disaster it would encounter in a field.  Now I am from the school of thought that a tree that is to be worshiped and glorified in the name of The Big Guy, it should be big and full.  We have had some very big and very full trees in the past.  Some to the point of blocking the television or taking up half of the living room.  Both were exceptional trees to me.  But last year my Christmas tree spirit was somewhat broken and we got a "normal" sized tree.  While it served it purpose, part of me felt a little empty inside.  I guess it was just a little too weird watching the mindless holiday television programming clearly, without a branch full of needles to block my view.  Where's the Christmas sprit in that?

Fast forward to the present, or at least earlier today.  We returned to the last year's massacre sight, but no trees were tall enough for us to free.  So on we went.  The next farm, or murder sight, was abound with tall and full trees, AND plenty of Emancipators of Pine.  After a lovely walk up a hill, dragging, nudging, and tugging the kiddo's we arrived at the frasier fur section.  Some nice.  Some not so much.  But there were a group of tallish ones in the back.  They looked perfect from afar.  But upon closer inspection there was a flaw.  These trees were on the roadside of the field which meant they were one-sided.   The Boss thought that fact was a deal breaker and wanted to move the hunt on.  I am a problem solver.  And I felt sorry for these trees.  Poor guys.  Just because of someone's ill thought out planting they would never be freed of the slavery that is the Christmas Tree Farm.  And since we put the slave, I mean tree in the corner, this little guy would be perfect.  My argument was immediately agreed upon.  (I finally won one.  In under an hour.  Something must be up.)  I think everyone's patience was running on E and hysteria was going to ensue very shortly.  Saw 'er down!  

I must have looked like a genius, or a complete dork, but I took the landscape trailer with us to get the tree.  Its small; 5x8.  Not like its a 12 footer or anything.  That would have been a little overkill.  Why lug it on the roof of the car when I can just throw it in the trailer?  And who cares anyway?  They are all just jealous of my problem solving skills.  I'm the man!

Set up tree.  Tether it to walls because I have a history of trees that like to be still until they are all decorated and then they revolt.  Decorate tree with a healthy mix of sentimental and gaudy, and do what has become a Hoehne tradition.  We turn off the lights in the house then me and the rug rats slide under the tree and gaze up at its beauty.  It may not sound like it, but the view is quite breathtaking.  Not Bo Derek breathtaking.  But breathtaking in the fact that you are sharing a moment with your kiddies.  Its a peaceful moment.  A peaceful moment.  It doesn't last that long but it was there.  Try it sometime.  You can even adopt our tradition as your own.  Do it just to savor the moment with your kids before they go back to maddening you beyond belief and before the stench of despair returns to your house.

Happy holidays.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Its a new day in Daddom

Today, well last night it started, a new day was christened in my Fatherhood.  I survived a two and a half hour dress rehearsal for my daughter's dance recital.  In years past that feat would have been a walk in the park because she was only in one or two dances per recital.  But now she has progressed into the Petite team and is dancing in five of six (read, a thousand) dances.  And she is rocking the whole thing;  smiling for the audience or judges, hamming it up just like one of her dance instructors.  It's enough to make any father who couldn't dance to save his life except for the occasional Cabbage Patch or Running man proud.

That is not what this is about.  Sure, I am proud of my daughters dancing accomplishments.  But last night was different.  Last night I was "backstage" helping costume changes and watching the underbelly of dance recital rehearsal first hand.  Basically I was being frantic, then calm (during said dances) and frantically finding costumes, changing costumes, and tracking down runaway pairs of shoes that six and seven year olds throw about.  It was much like my every day life in every way.  But the most rewarding part was the acceptance of the other Dance Moms to my being there.  Sure, I may be one of the few Dance Dads that willingly help out, but I did so with great enthusiasm and charm that flows from my being.  (I am a bull-shitter and try to be funny in situations where I don't feel 100% comfortable)

I left the rehearsal last night exhausted and content.  I was finally talked to by the "Moms of Dance."  Before I got the cordial nod or salutation.  Maybe now they will let me into their inner den of their Not Too Crazy Dance Mom club.  What a joy that would be.  Can you imagine me, all dance crazy?  Yea.  Me neither.

I realize that I probably won't be able to help out backstage for most recitals or competition due to my chromosomal make up, but maybe I can buck the trend and become a Dance Dad extroidinare.  Or maybe one or two Moms weren't all that comfortable with my presence helping out and just kept their reservations to themselves, or until they got together with the other Moms in a secret, underground meeting damning me from ever helping out again.  If that were to happen I'd be sad but OK with it.  I understand that I am just a dad trying to be helpful.  And having two lovely girls that like to dance I feel the need to be involved with their activities, whatever they may be.

So whatever happens, I will accept it and watch from the audience.  Or backstage.  Or on the DVD later because they have banned me from ever stepping foot within earshot of their daughters. (I'd better talk softly at the next dance class)

Yes it is a new dad in Daddom for this guy.  Even if it was for just one evening.