Lately there have been many dad-related posts out in blogland. I’m guessing that it is something to do with fathers’ day being this coming Sunday. I wish that fewer of them were tear-jerkers, because I wish that fewer people had a reason to be so sad every fathers’ day. I figured I’d jump on the dad-post bandwagon, and write a bit about mine.
My dad is a pretty quiet guy. A large number of my childhood friends were a bit scared of him for this reason, which suited him fairly well, as he has never been much for random conversations with strangers, even strangers who are 8.
He’s just about impossible to shop for, regardless of the occasion. For his birthday this year, we made him a T-shirt. The T-shirt has a dog in a dog-house on the front, with the phrase “Out Damned Spot!” followed by some music notes… it is a bit more of a verbal joke, and might be the kind of thing that you only ‘get’ if you’re my father’s daughter. Quote from Macbeth + whistle-like-you’re-calling-your-dog (aka ‘spot’) = funny.
Oh well… you get it or you don’t… but what it translates to is that getting my dad any kind of gift is kind of difficult, and we try to be innovative.
Most of my fond memories of solo activities with my dad involve getting up unusually early to do something with him. He is an early-riser, even when he doesn’t want to wake up early.
One of my favorite things growing up was to wake up extra early at my grandmother’s house in order to go out and hit the garage sales with my dad (this will be explained in another post), and be back in time to have breakfast with everyone else in the family just getting ready to get started on the day.
We would bike downtown and go for lunch and to visit Mountain Equipment Co-op for some new thing to add to our bikes.
Or get on the road at the crack of dawn to drive over from our campsite and do the only mountain bike trail in Algonquin.
We still walk over to the camp store at Lake of Two Rivers on occasion, when camping in Algonquin, to grab the morning paper and a store-bought breakfast while the ground is still wet with dew, and my mom and sisters are still deeply asleep.
I occasionally join him on an early early morning swim in the lake at the campground, when the water is perfectly still with a thin blanket of mist on the surface and only faint noises of other morning people starting breakfast at distant sites.
My dad is the only true morning person in my family. When I was little, I’d join this club for the sole purpose of getting some quality time with him or my grandmother. Now, I join it out of dog-ownership necessity, but still enjoy the quiet companionship of walking, dog in tow, to the bakery near our house, or the Tim’s near the hotel on a trip.
My dad is still the most likely person to join me if I’m going on a long early-morning walk with the dog on weekends.
My dad makes special breakfasts on non-special weekend mornings, calling the rest of the family downstairs when everything’s done and tucked away in the oven to keep it warm. He believes a cookie whose ingredients you know is infinitely better than a cookie from a box, especially if it’s got lots of fibre, and even if it’s also got a lot of sugar. Butter. Not margarine.
He cooks a lot, and obsesses over how to improve each recipe, no matter how perfectly it turned out.
He isn’t necessarily the first to bed, but he is the first to sleep, head cocked at an awkward angle while reclining, seated on the couch. He rarely sees the end of any movie or show. He does talk in his sleep, and often ‘answers’ the phone if it rings while he’s napping, and sleeping-dad is very confused when he doesn’t get a response to ‘Hello? Whaddaya want?’.
He does yoga, and can do Locust pose ridiculously well.
He wears socks with sandals to cover the motorcycle accident scar on his leg. The keys to that motorcycle are woven into a macramé wall-hanging.
Words of wisdom:
- Never leave your drink alone – finish it or bring it with you to the washroom, or just ditch it. You and the bartender are the only ones who should ever have access to your drink. Great advice, dad, but why did you start telling it to me when I was in elementary school? What on earth were you doing in grade 5?
- Put sunscreen on, and don’t forget to do your ears.
- Don’t bother getting angry at the morons on the road… it won’t do any good, and some people are nuts.
- Don’t assume that the people around you know how to drive. The school of creative drivers graduates a new class daily.
- Don’t bite your nails. It’s a nasty habit, and hard to quit… I should know!
- If you’re going to drink, you will end up puking-drunk at some point.
- New-car Fever is a real thing… that’s why I won’t try driving your car. I’ve had my pre-owned 2007 Mazda 3 for about three months now, still he refuses to try driving it, for fear of catching the fever.
- You can’t get along with everyone. That guy you hate at your office… he’ll be at any other office you work at too.
- Get it in writing – a good memo or email will ensure that exactly what needs to get done will happen. A quick conversation will leave both of you unsure of what is needed, and generally irritated.
- I think I’m going to get into the whole ‘texting’ thing… I hate talking on the phone, and this seems like a good way of avoiding having to
have conversations. You still have to answer your cell when we call…
- About the phone ringing: It’s not for me! probably because you make it so clear that you don’t like phone-calls.
- Eat your crusts, it’ll put hair on your chest! Seriously, why did I EVER eat my crusts? Why did this work?
- Wow, great road-rash! A genius defense against teary children is to convince them that a bloody gash isn’t a bad thing, but something to be showed off.
And thus concludes a Dad Post… Congrats, Dad, on surviving so long in a house-full of women and non-morning-people. We love you and appreciate everything you do.