Month: June 2017

Why I Am a Horrible Father – Reason # 32 (AKA: A healthy smile is a beautiful smile.)

I’m driving home from a week long business trip, and I call my wife to see how things are. We talk for a little bit, and she tells me that she brought Jordan to the dentist while I was gone to get a consultation about braces. Jordan has been looking forward to getting them for some time now. 

Jenny decided to get Invisalign instead of braces. She explains to me all of the benefits of Invisalign, like they will fix Jordan’s teeth in a year, where braces take longer. She explains to me how Invisalign are created by taking a 3D scan of Jordan’s teeth, because she knows tech is kinda my thing, and I love to find out how things work. 

Now, I admit, by the tail end of the long drive home I was tired, and I didn’t bother to ask how much it cost. That’s when Jenny made the fatal mistake, because I’m not only a horrible father, but also a notorious cheap-ass:

“The nice thing Brian, is that even though they are more expensive than braces, they will be more comfortable for her when she’s cheerleading.”

Stop. The. Presses.

“Wait, what?  Why can’t we get regular braces if they’re cheaper?  Besides, I don’t see how they could be more comfortable during cheerleading, she’s not lifting anybody with her teeth, is she?”

“Brian, she gets knocked in the mouth all the time when she’s at cheerleading. You don’t want that to happen with braces, do you?  It will hurt less with the Invisalign”

I begrudgingly agreed. 

But I did read on the internet that some dude straightened his teeth by creating his own Invisalign-like teeth straightening system with nothing but a 3D printer and a can-do attitude. 

Now, if only I wasn’t too cheap to buy a 3D printer….so it looks like it’s Invisalign for Jordan. 


Happy Father’s Day 2017

My heroes have always been, in no particular order: Batman, MacGyver, Captain Picard, and Sherlock Holmes. It took years to realize the common thread between all of them: they all were clever. Comic book nerds (like myself) know that Batman is considered the greatest detective that ever lived, and he’s not just a guy who could throw epic beat downs on the villains. Everything I am today is because of those heroes.

My dad was a very clever man, with a particular set of skills that to this day I’m not sure how he acquired.  Electronics skills. Combat skills. Deduction skills. You name it.  He taught me to be a software developer before I knew I wanted to be a developer. I still don’t know how he learned.  He passed away nearly 20 years ago. 

He always came up with some unique and clever way to solve a problem.  Once, at a construction site, we finished building a cinder block wall, and had to clean up an entire warehouse.  He hands me a broom and says “Start sweeping”. I begrudgingly start to sweep the floor and he disappears. After 10 minutes or so, I’ve barely made a dent in this warehouse sized mess when he comes blazing through a dock door, driving a forklift.  On the lift is an empty pallet that he converted into a broom with some long rubber strips that he found just lying around. “Wow, dad that’s just like something MacGyver would build”. 

He also always knew when I was up to no good. Always. Like Picard he allowed me to make my own choices.  On the other hand, like Sherlock, he always knew when I made bad choices and never let me get away with them. 

One of my earliest memories of anything was from when I was maybe 4 or 5 years old.  Since my dad was a masonry worker, he would frequently have to leave for work early in the morning. Because of that, he would usually go to the local convenience store to fill the tank in his truck the night before, and I would sometimes tag along with him. 

One night as he’s filling the tank and I’m playing with some toy in the back seat, he quickly opens the door and says, “Brian, get down and don’t look.  If I take too long run inside and get Dale (he was the convenience store owner). I immediately listened to him, until he shut the door and turned around of course. Then I peeked out the car window to see what was going on. 

There he is, charging toward a group of people, 3 men and two women. The men here harassing the women, and one of the men was getting violent with one of the women, and she was on the ground.  My dad takes the man, turns him around, grabs him by the shirt and slams him against his truck, yelling something. The second man started to charge my dad, threw the first guy into the second guy which knocked him down, decked the first guy and turned toward the third.  Jackass #3 wanted no part of this, and kept the truck between him and my dad. The 3 men then took off after that. My dad helped the woman up, talked a little and they left.  I hid back down in the back seat and waited for him to get back in the car. 

“Did you see any of that?”, my dad asked me, knowing full well I did.  I just couldn’t contain myself. “That was so cool, dad! You were just like Batman!”

I used to think everything that I am today is because of those heroes. But that’s not true. Now I think they are my heroes because they are everything that I admire about my dad, and everything I am today is because of him. 

Happy Fathers Day, dad. You are missed. 

Why I Am a Horrible Father – Reason # 44 (AKA: As The Crow Flies)

My wife, son and I had to travel to pick up my daughter.  It was a short trip, only about an hour or so. On the way, I see a bird on the highway, pecking on a carcass.  It is oblivious that we are speeding towards it. 

“Move bird. Move BIRD!  MOVE!”  I yelled as I honked my horn. The bird looked at the car and flew away. 

“Did you see that?!?  Stupid bird.  I just saved his life!  He should be more careful, hanging out in the road like that!”

That’s when my son asked “Well, how do you know the bird was a ‘him’?”

I’m proud to tell you that I resisted the urge to say “Because of it’s pecker”.  Well, at least not loud enough for him to hear it, anyway.  But I got a chuckle out of my wife. 

On the trip back, we see the same carcass in the road, with a new one near it. 

“Did you see that?  It was the bird I saved before!  Why didn’t it listen to me?  I don’t know why I bother. Poor bird. We should have a moment of silence for that poor, stupid dead bird who wouldn’t listen to what was good for him”

The car fell silent. Probably not out of respect for this bird, but because of my lunatic ranting about it. 

That’s when my son breaks the silence by singing, with all the seriousness he can muster because of the absurdity of a moment of silenc for a dead bird. 

“Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light”