The Horrible Father Presents: Advice For a 14 Year Old Daughter Entering High School

Entering high school is a time filled with trepidation for both daughters and parents.  It can be scary, especially for the parents.  Will your daughter make good decisions?  Learn from and admit her mistakes?  As a parent, you want to see your child succeed. Below are some tips to help your daughter entering high school. 

  1. Don’t fall for the bad boy. Sure, he may have cool sunglasses and looks good shirtless riding a horse, but he does not care about you, or your friends. He will just use you to get what he wants, then drop you once he gets it. A relationship like that is toxic, and would not end well.
  2. Do your homework. You can’t expect to succeed if you don’t know what you’re doing.  Sure, you arguably may be doing well in your Business class, but you have a lot of homework to do to catch up in Government, History, and Cosmetology.  Find a good study group to help you get up to speed. 
  3. Ignore what other people are saying. There’s no point in staying up late arguing with anyone on the Internet. It makes you look silly, and very petty.   Besides, you have tons of homework to do, so get to it.  
  4. Listen to people who have more experience and knowledge than you. Find the best people who are willing to mentor you and give you honest opinions instead of what they think you want to hear. Seek out and listen to the best advisors, even if their viewpoints may not be your own. 
  5. The next 4 years of your life will have more impact that you can possibly imagine for decades to come.  Make sure that impact is something to be proud of. 

If your daughter follows these basic, common sense suggestions it will help her be successful in high school.  

The most unsettling thing, however, is that a certain President-Elect also needs to be reminded of them to succeed in his freshman year.  And for God’s sake, Mr. President-Elect, please stay away from the bad boy. 

Why I Am A Horrible Father – Reason # 98 (AKA – always dress to impress)

When meeting your daughters new boyfriend for the first time, do like the Horrible Father and dress to impress.  This is a picture of me and what I wore to meet the boyfriend.  I used to wait until after the first meeting to dial up the crazy. This time, I decided to try something new, and just “turn it up to 11” right off the bat.  I was determined to bust out of the gate looking like a complete madman. 

Prior to meeting, I researched everything about the guy.  Vehicle type. Addresses.  The works.  I knew more about him than my daughter did. Hell, I knew more about him than his own mama!  

My Plan A was to find some bombshell and drop it on him during dinner to see how he responds.  To my surprise, I didn’t find anything too worrisome.  If he recognizes me from the picture and reads this (there probably aren’t a whole lot of short, fat dads walking around in public with a Deadpool t-shirt carrying a katana these days), remember son, I’m watching…always watching. And I’ll keep digging. 

So, I had to move on to Plan B – Intimidation!  At home, I brought up the subject of meeting him on the weekend, where we should go to meet, and asked how he felt about it.  My wife suggested we meet on neutral ground to give me less advantage and the poor guy a chance. My daughter said he was nervous because he really wanted us to like him.

“Excellent, my plan is coming together nicely”, I thought to myself, twirling an imaginary sinister moustache.  

I asked her some questions like when his birthday was, if he has any siblings, where he lives. She couldn’t answer them. I figured I’d let her know the answers. So, I calmly explained to both of my daughters and my wife everything I found out about him.  Why both daughters?  Well, I want my younger daughter to see exactly how, uh, let’s just say…thorough, I can be. 

My wife and children just stared at each other for a moment, looking astonished at the amount of intel I acquired.  For the first time ever, all three were speechless. 

“How do you know all this?” 

“Maybe I’m making it all up.  Or maybe I’m just that good. You’ll have to ask him to find out.”  Now, I gotta say, that answer was so badass that I instantaneously grew a full-on sinister moustache, and started twirling it. 

They took the bait, and asked him if I was right. Mission accomplished!  He confirmed everything I said.  Just as I’d planned, his nervousness to meet us grew exponentially.  Surely, he’d run for the hills.  

Much to my chagrin he didn’t.  They picked a time and place to meet, and then my glorious sinister moustache fell off. 

So, a few days later we arrived at a little sandwich place to meet him for the first time. The meeting went well enough.  I tried my old schtick of responding with grunts and glaring at the boy, but I just wasn’t feeling it.  “This kid seems ok, maybe I should actually give him a shot”, I thought to myself. So I did. 

But that didn’t stop me from sneaking out during dinner to put a copy of this on his car:

 

Because I am watching.  Always watching…

Why I Am A Horrible Father – Reason # 89 – (AKA: It’s the car, right?  Chicks love the car)

It’s Halloween, one of my favorite times of year.  I love everything about it.  Scary movies, scaring children, and most importantly, trick or treating.  I love to see the kids walking around in their costumes, and on more than one occasion, have dressed up and gone with them.

For my son’s first time trick-or-treating, we went shopping to look for a costume for a 10 month old. We found dragons, lions, and various other cutesy type costumes.  Then a couple weeks before halloween, we stumbled upon a Batman onesie, and bought it immediately.

I am a huge Batman fan, and I have been since I was a young boy. I even dressed as Batman on more than a couple halloweens. It was a special thrill for me that Logan was going to be Batman this year. 

The day before Halloween I had an idea. We knew we were going to be pushing him around in his stroller, so I figured why not make the stroller part of his costume!  Genius!  I am going to make the Batmobile.  How cool is that?

So, with nothing but an idea and a childish obsession,  I ran out to the store.  I ran through the aisles, grabbing supplies I thought I’d need.  I picked up some black spray paint, black duct tape, and four metal pie tins.  I spent the night spray painting a refrigerator box black so that it would be dry and odorless by morning. I had a rough idea of how this was going to work.  My wife thought I was crazy. 

“Why do you want to build the stroller into the batmobile?  Seems like a lot of effort for a 10 month old’s Halloween costume”, she asked

“Because it’s cool, and he loves it” (Translation: I’ve always wanted the Batmobile and one way or another, I’m finally gonna get it!). 

“I mean, look at how excited he is!”, I said pointing to him. 

He squints at Jenny, and fills his diaper. 

The actual construction of this thing took much longer than I had expected. It was like trying to assemble IKEA furniture, but with no instructions, and you had to cut the pieces yourself. But I was determined. With three kids dressed in their costumes waiting impatiently for dad to finish duct taping a cardboard box and pie tins to a stroller, I finally finished. I duct taped the Bat symbol to the side of it and away we went.

“Well, it does look cool, Brian”, Jenny said. “And now you finally have your Batmobile”

 

Why I Am A Horrible Father – Reason # 1023 (AKA – This isn’t a democracy, it’s a Ricktatorship)

and you thought I was a horrible father, Carl

Ahhh…..The Walking Dead.  The greatest show on television returns on Oct 23rd, and we cannot wait.  Brianna and I have bonded over this violent, grisly, bloody show more than anything else.  “Surely there are more appropriate things than a zombie apocalypse to bond with your teenage daughter”, you might say.  Don’t forget, there is a reason this blog is called “Why I Am A Horrible Father” and not “The Chronicles of Fatherhood Perfection”. 

Brianna and I have talked about The Walking Dead for hours.  Who will Negan kill?  Will Glenn and Maggie have a boy or girl?  Will Morgan take out Negan’s group with some Homemade Walking Stick Bad-Assery?  What would we do in a zombie apocalypse?

Brianna’s big plan is to make it to the Mississippi River with her family and friends and somehow acquire a barge. We would all live on the barge and be safe because “Walkers can’t swim, Dad”.  Of course, if someone gets unruly, turned into a walker, or otherwise does something she didn’t agree with, she would throw them off the barge with a simple hand gesture. I have been kicked off that hypothetical barge several dozen times over the years.  Of course, I do stuff like this, so she isn’t completely unjustified. 

Over the years Brianna and I may not always have seen eye to eye on a number of things.  Some weeks, we only spoke to each other to talk about The Walking Dead.  But we always had that little common ground every week to keep us communicating.  Rick makes a bad decision?  We were talking again. Why didn’t Lori’s car crash kill the baby?  Ooh, I hope it turns to a walker and tears itself out.  Carl’s out roaming again?  Keep calm and eat pudding. 

But the point is: find something to bond with your kids. It doesn’t matter what it is, just that the lines of communication remain open.  Even if those lines are used to communicate that you both wish a certain asshat character meet a gory demise, only to be kicked right in the feels that his death ultimately redeemed him (looking directly at you, Merle). 

Why I Am A Horrible Father – Reason # 52 (AKA: You’re not the boss of me)

Once, when Brianna was about 9 years old, we had a disagreement.  I think I had asked her to unload the dishwasher or to stop watching tv because it was time to get ready for bed.  Something along those lines. She didn’t like whatever I had asked her to do, so she told me she wasn’t going to do it. 

We argued for a little, each of us getting more frustrated with each other, until she finally says, “You can’t make me do anything I don’t want to do. You’re not the boss of me!”

That’s where I nearly lost my cool. 

“You go to your room!”, I yelled.  She turned around and started to go to her room. 

“Wait a minute, come back here!”.  She turned around and started to come back. “Never mind, I’m so mad at you that I don’t want to talk to you right now.  Go upstairs”.  She turns around and walks toward the stairs.

“Wait, come here”.  She turns around and walks back to me. “Never mind.  I’m still mad. Go to your room.”

I let her get a little farther this time before calling “Wait!  Come back here”. 

By now she is furious. She stomps all the way back downstairs, comes over to me and yells “WHY DO YOU KEEP MAKING ME COME BACK DOWN HERE!!!”

And I calmly say to her “I thought you said I’m not the boss of you”

Why I am A Horrible Father – Reason #43 (AKA: This kid is making me look bad)

Yesterday was Jenny’s birthday. We were not able to properly celebrate it because we both work (she was closing), and the kids had school.  Jenny would get home pretty late, and because of that Logan fell asleep before she got home.  He barely got to see Mom on her birthday, and I think he felt a little bad about that. 

This morning we woke up to him playing Disney Infinity. Not unusual.  Until he said “Mom, look what I made for you”, and showed us this.  It’s a world he built, and saved it under the title “I love you mom”. 

We’ve always had a playful competition about who loves Mom the most, but there is no way I can compete with that. 

My boy and his Birthday Card for Mom.

The Horrible Father Presents: 6 Tips to Surviving Your Child’s First Musical Instrument

Ahhh, school is back in session, the first payment is made on the home equity loan you took out for school supplies and you’ve met most of the teachers at your school’s open house. Now it’s time for the kids to pick out instruments they wish to learn to play. Here’s some tips to help make the entire process bearable for you. 

  1. Buy decent, sound cancelling headphones.  When your child is first learning to play their instrument you won’t be able to determine if the sounds they are making is supposed to be music or if it’s the sound of the 66th seal of Hell being broken.  Plug yourself into your device and listen to your Spotify playlist.
  2. Buy, don’t rent,the instrument.  This goes against my World Class level of Cheapness…but hear me out. First, do you really want your little princess blowing in a clarinet that probably got peed on by the previous owner’s cat? Of course not. Besides, you’re just going to have to purchase a instrument outright when she forgets about it while getting on the bus and the bus runs it over. 
  3. If your child has a friend who is also learning an instrument, encourage her to practice with her friend – at the friends house. This will undoubtedly not go over well with the other parents, but this is more about your sanity than making new friends. 
  4. Go to their recitals, even if it is a combined recital for every school in the district.  You will be bored. You will get tired.  You may fall asleep.  Pro Tip: do not drink tons of coffee in an attempt to stay awake throughout the recital. Your coffee farts may be more musically entertaining than your child right now, but nobody came to hear you toot your own horn. 
  5. When you are at their recitals and your child walks on stage, make sure to stand up and very obviously wave to them. Don’t stop waving until they wave back. Trust me, kids love this, especially when they are in middle school. 
  6. At some point you will have to bite the bullet and actually listen to them play. They will sound like Lil’ Wayne playing the guitar, but the the point is they’ve improved. You know it. They know it. Tell them.  Playing an instrument is rewarding, and should always be encouraged when your child is interested.  Don’t be afraid to tell them how proud you are. 

Why I Am A Horrible Father – Reason #23 (AKA:Wash my mouth out with soap )

No matter how hard you try to avoid it, your children will hear you swear at one point or another.  It’s unavoidable. Especially when you are a Horrible Father. My children had two rules when growing up: 

  1. Don’t touch Nana’s hair
  2. Don’t repeat anything dad says

Looking back, my potty-mouth really couldn’t be helped. It started when I was very young, no more than 3 1/2 years old.  I blame it on an undiagnosed and never-before seen speech impediment that I was the only person in history to have.  I would, under very specific circumstances, pronounce the “sm” sound as an “f”.  And my Grandpa exploited that speech impediment, because it only occurred when I tried to speak one simple, specific little phrase: “Smucker’s Jelly”. 

“Hey Pal, I don’t remember…what was the name of that grape jelly you like again?”, and I would answer him…oblivious to what I was saying. But he sure would laugh, which of course would make me laugh. 

So, it should have come as no surprise the day my 4 year old son exclaimed in public “She is being a crabass!”

Flabbergasted I turned around and asked him “What did you just say?”.  That was a big mistake. Because he told me. Again and again.

Why I Am A Horrible Father – Reason # 10 (AKA: Hi!  I’m Chucky. Wanna play? )

About 17 years ago, before Brianna was born, there was a Teletubby toy that would say some pretty obscene things. Naturally, I bought one.  We never let her play with that Teletubby because of what it said, so it was left in the basement for years

Flash forward a few years later.  Brianna was around 5 or 6, and Jordan was just a toddler.  One night, Jenny and I hear a faint voice coming from somewhere. She checked on the girls, and I tried to find where the voice was coming from.  I finally found it coming from the heat vent in our room. After Jenny confirmed the girls were ok, I went to see who was talking in our house.  I get the dog to come with me. 

We get downstairs in the kitchen, and I can tell that the voice is repeating itself.  Over and over again, but I can’t tell what it’s saying. I get to the basement door and open it up. I could hear it say “Big Hug”.  I figured it was just some toy and that I’d better go turn it off or it will drive us nuts all night.

“Merlin, come” I said as I started walking down the stairs.  He would not follow.  I called him again.  He wouldn’t budge.  I get halfway down the steps and I felt like I was being watched. “Big Hug…Big Hug”.   “Merlin, come!”, I say sternly looking at him.  By the look he was shooting me I could tell he was thinking “You’re lucky I don’t have a middle finger, pal, or I’d be using it right now.”

It dawns on me that the voice was coming from the Teletubby that I bought years ago.  “Big Hug”

I reach the bottom step, and I see the Teletubby nearby.  One of the kids must have found it and moved it or something. “Big Hug”.  I look back at the dog.  He’s gone. So much for man’s best friend. 

“Stupid toy”, I think to myself, trying to shake the feeling I was walking into a trap.  “You’d think the batteries would be dead by now”.  I start to walk towards it. 

That’s when it said “Buh-bye”.  

I ran like hell back up the stairs with the speed of Usain Bolt. Even the dog looked impressed. 

The next morning I sent Brianna down to the basement to retrieve that Teletubby. Out of spite, I sent the dog with her.

A tribute to my father in law

Earlier today, we laid my father in law to rest. 

Jim was a kind person and the total opposite of a horrible father. He loved his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. 

While Jenny and I were dating, he was always nice to me. Thankfully, he didn’t share the same ideas about dealing with your daughter’s boyfriends that I have.  When his grandchildren were born, there was a light inside him that was undeniable…he loved his grandkids and loved being “Grampy”, “Grumpy”, “Bumpa” and most of all “Grandpa”. 

A few days ago, as we arrived in Jim’s birth town in Northern Wisconsin, there was an amazing rainbow over the town. I’ve never seen one like this before, and it looked like you could actually see the end of the rainbow in a field across the street from our hotel.  We’ve never seen anything like that before.  It reminded my girls of the time Grandpa took them on a walk after a rainstorm to get to the end of a rainbow.  They got as far as the end of the block, and he said it was time to come back home. They laughed at how little distance they travelled, but I remember the storms weren’t over that day so I’m sure that’s why Jim brought them back home. 

He didn’t get the kids to the end of the rainbow when they were young, but I like to think that as we arrived into town he brought the end of the rainbow to them. Because that is the kind of man he was. 

Rest in peace, Jim.  You are loved and will be missed.