I Found My New Fashion Expert!

It was almost 12 years ago a few women I work with took it upon themselves to help “improve” how I dress. There were rules I didn’t realize were in place. The world I grew up in had men wearing a t-shirt, work pants, and work shoes. Belt? Well that just help up your pants. If you needed it.

Well, the world I work in is somewhat different. So when I would come in with a button down shirt buttoned all the way up to the top button, no tie, black shoes, and a brown belt. Well, one would have thought I was wearing a Viking t-shirt to a Packer party.

These ladies were wonderful. They held a fashion intervention on my behalf. They very tactfully set some rules out for me. It was something I truly appreciated. Their words are often rolling through my head when I’m picking out clothes for the next day at work.

Well ladies, you can move over. I now have a new “fashion expert”.

The other morning I walked out of the bathroom intentionally dressed in some not-so-proper ways. (A picture will not be posted of this, so don’t even ask.) My wardrobe for the day was going to be:

An orange polo
White t-shirt poking through the collar of the polo
A tan pair of dress pants
A BLACK belt
Black socks
and….wait for it….
BROWN sandals

Not only brown shoes with a black belt, but black socks and brown sandals. OH, THE HORROR!!! Those fine ladies that had the intervention with me years ago would roll their collective eyes!

Yet there I stood, in classic superhero pose, awaiting the response from our 3 year old. “So, how do I look? Ready for work?”, I enquired.

“No, no, no.”, she responded.

I actually thought she was going to bust me down for the black socks and sandels. I was wrong. She just lifted her index finger to her face and drew a circle around her lips and said, “You missed your whole face. You need to shave.”

I smiled and told her, “Nope, not today, I have to get going. I’ll shave tonight or tomorrow before work.”

With two clicks of her tongue, a wink of her eye, and a thumbs up (something we do to each other all the time) she said, “Good to go!”

Ladies and gentlemen, my new Fashion Expert!

(Take a close look and you will notice that there are two different colored socks on my expert. I think that’s the new style is Paris this year.)


P.S. I get the black socks and sandals thing. I fear that this moment in time may have brought me closer to “old man in the neighborhood” status.

Again, there will be no photos of this event.


Sometimes An Awkward Moment is Worth It

In life we need to smile more. Today gave me one of those opportunities. But in a rather humiliating way. Let’s lay the cards right on the table to start. My age is 41. I am not a young kid. But I am certainly not in the geriatric set. Some of my friends are 50 and are getting AARP cards in the mail. I’m still, at least, nine years from that.

Yet today, I was reminded of the fact that I am not as young as I think. Sometimes when we use last last sentence it is followed by a sentence like, “My body aches after working so hard yesterday.” Or, “I just can’t party like that anymore”. Today it was neither of those. We were at a rummage sale. I don’t go often to rummage sales, but I see the benefit in getting an entire wardrobe of clothing for a 14 month old for 25 dollars. Especially when she will be outgrowing those close within the next 6 months and need to update the lot.

So we hit a few today. There are certain recommendations I could make now, but most of it would be snarky, and come off as arrogant. But let me just offer this example as a what-not-to-do.

Allow me to set the stage, the garage we are in has clothes all around the sides. But the center of the garage is empty. Since I don’t have the patience to sort through those clothes, I push Margaret in the stroller and chat and giggle with her while Sue searches for bargains. It’s a good deal. As we do that the 4 or 5 adults running this sale continue to talk to each other. Not even bothering us. Then one of them, one of the guys, catches Margaret’s eyes and she smiles at him.

He then asks my little girl, “So are grandma and grandpa babysitting their grandson today? That’s very nice of them.”

I look around to see if any other people are in the rummage sale. No one else is. He then states, “It’s great that grandma and grandpa are taking good care of you.”

I’m pretty sure I snorted as I started laughing at the statement. But when I looked at Sue, my wife and the MOTHER of Margaret, the look on her face is indescribable. It seems to be a combination of shock, laughter, ready-to-kick-this-guys-behind, and kindness all wrapped up in one.

She kindly corrects him. I would have helped, but I could hardly squeeze words out of my mouth due to the laughter. “Um. That is our DAUGHTER.”

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Kill ’em with kindness”? Well, my wife was very kind with her words. But her tone, although pleasant, made her words sound more like a phrase that wasn’t as clear and kind.

Suffice it to say, we didn’t buy anything there. And by the end of their driveway were laughing so hard that the awkward event was so worth it.

For Every Risk, There is a Reward. For Every Reward, There is a Risk.

I have often agreed with the adage that life is risk/reward. For every reward, there is a risk you take. I continue to prove it nearly each day. Yesterday was a perfect example.

One of the current things that makes me enjoy life is playing on the floor with Margaret. Yesterday I was doing that. I was laying on my back and I picked her up. I braced her in both my hands and we played “airplane”. I made the noise of an airplane and she giggled.

When I lowered her so we were nearly nose-to-nose, she roared with laughter.

So I raised her back up and we “flew” for awhile longer. (Only 10-15 seconds.) Then I lowered her again…and again she roared.

Making Margaret laugh is such a great reward. I wanted to do it one more time. So, we “took off” again. On the approach for landing……something happened.

At that point, I learned there was a risk to this reward of her giggles. While she was “in-flight” she let out one little hiccup and then did her best fountain impression.

Baby puke rained down on my shirt, my hair, my face, and yes, in my mouth.

Weird how at that point Margaret was giggling again. So was Sue. Me, well, not so much.

For every reward, there truly is a risk. (Fortunately this risk is one I can laugh at now.)

Five Minute Friday–Dance

I know this sounds like a Creative Writing course assignment, but I do enjoy the challenge. A blog that I follow, Lisa-Jo Baker: tales from a gypsy mama does a weekly feature, and challenge, called #FiveMinuteFriday free write time!

The rules are simple:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you and encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule.

This weeks topic is “Dance”. So…here goes:

When I first saw the topic, I thought about skipping. Because, let’s face it, real men don’t dance. Right? Well….not quite.

I have always viewed myself as a rather emotionless person. No romance, no squishy feelings. But I have met people that have shown me I am wrong.

Yes, I am talking about my wife mostly. But there are others. Like when it is 3 am and Margaret awakens for whatever reason. After a few nights of struggle I found this move. Hold her close and sway, back and forth. Or to the left then the right. It started to work. Then came the song, “Back and forth…back and forth…here we go again…back and forth.” Not exactly Neil Diamond quality lyrics, but it seems to calm her right down. Still does today. (I think it is the tone of my voice rather than my smooth dance moves, but only she knows and she isn’t talking about it yet5.)

Another was a complete stranger. I was travelling a few months ago. I was driving for over 3 hours and had consumed 2 20-ounce bottles of water. And, to be blunt, I had to go to the restroom. REALLY GO!!. I pulled into a church that was open. I was sure they would have a bathroom I could use. They did! But there was a line. Only 2 people. So, I waited….and danced a little dance swaying back and forth. Finally, after what seems like 4 days but was actually 4 minutes, I was next in line.

Then she came up. An 8 year old Vietnamese girl. Who was “dancing” too. Clearing she was under a little more pressure than I was. But there we were. Dancing to the music in our heads trying to hold in as tight as we could.

I let her go ahead of me. I will never forget that little smile of relief when she came out and even held the door for me.

And, I’ll never forget the dance. Hehe.

Never Thought I Would Say Or Think THAT!

We all have those lines. Those never-say-never-type lines in our lives. I’m pretty sure 5 year old young Marty said, “I’ll NEVER be around girls. They are gross.” Yet, we all change and go back on those little declarations.

I know 15 1/2 year old Marty once thought, “Downtown Appleton is HUGE! I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to drive in that big city.” This is typed by a guy who has now driven in many major metropolitan areas. Most of them (Chicago, Manhattan, Minneapolis, St. Paul, and others) during rush hour and more than once.

I even recall “single Marty” thinking, “I’ll never amount to anything in life.” Now “married Marty” has a wife and child and feels like “single Marty” was just too impatient.

Things change. People change. We all have those statements we have made that reverse over time. But do you have those lines you just never expected to think, much less actually speak? Over the course of the last year, I feel as though I have thought or uttered more of those type of lines than ever before in my life.

This past Thursday was the 1 year birthday of my little girl. I knew having a child would cause me to contemplate or verbalize lines I never considered before. Lines like:

+”Stop licking the wall? Don’t the bumps on the wall hurt your tongue?” Which, I am ashamed to admit was followed by my considering a taste to make sure it did indeed hurt. I mean, what if it tickled and I never knew?

+”Just blow the bath bubbles. Stop trying to eat them.” Again, I considered a taste. But couldn’t get myself to actually do it.

+”Stop licking Pooh.” (The stuffed animal….not the…nevermind.) Maybe I should just feed her a more healthy diet and she’ll stop trying to eat everything in site?

+(I think I am quoting the next one verbatim.) “Stop, stop, stop. STOP! STOP! C’Mon? NO….Don’t do THAT now. I didn’t know that was even possible! Crap. Crap. CRAP!!” This quote happened at about 7 1/4 months on what started out as routine diaper change. I checked the diaper and wasn’t 100% sure it was even wet. Then all THREE ends let loose at once. The clean up was almost of a hazmat quality. And it was just Maggie and I. No “support team” of Mumma around. At the time I suspected I may have moved on to a new class. Daddy Clean Up 301. Alas, it was just another learning moment. By the way, she laughed the entire time. Me? Not so much.

They weren’t all eating or “mess” related. Just this past week I was out looking for a little birthday gift. I found out she is starting to work with blocks. So I thought I would get some of those oversize faux Legos for little kids. When I saw two different bags. I knew both were the same size and were precisely what I was looking for. That was when I had one of those thoughts I never thought would ever cross my mind, “Oh, now those pink one’s are much cuter than the standard colors.” Normally that thought would have caused me to turn in my own Guy Card. But this time I knew it was ok to say it.

I know I am going to post more of these lines in a future post. But what lines have you said that you NEVER thought would come to mind, much less cross your lips?