Dad!!! You’re SO old!!

Happy Birthday Danny Tanner! You are officially very elderly. That’s right folks – it’s the big 5-0. This is DJ Tanner reporting from Washington, DC. Since I will not be home to celebrate the milestone of my father being alive for half a century and since I am a broke college student that didn’t want to pay for shipping, I decided to give the gift of some kind words for all the world to see in this surprise blog post. Even though you may not understand every single inside joke, without further ado, I give you “50 Things We Love About Dad,” with much love from Michelle, Stephanie, and DJ Tanner. (Don’t be fooled, some of these pictures are old, so he looks younger).

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We love…

1.  His unique bowtie collection and his overall sense of style (even though we bash it occasionally). We love the bowtie thing, because he taught us how to tie them…and that’s how we get all of the cute boys.

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2. His stash of gum and sweet tarts in the car (that we all know he LOVES to share).

3. His funny voices/accents.

4. His ability to do something hilarious on command that oftentimes ends with one of his children wetting their pants.

5. His inability to naturally smile in pictures unless his children are tickling his chin.ry=400 me&dad

6. His knowledge of the daddy handbook. (Example: “excerpt from page 834, Daddy’s may tickle their daughters, but they may not tickle back.”)

7. His devotion to constantly remind us that “he loves us the mostest.”

8. His goober reading glasses that make him look at least 73.

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9. His lap for sitting.

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10. His motherlike actions – including, but not limited to, knowing the most recent girl fashion, understanding the need for manicures and eyebrow waxing, and the instinct to leave us alone at that time of the month.

11. His obsession with Chick-Fil-A, making it so that every road trip consists of at least three stops to our second home (Chick-fil-A that is).

12. His love handles, even though we know he hates them..

13. And his dedication to P90X because of them.

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14. His cheap spending habits. (Not sure which sister came up with this one, but it was not DJ).

15. His dedication to color coding his shirts in his closet.

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16. His willingness to play “Don’t come in my kitchen,” even when he has had a long day and when his children probably should have grown out of wanting to play this family game.

17. His ever growing pig collection.

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18. His pajamas – including his scrubs, his holey underwear, and his beloved slippers.

19. His commitment to his yard.

20.His addiction to the “Candy Crush” iPhone game.

21. His ability to edit college essays and election speeches.

22. His instinct to cheer us up with his crazy humor when we are stressed over a silly assignment.

23. His patience with technology. He’s not very good at it yet, but he tries. Remember that one time he deleted everything on his phone?

24. His tradition of writing us crazy poems in our lunch boxes or camp mailboxes. Here is an excerpt from a really long poem for when I went to college.

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25. His cooking. Well…not really, but we like to watch him think that he can cook fish and then watch him order Chinese food (our favorite) when it doesn’t work out.

26. His taste in music – he has taught us some oldies which we have fallen in love with.

27. His bravery when allowing each child to have 10 friends over all in one night.

28. His patience when all 30 of these kids stay up all night, or insist on cooking pancakes at 4 in the morning (true story).

29. His faith.

30. His back pocket from which he can always pull out old YMCA skits and ideas.

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31. His dancing skills. Specifically his waltzing in “A Christmas Carol” and his shagging.

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32. His love for his mom’s chocolate cake and the fact that he can eat the whole bowl of extra icing in one sitting.

33. His inability to drop us off at summer camp or college without crying paired with his ability to pretend like he isn’t crying, by putting on sunglasses.

34. His “blonde” hair.

35. His determination to teach us how to ride a bike back in the day.

36. His dedication to making sure we all have dates for all of our all girl school dances.

37. His team spirit.

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38. His insistence on taking family pictures when nobody else wants to.

39. His Christmas card making skills.

40. His ability to take a joke. Remember when we froze your underwear? Hid your slippers? Short-sheeted your bed?

41. His love for crab hunting at the beach.

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42. His skill for making our lunches look like “faces” on the plate, and his actions as we pretend to eat each body part. (Example: you eat the ears made of carrots, Dad can’t hear anymore!)

43. His book and his blog. We also like being the cover of his book.

44. His three cups of coffee in the morning and his dump afterwards. I’m not sure where any of us would be without this daily routine.

45. His interest in being involved in our schools. We like that he knows what’s going on and that he occasionally helps out on a committee or two.

46. His confidence when having the “…now what kind of tampons did you want” conversation on the phone in the middle of Target.

47. His second silly verse to “Sanctuary” that he made up and taught all three of us. Seriously, ask us and we will sing you a completely made up verse, synchronized.

48. His constant need to keep the house tidy.

49. LOUISE!

50!! Ep nom duppi duppi.

Rainbow Vomit

I love conversations with my daughters.  You just never know what they might say or what we might do.

On Saturday night, DJ called at midnight from Thurston Hall at The George Washington University.

“Hey dad.  What you doing?”

” I’m out at a dance club with all of my fifty year old friends doing jello shots!!  WHAT DO YOU THINK I’M DOING???  I’M IN BED!!”  I thought I should clarify, just in case.

I was so excited to hear her voice, the next hour of sharing was as if it was 10 AM (my peak time of day).

On Thursday I went to put Stephanie to bed, and she lamented that I was leaving town for the weekend with several of my buddies.  I was actually happy that she didn’t want me to leave even though had I been at home she would have essentially ignored. me.

She then pulled up her iPhone, and we spent the next 45 minutes vomiting rainbows:

It was awesome.

On the way to school last Wednesday morning, Michelle shared a fascinating piece of information.

“Dad, I heard that school is having to change the sweatshirt design.”

“Really?  I like the old one.  Why are they doing that?”

“Well, you know that the letters on the sleeve spell Titans?”

“Yes.”

“So, when you pull your sleeves up, the A and the N disappear.”

“Mmm.”

“And… the S moves up!”

And in a whispered voice she dropped the bomb, “And you know what that spells!”

At least her Wordly Wise spelling lessons are sinking in.

I do enjoy my kids.

DC, here she comes!

clinton-weiner

Whew! It’s over. I dropped DJ off at college in a city with a population of 658,893. Well, now 894.

DC, full of vagrants, drug dealers, secret service agents, spies, politicians, eager boys who don’t have a curfew and DJ.  It does not help to know that Bill Clinton and Anthony Weiner also frequent the place.

I live in anticipation of a phone call, a text, a photo posted on Snapchat, a Facebook pic – give me anything!!  A crumb child, a crumb…

The drop off was less dramatic than the anticipation of the drop off. I was fearful the drive up would be five hours of angst. Well, it sort of was, but it was all traffic related. I actually discovered, at a friend’s suggestion, an app called Waze. When the traffic gets bad, a lovely voice comes over your phone and directs you to leave the highway. You then meander through side roads and neighborhoods, passing grandma’s house with the pumpkin patch, fenced in warehouses with parking lots full of toilets, and strip bars featuring the likes of Honey Berkshire. You also get to pick your handle. I’m Sheamus Ninja (I always wanted to be called Sheamus and a ninja is just cool).

Lisa’s parents accompanied us which was very helpful and a good distraction.

On Saturday, we drove to F Street which was blocked off for thru traffic. I parallel parked and was accosted by an eager upper classman. She gave me a ticket that marked the time I arrived, 12:21 PM, and the time I was expected to pull away from the coveted curb, 12:36 PM. We had exactly 15 minutes to unload DJ’s life. The only thing she didn’t take to college was a single sock with a blown out toe and her sisters. Every other item she had accumulated since birth was in my automobile.

Pops sat on the curb with the stacks and stacks of plastic bins, suitcases, lamps, and hangered clothes we had unloaded while Nana and a handsome co-ed move-in volunteer rolled a large cardboard cart to the elevator line. I began to haul the remainder of the items up the seven flights of stairs to the corner room created for two but housing four.

It took Nana 45 minutes to get on the elevator, and by the time she arrived at the room, she shared that Daniel, her new-found friend, roomed with a kid from Raleigh. She also shared that he wanted to get into the Business School but that “C” he had in calculus was holding him back. She learned of his lineage, his dating history, the average number of times he consumed alcohol his Freshman year, his preference of boxers, and the sororities with the worst reputations. Had she stayed at GW three more hours I feel certain DJ would have met all 1,200 students housed in her dorm.

After bed making, closet cramming, shoe storage constructing and picture hanging, the time had come. All of her roommates had left the room. I asked if she wanted us to wait for them to return. She said, “No. You can go.”

I went out to the hall, took a deep breath and pulled my sunglasses out of my pocket to cover my about to be watered up eyes. Everyone got a good laugh when I walked back in the room.  No one could 100% tell that my eyes were pooled with tears, although the fam knows me well enough to assume.

When I got to the car, just Michelle and me, I started convulsing. DJ had warned her, “You’ll be with dad alone. When (not if) he starts crying, it’s your responsibility to cheer him up. Don’t play any sappy music. Talk in that goofy voice that cracks him up.”

She tried her best but to no avail. I just had to get it out.

There’s something terribly difficult about sending your kid to college for the first time.  For me, it’s less about my fear for them and more about the end of something so incredibly wonderful.

Thus far, I have enjoyed each stage of my children’s lives as much, if not more, than the stage before. I’m going to hold onto that.

Letting Go

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Next week I drop my oldest kid off at college.  How did it come to this?

I mean, I assumed she’d grow up, this should not be a surprise.  But damn Sam – I’ll be fifty this month, and she is gone.  In my mind, I am thirty-two, and she should be going to kindergarten.

She still has blonde curly hair, just like the day she entered this world.

At first glimpse, I thought Lisa had birthed a Smurf.  Her head was cone shaped, and her skin was blue.

“What’s wrong with our baby?,” I asked the nurse.  “She’s the color of Gatorade.  And her head is a triangle.”

“She’ll get her color,” the nurse assured me.  “She is the first through the birth canal.  She’s a pioneer!  Her head will smooth out.”

I was thankful I had an older brother.

I used to carry her on my shoulders.  I can’t do that anymore without risk of paralysis.

I read to her every night and most often we had a tickle party.

“Daaaaddy.  Will you tickle me?” she’d ask.

The moment I’d start she’d curl up into a ball and implore me to stop.

Even when she was older I’d pray with her each night, and we’d argue about who loved each other more.

“I love you the mostest!”

“No!  I love YOU the mostest!”

In high school, she danced like a champ, the most graceful girl on the stage.  I worked hard not to miss the special moments in her life, particularly over the past five years.  I wanted to be there since her mother couldn’t be.  I hope that one day I’ll have the opportunity to recount DJ’s life for the woman I most loved.

I was at a funeral last month for a man who was about a decade older than me.  His two daughters spoke at the service.  They both gushed about the father who had raised them.  As one shared memories of how he had parented, she said, and then he gave me wings, the greatest gift he could have given.

In theory, it doesn’t seem that hard.  She has to do all the work, all I have to do is let go.

And yet, what a scary thing to do.

We LOVE Capon Springs, and this is why…

For me, it’s been 24 years since I first joined the annual Kostopolis family vacation to Capon Springs, WV.  For Lisa’s mom, it’s been 63 Years.  This is what we love the most:

Meat!

Hamburgers, grilled ham, steak and hot dogs! Mmmm.

Hamburgers, grilled ham, steak and hot dogs!

And Bacon!

And Bacon!

Getting OUT of the spring fed swimming pool.

Brrrrr.

Brrrrr.

DJ and I scaring the high school kids as they walk back from the hay ride in pitch dark.

Imagine that jumping out at you at 10 PM on the 7th fairway -

Imagine that jumping out at you at 10 PM on the 7th fairway –

The dream of winning a jar of Pearl’s applebutter in the mixed doubles shuffleboard tournament.

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DJ and her partner, Pops (made it to the third round, whoop whoop)

Thriller, led by Uncle Jesse.

Tuesday night dance -

Tuesday night dance –

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Talent Galore!

(now that’s what an uncle is suppose to do with his niece)

Bringing home the goods at Wednesday BINGO night!

Who won BINGO? That's me, that's me!

Who won BINGO? That’s me, that’s me!

Double Dessert, mmmmm.

with extra whipped cream...

with extra whipped cream…

Happy hour.

EVERY evening.

EVERY evening.

But the best…

Need I say more?

Need I say more?

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