UBER

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When DJ went to college, I told her I would pay for four things:

  1. Her tuition, room and board
  2. Her books
  3. Her transportation
  4. A set amount of spending money each semester

Numbers 1, 2 and 4 have worked out well.  Perhaps I should gave given a bit more clarity around number 3.

What I meant by “I will cover your transportation” was that I would get her back and forth from school.  It’s a 4.5 hour drive one way.  Sometimes I drop her off or pick her up.  Sometimes she flies.  And sometimes she takes the train.  Yes.  I cover those expenses.  I want her to come home – often.  So I’ll pay.

I also figured, up in DC, that she might buy a Metro card to ride the train to Target or to, I don’t know, Mount Vernon.  I am happy to cover that OCCASIONAL expense.

She took our initial conversation in a different direction…

The UBER direction.

Apparently my credit card is attached to her Uber account, and I just received the bill.

In one month, she charged 18 Uber rides.  She also charged seven “car shares” and one $14 Metro ride.  I don’t even know what a “car share” is.  What I do know is that one shared a car to Maryland on November 17 for $35.75 and another shared a ride back on November 18 for $28.88.  Who in the heck was she spending the night with in a different state?  She says it was a Camp Seafarer reunion.  Yada, yada, yada.  I don’t care if she was spending the night with the Pope… he needs to pick her up from campus in his large white window filled bus.

I asked her, “Are you taking Uber across campus to class?  You can’t do that!  You must walk!  That’s part of the college experience.”

She told me she once went to the zoo, and it was educational.

“Well what about the other 17 rides?”

“Dad, there are two charges for every one destination.  You ride there AND back.”

She did have a point.

She then explained that it could have been worse.  She has often been using UberPOOL which sticks you in a car with complete strangers allowing you to split the cost.  In fact, she forwarded me an email she received from email@uber.com.  It said, and I quote,

WOW!  You’re pretty savvy.  By choosing to ride UberPOOL, you saved $95.55 in 2016.  

She should have forwarded that to me because she didn’t save anything by using UberPOOL.  Cause she didn’t pay for Uber.  I DID!!  We had over $180 worth of transportation charges in the month of November.  AHHHH.

I didn’t know I was going to have to include Uber in my monthly expenditures.  Jimini Christmas!  These girls are slowly breaking me into little, bitty pieces.  I’m a shell of the man I used to be.

 

The Bath Bomb

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I don’t care to work anywhere that your uniform consists of a black apron.  That attire should be reserved for chambermaids.

Last weekend I took Michelle to Crabtree Valley Mall to purchase birthday gifts for two of her turning 14-year-old friends.  She was determine to buy them a bath ball.  I was unfamiliar with this item.

When we arrived at Raleigh’s shopping Mecca, she escorted me to a new store called Lush.  Actually “store” is generous.  It’s more like a walkin closet.  Although it is on the second floor of the mall, I could smell it from the bottom of the escalator.

As we approached, my olfactory senses went into overdrive… lime, lilac, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, mint – my nostrils were perplexed.  So much to take in.

In this 10′ x 10′ box, I vied for space with sixty eighth grade girls who swarmed the face mask display like an active bee hive.  The bath balls were beautifully displayed in the back corner.

“Dad, aren’t they cute?  They look like a big bird’s egg.”

“Or a Martian turd.”

Apparently these chalk like bombers explode when you toss them into water.  The smells and bubbles embracing your naked body like a 20,000 thread count bed sheet.

We purchased four of the $8 ovals and headed to checkout.  Over by the soaps, a male employee in black regalia, washed a woman’s arm with a white cloth in a stainless steel bowl filled with water – 59 of us watched.  It was a bit like Jesus washing the disciples feet, yet different.

Thank you, but I’ll bathe in the privacy of my own home.

I’m wondering why anyone would want to walk around smelling like peach schnapps.

This is all so natural to Michelle.  This is all so odd to me.

On The Run

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13.1 miles, only 13.1 more to go!

In 1992, a group of friends decided it would be a good idea to run a marathon.  They also thought it would be a good idea for me to run a marathon with them.

This was pre-marriage, pre-kids.  I could do anything I wanted to do.

I wanted to go to New York with my friends.  I didn’t particularly want to run a marathon.  But I did.  Very slowly.

I was a casual runner, maybe two or three miles a couple of times a week to keep my heart in shape and my shape intact.  In high school I ran cross country.  One day Coach Hodges made us run from Terry Sanford Senior High School to the Moose Club which was a block from my house.  Instead I just ran home and got my mom, after watching an episode of Gilligan’s Island and eating a cherry Poptart, to drop me off on Pincrest Drive near the back parking lot of the school.  I splashed water on my forehead and sprinted toward the track.  The coach was impressed with my time that day, as she should have been.  I’d never run such a distance so quickly.  I didn’t feel too bad because we picked up Maxwell Ruppe on the way back.  Had we not done this, I think we both might still be running.

In August, DJ informed me that we were running a marathon together.  “Dad, it’s a fundraiser for camp.  We just have to raise $2,000 to help send kids to camp who otherwise could not afford to be there.  It’s called Run-A-Kid-To-Camp.”

“Couldn’t we just drive them?” I asked.  “Do you realize that a marathon is 26.2 miles and that you have never run more than the length of our backyard in your life?”

DJ assured me she could do it.  To prepare us, we went to the expert on marathon running for dummies, my brother-in-law Matt.  In a former life, he trained out of shape people to race.

He set us up with a training calendar and told us we should:

  • But new tennis shoes to avoid ruining our hips, knees and shins
  • Get this gel to eat so that we don’t go into antiepileptic shock and die
  • Purchase appropriate run wear so that we don’t get bloody nipples

After he got through with me, I was even more convinced this was a horrible idea for a fifty year old with achy knees and a very sensitive chest.

But I have a problem.  It’s I Want To Do Anything That Will Give Me Time With My Daughters syndrome.  Plus, it angers me to think that I can’t do what I was able to do when I was 25.

So here I am, training for a marathon.

Because DJ is not in town, we encourage each other over text.  She does not like to run, so when I started this adventure, I fully expected her to pooze within the first few weeks.  She has not.  In fact, the weekend our schedule demanded a 10 mile run, she sent me a photo with the Washington Monument in the background with a big fat grin on her face.  The next day I sent her a text after each mile I ran… 1, 2, 3…  By the end, I had to call 911 for a stretcher to reenter my house.

“Dad, you have run much more than I have.  I don’t understand why I this ten miles was so difficult for you.  You’re falling apart.”

“I’ll tell you why… 32.”

“32?”

“Yes.  There is a 32 year age span between you and me!  My knees are 32 years older than your knees.  My hips are also 32 years older than your hips.  My heart is 32 years older than yours is.  That is the difference!  I AM OLD!”

But there is one thing to be thankful for – thus far my nipples are fine.

ooops Dad

credit-card

On Tuesday I received this text from DJ, my oldest daughter, who is away at college:

So I brought this dress for our next two sorority events and I accidentally put it on your credit card

I’m wondering how that happened…

Did the card fall out of her wallet and accidentally get lodged in the chip reader???

You accidentally spill your lemonade.  You accidentally break a vase, like when Greg and Peter Brady tossed the basketball inside the house and then didn’t tell their mom because Peter was afraid she wouldn’t let him go on his first camping trip with the guys.  That’s an accident!

DJ emphasized in a follow-up conversation that she could wear the dress TWICE!  I don’t understand how that is connected to the inadvertent charge.

And besides, is wearing a garment two times supposed to make me feel better?  I buy a suit and wear it weekly for decades.  My $500 purchase averages out to about 48 cents per wear.  Her $150 dress?  $75 each time she puts in on.  What’s up with that?

She told me not to worry about the charge, that we could discuss it when she is home for fall break.  That’s called a stall tactic.  She knows I’ll be so glad to see her in two weeks that I’ll forgive her “mistake” and pay for the frickin’ frock.

I’m such a pushover.

The Dowry

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She’s the one in white!

Two weeks ago, DJ “came out” to society.  She was a North Carolina Debutante – WHOOP WHOOP!  And now, it is time for her to get married.  I mean, she IS 19, and she has officially been presented.  Time is a wastin’.

To my knowledge, she has not had one proposal since the Ball which was on September 9.  What the heck fellas?  Her date was worthless.  They’re “just friends,” and I don’t even think he wants to get married right now.  What’s up with that?

Get the lead out men!  We can’t wait forever!

To encourage some movement from the male species, I thought I’d list a few things that come with her.  Her dowry.

Of course, me, which I would think should be enough.  Who would not care for Danny Tanner in his aging days?  I’m like a barrel of monkeys.

In addition, I’d like to offer a few other items of enticement.  Spread the word readers!

  • An inordinate amount of plasticware. Every time I have a party, I buy a HUGE box of forks, spoons and knives.  I have a fear of running out of plastic eating utensils.  I don’t have the same number of each, but am particularly heavy on the spoons.
  • A full set of tan towels. OK, they’re old, from my college days, and won’t go but one shower without emitting a cooked in sour smell, but they are BROKEN IN and feel great on the bod.
  • A box of handwritten AP Biology notebooks…just in case there’s a future surgeon interested…
  • An octopus cake pan – not sure where it came from but I bet you’d struggle to find another one like it.
  • DJ’s car (and the insurance payment).
  • A slightly worn picnic table, an old lawn mower (I’m sure it would crank with a little TLC), and a weed eater with only one wire. I’m assuming you’d buy a house near me with a yard for my grandkids.
  • A large box of number 2 pencils (in various stages of sharpening).
  • Her college tuition bill.
  • And… a green frog butter holder (great for rubbing down a cob of corn).

In addition, if you decide to elope, I’ll toss in an additional $500.

All inquiries should be sent either to DJ directly or to my email (I’ll forward them):  therealfullhouse@gmail.com.

We’re ready to go (well, I’m ready and am sure I can persuade the eldest)!

Debutante in the House

deb·u·tante

ˈdebyəˌtänt/

noun

  1. young woman making her first appearance in fashionable society

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Interesting that I could sire one of these.  In the south, this is tradition.  In Raleigh, apparently, you don’t have to have a prominent father to be one.  Her mother was, however, a deb although a few years before my time.

DJ made her debut last weekend at the 90th annual North Carolina Debutante Ball.  It was a hoot.  Great fun was had by all.

DJ brought a gaggle of friends from George Washington University to view.  Two were from North Carolina; they understood.  One was from the British Virgin Isles – she sort of understood.  One was from New Jersey and gay.  He did not.  In fact, although he was excited to come south, he wanted to make sure that we would let him into our state.  We assured him it would not be a problem and coaxed him with a promised trip to Bojangles.  From my vantage point, he was the funnest person at the event with perhaps the exception of Uncle Jesse who wore black basketball shoes with his tux (dad, I know funnest is not a word).

I’ve learned a few things through this process.

There are not a lot of long dresses in Raleigh, NC, for young women ages 13 – 16.  Some stores have like one.  If I was shopping for great grandma, we’d be good.  But teens, not so much.

We finally found a killer gown (never, ever thought I’d be shopping for a gown) for Stephanie.  It was WAY on sale and was missing a hook, so they took another 15% off!  Whoop Whoop!  I was stoked.

Then, I took it to get the hook fixed and to get it hemmed.  It had several layers.  The alterations cost more than the damn dress.

Like it cost $8 to get my pants hemmed, with a cuff.  And there are two legs.  So I was thinking it might be $15, maybe $20 for this little ditty simply because the material looked more dainty and complicated. Nah.  Try $80.  Un.

At one point in the weekend, DJ came downstairs to ask me which earrings to wear to our father/daughter luncheon.  She had one in each ear.  The left had a gold hoop.  The right had another gold hoop.  “Which one looks better?” she asked.

“They are the same.”

“Dad, one is thinner but a bigger hoop.  The other is thicker with a smaller hoop.”

“I don’t see why you own both of those.  They are the same.”

It was like me going upstairs to her room and asking if I should wear navy pants or dark blue pants.

She went with the thicker which looking back on it was a good decision.  Made the outfit, and everyone’s afternoon was better.

Did you know that high heels could make your toes bleed?  These were not parties that you could easily toss your shoes off.  There were like people with hose and stuff there.  So DJ kept her stilts on all night and when she returned home, the damage was done.  Jesse had the right idea, tennis shoes.

I also discovered that it takes three people to get a long dress zipped.  Of course, the wearer, who has to hold her arms up and suck it all in.  Then there is the zipper puller upper who also has to hold the bottom of the dress tight so there is tension for the zip.  Finally, there is the dress holder togetherer who grabs the two unzipped pieces of dress and tugs them toward each other so the zip puller upper can do his/her job.  Once everything is tightly secured, the pieces all seem to drop right back into place.  It is truly amazing.  It is like putting up the walls of a house.

I wore white tie, or full evening dress, to the ball.  This included gloves.  At first I thought perhaps they were going to make us play handbells.  Our church bell choir always wears gloves.  We did not play bells.  I’m not sure why we wore them.  It was not even cold.  Very inconvenient.  Do you know how hard it is to text with formal, white gloves on?

Regardless, we had a blast, and now my oldest daughter is available for marriage.  We already have her wedding dress.

Next week’s post will be about her dowry.  Please be thinking of eligible dudes.

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ALICE

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I first met Alice when I was about 10 years old.  She’s a South Carolina ghost, and the stories of her left me many sleepless nights.

She lived in the mid 1800s at her family’s seaside home at Murrell’s Inlet.  While on vacation in the 1970s, my family happened on her home place, the Hermitage, and an older gentleman, a family descendent, invited us in for a tour and shared her story.  Apparently Alice fell in love with a dude that her brother disapproved of.  She left home for school and married the outsider.  When she returned to the Hermitage, she wore her wedding ring around her neck to conceal her disobedience.  When she became sick with scarlet fever, the ring was discovered.  Her angry brother grabbed the ring and tossed it into the marsh surrounding their home.  She died shortly after.  Her family was so mad that the only thing they put on her gravestone was her first name:  ALICE.

The story I remember is that if you run around her grave 14 times backwards, lie down, and truly believe, she will appear.

So being in the area for Labor Day, I felt obligated to take Stephanie and Michelle to see her.  We were so busy throughout the day that we didn’t get the chance to visit her until Sunday night.

We pulled up to the cemetery at 10:30.  PM.  The wrought ironed gate had a sign that said OPEN FROM 8 AM TIL DARK.  It was dark, so I interpreted that we were within the rules.

As I walked toward the back of the graveyard, Stephanie pulled on my left arm while Michelle pulled on the right both leaning toward the parking lot with full force.  I felt like a mule pulling a wagon.  My body leaned forward dragging them toward our destination.  Although their body language said otherwise, I could tell they wanted to be there.  I had not physically put them in the car.  They came on their own accord.

As we passed the small stone church, a huge spotlight shone in my eyes.

I’ll have to admit it startled me.  I thought someone was standing there with a lantern.    Regaining my composure, I broke away from the girls long enough to figure out where Alice lay.  I called them over when I found her.

There were rings and some money on the slab of marble that defined her resting spot.  Others had been there to pay their respects.

I was hopeful.  I believed.  I ran around, backwards, fourteen times.  I settled on my back hopeful she’d make an appearance.  The girls huddled nearby expecting my next move.

I worked hard to be still long enough to build up a decent level of anticipation.  And then, with the energy of a five-year old, I leapt up, arms high in the air, screaming like a little girl, “There she is!!  On the fence!  Run!  Run!”

My long legs passed them before we got to the gate.  I bolted across the two lane road to the car, jumped in and locked the doors.

As they beat on the car windows I regained my composure, in short time opening the doors.  I assured them I had not intentionally locked them out.  “I just got worked up.”  Wise, they did not buy my story; any of it.

As we drove home I finished the tale.

“Alice follows those who visit.  When all are asleep, she pulls on the fingers of all the girls looking for her wedding band.

Whew.  Tonight I’m very thankful that I’m a boy.”

The Dj’s Calling My Name

Bruce and Bailey Dancing 2

I remember several dances in high school – Elizabeth Hall was my girlfriend.  Like other couples at that odd stage of life, I put my hands cautiously on her hips.  Her arms were draped around my neck.  We weren’t like Sam and Diandra, they were clearly more comfortable with each other than we were.  I don’t think the Keywanett dance was the first time he’d cozied up to her.

In college, I took social dance as a PE elective.  There were more girls than guys in the class which was a bonus for a Freshman who was desperately trying to expand his social circles.  We learned the Fox Trot, the ChaCha, the Waltz and, most importantly, how to Shag.  Next to public speaking, that was the most practical class I took at NC State University.  I use the knowledge gained from Roxanna, our instructor, much more than my understanding and memorization of the Periodic Table in Chemistry.  Perhaps important for some careers, there is scant opportunity at the YMCA to put to use the fact that Berkelium has 14 known isotopes and that its atomic number 97.

One night after my class ended, I persuaded a group of friends to join me at Cheers, a local club, that had three distinct dance rooms:  pop, country and beach music.  It was there I decided I’d focus more on my beach dancing skills.

We were in the pop club and had run into my ex-girlfriend.  She had dumped me the week before, and it was important that I impress her.  I wanted her to get a real sense of what she was missing.  There was a large area where folks would congregate to show off their moves, but the pinnacle was to make your way to the front where there were several elevated stages, a place for the advanced to exhibit.   One stage was set apart with vertical bars as if you were dancing in a cage.  I grabbed a friend, and we forcefully jumped in front of others so that I could be on display for all, and particularly my ex to see.

It started out well but deteriorated quickly.

As Michael Jackson belted out You wanna be startin’ somethin’, you got to be startin’ somthin’, my red bottomed Dirty Buck landed on a piece of ice the previous entertainers had left.  My leg popped out from under me, and I did the most amazing, yet unexpected, split one could imagine.  I worked diligently to pop back up as if simply completing a planned John Travolta Saturday Night Fever maneuver.  It didn’t work.  It was clear to all who saw me this was ugly; a spontaneous accident.

My focus away from spastic, freestyle gyrations to more controlled movements led me to observing and working to perfect the more cautious Shag.  It is amazing how many genres of music this dance can endure.

Some couples learn to move in sync, to anticipate the other’s next step on the floor.  Lisa and I had gotten to that point.  We even practiced in the kitchen, killing time while waiting for the ground beef to brown.

There have been moments over the past six years when I thought I would never enjoy dancing again.  But, I am fortunate to have three daughters!  I have taught all three the basic Shag steps.  And now, they happily fill in when the dj calls my name.  With three, my dance card stays full all night long.

My niece told me that young folks her age don’t know how to dance.  I think, for the most part, she’s correct.  Hopefully my girls can pass along what I’ve taught them to future generations.  Without their guidance, I shutter to think of my grandsons trying to impress girls on the dance floor with my gene pool.

The Male Period

Kotex Test

Michelle jarred my memory.

“Dad, do you remember when you chaperoned our middle school youth mission trip last summer?”

“I do.  That was fun.”

“Do you remember when you and Brooks convinced the boys that they were going to have periods, just like the girls?”

“Vaguely.”

She recanted the story.

Several girls were on their periods the week of the trip.  They were middle schoolers; it was a bit embarrassing.

At one pit stop, the boys saw the girls purchasing supplies, and the teasing began.  Smirks.  Whispers.  The giggles.  Typical male behaviors.

At the time, Brooks, a cool, young, male chaperon, and I were not aware of the ongoing conversations.  As the story goes, one of the girls approached an 8th grade boy.

“Shut up!  You don’t even know what happens!”

“Yes I do.  It’s when the blue water comes out.”  The laughter resumed.

Apparently he had seen the commercials advertising the absorbency of some of the most porous pads.  In it, a cylinder full of blue water is poured into the pad to show its effectiveness.  Not one drop of the Windex looking liquid leaked.  Pretty amazing.

Made sense that the young mind assumed that was actually what came out.  You wouldn’t advertise muffin tins by putting spaghetti in them, would you?

The girls busted out laughing, and the poor clueless boy was bewildered.

Later that day, as the story was unfolded to Brooks and me, the girls asked if we would convince the boys they too would soon be having a visit from Aunt Flo.  It seemed like a reasonable request considering the males had indeed begun the fight.

As we entered the bus after our afternoon outings, one of the males again chose to bring up the subject, this time in earshot of Brooks and me.

“Fellas, why are you bringing this up?” I questioned.

“Yah,” Brooks followed.  “You know, everyone has them.  Your turn is coming.  I just started mine last year.”

I added, “Boys start later than girls.  Usually around 18.”

A silence fell over the bus.  I’d never seen such big eyes IN MY LIFE!

The fact that the girls were rolling in the floor quickly gave our joke away, but if only for a few minutes, we had them convinced.

Now, in the guys’ defense, it is tempting to tease females.  It is our way of flirting.  As a kid, we hit you.  In middle school, we pick at you.  When older, we use lines that are meant to engage you.  And generally, regardless of age, the woman ends up with the upper hand.  My mother had it.  My wife had it.  And all three of my daughters have it as well.  We might as well give up.  We will NEVER know more about ANYTHING than they do.

How big is your mouth?

spoons

I have noticed that females like small spoons. I’m not sure why. You can’t get enough food in your mouth with them. I want a mamba-jamba spoon. Big enough to expedite the eating process and enough to get a nice chunk of flavor on my tongue.

Years ago when a friend got engaged he and his fiancé went to Belk to pick out their china and flatware patterns. Rumor has it he actually put the spoons from several patterns in his mouth to make sure they could deliver. My man!  It’s an important decision, one you’ll live with daily for life!  You wouldn’t buy pants without trying them on. It is unusual that we don’t all put our silverware in our mouths before purchasing.

When I serve my homemade crockpot veggie soup to the girls, I put the larger of our two spoon options by their bowls. Do they appreciate my desire to fill them up? Nah. They complain!

“We aren’t mules, dad.  Give us normal spoons.”

“Based on my experience, you all have rather large mouths. I chose your flatware accordingly.”

“Why don’t you just use the ladle dad?  Or turn the pot right up to your mouth?”

“When I eat vegetable soup I want a plethora of tastes entering all at once.  With your spoon you solely get a carrot.  Then a pea.  Perhaps eventually a potato. That is not how God intended it.  Plus, I eat a lot, and my arm gets tired after a while. This cuts down on the number of trips to my lips.”

I’m trying to help them. To teach them the right way to do things in life. But you just can’t reason with these people. It’s fruitless.

If they want to dwindle their lives away daintily protracting one crumb at a time, so be it. It’s just not worth the fight.