Where is Uncle Jesse now?

For those of you who have followed this blog from the beginning, you will recall that Lisa’s brother, Uncle Jesse, was a major part of our life the first few years after she died.  He was instrumental in healing our family as well as in helping to logistically keep things going.
Over the past year or two, folks have asked me where Uncle Jesse has gone.  He is still in Raleigh and actually has a number of plates spinning.  Below is an interview with Jesse from Raleigh Philosophical Society.  His real name is Hayes Permar (Uncle Jesse worked well for our blog, which he mastered minded in around 2012).  You can also find him on SportsChannel8.com  and Raleigh & Company.

It’s hard to escape Hayes Permar’s mug these days — but why would you want to? The Raleigh native has leveraged his many skills into a one-man media empire, with songs, videos, social commentary, thoughtfulness and humor all rolled into one Raleigh-bred package. And if you are one of the few people who hasn’t seen any of his work, be sure to check him out on Twitter @DHPIV, or over at Raleigh & Co. with his “Triangle Traveler” or ”NC Yesterday Today”series, or you can hear his dulcet tones on the mic at Carolina Mudcats games.  We are so pleased to feature Hayes in the latest edition of ”A Capital Conversation.” 

Raleigh Philosophical Society (RPS): Tell us a little bit about your childhood. I can only assume from your impeccable sense of style and soft Southern lilt that you were born and raised in Raleigh and are actually descended from the First Men*?

Hayes Permar (HP): I grew up in Raleigh, but my parents didn’t. My family moved here following my Dad’s parents’ decision to settle here after my grandfather retired from the Coast Guard. My parents met in D.C., where my oldest sister was born, and then came to Raleigh, where my other sister and I were born. My parents still live in the same house I grew up in.
I went to Wake County Public Schools from kindergarten through 12th grade (Washington, Martin, Broughton). I spent a lot of time at the Hillsborough Street YMCA–first as a camper, then as a counselor both there and at Camp Sea Gull–1st Presbyterian Church downtown, and the house of my best friend growing up, Andrew Johnson, who had two brothers–that’s where I learned sports and video games and other “guy” stuff. I grew up mostly a white, suburban Raleigh life…but OF the white, suburban Raleigh kids, I probably had a more diverse upbringing (in range of activities, experiences, people I interacted with) than most. Betraying my mother’s side of the family, I have no style, but you’re kind to say that.
RPS: You are a multi-talented individual. How did you first begin getting into music?
HP: I grew up in a musical family, and now realize how lucky I was (in a musical sense) to be the youngest, meaning I almost literally grew up listening to 4-part harmony. I resisted yet absorbed some piano training at a young age, sponged up a few years of teenage guitar lessons, and then have mostly tinkered with piano/guitar/whatever else I came across ever since.
My parents and sisters had a fairly wide taste of music that I grew up listening to–Paul Simon, The Beatles, Broadway, the Big Chill Soundtracks and Beach music, Folk/Bluegrass, some classical music, popular (’80s at the time). I could sing every song that came on Oldies 100.7 word for word. I’ve added a few genres–alternative in the ’90s, rap in the 2000s–of my own, but I’m not a guy who devours new music. I sort of take it in via osmosis when I’m around people who really know and love music. I learn and adopt what they like.
RPS: You’ve been involved with that Raleigh staple, Ira David Wood’s A Christmas Carol. How did you first get involved? What have been your roles?
Photo by Steve Larson/Theatre In The Park, 
costumes by Shawn Larson/Theatre In The Park
HP: Going off memory, I’m pretty sure I was in ‘ACC’ from 1983-1986 and from ’84-’86 I was Tiny Tim. (There were often two Tiny Tims and we alternated shows to stay rested.) At some point in those four years all of my family was either in the cast of the accompanying band. In 2006 & 2007, I was in the cast with my oldest sister, Lisa, and my oldest niece, Bailey. I played the role of Fred, Scrooge’s nephew. In 2011-2013, I was in the cast with all three of Lisa’s daughters and her husband–I played varying roles as a townsperson/dancer.
RPS: How long have you been doing the PA for the Carolina Mudcats? And give us three reasons why people should attend Mudcats games? (And one of the reasons can not be the lack of stoplights between Raleigh and Five County Stadium. That’s not only a given, it is awesome.)
HP: This is my second year with the Mudcats, but legit (i.e., not just saying this because I work there now) I attended a good number of Mudcats game for several years before I had the PA gig.
Ok, five reasons in no order….
1) Related to what you said but not quite the same: It’s just as close to Raleigh as the Bulls. Maybe closer. Especially if you’re considering 5:30/6 p.m. traffic
2) Last year they built a huge screen. They also added enough camera/production equipment to broadcast all home games on MiLB.com at a level not TOO far off what you’d expect from ESPN. It is by far your best chance of getting a picture/Snapchat of yourself on a cool jumbotron in the Triangle.
3) They serve Red Oak. It was an N.C. craft beer before it was cool to be an N.C. craft beer and they’re good.
4) The Braves are so bad you could be seeing a player that might be starting in Atlanta the next night.
5) Much like the Wolfpack is one of the few (if not only) mascots that have a Mr. AND Mrs. Wuf representing, the Mudcats are the rare team that boast a Muddy mascot and a mini-Muddy.
RPS: As producer at David Glenn Show, you were able to land the POTUS. That had to be an amazing experience – especially from a sports POV. How did that happen, and what was that experience like?
HP: I mean, it was cool, no question about that. I was living in D.C. when President Obama was elected/inaugurated, so aside from what else his tenure means historically, I’ll always feel a connection to his presidency. Because I was living in D.C. at the time, I had a number of folks I always knew I might turn to if I ever had a good reason to request an interview with the President.
Dean Smith had been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom under the Obama White House, so when he passed away I thought it might be the time to ask. When the White House’s first response before noon on a Sunday was something like “this is an interesting request — we will process and be in touch,” I had this strange feeling it would work out. I was nervous and excited and ready to be dejected right up until the minute I had him on the phone–I barely remember telling Roy Williams, “Coach, we may have to pull you off on short notice if the President calls in ahead of schedule”–but, again, there was his strange calm it would work out even as I knew any minor world/national event could derail the whole thing.
Talking to him I fell mostly into my normal producer groove–I always tried to loosen/lighten the guest up a little bit. He was easy to talk to and cracked jokes on me. My sister Sallie, an accomplished doctor, had won an award in medicine from the White House the year before, so I brought that up and he told me she was way more impressive than I was, which was spot on.
David did a great job with the interview–he played it very cool and then, sensing President Obama was very comfortable in the conversation, he went from talking Dean Smith to basketball to other, less serious, stuff. He nailed it.
I also told President Obama I regretted never playing in a pick-up game with him, which is true. The interview was cool, but I probably believed I had a 50/50 shot at playing hoops with him at the time he was inaugurated and I’m still ticked I couldn’t make that happen.
RPS: You had the opportunity to be the Sklar Brothers’ tour guide when they came to town. How did you determine what you wanted to show off of our fair city? Were there things you purposely avoided?

HP: It was great to meet those guys and learn that, in addition to being incredibly talented and funny, they are also good, real people. We have a mutual friend who put us in touch and it happened to be a week they were shooting for this new pilot “Find The Funny” on Travel Channel. We met up after their dinner at Beasley’s one night to cross reference what they had planned versus what I thought was “real Raleigh.” (Yes, Clyde Cooper’s for lunch and PR for a State game is Raleigh; No, the topless coffee food stand is just something that looks good in a BuzzFeed article but doesn’t really hit home for Raleighites.)
I thought the show–both their live comedy set and the pilot that aired on Travel–did an outstanding job capturing the essence of Raleigh. Did you see it?

(Note: Yes, I saw it and loved it. I DVR’d it and showed it to friends, who all appreciated it. Would love to see more.)

RPS: Now on to SportsChannel8. I assume that 75 percent of the content on that site is specifically geared toward mocking the Washington Capitals on their lack of a Stanley Cup title, but maybe I’m off a bit on that? How would you describe the site?

HP: That’s recency bias. At most we’re 69 percent devoted to mocking the Caps lack of Cups.
The media landscape generally–and the sports media landscape specifically–are in flux right now. SportsChannel8.com expects to be a part of that flux. We’ll have a lot of stuff coming out of there soon.
RPS: Were you surprised at the notoriety of “Blank Bracket?”

HP: Oddly enough it didn’t get as many views as some of the other videos we put out in the past year, but, to your point, I wasn’t really “surprised.” Knowing the landscape, you kind of get the idea how to play the game…Mega-popular song + universally known sporting event x proper execution=a certain number of views. I was just glad the writing was good enough to overcome the singing.  (If you can’t view the videos, go straight to www.therealfullhouse.wordpress.com)

RPS: You’ve also begun doing some great work over at Raleigh & Co. How did that happen, and what types of things are you doing over there?

HP: I was impressed with the Raleigh & Company idea/layout from the time it launched. Over its years of existence I’ve gotten to know several of the folks involved in it. After leaving the David Glenn Show I was looking for opportunities to do multiple forms of media, especially video, and they were looking to do more multi-media so it was a perfect fit.
RPS: You produced a very touching response to the Orlando shooting. What was that process like? And what were some of the most moving responses you received about it?

HP: That was pure reaction. I was ready to watch the Sunday morning shows and instead they were talking about the shootings. And at the time I was watching (or maybe I was catching up on Twitter) I saw the fatalities go from 20 to 50. It just hit me. Felt like sharing something. Hard to gauge response–there are people who will support/like your posts no matter what. If people see you stepping out on a limb a little bit, they’re even more likely to try to support you, regardless of if they really think about what you’re saying. I guess I felt like I wasn’t alone in my thoughts.
RPS: What do you do in your free time, besides showing up unannounced and playing people’s pianos? When do you sleep? DO you ever sleep?

HP: I don’t sleep, I nap. And the good thing about being self-employed is that it’s all free time until I decide how to use it.
RPS: As an expert on all things Raleigh, what are your favorite hangouts? Anything specific from each place?

HP: I like the Trophy Wife at Trophy, the roast chicken at Poole’s, french baguette at Yellow Dog, burgers at the PR and Char Grill, chicken pastry at K&W, jamocha day at Goodberry’s, sweet tea at Big Ed’s, milkshakes at MoJoe’s. The vibe and the staff at Stanbury might make it the coolest setting in Raleigh. Death and Taxes makes sure you get the most–food and service wise– out of the money you will inevitably spend eating there.

RPS: As someone who has a vested interested in the city, what would you like to see happen in the area over the next 5-10-20 years? What does this area lack? What do we do well?

HP: I hope as we grow as a city we are most mindful of people and communities that have been neglected or kept down by past instances of growth.
RPS: What is something that people may not know about you?

HP: There is a lot people don’t know about me.
RPS: And, finally, who would you like to play you in the “Hayes Permar Story” one day?

HP: If I’m doing it right, the documentary will be more interesting than the movie.

*Little known group of people who actually settled in the Hayes Barton area of Raleigh about 5 years before Jamestown. Or maybe it’s a GoT reference. I forget.


Thanksgiving Jam Session

Uncle Jesse comes through with the Thanksgiving sing along.  It’s good to have an uncle who can play piano by ear, postpones the after Thanksgiving food coma by at least an hour…

Even Grandpa raised the roof!

Here’s a Christmas tune…



I Don’t Give a Spit About Your Bracket

Some have asked me, “What happened to Uncle Jesse?”

He’s still in Raleigh and in and out of the house a couple of times a month.   On the occasional Saturday morning, he’ll call and ask to speak to one of the girls.

“Dad, can I go to lunch with Uncle Jesse?”

That’s code for:  We’re gonna hit the Kanki Japanese Steak House.

I’m cool with him taking them there.  Although I like the food, it does a number on my innards.  And, I always leave the place smelling like deep-fried chicken.  Instead of a night out with dinner and a movie, when Kanki is involved, it has to be dinner and a shower.

“Hey you guys, let’s meet at Kanki for dinner and then hit the Y for a group shower?”

Jesse also continues to be the producer for the Dave Glenn Show on 99.9 FM.  It’s your “statewide home for sports talk.”  Jesse pulls in all the cool music, lines up the interviews, mans the phones,and  holds down the Facebook and Twitter accounts.  He knows more about sports than I know about eyebrow waxing, and that’s a lot.

On the side, Jesse makes these interesting videos and uses them on different venues through the sports and media worlds (what I’m really saying here is I don’t know why he makes these videos or what he does with them).

The other day he popped by and he and Michelle came up with this ditty.  In NC, NCAA basketball is HUGE, even for a non-sports fanatic like me.  Enjoy the music!

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Good Food

We just returned from the annual Katsopolis family and friend reunion at Capon Springs, West Virginia.  Capon is a modest resort nestled in the corner of West Virginia about an hour and a half from DC.  Lisa’s mother has been going to Capon the third week in August since she was seven years old.

There are many highlights of the week including golf and tennis, a mixed doubles shuffleboard tournament, a spring fed pool (a chilly 68 degrees) and a relatively new addition, their spa.  However, the most favorite activity, as voted on by the Third Week in Capon guests, is EATING!

The food is served family style with eggs cooked to your specific liking every morning.  For the past few years I’ve tried to order them seven different ways – one for each day of the week.

Friday night brings the Talent Show.  Our branch of the Katsopolis family shows well most years, but Uncle Jesse made sure we had a stellar performance this summer.  For those who listen to pop radio, see if you recognize the tune…


Hey hey hey

Hey hey hey

Hey hey hey

Hey hey hey

We don’t come here, for the golf and tennis

We just come here for what we put in us

Maybe I’ll have some corn, maybe I’ll have some beans

Maybe I’ll have some more of everything

Soon as I smell the rolls, can’t wait to masticate you

One week to eat it all, as much as you are able

They bring more to your table

You don’t need no apron

When you come to Capon

That’s why we can’t wait for…


You know we want it

You know we want it

You know we want it


The plastics classy

Making me gassy

It’s adding inches to my waist line

You know we want it

You know we want it

You know we want it


Ain’t getting thinner

I’m still a winner

What time is dinner?

Freshly sliced tomatoes

Creamy mashed potatoes

It’s a food tornado


I feel so lucky

Cause I’m so hungry

What rhymes with hungry?

Sunday Post 83: A Really Good Uncle

Posted by Danny

Uncle Jesse moved out about a month ago.  He has been working his full-time job and starting a sports video production business on the side.  Both of his offices are across town.  We haven’t seen much of him since February.  He says his move is an attempt to be closer to where he spends 95% of his life.  I’m taking him at face value hoping his exit isn’t due to a big brother watching over his shoulder and three girls who idolize him and watch his every move.  The man has been a trooper.

His new business has him editing video into the wee hours of the night.  Five out of seven nights a week he’d come home after we’d gone to bed, and we’d be out of the house before he stirred.  We’ve actually seen him more since he left – making it a point to plan dinner a couple of times each week, catching movies and listening to his advice on what we should do to make our lives better (buy a pig, move DJ to the basement apartment, move the laundry room upstairs, etc.)  It’s just like when he lived here but even more! 

We’re still The Real Full House.  Jesse isn’t going far.  He’s still the first one I text when Michelle says something funny; he’s still the first one I call when I need an in town kid sitter; he still rolls in to razz the kids throughout the week.

Sometimes God puts people in your life at just the right time. He did that for me when Jesse agreed to move in with us in January 2010.

Jesse has more friends than Cher has hair follicles.  Everybody in town knows him – young and old, married and single, Democrat and Republican.  He’s just that kind of guy.  That is why it meant so much for him to put his life on pause for us.

I’m not sure what the future holds for him. He may continue to develop his career in sportscasting. Or maybe his production business will become the next ESPN. Perhaps he’ll get married and have kids.  If his love for my children is any indicator, he’d be a really great dad.

But regardless of what his future holds, he has already accomplished one of the most important things that one could do on earth.  You see, Jesse saved my life.  He saved my family too.

He came in to our house at our darkest hour and helped us find laughter. He danced and joked and tickled when I didn’t have it in me. He brought the music back when our most beautiful voice was silenced by cancer. 

More than that, he was my closest confidant – sitting across from me in my den late at night as I searched to find pieces of a life that was shattered.

Yea – he’s done his work. He has helped make us whole again.

I have  really grown to love Jesse; he’s more like a brother than a brother-in-law.  I don’t think I’ll ever be able to repay him.  But I will try; yes I will try.

Because he hasn’t been around much, I thought the transition would be easy. But there was just something about having his junk in the basement.  When I first walked into the house the day after he moved, two things hit me.

Wow, I’m really alone now.  I really wasn’t more alone than I had been the day before.  He hadn’t been home on a weeknight in months.  But on that Monday night, his absence was glaring.  It is interesting how stuff can be a whole lot of company.

My second thought was that another little piece of Lisa was gone. They were alike in so many ways.

And yet he’s not gone.  You will still hear Jesse stories.  He dropped by last night and wiped his sweaty basketball head on Michelle – sort of a special Welcome Home from summer camp.  We’re eating dinner together tomorrow night and went to see the new Batman movie last week when all of the girls were out of town (he slept through most of it).  We’ve had some good conversations lately about his importance in our lives – I think he’s all in for the long haul.

He has developed a really special and yet different relationship with each of the girls.  I suspect when asked by the minister at their weddings, “Who gives this woman to be married?”,  I’ll reply, “Uncle Jesse and I.”  Maybe he can just wear DJ’s Winter Formal dress.

I owe that man a lot. I thank God for Jesse and for the love and joy he has brought, and will continue to bring, to our family.

Verna’s Two

Posted by Danny

My father-in-law plans a great trip.  And the best part about taking a journey with him is that you get to experience things that a normal tourist might not experience.

On our second night in Hawaii, the restaurant where we were planning to eat was packed and on that side of the island, there weren’t really other options.  So Pops pulled out his trusty tourist guide and started driving.  About 20 minutes later, we pulled up to Verna’s Too.  I’m surprised there was enough enthusiasm about the first Verna’s to open a second.

The guide-book described Verna’s as an inexpensive burger joint where all the locals hang out.  That was true.

When we first drove up, Michelle turned up her nose and said she wasn’t hungry.  The kid has a good sense about these things.

The woman at the window took our order with a ballpoint pen and a scrap of paper.  Her outfit was tight.  I was thankful the half wall covered the waist down.  Her form-fitting tight tank top was the same tan color as her skin.

She handed the order back to an older woman standing behind the grill.  She wore bedroom shoes and held the spatula in her hand; there was no smile.  She had a job to do and was focused on the griddle.  I got the sense she began her career at the original Verna’s as a very young woman.  She’d handled an order for 11 on many, many occasion.  This was not a problem.

The tiny dining room reminded me of the arcade at Permastone Lake, my summer haunt as a child.  I remember Undercover Angel playing on the jukebox as I ate snow cones with Steven Mozena my best childhood friend.  Their dining room floors were similar, concrete with a thin layer of wet sand on the top.  There were two options for sitting: a hard orange table with matching benches on the right and another on the left.  We split up – each booth only held 4.

Jesse was clear in his request, “NO MAYO.”  We all know to keep the mayo and, incidentally, garden peas, away from Uncle Jesse.  Almost makes him sick.

When his steak sandwich came out, the “special sauce” seemed an awful lot like mayonnaise – same color, same smell, same thick saucy consistency.  It wasn’t fully opened when it landed in the bottom of the 24 gallon metal trash can lined with a yard bag.  I suspected that they’d emptied palm tree clippings earlier that day to make room for the dinner rush.

It’s his own fault.  Who in their right mind orders a steak sandwich from a woman with sweat rings circling her armpits?

Our friend from behind the counter doubled as the food deliverer.  A side window opened from the kitchen to the gritty dining room.  She’d peak at the incoming meal and announce the next fare.

Michelle turned her nose up and anticipated my displeasure.

“Don’t get mad at me.  I told you I wasn’t eating that stuff.”

How could I argue?  She’d just seen her 33-year-old uncle toss half a cow into a Glad bag.

I opened my tin foil, the burger was hot.  Michelle nibbled at my fries.  The ketchup bottle looked clean, and I love me some ketchup.

I sniffed the bun as it neared my mouth – I had to do it if for no other reason as an example for my kids.

And it wasn’t half bad.  Sort of reminded me of a two-day old Hamburger Steak, Jr., from the Chargrill, reheated in the microwave.

I’ve decided my family is snotty.  The food wasn’t the issue for my kids, it was the atmosphere.  Somehow I’ve raised girls with country club taste on a YMCA salary.  How did that happen?

Dance Party, Dellwood Drive

Posted by Danny

Tanners love ourselves some sleepovers!  There’s nothing we’d rather do on a Friday night.

Maybe this is why…


Don’t you wish you could spend a weekend with us?


Posted by Danny

Stephanie came home last week after sitting through a presentation about reproduction at school. 

Dad:  “How was your field trip today to the Poe Center Stephanie?”

Stephanie:  “OMG.  It was awful.  They asked for volunteers to stand up and read from this book and the boys and girls were in the auditorium together.  It was so embarrassing to talk about penises and vaginas with the boys in the room.”

Jesse:  “What’s a vagina?”

Stephanie:  “You know what that is – it’s the girl’s private part.”

Jesse:  “Oh.  I thought that was your hoo-ha.”

Thank God he isn’t a doctor.  I can see it now:  “So, you’re experiencing some stinging in your vajayjay?  Let me take a look.”  Or, “It looks like a case of WD – Wee-wee dysfunction.  I got a little blue pill that will take care of that.“

We gave DJ “The Book” the summer after fifth grade.  I was eager to lead her through a thorough discussion.  As she read, I hovered, “Got any questions?  Understand that drawing?”

She was mortified. 

And Lisa?  Cool as a cucumber. 

“Leave this to me you goober.  You’re going to scar her for life.  Give her some space. “

Stephanie isn’t so lucky.  I had some immediate follow-up after dinner –

I remember Calista McGougan from my high school – Movin’ McGougan we called her.  She had a big personality and a couple of other big things too.    

She was the first girl I asked to “go with me” – it was 8th grade.  She gave me my first real kiss in the woods behind her house, her little brother and sister watching from behind an oak tree.  She clearly knew what she was doing, and I appreciated her tutelage.  We grew apart in high school – but apparently she grew closer to a number of other guys.

I’m hopeful that full disclosure, honesty and a father who works hard to help them understand how great they are will keep my girls from seeking acceptance in the wrong places.  And if that doesn’t work, there’s always Jesse to guide the way.

The Dress

Posted by Danny

What is $7,227.74? 

The amount of money I’m likely to spend on high school dances over a 12 year period of time for three daughters.  I accounted for two big dances a year and included 5% a year for inflation.  This does not include middle school dances, college formals or debutante balls.

I can see myself in thirty years – living in Michelle’s cardboard box in downtown Raleigh – a large picture book of my daughters, wearing my retirement, my sole possession.

It took two grandmothers, one aunt, three of Lisa’s friends, an army of saleswomen and me to find THE dress for DJ’s first formal.  The shopping started just two weeks out with family members dropping by every dress shop from Benson to Oxford. 

At one point I think we had four dresses on hold.

Finally, as the calendar grew tight, I stepped in – sort of the Godfather of shopping.  A decision had to be made.  I was strong and equipped, I’d just paid off my monthly VISA bill.

We started at North Hills – a store called Ubiquitous (or something like that).  They had nothing (under $300) that we liked.  We ran by Hayley’s – they were holding one.  The woman assured us this was the only one of its kind in the free world.  Grandma liked it better than DJ.

We hit another store on Oberlin Road – it cost me one $50 Sunday dress, but nothing for the event.

I was getting worried.

Two days later, it happened.  She found something else in North Hills and put it on hold.  We walked in together.  There was a comfortable black and white couch with a huge framed mirror propped right in front of me.  I looked good – graying at my temples, the black circles under my eyes hidden under the soft lights.

She came out in the dress – it was a darker shade of purple.  It was short. 

“You look beautiful but you’ll need to wear a bathing suit under that one.”

“It’s fingertip length.”

“Maybe your pinkie fingertip, if you’re slouching.  What are you going to do when you raise your arms?”

“Why would I raise my arms? It’s a formal, not a math class.”

“Don’t you raise your arms when you dance?”


I demonstrate some of my basic moves – hands in the air.

“We don’t dance like that.”


There were slits in the sleeves from shoulder to elbow.  “What are those for?”

“I don’t think they have a specific purpose.”

“They’re like air vents – they’ll keep you cool on the dance floor. Or, you could put your cell phone in there.”

The nineteen year old salesclerk assured me the dress was an appropriate length for a high school dance.  “Would your father let you wear it?”



The shoes were next.  We headed to Southpoint mall.  She knew what she wanted:  Nude (color, not a state of dress), patton (means shiny), pumps (unrelated to the gas station).  Easy to find – but expensive to me.

Ends up that all of the girls checked their shoes at the coat closet when they arrived at the dance.  That means that those shoes cost about $1 per minute of wear.

I think the best part of the evening came when at about 10 pm, Jesse texted DJ with these two pictures and the following message:

Who looks better in your dress? Michelle, you or me?

Yes – Jesse and Michelle had taken pictures of themselves in DJ’s formal dress earlier in the week with the sole purpose of harassing her in the middle of her date.

I cannot tell you how much joy that one act has brought to my life.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Shoe


Posted by Danny

I received a text from Jesse at 4 pm on Friday, December 23:  What size shoes do the girls wear?

Seriously?  Jesse was buying shoes for the girls’ Christmas presents?  I wondered which thrift shop had a kids’ shoe sale going on 36 hours before his yuletide deadline.

When we arrived home from the late Christmas Eve service at a neighborhood church, I broached the subject.  “Did you really buy shoes for the girls for Christmas?”  I didn’t want him to think I was questioning his tween fashion sense – but based on other uncle/niece purchases, I feared he was way off base.  He refused to answer my question – said it was a surprise.

For the past five years, Jesse has purchased each girl a used CD – and one with what he would consider a classic.  I think he blames me for their lack of enthusiasm for the Beatles, Paul Simon and Billy Joel (DJ claims the box set he gave her had every song Billy Joel ever sang, starting at his church Christmas pageant as a child).  Jesse thinks I should force them to listen to my music.  Dear Lord, please let me live long enough to see him with three daughters – that is my one request.

This year the girls pooled their funds and purchased him the Justin Bieber Christmas CD.  DJ said it was time Jesse became exposed to some of their classics.  Touche!

So, on Sunday, after opening the Santa gifts and the things I had purchased for the kids, Jesse grabbed a Target bag and began handing out footwear.  You’d have thought he had purchased gold, frankincense and myrrh – he was so excited.  As each girl opened her shoebox, they looked perplexed.  Not only was there a plain pair of black flats in each box, but there were also bottles of glitter and decoupage.  DJ caught my eye – her look?  What in the heck is happening here?   Steph began thanking him profusely – she’d already been prepped to appreciate any gift she was given, regardless of its usefulness or her level of excitement for it.

As they sat there, his explanation began.  “I talked to a friend of mine, one who has really good fashion sense, and apparently girls are wearing shoes with sparkles this year.  My friend said that you could even make them yourself.  I downloaded a blog with directions and have all of the supplies.”  He then proceeded to explain the process of covering the shoes with glue, applying the glitter, repeating the process and finishing it off with a coat of decoupage. 

I’ll have to admit, I was impressed.  All this coming from a guy who hasn’t changed his bath towel since Labor Day.

Jesse is a man of many talents – some more masculine, like playing a mean game of basketball; some more on his softer side, like dancing.  However, I don’t see arts and crafts as one of his strengths.  You can’t even read the man’s handwriting.

I told the girls that if he hadn’t followed through with the shoes by the end of January, we’d give the bag of supplies to their babysitter.  She can make pottery out of a carrot and a piece of construction paper.

Stay tuned.  There is sure to be a follow-up blog post on this particular project! 


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