Yard Work? Basketball? Nah, Let’s Go Shopping!

I LOVE to work in my yard.  There is nothing better than mowing, edging and blowing.  It’s instant gratification.

For a man, if your grass looks good, YOU feel good. 

When my yard is weedy and full of brown patches, my whole karma is off.  It’s like having a bad haircut or a huge zit on your forehead.

Lisa DID NOT like yard work.  In fact, I’m not sure she ever went in our yard.  She pretty much went from the house to the car to the mall.

Today after a quick mow (no time for edging or blowing), I tackled Stephanie’s seasonal clothes change.  After four hours of trying on, folding and unfolding, hanging and unhanging, I decided we had not been tortured enough so we headed to Crabtree Valley Mall to begin our spring buying extravaganza.

Everyone in Wake and the surrounding counties was at Crabtree late this afternoon.  Why?  The only people I thought would be there on a spring weekend day with NCAA basketball on were widowed fathers who went to NC State and who are going to be out-of-town four weekends in a row in April. 

There must be a TON of us.

Today we purchased:  1 pair of shoes, 5 bathing suits, 6 tops, 6 shorts, 2 pair of PJ’s, 3 sweaters, 1 skirt, a pair of crop jeans and a beer (that was the only thing I got).  And I spent hundreds of dollars.

Our Loot

I worked hard to be a good sport although I was a bit offended when the sales clerk at the Old Navy offered me the handicapped dressing room because it could “handle larger crowds”. 

I was extremely annoyed when I finally chased two women down in the parking lot to get their space and then they just sat in the car.  What were they doing in there?  Planning the Winter Olympics?  If you come out of the store and there are limited parking places and a car follows you to your space and turns on the blinker, proper etiquette is to quickly get in your car and get the heck out of the space!  Not these women.  They slowly put their bags in the trunk (who does that?) and slowly got in the car.  And then sat there.  Geeze.  My hand motions and horn blowing did nothing to rouse them.  Someone else is going to have to teach my children patience.

I was annoyed at my youngest two children’s new-found modestness in the dressing room.  We’ve all seen them naked – multiple times!  Sometimes they prance around the house in a towel or less.  They do not have to get totally re-dressed when I crack the door six inches to slip out to get another size garment.  There are not 5th grade boys stationed at the door of the handicapped dressing room hoping to get a peek!

I was annoyed when my nose started running at Hollister – a store that has life-sized pictures of naked teens and a plume of perfume floating through the air.  I was also annoyed that my 13-year-old was walking around in public with a naked boy onher Hollister gift bag.

I was annoyed trying to figure out how to try on a two piece bathing suit when the top and bottom were connected with plastic thread.  It was impossible.  We had to try the top on and then the bottom.  And what was that huge swath of tape in the crotch?  Do you take it out before you swim?  My kids said it was uncomfortable.

I was also annoyed when I left Old Navy, reached for my keys and realized I had a $25 gift card I had forgotten to use. I was equally frustrated when four hours later I arrived home and realized I also had a $25 Target gift card I had forgotten to use.

I was pleased when Michelle fell in love with a bathing suit that was twice as expensive as another one two hangers down – and convincingly said, “I like the other one just as well, there’s no need to spend that much more money for one that looks basically the same (it didn’t, but how sweet).”

I was pleased when after I bought her a sweater, DJ said “Thanks Dad!” – unprompted.

I was pleased that Stephanie didn’t smack me.  After trying on literally more than 100 articles of clothing this morning, she looked at me like I had lost my mind when I asked if she wanted to try on another pair of shorts in the last store.  However, she simply said, “I just don’t think I can dad.”

I was very pleased when we got to dinner and the waiter brought me a Yuengling.

Here’s to my wife who spared me from this for 13 years!

Clampets Hit The City

Posted by Danny

Do you ever feel that you are in a social situation that is a bit over your head?  I will reiterate that my wife was a debutante – that must mean something.  If I can get my girls to stop burping at the table (and other things), perhaps there is hope for them too.  One of my major fears is that we have lost all refinement in our household.  Although Jesse and I are comfortable at the country club, we certainly aren’t Miss Manners.

We just arrived in DC for the wedding of dear friends, Kenny and Katherine.  They were in no hurry to wed, I think they’ve been dating for 15 years.  Katherine is refined.  That is why she chose the Hotel Monaco as the hotel for her guests.  It is REALLY nice.

We arrived in the Katsopolis family van.  My father in law keeps this ten year old vehicle just for trips like this one.  And it has come in very, very handy.  But when you arrive at a hotel and the bellhop scowls and says, “We can’t park that – it’s too big”, you know there’s a problem.  I bet if we arrived in a new Cadillac Escalade, his butt would find a spot big enough.

I know, it's as big as a Y van

The entrance was beautiful. 

When we registered, they asked if we wanted a goldfish in our room.  My response?  “Is it free?”  That’s a tacky response, but I’ve been to The Ritz before and been charged $10 for plastic cups.  And I am “cheap”, according to my first born.

He was free (or you wouldn't be seeing a picture of him)

His name was George Washington.   My kids changed his name to Toby.  Toby, really?  What about Patrick Henry or Harthacnut?  Or Edmund or Antonin?  Out of all the names in the world, they chose Toby.

Toby? Why Toby?

The room is nice and there are leopard print robes (I wish Lisa was still here).  I bet I’ll get charged for this.


There’s a phone by the toilet.  Now that’s convenient (how could you have a conversation with someone when you are sitting on the toilet?).

Admit it, we've all done it

There is a stairwell that looks like “Gone with the Wind”.

“Oh, Rhett! Please, don’t go! You can’t leave me! Please! I’ll never forgive you!”

Frankly my dear, I don't give a...

Their art is nice, but I think I could have painted it.

It's red and purple - pretty, but is this art?

I call this one "Yellow"

Their curtians (I mean drapes – sorry Miss Manners), are pretty and very, very big.

Nice drapes Monaco

Hallway reminds me of something from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

If you look at the rug too long it upsets your stomach

But the best part of Hotel Monaco besides the fact that the shower curtain smells good?  Free Cabernet in the lobby!  I feel more refined than ever.

My Dad Is Cheap

Posted by DJ


My Dad is so cheap. On the snow day, of course we got bored.  So, we were looking for something to do within walking distance of our house. There is a Bruegger’s Bagel and  a nail salon.  I suggested that we walk up to the shopping center, grab a bagel, and get our nails done.  My dad’s quick response?   “Do we have any gift certificates?”

“I don’t think so,” I responded, “we finished the nail one off last time we went.”   Well, he goes and checks for a gift card anyway, and sure enough finds one.  He was so excited and so were Stephanie and Michelle, until he said, “Wait, it only has $4.00 left…what else could we do today?”  And sure enough we did not end up getting our nails done, but went to a movie instead because we had a gift card.  But we forgot it so we had to pay full price.

So cheap

The Check Arrives!

Posted by Danny

We discoverd that this check has been in DJ’s coat pocket since December 9!  It was meant to pay for her school lunches.  Has she not used her pockets in the month of December?  With a mom who worked at her school, this was not a problem.  We’re all still learning…

Teacher Gifts (on the cheap!)

Posted by Danny

Thank you ma’am, Thank you ma’am…

Teacher gifts were getting me down.  I talked to three moms and all were purchasing gift certificates.  With 3 kids and 17 teachers, if you only spent $5 each, that would be 85 bucks.  Damn!  I’m not spending that much on Uncle Jesse and he’s my kids’ second parent right now!

The family gathered around the kitchen bar to discuss our dilemma.  What if we made hot chocolate and delivered doughnuts before school?  What if Jesse played the guitar and we individually caroled to each teacher?  They’d laugh and feel special.  I’d save $65!

Sung to Jingle Bells (four Tanners and Jesse singing at the top of our lungs):

Dashing through the halls
In a Lands End uniform
Each morning you greet us
With smiles so big and warm
We thank you for the things
You each us everyday
We know that grades are coming soon
We hope we get straight A’s

Thank you, sir
Thank you, sir
Thank you, Mr. Sheer
Thanks for all you do for us
We thank you, Mr. Sheer

(The chorus was individualized for each teacher)

I watched the reaction from teachers and kids as we paraded through the St. Timothy’s halls – singing and laughing (17 times).  And for the first time, I felt like they were thinking “That’s a cool family,” not, “I feel sorry for them.”

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