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!

Purchase Danny’s Book Laughter, Tears and Braids: Amazon or Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh

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I Can’t Even Imagine

Posted by Uncle Jesse

I almost wrote this post in February (hence the attempt at an avant-garde photo of the Tanner house Valentine’s wreath). It recently became relevant again.

Danny says he could take all the posts I’ve “almost written” and we’d have two blogs: The Real Full House blog and The Posts That Almost Made It Out Of Jesse’s Head And Onto The Real Full House blog. He’s a funny guy. But point taken–I’m not quite as good as Danny with the consistency piece.

Another thing I’m not as good as Danny at is listening. The guy is a human sounding board. I can’t imagine what it’s like for him having to feign interest in all the inane sports stuff I throw at him. Not that I think he’s a phony–he tells me his general interest in sports has grown (and I can attest that his knowledge has), and I believe him. Perhaps I just find it impossible for anyone else to care about the difference between the NBA and college basketball traveling rule. But you know what I’m good at? Talking. So I prattle on. And, even while cooking dinner, he plays the role of the engaged listener well, maintaining eye contact (glancing down briefly to empty the trash) and asking follow-up questions.

The same goes with stories about my weekends, my triumphs and frustrations with trying to start and grow and small business with my good friend, and the stupid MTV shows I watch. I don’t mean to suggest he gets nothing out of it–I do enjoy sharing music with him and I know he likes adding to his collection of tunes. I can’t yet tell if he’s sold on Chapelle’s Show, which I’ve been making him watch as Comedy Central replays them in summer, but he takes my word for it when I tell him the show was seminal, and thus puts up with the episodes I make him watch.

Some of my favorite conversations with him are about God. We talk about things we’ve read, or heard in church, or had explained to us but disagreed with. We both approach the subject with curiosity and humility. As Danny will attest, when I am certain I am right about something I will plow through any argument to the contrary (and enjoy the challenge along the way–perhaps a little too much). But most times these conversations involve phrases, “I think what makes the most sense in my head,” and “what I try to do is…”. The discussions always have the feel of two people trying to help each other learn more about a vastly complex subject, and I like that.

But there’s one thing that–though as we’ve talked about life and love and Lord, it has come up–I have trouble dumping on the guy:

How do you turn to a guy who lost his wife, best friend, lover, and mother to his three beautiful daughters….and complain about a broken heart?

Stranded! (without internet)

Posted By Uncle Jesse

Danny has been making this face for a couple of days. I know he’s able to keep perspective, but it really is frustrating when the internet is down at the house. But help is on the way–sometimes we wait out an internet glitch, but this one has persisted for a couple days so Danny called a a service guy.

I already knew Danny wrote a lot more than I did on the blog. He reminds me almost daily. What I didn’t know was just how clockwork-regular his posting had been. We had people calling and emailing the house making sure everything was ok when Danny didn’t post on Wednesday! Yes, readers, we are ok. The internet has been down, but somehow we have survived. I had to spend more time in a Starbucks than I would have liked sending in an article on Wednesday night, and Danny may have to atone for the cursing he did when he realized he lost some of his work when it went out, but all in all we came through it unscathed.

Here’s what’s been happening this week:

Tanners back in the Capital

I bet DJ wishes she had her sisters in D.C. with her this time

DJ took a trip with the rest of 8th grade to Washington, D.C. (with a stop at King’s Dominion on the way home!).  The picture to the left is actually from our D.C. trip in January. DJ doesn’t have her phone with her, so she hasn’t sent any pictures from this trip. Funny story about that phone….

Apparently the students were asked to not take their phones, only DJ heard from others that some parents were letting them. She told Danny she wanted to take her phone just to call/text to check in at night. Danny told her he didn’t think she was supposed to but he would check with some other parents to see what they were doing. But the discussion was interrupted and Danny forgot what was finally decided upon.

When the phone wasn’t where Danny thought he had last seen it when DJ left, he thought perhaps she had taken it with her. He wasn’t exactly ticked, because he admitted they had never really settled the matter. But he wasn’t exactly happy either. I was actually kind of curious as to how he would handle. But then I spotted her phone in her room. What a kid.

Blue Streak

One thing I like about the girls’ school is the traditions they have and keep year after year. One of the best is Blue-White Day, where the school is split down the middle–half Blue, half White–and the two sides compete against each other in a series of activities. Then the points are tallied and one side reigns supreme for the year.

it's not whether you win or lose, it's how you gear up beforehand

From what I’ve been told, White had been dominant for a number of years. But last year we reversed that trend, when the 3rd-5th grade Blue team members rallied late for the win. I was actually in attendance; Stephanie was a little upset at the time that Lisa would not be in attendance as she had been for every Blue-White Day. The Tanner girls don’t win a lot of heats in the competition, so it’s nice to get a hug for the effort. I filled in for Lisa, who did her part by smiling down upon the Blue team (or maybe to point talliers).

Well, Blue kept it going this year with another overall win! Stephanie practiced her hula-hooping and did her best. DJ was on a Blue basketball team…and had a cool outfit. I actually was unable to make it to this year’s Blue-White Day because….

Working Man

I’m starting a new job Monday. Overall this is a good thing, but it’s been a bit of a tough sell around the Tanner house. Stephanie wanted me to come to Blue-White Day again, but I had to train at the new job. I won’t be able to substitute teach and be around the school quite as much. I won’t be able to stop by for lunch (I wouldn’t say this was a weekly occurrence any way, but I did drop in with some Panera from time to time).

But they’ve been happy for me, too. Stephanie told me she was proud of me when I told her I’d be on the radio every day.

Have a good weekend, Real Full House readers.

Goofy Guys for Hire

Last month Jesse and I were asked to ref the St. Timothy’s teacher/student basketball game during spirit week.  I was so excited – but DJ put me in my place pretty quickly.  “Dad, the only reason kid’s like this game is because they get out of class.  It’s really not a big deal.” 

Regardless of whether the students had fun, Jesse and I thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

These are the teachers.  No wonder the kids won.

Jesse brought me a pair of gym pants from 1982 to wear during the game.  The elastic was from that era too.    As I felt them begin to sag, I figured why not take advantage of a good thing.  I let them fall to my ankles on multiple occasions throughout the game (I did have shorts on under them).  At the end of the day, DJ said, “I suppose after your father drops his pants in front of the entire school nothing more embarrassing can happen to you for the rest of your life.”  I wouldn’t count on that DJ.

 

At one point things were getting out of hand.  Teachers were tackling the kids as they took their free throw shots.  I had to protect the players.

 I believe this was right after we called a technical on Mrs. Iiames for giving DJ a B on her science project last year.   Two shots!  (We actually created an Eggspander for the project.  It was made out of cardboard.  It was designed to save space in your fridge by expanding or shrinking based upon how many eggs you were trying to store at any given time.  I was my idea!  Ingenious.)

Jesse also gave Coach Nowak a technical for too much homework.  The crowd went wild.

DJ was head cheerleader that day.  They performed their dance routine at half time.

I think I got confused and called a touchdown.  Remember, basketball isn’t my thing.

Jesse’s a pretty good ref…

When he’s not slacking off.  Who’s carrying the load?  As usual.

He even recruited a mini-referee to help him make the calls.  He’ll do anything to get out of work!

You need two goofy guys for an event?  You know who to call!

Tonight’s Dinner Special: Roast

POSTED BY JESSE

Since the girls wear uniforms to school all day, we do not have a dress code for the Tanner family dinner table (other than, you know, being dressed). It is advised, however, that you bring your layer of thick skin.

This family game has been played before, and will surely be played again, and I’m not even sure who started it last night, but it was probably the world’s funniest 8-year old girl, Michelle. It started with her (or someone else) declaring: “I’m going to be Jesse,” and proceeding to imitate the family member that has been named. Everyone else quickly follows suit by naming someone they will ape and soon we are sitting around the table having a “conversation” that consists of each person repeating their chosen subjects’ favorite meal-time catchphrase: Stephanie (as Danny) incessantly asked everyone how their day was, Michelle (as me) talked about watching basketball, etc.

But the real fun comes when we all take turns playing the same person at once. The script and performance are both pretty short, and I doubt Saturday Night Live will be beating down our doors any time soon, but we sure did crack each other up for about ten minutes. Even though the parroting typically consisted of a one-liner and a prop, some of them were pretty spot on. Here’s a quick review:

  • Michelle: singing loud and laughing; fidgeting and clinging on other people, even if they were trying to eat their own dinner; asking to be picked up and tickled. Best Actor award: Me, for my portrayal of Michelle at meals, rocking, kneeling on, or standing next to her stool while eating…and then going the extra absurd step of rolling on the dinner table.
  • Stephanie: a lot of OMGs and other “net-speak”; name-dropping of 5th grade boys that she “definitely does not like” even though their names are heard a lot; complaints about “tons of homework” that will somehow get finished before American Idol starts. Best Actor award: Danny, for his role as “slow-eating Steph”, pausing between bites to take in the scenery and chewing at a cow’s pace.
  • DJ: a lot of “Oh my gosh” (note: different from “OMG”–I guess net-speak becomes less cool around 8th grade) and other teenage tone and dialect, fast-flying thumbs and a refusal to look up from a newly purchased smart phone, play-by-play recaps of what happened in Latin and science classes, and a rundown of how incompetent/unfair the rest of the world is and how it is adversely affecting her. Best Actor award: Michelle, for her cheerleader routine and broadcasting the word of a newly purchased sports bra.
  • Me: donning of a baseball cap and lots of sports-talk; an eye-lock on my phone screen while announcing funny/interesting tidbits that are rolling across Twitter; responding to kids’ stories of the day with a different viewpoint on the situation or attempting to teach a lesson. Best Actor award: Stephanie, who moved to the piano to bang out some chords and sing at the top of her lungs. (am I really that loud?)
  • Danny (who, of course, tried to end the game before his name came up): reading glasses and dumbbells, weird exercise positions, commenting that everything would “make a good blog post”, not knowing how to work his phone. Best Actor award: DJ, who drew the night’s biggest laugh for her depiction of “Father drinking milk from the carton”, turning up the gallon jug and then exuding faux-machismo by strutting around the kitchen talking about how it’s “my milk” because he “bought it from Harris Teeter”.

And with that, this round of Tanner family roasting was concluded.

Some people might think we’re cruel to each other, but I think if observed objectively most would conclude it’s a net positive: everyone gets a fair share and we don’t really dwell on others’ insecurities as much as their habits. And it can be funny and sometimes quite revealing to see which words and actions you put out there, and what the first thing that comes to someone’s mind when they’re “being you.”

Additionally, I have conceded that when it comes to physical pain, the Tanner girls are kind of wimpy and there’s not a whole lot I can do about it. I have induced tears from what I perceived to be light tickling and caused seemingly (at the time) irreparable damage to fingers during attempted sports outings in the driveway. I know they didn’t grow up being mercilessly flung into bushes and tackled onto tree roots by Ryan Combs, the 6-foot 6th grader with whom I played backyard football in my youth, but I had hoped to at least teach them the “brush off the dirt and keep going” routine. I don’t think it’s going to happen.

But there are different types of wimpy, and I can tell you that the Tanner girls are going to be emotionally resilient and mentally stalwart, armed to handle the inevitable rejections and insults that will come their way as they grow and learn. Hopefully, they won’t need all the good training we’re giving them in how to let things slide off your back. And hopefully they’ve already faced the toughest thing they’ll ever have to get through.

Take that Paul!!

Posted by Danny

Stephanie scored a goal at her Y basketball game last week!  For our family, that is a BIG deal.  I may rent out the Civic Center and throw a party to celebrate.

Although I’ve been a runner throughout my life, I’ve never really mastered a team sport.  One of my first full-time jobs out of college included running a fairly large youth basketball league here in Raleigh.  When I called my dad to tell him I got the job and began describing my new responsibilities, he said, “I’m glad you have medical insurance, I’m taking you off our policy,”  followed by, “YOU are running a sports league!?” 

I did play basketball in a church league when I was in third grade.  I remember two things about that season.  First I remember that a kid named Paul spit on me at practice.  Second, the third graders were allowed to play in one game that season.  Our team was up by 25 points so Coach Ancherico put the third string in.  I was the point guard.  We played at Horace Sisk Gymnasium in my hometown, Fayetteville, NC.  It felt like the Dean Dome to a small kid like me.   There were maybe two minutes left.  My buddy Steven threw the ball in to me.  Seconds later I heard a whistle.  The ref, with a condescending smile, yelled “Traveling.  Blue ball.”  I had forgotten to dribble.  It seemed like the entire gymnasium snickered, “Ahh, the little third grader forgot to dribble.  Isn’t that cute.”  It wasn’t cute.  It was humiliating.  My teammates weren’t happy.  I had blown one of only two offensive possessions we would have the entire  season. 

I don’t think that’s when Paul spit on me, but it may have precipitated his ongoing frustration the following week at practice when the loogie was launched on my bright orange jersey.

So you can imagine my pride when my kid, the shortest kid on the team, sunk a basket for the world to see.  Take that Paul!

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