To Pee Or Not To Pee, that is the question…

I think that one day I might implode.

There are times that I’m juggling so many things, I strategically have to ponder how I will get them all completed.

The other morning, I decided I could make it to Super Cuts for a quick trim before heading to school to see Stephanie receive a Senior Dance Award.  It was 10:38 AM and the Awards Assembly started at 11:20.

I walked in the door, and the one employee shared that two folks were in front of me.  I asked how long that would take.  She estimated she would have me in the chair by 11:00.  I did the math – that’s about 11 minutes a cut.  If I got in the chair by 11, I’d be done by 11:11.  I figured the drive to school was about 7 minutes so I assumed I’d arrive with sixty seconds to spare.

As 11 approached, I had the urge to pee.  Super Cuts does not have a public bathroom.  Hmm.  I didn’t plan for that in the schedule.

At 11:02, she was sweeping the gray hair off the floor from the gentleman who had preceded me.

Sweep faster!  I thought.

She called me over at 11:04.  I sat.  She snapped the hug bib around my neck.  The store phone rang.  She walked away.

Dag gone…

I pondered leaving.  But I’d invested nearly 30 minutes of my life to this point, and I was looking pre-tty scraggly.  I then questioned how long I could hold my bladder off.

I could skip the haircut, drive to school, pee and easily make it to the assembly by 11:20.  Or, I could go for the cut, hold it in until she was recognized, and then take a leak.  And even then, I might be late.

This Is not an unusual dance in my mind.  I am constantly working to pack as much in as humanly possible, often to the detriment of the tasks I am to accomplish and to my own mental wellbeing!

She walked back over.  I had to decide.

“I’m in a hurry, please just trim it up.  I’m trying to get to my kid’s award’s assembly.”

I figured if she cut less hair, it would take less time.

I estimated I could control my bladder until 11:45.  Certainly by then she would have had her moment on stage.

At the end of the cut, the stylist offered to get a warm towel to wipe off my neck.  I LOVE a warm towel on my neck!  But I refused it.  I also refused the receipt, which I never do.

I bolted out to my car, ran through two yellow lights, and pulled into St. Mary’s school on two wheels.

I walked into assembly and the dance teacher was speaking.  As soon as I took my seat, she invited Stephanie on stage.

I clapped, then peed, then sighed in relief.

Damn, I must be living right!

Finding the Parking Lot


I woke her up at 7 AM which was the usual time.  At 7:35, I walked to the bottom of the staircase to give instructions for the afternoon before I left the house.

“Stephanie, please pick Michelle up from school at 5:15.  I’ll be home at 6.”

I heard a scramble.  She had to be at school by 8 and her feet had not yet hit the ground.  She grumbled that she would indeed pick up her sister as instructed.

As I got in my car, I received a text message.

Dad, I don’t know how to get to the parking lot at school.

This was her first day driving alone to school.  This was the first time she had to find her parking space.

I texted back, Didn’t you ride with DJ to school your entire freshman year?  Didn’t you park in that lot for 180 consecutive school days???

The three questions marks that followed my words would come back to haunt me.  They clearly sent the message that I thought she was directionally deficient.  Which she is.  But I didn’t need to remind her at 7:38 AM when she was clearly having a worse than average morning.

She called.  “You are so mean to me!”

“I’m sorry.  I just thought after being at St. Mary’s School for girls for three years, you would know how to get to the parking lot.”

The for girls was unnecessary.  It was like my dad calling me by my first, middle and last name when I was in trouble as a child.  I could have just as easily said school or St. Mary’s.  The for girls was my way of sharing my exasperation that she wasn’t attentive enough to be able to master this seemingly simple task on her own.  Perhaps it was even a dig at women in general, my connotation being that all were directionally inferior to men.

Although I know that not to be true, my youngest daughter perhaps has better directional intuition than I, I did spend the first 18 years of my life with a woman who could hardly find her way out of our driveway.

At one point my mother was driving by herself down I-95 to her parents’ house in Florence, SC, 85 miles due south of Fayetteville, NC, where we had lived for ten years at the time.  She had made the trek with my father monthly for that decade; a minimum of 120 trips.  Likely many more.

In Lumberton, she got off of I-95 south to go to the restroom.  She then got back on I-95 north to complete her trip south.  Forty-five minutes later she was shocked to see road signs welcoming her to the City of Dogwoods.  Yes, she was back in Fayetteville.

There was also the time she drove back from Florence and missed Fayetteville altogether realizing her mistake around Benson, a good 45 minutes north.

I told Stephanie to call me once she got to Hillsborough Street.  That I would try to talk her to the back entrance of the school.  It was a difficult conversation.

“Stephanie, the school is on a square block.  You simply have to follow the streets around it to get to the back.”

She needed more.

“I’m on Hawthorne Street.  How do I get there from here?”

“I don’t know.  I am unfamiliar with Hawthorne Street.  What do you see around you?”


“That is unhelpful.  Do you see any other streets?”

“There is one here called… Beneful or something like that…”

“Beneful?  That’s the powder I put in my juice to stay regular.  Just drive toward the school!  You’re bound to find it.”

And she did, making it to class on time.

I need to watch my words and my tone.  But dag gone, sometimes I just can’t think like they do.

Dance Coach Danny

DJ is in this dance troop at school. It’s called Orchesis. I think it’s Greek for “shake yo’ bootie.”

This spring, all of the juniors and seniors get to perform a solo. They pick their own music and choreograph their own moves. It’s pretty cool to see.

Since my big debut as a dancer in A Christmas Carol, I thought it appropriate for me to sort of give her some guidance as she began to brainstorm about her performance.

“DJ, you need to be creative. In past years, a lot of the solos have looked the same.”

“What do you mean dad?”

“Well, they all throw themselves on the floor, thrust their chests out, gracefully hold out their limbs… I mean, they look good and all, but it’s the same. You need to come up with some new moves.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about…”

“They all do the same thing – you know, like this:”

I think she got the point. I’m looking forward to her creativity.

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La Discoteca


I just discovered that my daughter is smarter than I am.  I knew it was coming.  Last year she put together some science mumbo-jumbo she’d learned in class to determine that her soy allergy was also acting up because she ate blue cheese.  Apparently they have some bacterial, ameboid, genome connection or something.

The only thing I learned in Mr. Seymour’s biology class was that the crush I had on Janice Templeton was stronger than I had ever imagined.  She sat right in front of me – whew.  That tight red sweater.  Oh, and Mr. Seymour’ derriere was out of proportion to the rest of his body.  Fascinating to watch.

I had to go with DJ to Parent’s Day on Friday at St. Mary’s. I think she would have been fine to go alone.  However, I would never pass up the opportunity to hang out with my baby.  We’re like peas and carrots.

Our first stop was Honors Biology.  We, well she, used the Bunsen burner.  I had hoped to heat up my coffee, but nooo, we had to put on these goofy goggles and burn wooden sticks with various elements from the periodic table dipped on their end.

Did you know cadmium makes fire turn green?  It’s fantastic.

I got no use for that Periodic Table.  You can’t even eat off of it.  And by the way, what is cadmium and what does it do?  I’ve never used the stuff myself.

The Environmental Science teacher invited parents to email her if we wanted to be guest lecturers.  I do.  I want to talk to this all-girls school about using less toilet paper.  It could save the planet.

But the most interesting class I attended with my 16-year-old was Spanish III.  El profesoro began by telling the parents that our participation that day would reflect on our children’s grades.  I have a smart one, so I knew that she could take a zero for just one day.  However, his enthusiasm drew me in.

We had to recite a Spanish tongue twister:  Juan junta juncos junto a la zanja.  Im not sure, but I think it means “John isn’t going to the jungle for a zebra.”

He then called me out.  “Senor Tanner.”


And then he threw out a slew of words I could not comprehend.  My answer?


Apparently that was not good enough.  He wanted me to make up a sentence about my daughter from the list of vocabulary words he had presented at the beginning of the class.

Some of the words weren’t working for my sentence, like fea (which means ugly), la discoteca (night club) or loco (crazy).

My ugly daughter goes crazy at the night club.  Nah – not appropriate for Parents’ Day. 

I settled with “Yo orgullosa mi daughtero.”

“Don’t use that Fred Sanford Spanish with me Senor Tanner!” my professor scolded.  “Just adding an O at the end of a word.  That won’t cut it in here!”

“Pero el professoro, ‘daughter’ wasn’t on your definition list.”

The rest of the day was nice.  I got to see DJ dance which always makes me happy.  She’s just got so much on the ball.  A heck of a lot like her mother I think.

The Spanish teacher seems like fun.  I think I’m gonna invite him a la discoteca – buy him una cerveza o dos.  Maybe insuro an A-o.  Come to think of it, it would we wise-o to also include el calculoso professoro too!

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