Dad!!! You’re SO old!!

Happy Birthday Danny Tanner! You are officially very elderly. That’s right folks – it’s the big 5-0. This is DJ Tanner reporting from Washington, DC. Since I will not be home to celebrate the milestone of my father being alive for half a century and since I am a broke college student that didn’t want to pay for shipping, I decided to give the gift of some kind words for all the world to see in this surprise blog post. Even though you may not understand every single inside joke, without further ado, I give you “50 Things We Love About Dad,” with much love from Michelle, Stephanie, and DJ Tanner. (Don’t be fooled, some of these pictures are old, so he looks younger).

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We love…

1.  His unique bowtie collection and his overall sense of style (even though we bash it occasionally). We love the bowtie thing, because he taught us how to tie them…and that’s how we get all of the cute boys.

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2. His stash of gum and sweet tarts in the car (that we all know he LOVES to share).

3. His funny voices/accents.

4. His ability to do something hilarious on command that oftentimes ends with one of his children wetting their pants.

5. His inability to naturally smile in pictures unless his children are tickling his chin.ry=400 me&dad

6. His knowledge of the daddy handbook. (Example: “excerpt from page 834, Daddy’s may tickle their daughters, but they may not tickle back.”)

7. His devotion to constantly remind us that “he loves us the mostest.”

8. His goober reading glasses that make him look at least 73.

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9. His lap for sitting.

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10. His motherlike actions – including, but not limited to, knowing the most recent girl fashion, understanding the need for manicures and eyebrow waxing, and the instinct to leave us alone at that time of the month.

11. His obsession with Chick-Fil-A, making it so that every road trip consists of at least three stops to our second home (Chick-fil-A that is).

12. His love handles, even though we know he hates them..

13. And his dedication to P90X because of them.

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14. His cheap spending habits. (Not sure which sister came up with this one, but it was not DJ).

15. His dedication to color coding his shirts in his closet.

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16. His willingness to play “Don’t come in my kitchen,” even when he has had a long day and when his children probably should have grown out of wanting to play this family game.

17. His ever growing pig collection.

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18. His pajamas – including his scrubs, his holey underwear, and his beloved slippers.

19. His commitment to his yard.

20.His addiction to the “Candy Crush” iPhone game.

21. His ability to edit college essays and election speeches.

22. His instinct to cheer us up with his crazy humor when we are stressed over a silly assignment.

23. His patience with technology. He’s not very good at it yet, but he tries. Remember that one time he deleted everything on his phone?

24. His tradition of writing us crazy poems in our lunch boxes or camp mailboxes. Here is an excerpt from a really long poem for when I went to college.

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25. His cooking. Well…not really, but we like to watch him think that he can cook fish and then watch him order Chinese food (our favorite) when it doesn’t work out.

26. His taste in music – he has taught us some oldies which we have fallen in love with.

27. His bravery when allowing each child to have 10 friends over all in one night.

28. His patience when all 30 of these kids stay up all night, or insist on cooking pancakes at 4 in the morning (true story).

29. His faith.

30. His back pocket from which he can always pull out old YMCA skits and ideas.

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31. His dancing skills. Specifically his waltzing in “A Christmas Carol” and his shagging.

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32. His love for his mom’s chocolate cake and the fact that he can eat the whole bowl of extra icing in one sitting.

33. His inability to drop us off at summer camp or college without crying paired with his ability to pretend like he isn’t crying, by putting on sunglasses.

34. His “blonde” hair.

35. His determination to teach us how to ride a bike back in the day.

36. His dedication to making sure we all have dates for all of our all girl school dances.

37. His team spirit.

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38. His insistence on taking family pictures when nobody else wants to.

39. His Christmas card making skills.

40. His ability to take a joke. Remember when we froze your underwear? Hid your slippers? Short-sheeted your bed?

41. His love for crab hunting at the beach.

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42. His skill for making our lunches look like “faces” on the plate, and his actions as we pretend to eat each body part. (Example: you eat the ears made of carrots, Dad can’t hear anymore!)

43. His book and his blog. We also like being the cover of his book.

44. His three cups of coffee in the morning and his dump afterwards. I’m not sure where any of us would be without this daily routine.

45. His interest in being involved in our schools. We like that he knows what’s going on and that he occasionally helps out on a committee or two.

46. His confidence when having the “…now what kind of tampons did you want” conversation on the phone in the middle of Target.

47. His second silly verse to “Sanctuary” that he made up and taught all three of us. Seriously, ask us and we will sing you a completely made up verse, synchronized.

48. His constant need to keep the house tidy.

49. LOUISE!

50!! Ep nom duppi duppi.

Another Year, Another Wrinkle

I’ve got a birthday this week.  I turn 47.  And yet I don’t feel a day over 46.

Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and wonder what in the hell happened?

Since when did my hair turn white?  Not only on my sideburns and around my temples, but the stuff is taking over my chest.  Out with the brown, in with the gray!

It’s like old man kudzu.  And I’m not excited about where it might appear next.

The older I get, the more grooming I do.  As if showering and shaving isn’t enough every day, I now have to hunt for rogue hair all about my being.

Oh there’s a thatch growing out of my nostril.  A pompom of fuzz protruding from my ear canal.  And the one, only one, standing fully erect right on the top of my left shoulder-blade.

My eyebrows remind me of the fringe on my grandma’s handmade afghans.  I could serve spinach dip out of the crevices in my forehead.  Not only do I need glasses to read the menu at a restaurant, I also can’t see my food without them.  Imagine my surprise when the blurry “carrots” I bit into turned out to be rutabaga.  YUCK.

My grandfather, Woodrow, had a forehead the size of Montana.  And as Spurgeon, the other, added years to his life, his ears expanded like a Magic Towel wash cloth.  What a future.

I pee all the time, and there’s a 3″ x 3″ patch of skin on my back that’s as dry as a bone.  “Oooooo Dad!  What is that?  Scabies?”

“No!  It’s not scabies!!  It’s dry skin – it’s called eczema.”

“You need to get that checked out.  It’s gross.”

My girls are outstanding at pointing out all my flaws.

“You’re belly is jiggly!”  “You have warts on your feet.”  “I didn’t know you could get pimples at such an old age.”

I’m thankful I had the opportunity to develop a strong self-esteem before I had girls nearing the teenage years.

They haven’t discovered the vein that’s popping out around my right ankle although they relish the opportunity to discuss the volume of lint that collects in my bellybutton.  “Pull it out dad, I need a new scarf for winter.”

Where does that stuff come from and why is it in my navel?  I feel like a dryer.

I’m like an old house that needs major repairs.  I’m just not sure I could recoup the investment.

Gift Usage

 
Posted By Jesse
Gift-giving is not one of my biggest strengths. Lisa was an amazing gift-giver but I think it’s because it gave her an excuse for more shopping. But even beyond picking things out, she had that sort of mind that was always thinking about the next birthday or Christmas coming up. Typically by the time Christmas shopping season came around, she was already done, having kept a watchful eye out for presents while on trips and vacations. I’m more of the “how late are you open on Christmas Eve?” kind of guy.
 
The other thing Lisa and Danny are both good at is establishing “themes” for birthdays and Christmas for the kids: they let you know what the big thing is going to be and it helps you pick a relevant accessory. Plus, if the kid is already excited about said big ticket item, they’re that much more likely to be excited about every related gift. It’s a win-win. When DJ got her cell phone, I got her a case. When Michelle got a big art easel, I gave her cool crayons and other supplies.

the picture belies the excitement of first piercing

This year one of Stephanie’s Christmas themes was EARRINGS! She got her ears pierced just before Christmas and must have gotten 30 pair of them in December to get her collection started. I joined in the theme: I got her an earring stand and a little wooden box with a design on it to hold loose ones. I was pleased with the purchase.

But not as pleased as I was a few weeks later when I first noticed that she actually uses them! Typically I’m happy if my gift gets picked up after the wrapping comes off; seeing it put to practical use is a whole new ball game.
 
Being thoughtful and sweet is something Stephanie comes by naturally, but I have learned that putting presents to use is a specific skill that she has inherited from Danny’s mother. From what I have been told she has an extra gene that allows her to mentally label every sweater or serving tray or electronic device that she ever received as a present with the name of the giver. Then, if that person is visiting, she will being wearing or using the gift. Not only that, she does it naturally, never seeming like she’s planned it this way, so it really does seems as if you have always given her the perfect gift.
 
Michelle has been learning in cotillion about the proper way to receive a compliment. Stephanie and her grandmother could teach classes on the best way to receive a gift, a way that makes the giver feel good. It’s a gift they have.

A Gift For Us

Posted by Danny

Today would have been Lisa’s 41st birthday.  I’m on a cruise – I just can’t face these days at home.

But I think that she has given me a gift on this, her birthday.

On February 14, 2010, Lisa wrote me a Valentine’s Day card.  It was ten days before she died. 

For some reason, I did not open it that night.  She was sick and I just never got around to it.  In fact, I didn’t decide to open it until the day after her funeral.

When I sat in my chair in the den and opened the red envelope, I was scared that I was going to be disappointed.  That perhaps she would have just signed her name.

I was not. 

It wasn’t a long card, but it was the most beautiful, selfless thing I’ve ever read.

I have written that I have very little guilt associated with Lisa’s death.  I think I did all that I could – and perhaps I have that clear conscience because she wrote that in this card. 

It was a message from the one I loved who told me not to worry, not to feel responsibility for the outcome of her disease – that I had done all that I could do.

It was a  get out of jail card from the only person who could issue such freedom. 

Although I was totally unprepared for Lisa’s death, my wife knew she was going to die and wasn’t about to let that keep the rest of us from living.  Instead of resentment toward those who were able to stay behind, she showered them with love and offered us an invitation to move forward without her. 

She gave us the gift of a clear conscience; she gave us the gift of a guilt free future.

Happy Birthday Baby.  And thank you.

Sadlacks or Bust

Posted by Danny

When I was a kid we lived on Birkshire Road in Fayetteville, NC.  Our house was the one where every kid would spend the entire summer.  The boy across the street would arrive at our house at 8 am and my mom would finally kick him out at dusk.  We’d play hide in go seek, boyland and girlland (I won’t go into the details but let your mind run wild!), and once my older brother had us shoot darts at people’s bare butts – the kind of dart with a suction cup on the end.  Being the younger brother, I was never the target – primarily because I was a tattle tail and he knew better.  I don’t think they ever stuck, but it was a remarkable thing to try.

Lisa and I had talked about wanting to be the house where kids were comfortable hanging out.  I think she thought she’d have a better chance getting the poop on all of the boys.  I just like people and noise.  I also like to think of myself as cool.  My oldest daughter would not concur – but I’ve seen some of her friend’s dads and I’m really not that bad (no offense dudes). 

It hit me late last spring.  With Lisa gone, there was a good chance that my kids would not have the same social opportunities as others.  In our world, Lisa was the inviter – she invited people to dinner, she invited kids for play dates, she invited kids over to spend the night, she coordinated and invited to their birthday parties.  I greeted the pizza man at the door and made sure he was paid.  If I didn’t do something, my kids would spend their birthdays around our kitchen bar with a Food Lion cake and four grandparents cheering them on, period.  I had a new role to play – I’d seen her do it.  Certainly with my background as a Y camp counselor and my  incredible role model in Lisa, I could handle the kids’ social activities.

My first attempt was a birthday party for Stephanie.  We invited 12 girls for dinner at a local pizza joint, followed by popsicles at Loco Pops and then…the sleepover.  I let Michelle have a friend over and threw in two for DJ.  Grandparents helped with transportation.

After we ate, I took Michelle and Stephanie and their friends and headed out on Hillsborough Street near the NC State campus.  It was about a five block walk from pizza to popsicles.  With the grandfolks blocks behind us, the 16 of us started chanting Y songs as we strolled down the road.

Form the Orange

Form form the orange

Peel the orange

Peel peel the orange

Squeeze the orange

Squeeze squeeze the orange

The songs had motions and we all sang at full capacity.  As we walked by the outdoor seating at Porter’s, a local restaurant, the diners lobbed out support – “Isn’t that cute.”

We eventually hit Sadlack’s, an institution in Raleigh:  an outdoor bar with live music, a very eclectic crowd.  I wasn’t sure how the clientele would respond to our fruity melodyies.  I was pleasantly surprised, “Whoa, whoa – way to go old man!”  “Check that dude out!”  “You need this (holding out his beer) more than I do!”  I felt like a rock star.

I’ve tried to continue to support my kids when they want to bring friends in.  Tonight, we have the school cheerleading squad over – about 15 girls.  They are dancing, they are laughing, they are LOUD!  And they are awesome.

I’m really not that cool.  They don’t give me the time of day.  But I know that if Lisa could see this, she’s be smiling from cheek to cheek.

Oh, and rest assured I locked up all of the suction darts before the party started!

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