A Cape and A Top Hat; top that!

Posted by Danny

I guess that everyone has certain dreams – things they hope to have happen before they depart from this earth.  I have a laundry list.  Some are huge:  winning $100,000,000 (or more) in the lottery, sincere happiness, seeing my girls grow up into successful women.

Some are not so big, like learning to hit the golf ball with a 3-wood (well, that one would be huge).

This weekend, three items on my ‘not so big’ bucket list are coming true – and all in one day!  I’m about to explode with excitement – and I am not the excitable type.

I was afraid that since my A Christmas Carol family was poor, the Candlestick Makers, I’d end up with a tiny beanie of a hat with my costume.  When I went in for my fitting, that’s exactly the direction things were heading.  In fact, the drawer with the little ones was open and the costume lady was reaching in when all of a sudden she glanced up at the counter. 

“We do have these top hats that are a little beat up.  Would you rather have one of those?”

I tried to contain my excitment! 

“I’m flexible…”, but visions of Abraham Lincoln were dancing through my head.  How cool is it to wear a top hat?  That’s not something a man gets to do on a regular basis.  In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever worn one in public.  Think of Fred Astaire, the Cat in the Hat, frigging Uncle Sam!  And me:  Danny Tanner!

And to top it off, another bucket list item has also come true thanks to my favorite costume designer.  I get to wear a cape!  The only part of my costume I hadn’t seen when I entered the dressing room on Saturday was my outer wear.  When I found a navy cape hanging by my plaid pants and form-fitting vest, I nearly collapsed to my knees in gratefulness. 

I draped it over my shoulders and ran through the lobby as if I were Dracula.  What if guys wore capes these days?  How dandy would it be to walk from the downtown parking deck to the church sanctuary on Sunday morning – top hat and cape to keep you warm (and to keep you cool if you know what I mean).

Jesse actually has a black cape.  Some friend of his made it for him years ago.  I’ve never asked why –

He doesn’t know this, but sometime I put it on when no one else is home and sneak through the house pretending to be a 17th century Russian spy.

And to top it all off, on Saturday, I get to wear my entire costume in the Raleigh Christmas Parade!  I’ll actually walk by my church – so it will kind of be like I’m wearing these duds in my regular life.

A top hat, a cape and a parade – all in one day!  A little Danny Tanner heaven right here on earth.

If you’re there, keep an eye out for me.  I shouldn’t be hard to find.

The Great Clothes Migration, Part 2, The Stephanie Saga

Three weeks of work...

Look - they're all folded!!!

Posted by Danny

People in this family just aren’t normal.

On Saturday I began the Great Clothes Migration, Part 2, the Stephanie Saga.

The two of us headed up to her room and began the process.  I had her strip down to her underwear and bra so that the changing could go faster.  When we start, I focus.  No time for play or snacks or lunch or bathroom.  On – off – quick decisions! 

About 15 minutes into it, I heard noises coming from DJ’s room.  I opened the door to find DJ, Jesse and Michelle brewing up some mischief.  Apparently they had been in bed acting like they were taking a nap in the hopes that I’d come in and stir a ruckus.  But I didn’t have time for their junk.  I had work to do – Mount Kilimanjaro of clothing awaited.

Without pause, they looked at Stephanie who was about to undergo four hours of agony, and began to sing a popular song – but they changed the words from “Yellow and Black” to “Panties and Bra.”  She grinned at first but both of us grew tired quickly.  We shut her door and went on about our business.

About ten minutes later, we heard chanting outside.  Looking out of her second floor window, we noticed something unusual – three people, on the roof, glaring in the window at us.  It began with the same chant, followed by skipping by the window, dancing by the window and spinning by the window.  The grand finale was a slight mooning courtesy of Uncle Jesse (for someone with a butt as big as his, even a slight moon is fairly obvious).

Now that Stephanie was fully distracted, I’d had enough.  My glare showed my disapproval.

The show appeared to end.

About ten minutes later, DJ came in to see if she could help. 

“Do I need your help?  Yes.  Are you capable of helping?  From the looks of things, I’m doubtful.”

“I’ll help you but it’s hot up here.  Can you turn the heat down?”

Stephanie chirped in, “I’m comfortable.”

DJ replied, “You’re in your bra and panties.”

“Well I’m the one trying on all the clothes!”

“Fine, I’ll put on my sports bra with shorts and help.”

The next thing I knew, DJ and Michelle were in the room in sports bras and shorts.  I heard them holler downstairs, “Jesse, we’re having a shirtless clean out party upstairs.  Come join us”

“Un.”  I knew what that meant.

It took about ten seconds for him to show up.  Shirt off, hairy chest and stomach grossing me out.

They left the room and found Jesse a sports bra to help make him a bit more presentable. 

He claims he “helped” with the Great Clothes Migration this year.  I think “helped” is a strong word.

Jesse was about as much help as the Justin Bieber cut out.

This is the give away pile for my friend Paige. Better bring a U Haul.

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!

The Great Clothes Migration, 2010

I’ve learned to loath The Great Clothes Migration at our house. 

Twice each year, we go through all of the drawers and closets in our house.  It’s time to move the winter clothes out and the summer clothes in.  DJ’s hand me downs are shipped to Stephanie’s room.  Stephanie’s to Michelle’s.  Michelle’s go into three piles  1) trash 2) really special items we want to keep so that my attic will have a purpose and 3) the give away pile to a very dear friend who has two daughters a little younger than mine.

Yesterday we attacked DJ’s room.  I think I’m going to have to take a week off from work to recover.

DJ is a beautiful young woman who makes very good grades.  She is self confident and a leader.  She was honor camper at resident camp last summer.  She’s just an outstanding all around kid – I am so proud of her.  And, she’s a slob.

After about 30 minutes in her room, I considered calling Caterpiller to see if I could rent a Backhoe.  I discovered:

*15 unmatched socks throughout her room – four of them in her bathing suit drawer

*Enough fingernail polish to paint the nails of every 13 year old in South  America

*Single Benedryl tablets from the bathroom to the closet  and everywhere in between

*Femine products galore!

*A cup from the kitchen

and to top it off,

*Two of my good spoons under her bathroom sink!!

Is she eating cereal on the toilet?  Why would you have spoons under your bathroom sink?

The pile of clothes that don’t fit any longer mirror the local landfill – they just don’t smell as bad. 

She just drops paper – I think she has a neurological issue that keeps her from being able to throw things in a trash can. 

I’m about to take a nap to build up enough grit to tackle Stephanie’s room next weekend.  I’ve given her the seven day warning – we all need to get mentally and physcially prepared. 

I’d rather have three teeth extracted than to spearhead The Great Clothes Migration of 2010.

By the way, we’re missing one bear slipper. 

If you find one, please return it to me.  How do you lose an item this big?

Dad Knows Fashion

Posted by Danny

I never took cotillion.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps my parents couldn’t afford it or maybe my mom thought I was already mannerly enough.  Or more likely, she felt like it was a hopeless cause.

My wife did come from a cotillion family.  She and her siblings all suffered through but I think it paid off.

DJ has completed cotillion, however, if you eat at the dinner table with us, you might find that difficult to believe.  Stephanie is enrolled this year.

I did learn something from the cotillion handbook.  If you are out with a woman and you come to a revolving door, the man should go through first if it is stopped in order to push it and getting it moving.  I assume most women don’t have the physical strength to push something as cumbersome as a door.  If the door is already in motion, the man should wait and allow the woman to go through before he enters.  I was intrigued by this knowledge and can’t wait to approach a revolving door with one of my  daughters to put this learning to use.

Last Friday was the cotillion ball at North Ridge Country Club.  You know what that means … the outfit.

When will Stephanie learn to listen to me?  I am a man with style.  I made the switch to bow ties 15 years ago before it was the trendy thing to do.  You may have seen my Allen Edmonds.  I keep my dress shirts in order according to their color.  Nothing excited Lisa or my daughters more than taking a pink shirt and putting it in the middle of the blues.  So – I’m a little type A (I’m not nutty about my shirts being in order, I just sort of like them color coordinated when possible).

I was determined not to purchase a new dress for the ball.  Thankfully, several mothers took pity on me and offered their daughters’ old dresses for Stephanie to choose from.  We narrowed it down to three.  Two were white.  One was not that bright white but a similar color – just more yellowish.  I guess that’s off white or cream. 

I pushed her toward the white dress because – 1) she had really white shoes and 2) she had really white gloves.  Made sense to me that she should wear the really white dress to match.  I’m not sure she believed me, but she did like that dress and decided to follow my lead.

Next we had to discuss shoes.  Early in the cotillion year, a boy stepped on Stephanie’s toe when she was wearing sandals.  It bled and she actually lost half of the toenail.  Ever since the Fox Trot injury, she has been petrified of dancing with these boys without steel toed boots protecting her petite digits.  I almost thought I was going to have to take her to a therapist to begin getting her ready for sorority formals in the future.

We already owned a pair of dress sandals.  They were fancy and complimented her really white dress quite nicely.  Stephanie went to Target on Thursday afternoon and conned her grandmother into buying her a pair of flat white shoes for proetection.   She’d asked me to buy these same shoes the week before but I told her I thought she needed something dressier.  Nothing wrong with the shoes but we already had a pair that were perfect for a classy event at the country club.

“Stephanie.  I don’t think those are fancy enough for your dress.”

“I don’t care.  I DON’T want another toe injury.  That hurt.”

Jesse jumped in to defend her, “I think they look fine.”

This coming from a guy who is considering giving all of hisshort sleeved shirts away and replacing them with 10 white v-neck tees to simplify his apparently complex life.

“Input not needed Jesse.”  I moved on.  “That’s fine.  Try them on.  Then go show DJ.”

The eyes rolled – not only does she look like Lisa, her mannerisms are falling nicely into place.

From the other room I heard, “DJ, what do you think of these shoes with this dress?”

“I think the sandals would look better with that dress.”

Yes!  Victory.

And what does she do?  She puts on the sandals and gives me no credit.

She's just beautiful!


To top off the outfit, she picked one of Lisa’s big pink scarves as a wrap.  I love it when the girls can wear a piece of Lisa’s jewelry or clothing.  It’s like they’re wearing a little piece of her. 

I’m sure lisa was smiling down on our adventure.  And I’m pretty sure she would have agreed with me on the shoe choice.

Dad, got any gum?

Posted by Danny (written last Sunday)

My trip responsibilities used to be:

1)      Carry all suitcases to the car after they were packed.

2)      Load the car.

3)      Get cash.

4)      Drive.

5)      Swim with the kids at the hotel (Lisa did NOT swim at indoor hotel pools).

6)      Carry all bags into the house when we returned home.

My have things changed. 

Packing:  I do pretty well at remembering the critical things that must accompany us on trips:  bathing suits, toothbrushes, rubber bands for hair.  It’s picking out the clothes that stresses me out.  I can’t imagine that we’d ever be in Boston in February and need shorts or flip flops.  But I pack them.  What if a heat wave rises from South America?  What if we unexpectedly get invited to a Hawaiian themed party when we get there?  My mother-in-law can fit two weeks’ worth of clothes in a book bag.  It’s a combo of good folding and strategic planning.  Not me.  What if someone pees in their pants?  Might need an extra outfit or two.

Shopping:  In Boston I went with DJ to a store to help pick out flats (that’s a type of women’s shoes) for the cotillion dance on Thursday.  Actually, she’d already been in the store with her Nana and Aunt Sallie, but since I was carrying the credit card, I got to make the final decision.  She asked for a size 8.  I made the woman bring an 8 ½ too.  I’m not sure why – when Lisa bought the kids shoes, there always seemed to be a lot of boxes sitting around; it seemed like one just wasn’t enough.  I had her stand up and walk and felt for her toe.  I’m pretty sure I came across as knowledgeable.  After that I looked at the saleswoman and at DJ and said, “What do you guys think?”

“The 8” they replied in unison. 

“Yeah – my gut was leaning in that direction too.”

Gum:  Does gum come with the pocketbook or do you have to buy it separately?  I’ve never met a woman who did not have gum or lifesavers on her person.  Men produce sweat.  Women produce lifesavers.  They never run out.   I’m now in charge of trip gum.

As kids my mom always made us split a piece of gum in half.  Until last year, I didn’t know you could fit an entire stick in your mouth.  And when I finally did chew a full Wrigley’s, I felt ashamed. 

“Dad, why can’t we have the whole piece?” 

“I don’t know, ask your grandmother next time you see her.”

Skipping and dancing:  Today at the airport, Michelle was holding my hand and said, “I like to skip.”  Although it was phrased as a comment, it was really a question.

“I like to skip too.  There’s a big, long open hallway right here.”  And off we went.  I thought I’d get some eye rolls but instead got warm smiles.  It gave me enough courage to take the next step (the airport wasn’t crowded).  I learned to Chasse and Grand Jete.  Took me about 12 tries, but once mastered, it was good enough for Michelle to brag on me to her siblings.  At least I think it was bragging, she said, “Everybody, everybody, look at Dad!” and she was laughing in a proud sort of way.

I might give Jesse some props too.  Yesterday at the nephew’s birthday party, he broke out some impressive moves to in Sync’s Bye Bye Bye.

I did do two things that are typical dad.  We ate dinner at Dunkin’ Donuts tonight and this morning I coaxed Stephanie into going to the lobby to fetch my coffee.  Some things never change.

Tights? Hose?

Michelle's tights. None of these fit anyone in this house.

Posted by Danny

When Lisa and I got married, I assumed we would merge our checking accounts.  My parents always had one account so I thought that’s how you did it.  I perceived some issues with a full merger.  I balanced my checkbook to the penny.  She balanced her checkbook each decade.  At one point she told me she had an extra $1,000 in her account that she just couldn’t account for.  It didn’t bother Lisa, she just called that her slush fund in the event she ever went below a zero balance.  When she died, she had $10,000 in her checking account…about $9,000 more than what her paper register showed.

I thought I would come into the marriage and enlighten her on finances, coming to her rescue.  What I quickly learned was that she did not want to be rescued or enlightened.  She was fine with her accounting measures.  She didn’t care that she had no idea how much money was in her account.  If the teller machine said there was $2,000 in there, that was fact.  It didn’t matter how many checks she’d written that were outstanding or what bills were coming up.  And I’ll have to admit that she did not once overdraw her account and she ALWAYS paid her credit card off at the end of each month. 

It sort of hurt my feelings that she did not want my help with her finances.  When I pressed her on why she didn’t want to merger our accounts, she said, “If I go spend $60 on hose at Belk, I don’t want you asking why I spent $60 on hose at Belk.”  And that was that.  For years I’d wondered if you could really spend $60 on hose.  In the past year, I have been enlightened on tights. 

*If you need a pair of white tights, you only have black, pink or gray.  If you need a pair of black tights, you only have white, pink or gray.

*There is a difference between white tights and off white tights.  One is whiter than the other.

*They never fit; but if four people pull on a pair long enough from different sides, a size 2T will fit a 13 year old.

*After you stretch them, they fit…until you get to church.  Then they shrink back to their 2T size and the crotch dangles around the ankles.

*When wearing tights, children often dig at their crotcheal region.  Hands up and under their skirts with no regard for where you are or who is around.

*You cannot wear a pair of tights for more than 37 minutes without developing a hole, rip, run or tear.

*When you wear tights, you are more prone to falling in parking lots and bleeding.  I don’t know why, but it is a fact.

(I am not sure if there is a difference between tights and hose.  From my perspective, they are the same thing.  However, I think women call them hose and girls call them tights.  Maybe girls call them tights because they are tight.  If women called them tights it might imply that they have big legs or something.  Again, I don’t know.  But I’m fairly sure they are the same thing.)

I do not think that females between the ages of 13 and 65 wear tights or hose.  Under 13, your parents make you put them on; when you reach 13, you simply refuse to wear them.  Over 65 you need the support.  That is why you see so many bare legged young to middle aged women in February.

I am thankful that I am a man.

The Laundry

Posted by Danny

Jesse can fold a fitted sheet like Martha Stewart.  It’s incredible.  When he gets through with it, it’s like it just came out of the Bed, Bath and Beyond wrapping.  I won’t brag about a lot he does around the house, but he has mastered that skill.  I don’t know if he took Home Economics or if it is just genetic.  His mom is the best folder I’ve ever met.

I was actually required to take a quarter of Home Ec in middle school.  Our teacher was Ms. McLaurin.  She was over six feet tall and had red hair, on her head and on her toes.  They hung off the end of her sandals about an inch.  I guess all of that tallness pushed them forward in her shoes.  I’m not a huge toe fan anyway.   I have to leave the room when the commercial about fungus under your toenails comes on.  It grosses me out.

I don’t remember much from the class but we did learn to change a bed with the person still in it.  Since I decided not to become a nurses’ assistant, I’m not sure what to do with that knowledge.  If you are ever in a position to change a bed with someone in it and need help, I’m your guy!

My buddy Brad is going to a really nice resturant with his wife this weekend.  Jesse is spending the night in Winston Salem visiting friends.  I went over to my friend Jeff’s house today, he was cleaning his gun – he has a really cute daughter, I think he’s getting ready for the future.  Me?  I’ve got a big weekend planned.  I’m doing laundry!  There are nine loads calling my name.

I wouldn’t mind doing laundry if the folding and shoving it back in the drawers wasn’t a part of the process.  And I’ll have to admit that my mother-in-law and mom do the lion’s share of it.  Sometimes with travel schedule, etc., it falls to me.  I guess that makes sense since I helped create the little bodies that wear all of these dag gone clothes.

We have differing philosophies on laundry in our house.

If DJ looks at an article of clothing, it automatically goes into her laundry bin.  The bin is large enough for Jesse and me to comfortably sit in together (although we’ve never done that) and it is always full.  I’m doing her laundry today, it will be full by tomorrow – and she is out of town.  I think there are little minions in her room who open her drawers at night and carry the clothes to the hamper.  It is truly amazing.  And when something she wants to wear is dirty, who do you think gets blamed?  It ain’t the minions.

Stephanie, on the other hand, is very good about refolding her outfits if she doesn’t wear them for long.  On Thursday she said she didn’t have any long pants to wear to school.  If she says that, it means I haven’t done laundry in a very, very long time.

When Michelle takes an article of clothing off, she typically asks me if it’s dirty.  That works for now.  But from the looks of her room, it is likely she will mirror DJ in her laundry habits.

Me?  Easy.  I take a good sniff.  If it doesn’t smell bad, it goes back on the shelf. 

I gotta go – Stephanie needs pants.

Meet The House Fashion Consultant

Posted by Uncle Jesse

That’s right. It’s me, baby.

I generally steer clear of discussions involving dress and style in the Tanner household. I’ve determined that I don’t care enough about what the girls wear to put in the work it would take for them to actually listen to me about it, so I don’t waste anyone’s time–theirs or mine–getting in the middle.

Sometimes I do have to stand up for Danny when he’s being hassled about a certain item looking “too old” or “not cool”. I remind the girls that they know next to nothing about what’s cool for a 45-year old man, despite what they may think. A perfect example would be Danny’s new shoes, which were panned by DJ but praised in the comment section.

Prediction: when viewed in retrospect, Uggs will be like the big hair and poofy shoulders I see in Lisa's high school yearbook

I also like telling the girls that no matter how “cool” they think they dress, it’s pretty much guaranteed that in five years they’ll look back on what they’re wearing now and say, “I can’t believe I EVER thought that looked good.” (and, yes, I’m looking at you, Uggs. I can’t wait to be right about those things)

My only other fashion tip: if you like it/thinks it looks good on you, wear it. Don’t worry what other people think. Right before school started, DJ wanted to get a pair of Toms because all of the counselors at Camp Seafarer wore them. But she really wanted the silver sparkly pair, the ones that definitely stand out from a crowd slightly more than the plain blue ones. She got the sparkly ones. But after they were purchased, the first two reviews (I won’t say from whom they came) were less than enthusiastic, so DJ immediately started questioning her decision. She returned them and got the plain blues. She wasn’t happy, but that “what if people think they’re stupid?” thought had crept in her head and, admittedly, it’s a tough one to get out.

I told DJ I had no opinion on which shoe looked better  (and I didn’t say this, but I think Toms, like Uggs, will probably fall into the “I can’t believe I ever wore those!” category, but I could be wrong–and I definitely don’t deny they are the “in” thing right now), but that I did think that as a general rule she should go with her intuition when buying/wearing clothes. Every now and then you may get some funny looks, but as long as you have a pretty good reputation for wearing good-looking clothes, most of the time you take a risk it will be met with approval. And often times you’ll be looked at as a trend-setter and see others follow suit.

I don’t claim that my advice had a thing to do with it (I think maybe she spied some older girls rocking some of the

I say wear it loud and proud.

“louder” Toms) but eventually she did get a pair of silver sparkly Toms (and kept the blue ones for a more subdued option when the occasion calls for it).

But yesterday was something different. I was not consulted for my fashion philosophy, I was consulted for my fashion advice.

The 8th grade had a field trip or social event or something else that meant DJ did not have to wear her usual St. Timothy’s uniform. She informed me that the entire 8th grade (though I’m guessing it was just the girls) had been up since 6:30 am texting each other about what to wear. Growing up in public schooling I always mocked kids who had to wear a uniform. Now I see there is some sound logic in the idea.

"What's everyone wearing today? We must individualize but not stand out!"

She basically had her outfit put together–it looked stylish and cool, but nothing I would have thought would have taken an extra half hour to assemble. It was basically jeans and a white top with light blue stripes (light blue like…halfway between Carolina blue and Duke blue…sorry, I can only describe these thing in my terms). And some shoes.I probably should have noticed which ones.

And it was probably because she was standing in the living room with no mirror. Or because I was the first person to emerge after she came down in her selected outfit. Or maybe even because, sadly, I probably am–by process of elimination–the person in the house aside from her who would best know what teenagers think is cool. But the reason doesn’t matter. She asked me. She asked ME. Here’s what she asked me:

“Should I go with the darker jeans?”

My first thought was, “I have no clue. And what would make you think I would have a clue? I am clueless on this type of thing.” But I could tell by the question she really wanted someone else’s opinion, and I wanted to make the most of the situation. Heck, if I got it “right”, I might even get asked again some time!

But I was still clueless as to which looked better. It’s a good thing she didn’t ask, “Do you think I should wear lighter or darker jeans with this?” because I would have had to admit I could not tell if she was currently wearing the lights or the darks. I tried to evaluate what a darker pair of jeans would look like with the top she was wearing. How dark would the other pair be? How can you tell what the effect of changing the shade of the pants will be on the stripes? WHAT AM I LOOKING FOR???

I had nothing. So, again, I put things in my terms.

I don’t bet on sports (much) but I follow sports a fair amount. I even do a little work in sports media. Because of this, my friends often mistake me for someone who will have good advice for which team to bet on and will text me before a big game to ask my opinion. Most of the times, I don’t have a clue. And in fact, I believe anyone who thinks they do know something is kidding themselves. There’s a reason they say “the house always wins”. It does.

So I’ve come to find that the best advice I can give to my friends who are trying to pick winners is to tell them the team they already want to pick. If they say “I like Team A” and I say “go with Team B”, it only serves to make them more tense and nervous about their pick. And I know, no matter what they might believe about my “insider knowledge” that my pick is no more of a coin toss than theirs. If they say, “I like Team A” and I say “me too” and we win, I look smart for confirming the pick. If we lose, they feel like we  made the “right” pick and just got a bad break. If they switch their pick based on my word and I end up being right, I’m just going to say I got lucky anyway. And, worst of all, if I tell them to go against their gut and I’m wrong….well then all of a sudden I feel like I need to send a friend money I don’t have to cover their losses when I’m not the dummy who was throwing it around on a football game anyway! When at all possible, I try to feel out what their intuition is telling them, and that’s my pick.

I used this lesson and applied it to DJ’s fashion dilemma. I stopped worrying about trying to figure out what looked best to me and tried to decide what she was looking for. She didn’t seem confident that the light jeans were the best choice. And maybe, just maybe, I was thinking that you don’t want the stripes in the shirt too close in color to the jeans….right?

"we" went with the darker jeans (but she wouldn't pose for a picture)

“I think maybe I’d switch to the dark ones,” I said.

“Yeah, me too,” she replied and rushed up to change.

Score. I did so well she even asked me about her necklace choice when she came back down.

“This one, this one or both?”

“I’d go with just the dangly links one.”


I was on a roll. Maybe if I just speak with confidence I can keep this up. Or maybe she’ll realize taking a picture of her outfit and texting it to friends for approval is probably the best option. I can’t wait to pick out prom dresses. And I’ll let her know to always bet the SEC in national championship games.

Wallaby Hell

Posted by Danny

Look like new, huh?

So Michelle and Stephanie needed new shoes and it happened that a couple of Lisa’s college girlfriends were in town.  We met them at the mall, ate dinner and began the search.  This was probably the first time I had been responsible for purchasing kids’ shoes independently.  I always had an opinion about what our kids wore, it just didn’t matter; until now.

As we began strolling past the stores, one caught my eye.  It was big and full of shoes, racks and racks of them.  I darted in and immediately spotted the kids’ aisle.  From behind me I heard Lucy, one of our guides.

“Back away from this store Danny.  Just back away.  There is nothing here Lisa would allow your children to wear.  Back away quickly.”

I’m compliant.  I didn’t question.  But the store did have a TON of shoes and the prices were remarkable from what I could tell from my short stint there.  That night we found nothing and our women helpers were gone.

My kids always had cute and stylish shoes.  Where did they come from?  The next day we hit Target, Kohls, Payless, Paymore; I couldn’t find a thing.  Finally I phoned one of my “moms on call”:

“Jill, where in the heck can I find decent shoes for Michelle and Stephanie?”

“Well, there’s a cute store near my house but it’s not cheap.”

“At this point, I don’t care.”

We walked in the door and the salesperson could sense I was weak.  How many times a day do you see a father alone with his daughters in a shoe store?  I felt like I had a target on my forehead.  She began engaging the kids, walking back and forth between the Uggs, Wallabees and Toms.  All cute; all expensive.

We walked out with five pair of shoes and a hair bow.  I also walked out $250 lighter.

When Michelle got to school with her new Wallabees, one of her friends told her she did not like them.  She said she thought they were ugly.

The next day I pulled them out as she was getting dressed.  “I think I’ll wear something else today”, Michelle informed me.

“I spent $60 on these shoes!  I don’t care what Kimmy Gibbler thinks about them!  PUT THEM ON YOUR FEET!  NOW!”

I have to give credit to DJ who came in the room and tried to convince Michelle that they were really cool shoes.  It didn’t work.  I think she’s worn them twice in the past two months.  I think I’m going back to the big store in the mall.

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