Dear Jack: You Were Proudly in Disguise During the Easter Egg Hunt

7 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack,

Fortunately, you didn’t receive too much candy during the Easter egg hunt this past weekend. (I’m pretty sure we’ve still got leftover Halloween candy up in our pantry, actually.) The surprises inside the eggs this year at the egg hunt included a lot of Cracker Jack types of toys.

Honestly, I really don’t know what else you got at the egg hunt, other than a classic disguise kit:

Round glasses attached to thick eyebrows and a big nose.

You ended up wearing the disguise for the rest of the time after the actual egg hunt was over. You even wore it in the picture of you with Nonna and Papa and your cousins.

I guess I could have stopped you. But I didn’t.

You were having fun, so I let you.

One of my favorite parts about you wearing the disguise is that you didn’t acknowledge you were wearing it. You just acted like your normal self during the festivities, almost as if to test the theory:

Will anyone notice I’m wearing this disguise if I don’t talk about it?

It was like you were secretly playing a prank on our family; if not, everyone at the egg hunt.

I think the ironic twist in your social experiment was that no one really said anything because they just assumed, “Oh, that’s just Jack being Jack.”

Or even, “Oh, that’s Nick’s son. That makes sense.”

As for hunting eggs, sure; you still gave it your all. But as you’re now 7 years old, and as you’re finishing up 1st grade, I can see that you’re finding new ways to have fun; beyond just the obvious event.

And this totally reminds me of how I was as as boy, and really, how I still am.

So really, I guess it truly could be summed up as I said before:

“Oh, that’s Nick’s son. That makes sense.”

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Jack: Your Sister is Horrible at Doing Mazes

7 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

Last weekend we spend the morning with some friends for breakfast at First Watch. Fortunately, it was early enough in the day that you nor your sister had any kind of behavioral issues. Instead, the two of you were quite occupied, largely in part due to the kids’s activity sheet and the pack of crayons our waitress gave you.

During most of the wait for our food to arrive, I didn’t hear a word out of you. That’s because you were completely focused on completing all the activities in front of you.

After you completed the whole thing, you then turned to your sister to help show here what to do. She grabbed a crayon and immediately got to work on the corn maze; in which the goal is to draw a line from one end of the maze to the other.

Your sister was so happy to be at work, the way her older brother had been. A few minutes passed and then sort of turned to you for your approval.

What she received from you was this sincere statement:

“Holly, that’s horrible. You didn’t come anywhere close to getting through the maze!”

Being not even 2 years-old yet, she appeared to be completely unfazed by your overly direct criticism.

I laughed out loud.

She was just happy and oblivious that there was some sort of bigger concept, beyond just dragging a red crayon across some lines, as well as a picture of a mutant cob of corn and completely conscious fried egg.

Ultimately, the activity sheets perfectly served their purpose. You and your sister were able to behave in a restaurant, while being intellectually challenged at your own individual levels.

Give it a few years though, and I think your sister will be able to improve your maze skills.

Love,

Daddy

How My Song “Dudes From Different Latitudes” Surprisingly Ended Up Being on Lifetime’s “This Time Next Year” (Lyrics Included)

Even though I was just one of 6 guests featured on the Episode 6 of “This Lifetime Next Year”, the episode was actually named after the song I wrote for my 7 minute segment of the show. Here’s what’s interesting though: That song was more of an accident, an afterthought, and a shot-in-the-dark attempt to introduce the world to my jingle-writing abilities.

Since I found my doppelganger earlier on in the year, yet I was still expected to keep submitting weekly video diary entries for my journey, I decided to have a little fun. I figured, “Hey, if I’m going to be on national TV, then I might as well make everyone aware I have a special talent of writing theme songs and jingles. This is my big chance…”

So I wrote a theme song for my portion of the episode and submitted it to my producer that week.

Then about a week of wondering if anyone had even seen it, the producer was asked me to bring my guitar to perform the song on stage in front of the audience, for the final recording of the episode.

For the next couple of months, I practiced that song until it became muscle memory. It was important to me that I sang perfectly on key, on rhythm, and didn’t need a 2nd take when it was recorded for the show.

Fortunately, my obsessive practice paid off and I was very pleased with the performance.

And here’s what’s funny to me about all this:

The whole episode was about me meeting my doppelganger, yet the majority of the feedback and the hype I’ve been receiving online from people who have seen my episode has been more about the song that I wrote and performed about actually meeting my doppelganger.

And apparently, the producer of the show recognized that the song was important, because not only was the episode named after the song, but the thumbnail they chose to promote the episode on their website is of me playing the song.

I am happy that the world now knows about talent for writing theme songs. This is not my first go at this.

Back a few years ago, I wrote and performed the theme songs for both of my children’s series on YouTube:

Jack-Man

Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest 

My inspiration for the title of the song, by the way, was Jimmy Buffett’s 1977 song, “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes”. Because after all, British Columbia in Canada is undeniably a different latitude than Tennessee.

So yes, the song was the result of me deciding to make things a little extra exciting for my 7 minutes of fame. It was a plan that came together and turned out even better than I had hoped.

I guess “Dudes From Different Latitudes” became an unexpected hit!

Here are the lyrics:

Perfect strangers, doppelgangers, it was just their fate

A soup package, a text message, a Facebook friend request

Dudes from different latitudes, Canada and America

Same face from another place, identical twins but they’re no kin

Dudes from different latitudes

 

Dear Jack: Teaching Your Sister How to Use a Cardboard Box

7 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack,

It had been a particularly difficult night, with your sister waking up several times every couple of hours. I received little rest, as I got up each time to help get her back to sleep. So by the time Mommy left for work around 6:15 AM, I collapsed on the couch in the living room, as I trusted you to take care of your sister while I was out of commission.

When I woke up about an hour later, I was delighted to see that, in your creativity, you took it upon yourself to transform an Amazon shipping box in to a couple of helmets for both you and your sister to wear, in the boat you also constructed from the same box.

I am always so proud to see you take initiative to lead your sister in fun activities, which require no direction from me or Mommy. It’s important that you figure out on your own what to do with your time, without needing me as your entertainment supervisor all the time.

The look on your sister’s face, too, is just priceless. She obviously didn’t quite understand why the two of you had box helmets, but she gladly went along with it; just like the day before when the box actually arrived:

You convinced your sister to walk back and forth from the far end of the living room, to the far end of the kitchen, with both of your heads in the box. For good reason, it reminded me of the kind of horse costume where it takes two people to walk; one in the front and one in the back.

I’m just glad that because of your creativity with a shipping box, I was able to catch a solid hour of sleep, while getting confirmation you’re old enough to take care of your sister with your sleeping dad on the couch.

Love,

Daddy

3 Reasons This True Story is Perfectly Hilarious: “United Airlines Forced Emotional Support Peacock to Give Up Its Seat”

I am definitely a fan of satire. I love the feeling of, hopefully, being the one who is clever enough to be in on the joke, meanwhile passersby of the mainstream may find themselves being fooled without even realizing it.

For example, just this morning I published a video making fun of the fact that people in Spain are often are annoyed by the way some Americans assume that a person of Spanish descent is automatically Mexican.

As I was checking out the headlines on Google yesterday, I noticed one that seemed too good to be true. My immediate thought was, “Oh, it’s just an article on The Onion. How’d that show up as one of the main stories?”

I then saw the source of the article. It was People.com.

Here’s the headline: United Airlines Forced Emotional Support Peacock to Give Up Its Seat

Yes, that’s right. Even though one passenger on a recent United Airlines flight bought a separate seat for their “emotional support peacock”, the animal was still refused a seat on the flight.

This story would be funny enough if it were simply satire. But I feel the fact that it’s true actually makes it even funnier.

Here are 3 reasons why this true story is perfectly hilarious:

1- It’s a peacock!

Yeah, just the sight of a peacock is already funny. It’s basically a prehistoric turkey on LSD. But then, imagine a peacock in an airport, trying to catch a flight. Yes, peacocks can fly… but not as far or as high as they could on United Airlines Flight.

2- There is a human being who specifically needs a peacock for emotional support.

I can easily began to understand how a dog or cat could provide a sense of therapy for a person recovering from trauma. Okay, fine. I would even accept Big Bird as a legitimate solution. But a peacock? It really makes me wonder what kind of trauma a person has to go through to specifically need a peacock; not a dog or a cat.

3- It’s ironic that a peacock, whose job is to comfort others, is the one who probably                      ended up needing the most consoling.

Just picture how the peacock woke up that morning, so excited to go on the biggest adventure of his life. But then, the evil corporation shut him down! I love how the author, Elizabeth Preske, knew she had to add an extra touch of absurdity to the headline by including these words together:

 Emotional peacock.

I’m pretty sure that’s a brand-new phrase in 2018.

Ah, I had several good laughs from this peacock story. Though I do feel bad. The true victim in this story isn’t the passenger, but instead, that poor bird.

 

Stay-at-Home Dad 101: Tommy John Lounge Jogger Pants are Now My Official “Work Pants” (Includes Jingle I Wrote!)

DISCLOSURE LANGUAGE

Tommy John partnered with bloggers such as myself for this program. I received one free product of my choosing, for my time and creativity. I was not told what to purchase nor what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. Tommy John believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. Tommy John’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

Now that we got that fun part out of the way, I get to talk about what I am calling my new official “work pants”, as a stay-at-home dad who works from home.

If you can imagine, since becoming a stay-at-home dad exactly 3 months ago today, I haven’t gotten out of the house much. I’m constantly taking care of my 21 month-old daughter all day, as well as my 7 year-old son, when he’s not at school.

I feel that I really put the “stay-at-home” in stay-at-home dad.

With that being said, it’s still important to me that I don’t look or feel like a slob; even if the only people who see me all day are my wife and kids.

So when Tommy John reached out to me and offered an item from their online catalog, I immediately thought, “I would love some new work pants!”

By browsing their Loungewear section, I ended up choosing their Lounge Jogger pants.

Once I received them in the mail this week, my preconceived ideas about these pants were true:

They are perfect for me as a stay-at-home dad!

The immediate thing I noticed is how comfortable they are. I feel like I’m really getting away with something, somehow. It’s I’m like wearing pants but I don’t feel like I’m actually wearing them.

I have to question, “Am I pulling a Donald Duck right now? Did I remember to put on a shirt only to  neglect actually put on pants today?”

Then I look down and see that no, I am indeed wearing pants: Tommy John Lounge Jogger pants, to be exact.

The next thing I really like about these pants is how they are just tight enough around the ankles, so that the bottom of my pants don’t drag on the floor.

And the pockets- ah, the pockets… perfectly in place where I need them.

I never know when I’m going to need to pick up a Cheerio my daughter dropped or her Peppa the Pig doll when she needs me to hold it for her.

After experiencing the Tommy John Lounge Pants, I just can’t imagine how any man would not love them.

But for me specifically as a stay-at-home dad, I am now spoiled, and don’t want to wear anything else for pants. I guess that would be my only complaint!

I have enjoyed my new work pants so much that I took it upon myself to write a jingle for Tommy John lounge pants and shoot my own commercial.  That way, when potential consumers search “Tommy John Lounge Pants“, they get to see me perform my awesome song! (Featured at the top of this post.)

Along the way, my kids apparently enjoyed hearing me write and practice the jingle, so we ended up even shooting a “kids’ version” of the song as well. My 21 month-old daughter is responsible for most of the dance moves for the jingle. (Featured below.)

It is plain to see, these Tommy John Lounge Pants have really enhanced my week!

Stay-at-Home Dad 101: No, I Totally Don’t Miss Being around Other Adults All Day Long… In Fact, I Enjoy It a Little Too Much!

In looking out for me, my kind and thoughtful wife expressed some concern for my social well-being when my entire office was abruptly shut down back in October. She wondered if I might suffer from culture shock; after I had worked at the same place for over a decade and now I would suddenly be removed from constant adult interaction on a daily basis.

She suggested I might need to find a stay-at-home parents’ group so that I could get out of the house and socialize with people I have some things in common.

Here’s the thing: It’s been two months doing this stay-at-home dad thing, and not once have I ever missed being around other adults all day long. In fact, that’s one of my favorite parts about my new job!

I do not miss being interrupted from doing work to be asked any of the following annoying questions on a daily basis, and then having to respond to them while forcing myself to smile and act nice:

“How was your weekend?”

“Do you have a minute?”

“You’re quiet this morning, is everything okay?”

“What are you eating? That looks good!”

“Got any big plans for this weekend?”

I was just there to get work done. I didn’t need a friend. I wasn’t lonely. I didn’t need to be entertained with conversation or learn about someone’s thoughts about life, before I had my coffee… or after I had my coffee.

It was important to me and my identity that I was perceived as approachable, helpful, and a good communicator. So I successfully disguised the fact I am not actually an extrovert, but instead, an outgoing introvert.

I’ve heard the difference between introverts and extraverts explained this way:

If an extrovert is someone who feels energized by being around other people all day and but then feels drained when they are alone again, an introvert is someone who feels drained after being around people all day and then has to “recharge” in solitude afterwards.

Yeah, the 2nd description, that’s totally me. I love to interact with other people… just not while I’m being paid to get work done all day!

But now I don’t have to worry about any of that anymore. I no longer have to act like a supervisor who works in an office.

The culture shock that I am actually experiencing is a good one.

Now the only people I see on a daily basis are the members of my own family- and occasionally, some of the nice employees at the Publix just a mile from the house; which is about as far as I travel through the week anymore.

The ultimate irony is that I truly consider myself a people person. In the total of over a decade that my wife and I have been together, she is definitely used to us being out in public, and me making seemingly random yet relevant conversations with complete strangers.

But I think the difference is that in an office, I was forced all day long to be social, which distracted me from the work; which was the reason I was paid to be there.

As a stay-at-home dad though, I no longer have to anticipate that at any second of the day, I might be interrupted from my work by another adult seeking confirmation in their identity or escape from boredom.

My work now is to care for an awesome 7 year-old boy before and after school, and an adorable little girl all day long. And then when she’s asleep, I work on my freelance writing jobs and YouTube videos; which is how I’m financially supporting my family now through a growing amount of supplemental income.

Granted, I’m working from the time I wake up at 6:00 AM until the time I collapse around 10:30 PM; if I’m lucky enough that my daughter doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night.

But I love it. This is great. I was totally able to do the whole “work in an office” thing. I did that for over a decade. Now I have confirmation though:

I was meant to be a stay-at-home dad who works from home as a freelancer. My time has arrived to accept and embrace my new identity.