This is 36: How I Got Locked Outside of My House While Accidentally Wearing a Mustache

Tuesday afternoon my wife took our kids out to run an errand. We all had the day off, since we had just returned from our vacation to Florida. I decided to stay home while they were out, as it would give me about an hour and 20 minutes of uninterrupted time to finish unpacking from our trip.

The first order of business was actually to shave my beard. I had made a point not to shave while on vacation- just one less thing to worry about in my attempt to relax for a week in the sun.

I already had several days’ stubble before we even left for Destin, so by the time we got back nearly a week later, I had a decent beard going on.

But before I shaved it off, I decided to shoot a quick video for one of my YouTube channels, which caters to young men who are freaking out about seeing the first signs of hair loss. (Yes, I make a supplemental income from that; currently about $50 a month.)

I wanted to make a video which made it seem like people were demanding I grow a mustache, which is hilarious, because obviously a white guy under the age of 40 who isn’t a cop can’t get away with wearing a mustache.

So I shaved off everything but the mustache and walk outside, where there was better natural lighting, and began shooting the video; which again, was a complete joke in itself. I like to keep my 1500 YouTube subscribers on their toes.

 

But after I recorded the video, I realized I had locked myself out of the house. I knew it would be more than an hour before my wife came back home with the kids.

Then down came the rain, accompanied by some light thunder and lightning. And I was barefoot too.

At least I was able to find shelter on our covered front porch. Before my phone battery died, as I was down to about 15% at this point, I figured I might as well commemorate the occasion with a video explaining, behind the scenes, what had happened.

So there you go. That’s how I ended up locked outside of my own house, in the rain, barefoot, while accidentally wearing a mustache.

This is 36.

 

Dear Jack: Scrubby Man to the Rescue!

5 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack: Scrubby Man to the Rescue!

Dear Jack,

On Saturday afternoon before your nap, you agreed to go help Mommy get rid of all the “roly poly” bugs in the garage while I was cleaning up the kitchen from lunch and while your sister Holly was asleep.

By the time I got out to the garage, I discovered you wearing swim goggles, with a broom in your hand. When you saw me, you declared, “Scrubby Man to the rescue!”

I’m still not sure whether Scrubby Man is a super hero or just someone people hire to clean their garage. You looked like and acted like a perfect mix of the two.

In case I haven’t mentioned it, you have a Mommy who is… very into cleaning. I don’t mind that at all. I think it’s a great thing.

It’s just that on my own, I wouldn’t have thought to spend 20 minutes sweeping away all the pill bugs in the garage on a Saturday afternoon. But Mommy is wired to consider things like that.

And it’s good that she is instilling those traits in you.

I seriously love your choice to wear the goggles, though. You never know when dust or roly poly bugs might get in your eyes while sweeping.

Later that afternoon while I was out running an errand for Mommy at Kirkland’s (I wish that sentence sounded manly), you and your sister kept Mommy entertained back at the house.

You put on your famous felt mustache, which made Mommy and your sister laugh.

Now that I’ve had a smart phone for about 8 months, I admit that I still despise having one. I instead wish I could have no phone at all.

But perhaps the one thing I actually appreciate about having a smart phone is the ability to use Instagram. While I own a very nice, high quality camera to take most pictures, sometimes an unplanned Instagram speaks a thousand words that a planned picture with my $600 never could.

Love,

Daddy

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

We survived! Yay for us! With Baby Holly turning 6 weeks old as of yesterday, my wife and I have apparently made it through what I hear is the toughest part of the postpartum days: the first 6 weeks.

That first month or so is when you as the parent must figure out the details on what works best for your baby regarding sleeping schedules, formulas, and diapers. It’s a culture shock as a parent, even after already having one child. I knew it would be challenging going into it.

However, I must have kept my expectations lower than I needed to because, honestly, it hasn’t been that bad!

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Despite us managing our newborn’s infant acid reflux, for the post part, things have been fairly predictable. There have really been just 10 simple steps to caring for our newborn during the first 6 weeks:

1)      Feed her an ounce, burp her. Repeat until each ounce is gone.

2)      Change her diaper.

3)      Play with her by talking to her and helping her do exercises.

4)      Take a cute picture of her.

5)      While you teach yourself newborn photography, by the default of taking so many pictures, Instagram your work to show it off to friends and family.

6)      Change her diaper.

7)      Wrap her up in a blanket and rock her to sleep with the pacifier in her mouth,

then place her in the crib.

8)      Change her diaper, now that she finally fell asleep but wet herself again.

9)      Rock her back to sleep and place her in the crib again.

10)  Repeat two and a half hours later when she wakes up again.

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Those are my 10 simple steps. This has been my life for the past 6 weeks.

Granted, these 10 steps have been my wife’s reality more than mine, since she’s on maternity leave, but I still work during the day. A lot of the time my main responsibility is to take care of our 5 and a half year-old son Jack while my wife Jill takes care of the baby.

This past weekend I celebrated the end of those first 6 weeks by shaving off my postpartum beard, as well as getting a hair trim. As you can see though, I was unable to overcome the temptation of shaving (and Instagramming) in stages.

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

And if my eyes look bloodshot and cross-eyed, and I look like I need some ginseng because of lack of sleep, it’s probably true.

As for Baby Holly, she doesn’t have that problem so much…

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Fare thee well.

Postpartum: My 10 Steps of Caring for a Newborn during the First 6 Weeks

Dear Jack: Your New Cross Necklace, Mustache, And 2nd Soccer Game

4 years, 4 months.

Dear Jack: Your New Cross Necklace, Mustache, And 2nd Soccer Game

Dear Jack,

Last Sunday in your Sunday School class, your teacher gave you and all the other kids a cross necklace. Needless to say, you were very serious about wearing it to preschool each day this week; nearly treating it with as much humanity as you do your stuffed animals.

Each day during your nap at school, I learned that you carefully placed your necklace in your cubby to keep it safe while you slept. You also explained to me how “the babies” in the younger class tried to take the necklace from you when they saw it.

You are seriously proud of that necklace!

Dear Jack: Your New Cross Necklace, Mustache, And 2nd Soccer Game

Apparently there was some kind of “Mustache Day” at school yesterday, because you came home with a big decorative one. Mommy insisted you try it on for a picture. You easily agreed. It fit you very well.

This morning as I was getting you dressed for school, you showed me how you stuck the mustache on the closet door so the door could have a mustache.

Dear Jack: Your New Cross Necklace, Mustache, And 2nd Soccer Game

You have now had your 2nd soccer game. You didn’t try even once to walk off the field early before the game ended.

The main goal at this point is still to get you to at least following the ball around with the rest of the kids.

This coming weekend will be a lot of fun for you as Nonna and Papa are driving up to see our new house for the first time since early February when they helped us move in.

Dear Jack: Your New Cross Necklace, Mustache, And 2nd Soccer Game

Mommy and I are going out Saturday afternoon and night for my 34th birthday; which is actually next Monday.

So you’ll get to just hang out with them while Mommy and I go to the symphony, movies, and dinner in downtown Nashville.

I won’t be surprised if you wear both your cross necklace and mustache for them!

Love,

Daddy

Boys Grow Up To Become Men Who Move Away

May 1, 2014 at 6:14 am , by

3 years, 5 months.

Dear Jack,

When I was growing up, I never minded the small town I grew up in. It was all I knew.

Life was good, easy, and comfortable. My parents did everything right.

But around the time I starting driving, I became more curious about life outside of the shared corner of Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.

The summer before my senior year, I travelled to Ecuador. Then after I graduated high school, I went to college in Florida and Virginia; both of which took way more than 8 hours to travel to and from the house I grew up in.

I spent two of the summers in college overseas in Bangkok, Thailand; teaching English. I briefly did the same in South Korea, as well.

For a guy who sure was comfortable being raised in a small town, it was my instinct to want to go explore the world outside of safety and comfort.

I think you will be the same way. I think you will end up being an explorer of the world; at least the world outside the town you are growing up in.

Aside from that, though- after Mommy and I have “raised you,” you will leave us and start your own life. You will have the desire to become who you were to intended to be, apart from us.

I am preparing myself now for the day you will move away and figure things out on your own, like I had to do.

The way I see it, when a father does a good job of raising his son, he is rewarded by seeing his son move on to start his own life, and eventually start his own family. It seems that’s one of the ultimate rewards of being a father… as much of a paradox as that may sound.

Mommy is the nurturer, I am the mentor, and you’re the kid. Together, I know that the three of us will always have a close love for each other; but I get it that you will, in essence, need to “start over” and do this thing yourself.

Right now, these are the years when the rewards of fatherhood include cuddling with you, wrestling you, having you ask me to sing you bedtime songs, taking you to the zoo and the monster truck show… so many things each day that mean the world to me.

The undeniable irony here is that for the next 15 years or so, I will ultimately be revolving my life around you so that you can become independent enough to live your life without me being right there. I guess that’s sort of an obvious element of being a dad, but I’m thinking about it more here lately.

I don’t take for granted you are growing up so fast. After all, one day, that might actually be a real mustache on your face!

 

Love,

Daddy

 

P.S. The top picture is an entry we submitted for a “selfie photo contest” for Joe Hendricks Photography!

Readers’ Expectations 5: Hemp George, Mexican Mollies, and Fat Babies with Mullets

What would provoke anyone to visit Scenic Route Snapshots, out of the millions of websites out there?  I like knowing the answer to the question, just as you do.  Here is the fifth installment of phrases that people typed into Google and other search engines to find this site:

“fat babies eating”- I thought it was safe to assume that most babies are fat anyways.  Is this from a hopeful parent wanting their baby to grow up to be a professional competitive eater?  That Japanese guy wins every year, but 2nd place isn’t a bad goal to aim for.  Good luck on that.  Mazel tov. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takeru_Kobayashi

“van gogh starry night for kids”- Yes, because Van Gogh’s original painting of Starry Night contained a lot of nudity and violence, but the new Disney-endorsed version is safe for the whole family.

“What does being a Rubik’s Cube in a dream mean?”- One of two things.  A) You are feeling manipulated by the people in your life- like they are trying to “figure you out”.  2) It’s not a dream at all.  You’re currently on an LSD trip.

“hemp George”- Yes, President George Washington was indeed a hemp farmer.  But “Hemp George” sounds like a totally different guy altogether.  But hey, when you can’t track down Hemp George, there’s the next best thing- Sativa Steve.

“mullet baby ugly”- I thought all babies are beautiful.  And besides, a mullet doesn’t automatically make someone ugly.  Flashback to the ‘80’s, prime examples: MacGyver and Bono.

“singleness a gift I do not want”- This one is funny not because the searcher typed in something weird to find me, but because I happened to title that post exactly in the terminology he or she was thinking.  Takes one to know one: Singleness; The Gift No One Really Wants

“male mexican mollies mustache”– Definitely one of the most random searches ever to get to my website.  Mollies are a type of fish that unlike Catfish, do not have any physical features that resemble a mustache.  The four words “male”, “Mexican”, “mollies”, and “mustache” have nothing to do with each other.  And strangest of all, whoever searched that did so 7 times that day.

So that means 7 hits on my counter happened because someone searched something extremely random, not once, twice, or even thrice, but 7 times.  I am picturing a mustachioed Mexican man eating fish, and he’s very, very happy about it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mollies

Reading (and Leading) People

 There’s a mighty power called “being able to read people” that can be used for good, to lead others… or for bad, to manipulate them.

A sign of a person’s self-confidence level, as well as their amount of natural leadership skills can both be measured, to a great degree, by how often (or seldom) they are in defense mode.  While there are most definitely times to stand up for ourselves, confident in our stance on whatever issue is at stake, if a person is constantly feeling they have to prove their worth by acting and speaking in a default of defense, then there is a problem.

In theory, a person should only have to be in “defense mode” when they truly need to stand up for themselves or for their just cause.

Therefore, I can’t help but have a respect for people who fight for what they believe in, who turn an apathetic cheek to things they don’t feel passionate about by staying out of it (meaning they don’t think they have to be right about everything), and who are savvy enough when it comes to “reading people” that they don’t have to second-guess what a person is thinking. 

Definitely ironic.  Reading people so well that there is no need to try to predict or figure out what someone is thinking.  Because good “people readers” already know what other people are thinking, yet they NEVER admit it or tell the person they are reading.  No one wants to feel that they are being manipulated because someone has figured them out- though their fear is often indeed true.

So I’d rather be the one in the driver’s seat instead of the sidecar when it comes to the issue.  I’d rather attempt to become a leader (when there’s not already an established one) than become a follower of a corrupt or weak leader; one I don’t respect. 

That’s the whole brilliance in reading other people- the way to manage other people is to steer them into the desired direction without having them realizing what’s happening.  A secret self-taught art that entertainers, politicians, CEO’s, teachers, managers, and pretty much anyone in any type of leadership position learn to master: Do unto others or they will do unto you.

A leader who is a good “people reader” knows the limits of others- what can be asked of them and what they are willing to do to accomplish the goal.  Leaders also know what motivates their team members- how to let them thrive in their skillsets, talents, and creativity. 

To make sure I speak in confidence, not in doubt, I am very specific in the phrases I chose not to say (and type).  In my own vocabulary, these are blacklisted:

“My point isn’t that…”

 “Wait, I know what you’re thinking…”

 “Let me explain, you see…”

 “Here’s what I meant…”

 “See, what I believe is…”

All of those phrases seem to preface the rest of sentence in a way that negates its own validity.  Often when I write, I am making a point based on my own opinion.  As I do this, I have to carefully address the exceptions and any naysayers’ concerns by building on them (You Missed a Spot).  In other words, by “reading people” to where they don’t even get a chance to heckle me with a “yeah, but what about?…”

For example, when I was writing the “sleeper hit” post Must Not Mustache (currently my 5th most popular, surprisingly), I was explaining that most men under the age of 40 can’t be taken seriously if they have a mustache.  Yet, there are exceptions and I needed to be the one to address them.  So I did.  And instead of the exceptions taking away from what I had to say, they complimented it instead.

I keep this original proverb in mind daily:

Speak with authority and direction.  And if you may be wrong about the issue or haven’t done your research, just shut up.  People often mistake silence for wisdom. 

My inspiration to write this post?  This past Sunday night’s episode of The Celebrity Apprentice.  I like learning from other people’s follies and successes- even if it comes from a reality TV show.