Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

6 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

Dear Jack,

Our Weekend of Manliness! began Friday evening when I got home from work and there was enough snow for us to try out the old sled Nonna gave us when we were in Alabama for Christmas. Fortunately, we happen to live in a great neighborhood for sledding in the snow.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

After all, we do live in Spring Hill, Tennessee. And our town lives up to the name. Not only are there plenty of hills all around, but apparently there are also plenty of springs as well- because it was no challenge finding new places to explore frozen puddles.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

The next morning, on Saturday, I explained to you: “Jack, this is your day. We’ll be going to the monster truck show and the new Star Wars movie later, but what else do you want to do today?”

You instantly responded: “I want to go back in the snow!”

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

So we did. Even though I told you we’d only be out there no more than 30 minutes, we ended up staying out there an hour and 15 minutes. And it was awesome!

Fortunately, the sun start coming out to help our endurance.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

In addition to getting to sled down every hill we found in our neighborhood, you also made it your personal mission to attempt to crack all the ice you could by jumping on it- and then eventually, by having me throw heavy stones on the ice.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

Because it was so cold, and because I made sure all the frozen water we walked on was no deeper than 6 inches deep, the ice was extremely thick- and therefore, quite challenging to burst through.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

Undeniably, our Weekend of Manliness! was off to a great start. Our snow and ice adventures couldn’t have been appreciated by the likes of Mommy, who isn’t used to the cold since she’s from California- or by your 8 month-old sister, who is constantly catching and fighting sicknesses as she is naturally building up her immune system.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

No, this was clearly a job for the boys.

Had I realized a month ago what all would have occurred, I would have reached out to Toyota or Lexus and got us a vehicle to feature each part of Weekend of Manliness! But I didn’t know the awesome baby blizzard was coming, that we would see Rogue One, or that we’d be going to Monster Jam until it was too late to get us a manly and adventurous Toyota or Lexus to match the energy of the father and son duo.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

So instead, we settled for my 2004 Honda Element, which I’ve officially owned 11 years as of this month; and have had paid off for 10 years.

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

Now it was time to make the 40 mile drive to downtown Nashville for Monster Jam…

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: 1st Snow of 2017 (Weekend of Manliness! in a 2004 Honda Element, Part 1/3)

Weekend of Manliness! January 2017 Series:

1st Snow of 2017

Monster Jam 2017

Rogue One Star Wars

Dear Jack: Your Homemade Cinnamon Milk/Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: Your Homemade Cinnamon Milk/Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

Dear Jack,

Well, hopefully last week marked the last of the snow for winter…

Dear Jack: Your Homemade Cinnamon Milk/Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

It definitely marked the week in which we watched Pee-wee’s Big Adventure two times within 24 hours.

You confidently expressed to me you liked it better than Big Top Pee-wee, which we watched twice within 24 hours two weeks ago. Even though the scary clown scene technically was inappropriate for you to see in Pee-wee’s Big Adventure, only Mommy covered her eyes.

Dear Jack: Your Homemade Cinnamon Milk/Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

I have to admit, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure is a solid movie. Here’s a little bit of trivia: I was 4 years old when it came out in 1985; the same age you are now.

We also took a quick family drive to Rooster Tails, a cool retro style furniture store we’ve bought from before. You helped us look for a coffee table for our living room and a bookcase for our office.

Cinnamon

One of the highlights from this past week was when you decided you wanted to “make milk” for our family to drink over the weekend.

Over the course of two days, you would sit up on the counter with a mixing bowl, bumming spare ingredients off of Mommy and me, so you could add them into your bowl of water.

It’s all a blur, but I remember there being cranberry juice, oregano, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and chia seeds in it; among other random items we had in our kitchen. Just a pinch of each led to a big bowl of chucky, brownish gray water that you were so proud to stir up.

For dinner Sunday night, you decided it was time for all us to try your new concoction.

Cinnamon

What you didn’t realize was that Mommy poured some of your chocolate almond milk into your cup instead of what you made, just sprinkling in some cinnamon.

As predicted, you were skeptical to take the first sip. So Mommy and I gladly did. You were curious by how authentically we seemed to be enjoying your “homemade” milk.

You took a baby sip… then a bigger one.

Mommy! Daddy! That tastes good! It tastes like cinnamon… and chocolate!” you proclaimed.

One day you’ll read this letter and realize why.

Love,

Daddy

Cinnamon

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

4 years, 3 months.

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

Dear Jack,

We are in the middle of a snow storm; the kind that hits the South pretty hard about once a decade. While Mommy is able to work from home this week, I have no choice but to take vacation days.

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

In the attempt to drive to work, my car got stuck in the ice and snow. As soon as I pulled out of the driveway, I was unable to drive forward. I had no choice but to let me car back down further into our cul-de-sac.

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

There’s just no way around it: We’re snowed in.

I admit, this event has inspired Mommy and me to seriously consider making one of our next vehicles (whenever that time comes, down the road) a Toyota Tacoma with 4 wheel drive.

https://familyfriendlydaddyblog.com/2014/04/25/family-friendly-car-review-2014-tacoma-double-cab-4x4-v6/

Not only have I always romanticized about them, the Toyota Tacoma is my favorite vehicle I have ever reviewed, which I di back nearly a year ago:

See Family Friendly Car Review: 2014 Tacoma Double Cab 4X4 V6.

While the main roads have been driveable, it’s been literally impossible to escape our neighborhood, which you have to drive through two others just to get to.

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

I suppose your current favorite Netflix show, The Octonauts, has taught you a lot about animals. So it’s no surprise that you decided to build a bird’s nest, using “snow eggs.”

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

While it definitely feels strange to not be working right now (and obviously your school is closed), it is nice to be able to appreciate this sort of forced week off with you and Mommy.

Right before the storm hit, we found the perfect small couch/love seat for our bonus room upstairs. We were able to buy the floor model, which gave us nearly a 50% discount.

separately

The only problem was getting it home. I drove my Honda Element separately, and with the front seats up as far as they would go, I was able to awkwardly squeeze in for the most uncomfortable 30 minute drive of my life.

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

It’s fun to see each room of our house coming together.

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

Hopefully the rain and above-freezing temperatures this weekend will allow us to live our normal lives again next week.

As for now, you sure are enjoying this winter wonderland!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: The 3rd Week Of Living In Our New House (Snowed In!)

Surviving The Polar Vortex Of 2014, Icicles And All

Self-Depreciation and Self-Denial are Forms of Self-Help

Help yourself to telling the world how inadequate you are.  Evidently, it’s good for you.

When I see a person make a habit of letting all their friends and acquaintances know (in general terms) how unpopular, unappreciated, and unloved they are, I look at it as a subconscious method of helping themselves feel popular, appreciated, and loved because they are unable to feel those ways otherwise. 

Facebook is currently the most fertile ground for this to take place.  Like people using their status as a way to tell everyone how “Yet again, another date gone wrong.  I guess I’ll just be single forever…”  (I’m assuming the guy or girl they went on the date with is a facebook friend and will pretty much immediately read the comment.)

And “Tell me this.  How could someone actually say that to another human being?”  (This vague sort of comment opens the door for people to ask, “Hey, what happened?” and “What did someone say to you?” and “Who’s doing this to you?”)

Both of those status updates of course are soon followed by 13 comments.  And jackpot, the plan worked.

While I’m generally an upbeat and positive person, I definitely get into ruts just like everybody else.  And I don’t fake being happy when I do.  If someone asks me how I’m doing, I tell them the truth.  But what keeps me from broadcasting my gloom to others, publicly?

I learned the hard way a few years ago (2005) on Myspace and I hated the way it made me feel: I admitted in a “blog” that I was feeling “depressed by all the winter weather”.  It didn’t take long for Myspace friends to come “rescue” me by leaving positive comments.  So even though it was just an off-hand thing I wrote, I realized it could be perceived as “help me feel good about myself”.  Like I was fishing for compliments. 

Not that I wasn’t grateful that those people cared enough about me to show their concern.  It just felt weird and unnatural for me.

In public, I have to feel like (and know) I’m helping myself get out of the funk.  I do ask for help, advice, and encouragement- but I do it all in private.

So now when I write, I am always reluctant to present a personal problem without finishing the post by providing the solution or how I will help myself get through it.  And most likely, to get that solution, behind the scenes I’ve already asked for advice from a trusted friend or family member.

I don’t assume that the way I deal with feelings of inadequacy (privately) is the superior way- it’s just the best way for me.  All I can assume is that people who publicly deny themselves are doing what’s best for them, and that’s why they continue to do it.

On a different token, however, self-depreciation has made Conan O’Brien’s career.  In every monologue, he makes fun of his pasty, lanky, 6’ 4” body and his own off-beat style of humor.  His confidence is shown in his ability poke fun of himself.  But when this comes from a place of confidence, a person can totally put themselves down and have it work for them.

So self-depreciation and self-denial definitely work for certain kinds of people.  Those who gain their confidence from a public array of encouragement and those who already have confidence yet ironically bring attention to the very things about themselves that others may find cause for low self-esteem.

Manspeak, Volume 9: Appearance

I thought it was just me. But it’s not. After talking to several of my guy friends (and after seeing He’s Just Not That into You with my wife, which chick flick or not, was a good movie,) I realized it wasn’t just me that had a token pair of Bachelor Pants. Every guy in his singlehood has an awful pair of pants that he’s kept for several years, unaware he is committing a crime. They are typically baggy, have cargo pockets, and are outdated.

The thing with Bachelor Pants is that a man is unaware of how horrible these pants are. In fact, men promote each other’s bad fashion tastes by mimicking what their friends wear. A guy doesn’t want to think about what to wear, so the tendency is to go with what’s comfortable and familiar, by default.

The girlfriend will remain silent about the offensive pants during the dating period, all the while she is plotting a plan to eliminate them from her boyfriend’s wardrobe. Traditionally, she will wait until one month after he proposes until he hears the out-of-nowhere newsflash, “You know you’re not bringing those pants into our house once we’re married…”

My contraband was a pair of brown pants I got in 2006 from a Banana Republic outlet. To fit the stereotype, there were quite baggy and had cargo pockets. Those were my Bachelor Pants. My defense was always, “But I got them from Banana Republic- they can’t be that bad…” They earned the name Potato Sack Pants.

So I made them disappear. By that I mean I hid them in a big bin full of winter coats in the storage closet. After being married now for almost 15 months, I decided to nonchalantly bring my Bachelor Pants out of the archives. To my surprise, I wore them around the house for the last two weekends and my wife didn’t say a word about them. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore: “I’m wearing the Potato Sack Pants. Didn’t you notice how awful they are?”

Regarding Bachelor Pants, the main issue is that a man can no long wear them in public after marriage. It’s a bad representation of his wife’s tastes if she allows him out of the house in them. However, Bachelor Pants are permissible inside the home, as they are the equivalent to the women’s sweatpants. Bachelor Pants = women’s gray sweatpants. Okay, it’s a deal.

Every girl’s crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man, but left on his own, a man typically makes the wrong decisions when it comes to fashion. And if he actually does know a lot about it, he may find himself in the questionable “is he or isn’t he?” territory like the professional hired dancers on Dancing with the Stars. So what is a guy to do? Listen to a woman.

When I think of a well dressed man, I think of Frank Sinatra and James Dean, with their stylish, never-out-of-style clothing and classic, never-out-of-place hairstyles. I allow myself to believe they took care of themselves. But I’m sure they had women dressing and styling them the whole time.

Believing that haircuts are annoying and expensive, I ended up in an Owen Wilson situation with my hair for the last several months. Then it all just hit me two weeks ago: This is annoying, I need a haircut. My wife’s eyes lit up when I said that out loud, responding, “You should get it buzzed.” I thought about it for two solid minutes in silence, then replied, “Okay, let’s go.”

What’s interesting is that during my recent Italian mobster days with the long hair, several different guy friends literally said this to me out of the blue: “You got cool hair.” But during that time, all females in my life said, “It’s time for a haircut… What does Jill say about it?” Now that my hair is 1/8th of an inch all over my head, universally every female has praised my decision, while most of my guy friends say, “Oh… you got rid of it…” I hear the hint of disappointment in their voices.

Men have a Survival Mode setting. Without the help of a woman, a man’s appearance shows this Survival Mode mindset: “I took a shower, I shaved, I’m dressed, I brushed my teeth, time to go.” He may be wearing pleated black pants with brown shoes and a wrinkled shirt with the right side of the collar folded up funny on one side and his tie may be a little too short… but he is dressed, and that is all that matters to him. He is convinced he looks good.

Bottom line: If it’s mainly fellow dudes that are approving of my sense of style, I am listening to the wrong gender. Because other men enabled and encouraged my ways, it made me confident in my own ability to look presentable and good. But women are the ones born with the sense of good fashion. I have to accept the fact that there is no shame in depending on a woman for this.

I wear the pants in the relationship… but she tells me which ones to wear.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:

Blog- www.photojoeblog.com

Website- www.joehendricks.com

incredible_hulk_bill_bixby_image__1_

My appearance with and without the help of a woman.