Sunday, August 14, 2011

When Daddy Met Daddy

(In case you missed what me and Derrick did for our week 3 team assignment for Blogger Idol 2011:) 

Here's what happened when two ruthless, genius, and maniacal daddy bloggers (Dad v. Autism & Daddy Knows Less) started following, sharing, and - gasp! - talking to each other on the phone:

DKL: For all intents and purposes, I have only been part of the blogging community for four months, even though I've been blogging for four years. Only this past March did I open up my blog to the world outside of my family and friends. And thank goodness, because I've made countless new friends.

One of whom is Derrick, who blogs at Dad v. Autism. He's a more than a daddy blogger. He writes about life, its struggles and triumphs, as well as his family. He calls his blog Dad v. Autism because his youngest child, Noah, is high functioning autistic and he wants the world to know how awesome Noah is. He's doing a spectacular job. You should join me in following him.

Recently, he shared with his readers one of my posts. I had written about a long vacation my wife and I took with our daughter to Seattle and Vancouver. And how we decided not to say no to her during the trip. While I was honored that he thought enough of the post to share it, I was curious as to why. (Click here to read the post)

So I decided to dig deeper into his experiences with family vacations:

DKL: Time and money are not an issue: What is your dream vacation?

DvA: I'd love to take the Cheerleader to Paris...for like a year...no kids...no package deals...just live there for a year...soak it all in.  See the sites, sure, but mostly just experience what's it like in the Paris...without kids...

DKL: Why aren't your kids involved?

DvA: Why would I take the brood on a romantic getaway with the missus?  Like they don't intrude enough already!

Ouch!  Dammit!....I'm sorry, I take it all back...I love my kids...we'd go to Disney World, move right in with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, we could borrow cups of sugar from Daisy Duck and ride Space Mountain every day...

This isn't Clark, but it's close...just like me.
DKL: Have you ever traveled across country with an ultimate destination in mind, and planned stops along the way to see family, visit national landmarks, only to experience car trouble, have your great aunt die on the trip and your ultimate destination be closed for renovations once you've arrived? No? Well, then has anyone ever told you you look like Chevy Chase?

DvA: I've never been told I look like Chevy...although I have been accused of acting like him on occasion.  Funny, you should bring up a cross country trip..we've actually done that twice..but not as vacations.  We've done them as mind melting, mental trauma inducing moves.  The first time it was just the oldest...and it was no fun.  The second time it was all three and Noah was just a baby...and it was even less fun.

DKL: You have three kids, so you MUST have a vacation horror story or 27 to tell. Care to share one? No? Hey, you agreed to the interview, pal. The least you could do is answer the questions. Please?

DvA: When we lived in California we would take regular seven hour trips to see the in-laws in Nevada.  The Goob was only three or four and she really liked to hear the sound of her own voice...for seven straight hours.  I don't know which was worse her rendition of twinkle, twinkle little star...or the time she played with the Blue's Clues Toys for the seven hours back..."Healthy-Healthy-Healthy Snacks, Healthy Snacks.  Healthy-healthy-healthy..." It never ended.  The poor stupid toy couldn't get a single sentence out before she punched that button again and again...;

"The Sun's a hot...the Sun's a hot...the Sun--the Sun--the Sun--"

All of the while going through a snow storm on Donner Pass...I am amazed we survived...We did however have to seek counseling afterwards...for the toys.

DKL: Seriously, how the hell do you travel with three kids? Two of whom are "teenagery?" Do you drink A LOT on vacation? I have one child and I try to keep a constant buzz. Could be why I don't say "no" to her on vacation. Was there a question in there? Bartender!

DvA: We don't travel with three kids anymore.  First of all, we always drove...because flying a family of five anywhere requires a second mortgage.  Also, we usually travel to family, and there aren't many heavy drinkers...And we certainly don't travel with the teenagers anymore...they eat too frickin' much and I don't want to rent a cargo van to pack them all into...

DKL: Wouldn't it be nice if your wife didn't say no to YOU on vacation? Or at home for that matter? What do you think of THAT?

DvA: I like your thinking DKL.  I think that should be a movement!  I'll help make picket signs...what was that?  NO!  NO! I would never say that...out loud...my wife is entitled to her own opinions, aside from my own...even on vacation....(Yes, dear, I'm putting the markers back where I found them.)

DKL: I have this new thing. Whenever my wife says or does anything to aggravate me, I instantly say, "I love you soooo much." And we both start laughing right away. Is that passive aggressive? Are you passive aggressive? What does your wife do, on vacation or not, that aggravates you?

DvA: Yes, that's very passive aggressive.  And that's exactly how I am.

What does my wife do that bugs me?  Well let me tell you...oh, hi honey, I didn't see you there again...NOTHING.  My wife does NOTHING that bugs me...ever...

DKL: Somewhat serious question: Why do you refer to your daughter as "The Goob?" Does she like this name? And how do your older kids feel about you writing about them on the internet for the world to see (sometimes airing their crap)? I ask because this is something my wife and I talk about every time the "where do we want this blog thing to go" discussion comes up.

DvA: "Goob?" Well, we were doing our best to clean up our language, so we started calling each other "Noobs" as in "Newbies" who just don't really know what they're doing...so I wasn't thinking one day and I misspoke "Noob" for "Goob."  The Goob immediately laughed at me, so I played it off like that was what I meant to say anyway...as in short for "Goober."  At first she hated it, which is why I started using it in my blog...but after a while, she's really gotten used to it.  She signed my Father's Day card, "From the Goob."

You know, for the most part, my kids refuse to read anything I write.  I'm just not cool enough.  So there's never been any argument about it.  In actuality, I think it goes completely in line with what I've always told my children, "If you're doing something that you have to lie about or you don't want anybody to know about, you probably shouldn't be doing it."

I've also explained in a follow up blog that when I've really felt funny about talking about delicate issues, I'm really looking more for advice, both for myself and the kids. And frankly, I've never really written anything that wasn't public knowledge for all intents and purposes.

Now if they were counter-revolutionaries trying to bring down our real estate banking overlords...I'd keep their secrets...

DvA: Now let me ask you some questions, Justin.  Let me dig into your noggin for a bit, if you will.  You write a darn good blog over there at Daddy Knows Less.  I particularly like your catch phrase "Often wrong.  Never in doubt."  I can dig that...that strikes a chord if you know what I mean.  You were nice enough to pimp out one of my blogs once too.  It was all about my neighbors who have proven...um...less than friendly. (Click here to read it.)

What makes a good neighbor? Do you consider yourself a good neighbor?
I'm no Mr. Rogers, but I'm close.

DKL: A good neighbor is someone who is helpful, not intrusive, and not annoying. And when they are annoying, they either warn you before the fact or apologize after the fact. A good neighbor shovels your walkway if you're away during a snow storm.

I'm a good neighbor. I take my neighbor's cans in if they've forgotten. If I see newspapers piling up on their front walkway, I pick them up and put them out of view so no one sees that they're away. And I don't let my dog crap on their lawns, even if I think it may actually help their lawns look nicer.

DvA: Have you ever had a "bad" neighbor? If so did you retaliate against said bad neighbor? If not, why not? If so, how?

DKL: I didn't know I had a bad neighbor until I was, coincidentally, walking the dog one evening. I live on the corner of our block, which intersects with a busy two-lane thoroughfare in our town. Luna and I were crossing the street right in front of our house when this jerk came roaring around the corner with his music blasting. He came within two feet of hitting us.

At first, I thought it was a teenager. I glared through the windshield at whomever was driving. When I reached the sidewalk, the neighbor revealed himself. He is an older guy and is known on the block as a cranky jerk. I just never had any such experience with him. Until now. He had the nerve to ask me why I looked annoyed. "Because you almost hit us, Dennis." And I walked away.

When we returned, I wasn't satisfied with my response. So I called him. I reminded him we live on a street that dead ends into a park, with lots of kids and people walking their dogs. "You don't need to tell me that. I've been living here for twenty years," he barked back.

"Then you should know not to drive like a maniac."

Now I've upset him. He went on to describe my phone call as unnecessary and say I should cross in the crosswalk and no I'm not going to apologize so I guess this conversation is over.

I did have the inclination to post a sign on his car that reads, "Please slow down" every day for the rest of our lives. But cooler heads have prevailed and I really don't have much if any interaction with this guy since he lives at the other end of the street. So screw him. Let him be miserable.

DvA: Have you ever snuck through the second story window of your bad neighbor's house, overfed their fish and stolen a six pack of beer from their fridge so they'll be forced to blame their teenage kid for the theft?  No?  Me neither.  What kind of a freak would do something like that?

DKL: Actually, I have been pool-hopping before. Does that count? But that was back in my teenage days. I never understood why we did this. Most of us had swimming pools. My father was in the swimming pool business. So not only were we trespassing on our neighbors' property, we were jeopardizing my dad's relationship with his customers. Foolish kids (shakes fist in disgust).

DvA: Have you ever had a policeman next door neighbor who had a security light that shone every night into your master bedroom and kept you awake all night and it turned out he was a complete psycho and tried to kill your whole family?  Oh, that was a movie?  Did you see it?  What'd you think?  Because that's never happened to me either.  Hollywood has a way of ruining everything...excuse me while I throw this script out....

DKL: No. But I did have a neighbor who called the cops on me every time I had friends over, whether we were drinking or not. Once they did it at my birthday party sophomore year in high school. Because all the seniors showed up and were loitering in the street, thinking it was a drinking party. But it was just a bunch of horny Catholic school guys trying to snap underwater pictures of the girls in their bikinis. (Incidentally, guys are perverts and they suck and I am going to be a psychopath when my daughter is a teenager because of everything I know.)

Actually, this WAS a drinking party. Sort of. Me and one of my friends were walking around with rum and cokes the whole time. We were hammered. And my mom's one cousin became suspicious because I had bloodshot eyes. I blamed the pH level in the pool (the pool boy's knowledge comes in handy once again).

DvA: Have you ever had a neighbor have a Mexican salsa band blaring across the street for 48 straight hours? And it wasn't even on Cinco de Mayo?  What would you do about something like that?

DKL: If I could hear it, and it was interrupting mine or my daughter's sleep, I would go absolutely apesh!t bananas. I would be that guy. I would call the cops.

DvA: Have you ever borrowed any yard tools from a neighbor?  Do you still have it?  Did you ever have a garage sale and try to sell it?  Have you ever had a neighbor borrow anything from you?

DKL: I have borrowed an axe for chopping firewood, and an extension ladder for hanging a tire swing. Actually, my neighbor is the one who climbed the ladder and hung the swing because I'm afraid of heights. Well, I'm actually more afraid of falling than of climbing, but you get the point.

I have always returned everything in a timely and efficient manner (see above about being a good neighbor). Although, I did have a baseball bat that one of my neighbors brought over for a pinata at a Halloween party for the better part of nine months. But that was more forgetfulness. And it's not like I tried to sell it.

DvA: Lastly, in my research, I discovered that you may or may not work for a MAJOR television network...well, I've got this awesome idea for pilot....no, it's so much better than that last one...that last one was crap!  This is solid gold, I promise...

DKL: This is true. I am a television news producer at a major network. But I ask you please do not make any assumptions about my political beliefs or the scope of my influence based on where I work and the title I hold. I'm really just another brick in the wall. But I'm sure your script is awesome.

DvA: Of course, it is...so where can I send it?

DKL: I'll ask Uncle Rupert and get back to you.

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