My Mr. Fix It.

As you already aware, this year, rather than sending a Hallmark card in the mail and hoping it'll safely arrive in your mailbox (we know the odds of that are slim these days) I'm writing all the ooey-gooey stuff I would have put in your card, here. On my blog, and dedicating an entire post to you. A post with a fancy personalised and "carpenterized" picture (that I made all myself!!). A post that you'll always be able to find and refer to - it won't slip down behind the buffet and get lost in the land of dog food and dust bunnies.  A post that allows me to brag to the world about how lucky I am to have a Papa like you. A post that is nostalgic and special. Because that's what you deserve. 

I know that Mom bawled like a baby when she read her Mother's Day post (I warned you Mother! You know that's my job!) but you need not worry. I'm not gonna try to make you cry happy tears - I know you're a big tough man and tears don't come easily, so why waste my time, eh? ;) So instead, I'm going to reminisce and laugh with you about the silly Dad thing's you've done in the past. Thing's that have stuck in my head and that I still remember. 

Obviously there's the Doughnut Trap incident, which I still can't believe you did. You're a crafty, sneaky, doughnut hoarding man, Dad! But I suppose I've forgiven you now for holding that container of Mom's doughnuts hostage with your imaginary finger snapper. Hell, who am I kidding? I'll definitely use that trick with my own kids one day! Ha! 

I remember when I first learned to ride my bike. It was a turquoise bike with white wheels and a rainbow painted across the middle frame. I loved it. I rode it everywhere.  Over to Mr and Mrs P's house. Around the drive way. In the garage. Everywhere. And one day I got the bright idea to follow you on the lawn mower as you cut the grass. To be honest, I'm not even sure you knew I was following you around until you went over a bees nest and a stinger flew straight out of the mower deck and into my arm. I dropped my bike, cried like I'd been shot 90 times and rant to the front porch screaming for Mom. Noticing I'd bailed on my bike you made a U-turn with your John Deere, headed toward the deck and when you arrived said "What's all that blattin' for?" when I told you I'd been stung by a bee that you'd shot at me with your lawn mower (because obviously you must have purposely done that!) the following was your response: "Well, dipshit, you shouldn't have been following me. Rocks fly outa there too! Come getcha' bike, it's in the middle of the lawn." Nothin' like a bit of tough love. Haha! 
I remember how we used to stand in the kitchen nearly every morning making toast together before school. As soon as the toast was golden brown, out it would come (well, unless you were fully in charge. Then it came out like charcoal). It was crucial we buttered it immediately so all the sweet stuff would stick. Once the bread was moist with yummy buttery goodness we'd sprinkle cinnamon on top shortly followed by white sugar. I still remember that. Our cinnamon toast adventure. And even now, it's still my favorite way to eat toast.

I remember the night your face got busted up while playing softball. I was supposed to be asleep, but as you can imagine...I wasn't. Instead I was messing around with my Space Jam cassette while organizing my Pogs into their cylinders when I heard a truck pull in the front dooryard. When I looked out my window I saw you getting out of the passenger seat with a bloody t-shirt up to your face. In all the chaos I shouted out my bedroom window to Mom asking what had happened and still laugh at her reply: "Oh, your goddamn father ran into a fence! Get back in bed!" Haha! I bet that's got to be one of the weirdest sentences Mom's put together. If I remember correctly you ended up getting stitches and as a result of your fight with the fence (please tell me you at least caught the ball?) you told me you'll always have a moustache to hide the scar. 

I remember the time you accidentally ate something with nuts in it, which caused you to have an allergic reaction yet you still refused to go to the hospital. I sat on the couch watching you use the back scratcher to itch the bottoms of your feet as you insisted you were fine. In the end, Mom called you a stubborn mule and forced you to go. 
This picture is of you and Sonya, but I love it so I'm adding it :)
I remember when you and Mom used to teach Line Dancing with Keith and Annie. I loved my fancy cowboy boots, homemade crinkled dancin' skirts and how every 4th of July Sonya and I would get to be in the parade throwing beads behind the float. By the age of 8 I could do a mean Boot-Scootin'-Boogie, Electric Slide and Cotton Eyed Joe. But my favorite part of the line dancing classes was when you used to dance to the slow songs with me. We'd hurry onto the floor, you'd grab my hand, take the lead and say "Ya ready, Mandy?" once the music started you'd whisper  "Quick quick, slow, slow. Quick quick, slow, slow" the entire way through the song as we glided around the floor. 

I remember how at every one of your softball games, every 4th of July and every year at Field Days we'd hurry to Dan's Van for a hot dog together. NO ONE else (well, aside from Dogger) understands their yumminess like you do. We're in our own hot-dog-club.

I remember the day I wrote a letter to the Spice Girls confessing my undying love for them, and inside I'd put a necklace that read Sugar and Spice (given to me by grandparents). After working very hard to address the envelope (referring to my trusty Teen Beat magazine article) I brought it to you and asked if you could put a stamp on the front and mail it for me. About 10 minutes later you came back with my letter, sat on my bed with me and pulled my necklace out of the envelope. Using your very clever Dad negotiating skills, you convinced me that I shouldn't send my necklace because there were 5 Spice Girls who would all fight over it and that could potentially result in a band break up. After our discussion ended and you left, I remember sitting in my room thinking "Holy cow! Good thing I listened to Dad! I  could have broke the Spice Girls up!!!"

I remember the summer that Sonya, Kayla and I attempted to make a tree fort in the back yard and failed miserably. It was a pathetic effort on our part. But you brought your tool belt down into the woods (after an entire day of building somebody else's house) and spruced that old tree right up. By time you were meandering back to the house we had a fancy landing at the top of the tree (a fancy James Bond style 'look-out') and a fort that provided us with all kinds of fun for the entire summer.

I remember standing in the airport with tears streaming down my face as I watched Carl's plane take off again for England. I was absolutely miserable and you knew it. You did one of the sweetest things then, something I think about often because it makes me smile. You came over, put your arm around me, squeezed me close and said "I like him. He's a good kid." I don't know if I ever said thank you, so I'm saying it now. Thank you, Dad. That meant a lot.
Dad, I have lots of fond memories, too many to write here, of our time together. Of things you've said, places we've gone and people we've met. I'll continue to keep them safe, and maybe once I'm home we can reminisce and laugh some more together. I hope you know how truly blessed I feel to have you as my father. I know throughout my childhood and teens I had my moments where I was a little turd. Okay, a big turd. I wasn't always appreciative and grateful for everything you've done for me. I took for granted how lucky I am. I'm sorry for that. I want you to know that you're one in a million. A little scruffy gem :) My Daddy-O and my Mr. Fix it. You've shown me how hard work really does pay off. You've taught me to be determined and goal oriented. You've always been there for me, and I know that you always will be. Thank you for everything you've done. Thank you for being such a fantastic father. I love you to the moon and back and I can't wait for a Dad hug in July :) I've missed them.

Love you THIS much,

P.S. They say a girl ends up with someone that reminds her of her father. I guess it's true. Because your son-in-law sends the following totally ridiculous message:

Hello Big Boy,
Happy Father's Day. Hope you are resting well for the return of the king.


Leave me some love and make me smile!