Last Minute Halloween Costumes for Busy Parents

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Oct 312014

Looking for that last minute Halloween costume? The Dad has you covered.

Holy crap! It’s already Halloween. If you’re anything like me, you’re not exactly prepared for this holiday, which means you’ll be handing out pieces of toast and crumbs from the bottom of a pretzel bag to trick-or-treaters. It also means you don’t have a costume yet.

Don’t worry. I’m here to save the day with some last-minute Halloween costume ideas for all you over-busy parents. Best of all: You should be able to cobble these together from stuff you already have at your house.

Super-Perfect Super Parent. This mythical creature wakes up early, stays up late, packs lunches perfectly, helps kids with school assignments in a timely fashion, washes, cleans, drives back-and-forth to school and extracurriculars, always dresseshimsef/herself well, stays in shape, makes amazing dinners, keepslast minute Halloween costumes - Super Parent up an active social life, volunteers in the community, has perfect kids with perfect manners, and maybe even holds down a job to contribute some coin to the family kitty. To dress as Super-Perfect Super Parent, you will need to look, well, perfect. Also, you’ll need to lose some weight, gain some muscle tone, have a sparkle in your eye and wear smile at all times.

Warning: If you dress as Super-Perfect Super Parent, you will have to explain to everyone what you are, because no one will have ever seen one before.

Zombie Dad/Mom. If you have small kids, this one is easy. Just roll your sleep-deprived self out of bed and go about your day. Maybe put a little fake blood around your mouth so people know that you’re a zombie and not just hungover. last minute Halloween costume

Is that a piece of macaroni in your hair from last night’s mac ‘n’ cheese dinner that you hastily through together at the last second so your kids wouldn’t start eating potted plants to ease their hunger?”

Nope. Part of the zombie costume.

“Have you been wearing that ratty bath robe all day?”

Yes. Part of the zombie costume.

“Is that the smell of stale beer and a thick musk of mid-life stress?”

Nope. Part of the zombie costume. And stop sniffing me.

Neighborhood Lush. You know that lady who always has one too many gin and tonics at the PTA fundraiser? You know the dad who always has a beer in his hand while he’s mowing the lawn? Hell, this might be you. If it is, or if you’ve always aspired to be the gu who’s a little too handsy with his neighbors’ wives atlast minute halloween costumes - drunk mom the tail end of the block party, or the gal who pees in the bushes outside her friends’  Christmas party, then this is the costume for you. Just dress in your normal attire, spritz the spirit of your choice behind your ears, grab your favorite cocktail, and head out the door. This costume works particularly well if you’re wearing it while trick or treating with your kids. Everyone loves the drunk mom stumbling behind her toddlers while they stumble up to strangers’ doors to beg for candy!

So there you have it. Halloween has been saved. Now, go have fun. Happy Halloween!

 Posted by at 10:27 am

4 lessons from 40 years

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May 162014

Everything I’ve learned in the last 40 years (which is surprisingly little)

I recently turned 40. I’m not super excited about officially crossing over into middle age, but then again, the festivities surrounding this event have been nothing short of epic. Not since I turned 21 and took my first ever sips of beer (wink, wink) have I engaged in such protracted celebrations over a birthday.

And why not? It’s a big one. For whatever reason, our society puts a lot of emphasis on this birthday, and I’ve been happy to oblige that societal pressure by going through the party paces. Now that the hangovers and hops-infused haze have subsided, I’ve had some time to ponder what I’ve learned in life thus far. My ultimate conclusion: not much. However, I did manage to pull out four nuggets of wisdom from the past four decades. So here you go, my four life lessons learned in the last 40 years:photo

1. True freedom is not giving a damn. I’ve been around for four decades. During that time, I developed a pretty solid idea of who I am, and I’m good with it. Furthermore, I don’t give two shits and pint of guacamole if you don’t like me. I don’t even really care what most people think of me. I’ve been known to drop my oldest kid off at preschool wearing a bathrobe, flip flops and ski pants (don’t ask), because I don’t give a damn. I’ve been known to walk right past annoying neighbors who amble up to talk to me, because I don’t give a damn. It’s liberating not caring what people think.

Of course, this has some limits. I’d actually prefer it if my wife and kids liked me. The kids, well, I just like little humans looking up to me. It feeds the ego. The wife, because I enjoy things like not sleeping on the couch and the remote possibility of having sex if I play all my cards right and there just happens to be an ample supply of red wine in the house.

So yeah, there are some conditions to not giving a damn, but generally I consider it an admirable world view. Let other people stress out about everything. There are too many people in this world who care too much about too many things. This planet would be an easier place to reside if more of us just said, “Eh, why sweat the small stuff?”

2. A life best lived is a life with no regrets. Of course I’ve made mistakes (the years 1993-1998 come to mind). Of course I’ve missed opportunities (why would I ever work for a company called “Google”?). Of course there are things I would have done differently knowing what I know now (see: every girl I pursued/dated/annoyed from age 15 to when I met my wife). But I would rather live a life where I tried something and failed, than one where I played it safe only to look back years later and regret that I didn’t do something. I don’t want to be sitting around 40 years from now wondering, “what if?” That mindset is what prompted me to quit a stable job and follow my eventual wife to Colorado, where we had no jobs, no place to live and almost no friends. That’s how I ended up starting my own business instead of going back to work for The Man. That’s how I ended up with three kids, instead of a nice, even two, which has necessitated all kinds of strange life adjustments, like cars with three rows of seats and dinner tables that seat five and never being invited to stay with friends at their home ever again. These are all decisions that made me uncomfortable at the time, but have turned out incredibly well. And I never had to wonder “what if?” If you want to play it safe, go get a job at a bank. If you want to live, push your comfort zone a little. That’s my idea, anyway.

3. Life moves slowly when you focus on what you truly love. Everyone’s always talking about how time flies. How many times have you heard someone say something like, “I blinked and my baby was going off to college.” Yeah, I feel you. But here’s the thing: If you want to enjoy the parts of your life that are really important, then slow down and concentrate on them. If your kids are your top priority, then give them your undivided attention when you’re with them. Put down the fucking iPhone and engage with them. Immerse yourself in their world. Whether you have an hour or all day, make it count. Maybe you love to travel, or your whole year revolves around the week that you can sit on the beach and do nothing. Great. Do it. Disconnect and live in that moment. I’m no physicist, but I can tell you this about the relationship between time and reality: Perception is everything. If your attention is split between 20 different directions, if you’re trying to accomplish 10 things at once, then you will never have enough time. If you focus on what is most important at that moment, then the earth spins a little slower, life moves a little easier, and the things that really matter don’t fly by quite so fast.

4. I don’t know jack. Not literally. I do know a guy named Jack. He’s tall and skinny, doesn’t like cheese (I know, right?), and he gets a funny little furrowed brow when he’s agitated. No, I mean I don’t know jack shit. Yeah, I’ve accumulated some wisdom over the years, but it’s nothing compared to what I don’t know. This world is overstuffed with know-it-alls who claim to be experts on just about everything. That’s great for selling books and seminars and snake oil, but in reality, I’ve learned that the more you know, the more you don’t know. My kids teach me this every day. Every time I think I’ve got this parenting thing down, the game changes, and I’m back to square one. Same goes for life in general. Things change. You have to adapt. If you keep doing the same thing based on the same knowledge, then you become a dinosaur. And we all remember what happened to the dinosaurs, right? So know what you don’t know and embrace it. That’s what I say.

That’s the sum of all my wisdom. It may take me another 40 years to come up four more coherent tips on life, so enjoys these.

Here’s to the next four decades!

Inspirational Statements Debunked

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Apr 222014

Some of you may have seen my Easter post, “Things I Stuff in My Kids’ Easter Eggs to Throw Them for a Loop.” In that post, I talk about nonsensical inspirational statements. These pseudo-philosophical sayings drive me nuts, mostly because they are ridiculous and contradictory to reality, and yet people still superimpose them on pictures of mountains and sunsets and space shuttles and people windsurfing. So, to expand my thoughts on the nonsensical inspirational statements that I included in my last post, here are my explanations of those particular sayings, for those who have never thought about them more than giving them a passing glance when they’re displayed as posters on the walls of your gym or office or kid’s school.

“Reach for the moon … if you miss at least you’ll be among the stars.”

Technically, no. The average distance of the moon’s elliptical orbit from the earth is 238,900 miles. The nearest star, aside from the sun, is 4.24 light years away, as in you’ll never reach it in your lifetime traveling in a conventional space vehicle that doesn’t have some sort of Star Wars-esque hyperdrive. So, yeah, if you reach for the moon and miss it, you still have a way to go, idiot.

“When your mind is full of indecision, try thinking with your heart.”

No. This is how I ended up betting on the Denver Broncos in this year’s Super Bowl. The heart is not to be trusted.

“Whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Nope. Wrong again. I’m married, and I’m a guy, so I never get to be right.

“Always remember that you are unique. Just like everybody else.”

I actually use this statement a lot in a work context, though probably not in the inspirational way it was originally intended. “Yes, you are unique. And your project is totally unique. It’s nothing at all like the projects I’ve done for hundreds of other clients over the past 15 years. Let’s certainly re-invent the wheel for you. That seems like a good use of everyone’s time.

And my all-time favorite, which children of the ’80s might remember from Casey Kasem’s American Top 40 broadcasts: “Keep your feet on the ground, and keep reaching for the stars.”

This seems like a waste of time, unless you’re 4.24 light years tall.

 Posted by at 11:35 am
Jan 242014

The Dad is sleep-deprived and pee soaked, so this is the best you’re gonna get

Most of my humorous parenting stories from this week began at 4:00 a.m. with the voice of a two-year-old girl saying, “Daddy, I’m all wet.” Lovely way to be awakened on the dark side of ungodly early, especially when your interlocutor has climbed into your bed and sat her pee-soaked butt directly on top of you. Anyway, for reasons that should be obvious to other parents, my lack of sleep has led to a lack of focus, so I haven’t sat down to write a nice fresh post this week.

HOWEVER, I have two fun announcements in lieu of original storytelling. These may even be better than a new post.

Number one:

Dad on Arrival was featured on Blogmas 2013: Parents are People. Blogmas is a compendium of the best posts of 2013, as suggested by other bloggers and compiled by Fadra Nally, a great blogger in her own right, and the proprietor of All Things Fadra. Last week, my post, “Santa vs. God vs. Siri” was deemed “The Best Attempt to Explain the Omniscient Forces of the Universe.” This is all very flattering, but the really cool thing, from the perspective of you, the reader, is all the other great posts on this list. Great reading. Go check them out here: Blogmas 2013: Parents are People.

Number two:

Some of you may have heard about this big football game coming up on February 2. Well, the competitors in this most Super of Bowls will be Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks (coincidentally, the two teams from states with legalized marijuana, giving new meaning to the term “Super Bowl”). Now, I live in Denver, and have embraced the Orange Crush as my adopted hometown team. And there’s this other blogger, Meredith Bland, who writes an awesome blog called Pile of Babies, who happens to reside in Seattle. Apparently, she’s a Seahawks fan, as you can see from this post: I watch the NFC Championship game, and discover that I am a terrible person. Anyway, I recently made a Super Bowl bet with Meredith: Loser has to write the winner’s blog for a week, or a couple posts to be scheduled at the winner’s discretion. Basically, once the Broncos trample on the Seahawks and their mouthy cornerback, Richard Sherman, you will get to enjoy the comedic stylings of Pile of Babies, specially crafted for all of you here on Dad on Arrival. Really, you should consider this a major upgrade and root hard for the Broncos. In the meantime, go visit Pile of Babies and tell her that her team is doomed.

Pile of Babies Blog

Pile of Babies is an awesomely funny blog, but the author is rooting for the wrong team in the Super Bowl.

Jan 162014

How kids’ commentary can lead to sticky situations

One of the things I most enjoy and most fear about little kids is their running commentary on life. If you’ve ever spent any time around small children, you know that they tend to say whatever pops into their head, unfiltered. They also ask whatever question seems relevant to them at the time, no matter how inappropriate. I’ve gotten more than one dirty look when one of my kids launched into a series of questions about someone we come across at a store, on a walk, at a restaurant, etc.

For example, while eating out one night, my son asked, “Daddy, why is that guy wearing a skirt?”

“Who? Our waitress?” I responded. “No, buddy, that’s not a guy. She’s a woman. She just has short hair.”

“That guy is a girl?”

“Yes, well, that young woman is a girl. Woman. Female. Not a guy.”

“No. Really? That guy right there?” he said, pointing in a very obvious way.

“Yes. She is. Please, she saw you pointing at her and now she’s coming over here.”

“Please what?” the boy asked.

“Please stop talking.”

At this point, the waitress, who’d noticed all the pointing and gesturing and looking in her direction, had walked over to our table and politely asked if we needed anything.

Before I could respond, my son blurted it out: “Are you a girl?”

“Heh, heh, kids. Please don’t mind him,” I said apologetically.

“Why are you wearing a skirt?” the boy asked, persisting in trying to get us served a giant sneezer. He just wasn’t going to let this one go.

An awkward pause ensued. The waitress seemed dumbfounded. The boy waited patiently for an answer to his questions. Finally, she looked at me for an explanation. All I could muster was …

“Please don’t spit in our food.”

Yeah, that kind of thing happens more than I could possible chronicle. So you can imagine my discomfort when we visited my in-laws over the holidays, and my four-year-old son and two-and-a-half-year-old daughter unleashed a daily barrage of comments and questions without the slightest concern for social mores. Just imagine sitting down for breakfast or dinner with your wife’s family and your kids start spouting out comments like these:

“Mommy, how come you said I can’t pee in the shower, but Daddy does?”

“I don’t want to use that bathroom. Uncle [Name Redacted to Protect the Innocent] was just in there and it smells like the elephants at the zoo.”

“Why is that dog so fat?”

“Grandma, do you need a special car to drive up a wall? Daddy keeps talking about driving up a wall because of ‘family drama’.”

“This car smells like sausage.”

“When I grow up, I want a big belly, like Santa and Grandpa.”

“I don’t want to hug her. She smells like cheese.”

“No, Mommy, I did not sleep well. You and Daddy were making too much noise in your room next door.”

So that was all great, but perhaps the best comment of the trip didn’t come from a child at all; it came from my mother-in-law. It occurred shortly after a conversation with my wife’s aunt about how she thinks all of my kids look like my wife and not at all like me (not a bad thing by any means). A little later, my 14-month-old son, Heavy D, came waddling into the room. I said, “Look at that cute little boy. How can she say he doesn’t look like me? I think he got a lot from me.”

“Yeah,” my mother-in-law replied, “he is getting pretty chubby.”

 Posted by at 10:22 am