Only Way is Dapper Ways

gingergrizzlyIt is not easy to look this great. It takes years to find the right diet, plastic surgeon, fitness program, but more importantly, the right hair dresser.  And I have been doing the latter wrong all these years of my adulthood.

My hair has been messed up with no clear direction and simply trying to get some styling done has proven to be a utter challenge.

Like so many trend setters before me, men have gone to high street hair salons, operated by wonderful women who had or has little understanding for a man’s desire to look awesome.  I need to look like a lumberjack, fresh from the mountains, and still rock an office doe that will make my male colleagues stare in amazement wondering who this awesome dude is.

The answer has been simple and right in front of me, but I haven’t dared to sit my feet in a barbers since I was 9 years old.

Back then, in the late 70’s, I went to the local barber in my home town.  The “barbers” had no training whatsoever and probably learned how to cut hair on Barbie dolls, sheep or blind folded.  They knew one cut, and if you asked for another, they frowned and gave you the standard cut.

Because I was 9 and had been running around all day, I was rather tired.  As a result, I started to doze of in the barber’s chair.  For the record … BIG MISTAKE!

haircut misfortune
obviously not me – just taken from Internet

I most have tilted my head slightly as the older (70+ year old) barber was cutting, and my fringe ended up with an increase of 2 inches from left to right.  It looked as if I had a half open curtain across my forehead, resembling characters from “Dumb Dumber”.

As a 9 year old boy, that is not cool.  I knew I would get a severe beating from other boys at school, or at least be humiliated in front of my 3rd grade crush. Utter devastation loomed.

I begged my mother to correct the mistakes, either by cutting the fringe straight or buying me a cool woollen hat, despite it being mid summer and 80+F degrees.

Years later, the trauma was still haunting me, when Felicia (3rd grade crush) laughed at my fringe that had been corrected by my mum, and was not 3 inches above my eye brows and none-existing.

Being happily married, and only other dad’s to impress at local school, I decided it was time to find a suitable barber.  You see them all over and I’ve sent my son there a few times with ok results.

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 17.37.16I found this cool place, Dapper Ways, and booked a time.  I had no idea what the different options were (gentleman’s cut, etc.) but that was part of the experience.  Dapper Ways has a cool interior and something seemed right.

Upon arriving, Nick greeted me.  He happens to be the owner and carries this amazing beard, and arms covered in tattoos.  I was greeted with a smile and took my place in the barber’s chair.  The next 40 mins was an experience I had not tried before.

This dude knows how to cut hair and beard.  He was using the buzzers, scissors and blade razor.  I had warm shaving foam on my face, hot towel and he even edged my sides to perfection.  Man, this was awesome.

I looked sharp.  I had a hair doe that made me feel like a million dollars, and Nick had been a true gentleman when doing his thing.  I can only say, you gotta try and visit Nick.

Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 17.36.54This was absolutely the best hair dresser experience in decades, when I tried to impress a cute girl who was a hair dresser and learning Italian … another blog post entirely.

It was so good my wife smiled and winked at me, and pinched my left butt cheek.  My co-workers parted in front of me like Moses at the Red Sea, and the guys were asking what happened.  OK, slightly exaggerated, but it was bloody cool.

A few weeks later I took my son, and Nick did another splendid job.  Please note, my son has Down Syndrome, and sitting still is an Olympic challenge, but there was no moving around and just cool attitude towards getting his hair done.

3 thumbs up - Go visit Nick and Dapper Ways!

I need Doc Hudson too

emotionsIt is strange how some movies can make you think and seriously review your own situation.  These hidden and less than subtle messages hit you straight in the ticker.  They really make you ponder about life itself.

It happens rarely, probably because I mainly watch movies with less important or real-life connections. But when it happens, it occurs when you least expect it and during the less obvious movie titles.

For me it happened when watching the iTunes release of ‘Cars 3‘.  So, only a few days ago really, but might as well have walked into a glass-door as it hit me completely off-guard.

Spoiler alert for those of you who have not seen the movie, or might not even be familiar with the stories of ‘Cars‘.  Yes, it is a Pixar animated movie, with many laughs and overloaded with feel-good moments.  No spontaneous singing like most Disney movies, but a good family movie.

Nevertheless, Lightning McQueen has lost his driving mojo and seeks out the track where his great coach started his career.  There he meets Smokey, who tries to help Lightning, who really isn’t sure what he needs help with.  He’s looking for the reason he loved racing and how he gets his mojo back.

Suddenly I realised, when watching Smokey talk about how much Doc Hudson loved to train and mentor the younger Lightning McQueen.  It was as if he was talking about me and my life.

I need that father figure and mentor, to put a hand on my shoulder to tell me I’m doing a great job, or gently guide me into making a change.  These little conversations that helps me shape into becoming an even better father, husband, brother and friend.

Since my father passed away, I have had a void in my life.  Not that we were super close or hanging out daily, but just with him being there for me.  He listened, talked and guided me.  It may not have helped me getting a better career or make more money, but I became a better person.  It also motivated me to enjoy things in life.

It may sound like as if I do not enjoy life, but that is not the case.  I love my family and friends, but I need to get acknowledgement and support.  I need a mentor that will help me grow and take on the next obstacle head on, or perhaps even help guide another person through their life challenges.

Professionally, I think I have lost my way a bit, and simply needs that fatherly guidance to help me make the right decisions, and help get my confidence back. It’ll come back I know, but takes a little longer than I had hoped.

Life decisions are hard some times, and having a mentor and father figure really helps in those situations.  Job sucks at times, but it is how you deal with those situations that makes you a better and wiser person.  Look at Gandalf, he really had a tough time and yet looked positively at things 🙂

I often look to the sky, obviously imagining that God’s Kingdom is up there, smiling at my dad.  I silently whisper for his help and guidance, and often get some signs.  But, I would do anything for a hug from my dad.  I miss my Doc Hudson!

dochudson

School Lunches & Grey Hairs

Having three kids keeps you busy.  Very busy.  There’s always laundry, homework, showers, cleaning up toys and rooms.  And, then you of course have the other daily / weekly routines such as sports, friends and shopping.

It never was an easy adventure to be a parent, but it is amazing how much we can accomplish while sleep deprived. Whoever said having kids wouldn’t change you was completely disillusioned and I doubt he ever participated in the awesome responsibilities.

That brings me to my next topic – school lunches.

I bloody hate seeing all the these ridiculously perfect families on social media, who have oodles of time, and patience, to create the perfect lunch boxes.  Seriously, who have time to prepare mini sushi look-alike lunches, design cuddly sandwiches shaped like cute lions, serve small fried dish consistent of slightly fried vegetables, neatly sliced, mixed with fresh caught salmon.  Are you bloody serious!

Instagram, Facebook and other social networks are devil’s spawn.  How on earth can people find time to have these awesome creations?  I wish I could make my kids’ school lunches that fantastic, but I rarely find time to make my own.

My wife and I work 8.30 – 17.30 jobs.  We have to do the daily chores, play with our kids, do homework, and prepare the various meals.  There’s little or no energy left to spend designing next day’s lunch menu.  Kids will get the usual suspects; left-over food, peanut-butter jam, ham-cheese, chicken-cheese tortilla or other combinations.

We refuse to give them money for school lunches, as those are not healthy at all.  At least our lunches have fresh vegetables, meats, cheeses, and their snacks normally consist carrots, tomatoes, or pretzels.

That said, in recent weeks we have really made an effort making the school lunches more appealing.  It is important for the kids to open their lunch boxes, without fears of being laughed at or accused of eating items that looks like they are from another planet.

My latest creation was Lego shaped egg muffins.  Not the boring Eggos like in “Stranger Things‘, but little delicous egg muffins made with spinach, ham, cheese and eggs.

lunchI found our Lego baking shape and made a few awesome Lego shaped muffins.  And I must admit, and kids were not bribed, but they loved them.  It was probably the shapes, but I also hope they tasted nice.

These suckers were created out of normal parenting hours, after 10 pm, which is normally the time we start drooling on the sofa.  Actually, that happens around 9.13pm.

It’s tough being a parent, but I would not change it for anything in the World!

We parents do need to demand better school lunches on all schools.  It is not right that kids get pizza, fries, ice cream, sodas, chips etc.  This only encourages shitty food and increases the risk of childhood obesity.  Demand better food in schools!

Jamie, help us!  We need to start the food revolution … again.

While we wait

jesusmangerChristmas – the most family focused event in the Christian side of the World’s religions.

They wait in anticipation for the coming of Christ, and celebrate his birth in a small barn somewhere in the outskirts of Bethlehem.

Perhaps not the most sanitary surroundings, but this is how Mary and Big Joe were rolling.  In fact, clean healthy environments were probably very hard to find, as indoor plumbing was still fairly basic during the rise of the Roman empire.  But I’m impressed Mary kept the sheets so white.

santa-stuckToday kids are eager with suspense as they wait for a fat dude to drop off a load of presents.  Somehow the simple science that a obese old man can fit into a small chimney does not not deter kids from believing – and rightfully so.  Santa is awesome and he loves to make kids happy (and some adults including me!).

How do you entertain kids from when school closes for the holidays, and how do you prevent them from searching the house in best Indiana Jones style, looking for the hidden presents?  Do you actually admit that Santa does not exist?  Although that would be lying to yourself too.  Of course he exist 🙂

Our little family really enjoy the festive season.  Every weekend is Christmas baking, thanks to my awesome wife, and spending time with the kids for Advent.  They get a small Advent present, which they look forward to.

On the day itself, 24 December, which is day when we celebrate Christmas, the kids wake up super early.  I mean ridiculously early.  Much earlier and easier than on school days.

The day starts with movies, breakfast, and then more movies. It is the old classical movies such as ‘Jingle All the Way‘, ‘Home Alone 1+2‘, ‘Santa Clause‘, ‘Elf‘, ‘Sound of Music‘ and of course ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation‘ … the shitter is full.

It’s all about total relaxation, doing as little as possible and simply spend time with the family. All while eating 🙂

cookiesThis year we introduced family board games.  We wanted to encourage the kids to play board games instead of Xbox games.  The beauty is that we can all participate, and nothing wrong with teaching kids competitiveness. Probably too early to introduce Risk to teach them World domination –  maybe next year.

Later in the morning, we start making cookies while I prepare the traditional Christmas dinner. Kids get the chance to help, but they seem more interested in playing games.

It’s not that hard entertaining the kids. You just need to participate and have fun. Not rocket science really.  Merry Christmas y’all!

What do you do while we wait for Christmas dinner and the imminent arrival of Santa?

Speed Dating Parent Teacher Meetings

The school year has flown by.  I can’t believe that there’s only a few months left until the summer break.  It seems as yesterday when my daughter started her middle school adventures.

In true school spirit, we have to meet the teachers every three months to really assess how our children are progressing … or not.

The first semester was awesome.  Our daughter was initially placed in AIS, much to my dismay, to assist her with math.

Academic Intervention Services are services required by New York State which provide additional instruction to students in English and/or mathematics based upon performance.

Nobody puts baby in the corner, but despite doing so, she showed them all how wrong they were.  She was was added to B honours roll in first semester – and to my absolutely delight, jumped to A honours roll in March.

She obviously has my wife’s intelligence, and good lucks.  Not too sure what genes she got from me.  Probably the rock music and playing games parts.

My wife and I went to the first parent / teacher meeting, but due to other parenting needs at the house, I went to the recent one alone while my wife looked after the kids.

speed-datingI was amazed with the new format of parent / teacher meetings.  I do not remember it being like that previously.  It was like speed dating, just with teachers.  You have a defined amount of time with one teacher, as soon as you get to the interesting parts, then you get pushed to the next teacher.

Ahead of the teacher conference, which they call it nowadays, we had to select specific times to meet key teachers.  It’s a bit like an interview for a job, where you have to speak to a series of potential colleagues to make sure you are the right person.  Except this time you talk about your child.

  • There’s an awkward moment when you look at the teacher, and they attempt to find your child based on your good looks.
  • You have exactly 6 minutes with each teacher, and spent more time introducing yourself, getting comfortable in the shitty chairs and look at a list the teacher has prepared
  • You stand in line until your name is called, hoping the parents ahead of you are not there or have few questions.
  • You rush to the next teacher on the list, running down the hallways.  I find the latter exciting as it reminds of my time in school, and teachers shouting at me “NO RUNNING” … so I ran faster today 🙂
  • You are late for the next session, you think, but realise quickly that some parent has abused the speed dating rules about timekeeping.
  • You try to do small talk, which fails as teacher is only interested in your child’s performance
  • You try to remember all the questions you had prepared in advance, but fail in every aspect and frantically text my wife before I sit down
  • The worst bit, you can hear how well the child next to you is doing … and in some cases they are not doing very well at all.  Both parents and teacher are trying to keep smiling, while delivering some scathing comments.

Keep-calmHonestly, I’m not too sure I got the full picture of my daughter’s performance.  All the teachers loved her.  Her grades are top, She’s a great friend to her class mates and she interacts with everyone.

I was proud when I heard all this, but more so when the teacher said she stands up for other kids, and defends some kids against bullies.  That’s my girl!

Next time I might dress up a bit, bring my chess clock and play some tricks on the teachers.  We gotta spice up the teacher speed dating thing a bit.

Or, perhaps I pretend to be the father of another child too, which would really confuse most teachers 🙂  It’ll be alright and we are all awesome.