Thursday, May 25, 2006

Kudos to my Dad!!

I would like to praise my father for joining the Big Brothers Big Sister program. Dad was just assigned his “little” last week, and they have already hung out three times! I am so impressed (and feeling a little guilty that I haven’t seen my “little” in a few weeks) with my Dad for taking this on and making a huge difference in someone’s life (besides just mine). Dad’s little is a nine year old boy named Randy* (name changed…not sure why, but it can’t hurt.). Here is an excerpt of my Dad’s e-mail to the BBBS coordinator about their first outing together:

“I took Randy to Captain D's but this kid is so starved for one on one attention under the circumstances (two younger siblings) that I believe I could have suggested going for BBQ worm sandwiches and he would have said "sounds great." Likes to talk and has a very healthy inquisitive nature. Think it will be a better than average match. Don't think I will have any problems finding things for us to do as he seems easily pleased. Brought him by house for a few minutes to see my truck and meet "Sancho" (oldest daughter's Chihuahua) that I evidently adopted about 3 years ago.”

What a lucky little boy—I’m so glad that there are people who believe that just a few hours of their time each week can make a difference. It does!

On another note, I can’t believe I’ve never blogged about my father. He’s quite the character. It’s hard to even know what to share about him….Styrofoamology, his cheapness, his Elvis impersonations, the times he’s tried to embarrass me in front of dates, his rants on my use of his home as a storage facility, or the time he made a surprise visit to my boyfriend’s parents home (who had never met him and lived two hours away). Don’t get me wrong—there are wonderful things about him; he is great about dispensing quick practical advice, and I often turn to him to do so. But he could give the creator of the Tightwad Gazette a run for her money. For example, when my sister and I were in elementary school, he would not permit us to order cheeseburgers when we ate at Burger King (Lord forbid someone tried to order “the most expensive thing on the menu”—chicken tenders). My dad explained that adding cheese to the burger was an extra 20 cents for a half slice of cheese. We could get a (cold) full slice of cheese at home for about a dime. Fortunately I didn’t like cheeseburgers back then, but I would always get a good talking to when we visited Captain D’s since I ordered “fish and shrimp” but refused to eat the nasty coleslaw and fries. “Fish and shrimp,” for those of you who don’t know, was the “most expensive thing on the menu.” I wonder if Randy gets to order whatever he wants?

Have you ever wondered who buys used shoes? Now you know.

My Dad’s thriftiness met a new extreme in my mind the day I saw him “saving” the ice I poured out in the sink. “What are you doing with my ice?” I asked. “Oh just rinsing it off before I use it” replied Dad. “There’s no sense in wasting perfectly good ice.”

You’ll probably be surprised based on what I’ve told you to learn that my father has a Jacuzzi. Or at least that’s what he told my then-boyfriend Zack* who came to Calhoun to meet the family. My Dad met us in the driveway, and I tried to start things out on a good note by telling Dad that Zack was Presbyterian. My Dad liked that a lot and proceeded to give Zack a tour of his home, which ended on the deck. My Dad pointed to an empty bathtub (with claw legs) in the back yard and explained that it would fill with water when it rained. Then the sun would heat the water, and he had his very own Jacuzzi.

Oh dear Dad, with all of this thriftiness I can’t imagine what my inheritance will look like. I already know that it includes a sound sense of living within my means and saving, loving a good deal, not letting others’ judgment pressure me into buying things I don’t need or want, and a fairly thick skin when it comes to feeling embarrassed.

*Name changed…not sure why, but it can’t hurt.

Question: should I capitalize dad when referring to my Dad?


kimberly said...

I love the picture of your dad - it's crazy to see how our parents shape us in tons of little ways - like I'm sure every time you see a Captain D's or order fish & shrimp you think about your dad. Plus it's cool that you are also a positive influence on him in the sense of how being a big brother is changing him. I don't know about you but it's interesting to me to see the difference of how I relate to my dad as an adult versus how I did as a kid.
Sorry I've been MIA on the blogging lately - they're painting in my office and I can't get in to the computer for more than a few minutes at a time. But I'm not complaining because I'm finally getting rid of the horrid wallpaper that was in here!
I hope you had a great Memorial Day and can't wait to hang out sometime!!! (ps you asked about the myspace pic - it's an old picture of a friend from va.beach - unfortunately no interesting guy stuff for me at the moment)

Anonymous said...

Your DAD sounds like a real nice guy. I can tell by the way you write about him that he either lived during the Great Depression or grew up very poor. As a Psychologist with 30 years of practice I am very familiar with "Styrofoamcupology".Usually it is the facination of something as inexpensive as a cup that will" keep hot things hot and cold things cold" that causes this particular obsessive trait rather than having to use a bulky thermos It is closely related with his obsession with throwing away "storebought" ice which has unusual characteristics in size and shape. You are correct about your inheritance as even though he may not feel the need for all the material things in life you will be able to spend as you please. Hopefully he won't leave it all to Charity as I have seen with relatives of people as you have described. However I am very suprised about the used shoe part unless they were walking shoes or sport shoes and maybe 20 years ago. Hopefully he has turned his A/C on by now. Anyhow I would certainly like to meet him. He probably also did not like to pay for soda when he was getting "food to go" when he had drinks at home in as much they range from $1-$1.50 when bought to go. Hope you and your sister inherited his wisdom and pacticality but not to the extent you decribed. I am sure your younger sister takes somewhat after him as well as these traits often are inherited or learned by example. Dr. RJJ

Aaron said...

In all those years that we were in school together, I don't remember your dad. Back then, I'm sure I would have thought he was weird. Now, I'd think he's just right. :D

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