Monday, July 20, 2015

Tales from the Dadside

     Just when I think I've got it altogether.  I don't.  Just when I think I'm out.  They pull me back in!  The life of a father who has primary type care responsibilities is perilous indeed.  I have yet to find an instruction or an owner's manual for one 12 year old boy and one 6 year old girl.  No matter, we must adapt, adjust, improvise, and overcome!  This particular tale from the dadside involves all of the following:  new puppies (Welcome Dixie and Chloe to the family,) grass cutting, obstinate weedeaters, and iTunes.  As always, all that follows is true.

      I've been waiting, patiently, for a day to do upkeep around ye olde house.  La Casa Perry grass cutting responsibilities have been passed to my sole male heir.  Recently, my son, the boy who will be king, decided that he wanted an allowance.  His mother and I explained to the boy that we did not receive an allowance growing up, but we were still expected to do chores around the house.  This shocked his sensibilities to the core.  But mom.....no buts here.  However, we decided to take the matter under advisement and revisit it at a later date, but in the meantime in a gesture of good faith, he must perform certain duties.  Grass cutting, garbage disposal and removal, puppy detail (I probably don't need to go into too much detail here, but like the kids book says 'everybody poops',) and various other household functions deemed appropriate by the management.  On this day, grass cutting was the chore du jour.  He wasn't happy about it.

     A sullen boy is a terrible thing.  Especially one that is both tired and afflicted with the smart assedness (sorry for the language.)  However, these issues do not cut the grass so we had to get busy.  I waited on the boy to wake, but he has been burning the proverbial midnight oil around the old neighborhood (technically 9-10 pm oil, because he's not ready for all that goes on at midnight just yet or probably ever for that matter.)  He and his buddies have been playing basketball, riding bikes, video gaming, and doing whatever else it is that 12 year old boys do in the sweet summertime.  Now, sleeping late is not normally a big deal, but this summer in the great state of Alabama the heat has been let's say- oppressive?  brutal maybe?  Truly deadly.  Seriously.  On an average day you can expect about 200 degrees with 100% humidity, and the television weather guys all say the same thing, "If you're going to do work outside, do it early."  I'm an old pro at this heat stuff so I already know that, but young Jesse is a novice. So me, and the hot, tired, and smart aleck boy began our workday.  Kinda like an old rap song, "J with the mower, and dad with weedeater."  Well, that doesn't really rhyme, but I was inspired by Vanilla Ice so what would you expect.

     While the sullen boy was cutting the grass and I was doing some serious weed eating, my lovely daughter Madino was inside on puppy duty.  She loves our new puppies and will do anything to help care for them, well anything except clean up any messes.  It's a fact of life that puppies make messes.  If that upsets you then you probably aren't a puppy person.  Young puppies are like a piece of clay and you must mold into what you want it to be, and if you want an adult dog who is house trained and doesn't chew everything in it's immediate vicinity this is the time to start molding.  I was irritated early and often on this morning, because I can only explain the preferred grass cutting method so many times to a boy who really doesn't want to be cutting grass in the first place.  Back and forth Jesse.  That's all.  I didn't even try to get fancy with a circle type cut, because his mind would have been blown.  They say he's gifted, and he is one smart cookie, but common everyday knowledge and sense are lost on that boy.  Almost at the exact time that I got my weedeater primed and ready to go Jesse finds me.  I immediately told him, "Back and forth Jesse, come on man."  He responded, "No, dad Maddie came outside and said the dogs had an accident."  I came inside to not only an accident of the liquid variety, but little wet puppy prints seemed to be leading to some lost paradise that at that exact moment I truly wanted to find.  One thousand Clorox wipes later I was back out to my weedeater, and Jesse was standing there looking at me.  "I'm done, dad."  was the statement he made.  Of course, he wasn't done- he hadn't really even started yet, but like I said common sense is not his strength.  I explained and showed him that more grass awaited his attention and he seemed really excited by this development.

     I am not and have never been a weedeater savant.  I can run the heck out of those things and they are handy to have around the house, but for some reason I have never been able to master the trouble shooting aspects of the weedeater/trimmer/weed whacker, whatever you want to call it.  My father gave me some tips, and if he was still living today I would call and say, "Help."  Weedeater cord gone.  Try to fix.  Didn't load right.  Fix it again.  Head won't go back on right.  Getting slightly irritated.  Gas spills as I work on it.  More and more irritated.  Cord was improperly loaded from the factory, because this is a brand new weedeater, and I shouldn't be having these kind of problems on the first time I use the dad blame thing!!  Anger is replaced by a blonde haired blue eyed boy who approached me and said, "I'm done dad."  No, Jesse you are still not done, we have an entire backyard that needs your attention.  Cord loaded and back at it, but the feeding mechanism seems to be having trouble feeding too much stupid cord at once, and every time it does the machine cuts off.  I consider smashing the weedeater like a guitar at a Jimi Hendrix concert, but I think better of it.  My father would have been proud, but my temper I get directly from him.  He was the man that ripped the very guts out of a "defective TV."  Well, it was when ole Frank Perry got through with it!  At this point, I decided to let calmer heads prevail and wait on the calmest direction reading hippie I know, my wife.  She can talk me off the cliff most times, and I didn't want to kill the weedeater just yet.  Later, maybe.

     We finally finished, sort of, but the coup de grace of the day was yet to come.  Earlier Maddie had asked me if she could have an extra bike thing on a game she was playing on the iPad.  Bike Pro or something like that, all I know is that it has an irritating sound when played.  I told Maddie that she had done a fantastic job helping with the puppies, and I would most certainly allow her to purchase a .99 cent bike on the app store!  She then asked about an allowance, but I shifted gears.  She watched me closely as I entered my information to purchase her bike and she seemed very pleased!  If she's happy then I'm happy.  The day continued and I tried to do some work that is really important ( I am a 43 year old graduate student) and prepare for my next really cool challenge (I am now a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the best University in the country- UAB.) But I digress. Things were looking up after a shaky start.  Then the emails started.  Emails sent directly from the Apple iTunes app store.  Four emails to be exact.  How could a .99 cent add on warrant four emails?  Well, it doesn't warrant that many email receipts, but a grand total of $100 does.  Yes, Maddie spent $100 on a Zombie bike, kid bike, pink bike, some bike upgrade, a Presidential bike with Obama riding on it I guess.  Bikes and add ons from the four corners of globe it seemed.  Undoubtedly, she either jacked my password or it didn't ask for it after the first purchase.  She's not saying.  I was vexed.  Terribly vexed.

     Don't feel too bad for me.  Well, maybe you should.  Puppy pee, obstinate weedeater, less than enthusiastic grass cutting helper, and $100 in non authorized iTunes app store charges aside, I'm still doing pretty good.  I can clean up, fix the weedeater, fix the boy (maybe,) and contact Apple support to get a refund.  That last one was the most important!  Thank you Apple support!  Although, you didn't have to make it so obvious in your "tips to prevent a minor from making unauthorized purchases" that I could likely be an idiot.  True or not.  Wait a minute Jesse is standing here he needs to say something.  "I'm done dad."  Yes.  We.  Are.