Car Seat Covers

I know that she is going to hate them before I even buy them.  After being with one person for so long, there are certain things that you learn about them.  For example, I know that Hossmom will never, ever watch any scary horror movie unless it contains a very large prehistoric corcidile.  I have no idea why this and yet we have seen Lake Placid many, many times.  I have no idea why she will watch this one and seem to enjoy it so much, but the movie Jaws is not allowed in this house.  I know that Hossmom likes to shed her pants as soon as she gets home, many times as soon as she is through the door. The speed at which she does this makes me question if she is multidimensional.  She doesn't just change into pajama pants as much as she morphs into them.

And so, I can state with a pretty big certainty, Hossmom will probably hate them, hate them like the plague.  At first, my daughter hates them as well.  However, I point out that the skulls have wings, almost like fairies and doesn't she love fairies?  That problem is solved.

However, that still leaves the problem of my wife.  My son on the other hand, thinks they are cool.  Good god  do I love that boy sometimes.

I know that Hossmom will hate them because we do not live in the 1980's and we are not following the band Van Halen around.  She will hate them because they look like they belong in a Zroc and not in brand new minivan. She will hate them because we don't smoke pot nor do we consort like teenagers in the back of a van down by the river.  She will hate them because they are not sensible, normal, or beige.  I don't know why that woman loves beige so much.

As soon as I put them in the basket, because my mind was made up the minute I got a minivan, I knew that there would be a "discussion."  It should take about 7 hours and linger over a  3 week period.  After that 3 week period there should be another 4 months of brooding and heavy sighs every time she gets in the van with the death metal seat covers.  Finally, she will decide that my better qualities will outweigh my poor fashion decisions but she would still give a cross eyed look anytime we went anywhere as a family.  This is the way we dated.

That is the price for awesome and it is a price that must be paid.  No IOU's, no checks and no I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.  So I'll fork it over and I'll do it with a smile on my face.  I'll do it with the smile because this is my car, my first new car that is all mine.  Every time we have bought a new car, it went to the wife.  Most of it was because I knew it would make her happy.  I would take whatever she was driving and she would get the car because most of the time I didn't care.  I did start caring though when 2 years ago my AC went out, I started caring a lot then.  I've paid my dues man.  I'm 37 and damn it, this my car and if I want death metal seat covers in my car, then death metal seat covers it's going to be.

And yes, there have to be seat covers.  They have to be there because the kids have a habit of destroying things like Hurricane Katrina.  The label "unbreakable" only means that it hasn't' been fully tested in my house yet.  It wouldn't surprise me at all to learn that one day my kids grow up and learn to time travel.  By pure happenstance the first two places that they would go is to tour the Titanic and the Hindenburg, both of them would have been doing fine until my kids decided to "see what this does".  It's just in their nature.  Leave a piece of steel at my house and it may make it a while but eventually it will end up as twisted and bent as a drug whore's soul.

So the seat covers are necessary to avoid gaping holes and crayon marked upholstery.  But they are also necessary for a completely different reason.  I am a 37 year old man.  I drive a minivan, suburban white.  I take the kids to soccer practice.

Hear all that knocking on the door?  That's just all the ladies trying to get in.

Let's face it, a minivan is about as uncool as you can probably get.  My days of cruising around with the top down and my hair blowing in the wind is many, many years behind me and also many drains behind me.  The hair, it falls out while I shower.

But with death metal car seat covers?  I can make fun of the whole thing.  And by making fun of the whole thing, I can recapture some of my cool.  And yes, I swear to god that if I had extra money to really blow, I would totally do a flame job.  They totally match the skulls with wings thing I got going on.

We get home and quickly put them on. I take a picture and send it to Hossmom via Text.  That went about as I thought it would.


Layers of Pop Tarts

"We don't want to go!" they said.  "Let's go back to our room!" they demanded.

I paid them no mind.  They owe me this.  They owe me this for every tea party I've sat down to.  They owe it to me for every stain that is on the carpet floor.  They owe it to me for every nutshot, every bloody nose and every scrapped knuckle for every toy they've broken and I've fixed.  They owe it to me because I gave them life, I breathed the seed of existence and damn it, they are going.  All of them.

They are all tired, Hossmom and the kids.  I know this.  I don't care. I've gone beyond caring.   They are a bit worn out.  I know this.  I don't care.  They are not overly found of cemeteries.  I don't care.  This is family fun so get in the car.  Just get in the car, turn on your movies, and give me this.  Hossmom can read a book.  This must be done, this is vacation.

Being a father is a complex work of art.  It's a series of intricate plans that are not readily understood by the outsider.  What looks like a simple vacation is usually much more than that.  None of them truly understand what I'm trying to do here but that is ok, they don't have to.  This is not just a vacation, it is a quest and they are all players riding along the stream of my plans.  And the more that I'm yelled at, that I'm told that they just want to go back to the hot tub, the more concrete those plans must become.  It is for their own good because a father knows best.

If we wanted just a nice vacation, we could have gone to the beach.  That pretty much teaches them nothing.  It's hot and sandy.  You get in the water, you poke dead jellyfish on the beach.  We will have a 30 minute conversation about undertow and jaws that will scar them so deeply that they will never venture into the water past their ankles.  This is what Hossmom currently does at the beach and I can only imagine it's because her father did something right.

I went to the dinosaur place with everyone because kids love dinosaurs.  I took pictures of everyone, everywhere.  Dad is not in most of the family vacations because he is the one taking the pictures.  Dad is ok with this because Dad knows that before we head home or back to the room, there is one place that we are going.  For him.  For us.  For the family.  I paid the 8 additional bucks per kid so that they could mimic gold mining in a tourist trap.

I have done this because this is our vacation that disguises our quest.  They will have fun and not realize the foundation of character that I am building.  That's what a father does, he build character and I'm building such a strong foundation that a castle could be built on it later.  Do not question my ways, just get in the car, close your mouths, and appreciate what I tell you to appreciate.

We saw a missile silo on the way to Mount Rushmore.  The kids just saw a big hole in the ground.  But I explained to them that this is what kept America's enemies at bay, this hole in the ground guaranteed their freedom.  The looked at me and didn't understand.  Hossmom rolled her eyes.  It does not matter, they will remember my words and the big hole in the ground when it matters, when they are older.

We saw Mount Rushmore.  I gave a history lesson of each president there.  From the father of our country to the man who carried a big stick.  I explained to them that each of the men depicted up there gave something to us, to our country, something that we should always be thankful for.  They wanted to go to the gift shop.  That's ok, my plans are many layered and we are still near the top.

I took them to Crazy Horse.  I showed them a mountain and explained who he was and why it was important to remember.  To what we did as a people, to what they did as a people and how we got to the place that we are now.  I explained that through shear force of will, a man could destroy a mountain, how a man could shape his future.  They wanted to go see the random cat sitting in the museum.  Layer upon layer of character, that's what I'm doing.

I showed them a cowboy show, complete with guns firing and comedy.  They liked the guns, they liked the loud noises.  They didn't care for the dialog but that's ok, one day they will.  One day they will know that this was the beginning of manifest destiny and what it took to take it.

And now there is one more stop to make, one more layer to add to their character.  The cemetery.  In this cemetery is buried Wild Bill Hickok.  Adventurer, scout, card player.  And yet, much more than that.  I explain this to everyone as we climb out of the car and head up Boot Hill.  I explain about the indomitable spirit, about the will to take on the world.  I explain about how a man can become a legend and in that legend how others can find inspiration.  They are tired of walking.  It is expected.

Next to Wild Bill is buried Calamity Jane.  It is important that my daughter sees who this is, realizes who this is.  An alcoholic, she had her flaws.  But she proved that a woman can be anything that she wants to be.  That with toughness and grit, she can become a cowboy and ride as hard as any of them.  That there is nothing holding my daughter back other than her own imagination and her strength of character, which by the end of this trip should start to grow.

I have traveled 750 miles and endured countless hours of the Barbie movie to reach this place.  Rushmore was my first big one, Crazy Horse next, but this one, this is the one that is supposed to be the capstone on the lessons that I am teaching.

I show them the graves.  I explain.  I put my hand on their shoulders.  I get down on my knee and tell Russ and Audry who they are, why this is important.  I tell them why Aces and 8's should be folded.

They start throwing rocks.

I tell them that these two people also invented Poptarts.

"Really?!" they ask.

"Yup" I say.  Then I spit because it felt like a good spit was required.

Now there is awe, as there should be.

My lessons are complete, character building is installed, my multi layered Poptart strategy.  In time they will peel away the pastry and come to the truth of this vacation.  In time.  In time.  



I have another new post up over at Daddyshome.  Go over and check it out.  It's simple this time, more informative I think than past stuff I've written.  It's called "Tips on Adventuring".  I like writing tip stuff, makes me sound credible in front of a jury.

I'll return with more adventures of our latest vacation and what we broke while there.


The Family Truckster

"I think you're all fucked in the head.  We're ten hours from the fucking fun park and you want to bail out.  Well, I'll tell you something.  This is no longer a vacation.  It's a quest.  It's a quest for fun.  I'm gonna have fun and you're going to have fun.  We're all gonna have so much fucking fun we'll need plastic surgeory to remove our goddamn smiles.  You'll be whistling "Zip-a-dee-dah" out of your assholes.  I gotta be crazy!  I'm on a pilgrimage to see a moose.  Praise Marty Moose!  Holy Shit!"
                                                              --Clark Griswald

It's with this quote in mind that I forced my family on the family vacation.  I often think that my life is a movie as it seems to resemble ones at times.  I am a stay at home dad who's wife works in advertising.  My wife has to go to on business trips to pitch Schooner Tuna.  I can lay a guy out with one punch.  I am Mr. Mom.  I know the title of Mr. Mom bothers many of the stay at home dad world, but I can't deny the similarities sometimes.  I grow a beard in the winter and I use a 22 or 23, whatever it takes.

And so when I went to buy my new family truckster for the cross country road trip to Mount Rushmore and all places in between, I wasn't surprised that I got fucked.  I got the switch, the old "Hey, sorry we sold the car you made a deal on, how about this fine family wagon!"

"You think you hate it now, wait until you drive it."  Those are the words that went through my head when Mr. Douchbag car salesman backed out of our deal for the family minivan.  A van that we very much wanted to drive across the plains of South Dakota.  We have a lot of things planned!

"Sorry man, we sold it already" he said.

I reminded the man that I had a check in my hand for the van.  That we had a deal.  That after all the negotiations and talking, we ended the last conversation with, Great!  You have a van.

I don't want to be hard on the guy, after all he's a douchbag car salesman.  By their very nature, they have to fuck you over.  A dog has to eat it's own shit.  A cat must piss on the curtains.  Carsalesmen must fuck you over.

He did try to sell me another car.  I car that in my mind was a wood paneled station wagon which would eventually go careening over the guardrail because I was busy flirting with the hot chick in the vet.  I, of course, told him to suck my balls and to get the car that we had made a deal on.

"I don't know what to tell you man (because now we are bros apparently), I don't got it.  But I do got....."

I didn't let him finish.  I told him about the family vacation that we would soon be going on.  We were going to stop on the way to Mount Rushmore and see a missile silo, an honest to god fucking silo.  A silo that once held the Cold War demons away from America and it's heartland.  We were going to stop at the badlands and see some prairie dogs and buffalo.  We were going to dress like cowboys and find Ms. Kitty's saloon.  I don't want another car, I want my car.

It wasn't working out and he kept trying to up sale me.  So I downsaled him.  I told him if he knocked 10 grand off the price and threw in a reach around, I would consider it.  I told him that if perhaps he cutoff his left nut and gave me free floor mats I would consider it.  I told him that if he did the undercarage treatment with his tongue while forsaking his parents, I would consider it.

It didn't appear that we were going to make a deal.  But I was undeterred!  WE HAVE A FAMILY VACATION IN 3 DAYS YOU DOUCHEBAG!

We would get a minivan!  We would load up the family!  We would name it Aunt Edna and I would call my kids Audry and Russ for the entire trip!  Marty Moose is just out there, waiting for us!  We would damage a national monument in style, in the Minivan!

And we did.  Just not in the car from that guy.