"Dad!" my daughter tells me from the top of the stairs.  "Dad, I'm sorry"  She is already crying.  Man, I hate this in between puberty stage.  I never know if she is crying because she is hurt, if she is afraid of getting in trouble, or if her favorite song isn't on the radio.  Raising a 10-year-old daughter has a lot of challenges the biggest one is that most of the time I don't know what the fuck is going on.  It's an uncomfortable feeling really.  It's like grabbing someone's sandwich and taking a bite not knowing if you are going to get the creamy goodness of peanut butter and jelly or you have found the one guy outside of my father that likes sardines and bread.  The best you can do is just bite down and hope for the best.  

I look over at my wife and I see her eyes roll, the exasperated look that tells me that it's not too bad whatever it is and that my wife is just done dealing with the tween drama that is starting to become normal around this house.  My wife doesn't seem to be upset so that is good and the fact that there is no ambulance at my house is even better.  So whatever it is can't be that bad, right?

I go through a mental checklist though before my daughter and I continue this conversation.  My daughter is walking and I see no visible blood.  This is a good thing and given who we are as a family is always the first place I go when I evaluate a situation.  Does my son still have all his limbs?  Yup.  Good, everyone into the car.  

So if no one appears to be hurt then that means that someone broke something, something they don't want to tell me about.  I look at the ceiling and you are going to wonder why.  Well, naturally one of the worst things I can think of is that someone tore the bathtub out and then turned on the water.  The water collected upstairs while they got surfboards out.  The water then leaked through the floor while they surfed down the stairs and no one noticed.  So I am looking at the ceiling to test my hypothesis.  I see no streams of water so I think we are good on that.  Given who my children are, I am slightly proud.  I do the sniff test.  I smell nothing burning and hear no fire alarms going off so again I'm feeling pretty good and proud.  While I was gone no one managed to burn the house down or flood it.  I have to keep a low bar of expectations around here in order to stay positive and positive is the only thing keeping me nice and level.  So no fire and no water, I can fix anything else.  

"Dad, I broke my cello."


Little Hoss has been playing the cello for about 2 months now.  I wrote a whole post about it and how thankful I was that it was not the drums.  However, that was before I knew that the school was giving my daughter a 2000 dollar instrument.  Damn it, damn it, damn it.  I am starting to wish for a house fire.  

But let's stay positive.  It took her at least 2 months to break 2000 dollars.  That's good and probably some kind of family record.  On Christmas morning, I have three piles.  One pile are presents, one pile is for trashed wrapping paper, and the third pile is for broken toys that I have to somehow figure out how to repair.  Do you know how to reattach a shopping cart wheel to a plastic base?  Duct Tape, the answer is always duct tape.  I do not know if I can duct tape a stringed instrument but I'm willing to give it a try.  

"Dad, I was practicing and then I went to turn my sheet music and then the bottom bar slipped because I think it was broken and then it slipped and then it tipped over and then it landed and then I got scared and then I just sat there and then and then and then......."

I've got to put my parent ears on for this one, the ones that can decipher what truly happened and who was the cause of that occurrence.  Whenever my children are over emotional and try to explain these things to me I have to weed through a ton of superfluous information to get to the root cause.  It's almost like interviewing a perpetrator again.  I need to create a timeline and then go back over that timeline to figure out if her sitting in her chair after her cello fell actually has anything to do with the story.  So that's where we start.  I ask her again to tell me what happened.  

"Dad, my cello fell and it broke and it doesn't sound right."

The Dad in me wants to make the joke of "How can you tell?" It would have been a damn good joke but my little girl is beating herself up pretty hard over this so I don't make it worse.  I'll save worse for later.  Besides, after 10 years I've got some tricks up my sleeve that go beyond duct tape.  She's just learning the cello so I don't want to knock her confidence just yet.

"Ok," I tell her.  "You were playing your cello and it fell over while you were turning your music.  Now it has a crack in it?  Or did the handle come off?"  Perhaps it splintered into a million pieces and if this is the case then I shall salvage them to hunt vampires.  I find my life is easier if I recycle.  

"Yes.  It has a crack in the back and now it doesn't sound the same."

2 months.  We made it two months.  

But to her credit, a slight fall on a carpeted floor shouldn't have caused a crack.  These are school instruments and I'm sure they take more of a beating than that.  Yes, she was careless but it's not the end of the world.  Besides, I actually bought insurance on the cello before we even walked out the door. 

Hell yeah I did!  That's right if I am sure of anything in this world it is the ability of my children to break stuff.  I signed on the dotted line and asked the man two questions.  Question 1:  Do you want to touch my biceps and 2:  Does this cello come with insurance because we are going to need some of that.  

Like the Oracle of Delphi, I knew this was going to happen sooner or later so I took precautions because there is no way I was letting my beautiful yet accident prone daughter walk out of that gym with 2000 bucks of liability.  

I tell my daughter to calm down, that it's going to be ok.  I explain to her that we have insurance on the cello and that they will fix it for us.  Then I explain the next 20 minutes explaining what insurance is, why it's a good thing and why she should always love me more than anyone else, ever.  I wipe away her tears then go check all the batteries in the fire alarms because even though a major crisis has been averted and let's be honest, they are still my children so surfing down the steps in a blazing inferno is not out of the realm of possibilities.  

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