Category Archives: Memory Monday

Electrical Tape & Twine

Over the weekend I had some time to climb up on our roof and get a few little things done.  I had neglected our gutters so it was good to get them cleaned out. The other thing I was able to do was to fix our antenna.

When it comes to television… we cut the cord before cord cutting became cool. It’s been over a decade since we’ve had cable or satellite. Our watching comes from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and over the air channels.  That’s the reason we have a rooftop antenna.

I’m not sure when it happened, maybe a few months ago, but the cable that connects to the antenna broke off and was laying on our roof. Most of our channels still came in so I didn’t bother fixing it right away.

With plenty of time and a nice day on my hands, I grabbed some tools, my ladder, and took to the roof.  The problem was obvious once I got up there. The wind had worked the cable loose and with it rocking in the breeze the wires eventually broke.

I had a replacement part on hand and installed it quickly. Then it was time to seal it up and attach the cable to the antenna to prevent the same thing from happening again.  The tool for the job was electrical tape.

I pulled the roll of tape from my pocket. Standing on our roof seeing that black tape in my hand reminded me of my Grandpa. He seemed to always have a roll nearby… whether it was in his pocket, the seat of his truck, or on the kitchen desk by the phone.

Black electrical tape was one of his go-to’s to fix things. It reminded me of his other quick-fix item…  baling twine. Twine and twine scraps were all over his farm too!

I didn’t need twine to fix our antenna but I used plenty of electrical tape.  I thought about my grandpa while I worked and knew he’d approve of the job I did.

Previously, I have written about memories of my Grandpa’s pocket knife… guess you can add electrical tape and twine to the other top things that will easily bring his memory back.

What 3 things would you say bring back memories of your Grandpa?

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Driver’s License Lapse

Ever make a mistake that you swore you’d never make again? That was me about ten years ago when I let my driver’s license lapse. It wasn’t on purpose. I just didn’t pay any attention to the expiration date on that little piece of plastic in my wallet.

By the time I figured it out I was just outside the window where all you have to do is by your fee and get your picture taken. No, I had to re-take the written driver exam.

Not going to lie. Even though I had decades of driving experience, the idea of taking the test raised my anxiety level a little bit. I mean, how bad would it be if I didn’t pass? It would not only be embarrassing but also time-consuming having to go back again.

I studied the online manual in preparation and my wife and daughters drove me to the DOT testing station the next Saturday morning to take the test. They waited in the car and while I went inside.

Taking the test was a different experience this time compared to the first time I took the test at age 14. Back then, it was done on paper. This time it was computerized. A DOT worker pointed me to a computer, letting me how many questions I’d be given and how many I could miss and still pass.

The first few questions went well with the computer telling me I got them correct. Then I got to one that I didn’t read all the way through and answered it incorrectly. As soon as it popped up that it was wrong I realized my mistake.

I remember saying to myself, “Deep breath. Slow down. You can do this.” That’s when I started reading each question two and three times before answering… just to ensure I didn’t make another dumb mistake.

There were a few questions that seemed a little tricky at first. They asked about traffic situations that when behind the wheel you would do the right thing… but on the computer screen, the answer wasn’t as apparent. I skipped those questions, choosing to come back to them at the end.

I’m sure I let out an audible sigh of relief when I realized I could answer every question I skipped incorrectly and still pass the test. Knowing this I breezed through them getting the majority right.

As I walked out of that building with a brand new driver’s license in hand I vowed to never let it expire again. I even went so far as to set a Google calendar reminder on my birthday  every year to check my license expiration date.

On my last birthday when I checked it was expired… so I renewed it online. That means I’m good for another 8 years!

Have you ever accidentally let your driver’s license expire?

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Memory Monday – Diaper Changing Fiasco

I’ve probably mentioned it before… but I’m plugged into a pretty cool Facebook group of Dad Bloggers. It’s a place where guys can ask their dad and blogging questions and get them answered by other dads who have already “been there and done that”.

Awhile back one of the guys in the group that I have become friends with announced that he was starting his own dad-centric podcast. I offered to record a show intro and outro for him… just like I had previously done for my friends at the Parental Dadvisory podcast. It’s my small way of giving back to the online community that I have gained a lot of value from.

Brock, the new podcast host, and I collaborated together on what he wanted me to say and the type of music to use. Together, we came up with a finished product that he really loved. I’m tooting my own horn here but I thought it sounded great too and accurately described his vision for the show.

There was only one thing left to do. He just needed to put the interview he had already recorded between the open and close… and then press “publish” to send the first episode of the NOMADad Podcast out into the world.

Since I had a vested interest in the show I had already signed up for the Anchor podcast app to let me know when new episodes get published. I got the notification and listened to that first episode on my commute home that night.

I was blown away by the quality of the content. For his first episode, Brock interviewed a friend of his who was a new dad. We’re talking “a first-time dad with a newborn less than two weeks old new”.

As the two dads on the podcast talked about their experiences I couldn’t help but chuckle a little bit. Many of the thoughts and actions of that new dad mirrored my own in the days after our first daughter was born. About 11 minutes into the podcast the new dad described the first diaper change that he performed in the hospital.

I was instantly taken back to the first diaper change I did at the hospital. To be honest, I think it was the first diaper I had ever changed in real life. Sure, I had read the parenting books on how to do it and may have even practiced on a doll in our pregnancy classes… but none of that really prepared me for how that first diaper change would go down.

Being a planner, I had the wipes ready. Diaper opened, flattened out, and placed in what I thought was a “strategically position”. Then the moment of truth. The tape came off one side of the dirty diaper… and then the other. There was nothing holding it onto our daughter anymore and there was no turning back. I gingerly took a tiny, little foot in each hand and lifted her up.

This is when I realized the first flaw in my plan. I didn’t have a third arm to do the wiping and the diaper situating.  I gently tried to take both feet into my left hand so I could work with my right.

My newborn daughter was not a fan of this at all and kicked. The kick was sudden and unexpected to this rookie dad. Her force surprised me and I let go of her feet. Experienced parents can probably see where the story is heading.

One of her heels landed squarely into that dirty diaper. It was her first one too which is always darker and stickier than your typical dirty diaper. Think greenish black and tar-like.

You soon to be dads can Google and read up on meconium. You might find it informative and useful.

To make matters worse, the heel that landed was also the one that got the heel stick, blood test after she was born so it had a band-aid on it. Looking back now it had to have been one comical scene. An inexperienced dad not quite ready for the challenge of that first diaper… and a baby flailing her limbs around in a strange new world.

In the commotion, the clean diaper I had readied got knocked to the floor and I realized the two wipes I had on standby weren’t going to be nearly enough. One of the many thoughts hitting my head at that moment was  “How do I pick up the clean diaper from the floor while making sure my daughter doesn’t fall off the changing pad?”

The nurse in the room at the time was a real pro. She didn’t laugh at all. Instead, she came to my rescue, asking if I minded if she took over. I was happy for the help and for the pointers she gave while finishing what I started. “Don’t worry,” she assured me. “It gets easier. Before long you’ll be able to do this one-handed and half asleep.”

I never quite got the one-handed diaper change perfected… but I know I’ve changed more than one diaper in my sleep before. 🙂

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