Archive for the ‘ Storytelling ’ Category

Frozen Tire Vs. Frozen Mac-And-Cheese Pizza

Saturday, December 7th, 2013

3 years.

Dear Jack,

What do a frozen tire and a frozen mac-and-cheese pizza have in common? Other than them both having a Pac-Man sort of thing going on in that picture collage, they were two important plot devices in today’s story.

Let me back up to where the story actually begins, with Mommy quietly waking up at 8:03 AM. She had let me sleep in; I had stayed up until past midnight writing yesterday’s letters to you.

“Nick… something happened to my tire. I just looked out the window. It’s flat. What do we do?”

It’s been a while since I’ve had to change a flat tire to a spare to get it down to the nearest tire store… probably a dozen years, but for some reason, I tend to think most clearly first thing in the morning and late at night. (Evidently my head is just in the clouds for most of the day in between.)

The nearly brand-new tire for Mommy’s car got a nail in the side of it, and overnight, it froze after it flattened.

As it began snowing, you watched me through the front door, making snake shapes out of your Thomas the Train track against the glass.

Thank God this happened on the one day of the week where it didn’t really interfere with our family’s schedule. Had this happened any other day than Saturday morning, it definitely would have been quite annoying and offensive us getting to work and school, or at least church.

Lucky for you, Mommy and I let you pick out a toy car while the tire was getting replaced. You chose a green 1963 Aston Martin, by the way.

(Not to self: Always buy the extended warranty on tires from Firestone… We only had to pay 20 bucks to cover taxes and a re-up on the warranty. Brand-new tire and labor, $20.)

What could have been a really bad day, where I wasn’t able to change the flat to the spare to drive it to the tire store, meaning we had to pay for a tow truck or something, and where I didn’t fork out the extra cash last time for the extended warranty, we would have lost hundreds of dollars today.

Instead, only 20 bucks.

Plus, you got a very special treat for lunch once we got back to our house. I couldn’t have planned it this way, but yesterday, Annie’s Homegrown had someone personally deliver one of their new Macaroni & Cheese pizzas for you to try.

I’ve always been very outspoken in promoting their company, like a couple of months ago when I reported that they were ranked #10 on Forbes’ list of Best Small Companies in America.

By default, I have become a brand evangelist for Annie’s Homegrown, so passionate about the fact that they are committed to saying no to GMO’s (and Monsanto) and petroleum-based food dyes (like Kraft uses).

And by default, you have become an unoffical poster child for them.

(We’re even trying to work it out where we can visit their headquarters in Berkely next summer when we visit Mommy’s side of the family in Sacramento.)

So, unsurprisingly, Annie’s Homegrown chose you as one of the first kids in America to review their new Macaroni & Cheese pizza. I kept a little notepad handy to document your thoughts on it:

After seeing Mommy pull it out of the oven, you proudly proclaimed, “I’m going to eat all of that pizza!”

I should point out that you didn’t know you were doing a food review, so I found it pretty interesting that on your own, after you finished the last bite, you provided solid and definite feedback that I didn’t even ask you for:

“Daddy, I like this new mac-and-cheese pizza you got me.”

So I think that pretty much sums it up for the folks at Annie’s Homegrown and for the other curious kids across America who heard about that new mac-and-cheese pizza:

Jack liked it!

Since I was already recording everything you were saying, I want to remind you of the last thing you said before I stopped writing it all down:

“No Huggies, no kissies, ’til I see that wagon bean!”

(That’s your verson of the 1986 hit by The Georgia Satellites, “Keep Your Hands To Yourself.”)

The highlight of my day, though, was going back through the pictures of today’s events and seeing the parallel pictures, comparing me changing and rolling the flat tire in the morning to you changing and rolling your “brown tire” (the base of a papasan chair) later in the afternoon.

It wasn’t a coincidence you were doing that.

Yeah, that pretty much made my day, kid.





Disclaimer: The food mentioned in this story was provided at the expense of Annie’s Homegrown, for the purpose of reviewing.


Add a Comment

Daddy’s Back From His Trip… Souvenir Time!

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

2 years, 11 months.

Dear Jack,

It is extremely uncommon for me to be away from you overnight. In fact, the last time I remember it happening was two years ago, when GM invited me to Detroit the first time.

My job typically doesn’t require me to travel, so with me being in Detroit for the past three days, it really occured to me how weird it is… to not see you for more than 12 hours at a time.

I think that’s why I wrote “It’s Like Talking To An Actual Human Being” the first night I was gone. It was so unnatural for me.

As I unlocked the front door to our house this evening, it was everything I hoped it would be:

Mommy greeted and kissed me right away, and there you were, jumping up and down, so excited I was back.

Of course, that didn’t last long, because then you asked me, “Daddy, you got a car for me?”

I had told you yesterday on the phone that I was working on getting a souvenir for you, which based on the fact I was visiting the OnStar and Buick headquarters, I hinted that I might be bringing you home a toy car.

Needless to say, you were thrilled to watch me open the huge convertible I was able to bring home, thanks to the help of one of my friends, Katie, I had met from my last trip to Detroit.

I told her, “My son is turning 3 a week from now. I would like to bring him home a souvenir/early birthday present. He’s not picky. Any toy car you have just laying around, it will be perfect.”

Katie did not disappoint.

Like with all your new toys, you initiated it by putting it through the Play-Doh torture center, as you did your Camaro recently. The show ended with you taking green Play-Doh and forming action figures of Mommy and yourself, to pop a wheelie in the car, at the edge of your Thomas the Train table.

A father bringing home his son a souvenir from his overnight trip is a given. I mean, I never thought about it until I arrived in Detroit.

In fact, part of my main agenda for the trip was to find and obtain a cool souvenir for you. I knew everything else would work itself out.

I was right. If I’m not mistaken, you’re sleeping with that huge convertible toy car as I write you this.





Add a Comment

I’m Not Sure St. Peter’s Pickup Truck Was In The Bible…

Monday, October 14th, 2013

2 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

This evening while Mommy was buying groceries, you and I played with the Dollar General version of Play-Doh, called Craft Dough.

With your 5 pack of Craft Dough came a very rare color… black.

You decided to make a camper for your Dodge Ram pickup truck, so you began stuffing the bed with black dough.

In the process, you picked up your St. Peter action figure and his boat, and stuck them in the back of the truck, then stood Jesus on top of a couple containers of Craft Dough nearby.

You ended up nixing the whole camper idea altogether and I got to hear the dialogue of the new plot line:

“Jesus, I gotta drive my truck and take my boat. Do you want to go?” Peter asked.

“No, I’ll just stay here today,” Jesus replied, in your falsetto voice.

I immediately began imagining a new kids’ show which featured favorite Bible characters in a modern day setting.

Yeah, that wouldn’t go over well at all…

But just the thought of Jesus and Peter as buddies who drive pickup trucks and take the boat for a spin out on the lake, instead of the familiar “walk on the water” story everyone knows, it’s pretty much hilarious to me!

In the process of trying to find Biblical action figures last Christmas, which you asked for by the way, I noticed there weren’t a lot of toy companies that made them.

Not only is there probably not an abundance of toy companies who are willing to make religious action figures, but there’s also the fact that those toys may very well end up in random activities which are more likely to show up in the lyrics of a Country song than they are in a sermon.

To be honest, I’m suprised it’s actually taken you this long to crack me up with your inevitable and accidentally humorous (and somehow seemingly inappropriate?) use of Jesus and St. Peter action figures during playtime.

What would Jesus do? I’m not sure sometimes…





Add a Comment

No Time For Fun At Our House! Only Learning…

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

2 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

You have once again cracked me up with this week’s bulletin board material at school. Evidently, at our house, we’re all about learning, all the time. Yes, that’s us, the super studious household…

When asked by your teacher about our house, this was your response:

“My house is gray. I do flashcards. My room is brown.”


It’s true that flashcards have regularly been a part of the bedtime routine for you; I just didn’t realize that you valued them so much, that they would be the first activity you would mention regarding household activities.

I mean, that’s totally cool. I’m just surprised, but in a good way.

Naturally, I would have assumed you would have mentioned playing with your cars or watching Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Mommy and me.

But I will gladly accept learning as your answer!

Oh, and then, there’s “the house that Jack built…”.

While your friends were having fun building construction paper replicas of their homes, a couple of your teachers giggled at how serious you were about perfectly (!) building yours.

I did notice that yours seemed a little too perfect when compared to your friends’ houses; like an adult did your work for you.

So I picture all your friends smiling and having fun as they worked on this craft; meanwhile you took it as seriously as MacGyver trying to defuse a bomb in a warehouse.

The reason this is so interesting to me is because I don’t see all sides of you. The versions of you that I am most exposed to are the ones where you are responding to your parents.

What I don’t see is how you act in a classroom environment with teachers and friends. That’s indeed a different version of you.

I’m used to the playful version who loves to play and wrestle with me. I have to be reminded that you do indeed enjoy learning, as well.






Add a Comment

Hey! Scout, Want To Come To My House Today and Play?

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

2 years, 10 months.

Dear Jack,

On the drive to school Friday morning, I heard you turn on your LeapFrog cell phone and start talking to My Pal Scout:

“Hey! Scout, want to come to my house today and play?”

After the call ended, you explained to me, “Daddy, Scout’s coming over for dinner and he’s sleeping in my bed tonight!”

I wanted to make sure it actually happened, even if you forgot about it later on in the day.

As soon as we got home, I reminded you about Scout coming over.

You can see here in this picture, you gave Scout a reminder call about the plans for the evening.

Minutes later, the doorbell rang.

“Jack! Come answer the door! It’s for you!” I yelled out from the other room.

You screamed with amazement.

There he was… Scout was waiting for you near the doorstep!

(And he happened to be sitting on a paper towel, for some reason.)

As I opened the door for you and Scout, I could see how surprised you were that Scout actually showed up after you called him on the phone!

By the time you made your way to the living room to play with him, though, you asked me with a confused look on your face, “I have two Scouts? Daddy, will you go get my other Scout upstairs?”

Oops. Busted.

So I did my best to explain that was the same Scout.

For me, the whole thing was an experiment to see how much of the story you’d go along with.

I wanted to know if you knew the whole thing was pretend, tracing all the way back to when you called Scout that morning.

Even now, I’m not totally sure. I mean, I’m pretty sure you know that I was just perpetuating your story line.

Either way, I was committed to make your make-believe story come true.

You said Scout was eating dinner with us and sleeping in the bed with you. So I had to make sure Scout “followed” you around, from playtime…

…to dinner…

  …to bedtime. 

You and Scout had a fun sleepover Friday night and it’s all because you called him and invited him over!

Plus, I might have had a thing or two to do with it.





Add a Comment