Posts Tagged ‘ Saved by the Bell ’

What Are Ways To Avoid Hiring A Babysitter?

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

20 months.

Yes, I’m cheap.

I don’t pay for cable; we have “bunny ears” allowing us to pick up the major networks.

And I refuse to have Internet on my phone because I would constantly be distracted by the thought of what I am missing out on. Plus, I’m too cheap to pay for it.

Needless to say, I won’t hire a babysitter.

This week on my favorite radio station, WAY-FM, they were talking about the average hourly rate to pay a babysitter for one kid being $12.75.

Coincidentally, I heard about a clever idea a restaurant here in Nashville is starting this weekend:

Any parent who drops their child off at The Children’s Playroom will receive a $10 coupon to Sperry’s Restaurant, and after parents redeem the coupon at Sperry’s they’ll receive a $5 coupon for The Children’s Playroom.

The fact that businesses are getting involved to help give parents a way to have a fun night out without their kid is proof that many of us parents A) have a desire to go out and have fun without having to worry about the kids but B) don’t won’t the hassle of hiring a babysitter.

Considering I pay over 200 bucks a week for professionals to watch my kid for more hours per week than I’m actually with him myself, I can’t justify dropping any more “Zack Morris bucks” for babysitting.

The obvious way to avoid hiring a babysitter is to take advantage of the times your family comes to visit. We always plan a date night around these times. Doesn’t everybody?

Another plan we participate in is we have a deal with a friend who lives nearby:

We wait until we put our son to bed at 7:00, then she comes over and enjoys access to our Netflix account on our Wii, which only costs us like $9 a month so I’m not too cheap for it.

While she relaxes and watches a movie on our couch, we get to go out for dinner. Granted, since our son is asleep the whole time upstairs, she’s really house-sitting more than she is baby-sitting. And we always bring her dessert.

Another scheme we have done is going in shifts. If our friends are having a party that starts at 7:00, which as I just mentioned, is our son’s bedtime, then as I’m putting him to bed for the night, my wife will enjoy the first half of the party. When she returns, I tag-team her out.

So we both get to see our friends at the party; just not as a couple. But like it matters, because even if we showed up together, we’d end up talking to different people anyway.

My last idea to avoid hiring a babysitter is to hang out at the house of one of your kid’s friends with their parents. Between 4 adults and 2 kids, you’re never really having to pay as much attention to your own kid as you would if you would at your own house without company.

Whereas normally you’d be at like 100%, in the company of other parents you only have to be at like 35%.

Your kid gets to hang out with a friend and you get to hang out with that kid’s parents; assuming they’re cool.

It’s okay to be too cheap to hire a sitter. Do you have any ideas you’d like to share? I may steal them from you.

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My Toddler’s Amazing (?) New Magic Tricks

Monday, April 16th, 2012

17 months.

After learning the phrase “ta-da!” from my wife recently, Jack has officially become the best magician since Ed Alonzo playing “Max,” the occasional owner of the same-named hip hang-out spot on Saved By The Bell.

Yes, everything’s a magic trick now.

When Jack stands on top of a pillow without falling over… Ta-da!

When he pulls a blanket over his head, waits five seconds, then pulls it off… Ta-da!

When he pulls two fake Lego blocks apart… Ta-da! 

Heck, when Jack simply pulls his fake Lego blocks out out their storage bag… Ta-da!

Even better, his pronounced version of the word sounds more like “tahhhh!”

As winner of the Father of the Year Award in both 2010 and 2011, I wish I could say I didn’t immediately laugh out loud in his face when he proclaims his newest magic trick. But I do. Every time.

Fortunately, he assumes I’m cheering for him through my laughter, followed by my applause. I figure what this really is about is him wanting my approval and acknowledgment of his newly learned skills. Sure enough, he gets that with every “ta-da!” moment.

Right now Jack is proving to be such a sponge for learning new things. That’s why his current favorite toys are actually books.

With every new animal sound he makes when he sees a picture of one, I truly am impressed.

He’s also the only baby I know that actually asks for prunes during dinner. If you ask me, that’s truly his most impressive magic trick so far.


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7 Reasons This Dad Wants a Chevy Volt

Friday, December 9th, 2011

One year.

A life motto of mine is, “The secret to having it all is believing you already do.”

I choose the simple life as much as possible, as an American. The last time I can remember truly yearning for a particular material item was probably back when I was a kid, before the Internet was practical and/or relevant; back when the phrase “cell phone” was automatically linked to “Zack Morris.”

There is so much power in not wanting. It can cause a person to truly ignore advertisements.

With that being said, I am a man who is struggling in his principles right now, because I really, really, really want a Chevy Volt… as much as I wanted a regular Nintendo in 1988.

The folks at Chevy reached out to my family recently, inviting us to go on a road trip in sunny Florida; starting in Naples, adventuring through the Everglades and the Florida Keys, and ending in Key West.

As a 30 year-old dad with a wife and a one year-old son, I represent an important and valuable demographic. By participating in a glorified test drive of the Chevy Volt, my family would illustrate the car… in real life.

So Chevy’s experiment ended up with extremely positive results, because now I share with the world the 7 reasons this dad (really!) wants a Chevy Volt:

1. For the entire 302 mile drive, I never had to fill up the gas tank. In fact, by the time the trip ended in Key West, I’m pretty sure I still had more than 3/4 of the tank left. The Volt goes about 35 miles on its electric energy before switching over to gas power, where it averages around 37 miles a gallon.

2. The car is flat-out cool. For a guy who’s not hip enough to have Internet on my  phone, you can imagine what an awesome culture shock it was to use OnStar for the first time in my life. I called them to find out directions to the nearest Starbucks (for my wife) and they instantly downloaded the directions to the car.

Not to mention, I got to experience hands-free cell phone use through the car’s speakers, XM radio, and if I wanted to, I could have watched a DVD on the Volt’s built-in GPS screen. Plus, the one I drove was black with black and red interior. It totally made me think of Knight Rider.

3. It was the perfect size for me. To be the most fuel-efficient compact car sold in the United States, it didn’t feel small. Obviously, we had my son Jack’s car seat in the back, along with all our luggage, including his Pack-N-Play crib; but we still had plenty of room left.

4. The Volt is the perfect status symbol. Driving a Volt says, “I can afford a $40,000 car (minus a $7,500 U.S. federal tax credit) but A) I spend hardly anything on gas and B) I care about the environment.

5. It drives perfectly. Imagine driving a hovering cloud but not hearing a motor.

6. The Chevy Volt is an American car. Born and raised in south Detroit… Plus, I’m pretty sure the Volt is the answer to the age-old question, “What would Jesus drive?”

7. Driving the car makes you part of an elite club of  Volt owners. It’s a Volt thing, you wouldn’t understand. Ever heard of the “Volt handshake?” (It involves one of those prank electric buzzers.)

Until the year 2015 brings us the flying car (as featured in Back to the Future, Part II) I will gladly settle for the next coolest car until then, a black and red Chevy Volt.

It actually did kind of remind me of a DeLorean and… and KITT from Knight Rider combined.

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Baby on Board: Jack’s Taxi Service

Monday, August 15th, 2011

Eight months.

For nearly a month now, Jack has been going to day care as my wife and I have returned to our jobs here in Nashville.  I work only a block away from where he is all day, so I’m the one to chauffeur him an hour round trip five days a week.

Those “Baby on Board” suction cup signs on cars always crack me up.  I’m only pretty sure that a careless driver isn’t going to have the gumption to read one of those signs, then stop and think, “Oh! That car has a baby inside. Man, I need to slow down and focus.”  Or maybe there’s some secret society of people playing bumper cars with their cars out on the highway and they only break for vehicles with the “Baby on Board” signs.

Needless to say, there is no little plastic yellow sign stuck on a window of my Honda Element, but I do indeed drive a vehicle containing precious cargo.  With my baby on board, I feel like his bodyguard.  The Pope has the Popemobile; Jack has his Toaster on Wheels, his Big Green Lunch Box, his Wind-Up Toy Car- your choice.

I know there are cities with crazier drivers in America, but for those 60 minutes a day I drive him around in Nashville, I have to assume that every other person is a maniac who is drinking their fifth 5-Hour Energy drink and Tweeting on their phone while I drive alongside them.  I have to assume that at any given moment, a startled deer will jump out in front of the car.  I have to assume that Wile E. Coyote poured a bucket of Acme grease on the road in front of me in attempt to catch the Roadrunner.

In the meantime, Jack is asleep half the time as I jam out to any given Weezer album.  As for the time he’s awake, I assume he’s like me: in deep thoughts about A) the unfortunate impossibilities of time travel, B) whether or not God likes the music of Dave Matthews Band; if so, what is His favorite song, and C) who would win in a fight- A.C. Slater from Saved By the Bell or Uncle Jesse from Full House?

For now, Jack’s vocabulary doesn’t extend past “dada,” “mehm-mehm-mehm-mehm,” and “ba-ba-ba-ba.”.  But eventually, he and I will be able to have some normal conversations during the morning and afternoon car rides.  I can ask him what he learned in pre-school that day.

Until then, we’re both just sort of in our shared solitude, looking in opposite directions.  Every so often though, I turn around real quick to make sure he hasn’t somehow escaped his car seat and wandered off.  Then I see those happy little feet and know that my baby is still on board.

Look how cool Honda Elements are! The back seats can fold up and into the side of the car or all the way back (as seen in the picture of this one).

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Baby Jack Could Be Born Any Day Now

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Thirty-seven weeks.

In a matter of days (most likely no more than 20), dad from day one will no longer be a blog about pregnancy from a dad’s perspective; instead of pregnancy, it will be about a real life baby.  Like the way that the first season of Saved by the Bell was really called Good Morning, Miss Bliss and took place in Indiana, then by the next season Miss Bliss was gone and Zack, Screech, Lisa, and Mr. Belding magically reappeared in California, yet it was still basically the same TV show, only better and livelier.

My work place had a "masculine baby shower" for me, meaning there were no games- just food and a bucket full of gifts.

What this means is that this post of dad from day one could be the last one before “Baby Jack is Born!” is published.  Or, I could easily post two more new ones before he’s born.  No way of knowing.  It’s like waiting for the clown to jump out of the jack-in-the-box while turning the crank.  Any day now, our Jack may pop out of the box!  (Unavoidable metaphor.)

Pork-free soup is hard to find in the South; at least in my office.

His due date is November 11th, on my dad’s birthday, but my wife and I are both convinced that Baby Jack will be born on the 5th.  We met on October 5, 2006.  Our first date was on February 5, 2007.  We got married on July 5, 2008.  And November 5, 2010 will be Week 39, close enough to Week 40- it’s very possible.  Though I love to joke that he will be born on Halloween and he’ll be our Jack-O-Lantern.

Last night we finished our last Lamaze class.  Last weekend we packed the car seat.  This weekend we will make a trip to Target to pick up supplies (snacks) for the hospital stay and finish packing for D-Day.  It’s like preparing for the ultimate first day of school.  But instead of meeting my new teacher, I’m meeting my new baby.

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography:



Pick up a copy of the November 2010 issue of American Baby magazine...

...and on page 13 you just might see some familiar faces.

This being the first time my writings have been featured in a national magazine, I have to compare the experience of seeing the copy for the first time to that great scene in That Thing You Do where The Wonders all hear their song being played on the radio for the first time.  I will never forget; during my lunch break I rode my mountain bike to an appropriately named maternity and baby clothing store in Franklin, TN called Pickles and Ice  Cream.

The issue had just arrived in the store.  The two girls behind the counter watched me anxiously and purposely turning the pages until I found page 13, both knowing something was up.  And though I was still wearing my bike helmet, they realized that the squinty-eyed Italian-looking guy wearing a Tom & Jerry t-shirt in the magazine must be me.

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