At the risk of coming across as a “selfie” pic obsessed guy, I’m delivering what I promised to you yesterday (more pictures of my trip) in my letter entitled, “Say Nice Things About Detroit.”
You know my general rule; I basically refuse to have my picture taken these days unless you and/or Mommy is in it with me. It just seems weird for a 32 year-old dad to be taking pictures of himself and posting them on the Internet…
But a picture of myself is justified when taken with my family.
Unless… I happened to be on a scavenger hunt hosted by OnStar and Buick, where in order to get credit for each event, I needed my picture taken with the OnStar logo to prove I was actually there, then Tweet it to the judges of the competition…
In that case, I guess I look less weird… or maybe it’s just my excuse this time.
So for the scavenger hunt, the dozen or so of us bloggers needed to pair up, and then hop in either a Buick Regal or Lacrosse, and accomplish as many tasks as we safely (and legally) could within the following two hours. Each task was worth an appropriate amount of points, based on difficulty.
It was only natural that the two dad bloggers teamed up. So my buddy was Fred Goodall of the blog, Mocha Dad. We named ourselves, “Team Dad.”
Fred was clever enough to think, “Let’s just do the challenges that are worth the most points first, then worry about the other ones if we have time.”
So we did.
Given that Fred has a smart phone and I don’t, I became the driver and Fred became the navigator and researcher. It helped tremendously that our Buick had OnStar on it, so I just pressed the button each time I had a new destination, and the friendly person on the other line helped me figure out which place I was trying to go, then instantly sent the directions to the built-in GPS.
It was all a blur at the time- and it still is. Actually, all you or I have to really go on are these pictures.
So appparently, Fred and I had to do our impression of the Detroit Tiger statue. And then I blocked in a competitors’ Buick while they were getting their picture made with it.
I ended up at Fisher Theatre where Mamma Mia! was evidently the answers to one of the clues.
How did “Team Dad” know the answer to that trivia question? We happened to see “Team Mom” take their picture with the poster… that’s how!
Then there was our visit to the all new Whole Foods in Detroit, where I first learned the slogan, “Say Nice Things About Detroit.” We picked up some organic food (untainted by Monsanto) then donated it to Gleaners Community Food Bank.
No, we didn’t win the scavenger hunt.
But I know we had a lot of fun driving in our classy ride across Motor City, doing random stuff a dad doesn’t normally get to do.
Most of all, I loved getting to discover the real Detroit (not the version reported by media).
Sure, along the way, I saw the “burned out buildings,” but they were alongside new ones; with growing new businesses.
It sort of reminded me of a baptism by fire- the new life is growing where the old one has faded away.
And perhaps accidently, the folks at GM and Buick used the journey of this scavenger hunt to show me the journey that Detroit is undergoing.
I’m so serious. I proudly stand behind Detroit.
Before this trip, I just didn’t realize what was actually going on- that in reality, Detroit is rebuilding, not crumbling.
Yesterday I changed my Facebook banner to the picture of the “Say Nice Things About Detroit” mural.
Something I am very passionate about is seeing a group of hardworking people overcome hard times.
That’s literally what’s happening right now in Detroit. And since the mainstream media isn’t willing to present the real news story, I am.
P.S. A special thanks to my fellow dad blogger and the other member of “Team Dad,” Fred Goodall, of Mocha Dadfor taking the pictures of our scavenger hunt.
Mommy and I do our best to make sure that the little time we have together as a family is as quality time as possible.
We recognize that even the exact events that are intended to be exciting family adventures can end up taking away from quality time instead of enhancing it.
Knowing that we’ve got a fun road trip to Louisville coming up in just two weeks, we’re trying to make sure that this weekend and next are relatively chill.
It could be easy to assume that the low key events that take place on weekends like this would be somehwhat not that exciting for you.
But I can’t be too sure…
On Monday at your school, I saw on the wall a giant list entitled “What Do We Do With Our Families?”
As usual, you had perhaps the most seemingly random answer of all for the list:
“I go to Whole Foods and go to the pool with Daddy and Mommy!”
The pool part makes sense… but Whole Foods?
I thought it might truly just be nothing more than a random answer, but this reference to Whole Foods came up on again on Friday.
Mrs. Tonya, your school’s director, was telling me how you, the assistant director, and some of your friends were sitting at a table, pretending to be riding in a car.
When Ms. Lisa, the assistant director, asked where everyone wanted to go, the answers immediately starting coming in from your friends: to the playground, to the zoo, to play with toys, etc.
Then came your answer:
“Let’s go to Whole Foods!”
I imagine it was one of those moments where it was as if music was playing, then suddendly, the DJ stopped the vinyl record and everyone froze what their were doing, in an instant state of confusion.
Even if it seems to me like certain family activities would not be fun for you, like buying groceries with Mommy and Daddy at Whole Foods, there’s still a decent chance you may identify that event as the most exciting one there is.
1. We start out helpless and clueless.Super Mario Bros. 2 begins with a door opening in the empty black sky and then you just start falling. How is not that a perfect description of what it’s like when your first kid is born?
2. We have to, at times, assume the role of a woman to get the job done. Yes, this was the Mario game where you could be the Princess and float in the air.
Sure enough, it’s no secret that as dads, we often have to force ourselves to take on roles that traditionally have been assigned to the mother; from simply diaper duty to being a full-time stay-at-home parent . Yeah, we’re still Mario most of the time, but there is no shame in playing as the Princess when we need to.
3. We are constantly going back and forth between two worlds. By using the potion bottle, you could enter a reversed, night time version of the world where you could collect coins to earn extra lives.
Many of us dads feel like we are living in two different worlds: There’s the real world where we actually get to spend time with our families and enjoy the adventures of life. Then there’s the other world where we have to actually work to afford the real world.
4. We are fighting the “dinosaurs” of outdated stereotypes of what all dads are like. In order to complete most levels, you had to defeat an egg-spitting dinosaur named Birdo. Similarly, I feel like I’m still having to put to death the “bumbling idiot” caricatures of TV dads from the Eighties and Nineties who were lazy, clumsy, and sex-crazed/deprived.
5. We use vegetables and fruits as weapons. Okay, so we don’t literally pick up giant (assumed organic) carrots from the ground and hurl them at our enemies like we could do in the game. Nor do we become invincible when we eat enough fresh cherries.
But there’s no denying the “whole grains, plant based diet” movement that we as parents are starting to pay attention to. It’s relevant in our modern parenting society.
We are incorporating more vegetables and fruits, andless processed foods, in order to fight the enemies of cancer and disease; not only for our own health, but for our kids’ well-being also.
It’s no coincidence that the the final bad guy in the game was a giant frog who wearing a crown. The only way to defeat him and beat the game was to throw enough veggies and fruit into his mouth.
This symbolizes the way that as modern dads, we are taking a stand against the “kings” of processed foods (like Monsanto).
Super Mario Bros. 2 was more than just a trippy, off-beat video game sequel. Instead, it subconsciously taught us cryptic symbolic messages back in the Eighties when we were kids, so that we could apply that vital knowledge now in the 2010′s as dads. Pretty rad, huh?
Okay, I’ll admit- once you beat the game you realize it was all just a dream. I’ll let you decide how that symbolizes fatherhood. I’m stumped on that one.
Back in August, in the midst of a Facebook message conversation, a friend I have known since Kindergarten described her perception of my wife and me:
“I think of you both as health conscious people….but I can’t picture either of you working out in a gym. I picture you as people who hike on the weekends or bike to dinner.”
Little did she know that I was already mapping out this post, explaining why I passionately oppose going to the gym, yet passionately promote daily exercise in other ways. It’s true, the last time I went to a gym, they had just discovered the hatch on Lost.
My friend was right. I am a biker; mountain biker, that is. At all times, my bike is stored in my Honda Element with me. Every day during my lunch break, I bike to Starbucks to read a book, or to the bank to deposit some cash, or to Whole Foods to pick up some Christmas presents for people.
I pretend that I live in a Mediterranean village in the year 1533, where I would literally have to travel miles at a time in order to get everything done that day. If I want to read a chapter in the current book I’m reading, I have to earn it by biking a mile and a half to get to a place to read it.
If it rains or is too cold, I have a heavy raincoat and “outside workout” clothes to change into. Even when it snows, I’ll still at least walk a few miles outside.
The point is to find someway to get daily exercise (at least 25 minutes) without having to depend on paying someone to use their facility. It doesn’t have to include a mountain bike, but it’s a matter of finding a creative way to get out of the office; even it’s just walking with a friend during designated breaks during work.
I say fresh air (even when it’s cold and wet) is still better than stagnant air inside an office. So let me go ahead and get into it, here are 6 reasons I don’t go to the gym:
1. Joining a gym often promotes an “all or nothing” mentality in which one’s diet follows. ”I was just too stressed to go to the gym for the past two days” often means a backslide into fast food lunches and potato chips as snacks.
2. Gyms promote a perfectly sculpted body as the goal, instead of a realistic, healthy one. We’re not movie stars; we don’t need six pack abs. The focus should be on being healthy, not losing weight. Weight loss is a side effect of active habits, not a target itself.
3. Gyms cost money. I’m not going to pay for what I can get for free.
4. There is a pressure to commit to a gym. Remember that episode of Friends where Chandler tries to quit the gym, recruiting Ross to help him, but then Ross gets suckered in to joining the gym too?
5. Working out puts too much focus on calories. For me, it’s about the the right food choices to begin with. I bet my daily calorie intake is slightly high, because I eat plenty of whole fruits (which are already naturally loaded with sugar) as well as avocados, nuts, and whole milk (full of good fats), but I weigh 20-something pounds less now than I did in these featured pictures of me from 2008 on my honeymoon in New England, before I had made my lifestyle changes- like biking and cutting out processed foods.
6. People size you up at a gym. Plus, it’s easier to do the same to other people; focusing too much on bodybuilders who basically live there.
So I say, liberate yourself from the gym. Despite all the rage, you don’t have to be a rat in a cage.