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The Deal with My Wife was, “No Pet Rabbits”

When we got married, I had a few non-negotiable items: no cruise ships, no Chinese food buffets, no organ meats for dinner and no pet rabbits. None of these guidelines were an issue until about a year ago when we got our first pet rabbit.

We hadn’t planned on a rabbit, but my youngest daughter caught a cottontail bunny in a soccer field parking lot. I went to watch the game and came back to the car at half-time to find the rabbit with a new name and a bed in the back of our mini-van. I said no, and for the entire second half of the game my wife had enlisted the help of four other moms to pressure me into keeping it. I felt like the only guy going through fraternity rush with a ski boat. It was like some terrible combination of a vacation time-share pitch and a CIA interrogation. I couldn’t take the pressure, so we came home with the rabbit.

Life was fine for a couple of months until it got too hot for the rabbit to live in the yard and we had to move it to our shaded second story balcony. Then, one day when my younger daughter was taking it out of its cage to pet it, the bunny got loose and made a run for it – straight off the balcony. The rabbit fell to its near-death on the concrete driveway. Let me say that nothing will blow up your afternoon at work like your wife and a hysterical 9-year-old daughter explaining this traumatic event through tears and hyperventilation over the phone. In typical female fashion they wanted me to fix the problem over the phone, and they wanted it fixed now. My panicked wife asked where the guns were, and even suggested backing over it with her van to put it out of its misery. By the time I got them both calmed down, the little guy had passed. Every kid in the neighborhood knew what had happened within an hour and brought flowers for the funeral. There wasn’t a bush, flower or plant with a bud on it for a three-block radius. I couldn’t tell if the rabbit’s kid-made shrine looked more like Mother Theresa’s funeral procession or Jim Morrison’s grave.

I thought this was the end of the rabbit story, but that night in a moment of weakness with tears running down her face I told my 9-year-old I would get her a new bunny. After months of conversations with the rabbit guy (this is another story altogether), we finally got the call to come and pick out a bunny. We show up, and my youngest picks out a white bunny (without the red eyes – very important). Well, that’s not the one my wife and older daughter wanted her to pick. They wanted the grey and white one. Needless to say, after being hot boxed by my wife and two daughters (again) we came home with TWO rabbits. I call them the trophy wives because all they do is sit there, look cute and require attention. They really don’t DO anything.

This was fine until my wife unloaded a new rabbit hutch from her van that needed assembly. After I put it together it looked like the Ritz-Carlton in Beaver Creek sitting in my yard. It was definitely nice, and it made taking care of the rabbits much easier. Then, about a week later, my wife calls me at work (of course) to tell me the rabbits were gone. More tears. At first we thought they were stolen, then, a couple of days later, my neighbor found one of the rabbits in his yard and we figured they probably got loose while some kids were petting them – they do scratch. We thought the other was gone forever until my older daughter cornered it in our alley a few days later. It took off down our back alley with me, my wife and my 12-year-old chasing after it. We finally cornered at a neighbor’s house, so I climbed their 8-foot privacy fence and plopped into their yard hoping to get the bunny and get out before they called the police or I got peppered sprayed. After a LOT of instruction from my wife and daughter, I caught the rabbit and put her back in the hutch with her sister.

We are back to relative normalcy in Rabbitville, but I’m waiting for the next call at work from my wife to tell me of our latest crisis.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved


I Should be a Quadruple Platinum Member at the Grocery Store

My excitement over a $12 coupon I received from the checker at the grocery store turned to frustration after thinking about how much money I spend on groceries each month and the best they can do is give me $12??? If this was an airline, I’d be a quadruple platinum member.

Groceries are the second most expensive item in our budget after the mortgage each month, which is why I go nuts when food (especially milk) is tossed out daily. This was until I got my $12 coupon. I appreciated the gesture at first, but then I began to think about it and just became annoyed. If I spent thousands of dollars on airline tickets each year, then I would be riding in first class, be served free drinks and get free tickets to Hawaii. But at the grocery store I get $12, a nickel a gallon discount on my gas (sometimes) and a thank you. Now I understand the grocery stores would argue they don’t have the profit margins to buy their customers free airline tickets, but the last time I checked Wal-Mart and other grocers were profitable and the airlines were filing for bankruptcy. Maybe that’s the point, but what about a REAL rewards program at the grocery store.

If you walk up to the ticket counter and flash a Quadruple Platinum (QP) member card at the airport, then you get free luggage check, go through the non-existent line for security clearance, get preferred seating, early boarding, free upgrades and other goodies. Why can’t the grocery stores do that for me???? Here’s the idea. For starters, in the parking lot I flash my QP card and get a decent parking spot so I don’t have to push my two grocery carts full of stuff a half mile to my sun-baked car when I am finished. Or, maybe free valet parking for me and the lady who has her baby, toddler and 5-year-old at the store buying two different sizes of diapers, boxes of wipes, gallons of formula and another grocery cart full of food (they must live in a tent or out of their car because I’m not sure how they have any money left over for anything else each month, or they’re billionaires).

Then, once in the store, QP members have a special cart that is clean and the wheels run straight, free upgrades on certain items – orange roughy for the price of catfish and maybe some tickets for a free drink to take the edge off for the times when you are there with your kids. I think special lines for QP members would be nice as well, so instead of taking a number and waiting 20 minutes at the deli counter, meat counter…etc., there is a special line just for the QP members. Then, at checkout, you get another special line for QP members that’s separate from the regular line that is 19 people deep and the express lane that is filled with mostly single people that spend $20 a week on groceries and can carry everything they just bought on their bike.

If all of this is too much to ask, then 4 roundtrip tickets to Maui will work.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved

“Mom, Dad has PMS Again…”

It’s true, Dads get PMS also, which means we go through bouts of ‘moodiness.’ ‘Moodiness’ is just a nice way of saying that dad is tired, irritable, tense and easily annoyed. I’ve noticed there are different types of male PMS, and there are a variety of risk factors and homeopathic therapies used to treat this ailment.

I have not seen any of the medical literature (nor am I a doctor) that describes or even acknowledges the existence of male PMS, but ask any guy (or their wife) if they experience episodes of irritability, fatigue, short-temperedness, increased heart rate, a rise in blood pressure and/or find they are easily annoyed while managing the emotions and issues of a female household, and I will tell you that these are the symptoms of male PMS. I have found this ailment can be acute or chronic in form, and can extend well past child bearing years – my wings are clipped and I still get it all the time.

There are certain risk factors associated with male PMS such as age, high caffeine intake, number of children in the home and the onset of sudden or prolonged stress can precipitate the condition. There are no laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis. Just the existence of one or more of the emotional conditions I have noted. The symptoms are also predictable when various stresses are introduced, and the symptoms subside once the stress is removed. I have noticed that as the number of children in a household rises, so does the caffeine intake, so some risk factors certainly exacerbate on another.

The acute or sudden onset of male PMS can occur when something completely unexpected occurs – usually via a phone call. Let’s say you live in a climate with cold winters and you have small children. Your wife figures out it is better to load the kids in their car seats with the garage closed so the kids (and her) don’t get cold while getting them buckled safely in their seats. Then, she can get in the car, close the car door and use the remote garage door opener to then raise the garage door and drive away without ever feeling the wave of cold. This is a brilliant technique for avoiding the cold, but not one most husbands would likely embrace or even know about until the day his wife uses this method while running late for an appointment. In haste, and given the limited view, it is easy for any wife to back into the garage door before it has fully opened when employing this technique. The subsequent phone call can lead to an acute onset of male PMS.

The chronic form of male PMS is typically the result of a combination of small factors that build on one another, and these episodes can persist for days or weeks at a time. For example, let’s say you take a new job in a city that is a 16-17 hour drive away while you have a 16-month old baby at home and your wife is 4 months pregnant. And for the next three months you are working to get settled into your new position while commuting back and forth to your pregnant wife and baby on the weekends. All of this while trying to buy a house in your new city, work out the logistics of a cross-country move, close on your new home, find contractors in a strange city so that your newly purchased home is ready for the movers to unload your 18-wheeler full of your stuff two weeks before Christmas. Let’s just say I am familiar with this situation, and it resulted in a case of chronic male PMS.

The first form of treatment is a quiet room with a TV remote. I think the ‘man cave’ was created as a homeopathic remedy for male PMS. If you find a guy in a catatonic state in front of the television, then I suggest you not ask a lot of questions. Guys are like nuclear reactors, once we get hot we just need some time cool off. Certain topics of conversation are like removing the cooling systems from the reactor in that it can just makes things worse. Know that male PMS eventually passes. Sometimes guys need to stay up late and watch TV (it’s the only time we get to enjoy our homes alone), sometimes we need to go to bed early (we often feel better after some good sleep), sometimes we need to do our hobby for a while (fish, bike, run, golf, hunt… etc.) and other times we just need our wives to talk us off the ledge. What is perhaps most frustrating about the male form of PMS is that we can’t establish a pattern and put it on our calendar each month.

© Johnny Hea – 2011 All Rights Reserved

Dad Wants a Thunder Jacket for Father’s Day. Not for the Dog, for Me.

After reading about how a Thunder Jacket is a drug-free solution to relieve my dog’s stress and anxiety, I’ve decided I need one more than my mutt.

The Thunder Jacket claims that, “It can be used to reduce and, in many cases, completely eliminate anxiety in your dog. It helps to provide relief from a number of situations your dog might find to be stressful, such as Loud Noise (fireworks, etc.), Storms/Thunder, Separation From Owner, Car Travel, Crating and Visitors.”

Mornings – When I think about my life raising and living with children, I find myself in “a number of situations I find to be stressful.” Let’s start with the beginning of the day. It would be very helpful for me to slide into one of these jackets on those Saturday mornings when I am awoken by my girls arguing downstairs while burning pancakes and destroying the kitchen. I think the calming effect of the coat would be useful before walking into a kitchen that looks like a car bomb went off in my pantry.

Car Travel – Like many dogs, I find car travel with kids to be one of the more stressful times in my life, and I would really like to put on one these coats before pulling out of the driveway for the open road. When I am locked in a tin can with the noise of girls arguing over spilled drinks, where we stop for lunch, movie choices, smelly feet….etc. the calming effect of this coat would be a welcome break and likely relieve the panting and uncontrollable shakes I get while driving.

Work – I find work a welcome respite from the mornings, evenings and weekends with my noisy kids. I would guess many air traffic controllers, Bering Sea crab fisherman and law enforcement officers feel the same way.

Getting home from work – I would definitely don my Thunder Jacket prior to walking into the house after work, and I would likely leave it on until the kids went to bed. Between the fights, homework, daily drama recap, kids not wanting to eat their dinner, kids not getting ready for bed, house repairs that cropped up during the day, bills and my stressed out wife, I think a drug-free solution for my evening strain and anxiety would be invaluable.

I’m really not too worried about the sizing or the fashion statement this garment would make. The Velcro straps appear to make sizing versatile. If it comes in a ‘fitted’ cut, I figure I could wear it under my clothes all weekend like a sort of soothing flack jacket. I prefer a size bigger than I need. At my age, most of my clothes are too big (for comfort), and I have a preference for anything that comes with an elastic waistband. I noticed these jackets are sized by weight instead of numbered sizes, which allows me to stay in denial as to my actual waist size.

So, if you are looking for the perfect Father’s Day gift, drive past the liquor store this year and head for the pet shop.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved

Boyfriends, Girlfriends, Bobby Petrino and Me

As an Arkansas fan, I have been glued to the Bobby Petrino story as it unfolds like a Greek tragedy. This drama was a bug looking for a windshield from the beginning, but what I find most interesting is the more than 4,300 text messages Bobby sent his mistress/girlfriend during their relationship. I don’t think I’ve sent my wife nearly that many texts in almost 20 years of marriage????? Boyfriends and girlfriends text and give gifts – husbands and wives don’t do a very good job of this.

The Bobby Petrino story is a classic tale of a 51-year-old married coach at the top of his career who fell for a 26-year-old young lady. The relationship was on the down-low until they wrecked while on a motorcycle ride together. He tried to cover up the fact that she was riding with him when they crashed, but eventually the truth caught up – it’s never the crime, but the cover-up that always gets people in trouble.

What’s interesting to me is how this story points out how differently people interact with their boyfriends and girlfriends than they do their spouse. Since Bobby was using his work cell phone to call and text his girlfriend (another bad decision), we know that he sent over 4,300 text messages to her during the course of their relationship – Just PICK UP THE PHONE AND CALL! I would be willing to bet that during that same time frame there were about 100 text messages between him and his wife, and they were basically the same three things my wife and I text about:

WIFE: What time are you coming home?
WIFE: Will you pick up some milk on the way?
WIFE: Call me.

I can’t use the excuse that I didn’t grow up texting. Bobby certainly figured it out. I text a love note to my wife once, but I accidently sent it to my 12-year-old daughter instead. Awkward. So, I’m still working on it.

Bobby also gave his girlfriend $20,000 that she used to buy a car, and he hired her to work with him. A gift AND a job??? I don’t know of any husbands that give their wife cash AND hire them so they can work together??

To be fair, I am wondering if Bobby ever asked his wife to go on a motorcycle ride. And if he did, did she go?

Switching gears for a moment, I have a friend who was dating a woman that gave him an almost new bicycle since he liked to ride. Nice gift. The funny part is that it was her ex-husband’s. So, my buddy’s girlfriend gave him her ex-husband’s bike. Again – boyfriends and girlfriends giving gifts. Then, one day he tells me he wants me to have this bike his old girlfriend gave him because he already has two other bikes (he has lots of girlfriends), I ride a lot more than he does and it’s too small and doesn’t fit him anyway. Thank you!! (Somewhere there is guy out there wondering what happened to his bike during the move.)

So, what did we learn from all of this? Well, girlfriends and boyfriends are expensive. Forget about the $20k Bobby gave his girlfriend. That girl cost him a job that paid $3.5 VERY LARGE a year. Text your wife (not your assistant at work) to go on a motorcycle ride with you, and on your date don’t talk about kids, money, in-laws or any other hot-button issues in your house. It ruins the mood. Boyfriends and girlfriends don’t talk about this stuff on their dates, so you shouldn’t either. If you are riding on the back of a motorcycle with your husband, don’t be thinking (or talking) about who will take care of the kids in the event of your death (it’s bad enough this conversation happens before every airplane flight) – you will not be a fun date. Give your husband or wife a gift. This makes them feel like a boyfriend or girlfriend and keeps things fresh. Lastly, if you divorce your wife, chances are good she will give your bike to her new boyfriend.

Who won??? The way I see it I am the only real winner in all of this. One day I am sitting there eating a burrito and my friend gives me a cool bike. So, if you want cool stuff, you really don’t need a girlfriend. You just need a friend with a girlfriend. It’s much easier.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved

No, Daddy Can’t Afford a Girlfriend. Besides, Mom Won’t Let Me Have One

After teasing my 10-year-old daughter about having a boyfriend, both my girls decided to tease me about having a girlfriend. I told them that mom won’t let me have one, and besides, I really don’t have the time or the money.


I realize it’s commonplace for many single, middle-aged guys to have girlfriends, but I explained to my daughters that I’m married to mom, so it’s not allowed, and I have neither the time nor the money. First of all, I really don’t see how these guys that have a girlfriend on the side afford it. With a wife and two daughters, it’s all I can do keep them feed, clothed and watered. Not to mention all of the recurring non-recurring expenses that seem to come up each month (broken washer, broken phone…etc.). So, I’m not sure I would impress any ladies with the $20 I get to keep for myself after each paycheck. If we each paid for our own lunch, then maybe, but my wife and I already do that and it’s not getting me very far. I tried to explain that I want a simpler life, and that would just complicate things.


Forget about having to remember ANOTHER birthday, Valentine’s Day, and Christmas, but I would have to buy ANOTHER present for each. But before I even got to that point, I would have to have a cool car, clothes that aren’t too big and actually fit and a pair of shoes that I didn’t buy because they were comfortable.


I know it’s fashionable for single guys my age (I’m 43) to have a 20-something girlfriend, but I really don’t get it. I view 20-something women like Italian sports cars – great to look at, but expensive to own and eventually I would look ridiculous with one. You see, those guys in their 40s somehow feel like they are having a second life after they hook-up with a 20-something. I TOTALLY get it. They are traveling, having fun and feel like they are in their 20s again. I understand that. Sounds like fun. But they are COMPLETELY oblivious to the fact that their girlfriends are still women, and after they get married everything will eventually change when that 20-something soon becomes a 30-something and wants babies.


So, the guy that thought he was one of Peter Pan’s Lost Boys dating a Pixie and living in Never Never Land will soon find himself in his late 50s, having babies and changing his kids’ (and not his grandkids’) diapers and trading in his sports car for a mini-van so he can help with carpool. Nothing wrong with that, but that isn’t how he thought things were going to turn out when he was picking up his 20-something girlfriend with the top down a few years ago. Let’s not forget all those guys that had their wings clipped will need to get that reversed and then redone. Trust me, living through this once is enough. More kids also means another round of private school tuition, prom dresses, first cars, college expenses and weddings. Not to mention uncomfortable holidays with your in-laws (since you are about the same age) and complicated estate plans.


So, like I said I can’t afford a girlfriend.


© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved

Grocery Shopping with Kids is a Glimpse into Hell…

Grocery shopping with children is something akin to a circle of hell in Dante’s Inferno. The misery begins when you tote babies to the grocery store in the early years, and there seems to be no relief in sight even when they hit 10 & 12 years old.

When your kids are babies, the difficulty of grocery shopping mainly revolves around them licking and putting their mouths on the grocery cart handle and touching everything in sight. Being a germ freak myself, I would rather them eat off the floor of the men’s room in the LaGuardia airport than use the plastic handle of the grocery cart as a teething ring. This was always good for 1-2 sleepless nights from a cold turned – ear infection. Lovely.

When they get a bit older and hit the toddler years, it get worse because not only do they want you to push them around in the grocery cart that looks like racecar, but they start to have opinions about what goes into the shopping cart. The racecar carts, the State Fair and Free Day at the Zoo are a case of the Rotavirus (the most common cause of severe diarrhea among infants and young children) waiting to happen – if your kids have had it, you know what I’m talking about. The coup de grâce of this family outing is the inevitable blow-out diaper that happens sometime after you have tried to pacify your cranky kid with Goldfish and a juice box. (I’ll save my opinion of the grocery store changing tables for another day.) And if you are lucky enough to have an extra diaper, chances are good you are out of wipes. The trip ends with you trying to find their shoes and socks as they sit barefoot on the floor by the checkout stand crying with a severe case of grocery store feet (you know – they’re black on the bottom). Remember: you are allowed to cry, but for all involved, please do it standing up. Then, you are the parent trying to buckle a hysterical child into their car seat in what looks like a cage fighting match in the back of a minivan while people stare just so you can throw your 72 sacks of groceries into the back of your car. And, of course, they are sound asleep before you get home totally wrecking their afternoon nap.

Even as the kids get older you can’t go down a single grocery store aisle without your kids wanting at least eight things. Even the baking aisle is a complete beat down because you have to explain why we aren’t going bake a dessert each night, why we don’t want you kids to bake dessert every night, why we can’t afford dessert every night given that we spend a gazillion dollars on groceries each month, how it’s not good for out bodies to eat dessert every night….etc. Then, when I put ONE six-pack of beer in the cart, I feel like I am getting chewed out by Dr. Oz. (or my wife) about how bad beer is for my body, maybe that is why my hair is falling out, when was the last time I had my cholesterol checked, how much do I drink each week, maybe that’s the reason why my face looks like I have gained weight, do I understand the negative health effects of even one drink a day…etc.

I know the marketing industry has spent billions of dollars to figure out that putting kid items at their eye level on grocery store shelves promotes the sales of these goods. It also adds to the total misery of grocery shopping with kids. If the name and address of any of these marketing geniuses founds its way onto the internet, I have to believe there would be carloads of parents at their front doors with torches and pitchforks like barbarians at the gate. Until that happens, I have to find comfort in the idea that there is a place in Dante’s Inferno for the misery the masterminds of marketing put us through each time we show up at the grocery store with our kids.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved

‘Cute’ is the Highest Compliment You Can Give Your Wife

My friend Joyce recently reminded me that ‘cute’ is the pinnacle of female compliments and trumps ‘Pretty,’ ‘Hot’ or whatever. For guys, this is important to know but it takes years of practice to master the use this word because it’s not part of our natural lexicon prior to marriage.

As Joyce pointed out, women love to hear the word ‘cute’ to describe or compliment anything about them – Cute hair. Cute shoes. Cute outfit. Cute house. Cute dress…etc. From experience, the superlative to cute is “SO cute!” This compliment is even harder for guys to pull off, but it is the highest of compliments a girl can receive from another girl. Remember, women dress, do their hair and keep their house tidy for other women – not for guys. So, when another woman compliments them with a ‘cute’ modifier, that lady has received the seal of approval from one of her peers. For example, if your wife has hosted a Bunko night (Bunko is some game the girls get together and play around my neighborhood) you will notice that not only does the house need to look like its being featured in Martha Stewart Living before her friends show up, but your wife will spend more time getting ready and looking nice for her friends than for a date night with you. So, it’s not you dude. They all do it.

This is a difficult word for guys to work into their vocabulary. In fact, I’m not sure most of us know its real meaning beyond it being used to describe a puppy. Guys don’t have toys that they want called cute. That is a girl word. Guys don’t go up to other guys and say, “The real-tree camo finish on your turkey gun is cute. It will go well with your hunting outfit.” Guys don’t have cute motorcycles, cute trucks, cute fly-rods, cute bass boats, cute duck blinds…etc. And that is why newlywed guys will answer the following question completely wrong when inevitably posed by their new bride at some point early on in their marriage: “Do you think my friend is cute?” Guy: “Yeah, she is totally HOT.” Wrong answer dude! This is a classic rookie fumble that will cost you dearly. My experience is that women, in general, don’t use the word ‘hot’ and don’t like to be called ‘hot’ because it makes them feel self-conscience or as though other women might think they look trampy. Women want to feel pretty. Not trampy. And even though ‘hot’ is the highest compliment a guy can give in our limited jargon, don’t use it to describe other women in front of your wife. In fact, lose the term altogether. During the summer, just say it feels ‘warm’ outside today. That way you don’t make a mistake.

For a woman, the word ‘cute’ is a complex term with a multitude of meanings behind it. It means pretty, desirable, fashionable, smart, confident, charming, clever, endearing, appealing and a lot of other things all rolled up into this one little word. They know what it means, so you should also. Timing and practice will allow you to effectively work this word into your daily conversation, and once you learn to use it effectively it will totally save your hide. For example, if your wife says, “I feel like I look so fat in this dress.” You say, “No honey, I think it looks SO cute on you.” Voila’ – Disaster averted.

Thanks for the blog suggestion Joyce! I am always looking for ideas.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved

They are Called ‘Road Trips’ and Not ‘Road Vacations’ for a Reason…

This year I loaded up the family truckster (aka – minivan) with the family as well as a friend and her daughter for a 12ish-hour drive to go skiing for Spring Break. It was me and five females. And despite the years of marriage and raising girls, I always learn something new about my wife, daughters and women (in general) that I didn’t know before.

Me, I don’t like the car so packed full of stuff that I can’t see out of the windows. So, I meticulously packed up our van (roof box included) to avoid a personal claustrophobia attack during the 12-hour pilgrimage to the mountains for this year’s edition of Spring Break. After years of leaving our personal pillows in hotels across the United States, I thought my wife had stopped the practice of bringing a pillow. Not only was I wrong, but now our girls are in on the game. I thought loading in the car for a road trip looking like Linus from Peanuts was unique to our family as I am married to the “Princess and the Pea” who is kept awake by the smallest of undulations in the sheets, mattress, pillows or whatever and NEEDS her pillow in order to rest. That was until our friends loaded up with… you got it – their own personal pillows. So, we left town with what felt like five California king-sized bed pillows stuffed in what little extra space the van had. I now realize pillows are a female ‘must have’ travel accessory. How they tell them apart remains a mystery to me also, but I quit asking questions. I just drive.

After years of car travel with my wife and daughters, I am very sensitive to the gas station bathroom situation and always ask where they feel most comfortable making a pit stop before choosing a place. On one occasion, I was trying to pull into a station but an 18-wheeler had completely blocked the entrance and was stopped. It was at this point that I realized a woman can go from a state of slight discomfort to extreme agitation in an instant. There was a moment when I greatly feared for that truck driver’s well being, as well as my own, as I watched my sweet, blonde, Southern wife (and others in the car) transform into individuals I did not know. Luckily, he moved and a Jerry Springer moment was averted.

After years of waiting outside countless restrooms for my wife and daughters, I expected a little grace if I was the one running a little behind. After all, I did gas up the van, check the oil, clean the windshields… etc. before heading in to powder my nose. Nope. If they are ready, then the bus driver had better be also. I told them there is quite a selection of air fresheners to choose from if they got really bored. No laughs.

One thing about being on the road is that you tend to eat things you wouldn’t find in your normal diet. Truck stops offer a cornucopia of options typically not available in daily life. I generally go for the double-caffeine coffee, but the potato wedges are a personal favorite and some truck stops in Texas have incredible beef jerky selections. I explained to my wife that a Slim Jim is not beef jerky. It is a meat ‘product’. But much like the African Vulture, it became clear to me that my wife clearly lacked both the sense of both taste and smell as I watched her tear into a 22-inch Slim Jim stick.

About mid-week while driving up to the ski area after days of carrying skis, walking in ski boots, not sleeping well, not eating well and dealing with tired kids my wife looks at me and says, “You know, this is really more of a ‘trip’ than a ‘vacation’.” Yes it is sweetheart. Yes it is.

© Johnny Hea – 2012 All Rights Reserved

This week’s re-post of one of my first blogs…

It’s Spring Break week this week and next, so that means re-runs of two of the original posts that are the backdrop to all of my blogs. If you haven’t read them, I think you will really enjoy this week’s and next week’s posts….

Diary of a Girl Dad

After our date night dinner, my daughter, Emily, was chilled by the summer air conditioner draft blowing on her bare shoulders. My 9-year-old daughter then asked if she could sit on my lap while the waiter brought our check. While holding her on my lap I thought about how I wouldn’t be able to do this in 11 years. She would be 20 and I would be 53. I know it happens in this place, but it usually isn’t the guy’s daughter. In nine more years, she will be leaving home for college, and my job as a child-raising parent will be behind me. How did I get to be middle-aged with a family, a mortgage and a mini-van? The road to this point has not been what I planned, but the family road trip has been pure comedy. As it has been said before, it is not reaching a…

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