My Favorite Polack

My Dad

February 8, 2013

Received the following e-mail from my dad this morning:

Dear Family,

I went to get bagels this morning and it started started to snow.
When I drove the car up to the top of the driveway and down to the middle of the driveway for mom to use later, I discovered a curious pattern being formed at the top of the the driveway by the car’s tires in the snow. It looks like two intersecting heart’s (in math, a Venn diagram).
I inserted our names in the hearts and took some pictures with my iPhone.
I thought you all might like to see my crazy pictures.
The pictures combine the beginning of the blizzard of 2013 and Valentines’s Day next week.
I was trying to think of a name for them like Valenblizz or Blizzlentine.
Oh well!!! Creativity can only go so far!
Have a safe and blessed weekend!
Love to all of yous!!!

My parents will be married 35 years this St. Patrick’s Day and my father continues to write love letters to her in all manner of forms.

I’d like to insert a sarcastic hilarious something but I can’t.

He is just the absolute best.

Watching Les Misérables With My Parents

January 7, 2013

* My fiancé is a member of the Producer’s Guild, which sends him screeners of movies often still in theaters, much like SAG. Just a note to say that’s why we were watching this on DVD at home, not in a movie theater, which would’ve silenced this entire conversation and woulda been a darn shame. *

LAURA: Okay, guys! Let’s watch Les Miz!

DAD: I LOVE THIS SHOW.

MOM: Who is that?

LAURA: Hugh Jackman.

DAD: Who?

LAURA: Hugh Jackman.

DAD: WHO?

LAURA: He’s Wolverine. And he’s like 30 pounds lighter, oh my God, he looks skeletal. Still hot though. But skeletal.

DAD: WHO IS THAT?

LAURA: Russell Crowe is better than I thought!

MOM: I THINK HE SOUNDS NICE.

DAD: WHO IS THAT?

MOM & LAURA: *IGNORING*

*TIME PASSES*

ANNE HATHAWAY: I dreamed a dream in time gone byyyyyyy…

LAURA: *SOBBING*

MOM: *TEARING UP*

DAD: WHO IS THAT?

*TIME PASSES*

MOM: How does Jean Valjean make a living? Honestly.

LAURA: He was the mayor! He made some good investments?

MOM: But now he’s escaping and he doesn’t work. How does he have money? HE DOESN’T WORK.

LAURA: I hope Javert commits suicide earlier than usual because he can’t sing.

DAD: MASTER OF THE HOUSE! LA DEE DA DEE DA! OH MAN, THOSE TWO ARE CHARACTERS!

*TIME PASSES*

MOM: Who wrote the music for this again? Andrew Lloyd Webber???

LAURA: *punches Mom in the face, throws her out the window* BLASPHEMYYYYYY!

*TIME PASSES*

DAD: WHO IS THAT?

LAURA/MOM: Cosette.

LAURA: She is worse than Russell Crowe. I can’t stand her voice.

MOM: Me neither.

DAD: Who is that?

MOM/LAURA: COSETTE.

LAURA: The little girl!? He saved her and now he’s her father.

DAD: THAT BLONDE LADY IS THE LITTLE GIRL CLAUDETTE?

LAURA: Dude, you have seen the musical at least 3 times.

DAD: I NEVER KNEW IT WAS HER.

MOM: Why on earth would he just be living with a young blonde woman? THIS IS A STORY ABOUT GOD.

*TIME PASSES*

LAURA: *CRYING ALL THE TIME*

DAD: (twenty minutes after the sewer scene) WAIT. HE SAVED MARIUS IN THE SEWER?

MOM/LAURA: …

MOM: Who did you think he was carrying in the sewer?

DAD: SOME GUY.

LAURA: Dad, you are missing major elements of the story.

DAD: WELL I GET IT NOW.

MOM: You see why I get upset with him!? He has no idea what’s going on.

DAD: I KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON. HE SAVED THE GUY FOR CLAUDETTE.

LAURA: No one in this movie is named Claudette.

DAD: ANYWAY NOW I KNOW HE SAVED HIM.

*TIME PASSES*

LAURA: *SOBBING SO HARD SHE CAN’T BREATHE*

DAD: Man, everyone died.

LAURA: (wailing) I KNOWWWWWWWWWW.

DAD: EVEN THAT LITTLE GIRL! THEY SHOT THAT LITTLE GIRL.

MOM/LAURA: What?

DAD: THE LITTLE GIRL ON THE BARRICADE!

MOM/LAURA: That was a boy.

DAD: HE HAD LONG HAIR!

LAURA: You need to work on your assumptions about traditional gender roles.

MOM: HE IS A BOY.

LAURA: His name is Gavroche.

DAD: Garbage? (pronounced ‘Gar-bahge’)

LAURA: Yes. Fine. His name is Garbage. The little boy on the barricade.

MOM: SEE WHY I GET UPSET WITH HIM? HE DOESN’T GET HIS HEARING AID UNTIL MARCH. HOW CAN I LIVE UNTIL THEN?

DAD: I CAN’T BELIEVE GARBAGE DIED.

LAURA: *CRIES FOR THE REST OF THE EVENING*

Fin.

Grocery Store Bouncer

October 9, 2012

The sun rises earlier in the country, or so it seems, which is why I found myself trying to figure out the coffee machine with my sister in the kitchen on a Saturday morning at 7:45. (Let’s just say I don’t usually wake up before 12 10 on a weekend if I can help it.)

Our beloved Brooklyn father was already long gone to the local grocery store, on a mission to pick up olive oil for cooking and a few rolls for breakfast, the two things we forgot to purchase the night before. The farm house we rented for the weekend had a very open layout and the beautiful hardwood floors and lack of walls made it easy for sound to travel.

My father has a loud booming voice and when told to try to keep it down, the best he can manage is a loud stage whisper that can still be heard a mile away. (Which is why when I write about him using dialogue, he’s always screaming in capital letters regardless of location or subject matter.)

A few minutes into hanging out with my sister, my father walked in the back door into the kitchen. I made a frantic hand gesture, a weird kind of mimed shush-ing maneuver, a gentle reminder to lower his voice because everyone else was sleeping but my dad, it turns out, already had quite an adventure and he was eager to tell us all about it.

“SO,” he said, setting the groceries down on the counter. “I BROKE UP A FIGHT AT THE SHOP RITE THIS MAWNIN’.”

“What?”

“I BROKE UP A FIGHT AT SHOP RITE THIS MAWNIN’.”

“Explain yourself,” I whispered. “And can you speak softer?”

“WELL,” he said, speaking even louder, “I GOT INTO THE EXPRESS LANE WHICH HAD A MAXIMUM OF SIX ITEMS. I WAS A LITTLE NERVOUS BECAWZ I ACKCHEWALLY HAD SIX ROLLS IN A BAG *PLUS* THE OLIVE OIL WHICH TECKNICKALLY MAKES SEVEN ITEMS BUT IT TURNS OUT, DA WOMAN AHEAD OF ME HAD LIKE, A MILLION ITEMS AND SHE WAS TAKIN’ FOREVA TO BUY HER STUFF.”

“Right.”

“AND I MEAN FOREVA. SO I’M WAITIN’ THERE AND OF CAWSE I’M GETTIN’ ANNOYED BUT NOT AS ANNOYED AS THE GUY BEHIND ME BECAWZ AFTER 15 MINUTES HE YELLS AT HER AND SAYS SHE BETTA MOVE HER FAT F***ING ASS.”

“WHAT???????????” exclaimed me and my sister. (It must be said that we were shocked at the story of the dude in the store but even more shocked that my dad actually said fuck out loud, a word I’ve heard him say maybe twice before in my entire life.)

“YEAH. SO SHE TELLS HIM TO SHUT UP AND THEN HE SAYS TO HER, ‘I’M GONNA KICK YOUR F***ING ASS!”

“What a jerk,” I said.

“YEAH. HE WAS A JERK. BUT ALSO SHE HAD LIKE A MILLION ITEMS IN THE EXPRESS LANE WHICH I DON’T THINK IS RIGHT.”

“It happens.”

“YEAH BUT I MEAN SOMEONE SHOULDA SAID SOMETHIN’. THE SIGN SAYS SIX ITEMS.”

“Okay, yes. Then what?”

“YEAH. SO THEN I BROKE UP THE FIGHT.”

“Wait. What?”

“WELL HE SAID HE WAS GONNA KICK HER ASS SO THEN HE TRIED TO DO IT.”

“He actually moved towards her like he was going to punch her?”

“YES.”

“So what did you do!?”

“OH I JUST DID WHAT I USUALLY DID WIT THE 8th GRADERS IN DA SCHOOL I USEDTA TEACH AT WHEN THEY WOULD FIGHT. I JUST WRAPPED MY ARMS AROUND HIM AND HUGGED HIM REAL TIGHT TIL HE CALMED DOWN.”

“You bear-hugged a stranger in the grocery store at 7:30 in the morning?”

“YEAH. IT’S A GOOD WAY TO STOP A FIGHT.”

“Dad, that is seriously the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”

“WELL IT WORKED. JUST PUT MY ARMS AROUND HIM. NOT A PROBLEM.”

“You’re saying that like it’s a normal thing to do to an aggressive stranger in a supermarket.”

“YEAH. HE WAS AGGRESSIVE. HE HAD HIS CAMOUFLAGE ON.”

“Deer hunter?”

“PROBABLY. SO ANYWAY I AM A HERO.”

“This is true.”

“SO I BAWT THESE ROLLS, I BAWT SIX WHICH MADE ME NERVOUS BECAWZ WIT THE OLIVE OIL THAT MADE SEVEN ITEMS.”

“Yes. You told me.”

“OKAY SO I’M GONNA TAKE A ROLL PUT SOME BUTTA ON IT AND GO DRINK SOME CAWFFEE ON THE PORCH.”

And that, my friends, is exactly what he did.

Conversations I’ve Had With My Father This Week

April 4, 2012

WE WENT TO A BAR MITZVAH THIS WEEKEND!

Oh really?

Yeah!

How was it?

Good! I really liked the ceremony because it was half Hebrew and half English. So, I kinda got what was going on.

Oh…

Yeah. Once I went to one that was all in Hebrew and I don’t know that language at all so I was pretty confused.

DAT BAR MITZVAH WAS SO GOOD.

You told me.

I ate so much food. It was like a wedding. PHENOMENAL.

Oh really?

YEAH. I THINK I GAINED, LIKE, THREE, FOUR POUNDS.

Really?

YEAH. BUT I THINK I LOST THEM ALL.

Already? When was that bar mitzvah?

TWO DAYS AGO!

4:02 pm, Wednesday

Hey dad, it’s me.

LAWRA.

Hey. Do you have my eyelash curler at home? I left it behind last time I was there.

I HAVE IT RIGHT HERE IN FRONT OF ME. LET ME GO MAIL IT.

What!? No, no! It’s not urgent.

I CAN GO TO THE POST OFFICE NOW. THEY CLOSE AT FIVE.

No, seriously! Just drop it in the mail if you get the chance this week? Otherwise I can get it next time I see you.

IT’S NO PROBLEM.

Alright, well whenever you get to it!

4:24 pm, Wednesday

E-mail

From Dad
To Laura At Work

LAURRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Just came back from the post office.
Your eye-lash curler is in the mail!

Love,
Dad

Hey dad, what’s going on?

NOT MUCH.

Yeah?

YUP. YOUR BRUTHA WAS GONNA TAKE ME OUT TO BREAKFAST BUT YOUR MUTHA MADE ME PANCAKES SO I’M PRETTY FULL.

So you didn’t go?

I JUST HAD PANCAKES…

Right.

SO NOW I’M GONNA SIT OUT BACK AND READ THE PAY-PA.

That’s a pretty good day.

RIGHT? YOUR MOM MADE ME PANCAKES.

 I get the sense that being retired is pretty much everything my dad has ever dreamed of.

And more.

Banana Bandana

March 19, 2012

Two years ago this past weekend, my father had an accident at a church dinner dance and broke his hip which led to emergency surgery which led to a staph infection which led to some unimaginable medical mishaps which led to a horrible amount of pain and screaming which led to eight months in a wheelchair which led to a new hip which FINALLY! led to physical therapy which led to now:

Dad is pretty much back to normal.

(In terms of his hips, that is. I can’t quite say my dad has ever been normal, if you know what I mean.)

My father was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support he received during his journey back to health and so he decided to throw a huge party this past weekend. It was basically a THANK GOD I AM STILL ALIVE party, with a huge emphasis on gratitude for the people who helped him. On Friday night, my parents rented out a hall on Long Island, got a completely insane amount of food and invited a gazillion people to party on. We ate and we danced and we celebrated life and all that it gives to us – the good, the bad, the friends and family who carry us through.

(Saturday was also my parents’ 34th wedding anniversary so they kept making out WHICH IS SO GROSS CUTE.)

My dad called me a few months back when they were party planning and said he kind of wanted to do a little magic show, to thank some specific people who helped him and make everyone laugh. He asked if I would participate and reminded me of something I hadn’t thought of in years.

When I was in sixth grade, I did a report on humor.

(ELEVEN YEAR OLD LAURA,

YOU ARE SO ADORABLE.

LOVE,
TWENTY-EIGHT YEAR OLD LAURA.)

As part of my project, I brought my dad in to class for a presentation.

(If you are new to this blog, you may not realize that my dad is a part-time clown/magician. Just let that sink in. I KNOW.)

My dad and I put on a skit for my class called Banana/Bandana which is comedy at its very very basic and very very best. A simple misheard word turns into hilarity (you hope). When dad asked if I wanted to perform an encore of our COMPLETELY HILARIOUS AWESOME 6th grade comedy routine for his party, I was all YES because my dad is the best in the world.

“REMEMBA,” my dad said to me over the phone a few days before the party. “I DO MOST OF DA WORK. YOU JUST GOTTA STAND BEHIND ME AND HAM IT UP.”

And so I did.

May I now present, Laura and her Dad, a phenomenal comedy duo, performing ‘Banana/Bandana’. This video is rated G except for the parts where my slip keeps showing and I am sorry about that and hope it will not offend. This video also contains the most incredible Brooklyn accent you may ever have the pleasure of hearing. You can thank me later.

Pretty sure I will treasure this video until the end of time. Huge thanks to my super studly boyfriend who used his iPhone to record this after I realized my video camera which I had DEFINITELY CHARGED BEFOREHAND was…DEFINITELY NOT CHARGED BEFOREHAND.

PRESENTING…

The incredibleness of me and my super healthy dad. (Can we talk about how skinny he is? Dude has lost almost 30 pounds.)

ENOUGH ABOUT HIM. LET’S WATCH HIM.
Enjoy!

Banana/Bandana from The Spectrum on Vimeo.

And A Happy New Yeaaaaaar!

December 30, 2011

Hey you guys! What the heck is up!?

I hope your holidays were merry and that you have many exciting plans for New Year’s Eve, hopefully they involve wearing something with sequins and kissing all the boys!

My Christmas was wonderful! There was a fire going in the fireplace every night, lots of generosity all around in terms of gifts and hugs and heartwarming chats and my grandmother only made one or two racist jokes at the dinner table instead of her usual six or seven. SUCCESS, DUDES. I’ll take it where I can get it.

I am flying down to Chapel Hill, North Carolina this morning to spend New Year’s Eve with my favoritest person in the whole world who happens to be my boyfriend which makes me the luckiest.

SPEAKING OF FAVORITE PEOPLE. It’s my other favoritest person in the world’s birthday today.

My father turns 67 years old today which is just too old if you ask me. (GIVE ME A GRANDCHILD, my mother screams at me in the background.)

One year ago, my father finally received his final hip surgery at the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC. After nine months in a wheelchair, in constant pain and frustration, everything started to turn around. A year ago today, my dad began again. New hip, recovery, re-learning how to walk. He started all over.

A year later, the man has barely a limp. He spends all afternoon raking leaves on the hill in the backyard. He joined a gym for the first time in his life and goes religiously three times a week, still rehabilitating his body with the exercises he learned in months and months of physical therapy. He drives, he can shower and dress himself, he goes up and down stairs, he is the dad we all remember. Taking out the garbage, going for long walks, doing ridiculous dances in the kitchen for no reason.

But he’s different of course.

My dad’s emotions are more raw, I think and the way he views the world will probably never be the same again. He knows how lucky he is. He has been incredibly humbled by his experiences and sees beauty and God in all of it which is absolutely miraculous to me.

The other night before dinner, dad volunteered to say grace. He talked about being sent to South Korea when he was in the army, an engineer in charge of building bridges. He was warned that the river’s current often changed direction and to build accordingly as the last engineer’s work had been washed away as soon as the tide turned the other way. (**By the way, thumbs up for the US Army, right? Some guy built a bridge incorrectly so it just UP AND WASHED AWAY!? I digress.)

Dad recalled laying in his hospital bed last year with a beautiful view of the East River. Every day he spent hours in bed, watching the current and he noted that it too often changed direction.

This is life, he said, close to tears at the dinner table. Things change for us, sometimes overnight and we rarely know why. All we can do is go with it. Follow the current until it turns again.

And all the good people around us?

They are our life rafts for when the water gets too choppy.

So, happy birthday to my sweet, sweet father. I apologize publicly on my blog for making so much fun of your accent over the past week. You have to understand that I imitate it because I love it.

Because I love you.

BECAWSE I LOVE YA, YA CRAZY POLACK.

Here is a picture of my dad from a few months back with my sister, the first time he was able to bend down and put his sock on which ended up being the hardest piece of the puzzle after surgery with a new hip. (WHO KNEW?)

TA DA.

Dr. Dlug is a rockstar.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!

And Happy New Year everyone! I’ll be back in 2012 with a lot to say! YEAH YOU GUYS!

On Knowing Your Limits and Letting The Mower Go

September 28, 2011

I went to a 40th anniversary party this past weekend for one of my dad’s brothers and oh, there was so much blog fodder! It shall keep me busy and entertained for weeks! But while I mull it over in my brain, I have yet another My Dad story for you in the mean time.

(As to what’s up with me lately, HECK IF I KNOW. This blog now belongs to my dad.)

My parents live on a hill and at the bottom of the hill in their front yard sits a huge rock which we referred to as kids as ‘The Rock’ or ‘The Bowlda’, which is Long Island speak for ‘The Boulder’.)

I don’t know if it’s actually considered a boulder. What is the definition of boulder? It’s just a big hunkin’ thing left by the ice age. Or a glacier. Or at least that’s what we used to say. I will just come out and say right now that I do not know much about the ice age or glaciers or how this big ass thing got on my front lawn but last week I heard on NPR that not only was there a woolly mammoth long ago, there was also actually a WOOLLY RHINO!!!! Doesn’t that blow your mind? WHAT DOES THAT EVEN LOOK LIKE? COME BACK FROM EXTINCTION, WOOLLY RHINO! LEMME SEE YOUR FACE!

Anyway.

Sometimes we would climb on the rock and pretend we were under attack but that got old quickly as we soon realized we were playing on…a large rock. That gets old fast. Mostly we just tried to avoid it while sleigh riding down the hill in the winter because damn, if you slammed into that bowlda, your sled was probably wrecked and you were probably headed to the ER for multiple fractures.

THIS IS A BIG ROCK WE ARE TALKING ABOUT.

The point of this story is that my dad called up my mom at work last week and was all WIFFEY, I HAVE HAD A DAY.

I think I have pointed this out before, but my parents call each other ‘Hubby and ‘Wiffey’ except it’s not WIFE-y, it’s pronounced wiffey like ‘whiffy’ and hell if I know how THAT EVEN HAPPENED but they do not refer to each other by their first names.

Ever.

I think I’ve heard my mom call my dad ‘Paul’ maybe twice in my entire life. (That’s his name, you know.)

So anyway, Hubby called Wiffey and was all I HAVE HAD A DAY.

And Wiffey was all WHAT HAPPENED?

Let’s just say dad was outside mowing da lawn.

I SHOULD JUST INTERJECT RIGHT HERE AND SAY THAT SHOULD NOT BE HAPPENING.

Dude broke his hip and almost died and now that he’s back to normal with barely a limp, he’s outside all day mowing the lawn and chopping firewood and being generally reckless, IF YOU ASK ME, for a 66 year old person who is prone to injury.

DAD – HIRE SOME GUY TO MOW THE LAWN.

But he hasn’t yet.

So he was outside, mowin’ da lawn, as he says, when he discovered that he ran over the hose with the mower.

Now, this is comedy enough for me that my dad was so intent on…who even knows…that he didn’t realize that his huge lawn mower (from 1994) was headed straight over an enormous coil of garden hose but eh, I’m not one to judge someone who daydreams and gets themselves into predicaments.

Ahem.

It should be said that for a Brooklyn boy, my father loves the outdoors. LOVES LOVES LOVES! When New York gets cold and dreary and everyone is like OH MY HELL WHERE IS THE SPRING, my dad is hanging outside in a flannel shirt with a puffy vest shoveling snow in the middle of a blizzard, talking to himself about how wonderful life is and how God is in nature and my mother is like THAT IS FINE, I AGREE WITH YOU BUT PLEASE SHUT THE DAMN DOOR, YOU ARE GETTING SNOW INSIDE THE HOUSE. And my dad just gives her this huge thumbs up like ISN’T WINTER AWESOME? And all of us inside are just like, nope.

So I imagine my dad was mowing da lawn and dreaming about God and how Jesus is in the blades of grass that he was murdering with his mower and he wasn’t really paying attention to the garden hose which, let’s be honest, is also green and maybe blended in a little bit with his surroundings?

At this point in the story, my mom interrupted him and reassured him that it was fine that he punctured the hose with his lawnmower.

WE NEED A NEW HOSE ANYWAY! she said brightly. IT’S JUST A HOSE! YOU CAN GO TO HOME DEPOT FOR A NEW ONE! YOU LIKE HOME DEPOT!

DAT’S NOT ALL THOUGH, said my father.

He sighed heavily.

I STOPPED THE MOWA FOR A SECOND SO I COULD INSPECT DA DAMAGE TO DA HOSE AND BEFORE YOU KNOW IT, THAT MOWA WAS ROLLIN’ DOWN THE HILL AND SMASHED INTO THE BOWLDA.

Yes, ladies and gentleman. In a true sitcom of errors, my father turned his back on the lawnmower only to turn around too late to realize it was steadily rolling down the front hill, picking up speed before slamming mightily into the huge ass rock that has been hanging out down there since woolly rhinos roamed Long Island.

IT WAS AN OLD MOWER ANYWAY! my mom chirped, eager to let my dad know that it was alright.

I KNOW I KNOW, he moaned. I WANTED TO RUN AFTER IT BUT WIT MY HIP AND EVERYTING, I CAN’T RUN DOWN HILLS AFTER LAWNMOWAS ANYMORE.

And that is a fact, you guys.

Once you break a hip and almost die, it’s probably a good idea not to go running down hills after lawnmowers as you did so many times in your youth.

And that is the story of Hubby and how he “HAD A DAY”.

Just when I think my dad can’t get more awesome, he does.

How is this possible?

On The Art Of Ballooning

September 21, 2011

As soon as my parents heard the news that my best friend Alayna was engaged, they decided they would definitely be going to her wedding.

WE ARE SO THERE! exclaimed my mother.

This is prior to receiving an invitation, of course.

My father was still in his wheelchair then, unable to walk due to some cement in his hip from a botched surgery.

“Hm,” he said looking at the calendar. “JULY? I CAN BE STANDIN’ UP DANCIN’ IN NASHVILLE IN JULY.”

And he was.

And thus it was settled.

The Dlugs were going down South.

My parents and I booked our flights together so we could all fly out at the same time. It was a late flight on Thursday and my boyfriend and I rushed to the airport separately and met up with my parents who were sitting patiently at the gate, having arrived twelve hours beforehand as is my father’s custom to show up painstakingly early to everything lest the airline decide just to mess with you intentionally and take off hours and hours before they say they will.

Oh wait, you never heard of them doing that?

Funny. Neither have I.

My dad perked up as soon as he saw us.

GUESS WHAT? he asked.

YOUR MUTHA AND I SHOWED UP HERE AND GUESS WHAT WE FOUND ON THE FLOOR UNDERNEATH OUR SEATS? A SNICKERS BAR AND A BOTTLE OF WATA!!!

I’m sorry. What?

WE FOUND A CANDY BAR! WRAPPED AND EVERYTHING! JUST SITTIN’ DERE!

That’s great?

SO WE ATE IT, he proudly declared.

Hold. Up.

You found candy and water just sitting under your filthy seat at one of the many American Airlines gates at LaGuardia airport and you weren’t like oh maybe I should throw this out, you were all FREE FOOD?

Of course. Just. Of course.

I SAVED THE WATA THOUGH, my dad continued. IN CASE YOU WANT IT.

I’m good, I said.

I sat down next to him and moved one of his bags to the side with my foot.

HEY HEY WATCH THAT ONE, he said. DAT’S MY BALLOON BAG.

You didn’t.

I DID. I’M GONNA MAKE ALAYNA SOME BALLOONS.

And here is where I confirm what you may or may not have known, that my father is a professional balloonist.

When I was in high school, my dad got super into the clown ministry at church which should’ve possibly been weird but wasn’t because my dad has sort of always been a goofball. At any rate, before you knew it, he was dressing up in a purple wig and putting on skits for the children’s Vacation Bible School and at 14 years old I wanted to just die of mortification but I couldn’t because my dad is adorable and HE IS DRESSED UP LIKE A CLOWN IN CHURCH COME ON NOW.

Pretty soon, my dad became obsessed with all things clown. He ordered a clown costume from a catalog (blue wig this time, no red nose, he painted that on himself with face paint, blue orange and yellow polka dot pants, etc.) and started watching VHS tapes of magic tricks and how to twist balloon animals and thus, a star was born in the name of one Floppy The Clown, named after the floppy disk of course because my dad is a nerd.

And also has a doctorate in education and published eight books.

BUT DID YOU KNOW HE BALLOON TWISTS???

Because that is his proudest accomplishment.

When he heard Alayna was getting married, he packed his bags for Nashville and yes indeed, that included his BALLOON BAG! full of balloons and an air pump because, what? Try and tell me you don’t do the same.

Within the first few minutes of Alayna’s wedding reception, my dad took in the scene.

LAWRA, YOU TINK DOSE KIDS MIGHT WANT A BALLOON?

It’s definitely possible, dad.

YOU TINK I SHOULD GO GET MY BAG FROM THE CAR?

GO FOR IT, DAD.

So dad got his balloon bag.

And he stood in a corner at the reception while everyone mingled and soon had a line of children and adults waiting patiently for a balloon animal.

Throughout the course of the evening, flashes of color would appear, balloons somewhat magically drifting throughout the wedding. A green flower on someone’s table, a wide-eyed ladybug on a wrist, a bright yellow alien guy my dad calls “The Hitchhiker” attached to someone’s head, twirling around the dancefloor. My father, doing what he does best, spreading joy and life wherever he goes.

WHAT A GREAT IDEA, some woman next to me exclaimed. ALAYNA HIRED A PROFESSIONAL BALLOONIST.

Yeah, I said, proud as can be.

That’s my dad.

The Little Things

September 8, 2011

One of the things we all love the most about my father is the way that he is easily impressed. It doesn’t take much for the man to exclaim ARE YOU KIDDIN’ ME? DIS IS UNBELIEVABLE!!!!

And he’s talking about…soup.

Or something like that.

So, bigger things like vacations and actual FASCINATING FACTS! don’t just excite him, they friggin’ BLOW HIS MIND.

His reactions to things are pretty much what I live for so I was so excited to be able to follow him around Nashville for close to a week just watching him freak out over everything.

DER WAS A FLOOD IN DOWNTOWN NASHVILLE LAST YEAR!? 15 FEET OF WATA?! (water.) NO KIDDIN’.

DOSE ARE JOHNNY CASH’S BOOTS!? OH MAN.

DER’S AN AMY GRANT/VINCE GILL CHRISTMAS SHOW AT DA RYMAN IN DECEMBA? WE SHOULD COME BACK!

Etc. Etc.

I was sort of prepared for the hilarity of all of this. What I wasn’t prepared for was what I like to call The Time My Dad Had The Time of His Life At A Subway Sandwich Shop.

We had about an hour to find some lunch the day before Alayna’s wedding as we were helping her set up various things at the church. So, we drove in search of something quick and came upon a Subway which is the only place in Nashville Sylvi (another bridesmaid) and I could eat as we don’t eat Huge Chunks of Meat. My parents came along and we split up – my dad, Sylvi, myself at Subway. My mom? She bought her lunch next door at the Baskin’ Robbins because nothing stands in the way of that woman and her sweet tooth. NOTHING.

Up until this moment, at 66 years of age, my father had never been to a Subway.

HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE? wondered Sylvi who is from the Pacific Northwest.

I offered some really bizarre explanation about how New Yorkers don’t really eat at Subway? At least, I never did until I went to college because New Yorkers are big into their delis. And why on earth would you spend money on some really sketchy looking meat when you can go to the deli and go nuts with your Boarshead turkey and get something SUPER DELICIOUS dripping with mayo, amirite New Yawkas!?!?! COME ON.

Anyway. My dad, being a Brooklyn man, had not frequented a Subway so when we walked into the one in Nashville, he was freaking out.

First, he was freaking out in an anxious way. Dad took one look at the line and how you have to choose your bread first and your cheese next and ON AND ON and was like LAWRA WHAT DO I DO!? WHAT IS HAPPENING!? He was endearingly quite nervous until Sylvi and I found a menu and handed it to him and calmed his OCD down. ITALIAN HERB AND CHEESE, he remarked with relief. DAT SOUNDS PERFECT.

And thus, my Brooklyn father, in a land of Southerners, stepped up to the counter and ordered his sandwich.

All was normal for awhile – he chose his bread, he chose his meat, he picked some cheese.

And then something happened that he was completely unprepared for.

The woman behind the counter asked him if he would like his sandwich toasted.

WELL.

You would’ve thought that this woman had told him that she was going to pay off his mortgage and send him on a three year adventure across the world.

TOASTED. SHE WANTED TO KNOW IF SHE COULD TOAST HIS SANDWICH.

And my father, who thought that that was the NICEST most UNEXPECTED THING that could ever happen to him was caught totally off guard and because he was in shock and also because he is kind of going deaf, he ended up screaming at the woman:

TOASTED!?!?!? DAT WOULD BE FANTASTIC!!!!!!

And the woman just stared blankly at him wide-eyed like what in the holy hell!?

And dad excitedly turned around to me and Sylvi like ITALIAN HERB AND CHEESE BREAD? AND SHE IS GONNA TOAST IT!? CAN YOU BELIEVE WHAT IS HAPPENING!?

Sylvi, who had met my parents just hours before, pretty much fell on the floor of Subway laughing and never got up. I think she’s still there.

The rest of the day, my dad was going on and on about how the lady toasted his sandwich, as if he was the only one she had asked. As if no one at Subway EVER asks such a thing. He also couldn’t get over how the cashier put his sandwich in a bag with napkins, AS THEY DO FOR EVERYONE. AS THEY DO AT EVERY SUBWAY EVER.

WOW, he said as we walked out the door, little bag of sandwich swinging on his arm, THAT WOMAN WAS SO WONDERFUL TO DO THAT FOR ME!!!

Right?

That woman rocked.

That woman was pretty much Jesus Christ himself.

MY DAD, LADIES AND GENTLEMAN!!!

What an awesomely hilarious, incredibly strange man.

Ah, I am so lucky to be in his presence sometimes.

#36. Take My Dad To Nashville; Sing Along To Country Music In A Bar At The Top Of Our Lungs

August 11, 2011

We went to The Stage down on lower Broadway in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon. The band was fantastic and took a ton of requests, eventually singing Garth Brooks’ “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old)”.

Dad and I hollered along to the lyrics we knew and made up the ones we didn’t.

We also witnessed a middle aged woman dressed in barely anything named Angela who kept buying people drinks, announcing to anyone who was listening that she was going to die ‘one happy motherfucker!’ and grinding inappropriately on the dance floor.

Alone.

It was super awesome hilarious.

Behold, Angela:

Behold, two of the cutest people ever:

The End.