Jazz Mechanic

A nondescript building with no signage.  A yard filled with vehicles in various stages of disrepair…almost surrounding the building.  Two large garage doors wide open.  One car raised on the lift in the left-hand garage bay.  Miles Davis pouring through the open 15 foot doors at decibels you might expect from an outdoor concert.  And in the right bay?  A man in blue Dickies jamming to his hourly “dance break.”

A good, trustworthy, mechanic is as rare as an honest politician.

The Dude has given up on the political process.  But the necessity of transportation, and the Dude’s lack of mechanical knowledge, requires some form of Dude/mechanic relationship.

Luckily, I’ve had the good fortune of marrying into a mechanic family.  The Jazz Mechanic described above is Mrs. Dude’s padre, aka Rex, and not only does he know his way around a vehicle, but he loves his family enough to extend a family discount.

Trustworthy and an amazing deal!?

Unreal.  Gracias Rex.

Knowing that your car is running well, and you weren’t cheated, is a great relief.  But the true joys in life are the little things.

As I’ve mentioned, I love our minivan.  Mrs. Dude is still somewhat skeptical, but I dig it.  And for all the haters, we’ve got a captain’s hat and a mini machine gun to let them know we are legit minivaners.

But now, we’ve taken it to the next level.

The yacht rolls into the Jazz Mechanic for some new brakes, and it comes back stopping on a dime and rocking this…

Jazz Mechanic

Jazz Mechanic

Sweet surprise Jazz Mechanic.

That’s the browning logo.  I’ve never hunted a day in my life, but we now have multiple references to firearms on the family truckster.    Don’t underestimate the minivan.

Daily Pixels: Graffiti

Art is in the eye of the beholder.

Based on the legal status of graffiti, I’d venture to say the general public is not a fan.

I’ll admit that there’s a large percentage of graffiti that’s unsightly, but on the whole, the Dude and the Mrs. fall into the fan category.

It’s great to see a landscape broken by an unexpected burst of art.  I dig a colorful explosion, even if it’s illegible like many graffiti pieces.  But the Dude has a soft-spot for a little vandalism with a twist of social commentary, like Banksy.

Banksy - Flowers for the Princess?

Banksy - Flowers for the Princess?

Banksy - TSA?

Banksy - TSA?

However, I’ve never been on the receiving end of graffiti…until yesterday.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that Rex and I spent 12+ hours building a new set of front stairs.  Back breaking work.

And yesterday, these new stairs were vandalized!

But if it’s great art, with a great message, should the graffiti be considered a gift?

The next Banksy?

Next Banksy?

Daily Pixels: Winter Beard

It’s officially Fall.  We’re past the day of candy begging.  It’s dark at 5PM these days.  A wet suit is a must for getting in the ocean.  And Turkey Day is less than two weeks away.

This can only mean one thing.  Time for the Winter Beard.

We are currently in the first stages of the Winter Beard.  It’s only been about two weeks (Oct. 30th), but I know it’s on the right track.

I stopped by the supermarket with Little Dude yesterday.  I wandered around the store with L.D. in the Bjorn, and we got all sorts of looks.  Perhaps it was L.D.’s cuteness that was overwhelming the passersby, but to the Dude, the looks had more of a strange than cute feel to them.  Given the beard and the Bjorn, perhaps our appearance conjured up memories of The Hangover.

Welcome back Winter Beard.  We’ve missed you.

My goal is for four months of growth.  A third of the year!…awesome!  We’ll see if my face, my employer, and Mrs. Dude can handle it.  Bring on the awesomeness.

Winter Beard

Week 21 – Dirty Secret

Dirty Secret

Dirty Secret

Last week, in response to the post about Little Dude’s acrobatics, Lady in the Shoe left the following comment:

“That Little Dude won’t be happy unless he is flying moch 3 with his hair on fire . . . wow is he a dare devil!

The Wiggles are creepy and so are a lot of other kids shows. Just know that most shows spend time and money researching the learning and entertainment from the kids’ perspective.  And enjoy!

PS  That is one loved swing – judging from the loks of the pillow…hahaha”

Ah, that Lady in the Shoe, as witty as she is wise.  Nice Top Gun quote; touche.  And great Wiggles input; gracias.  But the point I would like to emphasize is her PS.

“PS  That is one loved swing – judging from the loks of the pillow…hahaha”

Well, thanks for pointing out that the swing was looking grungy.  Are you picking up on the sarcasm?  There’s a little layered in there.

The Shoe Lady’s comment gave me a great reason to crack the whip.  Mrs. Dude had to take some advanced engineering classes to figure out how to get the swing off the stand, but Lady in the Shoe, you’ll be happy to know we are no longer sitting our child in filth on a regular basis…not in the swing anyway.

Other than calling us on our lack of hygiene, Lady in the Shoe made an important point.  That swing has indeed seen much love over the course of the first 21 weeks of L.D.’s existence.

In fact, it has been the sole slumber zone for all 140 nights leading up to this past week.

Little Dude fell in love with the swing immediately…as in the first night he arrived home.  The constant motion put him out quick and kept him out.  We’ve settled into a routine where he’s now waking up once a night to eat, but there were plenty of nights early on where he was giving us a full night sleep in that swinging miracle.

However, we received advisory suggestions from multiple sources that mentioned we should have had him out of the swing and in his crib weeks ago.  I think the Pediatrician may have been one of those advisory sources.  And I think Mrs. Dude may have fibbed about his sleeping locale at the last appointment.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Well, no worries.  The dirty secret (literally and figuratively) has been cleansed from our lives.  Little Dude is officially a crib sleeper.

And the best part is he loves it!

We thought it was Little Dude that needed to be in the swing.  We thought we would have countless sleepless nights and a cranky little boy when we made the move.  We intimidated ourselves into believing that we needed to choose the absolute perfect time to make the transition.

And none of that was accurate.  Little Dude took to the change immediately.

What the crib lacks in motion, it more than makes up for in comfy, comfy roominess.  Little Dude loves the space to stretch out.  He’s now taking all naps, and sleeping full nights in the crib.

So, I guess the lesson for week 21 is don’t stress about changes.  Kids will make it work.  There may be a few bumps in the road, but no need to wait for the perfect opportunity to change…there’s no such thing as the perfect opportunity.

Well, that, and before you post a picture of your child’s swing on the internet, make sure it’s clean.

Eat the Crust First

Are we a cut-the-crust-off-your-bread type of family?

I’m sure there is great reasoning on both sides of this discussion, but regardless of the decision, this seems like a choice that helps define a family.

Life lessons from bread crust?

I want to make sure my kids have what they need, but I don’t want to be cutting their crust throughout life.  Working through a tough crust – nice metaphor for life experiences – can help build character.

I was going to try to make the, crust has more nutrients argument, but the magic of Yahoo Answers demonstrated that this is most likely a myth.  So, I think I’ll fall back on the true crux of the issue.

From the Dude’s perspective, cutting the crust off a sandwich adds an extra step for busy parents, and throws the child/parent balance off.

There’s nothing wrong with the crust.  A little tough?  Sure.  But it’s part of the bread.  Why would we cut it off?

It seems frivolous, and to meet frivolous desires encourages more frivolous desires.  Ok, that sounds a bit extreme.

But the premise seems to fit.  We don’t need to create extra work for an everyday event that is unnecessary.

I suggest the complete opposite approach.  I can admit the crust is a bit harder to chew, so instead of stressing about it, tackle it first and save the best part for last.  That makes the last bite that much better…ah, the soft middle bite that offers the most gooey part of the fluffernutter.

Do we want our kids chasing every frivolous desire, or do we want them tough enough to tackle the tough challenges first so they can enjoy life’s finer points that much more?

Seems like an easy decision to me.

We are a crust-on type of family.

That’s what I thought until I walked into the kitchen this morning.

Mrs. Dude, we need to talk…

Eat the Crust First

Eat the Crust First

Daily Pixels: Please Keep Head and Arms Inside Ride

I’m generally a “we don’t need know stinkin’ straps” kind of guy.  What can I say?…I like to fly by the seat of my pants.

That’s Right Ice…Man; I am dangerous.”

Luckily, Mrs. Dude likes to enforce the rules.

Eyes off him for a minute, and I turn around to see him watching The Wiggles upside down.  (Am I the only one that finds those men a bit creepy?)   I guess we’ve reached the wiggle-worm stage.

Lesson learned, straps are a must.

Please Keep Head & Arms in Ride

Please Keep Head & Arms in Ride

Daily Pixels: Eat It

The development just keeps on rollin’.  Kid won’t stop growing.

Sweet potatoes and bananas so far, but we have all sorts of goodies on the ready.

Cliché? Definitely.  Even at five months the thought crosses your mind: “They grow too fast.”   As much as I look forward to the next stage, I already miss where we just came from.

I guess it’s the now that matters most anyway.

PS – As you read the title of the post, I’d like to suggest that you have Weird Al singing in your head.

Have some more yogurt.  Have some more spam.  It doesn’t matter if it’s fresh or if it’s canned.” Lyrical genius.

Eat It

Eat It

Daily Pixels: Fantastic Voyage

The Dude has been on hiatus.  A fantastic voyage to San Antonio, TX this week set the posting back a bit.  Time to catchup.  Little Dude developments, the end of Princess’ soccer season, Halloween, a new Dude Knows Best installment, “Princess Pixels”…lots in store to makeup for the time off.

The journey was actually a business trip full of, well, business.  While San Antonio is a nice city, given the workload and lack of free time, I wouldn’t really qualify the trip as a fantastic voyage , but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to reference Coolio.  (Although I did ride a mechanical bull…including a cowboy hat, sit on a 2k pound bull named Oreo, and visit the Alamo!…sort of fantastic, I guess.)

While I was off gallivanting around the Lone Star state, Mrs. Dude was left on her own for four days to hold down Casa de Dude, manage the dogs, and regulate the rug-rats.  Quite the task.  Thanks Mrs. Dude.  I’m happy to report that everyone survived in one piece.

However, while I may have been on hiatus, Little Dude was not.  Gone for four days, and L.D. decides to start feeding himself?!  Really Little Dude?  You’re going to go and grow up while I’m not here to watch it?!  You need to slow your roll.  Daddy needs to see this kind of stuff in person.

As much as I can’t wait for him to be older so we can do all sorts of Dude/Little Dude stuff, it’s tough to see this little guy getting so big so quick.  I guess life is full of great paradoxes.

Keep on keepin’ on Little Dude.

Fantastic Voyage

Fantastic Voyage