The Man, The Myth, The Legend, Mike Sr.

I like to think I inherited my strikingly good looks from my mother, and my weirdness from my father (Let’s all just say a prayer that I didn’t inherit my Father’s hairline too). My Dad is a goofball, always making corny jokes, acting like a child, and just overall being strange. He taught us from a young age not to be overly sensitive and to take what life throws at you.
I still remember when I was little, maybe about 5 or 6, I decided to draw a picture for my Dad that he could hang up in his office. I spent quite a long time on this beautiful picture (Some called me a young Picasso back then) trying my best to make it look nice with those impractical waxy things they call crayons (I have since graduated to colored pencils). Once my masterpiece was done, I very excitedly gave it to my dad. “Oh this is lovely” He said. I felt proud and couldn’t help but blush. Then he added, “I think I’ll hang it on the inside of the garbage can.” And with that he started roaring with laughter, while I just stood there in a state of disbelief. This type of fatherly behavior goes against what any child psychology class will teach you and probably delayed my emotional and psychological development for quite some time. It’s ok though because I am convinced that as a child I didn’t have a soul, so it probably didn’t really phase me too much. Here is a picture to prove it:
There I am, second from the left, with the empty eyes.

There I am, second from the left, with the empty eyes. There was nothing going on in my little head because I had no soul.

In addition to teaching us not to be overly sensitive, My Dad has taught us many other things. One example is the importance of recycling. You can’t even throw a post-it note in the trash without my dad sniffing it out. “Who is the dimwit that threw this in here?! This can be recycled in the paper recycling bin!” I’m all about going green but he takes it to the extreme. I think his favorite part about Christmas is collecting the wrapping paper after all the gifts are opened and bringing them to the paper recycling center.
Another thing he has taught us-“Sing as if no one can hear you.” Sorry dad, but when you sing, we can actually hear you. My Dad sings and hums while doing dishes, ironing his clothes, doing laundry, and ALWAYS when he walks up the basement stairs. His favorite basement stairs song to sing is “1-2 buckle my shoe. 3-4 shut the door…” But sometimes he’ll make up his own. A couple of weeks ago, on a particularly hot day, he was walking through the basement and started singing “Nice, and cool, nice and coooolllll, nice and cool” to a made up tune of his own. One of these days we have to get him into a recording studio so he can release an album.
He is still trying to teach us a few things though, like how to keep the fridge “organized.” “Who the hell put the butter on the second shelf?! Everyone knows it goes on the first shelf. No wonder I can never find anything in this fridge you kids just shove food on any shelf in the fridge!” Like most normal people, we put food back in the fridge where ever it will fit, but apparently my dad has an order for everything that he likes to keep secret.
So in appreciation of our Father and all the things he has taught us, a couple of weeks ago, like most Americans, our family celebrated father’s day. My Dad is a simple guy but he’s hard to buy for. Many times whatever we give him he ends up returning to the store. It’s almost as if the moment he opens the gift he is searching for the receipt. Sometimes I consider just putting the receipt to whatever we bought for him in a box and wrapping that up for him to open. That’s usually what he looks for anyway.  But this year we tried to save him some time standing in the return line by getting him gift cards and the very specific train books he asked for. My Dad is obsessed with trains. Anyone who goes in our basement probably thinks they are at a railway museum with the amount of train pictures we have hanging on the wall. In addition to trains he loves construction equipment and trucks. As you can tell my mom married a real man’s man. My dad tries to share his interests with his children by talking about trains and trucks. These conversations are short-lived. His favorite truck is the peterbilt which I believe is the nerd of the truck world. This makes conversation on car rides quite interesting.
Dad: “Kathleen look at that Peterbilt to your right. Isn’t that a great looking truck?!”
Me: “NEEERRRRDDDDD. It’s probably going to drop off a load of books at the library. Classic nerd.”
And now that my Dad has finally caught up with the 21st century, gotten rid of his God awful Blackberry, and learned how to text, these truck conversations have extended to text conversations:
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photo 2 (1)

As you can see, we have very meaningful conversations

In my family, we kids are lucky. We have a relationship with our Dad that is much like a friendship. We joke around, make fun of each other, call each other dimwits, idiots, and morons, but all in a fun manner. No one in our family is afraid to speak their mind. Especially when it comes to outfits and appearances.
Me: “Dad, what is with the collar of your shirt?! You look like a pilgrim! We are going to a graduation party not a reenactment of the first Thanksgiving.” Unbutton your top button.”
Dad: (huff) “Oh what do you want me to go practically undressed with half my shirt unbuttoned showing my chest hair like some ganster?!”
Me: “Believe me, no one wants to see your chest hair. I’m just suggesting you unbutton ONE button so you look like less of a dork.”
Don’t feel bad for my dad though, he gives it right back.
Me: “Ok bye Dad I’m going out.”
Dad: “You’re going out in those little slipper shoe things? You practically have nothing on your feet! You’ll probably get frost bite!”
Me: “They are called flats, and I will be fine.”
Dad: “Ok but don’t say I didn’t warn you. Did you make sure the clapper is off? It’s a miracle you girls haven’t set the house on fire with all your foo-foo hair gadgets!”
Me: “Yes Dad, ‘the clapper’, which is actually called a hair straightener, is off and unplugged. It will not start a fire.”
I feel very fortunate to have such a caring and helpful Father that puts up with four daughters and a son. Who do we call when we need financial advice? Dad. Who do we go to when we need all the hair cleaned out of the shower drain because it’s clogged? Dad. Who do we ask permission from to change the temperature on the thermostat? Trick question. You don’t EVER, EVER touch that thermostat. EVER.
Our dad is more than a dad. He is a handyman, plumber, comedian, and a friend. He makes his five kid’s lives interesting and fun. We couldn’t ask for a better roommate! So thanks Dad for all that you do!
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One Big Happy Family

A few weeks ago my family went on vacation to California. This trip was about seven years in the making, I almost didn’t believe it would actually happen. But with two siblings engaged, we were under a time crunch to get one final family vacation in before the weddings. My Mom and Dad kept referring to the trip as “our last family vacation” but we kept reminding them that it really should be called “our second family vacation” since the last time we took a real family trip was when we went to Disney World pre Y2K. I don’t blame my parents for the long gap in vacations seeing as when they asked us after Disney World what our favorite part of the trip was half of us responded by saying “The pool at the hotel.” Little did my parents know they could save themselves a few grand and just take us to a public pool for a few days and we would be happy.

Is that John Lennon? Oh no that's just my sister with sunglasses on. And that little girl is way too big to be in a stroller

Is that John Lennon? Oh no that’s just my sister with sunglasses on. And that little girl ( or boy? Can’t tell with the bowl cut) is way too big to be in a stroller.

 There was some concern that there may be fights on this trip. When seven people are forced together for 5 days with no escape, confrontation is usually inevitable. And we have a long history of getting into stupid fights. As much as I hate to admit it, I’m usually involved in the fight if not the one who instigated it. So I would like to share with you a few of our most memorable:
A couple of years ago, while in Michigan, my older sister Bridget came down to the beach pretending to be one of the 3 blind mice. She deliberately hit me with her “seeing eye stick” (Which was an old bamboo fishing pole by the way) so I grabbed it. She pulled it out of my hands, resulting in a severe splinter on my hand. Since my hands are my best feature, I was mad and asked her to apologize. She would not so the fight continued with yelling and snippy comments. Later in the day, while we were all frolicking in the lake, Bridget, sounding alarmed, informed us that she had lost her hair rubberband somewhere in the water. This hair rubberband was very dear to her since she had had it for almost ten years. The family immediately starting helping her look for it in the shallow water. Lucky for me, I had an advantage over the rest of the search party because I am a weirdo and I had been snorkeling, thus, I had my flippers and goggles on. Still wanting revenge for the splinter incident and with anger in my heart, I was determine to find the hair tie. Within minutes I had found it-I now had the power. The family rejoiced but I quickly informed Bridget that I would only give it back if she apologized. She still would not. So I threatened to throw her precious hair rubberband in the deep part of the lake. Her response “Go ahead and throw it. See if I care.” Well that was all I needed. I wound back my arm and threw it as far as I could into the lake. I can still see it flying high in the air (I used to play third base in little league so I have quite the arm) against the sun and then hitting the surface of the water. It was never seen again. My entire family, witnessing this, told me I was a jerk so I yelled something and then left the water to go inside and cry tears of anger. After that day the fight ended but neither of us ever apologized.
A more recent fight we had just a few weeks ago was over fast forwarding through the commercial breaks while watching “The Sandlot.” Bridget and I were both laying on the couch (head to toe of course) and the remote lay just out of arms reach on the coffee table. I wanted her to fast forward since I did it the last couple of times so I figured it was her turn. She wanted me to do it since it was my idea to watch the movie. Words were exchanged, the term “Bitch” was thrown out there a time or two, and neither of us picked up the remote. So we sat through all the commercials, even though we did not have to, and then went to bed. After a good night’s sleep we both realized what a ridiculous argument it was but we were both afraid to even bring up the fight for fear it would cause another.
I can’t only throw Bridget under the bus though. A few years ago Jane and I got in a vicious fight over who would turn off the lamp on our bedside table. Both of us were too comfortable in our beds to reach out our arm and switch off the lamp. I said she should do it since the switch was a few inches closer to her. She wanted me to  do it because she claimed she turned off the light the night before. Jane finally relented and turned off the light but she was very angry. Since my mother taught us that we should never go to bed angry, I kept saying “I love you” to her until she finally said “I love you too but I don’t like you right now.” That was all I needed to drift peacefully off to sleep…after laying in bed for numerous hours since I am an insomniac.
Lastly, my father and I got into a slight disagreement over a box of Honey Nut Cheerios. You see, I really like Honey Nut Cheerios so while at Sam’s Club with my mom, we picked up 2 large boxes that would last me for quite some time. I was just ecstatic to be able to start each morning with my favorite cereal. One morning, when I opened the cereal cabinet the box of Honey Nut Cheerios was gone. “Ok, don’t panic” I told myself. Frantically, I searched around to no avail. Finally, not really wanting to know the answer, I checked the garbage can. I had to cover my mouth to muffle my scream. There, empty and lifeless in the trash, was my box of Honey Nut Cheerios. Luckily, I remembered the second box was stashed away unopened, but I was determined to find out who was responsible for causing me so much pain and anxiety. I needed to find out who this “Cereal Killer” was (see what I did there?) So that night at dinner I very nicely and calmly brought up the subject:
Me: “Who the heck finished off my Cheerios?! I literally never get any food in this house because some pig always eats it before I can get to it!”
Dad (in a stressed out tone): “Well that was me! I HAD to finish them and I don’t even LIKE Honey Nut Cheerios! Who the Hell bought that huge box anyway?!”
Me: “Mom and I did because it was a great deal at Sam’s Club. Sorry for trying to save this family money by buying in bulk. Why would you eat them if you don’t even LIKE them?!”
Dad: “Well I was afraid they were going to get stale! And that box was taking up too much room in the cabinet!”
Me: “I was preventing them from getting stale by tightly closing the plastic bag with a clothes pin! I’m sorry the cereal was stressing you out so much. I didn’t know it was such a burden.” (Sarcasm font)
Dad: “Well don’t buy them again. OK?!”
Feeling bad, I waited a few days to open the second box. But once I did I sent my dad this email to help him cope:
From: Kathleen Kelly
Date: Tue, Sep 10, 2013 at 10:47 AM
Subject: Please Read
To: Mike

Dear Father,

I am writing to inform you of an important matter, and I’d rather you hear it from me than from someone else. At approximately 10:03 a.m. today, September 10th, 2013, I opened the box of Honey Nut Cheerios.
Seeing as you are a lunatic and feel it is your civic duty to polish off the entire box as fast as possible for fear of the cereal getting stale (Even though you don’t even LIKE Honey Nut Cheerios), I sincerely apologize for placing this heavy burden on you. You may think it’s cruel and unfair of me to do this to you, I can only image the stress you must feel of both having to finish an entire box of cereal and provide for a wife and five fat pigs. But at only 110 calories per serving, and the potential to help lower cholesterol, I feel I am really doing you a favor. You may not understand my good intentions now, but I think when you are older you may realize I only opened the box out of love for you.
Please accept my deepest and most heartfelt apology in advanced. And please know that I, and the two other old maids that still live at home and suck every last penny from you (Maggie and Bridget), will do our best to take some of the weight off your shoulders and help eat the box of honey nut cheerios.
Mom and Duke are also here to offer there love and support for you in this great time of need.  If there is anything else I can do to help ease this great burden, please don’t hesitate to call me. Again, I truly am sorry for the inconvenience this has caused you.
Best Regards,
Kathleen C. Kelly
Luckily, there were no major fights on this vacation. But while discussing the movie “Now and Then” Bridget and I did get into a small disagreement about if Chrissy slaps or punches Roberta in the face after she fakes her own death. We couldn’t find a YouTube video of the scene while in California so the argument could not be solved. The jury is still out on that one. The argument never escalated though so we aren’t considering it a fight.
Overall, this family vaca was pretty uneventful as far as fights go. There were no physical or verbal arguments-I guess this means we are growing up. We may get along better, but I think I still have a few fights left in me.