{Dee-tales} H-B-D to D-A-D

My Dad.

6'2...240-ish...built like a linebacker {#24!}...full head 'o grey {given to him piece by piece by my me and Sheesh}...one-liners for days...100% Italian...rarely ever seen without a smile.

Don't let him fool ya...he's a teacup poodle in grizzly bear clothing. {I'm gonna pay for that one!}
It's his birthday today, and in true CD blog fashion, I have to tell you about him. This is going to be entirely too long, but I can't help myself! Here we go!

My Grandparents said my Dad was a firecracker since the day he was born. A prankster since his toddler years. Complete goofball through his teens. Voted Class Clown of his senior class. Married an equally nutso lady and has called her wifey for 38 years. Daddio to to junior loons. Papa to a couple of quacks!

He's a rare find, and he taught my sis and I about faith, family and fun. The following excerpts pretty much sum him up in a nutshell...

{Some Life Lessons I Learned From Dad}

{Taking the Fall}
I once kept bouncing basketballs off of our garage's roof. {I think I was about 8 or 9 years old.} The friend I was doing this with, let a ball fly riiiiight through one of the windows on accident. I didn't want her to get in trouble, so I went in and told him a convertible full of "angry people" drove by our house and threw a basketball at us "for no apparent reason." We ducked, and that's how it all went down. I think he knew it was my friend that did it...but he grounded me in front of her to be all Dad-like, and he sent her home. The punishment was valid due to my fibbing, but he soon dropped it and told me it was nice that I covered for a friend. {True Italian!}

As I grew up, Dad always told me he was a pirate. Imagine my first grade teacher's surprise on Career Day when I explained that my Dad sails ships, finds treasure and used to have a talking parrot named Lorenzo Bandini. {Smarrrrrrt move there, Dad.}

I once "ran away" at age 6 because my little sis was making me mad at the dinner table, and I didn't want to eat shepherd's pie. I didn't go very far...just next door to my Grandparents' house. As I was telling them that I was "moving in with them FOR ALWAYS"... I knew. I freaking knew!!! {Ugh.} I knew my Dad was standing right behind me. He heard my whole speech. As I turned around to deliver a "go away" glare, there he was with my dinner plate and an extra helping of enthusiasm. While laughing, he belted out a nice big, "Make sure to write us!" {I lived with my Grandparents for exactly 1 minute and 39 seconds.}

I can't even deal.

Dad taught me the value of a good baseball game when I was just a young Dani. I think my hospital bracelets may have even still been on! Although I grew up a Yankee, I married into The Tribe. I know deep down he shudders that his eldest is a Yankian. {Sorry Dad! Keep workin' on your granddaughters!}

"Sweetie can you say Reggie?"

This is the back of that picture above! 

When he tells you to knock off the shenanigans in the car, he means it. Just drive along one of the more popular highways in my hometown. I'm sure the kazoo, candy, shoe, Garbage Pail Kid card, slap bracelet, princess wand, peanut butter sandwich, bottle of bubbles and cassette tape are still floating around like fossils somewhere near the curbs. They all met their separate fates after being told to put them away and to stop throwing them toward the front seat 1,567 times. {Ya know I think he actually kept the sammich, haha!}

I could seriously be a millionaire right now. Pfft.

{Parental Privileges}
Dad was the dad who went door to door with the other dads in the neighborhood on Halloween Night. They'd all stand in the street while we ran house to house. "Safety First" was always his first statement. {"Didja get any Snickers?" was always his second.}

So there were were in a Champion clothing outlet store - just minding our own biz, looking at discount sports apparel. Then we heard it - a mother SCREAMED at the front of the store because her kid stuck his head through the slats of a metal bike rack. Dad handed me a pile of jerseys, told me to follow him, and took off running toward the cries. Mr. Cool walks right up to the scene, doesn't say a word, bends the bars like freaking GODZILLA, frees the dumb kid, pats him on the back and tells the mom to "keep an eye on that one!" He casually walks back over to me and says, "C'mon, let's go over to that aisle, I see a sweatshirt Mom might like." {Umm...what just happened?!!!}

It looked like this...only a bit more 1980s-ish.

A house caught on fire up the street from us - I must have been 7 or 8 at the time. Smoke was bear hugging the air. People were yelling at the tops of their lungs. The neighbor's little baby was trapped in the back room, and there was truly no way to get to him. Fire crews were taking FOREVER to get there. You can't exactly tell my Dad there's "no way" to do something. He busted through their back porch, jumped through the window, scooped up the babe and ran him outside to the police. He then blended into the background to get out of the way. Later on the 11:00 news, it was mentioned that a "police officer" saved the little guy. {Dad isn't the guy who looks for a single ounce of credit...but to this day, CoCo, Sheesh and I know that the shiny ripped black jacket he wore that day with the Raider's patch on the sleeve and lapel can certainly play tricks on the eyes, eh?}

I started dance class at age 3. My brawny Dad never even flinched when he was sent to the store for more bobby pins, asked to put my hair up in a scrunchie or had to trade in his Saturday morning errands sometimes to bring me to pointe practice. This almost makes up for the one time he accidentally taped my dance classmate J during one of our recital dances because he was talking in the back of the auditorium and forgot to move the video camera angle!!! {J did a perfectly nice set of wings, I must say.}

{Lucky Charms}
Dad started a tradition with me at my first dance recital, carried it through to competitions and also added it into my cheerleading world. Anytime a major event was about to take place, he'd have a bagel and {veggie!} cream cheese ready for me as a special "you can do this" breakfast. I could always count on that treasured treat to calm my nerves and put me in focus. He did this on my wedding day. He also did this as I rolled up the hospital when it was show time for the Twinados. There he was, standing on the curb with a Bruegger's Bagel bag. I hadn't cried up until that point! {p.s. He was wearing a Yankee's shirt. He wanted to "subtly" introduce the grandgirlies to his team.}

Just add a salt bagel!

My sister got the athletic genes. In that whole world...I just got a pair of Levis. {lol} When my high school started a lacrosse program, I thought I'd step out of my comfort zone and try out for the team just for fun. Figured it wouldn't interfere with dance or cheerleading if I made sure to NOT break any bones! Although I was always one of the last gals to finish up my mile, and I'd show up to practice with bedazzled goggles and a matching stick, I was committed. I showed up to every dang practice and put my whole {fast beating} heart into it. During one of my rare 2-minutes of play, I was standing near the out of bounds line {is that even what it's called?!!}...and the friggin ball zoomed by my head and went out. Since I was closest to the line, I had to "throw it back in." {%&$!} Ohhhh, the presh!!!! There was Dad, CHANTING from the sidelines. Jumping! Motioning! "D, just throw it to Jo! You can do it!" And, I did! Jo made a goal. I made the assist, saw my name in the paper, and promptly retired. Dad's street cred is that his daughter was part of the first women's lacrosse team in school history. {We don't discuss the rest of my season any further than that, haha.}

{Team Work}
 One winter night, a boy from school stopped by my house a little before midnight to say hello. In a sweet classic move, he threw some snowballs at my window to catch my attention. Sadly, to his surprise, the person who eventually opened the door was my Dad! Instead of telling him to scram, my Dad said, "Dude! You could have just knocked! Need a hand?" {The kid didn't know whether to stay or run!}

Sheesh and I were {and still are!} notorious for phone mishaps. One time were were fighting to use the phone...this wooden wall phone that CoCo adored. If you walked by the end of it the wrong way, it would completely take out your upper arm if you bumped the points at the end. {The struggle was real, yo!} My Dad, the ever-famous problem solver, came to the rescue. He had been warning us to knock off the fighting for about 10 minutes. MacGuyver sauntered into the kitchen, easily took the phone right off the wall, handed it to both of us and said, "Poof! Learn how to share."

It looked like this. 

Another time, Sheesh and I were picking on Dad because he was in the attic looking for something and he had to climb through an opening the size of a dog door to get up there.  The attic happened to be right above my bedroom. We thought it would be funny to yell up to him...frantic...that someone was breaking into our house! The poor guy tripped on something trying to run to the stairs, and FELL. F-E-L-L down. He refused to fix the crack in my ceiling so it could always serve as a nice reminder of our stupidity! {This one always "cracks" me up!...and makes me feel terribly awful at the same time.}

{Water Conservation}
Sheesh and I were arguing about something one summer day, and it escalated to a water fight! One lame brain stood on the deck with the hose and the other went inside to fill pots and pans. Not really sure why we thought throwing water at each other through the sliding screen door was smart...because it was actually idiotic. We soaked the living room!!!! No way to fix it in time. We were told to sit outside in the backyard until we made up. Being the stubborn sisters that we are, it was about 10 p.m. when we realized we might be able to "pretend" everything was all good just so we could go inside. Then it happened...Sheesh spotted a june bug on my shoulder. I went spastic!!!! Arms flailing, jumping, kicking, NINJA BEAST MODE!!!!!!!!!! She helped me get that half-inch goliath away from me. We hugged. No pretending there! {We haven't picked up a hose since.}

One night after cheer practice, I waited a few minutes and drove a HS boyfriend home after his football practice let out. I told the 'rents I might stay to visit with him and his fam for a little bit. They told me to hurry up/get home because back then, young drivers had to be home by 9. I lived about 10 minutes away, so I thought I could push it 'til 8:50 and I'd be ok. It's not like they'd just hop in the car and drive over to tell me my time's up, right? WRONG!!!! I backed out of the driveway and no sooner spotted Deputy Dad at the end of the street with a $%#-eatin' grin...WAIVING! Smiling! Honking! {Oy!!!!!!} He drove alongside me allllll the way home. Laughing!!! Pointing. Laughing some more! As I pulled up to our house, there was a chair in the middle of the lawn...put there just for me so I could watch him take my license plates off. {OUCH!!!...but yeah, I know. Well-deserved!}

I have an ecclectic mix of music loves, but one thing is for certain...I love rap music. The beats, the flow, the rhythm, the rhyming. All of it. Sheesh and I would put a cassette tape in our "boom boxes" and listen intently to the radio to catch our favorite songs. We'd hover over the record button until juuuuuust after the DJ announced the cut we were looking for so we could add it to our mix tape. Well...let's just say that when you actually order the real deal from Columbia House, some pretty interesting extra words might pop up in the lyrics and your 12 year old naive self might have some explaining to do! I'm not quite sure what Dad ever ended up doing with that CD with the "rose leaf" on it!! {Whoopsie!}

I dared him to rap with me at my wedding. {Challenge accepted.}

After reading back many of these excerpts, I realize that if T-1 and T-2 are anything like me and Sheesh, the hubs certainly has his work cut out for him! I actually hope they're a little wacky, so someday they, too, can write about their Darling Dad and look back at their childhood with a smile...wide-eyed...shaking their heads!

In all seriousness, of all the things I learned from my Dad, he taught me that it's important to be present with your kiddos, because THAT is a wonderful gift!

Happy Birthday, ya big goof! {I'll save your world-famous pocket dialing skills for another post.}

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