Saturday, August 16

Why My Dad Is The Coolest Dad Ever (By Whitney, Age 27)

I'm lucky enough to have a pretty cool dad.
This is he, with Moochie The Best Horse Ever. And a great shot of my farrier's butt.
Our Father has always been a very involved dad. As he was taught by his father, he taught my brother and I as much as he could about building things, working hard to maintain what you have, and driving like a champion.

Dad prizes the ability to be self-sufficient. We never had AAA whilst growing up-- if the car broke down, we called 'Triple Dad'. He has done almost all the renovation to their 1970's two-story brick home, and that which he didn't do was because my mother forbid him.

Read on and I'll tell you some funny anecdotes and impressive feats of Daddery. There might be some car talk, just warning you.

  • As a three year old I got my first hammer and crescent wrench. I spent many hours whacking ineffectually at nails and bolts Dad had driven partially into some wood, because he believes that daughters should not be exempt from building things. Even as a poor grad student with a pregnant wife and young child, he made sure to spend quality time with his family.
  • He once built me a wall-hung stuffed animal playhouse. It was the coolest thing any kid ever had. It had an elevator!
  • At a young age I was relegated to shop-brat duties. I was once almost backed over by a truck while helping Dad check brakelights. 
    • It's okay though-- when my brother was 4 my Mom didn't have the emergency brake on tight enough and when she shut the car door her youngest child and her husband's prized 1975 Volunteer Orange Volvo 244 sedan went rolling down the hill backwards into a neighbor's yard, destroying a tree. Tree, car, and brother all survived.
      • Remind me to chronicle the hell that Orange Car gave my mother. It has a vendetta.
  • As an eight year old Dad and I designed, planned, and built a dollhouse, which I still have. It needs finishing, but I'm still working on it. 
  • For my twelfth birthday he took me to an Off-Road Rally. 
  • At age sixteen I was given a car (because now I could go feed the horses at 6am before school hahahahaha) and an entire tool set with 18v cordless drill.
  • For my seventeenth birthday he had a hand in building a custom engine for my car, which I then put in under his watch. My 1985 Volvo 740 Turbo station wagon was a BEAST. 
  • When that engine blew 2.5 cylinders (long explanation below) he gave me a 1994 Volvo 940 Turbo station wagon, which is currently the fiance's car. I rode in a car seat in that car as a child. We just don't get rid of vehicles.
    • LONG TECHNICAL EXPLANATION #1: The 740's birthday engine was cast and partially built by a family friend in Texas, who builds stock car engines for NASCAR.  Racing stock car engines are only meant to last a limited number of miles. The cylinders are bored larger to increase the power. Unfortunately for me, the piston rings suffer from a rounding effect when in long use on a large-bore engine, so one day it just dumped half its cylinders because it couldn't generate the pressure with the rounded piston rings.
    • LONG TECHNICAL EXPLANATION #2: My "new" 940 suffered from a strange sort of pica... it ate airmass meters. I was going through one every 2 weeks, for no apparent reason. It was not uncommon to see me in the high school parking lot changing out a fried airmass meter, because Dad kept my car well-stocked. If I didn't have time before class, he'd come by on his lunch break and put it in for me. The school staff just sort of quit questioning this random dude's appearances in their parking lot.
  • Let's not even forget that for 7+ years he ferried me around the country with horses in tow. Every two weeks. I was working on a competitive distance riding title in high school. These weekend-long events are exhausting to plan and often require thousands of miles of driving... which my father did, without complaint, while holding down a 40+ hour a week job as an agricultural economist and running a successful European import car mechanic shop.
  • Dad and Moochie riding safety at the Biltmore House.
    Dad and Moochie riding Safety for a
    competition at the Biltmore Estate.
    • This includes, along with paying for all of it, keeping a truck and trailer in good repair for interstate travel, packing all the stuff, driving for up to 10 hours, setting up an entire campsite, acting as my camp boss and competition assistant, and driving us all the way home on Sunday night. And dealing with my competition pony's neuroses.
    • Eventually he bought Moochie The Best Horse Ever and started riding in the competitions himself as a safety rider. So in addition to all of the above, he also rode 50 miles a weekend. I love my Dad, but he's not the best rider and he doesn't give a shit about equitation. Fortunately, Moochie, being The Best Horse Ever, takes care of Dad.
    • Remind me to tell you guys all about Moochie. Namely his Best Horse Ever status. He has a fan club.
  • Dad and I aren't allowed to sit together at family functions, especially at church. We have both been smacked with my maternal grandmother's purse on multiple occasions.
  • As a child, whenever I had a fit of temper and got into a spat with my father, he usually ended up hollering, “I’ve never done this before! We never went to parenting school, because it doesn’t exist!”
    • Often the other standby of his would also be in play, “Stop me if you’ve heard this before!” My father is a man of many Dad-ly quips. 
    • The caliber of his Dad Jokes is ridiculous. My fiance, a known lover of extremely bad jokes, is regularly driven to bewilderment by my father's wit.
  • Even as an adult I spend a lot of time with my father. We hang out on Wednesdays and get into all sorts of project shenanigans. Earlier this year we finally completed a long-overdue project-- a tack trunk with antique cherry trim from an old dresser. I'll do a post about it. It's badass.
My Dad is a good Dad. My brother and I half-jokingly pray to our father in times of vehicular disrepair and other situations where he’s being “Dadly”.
The Backamore is an invention of my
father's in which you put a hackamore
on your Best Horse Ever upside-down &
backwards and try to ride off like that.
Our Father,
Who art in the garage,
Hallowed be thy complete Craftsman toolset.
Thy Volvo comes,
Head gasket’s done,
In driveways as well as parking lots at 2am.
Give us this day our absurdly bad pun
And forgive us our assbuttedness,
As we forgive you for being an assbutt.
Lead us not into yet another arboretum,
And deliver us from quaking aspens.
For thine is the New York Times Sunday Crossword puzzle,
The Moochie,
And the backamore,
Forever and Ever.
You’re the man. 
For a very long time I was convinced my father was a god. The discovery of his actual humanity was kind of a shock, but I feel like we have a better relationship now as adults, if that's possible.
I'm a little biased, but my dad might possibly be cooler than your dad.
Neener neener.

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