What I Really Want For Father’s Day

Need and want
I don’t like cats, never have and if I never live with another I won’t notice. It is no just because I am allergic to them either, but then again the constant sneezing doesn’t help their case.

A buddy of mine asked me if I really want to move back to Texas and I told him I see it as being a Father’s Day gift.

The goal is to reduce cost-of-living expenses so that I can live a more comfortable life and enjoy/provide more experiences than I am capable of doing so in my current situation.

He asked me if it was possible to do it without moving and I laughed.

Anything Is Possible

Almost anything is possible.

If I chose to get another job or to take on several and made some other adjustments it is possible I could find a way to build the kind of life I want to here but I am focused on working smarter and not harder.

Ask me what I really want for Father’s day now and I’ll tell you I am dying to have my own home office again so that when I want to write I can do so without constant interruption.

My car is 15 years old so I am not just due but ready to buy a new one. I’d like to have more flexibility in what I purchase than I do under the current circumstances.

It is about time for everyone in the house to have their own laptop so it would be nice to have the spare cash to do that without triple checking the budget.

What I Really Want For Father’s Day

What I really want is to reduce the amount of time I spend thinking about how to pay bills and more time on more important matters.

Are there other places that provide similar opportunities?

Sure, but there are three reasons that Texas has held my attention.

I made my first trip there in 1993 and I knew then there was something about it that called out to me. I knew there was a connection just as I know about my connection to Jerusalem and Israel.

I knew I would need to explore it more closely.

That particular itch received attention when I moved there a few years ago. When I went from visitor to resident I knew I was in the right place and even though I moved again I knew I had to go back.

If you look at how many different cities I looked for work in and how many responses I received you’ll see the responses from Texas were more than double everywhere else.

I may be stubborn and thick headed at times but even I know to pay attention to all that, so I did and I have.

What the net result of it all will be is still being worked out but if you are the kind of person who listens to your intuition and your gut, well…

Life Is About Experiences

I am a father and a writer. I need and want more experiences for personal and professional reasons.

So what I really want for Father’s day is all tied into that.

Incidentally I noticed there is a surge in traffic today so I’d like to welcome you all to the blog. If you are interested in learning more about me you are welcome to read About Me.

If you don’t feel like checking out the page but want to read more of my work you can try:

  1. A Father Describes Parenting
  2. The GermoPhobe
  3. I am In Love
  4. Grandpa
  5. Donuts
  6. Why Your Post Sucks and Everyone Hates Your Blog
  7. An Uncertain Certainty
  8. Four Generations & A Wedding
  9. The Best Thing My Father Ever Said To Me
  10. The Story Of A House- The Final Days
  11. He Died A Hero
  12. Twenty-Five Links That Will Make You A Better Writer/Blogger
  13. Of Dads and Daughters
  14. The Greatest Dad Blogger You Never Heard Of

If you love my writing and never want to miss a post then subscribe to me on Feedio or your favorite alternative. Have a great Father’s Day.

TheJackB’s Father’s Day Gift Guide

“I am not one of those who in expressing opinions confine themselves to facts. I don’t know anything that mars good literature so completely as too much truth. Facts contain a great deal of poetry, but you can’t use too many of them without damaging your literature. I love all literature, and as long as I am a doctor of literature–I have suggested to you for twenty years I have been diligently trying to improve my own literature, and now, by virtue of the University of Oxford, I mean to doctor everybody else’s.” Mark Twain- Speech to the Savage Club, London, 7/6/1907

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.” Mark Twain

Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the post that you write doesn’t match the headline that you have written. It happens to me all the time. I suppose that you can attribute to composing at the keyboard. I don’t work with outlines. I simply write the tale that is being told inside my head. Ignore all that and keep reading. The good stuff is below.

Father’s Day is coming soon and I have a list of things that I want. Some of them might be more difficult to obtain but it doesn’t mean that I can’t dream, scheme or work to obtain them. So my friends here are some of the things that I would like.

1) A personal chef and trainer. Been looking at this 42 year-old body and it is showing signs of the mileage. Since I can’t trade it in I figure that it is time for a tune up. Note that I expect that along with the chef and trainer will be time to take advantage of their services. I figure that one way to do that is to have the studios use me as the star in some action film. I haven’t ever wanted to be an actor but damn if Keanu Reeves can do it so can I .

So Hollywood make me an offer, pay for the trainer/chef and then pay me to get back into the kind of shape that my body wants to be in.

2) A Paid Vacation– I haven’t had a paid vacation in years. I am ready to take time off where I don’t spend any time on the trip working, thinking about work or wondering if I should be thinking about work.

3) A Book Deal– It is on my bucket list, writing a book that is. I am ready to be paid to write the great American novel or maybe just the good one. Hell, pay me and I’ll write the average one. Relax, it won’t be average. You publishers don’t need to be nervous because the 17 long time readers of the blog, my family and five friends will buy copies of it. And 25 years after I die it will become required reading in school and students will come to hate my name as they will associate it with homework.

4) A New Car– I have a 2000 Honda CRV with 110,000+ miles on it. I’d like a convertible but I would settle for a new sedan that has some power under the hood.

5) A trip to Israel– Some of you might ask why this isn’t listed under paid vacation and to that I would answer because. Because I promise the kids that I would take them to see our family and friends. Because it will be an amazing trip but it is not going to be the relaxing trip that the paid vacation is. This will be great fun. I haven’t been back in far too long so I am ready and as mentioned the kids have never been.

6) An iPad2– Never thought that I would say it, but I am jonesing for one of those suckers and I don’t have the cash to buy it now. But that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t list it.

7) A Flatscreen TV– Don’t own one. Got an old 26″ Panasonic that works well and has been reliable, but I am ready to upgrade.

8) Peace of Mind– Had it, lost it and am looking hard for it. I expect that I will recover it sooner or later but don’t expect my sanity to come along with it. I lost that at birth I expect that we’ll be saying that I am still crazy all these years later forever. It is ok, I am good with it.

There is more to say and more to write but no time to do so. So for now I shall bid you adieu. Until we meet again….be good.


The Best Thing My Father Ever Said To Me

Churchill taught

A thousand years ago the Shmata Queen yelled at me because I hadn’t gotten a colonoscopy. Even though she took great pleasure in stories about my digestive distress she told me she thought that I was being ridiculous because I hadn’t given some doc the chance to explore my nether regions. I explained that I do things in my time and on my schedule to which I received some sort of growl that sounded like “men” and assorted mumblings that probably weren’t complimentary. I of course responded with a hearty, “I love you too dear.”

Somewhere before, in between or after this conversation my parents expressed their frustration concern regarding my desire to do things on my schedule. Now you’ll forgive me for the lack of precision regarding the chronology here, but the reality is that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because this is how I have been my entire life. My mother likes to tell the story about how when I was around a year they thought that I might be deaf.

Apparently I didn’t always respond to them when they called my name and they began to grow concerned.  So my father conducted his own test of my hearing. He stood behind me and banged on some pots and pans. According to family legend I turned my head and glared at him as if I was irritated that he had interrupted whatever I was doing to entertain myself.  Important side note for those who are new to the blog. When I was five I got in trouble for doing something and was sent to my room. Not long after I was sent there I came back out and challenged my father to a fight, with the premise being that if I won I would be allowed to come back out.

In case you are wondering he failed to entertain my idea and I remained stuck inside my room.

Fast forward from 1974 to the present. My new friend Leon sent me a link to a very interesting article. Let me share the beginning with you:

YOU believe, because it is one of the last self-evident, incontrovertible truths, that raising a child is one of the most influential jobs in the world.

And that’s why you will find what comes next so difficult. All those extra bedtime stories read, violins purchased, chess clubs driven to, trips to the museum made, cosy fireside chats delivered; all the arguments over homework and bribes, all the blueberries served, all the guidance offered, all your values instilled, all your world-view shared, all the worry, heartache, effort, blood, sweat and tears of being a responsible parent. All the things you do that make your child special. It’s all for nothing.

Or, as Bryan Caplan, the American academic and author of the new book Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids, puts it: “Adoption and twin research provides strong evidence that parenting barely affects a child’s prospects. If parents gave themselves a big break – or redoubled their efforts – their kids would turn out about the same.”

I’ll let you chew on that for a bit. I expect that I will probably blog about it at length. But in the interim let me share with you the best thing that my father ever said to me. Ok, I can’t say for certain that it was the best, but it is up there.

A few years ago dad and I were hanging out together. I don’t remember why or where the family was but I remember telling him that I was frustrated about a few things. It was the sort of conversation that we probably wouldn’t have had before I became a father in large part because he would have told me to suck it up and I would been pissed off by it.

Truth is that I expected the same sort of response this time, but I was so irritated that I just blurted it out. And that is when he surprised me by saying that he used to worry about what I would do career wise but that he didn’t worry any more. That is the abridged version of the conversation, but you get the point.

It might sound silly, but sometimes when things feel rough I think about it and it takes the edge off. So thank you dad, you still make a difference and an impact in my life.

The Father’s Day That Was

The clock on my computer says that it is a quarter after 8 but the clock in the kitchen says 11:15. So I close my eyes and ask my body for the answer and receive a strongly worded WTF in response. The engine room can’t figure out why the captain would ask such a stupid question.

Been back east for a short while now but I never bothered to change the time on the ‘puter, phone or watch. Scratch that, I don’t wear a watch anymore. Anyhoo, I am stuck in some surreal timezone that I created for myself-do I care? No, not really.

During the last 41 years or so I think that I have missed spending Father’s Day with my dad just a couple of times so it is very noticeable to me when he is not around. Kind of funny really, neither one of us put much stock in these types of holidays, though if we were in the same city we would have gotten together.

But since the Traveling Jack show is on the road that wasn’t possible this year. Instead we spent it with other family members and that was just fine. The Dark Haired Beauty made me a beautiful card that I love. That is said with real emotion and gratitude. Not the kind of fake praise you give to a child that creates something ugly and useless. I know that is kind of unfair, but we all get a gift or two from our children that fit into that category. It was made with love, but…

Anyhoo, her big brother was upset because he left my gift at home and didn’t think to make a card for me. I wasn’t bothered by this. He is having so much fun on this trip that I can’t complain and more importantly, I know that he appreciates me and that is enough.

But just in case I didn’t he made a point of taking me aside and telling me that he carries me in his heart wherever he goes. And that simple phrase my friends did more for me than I can properly express. Later on he overheard someone telling their father that they were the best ever and told me that they were wrong because he thinks that I am.

It made me smile but it also made me remember a bunch of things. The obvious part is that I remember saying that to my own father, but I also remember the confusion I felt the first time my son said it to me. It is a number of years ago, but I remember wondering how that could be. Why? Because I still thought of my father as the best ever which clearly meant that I couldn’t hold the title.

In the end it is not so much about the title but the feeling. If my children believe that I am the best father ever than I suppose that I am doing something right. More importantly is trying to give them that feeling when they get to be a bit older and are more capable of being critical of me.

All told Father’s Day 2010 was a mighty fine day. Though I wasn’t able to spend it with my father I did speak with him. And as usual it was strange to hear him wish me a happy Father’s Day too. One of these days I’ll get used to that one. Had smores with the kids, listened to people speak English with funny east coast accents and had a great steak for dinner.

Good times and good memories. These are what we hope to fill our days with.

Father’s Day or Fathers’ Day

Been thinking about Father’s Day or Fathers’ Day (more on this later) as I sometimes like to think of it. Grand old Jack, all 41 of 41 going on 25 is going to be out of town for Father’s Day. In 41 years I have missed celebrating Father’s Day with my dad just once.

It was six years ago- the year that he had his heart attack, triple bypass and all sorts of other fun in a New Jersey hospital. Six years ago I celebrated the day with my immediate family, some of my sisters and three grandparents.

I remember looking around the room. The dark haired beauty wouldn’t decide to announce her presence to the world for six more weeks, Little Jack really was little and my grandfathers were asking for more details about my dad’s condition.

If you asked me if I spoke with my father that day I would say that I did, but I couldn’t tell you what we spoke of or about. Can’t say whether I said “I love you dad” or something similar. No doubt I told him to keep focusing on getting healthy. He and mom were planning on coming home before the baby was going to be born.

It would be at least a week or two before they would find out that he couldn’t make it home, that he needed a triple bypass. But that Father’s Day I would sit with my grandfather and hear him tell me that he intended to go get his son and bring him home.

I would listen and think about what it meant to be a father, a son and a grandson. I would look at my grandfather, almost 92 and wonder how best to respond. He wasn’t in any shape to go cross country to get my father. It would break my heart to see the pain in his eyes and not know how to fix it.

Because I didn’t lie to him. Didn’t lie and tell him that everything was going to be alright. The first time around I sort of did. Because when I got the call that my father had taken ill and that I needed to get there as soon as possible I wasn’t sure what to say.

I moved quickly because the docs weren’t sure if he was going to make it. Some of you have read about this more than once, but that is because of the impact it had on me. Sitting on a plane for hours without access to a phone/email is hard. It is probably going to become a thing of the past, but six years ago it was far too real.

Hours of flight passed before we landed and I was able to reach the hospital and confirm that he was still there. I remember sitting on the plane willing him to live. I remember sitting in my seat thinking that I was sending him part of me to protect him. I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t scared, because I was.

But a few months later when his condition had improved I was ready to tell my grandfather that it had been very close. He had guessed as much, but he never asked. I think that it was easier for us to maintain the fiction. It wasn’t like he didn’t know, but since he didn’t ask I didn’t have to say. I had already had the experience of telling him about the death of one son, I really didn’t want to have to do it again.

I remember staring at my son. This little boy who knew that mommy had a baby in her tummy, but didn’t quite understand what that meant for him. This little boy who each day was teaching me what it meant to be a father was so very excited to give me a gift for Father’s Day.

He climbed into my lap and hugged me. I stared into his eyes and tried to see what it was that he saw. To him I was superman, capable of anything. All powerful and invincible I would help him build towers and defeat the mysterious enemies who might show up at any time. We were quite the team.

At some point in time I ended up on all fours and he climbed on my back and I found myself fighting back tears. There is a picture of dad and I doing the same thing. But I did what I do, I fought back the tears, stuffed them down and made myself hard. Because I couldn’t afford to let go- too many people relied upon me. Too many people expected me to be their rock.

Later on I would speak with someone special about it all. Later on I would share the fear and worry, but that was not the time.

But enough about the past because now we are in the present and heading off to the future. Because this year I am going to miss celebrating in person with dad. This year the family and some of the ten thousand sisters and I will spend Father’s Day together.

And the gift that I will be most thankful for is my father. He is a good guy, my dad. I feel like I stepped out from beneath his shadow quite some time ago, but I always feel his presence. We still have our moments where we bang heads on things. I don’t think that will ever go away. When I am 130 something and he is well over 150 we’ll still have differing ideas on how to do things. He’ll still find a reason to glare at me and I’ll still ignore it.

But I’ll still remember the time when we almost lost him and the gift of being able to keep him around a little bit longer. And I’ll remember the day where he told me that he used to worry about me but didn’t have the same fear any longer.

And throughout it all I’ll try to do my best to be as good a father to my kids as he was to us.