Birthday

Today, Garrett is six! He hopped out of bed this morning, ran into the kitchen where I was making breakfast, and excitedly proclaimed that not only was he now six…but he was also taller as well. He added that since he was six, he was ready to do chores around the house and, “what would you like me to do first, daddy?” I smiled and told him that today his only chore was to eat breakfast and go to school. What he doesn’t know is that I’ll be making a surprise visit to his classroom today to read books to him and his friends in honor of his birthday.

Years ago, I started this blog on a whim. I wanted to see how blogging was done. Slowly, it evolved into telling funny stories about me (and GWE) with the boys. Lately, I’ve been thinking of it more as a time-capsule. At some point in the future, Justin and Garrett will be reading these notes and stories from me. So, here is a note to Future-Garrett:

Dear Garrett –

Happy Birthday!! Today, you are 6! You have grown up so much. In many ways, you are very similar to your brother. You’re both funny, smart, and very caring towards your friends and family. You both love listening to music for hours and hours. And, in some ways you are different. You love to play so hard that sweat drips out of every pore! You run towards danger! (“Show me the house the blew up again, daddy!!”) And, you also love to ask 1000’s of questions about everything. I’ve never seen someone so fascinated about the world around them. Your laughter is contagious, your farts are ungodly, and you know more about cars (especially Teslas) than most experts.

You have an amazing ability to ingratiate yourself into any situation. No matter where you are or who you’re speaking with, it only seems natural that it wouldn’t be happening without your presence. At five, you “work” at a Tesla store…and the other employees treat you as such!

Just the other night, we went out to dinner. Not only did you want to pay the bill, but you demanded that the waiter take you back to the register behind the counter, show you how it worked, allowed you to input the information (and slide my credit card,) and then bring it back to me as if you worked there. Your warm, inquisitive personality has led you on many adventures this year!

Mommy and I love you very much. We are very excited for you to experience the year ahead. You’re going to make great friends at school, have amazing experiences, and even find time to play a little golf with me.

Happy Birthday, Garrett!

I love you  

Daddy

GWE once explained to me her Theory of Birthdays. “Your birthday is not for you. It’s for other people to enjoy.” I wondered if she really felt that way or if it was her way of justifying why she would not be getting me a carrot cake (my favorite) as a birthday cake. Over the years, she has found many inventive ways to get around the carrot cake issue. Only recently has she given in to my carrot cake demands.

But the Theory of Birthdays still stands and has been proven to be true over and over again: Your birthday does not belong to you. It’s for others to enjoy.

I was reminded of it again a few days ago at a Costco outing. GWE decided that since our Blu-ray player was dying AND I had an older, out-of-date game console, that my birthday gift this year would be an Xbox One. (I’m a grown-ass man. I don’t need to be surprised on my birthday.) And honestly, during Pilot Season, I tend to play the most violent, bloody, disgusting games to vent my inner rage in the middle of the night. To be able to see that gore and carnage in 1080p would be glorious. The gift made sense to me on multiple levels.

So, GWE, Justin, Garrett, and I are standing in Costco and we’re doing a price comparison. I finally looked at GWE and said, “Let’s just get it now and you can give it to me on my birthday.”

That’s all Justin and Garrett needed to hear.

The next thing I know, the two of them are negotiating as to who gets to carry he empty Xbox box to the register, who gets to take the receipt to the special door to get the Xbox, who gets to carry the console to the car (mind you, there is a cart,) and who gets to bring it into the house. This was a level of negotiation and coordination I’ve never seen between The Priluck Boys before.

It wasn’t until I watched Justin carry MY birthday gift out of the store that I realized I had already lost it to him!

 

I hope Justin and Garrett understand that the Theory of Birthdays swings both ways. Their birthdays are coming up next! I hope they like carrot cake and watching daddy unwrap and play with their new Legos!!

sbearIt started with an ant. To be more precise, it started with an Aunt.

Several months ago, I sent my sister (Auntie Shayna) an aquarium for her birthday because she was thinking of getting a goldfish for my niece. Once she received it, she had some difficulties managing the aquarium because she did not follow my explicit instructions on aquarium maintenance. Apparently, my sister was talked out of getting the goldfish (I told her to get) and she ended up with a Beta Fish – thanks to the pimply-faced, know-nothing clerk who worked at the pet store.

After a few weeks of torture and the eventual homicide of the Beta, it was determined that somehow I was to blame. The punishment was a Hanukah gift in the form of an Ant Farm from my sister to my sons. Nothing says “I love you” like a package of 25 ants that comes with a warning: “DO NOT TOUCH. ANTS WILL BITE.”

The gauntlet of war had been thrown. I could not let this act of hostility go unanswered. And, thanks to a fortunately timed visit to Costco, I knew I had found my revenge: Hugfun!

Hugfun is a 93″ teddy bear. Here is a video demonstrating the sheer size of Hugfun:

10 days before my niece’s second birthday, I placed the order. The only two people who knew what was about to happen were GWE and my mother. It was supposed to arrive without warning – that was the intended surprise. What actually happened was FAR funnier!

One morning, my sister called me in a panic. “Did you send me something?” (She had called our mother first, but mom denied sending anything….although she did elude to knowing what was coming.)

“Maybe, why?” I replied casually.

“A freight delivery service just called and notified me that I have to be home to sign for a delivery!! What did you send???” She demanded to know what was going on. There was a pause. “They said it’s 44 lbs. WHAT DID YOU SEND ME??” I erupted into laughter.

Shayna’s 10 day torture/meltdown had begun.

“Is it alive??? Did you send something that’s alive???” She was convinced that I was sending her a baby pig. For days, I kept texting her pictures of animals that could potentially be 44 lbs. Pigs, lambs, lobsters, etc.

Four days before delivery, Shayna called the freight company and asked what was being delivered. The man she spoke with gave answers that were better than I could have ever dreamed of. He responded, “Ma’am. If you don’t know what’s coming, I can’t tell you.” Shayna continued, “Do I need to have food ready for it?” He replied, “It couldn’t hurt.” Shayna’s tailspin of anxiety was now off the charts. (I don’t know who this man was, but I owe him a bottle of wine!)

And then, the delivery date arrived. What added to the anticipation of Hugfun’s arrival was that he did not arrive at the time specified. He was running late. But, when he did finally arrived, it was well-worth it!

Shayna called me from the garage while Hugfun was still in the box. “I’m going to kill you,” she said calmly.

“Well, you’ve got to get it in the house first? C’mon! He’s only 44lbs. Put your back into it!!” I said in between my hysterical fits of laughter. With FaceTime on, I stared at her ceiling all the while listening to the sounds of my sister’s grunting as she battled to get the bear into the house.

Once it was in the house, she propped it against the wall. It towered over her. As she struggled to put the bear into a manageable position, she kept telling me about all the ways she was going to kill me and then get revenge. As she swore like a sailor, the bear looked down at her sweetly.

I know she wanted to hate it, but she was playing with it after just a few minutes.

shayna

And then, our parents arrived. They also played with Hugfun!

mom

dad

And then, my Brother-In-Law (Sadie’s daddy) arrived home. He, too, played with it!

jesse

jesse-and-shayna

And finally, the birthday girl got a change to see it the following morning – after all the adults had played with it!!

I think the lesson here is – don’t mess with GenXDaddy! You may end up with a 93-inch, 44 lbs, cuddly, soft Teddy Bear as revenge!!

 

Kitchen1

One of the things I really enjoy doing on Saturday and Sunday morning is sitting outside on our porch with a nice breakfast while watching cooking shows…one after another after another. There is something calming about a quiet morning with a good cup of coffee while salivating over Giada, Ree, or Bobby Flay’s creations. (I’ve been known to watch an old episode of “2 Fat Ladies” on YouTube if I can’t find something good on.”)

Over the past few months, Garrett has decided to join me in my “happy place.” At first, he was more interested in playing fireman and pretending the wicker seat I was relaxing in was really his firetruck. But after a few minutes of running around like a crazy person, he settled in quietly next to me and watched as these TV cooking hosts created amazing (or, sometimes not) dishes.

Garrett has always been interested in cooking. He’s always joining me in the kitchen to help me make whatever I’m cooking or he’s simply offering to work the coffee maker for me. Garrett has become very involved in the culinary adventures in our house. He even created his own kitchen in our bar and is happy to take orders and “cook” whatever is requested when guests come over.

So, for his 4th birthday – Grandma Penny and Papa Jeff bought him is own kitchen. Here is the video of Garrett getting his own kitchen:


The very first thing he did was pick-up the phone and order a pizza!!! I’m not kidding!!

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 Wall

Dear Justin –

Happy 9th Birthday!! It has been an incredible year watching you grow and mature into an amazing person. We have done so many things together that I’m not even sure where to begin! You’ve been a great role-model for your brother, a kind and dutiful friend to those around you, an increasingly good golfer and swimmer, a true “gamer,” and the best son anyone could ask for. You’re always quick with a pun, have great stories to share, and I truly enjoy seeing what you create. (Yes, that includes Minecraft.)

Thank you for not being embarrassed by me (yet,) laughing at my terrible jokes, and spending time with me. Whether we’re on a golf course, fishing, hanging out at the comic book store, or just grabbing a bite to eat – it’s a lot of fun to hang out with you.

I know you’re going to love all of the presents you get this year….because you’ve been asking for all of them since your last birthday!! But, just know that you’re the real birthday gift to us. This day is simply another reminder of how much mom and I love you and how much you’ve added to our lives!

Happy 9th Birthday!

Dad

Justin-and-me

 

Lego-1Legos are a fantastic toy. Justin loves them. Garrett loves them. Heck – even I still love them. You know when I don’t love them? A) When I step on them in the middle of the night? B) When I’ve been asked by Garrett to rebuild his Lego toy after he’s purposely smashed it for the 50th time.

One of the few smart things I’ve ever done is to keep all of the Lego instruction manuals away from the kids and in a waterproof, Ziplock bag. No earthquake, flood, or other natural disaster will destroy the Rosetta Stone of Lego instructions I’ve saved.

Justin is the kid who is perfectly fine building his Legos from the instructions one time and then destroying them to build something from his imagination. Garrett is the kid who needs it rebuilt the way it is on the box over and over again.

For Garrett’s birthday this year, he requested one of the largest Lego structures that’s currently sold – The Lego Fire Station. In addition to that, he also got other Lego sets from other family members.

I still love building Legos….but, the thought of building these massive structures only to have Garrett destroy them and then beg me to rebuild them gave me ‘Lego Anxiety.’ I was so apprehensive about the task that it took me five days to summon the courage to begin this project. 5 DAYS!!! Garrett had the patience of a saint to wait 5 days for me to build the one toy he’d been begging for for months.

Lego-2

As I stood in the kitchen staring at the Lego box, I had an epiphany. Maybe “President Business” from “The Lego Movie” wasn’t the bad guy after all! Maybe his son was a jerk who kept messing up his stuff, even when he was told not to!! Maybe the Master Builders were idiots!!!!

In that moment, I reached into the kitchen cabinet, grabbed the Krazy Glue, and did what every Lego enthusiast tells you not to do. I became “Lord Business” and I glued every piece of that Lego Fire Station together…brick by brick!

Kragle

I did it to prevent Garrett from destroying my hard work! I did it to save my sanity! And, I did it while singing “Everything is Awesome!”

Lego-3