In the Car

I was accused of trying to be cool by one of my son’s friends. It’s unclear if the thing that I was accused of doing made me cool or if the reverse psychology of someone thinking I was trying to be cool inadvertently made me cool because I was doing it…not knowing it was cool. (Yes, this explanation invalidates all my claims of coolness.)

Here’s what happened: I was with Justin in the car and we went to pick up one of his friends to bring him to our house. Usually, I leave the boys alone to have their private conversations and I zone out and listen to my music. Once they were on our way home (and I think GWE was in the car with us,) I stopped paying attention to what the boys were saying. However, I was mindlessly singing along to Kendrick Lamar and SZA on the “Black Panther” soundtrack. Yes – I realize the optics of a 40+ year old white guy listening to Kendrick and getting into it, but I like what I like.

From behind me I heard Justin’s friend say, “Hey, Jason. Stop trying to be cool.”

Once I got over the fact that my son’s friend decided to address me by my first name as if we were peers, I realized what he was saying. He thought I was trying to be cool by playing this music. He didn’t know that I’ve been listening to Kendrick regardless as to whether he was in the car or not.

Tell me what you gon’ do to me
Confrontation ain’t nothin’ new to me
You can bring a bullet, bring a sword
Bring a morgue, but you can’t bring the truth to me

So, I think an 11-year inadvertently acknowledged my “coolness” while trying to get me to stop singing. I prefer to view the incident as, “he brought the truth to me.”

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If you’ve been following this blog or if you’ve ever met Garrett, you would know about his obsession with Tesla. He eats, breathes, sleeps, and poops Tesla. As a 6 year old, he works at a Tesla store and gets paid in Tesla t-shirts and hoodies. There isn’t anything Garrett doesn’t know about Tesla…and he’s happy to tell you too!

The one drawback about working at Tesla (for a 6 year old) is that the cars may be “on,” but they’re not moving! Thanks to my friend Dave, Garrett was able to get up-close-and-personal with Dave’s Tesla. If you want to see pure joy, this is it:

Plus, there is a shameless plug from Dave: You can use my Tesla referral link below for free Supercharging on Model S or X. You can also get a 5-year extended warranty on solar panelshttp://ts.la/david4203

 

Justin and Garrett have become aware of the concept of revenge. “If you do this to me, then I will do this to you.” Nowhere has this become more clear than in my car.

When the boys were younger, we used the child safety locks on the back doors to make sure that they didn’t try to open a door and flop out of the car while it was in motion. Luckily, no one tried it. But, they also knew that they could not get out of the car without some help from the outside. They’re much more grown and (cough, cough) mature now. They can get in and out of the car on their own.

Recently, Justin thought it would be funny to switch Garrett’s child safety lock to “on” without telling him. Justin could easily get out of the car, but Garrett was stuck behind…and then he got frustrated at his brother and tried to yell at him from the inside of the car. Justin heard nothing. I became deaf.

Garrett got wise as to what was going on and when Justin wasn’t looking, he would walk over to Justin’s side of the car and then switch HIS child safety lock to “on.” Garrett had his revenge and he would laugh hysterically as he got out of the car because he left Justin trapped and frustrated.

For 2 weeks, this became the morning routine as I dropped them off at the school bus. They would try to race each other out of the car and onto the bus. But (inevitably) one of them would be left behind they were locked in.

And, they got smart/dumb about it! As they got into the car, they’d assume the other messed with their lock and (in an attempt to outwit the other) they’d accidentally set the lock to “on”…thereby locking themselves in.

This had gotten a little annoying, but I had a solution. One morning, I told them that I had had enough and to stop playing with the locks. What they didn’t know was that I set both locks to “on.” As we approached the bus, they both tried to race each other out of the car only to find that they were both locked in. I laughed as both tried to escape my car.

I think they learned their lesson: don’t aggravate the guy who controls ALL the locks in the car!

Garrett has always had an interest in cars. It began with police cars, ambulances, and firetrucks. After seeing “Ghostbusters,” he became obsessed with Ecto-1. Soon after, he saw “Back the Future” and he started collecting every DeLorean he could find. And now, he has moved on to a new obsession – Tesla.

There is a Tesla store in our local shopping mall which Garrett frequently visits. Well – ‘visit’ isn’t the right word. Garrett WORKS at the Tesla store. He has been known to greet customers as they walk in and introduce them to his fellow Tesla co-workers. Garrett guides customers to each car and extols the virtue of both the Tesla Model S and the Tesla Model X. He shows them how the doors open and shut, where the charging portal is, and how to work the internal dashboard.

Garrett is so infatuated with this automobile that he has been going to the Tesla store 3-4 times a week for the past few months. I’m certain that there are actual employees who are not there that often. He doesn’t get paid for his services with money. However, the manager of the store has recently begun paying him in Tesla t-shirts.

For months, I had been hearing about Garrett’s Tesla adventures. It wasn’t until Garrett begged me to take him to his Tesla store that I truly appreciated his love of the car and his natural salesmanship.

Originally, I was concerned that the Tesla employees were getting tired of seeing Garrett or that he was becoming too much of a distraction. I was wrong. As we strolled up to the store, Garrett saw the manager and sprinted towards her to give her a big hug. He proceeded to make his way around the store to give his fellow employees high-fives and ask how their day was. They were all thrilled to see him!

When he was ready to begin working, he hopped in the Tesla and proceeded to tell me on why I should get rid of my car and buy a Tesla Model X with the gull-wing doors instead.

So – if you want to buy a Tesla, tell them Garrett sent you! (Commission equals tuition!)

img_5862Ever since Justin saw “Back to the Future,” he’d become obsessed with Huey Lewis and the News. He’s been listening to the “Sports” and “Greatest Hits” albums non-stop for months. It’s funny to hear him doing his homework with his headphones on while humming along to “Hip to Be Square” and (his favorite) “Workin for a Livin.” Because he’s wearing headphones (that cost the same as my car – thank you Grandpa Bob!) he doesn’t know that we all can hear him singing. It’s pretty funny to hear a 9 year old sing, “…at least until I die, dammed if you do, dammed if you don’t, I’m supposed to get a raise week, you know damn well I won’t.”

One evening, GWE ‘bounced’ into the bedroom and shook me excitedly while announcing that Huey Lewis and the News would be performing at Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay in San Diego. GWE decided that I would be taking Justin to see his favorite band perform live. Before I could ask “If this is It,” GWE had ordered the tickets, booked the hotel room, and we planned on taking a “Couple Days Off.”

This is one of the few bands I’ve loved consistently over the years. While I was very happy to be seeing the show, I was more honored to know that I would be accompanying Justin to his first real concert! That made it that much better!

GWE and I had seen Huey Lewis and the News play about 15 years ago at the Universal Amphitheater and it was a great show. By pure coincidence, a few years ago, I was having drinks with a client at the Four Season Hotel in Beverly Hills on the front patio when some rowdy guys behind us got a little too loud. I brushed it off thinking: “DRUNKS!” But, when they began to harmonize and start singing, I turned around to discover that it was Huey Lewis and the News! I was shocked! It was the best private show anyone could have asked for!

It wasn’t until the week before the show that we finally told Justin what our plans were. He could not believe it! (As excited as Justin was to see the show, I think he was more excited knowing that we would have to pull him out of school early in order to get to the show!) For Justin, the next few days were just a blur of counting down the days to the concert and asking which songs they’d be playing at the show.

When the day finally came, we jumped in the car, picked up the kids from school and we were “Cruisin’.” We all listened to (and sang along with) “Alive at 25” as we headed down to San Diego. Justin and I had just enough time to drop off our bags at the hotel and race over to the venue. To tell you that we had fun wouldn’t accurately describe it. It was a blast!

Here are some pictures (and a short video):

Justin

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More Justin

Golf-1

It was a warm, sunny Sunday afternoon and Justin, Garrett, and I had nothing to do. GWE was on a flight to Toronto for a business trip and it was the first day of “Guy’s Week” aka “Home Alone: The Dad Edition.” As I looked at both boys lounging lazily on the sofa, I saw their pale skin and round bellies and thought they needed to be playing outside. Fresh air, physical activity, and sunshine would do them some good! However, I couldn’t get them to go to the back yard. No amount of passively saying “go outside” seemed to work.

And then, I had an idea! I walked over to the television, turned it off (to the sounds of bitter complaining and crying,) and told the boys to get in the car….or else. (“Or else” works a lot more than you might think!)

As we pulled up to the putt-putt place, both Garrett and Justin ‘excitedly’ screamed, “NO!!! WE DON’T WANT TO GO HERE!!” I turned around and informed them both that whenever they decide to get their driver’s license and buy their own car, they can go wherever they want! (Right…..that’s not going to come back and bite me in the ass in 6 years, 11 months, and 4 days from now.)

With anger in their eyes and hatred in their hearts (probably towards me,) they walked into the Sherman Oaks Castle Park. They were so angry at me, that I thought it would be hilarious to make them smile and look like they were having a good time. This is the picture:

Golf-2

I swear, they were not having a good time. They were angry!

Here is the problem with taking a 9 year old and a 4 year old to putt-putt. The 9 year old has spent months taking real golf lessons and is now competitive when it comes to the game of golf. He wants to play by the rules and WIN by the rules. The 4 year old DOES NOT WANT TO LOSE to his brother, but he also doesn’t want to follow the rules of the game either. So, this is what would happen: Justin would line up his shot, take his stroke, and usually be in the cup after 1 or 2 putts. Garrett would hit his first ball, run after it, pick it up, and then run over to the cup and drop it in.

Needless to say, Justin was having a meltdown every time Garrett did this and would get very upset because he felt as though Garrett was cheating. On the other hand, Garrett would see Justin get the ball into the cup first and then have an even bigger meltdown because he refused to lose to his brother. No matter how much I tried to explain to them that they were not playing against one another…..they saw it as all-out war against one another.

We only made it to the 6th hole before I gave up. Once Garrett tried to attack his brother with the golf club while screaming unintelligible words all the while having streams of tears coming down from his eyes and lines of snot pouring out of this nose, I thought….ok, we’re done.

Once we were in the car and everyone had calmed down, I heard Garrett ask, “Daddy? Can we come back tomorrow?”

Not kidding. He really said it.