March 28, 2013

My First Google Hangout with

Recently I participated in my first Google Hangout for that focused on the early days of fatherhood, specifically the trials and tribulations of holding on to those early memories and dealing with your emotions when your child picks Mommy over you (I know, Mom must be bribing that child with candy).

Thanks to Paul Banas of for hosting, and to the other amazing author dads I met on the panel, namely Pete Densmore (DADspirations: The First 100 Days of Fatherhood) and Armin Brott (The Military Father: A Hands-on Guide for Deployed Dads). They certainly helped guide me through my early nervousness and kept me from saying something crazy like, "I miss Cop Rock."

Here's the Hangout. Enjoy.

Oh Boy, You're Having a Girl
(A Dad's Survival Guide to Raising Daughters)

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March 15, 2013

How Many Hairbands Can You Find

hairbands I don’t know about you, but around our house we have a game that’s developed over the past couple of years that far surpasses the fun of Candyland or Twister or the Can-You-Change-Into-Your-PJs-Before-I-Count-To-10 game. There’s no board involved. You don’t need a spinner. All you need is a house full of daughters. The game is called “How Many Hairbands Can You Find” and the rules are quite simple:

1. Find as many hairbands as you can.
2. If the hairband is in someone’s hair it doesn’t count.
3. If the hairband is put away (HA!) it doesn’t count.
4. You are not allowed to count a hairband that you left out.1
5. First one to 10 hairbands wins.2

I play this game every day at our house. No matter how much we clean or how many hairbands I put away, there’s always a minimum of 10 lying around. Sometimes they are in obvious places, like the nightstand next to your daughter’s bed. Other times they are in more unusual locales, like the fridge. But if you’re willing to look hard enough (and by “hard enough” I mean “simply open your eyes as you walk around the house”) you’ll be a fierce competitor. In fact, our house is nearly spotless right now, but I guarantee I can find at least 10 hairbands. I will prove it to you using my handy camera phone. Here we go.

#1 On the Mantle

#2 On a Nightstand

#3 On the Bathroom Sink

#4 On the Breadbox

#5 Around the Remote

#6 In Your Sock Drawer 3

#7 Around a Cup of Milk

#8 Inside a Diaper

#9 In the Timeout Corner

#10 Hanging From the Clock

I have no idea how long this game will last, but we’re going on 5 years strong now with no signs of slowing. And I’m sure there’s a comparable game when it comes to boys, substituting something more boyish for hairbands like miniature race cars or boogers. But at my house it’s nothing but hairbands, 24/7. On the upside, it’s the one game in my house that I can win.

Well, I also dominate at Scrabble (pay no mind that my opponents are all under the age of 6).

1 Admittedly this rule benefits men in the family who generally don’t fiddle around with hairbands, but dads who have daughters deserve a few advantages every now and again--after all, we occasionally get stuck with hairbands in what little hair we have left thanks to daughters who like dressing us up.
2 This usually takes about 95 seconds.
3 Seriously, how’d that get in there?

Oh Boy, You're Having a Girl
(A Dad's Survival Guide to Raising Daughters)

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March 1, 2013

Dad. Writer. Minister?

Good news, my Life of Dad friends: I am legally allowed to marry you. And no, this is not a joke.

Not long ago, my lovely cousin Claire asked me to officiate her wedding. This was a bit surprising to me because 1. I expected to be the Best Man (I always expect to be the Best Man due to my sheer awesomeness) and 2. I had zero qualifications for officiating a wedding ceremony. Sure, I'd been to dozens of weddings. Heck, I even was the groom in one of them. But I'd never been the one standing between the bride and her husband-to-be, asking them to put rings on each other and saying "Are you sure you do?"

The last time I was that involved in delivering a mass was many Super Bowls ago when I was an altar boy. The duties of that position were quite simple: put on white dress-looking gown, tie rope around waist, stand when priest stands, sit when priest sits, try not to fall asleep. I did this until I was forced to retire in '93 due to an incurable case of Not Wanting to Do it Anymore.

When I received that phone call from Claire, I was delighted. It's not often you get asked to be part of a wedding ceremony, especially one where you can stand in front of hundreds of people and say things like "We are gathered here together today to join these people in holy matrimony" and "Don't forget to purchase your copy of OH BOY, YOU'RE HAVING A GIRL – I hear it's hilarious." I was touched she had considered me for the role. I gladly accepted the honor and then immediately called my mom to tell her the news.

"Hey Mom, did you hear? Claire has lost her mind."

I'm kidding, of course. This honor bestowed upon me was not something I planned to take lightly. If I were to be a good wedding officiant I figured I must study up on my scripture and research as many wedding ceremonies as possible (thank you, YouTube) that way I'd be knowledgeable enough to pass any test thrown my way. I spent hours and hours learning, absorbing and understanding everything there is to know about standing up on that pulpit and delivering an amazing wedding for my cousin, whom I love, and my soon-to-be cousin-in-law Ryan, whom I'm still upset with for not naming me his Best Man.

After nearly four months of preparation, I went to the Universal Life Church Monastery's website to learn about the steps I would need to take to become an ordained minister. The wedding wasn't for another six months, so I figured I had plenty of time to go through the rigors and take any and all classes/tests needed to complete my mission and earn my degree. I clicked on the button that said "become ordained online." My journey was about to begin.

First Question: Name. (Well that was easy enough.)
Second Question: Email address. (No problem. Better not use my FozzieBear one. I need to show that I'm taking this seriously.)
Third Question: Home address. (Done and done.)
Fourth Question: Do you certify that you are over the age of 13? (I think my balding head is proof of that.)
Fifth Question: Choose a password. (PeteRose4HOF)

I had now finished step one on my journey. It felt good. The only thing left was a button that said, "Submit Ordination Request," so I clicked it.

Seventeen dollars later, I was officially an ordained minister.

It's rare that you are asked to play such an important role during one of the most monumental moments of a loved one's life. I have very few cousins, but I'm extremely close to all of them—have been since before I had dreams of being an alter boy. I learned how important family was from my Grandma Klems, who went out of her way to make sure I not only saw my cousins regularly but thought of them as brothers and sisters. Knowing that I get to officiate the wedding ceremony of someone I consider my sister will go down as one of the most meaningful and memorable moments of my life. For that, Claire, I thank you. (And Ryan, from the bottom of my heart, there's still time to reconsider your choice of Best Man.) 

So I'm officially a minister and am free to marry anyone who wants to get married. In fact, don't cross me or I will sneak up behind you one day and marry you to someone you don't like. Plus, if my daughters so choose—and the time is right—I can be the officiant at each of their weddings. How exciting! Though, I won't allow them to date until I'm dead, so this may pose a slight logistical problem. 

Oh Boy, You're Having a Girl
(A Dad's Survival Guide to Raising Daughters)

* Subscribe to The Life of Dad via email or RSS feed!  
* Also, follow me on Twitter @BrianKlems. I promise to occasionally say funny things.