🌪️ Go Ask Daddy About Tornado Creation, Deer Identification and Dinosaur Realization

early GAD lede
photo credit: Estudio Lateral via photopin (license)

“Dad,” Grace asked, “what’s the scariest thing you’ve ever seen?”

GAD GRAPHICCamdyn has great timing when it comes to questions like this. I’d just watched Andrew Luck rush for a touchdown to give the Indianapolis Colts a monstrous lead against my Denver Broncos. At that moment, that was the scariest thing I’d ever seen.

Her question got me thinking.

I rounded up a post for the Wondering Brain. Jessica asked for Halloween week posts.

The best I could muster was a sad tale about the year I wanted to be a Denver Broncos player for Halloween, and my mom made me trick-or-treat in my Broncos pajamas.

I lost a little religion that day, a 9-year-old in pajamas. All I wanted was a jersey. Instead, I got a tour of shame in pajamas. No amount of KitKat could remedy that.

I gained a little back on Halloween, 2013. After shifting an assignment or two, I was able to sneak away from work to accept Camdyn’s invitation to her class’ pumpkin party.

“We need manly men, dad!” How can you say no to that?

pumpkin carving
photo credit: Jack via photopin All rights reserved by the author

After 30 minutes of carving 17 scoops of pumpkin guts and helping kids count 451 seeds, it was time to fly. Camdyn didn’t want me to go – without her. I couldn’t sweep her away and keep her from social studies, though, so, off I went.

Down her face went, to her bent knees on her chair.

I looked back into the room as I left.

I saw my girl wipe tears away with her face down so no one would see. That’s how you hide a broken heart in the third grade, apparently. And it’s also how you get signed out for the rest of the day and come to work with daddy.

Are you glad I got you out of class, honey?” I asked in the car.

“Yes!” Camdyn said.

“Aren’t you glad you brought me?”

Sure am.

Here’s what else was on the kids’ minds this week.

tornado box
photo credit: Funnel Cloud via photopin (license)

1. If I put hot air in a box and put it somewhere cold, will it make a tornado?

No. It’ll make healthcare.gov.

When hot and cool air meet, it creates conditions conducive to tornadoes. It has to happen on a scale larger than your box (a clear Tupperware box) unless you’re making twisters to terrorize Horton Hears a Who. Hot collides with cool, which can form a vortex of air known as a tornado.

We’ve never had a tornado in our neighborhood, but …


2. Has anything bad ever happened in our neighborhood?

I wish a tornado was the worst thing.

For all the 3 a.m. motorcycles and booming-bass speakers (why does it always sound like it’s the same song?) at night, and that one annoyance of a dog (what is it with noise at night), it’s not a bad place to live.

We have friends, a pool, and a street you can safely vandalize with sidewalk chalk.

Someone was shot and killed here this fall, about seven blocks away. The shooter was caught the next day. Still, it’s tough to pass by that house and not think about it. I hope we’ll always remember.

photo credit: Greeter (1) via photopin (license)

3. Were those female deer?

Didn’t you see that “runner girl” sticker on her butt?

Female reindeer have antlers. Otherwise, it’s a male thing. They fight each other with them during mating season. Human males drive expensive cars and wear musk cologne during mating season.

Male deer shed their antlers after mating season, which makes them look girly. Deer, boys, and girls, seem to scatter when we hear gunshots in the neighborhood, though.

water blue alcohol drinks
Photo by Vijay Putra on Pexels.com

4. Is “Jack” beer?

Thanks, Ke$ha.

Side note: I picked up Grace from a sleepover in time for her soccer match last Saturday. She forgot her toothbrush, which is the first time in the history of Jesus that a child didn’t consider their dental health when they packed up pillows and diaries and rubber-band looms for a slumber party.

I could brush my teeth with a bottle of Jack, daddy,” is a sentence you don’t aspire to hear from your 9-year-old. Generally.

Jack, Ke$ha’s mouthwash, is Jack Daniels, the best-selling whiskey in the United States. It’s named for a former major-league outfielder named Harold Jack Daniels.

You can see why it’s called Jack Daniels. I can’t ever see Ke$ha brushing her teeth with a bottle of Harold. Why are we discussing whiskey?

in dinosaurs
photo credit: walking with dinosaurs via photopin (license)

5. Are there people who don’t believe dinosaurs existed?

Yes, and you know what? They don’t know Jack.

We’ve found bones in tar pits and Utah mountains. Some believe God created fossils for us to discover. As a kid, I’m pretty sure I leaned over the railing and touched one at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. I hope there’s a statute of limitations for fossil-molesters. So, dinosaurs definitely existed, although people are sometimes reluctant to acknowledge that.

But we have proof, from ants stuck in amber drops to complete stegosaurus skeletons to a lineage of natural selection that evolved from ankylosaurs to tortoises to Jason Giambi.

Man, the world where dinosaurs were made up?

Now that’s scary.

dinosaurs exist quote



  1. laurie27wsmith says:

    Boy, doesn’t Grace know the button that drives Eli. Let’s face it, who can resist the tears of a child? Great blog this week mate, funny the wife and I were talking about deer the other day, well I was. What it boils down to is this, female reindeer have the antlers in winter, ergo, Santa’s reindeer are all girls! You may thank me later for this conversation starter.

    1. Thing is, she didn’t know I was watching. That’s what made me want to take her with me. Thanks, mate.

      My girls will be delighted to find that Santa’s reindeer are girls – and they won’t be a bit surprised.

      1. laurie27wsmith says:

        Ahhh, that is so nice Eli. This may sound a bit gooey but you are the type of Dad I would have liked to bring me up. If your girls don’t know it already, they have a great Dad in you.

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Thanks, mate. I’ve never been called gooey, but I dig the implication.

      3. laurie27wsmith says:

        I wouldn’t put you in that category Eli, top Dad is where you should be.

  2. Wow, so many awesome things in this post, it’s hard to know where to start!

    1. A 9-year-old rockin’ his Bronco PJs is WAY better than the proliferation of Duck Dynasty costumes I saw last night. Little boys, girls, and grown men in camo and beards? I’ll take the Broncos PJs. Any. Day.

    2. Scooping out slimy pumpkin guts is definitely not for the faint of heart. Rescuing your daughter from Social Studies? Now that’s a manly man. Love that story!

    3. When all else fails and you need a cocktail at a business function, there’s nothing like a Jack & Coke. Sometimes you gotta skip the girly drinks and man up.

    4. I live in the heart of the Bible Belt. I like to call it the Buckle. So, it was somewhat ironic when I local farmer dug up an entire dinosaur in his field. I bet he was praising sweet Jesus when they bought up his land and built a fossil museum and excavation site.

    So much more to say, but this comment is already novel-esque. Way to knock it outta the park this week, Eli. Or, more appropriately, way to run it in for six in those jammies.

    1. I didn’t feel like I got ahold of it really well today!

      1. there’s a post brewing about Duck Dynasty and a collection of dirtbag T-shirts on the Walmart clearance rack.

      2. She did feel a bit rescued! Plus she got about 10 pounds of candy here at work. I’m not exaggerating.

      3. Never, ever an umbrella in a Coach Daddy drink. Ever.

      4. Jesus put that dinosaur there for a reason.

      5. Jammies. Geez. I don’t know why I wasn’t beaten in an alley and left for dead.

      1. Wow, were you trick-or-treating in the ghetto?

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        The mean streets of Greeley, Colo.

        Who am I kidding? I grew up in a safe, white neighborhood. I was just scared any cute girls would see me in my pajamas.

  3. Kim says:

    OK – I just want to day ditto to Nicole’s comment!!!
    Not really but she did cover pretty much everything!! This was a fun post – I love the questions your girls come up with.
    Scary about the shooting in your neighborhood!!

    1. Thanks Kim – we heard the sirens and even the helicopter overnight that night, but had no idea what had happened so close. It can happen anywhere.

  4. Hmm, using Jack Daniels as a mouthwash. You can have smoky breath and be considered a drunk at the same time. Winning combination…not.

    1. I know. And somehow, I still love Ke$ha. Not the best role model for my kids, no. I mean, dental hygiene is so important to me. I have NO cavities.

  5. Rabia Lieber says:

    Every young child deserves to be checked out of school just for the heck of it at least once! Good for you, Eli!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You are so right, Rabia! So glad I did it.

  6. The Broncos pajamas sound neat to me! Then again, I always ended up with the last-minute costumes that people couldn’t quite decipher…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Could have been worse – it could have been raiders pajamas.

      Tell us about one of these last-minute costumes no one could decipher. That at least could be a blog post, Jennifer.

  7. tamaralikecamera says:

    Manly men do scoop up their third graders and save them from social studies! I know it. I’ve lived it. Walking away? Not manly.
    Ok, so the Tik Tok song came on the radio one day when we were in the car. Then we got to our destination and I looked at my kids, and both looked completely traumatized. I’m assuming they were tired or something because it has a catchy beat. Right?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I feel like I made the right decision. And it felt pretty manly.

      You can’t unhear Ke$ha. Your kids are forever marked.

      You too.

  8. shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com says:

    Sweet story bout your gal – I would have turned around and checked mine out too if I had seen her trying to hide her tears!
    Great post!
    Stumbled on your blog through Work in sweats mama!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I couldn’t bear to leave her behind. Thanks Sashi – look forward to checking out your blog, too.

  9. Mike says:

    That was an absolutely touching that you took your daughter with you that day. A child’s genuine tears is definitely my Kryptonite (among other things). Great analogy on the healthycare.org site! But, I totally lost it laughing at Grace mentioning brushing her teeth with Jack! Fantastic post, Eli! I will be Subscribing to your blog right after I click Post Comment 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Mike! I was so glad I turned around – but what if I hadn’t? The healthcare site is easy pickin’s – even my kids make fun of it.

      Ke$ha would kick me to the curb anyway – I look *nothing* like Mick Jagger.

      Glad I ran across your blog today, Mike – welcome.

  10. Dinosaurs may not be as scary as human males driving in sports cars after marinating in cologne…

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You definitely have a point, but Jurassic Park gave me nightmares as an adult.

      1. I remember you saying that…I have nightmares about tornadoes when I’m stressed. 🙂

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        Just when you’re stressed? Or do you get stressed from having tornado nightmares?

      3. Just when I am stressed…it’s the stereotypical subconscious “I can’t get away no matter how far/fast I run or how many doors I lock behind me” dream! 🙂

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        sounds like a good plot for a horror movie. I hate those dreams … you wake up exhausted and need a nap.

  11. Ok, we need a pic of you in those Bronco pajamas!! You are so right about the loud music at night, it has to be the same song they’re playing here in Georgia. And I am not so sure that Ke$ha even brushes her teeth! Leave Jason Giambi alone! I used to have the biggest crush on him. Has he left the game yet?

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’ll have to ask my mom if she has any of that day.

      No one ever blasts Mozart in their car stereo, do they?

      Ke$ha’s a little on the dirty side, isn’t she? But I just can’t quit her.

      I love Jason Giambi, too. Not the same way you did. He was a killer off the bench for my Colorado Rockies.

      Giambi played last season with Cleveland, and has a minor-league contract with them for next year. Dude’s a few months older than me!

  12. Rorybore says:

    signing sad little girl out of school — quite the hero thing to do my friend! 🙂
    My kids had “PJ’s Day” at school today. I am not sure if it is planned as they day after halloween, since the majority of kids probably roll out of bed still in the clutches of some candy induced coma. But it sure worked for me today!
    Since I have Celtic heritage, I see nothing wrong with whisky as mouthwash! Alcohol will kill all the yucky smelly bacteria in there!! Although, since being Celtic, I am tossing Keisha’s Jack ….sorry, nothing less than at least aged 15 years Scotch Whiskey for this girl. I have standards you know….ha!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I didn’t sign the seventh grader out though … she’s not too happy with me!

      We have PJ day in our sales center sometimes. It’s, um … wow.

      But that’s grownups.

      And the Halloween candy runs out just in time for Christmas. Too bad there’s no Thanksgiving candy.

      You’re one of those high-end Celts, eh? Someday, Ke$ha will learn. She gets an awful lot of play on Coach Daddy. More than Jennifer Lawrence, even.

  13. Dana says:

    Ah, I long for the days when I could sign my kids out early. If I did that now they would miss so much they’d be doing makeup work for days. And that Ke$ha – anyone who spells their name with a dollar sign should not be allowed to make music. It’s so catchy, though – inappropriate lyrics and all.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      If you do it, third grade would be the time. My seventh grader is mad I didn’t make my way to the middle school hall and get her out, too, but the homework load …

      I feel like I’m a refined man, one who enjoys the finer things in life. I don’t drink from the milk carton, I rarely scratch in public, and I even listen to Celtic Woman.

      But I smile every time Ke$ha’s trashy butt comes on my Pandora. Catchy, yes.

  14. Tricia says:

    I love how Ke$ha makes regular appearances here 🙂
    But even more I love how you signed your girl out of school. Those are the moments.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I wonder if she appreciates that it’s valuable real estate she gets here.

      Best rule I’ve broken in months, signing her out of school. I hope she’ll remember it for years and years.

  15. vsvevg says:

    Beautiful! I love the flow of ideas in this post Eli. I enjoyed my visit. Paz, Abby

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks Abby! The girls’ questions make it possible. Or necessary. Either way.

  16. healthcare.gov…laughing about that one, although it’s truly not funny.
    You always write the best posts!! I cannot even imagine brushing my teeth with Jack…that just gives me the shivers even thinking about it. And every kid should get to take off and go to work with Dad once in a while. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I know, I know … it’s comical, at our own expense.

      Wow, thanks Michelle.

      An earlier commenter mentioned the alcohol killing germs in our mouths … sounds like a case for Myth Busters.

      I know it often feels like when they ask for stories at bedtime or to be signed out of school it’s so they can stay up later or get out of class, but sometimes, it kind of feels like they just want more time with me.

      I don’t care if I’m wrong about that.

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