Go Ask Daddy about education, aviation, and chocolatization

Stormtrooper Christmas
C’mon. Christmas can last all year. Especially when you take a boatload of Christmas-themed photos for your blog and then don’t write for a month. Happy Holidays, y’all.

I’m grateful for dreams.

GAD GRAPHICNo, not the ones with January Jones and bacon cheeseburgers, although those are also everything. I’m grateful for my kids’ dreams, the ones of becoming a vet tech or playing college soccer or getting a kickass role in the school play.

Hayden has a chance to play at the next level and is fortunate enough to have choices.

We visited Wingate University today and I think there were some love sparks. They invited her to an ID camp this summer. She’d stay on campus for several days and be immersed in college life there.

We still have a few schools left to visit first.

I’ve seen beautiful and difficult parallels between her search for a school and mine for a job. When we both find what we’re looking for, we’ll go out for dinner, we’ve decided. We’ll both find our ways there.

10 gratitudinal points

1. I’m grateful for small victories that don’t feel so small. They pile up nicely. But if you don’t look out for them, you’ll miss them.

2. I’m grateful for what Jay Cutler did to the New England Patriots! Even if they do win the Super Bowl. (Go Eagles.)

3. I’m grateful for the Denver Nuggets. Yes, I am. From the days I spent as a kid at Big Mac watching Alex English and Fat Lever and Bill Hanzlik, to rooting for this modern band of misfits to shock the world.

photo credit: bbska via photopin cc

4. I’m grateful for Carolina winter days so gorgeous you want to open all the windows in the house. And your car. And grill something. (On the grill, not your car.)

5. I’m grateful for Beatles songs. From when they were part of the British Invasion to their hippy days to their solo work. Give me a little Paul McCartney and Wings any day.

6. I’m grateful for days I can pick up WNCW in my car. It’s eclectic. It takes me back to our Asheville days and makes me think of Madison, our mountain girl.

6 words big boy burgers
photo credit: sniggie If they call you Small Fry, change the narrative via photopin (license)

7. I’m grateful for lists – and knocking them out. My to-do list looms in a daunting way. If I can dig into one spot for a day, well, the load gets lighter. It could be email or laundry or sending out resumes. (It’s even better when you follow up with a cheeseburger.)

8 I’m grateful for impromptu conversations and kickarounds with soccer moms in cute boots. (Her, not me.) Even when their son gets jealous he’s not getting all the attention.

9. I’m grateful for cupcakes. Even though I’m not as wacky about ones with bacon on them, even though I love bacon. When you give someone a cupcake, that’s love.

sax 2

10 I’m grateful I remember a thing or two from my saxophone-playing days. That was going to be my life, you know. The universe had other plans.

I’m grateful for my girls’ questions, as always. Here’s the net beautiful batch.

1. How many years are in high school?

Four. For most. You’re supposed to have four in undergraduate studies, but I infamously managed to turn it into six (without a degree, even. Yet. I want to go back.) There’s freshman year, sophomore, junior and senior years.

In Colorado, we had three high school years – sophomore through senior.

Ninth graders were junior high. There’s no junior high in North Carolina, really. They call them middle schoolers, and they’re 6th-8th. Coaching that group has interesting dynamics. You could end up with kids who are little girls and others as young women.

I knew a kid who flunked so much in middle school he might have been able to drive there eventually. I think he finally moved on.

I told my mom when I was in kindergarten that I was afraid of the graders at school. She got visions of construction equipment sweeping across the playground. But I meant graders – first graders, second graders, third graders…

bathe cat
photo credit: Jess and Colin via photopin cc

2. If I got a free kitty, could mom tell me no?

I’m not sure there’s a legal precedent, but it’s helpful to remember that mom can always say no.

Moms rule the world. We watch a lot of The Dick Van Dyke Show around here, and there’s rhetoric about the man of the house and a woman’s place, but you could see back then, Laura rules the roost.

And it’s okay – as dads, one of the best things we can do, along with clipping nose hair and wearing comfortable shoes, is to make sure we’re on the same page as a mom.

I’m certain no family sitcom lacks an episode in which the kids have snuck in a cat or dog without mom and dad knowing. They stow them in a closet or basement or under the bed and when the parents hear a bark or meow, they act like it was them.

Then, there’s the logistics.

Really, if you bring home a free kitty, and the ‘rents say now, what becomes of it? Is it cast out on the streets? Returned to sender? Rendered in a succulent stew? All are bad ideas, not the least bad, the last. Chances are with fire and brimstone, the cat will remain.

It’s on you to scoop the litter, though.

If you do get a free kitty – and I’m not saying you should – make sure it’s at least 12 weeks. Make sure we know if the bugger has its shots. And make sure it has a badass name, like Alonzo or Stanley or Dream Killer.

3. Do helicopters really help cops find criminals?

If you’re asking this because you’re still contemplating that contraband cat …

It’s not so easy to quantify the effectiveness of that law enforcement eye in the sky. It must have a psychological slant. If you’re on the beat, and call for backup, to hear that big bird flapping overhead has to make you feel vindicated.

The cavalry has arrived.

As a crook, if you’re in the midst of a B&E (breaking and entering, for my readers outside of East Charlotte), and you hear that familiar whir (and see the spotlights cast down upon you), maybe you drop the crowbar and make yourself scarce.

Maybe you duck into an alley, wait for the chopper to pass, and resume delinquency.

I remember you girls flocking to the window to see a police helicopter in action. We heard sirens around the neighborhood and the aircraft right above our house! You guys thought it was a real treat when the beams fell onto your playhouse in the backyard.

They’re cool toys, and especially in car chases, I’d venture they are a difference maker.

I found this story about a man who constructed a helicopter with spare parts and video game controllers. Incredible. Check this video out.

4. Is that turkey bird real?

As real as a homemade helicopter, in fact.

The “turkey bird” in question: A stuffed gobbler in the hardware store on Matthews Mint Hill Road. It’s not often the kids get close to a gobbler like that, unless it’s flanked by cranberry sauce and stuffing.

Taxidermy is the act of stuffing an animal – but not to eat for Thanksgiving.

turkey bird
This is the “turkey bird.” He stands proudly and even though he’s dead, he probably felt some vindication in heaven that he didn’t end up in a roasting pan. Probably.

Today, taxidermy is an art. Back in the day, accuracy wasn’t job one. They’d stuff animals full of sawdust, with no regard of the creature’s actual shape. They’d create curiosities – animals with extra arms and legs added to their carcasses.

It’s not creepy, I guess, unless you get into Norman Bates territory.

Some people even stuff their pets (Not their moms, as Norman Bates did.) I wonder if we could stuff our zebra danios. Anyway, it’s like art and science now.

[Check this post out for a look behind the scenes at a taxidermists’ workshop.]

5. Do you think chocolate-covered pickles would be good?

I mean, yes.

I like pickles. I like chocolate. Why not? I’d try it, at least. HuffPost said no to chocolate+pickles (and 10 other foods, including bacon and Twinkies.) One time, I dared my dad to dip an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie in salsa, and he did it.

I will take any food dare that doesn’t include:

1. More than two foreign ingredients
2. Cleaning agents
3. Insects
4. Rotten daily products
5. Anything kept as a pet
6. Boogers
7. Kale
8. Tofu
9. Toenails
10. Hot sauce that comes in a bottle with a pewter skull as a bottle cap*

*-this comes from experience.

So let me open this up: Have any of you mixed the chocolate and the pickles? What’s the most unexpected food combination you’ve loved?

brand chocolate

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  1. No thanks to the chocolate and pickles. But I love peanut butter and bacon. One of my stock sandwiches when I was a kid was peanut butter, butter, and raisins. Another flavor combo I was introduced to in Sonoma, CA, years ago, is having a bit of a thick, dark, chocolate sauce, and taking a sip of red wine while the chocolate is melting on the tongue. I’m not really a red wine fan, but that was amazing.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I’ll take on the chocolate and pickles! Peanut butter and bacon are delicious, as is syrup and peanut butter, sopped up with a hot tortilla.

      That chocolate-wine combination sounds like something they’d do on Mount Olympus – or at least Cape Cod!

  2. Great answers, Eli! Your girls always ask good Q’s. Where I grew up (if you could actually say I did, in fact, grow up) high school was only three years. Unless of course you failed a grade. So, chocolate and pickles I have not tried. I do love a good dill pickle and I also love dark chocolate so, why not? I sometimes will take a chunk of dark chocolate then a bite of salted soda cracker and yum. It’s a good combo. Have a great weekend, Eli! Enjoy that lovely weather you’re getting.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Thanks, Lisa! I wish I could get all the questions they ask, but sometimes I forget them before I can add them to the list!

      “Grow up” is subjective – I prefer “reared,” because, like you, I have yet to grow up, and “reared” makes me laugh because immaturity!

      Maybe you should try the dill pickle and dark chocolate. Isn’t that how Reeses’ was invented? I think the combination of salty and sweet is the most, ever.

      It’ll be in the 30s for most of Camdyn’s games this weekend. If she isn’t sick yet, she’ll probably be sick by the end of it!

  3. Akaleistar says:

    I’m grateful for lists, too! It’s the only way I get things done. Also, grateful for cupcakes.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Imagine a list of cupcakes, Ash. I’ll start on one end and you can start on the other.

  4. Miriam says:

    Hmm, I can’t say I’ve ever mixed chocolate with pickles though I’ve tried a different combination that works really well. It’s toast spread with vegemite, a slice of cheese on top and then sliced pickles on top of that. When the kids were younger they called it a Frogs Vommit Sandwich. Yum!
    I enjoyed reading your post Eli.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s all about experimenting until you find a combination that is dynamite, Miri. What is vegemite, exactly? I think you should do a recipe post for Frogs Vomit, but why stop at sandwiches?

      Thanks so much for reading this today.

      1. Miriam says:

        Hey Eli, have you not tried Vegemite? It’s a staple spread here in Australia, commonly used on toast, it’s very salty and you either love it or you hate it.
        A recipe post for Frogs Vomit? Lol. Who knows, maybe one day when I’m in a whacky mood I’ll incorporate it into a post and I’ll tag you in it. 😏

      2. Eli Pacheco says:

        We just don’t have it here, Mir. I remember it from the Men at Work song, though. You should write the Frogs Vomit post as a guest writer here!

      3. Miriam says:

        Haha, ok when I get inspired (and have enough content for that sort of post) 😏 I’ll take you up on that offer.

      4. Eli Pacheco says:

        Looking forward to it!

  5. The chocolate and pickles somehow makes me think of Jim Carey and Keenen Ivory Wayans on “In Living Color,” and I want to run and hide. I will say, however, that a good booger does things for a pickle that nothing else can. One thing seems clear: Cute chicks dig pickles.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I never really watched In Living Color, Bryan. So you’re saying I didn’t miss anything? Good boogers make the world go round, possibly.

  6. Holly says:

    Hey, that means Camdyn can go to Wake Forest after all now, right? 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      You know, Holly, I hadn’t thought of that! It does seem to clear the way (and keep us from at least one wrestling match.)

  7. stomperdad says:

    I’m guessing the sour pickles won’t pair well with the sweet chocolate. My distaste for pickles overrides any amount of chocolate you smother on it.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Maybe sweet and sour will go together like a beautiful symphony, Eric. I will find out.

  8. I’m grateful for cupcakes, too, but I’ve never tried one with bacon on it. Also, NO to chocolate pickles. That would just taste weird. A police helicopter searched my neighborhood once. It was in the middle of the night, and I kept getting reverse-911 calls from a robot who told me to stay in my house. I was trying to sleep, robot!

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      The bacon cupcake was okay, Aj. I would rather enjoy them in their delicious separateness. I feel as if I need to TRY the chocolate pickle at least.

      Was the chopper looking for you? Robots can’t take over the world because they don’t know the value of good REM sleep. Yet.

  9. ksbeth says:

    be careful of the kitty ambush – sounds like they making be testing the waters )

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Oh, they’re always testing the waters, Beth. Keeps me sharp.

  10. Tell the girls the way to get a cat is to be given one as a birthday present by the one you are dating at the time. That’s how #1 Son ended up with a cat of his own when i’d declared a moratorium on more in the house. A parent has a really hard time saying no when it’s a birthday present from your sweetheart.

    As for weird food, try dipping movie theater popcorn in Dr. Pepper. Sweet and salty heaven.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Oh, I don’t need to give them any advice on this, Mimi! They said they wanted a dog, and now they’re talking cat again.

      Way to put an end to that, but it’s tough, isn’t it? Maybe I will try a fist full of popcorn and just float it in the Dr. Pepper and drink it.

  11. Yay for conquering to-do lists! Also, I’m needing some of those lovely Carolina winter days. It’s been frigid here and I’m close to being done with winter and ready to move on to warmer months.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Conquering parts of it, anyway, Lecy! Our Carolina winter weekend wasn’t so lovely – Camdyn played in freezing rain this morning (but at least they won!)

      I wouldn’t mind a week of spring as a preview. I’m counting the days to Spring Training!

  12. I believe chocolate and pickles should be kept in their own separate lanes. I don’t even fancy chocolate covered pretzels, so I’m thinking it doesn’t get better for me to chocolate cover odd things I find in the fridge.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      I can appreciate keeping those separate lanes, Joey. I’d try it once, though. Maybe twice (once with bread and butter, once with dill pickles.)

  13. san says:

    I am so thankful for lists. I wouldn’t know what to do without them (and it’s so satisfying to cross things off!)

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Lists only become a problem if you accumulate a list of lists. My problem today is the lists are linear, and not chronological, so I’m not sure what I should be doing right now (except for that answering comments feels right.)

  14. Kisma says:

    fried pickles yes, I am allergic to chocolate so I am going to have to pass on that combo.
    I have a black book that has my daily to do list in it and without out, I am lost. 🙂

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Oh, fried pickles are the bomb, Tiff – especially with ranch dressing. I used to keep my daily to-do list on index cards. Great … until I left them at home, or spilled Coke Zero on them.

  15. Lindsay says:

    I am envious of these beautiful Carolina days you speak of. I’m so over winter up here. Lol!
    I also love lists and cupcakes. 🙂
    I hope you’re doing well my friend. xo

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      It’s beautiful but in the 30s which might not be so bad for you, Linds. Imagine: A list of cupcakes. mm.

      I’m doing great … a little behind on my Go Ask Daddy for this week (and gratitude list!) Don’t want to miss out on what you have.

  16. I’m pretty sure chocolate is the best and most important food ever, so I’m not always inclined to lessen that impact by diluting it with something else. However, I hold pickles in pretty high esteem as well, especially if they’re garlicky enough to ward off any vampires who might be showing up to steal my chocolate.

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      These are the hard dilemmas in life, aren’t they Deborah? You wonder if they’d make a cosmic convergence or a universal disaster!

  17. E says:

    “I believe in the power of a comment, the value of others’ words, and that the good will eventually rise to the surface.”-I believe the good will eventually rise too and that Beatles songs are great 😉

    1. Eli Pacheco says:

      Probably Beatles songs have contributed to some of the good rising, I suspect!

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