Goodbye Dyson, Hello Shark!

img_7092It so happened that the frustration and anger I bottle up like so many delicious bottles of Coke exploded yesterday. I let it out, had a good cry, then did some cleaning. I also took a couple of naps. Catharsis. Anyway, I still had a little pent up emotion this afternoon so I decided to take it out on Madison’s room, which had become a literal dumping ground since the twins were born. But since I sleep there, it was a problem. Whenever I’d wake up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, I’d inevitably step on something that – if the gods were merciful – would be less painful than a piece of Lego. Every man has his breaking point, even if that man sleeps in a pink room, replete with Disney Princess wall clings. I just finished almost 3 hours of cleaning. And so I am celebrating such productivity in the place where I go to be productive: Mauka McDonald’s. There’s no champagne here, but there is a yogurt parfait and a small Coke. Cheers.

img_7091The details of the actual cleaning process are tedious and unworthy of discussion in this space save for the numerous tupperware containers of Madison’s slime that I discovered hidden among the ruins. As amazing as that was, the real treat was the promise of being able to use my new stick cordless vacuum cleaner. Sadly, our Dyson (which has been a contributing member to our society since 2012) began to fail. It couldn’t hold a charge. The trigger became unreliable. I gave it one last shot yesterday and it ran in only 5-second bursts. God, I love that movie. Well, whatever. We had used it for quick vacuum jobs, picking up sand in the cars, and on the kitchen floor, but perhaps we asked too much of it when the twins were born and they began chucking bits of food and other detritus all over our home. Whatever the case, it could no longer be depended upon in its prime.

img_7089I had no desire to pay Dyson money again, so I walked through the appliance aisle during my Monday Costco run and came upon this Shark. I did my due diligence by flipping through Amazon and other reviews sites on my phone while Cole shouted “VA-CUM!” from the shopping cart. It rated well and was on sale. That’ll do it.

So I finally used it once the floor of Madison’s room was mostly cleared. It feels nice. I already know I’m going to love being able to use it without having to squeeze the trigger. The head at the bottom has much more power than my old Dyson. It tugs the vacuum forward, leading me gently on like an experienced lover. Worry not. I will take care of things. Trust me. This carpet will be cleaned. And if it isn’t, love, Costco has an amazing return policy. And if that sounds insane, you’re absolutely right. But it’s sexy, too, no? Especially that last part. We shall see how the Shark fares once it has challenged by Cole and Avery.

As is tradition in these parts, I will send off the Dyson in the most honorable way possible in this blog: a brief eulogy followed by some Michelle Branch.

Dyson,
You sucked but that was your job. The rest of us should be so lucky. Thank you for the countless times you aided the retrieval of Cheerios, of debris in those hard to reach places, but most of all the sand in the nooks and crannies of the Corolla, Highlander, and the Sienna. I hope you join Kirby from The Brave Little Toaster in that appliance junkyard in the sky. Ahem.

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Valentine’s Day 2018

We can go ahead and file Valentine’s Day 2018 under “Don’t ever bother planning anything because plans never work out”. It joins other luminary plots such as “Yeah, I’ll teach at Damien for a couple of years until I figure something else out” and “I guess we can have one more kid” in the illustrious archives.

Our original plan for dinner was surf and turf but I ended up picking up Kunio instead. The lobster we planned on buying was sold out at all the Times locations I checked. King crab legs were too expensive. So I waited 45 minutes outside of Kunio for a takeout order. Then, I went to pick up a cake from Baskin-Robbins. Then I went to pick up flowers for Lynnette. Dinner was great, but the real excitement came during our gift exchange.

img_6994img_7005img_6999Lynnette picked up some new bath toys and chocolate chip cookies for the twins. Yes, Cole only has one sock on. Anyway, They raided the gift bag immediately, found the toys first, then shouted at anyone who would listen to free the toys from their packaging. “Wait until you take a bath,” Lynnette said. This directive threatened to launch a full-scale riot until she started to open the thing of cookies. “Cook-ie!” Cole growled, in the manner of his favorite cookie monster, Cookie Monster. Lynnette gave both he and Avery a Cookie and we watched with glee as they tried to simultaneously eat the cookies but also avoid Abby, the snack marauder.

Madison got a back scratcher and her favorite things in the world: novelty candies. Since Kunio had to drive to the ocean, get in the boat, set out to sea, catch the fish, clean it, and prepare it before packing it up,  I had time to check out Party City. Someday, Bubble Tape and two handfuls of lollypops won’t get it done for Madison, but until then I’m just enjoying the ride.

I picked up a Fighting Eel dress for Lynnette. I tried to go with something she didn’t have yet. And by “something”, I simply mean “print”. Because if I could never buy her a Fighting Eel dress again, what the hell would I buy her? She’s a Bubble Tape and lollypop kind of woman, you know? “I love it!” she said. “I’m going to wear it on Saturday night,” she added. “That’s what I had hoped,” I replied. She then pushed a large bag toward me. “I hope that you can use this on Saturday night, too…” she said, her voice trailing off.

I opened the bag and found this Dallas Cowboys blanket. Before I go any further, I will not say it is the least romantic Valentine’s Day gift I have ever received, but it might be in the top 5. UNLIKE THE DALLAS COWBOYS. “Why would you…” I started to say before laughing. “BECAUSE YOU NEED A MAN’S BLANKET! YOU ONLY HAVE ANGRY BIRDS!” she shouted. This sent me off into further hysterics. A few seconds later, I said “I sleep in a pink room covered with Disney Princess. The Angry Bird blanket is not the problem!” through teary eyes. Madison cackled. The Worst Gift Giver Ever had returned. “You don’t like it?” Lynnette asked. “I do, it’s fine,” I said. “Wait- you said you hoped I could use it on Saturday night, too?” I said. “Yeah…” she said. “I thought it was gonna be something to wear out on the date!” I said. “I never said that,” she said. So, so good.


On Monday, my English classes discussed the concept of emotional maturity as featured in Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World. A large portion of the novel’s thematic subtext revolves around the concept that strong emotions of any kind cause conflict, and that conflict is poison to a stable society. In the novel, citizens are given the drug soma to help them escape such feelings. So I asked my students what do you do when you have negative emotions, but you can’t address the problem in an ideal way? The answers varied and I agreed with all of them: sleep, eat, go running (I don’t agree with this one), blow up things in video games, listen to music. Someone said they did homework because anger somehow allowed them to be hyper-focused. Man, I wish I had that ability because when I’m at home and I get set off, I go into the bathroom, open the cabinet beneath the sink, take out all of my cleaning supplies, and start scrubbing the hell out of the toilets. No, I don’t understand it, either.

But the point, I guess, is this: as hard as it is for me to accept at times, I have to try to determine my own happiness, even – and especially – in situations that are less than ideal. As I stood outside of Kunio, I could feel my frustration building. I thought about having to drive through Mililani to get the cake still, to get the flowers still, and how I was already going to be 45 minutes behind my schedule. If you know me, then you know: being thrown off my schedule like this makes me batshit insane. And nothing throws my schedule off more than Cole and Avery. Sometimes when it’s ten and I wanted to leave the house 30 minutes ago but one or both or them are spinning like break dancers on the living room floor screaming their heads off because we ran out of yogurt melts or they didn’t want us to turn off the tv or Lynnette went to use the bathroom, I think that I am so angry I could out-scream, out-kick, and out-tantrum the two of them combined. When we try to take them out to do cool things and one or more of the three of them inevitably ruin it for a reason that makes no sense, I yearn for the days when the only thing that would ruin my activities was a sudden stomach attack. This rage builds and I have no where to put it (unless I am at home and I can clean the toilets), so I just kind of have to eat it.

But shit, no love is perfect. It is said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing – over and over again – but expecting a different result. Maybe that’s true. But it’s also exactly that which makes loving someone unconditionally the single most impressive thing anyone of us can do.

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Is This a Date?

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Viriliter Age

“This is not a date!” Lynnette said as I drove to Damien on Saturday afternoon. “What do you mean?” I said, voice rising to meet hers. “Just because we’re going to a game first?” I asked. She nodded. “The kids aren’t here, it’s just you and me. This is date!” I said. In the year 2018, this certainly qualifies as a date, and the Damien Monarchs qualified for the Division II state tournament after defeating University Lab School in a hard-fought game. Congrats, guys! I knew that I would have to do some work to change Lynnette’s mind, and by work, I mean “good food”. Because that always works.

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Coming (not so) soon!

But before we ate any of that delicious food, we had to take care of a little business. The chairs in our dining room set have begun to fall apart due to the rigors (my weight) and effects of time. We’re going to replace them with a set of the one pictured here…only they don’t have any in stock and probably won’t have any in stock for a few months. We’re OK with that because we don’t need to replace our chairs immediately and we really like these chairs. They match both our existing table and the couch. Well, they’ll match the couch exactly once we get them and Cole and Avery stain them as a ritual of initiation into our household. None of the chairs we currently own have fallen apart under the strain of having to support me, so I think we’re good. For now. Fingers crossed.

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Only food could make her smile like this.

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“And let me tell you another thing – I’m getting a bunch of stuff from Liliha Bakery on the way back to your parents house.”

We sat in the Inspiration parking lot for a few minutes while Lynnette worked her magic on Yelp. She settled on Izakaya Uosan. “It’s hot and new”, she said. “Just like you,” I said. She scoffed. But still. Well, we found the hot and new place only to discover that they’re booked through the 18th. Deterred but not defeated, we opted for the Boiling Crab. What we didn’t know was that there was a block party in Kakaako that night. We drove around the block a few times before having to park in the Restaurant Row lot. “This brings back memories,” Lynnette said. Our relationship basically started and blossomed at the Ocean Club. “See! I told you it’s a date!” I said. She did not agree.

Well, her standoff lasted about as long as it took for the bags of shellfish to arrive at our table. Among the many, many sexy things Lynnette does, dismantling shellfish is near the top of the list. She tactically destroyed our dinner. The loud, upbeat music allowed her to break out her foodie dance in a much more free form. “So, is this a date now?” I asked. She nodded as she shifted her weight side-to-side in her seat. As an aside, we cannot recommend the lemon pepper fries enough.

“Do you want ice cream?” she asked as we walked back to the car? “No,” I said. “Well, I want ice cream,” she said, which – let’s be honest – is what her initial question meant anyway. I stood outside of the busy parlor trying to catch Pokemon which, it should be said, is a solid dessert in its own right.

img_6929Before we left, we were morally obligated to take a picture in front of the bathrooms in the Restaurant Row parking lot. “I think this is the first time I’ve been here and haven’t been drunk,” Lynnette said. “You’re probably right,” I said. “I don’t think there was anything more guaranteed than using these bathrooms on the way out of here,” I added. But they’ve added coded locks to the doors! Oh no! “That’s sad,” my brother Matty said when I told him about this lack of access. “Right?” I said. I shake my head at the mere thought of it.

There’s no doubt that this was, in fact, a date. It was also the fat pa’ina I said I would throw this month since I’ve paid off my college loan. Feels good, man. “In about 6 months, I’ll be done with my college loans,” Lynnette said on the way home. “What? Fat pa’ina?” I said. She smiled and nodded. Well. From here to there, then.

Bounce With Me, Bounce With Me

img_6826img_6814Cole figured out how to jump straight up from flat ground a while back but Avery finally taught herself last week. I got home afternoon and Lynnette cheerfully, proudly informed me of this new development. “Oh, really?” I said half-impressed and half-skeptical. “Avery, jump-jump,” Lynnette said. Avery immediately stopped what she was doing, slowly lowered herself into a crouch that could have been utilized for numerous things including hitting the prison pose, going number 2, and starting a sumo match. Then – without warning, her chubby legs straightened out, her body rose, and both feet left the ground. Her head was down when she landed, but she slowly raised it and her eyes met mine. She wore a smug little smirk. Okay, it was equal parts smugness and pride.

Last night before bedtime, I heard the springs of the toddler bed screaming from the twins’ room. Lynnette told me to come look at them. Sure enough, they were hopping like mad on the bed. Madison was perched on the ottoman next to the bed. She would have paid all the money she owns to have joined them. Cole launched himself repeatedly without a care, often falling rather than landing gracefully. Avery bopped up and down, too, but made sure to have at least one hand on the rail to keep herself from falling. It went on like this for a while.

This exhibition of bouncing stemmed simply from Lynnette changing the sheet on the mattress. If you have kids, then you already know. Whenever an adult does something out of the norm that reveals a novel apparatus, that activity immediately becomes the most interesting thing the kids have ever seen. We replaced our old yellow memory foam topper with a blue one a couple of months ago and Cole and Avery thought it was the greatest thing that ever happened to our household that didn’t involved eating. They sat on the topper and refused to put the sheet on it. We pulled them off the bed and the just ran back and climbed on again. This simple household chore caused two tantrums. It’s insane.

Last week when Cole and Avery were eating dinner, I tried to iron a shirt for work. As soon as I erected the board, Avery started to descend her chair. She got one chubby paw on the board before I folded it up and put it away. I tried again a few minutes later. They were in full dinner mode. The Wiggles were on. I pulled the board out of from its hiding place and turned to face Avery. Her eyes moved from the TV to me. She stared at me with all the intensity of an arctic fox tracking the movements of a mouse amidst a blanket of snow. I took two steps forward. Avery not move. I walked to the spot in the living room where I always iron and opened it up. There came a metal-on-metal screech. Avery began to back off her chair again. “C’mon, Avery! Mum-mum!” I said. She was halfway down her chair before I gave up. She paused, watched me put the board away, then ascended her chair and continued her meal. And so it appears a mere 2 years in that I have been unceremoniously dropped a spot in the household pecking order:

  1. Lynnette
  2. Avery
  3. Phil
  4. Madison
  5. Cole

And we all know what’s going to happen once Mad is a teenager…

Dad’s Preschool?

Papa Pascua had an appointment Monday, so I stayed home with the twins. It wasn’t nearly as extravagant as Mem’s preschool, which often features games, learning activities, and tasty meals. Dad’s preschool is exactly like that, but just imagine a lower budget, less games, some incidental learning, and probably fast food. I know what you’re thinking, and you’re right: dad’s preschool is kind of, sort of, maybe kind of dope.

img_6606Both Cole and Avery slept in which is basically the way I dream of every single day working out. We dropped Mad off at school without incident and ate a breakfast of mini-wheats and fruit. Now, I may or may not have swung by McDonald’s for my own breakfast, and I may or may not have stopped by the park and ride for a Pokemon raid, but the point is Cole and Avery were angels as I hypothetically got junk food and racked up data usage. Allegedly.

img_6610Cole and Avery are now at the place where their tastes have diverged. About a year ago, Lynnette and I could simply put the exact same food in their plates and they’d eat all of it. Now? It’s like they have opposite tastes. Cole still loves fruit and his favorite beverage is the Danimal smoothie. Avery still loves her milk above all else, but has no more time for fruit. They both like rice, but Avery will eat it until someone takes it away from her. And then she might snap. Cole will eat pizza but Avery doesn’t care for it, which – I don’t even know if she’s a Higa. They both like noodles – to eat and wear – and both love frosted mini-wheats. In fact, if I make myself a bowl with milk, it’s like they can frickin’ smell it in the air because they both sprint over to where I am, hover over the bowl, see what it is, smile, then point to it and make inarticulate, excited noises. Of course I know what the noises mean, but that’s not the point. Cole and Avery love goldfish crackers, but above all other snacks, they love those Graduate yogurt melts that come in those resealable yellow bags. In fact, on our way out of the house yesterday, Cole saw that I had packed some in the baby bag and pulled them out like he was Arthur pulling Excalibur from the damned stone. “MEOTS!” he shouted. “Yes, melts, but wait until we get into the car,” I said. He dropped to his knees and cocked his head back like he was in a Michael Bay movie and screamed “MEOTTSS!” then started crying. I took Avery into the car first, then brought Cole down, then gave them melts. Did you know that yogurt melts can make tears disappear?

img_6625I’ve figured out something about both Cole and Avery, and it’s kind of a catch-22. They – like Madison and I – love Lynnette the most. They love her so much, that if Lynnette is around, all they really want is to be around Lynnette, and this creates chaos. It’s simply math. There’s only one of Lynnette, so it’s a competition for Mem between Cole and Avery. Avery always rides in the Ergo in public because she’s a loose cannon. Literally strapping her to another, bigger (but sexier) human is the only way we can keep her in check. And so Cole either sits in the stroller or walks. But sometimes he wishes he was being Ergoed. And the result is a screaming contest that neither Madison nor I can really help with.

But, if Lynnette’s not around, and it’s just me and/or Madison, the twins don’t get riled up all insane because Mem isn’t an option. They’ll actually sit in the cart so long as I provide them snacks (MEOTTTTSS!!!). Just look at Cole trying to illustrate that they’re fresh out! They behaved the entire time – except for when Avery tried to bite through the cartons of milk. That’s why I have the handles faced away from her.

And another difference between Mem and Dad’s preschools is the total lack of nap time in Dad’s. Look, I tried to get them to nap, but they weren’t having it. I got them in the room, laid them down on the bed, and plopped down next to them. “Let’s nap!” I said. “No, no, no!” Cole said. Avery just got up and sprinted out of the room. “Avery!” I shouted. “A-bree, A-bree, A-bree!” Cole said. And then we went into the living room for a Wiggles marathon.

The Twins’ New Year’s Resolutions

It’s almost a month into 2018 so I just thought it would be a good idea to let you know how the twins are doing in terms of keeping their New Year’s resolutions.

img_6463img_6497Avery didn’t break her resolution to stop creating mischief because she didn’t make a resolution to stop creating mischief because she knew she would never be able to stop creating mischief. She’s still very much into making loud noises via stomping, slamming cabinet doors, and banging metal surfaces. The newest addition to her noisemaker collection is the side of the tub.

Just today, we caught her sitting in my shorts drawer at the bottom of my dresser pulling tissue apart. But maybe she is getting growing into a more mindful person because when she saw Lynnette and I enter the room, she quickly leaned over the side of the draw to pick up the scraps of tissue which had fallen onto the floor. She then shoved them into my shorts, but I appreciated the effort.

She’s also developed this new scream that I have no chance of putting into text here. It’s just a piercing screech but spaced out so as to sound like a siren. I will try to catch it video later this week. When she broke it out at Target last weekend, a couple nearby laughed. The man remarked that we didn’t need a car alarm and he might be right.

One the bright side, Avery’s moved out of her highchair and joined the rest of us at the dinner table. So long as she’s being serviced with food, she will sit nicely and eat. Lynnette was first to notice that Avery appears to be a double-fister when it comes to hand foods. She likes to hold a piece of food in each hand like her uncle Matty once did still does.

Avery is also interacting with us more frequently and for longer durations. She’s started to do this thing where she’ll grab our hands and place them on things she wants us to open or unlock or give to her. When the twins had a stomach virus a couple of weeks ago, she pinned my hand to her stomach so I would rub it. If I stopped moving my hand, she shook it until I started again. When I tried to pull it away, she tugged it back toward her stomach. She’s also pulled our hands to door handles, snack containers, and the remote control. Clever girl.

img_6524img_6503Cole’s New Year’s resolution of giving up his binky is going about as well as you’d think – as in it’s a minor miracle that he’s not gnawing on it in either of these pictures. To be fair, he never actually made that resolution; it was simply wishful thinking on the part of his parents, but still.

Cole helps Madison put away toys at the end of the night. He can say “please”, even if he does so selectively. Best of all, he’s adopted our habit of shouting Avery’s name when she’s stirring up trouble. In fact, this afternoon when Avery got into one of her cabinet-slamming zones, Cole popped up off the couch and jumped up and down in place while shouting “A-bree, A-bree, A-bree!” It didn’t help at all, but it was truly a sight to behold. My man.

One of the non-twins in our house that isn’t me or the dog made the horrible, horrible decision to play Elmo’s Christmas Countdown for him during the holidays and the boy has no concept of seasonal entertainment. Every day, Cole will say “Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle” or “Eh-mo, Eh-mo, Eh-mo” through his nanny. The degree to which the Wiggles and Elmo’s Christmas Countdown have taken over our lives and living room is staggering. I hear songs from the Wiggles episodes in my head ALL THE TIME. And since I’ve always been predisposed to taking songs and changing the lyrics, this is just bad. I’ve done a remix of the Wiggles’ flashback song that starts with “Let’s go back in time when Lynnette she was younger – she used to wear thongs, actually liked dad, and wore a belly ring, too.” She was furious the first time I broke that out. I don’t know, I thought it was hilarious. “You had a belly ring?” Madison asked. “Yes,” Lynnette said. “It was blue.” “What’s a thong?” Madison asked quietly and I cackled with delight.

Anyway, about 3 weeks ago Cole became aware of the difference between letters and number – even though he doesn’t really know any of them individually. This began a week-long period during which he would point at any number he saw and shout “Eight!” This is awesome, as 8 is my number. Over the last two weeks, though, he’s shown that he knows 1, that two follows, and that 8, 9, and 10 are bunched together in some order. And I think we have Elmo’s Christmas Countdown to thank for that.

So, yeah, not so good on the New Year’s resolution front for Cole and Avery. We’re working on it, though. Besides, it’s only January. Anything’s possible. Cole could kick the binky aside any day now. By April, Avery might be banging the cabinets to the tune of “Return of the Mack” for my birthday. It would be the ultimate troll move.

The Minnesota Miracle

Paul sent out a text to our family suggesting Arby’s instead of our usual weekly lunch at my parents’ house. He had a sheet of coupons that could feed us all for a reasonable price. If in 2002 you would have told me that in 2018 Paul would love alcohol and Arby’s more than I do, I would have asked you if I was dead. Yet here we are.

img_6161“Next year, we need to have someone take our family Christmas card right here,” I said between bites of delicious Arby’s roast beef. My mom laughed but I was kind of serious. We had a great lunch yesterday, in part because it was our first time together since the missile scare.

My mom said it made her realize that if it were to happen, there’s probably no way we’d be together. She’s right. I came to the same conclusion on Saturday night. An unsettling part of the whole ordeal, I think, is that the false alarm dismantled our hypothetical theories about what it might be like, how we might act. What we learned, I think, is that we won’t really be able to do anything. That’s the root, I think, of a lot of the emotions.

But by Sunday morning, our family was happy to be together again. “Dad just told Matty to close all the windows,” Tanya told me. “‘I’m gonna turn on the AC’ he said,” she finished. I laughed. “This is why I am who I am,” I told Lynnette. “Oh, my God,” she said, rolling her eyes. Paul bristled loudly at the fact that our parents didn’t call him during or after the warning. Sensing weakness, I went in for the kill. “Wait, mom and dad didn’t call you? She called us almost immediately,” I said. Paul didn’t even have time to react before Matty jumped in with “They probably thought you were still hungover and wouldn’t answer the phone, anyway.” Paul laughed. “Okay, fair,” he said. “But still,” he continued. “You should have called your favorite son, even if the cancellation went into effect…” and before he even finished, my dad turned away from him and rolled his eyes. “What have I created?” he asked rhetorically. He shook his head. Seated next to him, I laughed out loud. “I’m the chillest guy…” he muttered to himself. I had never seen my dad do that before. “OK, but did mom and dad really call you?” Paul said. I laughed. “No!” I said.


After lunch, Dad zipped home to catch his beloved Vikings play the Saints. The rest of us stayed at Pearlridge to shop. About an hour later, our family of five went to pick up dessert from Baldwin’s. I picked one up for dad to drop off. We got to the H, dropped off his rainbow with ice cream, then started off again in hopes of driving the twins into a nap. The problem was the twins already saw Grandma and Grandpa’s house and revolted as we drove away. “Just drop the three of us off at the house,” I said. “What?” Lynnette asked. “They’re mad at us because we’re not going to my parents’ house. Drop us off and you go do Mommy-Madison Time,” I said. “Really? What are we gonna do?” Lynnette said. “I don’t know. Go get pedicures,” I said. “Ooohhhh!!! I want a pedicure!” Madison said. “For real?” Lynnette said. “Yeah,” I said.

img_6355My dad started getting nervous as the Saints mounted their second-half comeback. “You guys not gonna do this to me again, are you?” he said wistfully in the final 10 minutes of the game.

When the Saints took a 21-20 lead, he sat up in his seat and said “Alright, Keenum, let’s see what you got.” When Fox cut away to show highlights of past Viking playoff failures via field goal, my dad was beside himself. “Why they gotta do that?” he said to no one, but probably Joe Buck.

He exhaled as Kai Forbath’s 53-yard field goal gave Minnesota a 2-point lead. But the very next thing he did was look at the clock. “That’s too much time for Brees,” he said of the 1:29 remaining. He knew. A lifetime as a sports fan and decades of having his fandom go unrewarded have taught him, conditioned him about what to expect from his favorite teams.

Brees did what Brees does and left the Vikings a scant 25 seconds away from another heartbreaker. My dad, Paul, and I started running scenarios: pass over the middle, hustle up, spike. As the seconds melted away, so too did our possible win-scenarios. “They have to make a 20 yard catch and then somehow get out of bounds,” I said. My dad didn’t answer. Of all the things we came up with, “touchdown pass” did not even occur to us. Then, this happened:

img_6354I took these pictures after the initial play. This is my dad reacting to the replay. It may as well have been in the first time because he was almost catatonic when the touchdown happened in real time. I jumped on him and hugged him as Diggs threw his helmet in the end zone. “Did that really just happen?” my dad kept saying over and over. He didn’t celebrate. As an embattled sports fan of a star-crossed franchise, he knew better. He waited. He looked at the clock. He looked for flags. He wanted to be sure this moment would not be ripped away from him. And then when he was sure, he shouted and cheered. Then – and this is the best part – got upset that Fox didn’t show Millie, a 99-year-old Vikings fan who was in attendance in her FIRST VIKINGS PLAYOFF GAME. Why? OGs respect OGs.

I don’t know if the Vikings will win the Super Bowl. Hell, I’m not even sure they’ll beat the Eagles in Philly next weekend. But my dad will always have the Minnesota Miracle. Watching my dad bask in it was almost as good as the Mets or Cowboys winning a big game. And, since neither of those two things will ever happen, I get to live vicariously through my father.

Dad,
I’m so glad the Vikings came through for you. I’m glad I was there to witness it with you. Thank you for helping me become a sports fan. You didn’t tell me that 99% of the time it sucks. But yesterday you reminded me that the other 1% is always worth it.