Blogger: Michael Strange – “The No Filter Father”

So, we just got past Valentine’s Day. Another corporate holiday where we exchange $8 cards that our loved ones spent 6.8 seconds reading, because they we’re pissed that no money (or the lazy man’s thoughtless gift…the gift card) fell out when they opened the card.  Seriously that’s almost like saying to the person, “well I did spend five fucking minutes at CVS staring at all the gift card options. so I really do care”.   A gift card also says, “I don’t know what the fuck you like, so here’s a gift card so you can go buy it yourself”. The gift card is equivalent to when you bought your loved one a shitty romcom dvd in the 90’s that you pulled out of the $5.99 or less box, at Blockbuster.  But you quickly realized that it was a bad idea, because she made you sit through 90-minutes of Jennifer Lopez or Meg Ryan’s horrible acting.

And why is there “special” candy/chocolate for every fucking holiday? Think about this, in a span of a little more than 100 days you have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and Valentine’s Day. No wonder we all move around like emperor penguins in March. We ate so much garbage for three months that our waistline increased two inches and we have to waddle around. I’m waiting for the chocolate companies to come out with Lincoln and Washington chocolate faces for Presidents’ Day. Enough already. But at least for St. Patrick’s Day, I get to have beer.

My wife was on a one-day business trip for Valentine’s Day. I think she planned this on purpose, and I don’t blame her.  I spent the day with my son Cameron, debating which Kardashian I should cheat on her with, and which one would make the best stepmother (Cameron said Kim because we would have access to all Yeezy clothes, but I went with Kourtney, she seems like a better mom, and she doesn’t have any sex tapes out yet, so I won’t be embarrassed by her).

In most relationships, when you have children, you start to have less and less alone time or date nights. You can’t get a sitter, grandparents live too far away, or they are sick of the kids by now. But when you do have that night or time, what do you do? How do you bring spark back into a relationship? It doesn’t always have to be a weekend getaway, or champagne and chocolate covered strawberries. A fancy dinner, a new car, golf clubs… these things are all great, and most wives or partners should be getting their husbands or loved ones them on a yearly basis.

I recently had a simple night out that my wife and I enjoyed every second of.  My wife gets mad at me all the time when we are out in public. She says I’m always looking at my phone, scratching several body parts at the same time, or I have my hands moving around in my pants pockets for an extended period. But like most well trained dogs, I know when to behave. A few months ago my in-laws were in town (they live on the left coast), they were kind enough to watch the kids for a few nights and that allowed us to spend some quality time together. One evening we went for Korean BBQ in Stamford, I highly recommend it. It was my choice. Another one of those amazing evenings, my wife wanted to do something more romantic, she wanted to go to Home Goods.

julI agreed to go, and  I immediately washed my hands and trimmed my nails. But I realized that this was our night out so I left my phone behind. I knew my wife wanted to get some decor for the house, plus I figured that if we got it all done tonight I wouldn’t have to go again for awhile. So I helped pick things out, I even let her hold hands with me in the store.  I gave my three cents on things she wanted to buy (the extra cent is for extra sarcasm).  We had a great time (she won’t admit it but she always has a great time).  Sometimes when you least expect it and do the simplest thing in a relationship, it can bring you so much closer.  So the next time you have a free day/night, think about something so simple that you can do together: take a drive together, look up an obscure place on The Food Network’s “Diner, Dives and Drive Ins”, and go there. It’ll be a day to remember.

Alright. That’s enough of the sappy bullshit. Here are some notes:


1. Whenever I go to a store, and someone working there has a name tag on, I always call them by their name and thank them by their name. I think it is polite. I usually say their name several times during the transaction. But these days it can be tough, because these millennials have weird names and I can’t pronounce them. And a few times I have been harshly corrected by them.  One said to me: “Velutina…it’s a type of butterfly from South America, how do you not know this?!?!”.  But the other day the gentleman that was helping me was named Dick. He was big and could kick my ass. What do you do? I’m not going to be like “Hey DicK…”How are you dick?”…”Wanna double bag that one, Dick?”.  Needless to say, I just called him Sir.

2. I applied to be on the TV show match game. I love the show, always have. How the fuck could you not like a show with Charles Nelson Reilly on it? They liked my application and called to interview me.  Being that I was not in the greater Los Angeles area, they said “no thank you”. Apparently they didn’t pay for travel. I feel so violated. Damn you, Alec Baldwin #metoo.

3. The Oscars are this week. I love Hollywood, and how they help with social issues for the common person. Last year was the big post Harvey Weinstein movement, and they decided to give an Oscar to Kobe Bryant!! Seriously??? What’s next, a posthumous humanitarian award to Pol Pot? Hollywood wants to tell us about gun control, meanwhile, almost every movie there is violence. Or gender pay equality, when Gwyneth Paltrow makes 10m for a eight-week movie shoot and says it’s harder to be a working mom, than it is to be a 9-5 mom. In short, it is sad that athletes and entertainers have an influence on how we think as a society.

4. Little history fact: when Harry Truman was preparing for his State of The Union Address in 1947, the biggest concerns he had was addressing health care, and how to take care of the growing number of elderly people in the country. Seventy plus years later, these are still two hot topics in this country, and sadly they look to be a bigger problem going forward.

5. My birthday is in March. I look forward to my birthday, always have. But now that my kids are older, I get to spend the day with them, covered in hugs.  They love helping me blow out the candles on the cake. It really is special. And I hope one day, when they are older, and have money of their own, I hope they actually buy me something that I WANT!!!!!!!

Native New Yorker, now living in Connecticut. Husband, and father of two amazing boys. Kidney transplant recipient, and a big supporter of organ donation #donatelife. Mortgage banker, but not by choice. In my free time, I enjoy golf, reading (especially presidential biographies), and finding that hole in the wall restaurant that has great food.
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