I Wanna Be Like Bandit!

I realize that the title of this blog (and the picture above) may be misleading, because it is not about Burt Reynolds. In my defense, they say that having a good blog title will make people want to read it – and here you are! So just what is this blog about? A cartoon role model.

Never Heard of It

The age difference between my oldest boy and my daughter is 18 years. The difference between my youngest son and my daughter is 13 years. Kids shows are constantly changing. Sure, some of the same shows my oldest watched were still on when my youngest was born. However, it seems that outside of Sesame Street, there are always new shows on. PBS is barely recognizable now outside of Sesame Street and Curious George (to me anyway).

Let me say before I go on that the TV is usually background noise. I do not plant my daughter in front of it and use it as a babysitter. In fact, the things she likes most are the theme songs. Once they are over, she’s off playing with her toys or bringing me books to read. The only show that she really watches is Bubble Guppies. I think she likes it because of the bright colors and the fact that there is a lot of music in the show.

Bubble Guppies

When Ella gets up in the morning, I usually give her a sippy cup of milk and turn on the TV. Most mornings I turn on Disney Channel. There is a show on there about a family of Australian dogs. It’s called Bluey. I had never heard of this show until recently. If I had to compare it to another show, I would say it is kind of like Peppa Pig, but better. So why I am writing about this silly little cartoon? And who could possibly be a role model on the show??

The Show

The show revolves around the Heeler Family – Dad (Bandit), Mum (Chilli) and the kids (Bingo and Bluey). The show was created by Joe Blumm, who based much of the show on raising his two daughters. He said that many of the story ideas were directly based on watching his daughters play. The program’s scripts show how children can use gameplay to learn lessons and integrate the world of adults into their own; Brumm noticed how his children would recreate interactions such as visits to the doctor, through roleplay. On the show, he wanted to portray the importance of imaginative play. His creative aims were to make children laugh, and show parents what children can learn while engaged in play.

The Role Model

Bluey’s Dad, Bandit, is a true role model for fathers. He is “all-in” as a dad. The reason I chose to write about him was that I noticed just what a fantastic dad he is! He doesn’t have his head in the newspaper, or his phone in his face while his kids are playing – he gets right in there with them. When the kids tell him what character he is – he becomes that character. Maybe he is a baby in the supermarket, or getting a shot at the doctor. Maybe he is a crazy robot or a garden gnome, whatever the role, he embraces it and plays the part like he is working toward an Academy Award!

Through it all, there are lessons to be learned as well. In one episode, Bluey finds a bird that is injured. She tells her dad who, rather than blowing it off or telling her to go talk with mommy, takes the bird to the vet. They wait for news at the vet, and find out that the bird died. He is there for her as she processes the new concept of death. There’s nothing funny about this, and there is no punch line (as you might see in a sitcom with your stereotypical sitcom dad). Bandit is a truly wonderful dad.

One thing parents tend to forget is that your time becomes your kid’s time. What do I mean by that? Simply this – if I want to sit down and watch a Detroit Tigers game on TV and Ella wants to play “Tea Party,” then I need to play with Ella! That’s that! Bandit is that way! If he is in the middle of mowing the grass and Bluey wants to play, the grass can wait! The kids are the priority! They get his full attention!

Looking back, I feel bad. I know there were many times that my boys asked me to do something and I was in the middle of something else. I found myself putting them on “hold.” The problem with that is – they keep growing and growing fast! By putting them on hold, you miss out on bonding and moments you will never get again. That being said, I turn to Bandit as my role model!! Maybe I need to ask myself in those instances “What Would Bandit Do?”

Do yourself a favor, especially if you are a parent – watch the episode of Bluey called “Take Away”. After watching it, you will see how wonderfully this cartoon shows the joys of parenthood and the occasional chaos that goes with it. If you don’t learn something from how Bandit handles the frustrations of the situation from this short cartoon, you missed something!

Almost every TV show today shows the dad as a goofball. Oh sure, they have their “moments” where they have the heart to heart talk with their kids and the lesson is taught, but most of the time TV dad’s are comic relief. Bandit is the dad that most of us dad’s should strive to be like.

Weekend Wrap Up

I am not working my normal schedule at work, so my days are a bit messed up. The weekend for me, basically consisted of half a Saturday and today. I work Friday overnight and get home Saturday morning about 8am. I slept till about 2pm and Sam woke me up so we could enjoy some family time together.

We’re not to keen on actually going out to dinner, but we ordered out and got food from one of our favorite restaurants. I’m not going to lie – it was nice to sit back and enjoy a great steak at home and be with Sam and the baby for the day (even if it was short).

Sunny Sunday Morning

Sam works tonight, so it was Ella and me today. She was up at 7:30, and after she ate, we went out for a walk in the neighborhood. There were a surprising amount of people up that early. We saw people walking their dogs, people taking out the trash, people riding their bikes, and people just enjoying the sunshine out on their porch reading the paper.

It got pretty hot today, but it was cool when we walked. I figured we should probably get the walk in before it got too hot. Ella just loves to be outside, so when we got home, we sat out on the front porch step and watched cars go by. She gets so excited when that happens. There is a church at the end of our street, so there were plenty of cars for her to watch this morning.

When we came inside to eat, we must have woke Sam up. Sam fed her (and let her play in the apple/strawberry/banana baby food that she didn’t eat). Naturally, she needed a bath afterward! She was obviously tired, and Sam was going back to bed to try to sleep, so she took Ella in the bedroom to nap with her.

I watched a pastor friend of mine from Grand Rapids on Facebook Live teaching on a passage in the book of Colossians until Ella woke up. I usually work Sunday night, too, and sleep most of the day in preparation for being up all night. Thank God for the Internet, as I can tune into pastor friends in my hometown, across the state, out of state, and even out of the country if I want.

“I know what we’re gonna do today…”

In all the time we have had cable TV, I guess I didn’t know we had Disney Channel. That was the channel that was on when I turned the TV on today. Usually, I turn on the TV for background noise, and it is usually on PBS. Sometimes, it is on Nick Jr. because Ella loves Bubble Guppies. Anyway, it was on Disney Channel and I was happy to see that there was a marathon of Phineas and Ferb on this weekend.

I used to watch this with the boys all the time. It was so much fun. If you are not familiar with the show, the entire show happens during the 104 days of Summer Vacation. Each day brings the boys on a new adventure. They are always building something out of this world, their sister tries to get them in trouble with their mom, and their pet platypus is a secret agent who stops an evil scientist from destroying the “tri-state area.” There’s always a musical number in each episode, too. It is a blast to watch.

I’m not sure if they were running them in order, but I know the last episode they showed was the actual series finale. Ella was sleeping in my arms while the last episode (which I had never seen before) played. Call me what you will, but I was totally wrapped up in it. Kudos to Dan Provenmire and Jeff Marsh for creating such an amazing show. Sadly, the entire series is not available on DVD. If it was, I would surely buy it … for Ella to watch …. with daddy….

I never had the chance to when I was doing radio full time, but I had always hoped to get to interview Dan Provenmire (who does the voice of Dr. Doofenshmirtz). I thought it would be cool if he could do my voice mail message – hell, I still wish I could have him do it! I’d love to sit and talk with him about the show. I messaged him on Facebook once and complimented him on the music numbers and he gave me a little insight into what went into that for every episode. Those are thing things I miss about not being in radio anymore – interviewing neat people.

Almost Monday

Ella is sleeping now and the sounds of her sound machine are coming out of the baby monitor next to me. I watched a message from a pastor in Warren about the importance of the Bible and how it will be used in the last days, which was very interesting. One thing the pastor mentioned was how he tries to read through the entire Bible once a year. I really need to find a way to do that.

As I ate my dinner, I watched our cat run back and forth chasing a fly that got in the house. She finally caught it … and ate it. I’m glad I was already done eating. I’m going to take a little trip down to see my dad tomorrow. He’s recovering from knee surgery and I want to make sure he doesn’t need anything done.

One request before I close – I have something brewing that I am hoping might pan out for me. I will be looking into it further this week. If you would be so kind as to pray for me, or send positive vibes, I’d appreciate it very much.

Thanks for reading!

Well, well, well. Look who’s back…

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This is my first blog since May 18th. I guess this is the longest I have gone between blogs and many have sent private messages wondering if I am doing okay. My good buddy, Max, sent an email asking about me and it took me a while to write him back. Knowing I work in the medical field, and knowing how often I blog, he feared the worst. Needless to say, he was relieved to hear back from me. I figured if folks were worried if I was still around, I’d take some time to write.

It is not that I haven’t had stuff to write about, because I certainly have. I guess I was just having a hard time motivating myself to do so. It has been a very emotional month. So where do I even begin?

When I last wrote, I had just celebrated my 50th birthday. It seems that every time I hit a mile stone birthday, something happens to remind me I am getting older. This birthday, I found myself trying to read and really having difficulty seeing the words. I had Lasik surgery done years ago and I have had no real issues with my vision. I was told that the only thing that they couldn’t correct was if I needed reading glasses. I need to make an appointment to have my eyes checked, but until then, I am reading with these ridiculous readers on!

Speaking of birthdays, I feel bad because two very important ones came and went since I last blogged and they certainly both deserved a full blog. My wife celebrated at the beginning of the month and my youngest son officially became a teenager just a few days ago. Birthdays in quarantine suck. I didn’t get to really do anything for either of them! It will be a week or two before I see my son, so I am planning on doing something for him when he is back here with me.

I got Amazon gift cards from my mother and father-in-law, and from my dad. I decided I’d get some vinyl to play. One for laughs and one for music.

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You can’t go wrong with Frank Sinatra. They remixed his Nice and Easy album and I picked that up.

Next, I found an album I had years ago that is loaded with laughs from the great Soupy Sales.

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Graduation on the Internet

My oldest son graduated this year. You may have seen something about his school, as it made national news. They rented the Drive-in theater in town and showed all of the commencement speeches, staff speeches, and called out every graduate’s name (while showing their pictures) on the three big screens. Sadly, only one car per student was allowed, so Sam and I watched the live stream from home. It was certainly not the way I thought I would see my son graduate.

I emailed the principal and voiced how disappointed I was that only one car was allowed per student. Certainly there were more divorced parents than just me! I had hoped that he would return my email, but that didn’t happen. So, I cheered and cried when they read his name from my living room. He wore his cap and gown to the ceremony, but I haven’t gotten any pictures of him in them. I am hoping that he will come by with them so I can at least get one.

Back to Work

I returned to work two weeks ago. I really wasn’t sure I was ready to return, but the doc thought I’d be okay. The lab where I work is open, but only a few of the staff is back there. The rest are still working in a labor pool at jobs that they are assigned to. When I returned to work, that was where I went. The only bad thing is, the labor pool is going away and that means I will have to take a temporary lay off.

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The thing that scares me is wondering if they will ever call me back. I know of many people in radio who were told they were being laid off temporarily, only to have the companies eliminate those positions and terminate them. This is happening all over as many companies are doing whatever is necessary to keep their business alive. In the weekly trade magazine that comes our for just country radio stations, there is almost three pages of people LOOKING for jobs, while there is just a half page of stations looking to hire people.

Father’s Day

Father’s Day I was up early to meet my sons for breakfast. It was the first time we’d eaten in a restaurant since things opened back up. It was nice to see both of them together. Lately, I have only been seeing Dimitri, as Dante’ is now working and usually hanging with his friends. We had a nice breakfast and I enjoyed my time with them.

When I came home, Sam had Ella all dressed for Father’s Day.

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I received my Father’s Day/Birthday gift from Sam between my birthday and Father’s Day. She ordered me something that was made special for me. She had hoped it would be here by my birthday, but it took a few weeks to make. I was floored by this when it arrived. It was a book –

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She got to design how I looked, and how Ella looked. She said it was hard because her hair was still looking red some days and blonde on others. There were various stories to put in the book. She had Ella point and those were the ones that ended up in the book. She asked me to read it and I could barely make it through. It made me so emotional. It was the perfect gift and I will treasure it forever!!

My Baby Girl

The one thing that has been a plus though all of this is the time that I have gotten to spend with Ella. She brings me so much happiness. On nice days, we always try to take a walk around the neighborhood. She loves it! We look at the squirrels, listen to the birds, say hello to neighbors, and just enjoy the nice weather.

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We like to play with her toys on the floor, she likes to bounce in her jumpy seat, we nap together, and occasionally, we’ll watch Bubble Guppies together (she likes the music on that show).

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Sometimes, I will put on my Dean Martin or Frank Sinatra albums and we’ll sway and dance in the living room. Having this precious time with her has been a blessing. With the layoff, I will have more time with her and that will be the positive in a negative situation.

Classes

My DVD’s arrived for my Bible classes. I am currently re-watching the first year (the stuff that I had already done) and will continue with the new classes when I am finished. Just revisiting these classes has been very beneficial for me. I am glad that I decided to return.

I certainly feel like my spiritual life is moving in the right direction. I have a lot of peace right now, despite the uncertainty that lies ahead. I have faith that no matter what is ahead of me …. Every thing will be okay.

Faith-in-the-unknown

With that being said, I guess that brings you up to date. I hope to not be so long between blogs. Thanks for reading!