To The Man Who Pinches His Nickels Hard Enough to Make the Beaver On Them S#@t

Ah, it’s Father’s Day. How could I forget Father’s Day? Pffft. Who forgets Father’s Day? Not this gal!

Of course, it’s my duty as a daughter to mention the man who is partially responsible for bringing me into the world today. Such an unfortunate thing, as I’m certain all of you are thinking. Well, you can blame him for my existence ha ha! One night of debauchery with my mother and whamm-o! Et voila…me. My apologies. There, I apologized for my parent’s shortcomings!

My father is quite the fellow and it’d be criminal of me not to tip my hat and say a few nice things about him on this day, deemed for thy fathers. In fact, I’m certain that if I didn’t call or send him a text, that he’d give me a nudge to the ribs via text message to remind me what day it is and to ‘ahem’, pay my dues. And you wonder where my sarcasm comes from! Well look no further than my Pops.

Where to even start explaining about this man evades me. There are just far too many stories that capture the very essence of the man I call Dad. His backstory is complicated and riddled with drama. On top of all that, it was recently ‘sprinkled’ with a twist of irony. You wouldn’t even know it by looking at him, but it’s the honest truth.

Coming from all of that, he’s one of the most influential and inspiring people in my life. He is definitely one of the many who proves that despite a shitty start in life, with hard work and determination, you can become who you want to be and create a good life for yourself. No excuses. Everyone has something to offer this world and all of us possess the ability to work hard. He’s an excellent example.

Enough with the tissues…for now, and on to what really matters! My dad is certainly ‘The Man, The Myth, The Legend’ and many of the people I’ve encountered in my life, love to hear the stories of absurdity that I grew up with. The main character in many of these oddball story lines, is none other than my dear old dad. For today, I thought I’d merely begin by introducing him. Buckle up Buttercup, shit’s about to get interesting.

Introducing, my dad, Mr. Fix It…aka Shitterman

My dad has super powers. Yes, you read that correctly. He is a tradesman and whence called upon, could save your ass, big time. If you don’t agree, plug up your high society boss’s shitter or someone you’d be deathly mortified of informing, that you plugged their toilet because you are superior to all, and don’t shit, and then get back to me. Remember, you’re not fooling anyone because we all poop, in one way or another. Only then will you understand what I mean by super powers.

Yes, a terrifying moment that I’m certain many have encountered in one form or another. Plug up the hotel shitter and don’t want to call maintenance out of the sheer terror of them seeing your creation? Then Bob’s your uncle and you belong to the Mortification Club! Got turds? Well, my dad’s got a snake. Tit for tat, beat that shit down. Cue the music, Shitterman has defeated the turd! Hooray! Still think he ain’t super?

I’ve witnessed the man fix many a thing, and have also witnessed his own folly at the act of being cheap…as you will read about shortly. But first, he is the Mr. Fix It type, when it suits his fancy. His house, for instance, has had issues in the past because he was too busy fixing other people’s and he didn’t feel like fixing his own. That’s usually the norm I would think.

I’ll put it this way, if I were say, a mechanic for example, I’m certain my car wouldn’t run for shit because I wouldn’t want to fix my own vehicle on my days off because that’s all I do all day, every day. Apply that logic to many things, and I’m certain you’ll see it. If not, then my Dad just prefers the stuff in his house to work a certain way I guess. Flush the shitter and the lights turn on, clever Dad.

I bear the same affliction he and many others have…Do It Yourself Syndrome. Shit never gets done unless someone threatens to call someone else to do it for you. You’re capable, but you keep putting it off because it’s a chore. Yeah, confession time…I get that from my dad….I think…a combination of my folks perhaps. Self-reflection is terrifying, let me tell you.

My dad, El Ass-o Cheap-o

Anyway, at one point, my dad was so cheap that he’d cut the heat from the furnace in the dead of winter, opting for the heat of the ‘good ol’ days’, from a wood burning stove. I used to tease him by saying that he was so tight with money, that any time he walked, his ass would squeak, cheap, cheap, cheap. As you can imagine, one extremely cold night in Canada, caused his house to freeze up. All of the utilities, like the hot water tank, water lines and furnace were located in the basement, while the wood stove was on the main level, bedrooms on the second…get the picture?

Obviously, heat rises and the water lines coming from the basement weren’t getting any heat because the furnace had been shut off, completely. Who needs to pay for heat? Heat schmeat. Another obvious observance, the heat from the wood stove didn’t drop down into the basement, to heat all the important, working parts of a fully functioning household in Canada. Fun right? Water lines can break when freezing and cause flooding once reheated…you get the picture. This shouldn’t happen in a house owned by a trades person, should it? It does.

This is also the man, who went out to play hockey for a few hours after we called, seeking assistance regarding our furnace, that had completely ceased functioning during -30 C. He quickly gave us a rundown of things to try as he ran out the door to play hockey, promising to call back after he got home. Heat for his grandchildren or hockey…I think you know the answer to that question.

When Mom could see her breath when she got up in the middle of that fateful night to pee (I think she’s lying, the woman can’t see shit without her reading glasses and I know for a fact that they were buried at the bottom of her purse, dirty as hell, on the main level at that time) and saw that her toilet had no running water to flush, they knew they’d made an oops. Just a little too cheap there, hey Dad? I bet it was freezing!

Their waterlines were frozen and apparently they had a bit of a leak. Needless to say, my dad had to figure out another way to pinch his nickels hard enough to make the beaver on them shit. Thawing waterlines at 4 a.m. in your ginch isn’t fun, just ask him.

We actually stayed in that basement when this heat off obsession was going on, and we had to wear every article of clothing we’d brought, including our parkas, mitts and toques. We still froze. It was so bad, no one wanted to visit them because their house was so damn cold. We lived to tell about it, obviously. Those were some of the coldest nights I’ve ever survived and they were inside. No lie!

Good thing Dad is capable of fixing that kind of stuff. He would’ve been real pissed if Mom would’ve made him call someone after being without working plumbing for months because of his extremely frugal nature. I’m sure that if this happened a few years ago, back when he was extremely (and I mean extremely) super cheap, he would’ve let them do only what was necessary to cut costs. That’s my dad!

My dad, the King of the E.R.

Now that you know he’s around a plethora of power tools, it should come as no surprise that he ends up visiting the emergency room…often, and carries a frequent flyer card. Yeah, my dad is one of those guys. I’m betting that he’s probably provided many a doctor, nurse and any company they may have kept over the decades, with tons of colorful stories about the ridiculous accidents he has presented to them with. I doubt they ever believed him.

To add insult to injury, when the folks reappeared after visiting the emergency room, we often met them eagerly at the door with the question, “What’s the damage?”, making it seem like my father had been before a judge for sentencing and not the E.R. We never heard 50 lashes or anything, but 5 stitches or a week in a sling wasn’t unheard of. If it was a week off of work, an eye patch, or antibiotics for blood poisoning, all bets were off that it was going to be a civil household with Dad’s broken ass parked on the couch. He was a miserable patient and my mother was never meant to be a nurse, I’ll just leave it at that.

As for believable, the bow hunting bow incident on his birthday rings a bell. Bacon grease and a compound hunting bow, do not go together. They should have a warning sticker for that. A piece of bacon next to a hunting bow in one of those slashed red circle things. Yeah, they need to do that. Then again, who reads directions or pays attention to those stickers? In reality, Dad should’ve been wearing the arm guard that came with it, but who uses safety shit like helmets and bow hunting arm guards anyway? That’s for the weak…I’m kidding ha! Lesson learned, the hard way.

Upon receiving his glorious gift, he decided to draw his brand new compound bow to try it out. When his bacon grease covered fingers lost their traction, the string managed to strike and scrape the inside portion of his forearm. Owie. I believe it was a 65 lb compound bow, or something along those lines.

You need to have a little muscle to draw the string back (okay there Katniss) and it had a bit of torque upon it’s release. Fun. All I remember seeing was my mother and father booting it out of the driveway in their minivan at full speed without any indication of where they were headed. We had no cell phones back then, so hours later upon their return, we heard the amazing story about the grease and the bow. I had no idea that a forearm could turn that many different colors, fascinating.

When they say that chicks dig scars, my mother would disagree. If anything, the trips to the E.R. have been far too many and somewhat of an inconvenience over the years, and Dad has the scars to prove it. In fact, I think my mother has taken him to the hospital more times than he’s taken her out for a nice meal. Ouch. We can only go up from here Dad, make it count!

While growing up, it was a good day if we could add to the Safety is Our Business sign, that my mother had hanging in the front entrance of our childhood home. The sign proudly displayed titles proclaiming how many days Dad was first aid and injury free (yes, the very same sign often seen hanging in industrial warehouses). We’d celebrate each day that we added to it and were always so disappointed when we had to start over after a mishap, deflating.

My mother has never given my father a scar, but I’m certain that after all these years, she’d like to lay claims to just one. Now that I think of it, my mother did actually try to give him one, an emotional scar. In doing so, she also scarred her 3 amazingly stellar children. Her attempts to train my father were futile, but she successfully managed to get her point across…to her children. Shame on you Mom…actually more like Dad! The list of his repeated offences is long…I mean loooong, and we ended up paying for it more than he did!

My dad, the bad boy

My mother had a unique and twisted way of punishing my poor father when he was a ‘bad boy’. I highly, highly doubt anyone can relate to this, but I can definitely say that when my folks told us that if you went to prison and they fed you nothing but bread and water as punishment, I can confirm that that would indeed be classified as a viable method of torture and punishment. I still haven’t forgiven my folks for this one.

If Mom ended up feeling just a little pissed at my dad, she lovingly presented him with his all-time favorite meal upon arrival at home for dinner after a hard day’s work, chili. Yes, homemade chili. I’m sure you’re thinking that chili ain’t no punishment, but my father loathed chili. Needless to say, my dad was often a bad boy, and we had to eat that shit often. My mother, the sadist. Ugh I hated beans then. Now, I love them, but then, ugh.

It only took how many years before I could stand to make it and eat it again, after suffering the many years of bad boy chili my mother punished us all with. She made it so damn often (either my Dad was a slow learner, he really loved Mom’s chili, or he just really loved to piss her off…still trying to figure that one out), we learned to like it. How’s that for cruel parenting back in day?

Bread and water my ass…chili, now there was a formidable punishment. After many a bad boy chili meal, I witnessed my father’s attempts at reverse psychology. He’d often hit the door and exclaim how excited he was that we were again, having bad boy chili. Man did that piss my mother off! I’m surprised she didn’t start shitting in the chili out of spite.

I’d sit at the dinner table stewing and thinking, for fuck sake Dad! As if the 3 of us kids didn’t get ourselves into enough shit with Mom, why’d he have to join in too? Why we were subjected to Dad’s punishment, I’ll never know. I won’t even start on her stew…that’s capital punishment right there. Sorry Mom, your stew is horrible, and it makes Satan’s asshole look like a decadent eclair. I’m not apologizing for that one, no way!

My dad, I wouldn’t change him for the world

Anyway, growing up with a dad like mine (who was really the 4th child because he’s just a big kid), has provided me with many wild and funny stories that I love telling my own kids. I had a very memorable childhood. We never had a dull moment when he was around, in fact, there still aren’t any dull moments when he’s present. He’s quite the character, and I promise that if you meet him, you wouldn’t be disappointed.

Even though I grew up, left home and have been married for many years, my dad is still my treasured fishing and hockey buddy. Yes, I am his daughter, not his son and he did all of the same things with me that he would have if I was his son. And he does have a son, in case you were wondering.

He and I threw the pig skin around, he mocked the ever loving shit out of me (and Lea, although she wasn’t as pissy as I, because Dad loved to get our goats) when we’d shoot hoops, and he took to me to work when he needed another set of hands. He gave me the skills and confidence to do many of the things required around the house, just by taking me to work with him. For anyone with kids in their lives, pass on your knowledge regardless of whether you think it’s useful or not. You’d be amazed at its value, when you see it in their hands.

My dad was the dad that all the other kids wished for, often getting himself into trouble with teachers when he made rare appearances at school. He was always a part of our sporting endeavors, he helped coach my brother’s hockey teams over the years while my mom coached Lea and I (yes my mom coached because we didn’t have a coach) and my dad always came out to give her a hand. He also refereed or stepped up to help wherever he was needed throughout the years. He’s always been fearless in trying new things, just so we’d get to do what he’d never been able to do as a kid himself. Whenever any of us has a question or a project regarding home renovations or anything, he’s either there to help or only a call away for some step by step advice.

On forgiveness

He’s the ultimate dad and today, I’m going to take a big step and put on my big boy panties and say, I forgive you.

Wow, it feels great to say that. I feel a million pounds lighter! Forgiveness is one of the hardest things to do, and today I am extending the olive branch and offering forgiveness.

I forgive you Dad, for subjecting us to all the years of bad boy chili nights because of your insolence.

Ha! I’m sorry, that was bad.

Oy vey, I’m just like my father! Poor Clem. Luckily, I don’t get bad boy chili! Clem makes stew…ick. I despise stew, especially when he loads it with turnips. Gag.

You are such a rebel Dad! Needless to say, I see a lot of him in myself and even though I may tease him about it, I’m happy to have inherited his good traits. The others, like being like his mother, yeah, I didn’t get those, thankfully. I’m so sorry that you inherited those Dad. My condolences.

I’m going to pay for that one, I just know it! Ha ha!

So Dad, (I know you won’t read this) but I hope you have an amazing Father’s Day this year. I hope you know how much we all love and appreciate you. You’ve been quite the inspiration and I look forward to the many more laughs we will have and the new and exciting lessons you’ll pass on to us as life moves us forward. I’ll tell Mom to take you out for some fancy schmancy (A&W hamburger restaurant) tonight, I’ll even buy. Calm your cheap ass down! It’s only a burger! I’m only kidding…or am I?!

Happy Father’s Day Dad! I love you!

And Clem, I didn’t forget about you today. I hope that you also have an amazing day and know how much you mean to your kids, and of course me. I subjected you to my evil writing ways on your birthday, and decidedly felt I should spare you from my fanatical endeavors this time around. I hope you have an enjoyable day. We love you, Happy Father’s Day!

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