Why Being a Dad in America is so Great
A friend of mine had asked about making a giant shoebox. At first I thought he was mocking the idea, then realized that he was willing to pay in American-Currency, not Monopoly money.


After watching the video from +Glass Impressions I started Googling the plans. There, of course, were plenty of plans and all for around $25. I found these plans from +Mario Cappellano at www.TheWoodFather.com. I wound up modifying them as I went, tweaking here and there and came up with this....




This is the single-drawer option from his plans. It's 40x28x19, closed. I used a dark ebony stain and 2 coats of urethane.




















When opened, the slide-out drawer leaves room for at least 6 pairs of shoes on the bottom and 6 more on the deck.








As I said, I used the PDF plans from TheWoodFather and made minor corrections. All the cuts are the correct dimensions and I used 3/8 plywood, 2 whole sheets. The plans called for a sheet and one-half of plywood,

The plywood was $15 per sheet, $8 for drawer sliders, $10 for a 48" piano hinge, and about $10 for a small jar of indoor urethane. It took me all Labor Day Weekend, minus the occasional Florida-rain, to finish it. All in all, I was into it for around $60 plus minor hardware. I used a 1" staple gun and the occasional screw on the corners to suck the joints together nice and tight.

#MegaShoeBox #GiantShoeBox #ShoeBox #Plans
Of course I want another sandwich for lunch... for the ump-teenth day in a row, to include weekends. Why shouldn't I love the taste of bread, processed meat, assorted vegetables, left to sog in a refrigerator several yards from where I'm going to eat it... 4-6 hours later.

The paragraph above was called 'sarcasm' and was introduced to early settlers by Conquistadors from Madagascar, Spain. It's a small suburb just north of Philly. Not Philadelphia, just Philly.

The paragraph above, while not sarcasm, was in-fact bull(expletive). It was introduced to you by me, just now. Let us continue...

So my wife thought an article on "what men really want... in their lunches" would be a popular blog post. Since she's really good at it (she makes no less than 5 every morning) I am still convinced that this is a trick to get me to bust myself. The REAL trick is, how does one go about writing such an expose without "outing" himself in the process? Let's find out...


To be honest, my lunches are 98% (+/-2% margin of error) of the time delicious. I'm not just saying that because my wife's within arm's reach, they really are good! Then again, it's 98% of the time, sandwiches. The sandwich has a long history, too. Unfortunately, I don't care. The point is, how many different ways can you make it? How many times do I have to eat it?! How many times do I have to eat by myself staring at my computer screen before I "saved enough money" to eat with my
co-workers at Carabbas?!??!! When, God, WHEN?! Since I'm on it, wanna know something else?! I don't give two-putts to a birdie about bread either! My wife will eat it by the loaf and talk about how delicious this bread is or how we need to buy a new bread maker because she loves bread! If she loves it so much she should marry it! To be fair, I smoke cigars and can tell you about every little odor, taste, or vintage. So I'll stop there. The point is, how many ways can you make a sandwich appealing before you want to throw your lunchbox at your coworker, or your coworker at your lunchbox.

I searched Google high and low... I searched for "ultimate brown bag lunch" and came up with a +Cooking Light article on a bunch of sandwiches that wouldn't make it through the first 4 hours of the day before becoming soggy messes. Then I searched for "how to make a man's sandwich" thinking that I'd get a lot of really awesome ideas! Wrong... I found +Food Network's "Sandwich King" Jeff Mauro who also makes some pretty amazing sandwiches... that you can't eat outside of a restaurant. So then I searched for "ultimate brown bag lunch" and came up with lots of articles about adding dips and sauces and garnishing your soups. Holy crap! Do people really "live" for that?

"Oh, buddy! Wait'll you see what the little lady packed for me today!"
"Yeah? Cat poop would beat what she made you yesterday!"
"Well I gave her 'the what for' last night and she's singing a new tune. Check this out!"

And you didn't kill yourself last night because today was going to be better? Yup, your tomato soup with garnish saved the world. How about this; I'll tell you what my wife does and you can tell me how to make it better. Then, I'll pass that along with the preface "this guy on the internet said..." and then I'll show you the pictures of what happened next. I think that'll work!

The first thing out is bread. It has to be fresh bread, obviously, but not the almost-expired-and-left-on-the-counter-so-it's-still-good,-right? bread. Next is the condiments, single-side only. If your lunch is gonna be damp then put it on one side so it doesn't ruin your entire lunch. You can still eat a one loafed sandwich and be legit. Next is some fresh veggies; not lettuce, we've gotta create a barrier for it to breathe! Were talking about onions, maybe some bell peppers, something for the meat to sit on like a throne! We're talking about the nerve center of your lunch here! Finally, throw down some meat. Whatever you want, just throw it on there! If you lay it on then it's not tender enough. Toss that meat right on there like you own it, but don't displace the veggies underneath. What you'll learn is that the soggy-ness comes from the bun-condiment-meat contact. Inevitably you placed your sandwich on the only side that could've ensured it's timely demise. Now, being properly educated though, you've created a barrier between the meat which will allow her to breathe and open up to you like a young flower on a warm day. You'll finish that bad-boy off with a slice o' lettuce (if you like) and the other loaf of bread. When you place it in your lunch make sure it's condiment-side-down, for that soggy-loaf-issue we talked about.

Everything else in your lunch is a compliment to your sandwich. Be honest, you've opened your lunch and saw the bag of smash you called a sandwich and even the Oreos didn't sound appetizing after that, right? It's all about presentation. Take pride in your preparation and the delivery will be flawless.

Armed with this basic and somewhat flawed knowledge, I'm curious to hear your side? What are some of YOUR lunch tips to make that brown bag look more appealing and less like a projectile? What are some good snack tips for the on-the-go lunch? What about the 'nibbler' who doesn't eat an entire meal in one sitting?
I remember sitting on my couch waiting for my Uncle to come over because my mom, the big-bad-ER-Nurse, couldn't pull a simple tooth! It blew my mind! I'd seen her dress wounds in the hospital that made ordinary men squirm but when it came to pulling her own son's first loose tooth you could forget it. In fact, I don't recall her pulling any of my teeth.

Last night my youngest son lost his first tooth... and I didn't have a single dollar bill. There are few horrors in the world such as this and fortunately for me there is a gas station just a few blocks away.

What spawned this article was not the recollection of loosing my first tooth but pulling my first tooth. Just as my mother was a nervous wreck to pull my first tooth, I, too, was "less than stable" when it came to pulling our daughter's first loose tooth. I put together a few tips for all those other "first-timers" to make your event go as well as mine.

TOOL LIST:
- Dental Floss (to tie to the tooth)
                                                      - Pre-folded tissue (for bleeding)
                                                      - Willing child (unwilling ones aren't worth arguing with)
                                                      - A little bit o' salt-water rinse (after you pull the tooth your child                                                              should rinse their mouth out)

A few important facts:

1) Pull straight up, not out. The New Kids-Center gives a few tips on how to extract those wiggly teeth but more importantly, pulling up on the tooth prevents further damage to the gum.

2) Control the situation. I place my thumb on the inside of my child's mouth and on top of, their adjoining teeth. This makes sure that I am pulling the tooth away and not allowing my child to jerk their head back when they see my hand start to move. Since I'm an avid fisherman this technique is common to me. The trick isn't to jam your thumb down his/her throat but to gently control the jaw bone via the neighboring teeth. Literally just pinching the jaw-bone between your thumb and forefinger.

3) Don't lose it! Literally, not emotionally. These little teeth fly and then get lost in the carpet. Try explaining that one to the tooth fairy. A good knot will keep the tooth within reach, a.k.a. tied to the dental floss. The +Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has a great site that shows you how to tie various knots. Ultimately, a simple knot will do. Just make sure you tie it on tight, and below the widest part of the tooth which is typically the gum line.

4) Pay the kid! Nothing worse than losing teeth and not having any coin. Of course, this is the tooth fairy's problem but you can help a fairy out at least! Another cool idea is from +Lainie Wicks at Maker*Land and they printed up miniature letters from the tooth-fairy. Pretty clever!

I've shared this video before from +Make: called the Tooth Fairy Transport System.


I hope this eases your tooth-pulling woes and puts you in a better position to yank those teeth out! Finally, let's all be honest and acknowledge the fact that +Pinterest is a real thing and check these certificates out...

#ToothFairy #FirstTooth #KidsDental
I was able to see a special sneak preview of +American Sniper starring Bradley Cooper but failed to post this review, for which I must apologize to you. But on with the news.... Without stating the obvious, "this movie's great! A must see! Great acting! Etc..." I want to give this movie an honest review with sincere content. I'll preface it with what I hope is an original statement; I don't like to read the book because it'll ruin the movie. 

I think the first great "war/military movie" of our generation was Saving Private Ryan. THAT movie set the bar for excellence and truly left everyone expecting Saving-Private-Ryan-esque results. You know the type; when you saw that movie you left the theater feeling a small twinge of PTSD and an intense feeling of patriotism. There hadn't been a whole lot of movies since then that addressed the subject of "war" until recently.

Lone Survivor and the story of Marcus Luttrell was, as far as I can remember, the first movie to broach the topic of the War in Afghanistan. You could tell that producers were waiting to see how it was going to be received by the general public before proceeding, too. But, thanks to movie directors who are willing to tell the story of these modern-day-Heroes, we have come upon an age of story-telling that broaches the delicate and numerous topics that war produces.

American Sniper is the true-story of +Chris Kyle, a normal rodeo-riding-guy from Texas who joined the +US Navy Seals after seeing the embassy bombing on TV. Naturally he's a good shot. What I most enjoyed of about the movie were the "effects of war". Clint Eastwood did a superior job demonstrating the biggest killer of Veteran's, PTSD. NIH medicine posted an article on PTSD that says "... hundreds of thousands of service men and women and recent military veterans have seen combat. Many have been shot at, seen their buddies killed, or witnessed death up close. These are types of events that can lead to PTSD.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that PTSD afflicts:
  • Almost 31 percent of Vietnam veterans
  • As many as 10 percent of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans
  • 11 percent of veterans of the war in Afghanistan
  • 20 percent of Iraqi war veterans"
American Sniper, obviously, is a "must see", and while it's intense action and true-story plot line will keep you on the edge of your seat, it will also make you keenly aware of the hidden killer of today's veterans. Not a whole lot needs to be said about this movie, nor CAN it be said without ruining it, just make sure you see it and "Never Forget". Hopefully this will push you over the edge to see it if you were teetering on the fence of uncertainty

#AmericanSniper #ChrisKyle #Hero
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