Where my dad can fix anything

My dad worked as a mechanic for most of his young adulthood. In fact, that’s how he and my mom met. For as long as I can remember, my dad has always been working on cars, and he can fix any problem anyone is having with their vehicle – well, if it’s made by Ford or General Motors. 

It seems like almost every weekend, someone needs their car repaired. From oil changes and flat tires to completely rebuilding the rear end of a car, when people have car problems, they call my dad. And I am more than grateful that not only does he keep my 1998 Sunfire running, but I’ve never had to take it to a garage and spend an outlandish amount of money to get it fixed. Or deal with mechanics trying to screw me over because I’m a young girl.

At some point, I realized that my dad could fix more than just cars. He also does electrical repairs, fixes mild plumbing issues, and he’s fixed his microwave so many times that we’re still using the same one he had BEFORE HE MARRIED MY MOTHER IN 1986. 

Anyway, I learned at a very young age that if something is broken, you take it to daddy. So when I went shopping the other day (don’t look at me like that, I can stop any time I want), and I saw a shadow box I really wanted with a broken hinge, I bought it anyway because I knew dad could fix it. 

So when he got home yesterday, I set the box in front of him and said “help.” It took him all of 20 seconds to realize what was wrong with it, and sent me after tools. After about 10 minutes of unscrewing and screwing the screws back in, adjusting, leveling, and deciding he needed more parts (all to fix a picture frame mind you), he had it done. 

My dad can fix anything. =)


Where I realize I’m slowly becoming my father

There are a lot of things I know I got from my dad, like my allergies, my height, and my love of sweatpants. But since moving in with him, I’ve noticed a whole slew of other traits and habits that I must have picked up without realizing it. 

1. The way we drink our coffee. Okay, so the major difference here is that I like hazelnut creamer in mine, and my dad likes Sweet’n Low in his, but we both get our coffee maker around the night before so we have to do minimal thinking in the morning in order to make it. We both have one specific mug we use every day, and will clean it out by hand ten times in a row rather than just use a different mug. Because that’s not the right mug. We both drink our coffee scalding hot, rather than waiting for it to cool down. And we both would drink an entire pot if we had the time. 

2. We have the memory of goldfish. My dad makes a list of everything he needs from every store sitting on his desk, and while he remembers to put all of his needed items on the list, he almost never remembers to take the list with him when we go to the store. He’ll drive right by his destination simply because he forgets where he was going. This was always a laughing point for me when I was younger. That is until I realized that I do the same things. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve walked to the kitchen or the living room or wherever and have no idea what I was doing there. I’ll forget that I have to go to the Post Office the second I walk out the door. I can’t imagine how I’m going to be when I get older. 

3. I’m a bit of a hoarder. I have more than just one “memory box” of keepsakes from my childhood, I have over 100 pairs of shoes, and if I had it my way, I’d have an entire library full of books. So while my dad and I don’t collect the same things, two people living in a 600 square foot house who both keep just about everything ever (looking at you and your empty prescription bottles from 1993 dad), is probably not a good idea. 

4. I’m very particular about the way I fold my laundry, so much so that I won’t let anyone else touch it. If you’re into origami, you should see my dad fold towels. It’s an art, it really is. If you ever get the chance to watch the long, meticulous process that is my dad folding his laundry, run in the opposite direction. Not only does it take him three times as long as a normal person, but you’d have to see his underpants. 


And trust me on this, that’s not a pretty sight. 

5. Okay this last one is a bit embarrassing. When my dad works on cars he has to stop and pull his pants up no less than 30 or 40 times. The fact that he wears his pants all the way up to his belly button probably doesn’t help the situation, but last week when I got a flat tire, I began to see just how much like my dad I really am. Fortunately, I was at home when this happened, so my dad was there to help me change it, but the second I bent down to take the lug nuts (that’s probably not the right thing is it?) off, my pants began to fall down. As discreet as I tried to be when I stood up to pull them up, I heard the words “Alright Bert,” escape my dad’s lips, and it was then that I knew I was doomed to become just like him sooner than I’d hoped.

I guess the apple really doesn’t fall far from the tree. 

What are traits you guys got from your parents that you’d like to change?


Where Katy and I write a blog together

My sister Katy and I have been planning on writing a blog post together since I started this thing, and we finally got to spend some time together to write one. We decided to compile a list of all of the annoying things our dad says. You’ll hear both of our voices throughout.

My dad’s jokes have not changed since he made them all up in the 70’s. My mother, after having been divorced from my dad for 20 years now, can still accurately predict which bad joke my dad will use and when. And she’s right every. single. time.
Much like my dad’s terrible jokes, he has a set response to every question Katy and I asked him while growing up. These phrases have become a huge nuisance to us, so we decided to compile a list of obnoxious things our dad says. You’re welcome.

18. “What does that have to do with drag racing? OR What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?” – He thinks he’s so clever.
17. “I hate all children, I can tolerate my own.” – Okay dad, if you say so.
16. “Shortly” – The answer to when we’re going to leave. This could be anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes or longer.
15. “Women and children are to be seen, not heard.” – The worst part about this is that he’s not joking. Mostly about the children.
14. “I need you to make a sign.” – At shows, dad has us make signs for EVERY SINGLE THING. There are always new signs to be made and prices to be changed.
13. “I have a chore for you.” – Dad ALWAYS had a chore for us. This could be anything from throwing something away to reroofing the house. 
12. “You’re supposed to say Ralph!!” – Our father thinks it’s absolutely hilarious to say “Ralph” every time he burps. So when anyone else burps like a normal human being, instead of critiquing the loudness and depth like any other father, he informs us that we didn’t burp some guy’s name whom we never met.
11. “You’re mumbling to your shirt.” – This one is mostly for me (Liz). When I was younger, I had a quieter voice (I know, hard to believe now), and dad had a hard time hearing me when I talked. However, dad was the only one who didn’t understand me, and whenever someone said, “What?” to something that I said, he would tell me I was mumbling to my shirt. 
10. “Who’s bugging you on my time?!” – Being the young women that we are of a very technological generation, Katy and I always have our cell phones on us. And being the vibrant, popular girls that we are (stop laughing), we get a lot of texts. And every time our phones go off, dad wants to know who’s bothering us. Usually it’s him.
9. “Neither a borrower nor a lender be…” – Dad enjoys quoting Shakespeare at us whenever we lend money to each other or another friend or family member.
8. When he tells us in excruciating detail how to do something we’ve done a million times before, yet expecting us to know what a bent-handle flex ratchet is on the first try.
7. “An eye for a life.” – Liz doesn’t hate this one as much as I do, but today he seriously thought it was acceptable to want to pull a gun on someone for accidentally breaking something of his. *Note, he didn’t actually pull a gun on someone*
6. When we’re in the car, sometimes Katy and I would make the mistake of asking dad what our destination was, and we would respond by singing, “NORTH TO ALASKA…” It’s a simple question so that you don’t feel hopelessly kidnapped and dragged to one of dad’s friends’ houses or some other horrible location. The worst part is that moment when you realized you’ve set yourself up for it and there’s nothing stopping him from continuing his horrendous version of this already terrible song. And, in his own words, dad sounds a vulture with laryngitis when he sings. 
5. “Pride is a sin.” – So is gluttony, that’s all I’m saying.
4. “Pay attention.” – When we go to shows with dad, it’s our job to watch a certain half of our table. Dad will literally pull our attention away from watching the table to tell us to pay attention and watch the table.
3. “Do as I do, not as I did.” – For him, this means don’t drink or smoke like he did for decades. Dad likes to make up his own versions of old sayings (and then telling us it’s “an old saying he just made up”), this one is especially horrible because he thinks his morals are THE morals and there’s no room for interpretation. It also makes him a bit of a hypocrite.
2. “I don’t know how to make it any more crystal clear than that.” – Nothing is worse than hearing him explain how a carburetor works in details that even a NASA employee wouldn’t understand, but then for him to essentially tell you that you’re an idiot because he can’t “make it any more crystal clear than that” except maybe…
1. “I don’t know what you expect me to do from here.” Every time one of our cars break down (which is often since they both were made before the new millennium) we call dad, we explain the problem, and we get this answer. Obviously, we are both smart, well-educated women who know that dad cannot teleport himself to wherever we are and fix the car. Usually we’re just calling to inform him of what happened and maybe some simple guidance as to what WE could do “from here,” not so he can fix it with his mind powers.

We don’t hate EVERYTHING our dad says; here are some funny ones…

“Good place to put a road.” – Dad says this whenever he drives on a road that needs to be redone. I (Katy) love this one, so much so that I use it myself.
“I owe, I owe, it’s off to work I go.” – (Sung to the tune of Hi-Ho…obviously) Dad used to have these lazy neighbors who did nothing but sit on their porch all summer, so he used to whistle this tune every time he left to go to work.
“If Ma were still alive…” – Our grandfather is a slob, he leaves trash, cups, newspapers, mail, and other assorted crap all over. Both dad and our Uncle Jim frequently lecture him about how little he would get away with if his wife were still alive.
“Thaaat’s enough.” – This is the best thing dad says. When we were kids, dad used to get us every weekend from our mom’s house. When he picked us up, he would also get our younger brother David to take him to his dad’s house for the weekend too, and David loves to sing. Dad hates music. Every time David started to sing, dad would stop him immediately with “Thaaat’s enough,” and it cracked us up every time. This was usually followed by, “I try to stop him on the first note.”

What are some annoying things your parents say?

Where my dad teaches me a family recipe

When I was younger, my sister Katy and I would go to our dad’s every weekend, and we usually spent most of our time with our cousins Kelsi and Kayla. Whenever my dad would ask the four of us what we wanted for dinner, the answer was almost always the same: goulash. 

When most people make this dish, it consists of pasta, tomatoes, and beef. And it’s usually less than appetizing. My dad’s goulash is more of a soup, with ground meat, onions, garlic, spices, pasta, beans, and tomato juice and it is DELICIOUS. 

In 2006 when I decided to become a vegetarian, my dad’s goulash was the recipe I missed the most. About halfway through my freshman year of college, I decided to start eating chicken and turkey again because it was so hard to be a vegetarian while living in the dorms (especially since I don’t like mushrooms or eggs). It wasn’t until last year though that I started experimenting with ground turkey and turkey bacon. I’ve been wanting to try out my dad’s goulash recipe for a while now and after one attempt in which the end result didn’t taste anything like my dad’s, I asked him to show me how to make it. 

It took me a while to get him to warm up to the idea of using ground turkey instead of ground beef, but I finally had him convinced. So I spent my Friday night learning how to make a family recipe. I use the term “family recipe” lightly by the way since it’s now been passed down to a grand total of two generations. 

When I was little I always begged my dad to use at least three or four different types of pasta, but when I tried that this time he gave me a look that very clearly said, “You are not eight years old anymore.” He would only let me use two. Let me just add a note here about how my dad likes his pasta cooked. He basically wants mush. He waaaaay overcooks his pasta, and every single time we make something together we have an argument about how long to cook it for. If you ask my dad, and I quote, I eat my pasta “right out of the box.” He really doesn’t understand el dente. At all.

Anyway, I’ll wrap up Friday night because I still have Sunday to tell you all about. And in case you were wondering, it turned out really good, even with turkey and no jalapenos, contrary to what my dad will tell you. 

Sunday I spent all day with my dad setting up at a collector show (just because this blog is public, I’m not going to disclose what it is my dad sells at these shows, but I will say that all the dealers are middle-aged to older men). This show was in East Lansing in the middle of MSU’s campus, wait for it, ON ST. PATRICK’S DAY! Who planned this? Despite the 30 degree weather, there were still drunk college kids walking all over campus. Good planning guys. 

Here’s an excerpt of an actual conversation between my dad and me that morning:

“Dad, a lot of these guys aren’t wearing green for St. Patrick’s Day.”


Hahaha, can we just take a moment to appreciate this?

Okay, moment over. I don’t think my dad realizes what a big deal St. Patrick’s Day is at MSU. Students there wear green just about every day and drink just about every day, but March 17th is an excuse to wear more green and drink more alcohol. Do you see the difference? Me either, but just trust me on this one. 

Due to the show, I missed the first half of St. Patrick’s Day, and due to all of my friends taking naps as soon as I was finally free, I didn’t really celebrate this year. But, that’s life I guess. 

I was thinking about a way to get more interactive with my readers, so I’m going to start asking you guys a question at the end of my blogs. Like in a Youtube video, except you don’t have to see my face or listen to my voice. You’re welcome. 

So my question this time is, what did you guys do for St. Patrick’s Day? 

Where my dad and I go grocery shopping

First I just want to say what you all are thinking. Yes, my life is so mundane now that I’m posting about grocery shopping. Deal with it. 

How long does it take you to go grocery shopping? One hour? Hour and a half? Well when dad and I went grocery shopping earlier this week, it took us THREE AND A HALF HOURS. We went to three different stores in three different cities just to get the best deals on every possible food item. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m all about getting a good deal, but I’ve never spent so much gas money to save 50 cents. 

Here’s the real kicker though. After spending my entire night shopping for food, dad decided he wanted to go out to eat for dinner. BECAUSE WE DIDN’T HAVE ENOUGH FOOD AT HOME, RIGHT DAD? 

I can’t wait to do this twice a month. 

Where my dad and I get bronchitis

Besides his severe allergies and asthma, my dad has passed another lovely little health benefit on to me: bronchitis. I started getting it every few  months about three years ago, and it seems like whenever my dad catches it, I get it and vice versa. I’ll admit that I caught it first this time, but dad and I have been coughing and sounding like bad drag queens for a few days now.

Okay, time for a little anecdote. In about 2002, my grandpa went to Florida for the winter like he was doing every year at that time. Dad decided to do something nice (and by that I mean he decided to supervise while my sister Katy and I did all the work), and clean out my grandpa’s fridge and pantry. I’m not even joking here, there was food in there that expired before my grandma died. In 1995. There was a can of corn that didn’t have a nutritional label. Those became mandatory in 1994 (I know, I would have expected it to be sooner too), but who knows how old that can was. Anyway, what I’m saying here is that there was a lot of old and expired food in  my grandpa’s house.

Apparently dad learned nothing from this experience, and every single cold medicine and cough drop in this house expired before I entered high school, so there is no usable medication. At least none that a sane person would take. My dad is perfectly content using cough drops that expired in 2004. I am not. Looks like I’m taking a trip to the pharmacy today.

Where my dad gives me relationship advice

It’s not very often my dad surprises me. When we go out to breakfast, he always gets the same thing. Eggs – scrambled, hash browns – light, bacon – black, and toast – rye. Every. Single. Time. You could (and would) say my dad is a predictable man. My mom, although they’ve been divorced for 20 years, can still tell me what brand of coffee he likes, what shampoo he uses, and what lame joke he’ll tell in any situation. But every once in a while my dad does something so out of character that I’m left baffled for a long time afterward. Like giving me good relationship advice.

There are certain things I talk to my dad about, and certain things I don’t. For instance, school, work, car problems – all dad appropriate. Lady problems, friend drama, and boys – not so much. I always joke that my dad has three emotions: stable, angry, and pissed off. My dad takes the “real men don’t have feelings” cliche to heart, and he never ever gets mushy.

But yesterday when he called me to take me out to lunch, my dad did surprise me. In case you don’t know me very well, my first serious relationship ended recently, and although I’m not going to talk about details on the Internet, it’s been pretty hard on me. Moving to a new city where I hardly know anyone meant I had to leave my past behind, something that’s always been difficult for me. But this time it was even harder.

As I haven’t been able to talk in depth to any of the people I normally go to with these sorts of problems, it all sort of fell out over lunch with my dad. Instead of telling me to suck it up or just ignoring what I said altogether, Bert Dobson actually gave me good advice! For the first time in my life, my dad was talking to me about my boy problems and he was being insightful.

Does this mean I’m going to go to my dad with every problem I have for advice? Absolutely not, but it’s nice knowing that I can if I have to.


Internet, yay!

For the first time in my life, I have a TV in my room, so I guess that’s exciting. 

And for the first time in my dad’s life, he has Internet in his house. And that’s just weird. My dad works for a computer company and doesn’t have a computer of his own. He does however have a tie with a computer on it. (Note the floppy disks!) 


I’m really glad to have a consistant use of Internet where I live again, because my iPhone and McDonald’s parking lots just weren’t cutting it. I’m going to get a little cheesy here, just a warning. I do want to say how much I appreciate my dad making so many sacrifices to make me comfortable. He bought a new shelf to give me more space in my room, he’s donated an entire wardrobe (some of which he’s had since my parents were married), so I could hang my clothes up, and now he’s had Internet installed to make me more comfortable. Thanks daddy. =)

Okay, moment over. 

Last night, dad and I watched the Oscars together, and his commentary was priceless. I live-tweeted the whole thing, which you can read here: https://twitter.com/lizdobson 

He got some pretty good one-liners in before he fell asleep. Best line of the night, said when Hugh Jackman was singing: “Hey, if that guy shaved his beard, he’d look like that guy who plays Wolverine!” 

He tries you guys.


We are getting Internet tomorrow!!


That is all.


Week three. Still no Internet. Please send help.