Embarrassing my Daughter

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My cute little daughter is getting older, and it’s breaking my heart.  Before I go into too much detail, I admit, I was at fault in this situation.  That’s not the point, though.  The point is the sadness I felt.

The Flower Child, my seven year old daughter, is in Girl Scouts.  This is the first year she’s been in this organization, and we signed her up so she can be a part of a group that is all girls.  She’s played T-Ball and Soccer before on teams with boys and girls, but she needs some girl time.  Our neighborhood is teaming with masculinity.  Within a quarter mile radius, there are eight boys and no girls for her to play with, so she’s incredibly excited to go to Scouts.

I took her to a meeting last week.  There are 20 other little second grade girls in her troop. I walked with her to the classroom where she was having her last meeting.  Right when we entered the room, she skipped away from me and took a seat in the middle of a gaggle of giggling girls.  I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, so I waded through the crowd to find her.  I snatched her out of her seat and gave her a big hug.  Then I set her back down and went on my way.

An hour and a half later, the meeting ended.  I came back to get her, and as we were driving home, I asked her how her meeting went.

She said, “Dad, you know, you embarrassed me.”

I looked back at her, completely baffled, “What?  How did I embarrass you?”

“When you hugged me!” she declared.

I bristled from her brash statement.  “But why?  I should be able to hug my daughter.”

“It’s not that.  You picked me up and were growling like a bear, in the middle of all my friends.  It’s embarrassing!”


“Oh,” I replied.  I had never thought about the fact that I might make my daughter embarrassed. I just wanted to give her a hug, since she always does that before she goes somewhere.

This weekend, we had a discussion about what I can and can’t do. I asked if she was just uncomfortable by my actions and not just embarrassed about me being her dad.  That would be a total death blow to her father.  She said it was just my actions that bothered her.   I understand the situation now, and won’t hug her like an angry bear anymore in her circle of friends.  I will however still get a socially acceptable hug from her before she runs off to be with her friends.

Review This – Book/Movie Idea (72/365)

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I’ve had this idea for a book and or screenplay for a while, but I’ve never really put it all down.

Working Title: Review This (Comedy)

Tagline: Don’t Cross Your Russian Mobster Boss

Elevator Pitch: A financially strapped teacher writes online reviews for household products for extra cash.  His employer, a Russian mobster, asks him to review strange and racy products as well as asks the teacher for his wife to be in the video reviews.  He and his wife agrees, but when the Russian mobster asks for too much, will the teacher be able to say no, or does he no longer have a choice on what he can or can’t review.

Premise: A teacher, we’ll name him James, basically has given up controlling his class (I’m thinking like Kevin Hart or Will Farrell as the lead role).  James is looking for a different job or any other way to earn money.  He’s too proud to tell his wife, we’ll name the wife Sue, about his failings as a teacher, but he knows he’s probably going to get fired.  James breaks the vacuum while trying to help out at home and Sue tells him to buy a new one.  He doesn’t have any money to buy a new one, but he finds a unique add on the internet where he could get his vacuum for free if he writes a 2000 word review about the vacuum he buys.  James does this.  The company pays him for the vacuum, and in turn asks him to review five more.  James agrees and does the vacuum reviews and gets paid well for each one.

Soon thereafter, James is asked by a representative from the company, an eccentric Russian man, to start adding video reviews to his written review.  James is camera shy, so he asks his wife to appear in the video reviews.  Sue agrees, and they earn even more money for their vacuum reviews.  The Russian man then starts asking James to review other products like juicers, dishwashers, mattresses.  He agrees.  The money is rolling in, except James gets fired from his teaching job.  James reaches out to the Russian to see if he has any other products that he can review for him.

The Russian asks him to use his wife to review dominatrix type products.  Sue surprisingly agrees to help out and they end up making more and more money.  Unfortunately, a rival reviewing group notices what James is doing, and starts stealing his reviews and posting them on a different website.  The Russian mobster thinks James is double crossing him and tries to kill James and Sue.

Example section of dialogue.  The Russian is telling James that he has to review and make videos about dominatrix clothing and gear.


You want my wife to do what?


To model these clothes.  You don’t like these clothes?


I don’t know?


You don’t know?  You either like them or you like man.  Ha.  That was quite funny.  Funny unless you like man.  Do you like man?  You probably shouldn’t be married to a woman if you like man?


It’s men.  You should say men, as in the plural form of man.


So you like a lot of man.  You like men?


No.  No I like my wife.


So it’s settled then.  She will model the clothes.  Don’t worry.  You can be the won she ties up for the videos.  I don’t want to introduce other men into your life.  Should I say man there?  I’m confused.

This idea actually comes from some of my real life experience, and a fun conversation I had with my friend Art.  I used to do vacuum reviews, and juicer reviews for a guy from Slovenia.  That is the truth.  My wife would be in some of the videos, because it was easier for me to film her and such because I have a little more experience using a video camera.  Here’s an example of one of our video efforts.

Art asked me if the guy I was working for was petting a Siberian Tiger while I spoke to him.  Then our conversation went off the rails.  Ta da!  A movie idea was born.  I think it would be fun to watch something like this occurring.



What Day Would You Loop for a Year – Part Two (71/365)

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If you’ve seen Groundhog’s Day, you understand the concept of a day that loops.  If you don’t, here’s the trailer to that movie.

Yesterday, I wrote about what day of my childhood I would loop over again.  Now let’s focus on the second part of my life.  I like to call this section, with Lisa Marie before children.

I met Lisa Marie in 2001 when we were both coaches for a high school cross country team.  We were engaged in 2002.  We got married in 2003.

Wedding Day

That’s a picture of our wedding day.  No, I wouldn’t loop that day over and over again.  Getting married is a little nerve wracking, with the church service, the big party, and everything.  I loved it, but once was enough.

After we were married, two years later, Lisa gave birth to our first child in 2005.  So we had about four years before someone depended on us. This part of my life was short, but it was electrifying.

The day I would loop would be on our Honeymoon.  I think it was the second day when we were in Jamaica.  We got a couples massage in the morning, and then time slowed down.  Everything was wonderful after that.  As the Jamaican’s told us, “Now you’re on Jamaican Time, Mon.”  I could loop that day for a year.  Beautiful weather, my beautiful wife, and some nice cold beverages by the beach.  That night, we ate dinner on the beach.  The tide was coming in, and we didn’t move.  We sat at our table and let the waves wash over our feet as we drank a bottle of wine.

Do you have a day with your significant other that you would loop for a year?  What day would it be?  Where were you?  I’ve noticed that both days that I’ve picked involve warm weather and water.  I think I need to make some changes in my life!

What Day Would You Loop For a Year? (70/365)

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I just finished reading a fantastical book, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  This next bit is kind of a spoiler, but I think you can still enjoy the book, very much so, even if you know this part.

At one point, the characters mention that they are caught in a loop.  If you’ve seen Groundhog’s Day, you know the scenario.  You have your day, and then, when you wake up, it’s the same day again.  Everyone else you know and meet do the same things, but you have a memory of the previous day.  The day loops over and over again.

That got me to wondering, if I could loop the same day for a whole year, what day in my life would it be?

I view my life in three parts.  The first part of my life we can title, Childhood.  This includes everything that happened before I met Lisa Marie.  I was 24 years old when I met my wife.  Yes, I was still pretty much a child at age 24.  I think I’m about a juvenile now as far as maturity level goes.

If I could, the day from my childhood that I would loop is one of the days spent at Rock Lake up in Canada.  For me, at least, that place was a boy’s paradise.  To help you understand Rock Lake, just imagine pristine north woods wilderness.  The four mile long lake is surrounded by towering oak, maple, and pine trees.  The only area with cottages on it is a small sandy bay.  When you get out on the lake, the wildlife is all around you.  Loons calling out, Beavers slapping their tales if you get too close, Osprey soaring overhead.

My Aunt and Uncle still own the place up there, “Campada”, and I hope to one day bring my own children up there to experience what I have.  I would choose to loop a warm summer day up on Rock Lake.  Here’s what a typical day entailed.

I’d have to be with the best of company.  My mom, dad, sister, and brother would be with me.  Also up at camp would have to be my cousins.  We all got along famously growing up.


That’s a picture of my cousin, Tim.  He wasn’t having a great day fishing when we were up there, so we made sure to document the one fish that he did catch.  My brother is behind him, fishing.


That’s me with a nice largemouth.  To be honest, I’m not sure if I that one is up at Rock Lake, or at the secret ponds somewhere in Wisconsin.  No, I can’t tell you were the secret ponds are!  Stop asking.

The day would start with fishing.  It’d probably just be my brother, my youngest cousin, The Admiral, so he could drive the boat, and myself.  We’d catch plenty of largemouth and smallmouth bass like normal.  After a couple hours, we’d return for breakfast.  My favorite was Aunt Susie’s Egg McMommies.  After filling my belly, it would be time to go down to the lake.  Maybe I’d catch frogs and minnows with my sister.  I could relax on the beach and chat with Mom.  Maybe the cousins and my dad would go swimming or play king of the raft.  Maybe Jeremy, Joe, or Tim would want to explore the woods or check out one of the islands on the lake.  Then it’d be time for lunch.  Of course we’d eat PB&J sandwiches and chase it with lemonade.  Perhaps it would be time to take a boat ride to a 15 foot high cliff called Indianhead, climb up it and then jump off into the water, maybe play fetch with Butch the black lab, eat a fresh fish fry for dinner, go fishing until dark, play cards at night with my dad, brother, sister, and all my cousins.  So many fun things to do.  No worries.  I’d could do over today 364 more times.

What day would you loop in your childhood.  When was everything right with the world?  Did you ever feel like you found magic right here on Earth?  I did.  I’ve found it several times, and I haven’t even got to the next two stages of my life yet.  Another day, I’ll have to tell you about the second and third parts of my life.  I call them, with Lisa Marie before kids, and with Lisa Marie after we had kids.

Star Wars Lunch Box – Story Time (65/365)

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A while ago, I told some of my stories on YouTube.  Here’s the first one I did.

This story is also the inspiration behind a book I hope to release soon.

Hope you liked it!

Starting at Zero (64/365)

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I’m in awful shape.  I think it is safe to say that I am in the worst physical condition I’ve ever been in my entire life.  Every time I see our scale in the bathroom, I slowly back away.  I don’t even want to know what my official weight is right now.  I’m sure it’s a personal record.

Now, I don’t mean like I’m in terrible shape as in I’m physically ill.  The worst off I’ve ever been as far as that is concerned is when I had to get my appendix removed.  That’s another story in itself, and it’s a classic.  I’ll have to go into detail about that later.  I mean, I have zero endurance, and no strength.  This is coming from a guy that ran college track and cross country.  Back then, I was in ridiculously good shape.  We would go for eight mile easy runs.  Yes, I said that right.  In my current state, everything is difficult after eight steps.

I’ve been waiting to get back at it because my knee is not quite right.  I hurt it playing too much basketball and soccer in the fall.  I stopped the soccer because I was just helping out at my son’s soccer practices, and the season ended.  I stopped playing basketball in January because my knee doesn’t agree with lateral movements.  I’ve also been waiting on working otu because I like running outside, and Wisconsin in the winter is harsh.  As I type right now, on March 5th, it is 12 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you convert that to Celcius, it’s like negative 42.  I might be wrong with that conversion.  Point is, it’s well below freezing, and it’s MARCH!  When will it get warm?

No more waiting.  I’m soft because I’m soft.  I should make a meme out of that quote.  My body soft.  It’s nice and squishy like a marshmallow.   My willpower is soft like a freshly baked donut.  Apparently, eating stacks of pancakes doesn’t give you muscles like a burly lumberjack.  You have to do hard work too.

Do you really need an excuse to eat blueberry pancakes?

Do you really need an excuse to eat blueberry pancakes?

No more.  I must step away from the blueberry pancakes.  I have to work out!  It’s time to HTFU.  Look that up if you don’t know what that acronym means.  It’s NSFW.

I battled with the brutal weather yesterday and squeaked out a half mile run.  Then I came inside and played Just Dance for 20 minutes with my kids.  Today will be no different.  I need to build up my beach body.  Muscle up, butter cup!  Wish me luck.

Pants or Shirt on First? (59/365)

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At work, during lunch the past few days, we’ve had spirited discussions about what order we get dressed in.  Does your shirt go on first, or do you put your pants on first?  Do you even know what order you get dressed in?


I’ll go over my order as I’m getting prepared for work.  First of all, it should be known that I am terribly unorganized and forgetful.  I have to take several steps the night before work to ensure I won’t run around in the morning like a chicken with its head cut off.  My keys have to go in my lunch bag, or I’ll forget my lunch.  Also, I have to pick out six clothing items and set them in the bathroom.  Here’s my order of getting dressed.

1. Boxers on.

2. T-shirt on.

3.  You would think that socks would be the next step, but I go with shirt here.  I put my collared dress shirt on third.

4.  Pants on next.  This is critical that the pants come after the shirt, because I tuck the shirt in.  I would create an unnecessary step if I did this out of order, or I’d have to stumble around with my pants undone and then put my shirt on.

5. Belt.

6.  Then the socks go on.  Socks go last because I actually tuck a small portion of my pants into my socks, so the leg of my pants don’t creep down and end up under my heel.  I hate that feeling.

Before I leave, I put my shoes on and untuck the pants from my socks.  Then I’m ready to go.

What’s your order for getting dressed?  Are you a pants first, shirt second.  The women at school said pants was second because they don’t tuck it in.

Just for fun, try getting dressed in a different order, but don’t do something weird like wear your underwear on the outside and blame it on me.

Am I Hurting The World or Helping It? (57/365)

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I’m really not sure if I am helping the world or hurting it.  Before I begin with my personal analysis, when I say “the world” I really mean humanity and the Earth.  Am I helping out humanity and the Earth with my lifestyle?  I think it’s a great question to ask of oneself.  Think of the world as a giant bucket with some water in it.  Are we a bucket dipper, meaning we take things away and are bad for the world, or are we a bucket filler, adding more good to the world?

On the way home from my job, I’m a middle school teacher, I was listening to a conservative radio show talk host.  He was talking about how a high school French teacher made her students do an assignment on conservation.  I won’t get too much into the details, but basically, the host was ripping this teacher a new one.  Yes, the teacher had her heart in the right place, but the execution of her idea was flawed.  However, the radio show host is most definitely hurting the world, not only by what he says, but also in his view of the world.  He’s a bucket dipper.  Basically, he said, we should consume as much as we want because we can.  I know that’s wrong.  Just because we can do something doesn’t make it right for the world.

But what about me?  I’m not perfect.  Far from it.

So, I made up three categories where I’m going to judge if I am helping the world or hurting it.


That’s supposed to be a picture of the Earth.  I’m from the western hemisphere.  West Side!  Back to the story.

Consumption of Goods 

PRO – I recycle most of the bottles, cans, and paper products I consume, but probably not everything that I could.  I made a little vegetable garden in our backyard, and grow lots of potatoes, tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and onions.  Our family eats it all up, but I’d say all together they provide enough food for maybe two out of the 365 days in the year.

CON – We’ve built a house.  That used up a lot of materials from the Earth.  I live in Wisconsin which means we burn off a lot of natural gas to heat our home.  My wife and I both own cars that aren’t hybrids and drive a significant distance to get to work everyday.  It’s pretty safe to say, my carbon footprint is rather large.  I haven’t done anything to our home like adding geothermal heat, solar panels, or wind turbines.  When I purchase food, some things I buy are organic, but the majority isn’t.

OVERALL =  D- grade for my consumption of goods.  My veggie garden saved me from a failing grade.

Professional Life

PRO – Specifically, I am a seventh grade English Language Arts teacher.  On a basic level, I teach students how to read and write, but my ultimate goal is to help students become critical thinkers.  The school district I work in performs well, but I think that’s just a product of the environment.

CON – To make a bigger impact, I should probably teach in a school that needs more positive male role models.  I’d better serve the world by teaching in Milwaukee instead of the suburbs.


Family and Community

I’m married and I have three children.  My wife is a high school math teacher, and my children are all in Elementary school.

PRO – So far, my wife and I have managed to stay out of jail, and my children aren’t much trouble at their school.  I’m projecting here, but I imagine my children will all become productive members of society.

CON – It would probably be better for the world if my wife and I had only one child, seeing as we wouldn’t be using up as much resources.  My wife and I thought that wouldn’t be fair to our first child because he should have people to play with.  However, we think we’re good people, and we will hopefully do a good job raising our children so they can grow up to help out the world more than they hurt it.  We aren’t very active in the community outside of me being a T-Ball coach and a soccer coach for the teams my children play on.  I’ve only kicked the soccer ball and drilled a kid in the face a few times.  They were accidents, I swear!

OVERALL = C   This one is hard to say.   I think it is up to others to judge if we are good for the community or not.  Maybe I’m a real lousy coach and all the kids hate me?

I can do more.  We all can.  I’m trying to change the way I buy food, and I want to grow more vegetables next year.  Also, I’d like to look into some ways to outfit my home so it can generate some renewable energy.  Hopefully the kids I coach in my community have a good experience this year too.  I’m not going to kick the ball at kids faces anymore.  I swear!

Now, I ask you.  Are you helping the world out or not?  Are you dipping into the bucket or are you a bucket filler?  Is humanity or the Earth a better place because of you?

David Tiefenthaler Word Cloud (54/365)

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Writing a journal entry every day is a beast of a task.  I’ve been reading a book about blogging as an author by Kristen Lamb, Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World, and one of the things she suggests is a word cloud.  Basically, it’s a brainstorm about who I am, what I’m doing now, and where I would like to go.

David Tiefenthaler

Husband, father of three boisterous children, son to two of the best parents a child could ever have, middle child between an older brother and younger sister, extrovert, creative creator, reader, writer, author, loves to draw, illustrator, middle school teacher, dreamer, loves a good time, former athlete, amateur wood floor installer, terrible drywaller, cat lover, makes random sound effects during conversations, admirer of stand-up comedians and secretly wishes he could do that, The Walking Dead fan, collected comic books as a kid like Wolverine, The Punisher, and The Uncanny X-Men, wishes he lived on a lake, brain always running in circles, only finds peace and calm in his head when he’s fishing or when he can hold a baby, listens to techno, alternative rock, hard rock, old school rap, but not much country, loves seafood but lives in a house with no seafood lovers, hates the cold but lives in Wisconsin, favorite teams in order are Wisconsin Badgers Football, Badger Basketball, Milwaukee Brewers, Green Bay Packers, and the Milwaukee Bucks, loves playing baseball, no better feeling in sports than swinging hard and hitting the ball square, cross country runner, track runner, coached high school baseball and high school track and cross country, coaches little kids soccer and t-ball, needs to workout to get in shape, Tough Mudder, anti-bully, Minecraft player, perennial flowers, little vegetable gardens, built a playground for the kids, but made the monkey bars high enough for him to cross, desperately wants to move to Hawaii, producer of several YouTube videos from running informational videos to outdoor adventures, scared of fire, hates heights, raised Roman Catholic, middle name is Thomas, needs to be in nature, wants to do some kind of survival challenge, gets bored doing the same thing for too long, taught math, social studies, chorus, biology, special education for cognitively disabled, and now teaches English Language Arts, prefers shade over sun, comfortable with moderate discomfort, balding white guy, spends too much time on social media, wants to walk into the room like a WWE wrestler when he does an author talk, the sound of a purring cat makes him smile, wants to catch a 50 inch musky, lost his wedding ring years ago and is still upset, competitor, wants to find a good group of guys to play cards with, champion level sheepshead and euchre player in college, two time fantasy football champion even though I put minimal effort into it, afraid of international travel, never been outside of North America, vacationed in Canada, Jamaica, and spent one afternoon in Mexico, allergic to ragweed like something fierce, restless, determined, committed, honorable, friendly, worker of several different jobs before teaching like bus boy, roller rink attendant, lawn boy, landscaper, janitor, video store worker, grocery shelf stock boy, corrugated cardboard box plant worker, radio station producer, night club DJ, a fan of talking on microphones, need my slippers in the winter, chips and salsa, I like to pretend I can rap at talent shows and have the video to prove it, horror films scare me so I don’t watch them, does high school math with his wife for fun, and that’s about all I can think of for now.

Here’s a picture of me with my children, because family is probably the most important thing of all for me.



I don’t really like putting my kids out there on social media or on my websites, but I love this picture of us at Al’s Run in Milwaukee.  It’s a run walk that my wife and I always take the kids to because it benefits the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

A Questionnaire for The Tooth Fairy (53/365)

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Yesterday, my oldest son, Bob the Builder lost a tooth.  He was eating a hard shell taco of all things when it came out.  That’s actually the second time he’s lost a tooth eating a taco.  Of course, Bob was excited for the tooth fairy to come, but my daughter was even more excited.

Even though she didn’t lose a tooth, The Flower Child decided that she was going to leave some questions for the tooth fairy under her pillow.  Here’s the first side of the piece of paper she left under her pillow the night that the tooth fairy came.  The Tooth Fairy Questionnaire had two sides.



Here’s all of the questions and answers typed out.  I cleaned up The Flower Child’s grammar, but she writes pretty darn well for her age.

Do you have horses?  No, I don’t.

Dear Tooth Fairy,  I want to know your name.  Pearl

Also, Pearl, our tooth fairy, drew a picture of herself.

There’s more.  Here’s the back side.


How big are you? (She gave the tooth fairy three choices.  The size of a toothbrush, the size of a pea, or the size of lettuce)  The tooth fairy circled toothbrush, naturally.

What is your favorite color?  I love all colors, but sky blue is my favorite.  White is pretty too!

So, now you know.  The fairy that visits our house for teeth is named Pearl, she’s the size of a toothbrush, and likes the colors sky blue and white.  Also, from the picture she drew, she’s a cute little thing!