A Little Bit About Me…

Random Stuff about me…

I use “…” A LOT

I’m not a professional writer.

Go Cubs, Bears, Bulls, and Blackhawks!

I love golf…The best wood in my bag is my pencil.

I love 80s music.

Amazon > any other store.

I like to sell stuff on eBay.

I collect autographs and ball cards.

I recently got my MBA.

I love a good stereo system, but I’m not an audiophile.

I’ll do anything for my kids… but I won’t pay for them to get on the crew team.

I believe… whatever you’re going through, someone is or has gone through it too.

Christian Fellowship is the key to life balance and faith. 

I like to learn about personal finance. seedtime.com is a good faith-based personal finance website. 

I have a man cave, but Barbie took it over.

That’s Dad Stuff

Bedtime Strategies #2– Plan Your Attack

Bedtime Strategies # 2 – Plan Your Attack. How often have you tried to initiate bedtime, only to be thwarted by the “I’m hungry” defense?  It’s easy to dismiss if we’re sure they ate a solid dinner, but on those nights, that dinner was light or a little early, and there’s a chance the kid is actually hungry and he/she may have a point.  Of course, we give them a bowl of cereal before bed, but you’ve just conditioned the child to get a 20-minute extension just by faking some hunger pangs.  Yes, Pangs… (I recently learned its pangs and not pains and don’t know why). This leads us to Bedtime Strategies – Plan your Attack

That’s Dad Stuff @thatsdadstuff

SOLUTION:

Consider the hunger argument before you announce bedtime.  If there is a chance that they could be worthy of a nightcap, then ask before you even mention bedtime.  You’re likely to get a more genuine answer from them and they will learn that “bedtime” is bedtime with no excuses.

We invite you to share with us your strategies for getting kids more shuteye (besides Benadryl).

Bedtime Strategy 1

Bedtime Strategy Intro

5 Steps To Better Golf

What steps do you need to take in order to play better golf? Maybe you need to step back and think about what steps needed for better golf. Practice makes perfect, especially for golf. The more you play, the better you get. Are you a driving range hero? Love showing off how far you can hit the ball? How about on the course? Still hitting it long? 300 yards, straight like on the range, or 300 yards hook into the trees? Do you go to the driving range, get a large bucket and just crush your driver, over and over again?

Thatsdadstuff.com @thatsdadstuff

At my driving range, a small bucket has 34 balls, medium 68, and a large has 102. I usually go with a medium bucket. I would take half of the bucket and crush my driver. Then switch to a 7 iron, hit a few, then switch again to a wedge and before you know it I was out of golf balls. I was going about it all wrong.

I’ve been golfing for over 25 years, and about 5 years ago I change my driving range routine. The following steps were a big change for my driving range routine but changed my overall golf game… for the better.

Steps needed for better golf.

Have a limit.

How many times do you actually use your driver on a course? Why hit your driver 30-40 times on the range when you are only going to use it 10-15 times on the course? Cut back on the range and hit your driver 15-20 times.

Take Aim!

Use your 7 iron, aim for something in the range. I hit my 7 iron 155-160yards. I find the 150-yard sign/marker and I try to hit that sign. But mix it up. Aim for dead center 150 yards out, then aim to the left 150 yards and then again to the right 150 yards. Do this for a total of 10 times. Then switch to your 100-yard club and repeat.

Visualize.

Visualize your favorite golf course. Dogleg left? Choose your club wisely. Creek running through the hole about 240 out? Laying up? What club are you choosing? Visualizing your favorite course/holes and will help you in real situations. However, don’t get away from using the driver only 15-20 times.

Breathe, relax and slow down.

In reality, the course. You are not swinging one after another after another for 60-100 swings. You are either walking or riding in a cart right? On the range, take a practice swing, hit one, admire it or cuss at it. Take a breath, what went right, what went wrong, try and fix it on the next one.

Have fun!

It’s OK to have a distraction. This one may rub people the wrong way. Some people are pretty serious on the range. I completely understand and respect that. My golf game improved when I started having fun on the range. I occasionally meet a friend at the range, bring the kid(s) (teach them the game!), or listen to music. Have fun! It’s just a game.

The 5 steps to better golf are pretty simple. It’s not rocket science. This worked for me! Try it. Drop me a line and let me know if you liked this post. Hit me up on Facebook or on Twitter. Let me know how these steps worked for you, or better yet, tell me about your driving range routine!

Card Collecting Starts with Dad… Part 4

If you recall from my last collecting post, Card Collecting Stars with Dad … part 3, I did my first submission with PSA (Professional Sports Authenticator), I got a soul-crushing grade on a Jeter SP rookie, other low grades, but did score a nice Jordan Graded 10. For more on that submission check out the post.

Thatsdadstuff.com @thatsdadstuff 

After educating myself more on the grading process, what graders look for, how they grade, etc, I decided to put myself through this again and send a submission to SGC (Sportscard Guaranty Corporation). This time I submitted 20 cards to SGC. This collection consisted of this year’s baseball rookie class, several duplicates of Anthony Rizzo Rookies, and a Mike Trout 2012 Topps.

So how did I do? FANTASTIC. The six Anthony Rizzo Rookies were received some of these worse grades. I received a couple 8.5s and 9s. However, I did get a 10!. So That’s a keeper!

The Trout was a 9.5…NOT BAD!

Various Card Grading.

Two of the superstar rookies this year were Pete Alonso and Fernando Tatis Jr. I am happy to say, I received several 9.5s and 10s. What’s really great is that I received a Pristine 10 in the 2019 Topps Tatis, and a Pristine 10 Alonso Bowman insert.

I’m very happy with this submission. I plan on selling the duplicates and the ones that scored under 10 to help recoup some of my money. The total investment was $170. I should be able to get most of that back with the ones I plan on selling.  If you are interested in any, let me know. Check out the pics! SGCs turnaround time and customer service was very good. Bulk submission pricing is very competitive and I will definitely use them again on my next submission.

Once I sell and recoup some of my money, I will do another submission! Stay tuned.

Make sure to check out the recurring Collecting Dad posts at thatsdadstuff.com.

Card Collecting Starts with Dad…Part 3

Bedtime Strategies #1

Bedtime Strategies. Strategy # 1 – The Bell ~ From a Dad in North Carolina. Kids don’t like surrendering control of their situations.  Since they can’t tell time you can imagine how their stomachs drop when we announce “its bedtime!”  Sure, giving them a 5-minute warning helps, but when that 5-minutes turns into 30 minutes because we got distracted then you’ve conditioned the child to understand that “5-minutes before bedtime” could be 1 more commercial break or could be an entire episode start to finish.  So when you finally try to round them up for bed they are more likely to be surprised and defiant and put up their defensive maneuvers.

SOLUTION:  If you give them an X minute warning, set a timer.  When the bell rings, that’s it.  There’s no arguing with the bell.  If YOU respect the bell ALWAYS, then THEY will respect it too.  There can never be a bell reset or you’ve undermined the authority of the bell forever.

Bedtime Strategy Intro

Bedtime Strategy 2

I Hate Public Speaking

I HATE Public Speaking. A large part of my job is to give presentations. 60-90 mins presentations. Sometimes it could be in front of 10 people, or as many as 60. I accepted the job so I could meet people and do trade shows. The job has changed over time and the presentation part is critical to the success of my job and department.

For the first time in a long time, I can say I love my job. I really like the team. Sure, every job has peaks and valleys, and maybe right now, I could be at the peak. However, one to three times a month when I do presentations, no doubt those days are the valleys. I do the presentations but that doesn’t mean I like to do them. I have a really supportive team that backs me up if I trip up on someone’s question. The team setting I work in is why I like the job so much.

So, why do I dislike public speaking so much? I honestly think its because I don’t know the topic very well. I’ve only been in this department for 9 months. Once I know the topic, I’m sure I will feel better.

What do I feel when I start the presentation. START? WHEN I START? I actually start stressing about it a good full week or two before the presentation date. The day of, or minutes before… SHEER PANIC sets in. Full-on Sweats. My heart feels like it is going to jump out of my chest. Shortness of breath. My hands shake. It is not a pleasant feeling. I have literally gone to the restroom and smacked myself and told myself to “GET MY SHIT TOGETHER”! Oddly enough, that actually helped.

I Hate Public Speaking part 2

It has taken a few presentations for me to realize that my heart IS NOT going to jump out of my chest, and the audience IS NOT sitting in their underwear. What if I screw up? So What? The likelihood that I ever see these people again is pretty low. If I do screw up, maybe I can crack a joke about it. I would prefer getting a couple of laughs than hearing crickets. So, what do I do to overcome this panic attack? Well, simply put, take a deep breath, and just do it.

Bedtime Strategies

Trying to get your kid(s) ready for bed? The following series comes from other Dads… What works for you when trying to get your kid(s) ready for bed… I welcome your feedback, and please comment on what methods you use…

That’s Dad Stuff @thatsdadstuff

Bedtime Strategies for Dads Intro

My son suffers from a syndrome not yet recognized by the American Medical Association which I call BTB.  It stands for “belligerent time bomb” and goes like this: 

The Mornings

The instant my son wakes up in the morning around 6:30am, he is the most even-tempered kid you’ll meet.  Patient, kind, well mannered, he’ll even obey our instructions from the Friday night before and play quietly in his room while mom and Dad sleep in a bit.  On school days, he rolls out of his bottom bunk (top bunk is currently subleased to thirteen stuffed animals and 3 pillow/light projector things) with a smile and doesn’t even fuss if the first words he hears from me are “clean your room and meet me downstairs for breakfast”…  90% of the time I’ll get a “Yes Dad” and he’ll spring into action.  Boy, do I love that kid.

Afternoons

Afternoons are a different story.  He arrives from school with a deceptively similar smile to the morning but if you look closely there’s a twinkle missing from his eyes. His backpack gets dropped on the floor so fast that it blocks the front door from closing.  His shoes, if he bothers to remove them, land somewhere in the hallway next to the scuff marked wall which he kicked them into.  Manners disappear as he grunts with hunger and demands a snack from the nearest parent.  My wife and I are too familiar with the routine and carefully tiptoe around his every grunt for fear of agitating his volatile mood.  We overcompensate with too much sweetness in our tone and almost sound like June Cleaver asking if he “would like some more milk with your cookies” and “How was your day”. 

My Wife and I don’t recognize this boy who appears at our door every day at 3:10pm but we know it’s our son.  We know because I used a marker to put a dot on his arm once before he left for school and I verified the dot was still there when he returned.  So it’s not a different kid and I don’t believe in aliens so what is going on?  We ruled out school being the cause because he pulls the same crap on the weekends.  Mornings are fantastic, afternoons are progressively worse and bedtime is terrible.  He’s irritable, aggressive, rude, sassy and mean. If we forget to tiptoe perfectly avoiding confrontation then he’ll go toe to toe yelling at us and we end up sending him to his room out of frustration.  He stomps upstairs in his rage and he’ll throw toys while we try to regain our composure.

What’s the Issue?

Through trial and error, I pinpointed the source of the issue.  Sleep deprivation/exhaustion.  If we don’t get him to bed on time… – scratch that – …if he doesn’t fall asleep on time then he wakes up with half a tank of gas.  Sure, he’s fully functional in the morning but afternoon his energy starts to taper down with his mood tracking down with it on a perfect slope approaching zero (where zero = head spinning, knife-wielding psychopath kid which I’m required by law to love and protect).

Getting a 6-year-old more sleep is easier said than done.  I have developed some strategies which have helped us combat accomplish just that.  This series presents my strategies to cure BTB and hopefully stop the spread from reaching your household. 

We invite you to share with us your strategies for getting kids more shuteye (besides Benadryl).

Bedtime Strategies #2

Wannabe Audiophile

A little bit about me. I love music. I love music when it sounds good too. However, I’m a wanna be music audiophile without a high-end stereo. A good high-end stereo, with good speakers, can really open your eyes to what instruments are being used on a song. A good song on a standard stereo, on your echo dot, or in your factory car stereo may sound good enough, but once you hear your favorite artist or song on a high-end stereo, you will understand what I am talking about. In fact, you may actually find your self asking “I didn’t know there was an *insert instrument here* in this song. At that moment you will realize, just what you’ve been missing… But hey, what do I know, I’m a wannabe audiophile without a high-end stereo

Thats Dad Stuff

You will simply need to take my word for it; the difference between a Hi-Fi stereo system and a standard stereo is night and day. I am no way an audiophile. Being an audiophile means you have the disposable income to buy the high-end equipment. I, unfortunately, do not, but I still love listening to hi-fi systems…

Last year my Dad and I went to the Capital Audio Fest. It was here where I rekindled my love of music. The Capital Audio Fest was in a hotel in Rockville, Maryland. It was really cool and really unique. Several hotel rooms were cleared out, and each room had a different stereo system along with a couple chairs, that’s it. Just you and a stereo, in a hotel room. Really unique. Never seen anything like it.

I’m going back this year. This coming November, same hotel, same setup. This year I am hoping to see one thing in particular, but at the same time, I seriously doubt it or they will be there. Amazon recently announced a new HD lossless streaming service, Amazon Music HD. In addition to their music service, they now have the hi-fi smart speaker, the Echo Studio. Echo Link Amp, and Echo Link.

I am very curious about what Amazon’s effect will be on the hi-fi/hi-res market. Will true audiophiles give Amazon the time of day? With Amazon entering the market, will we see an influx of new Amazon high-end smart equipment? I truly believe that Amazon’s jump into the Hi-Res market will have a lasting impact. Will their streaming service prove to be too much for Tidal? So many questions!

Be on the lookout, I will post about my experience at this year’s Capital Audio Fest.

My Yard Sucks…

Yard Work Help

I need some yard work help. My yard sucks. I am not remotely close to a green thumb. I need some yard work done! My neighbor’s yard is like carpet; no crabgrass, no dandilons, nice and green!. They also work at it… I… well, Don’t. Thats probably why I am in need of some major yard work help.

This fall I am going to start giving my yard a little TLC. Who knows if it’s the right time of year, but I figured I should do this now before the winter.

I recently had a tree cut down and had the stump grinded down. That area where that tree was located is now really torn up. I cleaned up the area and raked up the leftover tree shavings/bark. I filled the area with topsoil and seeded the area. After a couple months of watering on and off, and unfortunately, we had a really dry summer; so area didn’t grow squat. What did grow dried up and died in a hurry.

I also have a spot in my backyard where my dog always went pee and poop. It is about a 4-5ft diameter area that is absolutely TOAST- Burnt, dead, dug up; there is absolutely nothing left.

Since then, we had a little bit of rain, but now that fall is here, its cooler and there is more moisture in the air, I’m thinking I should have better results compared to what I did with the grass in the tree area. This time I wanted to use Scotts Patch and Repair

Thats Dad Stuff

What To Do, What To Use?

I have had great success in the past with  Scotts Patch and Repair… Last fall, my kids raked up a pile of leaves, then failed to bag the leaves, leaving a nice 4ft diameter dead grass circle in the middle of my back yard. In the spring, I raked up the dead grass and spread an entire 3.75lb bottle of Scotts EZ Seed Patch & Repair over the area. It’s my backyard, so I really don’t care how it looks for the time being, so I didn’t bother throwing some straw on it. Well, I have you to know in only a matter of a few weeks, the spot was full of grass. Nice tall fescue! Even without covering the area in straw! I was really impressed.

This past weekend I bought 2 – 10lb bags of Scotts EZ Seed Patch & Repair. Yup! Two, Ten-pound bags!… and Yes, one for each spot, the tree area, and dog area. This go around, I also covered the area in straw. It is Fall, after all, straw is pretty easy to get, especially in October.

Let’s see if it works… Stay tuned, I’ll share my success.