Category Archives: Father’s Day

Father’s Day and Long Goodbyes

We’re still recovering from our a crazy week juggling both VBS and Aaron’s birthday, but we couldn’t slow down long before running right into Father’s Day weekend.

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I told Vivian all I wanted to do for Father’s Day was “as little as possible,” and I got to enjoy that for the most part. I still wound up mowing my parents’ lawn on Saturday morning, and I also brought along ingredients for a Father’s Day lunch of burgers and fries. My dad warmed up his smoker and used his own special rub on them, which seemed to turn out quite well. I added some grilled mushrooms and cheese to the mix. Our plan was to go through one of my dad’s old trunks downstairs, but he was a bit beat afterward and we wound up playing a game and then tinkering with his YouTube page instead.

Then on Father’s Day, I got a couple lovely cards from Hannah and Aaron. I had some alone time burning calories at the Kroc Center and filling them right back up again at Don and Millie’s. Vivian invited her dad over for dinner and made prime rib for us, with loaded baked potatoes, asparagus, and shrimp salad. She also had some berry cobbler for dessert, which we had after herding the kids off to bed. Then she had some presents for me, which included a jar of Mister C’s spaghetti sauce and some tools for my bike, which I hope I’ll be riding to work more often soon.

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In the midst of all this, we had to say goodbye to a pair of classic Omaha restaurants closing within the week. First was Gerda’s, a German restaurant of over 40 years. I’d eaten there with Vivian before and more recently with my dad, having schnitzel and spaetzle and German sausage as well as pastries from the bakery. The original owner died last year, however, and new government regulations made it financially unfeasible for the restaurant to remain opened any longer.

Second was Amato’s, the Italian diner-style restaurant down in the Aksarben neighborhood, which has been operating even longer. I first heard about them from Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” which aired an episode with them in 2009. I’ve loved their homemade sausage and ricotta pancakes and had the chance to eat there a number of times, their location just down the street from where I work being super-convenient. Vivian I had breakfast there one last time on Tuesday, and I got to have polpetti for the first time (and maybe not the last if I get it to go this week).

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The hardest goodbye, however, was to our dear Honda Civic. We’ve had it for about a decade now, and it was the car that first took Hannah and Aaron home from the hospital since they were born. Even after being totaled in late 2017, I’d still been able to drive it on a regular basis, unwilling to part ways until the “wheels came off.” Well, after a year and a half it’s finally time to say goodbye. Bought my brother’s Corolla have been enjoying driving a car with new tires, smooth-riding suspension, and functioning heat and air conditioning for a while.

Our kids had turned our Civic into a makeshift playhouse for themselves in the meantime, but now that the car is gone, I hope they can find a place in their heart for this new member of our vehicular family.

Father’s Day 2018

It’s been a fairly quiet week or two with a fairly quiet Father’s Day weekend in the middle, which is fine by me, partly because I’ve been dealing with a perpetual cold that WILL NOT go away (even with insanely hot Volcanic Pepper sauce).

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On Thursday last week, I joined my dad, Uncle Jonny, and Richard Burney in watching the RiffTrax gang take on Space Mutiny, a movie made famous by its first riffing on MST3K back in the late 90s. The jokes weren’t as good the second time around, and the scenes deleted from the TV broadcast really didn’t bring much back to the film. It was still fun to watch, though, seeing as I met Dave Ryder himself just a few weeks earlier.

On Saturday, after a quick mow at my parents’ house (and an almost-pedicure for Hannah), I went down to Golden Corral with my parents and both brothers to celebrate Father’s Day with their breakfast buffet (and mini-burgers at the lunch buffet when eleven rolled around). Afterward, we returned to their house to look through a trunk of dad’s old photos and assignments from his days at Brooks’ Institute of Photography. It was an interesting trip down memory lane, and we topped things off with some interactive trivia courtesy of Nathan’s Nintendo Switch.

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Then on Father’s Day, I got breakfast in bed with the kids along with a donut birthday card “sprinkled” with happy memories the kids shared with mommy. Vivian and Grammy made a lovely dinner of rib-eyes, yucca, shrimp, and scallops later in the day for Pop-Pop and me, and Hannah presented us with some ice cream cake that she, Aaron, and Grammy had helped prepare for us the day before.
In short, it was a lovely weekend doing one of the activities I love best — not doing anything!

Father’s Day and a Tornado

It’s been a fairly busy week for the Johnson Family. Between daily swimming lessons with the kids, a brief visit with Uncle Andy and Aunt Nancy, and a night off to see some RiffTrax Summer Shorts at the theater, we’ve had something going on nearly every night even before Father’s Day weekend got started.

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On Friday night, I took the kids to their daily swimming lesson just as a line of severe weather started rolling in. Fortunately, Hannah and Aaron both got some swim time by doubling up with their lesson together.

I took the kids home afterward to settle down for bed, and just as I was telling Hannah her bedtime story, the sirens went off. I got the kids hustled downstairs to the basement to watch some TV as I checked the green sky outside. There was thunder and rain for about half an hour, but nothing strong enough to do more than knock a few sticks out of our tree. I got the kids back in bed a second time after things settled down, but then Hannah was up moments later exclaiming, “Daddy! There’s a RAINBOW!” Naturally, I took the kids outside to see the rainbow for a few minutes before rounding them back up inside.

The storm itself was much, much worse for folks just to the south of us. A few people lost their homes, thousands more were without power, and there were enough downed trees and limbs to fill an endless line of pickup trucks leading to the dump the following day. More than one trampoline also lost its life this day (but fortunately, no people).

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On Saturday, I had an early breakfast with my dad and gave his lawn a mow before watching a new episode of MST3K (#1113: The Christmas that Almost Wasn’t).

Then that evening, we went to Jenny and Kody’s new house for a housewarming. Kody made some pork loin (with the help of a garden sprayer) and a bunch of our mutual friends — and their kids — came by to eat, swing some hula hoops, and jump for joy as the sun went down. This was actually the third of Jenny’s housewarming parties that I’ve been able to attend, the other two for a rental house and an apartment she had before getting married two years ago.

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Sunday, of course, was Father’s Day. Hannah and Aaron woke me up with a muffin, coffee, and some hand-made cards. Hannah also put on a Daddy Day show for me with her toys. I dropped by my dad’s house to give him a gift or two before spending the day relaxing by fixing a lawn sprinkler, trimming back some trees, and playing Mega Man 2. Then at the end of the day, Vivian made me a surf-and-turf feast for dinner — prime rib, scallops, and yucca with a Crab Louie salad filled with shrimp and crab. Jack and I both got a few lovely gifts afterwards topped off with some peanut butter chocolate pie once the kids were put to bed.

It was a wonderful, delicious day. I’m just glad there are leftovers. Thank you for making me feel so loved, Vivian (and Hannah and Aaron)!

Fodder’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all you wonderful dads out there! I had a lovely Father’s Day weekend with dads from both sides of the family. More on that in a moment.

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First, on Wednesday last week, Vivian and I paid a visit to the soon-to-be-closing Bohemian Cafe. The Omaha landmark in historic Little Bohemia is the latest casualty in our continuing loss of historic Omaha restaurants. It was the first restaurant Vivian visited in Nebraska, and the place I got to bump into Warren Buffett on my 32nd birthday a few years ago, so it had some sentimental value to the both of us. I ordered the roast beef with burgundy gravy, which came with mushrooms on top, and Vivian had the Svickova, Czech-style sauerbraten, which was a buttery kind of sliced pork thing. Both came with liver dumpling soup and dumplings on the side, which are a must if you ever visit the Cafe before it closes. Just be sure to arrive nice and early. The place had plenty of seating room at four o’clock, but a line nearly out the door an hour later.

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On Saturday, we celebrated Father’s Day with my dad in exactly the way he wanted — eating steak and watching Mystery Science Theater 3000. He fired up the grill and cooked a couple of rib-eyes for the lot of us, and afterward watched Revenge of the Creature, which was absolutely horrible. Uncle Nathan came up from Lincoln to join Uncle Jonny, dad and me for the day.

Afterward we returned to my house to give Aaron some belated birthday presents. Uncle Nathan gave him some squirt guns, which he immediately enjoyed using inside the house. Mom and dad also gave him a bubble lawnmower, which Hannah somehow immediately took possession of for the rest of the day.

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On Father’s Day, Vivian got me a delicious Abelardo’s breakfast burrito as we both went to church for the morning. Hannah got some play time with Chloe, and then we went home to chill for the rest of the afternoon. By chill, of course, I meant get stuff done. I actually enjoyed taking care of a few things this weekend, including installing a new sprinkler head, mowing our lawn and my parents, and then trimming back some trees on Father’s Day. Jack and Donna came by to play ball with the kids (in the house) while the moms made some tasty Cubano sandwiches and California salads for dinner. We had some presents afterward, which included sodas with disgusting names and a sleeveless black t-shirt, which Hannah confiscated to become a superhero.

Hannah and I got to enjoy my Father’s Day Cinnamon Buns (from church) the next morning for breakfast, and then I saw them again at lunchtime for quality time playing with pom poms at the park. In other news, Aaron got a tricycle. He’s growing up so fast.

It’s also officially summer now, and it’s also hot outside. I have a few words to say about that below.


An important message for the Summer of 2016

All the World’s a Stage

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Summer’s almost here, and that means lots of hot and humid days. Over the lunch hour on Friday, Vivian and Lexi brought our cluster of kids down to Seymour Smith Park at 72nd and Harrison for an hour or two in the sun with the “all play” splash park. Hannah had visited last year, and now Aaron was big enough to crawl around and get a little wet. Of course, he and August also crawled around the interactive playground area as well, getting plenty of sun in-between coatings of sun screen.

Then on Saturday afternoon, we dropped by the Lenart house to give Kara a surprise (40th) birthday party with a bunch of our mutual friends.

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On Saturday evening, we made our annual trip down to Elmwood Park for an evening with Shakespeare in the Park, courtesy of Nebraska Shakespeare. I came down early to spread out a big mesh floor so a dozen or so of us could spread out to enjoy the show with all the vittles we brought. We also spent a good amount of time before the show playing dress up with the variety of accouterments (and weaponry) available at the dress-up tent. I think in a year or two Hannah’s going to be old enough to join the rest of us kids in our medieval play.

Speaking of play, the production of As You Like It was very good as well. I’d knew next to nothing about the play myself when we arrived, but Vivian and I were able to follow along with the plot fairly easily. I think once you’ve seen a few Shakespearean Comedies, you start to get the gist of them — gender-bending characters, wrestling matches, foolish comic relief and several weddings at the end to wrap things up. The Company added their own touches with animal puppetry and some Celtic music of sorts, giving us a reason to have a Hoedown at the end of the show.

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On Sunday was Father’s Day, and once again we had three dads in attendance. The ladies made us men-folk a batch of flatiron steaks with potato and fruit salads. Hannah got to showcase her artistic talents via some gift bags and a nice little photo frame of “dad” for me. Mostly, it was a nice, lazy Sunday, one I was grateful to have to do nothing at all in particular other than eat and visit with the family, which was downright lovely.

Thank you, Vivian, for making me feel so loved, and thanks Dad for being such a good example for me as a dad myself.