Saturday, March 5, 2016

SOLSC #5 - Dad Hack

To read my student's posts on the
Classroom SOL challenge click here

Introduction: Hello and welcome to my blog! This is the third year I have participated in the SOLSC and also the third year for my students as well! I teach students, ages 11-14, in a multi-age classroom at The Logan School for Creative Learning in Denver, CO. This year, I am hosting students from all three middle school classes and they are participating on a volunteer basis (with a few prizes thrown in for inspiration). I'm looking forward to being part of this amazing community again!

Dad Hack

If my daughter hadn't gone to the bathroom, maybe I wouldn't have been caught. There stood my daughter asking, "Dad, can you retie the twine?" while Susan and I both sat at the kitchen table finishing lunch.

With that smile, who would notice the hair in the cocoa? A mom!
"What?" exclaims my incredulous wife, looking at the twine around Clara's waist before bursting into hysterical laughter. It probably didn't help that I this morning I had posted a picture on Facebook of Clara smiling in Starbucks while dipping her hair in her cocoa (which of course I had not noticed thinking I was just posting a fun picture).

"Why don't you go and get a belt honey," Susan says before giving me a smile that begs for the explanation of why Clara is wearing twine for a belt today.

So here's the story of today's Dad Hack. A 'Dad Hack' is a shortcut or way of solving a problem that is both ingenious and yet ridiculous enough you hope no one else notices.

Flashback to a couple of hours ago:

"Dad! My pants are...maybe too big."

I sigh and look at my five year-old daughter as we walk through the Home Depot parking lot. She's holding her red corduroy pants up with one hand and her paint shirt and work orange Home Depot apron in the other. We are heading in to do the Home Depot Kids Workshop, which we have been doing for a couple of years the first Saturday of the month. Clara's apron has about fifteen pins in orderly rows, showing the previous projects she's participated in.

My brain races through the options:

  1. Go home and get new pants - Not worth it
  2. Deal with it, we will be sitting on buckets anyway and it will be 'fine." - I'm very tempted to go with this option right off the bat
  3. Wonder what my wife would do and realize that it's unlikely my wife would be in this situation. She'd have already checked Clara's pants, realizing that she had not worn them before and probably suggested a belt...not to mention brought a snack.
  4. I imagine the thin little belts Clara has hanging up in her room, pink, silver and covered in sparkles when I finally hit the 

We are in Home Depot! While of course I could buy some rope, they have twine by the Exit doors for people to strap large items to their car roofs in the hope that they will make it home without having to  brake hard or turn sharply.

"Come on," I tell Clara, reaching down to take her hand. We exit and find the twine box and after a quick measurement, I'm poking the thin fiber through her belt loops. A passable bow for a knot and we are set.

"Listen for the hammers so we know where to go this time." Sure enough, we hear the faint tap-tap-tap of dozens of hammers pounding nails into today's project and we head for that corner of the store. This month it's a little wagon and I am proudly amazed at how confidently Clara nails everything together. A trip to Starbucks for coffee and cocoa, and the library to drop off books and get new ones and it's been a very good morning. So, of course I forgot to take off the twine and tell Clara to get to get a belt when we got home.
Painting her wagon!

Notice the pants are staying up!


  1. You do have a brilliant solution! I think your wife is lucky to have such a quick thinking husband. Clara is adorable- so glad you have these special moments with her.

  2. First off....I work at Home Depot part time and this Saturday is my favorite of the month because I love seeing dads, like you, with their excited sons and daughters. Second...I love this slice. Dad Hacks are the best, and they make the best stories. Today is a memory your daughter will cherish forever, and maybe she'll even create twine belt one day! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Love this Dad Hack! I wish I got to go to these events at Home Depot with my dad when I was little. She will cherish these memories! I am excited to do this with my kiddos

  4. Oh Max, this is a great story, and love that intro too, with Clara sneaking in about the twine. I love that you're doing this. Arvie used to do it with Carter! And FYI, I saw that picture & didn't notice the cocoa/hair at all.

  5. What a great morning out with Dad, and what a terrifically logical solution to a simple problem!