Tea parties on the front lawn, glittered-painted toe nails and taste testing something called “Fruit Soup.”
Instead of covering live sporting events, those princess-like activities are what my spare time has essentially been filled with in the month since the COVID-19 pandemic forced me to work from home.
Yes, I have binged watched Netflix, including finally watching the third season of “Stranger Things” (which was so-so until a strong ending) and then subjecting myself to “Tiger King” (a widely entertaining train wreck). In addition to the TV watching, I actually got the majority of a honey-do list completed.
That list included: planting six crape myrtles, transferring a magnolia tree (which had been growing unbeknownst to me behind my shed), cleaned out the gutters, washed the siding on the house and burned my wood pile twice, including once accidentally setting fire to my neighbor Charles’ tree (which was dead and dry rotted and one he was more than happy to have me accidentally burn down by the way).
As fun as yard-house projects (I say with an abundance of sarcasm) are and watching a mullet-wearing Tiger breeder is, the highlight of the past month of working from home has been the time spent with my family — in particular my five-year-old daughter Hattie.
The first week was spent balancing home schooling and my work. In our down time, we made Playdough tacos, rode our big-girl bike, set up a vintage Barbie tennis set (could they make more small parts and stickers with these damn things?), dressed up daily as a fairy princess and painted not only her own toe nails but yours truly. That’s right — real men rock purple and pink glitter toe nails for their daughters. Which are easily hid by socks and shoes once in public.
The highlight of that week was also her discovery of the ice cream man (in this case ice cream woman). Her first ice cream from the truck was a Hello Kitty ice cream. Dear ole’ dad with the classic “Screwball.” I mean I get ice cream and a gum ball in the bottom? Hell yeah. Take my money now!
The second week we did many of the same things but with some new additions. My daughter and wife Tina taught me how to play hopscotch in the driveway and I not going to lie — I killed it. We also celebrated many an “unbirthday” (she is a big “Alice in Wonderland” fan), made an airplane for her stuffed animals out of an old cardboard box and had a very imaginative tea party in the front yard with special teas and Starbursts.
The third week we got more active outside, especially with the weather being amazing. Plenty of hide-and-go seek that my daughter really doesn’t understand all that well. Like, she will go hide and then yell to me to come find her which I tried to explain to her defeats the purpose but no matter. The same goes for teaching her to play “Go Fish.”
We also bought a little kite to fly in the yard, bought an old-school bouncy ball (red, of course), and a Velcro paddle ball set. We were also forced to celebrate Easter with no one else. “The Partsch Easter Games” that include such competitions as egg toss and egg pacquing had to be canceled due to COVID-19. We still had an egg hunt and bought some sidewalk chalk to make a cross in our driveway on Good Friday.
This past week, we made muffins together early in the week and that planted the seed for how the work week ended. On Wednesday, Hattie put on her little play apron and wanted to make breakfast for us. This breakfast consisted of her helping my wife take fresh fruit (oranges, grapes and apples) and cutting them up and putting them into a bowl. This was repeated on Thursday and then came Friday morning.
As my wife was handling a work call, Hattie decided to make “Fruit Soup.” What was in this original creation? Oranges, grapes and apple slices were the base of this soup. Then came the fun part. A few scoops of all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, honey, bottled water and cupcake sprinkles that when floating in the bowl appeared similar to mouse droppings.
Of course, my daughter was proud of her creation. She looked up at me with those brown eyes of her and asked me to try it. At this, my wife began to nearly gag and covered her face with her shirt. So I stepped up, grabbed a spoon and took a bite of the soup.
How was it?
It was awful, but the look on Hattie’s face was worth it. The look on my wife’s face that I ate it might have been better. The best part was what my daughter thought of her culinary creation. I asked to take a bite and after she did her reaction was “no, no that is awful.”
So yes, I have gone a bit stir crazy this past month and I miss sports like everyone else, but I have been truly blessed with having an immense amount of daddy-daughter time which is far more valuable than any sporting event.