The last time I checked I wasn’t a fifteen year old girl from the 60s, but I was surprised at how affected I was by the death of Davy Jones last week. Then again I guess it makes sense. I was a Monkees fan before I was a Beatles fan (and anyone who knows me knows there ain’t no bigger Beatles fan). My brother and I used to come home from school and watch the reruns of the Monkees show in the 70s. Then we would play the Greatest Hits album and transform ourselves into the band playing in front of thousands of screaming girls. My brother was a Mike Nesmith fan so he would play the guitar (on a tennis racket). I was a Micky Dolenz guy so I would play the drums (on my hamper). I know the Monkees are seen as a bubblegum “fake” group, but the show and their music is brilliant and still holds up 45 years later. That band sparked my love of comedy and music, two things that still play such a big role in my life to this day.
So what does this have to do with a Daddy blog? Well, I got to thinking about memories and when they start to stick. My oldest will be six next month. I think I was around his age when I discovered The Monkees ergo music and comedy. My sixth year of life was when things really started to click. 1977: The year of my first obsession, “Star Wars”. First grade. The year I started to make friends that I still have today. Six is still my favorite number because of that year. I swear. I remember at the time my mom asking me “What’s your favorite number?” I yelled out “Six!” My older brother looked at me and snarked, “Oh so is seven going to be your favorite number next year?” (jackass). I replied”uhh…no.” and so it stayed six.
So as far as my son goes, the window of “Oh he won’t remember this when he’s older” has slammed shut. This time when I screw up as a father, it’s very possible I’ll be doing some real damage. How’s that for pressure? I also gotta get my head in the game and start the wheels of influence. First up? I’m breaking out the season one DVD box set of The Monkees. (Yup. I own it.)
Chris Loprete, aka the father of Our Milk Money, began writing his experiences as a new father upon the launch of Our Milk Money, calling his work, appropriately, The Daddy’s Den. Chris is no stranger to comedy composition. He wrote and performed his one-man show You’re from Philly, Charlie Brown, having successful runs at Circle X Theatre, The Lonny Chapman Repertory Theatre and The Comedy Central Workspace in Hollywood, California as well the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. Chris has performed all over the country in theatrical productions, television and film. He is an alumni of The Circle X Theatre Company and The Groundlings Sunday Company. Currently, he is a writer/producer for the Comedy and Reality Promo Team at ABC Television. Chris lives in Stevenson Ranch, California with his wife Ally, founder of OurMilkMoney.com and his two beautiful sons, Braden and Henry.
I come downstairs and see my 5 year old practicing his piano. He’s practicing a song he wrote called “Riding the Waves”. It’s a little derivative of “Breathe Me” by Sia but he’s added some nice changes. If he can add a strong bridge, he’ll have a hit on his hands. And yes I know I sound casual, but I am constantly amazed that my five year old son made up a song one day and consistently plays it the same way every time. Then I turn and see my 2 year old who has just discovered singing. He is belting out “I Just Can’t Wait To Be King” from The Lion King. He’s not just singing it however. He’s crooning. He’s bending the notes in a way that would impress Michael Buble. The emotion on his face makes me utterly convinced how eager he is to begin his reign over the Serengeti. This real life scene transports me into the following fantasy which is laid out instantaneously in my head…
My boys continue to develop their vocal and instrumental skills as they grow older. Braden, the older brother, becomes not only prodigious on the piano, but the drums and bass as well. He also becomes a brilliant songwriter. Henry, the younger, develops his singing voice and good looks while learning a little rhythm guitar.
At 13 and 10 respectively they cut a fun little video of an original tune and post it on YouTube. It quickly explodes into a viral sensation garnering millions of hits and the Bieber-esque journey begins.
The boys are signed by Hollywood Records and the band name officially becomes LoPrete. The P is capitalized so that it can have a more aerodynamic look on CD covers. Much like the VH in Van Halen
They make their national television debut on “Teens of 2018!” the new Disney Channel show. Their first CD “Meet LoPrete” goes multi-platinum and the ensuing world tour is the largest grossing tour of the year.
They begin work on a Disney XD sitcom called “Brothers in Rock!” which quickly climbs to the top of the ratings. Critics call the Lopretes “charming….likeable….naturally talented.” Variety writes” The eldest, Braden, exudes a Lennon-esque bad boy confidence and rugged handsomeness while Henry fills the McCartney dreamy eyed gentle soul role”
Braden and Henry Loprete are named one of Barbara Walters Most Fascinating People of the Year. Miss Walters, who has ignored calls for her retirement and instead chooses to increase the soft filter effect on her camera, interviews the boys as well as their parents. Ally, their mother, is a celebrity in her own right as her 10 year old business and radio show has reaped national recognition as well as a multi book deal and reality show on the Lifetime network. Chris, their father, has recently recovered from a mild heart attack and looks aged and …well…just tired. He’s proud of the boys though and while he does take a small percentage of their profits to cover expenses and invest in a college fund, most of their money goes to them. He’s charming and funny, but at times borders on stealing the spotlight from the boys. Almost as if he’s making it about him. It’s not quite Michael Lohan but it’s still kind of embarrassing. Luckily the editor of the piece puts a stop to any grandstanding that takes place.
LoPrete enjoys continued success for 5 more years and two more albums. When LoPretemania begins to wane the boys decide to jump off the fame train and continue a normal adolescence. Luckily their father has not only been fiscally responsible enough to set enough money aside for college, but has made a number of smart investments that has made enough for the whole family to retire to the beaches of Hawaii where the father will host the morning show “Aloha Waikiki!” and-
I am hurled back to reality by an ear piercing scream and a cacophony of piano notes as my two year old has begun to bang away on the keys. My five year old begins to bang away as well…on my two year old. My wife tries to break them up all the while yelling at me, “DO YOU THINK YOU COULD WAKE UP LONG ENOUGH TO HELP ME WITH THESE DAMN KIDS?!” I move to intervene with a hint of a smile breaking out on my face. This will make a great story for the Barbara interview.
If you are anything like me, and I doubt it because most people tend to disagree with me on the subject, then you hate working out, too. In the 35 years that I have been alive, I confess, I hated the task until about 3 months ago. Hated it with a capital H. I would have preferred to swallow glass. Probably the biggest reason I kept my distance from the gym is because I don’t like to sweat. If I didn’t sweat, I could get away with not showering for a few days- and because I have horribly frizzy curly hair that needs to be straightened (no, wearing it curly is just NOT an option for me, don’t even go there), I didn’t have the patience for sweating and thus, I hated working out. But that is not all. I didn’t understand people who pretended to love it…seriously, I was convinced that they were all just liars. The few times in my life that I did attempt to get physical by joining a gym, I found myself counting the seconds before I would allow myself to stop. I could barely last 5 minutes. Climbing up stairs, riding a stationary bike, or on a fancy shmancy elliptical machine… how in the world did anyone find this fun? It was mundane, it made me lose my breath, it made me sore the next day, and I never really saw a loss in weight. It only seemed to increase my appetite and therefore resulted in a weight GAIN. People actually liked this? I didn’t believe it. I had talked to a few people who told me about the “runners high” from an apparent release of endorphins. Never happened for me, and I admit that I began to wonder if it was all a myth, or perhaps they’d all drank the same Koolade of which I had yet to get my hands on. But, I am here to tell you that in a strange turn of eventsd, my feelings for the gym have recently changed. No, there was no Koolade, and I did not recently discover some magical berry drink from the depths of the rainforest. The cure for hating the gym? MOTHERHOOD. I am a proud mamma of two precious little boys: a toddler and an infant. As much as I truly appreciate that I have the opportunity to stay at home with my children, it wasn’t until the second one came that I realized how rare a commodity a nice hot shower was. If I ever found myself able to take one, say after dropping the 3 year old off at pre-school, and perhaps getting the baby to fall asleep, it usually ended up with the baby screaming in mid-shower and me rushing to get the shampoo out of my eyes all the while yelling out to the crying baby- “I know you need your binky, sweetheart. Mommy will be right there!” Think I was going to find a moment to blow dry and straighten my hair then? Forget it. It wasn’t until I got myself a gym membership, which included child care for a mere $10 more a month per child, that I discovered the silver lining. If I actually worked out a few times a week- I could reward myself with a nice long hot shower, and maybe even have some extra time to pamper myself with a blowdryer and some make-up! Now THAT was worth going to the gym for. But there were more great discoveries for me just around the corner. I had 2 hours all to myself at the gym- so by gosh, I was going to make the best use of this time. As a mother of 2, time to myself almost seemed like a lost cause up until now. This next little discovery is probably going to make most of you go, “well, duh!” but for me it was like unlocking the secret code to life, happiness, and those mysterious endorphins. Are you ready? Music. I know, simple, right? But I never actually tried working out to music before. I love music, and who doesn’t? I had even gone as far as studying it in college. As a singer and a pianist, I had a great love for all types of music and theory. But since becoming a mom, the only music that graced my home and my car was to the tune of “the wheels on the bus go round and round…” Now with my new found 2 hours of “me time” I was going to allow myself to listen to music that I wanted to hear- anything I felt like! I had forgotten what magical powers music had! Completely behind in the trends, I finally figured out how to download songs to my blackberry. I invested in some itunes, put on my head phones and traveled into another dimension. I was filled with such bliss in my escape, that I almost didn’t realize I had been on the stairmaster for an entire 40 minutes sweating up a storm- and actually enjoying it. Yes, the girl who didn’t believe in working out was converted. Instead of dreading the minutes in which I huffed and puffed, I began watching the clock to see how long I had to stay in my happy place before hitting the shower. I can honestly say with true commitment, that for the first time in my life…I have become one of THOSE people. You know, the freaks who actually enjoy going to the gym. Oh yeah, and that stubborn baby weight is finally starting to come off. It’s a nice little added bonus.