- He is an old-school man's man. No beauty products or pink shirts for him. He owns one mauve shirt and makes sure that everyone he sees when he wears it gets told, "my wife picked this shirt out".
- He is conservative to the point that it's a little odd. His catch-phrase is "I am the only normal one in this family" and he raises his eyebrows at everything from ankle bracelets to any nail polish colour that isn't red or clear. But...
- He owns a head-turning bright red 1996 Porsche that you can hear from a block away. The family calls it The Beast.
- He is passionate about cars (he's a mechanical engineer) and could author books on the subject. He knows the history of car companies, the latest models and specs and everything there is to know about engines, tyres and anything else automotive. He instilled an appreciation of beautiful motor cars in my brother and I, and taught me to love Formula One.
- He is a walking encyclopaedia of general knowledge. And it's all because he loves to ask questions and to learn. He will never pretend to understand something if he doesn't - he'll just find out about it right away so that he can understand. Although he would have liked me to be a chartered accountant and not a journo, I truly believe it's an inherited sense of curiousity I have from him that makes me love journalism so much.
- He pretends he hates cats. But when he thinks nobody is looking, he'll lapse into baby-talk and get all gooey with them.
- He is incredibly and supremely generous. Not in the same way as my mom, who is drawn to any underdog or charity case, but to those he holds dear. He will do anything for my mom, his dad and us kids. And those we love. So TSC, Lilly, my mom's mom and even my not-his-cup-of-tea cousins, aunts and uncles benefit from his family generosity.
- He can make the hard decisions. That's what makes him a good business leader. He believes in efficiency, economy and perseverence. He was hired by his current company to cut out the wastage, optimise productivity and generally stop all the nonsense that was going on (misuse of company assets and so on). It's a tough job that means he's not always popular, but he always gets the job done.
- Aside from his one extravagance (the Porsche. He wanted one from the time he was a mini motor-head kidlet and bought this rare one as an investment. Driving it is his weekend treat), he doesn't believe in excess. He has done well for himself, but he can't see the point of flashy watches, flying first class or other showy status symbols. He is as down to earth as ever, and prefers to spend money looking after those he loves rather than splashing out on himself. He also lets my mom channel money into her charity projects. It's awesome and very unusual, IMO.
- I have inherited his music taste. Well, most of it (not so much Cat Stevens). I'm not sure whether that's good or bad, but thanks to my dad, I love music from the 50s and 60s. Simon & Garfunkel, Herman and the Hermits, The Beatles, Louis Armstrong, The Platterers... I love it!
- He speaks well and taught me to love words and language. My mom is the reader; my dad is the speaker. He does "off the cuff" well, and I'm lucky to have that talent too (I think, at least).
- He has mellowed over the years. While my dad has the temper of a tiger (something I also got from him), he has turned into a teddy bear with us most of the time. He phones me a few times a week to check up on me and TSC ("just wanted to find out how you and your man are" is how these conversations inevitably start) and relishes the chance to spend time with us. He buys my mom flowers every Thursday without fail (did I mention he's big on routine?) and invites us over practically every weekend. The only time I see him lose his temper these days is when my brother damages his car (happens every few months or so). He is such a sweetheart.
He doesn't read my blog (for someone who's a total technology fan and has most IT gadgets, he still doesn't "get" blogging), but if he did, I'd tell him:
Love you, dad. You're my hero ;-)
Added at 6:11pm: Just discovered an old friend of mine is now blogging. Yay! Visit her at http://uttermutters.blogspot.com/. She's awesome.