Quote Monday counts to 10

Alex: “Fun fact: bad guys are real!”

Alex: “What does R-I-J-S-H spell?”
Me: “Nothing.”
Alex: “I spelled, ‘Nothing’!”

Evelyn: “Would you be offended if I had to put you in a retirement home one day?”
Sara: “Offended? No. But I’d be very lonely and die quickly so…”
Me: “No guilt, no pressure…”

Alex: “1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 11 12 ready or not here I come!”
Ollie: “You missed 10.”
Alex: “You told me I didn’t have to count to 10!”

Alex: “I don’t want to be a grown up because when you’re a grown up you have to eat a certain thing every day.”
Me: “And what’s that?”
Alex: “Whole grains.”

Soft Slippers

A couple of years ago, Sara asked me what I wanted for Christmas. “Soft slippers,” I said, thinking of how cold our house always is.Β I thought that was a pretty good suggestion, but Sara kept sending me links to slippers.

Sara: “Like these ones?”
Me: “No. Soft ones. Not ones that look like shoes, you know? Soft ones.”
Sara: “How about these?”
Me: “No, soft slippers!”
Me: ::sigh:: “No, not these ones.”

Clearly I was failing to make myself clear in some way. So I spent some time googling around the Internet and finally came back.

Me: “Okay, I was using the wrong words, and that’s on me. Apparently the correct phrase is ‘Novelty Plush slippers‘.”

I happily showed her all the examples I found, like the ones that had a dangly, light-up, angler fish piece, and the ones that looked like Bigfoot feet, and the ones that made Godzilla stomping sounds when you walked. “SOFT SLIPPERS!” I crowed.


Sara argued vociferously that it didn’t make sense to buy cheap slippers that were ultimately going to fall apart, but the heart wants what the heart wants, and it was *my* Christmas present after all.

So in the end, the kids picked out some awesome tiger feet, and I loved them and wore them every minute. I lost track of the number of times I came to the door for a package or to let in a repair man or something and forgot they were on my feet. And yes, they were cheap and ultimately fell apart, even despite the massive amounts of bacon duct tape I tried to use to hold them together.

The following Christmas I REALLY, REALLY wanted to ask for a new pair of slippers but I didn’t dare, not after Sara had given me so much fuss about buying slippers that would last. So I just added another layer of duct tape and didn’t say anything. However, the FOLLOWING year, I figured I would be in the clear to ask for a new pair. Two years of every day use is respectable, right? But Sara was done with me and my soft slippers, and she declined to get me any.

Okay, fine, if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself. Except she did kind of get to me…did I really want to buy another pair of (awesome) slippers that would only last one (awesome) year? As much as I loved the tiger feet, they didn’t exactly fit, and, if I’m being totally honest, after all the stuffing leaked out of the bottom (we’re talking, like, day 2 here) they weren’t very comfortable to stand on the hardwood floor for any length of time.

On the other hand, I looked at all the “good” slippers and they were all, “no, no NO”. They just looked like shoes! Where was the dangly, light-up, angler fish thingy? Where were the Godzilla stomping sounds? Aren’t there any slippers out there for a respectable adult who wants some respectable, well-made, Novelty Plush slippers?

Well, after a long, long, LONG time I finally found a pair of slippers that weren’t too bad, which I watched like a hawk until they went on sale. I give you, my new Sorels:


Nice, warm, well made, soft…they were okay. They were fine. I guess. If you had to have slippers.

But they were still missing that certain je ne sais quoi…




Now THOSE are some nice slippers! 😍😍😍

Lordy, Lordy – Thoughts on turning 40

As I have said before, I am not generally one to get stuck on milestone birthdays. I have always been fortunate enough and that makes me feel pretty good about birthdays (or maybe it’s just because I lost my hair so very, very long ago, so I’ve had no choice but to get over it). This year, for starters, I have a wonderful, healthy family, a nice house, a good job (with a surprise promotion just yesterday!), and I’m the healthiest physically I’ve been probably since high school. So I don’t exactly look back on my 30s with a lot of regrets.

All that being said, there is something about the big 4-0, and I have found myself dwelling on it a lot more than I thought I would as it approached. Not specifically the birthday itself, but just getting older in general. It seems like in the past 6 months or so, I have felt a million new aches and pains. Maybe just because it has been on my mind, I don’t know.

But it really does feel like, for the first time, I’m starting to feel “old”.

For whatever reason, when I think of “parents” or “the previous generation” I always imagine the people who would sit in the stands at like middle and high school sporting events. I don’t know why, but in any case, I can’t help but acknowledge that that’s me now, you know? (Side note: we had kids relatively young, and thank god! Parenting is so exhausting, that I seriously cannot imagine doing it any older. How could I accomplish this with any less energy?!)

I suppose the cliche is to say I feel younger than I am, and that is both true and not true. I just went over all the reasons it’s not true, but I think it’s also fair to say that I still spend time making memes and reading comic books and playing dungeons and dragons and I fall asleep nearly every night thinking about programing robots to fight other robots, which….I don’t know exactly what a 40 year old is supposed to be doing, but I certainly wouldn’t have guessed it was that stuff.

Even with all that, there is something about the number 40, though. Yesterday, if I were talking to someone who was, let’s say 24, I would have (optimistically) thought, “Well, they’re in their 20s and I’m in my 30s, so we’re not SO different in age!” But suddenly today I have to instead think, “They’re in their 20s and I’m in my 40s. That’s a 20 year difference!”

That is a lot of aging to experience all at once.

So, you know, here I am. Middle aged. Bald, with a kid in middle school, but also probably living a better life than I had imagined I would. Struggling sometimes with parenting, but also super fulfilled by my career and hobbies, and learning new things every day. Wishing I had more time, but also happy with the way I spend my time and money.

Now just wait until I hit 50…


The Case of the @#$%^& Stove

Since we moved into this house, two burners on the stove have been kind of problematic. One of them won’t spark, which means it works fine…as long as you light it with a lighter. The other one sparks continuously, which means it works fine…as long as you don’t mind a constant, crazy-making *tick tick tick tick* the entire time you’re using it.

For me, these things are mostly an annoyance, but I have taken a couple of runs at them over the years and been unable to solve them after varying amounts of work. However, they drive Sara kind of crazy.

So “getting someone to fix the stove” has been in the back of my mind as a backup Christmas gift for years, but I’ve never actually arranged it. Then, a couple of months ago, I got a message from Sara’s friend Jackie:

“For an early Christmas present for Sara, please hire someone to fix the stove burners before Christmas.”

Now, I was a bit suspicious of this, because why would this person even know about the stove burners, much less decide to send me this message out of nowhere? SUPPOSEDLY, Sara had mentioned how badly she wanted them fixed when she visited back in April, and Jackie had CREATED A CALENDAR APPOINTMENT to remind herself to tell me!! I wasn’t 100% sure whether Sara had just texted Jackie and said, “Tell Shane to fix the stove”, or whether Jackie really had the foresight to hear this, note it down, and follow up 6 months later (knowing Jackie, this was totally in the realm of possibility), but either way, seemed like I should just go ahead and get the stove fixed.

On the day of, I took the kids to school as normal and didn’t mention it to anyone, with my plan to sneak back home after without anybody knowing and wait for the repairman. I thought ahead enough to turn off the security cameras, but I realized the smart garage door would notify to Sara’s phone. “Oh well,” I thought, “she’ll probably never notice, and even if she does, that thing glitches all the time.” Except LITERALLY THE SECOND THE GARAGE DOOR OPENED Sara texted me, “The garage door just opened.”

“Huh, that’s weird,” I texted back, “Oh well, looks like it’s closed now…” All day long she kept texting me things like, “Oh, make sure you bring that package home from work,” and I’d say something non-committal like, “Oh, you know, I’ll bring it home someday this week!” To which she’d reply something like, “No, you need to bring it home today.” At some point I thought to myself, “CLEARLY she knows that I’m not at work and this is some kind of TEST to see how far I’ll go before I break and admit it AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!”

Proving that I should never ever try to get away with anything, because I am not equipped to handle it, and am the worst, weirdest liar on the planet.

No problem, I thought, I only need to make it through the day. By the time she comes home tonight, this will all be fixed up and I can explain what happened and we can all have a laugh! Oh we will laugh and laugh!

Finally the repairman arrived and I explained the situation with the burners, what I had tried so far, and finally saying that I think the sparker things needed to be replaced on both burners. “Did you clean them?” he asked.

Now, I understand that this is the appliance repairman version of, “Did you try turning it off and turning it back on?” which means, not only are they required to ask, but they are also required to not believe me when I say, “Yes. Multiple times.” So he proceeds to get out his wire brushes and clean them again. For about 30 minutes. After which he stands back, wipes his brow, and goes, “Man, they’re still not working.”
“Yeah, I already tried that. So, um, anyways, as I said, I think that the sparker things need to be replaced on both burners…”
“Wow,” he said, shaking his head incredulously. “You’d have to take the whole thing apart to do that.”
“Yeah, I know. That’s…that’s why I wanted to hire someone to do it.”
“Well, I don’t have time to do that today. You’ll have to call and make another appointment.”

NOT TO BE DETERRED, I spent some time looking at it after he left, and I quickly realized the reason the constantly sparking burner was constantly sparking was because there was a gas flow problem (and a poor burner design problem) that was causing the flame not to light in the little area next to the sparker. So, simply by adjusting a little screw, I could let a little more gas in and, voila! Flame stays lit, clicky clicky goes away.


However, that didn’t change the fact that the other burner still didn’t spark, and replacing the sparky thing would require taking the whole thing apart, something which I had already explicitly decided I didn’t want to do myself, but I certainly wasn’t going to hire THAT company again.

So, one day when I was home with the kids, I dove back in, committed to finally getting to the bottom of this. If that guy could call himself an appliance repair professional (not sure he actually calls himself an ‘appliance repair professional’), surely I could do as well as he could.

And when I say the whole thing had to be taken apart, I mean THE. WHOLE. THING. Front, sides, back, a part on the bottom for some reason???

So after about 3 hours, I ran into a little problem in that, in order to complete the final step and disconnect the burners from the top, I was going to need to buy a tool that I didn’t have. As I kind of sat there in despair, I happened to notice that inside the front panel, on the burner that wasn’t working, there was some sort of little switchy thing that was cracked. Sure enough, I swapped it for the one of the other ones that was functional and it worked! Which was great, because, 1) hooray! I knew what the problem was and how to fix it, and it didn’t require leaving the stove lying in pieces all over the kitchen! And, 2) the three hours of work I had spent disassembling the stove was all for naught! And that kind of troubleshooting is they kind of expertise that you might get by HIRING AN APPLIANCE. REPAIR. PROFESSIONAL.

That’s not to say we didn’t have our fun when we were taking the stove apart. Like the time when Ollie came running over and accidentally kicked a pile of screws under the stove. Would have hated to miss out on that part!

Okay, but, don’t get distracted by the little things, I knew what I need to do. A quick trip to Ace Hardware followed by a longer, more frustrating trip to the appliance parts store, followed by a quick trip to Amazon.com and soon our replacement part (a microwave door switch? Why a microwave door switch??) was winging its way to us across untold miles. And when it got to us, just days before Christmas, it was just a simple five forty-five minute job to get it replaced and fully functional again!

And that is the story of the most effort for the least impact of any Christmas present I ever got for anybody, but I didn’t murder or yell at anybody, not even that time Ollie kicked the screws under the stove, which is a goll dang Christmas miracle.


Quote Monday is a human guy

Alex: “When are we going to make butt guys again?”
Sara: “Make what?”
Alex: “Butt guys. With the peanut butter. Butt guys.”
Sara: “Buckeyes??”

Butt Guys

::Sara tucking Alex into bed::
Alex, whispering to his stuffies: “Did you sleep enough?”
Alex: “They’re nocturnal.”

::Alex, receiving a store-bought Chewbacca cookie::
Alex:Β “Unfortunately, this human guy cookie tastes…like playdough.”

::Driving by Goodwill::
Alex: “Why don’t they make a Bad Will?”

I cry all the damn time

I was reading an article recently about toxic masculinity, and I was thinking about how it does us, as men, no good to pretend like we don’t cry, and probably quite a bit of harm. As I have already cried multiple times this morning for various reasons, I would like to go publically, on the record, and say I cry all the damn time.

I just cried watching a video of Drew Brees throwing his 540th touchdown pass.

Over the weekend I cried when the graduating seniors danced their final Nutcracker performance, and I don’t even have a graduating senior.

I cried the first TWO times I saw Hamilton.

I cry in movies when I see daughters achieving their dreams.

I cry when I think about things that will be hard on the kids when they get older.

I cry when I see school shootings on the news.

I literally got a tear when I typed that previous line, because holy crap.

This morning I got choked up during the Lobby sing when we were singing Jingle Bells and pretended like I was coughing and I don’t even know why, other than the fact that childhood is fleeting?




And I think, for my sons’ sake, it’s time to stop pretending like I don’t, or trying to cover it up when it happens like it’s something to be ashamed of.

Quote Monday needs a monkey liver

Entire drama camp:
🎡 Diarrhea, flowing river,
Cork it with a monkey liver! 🎡

Can you tell the kids write their own lyrics??

Me: “We don’t go outside in our underwear! NOT EVEN to show someone a funny birthday card.”

This might not have been directed at the kid you are imagining.

Alex: “There was a bug in the bathroom! I got a piece of toilet paper but it disappeared.”
Me: “Oh no, what kind of bug was it? Was it a spider?”
Alex: “No…I think it was a scorpion.”

Alex, lying in bed: “I’m just feeling sad because I wish I could go back to all the days that have passed.”

That starts at 3 1/2????

Me: “I don’t know, two smores is a lot for a little guy…”
Alex: “But I’m not a little guy! I’m a 3 1/2 guy!”