This is how Story Time with David Tiefenthaler Got Started

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This is how I got the idea for writing my book.


I told this story to my middle school students, and they loved it.  I figured, I could turn this into a video, and I did.  I actually made several stories and turned them into videos and posted them on YouTube.  I still have a YouTube channel, called “tiefsa”, but making videos like the one above was extremely time consuming.  It was more fun writing the story.

Then I figured, why not use the story of being the new kid at a school and then write a fictional tale about it.

I hope to be able to share that story with you soon…

Flu + Frozen Pipes = Doom

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WARNING – If you have a weak stomach, do not read any further.

You must be brave.  I commend you for continuing.  Get ready for a gut wrenching tale.

I only ask one thing.  If you make it through, you must share this with your friends, and more importantly, your enemies.

Note – We are in the middle of a very cold winter.

The day after Valentines – Saturday, 2/15/14 – 3:00 AM – Central Standard Time

My six year old, The Flower Child, wakes up crying.  She complains of having bad dreams, so I reluctantly get up and rub her back to help her calm down.

Lisa, my wife, gets up too, but she doesn’t come into The Flower Child’s room.  Instead, Lisa walks into the bathroom and barfs in the toilet.  All the commotion wakes up my four year old, Ivan the Terrible.  I assume Ivan will ask my wife or myself to tuck him back in, but instead he enters the bathroom and upchucks into the garbage can.

“The toilet isn’t flushing,” Lisa moans from the bathroom.   Even though she is still crying, I exit The Flower Child’s room to check on the status of the toilet.  My wife and Ivan are both sprawling out on the cool tile floor like dead bodies.  “It flushed once, but won’t anymore,” my wife says.

I step over them to fiddle with the lever of the toilet because there are some chortle chunks floating in the toilet bowl, but it doesn’t flush.  I take the back of the toilet seat off and notice that the chamber in back is not filling up with water.  This is not a good sign.  I twist the sink handle to see if water will come out of the sink, but only a few drops sputter out and then nothing.  We have no running water.  Our pipes must be frozen.

Oh no.

Oh no.

2/15/14 – 3:30 AM – Central Standard Time

I can handle kids and my wife dumping out their guts.  I can handle frozen pipes.  But together, it might be too much for one man to take.  I cast my doubts aside and remember my mantra in times like this.  “Cast iron stomach! You have a stomach of steel.  You can win this battle.  Stomach of steel!”

The Flower Child hasn’t stopped crying, but her sadness must take a back seat for the moment. First up, I find every available bucket or garbage can and double bag each one.  Next, I get on the computer, find the emergency number for the local utilities, and call them.

Here is a brief transcript of the conversation.

OPERATOR:  How did you find out that the pipes were frozen at 3:30 in the morning?

ME: My wife and my four year old child are throwing up and we can no longer flush the toilet.

OPERATOR:  I will send help immediately.

ME:  Thank you kindly for your help.

2/15/14 – 3:45 AM – Central Standard Time

We set up a makeshift bed using towels and sleeping bags on the hardwood floor in the family room.  My wife and Ivan the Terrible continue to heave out their guts.  After every vector spewing episode I take the double bagged garbage can to the garage, tie the bags and dump them into the large garbage can in the garage.  It is well below freezing in the garage, so the stomach spittle remains should freeze, effectively eliminating any puke stench.

As I was transporting one load of vomit to the garage, my wife informs me that The Flower Child threw up in her bed.  I march into her bedroom and find that she blasted chunks all over her comforter, sheets, and stuffed cheetah.  I strip all the sheets and comforter from her bed, throw the stuffed cheetah in the middle of these sheets, roll it up into a large ball, carry it to the garage, and throw it on the garage floor.

I get a call from the workers, and they say that they are on route.  They tell me that they will be working from inside my house, in the basement where the main water pipe enters my home.  They also tell me to clear away anything near the pipe because they have a large machine they need to put near the pipe entrance, and they are about 15 minutes away from my address.

The Flower Child is transported to the makeshift sick bay on the family room floor.  I hustle downstairs to move my weight bench, exercise bike, turn tables, record collection, and paper shredder from the area by the water pipes.

2/15/14 – 4:00 AM – Central Standard Time

Help arrives.  Two bearded utility workers enter the home, carrying a large machine and a bunch of hoses that will inject hot water into pipes outside.  With all the commotion, my eight year old, Bob the Builder, wakes up and joins me in the living room.  He doesn’t feel sick, but I set a double bagged garbage can next to him on the couch.  Bob asks who’s making all the noise in the family room.  I inform him that Mom, Ivan, and The Flower Child all have the flu, and they are busy sending messages to the wastebasket.

2/15/14 – 5:30 AM – Central Standard Time

The utility workers aren’t making any progress.  My son, Ivan the Terrible, tells me that he might have to use the toilet because something wants to come out the other end of his body.  I warn him that the toilet Mom spilled the groceries in has already been flushed.  He has to use the other one.  Also, if he has to go, he shouldn’t flush it.  He says he can’t hold it and rushes to the loo.  Shortly after he exits, The Flower Child takes a dump in the toilet that is already loaded with fecal matter.

2/15/14 – 6:00 AM – Central Standard Time

The stench from the crap loaded toilet has wafted out into the home and mixes with the already prevalent scent of stomach acid.  I resist the urge to flush the toilet by pulling my shirt over my head.  God help anyone that has to use that toilet again.

2/15/14 – 7:00 AM – Central Standard Time

The utility workers come up from the bowels of the basement.  They couldn’t unfreeze the pipe from inside the house.  They leave, but they promise to return soon with reinforcements.  I hold my best poker face and say, “Thanks for trying your best.  I hope you can fix it when you return.”

On the inside I scream, “NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”

Already prepared for this, I call up a local hotel and immediately book a room over the phone.

2/15/14 – 8:00 AM – Central Standard Time

After haphazardly packing several outfits for my sick family, I load the clothes into the van.   Right before throwing the casualties into the van, I make my way to the bathroom to flush the brown down.  I cover my mouth and nose when entering, but I probably should be wearing goggles too.   The putrid smell of hell’s candy burns my eyes.  Tears well up as I approach the toilet.  Whatever happened in here was beyond awful.  I don’t know if the first blast or the second caused it, but supersonic sewer sewage is spattered all over inside and outside of the toilet bowl.  I flush the toilet and dive out of the bathroom.

Once everyone manages to get a jacket on their sickly frames, we get in the van and roll to the hotel.  Thankfully, no one has a wet burp in the car, but after we get out, Ivan the Terrible calls Uncle Ralph and his Cousin Hurl in the parking lot, and The Flower Child brings some fluorescent cheer to a snowbank next to entrance of the hotel.  I feel so powerless in this moment.  The only thing I can do to help The Flower Child is hold her hair back so she doesn’t get any on herself.

2/15/14 – 9:00 AM – Central Standard Time

Bob the Builder and I pick up some wet wipes and bottles of water from the store.  We return to the hotel and drop off the goods.  Ivan the Terrible looks much better, but The Flower Child and my wife are still pleading their case to the porcelain judge.

2/15/14 – 9:30 AM – Central Standard Time

We might as well get what we are paying for, so Bob the Builder and I enjoy continental breakfast at the hotel.  I put myself on the BRAT diet (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, and Toast) to hopefully avoid the same fate as my family and eat one banana and a piece of toast.  I warn Bob that he could get sick too, but he throws caution to the wind and eats a bowl of Fruit Loops and chases it with a frosted donut.

2/15/14 – 9:45 AM – Central Standard Time

Bob the Builder and I return to our home.  Reinforcements arrive and begin working outside.  The utility workers attach jumper cables to a pipe next to our driveway and run an ungodly amount of voltage through the pipe.  The electrified pipe will heat up and melt the ice block.

2/15/14 – 11:00 AM – Central Standard Time

Water starts running in the house.  I thank the utility workers for their hard work.  They inform me that pretty much all of Hartford is freezing up and they quickly leave to help the next home on their list.

2/15/14 – 4:30 PM – Central Standard Time

After scouring the house for hours, I know what must be done.  I have to clean the toilet that is covered with colon cannonballs.  Armed with a toilet wand, a scrub brush, bleach, Lysol and Scrubbing Bubble disinfectant spray, I enter the battle zone.  Step one.  I douse the whole area with chemicals.   Step two.  I exit the bathroom and hope that magical scrubbing bubbles are cleaning the toilet on their own, just like in the commercial.  Step three.  I re-enter the bathroom and find that that commercial is totally false.  Step four.  I scrub all the keester cakes and Mississippi mud off the toilet until it is sparkling clean.  Step five.  I close the lid so the cat doesn’t try to drink the toilet water.

Sunday – 2/16/14 – 2:30 AM – Central Standard Time

Bob the Builder wakes up with a bad stomach ache.  We guide him to the toilet and he immediately hits the eject button on his belly.  With running water, it isn’t very difficult to clean up after Bob the Builder.  I just flush the toilet.  Thank you utility workers!  Thank you from the bottom of my stomach.

2/16/14 – 8:30 AM – Central Standard Time

The final battle.  I think for a moment I cleaned the entire house and eradicated any sign of abdominal chum or Montezuma’s revenge, but I am wrong.  Piled in a ball in the garage, The Flower Child’s pink and white striped sheets and Butterfly comforter taunt me.  I snatch the cold boulder from the garage floor and heave it into the laundry room.  “Stomach of steel,” I chant to myself.  I unroll the ball and pull out the first of three blankets.  Only a few chunks are on this one.  I take it to the utility sink and run water over the clam chowder surprise.  It doesn’t come off.

That’s when it hits me.  The chunderspew that covers these sheets and blankets are frozen.  I have to use scalding hot water to dislodge it.  My hand trembles as I turn the knob to the hot water on full blast.  Slowly the half digested stomach purge heats up enough to peel off of the sheet.  Unfortunately, the putrid, acidic, noxious odor of Hurl and Ralph return.  The smell assails my nostrils, and I gag.  Between dry heaves, I manage to get the first sheet clean.  The comforter doesn’t have much on it, so I just chuck it directly into the washing machine.  However, the third blanket is loaded with frozen leftover lunch.  I repeat the cleaning process, but because these pieces of rainbow retch are larger, they don’t immediately slide down the drain. Some larger pieces sink and clog the drain, while lighter fare float about in the clogged utility sink.

I turn my head upward and ask for divine intervention.  Please, don’t make me reach into the sink!  For the love of all things sacred, don’t make me do it!

My prayers are answered.  The hot water works its magic and the chunky puddle begins to drain away.  I watch the remaining stomach discharge melt, break apart, and slide down the drain, never to be seen again.  I toss the last blanket into the washing machine.

All that remains is the stuffed cheetah.  I contemplate burning it, or throwing it away, but The Flower Child loves the cheetah.  With my bare hands, I scrub the oral diarrhea out of its fur, and whip the stuffed cat into the washing machine.  I win.

You made it.  Hopefully you didn’t retch on whatever device you were reading this.  Now remember to share it because sharing is caring. 

iPhone Intervention for Adults

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With great power comes great responsibility – Voltaire

I have an iPhone.  This might not be a big deal for most people, but I went from a flip phone with no internet capabilities to the holiest of holy handheld devices in the world.  Apologies to people that use a different brand of smartphone.  Your phone might be the best.  This technologic troglodyte doesn’t know any better.

There is a problem though.  The soft glow, the smooth outer shell, the feelings I get when I hold it close.  Its intoxicating!  I need to develop a contract so I use this power responsibly.  But why put it down when I can do anything with it.  What’s the weather like?  Who just emailed me?  Where’s the best place for a taco in Menomonee Falls?  My iPhone knows.  I want to stare at it all day.  Oh, such beauty.  Such grace in a lacquer coated polycarbonate case.

When I pull my phone out, I have the world wide web right in my hands.

Sometimes I point it at my cat after chanting, “By the Power of Grayskull, I HAVE THE POWER!”

Furry Underwear is Comfortable

Furry Underwear is Comfortable

Unfortunately there hasn’t been an app developed yet that will transform my house cat into a beast that I can saddle up and ride to work.  I’m sure someone is coding that program right now.  Without further ado, these are the rules that I will follow so I use my iPhone responsibly.  I’ve been around other adults who could benefit from these rules too, so feel free to share this article with them.

1.  I won’t use my iPhone while driving.  Since my job doesn’t require chasing criminals or wrestling alligators, by far, the most dangerous thing I do everyday is drive my car.  I don’t need to make it harder by texting and driving.  I figure since I didn’t read while driving, or try to write notes to people while I’m behind the wheel before I had my phone, I shouldn’t start trying to do it now.

2.  I won’t use my iPhone when I’m talking to another person.  I’ve never got up and left someone in the middle of a conversation to go look at my computer to see if someone just sent me a message, so I probably shouldn’t start doing that now.

3.  I won’t use my iPhone when I’m eating with my family or friends.  Food tastes good.  I also enjoy talking to my wife and kids.  Why would I want to distract myself from delicious breakfast cuisine like Life cereal while having a conversation with Bob the Builder about the intricacies of creating a starburst pattern on the Rainbow Loom.

4.  I won’t use my iPhone to broadcast on social media where I am currently vacationing.  The reason for this is twofold.  First of all, I get really jealous when other people use their phone to post a crappy picture of some exotic location that they are vacationing.  “Look at me!  I’m really happy in Tropical Paradise,” they say.  Well, I’m not happy for you, jerkface.  Secondly, this is just an open invitation to shady characters that you or your family isn’t within 500 miles of your home, so there will be little resistance when I, umm… I mean, when someone wants to steal your stuff.

5.  I will look past my iPhone’s 1136-by-640 pixel resolution at 326 ppi and occasionally enjoy the real world.  Life beyond the screen appears in color and resolution even better than HD, and I don’t even need to wear glasses to make it 3D.  When I’m at a game, I’ll just watch the game.  When I’m at a family gathering like Thanksgiving or Christmas or a kid’s birthday party, I’ll talk to the adults and wrestle with kids.  When I’m at a party, I’ll party.  Someone else can document my activities.

6.  I won’t take any selfies.

Got a friend or family member that needs an iPhone intervention?  Get all the people that care about this individual together, take the offender’s phone away, and share these rules with them.  Then again, I wouldn’t mind if you emailed this article to people, tweeted it, shared it on Facebook, Gave it a plus one on Google, took a picture of yourself reading it and post it on Instagram…

The Fastest Way to a Woman’s Heart is with a New Toilet Seat

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One annoying thing about toddlers is that you have to strap a “potty seat” to your toilet when they transition from diapers to going pee and poop on the potty.  For the uninitiated, let me quickly explain a potty seat.  It’s a smaller toilet seat that snaps onto the regular sized toilet seat.  The hole, for lack of a better term, is much smaller on the potty seat so your toddler doesn’t fall into the toilet when they are doing their doody.

There is a little less than a four year gap between our oldest and youngest child, so for several years, we had a potty seat that was contantly being snapped on and popped off of the toilet.  This put an excessive amount of wear and tear on the white seat we had.  After years of putting the seat on and pulling it off, four brown spots developed on the toilet seat.  All that happened was the white paint wore off, exposing some sort of wooden composite material.  A less technical explanation would be the potty seat made it look like there were permanent poop stains on the toilet seat.

Those aren't poop stains

Those aren’t poop stains

My wife hated it.  She constantly bugged me to replace the toilet seat.  There was nothing wrong with it.  No one was getting splinters in their butt cheeks on the rubbed down spots, so I didn’t see this as a pressing issue.  This weekend, my wife ramped up the intensity of her nagging.  It was quite impressive.  Some of her best lines were, “I’m embarrassed to even have my mother over,” and “Bacteria is growing on the seat.”  She’s dead on about the bacteria growing on the seat.  The two boys spraying urine everywhere except into the toilet bowl makes sure of this.  Seeing that the nagging was getting her nowhere, my wife appealed to a stronger urge.  My wife said, “If you go to get a new toilet seat, we can stop and pick up some bagels on the way.”

After I agreed to get a new toilet seat, I realized this meant I had to remove the old one.  This was the real reason I was dragging my heels on switching the toilet seat.  I knew this would be a brutal job.  With my oldest son, Bob the Builder, serving as a plumber’s assistant, it was time to get down and dirty.

There are two flaps at the base of the toilet seat that I had to lift up to expose the screws.  Underneath that flap was a pile of crystalized urine.  I was able to get the screws loose, but there were two wing-nuts underneath the toilet lid.  Like an idiot, I reached underneath to hold them in place while I unscrewed the bolt.  My bare hands came in contact with a greenish yellow gooey substance.  The urine was somehow melting the metal.  GROSS!

Once the seat was removed, two amber colored crystalized urine spots where the lid was attached were exposed.  I had to use the flat head screwdriver to scrape this stain off because industrial strength cleaners didn’t work.  After the base of the toilet was finally cleaned off, I took the old seat and made my way to the hardware store.  My oldest son, Bob the Builder, assisted me on this journey.

I felt a little awkward carrying around the old toilet seat in the hardware store, but Bob the Builder strutted through the aisles with purpose.  He was a little man on a mission.  We located the toilet section and quickly matched our old toilet seat with a new, pristine seat exactly the same size.

When Bob the Builder and I returned home, my wife made sure we reported immediately to the bathroom.  Quickly, Bob and I installed the new seat.  My wife was beside herself with joy.  With the exception of the birth of our three children, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen her happier.  The whole day she bounded around the house talking about the new magnificent toilet seat.  She celebrated as each child broke the seat in.  My daughter took the first poop on the seat.  My youngest son was the first one to lift up the seat and pee into the toilet.  My oldest son, Bob the Builder, was held in high regard because he was the one who picked out the magnificent, glowing white toilet seat.

The Sparkling Throne

The Sparkling Throne

Maybe in a new relationship, flowers, chocolate, or diamonds are the way to impress a woman.  After ten years of marriage, the fastest way to a woman’s heart is with a new toilet seat.

Cleaning Behind a Car Seat is Disturbing

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My children are disgusting.  I suppose I am partly to blame for what I recently discovered in the van, but I was reminded once again that all the food that we give to our children while we’re driving doesn’t end up going in their mouths.

My little helper

My little helper

On one car seat, the clasp broke.  I had to remove the defective car seat and put in a new one.  When I crawled into the back seat of the family van, I was horrified by the things I saw.  I lifted out the old car seat, and there were tons of crumbs and other partially eaten remnants smooched into the folds of the van.  Buried in every crack and crevice were goldfish crackers, half melted fruit snacks, blackened banana peels, apple cores, Golden Graham shrapnel, and countless Honey Nut Cheerios.

I retreated to the house for some high powered artillery:  an extension cord, and my Dyson DC41 Animal Vacuum.  My four year old son, Ivan the Terrible, came outside to help.  I plugged the vacuum in an sucked up all the debris.  Ivan joined me in the van and “helped out” by honking the horn repeatedly as I worked.  It took me quite a while to get in every nook and cranny, but I thought I cleaned up everything.  Ivan got on his belly and crawled into the back seat to inspect my work.  He squirmed out from under the back seat and held up one last Honey Nut Cherrio.  I asked him to give it to me, but he ate it instead.

Once, I Was A Zombie – Wisdom Teeth Story Time

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I know what it takes to turn a human into a zombie.  I’m speaking from experience because I was dangerously close to being “patient zero.”  All it takes is a mix of laughing gas, novocaine, and getting your wisdom teeth drilled out of your jaw, and you’ll be drooling blood in a Walgreens parking lot in no time!

Patient Zero

Patient Zero

Way back in ’93, when I was in high school, my stupid wisdom teeth decided to impact themselves under my current molars.  When this happens, there really is only one option for a dentist.  They have to drill into your mouth under or above your current teeth to break apart the wisdom teeth, and then pull the shards out of the holes that were just drilled.

My mother, a former teacher, made sure that this appointment occurred during winter break, so I didn’t miss any school.  She’s a thoughtful one.  I strolled into the dentist’s office on New Year’s Eve because I shouldn’t miss school when I can miss out on festive celebrations.

We arrived at the office and for the only time in my life, I was whisked into the dentist’s office immediately.  There was no wait once I sat in the dreaded dentist’s chair either.  First, they hit me with the laughing gas.  Dazed, but not totally disorientated, they went ahead with the novocaine injections into all four sides of the back of my mouth.  After my mouth was sufficiently numb, it was time to work.

I don’t really remember that much of the surgery except for the fact that I could feel warm blood pooling in the back of my throat.  In my drug induced state I also thought I smelled something burning when they drilled into my teeth.  That could be wrong.  Maybe the dentist or dental hygienist was on a smoke break before it was time to work on me.  I know the laughing gas had some effect on my cognitive abilities.  I had my eyes closed during the procedure and to keep my mind occupied, I tried to count how many people were in the room by the tone of their voice.  I got up to three when I had a revelation. Hey, I have eyes.  I can open them and see how many people are in here.

After who knows how much time, they stuffed some cotton balls in my mouth and sent me on my way.  My only instructions were to keep biting down on the cotton balls, and don’t spit.  I know there’s plenty of salty jokes I could work in this story right about now, but I’ll just move on…

On the way back home, my mother stopped at Walgreens to pick up some pain killers.   I was glad she decided to stop right away, because the novocaine was wearing off.   As I sat in the car, waiting for my mother to return, I could feel my pulse in my jaw, but what was even worse was, the cotton balls were saturated with blood and saliva.  The blood started to leak into my mouth.  I remembered that I wasn’t supposed to spit, but swallowing the pool of blood that was rising above my tongue was not an ideal solution.

I was left with only one option to rid myself of the rising tide of bloody saliva.  I stepped out of the car, walked between two mini vans, to give myself some cover, and scanned the area for any pedestrians.  Then, I leaned my head over and let the blood and spit drool out of my mouth.  The deep red viscous substance oozed onto the frozen concrete.  It took so long for all the blood to fall out that I didn’t notice a couple approach.  Before I could shut my mouth and turn away, they saw me.

Pale white face, glazed eyes, hunched over body, with a stream of blood pouring out of my mouth, I looked like the undead.  Thankfully, they didn’t scream.

Story Time – My First Home Run

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This summer, I started playing baseball in league for washed up players who can’t let go.  Of course, I want to hit a home run, but I doubt I will.  Playing again did remind me of my first ever collegiate home run.  When most baseball players hit their first high school or collegiate home run, it’s memorable for good reasons.  My first over the fence home run didn’t quite end up that way.

Look at that serious home run face!

Look at that serious home run face!

During my freshman year of college, I tried out for the baseball team at UW-Oshkosh.  The best part about tryouts was all we did was play games.  The coaches would make teams, and all fall we just played against our teammates.

I knew my chances at making the team were thin, just like me.  Back then, I wasn’t that big of a guy.  I was about six foot one, but I probably only weighed 30 pounds.  Another factor against me was I was what they call a “walk-on”.  This means I wasn’t recruited by the coaches to play baseball.  Thankfully, I made it through the first week of cuts.  The coaches must have seen something in me, because they started working one on one with me.  The hitting coach made me change my batting stance, and how I held the bat.

The next game after I had my one on one coaching session, I was penciled in as the starting left fielder and hit seventh in the order.  The pitcher we faced was a sidearmer.  His fastball was pretty nasty.  It tailed like crazy as it came darting in towards the plate.  The first two innings, he mowed down all of the batters he faced in order.

Right before I was to lead off the third inning, the pitcher from our team, Tom Petri, told us to start getting some hits.  Petri was a great collegiate pitcher, and actually played in the minor leagues after college for two years.  I don’t remember how he knew me back then since he was a Senior and I was a Freshman, but Tom talked to me right before my at bat.  “Tief,” he said.  “Get a hit.”

I trotted up to the batters box and got myself mentally ready.  I wanted to get a better read on the sidearmer’s fastball, so I took the first pitch.  The catcher called balls and strikes since this was a practice game.  The first pitch was way outside, but the catcher called it a strike.  What a load of crap, that call was, I thought to myself.  Well, at least I knew one thing.  I’d better be swinging up here.

The pitcher wound up for the next pitch, unfurled his body and hurled a low and inside tailing fastball.  I swung hard, whipping the bat down at the pitch and totally crushed the ball high and deep down the left field line.  Normally, when I pull the ball, it tails way foul, so I stood in the batters box after I hit the ball.

My majestic blast hung right on the line and was so high it went over the top of the foul pole.  The catcher didn’t say fair or foul, so I just stood in the batter’s box like an idiot.  Finally, the head coach broke the silence,  “Start running!  Who do you think you are?  Barry Bonds?”

It was fair.  I just hit a home run.  I sprinted around the bases and then headed back into the dugout. Petri was laughing, along with the rest of the players.  “What were you doing out there?” he asked.  I just shrugged my shoulders.  They all laughed some more.

– David Tiefenthaler

Story Time – We Have That Kid

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My wife is a very patient and caring mother, but a recent event with Ivan the Terrible pushed her to the edge.  She now refers to our youngest son as That Kid.

Oh, you're the parent of That Kid.

Oh, you’re the parent of That Kid.

Ivan is four years old, and if there is any window of opportunity for him to wreak havoc, he will break through that window, and then torch the whole building for good measure.

Across the street from our house is a huge empty lot where dump trucks unload piles of dirt.  We’ve had plenty of rain the past few weeks, and some of the water has pooled in between the mounds of dirt.

My oldest son, Bob the Builder, ran into our garage and took scrap lumber over to the empty lot.  He put the lumber down an created a bridge that crossed the wide muddy pit.

Ivan the Terrible didn’t think of these wooden planks over the soggy mud puddle as a bridge.  He called it a diving board.  Ivan walked on the planks into the center of the mud puddle and did a cannonball.  Mud flew everywhere.  Ivan then stood up in the middle of the mud, grabbed mud from the edge of puddle, and threw it at any kid that came near.

Bob ran back to our house and ratted out Ivan.  “Mom, Dad!  Ivan is jumping all over like a crazy person in the mud and he’s throwing it at everyone.”  We walked across the street to extract Ivan from the mud pit.

The only way I could hold Ivan and not get muddy was to extend my arms out as far as possible.  I walked back home holding my mud covered child like I would carry a stinky, poop filled diaper.

That’s when my wife lost it.  “Just look at you, Ivan!” she shouted.  “You’re a hot mess.  Why do you have to be That Kid?  Now we’ve got to hose you down.”

I stripped off Ivan’s mud soaked clothes.  Lisa turned on the hose and blasted him with it, head to toe.  Ivan shouted, “Its too cold!” and made a break for it.  He ran butt naked across the front yard.  I chased the streaking Ivan down, snatched him and brought him back to the hose.  After he was relatively clean, we took That Kid in the house for a bath.

When I was sitting in the bathroom as Ivan took a bath, I asked him, “Why’d you jump in the mud, Ivan?”

He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and said, “I had my water shoes on.”

– Dave

Story Time – Don’t Take Your Kids to Fancy Restaurants

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You know what’s worse than sticking a fork into your own eyeball?  Taking three kids, ages four, six, and seven to a sit down restaurant.

We recently went  on a mini-vacation.  When we arrived at the hotel, my immediate thought was, hooray, we get to eat out for dinner.   There was a Taco Bell right next to our hotel, but we thought we should take the kids out to a nicer restaurant.  Right across the street was the Olive Garden.  My wife, Lisa, and I thought that the kids would love it there.  Salad, breadsticks, pasta.  These are all things that the kids think are delicious.

I don't think they like their food.

I don’t think they like their food.

Unfortunately, our three children were not impressed.  First, they didn’t like the salad.  Included in an Olive Garden salad is a peperoncini, which is a pickled hot pepper.  My four year old, Ivan the Terrible, bit into a peperoncini.  He obviously didn’t expect it to be hot because immediately after the juice hit his tongue he started howling in pain.

Yet another reason why my children were irritated with our choice of restaurant was we had to wait for the food to come out.  The salad and breadsticks didn’t do much for them, so they proceeded to whine about having no food.  The seven year old, Bob the Builder, kept repeating, “They’re way faster at McDonalds.”

Finally, the food arrived, but yet again, our children were disappointed.  We gave them all some calamari, and they didn’t take to it as much as we thought they would.   Lisa then made the mistake of telling our kids that calamari is actually squid.  “Eew, gross,” my six year old daughter, The Flower Child, complained.  The Flower Child hated her lasagna too.  She told my wife, “It’s not good like the lasagna you make, Mommy.”

I loved the food.  Since the kids didn’t eat that much, I was plowed through my plate and then theirs too.  Everything was great in my book until I got the bill.  That’s when I decided that taking the kids out to a nicer restaurant was a bad idea.  Food for five at the Olive Garden is a heck of a lot more expensive than eating fast food.

– Dave

What about your experiences taking kids out to eat at a nice place.  Did it go well?  Any horror stories?  Please share!

Story Time – Dunk Fest with My Brother

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We all make bad decisions in our youth.  This story time involves vandalism but not in a traditional sense.  I feel bad about it now, but it’s still a funny story.  Don’t judge.  Just enjoy the stupidity.

Throw it down!

Throw it down!

My brother, Steve, was one grade above me.  When we were both in high school, we loved to play pick up basketball with all of our friends.  Even better than playing basketball on a standard ten foot high basketball rim was playing at the grade school, where the rims were only about nine feet tall.

Why were nine feet high hoops better?  Because then we could dunk.  I’m just over six feet tall, but I don’t have great jumping abilities, and neither did my brother or any of our friends.   The only way we were throwin’ it down was on a lower rim.

After playing countless games at the grade school, one rim started to get loose.  The bolts that held the rim to the backboard rattled with each monster dunk.  One fine sunny day, Steve, his two jerky friends, Justin and Omar, and I decided that we should see who could slam it so hard that the rim would rip right off the backboard.  We each took turns attacking the rim with fierce two-handed jams, reverses, and alley-oops.  I had little chance of being the one tearing the rim off.  Even though I was six feet tall, I weighed about six ounces.  I would hang and shake my bony frame around after each dunk, but the rim remained.

My brother went after me.  He ran toward the hoop, leaped off the black top whipped the ball behind his head, and then at the apex of his jump, he hammered down on the rim, sending the basketball through the hoop with tremendous force.   His body weight, combined with the violent attack on the hoop, pried the rim loose from the backboard.  Steve triumphantly landed on his feet with the rim still in his hand.

Right as he turned to show us his triumphant achievement, Justin yelled, “Steve!  Look out!  It’s the cops.

Immediately, Steve bolted off the court and into the swamp behind the parking lot.  I looked around for a place to run and hide, but the only place to take cover was in the swamp.  As soon as I was about to run for it, Justin grabbed me by the back of my shirt.

Justin and Omar were completely red-faced as they tried to suppress their laughter.  Justin whispered, “Little Tief, there aren’t any cops.

I was dumbfounded.  No cops?  Why did he say that then?  Then I put it all together.  They wanted to see if Steve would run into the swamp.  I tried not to laugh, which made it more hilarious.  All the while, we could hear Steve groaning as he marched deeper and deeper into the bog.

After a few minutes, Justin called out, “Tief.  Come out.  The cops are gone!”

We laughed as we heard Steve trudging through the swamp, cursing to himself.  He stepped out of the cattails and walked toward the court covered in silt and sludge.  He still held onto the rim.  I laughed uncontrollably at him.

Omar asked between giggles, “Tief?  Why didn’t you drop the rim?

Steve just shrugged his shoulders.

A few days later, somehow my mother learned about what we did.  I don’t recall what the punishment was, but I still remember how much we all laughed when Steve came back out of the swamp with the rim still in his hands.

– Dave