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.

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!