Sick on your Birthday – Story Time

Download PDF

What’s worse than being sick?  How about getting sick on your fourth birthday!  My poor little son, Nathan, got the flu a few days ago.  Have you ever been sick on an important day?  Isn’t it the worst!  Listen up, because it’s time for story time.

I'm sad

I’m sad.

“Hooray, hooray!  Tomorrow’s your big day,” I told my son, Nathan.  He was all smiles when he went to bed Thursday night, because on Friday, Nathan turned four.

At two in the morning, we heard Nathan calling from his bedroom.  “Mommy, Daddy.  My tummy hurts,” he whined.  My wife and I both got up and stumbled to his room.  When I opened the door, a vile odor wafted in the air.  The smell of stomach acid puke assailed my nostrils.  My wife, Lisa, flipped on the lights, and there was poor Nathan, face pale as a ghost was sitting up in his bed.    Vomit covered his pillow, and some of it was sticking in his hair.

We did our best to clean it up at two in the morning.  Lisa took care of the soiled linens, while I washed chunks out of Nathan’s hair.  My stomach held strong, but I could hear Lisa gagging in the laundry room.

On Nathan’s birthday, I sat with him and watched little kid’s TV shows.  Jake and the Neverland Pirates was his personal favorite, but I snuck in a few episodes of Wild Kratts.  Nathan was dejected when we didn’t let him make birthday brownies though.  He kept asking, “Now can we make brownies, Dad?”

I kept explaining that we couldn’t because his stomach might not be ready for that type of food yet.  Nathan did perk up after a nap, and the whole family had a good time in the evening with him as we opened up presents.

Don’t feel too bad for Nathan.  The big party for him was on Saturday, and he was feeling much better by then.  His stomach is back to normal as he ate multiple brownies, cupcakes, and a piece of DQ ice cream cake during the course of the party.

– Dave

Do you have any Birthday sadness to share?  Let me know in the comments!

Story Time – Toddler Temper Tantrum

Download PDF

Are you ready for another episode of Story Time?  I know you are!  Just one note before we begin.  I’ve changed the names of all my children since they didn’t really have a choice to be in my stories or not.  For some reason, I went with Russian names.  I’m not really sure why though.

Is it possible for children to devolve instead of evolve?  Instead of adapting, getting stronger or smarter, do they get weaker or dumber?  I don’t know the answer to this question, but lately my three year old boy’s behavior has devolved.

Toddler Temper Tantrum


Ivan, my little powder keg of a son, is working on mastering the art of the toddler temper tantrum.  His displays of belligerent rage and delirium are unbelievable spectacles.  I call them, “Must see TV.”

My wife and I know why they are happening.  He doesn’t take naps anymore, so right before bed time, he’s beyond tired.  If one thing doesn’t go his way anytime between six to eight o’clock, it’s show time!

Here’s what happened last night.  I was just about to read a few children’s books, and Ivan asked, “Mommy, can you hold me?”

Mom was ironing clothes so she said, “Dad can hold you while he reads.  I’m ironing.”


Ivan screams, “MOOMMYY!  Hold me NOW!

“No, Ivan,” Mom says.  We don’t back down from fights in our house.  Somewhere, we read that we shouldn’t reward bad behavior because that leads to more bad behavior.  I’m not sold on that theory.  Then again, I know you’re not supposed to negotiate with terrorists.

Ivan’s face crumples up and turns fiery red.  “Mommy!  Hold me NOW!

“No, Ivan.  Now get over here and sit down,” I demand.

Ivan’s whole body tenses up.  He sticks his chest out, clenches his fists, and starts stomping and spinning around with his legs locked straight.  He looks like a mini soldier who was ordered to march around in circles while shouting at the same time.  “Hold me NOW!  Hold me NOW!”

My wife sets the iron upright so it doesn’t burn anything, and she snatches our little boy.  For a moment, he thought he was getting his way, but then my wife turns to take him to his bed.  Ivan freaks out, and he starts swinging his little fists at her.  “Mommy, NO!  I want stories.  I want stories, Mommy!”  She tosses him into his bed and shuts the door.  “MOOOMMYY!  DAAADDY!” Ivan continues.

I do my best to ignore the screaming and crying coming from Ivan’s bedroom and read to my older two children.  After a we finish the books, my oldest son, Dimitri says, “Ivan’s a beast.”

– Dave

Nicknames – Why I’m Tiefsa

Download PDF

When I write an article here, it says my name is “tiefsa” at the top of the post.  Obviously, that’s just a nickname.  Let’s get to the origins of this handle.

Your nickname is Lips

Your nickname is Lips.


In college, I had weird roommate once.  He was a complete and total idiot, but wicked awesome at the same time.  For the sake of this article, let’s call him Wally, because that’s his name.

My last name is Tiefenthaler – pronounced TEEF – IN – TALL – ER.  This long German name of mine always got shortened by my friends to Tief.

Wally always added an “s” to everyone’s name.  If you were Bob, you were “Bobs” If you were Lucas, I guess you were still Lucas, but you get the point.  Another one of Wally’s verbal tics was he said, “aaah,” when he couldn’t think of what he wanted to say.  I lived with him, and he constantly would ask me things.  It would sound like this.

“Tiefs, aaah.  Whatcha doin’?”

“Hey, Tiefs, aaah.  Did you eat my beef jerky?”

“Tiefs, aaah.  Check out these ostrich skin boots.  Aren’t they sweet?”

A cross-country teammate of mine picked up on the way he said my name, and this teammate started calling me Tiefsa.  Then everyone else on my college cross-country team called me “Tiefsa” too.  And there you have it.

Just for fun, here’s a list of the nicknames I’ve had throughout the years.  Technically, some of these are “monkiers” which are nicknames that you give yourself.  In my defense, I was a DJ, and I had to give myself a title for each different job.


Little Tief – My nickname in high school because my older brother is the original Tief.

Stinky Dave – I’d rather not share how I got that one.

Tiefsa – Read the story above. Stop scrolling down so fast!

Colonel Decker – My DJ name at WRST, the college radio station at UW-Oshkosh.

Lushious Dave – I also hosted a radio talk show in college, and originally I called myself Vicious Dave.  This got switched to Lushious Dave since I liked to have a drink or two back in the day.

Diamond Dave – When I worked at this boat shop, the lead mechanic called me Diamond Dave, but he said it so cool.  You know how people hollered, “Norm!” in Cheers.  He would shout, “Diamond Dave!” whenever I walked in the shop.

Dave the Love Slave – This was my DJ name when I worked at a night club.  My wife doesn’t like to admit it, but the first time I saw her was at this night club.

Mr. T – That’s what the students call me now at school.  It’s sad, but most of them have no idea who the original Mr. T is.

How about you?  What’s your nickname, and how did you get it?  Sharing is caring.

– Dave