Why I Hate the Dog I Love

filthy animal

Sure, she looks regal here. But put her on a treadmill for a couple minutes and see what happens.

Everybody Poops

Some do it on the treadmill.

Man Swears Like a Lunatic in Empty House

Eighty percent of our house is hard floors—either tile or wood. When the dog vomits, it does so on the carpeting 100% of the time. It also does it when the Wife, Principessa and Thunderfoot, who begged, cried and pleaded for the dog, are not home.

But cleaning up dog vomit is a relative joy for me compared to the worst canine house-fouling incident in the history of mankind. I know you think I’m being hyperbolic, but I’m not. I’ve checked the history books and the internets, and there is no worse case ever.

Lorelei is an Australian Shepard. I insisted on this breed because they’re good-looking and an intelligent breed. I knew that, despite their overblown protestations to the contrary, the girls and the Wife would not take care of the dog as promised. I wanted a dog that was easy to train because I KNEW that training would be limited, and mostly fall to me.

“YOU’RE the one who insisted on an Aussie.”

Aussies need lots of exercise. When the girls and the wife quickly lowered the frequency of their dog-walking operations, it came to me to find a solution. My solution: Teach the dog to walk on the treadmill. This was a lot easier than one might think. I put the leash on Lorelei and we walked together on the treadmill. Not long after, I put her on the treadmill by herself, and she walked. And walked. And walked. The problem was that if we forgot about her, she would walk for 100 minutes—the maximum our treadmill would continue for before shutting off.

It didn’t seem like a big deal at first, but if you know how dogs operate, you know that exercise gets the things in the digestive tract moving. And Lorelei will not get off the treadmill until it stops…even if she has to poop. I’m not exactly sure how this is possible, but Lorelei can poop while trotting at five miles per hour. Continue Reading…

Should I Have a Baby?

should I have a baby

Daddy was never allowed to dress his daughter again.

Should I Have a Baby?

Sibling Asks Idiot Most Important Question Possible; Experts Warn Him to Ignore Answer

My brother asked me if I thought he should have a baby. The fact that he asked me for advice automatically means the answer should be no, since his judgment is so poor. But this is what I wrote instead. (Some things are specific to him, but I think most of this applies to most people.)

It’s too late for you to produce a cousin/playmate for Junior, so our selfish reasons will not affect my answer, except that I fear this will seriously affect Poker Night.

Right now, your life has highs and lows. That doesn’t change when you have a baby, but it intensifies. Your highs are higher and your lows are lower. When you and your baby are sick and she is crying in the middle of the night and you are so tired that you feel dizzy, you will feel lower than you ever have in your life.

And when you lay your toddler down to sleep after reading him stories in a funny voice and gently rocking him, and he whispers “I love you too, Daddy,” your heart will melt with incredible tears of love and joy.

There are a lot of hard times coming later, and the older they get, the less joy they bring you (to a point) and the more burden they can seem. There will be many times when you think, why did I do this? What’s the benefit? And I don’t know the answer to that. It’s different with the girls because they are not mine and because Clare is at the extreme end of the unpleasantness scale. But Junior has been great (so far). The moments of great joy and love and laughter that he brings into our lives have far outweighed the effort it has taken to have him.

You think you love your wife. I mean, that’s why you married her, right? You love her more than you’ve ever loved anyone, and you can’t imagine loving anyone more than you love her. And then you have a kid, and almost instantly, you realize how ignorant you were. Your heart opens, and this love comes pouring out and you can’t imagine life without this tiny person who didn’t even exist such a short time ago. You still love your wife, possibly even more now, but it’s different. She doesn’t need you. She would eventually be fine without you.

But this child NEEDS you. This child is totally dependent on you, and that is an awesome responsibility that makes you love him even more. He changes you more profoundly than anything else you can do or experience. You quickly realize what an ass you’ve been for so long. All the things that you spent so much time and energy in protecting, in thinking were so important, in getting offended over and angry about, don’t matter anymore. This kid is what matters, not that someone slighted you somehow about something that’s infinitesimally insignificant compared to the life you are now responsible for. The certainty of your black and white beliefs falls away into many shades of gray.

And this is why I believe you should have a kid. What are you here for if not to grow? And getting married and having a child are two of the greatest ways to grow. For you, I believe having a child will soften some of your rigid views. For [your wife], I think it will positively affect her uptightness. It’s still possible to be a perfectionist about child-rearing, but it’s more likely it will soften both of you up. It might be hard to believe right now, but your kid will sneeze in your face, you’ll eat food that he spit out, you’ll touch feces with your bare hands, and you won’t give it a second thought. It won’t bother you as much when [poker buddy] sneezes on the cards when your kid spits in your mouth and you don’t really care. As [our mutual friend] once said, “With your first kid, you sterilize bottles, you use baby wipes and sanitizers on everything. By the third kid, if his pacifier falls in shit, you wipe it on your pants and shove it back in his mouth.”

Don’t get me wrong, this growth will come at a heavy price. Growth is really, really painful. It doesn’t have to be, but that’s how all of us make it. We don’t let go of our old selves without a fight, no matter how self-defeating our behaviors have been.

Parenting can be mind-numbingly tedious and repetitive. When you read the same book to your kid for the hundredth time in a row, you’ll feel like screaming. You won’t be going out as much. You’ll feel tied down. Your sex life will drop off a cliff for a long time. Your life will be permanently altered in ways you didn’t anticipate.

Yet, two and three-quarters of a year into it, I can say that it is worth it. I have cried ten times in writing this email because I love Junior so damn much.

One day, you’ll feel the same way about your little one. It’s hard to fathom that you’ll love someone who doesn’t exist yet more than you love your wife. But you’ll learn.

Peter

The Tooth Fairy Is A Thief

tooth fairy

If I knew as a kid that the Tooth Fairy looked like this, I never would have gone to sleep after losing a tooth.

Can Anyone Break a Twenty?

Dad of the Year Candidate Slips to Bottom of Rankings After Tooth Fairy Incident

What does the Tooth Fairy do when he’s got nothing smaller than a twenty?

Well, this Tooth Fairy panics, then steals a dollar from his son’s piggy bank while he’s asleep and puts it under his son’s pillow.

Then, in a moment of self-awareness for the Tooth Fairy, he reflects on what he just did, and feels like a really crappy Tooth Fairy.

Yep.

Parenting. I’m doing it wrong.

Top 5 Reasons You Will Not Believe What Happens Next Will Make You Cry

literally

Actual photograph of the Internet literally exploding.

Hyperbole Literally Makes the Internet Explode

Clickbait Hurts Everyone to the Point of Death

I get it. Really, I do. The more people click on your link, the more money you make. But the escalation of internet grandiosity is starting to grate. To get clicks, your headline has to be bigger, taller, faster, more emotional than the other guy’s.

But we are over-promising and under-delivering. We’re getting sick of the internet. Continue Reading…

A Stay at Home Dad Says Goodbye

stay at home dad

“One day, I will put you down for the last time. Also, I’m going to put you down right now because you pooped. Where’s Mommy?”

A Stay At Home Dad No More

Crybaby Father Complains about Having a Job

I am a homemaker. I am a stay at home dad. I have done this for the past thirteen years. I have taken care of four houses (not at the same time), three children, two hamsters, several fish and a dog. And some pre-historic creatures that I’m not quite sure were real.

When I moved here, I gave up my high-paying job for the role of a 1950s housewife. I didn’t mind. The Wife had two young girls (Principessa and Thunderfoot) who needed lots of attention. The Wife was starting her own office, and I was to do the bookwork as well as take care of the home.

When Junior arrived, I entered into a role my younger self would have kicked me in the nuts for accepting—stay at home dad to an infant. I really started to enjoy the role when he became interactive. Let’s face it: Newborns don’t give you much to work with. But when the kid starts looking at you—really looking at you—and communicating and, becomes ambulatory and, especially, is capable of coherent speech, taking care of him becomes a lot less boring.

Last December, I took a full-time, temporary position. It was not supposed to last longer than the end of the first quarter of this year. Fine. I could handle that. It wasn’t fulfilling work, but it had a short time line that would allow me to get back to taking care of my son and my home in four months at the most.

I didn’t like not being there to drop my son off and pick him up from the bus. I didn’t like having to take care of everything that needed attention at night and on weekends. Too many times that meant telling my virtual only child* that I didn’t have time to play with him. I didn’t like my wife becoming his primary caregiver. That was my job.

And then came the end of the first quarter, but not the end of my employment. They decided to keep me on…and on and on. The next thing I knew, I had found permanent, full-time employment with another company.

Then it hit me: The job I had grown to love, that of a stay-at-home dad, was gone forever. Continue Reading…

The difference between Father’s Day and Mother’s Day

Father's Day vs. Mother's Day

Peter often fantasizes about being crushed by a riding mower. That would teach his family. Too bad he has a push mower.

Father’s Day vs. Mother’s Day

Local Man Wants to be Treated like a Mother on Father’s Day

Father’s Day has a history born of tragedy, and that tragedy continues.

I woke up this morning and the Wife said, “I’m so glad you cut the grass yesterday because I would have felt bad asking you to do it today.” But she still would have. I can’t imagine asking her to cook dinner on Mother’s Day, but somehow, asking me to cut the grass on Father’s Day was not desirable, but still acceptable. Such is the nature of Daddom.

Mother’s Day is all about mothers. They get breakfast in bed. They get taken out to brunch or dinner. They get a one-day vacation from dealing with the unpleasantness of kids.

Father’s Day, apparently, is all about kids. Continue Reading…

When You Are Embarrassed by Your Child’s Success

one fish

Boy who caught a fish doesn’t realize what a loser he is compared to younger boy who crashed his family’s party.

Why didn’t you tell me it was a family party?!

Unwitting Party-Crashing Mother Mortified as Son Wins Fishing Contest

I love this story because it happened to the Wife and not me.

Junior wanted to see his step-cousins before they go to spend the summer with their mother, so the Wife asked her sister if she and Junior could come visit the boys. The Wife’s sister (my Sister-In-Law) said that she, her husband (my Brother-In-Law) and the boys (my BIL’s kids from a previous marriage [I know this is hard to follow…]) were going to their grandmother’s (my BIL’s mother’s) house to go fishing at a nearby pond, but the Wife and Junior were welcome to join them.

What the Wife discovered when she arrived at her sister’s mother-in-law’s house, was that the MIL was having a party for her children, her husband’s children, and all the grandkids of both.

In essence, the Wife and Junior were crashing a family party. And that’s where the story BEGINS. Continue Reading…

Life Lesson for Graduates

life lesson

They didn’t teach you about the elephants in school? Yeah, you’ll be fighting elephants in the rain.

The Perfect Metaphor for Life

Mother Nature Teaches Graduates First Post-Grad Life Lesson; Hopes They Learned about Metaphors

Thunderfoot was graduated from high school last Sunday. (Aside: That sounds funny, but only because everyone misuses the word “graduated.”) Her class received numerous hoots and hollers and round after round of applause from adoring friends and families.

Then Mother Natures had a life lesson for the graduates. Continue Reading…