Friday, February 15, 2019

I Am Sick (And Tired)

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Don't you think they should make things easier for sick people? Yes, they should. But, they don't. They definitely don't. (Who are the "they" that I'm speaking of? I'm not really sure, but I think "they" know who "they" are.)

I'll tell you what I'm talking about. I got sick a couple of weeks ago. It was the usual cold symptoms: runny nose, cough, fatigue, sore throat, general feeling of "blah." So, I did what millions of Americans do when they get sick: I whined to my wife.

But then, it was time to do something about it. So, it was off to the store to get some cold medicine. My main go-to medicine when I get sick is DayQuil. Almost. Because I am a cheapskate, instead of purchasing DayQuil, I bought the store brand generic equivalent.

DayQuil (and its store brand generic equivalent) comes in two forms: pill or liquid. I buy the liquid. The Wife makes fun of me because I won't try the pill form, but have you seen the size of those things? They say "size doesn't matter," but I tend to disagree. Those pills are huge! I've already got a sore throat, and they want me to force that giant orange pill down my gullet? That pill is the size of a Twinkie! My kids have toy footballs that are smaller than that pill!

Sticky orange goo.
No, I choose the liquid. I can at least get that down past my sore throat. Eventually.

Eventually? Yes, because first I have to get the package open. I attempted to open the store brand generic equivalent of DayQuil, but there was a plastic safety seal around the top of the bottle. I tried to take it off. There were perforations where I was supposed to be able to tear it off. I still couldn't. (Remember, at this point I am a sick and feeble person. The plastic was winning.)

So, I had to grab some fingernail clippers and use the file part to rip at the perforation until I was finally able to get the plastic safety seal off. I took the plastic dosage cup off of the top, then removed the lid to get to my liquid elixir, but, of course, there was another safety seal on the top of the bottle.

Sometimes the safety seals on the top of bottles have a large flap on top to make it easier to remove the seal. This one did not. Sometimes the safety seals on the top of bottles have three small flaps on the edge that make it slightly easier to remove the seal. This one did not.

So, I was left to use the file from my fingernail clippers again, this time to puncture the safety seal. Of course, then I had to dig into the bottle to grasp the seal so I could remove it from the top of the bottle. In order to get the seal out, I had to submerge my finger a bit into the medicine. (I don't think they recommend that.)

The only time I ever have trouble with the squeezy lid is when I'm sick--you know, when I actually need to get the darn thing open!

Finally, I could pour my store brand generic equivalent of DayQuil into the dosage cup that comes on the top of the bottle! So that's what I did. And that's when I learned why sometimes it's better to pay a bit more for the actual brand name. The dosage cup had a hole in the bottom of it, so as I poured out the medicine, sticky orange goop oozed all over my bathroom countertop. (I realize now that I probably cracked the dosage cup while struggling to get the first plastic seal off.)

And yes, while I was attempting to get some actual medicine in me, I was sick, tired and more than a bit cranky. And by the time I did get some medicine in me, I was sicker, more tired, and a whole lot crankier.

Unfortunately, two weeks later I was still sick, so I eventually ended up going to the doctor. He diagnosed bronchitis, and gave me a subscription prescription for an inhaler to use when I am having a coughing fit. So, I went to the pharmacy, picked up my subscription prescription, and brought it home. (And why is the pharmacy always at the back of the store? Just to make sure the sick people have to walk as far as possible?)

I had never used an inhaler before, so I needed to look at the instructions. I pulled the little paper with the instructions on it out of the box, unfolded it, and this is what I saw:

Yes, it is all in English! And so is the other side!

The "small" folded paper that came with the medicine was eight folds high and three folds wide. (That's 24 fold sections.) And, the other side was just as full of "important information." (That's 48 total fold sections!) And yes, it's all in English. I counted the words in one of the average fold sections, and there were 200 words. Multiply those 200 words by the 48 fold sections, and that's 9,600 total words!

My gosh, that's as many words as a Tom Clancy novel!!! Do they actually expect a sick person to read all of that before taking the medicine? Really!?! I'm sick, dagnabbit!!! I'm having coughing fits! I can barely focus, and they want me to read The Da Vinci Code?

I just wanted to figure out how to use the inhaler. And drink my sticky orange medicine goop. Why must they make it so hard?

Maybe it's a ploy by the pharmaceutical industry. They already have you sick, so they are trying to keep you sick so you will continue to purchase their medicines that you are unable to open and/or confused as to how to use properly. The longer they keep you sick, the more of their products you will buy.

It seems to be working. Because I'm still sick and tired. And I'm still sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Edited from a post originally published on 3/2/2015.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Kids Want to "Help"

I never thought anyone would want to watch me clean a toilet. But there I was, cleaning the toilet in front of an audience.

Who would want to watch someone clean a toilet? A janitorial supervisor? Cinderella's stepmother? That's about the list, or so you'd think--unless you have kids.

Yes, my two youngest children were mesmerized as I tried to scrub the toilet. They creeped up so close to look that I elbowed one of them on my scrubbing follow-through. "Please leave the room," I said. "Go play with your toys," I said. "Can I please just clean the toilet in peace?" I begged. No. And then, they started to nitpick my work. "You missed a spot right there, Daddy." I feel pretty confident when I say: no one wants to be heckled while they are cleaning the toilet!

Look, I'm glad that my kids love me. It's wonderful that they want to be close to me. I just wish that occasionally they could stay more than two inches away.

Of course, it's not just when I'm cleaning the toilet, it's when I try to do almost anything. When I sit down to write, they will often try to climb onto my lap--or into my laptop--"helping" me by hitting random keys. (Some might say their writing would be an improvement on my usual blather.)

Daddy, I think you should change that word to, "O&*%#$&Bm98Y!"

Loading and unloading the dishwasher can also be an adventure. "Daddy, I want to help," they'll say. It's very sweet, until they drop a plate and it shatters all over the floor! (That hasn't happened, but it is my fear every time they "help" with the dishes.)

"Helping" me do the laundry by slamming my arm in the hamper.

Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, shoveling snow--all of these things are made more difficult when the kids try to "help."Yes, I realize that they have to learn somehow. They'll never know how to do these things unless I let them hinder me by "helping." It's just that I don't like doing most of those things, so I want to do them as quickly as I can, and that usually means doing them by myself.

The irony, of course, is that once they are finally capable enough to actually help, they won't want to anymore. At that point I'll be having to order, beg, and cajole them to get anything done. It'll take me as much or more effort to get them to do something as it would take for me to do it myself (with or without their "help.")

But, at least at that point I'll be the one who gets to do the heckling!

Friday, February 8, 2019

Take a Toddler to Dinner!

Are you planning a dinner party? Do you want it to be memorable? Yes? Well then, I've got a very important tip for you: Make sure you invite a toddler (or two.) Why? Because toddlers make the best dinner guests!

Here are just a few of the fun, exciting, and memorable things you can experience if you invite some toddlers to your dinner party:

*Who needs polite and interesting dinner conversation when you could be listening to a toddler scream "More boobies! More boobies!" over and over again? (And for added fun, don't explain to your dinner guests that when your toddler yells "boobies" what she really means is "blueberries.")

*Do you want to figure out which of your dinner guests are the smartest? It's certainly not the ones who choose to sit next to the toddler. (Unless, for some reason, they want to have food stains on their clothes.)

*Will any of your other dinner guests wear their plate as a hat, or comb their hair with a fork? Not likely.

You'll know for sure that the food was good when your dinner guest licks his plate!

*Is your favorite scene in the movie Animal House the food fight scene? You're in luck! Toddlers can fling food like you wouldn't believe!

*Do you want to see some of the most hard-line negotiating skills ever? It might go something like this:

ADULT: If you take one bite of this cheese, I'll give you a blueberry.
TODDLER: No! More boobies!
ADULT: But, you love cheese. I see you eat cheese all the time. You usually ask for cheese. If you just take one bite of cheese I'll give you a blueberry.
TODDLER: Noooooo!!! More boobies!!! More boobies!!!
ADULT: If you just touch the cheese I'll give you a blueberry.
TODDLER: Boobies!!! Boobies!!!
ADULT: I'm sorry, but I can't give you a blueberry unless you eat some cheese.
TODDLER: Nooooooooooooooo!!!!!! Boobies!!! Boobies!!! Boobies!!! Boobies!!! Boobies!!! Boo...
ADULT: Fine. Here, have a blueberry.
TODDLER: Boobies!!! (Smiles and eats the blueberry.)
ADULT: Now, will you eat some cheese?
TODDLER: More boobies! More boobies!

*Have you ever had someone poop in their chair at a dinner party? Invite a toddler and it'll probably happen.

*Would you like your dinner guests to fall asleep at the table? It's a toddler specialty!

Did she fall asleep because of the food or the conversation?

So, yes, if you want people to be talking about your dinner party for days (saying things like, "How did I get mashed potatoes on the back of my shirt?") be sure to invite a toddler.

Because toddlers make the best dinner guests!

Edited from a post originally published on 1/31/2017.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

I Want an Oversized Check!

We all have things we want to check off of our bucket lists. Maybe we want to go to Hawaii. Maybe  we want to write a novel. Maybe we want to climb Mt. Everest. Maybe we want to visit the Loo. [Editor's note: "Visit the loo" is another way of saying "go to the toilet." I think you mean visit the Louvre, which is the famous art museum in Paris, France.] (Writer's note: Hey, maybe I'd really rather visit the loo instead of some fancy art museum!) [Editor's note: I think visiting the loo is something you should be able to do any day. It shouldn't be on your bucket list.] (Writer's note: I used to work at a place where the loo literally was a bucket.) [Editor's note: I think you are getting off topic.]

Anyway, what I was going to say was that one of the things that's on my bucket list is that someday I want to get paid with an oversized check. You know, one of those big, giant novelty checks that they give to people who win the lottery or Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes.

It doesn't have to be a big check, but it needs to be a big check. What I mean is, it doesn't have to be a lot of money. Heck, I'd be happy with an oversized check for ten dollars, as long as it's so big that it takes two people to hold it up on a windy day.

That's a big check! (And it's also a big check.)
(This particular oversized check is available  here on
I want a check so big that it's too big to take to the drive-thru window at the bank. I want a check so big I'll need to go into the lobby. I want a check so big it will confuse the bank teller, and she/he will have to bring in the bank manager to make sure it's okay to cash it. And the bank manager will act like they know what to do with it, even though she/he really won't have any idea what to do with it.

Why do I want a big check? I don't really know. Maybe because it looks like fun. Maybe because it will make me feel like a winner. Maybe because I'm a very odd person.

I can't really explain why, I just know that if I get paid via an oversized check, that's one thing I could check off of my bucket list. And then I can move to the next thing on my list: I want to go to the loo at the Louvre. [Editor's note: Yes, you are a very odd person.]

Friday, February 1, 2019

It's February: Let's Have a Water Fight!

It's February. Do you know what that means?

If your answer is, "It's time to get out the squirt guns and beach toys," you just might work for Walmart!

The temperature outside is in the 30s. (That's on the Fahrenheit scale, because, you know, 'Merica!) And while 36 degrees is much warmer than what they're dealing with in North Dakota right now, I'm still not thinking, "Hey, let's go to the beach!" Or, "I think we should have a water fight!" Or, "I wonder where I could purchase 42 different varieties of squirt guns?"

Weapons for a winter water war.
Valentine's Day is almost here, so obviously they should fill the store with squirt guns because what couple doesn't celebrate the most romantic day of the year with a big water fight?

I don't know about you, but I'm looking forward to having a big beach party to celebrate President's Day. (As long as they remember to plow the snow off of the beach parking lot.)

Retailers are so worried about staying ahead of their customers that sometimes they get a little too far ahead. Does anybody ever really think, "Hey, I might get to the beach on Memorial Day, so I'd better be sure to load up on beach toys the first week of February." 

The problem is, in order to make room for these far-flung future items, the stores clear the shelves of things you might actually want or need right now. Have you ever tried to buy a winter coat in the middle of winter? Good luck. If you need a coat in February, you better have a time machine that can take you back to October, because that's when they stopped selling winter coats. 

Gloves, mittens, scarves, snow shovels: all these things are extremely hard to find in a store in February. Why is that? Didn't they see that some rodent in Pennsylvania said we're going to have six more weeks of winter?

Oh well, there's not much I can do about it. I'd better just go ahead and get my summer supply of squirt guns and beach toys now, because before March rolls in they'll all be replaced with the "Back to School" supplies.

Edited from a post originally published on 2/7/2017.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Kid Fun = Adult Work

Kids just want to have fun.

Yes, I know the song says, "Girls just want to have fun," but I think I'm pretty safe to generalize and say that boys want to have fun, too. And as parents, we want our kids to have fun. (Oh, sure, not all the time. They do, after all, have to learn responsibility and good work habits--but some occasional fun is good.)

But, before kids can have fun, adults have to put in a lot of work.

Let me give you an example. Have you ever tried to get a kid ready to go outside to play in the snow? All you need to do is find: warm clothes, warm socks, snow pants, snow coat, boots, hat, and gloves/mittens. And once you gather all of these things together, you have to actually get them on your child! (Then multiply that by the number of children you have.)

No, she didn't put that coat on by herself. (She had a little help.)
It takes between 5 and 45 minutes to get each child ready. We have four children, so that means a total of at least 20 minutes to as much as 13 hours to get kids dressed and winterized for what turns out to be 15 minutes of actual outside playing before they have to shed all the clothes to come inside and go to the bathroom. (You think I'm exaggerating on some of those times? You've never tried to get a four year-old into a pair of mittens. "Stick your thumb out. No, not yet. When I get it part way on, then stick your thumb out. Now! Now! Put your thumb out now and get it into the thumb-spot. Is it there? No? Try moving your thumb away from the rest of your fingers. Like this. Okay, are you ready? Put your thumb! No, not your pinkie finger. It needs to be your thumb. Arrghh!!!")

But that's not the only time kid fun = adult work. Have you ever tried to go on swimming with kids? What does a kid need to do? Put on a swimsuit. That's about it. What does a parent need to do? Gather the swimsuits. Get some towels. Don't forget the sunscreen. You'll need some swim diapers. Yes, this pool requires plastic pants to go over the top of the swim diapers. Hats. Some kind of shade. Make sure to bring some water to keep them hydrated. Swim toys? Noodles? Floaties? You did remember the sunscreen, right? A trip to the pool is a lot of work.

We're planning on going to Disneyland this year. The kids are going to have sooooo much fun!!! You know what that means. My wife has been planning this trip for over a year. She's already spent many, many hours trying to find the best deal, getting a good hotel room, and figuring out how to get there and get back. As the time to go gets closer, packing for four kids will take a lot of planning and work. It'll be a fun trip, but it'll also be a lot of work.

Those suitcases don't pack themselves, you know!
Have you ever tried to throw a birthday party for a kid? Lots of fun for them; lots of work for you.

Yes, kids just want to have fun. The problem is, by the time adults do all the work necessary to make fun for their kids, the adults need a vacation. (And vacations are a lot of work!)

Friday, January 25, 2019

I Am Rich and Awesome!!! (And You Can Be Too, If You Share This Post!)

I'm rich!!!

Well, not yet. But I will be soon, because I'm going to share a post on Facebook. Yup, the money will be rolling in soon! The other day I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across this:

$100 just for sharing a Facebook post!
That's amazing!!! Now, I haven't actually shared the Facebook post yet, because there's still a little snow out in the yard and I don't really want to go out there until the temperature gets a little warmer. But, I'm really looking forward to doing this. And I'm not going to be too greedy, either. I figure if I share it ten times a week, I'll make $52,000 a year. That's a pretty good amount of money.
And if I need any more money than that, I can always type an "Amen" to supplement my income.

Amen!!! (Show me the money!!!)
So, I should be set for life financially with just a few simple shares and amens. But what about my self-esteem? Sometimes I wonder if I'm awesome or not awesome. If only there were some way to figure this out.

I love Chris Farley!!!
Wait a minute, I remember this guy! That's beloved Canadian, John Candy, star of stage and screen. And, since I remember him, that means I'm awesome! Excellent! My self-esteem is fantastic! I wonder how smart I am compared to other people?

I've lived most of my life in Idaho or Utah.
Ha! That was easy! They bet that I couldn't name a state without the letter "e," and I did it with the first two I named! I really am awesome! [Never mind that 30 of the 50 states don't have an "e" in them, meaning it would be harder to name a state that did have an "e" than one that didn't.]

Still, I wonder how many people I'm smarter than.

"Hey" (Apparently 90% of people can't read, period.)
Wow! I'm smarter than 90% of the people on Facebook! I guess I shouldn't be surprised because I am, after all, awesome. It feels good to be in the top 10%. But, I think I'm even better than that. Let's find out:

"U ain't smart?" Ha! I is too!
Well, that certainly clarifies things. 99% fail, so I am clearly in the top 1% of people. (It really does feel good to be this awesome and smart.) And, to top it all off, I had a great childhood, too! How do I know?

"Go, Speed Racer; go, Speed Racer; go, Speed Racer, go!"
Yes, I remember the theme song from "Speed Racer," therefore I had a great childhood. And, just for further proof:

Biff! Kipper! Chip! Floppy! (Wait…who?)
Wait a minute. I don't remember who these characters are. They don't even look vaguely familiar. Does this mean I didn't have a good childhood? I better try one more of these.

Hey, look, it's Remington Steele!
Okay, now I'm a bit worried. I did not own this game as a kid, therefore I must not have had a good childhood, despite my knowledge of the "Speed Racer" theme.

Oh well, I guess I'll just have to settle for being awesome and rich!

Can I get an "amen?"

Please share within 5 seconds if you, too, want to be awesome and rich. (90% of people won't share this.)

Edited from a post originally published on 2/23/2016. (And then shared by many smart, awesome, rich people who had good childhoods.)