I’m really not worried about this Blog.

I checked my blog stats and set my phone on the coffee table. I had started my blog for fun, and I am not all that worried about how many people read it.

I went back to watching Dancing with the Stars. Well, actually my wife was watching Dancing with the Stars, I just happened to be in the same room.

I check my blog stats again which is odd because I started my blog for fun, and I’m not all that worried about how many people read it. 

Nothing had changed in the two minutes since I had last checked my stats. I set the phone back on the coffee table.

My eyes were getting heavy and I was just about to fade into my Dancing with the Stars nap when my phone lit up with some sort of a notification. I couldn’t quite tell if it was a WordPress icon that was showing on the screen.

Instinctively I started to reach for the phone to see what the notification was, but then I stopped and reminded myself that I had started my blog for fun and I’m NOT all that worried about how many people read it. I can check it later. I went back to watching Dancing with the Stars.

My mind drifted. I thought about my blog post from yesterday, a post that I was particularly proud of. Who in the world wouldn’t want to follow a blog that offered posts such as the one I had created yesterday? And besides, I had included some new strategic tag words that were sure to attract a whole new demographic of reader.

It occurred to me that I was fretting over my blog again. . . . A blog that I had started for fun and wasn’t all that worried about how many people read it.

“Stop it! Just stop it” I thought to myself.

“Stop what?” My wife asked. 

Apparently I had also said it out loud.

“Are you obsessing about that blog again?” My wife added.

“NO! I started that blog for fun and I’m not all that worried about who reads it.”

Just then, the commercial with Jake from State Farm came on the television. I waited with baited breath for him to say “kakis” so I could laugh for the hundredth time and my wife could roll her eyes about me still laughing at a commercial I had seen a hundred times.

Right on cue, Jake said “kakis” and I started giggling.

“She sounds hideous”

I laughed even harder as I reached for my phone . . . . . But then stopped mid-reach. I remembered that I wasn’t checking my stats because I had started my blog for fun and I wasn’t all that worried about how many people read it. 

I sat motionless . . . . My hand was partially outstretched towards the place where my phone sat on the coffee table. I hated the thought of obsessing over something, especially my blog which I had started for fun and wasn’t all that worried how many people read it.  

As I sat with my arm still partially outstretched, my phone lit up again. . . . Only this time, my slightly more-forward posture allowed me to see that indeed it was a WordPress notification.

My eyes widened.

That made one WordPress notification for sure, and the possibility existed that the first time my phone lit up might be another WordPress notification. I stared at my blog checker . . . I mean my phone. It smoldered with the prospect of blogging fame and fortune.

My hand moved ever so slightly closer to the coffee table. But then I stopped and reminded myself that I had started my blog for . . . . OH SCREW IT! I grabbed the phone. I had to know.

It might be a notification telling me that I have a new follower! Maybe two new followers! 

Maybe it was a blog award notification!! Who knows, it could be a notification telling me that Ellen Degeneres had mentioned my blog on her show and i was in the midst of a new follower tidal wave! 

MAYBE MY BLOG WAS JUST NOMINATED FOR THE NOBEL PRIZE!!!!!!!!

Frantically, I unlocked my screen. The little red circle told me that I had one new WordPress notification (sigh, I was hoping for two or more). I opened the WordPress app to find that someone had liked my comment that I had made made in response to their comment.

“Sigh. . . ”

“People liking my comment is a good thing,” I told myself . . . . Of course having Ellen Degeneres mention my blog on her show or winning the Nobel prize is much better . . . . . 

Fortunately, I had started my blog for fun and was not all that worried about how many people read it. Otherwise, I might be constantly checking my blog stats and worrying about my blog.

Flattapuss Blog Picks.

This is so embarrassing. I’m three blog award posts behind. I don’t even know where to start. My negligence may leave me with no choice but to abbreviate some of the award acceptance duties, but I will do my best.

The first was the Liebster Award nomination which came from Trudy at Rendezvous En New York. I am sorry Trudy for how long it has taken me to get to this post.

The second award, The Real Neat Blog Award came from Annie Emmy Evans from Under and Over, Around and Through.

And last but not least is a second Real Neat Blog Award from Ritu at But I Smile Any Way.

For the Liebster Award I am required to answer some questions:

1. Why did you choose your blog topic?

I guess because my family makes me laugh, and I like to take the ridiculous things that happen and make them even more ridiculous.

2. Give one tip you have learned that has helped you be a better blogger.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmm, I don’t really know the answer to that. I’m still kind of winging it. I have gotten some helpful advice a few times from Raymond at Encouraging Life, for which I thank him.

3. Where else would you live if you had a choice?

I don’t know that either. I think during winter I would like to live in Florida or Arizona, but during summer, I am pretty happy here in Michigan.

4. How do you spend your time when you aren’t blogging?

There are endless things I like to do. I like drawing and cartooning. I also carve furniture out of large logs. I am an extremely social person, so I spend time with friends and family as much as I can.

5. What is your favorite television show?

Other than any documentary type show in Discovery or History channels, it would probably be The Middle . . . . Big surprise there, eh?

6. What would be your idea of an amazing weekend?

Wow, Its amazing how hard such simple questions are to answer. I think an amazing weekend would involve hanging out with my family and friends in a vacation type setting . . . maybe a beach or a cabin in the woods. . . . and a beer or two.

7. Do you have ant pets? Why or why not?

Yes, we have Cee Cee, the Persian cat, Lydia, the insane cat, and Pippi, a Greyhound rescue. I love them all, but they drive me crazy. I think they may not be replaced when the pass. My wife and I look forward to a house free of pet hair and litter boxes.

8. Introvert or extrovert?

Extrovert, although it may not be obvious to people right away. I’m just as content to shut up and listen as I am being the center of attention. But I have to be around people periodically or I go crazy.

9. What is your favorite movie?

Definitely Coen Brothers, probably The Big Lebowski.

10. Summarize your blog in one sentence.

Single Family Asylum is a celebration of all the ridiculousness that occurs in a family.

Ok, now on to the next set of questions from Annie:

1. 1.On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you love June Cleaver?

I would have to give that a 2. I really don’t give poor June much thought.

2. Your mom just called. What do you do now?

Actually, my mom just discovered texting and it seems to be a novelty to her. She hasn’t actually called in quite a while.

3. Where in the world IS Carmen San Diego?

She is in Sydney, Australia with Waldo.

4. Coffee or Tea?

Coffee . . . Sooo Coffee.

5. Are you as cool as I am? If so, why have we not met yet?!

I don’t really consider myself as cool, so I guess no. My strength is in being easy going. And the next time you are in Southeast Michigan, we will meet for coffee . . . not tea, then we will have met.

6. Feet. Do they gross you out as much as they do me?

Yes, except for my own, but others people feet, ewwwww. I totally don’t understand the whole foot fetish thing.

7. A Prince song comes on the radio. Do you turn the station or turn it up and jam out?

That would depend on which Prince song and my current mood.

And now for Ritu’s questions:

1. Love or money?

Love, I’m quite used to living without money, life without love would be a wasted life.

2. Where would you ideally love to live?

Michigan summers and anywhere warm for winter.

3. Real book or electronic device like a Kindle?

This may come as a shock to people because I love to write, but I am not much of a reader at all. It’s not because I don’t want to be, I just have a brain that won’t let me stay on track for more than a page or two. But I think if I was more of a reader, it would be real book.

4. Who is your biggest inspiration?

Probably my dad. He taught me through his actions to respect and value every person. I got some of my humor from him.

5. Do you have a pet?

Two cats, and one Greyhound.

6. How important is family to you?

My family means everything to me. They keep me grounded, I can tend to get a little crazy when left to my own devices. They are what I live for.

7. What has been your best ever blogging day?

Probably my first like and follow . . . . “Hey! someone actually likes the crap I just wrote!”

Well, that takes care of the questions. Here is where I am going to drop the ball. I am just going to give my normal Flattapuss shout outs to some blogs. I haven’t the energy to figure out who to nominate for which, and come up with more questions. I apologize sincerely.

Now before I list the Flattapuss Blog picks for this week, I want to say that there are sooo many good blogs out there, and I have such a short attentions span and time to find all the good blogs. I have read some of your blogs and thought, “that will make a good Flattapuss pick,” and then forgotten completely the next day. I also tend to pick blogs that don’t quite seem to get the attention they disserve. If your blog has a bazillion followers or regularly gets a dozen or so likes per post, I tend to think you are doing pretty good without my endorsement, but that is not a hard and fast rule either.

So here are the Flattapuss Blog picks:

This blog, Shop Girl Anonymous is about wording and managing retail stores. This is not something that I would normally read. I am a tree trimmer and I hate shopping. But what I like about this blog is that Shop Girl actually makes a discussion on the world of retail, interesting. Anyone thinking about or currently working in retail should seriously check out this blog. If you are not seeking a career in retail, you might actually enjoy the posts anyway!

It is actually not easy to make me laugh, but this guy has done it. He has a strong following . . stronger than mine by a long shot, but I like his blog and Paul seems like someone I would like if I met him face to face. Anyhow check out The Captains Speech

Now in the interest of providing variety and not just always picking blogs that run along the same line as my own, I will venture into new and unfamiliar territory here. This next blog is . . . well, rant . . . sometimes rant extreme. I see ranting blogs around, so if a good uncensored opinionated slap in the face is what you’re after, Drakanewh
might be your blog.

Another blog from the makes me laugh category is The Ranting Monkey. Monkey’s A to Z challenge never fails to make me chuckle.

And finally, “Great” Thoughts. This no-frills blog is pretty much the day to day goings on of a normal family, but I love how Andrew will sneak bits of his humor into what would be an otherwise simple description of his day.

Give these blogs a gander and a follow!

Bear Hugs and I’m Sorrys.

“I’m not here to be your friend, I’m here to be your parent.”

That statement has never really sat well with me. I get the thought behind the idea, but I’ve always felt that being an effective parent requires staying relevant in a child’s life beyond drill sargeant and enforcer. I try very hard at being both . . . . Parent and friend.

I have always considered bear hugs as a litmus for gauging how I’m doing with my balancing act between drill sargeant and friend.

I frequently attack my girls with hugs, like a bear mauling an unfortunate victim. Only my girls don’t fight like the victim of a bear attack might. In fact, they hug back. I figure if my ambush hugs don’t result in them vomitting or punching me in the face, They must not think that my being their dad is all that repulsive yet. 

But like I said, my girls hug back, and we wrestle (they don’t get a free pass on me hurling them to ground just because they are girls . . . Although the older I get and the stronger they get, it is not always I who does the hurling) and it is not uncommon for me to have one of them leaning on me while watching a movie . . . . Sometimes its both girls plus all variety of domesticated beast that mistakingly thinks that my affection for my girls automatically applies to their flea bitten carcasses as well.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to suggest that my parenting or there teenagering is anywhere near perfect. We argue, disrespect and throw tantrums with a ferocity that would make even Dr. Phil blush. That’s where the “I’m sorry” comes into play. . . . Not just my kids being forced to say it to me, but me saying it to them as well. 

You are a fool as a parent if you think that you never let your temper get the best of you, or minimize something that is very important to your child, and even get so busy that you ignore their concerns altogether. I’m not perfect, and my girls know that. 

So when I act like I’m never in the wrong as their dad, yet they know I am not perfect, I lose credibility with them. I’m not afraid to tell them, “I’m sorry, I over-reacted,” or “I should have listened to you instead of cutting you off.

My relationship with my girls could take a turn for the worse tomorrow. I don’t have all the answers. . . Sometimes I feel like I don’t have any. But as long as I’m alive, I will not hold back on giving my girls bear hugs and I’m sorrys.

Time Management.

When you read the title of this little article, you might have thought, “Oh, some advice on time management. This should be good!”

No.

There is no advice happening here when it comes to time management. There are so many more things that I need and want to do than I can possibly get done in one life time. It makes my head spin.

I work a full time job that sometimes requires overtime. I have a wife who I love and want to take out on “date nights”. I have two girls who I want to spend time with. I have a lawn that needs mowing and a two cars that need fixing. Our house needs cleaning and remodeling. I like writing and blogging. I like cartooning and drawing. I love being outdoors and fishing and laying in hammocks. I am a social person who values time with friends. I put a high value on volunteering my time for things I consider to be worthwhile causes.

“So how on earth do I manage to do all that?” you might ask.

“You must be a master at time management,” you might say.

The answer is simple. I don’t. I don’t do any of it.

My wife and I spend time together on the couch each evening taking turns snoring while the TV lights up the room and makes noise. It’s rare that both of us are still awake by 9:00.

I see my daughters coming and going sometimes. I manage enough effort to hope that they haven’t dropped out of school or started working at a meth lab. Sometimes I reach my arm up to hand them the money that they ask for, and I’m to tired to argue about in my after work coma state . . . . . . I’m pretty sure one of them was humming Cats in the Cradle the other night as they walked past my lifeless body.

My lawn gets mowed when it becomes so overgrown that it is embarrassing to be seen standing on it . . . . or worse yet, no one can even see me standing on it.

My cars will never get fixed.

The house is a monument to clutter. Remodeling is a ridiculous notion. Over the years I have learned that starting a remodeling project means that I will rip up the floor tile, tear out the sink, and apply spackle to spots on the wall . . . . and then abandon the project for two years . . . . . or possibly forever.

The last thing I’ve done that could be considered “volunteer work” was to chase down a piece of paper that had blown out of my neighbors garbage and put it back in the garbage can . . . . . and to be truthful, I only did it because it looked like a check stub and I wanted to know how much money an accountant makes . . . . . now that I think of it, I’m pretty sure I threw it back on the ground when I realized it wasn’t a check stub.

So my answer to trying to manage my time and get my gigantis “to do” list completed is . . . . . do nothing. I sit idle and wallow in self-pity over not possibly having enough time to get it all done, and never end up accomplishing anything, not even the things like fishing and cartooning that I actually enjoy doing. I disgust myself.

What disgusts me even more is you time management Savants. Your houses are perfect. Cars get serviced before they break down. Your houses and lawns look like home magazine covers. You volunteer for the school, the church, and you host scrapbooking clubs at your houses where delicious and visually appealing hors d’oeuvres are served on plates and napkins that match your living room décor. And you still have time left over to golf, have barbecues, and watch Dancing with the Stars.

You sicken me. Even more than I sicken myself.

But I know that I will eventually get fed up with myself and have a burst of energy. I’ll manage to half-ass my way through a few items on the list, sit down with a sigh, a beer, and a warm feeling for having gotten something done, and slowly return to my state of depression over all the things that are still left on the list.

A Helpful laundry tip for husbands.

When a man gets married, many things change. Gone are the days when your entire week of laundry can be dumped into a single load and washed with shampoo because you forgot to buy detergent.

So when you are being instructed by your wife on the way that laundry will be done from this day forward, she will probably say that the each load must be sorted according to color.  This means the color of the clothes . . . . Not the stains on the clothes . . . Which makes a lot more sense. It was taking me several months to get enough items to make a full mustard or grape jelly stain load. Most clothes ended up in the grass stain or invisible stain load (the invisible stain pile was made up of clothing that had no discernible stain but smelled bad. . . . It was next to the pile of clothes that had no visible staining and didn’t smell all that badly so I could just fold them an slip them in with the clean clothes),

It’s that time again.

It was just a month ago that I put out a pathetic plea for my one hundredth follower. I don’t pay a whole lot if attention to the followers number until it gets close to a milestone. . . . I am at 197.

I guess it’s kind of like a pledge drive on Public television. . . Only I’m not asking for your money, just a follow or two so that I may burst headlong into the “hundreds” of followers instead of just “a hundred”.

I know, I know, it’s annoying, but I don’t spend all that much energy splashing myself all across the blogosphere to gain followers. I’ve joined a few sites like “Top Mommy Blogs”, and I’ll throw up a link on some of the “promote yourself” type posts on some of the larger blogs, but other than that, I pretty much just let this blog go where it may.

Thank you for your tolerance.

Please take my survey if you wouldn’t mind.

While frolicking through fields of “blogs I follow” I happened upon a blogger conducting a survey. It seemed to attract a lot of people who were willing to participate. A short while later, I happened upon a morsel of blogging advice somewhere within the bowels of WordPress that suggested conducting surveys is a wonderful way to attract readers to your blog.

So, I hereby announce the first installment of The Single Family Asylum survey post. It would be wonderful if you all could take a few minutes and answer the questions.

Ok. 

Here we go.

Question 1:  What color socks am I wearing right now . . . . 

My wife, who is obnoxiously leaning over my shoulder reading as I type, claims that this isn’t a good survey question. I was hoping to trick you all with the fact that I am wearing one white and one grey sock, but I suppose she has a point in that you all can’t actually see my socks . . . So we will just move on.

Question 2:  Do any of you have one of those cats that has extra thumbs? When I worked for a landscaper back years ago, he had one of those cats that had extra thumbs (I think he had six on one paw and seven digits on the other). My co-worker and myself nicknamed “Thumbs” and we became quite fond of him . . . . until the day that my co-worker accidentally ran him over with- . . . .

My wife is again informing me that this is not a good survey question and that I am turning it into more of a reminiscing than a question . . . . Whatever, miss survey expert. Let’s move on. 

Question 3:  If, hypothetically, a person asked another person to “please fix the vacuum cleaner belt so that I can vacuum” and then the hypothetical person who was replacing the belt cut his finger on a piece of glass that was stuck in the vacuum belt housing space and then got angry and cursed in front of the children and then threw the vacuum, broken belt and all, out with the trash and wasn’t able to calm down in time to retrieve it before the garbage truck came and took it away forever . . . . . . Would you think it was completely the fault of the person who was changing the belt and got cut? Or the fault of the vacuum? This is a completely random and hypothetical question, but before you answer, keep I’m mind that the person fixing the belt was inured in the process and tired from being at work all day and probably couldn’t help losing his temper.

Question 4:  What is the greatest band ever? 

I will give you a hint:  feminine color/name of barber on The Andy Griffeth Show.

Umm, ok, I guess that will do for my first survey. Please post your answers in the comment section provided below. 

Thank you for participating!

How Does That Make You Feel?

A book that was popular several years back seemed to think that many of the problems that can arise between a husband and wife, were caused by men and women coming from different planets. In fact the very title of the book stated it clearly, Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus. I admit that I didn’t actually read the book (because I don’t like to read things), but the title of the book pretty much said it all.

Due to the books popularity, I assume that many people just accept this theory. Again, I didn’t read it, and I am not aware of it being made into a movie yet, but blaming our marriage problems on different alien ancestry seems a bit absurd to me. I would think the author would at least wait until science had indeed proven that we were planted here by an alien race before making such claims. But even if science had proven this, it seems highly unlikely that two separate alien species from two separate planets would have decided to deposit beings on the same planet, and that the two beings would end up getting married.

So, feeling troubled by the book’s conclusions, I decided to spend a great deal of time thinking and researching on the topic of marriage. Well, actually I did more thinking than research because I don’t like reading things. But my conclusions to all this thinking and researching is what I consider to be the root cause of nearly all marital problems.

“WHAT IS IT?” you ask, “TELL ME!” you say.

The answer is really quite simple. I’m surprised that no one has figured it out before . . .

The problem with most marriages is that women have more feelings than men.

This answer came to me after years of consideration . . . well, that and my wife constantly asking me how I “feel” about different things.

For the longest time, I really wasn’t picking up on the whole feelings thing. If a child was in trouble at school or got a bad report card, the inevitable question would be asked, “How do you feel about this?”

For a lack of a better answer, or even understanding the question, I would say something like, “hungry,” or “itchy.” But answers like these never seemed to satisfy her thirst for discussing how I feel. For me, trouble at school, or a bad report card meant grounded for a year . . . end of story . . . now let’s see what’s on TV.

It was as if she was expecting that in every little situation that occurred, I should be experiencing feelings of the same magnitude as watching a troublesome episode of Star Trek, or finding out that we were out of ketchup or something. I began to think that maybe I ought to be feeling more. Or maybe I do, but I just didn’t recognize what feelings felt like.

Now that I had identified that this preoccupation with feelings and emotions, and my lack of having an adequate amount, were a large part of what’s wrong with our marriage, I began to take steps to resolve the problem.

The natural solution was to simply tell my wife not to be so emotional over things, but this didn’t seem to work out as well as I had hoped. More often than not, it resulted in her getting even more emotional. At one point, after telling her she was over-reacting to my accidentally setting her hair on fire with my home-made, gasoline powered hornet annihilator she even threw a jar of green olives at me, leaving me with quite a goose egg on the forehead. This left me with the conclusion that the only other option was to roll with it, and try to come up with better answers for the question of how I feel about things.

My first attempt at this new approach was after a rather long and loud argument about my keeping a container of live leeches (for fishing) hidden in the lettuce drawer of the refrigerator after she had previously asked me not to. As the argument dragged on, she told me that she thought that my keeping them hidden in the fridge was deceitful and disrespectful of her wishes . . . and then she asked, “How does that make you feel?”

Trying to appease her thirst for emotion, I answered as honestly as I could by saying, “Regretful”.

Her eyebrows rose a little as if I was on the right track, but the her silence made me think that I still needed to squeeze a little more honesty and emotion out of my brain. So I added, “I’m regretful that I didn’t hide them behind my gallon sized jar of hot sauce where you would have been less likely to find them.”

Instantly her eyebrows crashed down into a frown and she gnashed her teeth, leading me to conclude that her current state of feeling was “murderous”. Luckily for me, the Styrofoam container of leeches was much less painful than a jar of olives when hurled against my forehead.

I realized that my best attempts at expressing my feelings were falling a bit short, so as a further effort to restore harmony to our marriage, I began to look up words in the dictionary to describe how different situations made me feel.

Our auto insurance premium going up made me feel . . . . . . agonized.

My daughter giving us attitude over cleaning her room made me feel . . . begrudged and rancid.

Hurting my wife’s feelings made me feel . . . precarious, nauseated, and fractured.

After a little practice with some flash cards I had made, I began to give some of my new words as answers to the inevitable interrogation over how I was feeling. Some of the odd looks that my wife shot me after these answers, told me that they may not always be what she was looking for, but she seemed to give me credit for the effort. Our marriage has gotten a bit smoother since my expressing my feeling words.

I think I’m on the right path, but I still get stumped by the whole emotions thing sometimes. The other day my wife stated that, “I just feel like bursting out in tears and I don’t know why!”

To which I replied, “Should I call an ambulance?” . . . . . . . . this was not the correct response.

Ahhh, Spring!

Ahh spring. I think it’s finally here. I know because my driveway has turned into a great expanse of mud,

The first signs of carpenter ants leaving their long winter hibernation and venturing out for a stroll across the living room floor and walls were spotted by my wife yesterday. 

Happily I will greet them, welcome them to spring time, and then squash them and spray deadly chemicals at them. 

Spring brings on a new season of yard work as well. I can see the weeds pushing up through the mulch, trying to get a head start on strangling my landscape plants. I plot their demise.

I actually mowed a section of lawn this weekend. Not so much because the grass had grown enough to really need mowing . . . . More because I use the mowing of grass as an excuse to mow up a whole winter’s worth of dog poop. 

That way it pretty much disappears without my having to scoop it. Well, I guess it doesn’t actually disappear, but at least it gets mulched up small enough that I can pretend it disappears.

The windows in the house will soon be wide open to let the fresh air in . . . . And the sounds of any family arguments and tantrums out for all the neighbors to hear.

But spring also means the return of bare feet, bonfires, fishing, and a trip to the ice cream stand. 

Welcome spring! I’m glad you are here.