Middle age means waking up one day and walking down the hallway towards the bathroom and then suddenly realizing that you are walking exactly the same way you used to walk when you were making fun of old people.
I’m generally a pretty happy guy. But in the midst of a long grey winter, I can get a little down. To be honest, I can get quite depressed at times. My wife claims that I suffer from that seasonal depression disorder. It apparently has something to do with not getting enough sunlight. My sister in-law recommended a special light that supposedly mimics the sun’s light, so my wife acquired one. It is now referred to, by my wife and kids, as “Dad’s happy light.”
I’m not sure if it helps or not, but my wife seems convinced that it does. In fact, she seems to think it will do more than just help with my seasonal depression.
I have noticed that if we have any sort of disagreement, she will at some point after the argument, switch the light on, and point it at me as if it will change my opinion on our disagreement . . . and I think she believes she’s being subtle about it. I have even noticed that as I sit in the glow of the happy light, she will periodically bring up different points of our argument as if to see if the light had softened up my brain and made me see things her way yet, much like a baker checking a cake in the oven. I think she is over-estimating this light’s ability to fix all my perceived faults.
The other night we were the playing a trivia game that required players to have a vast knowledge of current children’s TV shows. My ignorance on the subject was causing my wife and I to get beaten quite soundly by our two girls. So in the middle of one of our turns, my wife got up, and moved the happy light over in front of me and switched it on. I think she actually believed that the happy light would somehow unlock a cache of forgotten Kid TV facts in my brain, or that it might transfer the question’s answers to me through its bright glow. Now I’m skeptical on whether the Happy light will change my opinion during an argument, but I’m certain it will not transfer trivia answers to my brain.
My daughters are quick to pick up on the concept of the light, as well. If I were to come home from work and find them burning our furniture in the middle our living room, all I would have to say is, “umm, I’m not sure this is the best idea, girls . . .” and they both would reply in unison, “JEEZE-O-PEETS, SOMEONE NEEDS TO GO SIT INFRONT OF HIS HAPPY LIGHT!!!” It’s as if my not thinking they should set fire to furniture in our home is unreasonable, and that the happy light would make me somehow more agreeable to it.
I’m starting to think this light isn’t even supposed to help with the disorder . . . if I even have a disorder. I think that maybe it’s just a prop that is used by my family to make me think that depression is the only possible reason that I would ever question their logic and reason.
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Learning to interpret the unspoken communication in a marriage is one of the most valuable tools a husband can have in the pursuit of harmony. While all wives have their own versions of this language, here are some examples of my wife’s wordless vocabulary.
Raised eyebrow . . . . I’m not quite sure yet, but I suspect you are about to do or say something that will make me think you are an idiot.
“Huff” . . . You are an idiot.
“Sigh” . . . I disagree, but it’s not worth the time to argue about it.
“Huff, sigh” . . . You are an idiot, but you already know that, so it is not worth my time to say it again.
“Chuckle” . . . I told you that you were an idiot, but you wouldn’t listen.
“Groan” . . . Please don’t try to fix the washing machine with spare car parts for the fourth time this week, let’s just buy a new one.
“Groan, sigh” . . . I wish you wouldn’t try to fix the washing machine with spare car parts, but I know you are going to no matter what I say.
“Huff, groan, sigh, smile” . . . You are an idiot for trying to fix things that are beyond your capabilities, and I can do nothing to stop you when you are on a do-it-yourself mission, but that is partly why I love you.
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I have big clumsy fingers. They don’t always work well with phone apps.
With the WordPress app, I find myself accidentally hitting things that I wasn’t intending on hitting.
One such thing is the “follow” button that is all too close to the link that takes me to the blog I am trying to get to. I end up “unfollowing” by mistake. Then I have to decide if it will cause more damage to leave the blog unfollowed and hope the blogger doesn’t notice, or re-follow causing a notification to pop up and most certainly making the blog owner wonder what kind of shenanigans I am up to.
I end up liking a lot of my own posts as well. I would never do this intentionally . . . . It just seems vain. But it happens when my bullish fingers go wandering through the china shop of the WordPress app.
The Worpress app has a lag that causes me problems as well. I’ll hit “like” on a particular post, and it takes several seconds for the little star to change colors. I get impatient and hit the “like” again. The little star finally changes color but then immediately back to it’s original color because I hit the like button twice. I have repeated this scenario up to ten times . . . Sending ten notifications to a blogger that I liked their post. . . . . ten times.
Again, I’m sure they are wondering what sort of shenanigans I am up to.
I checked my blog stats and set my phone on the coffee table. The stats weren’t all that important since 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.
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It is a valuable skill for a person to be able recognize patterns that are developed throughout one’s life. By recognizing them, we can forecast, prevent, and more quickly assess situations that are present or upcoming
Case in point:
When I noticed that the office seemed to smell like dog poop, I should know by now not to spend time looking around and wondering who stepped in it . . . . My life pattern would dictate that I only need to look down.
The other day, while driving my daughter’s home from school, the discussion was centered on one of the girls friends, Christiana and how much fun it was to stay at her house.
“What makes it so fun to stay at Christina’s house?” I had to ask.
“They let us watch horror movies,” Natalie answered.
“Christina’s parents are cool, too,” Hannah added.
“Yeah, her parents ARE cool,” agreed Natalie.
The horror movie answer was a bit concerning to me, but had not nearly the sting of the cool parents statement. What made her parents so cool? . . . I had always considered myself to be a cool parent.
I never wore dark socks pulled up to my knees while wearing shorts like my dad had done. And I was always doing fun and entertaining things when my daughters had friends over, like playing my hilarious DVD of Star Trek episodes that had the dialogue dubbed over in German, or performing my famous word-for-word reenactment of Walter Cronkite’s moon landing newscast, using a high falsetto voice. But apparently, it takes something far less substantial to be considered cool to this generation of kids.
In the days that followed the overheard conversation in the car, it would bother me every time I thought about it. I remembered when I was a teenager, and how some of my friend’s parents were so much cooler than others. I couldn’t stand it . . . I had to be a cool dad.
I felt certain that it would not take much to push my stature well into the “cool” dad category. I mean it’s not like I was some socially stunted hermit who was completely out of touch with the youth of today. So for the next few evenings, I plotted the grand unveiling of my coolness.
That Friday, I pulled up to the front of the school ready to impress. I knew that some things never change when it comes to the teenage requirements for coolness, so the first thing needed was some loud bumping music.
I would have preferred to have picked out one of my daughters CD’s to blast, but since my 1998 Buick had come equipped with a cassette deck, this was not an option. Luckily, I still had a few tapes in a shoebox in the garage, and luckier yet, some of my sisters old tapes had gotten mixed in with mine . . . teenage girl music is teenage girl music, I figured.
As I slowly drove along the student lined sidewalk in front of the school, I put in my sisters tape that I had picked out, a band called Menudo, and let it rip. The music was loud and had a catchy beat, but apparently teeny bopper music in my sister’s day wasn’t any better than what my daughters listen to, because I couldn’t understand a word they were singing. It was almost like they were singing in Spanish or some other language.
I had my hat on sideways, and despite the pain in my back, I was leaned way over into the middle of the car like I had seen other cool young people doing. I tried my best to bob my head in time with the catchy, loud music. I spotted my girls standing in the row of students, and stopped in front of them.
Wanting to fully display my new found coolness, I cranked the poorly vocalized music even louder and got out to escort my daughters over to the car. As I approached the sidewalk, I noticed quite a few students laughing and pointing in my general direction. There was a particularly criminal looking group of teen boys that began yelling things like “turn that crap down, grandpa!” My oldest daughter seemed to be upset, and possibly crying.
My youngest daughter marched up to me and screamed, “DAD! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?”
“What?” I said calmly, “Do the rules of coolness not apply to guys over 40?”
“Why are you blasting 60’s Spanish music loud enough for the whole town to hear?” She shrieked.
“It’s not from the 60’s, it’s from th- . . . wait, that really is Spanish?” I mumbled.
“And why in the world would you walk around in public like that?” she demanded, sounding even angrier.
I assumed she was talking about my hat being sideways and my underwear showing a bit, like I had seen every other boy at the school wearing.
“Dads can’t sport a little sag?” I asked while making gang-like hand gestures that teens nowadays seem to use while talking.
“You have your underwear pulled up, not your pants sagged down!” (By now she was yelling.) “And they are white fruit of the looms with the elastic band half ripped off!!!”
Unconvinced that hiking my undergarments up was any different than pulling my pants down, I turned to walk back to the car.
As I stepped off the sidewalk, the pain caused from leaning over in the car seat intensified and my back suddenly went out, causing me to collapse down on to all fours. The violence of the fall tore my underwear band the rest of the way so that the band was now completely detached from the rest of the underwear. And although I couldn’t turn around to look, it felt like there might now be some butt cleavage showing.
Meanwhile, a boy with purple hair from the group of criminals had broken off one of the Buick’s windshield wipers, and was using it to whip me across the buttocks as I helplessly crawled back to the car and into the driver’s seat. Several students lined up along the sidewalk had their phones held up and I could only assume they were videoing the whole event.
With a bit of difficulty, I managed to get the car door closed and then quickly drove away with agonizing back pain, two sobbing daughters and a pair of stinging butt cheeks.
After several video versions of the whole incident had been posted and viewed on YouTube, it was decided by my daughters, my wife and the principal that I would no longer be picking the kids up from school.
My oldest daughter, Hannah, has finally started talking to me again, and hopefully Natalie will follow.
I have decided that my level of coolness is what it is, and like nature, shouldn’t be messed with.
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I see it all the time. The owner of a blog or Facebook page that was actually worth reading will get published or will self publish, which is what I did with my book Single Family Asylum, and then suddenly their blog or page becomes one big advertisement for their book.
I (author of Single Family Asylum) am just not going to be that blogger. I think that I have already made it clear that my book, Single Family Asylum, is available on Amazon ( Single Family Asylum ) and I’m going to leave it at that rather than continually shoving the fact that my book, Single Family Asylum, is on Amazon ( Single Family Asylum ) and ready for you to purchase it (from Amazon)(Single Family Asylum).
To me, Jon Ziegler author of Single Family Asylum, this is nothing short of vanity. It is certainly not something I would write about in my Amazon book Single Family Asylum. And you (the potential purchaser of Single Family Asylum) would never catch me taking some cheesy selfie posing like an author (even though I actually am Jon Ziegler author of Single Family Asylum) with reading glasses on my nose as an author prop, Single Family Asylum and a computer in the background to suggest that I had just finished writing my book Single Family Asylum.
So fear not Single Family Asylum my faithful readers of the Single Family Asylum blog which is also now available in book form here: Single Family Asylum . I will never Single Family Asylum ever stoop Single Family Asylum so low Single Family Asylum as to turn my blog Single Family Asylum into a shameless Single Family Asylum promotional site Single Family Asylum.
But just Single Family Asylum in case Single Family Asylum you missed Single Family Asylum my previous Single Family Asylum Single Family Asylum posts announcing Single Family Asylum the availability of Single Family Asylum the book (Single Family Asylum ), my book Single Family Asylum >***Single Family Asylum***> can be purchased by you Single Family Asylum Single Family Asylum Single Family Asylum here Single Family Asylum on Single Family Asylum Amazon Single Family Asylum : Single Family Asylum.
Sincerely, Jon Ziegler author of Single Family Asylum
It’s only been a few hours since the World Premiere of Single Family Asylum, but already the reviews have started to roll in:
“The perfect reading material for those extended sits on the toilet.” – Plumbers Weekly.
“Complete Rubbish” – The Society for Perfect Parenting.
“With writing like this, Ziegler is sure to make dozens of dollars” – The Otisville Women’s Auxiliary Book Review.
But don’t just believe these reviews simply due to the pedigree of the organization from which they originate. Buy your own from copy from Amazon and pen your own favorable review!
Thousands of anxious readers lined up outside book stores all across the globe in order to be one of the first to get their hands on the long awaited book release of Single Family Asylum. Police in several cities tried desperately to calm the frenzied book buyers by spraying them down with fire hoses and passing out Starbucks gift cards, but the crowds were relentless in their fervor for the new best-seller. . .
Well, maybe it didn’t happen quite like . . . . Ok, that didn’t happen at all. But don’t let that dissuade you from checking out this collection of ridiculous, funny, family-oriented stories for yourself. You are even free to start rioting in front of a book store if you are so inclined. If you would simply like to check out my new paper back online, here is the magical Amazon book link.
Single Family Asylum is a collection of short, humorous stories about the imperfections of family members and family life that have appeared right here on this blog.
Buy the book! Buy 10 books! Tell your friends! Tell them you won’t ever talk to them again unless they buy the book.