I’m really not all that worried about how many people read my blog.

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.

 

If you enjoyed this story, there is a whole book full of them available to you at Amazon.com:

Single Family Asylum

I’m Not One of Those Bloggers.

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

The Reviews are Starting to Roll In!

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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!

Single Family Asylum

 

 

Shopping with Children

Even before our children were born, my wife and I had decided that she wouldn’t work until both girls were at least in school. We felt that those first five or six years were very important in a child’s development and didn’t want those years to be spent in a daycare.

During those few years, I often worked long hours to make up for the loss of one income, and as a result, I wasn’t always aware of all the day-to-day details of raising two active young girls.

My chance to experience many of these daily triumphs and tribulations came one fall day when my wife ended up coming down with a particularly bad virus that left her incapacitated for nearly a week. During her recovery, I decided to take a few days off from work to fill in as the child minder.

In the middle of that week it became necessary to do some grocery shopping, so without a second thought I made up a list and informed my wife that the girls and I would be going shopping.

“You’re taking the girls?” my wife asked in a concerned tone.

“Yeah, that way you can relax without having to worry about them.”

“Are you sure you know what you are signing up for?” she said with an even more worrisome tone.

I began to get a little annoyed at her lack of confidence in my child management skills. I realized that taking a three and five year old pair of girls to the grocery store would require vigilance, but come on, how hard could it be?

“You just relax, I’ve got this,” I said as the girls and I walked out the door.

The short drive to the grocery store was uneventful and further confirmed in my mind that this shopping trip was a cinch.

Upon arrival, I grabbed a shopping cart and put three year old Natalie in the little flip down seat, and let Hannah take a spot riding on the front of the cart. I dug out my shopping list to have in hand as we headed down the first aisle.

Half way down the first aisle, I turned to place an item in the cart, only to find Natalie was holding a bag of navy beans that I hadn’t placed in the cart.

“Where did you get that, baby girl?” I chuckled as I took the bag from her.

Natalie answered with a blood curling scream that actually made me jump a little.

“DAD! She WANTS the beans!” Hannah advocated from the front of the cart.

“Well, we are not buying beans today,” I said in my firm dad voice and put the beans back on the shelf.

As I made the turn from the first aisle to the second, I mentally noted that I should keep the cart centered between the two rows of shelves to prevent my little grocery thief from being able to grab items off of them.

When I got down to the pasta section, I noticed that the brand of lasagna noodles that my wife normally purchased seemed to cost significantly more than a few of the other brands. But it was hard to know exactly how much because the packages contained different amounts of noodles. So I got out my phone and used the calculator on it to try figure out what the exact cost per pound would be of each brand of noodle. After a bit of difficulty remembering just how to set up such a calculation, I finally determined the costs of each.

“HAH!” I exclaimed triumphantly, “This brand is seventeen cents cheaper per pound.”

I grabbed the new bargain brand of lasagna noodles from the shelf and turned back towards the shopping cart. Hannah was now sitting inside the cart digging into a freshly opened box of cereal that I had selected from the first isle. But it didn’t appear that she was actually eating any of the cereal the she was removing from the opened box fistful by fistful . . . I assumed she was attempting to get at the prize in the bottom of the box. Large amounts of cereal were being thrown out of the box and onto the floor through the holes in the bottom of the cart.

“HANNAH! What on earth are . . . WHERE’S NATALIE?” I said in a panic as I realized that my youngest daughter was no longer a passenger on the shopping cart.

“She went to get lunch,” Hannah replied as if it was not a big deal.

“Does mom let her go get lunch when she takes you guys shopping?”

Hannah looked up from her cereal box digging for a moment and replied, “No, mom doesn’t let us out of the cart.”

“Oh crap!” I thought aloud sprinting down the aisle.

When I reached the end, I was able to determine that my daughter had gone to the left by following the trail of navy beans left like breadcrumbs. Up ahead I could see her standing in front of a lady handing out samples of some sort of food she was promoting. The lady had given Natalie what looked like a chicken nugget and Natalie was busy dowsing the nugget with ranch dressing from a bottle that I had no idea how she came to possess.

“NATALIE! I didn’t know where you were!” I said scooping her up, nugget, ranch dressing and all. Natalie screamed once again and stiffened her body in protest of my picking her up.

“She seems quite hungry,” the teen-aged sample girl said with a smile, “she’s eaten five of my samples.”

But I didn’t have time for niceties, I had to get myself and Natalie back to the cart before Hannah disappeared as well. So once again, I began to run back towards the aisle where I had left the cart and my treasure hunting daughter. But my progress was hampered by a child who was not happy about being torn away from her free lunch. I had never realized until that moment, how difficult carrying an unwilling child was compared to carrying one who was a willing participant. It was very awkward, much like running with a large, screaming piece of plywood in my arms.

When I reached Hannah and my cart, I stuffed the still screaming Natalie back in her seat and pushed on at a faster pace, ignoring the fact that Hannah was still sitting inside the cart. I hoped that picking up the pace was the key to a successful shopping trip with the children by not giving them as much time to get into mischief. However, this didn’t end up helping much at all.

By the time I had finished the second aisle and had gotten only half way down the third, Natalie had escaped another two times from her seat in the cart, helping herself to a box of animal crackers and knocking a jar of pickles off a shelf causing it to shatter across the floor. Hannah had successfully found the prize in the cereal box, which was a whistle, and blew it loudly from her place inside the cart.

And all I had to show for all the chaos was a half-eaten, half spilled box of cereal, a loaf of bread and a bottle of liquid cold and flu medicine. I was beginning to feel light headed from the anxiety . . . but I had to press on. I could do this.

I grabbed Natalie once again and plowed my way down the rest of the third aisle and into the fourth, picking up a store employee with a mop, bucket, and broom who had been assigned to follow us around by the manager.

Progress was slow, and with each stopping of the cart brought a new disaster. I chased girls, put smuggled items back on the shelves and apologized to other customers who had become victims of items thrown or splashed on them. As I turned and looked back down aisle four, it looked like a road map of where my cart had traveled. The path had been clearly marked by a peanut butter wheel track and each stop punctuated by a spill.

I was quickly losing my grip on sanity as we made our way down aisle five. To keep Hannah occupied, I had given into her demand to push the cart. I had restrained Natalie in her seat with the seat belt that I had discovered. The employee with the broom and mop had been joined by a manager who followed along keeping a running tab of items broken. Natalie was like a demon possessed wild cat, screaming and clawing at people who passed by us.

As I walked back to return a customer’s purse that had been swiped from a cart we had parked next to in the canned vegetable section, I was startled to hear the scream of someone other than my two daughters . . . the scream of a lady.

Hannah had pushed the cart full force into the heels of an elderly lady, who now sat on the floor crying. The manager was dividing his time between seeing if she was ok and lecturing me on controlling my children. The employee with the broom was sweeping furiously, trying in vain to keep up with the handfuls of sugar that Natalie was throwing on the floor . . .  that’s when things get fuzzy.

I can remember a period of time with people yelling at me, children screaming and food being thrown, but it was all a blur. My mind had checked out. . . .

 

After an undetermined amount of time in this confusing dream-like state, the spinning of the room began to slow a bit. I gathered my wits about me.

Looking around, I found myself standing inside the shopping cart with the bottle of cold and flu medicine in my hand. The bottle was open, and apparently I had chugged half of its contents while singing “Amazing Grace” in a high falsetto voice. Around me stood the store manager, the still furiously sweeping employee, and the elderly lady who was still crying. Natalie was a short distance away sharing a box of cookies with another customer. Hannah was standing on the front of the cart holding a half-eaten carrot between her fingers like a cigar and moving her eyebrows up and down Groucho Marx style.

“You’re funny Dad,” Hannah giggled.

After quickly writing a check to cover all food items that had been spilled, damaged, and eaten, I grabbed both girls by the hand and exited the store, leaving the cart sitting in the exact same spot where I had just used it as my stage.

Arriving at home, I unloaded the girls from their car seats, and with the Chinese take-out I had picked up, went into the house.

“Where’s the groceries?” my wife asked, “Was there a problem?”

“Nope! Theeee . . . ahhh grocery store was closed, “I managed to fabricate.

“Why didn’t you just go across town to Leonard’s Grocery Store?”

“Uh, well that was closed too. I think it was some sort of grocery store holiday.”

To stop the obnoxious line of questioning, I brought my wife a heaping plate of sweet and sour chicken, and then sat down with my own plate, still reeling from the effects of the cold and flu medicine.

After a few minutes of silent eating, my wife said, “By the way, the manager of the grocery store that was closed called.”

I stopped my eating with the fork of food hovering just outside my opened mouth.

“Oh?” I said sheepishly.

“It seems he failed to charge you for the live lobsters that were apparently killed by somebody dumping some sort of blue liquid into the tank.”

I was busted. “Well . . . that explains where the fabric softener went.”

A Horrific Tale About Writer’s Block.

The urge to write something epic was over-powering. I needed to create a piece that was unique, but still containing all the time tested components of a classic. I could feel the creative genius building inside me like a pile of leaves that had been ignited with too much gasoline.

A novel! I’d write a novel that would put Melville’s silly fish story to shame. . . . . No, that would take too long and I know from experience, that these bursts of creative energy only last a few hours, or until something catches my eye on TV.

Maybe a poem . . . no, that’s an even more ridiculous notion. I haven’t the slightest idea how to meter, and I think I might be rhyme deaf.

So, I decided that I should stop wasting time deciding what form of literature my writing would be and just start writing. I could always decide later if it was a novel, or poem, or short story. I would just let the spirit take me wherever it wanted.

I sat down at the computer with my cup of coffee. I made myself comfortable, and prepared to unleash the epic-ness . . . I cracked my knuckles in preparation for the flurry of typing . . . here we go.

But nothing was coming out.

The keyboard keys were not clacking.

I thought for sure that this much inspiration was surely the precursor to an earth-shaking subject matter. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that I really had no ideas on deck. The desire to begin my masterpiece was unbearable, but there was nothing there!

I began to look around the room as if the dirty cereal bowl on the end table, or the floral print box of Kleenexes would suddenly jar a topic loose, but again, there was nothing.

I stood up and scratched my head. I looked out the window at the overgrown lawn, but all that came to mind was that the lawn mower blades needed sharpening. For a second, I pondered a novel about dull lawn mower blades, but it seemed to lack the potential for being the awesomeness that I was determined to create.

Picking up a women’s magazine from the coffee table, I began to leaf through it. I would write a story about . . . dish soap? No, that’s silly . . . how about “Sizzling Summer Fashion Ideas?” No, even the word fashion itself made me yawn . . . tampons? Good Lord, NO!

I simply had nothing to write about, and it was beginning to make me angry. I was getting angry at my brain. Stupid brain!

After another two hours of seeking ideas from magazines, two glasses of wine, watching the dog sleep, and both sides of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” album, I finally gave in to the fact that I had no idea what to write about, and all the ambition in the world was simply not going to change that fact.

In an act of desperation, I sat down and began writing about having writer’s block, the result of which you are reading now. It certainly isn’t the Pulitzer Prize winner that I was anticipating, but it did occupy me until a documentary about South African Crocodiles came on the television.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I can get away with writing about having writer’s block more than once with any degree of success. I guess the next time I have writer’s block you will be stuck reading about a floral print box of Kleenexes.

Spammers are pretty dumb.

I constantly get emails and comments from different websites and services that professs to be seeking blogs that have the following and influence that the Single Family Asylum commands.

I used to get excited about such correspondence, that is until I actually started reading them a little more attentively.

Some would say, “I can tell that your blog has a lot of good information that would be useful to parents and families.”

Really? I write about vomit and poop. I write about my inability to control my children. I write about my wife throwing a coffee mug at my head. 

You spammers are dumb. You would be a lot more effective if you actually read a post or two.

I guess spammers don’t bother me all that much. It’s not hard to delete emails and comments. The problem, however, is that if and when I actually get contacted by a legitimate organization, the chances that I recognize and respond are very small. 

Maybe I’ve already deleted that one offer that would have rocketed my blog to global blog dominance. 

Thank you!

I want to sincerely thank all of you who stick around and read my nonsense. I feel so bad that I just can’t find time to visit all of your blogs more often. Summer is such a busy time at work for me, and the few hours I have to devote to creative persuits has to be divided between blogging, cartooning, and carving log furniture.

I wish I could have one whole day a week to devote to blogging and actually put effort into promoting my own, but congress has turned a deaf ear to my 8 day week lobbying efforts.

Thank you all very much! 

Here are a few photos of my other projects:

   
   

Children are made in a Convenient Size.

When God was at his drafting table deciding how the universe would work, it was pretty clever of him to make children start out small and grow up to be larger. I can only imagine the challenges to a parent if children were born huge and then grew down to be small.

I mean, can you imagine trying to change an NFL lineman’s diaper if he didn’t want it changed? Or better yet, trying to enforce a “time out” on him? You’d be lucky to escape with all your limbs intact. And I imagine if that same NFL lineman wanted you to play dolls with him? You would not have much choice in the matter. Either play with dolls or have your shoulders dislocated and your ears ripped off.

And if children were big and we were small, it would be us adults who needed to be strapped into a car seat, and have to sit on a stack of telephone books during the family Christmas dinner, not the child.

But fortunately for us, children come in a small, convenient size, which makes them easier to manage. So when you tell a child “come here . . . come here . . . come here . . . come here . . . come here,” you can then provide them with some assistance in “coming here,” when words don’t seem to be working.

Due to their miniature size, a parent can assist children with lots of things like, “come here,” “stay there,” “sit down,” “stand up,” “stop hitting grandma with a wiffle ball bat,” and many other simple tasks that we need them to perform.

You can even assist them in cleaning their entire messy room by employing what I call “the chop stick method.” This method is where (after repeatedly telling them to clean their room, and the child repeatedly refusing) you grasp them by their little arms, and use them like chop sticks to pick up objects and put them away. I’m not sure that this method actually helps the child become any more obedient, but it seems to give the parent some satisfaction.

However, if you choose to use “the chop stick method,” you need to be careful that older siblings don’t see, and end up performing a perversion of it known as “Why are you hitting yourself? Stop hitting yourself.”

I guess if I had any complaints about the whole kids being small thing, it would be that I think they should remain small until they move out. My daughter Hannah is 17 now, and seems to be getting stronger and stronger. The age of 17 is a time in the raising of some children where it would be nice if they were still small . . . . really small . . . . . I’m talking ‘put them in a coffee can with holes poked in the lid’ small.

The Overtime Season

It is now officially the overtime season in the world of tree trimmers. You may have noticed a slowing down in my posting. As a middle aged tree trimmer, it is hard to stay awake for very long after plunking my butt down on the couch after a long day of climbing trees. I sometimes wake up the next morning still sitting in the same spot where I sat down after returning home from work the night before. Sometimes, I even have the partially chewed remnants of the previous night’s dinner still in my mouth.

But rest assured, I am thinking about all of you out there in the blogosphere constantly. I even dream about you all. . . . . . We’ll ok, that might be a slight exaggeration, but never the less, I do miss having the time and energy to post my nonsense for the world to read. 

I will squeeze out a post whenever I can!

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.