Wednesday, October 30, 2013


I am old enough to remember way back when Halloween was a holiday for kids. It has now been completely hijacked by two separate adult groups, the partiers and the worriers. The partiers use Halloween as an excuse to dress up and go get drunk. I have been a part of this crowd, and they are a fun people. Many women in the partier group use the Halloween costume as an excuse to dress, let’s just say, a little more provocatively than their normal persona.

Vampire? No. Sexy Elvira vampire? Yes.
Witch? No. Sexy bikini top-wearing witch? Yes.

The guys’ costumes can vary, but are usually pretty low-effort. Guys are basically just there to see the sexy bikini top witch. One year in college I went to a party as a Christmas tree. I put on a green shirt and brown pants, wrapped myself in miniature Christmas lights, headed to the party and plugged myself in. Since I needed to stay within three feet of an outlet, I plugged myself in near the beer keg and offered to run it all night so I could serve everyone and mingle from a stationary position. Looking back on that, it’s amazing I didn’t electrocute myself.

The worriers are the parents. I am now part of this crowd, although many times these two crowds can overlap.

“Be on your best behavior for the babysitter, kids. Mommy and Daddy are going to a grown up costume party. Daddy is going as a cowboy and mommy is going as a smokin’ hot zombie with cleavage.”

Halloween used to be a night where kids went out, expecting to trade the possibility of being scared to death for the opportunity to score some free candy, and maybe pull a few harmless pranks on the neighbors. These days, the worriers have scrubbed this “holiday” clean of any actual fright or mischief, and turned it instead into a three-week-long event that far more resembles a cheery Disney parade than a foggy night ride through Sleepy Hollow. Our job, as parents - as we now see it - is to suck all the “I can’t believe I lived through that!” out of Halloween night and replace it with the October equivalent of July Fourth “Safe and Sane” fireworks, which suck, plain and simple.

As an example of how sanitized Halloween night has become, we received this handy set of safety tips for tomorrow’s big event from our local police department:

Select a safe area for trick-or-treating.  Choose streets that are well lighted and landscaped so you can be seen.  Avoid trick-or-treating on streets you are unfamiliar with, and try to go out before it gets dark.

Oh, boy! Let’s trick-or-treat before dark. That should be really scary. What is your jack-o’-lantern supposed to be? I can’t tell because it is still daytime. How come you don’t have the candy ready yet, lady? It’s already 3:30 P.M.!

Always keep the adult who is watching you in sight.  Never go into a stranger’s home while trick-or-treating.  Never get into a stranger’s car or go anywhere with a stranger.

Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.  Do not walk out from behind parked cars or try to cross in the middle of the block.

Use the buddy system.  Parents or older brothers and sisters should go with young children.  Older children who are going out with their friends should be given a specific time to return home.  Parents should know who their children are with and where they are going.

Most of these helpful instructions are written as if the kids are the ones reading them, which totally renders the whole thing useless. If a kid is about to go out trick-or-treating from a home that doesn’t give a rat’s hindquarters where he goes or what he does, I seriously doubt he is going to seek out these helpful tips on safety from the local police department. And vice-versa, if the adults need to be reminded to pay attention to where their children are and who they are with, they’re probably not doing a lot of reading police safety tips, unless this list was included with their bail hearing notice.

Wait until you get home to eat your treats.  Your parents should inspect each item carefully, looking for needles, open packages and other signs of tampering.  Do not eat homemade items prepared by strangers.

Because this is the year we’re finally going to start seeing all those needles and razor blades in the apples!

Costumes should be light-colored so motorists can see them.  Use reflectorized tape to increase visibility. Costumes should not be too long or too restrictive.  Masks can make it difficult for children to see or hear.  Consider using make-up instead of masks.

Do not carry or wear sharp objects that may poke others or damage eyes.  Objects like swords, wands, canes, etc., should be left at home.  Do not carry toy guns that look like real guns.  A citizen or a police officer can mistake a toy gun for a real gun.

So, our miniature soldiers and policemen will all be unarmed? I guess they could all go as U.N. soldiers and British cops, which would also explain the reflectorized tape. (Is reflectorized even a word? What happened to reflective?) Our superheroes will not have capes or masks, so you kids should just feel free to wear loose-fitting, yet properly-sized business suits and go as Clark Kent and millionaire Bruce Wayne, instead. No ties, though, since ties are both long and restrictive. You need to go with more of a ‘Clark and Bruce on casual Friday at the office’ kind of thing. You want to be Harry Potter, instead? No cloak, wand, or Nimbus 2000 for you. Have fun, kids!

Carry a flashlight to light the way and to alert motorists of your presence.  Never carry candles or any other flammable object.  Do not use candles for decorations or displays.  They can easily be knocked down or can set fire to a nearby curtain or costume.

So, no candles in my jack-o’-lanterns? Hmm… And why are you, as a police department, concerned about my indoor candle usage? Unless you meant the very real possibility of setting fire to my large array of front porch outdoor curtains with my dangerous jack-o’-lantern candles? And I mean, come on, setting fire to a costume? Has there ever been a safer burning candle than the jack-o’-lantern candle, each one completely housed inside a rotting, sticky, hollowed-out gourd? I dare you to try and burn something with that one-inch-tall candle buried inside its protective, organic, fire-proof shroud. I double dare you.

Motorists need to be extra careful on Halloween.  Watch out for careless children who may run into the street without looking.  Expect the unexpected, and anticipate the actions of others.

In order to decrease vandalism and improve pedestrian safety, avoid parking cars on the street.  Whenever possible, park vehicles in the garage and light up your front yard.

Ah, the always helpful, but completely impossible “expect the unexpected” advice. Yes, I will try that again this year. While I try that, if you guys could please give me a list of all the unforeseen issues that might arise, that would be great. And I should light up my front yard? Really? On Halloween night? Why don’t we just have Halloween in June?

Have fun out there kids! Remember to wrap yourself in bubble wrap and Styrofoam, tape yourself to your buddy using reflectorized tape, don’t eat any candy or carry any pointy objects, stay away from any house that has one of those dangerous candles inside a pumpkin, and get home before the sun goes down. Enjoy!

See you soon,


Copyright © 2013 Marc Schmatjen

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Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Driving Ages

I’ve got a problem with the DMV. Actually, I have many, many problems with the DMV, but I really don’t have the time or energy to cover them all here. The specific problem I want to discuss today is the lack of safety programs with driver’s licenses. For starters, the expiration dates. My license expired on my 41st birthday this year, and my new one is only valid for five years. I had my previous license for at least 10 years. Here’s the problem with that - The renewal period is backward. I was a terrible driver when I first got my license. Only now am I getting any good at it.

Progression of Driving Safety Level as an Adult:

Age 16 – You are the worst driver on the planet. You are more of a safety hazard than a Jamaican bus driver on meth, but every fiber of your being is so intent on acquiring an official license to drive a car that you are able to concentrate for hours at a time with laser-like focus in order to pass the tests. Truth be told, it would be safer if we gave your license to an untrained 10-year-old, because at least they would be scared to be behind the wheel once set free.

(Side note - Do you school officials and PTAs out there want to solve all of your low test score issues? Simple. Tie every high school subject to the driver’s license. No ticket to ride unless you get a B or higher in every class. You’ll have to constantly raise the state standards just to keep up with the level of effort you’ll see pouring out of every pimple-faced knucklehead at City High.)

Ages 17-24 – You are a true menace to society, but you are convinced that you are the best driver that has ever lived, ever, anywhere. You feel that you are the only one on the road who knows anything at all about driving, and you are amazed that you are not automatically allowed to drive as fast as you want to because you can totally control this car like a boss. (The only reason you manage to not actually kill anyone is that you are still young and have reflexes like a cheetah.) You are in constant awe about how bad everyone else is at driving, and you are beside yourself as to why this old idiot in the fast lane won’t get out of your way, and, like, why is he doing like only 75 mph? You’d better drive less than five feet off his rear bumper, NASCAR-style, to make the point that he needs to move over, and you should definitely text someone right now about this problem. OMG!

Ages 25-39 – You have your first real job and can finally afford a nicer, newer car. This newer car has more torque and horsepower than your previous car, so the bigger paycheck also comes in handy when you need to pay for the extra speeding tickets and inevitable insurance rate increases. You still suck at driving safely, and you still think you are God’s gift to motor vehicle control and handling. Then, usually somewhere in this age range you have your first child. The day you put them in the car to drive them home for the first time, all your previous attitudes about driving safety are thrown out the window, and your driving life drastically changes. This is your first step to becoming a mediocre driver.

Ages 40-44 – You are just learning how to actually drive safely. You are aware of your surroundings, you actually watch for children at play, and you agree with speed limits for the first time in your whole life. In fact, you wish that many speed limits were lower, especially on that crazy-busy street near your neighborhood. You are starting to say things like, “Damn kids!” and “That kid driving that car looked like he was 12,” and “Slow down! What the hell?”

Ages 45-65 – These are your prime driving years. You are as safe as you will ever be behind the wheel. That is not to say that you yourself are automatically a good driver. This age range is just the only chance you have to be a good driver. You may still be an idiot. It happens. Often.

Ages 66-75 – Your neck doesn’t work as well as it used to, and neither do your eyes, so you are pulling out into traffic now more by feel than actual visual knowledge. You spend most of your time behind the wheel either yelling at the other drivers or muttering to yourself about traffic laws, speed limits, and immigration policies.

Ages 76-84 – You are not fully back to being a menace to society yet, but you’re getting close. You have dropped your average speed in any situation by at least 15-20 MPH, and you are yet again constantly amazed that no one on the road knows how to drive except you.

Age 85 and up – You are back to being a full menace to society, but in a much slower and strangely more annoying way. At some point, you will hopefully have a low-speed collision with your own house, and your children will use this incident as the reason for taking your keys away and selling your car, an action they know they should have taken at least five years earlier.

So, you see, the driver’s license should be good without renewal from age 40 until 65. Before and after that, from age 16 to 40 and from 65 on, it should be required to be renewed every year, or even every six months, with comprehensive testing, lots of hoops to jump through, long lines to wait in, and prohibitive fees. That would help to make the roads a lot safer.

In addition to license renewal changes, there should also be a drastic change in the type and size of vehicle that you are actually licensed to operate. No more one size fits all policy.

Age-Based Vehicle Class Licensing System:

Age 16 – Class F - Licensed only to ride a one-person, stand-up motorized Razor scooter

Ages 17-24 – Class D - You may graduate to a Vespa scooter with a gas engine, but only if you put down a $20,000 cash insurance deposit.

Ages 25-39 – Class C - If you managed to live to be 25 you can now drive a car with four wheels, but only a small two-seater under 150 horsepower. If you have your first child while in this age range, you may graduate up to a minivan with proof of birth certificate and car seat. If you have your first child when you are still in the 17 to 24-year-old age range, too bad. Buy a good stroller and a bus pass.

Ages 40-65 – Class A - Go get yourself a full-size SUV and have a ball.

Ages 66-75 – Class B - You’re back to a mid-sized sedan under 150 horsepower.

Ages 76-84 – Class D/G - You’re back to the Vespa scooter, but this time, we will waive the insurance deposit requirement, providing you still have a valid insurance policy. You will also have golf cart privileges, but only on designated retirement community streets and actual golf courses. Mini Coopers and those tiny Smart Cars are also acceptable substitutes for the Vespa in this age category.

Age 85 and up – Class LR - Your only choice is a Little Rascal motorized scooter with a speed-limiter. If you can get yourself to it, on it, and get it going, go nuts.

There, don’t you feel safer already?

See you soon,


Copyright © 2013 Marc Schmatjen

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Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Pet Sitting

We are currently “pet sitting” a friend’s dwarf hamster, and I am nervous. We don’t have a particularly good track record in the pet sitting department. Our family is relatively free from any wrongdoing or mayhem, but a number of our former pets have been murdered by others while we were on vacation. A small measure of comfort can be found in the fact that all of them were fish, and actually, technically, one of them committed suicide.

Our very first pet was a betta fish from PetSmart. I named him Alpha, because I am just witty like that. I really don’t have any idea how we ended up with a betta fish that I didn’t want in the first place. It started when we made the mistake of strolling into PetSmart one sunny afternoon when the boys were very young, just killing time and thinking it would be fun for them to see some of the animals. Sort of like a really low-budget zoo with no admission fee. As it turns out, the admission fee was whatever I spent an hour later on a fish, a fishbowl, and special betta fish food. I still have no idea how that happened.

The boys were super-interested in Alpha for about the first thirty minutes that he was at our house, then he lived out his remaining days being roundly ignored by everyone except for me, who was in charge of feeding him. Actually, technically, he lived out his remaining days at our friends’ house, before he gave into despair and ended his own life by launching himself out of the top of his little round bowl, and suffocating on their countertop. They came home from the grocery store to witness the horrific scene, and were beside themselves with grief and VERY misplaced feelings of guilt.

We got a call from them while we were still on vacation, saying there had been a tragic accident. Alpha had perished. My first thought was, “Great!” Then I was given the really bad news. Without consulting his next of kin, they had foolishly rushed to PetSmart and replaced him with an almost identically-colored betta fish, Alpha 2.0. Not only that, they had purchased a little green fish net, and a few other aquarium supplies, for some unknown reason.

“What were you thinking?” I yelled into the phone. “This was our chance to be done with him. I was a few days away from flushing him myself, and you bought a new one?!?”

I don’t think I took the “bad news” the way they were expecting. Alpha 2.0 lived out his remaining years being completely ignored by everyone in the house except me. I fed him with contempt in my heart every day until his last gasp, then pushed the toilet handle down without the least bit of ceremony. One of the boys casually inquired, “Where’s the fish?” about a month and a half later.

Because my boys were so enamored with our first (two) fish, it was a little bit of a surprise to me when a year or so later they came home from the carnival with grandma holding a bag full of goldfish. I set up the goldfish bowl, all the while giving grandma the evil eye. I don’t really remember how many fish she allowed into my home that day, but after the standard carnival goldfish die-off period, we were left with four good fish. I fed them each day while the children failed to care or even remember they were in the house. Then one day we went on vacation again. The four goldfish went to our next door neighbors’ house, this time with very explicit instructions that if any or all of them were to die, they were not to be replaced under any circumstances.

I’m very glad I remembered to express our no replacement policy, because the Great California Goldfish Cleaning Massacre took place while we were out of town. Their son, who was only one or two years old at the time, decided to feed our fish one evening. He climbed up on the counter, and grabbed the big bottle of “fish food,” which was actually Comet, and shook a liberal amount into their bowl. It turns out that Comet is not very good for goldfish. Instead of just getting really clean, they die. Unfortunately, his older sister realized what had happened a little too early, and managed to save one of the fish.

When we came home, they returned to us one very sparkling-clean fishbowl with one very mangy-looking fish. The chemicals hadn’t done him any favors, but he was one tough little carnival goldfish. He managed to hang on for a few more weeks and finally rode the porcelain highway to goldfish Heaven.

With all of our past pet sitting issues, needless to say, we are a little afraid to own anything larger or more emotionally valuable than a goldfish. We do have a pair of small garter snakes as pets now, but they live in a large fish tank and can go for weeks without eating, so they don’t require any sitting when we leave town. Their food does, though. Guess what we keep in the house to feed the snakes? Yes, goldfish.

I’m back to feeding goldfish twice a day, but at least this time, since they are snake food, I don’t expect the kids to pay attention to them. If one of these goldfish dies, I don’t flush it. They only cost eleven cents each, but I can’t stand to just throw them away, since their ultimate purpose is to expire anyway. Plus, our snakes are actually pretty lazy and prefer the dead ones. So besides the bowl full of live goldfish on my kitchen counter, I have a plastic jug, half full of water and floating dead goldfish in my refrigerator. Let’s just say, you don’t want to go exploring for a refreshing drink at our house without a tour guide.

Anyway, back to the hamster. I am nervous because this is our first real pet sitting experience watching someone else’s animal, and I don’t know if the cloud of pet sitting death that hangs above us is only reserved for our own pets, or if we are universally cursed. We have managed to keep our own snakes alive for months now, but they are very low maintenance. A while ago we watched a hermit crab for a week, but again, how hard can that be? We could have accidentally left it in the car all week and it wouldn’t have known the difference.

Hamsters are a whole new ball game. They are cuddly and furry and soft and cute. They require food and water at regular intervals, and my three boys constantly want to hold him. I’m afraid for the little guy’s life when they start arguing about who gets him next.

The two little boys who own this hamster will notice if they don’t get it back. They might also notice if they get a different one back, so we are playing a high-stakes game here. One reason they might notice a covert hamster switch-out, is this one seems to have a bald spot on its right side. Also, its butt looks a little swollen and funny looking. Hmm… That almost looks like it could be a tumor. Crap!

Was it like that when we got him? Did he already have that bald spot, or is his fur falling out because of the curse? Is he even a he? His/her/its name is Hammie. That could go either way. How do you even tell if a dwarf hamster is a boy or a girl? I guess I’ll Google it.

Whoa!!!! OK, forget it, I don’t want to know! We only have him until tonight, so I’ll just feed him a little more food, refill his water bottle, pray that he gets picked up soon, and pray that I never accidentally Google “dwarf sexing” again.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2013 Marc Schmatjen

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Hello Kitty Biker Gang

Here’s something I don’t quite understand: An elementary school student riding a motorcycle to school. I’m not talking about in China or Cuba, or one of those other fun countries like France where little kids smoke unfiltered cigarettes and have full-time jobs. I’m talking about my kids’ elementary school here in America. Now, I’m also not talking about a big, heavy, Harley-Davidson either, but the kid rides a motorcycle to school, no question. Actually, there are two kids that do. I think they might be a gang.

The motorcycles in question are the Vespa scooter type, with the platform for your feet in front of the seat so you don’t straddle the bike, you sit with your knees together and bent at a 90 degree angle, with your feet flat on the floorboard. Much like how elementary school children are supposed to sit at their desks or the dinner table, but don’t.

The Vespa-type scooters in question do not have gasoline engines, either. They have electric motors. I’m guessing that’s because an elementary school kid these days can’t afford to buy gas. Elementary school teachers can’t even afford to buy gas these days. I’m also guessing that’s the reason the two kids are allowed to ride the scooters in the first place; because they are rechargeable electric scooters, and not “motorcycles.”

That logic probably explains the brand names on the two scooters in question. One of them is made by Razor, the company that pioneered the two-wheeled stand-up scooter that recently assaulted my middle son’s left wrist, and consequently, my wallet. The other scooter is a Hello Kitty model. You heard me. Hello Kitty. Way back when I was a young kid and saw a Hello Kitty notebook for the first time, I didn’t understand it. Now that they make motorcycles, I still don’t understand it. Nothing has changed with regard to my understanding of the Hello Kitty empire in the last 35 years.

So here we have two elementary school kids riding motorcycles to school.
Well, not motorcycles. They’re more like Vespa-type scooters.
Well, not really Vespa-type scooters, because they don’t have engines.
They’re electric, so they’re like pretend Vespa-type scooters. Toy Vespas, if you will.

Truth be told, the Hello Kitty “toy Vespa” scooter is probably no more dangerous than a bicycle, but I have to draw the line somewhere. A while ago I started seeing kids riding Razor-type two-wheeled stand-up scooters that someone had retrofitted with small gasoline engines, probably off a leaf blower or an edger. It’s technically still just a scooter, but I always thought, “That kid is riding a homemade, really crappy version of a motorcycle, without a license, on the sidewalk. If he was actually on a commercially-built motorcycle, he’d be stopped by the police and marched back home to his parents. Why is the motorized scooter any different?”

If having or not having a gasoline engine is our benchmark for motorized vehicle versus toy, then I have a few questions:

My children cannot legally operate an airplane, but under the new rules, should they now be able to fly a glider or a hot-air balloon to school?

Well, of course not. That would be silly. My kids are terrible at aerial landmark navigation, plus there’s no good place to land at their school.

So flying is off limits. How about one of those new Teslas? Stays on the ground? Check. No gas engine? Check. Can do 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds? Check. Whoops... That kind of raw torque might be a little much for any elementary school student whose last name is not Andretti.

So, if the lack of a gasoline engine is not the deciding factor, what is? Size? The Hello Kitty scooter isn’t as big as a regular Vespa scooter. It’s kid-sized.

Well, a Toyota Prius isn’t as big as a Camry, and when compared to my Ford Expedition, a Prius is kid-sized, too. Of course a Prius has a gas engine, so that’s obviously out, and the Tesla, while small, is way too powerful… but what about a golf cart? They’re really small compared to cars, kids can reach the pedals easily, and they’re electric. Check, check, and check.

No, you say? Why not? If the Hello Kitty scooter can be considered a toy Vespa, a golf cart would have to be considered a toy car, wouldn’t it? That argument could easily be adopted by the logic-savvy middle-schooler.

“You let me ride this electric toy scooter to school, so why can’t I drive your Nissan Leaf? It’s an electric toy car.”
“No it’s not. It’s a real car.”
“OK, then I’ll just take the golf cart.”

Like I said, the Hello Kitty scooter is probably no more dangerous than a bicycle, but I have to draw the line somewhere. One thing that helped me draw the line at electric scooters was the complete lack of exercise. If I’m going to give my kids a mode of transportation, I want it to tire them out. They are far too difficult to deal with when they have an excess of energy. I prefer them lethargic.

Another thing that swayed my opinion was when I saw the kid with the Razor brand scooter try to ride it with his trombone case tucked under his feet, balancing on the floorboard, wildly protruding out both sides of the scooter. He got going, and I lost sight of him, but I knew if he leaned into a turn, the trombone was definitely going to drag. I doubt that ended well.

I am having enough financial issues with injuries from the regular non-powered Razor scooters. I don’t need to add broken ‘bones into the mix. Trom or otherwise.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2013 Marc Schmatjen

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We Interrupt This Column for a Dose of Reality

There is nothing funny about your wife leaving you. Mine left me on Saturday morning. She claims she’s just on vacation with her mom, and they’ll be back this coming Saturday, but I remain skeptical. The boys and I are on day four of mom-less-ness, and things are looking bleak. Actually, we were doing OK until yesterday.

Yesterday Son Number Two played chicken with a sidewalk crack on his Razor scooter, and the crack won. It managed to grab his front wheel and hold it tight, stopping his scooter instantly and sending him head-first over the handle bars. He was able to save the sidewalk from any further damage by protecting it with his left hand.

Yesterday was October 1st, which happened to be the same day that our brand new health insurance plan went into effect. I wonder what our new insurance provider will think about us using our new policy on the very first day it was active? A few x-rays later, and I’m happy to report that no bones were harmed in the making of this story. Some ligaments and tendons took a beating, though. I’m guessing I won’t have any trouble with the insurance company, since I doubt they will suspect that a sprained wrist was a preexisting condition.

I was planning to start writing this column on Monday, like I normally do, but something else came up in the morning. I would have begun Monday evening, but evening follows afternoon, and the afternoon is homework time. Homework time is the worst time in the whole wide world, ever. I think I would rather go to war naked with a stick than sit down with my three sons and try to get them to finish – or even start – their homework. It’s so bad I don’t even want to keep talking about it, because my left eye is beginning to twitch.

After the three hours it takes us to do fifteen minutes of homework, it is dinnertime. Right around dinnertime is usually when I realize that I need to make something for dinner. We eat cereal a lot. Right after dinnertime is bedtime, since homework time runs into dinnertime, and dinnertime runs into all the time we would have had to do anything else before bedtime. Someday we’ll have enough time to have bath time. I hope.

After bedtime, I had another opportunity to begin this column, but due to the existence of homework time, all I am able to do after bedtime is sit and stare at a blank wall, and whimper softly. When I am done with that, it is my bedtime, because breakfast time is coming up fast.

So I figured I would start this column on Tuesday. I would have, except I went ahead and spent most of Tuesday sitting in a waiting room with Son Number Two and his swollen left wrist, next to a lady who sounded as if she had tuberculosis, whooping cough, and pneumonia all in one.

We managed to get home – hopefully tuberculosis-free - in time for homework time, and you can imagine how my day went from there.

So here we are on Wednesday, and I was all set to get the kids off to school and bang this column out. Then, when Son Number Three woke up this morning, he came out of the bathroom and informed me that his heart hurt. When I asked him to point to it, I deduced that his stomach was really the offending internal organ, and he confirmed that for me about a half-hour later when he threw up his breakfast.

He was kind enough to throw up as he was passing through the door into the garage, so the majority of his bagel ended up halfway out of the house. As a result, the cleanup was the industrial tile and concrete hose-down type that I prefer to the more delicate indoor variety. I am happy to report that our garage doorway threshold has never been cleaner.

So, here I am, after a morning of janitorial service, writing this column in between trips to the bathroom, and laundry loads. Like I told you, there is nothing funny about your wife leaving you. I completely forgot what I was even planning to write about on Monday, so this is what you get today.

This week has been a little off to say the least, but today is really highlighting for me why the Mr. Mom job is not more widely adopted across this great country. Women are just better at this kind of thing. I truly believe that moms come with a naturally larger tolerance for listening to whining than men have. This is probably a result of years of listening to men whine about how loud the baby is whining. When the kids get older, that increased tolerance helps women deal with homework time way better than men can.

Illness is another good example. It would never occur to me to get down on the bathroom floor and hug someone when they’re throwing up, but that’s exactly what a sick five-year-old kid wants. My first instinct is to get as far away from them as possible. Moms just naturally hug them. Go figure.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go burn our garage welcome mat, and pray for my wife’s safe and willing return.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2013 Marc Schmatjen

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!