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Things to do before children happen to you.

We have several friends who are about to have their first kid. I wanted to make a list of things they should do before it's out of its convenient carrying case.

Take a nap. Go out to eat and then see a movie. Nap during the movie. Then go back out for a late meal. Wake up and have a three and a half hour breakfast where the only person you're worried about running off is you after your second pot of bottomless coffee.

Break something glass and leave it on the floor, and then stay up all night playing Nintendo. Cuss. Cuss like a fucking shit-faced slutwad sailor with a penchant for pussy, tits and ass. Cuss until you can't stand yourself. Cock. Wear formal attire just for the hell of it. If you're the father, drink. This is your moment to relish one of the little known highlights of a pregnancy; a designated driver with big boobs. Mom, you need to be sober for many reasons, but being lucid is so important to savor every moment of every peaceful meal, every sip of something without floaties, every solo trip to the bathroom, and every conversation with an adult. Nothing will ever be yours again, and in about a year you'll hear yourself talk and wonder when the hell you became that annoying parent you swear you'd never be. Don't go to McDonalds. Don't do it. You'll get plenty. Go to a real restaurant and order your food cooked slow. Get several appetizers, several desserts and extra steak knives just to carelessly place around the table.

Read. Read with porn playing loudly in the background. Listen to gangster rap and the Dropkick Murphys. Impulsively go to a concert you don't even care about. Call your friend with kids and ask if they want to go. Challenge yourself to see how last minute you can do things. As you leave the house breathe deep the air of spontaneity, maybe leave the porn playing.  Appreciate logic.  Watch sports, or whatever your favorite show is. First, switch to PBS to make sure cartoons are on, then flip away to your favorite show. Do this over and over while loudly wishing horrible, violent things on Elmo, Bob the Builder and that shit Caillou.

Cuss while having sex. Make some noise you've never made before. Do an animal impersonation. Break the bed. Book a trip on a plane to wherever. Pack a bunch of liquids and knives so the delays in security are all your own. Relish controlling your own chaos. Board the craft and be sure to be indignant about the crying kids. It is a shame that some people should be so thoughtless.

Get a convertible coupe rental car with barely enough room for yourselves. Go to a body of water and be careless about the shoreline. Go to Vegas and get a hooker.  Pay her by the hour to discuss what her parents did wrong. Vocalize criticism of your spouse. Verbalize all the negative things about the people you know.  Go. Go now and be free with your dark, inner, nonparental beast. Love the animals in your house. Talk to the plants. Go to all the parties you can and be the life by saying you'll never take your kids for fast food and you'll never sit them in front of the TV and you'll never buy them those stupid light-up shoes. Go mofos!  It's time to spread your wings and fart like a drunk trucker. 

Get over yourself and laugh at burps and take notes on all the stupid shit you do all day just so you'll remember what you did with your time. Get on with it! Get to the beach, start a bar fight in Mexico, cook something that's not shaped like a zoo animal! Smell broccoli like it's a rare flower, put saffron and thyme and basil in things. Eat a pan of brownies, chug a wine cooler, smoke something and don't give a damn who sees you do it. Celebrate the shit out of your birthday and buy absolutely nothing for no one for Christmas. The clock is ticking. The person you know as you is about to die, so live it up. Fill that bucket list up with debauchery and opulence and vast swaths of sloth without once somebody rubbing a booger on you. Or wipe a boog on yourself while shouting something morbid about the tooth fairy.  

Go. Godspeed. Explore what's beyond that childproof gate. Be all that you'll done day hoped you were.

And whatever you do, tell us about it.  You are our Magellan and we are starved for your spicy adventures.

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One simple trick to improve your marriage, life

Just a note in male misunderstanding. All caps for a moment: WE SHOULD NOT TRY TO FIX THINGS. For me this goes across the board from inanimate to organic, but this post is specifically about the loved ones in our lives who share with us their most intimate issues. This is going to blow your effing mind: they don't want us to fix a damn thing. Granted, there are some exceptions, like when they ask directly, "can you fix this?" And they're holding an actual physical possession you actually physically broke during a Bronco game. Other than that, and most often when it's a female, FIXING IS NOT IN ORDER.

The incident that brings me here this evening is with my wife, a perennial victim of my fixes, who was airing her grievances about her job search. All the lady wants is something part time to stoke the coffers and keep her from going nuts. In no surprise to the professional world, the woman has garnered much interest. Apparently, however, asking a company for part time is equivalent to begging for a fiscal screwing. It's amazing how little people want to pay someone who can't go full time (ignore that if you're reading this during work hours.)

 These people do not need fixing.

These people do not need fixing.

Yesterday I came home to a person who needed to share and vent. It's one of the main reasons we enter holy matrimony: to have partner with whom you can talk smack about anything or anyone (although you probably should limit it to everyone except that person. That's a different post I hope you don't require.) Sarah was giving me all the details of a call between her and a company's HR, when she said that, along with her references, they wanted all of her W2s from 2006 to 2011. First of all, if you need someone's tax dossier to get them in the door, you have trust issues and probably shouldn't be dealing with personnel. Secondly, if you're the husband/lover/whatever listening to this vital emotional release, don't interrupt and say, "I totally have all your W2s. They're in the filing cabinet downstairs."

It's somewhere in there where Sarah closed her eyes and shook her head. She was done talking. I wasn't (unfortunately) and rolled on like a brakeless semi about how I could get all the paperwork. And then I stopped. And Sarah looked at me. That look. You know, as if I were her 7 year old who'd just done a thing that people do when their frontal lobe hasn't fully developed. Because SHE ONLY WANTED SOMEONE TO LISTEN.

Now I know I've provided my wife with many opportunities to flash back to "for better or worse" and wonder if she's reached the lower extreme, and even though this is but one minor offense, it builds up. Especially when she knows that I know better. Listen. Don't get out your emotional tool belt and start going to work while she's talking. Listen. And it's amazing--and this could be the problem--it's amazing how simple life can be.

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Games You can Play with Your Kids without Ever Getting off of the Couch

College basketball is reaching a fever pitch. It's madness they say. To maintain sanity at home, I'd like to share some family secrets of household togetherness. The title of this article might lead you to believe I'm trying to dismiss the children. Quite the contrary, I'm offering a way to be the best parent possible even when you might otherwise be distracted. In other words, I believe I'm about to offer you something that harsh world of competitive sports rarely does: a win/win.

Thanks to the endless energy of my three children, here are some games that sports enthusiasts can play with their children without ever leaving the game viewing area.

None Shall Pass

 As you can see, I don't even need to break my gaze from the TV and the kids are having fun.

As you can see, I don't even need to break my gaze from the TV and the kids are having fun.

For this one credit goes to my brother-in-law, Paul, who casually demonstrated its value before I had children and before I could fully realize its sheer brilliance. Simply sit at the edge of a couch near a narrow thoroughfare. When the children try to walk through, you drop your arm and say, "None Shall Pass." From here they can wrestle your arm or get tickled or come up with a magic word. All of this can be done without even setting down your beer (which should be in your other hand.)

King Kong Paper Airplane

 Here I get to work on not losing an eye.

Here I get to work on not losing an eye.

Show your kids how to make a proper paper airplane. And then, while still facing the television, have them throw the airplanes at you while you bat them down. Grunting gorilla noises are optional, but it does add to the overall sports environment.

Note: Use your favorite search engine to find "how to fold the world record paper airplane." This is an excellent pregame activity. Calm your nerves and follow the steps; these babies fly forever (potentially leading the children to forget about you altogether.)

The flush

 Another child flushed through the leg triangle. Yah, it's weird but the kids love it.

Another child flushed through the leg triangle. Yah, it's weird but the kids love it.

Whilst sitting with your legs crossed so that they make a triangle, pretend to "flush" your children through the aperture. Kids love this. Sometimes they get stuck or require a "plunger" to latch onto their head, but eventually they slide through. Flushing noise is optional but you'll find yourself making it anyway. This is my least favorite game of least amount of effort because it requires the most of the least amount of effort.

Note: Probably awkward for larger people and teens.

Another note: If you have multiple children, they can take turns operating your arm as a giant flusher.

Lumpy Couch

 What is this strange lump in the couch? My dog thinks I'm an idiot.

What is this strange lump in the couch? My dog thinks I'm an idiot.

This classic is a kid favorite. You've probably done this before, but you lean back into a child (usually shrieking with anticipation) and pretend there's something wrong with the couch. Then you grab and cajole the sofa's aberration (child) in an effort to make your seat more comfortable.

Note: Three reps per kid are usually sufficient.

When you Least Expect it

 The mere thought is enough to wear a child out.

The mere thought is enough to wear a child out.

This is a versatile little game where you can lapse into hours of quality televised sports. What you do is "zap" the kids with quick tickle blasts. They'll like this and request more, but you reply, "When You Least Expect It." With our attention spans being what they are, both you and the children will be surprised when it happens.

Weight Training

 It's rare that people hug you at the gym.

It's rare that people hug you at the gym.

You're probably on the road to regret with queso and beer mixing like some kind of intestinal Molotov in your aging body. You can turn this around by fashioning your eager children into a living room workout set. The most popular with my kids is the bench press. Granted, I'm a talking about 40-pound humans, but lifting the kids in any direction without breaking yourself is win for everyone. Which means if your team doesn't prevail, at least you did. Now go out and kick some stereotypes. The game is engrossing, but happy kids even more so.

Honorable mention: Scavenger hunt for their shoes, sitting on dad while he makes horse noises, sitting on dad while he makes train noises, sitting on dad while he makes dragon noises and/or sending them off anywhere with flashlights.

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