The Latest Exercise Craze: The Cardio Mow

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For decades, people have been complaining about not having enough time to exercise. And when spring time rolls around, it gets even worse. Yard work starts to take up some of our precious weekend time.

Since you’ve become a dad, you’ve already given up naps, showers and sex — so what’s an aging guy with a growing pot-belly to do?

Fear not, all your problems are solved with…

The Cardio Mow!

Yes, that’s right, now you can combine a healthy cardiovascular workout with your weekend mowing, with the Toro variable speed push mower (estimated top speed is 5 mph).

Trim off those extra pounds as you trim your grass!

If you enjoy sweating profusely and having all kinds of insects stick to your body, then this is the perfect exercise for you. Plus the exciting feeling of seeing just how many dandelion weeds have turned into those spikey, deadly looking mutations can not be matched by traditional forms of working out.

And you thought sleep deprivation was exciting and rewarding.

And remember, you are not alone…

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Odd Things About Wisconsin

Living in New York my entire life, I grew up believing that the way I referred to things was pretty much the same as how most people referred to things.

Boy was I wrong.

For example, I call a car a car. In Wisconsin, it’s a vehicle. And it’s mostly women that call it that. Every syllable is clearly enunciated, too — making the word resemble the sound made by a cat coughing up a hairball. Why would you want to take the extra time to call something a veh-ic-le, when you can just say “car.” Think of all the time you save sticking with the one syllable here.

I grew up calling Italian bread, Italian bread. In Wisconsin, it’s called a loaf! What the hell is that about? Don’t all breads start out as a “loaf” before you slice them up and make sandwiches and french toast with them? To me, a loaf is someone who doesn’t like to do stuff. Kind of like a bum, or a person with no ambition. But hey, what do I know?

Now, let’s talk about the thing that everybody has on top of their house. I call it a roof. Again, I find an alarming difference, this time in the pronunciation of what appears to be a simple word. In NY, we say roof, like “roooof.” Here in the frozen tundra that is Wisconsin, they say it more like “ruff.” What the heck is a ruff? Sounds like someone’s dog is barking if you ask me (which nobody did by the way).

This brings me to the biggest, worst and most ugly difference of all.

Pizza.

Now here’s the weird thing. In Wisconsin, they say pizza just like I did in New York. But what they call pizza tastes more like the cardboard box that NY pizza comes in! It smells familiar, like cheese and sauce and bread (or a loaf). But that is where the similarity ends.

Why-o-why does the pizza have to suck so bad out here?

There are varieties like pizza with potatoes and veggies on it. Just what America needs. Pizza with an extra starch. We’re not fat enough. Meat-lovers pizza has bacon, sausage, beef, ham and pepperoni. And it’s guaranteed to clog your arteries! And then there’s the mid western classic  Cheeseburger Pizza. Now there’s an image that makes me want to yack! But I’m afraid to because somebody might want to make “Cheeseburger & Yack” pizza!

At least a loaf still tastes like bread, even though they call it the wrong thing. But the pizza? Somebody needs to hold a seminar or something to help them get it right. Big money making opportunity for you pizza makers in NY.

My final quibble concerns the potato. Where I’m from, a potato is part of a meal. A side accessory so to speak – the starch part (remember, it’s not a vegetable). It is usually served with a topping (like butter or sour cream), next to a piece of MEAT and a healthy portion of VEGETABLES (the darker the color, the more healthy).

But here in Wisconsin, the dairy state, a potato is a meal in and of itself.  Top it with enough crap and people go crazy like it’s a four-course dinner! Here, they just lump everything into it – cheese, meat, veggies, a ground up tire from their ve-hi-cle… WHATEVER THEY CAN FIND! And they call it a meal.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Wisconsin. Especially the days when I don’t have to leave the house. But this stuff just bothers me.

And remember, you are not alone…

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Huggies Children’s Products: Shape Matters, Dads Don’t

In the May issue of Parenting Magazine, I found yet another ad from a major children’s company that excludes dads. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, especially since it’s an ad inside a magazine who’s cover tagline is “What Matters to Moms.”

The ad, which appears on page 54, is for an “easy-grip, no-slip bottle*” for bath time hair and body wash. You may be wondering what that little asterisk is for after the word bottle. Well, at the bottom of the ad Huggies tells you:

 “*Picked by moms for better no-slip grip.”

I’d like to meet the Huggies executive who signed off on this one. I’m just wondering what type of research the company did before deciding to make this claim. Did they get a bunch of moms together and ask them what they liked best?

Did they bother to ask these moms who gives the children most of their baths? Because I give both my boys ALL of their baths. Yes, I am Bath-man! Exclusive bath giver to my children (and myself), no matter how dirty or stinky! It gives me a little extra time with the kids, and it gives my wife a break because she works very hard to take care of us.

It’s funny, because every dad I know tells me the same thing. They are the ones giving the baths.

Here was a chance for Huggies to get it right. To give a nod to all the dads of the world who sacrifice time with their kids to go to work and earn money so their family can survive.

See, Mr. Huggies executive, the thing is that us dads also use this money to buy children’s products. Like bath soap for instance. I for one can say I won’t be buying yours.

And remember, you are not alone…

Evel Knievel and the Hairy Lady

When I was a boy, one of my favorite toys in the whole world was my Evel Knievel Stunt Cycle. Evel and his trusty motorcycle withstood any and all of the death-defying stunts I could dream up. Somehow he always managed to “walk away” in one piece (although sometimes he and the bike suffered some pretty deep scratches and dings). No matter how bad the crash or how far Evel flew off his bike, they both remained intact.

Until the taxi incident.

The year was approximately 1978. And it is a day I will never forget. I remember it as clear as a sunny Wisconsin afternoon (which is pretty rare by the way).

I was on my friend’s porch — at least 20 steps up, on the second floor of his two-story house. It turns out this porch would hold another traumatic experience for me (but more on that later).

As I revved up Evel’s motor with the hand crank (those who had one will remember the super-cool sound, and the painful hand blisters that ensued), my excitement grew. Once I got him to top speed, I let him rip! He went down the stairs like a madman — flipping, flopping and popping wheelies! I was so excited as he zoomed towards the, uh, street?

He made it to the center of the road before puttering to a stop. He plopped onto his side, the bikes rear wheel still turning. Then, I heard a sound…

A dirty yellow taxicab was barreling towards him! The bastard didn’t even slow down. Nor did he take evasive action. I would swear he took aim! It appeared to be an act of pure aggression on a helpless toy that he knew was more successful and more popular than he’d ever be.

And then he ran over Evel Knievel — squashing him and his stunt cycle like a pancake.

Needless to say I was quite upset.

The guy didn’t even stop. He just left my toy in pieces. He was a rude man, and I bet he smelled bad.

Soon after, my mother bought me a new Evel Knievel. But this one was the blue chopper version (they had stopped making the original). It just wasn’t the same. He popped a lot more wheelies, but I could tell his heart wasn’t in it. And neither was mine.

In case you were wondering, my original Evel did survive the taxi incident. I mean, he WAS made of rubber! Too bad the bike was not. The tire tracks across his nylon jumpsuit were a constant reminder of the tragedy.

Conclusion: The Hairy Lady

One day, on that very same porch, I choked on a piece of gum. As it lodged in my throat, my friend (who’s name and face I can’t remember — sorry dude) went and got his mom.

She came out in a tank top (I think it was red) and that’s when my fear of choking to death was replaced by an even greater terror.

Hair, and lots of it! Under her arms, in between her breasts. I had never seen anything like it! Nor have I since, thank God.

Although my airway was blocked, I couldn’t help but stare at my friend’s hairy mom. In between her boobs was both facinating and repulsive at the same time. And I’m not talking a few, “I need to tweeze my eyebrows” strands, I’m talking a big, bushy hairball. Yuck.

I eventually swallowed the gum. But the memory of that hair remains with me.

Remember, you are not alone…

Leap Day: The Next National Holiday?

As a dad who works a full-time job, I think leap day should be a national holiday.

I’m always looking for an excuse for a day off, and a day that shouldn’t really exist anyway seems like a perfect choice! I don’t think our jobs would mind  it’s not like we’re deducting a day of work from the year, we’re just not adding one! We full timers don’t get paid an additional 1/365th for the day, so why bother? Wouldn’t it be better to spend one of the last days of winter snug at home with our families?

Blame it on Julius Caesar, the father of leap year. It’s all his fault. Well, actually it’s the fault of his astronomer, Sosigenes, who worked out the details. Couldn’t he have made leap day on the weekend? This way we’d have Saturday, Sunday, Leap Day and then a 4 day work week!

Anyway, Happy Leap Day everybody.

And remember, you are not alone…

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The Fart

A couple of weekends ago a pretty special thing happened.

The whole family was napping, which is rare occurrence in our household. My older son Max (almost 4) woke up, came into our room and laid next to me like he always does.

I had been thinking about my blog, so I decided to share my thoughts with him. I explained that one of the biggest reasons I blog is for him and his brother. How I’m documenting my thoughts and feelings about being a dad so they will have a record of exactly what was on my mind when they were little. I went on and on about how grateful I am to be a dad, how important my boys are to me and how much I love them.

Then I asked Max, “does that sound good?” Usually Max is quick to answer a question. But instead, a peaceful silence filled the room. And then…

He farted!

His response to my heartfelt diatribe was a fart. And in that moment, I realized that in some strange way it was the perfect response. Time stood still, briefly, and everything I had just spoken about was affirmed in the honesty of a fart.

Who says gas stinks!

And remember, you are not alone…

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