The Cobbler's Buddy

I have a lanyard for my work badge.

Evan likes to play with it. He calls it "Daddy's necklace".

The other day Jana and Evan came to my office to have lunch. Evan started begging Jana to give him "Daddy's necklace". Thinking quickly, she clipped the badge from his Sunday School class to his shirt. He
stuck out his chest with pride.

Evan just wants to be like me. He follows me around the house, intensely interested in whatever I'm doing - from dishes to taxes to restroom breaks.

He looks to me as his daddy, his friend and his role model.

I was sick the other day. I was lying in bed, miserable. He climbed up into the bed, laid his head down on the pillow next to me and placed his hand on my cheek.

"Hi, Buddy", he said.

Am I training him well? Do I encourage him enough? Do I set clear boundaries? Do I live up to the trust he blindly gives me?

My dad is the best dad anyone could ask for. He has very large shoes to fill.

Am I making my shoes big enough?

Changeup, Chapter 14

Joe stared at the computer screen.

It was one thing to imagine a sudden windfall. The fancy houses and fast cars, parties and carefree living. It was quite another thing to handle the brass tacks and decide what to really do with it.

He knew most folks with sudden money blew through it in the blink of an eye. He'd been entrusted with too much to want to throw it all away.

He researched lottery winners. Very few could still be thought of us 'winners'. One went bankrupt, got divorced and ended up living in the woods behind the mansion he used to own.

He searched for 'how to spend a fortune'. Basically every article could be summed up with the word 'Carefully'.

Joe sighed and closed the laptop lid. He set the laptop on his coffee table, stood and stretched.

It had been three weeks since he'd gone to a ball game. He'd been focusing on handling the stock certificates. He was burnt out on money matters. Time to relax.

He picked up the phone and dialed Renee.

"Of course I'll go to a ball game with you," she replied. "But I'm worried."

He frowned. "What for?"

"Are we just baseball buddies, Joe?"

He was glad to be on the phone, since his face was now quite red. "I...uh...I'll pick you up in an hour", he stammered.

Driving over, he changed his mind. They'd gone to the minor league games a couple times now. Money wasn't an issue - why not a big league game?

He was whistling as he walked her back to the truck and opened her door.

When he turned toward downtown Kansas City, she finally asked, "Okay, Joe. What do you have up your sleeve?"

"We're seeing the Royals tonight!"

Parking was $10. Joe had never understood paying for parking. It was like buying a ticket for his truck, who didn't care for ball games all that much.

"Got any seats by the third base dugout left?", Joe asked the attendant behind the counter.

"Sure do. That'll be $61", came the response from the microphone.

"We can sit somewhere else," Renee said. "I don't need to sit up close for $60."

"$61," the microphone corrected.

"It's okay," Joe replied. He figured it would take some time before he stopped feeling sticker shock every time he bought something.

"Per ticket", the microphone added.

Joe grinned a grin he did not feel and slid his card under the glass.

"Joe, I don't want you thinking you have to impress me all the time. We can have fun anywhere."

"I appreciate that, but today's special. We're celebrating!"

"Oh? What's the occasion?"

"New opportunities! Fresh starts! Hot dogs!"

$20 later, they each had a beer and a hot dog.

They watched as the Royals took on the White Sox in a pitcher's duel.

"What are you going to do now, Joe?", Renee asked.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you've been out of work for a while, and it's been a little over a month since...", her voice trailed off, tainted with uncertainty.

"Since Dad", Joe finished. "Well, to be honest, I haven't decided yet. I've mostly been dealing with paperwork and taking care of Mom."

"But you can't do that forever."

"No, I can't. I'm just not sure what's on deck for me."

Their conversation was cut short by a spray of soda and a howl of frustration. A man in the aisle behind them had tripped while returning to his seat. The meal he was trying to bring his family was scattered everywhere.

"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!"

"It's okay", Joe said. "Here, let us help you clean up."

The man was beet red with anger and embarrassment. His wife was seething.

"I can't believe you did that! Now what are we going to do? Can't afford to buy anything else, and the kids are hungry!"

Joe handed her the rest of his napkins and headed back towards the concessions area for more. After drying himself up a bit, he bought more hot dogs and a couple large sodas.

"Here you go", Joe said as he distributed the food to the grumpy family.

There was a chorus of surprised "Thank you!"s. That seemed to cheer them up, Joe thought.

After he sat back down, the man and his wife began chatting with Joe and Renee.

"Everything's just so expensive these days. I remember when I was a boy, I could see the Yankees play the Dodgers for $2. And a hot dog was a quarter!"

"These days, we can either buy the 'cheap' seats and sit so far up we can't tell what's going on, or we have to pay through the nose to sit here. So we can only afford to go to one game a year."

They commiserated for several innings, telling of favorite players and games.

Joe glanced around the stadium. It wasn't even half full.

What had happened to it? The game he loved. It had no spirit anymore. It was nothing but a machine.

For a moment, Joe felt depressed.

Then a sudden play on the field; the Royal's runner rounding third and charging for home. The crowd on its feet.

And the boy behind him, screaming with unfettered excitement, jumping in anticipation, followed by furious fists of victory.

And Joe knew what he was going to do next.

Robotic Teacher Agents - Guest Post for Jan Moyer


Robots, I say!


Sheesh, if you haven't already clicked here to read my guest post about ROBOTS ROBOTS ROBOTS for Jan Moyer, then I don't know when you ever will.


Thanks! Knew that would work.

5 Uncomfortable Truths

Today I'm guest posting at Katherine H.'s Grass Stains blog.

That's a lie.

This actually posted Monday, but I'm a schmuck and didn't put up a link.

You're obviously not here for my reliability and competency, so head on over and let me know what you think.



I forgot about this phenomenon.

Last time, it involved shopping for groceries for hours until the store closed at midnight. This was an emergency and could not be put off until daylight hours, even though the baby wasn't due for two more months.

This time it's projects. Replacing lighting fixtures. Fixing the fountain pump in the back yard. Putting together the bookcase for the new office. Buying Evan's "big boy bed" and picking out Just. The. Right. Bedding. Painting the room. Painting the guest room. Painting our room.

I didn't want to paint our room. It's been fine for 5 years. I asked Jana what color she wanted. She said she liked the color we have now. I breathed a sigh of relief. Then she finished her sentence by saying she wanted it to be a semi-gloss finish instead of flat. We currently have flat. So apparently the goal is to have it look the same, but feel different. You know, for all those times we feel our walls.

The list is growing. The costs are mounting. I'm getting overwhelmed. I think it's time to get some help. I need another me.

Not a twin, though - someone who's handy. I'm the opposite of handy. I'm footy.

And I cannot wait to meet this new addition to our family.

Oh...I forgot to mention - we're having a baby!

Tell me stuff.

The Perfect Storm - Guest Post by Jan Moyer

Today's tasty treat is a guest post by Jan Moyer. Jan is hilarious. She's Canadian, and I didn't have time to remove all the extra U's in her post, and for that I apolougize. Check out Jan's blog, Tough Bananas, and follow her on Twitter.

Teaching and parenting both involve a lot of bodily fluids and grossness. I’m okay with that. Very little gets the best of me.

Very little is not the same as nothing.

A few years back we received some tickets for the circus. My loving, bearded husband offered to take the three boys (aged 6, 4, and 2) so that I could work on final report cards for my 42 students. Sounded great to me! 

During our early dinner, (didn’t want them to waste any time getting out of the house so I could check my Facebook tackle those reports) Number Two Son said he didn’t feel well and didn’t really want anything to eat. This was unusual because he is a really hearty eater. NTS can be very dramatic so we really didn’t think much of it and chalked it up to nervousness about going to the circus. He opted to do his complaining on the couch while we ate our meal, until.....

“Uh, Jan, JAN, JAAAAAN!” BH panicked as he witnessed that little stinker puke on the beige living room carpet.

I jumped into action because according to our prenup, I’m on all Code Brown and related issues while BH owns all dead animal and rodent concerns. First, I took care of my poor little peanut (how could we ever have thought he was faking?) and then the floor.

Me: “So, did you feed the boys bologna today?”

BH: “I don’t want to talk about it.”

Me: “Well, I’m just trying to figure out if it was something he ate and maybe all----”

BH: “DOES IT REALLY MATTER? I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT IT! STOP IT! I’ll get the carpet steamer, just don’t say anything else.”

Me, muttering, “Well, it sure LOOKS like you gave them bologna.”


Me: “How much chocolate milk did you give them?”

BH: “I really need you to stop.” (I could tell he meant it because he whispered.)

So I plunged ahead with the carpet clean-up, put the little angel to bed with a pail, sent the other three to the circus and got started on my reports. About 15 minutes into things, I heard a croaking call for help from upstairs. I rushed to my cherub’s side and he gave me a wobbly “thumbs up” that he had made it into the pail. He really is my secret favourite son, such a good boy.  

Approximately 45 minutes later I got a phone call from BH:

“We’re coming home. Number 3 just threw up all over me.”

Me: “Oh, no! How did you clean him up? Is everything okay?”

BH: “I don’t want to talk about it. Just be ready, we’ll be home in 15 minutes.”

Poor little toddler arrived home half naked and all red from being wiped down with those awful brown paper towels. Got him cleaned and tucked in, Number Two seemed to be okay, put the oldest to bed and back to reports.


Every 15 to 20 minutes, one of the boys was getting sick. Number One son joined the party an hour or so after the circus incident. Sheets had to be changed, carpets scrubbed, new pajamas found. All of this fell under my jurisdiction. When I agreed to this, I never contemplated it could all happen at once. The only thing missing was someone pooping in the bathtub. Did I mention I was 37 weeks pregnant? Yeah, I thought I’d go into labour, too. 

Finally, they were all cleaned and settled in. I sat down again to work on those report cards (by this point all my students were getting “Outstanding”). Moments later, I felt something scurry by my feet. I did an amazing silent scream and somehow hefted myself up onto the kitchen counter in record speed (pregnant, remember?). 

Now it was BH’s turn to leap into action. He thought my water had broken. When I could finally catch my breath and my heart rate had slowed down (okay, I’d been crying, may as well go for full disclosure now) I told him, “Mouse - it touched me.”

BH patted my back and said, “I’ll take care of it. And, I think it might have been the chocolate milk - it expired yesterday.”

Tell me stories. Horror stories. Go!

2013 Blogging All-Star Challenge

It's that time of year again!

It's time for the 2nd annual Blogging All-Star Challenge, where Rob Shepherd and I each pick a team of bloggers and go head-to-head.

Check out my team for 2013, and then go vote for them!

Artwork by Wes Molebash
Team Ricky

Bryan Logan is a computer programmer by day and a computer programmer by night (seriously, he doesn't forget all that stuff when he goes home). He's also a husband and father to 3 kids (again, both day and night). Bryan, along with his wife, write a blog called "The Logan's". Don't worry, the creativity is focused on the content. We write about all sorts of things. Some critics may say our blog lacks focus, but we like to point out it gives us the freedom to blog about random topics without the awkward segue. Speaking of awesome Twitter accounts, you can follow Bryan at @BryanMarkLogan.

Bunmi Laditan is a regular contributor to,,, and The Huffington Post. She lives with her family outside of Montreal. She writes for her personal blog as well as The Honest Toddler blog and Twitter account. She recently published The Honest Toddler: A Child's Guide to Parenting.

Some Guy lives in some town with Some Wife and Some Kids. He is best known for his guest posts on Jon Acuff's Stuff Christians Like, which makes for a slightly awkward competition since Jon is on the other team. During the day, Some Guy works as an engineer at some company, and he spends his nights putting kids to bed, back in bed, and back in bed again. His hobbies include running, predicting the outcomes of football games (not necessarily correctly), and translating the Bible into Facebook format.

Jan Moyer loves teaching kindergarten. She has four boys and wants to make it clear she and her bearded hubby weren't "going for a girl". She love M&Ms and goldfish, but not together. Coffee is almost her security blanket - never out of reach. She's passionate about making learning fun (at school or church). Her blog is called Tough Bananas. C'est tout!

Daniel Carman views himself as a meglomaniac in the mold of The Brain, yet too often confuses himself with quadratic imponderables. He would like to think his blog style is a cross between C.S. Lewis and Dave Barry, yet small children mock his writing, often pointing and laughing at him mercilessly. He is the father of a wonderful daughter who is working with him to both reduce the number of adjectives that he uses in everyday conversation, as well as to get him to stop his incessant whining.