Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

June 15, 2009

Who Would Win In A Battle Between The ShamWow Guy and Billy Mays? Neither, My Kids Would Crush Them Both

Filed under: Dad Of The Year — Tags: , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 12:30 am

shamwow-snuggie-slanketHere is some sound advice: don’t trust the words of a man who somehow gets arrested for punching a ‘lady of the evening’ in a swank hotel, especially if he is an infomercial pitchman. Vince Schlomi, better known as the ShamWow guy, was caught a few months ago with his pants down (literally). While dialing his late night room service, he probably wasn’t too concerned with the public relations fiasco he created. The magnitude of the mess was so great no shammy could possibly clean up regardless of how absorbent the man with the wireless mic claims it to be.

With all apologizes to Vince, there isn’t anything more absorbent than the mind of my children. The Brawny Man looks scrawny in comparison to their ability to soak things up. Now, Billy Mays before you put down your Zorbeez and start screaming at me, let me explain by sharing a story that happened just recently.

billy_oxycleanWhen the family drives around town, Maddie and Paige love to play DJ which normally means us rolling on dubs while blasting the Little Mermaid soundtrack, Sesame Street’s Greatest Hits or old school nursery rhymes from the speakers. Sadly only one of the six CD’s in the changer has tunes sung by actual humans and not cartoon sea characters or fuzzy puppets that live in the inner city.

Granted, the content of the CD is nothing I would brag to my friends about due to it being a random mix I created with workout music for my wife, Jenn. The only reason it is even in the player is to serve as a safety valve we switch to during the moments where we feel ourselves slowly going insane from listening to The Count number random items for the 234th time…make that 235.

This is why we were caught off guard the other day when Maddie pleaded for us to play a tune we hadn’t heard of. She referred to it as the “Holly Bector” song. Puzzled at exactly what she was requesting, we began asking her questions trying to solve this mystery. From our interrogation, Jenn and I were able to conclude that either a man or a woman who may or may not be in a band sang it. As far as the rhythm goes you can clap to it because it is fast song or so she said. And for whatever reason, the song included fruit, specifically bananas.

Tired of our quizzing, Mads started to get restless and upset. The tune, which she was dancing to in her mind, was escaping our thoughts. She looked at us in pity because we were so unhip and didn’t know the “Holly Bector” song. We had shuffled through all of the CD’s except for the gym mix, which was up next. From the cheering now coming from the back row, it appeared we were finally in luck.

Gwen_Stefani_Cool-concert-tourYou’ll never guess what tune our toddler wanted to hear. Her pleading was for none other than Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl” – a song she has heard maybe 5 times total. This is proof positive that kids posses an uncanny ability to soak up all that is around them. They watch, study and take in everything you do. Sometimes knowing you have your own personal voice recorder is amusing. Take for instance, the time I taught my daughter to say “Uh-Oh Hot Dog!” when she gets surprised.

However, their absorbent capabilities also have an ugly side. These are the moments when you see how your little ones mimic your own mannerisms and tone of voice. Or even better, having your daughter call you out on your behavior by recalling something you said or did months ago. The previous exchange you thought little of, but to your child it was a defining moment for them. This is scary when you realize that once a thought or experience gets sucked up in their brain vacuum it is near to impossible to get that little bugger unstuck. I guess the saying is true that kids are like sponges, which means as a parent we have to be careful about the things we let them absorb. Now, that’s just bananas…B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

June 6, 2009

Are The Rumors True: Did The Step Brothers Break His Spirit?

Filed under: Dad Of The Year — Tags: , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 2:52 pm

The note on the door caught all of the Issues off guard. At first, they thought nothing of the substitute teacher that replaced Tony one afternoon. Probably a stomach bug, or something like that, they figured. But, when he was absent the next afternoon and the days that followed some of the Hang-Ups begin to wonder what was wrong with him, especially Worry and Neurotic. 

zoolanderThe rumors of Tony’s whereabouts became more elaborate the longer he remained M.I.A. Socially Stunted said he knew Tony had a weakness for bacon (he remembered how Tony would refer to it as Meat Candy). This caused the other Issues to deduct that the sheer amount of bacon he consumed caused Tony to contract a severe case of Swine Flu. Poor Self Image said Tony had to take a week long sabbatical to mourn Ben Stiller’s acting career after watching the family comedy A Night At The Museum 2. In hopes that Ben would come to his senses and go back to his roots, Tony was dressing in all black and watching Zoolander and There’s Something About Mary on a continuous loop. 

Another Issue said she heard of a guy racing up and down the hallways at New Hanover Regional Medical Center muttered “this is the happiest place on earth….this is the happiest place on earth.” She reasoned this mad man probably was Tony after numerous doctor visits and hospital stays caused his tax refund that was once earmarked for Mickey Ears to disappear in thin air. 

Socially Stunted mustered up all his strength and shouted out: “THEY BROKE HIM!!! I CAN’T BELIEVE IT…THEY ACTUALLY DID IT! ANGER AND CYNICAL CRUSHED HIS SPIRIT!!!”

Lack of Manlines cut him off: “That’s what I thought so too. But, if you wouldn’t sit off on the sidelines you’d be able to read the note and realize that isn’t the case. Here’s what it says…”


Knowing how your mind works…well, because you are stuck in mine, I know what you’re thinking. No, the Bash Brothers of Anger & Cynical did not put me over the edge. Actually, realizing that the majority of the times I flew off the handle or seemed a little jaded was primarily due to unrealistic expectations and pure selfishness has helped to put those guys in their place. 

The reason for my absent is just life. Sometime it gets in the way and you find yourself just trying a moment where you can just breathe and collect your thoughts. Realizing I have yet to perfect the art of an ideal work/life balance, I turned the laptop off for an extended period to spend time with the girls that matter the most: Jenn, Maddie and Paige. Words are incapable of describing the joy that I felt while hanging out with them. Yet, in the midst of it all, I saw that there is much I need to work on to be the type of father my rugrats need. So, get ready for me to back in the office tomorrow and for the next month focusing on:thumbnail.aspx


p.s. Stop it cynical.. My decision had nothing to do with positioning for a bigger present for a certain holiday pertaining to males who have kids that just happens to fall in June. 

May 25, 2009

The Super Nanny Is The Armchair Quarterback Of Parenting Experts

Filed under: Anger, Cynical Side — Tags: , , , , , , — 30tocure30 @ 12:14 am

When you find yourself living from paycheck to paycheck, it’s hard not to feel slightly cynical about your current circumstances. Money, or the lack thereof, consumes your thoughts. Instead of counting sheep at night, you wonder if you could get a part time job as a sheep shearer so you can stop cutting coupons.

At first, all options that might lead to some extra income remain on the table, regardless of the embarrassment factor or the possible shame that could be brought to the Ripa name. 99.9% of them would have me ending up at a busy intersection in some ridiculous outfit trying to hawk a product to motorists stuck in traffic.

little_caesar_pizza3This might entail going Greek in all my toga glory for Little Caesar’s Pizza, in a dirty diaper to express the “loads” of great deals at an electronics store or in a poncho doing a sombrero dance for $1 Taco Night at the local Mexican joint with the extremely low sanitation score. Rather than being in my normal spot behind the wheel pointing and laughing at grown adults trying to earn an honest living, I’d now be the guy whose soul died a little bit with every honk of the horn. Can someone please tell me what the current exchange rate is between self-dignity and dollars?

So far, my pride has prevented me from going this route all in the name of grabbing some cold hard cash. Frustrated over the possibility of becoming a regular at the local blood bank, I click on the television and tune into the reality shows that get my mind off of things. Tonight for my viewing pleasure is Super Nanny.

This show provides me comfort on so many levels. To top things off, it saves me a trip to Wal-Mart to watch kids go bananas just to boost my confidence as a parent. Second, British accents always make me chuckle because they are just so darn “cheeky.” Then comes the part in every show where the mother or father glares over to Jo Frost (aka Super Nanny) after she shakes her head in disappointment while giving a smug suggestion over how they’re dropping the ball as parents. A pop-up bubble is not needed for me to understand what thoughts are running through their head. It goes something like this:


Children-for-Supernanny-No-Way-Jose-2“Listen here Chubby Spice. It must be nice to show up here in all your Mary Poppins glory and think you’ve got my kids all figured out. Staying cool, calm and collective after 5 minutes in our house is not that big of deal. But, let’s see how you fair all by yourself  for an extended period off time with our brood. Chances are good you’ll be praying ‘God Save The Queen’ while polishing off your 12th bottle of Newcastle. I bet you don’t even have kids…”


Surprisingly, the parent’s suspicion would be right. Jo does not have children and in interviews has stated that she doesn’t feel the urge to have her first anytime soon. Call me crazy, but how can someone that doesn’t even have children be the go-to person for advice on how to raise them? That would be like seeking words of wisdom from your middle school babysitter who allows the kids to run wild just so they can finish reading Twilight.

14-philWhy would one take advice from an individual who has never freaked out by the sight of what they’ve seen in their child’s diaper, felt the embarrassment of a temper tantrum in a crowded restaurant or bought a toy after being manipulated by their daughter without realizing it. Alright, the time has come to call a spade, a spade: the Super Nanny is the armchair quarterback of parenting experts. At least when relationship “experts” Steve Harvey and Dr. Phil dole out advice, they can say with a straight face that they’ve been in our shoes before. Granted, they probably won’t be too forthcoming in saying that their relationships ended in divorce, but that’s beside the point.

So, how does one become an expert in a certain field? Do you have to collect enough UPC labels off of Coco Puffs cereal boxes, mail them in and then wait 3-5 weeks for your certificate to come in the mail? Or is it similar to how easy it is to become an ordained minister over the Internet by filling out a quick form? By the looks of it, most people just wake up one morning and proclaim themselves as a specialist in a given area. Considering Supper Nanny has raked in the big bucks telling parents what they’re doing wrong, maybe I need to become an authority on a topic so I can make ends meet.  With my years of skepticism, pessimism and sarcasm, it appears that “Cynical” expert has been my life long calling.

May 21, 2009

Let The Great American Idol Debate Begin: Upset, Shocker or Travesty?

Headline-RedLight_1Just in case you were wondering, there are twelve traffic lights between my house and where my daughter attends preschool. How do I know this random piece of information you might ask? Defying all odds and probability, I had the opportunity today to count each one as I waited for them to turn from red to green. A trip that normally takes 10 minutes max winded up being a 20-minute fiasco.

I wasn’t fazed by the first red light. Didn’t pay much attention to the second one. Numbers 3-5 made me chuckle. Yet, after that, I found myself progressively getting angrier at each stop: 7th (slamming the top of steering wheel), 9th (veins begin popping on my neck), 10th (nervous eye twitch), 11th (foaming at the mouth) and finally number 12 (turning bright red with steam coming out of both ears like one of those crazy cartoon characters).

In honor of my disdain for traffic lights and the need to work on my anger issues, I took a moment to reflect on other things that get my blood boiling. Here are a few I came up with:


  • When Facebook pushes their religious agenda on me. As much as I appreciate your attempts to get me right with the big guy upstairs, stop trying to convince me that I should be a fan of God. Ditto on bubble wrap and Larry the Cable Guy.
  • heelysKids who go skating past me at the mall on Heelys while their parents are too busy stuffing their face with a Wetzel Pretzel to notice the accidents their kid is causing. Anytime I hear those wheels whizzing behind me I have to fight the urge not to pull a Donald Brashear (one of the best hockey goons of all time for those non-sports fans) and check their head into the glass display at Pac-Sun.
  • When the remote control runs out of batteries and I find myself stuck on C-SPAN.
  • Being told I am anti-social by individuals who just happen to like the sound of their own voice. Being told I am cynical by people who are always sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. I would never tell you this, but the glass will always be half empty. 
  • The teenage sister of whichever preschooler introduced Madison to all things Hannah Montana.
  • Rocco doing the pee-pee dance near the door and realizing I will have to walk him in the pouring down rain.
  • Close to 100,000,000 votes being cast to decide the winner of American Idol, but only 56% of people show up to vote for the presidential election.


idolInternet Land is already abuzz over the travesty that took place tonight when Adam “Sir Screeh A lot” Lambert was denied his rightful crown of American Idol. The anger will be displayed in various forms like wailing, the gnashing of teeth and tearing of clothes. It is only a matter of time before some bozo will inevitably go on a hunger strike until the decision is reversed.

Remember, a few years back during the 3rd season of Idol when the world was going to end when your “can’t miss” choice lost as well. You know…what’s his name or was it a girl, I can’t remember. That’s my point. People get up in arms over the most random, trivial and insignificant things. Myself included. At the same time, war, genocide and famine are taking place and, if we are being honest, we really could care less. Everywhere you look in the world there are injustices taking place:


  • CHINA POVERTYOver 33 million people are dealing with AIDS
  • 1.4 billion people (a quarter of the developing world) find themselves living in extreme poverty of less than $1.25 a day.
  • 40,000 children die every day from malnutrition, starvation and hunger related diseases.
  • One of the fastest growing segments of the homeless population is family with children.
  • In 2006, over 9,000 hate crimes took place in the United States.
  • Every 2 minutes someone in the United States is sexually assaulted.


If I am too lazy to get up off the couch when the batteries in the remote go dead, it should come as no surprise that I haven’t felt compelled to move to evoke change in the world. I sit on the sidelines in silence not speaking up for people who have no voice. Maybe instead of trying to tame my anger, I should harness it to focus on issues that really matter. Anger with purpose.

May 18, 2009

Dr. Buddy Rydell Answer Me This: How Does One Not Go Insane Passing Time In A Hospital Room?

Your entertainment options are fairly limited when you find yourself passing time in a hospital room taking care of a loved one. After getting over the initial shock of not having the little rugrats crawling all over you while repeatedly asking “why” and “what’s that,” you begin to catch up on what your wife has been doing for the past 4 ½ years that doesn’t involve spit up, diapers or Dora The Explorer. Alas, the gabfest ends prematurely once her new best friend morphine crashes the party and sends Jenn to her happy place.

bedpan_optCreativity is a must when trying to figure out ways to keep yourself entertained. Flying solo drastically reduces your potential fun. Playing “Guess The Infectious Disease” or “Name That Cough” is not nearly as amusing when no one else chuckles along with you. Rubbing hand sanitizer all over your nose and running up and down the hallways screaming “I Think I Have Swine Flu” will only get you tasered by security guards or the elderly candy striper in a wheelchair. Nix the bedpan foot race idea. Ditto on the seeing how many bites of hospital food you can keep down before your gag reflux kicks in.

When I caught myself reading a Cottage Living magazine a friend dropped off for Jenn, I knew I was teetering on the edge of complete and utter boredom. Then I realized this hospital room had an enticing feature my humble abode did not: extended cable. Endless hours of mind numbing fun were at my fingertips. With over eighty channels, there had to be something, anything, to keep my attention, right? Apparently not.

real_housewives_of_new_york_cityThe more I clicked the remote the angrier I found myself getting. How is it that with all of these new possibilities of entertainment I end up watching the train wreck that is the Real Housewives of New York reunion for the 5th or 6th time? As fun as watching those old birds squawk at each other is, I figured getting some sleep would be a bit more productive. I decide to give extended cable a final shot of redeeming itself by allowing it one more cycle to grab my attention. 

Down to my last few channels, I stumble across Adam Sandler’s cinematic masterpiece, Anger Management.  With this month’s focus centered on curing my temper, I figure sleep can wait considering I could seek some wisdom from the expert on the subject of rage, Dr. Buddy Rydell. Taking out a notebook, here are some nuggets I gleamed from Buddy:


anger_management_verdvdTIP #1 – You have to put your pride aside and retard your anger level a few notches and listen to those around you.

TIP #2 – Sarcasm is the second cousin of anger while flirting is the second cousin of cheating.

TIP #3 – There are two types of anger: explosive and implosive. Explosive is the type of individual you see screaming at the cashier for not taking his coupon. Implosive is the cashier who remains quiet day after day and then finally shoots everyone in the store. Do everything in your power to make sure you’re not the cashier.

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