Why the Unicorn Frappuccino is Voldemort’s Doing

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So I tried the unicorn frappuccino drink from Starbucks today. Below is the link that’ll show you the video review with my daughter laughing at me in the background.

What’s not in the video is that by the time I got to the bottom, it tasted like curdled milk. Seriously. Which makes me think that Lord Voldemort is behind this little craze. The baristas will tell you that the top is sprinkled with unicorn dust, whatever that is.

But in order to get unicorn dust, you must capture a unicorn. And to capture a unicorn, you’ll inevitably draw blood. (The credit for this idea goes to my wife, by the way.) So according to Harry Potter lore, something pure and defenseless has been slain to make your unicorn frappuccino.

Which also means that you will have a half-life, or a cursed life, from the moment that blood touches your lips.

What’s not in the video below is this horrible realization. What IS in the video is the beginning of my cursed life. And shockingly, my daughter knew enough not to drink any even when I offered it to her. She’s too innocent, too pure. She chose wisely.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH THE VIDEO

When It’s Stupid to Play with Your Kids

Life is like a casino. You gamblers know what I mean. You win some, you lose some. But you lose A LOT! And you win just enough to keep going.

Life’s pattern:

Good day. Okay day. Bad day. Bad day. Good day. Bad day. Bad daybaddaybaddaybadday. Bad day.

At this point you want to take yourself out, but before you do make that jump…

MY GOD I FOUND A QUARTER! GOOD DAY!!! 

And then your cat dies. So, bad day again. Then you find out your upstairs neighbor is running a brothel. Another bad day. You’re wondering if it’s possible to knock yourself out with a bat. But wait…

TACO BELL’S COMING OUT WITH A NEW WAY TO EAT A TACO! So you decide to keep going until you try that taco.

All the while the goons upstairs are laughing at us like, “He bought it! He thought his life was actually going to turn around!”

We’re like those horses following carrots on a stick. We keep walking for just one more tiny little nip…

I took a walk with my family yesterday. My 3 year old daughter and I found a tree and we climbed it. (She climbed it, I hauled myself up then got stuck.) Well, it turns out climbing a tree was the dumbest thing I could have done. Midnight rolls around and I have to pee. I go to climb out of bed and I cursed loud enough for my wife to shoot up. She thought it was finally TIME. You know, THE heart attack or THE stroke we’re all just waiting for.

She wasn’t so fortunate.

“What’s wrong?” she asks.

“Mie buck huts.”

“What?”

“My bake horts.” (I can’t very well point to my back because, you know, your back gives and takes away movement.)

“What?” she asks again.

“Well now my freaking throat hurts because I’ve been straining to tell you that my back hurts!!!!”

I almost beg her to just stick a tube up my ding-a-ling so I don’t have to move. We have one of those Nosefrida’s for the baby, and I was wondering how to make that work…

Anyway. I settle for just the heating pad because when I go number one at home, I sit down so I don’t run the risk of making a mess. I never got the hang of Say It, Don’t Spray It.

ANYway. My wife gets the heating pad. She’s tying all these pulleys to me and hoisting me up and maneuvering me and rolls me on top of the heating pad. As soon as she gets back in bed I grab that controller and crank it all the way up like I’m Trump set loose in the room with the Red Button.

I woke up this morning feeling a thousand times worse. I almost called in sick for the year. Like, I felt like Han Solo frozen in carbonite. I couldn’t move a muscle.

So we get an IcyHot patch. My wife lifts my shirt to stick it on, and when she does, she screams.

Which, of course, makes me scream, because immediately I’m thinking I’ve been gashed or something and she’s staring at my intestines.

So we’re both screaming. And that makes the kids scream.

“What’s wrong! What’s wrong!” I scream.

“Your back! It has… It has… lines!”

An image of me turning into a zebra crosses my mind. Like, Pinocchio smoked and turned into a jack-ass. I thought I might turn into a zebra because I snuck a milkshake without sharing with anyone two nights ago (this falls under No. 3 in the 7 Deadliest Father Sins).

She grabs my phone and takes a picture. (How cool is it that our phones can work as mirrors?)

And she shows me this:

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Yes. Those are 2nd degree burn marks from the heating pad I had cranked up all night. (I knew I was dreaming about barbecue!

So what does this have to do with casinos and life and good days/bad days?

You can avoid a bad day if you don’t gamble on your body doing more than you’re capable. Let your kid climb the damn tree, don’t try it yourself.

 

 

 

Wanna Know What an Ear Infection Feels Like?

When I was young and healthy I sometimes thought, Gee, I’d love to be sick for a day so I can just lie down and watch movies all day.

And then I had kids.

Let me qualify this entire post by stating that my wife – and I would surmise most wives – get it the hardest when the plague hits home. Mothers get the bug and have to take care of the sick kids, the whiny husband (that’s me), do the laundry, the dishes, and no one’s there to tuck them in because they’ve already tucked everyone else in and kissed their foreheads (including the husband – again, me).

Our house has been a house of horrors the last couple of weeks.

The kids had midnight fevers so high that one started hallucinating, which I could only imagine was  a slithering pile of snakes, worms, and silverfish crawling toward him, because that’s how he was acting, and the other kid had seizures.

My wife got it bad – headaches, coughing, you name it. But she was up and out of bed each time she heard anyone wake up. She deserves a medal of honor.

And I barely escaped the flu but got an ear infection instead. And let me tell you, I think I’d rather have the flu than an ear infection. (Imagine someone taking fruit knives and slicing the inside of your ear canal. Then imagine them pouring salt in those slices. Then imagine they keep rubbing sandpaper all around your salted cuts. Then throw in a migraine.)

I thought ear infections were for kids. Apparently not. After two trips to the doctor, increased medication, it still hurts like a very bad mother.

So that’s why I’ve been absent from this blog.

BUT if you’re looking for some awesome things to read, I’d highly encourage you to start checking out this guy right here: EndeverPublishing.

Now, excuse me while I go die.

(On another note, I finally watched Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Rogue One. Both excellent films in every way for people who like steady, solid story lines.)

(Also, I was going to post a picture of the inside of my ear with yellow and green snotty wax dripping out of it, but I decided I didn’t want to lose any followers. So I’ll post this instead, because this is what I feel like:)

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Get well cards and flowers can be sent to my home in Kentucky. Also, I like sour worms, the candy. I always have to emphasize that I mean candy. Real worms terrify me.

My Adventures at Starbucks

I need to be grounded from Starbucks.

For the last decade and a half I’ve only ordered frappuccinos, which are basically just really fancy milkshakes. Be it summer or winter, I’d get a frappuccino because I really really hate hot beverages.

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A couple of weeks ago Starbucks ran this deal where if you buy one macchiato, you get a second one free. (If you don’t know, macchiatos are those fancy iced-coffee drinks that look like someone went way overboard with the cream.

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I always thought they looked kind of good. But when I learned that that’s not cream at the bottom, but VANILLA, I told Sarabeth we HAVE to try them!

We bought one and got one for free, and now, a couple of weeks later, I’ve had about 9 of them. I’m friggin’ addicted to this crap now, even at $5 a pop! And now Sarabeth feels like she can go to Starbucks with me because suddenly I’m a grown-up drinking grown-up drinks instead of milkshake-wannabe’s. Except that when I order my macchiato I ask them to “double the vanilla,” because there’s no such thing as enough vanilla.

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Well, in the past couple of weeks, I’ve ticked off quite a few Starbucks employees. (Be warned: after my confession you’re going to see me as a total jackass, but promise me you won’t say you wouldn’t do the same thing if you were cursed with my ineptitude for remembering key details.)

You see, when I was hooked of frappuccinos, I only had to decide on a flavor. Like, double-chocolate chip (which drove Sarabeth nuts because I chewed each individual chocolate chip with my front teeth like a crazed chipmunk), vanilla (cream-based, of course), mocha (which is basically a coffee-flavored milkshake), or any flavor of the season.

But with macchiatos I have to choose a flavor, remember to ask for extra vanilla, AND choose hot or cold, and apparently the default is hot. There’s no such thing as a hot frappuccino, otherwise it would just be a …ccino, and that just sounds racist for some reason.

Almost every time I’ve ordered a macchiato I’ve forgotten to ask for an ICED macciato. When they hand me the hot beverage with the cardboard coaster snug up around it, I know they see the look in my eyes and they’re already taking it back before I say, “I’m sorry, I meant to ask for an ICED macciato.”

They’re forced to fake a smile and say, “Certainly,” because those awesome Starbucks employees are trained that customers should always get what they want even if they’re complete jackasses like me. And then I sit in the car awkwardly while the line of cars grows behind me and I pretend to be texting someone on my phone even though under my breath I’m cursing myself for being such a jackass.

Why not just take the hot macchiato? Well, that would be like eating cow turd when you really wanted chocolate syrup. Big difference.

So my immediate life goal is to always remember to ask for ICED macchiatos so I don’t continue being that guy I never want to come across. That, or I should just start ordering macciatos with no coffee. Because let’s face it, vanilla is good cold or hot.

Why “Being Yourself” is Actually Good Advice

I’ll be honest. I’ve always hated the advice, “Be yourself.”

Before a big speech or presentation or job interview, the last words echoing in your head are usually, “Be yourself.”

(Not so much if you’re about to act in a play. Then you don’t want to take that advice.)

But I always wanted something more from my supporters, like some grand philosophical entreaty from the Greek gods.

But I was always left with, “Just be yourself.” And why did I hate that? Because honestly, I’ve always kind of hated myself.

I hated my voice, my cereal gut, my bald spot. I’ve had some serious insecurities. So much so that not too long ago I deliberately lowered my voice to sound more like Bear from Armageddon. 

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As a result, a supervisor at work repeatedly asked if I was okay and said that I sounded like I just heard the truth about Santa Claus. After a week my wife lost it and told me to stop and that it’s annoying.

Recently my best friend wrote me something which kind of took me back. He spoke about how I have this gift of storytelling and evoking emotion in people when I speak. The truth is, the information I deliver may be utter bullshit, but I have this Steve-Jobs ability to make people feel, despite how annoying I think my voice is. My friend ended on this note:

And so, my advice to you is to learn to open up. Tap in to that inner place in your heart that is hidden from everyone else. Let the darkness see the light. For it is when we are most vulnerable and raw that we can truly impact the emotions of others. Because…you can actually influence others to be on your side. Storytelling is a way to relate to others and a way for them to relate to you. It’s a way for us to feel human. And before long, we find out that we all have similar journeys and experiences and that, despite what we may think, we aren’t in it alone after all. 

So yeah, I might get plugs when I hit the jackpot, and I can promise myself for the millionth time that I’m going to stop eating cereal and lose weight, and I can change my voice to sound like the Green Giant, but none of that will replace my skill of changing opinions through my orating, influencing ideas, and guiding peoples’ emotions like a crossing guard.

So when people tell you to be yourself, tap into your strengths. They’re not saying to lift your shirt and expose your fat, or to point to your twitching eye, or to walk around with a sign over your head saying, “ACCIDENTAL SLOB,” or “SUCKY CONVERSATIONALIST.”

They’re saying to be the best things about yourself. BE that confident speaker. BE that wonderful artist. Let your voice ring through the concert hall. Let your fingers fly across that piano.

Here’s the thing. We all have insecurities. They’re about 60% of who we are. Our confidence ranges from about 5-10%. The other stuff is just what we’re okay with.

When you’re told to be yourself, they mean to check the 60% at the door. Go in there and inflate your 5-10% to 70%, because now you’ve got a 60% gap to fill. If you’re awkward talking to people, capitalize on it. Point out that you’re awkward, be comfortable enough to joke about it, but make sure that what you have to say is going to knock their socks off.

Think about why your friends are your friends. They’re not friends with you because of your thin hair or your personal hygiene or because you have to drop a deuce  every half an hour. They’re friends with you in spite of those things. They’re friends with you because they love the 5-10% of what you’re so often trying to bury underneath your 60%.

That 5-10% of awesomeness is what draws people to you. It’s what gets you ahead.

And it’s what you need to focus on expanding and bringing to the forefront. No one cares that I’m balding, even though I do. But if I can forget about it and check it at the door, I then can make room to be more of my awesome self instead of my insecure self.

So today, go out there and be yourself. Really dig into that 5-10% you’ve been hiding from everyone and just let it out, and then you’ll find that you’re not as awful as you once thought. Because, as my friend said, we’re really just all the same.

Happy Birthday, Kat!

My favorite little girl on the planet turns three today.

She can drive me up a wall at times, and I’ve had my share of losing my cool, but she knows that she’s daddy’s most prized possession.

We drove two hours north to IKEA yesterday to pick up a kitchen set for her birthday. (In fact, as I write this, I’m sitting on the living room couch, listening to her and her brother waking up in their room. In just a couple of moments, she’s going to totter out here and stumbled upon the kitchen set I have set up for her by our living room windows.)

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She has no idea what’s in the big box I purchased for her, because at IKEA, you never know what you’re really getting.

We’ll be having donuts for breakfast from our favorite bakery down the street. It’s going to be  good morning. But really, it’s been a good three years. A lot of bad things happened last year, and the waters have been rough for quite a while, but my daughter has always been a constant. It’s guaranteed that she’ll laugh if I tickle her in just the right spot, and that she’ll always want me to kiss her goodnight even if we’ve had a bad day.

She loves the things I obsess over (chips and salsa, ice cream, Toy Story), and her dancing always makes me laugh, even if life seems too much at times.

I never really knew what it was like to be proud until we brought her home from the hospital, and now I get to experience that feeling every day as I watch her grow, learn, speak, and sing, and discover who she is a little more each day.

I can hear her brother trying to coax her out of their room. I better get the light on…

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Why We Don’t Tell Our Kids They Can be Anything They Want

It’s preached everywhere: “Believe, and it will happen.”

“Trust and you will find.”

“Try and you will succeed.”

“You can be anything you want to be and more.”

Once you get to a certain age you realize that’s all crap. Because, you know, when I was little, I believed I’d be an astronaut and go to the moon (there have only been twelve manned moon landings since 1969). I also wanted to be a cartoonist for a newspaper strip, but that was before I learned that Jim Davis already had the market cornered in that department.

The problem with me, then? Well, I believe there were two issues.

  1. My expectations were unrealistic. I hate science and always have, so any chance of me becoming an astronaut were doomed to begin with. And, even after some art classes, my cartoons were mediocre at best.
  2. I wasn’t consistent. I bounced around from one cool potential career to the next, whichever sounded most appealing at the time. Usually I was inspired by pop culture, and never really tapped into what I – little Andy – really wanted to do with my life.

Now that I’m a dad, I’m careful not to tell my kids they can be anything they want to be when they grow up, because let’s be honest: My daughter is too tall to be an Olympic gymnast. My son is too sensitive to be a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys, and so far his hand-eye coordination is as great as his dad’s – never mind hitting the broadside of a barn, we’re lucky just to make the ball past the fence.

I love the movie Wreck-It Ralph. Ralph didn’t want to be a bad guy anymore, and no matter 982468_032how many medals he won or good deeds he performed, he was always going to be a bad guy. But he learned to make peace with it.

An even better one is the bold Monsters University, where young Mike wants to be a scarer, but he really just sucks at it. He’s small, puny, and pretty funny looking.

No, as much as I would like to change things, our kids cannot be anything they want to be. It’s just not realistic, and beyond that, it’s a lie.

That’s not to say that if they worked and studied hard enough that they can’t become doctors and lawyers, business owners and CEO’s, or any other profession that requires a large degree of panache and brains. And as their parents, we’ll support them in every way.

But if my son dreams of making it on Juggling with the Stars in sixteen years but he can’t juggle any more than his daily chores, then I’m going to be flat-out honest with him and suggest that maybe he could coach someone to juggle or something.

But whatever they set their mind to, it is my hope that not only is it achievable within their skill set, but that they stick with it and don’t give up.