Thursday, April 23, 2015

My Love Affair With the Bathroom Fan

I love the fans in our bathrooms. And, apparently, I'm not ashamed to say it, although I've never actually said the words to anyone before. Now that I think about that first sentence in today's blog, the more I think maybe I shouldn't write any more. Perhaps this blog will finally prove that I have gone off the deep end. I guess it had to happen some time...Oh well, might as well keep writing and see how deep a hole I get myself into to.

Yes, I love our bathroom fans. The rest of the house is filled with kids, none of whom have developed an "Inside Voice" despite years and years of my trying to teach them to have one. These kids can be loud, and the loudness can happen at any time of the day or night. It is very difficult to get away from the loudness. And dropping everything and moving to Iowa is not an option. Besides, who would want to live in Iowa?

So, I have found that the best way to get away from the din is to go into one of our bathrooms and turn the fan on. Those beautiful spinning blades create the most wonderful whir I have ever heard, only because it completely drowns out any noise that might be coming from outside the bathroom.  That whir creates my own little oasis away from the noise. I can lose myself in there for hours, or at least what seems like hours to the Wife. She is not nearly the fan of our fans that I am...

So, yes, it might seem weird to everyone on the planet, including me, but I love our bathroom fans. I just hope that my other mistress, the lock on our bedroom door, doesn't get jealous...

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Record Deal

We are planning on having a garage sale this spring, if we can get our butts in gear and actually get things priced. We've got lots of stuff to sell, enough that I can see us making at least a billion dollars, but if we don't get things priced it won't happen.

Along with our own stuff, we have started to go through some things at my parents' house. My mom asked if I would try to get rid of a few old 33 RPM record albums for her (If you are a whipper snapper, a record album is the 1970s' equivalent of today's CD, only larger). When I showed up to get them, I could scarcely fit them in my car. And that was just 6 albums! (Those things were big compared to CDs!)

I didn't think old records would sell all that well, so I did some investigating online. Turns out there are still quite a few people who like to listen to their old record players, for whatever reason, so I thought I should try to sell a few on ebay, just to see if anyone would want them.

Out of the piles of records I got from my mom, I chose one from Elvis, a soundtrack type album from the Dukes of Hazzard, and a bunch of Dolly Parton records to start with. The Dolly Parton ones sold within a few hours. I am not sure if that's a sign of a resurgence in listening to albums, or maybe there are people out there who can't afford CD players. Or, more likely, maybe it's just some pervert who likes looking at pictures of Dolly Parton. Whatever it is, I can't believe they sold so fast.

The Dukes of Hazzard record also sold unbelievably quickly. With the success of that soundtrack, I decided the next one to list was going to be a soundtrack of the movie E.T., but to sweeten the deal I threw in a second E.T.-themed record that starred the now-dead Michael Jackson. Apparently, anything with the
Look at those two adorable aliens!
likeness of a strange, off-color being from another planet sells very quickly. And putting him next to E.T. probably didn't hurt, either! (Ba-dump bump!)

Nothing else in the pile of albums seems all that noteworthy, so perhaps the rest will be donated, either to Goodwill or a dumpster. That won't happen for a while, though, so if you're in the market for some old records, send me a note. Whatever kind of music you listen to, there's a chance we might have it. Sorry, all the E.T. records have been sold.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Life Lessons With Scott

I have been a father for what seems like an eternity now, and it seems as though I am constantly passing on my wisdom to my kids, either through long, boring lectures, or by making a fool of myself and then telling my kids not to do what daddy just did. Through all of this incessant teaching, my kids will probably grow up and make all the same mistakes that I have made, because it is human nature to not listen to your parents. Well, at least I can say that I tried.

Lately I have been trying to teach our oldest child, the Girl, one of the most painful lessons that I have ever learned. She seems to be listening, yet I am afraid that, even though my stories are frightful and full of passion on my part, she still will probably only really learn it if and when she makes the same mistake that I did, oh so many years ago. My soul cries for her just thinking about it...

In a year or so, I will have to try to teach the Boy this same lesson, and then the Little One a year or so after that. Each time it will hurt a little bit more having to resurrect these horrible memories, but if it can save any or all of my children from experiencing the same heartache that I did, it will all be worth it.

I might as well share this life lesson with you, my faithful readers. If I don't, I may always be haunted by the thoughts that I could have spared you some misery if I had just shared my own misery through my blog. Or, more likely, I will just forget about it all by tomorrow and I will go on to live a happy life. But, right now, as I sit in front of my keyboard, I feel I must teach you this valuable life lesson that I am trying to teach my children. I am about to bare my soul here... Are you grasping the importance of this? Here it goes.

Scott's Life Lesson #1: Always bring at least two fly rods with on every fishing trip! 
I will never forget the last time I didn't follow this rule. It is a day that will be etched on my brain until the day I die. I had driven an hour to one of my favorite trout streams, a beautiful stretch of water that is filled with wonder and joy, and large trouts. I got out of the car and walked down to inspect the beautiful river. Then I wriggled into my chest waders and worked at getting my wading boots on. I wrangled myself into my fishing vest which is loaded with box after box of important flies. I pulled my trusty fly rod out of its protective tube and mounted the reel on it, like I had countless times before. I carefully strung the fly line through the guides and tied just the right fly onto the end of the leader. The anticipation of catching some of the loveliest creatures that swim on God's Earth was palpable, like it always is. Then I remembered something I had forgotten in the trunk, so I leaned my rod up against the side of the car. Barely had I gotten to the back of the car when a huge gust of wind came up and slammed the car door shut right on my $500 fly rod. It wasn't the expensive fly rod that got me, though, since fly rods can always be fixed. It was the fact that I had left all of my other dozen or so fly rods back at home that day that really made me cry. And let me tell you, a beautiful trout stream that is packed with large, eager fish is no place that anyone should be crying. So please, especially if you are one of my children, please listen to me when I say that you should always bring at least two fly rods with on every fishing trip! Thank you for listening to my boring lecture.
I never knew LeBron was a fly fisherman, but this kind of emotion can only come because he broke his favorite fly rod and didn't have another one in the car. I know the feeling...

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Thank You!

The fanfare and pageantry were at the highest level. There were lights (in the ceiling), cameras (in their respective carrying cases), and paparazzi (actually that was just my sister-in-law's dog). There was a buzz throughout the room that was palpable. Or perhaps it was a palp throughout the room that was buzzable. Whatever that means... Whatever it was, the whole scene meant that only one thing was going on: the Bloggie Award winners were about to be announced!

Once again, this little ol' blog, Chaotic Kids & Clutter, was a finalist at the Bloggie Awards this year. You may remember that last year CK&C was not only a finalist, but also a winner in the category of Best Kept Secret blog. I am not entirely sure what came over the voting public last year, but for some reason this blog won, and I am not about to give back my award any time soon.

I was super excited to find out that we were a finalist once again this year, and in the same category as last year, Best Kept Secret blog. I guess we here at Chaotic Kids & Clutter are really good at keeping secrets, despite our best efforts not to.

This year, like last, we were up against some stiff competition, so I figured it would be a long shot if we defended our title. And, what do you know, I was right! This year's winner was Pocketful of Joules (, a fun lifestyle and fashion blog by, you guessed it, Joules. You should head over and check it out some time...but be sure and come back here when you're done.

So, I have no big win to announce this year, but that's OK. It is definitely a huge honor to be a finalist, and maybe it will make me kick things up a notch in the future so I can get back in the winner's circle next year...nah, I'll just keep writing the same goofy stuff I've always written. If you voted for me this year, Thanks! Next year tell a friend!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Questions, Volume 2 "The Deuce"

I have a lot of questions. Some make sense, some might only make sense to me. Whatever the case this is the second installment of inquiries I have made here on the ol' blog in the last couple of months. If you have answers for me, that probably proves that you might not be hooked up right. Don't let that stop you from answering, though. I love to hear that there are people like me out there. It doesn't happen too often.

I think up a majority of my questions when I am out doing monotonous yard work. There hasn't been too much of that in the past 9 months, since it's been winter here in the frozen Northland, but recently the temps have gotten above zero, a sure sign of the impending 4 days known as Spring, so I went out to pick up some of the mountains of dog poop that grew during winter, and I came up with some doozies. I mean the doozies were the questions I came up with. Although there were some other doozies out in the yard, too...Without further ado, my latest questions:

  • Are cobwebs just spider webs that have been foreclosed?
  •  Is all the dirt on Earth just decayed dog poop that hasn't been picked up since the dawn of time?
  • Whatever happened to Dido?
  •  Are you supposed to leave a tip at a Chinese buffet? How about when you pick up take-out?
  • Why don't kids come out of the womb with an "inside voice"?
  • Let's say there's a hypothetical family of 5, and one of them, let's say the hypothetical middle child, a cherubic looking boy who nonetheless has a devious side, brings home an ailment which might consist of hypothetical vomiting or hypothetical diarrhea (both of which are almost as bad as the real thing). Why doesn't this hypothetical illness hit everyone in the family at the same time, so we, I mean the hypothetical family, can all hunker down at home together and get over it within a few days? Why must this evil ailment take its sweet time going from family member to family member as slowly as possible so that their combined sick days total approximately 5 months?
  • Why do our kids still not remember to say "Thank you", even though we have been trying to teach them to say it since they were fetuses?
  • Is it "fetuses" or "feti"?
  • Why do all pregnant women react the same way when I ask them how their fetus is doing?
  • Why do I find it so much fun to talk about pregnant women's fetuses even though it's obvious they don't want me to?
  • Why do I continue to root for sports teams when it's become painfully obvious that none of them will ever win a championship?
  • Why do some people like limp bacon? And if they do, is that enough to label them as "psychotic"?
  • Why did people hate disco so much in the 70s? It's got great beats!
    OK, yet again, my questions have started to go off the deep end. What do you expect when I spend several entire days picking up dog poop? I'd like to see you do that and come up with better questions! No really, next time do you want to do it? Please?



Saturday, March 28, 2015


You would think that a title like that would mean this post might be about photos or photos of cute kids with big ol' toothless grins or photos of cute kids with big ol' toothless grins trying to eat corn on the cob. Or something photo related. But not on this blog. Oh no, when I write a title like "Cheese!!!" I really want to write about cheese. You know, the most delicious food on God's Green Earth. Yes, that cheese.

I love me some cheese, I tell you what. Thankfully, I have already passed on that trait to all of my kiddos. We all eat copious amounts of cheese on an almost-every-day basis. I would say that we do eat cheese every day, but I'm sure there has probably been a day at some point in one of our lives that one of us didn't eat cheese, so if I said that I would be lying. And, when I am writing my blog, I am nothing but truthful*.

We are fans of all kinds of cheeses in our household, from muenster to colby jack to provolone to our very favorite, Smoked Gouda. Smoked Gouda gets the distinction of being the very best of all the cheeses, at least according to us, and on this blog, no other opinions count, no offense to you and your jarlsberg. Since Smoked Gouda is the king of all cheese, we must give it the respect it deserves - it's not just little old smoked gouda. Oh no, it's Smoked Gouda, and if you can't tell the difference, you probably have never tasted Smoked Gouda before...

Yes, cheese plays an important role in our house, and it has for a long time, even well before it was our house in a certain suburb, and instead just my apartment in a totally different suburb. Yes, back when I was a helpless bachelor, cheese was a major staple in my diet. Some nights dinner would consist of a bag of sliced pepperoni and a stack of American cheese slices. Oh, and probably a beer, as well, since I still had the occasional drink back then. That is a dinner of champions if I've ever heard of one, am I right? It's a miracle I survived...

Thankfully cheese is really good for us, or at least I don't think it's all that bad for us. For one thing, it is full of calcium, which helps make strong healthy bones, a fact that I can attest to. Just a day or two ago I was at work helping to move things from our old offices to our new offices, which thankfully are just in another suite in the same building. We were moving a very heavy wooden desk that belongs to one of the bigwigs, and it slipped off of the dolly and landed directly on my big toe. Despite the instant shot of painful adrenaline that shot throughout my body and manifested itself as a muffled curse, my toe did not break, and really only hurt for a few hours afterwards. By the next morning, my toe was back to as normal as can be expected since it's part of me, and it is my belief that I have cheese to thank for that. So, if you want to have superhuman bones that can withstand the weight of a 300 pound desk falling on them, be like me and eat as much cheese as you can get your grubby hands on. Maybe you should stay away from bags of pepperoni, though, just to be safe. Unless you're a helpless bachelor, then anything goes.

* Please don't look back at previous blog posts to verify this claim...

Thursday, March 19, 2015

From Ornery to Enjoyable in 12 Short Months

March must be a good time to have babies. Last week we celebrated the Girl's 6th birthday, and today we are celebrating the Little One's 3rd birthday. It seems weird to think that we had all three of our kids in the same time span that it's been since we had our last one, if I can be as confusing as possible. In other words, we had three kids in three years, and now we haven't had a single kid in three years. For some reason I seem to prefer the latter option...or is it the former? I can never remember which is which.

In the past, if I have had the time to slap together a little video montage to celebrate one of the kids' birthdays here for the ol' blog, I have always chosen photos from throughout their lifetime, and the soundtrack, if you can call it that, has been me singing a personalized birthday song that I made up to the tune of some random Beastie Boys song that I used to listen to. I figured you, my loyal readers, are probably tired of that song by now.

So, for this, the Little One's 3rd birthday, I did something different. First of all, I only used photos of her from the past year of her life. If you have been reading this blog all along, you know that the first two years of her life she was by far the orneriest baby in the history of mankind. But then, when she turned two, a miracle occurred, and she gradually started transforming into a sweet, smart little girl who didn't cry and throw tantrums all day, every day. Oh sure, she still has her moments, but who doesn't? I know I sure do! But, in honor of her miraculous transformation from sourpuss to sweetheart over the past 12 months, I only included photos of her from the last year. And, to make things even more interesting, I used a different song for the soundtrack. Don't ask me where this song came from. It's a long story, but knowing that it's kind of a tradition for me to sing it on family members' birthdays should give you a hint as to how insane we all are.

Without further ado, I give you the Little One's 3rd birthday video extravaganza:


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Doctor Was In...

I spent no less than 72 hours cleaning carpets today at work, but it seemed much longer than that. We are moving our offices from one end of our building to the other, and our new suite doesn't seem to have been cleaned any time recently. So we rented a Rug Doctor and I spent the day with it. You'd think we would have become good friends after spending so much time together, but I was happy to say goodbye at the end of the day.

Actually I kind of like Rug Doctors. They really work well, getting all sorts of unseen dirt and grime out of your carpet, but the downside is that they get all sorts of unseen dirt and grime out of your carpet. Have you ever seen the dirty water that comes out of one of these things after scrubbing for just a couple of minutes? It is gross! Today I emptied at least a billion buckets of dirty water and each one was just as dirty as the one before it. At the end of the day there was a pile of detritus at the bottom of the bucket that I could have filled the kids' sandbox with. Where does all this dirt come from? How does it hide in the carpet even after vacuuming several times? It boggles my mind.

Before today I think the last time I used a Rug Doctor was back when we bought our first house. It was a foreclosure, and it was obvious that the previous owners hadn't taken very good care of the place before they left. There were two big stains in the carpet in both the bedrooms upstairs. I am not going to accuse anyone of anything, but it was pretty clear in my eyes that these were bloodstains and that multiple murders had taken place in the house. The Wife claims that the stains were probably Coke or some other reddish brown soda. All I know for sure is that I had to work at it for a while, like at least 72 hours that day, but the Rug Doctor finally got enough of the blood stains up that we didn't feel like we needed to wear HAZMAT suits every time we walked in those rooms. I'm glad, because one of those bedrooms was ours, and sleeping in HAZMAT suits is no fun. I never did hear if they caught the killer...   
If I only I had watched CSI before I cleaned up the blood stains, maybe a killer would be behind bars right now... Oh well.

Monday, March 16, 2015

This Post is Exponentially Cool

This post will probably only be enjoyed by about 10% of the people who read it, but really that's only about .6% lower than all my other posts, so I'm cool with that.

I say that only 10% of people will enjoy this because that's about the percentage of anglers in the U.S. who fly fish. I am one of those people, which means that I am super excited that the Great Waters Fly Fishing Expo is happening this coming weekend just up the road from me in the city of Blaine, MN.

I have to admit that Blaine is not my favorite town. I lived there for 4 months about 15 years ago. Back then it was a large suburb of Minneapolis that was completely filled with people who wanted to drive the same direction as me every rush hour. It took forever to get anywhere, so I was glad to move out when I did. It seemed like I spent those entire four months in my car...

Now, I am glad to be heading back to Blaine, not only because I will most likely be heading in the opposite direction as all that traffic, but also because I will be one of the fly tyers making up "Tyer's Row" at the Expo. People enjoying the Expo can mosey by and watch me tie up some of my signature flies, and I might even give out free tying tips if they're nice to me. Plus there will be all sorts of other fly fishing things to see, buy, and learn about. And as many flannel shirts as you will ever see in one location now that the grunge rock movement is done. If you're interested, and who wouldn't be after the sales job I just laid on you, check out the Expo website at Hope to see you there this weekend!

Friday, March 13, 2015

How About 6? 6 Is Good...Whaddya Got a Problem With 6?

The Girl turned 6 today. Since starting this blog I have made it a point to try to embarrass all of my kids, and probably myself too, as much as is humanly possible by putting together a photo slideshow of them aging throughout the years, accompanied by a soundtrack of my singing. Somehow, the Girl had gotten through life without being the subject of one of these "performances", up until now. Today is the day. Too bad it's so late in the day that she's already gone to bed. I will just have to show it to her tomorrow - I think during the middle of her very first "friends" birthday party will be a good time to do it...

Every time I make one of these videos, if you can call them that, I sing a birthday song that I made up, sung to the tune of some random Beastie Boys song that I haven't actually listened to in more than 10 years. If any of the living Beasties are reading this, consider this an apology for butchering your song. Please don't sue me.

When making these videos I also get to go through all of our old photos to find some good and embarrassing ones to include in the slide show. I realized today that the task of finding good photos is much easier when the subject is the Girl, who just happened to be our firstborn, meaning that there are approximately 5 billion pictures of her on our hard drive, compared to the several hundred of the Boy and seven of the Little One. The Little One's birthday is in exactly six days from now...I better start snapping some pictures!

Well, enough of all this hoopla. Let's watch the video, shall we? Maybe you should turn the volume down on your device before you hit play... Don't say I didn't warn you!