Fare thee well, Super Civic. And thanks for everything.

Last week, at about 238,000 miles, we traded my wife’s 2002 Honda Civic. It was good to us.

She drove that car the night we first met. It was the car we drove home after we got married. We drove our dog home from the Humane Society in it, I drove her to the hospital in it, and we drove our two boys home from the hospital in it. When a car lasts 13 years, it gets to participate in a lot I guess.

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My coworker’s car got stolen. His 10-year-old found it.

“I started my car this morning to let it warm up,” my coworker, Jon, told me on Tuesday. “And when I went back out to my car two minutes later, it was gone.”

It took a few seconds for that to register. “Stolen?” I asked, finally.


That’s not a story you hear every day. Not even in the crazy world he and I live in. Read more

Lessons from my son’s first Pinewood Derby

One of my coworkers, a guy with an infectious laugh named Jamaal, organized a get-together on Friday. My boss asked me if I was going.

“Sorry, it’s my son’s first Pinewood Derby,” I said. I had to explain to my boss what that was–I don’t think he was ever a Cub Scout or Boy Scout–but he was intrigued.

For whatever reason, when I was a kid my dad didn’t take the opportunity to teach me as much as he could have when we built Pinewood Derby cars, but I told my boss the only good physics lesson I ever got in my life was when Dad explained to me how a Lionel train worked. Here’s something cool you can do with math and science, and I never had a teacher show me anything cool you can do with those two things. Read more

My Angry Birds pals

“Dad!” my sons approached me breathlessly. “Did you know they’re making an Angry Birds Transformers?”

“I’m not surprised. They’ll make Angry Birds anything. Angry Birds Do Taxes. Angry Birds This Old House. Angry Birds This Old Car.” And then, for the coup de grâce, I added, “Angry Birds Beavis and Butt-Head.”

Do I need to tell you my very young boys quickly lost all interest in Transformers and wanted to know everything about Beavis and Butt-Head? OK. They wanted to know everything–and I mean everything–about Beavis and Butt-Head. Especially Butt-Head. Read more

Diaper raid!

This past weekend was the annual Scouting for Food drive. My oldest son participated, and I was proud of him because he complained a lot less than the older kids.

In fact, he was perfectly happy running up and down people’s driveways, picking up bags, and putting them in the trunk of our car as I drove 3 miles per hour with the hazard lights on.

But somewhere along the way, something started to smell funny. Read more

Things my sons say to me as I leave for work

Every morning I say goodbye to everyone as I walk out the front door to leave for work. Including the dog. I always tell her not to let any cats or squirrels in the house. Last week I added mooses to the list too. Mooses in the house would be really bad. (Yes, I am aware that “Moose” is plural, but my dog isn’t.)

I always tell my sons to have a good day at school. My oldest usually says, “Have a better day at work!” He’s nice. Read more

The three things that make a difference

So I was talking with my boss’ boss’ boss one day last week about parenting. He was talking about sending his kids to Montessori school and what an advantage it was, but how much it cost, and, well, I agree. Two years of Montessori school had me reading at a third grade level before I started first grade, and my math skills were pretty advanced too, even though I already didn’t like math. Then he paused and said, somewhat whimsically, that it doesn’t make much of a difference.

There are only three things a parent can or can’t do that make a big difference in how their kids turn out, he said. Read more