Category Archives: Freedom


What I am going to be talking about here is freedom. Not in the sense of Preserving Our Liberties and Fighting The Great Government Conspiracies, but the things that really impact our personal lives.

Not that government encroachment on our traditional liberty isn’t a worrying trend, and I may touch on it now and then, but for the most part family, careers, and our personal decisions have a much greater impact on what we can and can’t do. Not even the most repressive totalitarian government is going to lock down your life like a new baby will. It’s not unusual now for people to spend more hours working than sleeping, which doesn’t leave much time for anything but work, getting ready for work, getting to and from work, and sleeping. And if you’re working and have a new baby, may God have mercy on your soul.

How do you balance the obligations of friends, family, and work, and still find time for yourself? Have you ever seen a year go by and realized at the end of it that you didn’t reach any of the goals you had set yourself? These are important questions to me, and I think to other people as well. For over a year now I’ve been trying to balance the demands of my consulting business with my own desire to spend as much time as possible with my son, not always with great success. I don’t claim to have any special wisdom, but I’ve learned a few things in that time and I hope to learn more in the future.

This blog is something of an experiment. I’m going to ramble here as I have time and something to say, and I hope that some people may find what I have to say useful. I don’t have comments enabled here, for various reasons, but anyone is free to email me at I may quote you in a future post, so if you don’t want that be sure to say so in your email. I hope to hear from someone other than spammers.

Why Freedom?

Freedom and happiness seem to be intertwined, at least in the Western world. How much freedom a person needs to be happy varies from person to person (and frequently doesn’t correlate with how much freedom they say they need) but with certain exceptions we all want choices in our life.

Sometimes the freedom is only an illusion, a feeling of freedom without the substance. Driving a convertible, for example, or riding a motorcycle. Does riding in the wind really make you more free than riding in a cage? Does it matter if the illusion makes you happy?

Sometimes the appearance is more important than the reality.

What is it about the feeling of freedom that makes us happy (or is a requirement for happiness)? Freedom is, at its heart, the ability to chose. To exercise the free will that makes us human. Without the ability to say, “No, damn it, I’m not going to have French Toast this morning. I’m going to have pancakes,” we begin to feel like caged animals, driven only by instinct or, even worse, someone else’s will. Prisoners and people in an abusive relationship experience this on a regular basis. When you constrain a person’s free will you take away some portion of their humanity.

But people are social creatures and living in human society requires each of us to give up a portion of our freedom. It is an economic transaction; you trade a portion of your freedom for the company of people who you hope will bring you more happiness than would the freedom you have sold. Most of the time it’s a good trade. If the person who has lost his or her free will is in a sad state, so too is the person with absolute freedom, but no lasting human contact.

For most of us, perpetual loneliness is too high a price to pay for absolute freedom. We try to strike a balance between the human needs for social ties and freedom from too many ties. Unfortunately, we only do so consciously when the ties begin to strangle and by then it is often too late for a simple solution.

So, I have been thinking.

Independence Day

The best way to maximize your freedom, to give yourself the most choice in how you live your life, is to be financially independent. That’s not quite the same as being rich and it’s a long way from having a high income, though a high income can certainly help you achieve financial independence if you use it wisely.

Financial independence, to put it in the most simple terms, means that you can support yourself through your own resources. You don’t need a paycheck to live, in other words. Most rich people are financially independent, but not all financially independent people are rich. The key is to carefully manage your income and expenses. If you don’t think you can strike it rich (and if you were unwise enough to not select rich parents it’s going to take luck and hard work to strike it rich as an adult) but want to be financially independent, you must be willing to settle for a modest lifestyle. To look at it a different way, if you want to be able to buy anything you want, it helps if you only want things that are moderately priced.

I have been facing a stark example of that lately. Fourteen months after the birth of our son I’m still driving an old two-seater sports car. I will eventually have to buy something with a back seat, as my wife keeps reminding me, but I am holding off as long as possible; hopefully at least until her Honda is paid off. One car payment isn’t as good as none, but it’s better than two. The problem isn’t going to go away, though, so I’ve been considering what I’m going to replace my trusty old Miata with.

Once upon a time, not too many years ago, I would have liked to get a Porsche. Not a top-end one, but a humble Boxster. Now, spending a lot of money on a car seems wasteful to me. Oh, I wouldn’t mind having an expensive sports car, but it’s not worth the money to me. I don’t consider a car to be an asset, or even a status symbol. It’s a tool, transportation. I enjoy driving and would like a car that makes the time behind the wheel fun, but you don’t have to spend a raft of cash to get that. Right now I would no more spend $45,000 on a car than I would spend $250 on a pair of boots. In fact, I’d be more likely to spend the money on the boots; I’d get more use out of them and they’d last longer.

It takes less money to support a modest lifestyle than an extravagant one, and the less money you need to support your lifestyle, the easier it is to become financially independent. We all want nice things, and living a Spartan, miserly lifestyle is no one’s idea of fun, but you have to sell a piece of your life for every expensive toy you buy. Make sure you get a good deal.

Home Sweet Home

News stories about the collapse–or at least contraction–of the mortgage banking industry are once again in season. Foreclosures are up and foreclosures are bad for everyone. Families lose their homes and banks get stuck owning houses they don’t want. My sympathies would be with the families, except that it’s partly their fault.

The housing boom that has been driving much of the nation’s economy for the past few years has been based on tapping a new market; people without enough money to buy a house. I saw this firsthand a couple years ago, when we sold our old house. We got numerous offers on it, almost all of which were identical. People offered more than our asking price, but with no money down and on the condition that we paid their closing costs. Basically they were financing 100% of the cost of the house, plus closing costs and fees. This lets them get into a house, at the cost of a savage monthly payment. They have no margin in their payments (if they had any margin in their monthly budget, they’d have some money for a down payment) and any financial instability–being laid off, a major expense or two–is likely to cause missed payments, and quite possibly a foreclosure. Not to mention lacking the money to do any work on the house before moving in, the inevitable repairs, etc.

The mortgage industry calls these ‘sub-prime’ loans. Basically that means loans that the borrower is likely to default on, and as such they carry a heavy interest rate. That made the lenders a lot of money for a while, but now too many of the loans are going into foreclosure and the money is drying up.

(I started writing this yesterday, and what should pop up on the news today, but a story about a major sub-prime lender about to go bankrupt because too many of their borrowers aren’t paying them back. Expect to see more of that.)

I find it hard to work up much sympathy for the mortgage banking industry, though, after they’ve sucked the financial life out of so many families. The families should have known better than to sign on, of course, but it’s hard to blame them too harshly. They just wanted to buy a house and saw a way that appeared to let them do so. Few people who have never owned a house understand how expensive it can be, and how important it is to have a healthy cash reserve to cover emergencies and unexpected expenses.

It used to be that the need to save up a hearty pile of cash for a down payment acted as a filter on prospective home-owners. People without the financial means or discipline to save up that down payment would very likely run into trouble trying to keep up a house and mortgage. Only after proving your worth with this rite of passage could you join the ranks of the land-owning class.

For the past few years, pretty much all you’ve needed is the ability to fog a mirror.

Everyone has heard the line, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” It applies to finances too. If you exceed your limits, eventually a big, pissed-off bill is going to come along and kick your ass. Specifically, in this case, buying a house you can’t pay for is going to end badly for you.

If you’re smart, and lucky, you can expand those limits. But first, you have to know what they are.


Well. I didn’t mean for this to happen.

In The Beginning, So At The End

We all start our lives with a very narrow focus. First the womb, than which it doesn’t get much narrower. Even after make it to the outside, our worlds are narrowly focused on eating and breathing. We can’t even move, just lie there and hope nourishment is brought to us. Our parents keep checking to see if we’re still breathing, so precarious does our grasp on life seem.

As we get older our world slowly expands, each tiny step a monumental landmark. Rolling over, to change our view. The first hesitant movements that let us inchworm or scoot around a tiny patch of floor or playpen. Then, with the discovery of crawling a whole room can be our domain to explore. Walking will bring the rest of the house into play, and eventually the yard. Outside! Gradually we explore an entire neighborhood. My son is at this stage now, not yet two years old and scurrying around the neighborhood with great enthusiasm.

With the start of school whole new territories open up. Most of then turn out to be horrific, but through the school years the world in our reach expands to include the whole town and maybe more.

Adulthood opens up most of the planet to us. We can, if we chose, go nearly anywhere, meet people from all over. Our jobs, if we are fortunate, give us the opportunity to accomplish real things, change other people’s lives. Most of us mate and begin producing additional human beings.

Then, gradually, our lives narrow. The responsibilities of job and family cut down on travel and adventures. Old friends move away or die and may or may not be replaced by new ones. Retirement comes along and the world of the workplace disappears. Some people are fortunate enough to be able to take up traveling in their retirement, but most are not.

With most of our friends gone, with no job to take us out of the house, life narrows down rapidly. We might get together with a few friends now and then, or get involved with a hobby. Or maybe not. My grandmother only left her house a handful of times in the last fifteen years or so of her life.

As our bodies wear out, even climbing upstairs in our own house may be beyond us. Like an infant, we are back to a world that consists of one floor. But the stairs are no longer a challenge to be overcome; the barrier is now permanent.

All too soon, for most of us, comes the hospital bed, the recliner we can no longer get out of, the struggle for one more breath to try and stay a little longer in a world that has narrowed down to nothing more than that; hoping someone will bring one more meal, while people check to see if you are still breathing.

We have come full circle. Everything that life has given us, it has taken away again.

Napoleon once said, “The time we have for war is short.” Strike the words “for war” and what he says is true of everyone. The time we have on this world is painfully short, and you never know just how short it may be. Napoleon also once said, “Ask me for anything but time.” He knew what he was talking about. Time is utterly unforgiving.

Make the most of every day you have on this Earth. You don’t know how many of them you’re going to get and once you have lost one you can never get it back.

Rogue’s Gallery

When I look at the herd of Presidential aspirants, my main thought is, “Good god, one of these is going to be President?”

At times like this I wish it were possible to vote “None of the Above.” And if NOTA won, the office would sit vacant while the electoral process started over again. Never happen, of course; among other things, it would show up how little we need our elected officials.

Decisive Action

My son has what many people would consider a surprising, and probably inappropriate, amount of decision-making power. He is, as likely as not, the one to pick what we’re going to eat on Friday night. He picks out nearly all of his own toy, and always has. He has some say in where we go for family activities.

It’s not a lot, and we phrase the questions simply when asking for his input, but then he is only 25 months old.

From the very start of his life, I have done my best to involve him in what was going on, rather than simply doing things to him or making him do things. When he was only a few weeks old I would explain the diaper change process to him while putting him up on the changing table. “OK boy, what we’ve got here is a toxic waste spill in your diaper area. We’re going to have to open up your onesie, remove the befouled diaper, and send in a specially trained HAZMAT team to clean up the area. Then we’ll get a fresh diaper on you…oh, and a fresh onesie too, looks like. OK? Good, let’s get started.”

He would stare up at me, giving every indication that he was listening intently. I don’t know if he understood a word I was saying, but it helped him stay calm (he hated laying on the changing table).

When he was about six months old, and we started introducing those little containers of vile mushed vegetables into his diet, he picked out his high-chair. We narrowed our selection down to two possibilities and then asked him which one he liked better. He made his selection by grabbing one of the trays and trying to eat it.

That was about the age when we let him starting picking out his toys, too. Or perhaps he was a month or two younger then. (That first year is a blur, a blur probably familiar to any parent. My mother asked once at that time, “What did you used to do before Nathaniel was born?” I replied, “Sleep.”) At any rate, we would carry him over to the shelves of toys and he would grab at the ones that caught his eye. Some he’d put back down again, some would hold his attention. Those, we bought.

Hardly any of his toys sat idle. He played with them all.

Now that he is talking fairly well — well enough to get his opinions across — he dictates most of the TV viewing during the day and is quick to veto any unfortunate music selections while in the car.

He doesn’t have completely free rein, of course. We will most likely ask him what he wants for breakfast, but his choices are limited. If he asks for ice cream or pizza, we present him with an array of options. “No, I’m sorry, we can’t have ice cream for breakfast. How about some toast? Or cereal? Eggs?” And he’ll — usually — pick something from the approved list. If he picks the place for our Friday night-out dinner, we give him a list of places we’d pick from anyway, so what’s the harm in letting him pick? If nothing else, it serves as a tie-breaker between my wife and me.

In short, he gets to make a lot of decisions that are important to him, but which have very small stakes from my and my wife’s perspective. If we’re going to buy a high-chair or toy anyway, why not let him pick which one we get? If he wants to watch DIEGO or SUPERWHY, why not let him? If we have other plans, well, his decision gets overridden, but there’s generally no harm in letting him have his way on these small matters.

(Not that they are small to him, of course. Which cartoon he watches, or which toy cars he takes upstairs at bedtime, for example, is utterly trivial to us, but of tremendous significance to him.)

The point of all this isn’t just to spoil the boy. Keeping him happy is important, of course, but there is a more important issue at stake, a matter of deliberate policy.

I want him to absorb at the earliest possible age, to have rooted deep in the fabric of his personality, the habit of making decisions, and the idea that he has input and influence over the course of his life. To most people, that probably does not seems like something that would have to be specifically cultivated. Perhaps for most people it isn’t. Perhaps my own background is causing me to overcompensate with my son.

My parents took the opposite approach, you see. Any idea that my opinion mattered, that I had any say at all in what happened in my life, was beaten out of me at an early age. I was simply dragged from one place to another and told what I was to do. I didn’t want to be an astronaut when I grew up, or a fireman, or doctor, or President. None of the usual childhood ambitions. The highest pinnacle of accomplishment that I could imagine was simply to be left alone.

I remember the moment, in 7th Grade, when I realized that at some point in the future no one would be dictating my schedule, requiring me to be in school for X number of hours five days a week. Yes; I was about twelve years old before I realized that I would ever have any say in what happened in my life. It would be years more before I really absorbed and internalized that concept. Even now, thirty years later, I tend to drift, pushed by events rather than taking charge of them, unless I concentrate on taking control.

Parents, involve your children in the decisions that affect them, no matter how small they are. Let them decide. Let them learn from the earliest possible age that they can act on the world around them, and not only be acted on by it. Teach them that they have choices. You may be doing them a tremendous amount of good. Order their lives for them, and you may never know how much harm you have done.

Freedom is choice. Teach your children to be free.

Freedom Begins With ‘No.’

If you want to have any time to yourself, it helps to be an asshole.

You know how it is. Everyone wants a little piece of you. The boss wants you to work late, your co-workers want you to help with their projects, and your spouse wants you to run errands and do chores around the house. Telemarketers and survey outfits call and request ‘just a few minutes’ of your time. Teenagers knock on your door and try to sell you magazine subscriptions so they can win a trip to Paris. (“Can I go with you?” I asked on young lady. Ah, no.) Friends and relatives suck you into the drama of their lives, so you somehow find yourself hustling some blind guy you’ve never met before, and his guide dog, to the airport so they can leave town before some petty criminal exacts revenge on them.

OK, maybe that last one doesn’t happen to everyone.

The point is, many of the people you come into contact with will want some of your time and if you get a reputation as a soft touch, someone who is always willing to help out, they’ll be on you like buzzards on a rotting cow-carcass. With similar intent and outcome. Just about everyone wants to be liked, though, so it is hard to say ‘no.’ It feels good to help someone, to make them happy. It only takes a few minutes — or a few hours — of your time, so what’s the harm?

When you get right down to it, though, hours are our most precious resource. There are only 24 of them in a day, and only so many days in your life, and you don’t know just how many. The limit is strict, but unknown, like a checking account with an unknown balance and no way to make new deposits. Keep writing checks and eventually you’re going to find the hard way that there’s nothing left.

The more you let people absorb your time and effort in things that are important to them, the less time you have for things that are important to you. Those minutes and hours, once spent, can never be regained.

Certainly, unless you are completely asocial, there are people with legitimate claims on your time that you don’t begrudge at all. If you don’t enjoy spending time with your spouse, or your children, you have obviously made some poor decisions somewhere and need to seriously re-evaluate certain aspects of your life. But wouldn’t you rather be spending time with your family than helping the friend of a friend move? You have to go to work to make a living, but do you really need to take your work home with you every night?

If you are self-employed, the decisions become even harder. You don’t just have one boss, you have a dozen, or two dozen, or many many, clients and most likely every one of them thinks you are available every hour of the day or night. Does it fill you with joy when some stranger calls you a 8am on a Sunday morning with some trivial problem? (“My computer is acting funny.”) You will get calls and emails from people who expect you to drop everything and help them, right now.

These aren’t just random stranger, though. They’re paying customers. Whatever their sense of timing, you need their money to pay the mortgage and put food on the table. You force a smile into your voice and say, “Sure I’ve got a few minutes for a conference call. Our Valentine’s Day dinner reservations aren’t for another hour yet.”

Between the people you want to give your time to, and the people who are paying for some of it, and the irreducible minimum of time you have to have for yourself (even if it’s just three or four hours of sleep with your head down on your desk), there isn’t much left over for the real leeches. That’s when the magic word comes in.


The most fundamental form of freedom any of us has is the ability to refuse. If you cannot say ‘no’ and make it stick, you are not free. You belong to anyone who asks you for something, whether it be money, time, or the clothes off your back.

My wife is a very nice person and hates to hurt anyone’s feelings. She has a terrible time with telemarketers. They make their spiel and she tells them that she’s not interested. They’re expecting that, of course, and launch into the second act. She refuses again. This can go on for some time before she finally extracts herself or I come along, take the phone gently from her hand, and hang up. (My own method is to let them go through their spiel, say ‘no,’ and hang up before they can respond.)

I, of course, am an asshole. I’m willing to be rude. I hate telemarketers of all varieties and would like to see every one of them die a painful death. Yeah, yeah, I know; they’re just trying to make a living. Well, screw them; they don’t deserve to make a living by stealing precious minutes from my life. Letting them steal more minutes just to avoid hurting their feelings is just foolish.

Of course, some of the people who impose on you will be human beings, not telemarketers, and deserve more consideration. At some point, though, you have to set boundaries and stick to them. Pare your time commitments down to the things that matter to you, not to the people asking. They’ll keep taking as long as you’ll keep giving. Be polite, but firm. “No. I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.”

You may even have to rein in the people who want to give you money.

I’ve had to do that. Not that the volume of time was overwhelming as such, but the fact that the interruptions could come at any time, day or night or holiday was oppressive. I was on-call 24/7/365 to a couple of dozen people and as the strain of it began to affect my health. My son grew from a baby to a toddler and his demands on my time — which, frankly, meant a lot more to me than someone being unable to check their email on a Saturday night — increased every day.

I began to say ‘no.’

It was not easy turning down money, saying to a client, “I’m sorry, but I can’t do that for you anymore. I just don’t have the time.” But something had to give and I decided it wasn’t going to be me. I lost clients last year, companies and individuals who I had worked with for years. Nice people, most of them, but they were the clients whose claim on my time was out of proportion to the compensation I got for it. They, in other words, weren’t worth the stress they brought me.

Fortunately, it worked out for me. My business with other clients, more reasonable to work with (and more prompt about paying their bills), increased and made up the shortfall. With fewer things to focus on, I can do a better job on what is in front of me. And, most importantly, I sometimes get to spend extra time with my family.

Technology has put a tether on many workers now, chaining them to the office with email and cell phone, so there’s no such thing as time off. The average American worked a 45-hour work week in 2007 and vacations are almost non-existent (only 14% of workers get to take their two weeks). A long weekend — and checking the Blackberry a few times an hour — is the best most people can hope for.

Is your paycheck worth the time you put into it? Does your stomach hurt when the boss comes looking for you on a Friday afternoon and you know your weekend is about to disappear?

Is it time to draw the line?

That one little syllable of negation has tremendous power. It’s magic. It can let you reclaim your life, if you’re willing.

Sometimes you have to be rude. Not a team player. Anti-social. Selfish. An asshole.

But free.

Toddler Lockdown

Having a baby limits your personal freedom more than just about anything this side of a prison sentence. It’s a life sentence too, with the possibility of parole after eighteen or twenty years. If you’re lucky.

Those of you with children know what I’m talking about. For the benefit of the rest, I will elaborate.

Your first few weeks with a new baby are a blur of diaper changes, howling, and being covered in disgusting bodily fluids. Your baby will probably sleep for most of its first week on the outside and you may begin to think that this is not so difficult. Don’t fall for that. It’s a trick. Once the baby wakes up she or he will, it seems, not sleep again for several months.

Infants have only one means of communication. Crying. It’s your job to try and figure out what the problem is. You’re as likely as not trying to solve that riddle at 2:30 in the morning, after having only slept for a total of three hours over the past two days. Good luck.

Things that were very easy before, like jumping in the car and running over to the store, suddenly become major productions. Not only are you tethered to a baby that may, at any moment, start howling like a fire engine, but there is a whole caravan’s worth of support hardware that you have to haul around. At night, someone always has to be available to cover nighttime feedings and other crises. (After the first few weeks I had, much to my wife’s disgust, learned to sleep through the routine nighttime wake-up crying. A few times, though, our son managed to get his leg caught between the slats of his cradle and woke up with an entirely different “Daddy, daddy, something’s got me!” cry that would snap me out of bed instantly.)

In short, your entire life now revolves around providing support to a tiny, helpless, human being who is entirely dependent on you. It affects everything, down to taking time to use the bathroom.

It gets a little easier when he begins sleeping through the night, but there is another trap out there waiting for you. Not long after that your helpless little baby becomes mobile.

The one saving grace of the early months is that the baby will stay where you put him. Lay him on a blanket on the floor for a few minutes while you go to the bathroom and he might start crying, but at least he’s going to be there when you get out. Once he becomes mobile, though, you have a whole new set of problems. Now the whole layout of your house might have to change, especially if you have stairs. (Our boy could climb stairs before he could walk.)

Toddlers become very mobile. They won’t even stay with you in the store. They’ll hare off to the other side of the store, where they remember finding toys the last time you were there. They’ll hide on you, or run around obstacles in a deliberate attempt to lose you. Elevators and escalators are fascinating new toys.

They are also endlessly curious. Any sort of container is liable to be opened and dumped out, just to see what’s in it and if it’s any fun. Or tastes good. A cup of water is almost as likely to be dumped on the table (splash, splash!) as to be drunk. A moment’s inattention to what the little imp is doing might cost you twenty minutes in cleanup.

As of this writing, my son, Nathaniel, is two and a third years old and our life revolves around him as much as it did when he was one month old. Getting him dressed is usually a tag-team wresting match and shopping is a major expedition (and likely to result in the purchase of more little toy cars, regardless of what it was we were originally shopping for). He can climb like a monkey and has to be watched carefully to make sure he isn’t getting into something dangerous that he couldn’t reach the week before. He is as demanding as ever of our attention and has a broader vocabulary with which to tell us what he wants. Even what kind of car I buy is determined primarily by the fact that a toddler is going to be riding in it. Now, though, instead of crying endlessly he’s scampering around the house, or demanding to watch Wow Wow Wubbzy one more time, or pushing me down behind the couch with instructions to “Hi’n’see’.”

Being the parent of a young child is, in many ways, like being a prisoner. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

I am luckier than many parents in that I am self-employed, which means I have some flexibility to set my own hours. I try to make a little time every morning to play with him before I leave for work, and I try to be home every evening not later than bath time. Sometimes I am lucky enough to have a day when I can work from home and spend much of the day with him. He loves that.

Most days, though, I leave in the morning and get back around suppertime. When Nathaniel sees me getting ready to leave in the morning he knows he’s not going to see me all day and he gets quite upset. He will run to me and throw his arms around my legs and if I pick him up he will wrap his arms and legs around me and resist any effort to get him to let go. Eventually we get him pried loose and I drive away, with him still sobbing, “Da’y, Da’y!”

Under the circumstances, it is hard to work up any enthusiasm for heading off to work.

The last couple of months have been very busy ones for work, with me frequently working six out of seven days a week. I have very mixed emotions about that. On the one hand, of course, the money is very welcome. On the other hand, I hardly saw my son at all.

Toddlers are toddlers for such a very short time, and watching them discover the world, all bright and new in their eyes, is such a joy, that I begrudge any time away from my family. Right now, I am still a superhero to Nathaniel. It won’t be very long before he’s a teenager and I’m a public embarrassment to him. As far as I’m concerned, every hour is precious.

But the bills still need to be paid.

It’s an irreconcilable situation and I have no particular words of wisdom for anyone else who may be struggling with the same balancing act. We all have to set our own priorities and find our own paths.

I’m sleep-deprived and my house looks like it’s been carpet-bombed with toy cars. I’m giving up my two-seater pop-top roadster for a sensible family car. My library is still mostly in boxes because we don’t have money to spend on expensive bookcases and Nathaniel would just pull all the books off the shelves anyway. We hardly ever get to go anywhere because by the time we get out the door it’s his naptime and he falls asleep in the car. If we’re lucky. With all the germs the kids pass around on their playdates, I’ve been sick more times in the last two years than in the whole ten years previous.

And I’m a superhero. Da’y, da’y!