insurance design

Smoking Charges Ignite

Last night, Amy took Anna, our seven-year-old, to the dress rehearsal for her 2015 dance recital. I was left in charge of Will, our nine-year-old, and Ella, our three-year-old. What follows is a litany of the kids showing me that I exist in their world as a piece of tightly-spun twine, permanently...

[ Swap Article ]

Sad Child


Our actions become our kids' reactions. Not exactly new. Not exactly Newtonian (pause while joke sinks in). But it's a truism all the same. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Car radio

Piece of Sh*t Car Reprise

When I was in high-school, a popular song named "Ode to My Car," by Adam Sandler, spun regularly on the radio. No, it didn't. All foul-mouthed teenage boys wished such happy, unfiltered radio days would appear, but that didn't stop the explicit lyrics from making an impact, even if the song's plot...

[ Swap Article ]


Advertise Here

Certain messes in life are unavoidable. If you get a DUI and your hair is sufficiently mussed or you manage to jam your finger into the nearest outlet just prior to the mug-shot, chances are you’ll be a big-time celebrity …...

[ Swap Article ]

A Reasonable Explanation

Therapist: Take me back to the beginning. Tell me how it all got started, how you eventually wound up holding the bloody knife in the aftermath of your killing spree. I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation....

[ Swap Article ]

That's a Mouthful

Waking up to the sounds of birds and (outside) insects is alluring, and when you have your second 10th cup of coffee and realize you are on vacation, and this auditory lovemaking is real, not the result of an ambitious-carpet-cleaning hallucination, you can finally relax, letting your bulk stress...

[ Swap Article ]

Stupid Piece of ... Oh, That's Right

I'm a realist. I call things like they are, and if I look stupid in the process, well, so be it. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Deadly Donuts

The morning started off good. Four eggs fluffed with a splash of milk, mixed with Parmesan and salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes and slathered with Cholula hot sauce; four ounces of Bob Evan's spicy Italian sausage (sorry for the smell, honey, luv ya) fried into the wonderful concoction;...

[ Swap Article ]

When Did I Become a Pushover?

I've never thought of myself as the Ultimate Fighter type. As a kid, whenever the possibility of bodily harm came up, I tried to avoid confrontation. But if the issue was pressed, I could stand up and issue fake threats along with the best of them and hope that my manufactured bravado was enough to...

[ Swap Article ]

As I Approach 30

I live in a small town. Colona, IL has a population of just over 5,000. As a jogger, this means I am usually only assaulted with exhaust fumes a few times whenever I decide to go outside to burn some calories. But as far as the type of people passing me on the roadside? Over this, I have no control....

[ Swap Article ]


Filed Under , on September 10th, 2011


By Seth Kabala

Certain messes in life are unavoidable. If you get a DUI and your hair is sufficiently mussed or you manage to jam your finger into the nearest outlet just prior to the mug-shot, chances are you’ll be a big-time celebrity some day.

If you want to be popular in high school, you’ll have to throw an insane party, complete with scantily-clad (oh, screw that) not-clad-at-all girl-girl Vaseline kiddie-pool wrestling; healthy amounts of the finest herbs … and, uh, cheeses; and a naked Will Ferrell running past your house down the street.

Those are the ingredients to the perfect party and the perfect, unavoidable mess.

But fast-forward a few years to when you are married with kids and your definition of a “party” is one glass of wine, so as not to irritate your touchy bowel, and staying awake all the way ’til the end of Conan, which occurs at the witching, inhabited by spirits of darkness hour of 11p. When you get to this point, avoiding messes becomes an art in precognition.

We’ve been renovating the downstairs kitchen and bathroom, which involved, among other “fucking piece of shit”-laden activities, removing the toilet to install ceramic tile. Once that apocalypse passed, I went to re-install the toilet, discovered the new, higher floor made the water-line too short to reach the floor valve, and started shutting things down for the night. I’ll get it tomorrow, I thought of the flex-hose I needed.

Then … a vision.

An innocent porcelain toilet, soiled by the how-in-the-world-can-such-a-tiny-body-fit-all-that? aftermath of a hurried youth. Better than on the kitchen floor (well, I do still have that pooper-scooper. … Wait, what am I saying?), but still stuck in a land that’s shiny and smooth but has no functional fluid (am I saying Heidi Montag is really a toilet? Possibly). And it all could have been avoided by making access impossible.

So I wrapped the lid in painter’s tape, preventing use until I could get the flex-hose, hoping diarrhea-inducing chemical-warfare didn’t hit anytime soon.

The plan worked. The toilet didn’t leak. As far as writing style goes, that’s as boring a sentence structure as you can get, but do you realize how momentous an accomplishment that was? To, as a parent, have a plan, a home-improvement plan no less, play out as you predicted (well, predicted while laughing, but predicted all the same)?

(Guess I can hit the broad side of a barn. Knew those shit-throwing monkeys would come in handy some day. Protection from the fan. You might want to pick up a couple–monkeys, that is.)

That just doesn’t happen.

Somehow through the process of re-installing the toilet manage to re-route the city’s water supply through my open sewer drain pipe and create the first self-renewing waste geyser? Yeah, that’s more like it. That’s what I would have expected.

(Telegraphing the point in bold so you can skip straight here if you don’t want to read everything above. But if you do skip to here, you won’t understand, so HA!)

I also would have expected a different response from my five-year-old son regarding what he wanted for his next birthday than when Will said this upon seeing me unwrap the tape from the toilet:

“It’s like opening a birthday present.”

So there you have it–a little practice in precognition and a way to achieve substantial savings on future birthday presents.

Granted you’ll have to go through the “fucking piece of shit”-laden activities to get there, but you’ll do anything to save a buck, (cool machine voice: “vision loading”) won’t you?


Leave a Reply

Seth Kabala

About: Seth Kabala
Seth is an entrepreneur, writer, musician, family man, and juggler of balls--big ones. He lives with his wife and three children in Portland, OR.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0 Comments Load Comments

roller coaster

Thrill Ride

I delivered my 10th speech at Toastmasters this past Thursday, earning me the ranking of Competent Communicator (CC), as if there was any doubt. I've found it helpful to post these speeches here, as 1) they might help you light a fire under your ass to start your public speaking journey, and 2) I...

[ Swap Article ]

The sun painted chalk on the asphalt

Editor's Note--TFF Issue #17

I find myself sitting at my kitchen table on the best day of the year, weather wise. I'm inside but close enough to the patio door to feel the sun's rays radiating through the glass. Their circle of influence grows strong today. ...

[ Swap Article ]


10 Things I Learned from Fast & Furious Movies

Amy and I watched all eight Fast & Furious (FF) movies over the past couple of weeks. We had seen the first couple, but nothing post Paul Walker (RIP), and it had been years since the franchise debuted, so we started at the beginning. They are pure escapist pleasure, short on substantive plotting,...

[ Swap Article ]

masters degree, 3D rendering, triple flags

Just Like Howard

The books punched through the plaster and lathe boards and utilities recessed in the ceiling, through the rafters and sheathing and shingles, sending splinters flying and pipes bursting. Roofing materials exploded into a thousand lethal projectiles as the book pile launched into the atmosphere. With...

[ Swap Article ]

Claw scratch on white background, a vector illustration.

New Claws

The end has come for a man called Logan. That was his name, wasn't it? I don't know, man. ...

[ Swap Article ]

The United States of Russia

Review: The United States of Russia

With his third album, The United States of Russia, NYC-based comic Ben Rosenfeld covers new ground--frozen, depressing, vodka-soaked ground, that is. This album debuted on January 19 and quickly claimed the #1 slot on iTunes comedy albums. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Empty Theater Chairs

10 Reasons the Cheap Theater Rocks

1. You can see many of the big blockbusters weeks, perhaps even months, after they hit first-run theaters, solidifying your status as fashionably late and appreciative of the finer, aged things in life--such as yourself. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Skull smoking. Vector.

Psychoanalytic Geniuses

On a walk with my wife, Amy, I noticed a convenience store near our home has mounted logos all over the exterior of the building. The store’s sign advertises its status as a purveyor of all things tobacco, alcohol, and junk food. Yet, the proprietor evidently believes this is not enough and...

[ Swap Article ]

North Silver Falls Oregon. the trail takes you behind this beautiful waterfall with a huge cave like overhang.  Silver falls state park, Oregon

The Nature of Faith

We and California family members spent the last Saturday of 2017 exploring the trails and waterfalls of Silver Falls State Park. We've spent ample time hiking trails in the Columbia River Gorge and other areas surrounding the Portland metro, but these Silver Falls waterfalls were something...

[ Swap Article ]

2018 year goals list on napkin

Editor's Note--TFF Issue #16

2017 is coming to a close. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Im your king

The Privilege of Decision

I delivered the speech below as project #6 in my Toastmasters journey to earning my Competent Communicator award. Wish you had been there, dear reader. Someday. For now, here's the text: ...

[ Swap Article ]


Constant Friend

Numbers. ...

[ Swap Article ]