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...

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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. ...

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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...

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Advertise Here

The photo shows a boy in distress. Cords stand out on his neck as though a slide-lock chain were asked to support the weight of an oil-tanker anchor. His eyes are rolled back. Every muscle appears ready to release its …...

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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. ...

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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....

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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...

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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. ...

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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;...

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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...

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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....

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Filed Under on March 20th, 2011

Family Maxims #16

By Seth Kabala

The photo shows a boy in distress. Cords stand out on his neck as though a slide-lock chain were asked to support the weight of an oil-tanker anchor. His eyes are rolled back. Every muscle appears ready to release its stored nuclear power.

What are you picturing? The kid from The Good Son? Freaky little Danny from The Shining?

Relax. No psychopaths here. Just my best friend, Nick, and I in his kitchen almost 20 years ago after he decided it would be a good idea to eat a spoonful of Hershey’s chocolate cocoa powder and discovered (much to his mother’s pleasure), well, that he didn’t know everything.

That experience was funny as hell for me, as I sat on the other side of the table, graciously letting Nick go first (I’m just that kind of guy). Not so funny for Nick at the time, but he was–after multiple surgeries to correct the bitter-beer-face–able to laugh at it.

Through the years, we would share countless experiences that would cement the bond of friendship with other-worldly elements, impossible to break.

Then I got married. It’s no one’s fault. As you get older, responsibilities grow. It’s crass, but you go where the money is, and with the economy the way it is, you really don’t have a choice.

Thus it was that after my wife, Amy, and I left on our honeymoon eight years ago, I didn’t see Nick again until he walked into the tux shop last November, where I was getting fitted to be a groomsman in his wedding.

He had the same swagger, hair, cologne that I remembered. He was wearing slim tapered jeans, roughed in places, Chuck Taylors, a dress shirt over which he wore an argyle sweater. Same Cheshire Cat smile. He was my best friend. So we did the manly thing: hugged.

Why the almost eight-year gap? I don’t know. We tried to set up tee-times on several occasions, but they always fell through. Nobody’s fault. Just life.

That excuse doesn’t work with everybody, but with best friends, LIFE makes the grade.

My five-year-old son, Will, recently made a couple good friends: Seth, 4, and Jonathan, 2. Amy and I also hit it off with their parents, and so we were over at their house a few weeks ago.

Straight to the point, Jonathan was potty-training, and at one point during the evening, somehow, he peed on Will’s socks. It’s a mystery that shall be filed along with the Kennedy assassination. If military interrogators want to practice on the world’s toughest subjects, they should interrogate kids. They won’t crack.

Despite the details surrounding the crime remaining fuzzy, and Will’s immediate response being this: “I’m really not happy at all that you did that,” the incident was forgotten faster than a New Year’s resolution. One of those is bad, and it’s not the one that strengthened friendship.

The boys went on that evening and made no more mention of the incident. As it should be. This by no means should suggest that fake words degenerating into poop and pee this and that should be allowed unchecked, but as as much as we parents may detest that speech, I think it’s an essential part of building friendships. A way to find commonalities between personalities.

The Kabala family shall not hold it against a friend who pees on us. We shall realize that the bonds of true friendship stay strong.

Through thick and trickle.


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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.

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