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

Ascending the stairs was a step in the midst of an efficiently-engineered process. The man of medium height and build, except for large forearms and bulging shoulders he couldn’t quite explain, left the main floor bathroom, walked through the kitchen …...

[ Swap Article ]


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. ...

[ 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 March 7th, 2015

Baby Girl Flyweight

By Seth Kabala

Ascending the stairs was a step in the midst of an efficiently-engineered process.

The man of medium height and build, except for large forearms and bulging shoulders he couldn’t quite explain, left the main floor bathroom, walked through the kitchen and halfway through the living room to reach the stairs, then ascended to the second floor. The main floor bathroom contained only a shower, while the upstairs bathroom contained only a toilet, sink, and mirror, and since the only one of those that sprayed water with decent pressure also doubled as a waste disposal device, he was forced to take his shower in the main floor bathroom and then hustle upstairs wearing a towel to finish the morning routine.

He thought about the builder’s planning process when deciding on the layout of the home, deciding the only way things made sense was–they printed out stickers with the names of various rooms, assigning each a random number from one through however many rooms were in the house. Then they played Labyrinth. If the ball fell in the fifth hole on the first run, the room with that number was assigned the first, front-most position in the house, and so on until all the holes had received the ball and all the rooms had been assigned positions, however illogical. If that wasn’t it, they were just plain crazy, he thought.

The man had OCD tendencies, going as far as counting the major actions it took to go from waking to dressed, numbering and timing these–putting on his flip-flops, yawning, stretching, airing out the pressure build-up in his spine, feeling for the end of the oak handrail, watching for the supports that held said handrail to the wall to ensure he didn’t smash his fingers as he felt his way along, descending the stairs, reaching for the brass doorknob, sweeping his hand up to flip on the light switch, and so on–with the goal of creating a repeatable process.

He felt he was well on his way to publishing the results of his self-funded efficiency study. Then the growth appeared, and his carefully-timed process slowed faster than a fat man after breaking into a five-second run.

* * *

Whenever I emerge from our main floor bathroom and start to ascend the stairs, our youngest, Ella, our fireworks-warehouse-dropped-in-a-match-factory three-year-old, bolts from whatever she’s doing and rockets ahead of me. She has to be upstairs while I’m up there getting ready for the day. Her presence is welcome, though it makes for interesting management of modesty. Ok, she’s in the hallway, so I have five seconds to switch out this towel for my underwear.

She messes around, singing and jumping off all objects strong enough to support her weight, which is everything. One of her favorite activities is jumping on the bed, which she is genetically wired to do. Instead of regular jumps with her body resembling an upright, rigid pole, she practices for a future career as a WWE star, kicking her feet out, throwing her shoulders back until her body is parallel to the bed, slamming down on the bed backside-broadside, and snapping up with enough springing momentum to continue the self-body-slam cycle.

As Dad, I am obligated to tell her to be careful.

“Don’t worry,” she says. “I’m not breaking myself.”

Right, I think. Someone else will be the recipient of that someday.

When I’ve finished putting on my work attire and sheen of awesomeness, she–usually while I’m bent over tying my shoes. You know, the best position to preserve the integrity of my spine–launches herself at me and lands on my back, holding on with bench-vice strength, as though she is grafted in place, and she refuses to let go until I’ve hauled her downstairs, treads and knees creaking the whole way.

I have three takeaways from this:

1. I need to check out my network to see how many degrees away from Vince McMahon I am so I can start buttering him up (or his likely successor, since he’ll be dead soon) to increase Ella’s chances of getting in as a performer serious athlete.

2. The lead for this started out as semi-fiction, but that repeatable process is sounding smart.

3. This growth is a skin condition to which I have conceded defeat.


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

Pop-art style poster with hipster deer dressed in yellow glasses and scarf, telling I am cool.

Toxic Bambi

Yesterday while I was writing, Ella, our seven-year-old, came up to me and said she had thought of a joke. "My first joke," she announced, pride streaming from her voice and face. I asked her what it was. Here's what she said, "What does [we'll say Bob] want to do for school? Me U. Get it? Me U...

[ Swap Article ]

World Map in Typography word cloud concept, names of countries

Plan for the Journey

Toastmasters is moving away from its physical manuals and static speech-making program into a dynamic program called Pathways. On January 10, 2019, I delivered my first speech in Pathways: a re-imagination of my ice-breaker speech. If you don't know me, know this: if you give me a rubric, I will...

[ Swap Article ]

Secondhand word cloud

Editor's Note--TFF Issue #20

Some vehicles bring lackluster competitive spirit to dancing competitions. Despite their nimble construction, most compact models lack the energy to stick it out in the most heated scenarios. Then you've got the ones who were made for dancing. Made for not just cruising down the road, but for...

[ Swap Article ]

Plumbing Speed Logo Icon Design

Speed Plumbing

The pipe masters ascended the stairs and entered the arena. They'd come a long way, building rudimentary structures to escape cribs and punish bullies as children, graduating to more complicated designs as adolescents and adults. Mario had been especially proud of his design that transported him...

[ Swap Article ]

Fortune cookie bad set. death and robber on paper prediction. Vector illustration

Imaginative Cookies

The executive stepped to the lectern, his stomach churning with nerves and the remnants of last night's authentic Mexican food. Wonderful flavors. Wonderful and punishing, that is. This moment was shaping up to be a repeat of that theme. Investors, the public, the press--if he could convince them...

[ Swap Article ]

Businessman Drawing on the Whiteboard. Pop Art

Editor's Note--TFF Issue #19

A few months ago, I decided to write a daily quote on my office wall. No, I’m not an irascible child who will not be contained in my creative fury. I have a whiteboard that I use for quote purposes and other work stuff. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Funny broken furnitures trash pile

Backyard of Doom

The kids left detritus lying all over the yard during a recent play session. When I went out later to bring the garbage cans up from the curb, it was like Indiana Jones making his way through the Temple of Doom, stumbling over a rubber rain boot, high stepping over the top of an old bar-stool,...

[ Swap Article ]

!FINAL FINAL Mike Graphic Album Cover v2 Option D copy

Review: The Worst Kind of Thoughtful

"One-hundred percent Italian" stand-up comic Mike Vecchione hails from the Queens borough of New York City. While writing, rehearsing, and recording The Worst Kind of Thoughtful, his 2nd comedy album, we're guessing he never gave a thought to how the awesomeness of his work would necessitate public...

[ Swap Article ]

Running coach - dinosaur

Surplus Children

Crouching under the elevated prison, the man held his hands over his ears, rocking back and forth like a buoy on a turbulent sea. No, no, no, he thought. This could not be happening. He'd done everything by the book. Prepared the beast's meals exactly as prescribed, acquired the best clothing and...

[ Swap Article ]


Editor’s Note_TFF Issue #18

The entertainer waited patiently at the street corner. Regaled in his Darth Vader mask, he struck a menacing, if not eye-brow raising, figure. A black cape flowed behind him in the soft downtown breeze, also ruffling the hem of his kilt. ...

[ Swap Article ]

Choose Smile Face

The Answer Is Me

Fresh off finishing my Competent Communicator Toastmasters credential, I veered into zany territory for my next speech. I suspect this is where I will live from now on, with perhaps the occasional trip back to Seriousness Land. Why put yourself through the pain of voluntary public speaking if you're...

[ Swap Article ]