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Play #SuperDuperBingo This Sunday & Win $25,000

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When the Patriots aren’t playing for the Lombardi trophy, I’m just not as interested.

I know I’m not alone in feeling that way. Hell, I’m willing to bet most people aren’t even serious sports fans. They like the VERY IMPORTANT FOOTBALL GAME WHOSE NAME, LIKE VOLDEMORT, MUST NOT BE MENTIONED because it’s an excuse for a party, you get to have a few beers with friends, and — most importantly — for the commercials.

Admit it, you know you love them. You crave them. You rate them in real time and decide which ones ruled the day and which ones stunk up the joint. You laugh because they’re funny, ridiculous, cringe-worthy, or just plain awful. But however you react, you’re watching. Always.

Well now you can watch AND win a year’s worth of mortgage payments and/or car payments.

Progressive Insurance is a client of mine, and I’ll be spending game day getting people to play their Super Duper Bingo game. They’re not spending a kajillion dollars during the game on an ad, opting instead to host this virtual bingo game that lets you play along with the commercials. Here’s how it works:

  • Go to www.progressivesuperduperbingo.com
  • Enter your email address
  • Get your Super Duper Bingo card on your phone, tablet, or laptop and keep it handy during the commercials
  • You’ll have squares like “Shirtless Dude” and “Perfect Beer Pour.” When you see a commercial that matches one of your squares, click on it.
  • You get an entry for your email, an entry every time you click on a square, and 25 entries for each Bingo you tally (4 in a row either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally)

And now for the best part, the prizes.

One grand prize winner will receive a year’s worth of mortgage (or rent) and car payments, worth $25,000. Five 2nd place winners will receive a year’s worth of car payments valued at $5,000 each. And 20 3rd place winners will receive a WiFi-enabled home thermostat valued at $250 each.

All for watching commercials and clicking a few buttons.

Yes I’ll be watching the game (Go Panthers, I loathe Peyton Manning and the Broncos), but this year — without Tom Brady the GREATEST OF ALL TIME — I admit I’m more interested in the commercials. I can’t win because Progressive is my client, but you can. So please click here to enter and keep this handy during the commercials so you can win one of these awesome prizes. Tell your friends, too, and if you spread this on social media (pretty please) be sure to use the #SuperDuperBingo hashtag.

Good luck!

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My Family’s Netflix Adventures

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A funny thing happened when my family and I were checking out Dawn of the Croods, a recently released Netflix Original.

As my whole family enjoyed a little bit of downtime in between Taekwondo, basketball, and swim lessons, we delighted in the adventures of our favorite prehistoric family (sorry Flintstones). Suddenly I had a thought, and said “Wouldn’t it be awesome to live back in this time and be a cave family?”

The rest of my family thought I was nuts, but I love an adventure. And as the Croods prove, back then just leaving the cave was the adventure of a lifetime. They couldn’t Google everything or use Wikipedia to get a plethora of information at the drop of a hat. They had to experience life and figure it out on their own. When you think about it, it’s the ultimate adventure every single day. A little dangerous? Sure. But that unpredictability just makes it all the more interesting.

Naturally, this started quite the debate as my family members then took turns describing which Netflix world they’d enter if they could have their own imaginative, TV-inspired adventure.

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My wife, MJ, was the first to chime in and she knew exactly where she’d be off to — Berk.

For the uninitiated, that’s the village in the Netflix Original How to Train Your Dragon, Dragons: Race to the Edge. My wife is slightly obsessed with all things HTTYD, and she would love to live in the age of vikings and — more importantly — dragons.

“Are you kidding me? Of course I’d live in Berk. I’d get to fly a dragon and have one as a pet. Who the heck would pass up a chance to fly and own a pet dragon??”

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My oldest son Will is a little more practical. Don’t get me wrong, he wouldn’t pass up the chance to ride a dragon. However, my analytical 7-year-old is obsessed with documentaries at the moment, and Titanic has his complete focus.

He wants to delve into the Titanic’s Final Mystery documentary and be able to go back in time to April 14, 1912 — the night history’s most infamous passenger ship struck an iceberg and began its slow, deadly descent into the depths of the ocean. Will said he wants to know how the ship hit the iceberg, why it didn’t see it, what the captain and crew were doing at the time, and is interested in the physics of how it actually sank. But he does have one caveat.

“I don’t want to have an adventure on the ship, I want to be on the iceberg. Because I don’t want to die in the cold water.”

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My 2-year-old, Sam, only had one word to describe his most sought after adventure: REVVIT!!

He loves Dinotrux. I mean, LOVES it! And his favorite character by far is Revvit, the tiny “reptool” who fixes the larger dinotrux and is everyone’s favorite little helper. It’s awesome watching Sam get lost in the ridiculously cool world Netflix and DreamWorks brought to life, with dinosaur-machine hybrids roaming the Earth and learning lessons of teamwork and friendship.

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I jokingly asked my 4-month-old Tommy where he’d like to go on his Netflix adventure, not expecting him to answer. But much to my amazement, he gave me one. He didn’t say it out loud or anything — the kid can’t talk, he’s only 4 months old. But I can take a hint.

He looked at me with glazed over eyes, grunted inaudibly, grabbed my car key out of his hand and threw it on the ground, and just then his older brothers farted loudly and blamed it on him. I knew without a doubt that was Tommy’s way of saying he wanted to travel to Manitowoc County in Wisconsin, home to the now infamous Netflix documentary Making a Murderer.

I won’t give you any spoilers or go into detail, except to say you HAVE to see this documentary. It’s insane, and it’ll leave you playing the “Is he guilty or innocent?” game along with the rest of the Internet.

So there you have it, our Netflix inspired adventures for 2016. Where would you and your family choose to go?

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StreamTeamBadgeI was compensated by Netflix for writing this post. Although I did not receive monetary compensation, I received free Netflix for a year and an a smart TV. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. Check out Netflix on Facebook.

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The Best Decision

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The secret to a successful marriage isn’t just choosing to marry the right person at the outset. It’s choosing to be with that person every single day that follows.

MJ and I chose each other for life 10 years ago to this very day, and life immediately began testing us in ways I could never have anticipated. From losing more pregnancies than we have children to declaring bankruptcy and losing our home four years ago, we’ve seen some shit. Not as rough as some people had it to be sure, but pretty awful at times.

At some point during the plunge to rock bottom, I began to think my life would be easier without MJ. That was a startling and terrifying realization, until I realized something important. I’m a complete idiot.

Of course life would easier without being married. Pledging to be with someone for the rest of eternity and occupying the same space (and therefore the same problems) is inherently complicated. And messy. So yes, technically speaking, life would be easier absent those complications.

But it damn sure wouldn’t be worth it.

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Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, and things obtained easily are seldom worthwhile. MJ and I are two difficult people who have wildly differing personalities and interests. We have to work every single day on being good partners to each other, because we are not naturally compatible. But we decided long ago to make it work, so we do.

I won’t sit here and tell you I didn’t know love until I met MJ. I had been in love several times before her and she loved other men too. The difference is, with MJ, I learned how to love better. She showed me love is more than just fiery passion (which I have in abundance) and grand gestures, it’s in the mundane. The everyday moments when no one is looking. I used to think that was boring, but I also used to have relationships that ended with fiery crash and burns.

I knew love in the past, but I never knew how to nurture it with the daily care that’s so vital to its growth. I never realized I had to choose to love on a daily basis and commit — I mean REALLY commit — to focus on it every day. To realize it’s worth it, and never let that notion leave my mind.

It’s not easy and there are always doubts, but it’s worth it. All of the bad times are worth it if you’re with the right person and willing to work at love.

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I’m with the right person. I knew that 10 years ago and I realize it even more now. I’m with a patient, kind, forgiving, and considerate person who gives of herself always. I’m with a woman whose loyalty is never in question, and who is strong in all the areas in which I’m weak. Someone who makes me want to be a better person all on my own without ever tossing down an ultimatum.

When it comes down to it, I’m with someone worth fighting for. Ten years ago, today, and always.

Thank you for the last 10 years, MJ. Thank you for sticking with me even when you had no reason to do so. Thank you for your patience, kindness, and support. We’ve been on top as homeowners in our mid-20s, knocked down and humiliated a few years later, and we’ve built ourselves back up again. But even with all that’s happened, I wouldn’t change anything. Not if it meant giving up even one iota of this life we’ve worked so hard to build together.

It is the honor of my life to be your husband, and I’ll never stop trying to prove I’m worthy to be your partner on this crazy journey.

Today, just as I did a decade ago, I choose to love you. Always.

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Yes, Obama Cried. No, He’s Not Less of a Man

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“He looked like he was sleeping. But the reality of it was under the cloth he had covering his mouth there was no mouth left. His jaw was blown away. I just want people to know the ugliness of it so we don’t talk about it abstractly, like these little angels just went to heaven. No. They were butchered. They were brutalized. And that is what haunts me at night.”
Veronique Pozner, mother of 6-year-old Noah, who was killed at Sandy Hook

President Barack Obama cried.

He did so while announcing a series of executive actions to make background checks mandatory for all gun sellers, pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the budget for increased mental health care access, and hire hundreds of additional agents to assist with background checks. The President was overcome with emotion while surrounded by parents, relatives, and friends of those lost to gun violence over the years. When forced to recall the 20 dead elementary school children in Newtown, CT, the President of the United States wept in public and on camera.

And for that display, this father of two girls earned a whole bunch of people mocking him. 

They called him a “pussy,” a “woman,” and a “fag.” President Sissypants, who needs to go home and cry to his mommy. They swore at him, derided him, and shouted from every rooftop that he’s weak. Soft. A crybaby ill-equipped to handle a job that clearly requires a “real man” at the helm.

But my concern isn’t with President Obama and his tears. It’s with anyone who thinks of the Sandy Hook shooting and doesn’t end up crying.

“As the pile got higher it appeared that there was a mad scramble to get into the bathroom, with people stepping on one another and climbing on top of each other. The teachers appeared to have been shepherding the children into the room and were then probably going to shut the door. They did not close and lock the door to the classroom for some reason and were interrupted by the shooter as they attempted to fill the bathroom with children. The shooter then opened fire on the mass of children and adults. As Sgt. Carrio got to the last bodies it was clear that no one had survived.” – incident report from the Newtown, CT Police Department

If you look at our tearful President — a father himself — and your first thought is to question his masculinity because he’s so upset, then I fear you’re broken. I worry you’re a shell of a human being, devoid of basic empathy and compassion. If a classroom of dead schoolchildren doesn’t move you to tears, I worry nothing will.

As the father of three boys, I’m also increasingly alarmed by how twisted the concept of masculinity has become in this country. Case in point:

First of all, calling someone a “woman” and using a pejorative term for female genitalia as an insult is ridiculous. And dumb. Women aren’t weak and using a colloquialism for vagina implies a lack of toughness, when nothing could be further from the truth. As a dad who has witnessed natural childbirth three times, I can personally attest to the power, wonder, toughness, and resiliency of said nether regions. It renders that particular misogynistic insult downright silly.

As for the crying, it’s a perfectly normal human response that in no way denotes a lack of strength.

I cried when I found out my wife was pregnant. I cried when my kids were born. I cried in uncertainty and fear when my middle child was in a Boston hospital at only 6 months old. I cried when my wife was in the throes of depression. Hell, I cry every time I watch the movie “Rudy.”

I damn sure cried when 20 children were viciously gunned down in their school. And you know what? I’ve cried every year since then. I tear up every single time I realize not even the most horrific thing imaginable — nearly two dozen innocent kids slaughtered in a classroom — was enough to spur action. I cry when it’s become apparent NRA rhetoric and guns are more important than children.

Forget for a second that no one is coming for anyone’s guns, and Obama’s executive actions are common sense restrictions that close loopholes and expand background checks — something a majority of Americans favor. Thinking this is a government conspiracy to confiscate guns is bad enough, but this crap about how men should truly act is just as damaging.

My three boys will damn sure know guns don’t make someone more of a man, and showing your feelings definitely doesn’t make you less of one. In fact, manhood has nothing to do with it. Expressing your feelings and showing empathy are signs of emotional intelligence and strength that know no gender. Being able to walk in someone else’s shoes is crucial, and when you’re the leader of the free world using your power to reduce the number of dead kids in classrooms even in the face of unadulterated hate? Well, that’s about the strongest thing I can think of.

Tears or no tears.

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Pepto-Bismol, Where Have You Been All My Life?

2016-01-18 15.19.00This might be hard to believe, but I went 36+ years without trying Pepto-Bismol. In related news, I am a complete idiot.

You’re probably thinking “how the hell have you never had Pepto before, and why not?” I don’t blame you, it’s a valid question. Especially since, if you know me, you know looking at me is a tipoff that I love to eat. And I love to eat crap, because crap tastes better than healthy food. I’m just always a little late to the party.

I didn’t have mac & cheese until I was 17 years old. I didn’t try Thai food until I was in my early 20s. Heck, I only had eggnog for the first time three years ago and overindulgence of eggnog is one of the main reasons I ended up trying Pepto-Bismol.

Circle of life, I guess. Or at least the cycle of indigestion.

But for the purposes of this story, all you need to know is I love to eat food that tastes great but isn’t great for you. And as I careen toward middle age, I’m finding the stuff that isn’t good for me is starting to wreak havoc on my insides. There is no other time of year when this is more true than the holiday season. From Thanksgiving’s apple pies to my annual Christmas eggnog binge, I’m simultaneously thrilled to be near such delicious food, yet petrified to get too far from a bathroom.

Yup, that’s right. I’m being paid to write about my diarrhea. Livin’ the dream.

I don’t want to get too graphic, but this couldn’t have come at a better time. Seriously. #PinkRelief #ad

A photo posted by Aaron Gouveia (@daddyfiles) on

The bottom line is Pepto-Bismol has had a positive impact on my bottom this holiday season. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a cure-all or anything. I still eat more than I should and pay the price, but Pepto-Bismol has helped me mitigate the damage. It soothes my angry stomach, staves off trips to the bathroom, and provides much-appreciated support to my ravaged digestive tract.

I now stock Pepto-Bismol at my house, my parents’ house, and my office. I’ve even started carrying around an emergency bottle with me in my work backpack. And with a 40-minute commute via train every day without an available bathroom, Pepto-Bismol has already saved me from certain humiliation (and the person sitting next to me from having the worst commuter story of all time).

So even though I’m late to the party, I’m celebrating the fact that I finally have a bit of relief. I mean, I could just eat healthier but…c’mon. Let’s get serious!

Pepto-Bismol provided me with some samples of its product, as well as compensation for writing this post. Which is ironic since I usually post about my bodily functions at no charge. All opinions — as well as embarrassing stories about fecal matter — are 100% my own.

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