Category Archives: Uncategorized

Video: 3 Steps for Safely Disposing of Over-The-Counter Medication

I’m gonna be totally honest with you — I never thought about expiration dates on  over-the-counter medication before. Also, I had a bunch of it in my medicine cabinet.

I’m not alone, either. Check out these stats:

  • 62% of adults have never sought information on how to properly dispose their expired over-the-counter (OTC) medicines
  • 50% of adults say they typically dispose of unwanted or expired OTC meds in the trash but only 8% mix them with undesirable substances before tossing

I hate cats and I loathe the taste of coffee, so kitty litter and coffee grinds have always been undesirable substances to me. But little did I know both would actually come in handy one day. That’s because they’re included in the three simple disposal steps:

  1. Mix medicines (do not crush tablets or capsules) with an unpalatable substance such as kitty litter or used coffee grounds
  2. Place the mixture in a container such as a sealed plastic bag
  3. Throw the container in your household trash

That’s it. Seriously. But if you want more information, you can check out more great tips here.

And although I generally try to keep my ugly mug off video, I’ve teamed up with some great Know Your OTCs bloggers who all combined to form one awesome video.

This is a sponsored post. I am collaborating with the CHPA (Consumer Health Products Association) Educational Foundation and knowyourOTCs.org. I was compensated for this post but as always, my opinions are my own.

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Kids Are Quick So Keep Your Medicine Out of Reach

Keep your meds high and out of reach!

If you’re a parent I don’t have to tell you how quick kids are.

It’s never when you need them to be fast like getting out of bed, getting dressed, putting their shoes on, or picking things up off the ground. Those times? Slow as molasses. But take your eyes off them for 1.4 seconds at the grocery store or stop holding hands at a traffic light for a millisecond and you’ll see EXACTLY how quick they are as you experience some of the scariest moments of your life.

We all those fears of our kids getting lost in a crowd or escaping from us near the street and toddling out into traffic, but there’s something many parents, myself included, haven’t given much thought to — how quick they can be getting into unsecured medicine cabinets.

Seeing that this week is National Poison Prevention Week (March 19-25), it’s a great time to drop some knowledge about kids getting into medicine that can be severely harmful. Tell me if these two data points shock you as much as they did me:

  • Approximately 60,000 kids go to the ER every year due to accidental medicine ingestion. Think about that number. It means four school buses full of children EVERY DAY go to the ER because they get into medicine they’re not supposed to.
  • According to SafeKids, “half of the 2 million calls to poison control centers in 2011 were for exposures and ingestions among kids 5 and under.” That’s a lot of little hands opening cabinets they shouldn’t be able to access.

While restricting access as much as possible is important, so is the messaging we give our kids about medicine. Namely, we need to have honest and frank conversations with them about what medicine is, and that only parents or a trusted caregiver should administer it to them. And NEVER tell them medicine is candy, no matter how difficult it is to get them to take it.

This is especially important to me right now because we’re moving to a new house, and that means packing. So while we’re generally careful with where our meds are stored (even putting a lock on the closet so the little ones can’t get in), it’s an issue we need to keep in mind now more than ever since everything is being put away and in transit. It’s also not just a problem we need to deal with at home, but also when we travel and when our kids go to other homes (like a visit with grandparents). A lapse could mean a life, so I’m going to ask you to do something.

Lock ’em up (the meds, not the kids)

Please take some time this week to double check that your medicines are stored safely up, away, and out of sight of the kids. I know it sounds like something that could never happen to you, but it can. It can happen to all of us — the best of us — and it’s entirely preventable if we just take a little time to be proactive.

Please check out Up & Away for more information and tips, and keep the Poison Control Centers’ phone number handy at home and lock it into your cell phone:  (800-222-1222).

This is a sponsored post. I am collaborating with the CHPA (Consumer Health Products Association) Educational Foundation and knowyourOTCs.org. I was compensated for this post but as always, my opinions are my own.

 

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An Admission: I Cheated on My Wife

Usually it’s fun sharing personal moments with you on these pages. However, when I started this website I promised honesty. A raw, unfiltered look at parenting and marriage. So because it would be more than a little hypocritical of me not to address when I’ve made a terrible mistake, I’m owning up here.

I cheated on my wife.

I know it sounds cliche, but I didn’t set out to cheat. It just kind of happened. Marriage and parenting is a tough journey and somewhere along the line MJ and I just got…disconnected. I’m not making excuses for what I did, but let me describe the situation and you can honestly tell me if you think it looks familiar.

I’m a guy who likes certain things and let’s just say, without being too descriptive, alone time with MJ is one of them. I need it to feel close with her and to keep me sane. And when I go long periods without it, I…well, I take matters into my own hands.

I don’t want to get the gender police after me but seriously, what’s a red-blooded American male supposed to do?? I can’t sit there with overwhelming wants and needs with a wife who goes to bed at 9 pm and live like that forever. It just doesn’t work and honestly, I think it’s a little selfish of her to expect that it would.

The part that’s my fault is vowing I’d always be faithful no matter what. It’s easy to agree to that in the beginning when everything is new and you’re both super into it and you’re literally binging with one another. But eventually seasons pass and one person inevitably loses that drive, while the other wants more. Needs more. What then? What do you do when you’ve promised to only do it with one person, but then that person won’t make time for you?

It started with MJ and I getting into something a little kinky and weird. We were introduced to these women who are kind of naughty yet sexy, and they don’t get a lot of male attention because, well, they’re in prison. But even though MJ no longer wanted to make it a priority, she asked me to wait for her because she didn’t want me partaking without her. I agreed, but how is that fair???

So one night after she went to bed early and I was still up, I went ahead without her. I knew it was wrong, but if I’m being honest that kind of added to the excitement. Once I thought I heard her coming downstairs so I paused what I was doing and froze. If she had found me she would’ve KILLED me, but it turned out to be nothing so I kept going.

And I couldn’t stop.

Soon I was cheating on her with everyone and my cravings were feral and all over the map. I cheated on her with a wealthy family that had fallen on hard times, a professional football player with a checkered past, and even an undead woman with an appetite for human flesh. I was a maniac and I couldn’t stop, yet I had to fake being entertained with MJ on the rare occasions she did find herself in the mood.

Eventually the lying became too much and she smelled the guilt on me. When she confronted me and asked if I’d been unfaithful, I didn’t bother denying it. I just begged for her forgiveness and pleaded with her to give me a second chance.

I’m not sure how it will all work out and I’m trying to be better. But the urge to give in and have everything I desire all at once is so powerful. And I know for a fact I’m not alone in my infidelity, as 46% of couples fall victim as well.

So how about it, folks? Do you Netflix cheat on your significant other??

I was compensated with a free year of Netflix and an iPad for writing this post, but all opinions are my own.

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The Long Road to Our New House

Our new house
Our new house

In five days this will be our new home.

The road to this point has been long, difficult, and even broken in some parts. But a place of our own that we actually own has always been the goal. Always. The specter and possibility of it loomed behind every decision MJ and I made, and home ownership is the impetus for every hour I work. Every side job I take. Every penny MJ meticulously saves. Every minute I’m away from my family has been spent in order to one day provide them with a place that’s ours and ours alone.

Some people shake their head at my tunnel vision and tell me it’s not worth all the worry and stress and especially the money. But honestly, a single family home is about more than the money for me.

I’ve lived in apartments or condos for the last 16 years. Which is fine — it’s not like I’ve suffered. But you know what I’m looking forward to? Light from all four sides of the house. Think about it. For a decade and a half I’ve had one wall that is essentially a dead end. A barrier. A windowless stretch of darkness which is enough to block out the light, but not the sounds and annoyances of neighbors residing on the other side. When we walk into our new house, I’m going to stand in the middle of it all and bask in the sunlight streaming in from all directions, and not give a damn about people upstairs, downstairs, or adjacent.

This move also means security and permanency for my family.

Sturdy walls on the outside tough enough to weather the elements and a welcoming coziness inside that keeps my family warm and comforted. It’s an old house to be sure, and a century worth of life has taken place in and around it. But we will breathe new life into it. Revive it. Let it revive us. It will be our sun and we’ll revolve around it as our clan ages in orbit, and hopefully it will create a gravitational pull for our boys that keeps them coming back occasionally even after they take up residence elsewhere.

The yard isn’t big but it’s enough room for three boys to play and pretend our patch of woods is a far-off forest. The rocks mountains. The trees far better climbing structures than any playground.

The neighborhood is centrally located but tucked away and quiet. School is now a short walk instead of a drive, allowing us a slice of Americana that has all but disappeared. The town is safe, the schools are well funded, and we even have friends within walking distance.

The garage is an enigma to me, having never had one. A happy puzzle to solve, to be sure. Will the car go in there? My canoe and kayak? My snowblower? Crap, I’m gonna need to buy a snowblower!

But mainly, this place is our home base. Our little corner of the world. Ours. No more worrying about whether or not the landlord is going to sell or finding a place after our lease is up. No more stopping the kids from hanging out in the backyard because the people we share a wall with are already out there and we don’t get along with them. No more guilt about not providing something more substantial and permanent for the kids. This will be our little universe and a place where untold memories will be made.

Yet what I just realized — and I mean it actually dawned on me right now while writing that last paragraph — is this isn’t really a new home. It’s a new house. Home? That’s wherever MJ and the boys are.

She is my sunlight on all four sides and she is the tough and protective exterior with comfort on the inside. The kids are my warmth and the memories are made no matter what and where we are. A house has an address but home is a state of mind that can’t be mapped. I’m thrilled to be in the new place and proud of how hard we worked to get there, but ultimately I’m proud of us and what we’ve built together as a family.

Wherever they are, I’ll be home.

My family is home
They are home, wherever they are.
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Losing Sight of the Shore

I fear the ocean. The waves, the unseen terrors, drowning, that salty taste that has always turned my stomach, the sand — it all combines to burrow into my mind and pushes my big red mental DANGER button. My wife, on the other hand, can’t get enough of it. And because I love her, I swallowed my oceanic disdain.

We went kayaking yesterday. Walking to the beach in our life jackets and helmets brought vastly different reactions. MJ was drawn to the sea like a magnet, as if being beckoned by an old friend. She practically galloped toward the waves and let her toes feel the water. As for me, I saw frenzied foam fingers of the deep crawling up on shore to claim me, as the ocean inevitably retakes all things.

We paddled out head-on into the waves in an attempt to get safely past the break. It didn’t work. A 5-footer crested at the wrong time and knocked MJ out of the kayak, which left me and my considerable weight in the rear to tip over backward. The current caught me and for a second my feet couldn’t find the bottom. I panicked and began mentally writing my own obituary until I saw MJ floating nearby. Laughing. Smiling. Literally soaking it in. My feet found sand and my hands grasped the kayak and paddle. I flipped it over, got in, and tried again. Success.

The undulating waves soon made me nauseous but MJ was glowing, so I paddled. We saw cliffs with ancient striations and layers that prove all paths eventually lead to the sea. We saw the house where Dr. Suess lived and the nearby mountain that inspired the home of the Grinch. I silently wished I was in such an apropos place. We saw ocean caves carved by water, time, and pressure. But nothing prepared me for what we saw next.

A sea lion popped up next to our kayak. It looked at me and I back at him in stunned silence. It was close enough to reach with my paddle on my right side and slightly behind me, but I didn’t move. I didn’t even tell MJ. We just looked at one another for a few seconds and then he was gone. And I was moved, although I’m still really not sure why.

I didn’t have time to ponder it much because suddenly the water in front of us was filled with dolphins. A pod headed inland with fins slicing through the water’s surface in between all the boats. A baby dolphin jumping a couple of feet out of the water right in front of us, like it was a planned show. In my amazement, all I could say to MJ was “Wow. It’s like they did this on porpoise.”

She scrunched her face up in a disapproving manner at my pun, and turned back toward the dolphins. I’m not sure why I couldn’t admit to being amazed — to being moved — in that moment. Perhaps because we were far from land and the waves were getting bigger. Maybe because I’m not quite ready to realize all the wonderful things I miss by never losing sight of the shore. After all, I’m the man who has never lived outside of Massachusetts or traveled outside the country. Who has never had a passport. Who has a nearly debilitating fear of airplanes and boats. Who loves familiarity more than anything.

Yet aren’t I familiar with dolphins and sea lions now? Not ones in the aquarium, but in the wild. Far from shore in a plastic kayak pitching all over the place and making me sick and uncomfortable. But without discomfort and trepidation, I wouldn’t have this new experience. Any experiences. How do you know yourself if all you’ve known is familiarity?

On the way back to shore our guide told us to stop and grab some kelp. She urged us to take a bite, saying it tasted like salty lettuce. Caught up in the moment, I took a bite. It was disgusting. But now I know for sure it’s disgusting, because I tried it. I don’t have to guess. I lived it out there in a place I didn’t want to be and never would’ve gone without a nudge.

We capsized on our way back to the beach too, paying the chilly price owed to the sea for beholding its bounty. But this time I smiled more than I grimaced.

The sea is deep and frightening, but it also holds beauty and treasure that can only be seen by those willing to paddle out of their comfort zones. I’ll never be a professional sailor, but losing sight of the shoreline every now and then is a new life goal.

I’m almost 40 and just realizing I may not know myself at all. That’s scary. But then again, imagine how much I don’t know and haven’t seen.

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