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Charlie Goes Skylander Hunting

I didn’t play many video games growing up. I spent my days outside; throwing balls against the house and breaking windows. My next door neighbor, Petey, had all the games. After school, I’d sometimes head over to his house and watch him play his Nintendo. Usually, after a few games, I’d get bored and head back outside. It’s hard to say whether my sons will become “gamers”, like Petey or “outsiders” like me. We own a Wii and the boys have recently become interested in a game called Skylanders. They are hot and cold on the game, it usually depends on the day and whether their friends are outside. But I do know this…my kids LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to watch videos on the Ipad. In particular, they love to watch toy videos.

When I was growing up, we had the JCPenny catalog. Every month or so we’d get this inch-thick book in the mail and I’d go through the toy pages, line by line, soaking up all the new toys and dreaming. I loved imagining that I could only have one toy on each page. I would go back and forth, in my mind, trying to decide which of the Star Wars, Transformers or Thundercat figurines I wanted for Christmas. So I understand my sons infatuation with the YouTube toy videos, it’s like the JCPenny catalog on steroids.

In particular, my boys love a video series called EvanTubeHD. Evan is a 7-year-old boy who does toy reviews of all the latest games. If you’ve got small children, it’s worth a look. You can see it here. The series is very PG and Evan’s father plays a prominate role in the series. My boys can sit down and watch EvanTubeHD for hours. And they are constantly asking me to make a video of them, just like “EvanTubeHD”.

Fast forward to Labor Day, 2013. Charlie, my 4-year-old, has been on a year-long potty training escapade. (Read about how it all started here). Charlie tends to go a few days without accidents, then he’ll “mail it in” for a day and have several potty-in-the-pants moments. In an effort to get Charlie focused, we decided to create a “Potty Challenge”. If Charlie could go seven days without an accident, I’d take him shopping for a new Skylander. As an added bonus, I told him I’d take a video of him and put it on YouTube. It took Charlie some time, but he finally made it seven days without incident. What follows is our first CharlieTubeHD video. Enjoy!

Embrace The Velcro

This post orginally published as part of a writer’s series called “5 Things for New & Expectant Fathers”.  See the orginal here & be sure to check out www.playgrounddad.com for lots of cool Daddy Stuff!

I have three boys under the age of 6. I’m knee deep in action heroes, Thomas the Train, diapers and spit up, so believe me when I say there’s a lot that was never revealed to me as an expecting parent. The level of craziness in your home grows slowly, child by child as they age and get active. It takes reflection to realize how calm and independent your life was pre-kids. With that in mind, here are some things to think about as you embark on this journey known as Fatherhood.

#1 – Consider A Career Change
I’d like you to take stock of whatever career you’ve chosen and begin to think real hard about learning to make baby formula or batteries. Both are obscenely expensive and cannot be found in the “used aisle” or dollar store. I often wonder why Walter White from Breaking Bad decided to cook meth when he could have made infinitely more money, and garnered much less hazards, had he just learned the chemical reactions that yield baby formula. If you’re not 100% satisfied with the life you’ve chosen, or the amount of money you make, trust me, and take a long look at batteries & baby formula.

#2- You Will Lose the Sock Battle
Treat everyone of your child’s socks likes it’s the last time you’ll ever see them again. After the pair of socks enters the wash cycle, they will disappear and you will find it nearly impossible to find an exact pair. Enter any preschool in America, and ask the kids to take off their shoes, you will find that not one single pair matches. You will lose this battle; don’t even spend the energy trying. You will, of course, not believe me and in an attempt to deceive the Sock Gods, buy different colors, styles, try rubber band techniques, search Pintrest for clever solutions…but it won’t work, the Sock Gods will always win. Go teach your kid how to read or ride a bike…it’s a much better use of your parental energy.

#3 – Let’em cry it out
Look guys, your kids will start to control your lives from the second they are born. It’s in their genetic makeup to push the boundaries and try to get away with anything and everything. Nothing personifies this like sleeping habits. Unless you want an hour long nightly routine or a child that walks before they sleep through the night, you better embrace the “cry it out” methodology. A little crying never hurt anyone, and the end result is you sleeping more, so let’em cry.

#4 – It ain’t cheap if it breaks
I hate to sound like your 85 year old grandma, but the truth is the truth. Head to your local “Toys R Us” and you’ll find a Thomas the Train figurine selling for $12.00 or the whole set selling for $99.99. At which point, you might ask yourself “why is this sooo expensive?”…I’ll tell you why…your kids are gonna treat these toys like a rag doll and yet it’ll still usable after 10 years. This is especially true for outdoor toys…nothing ruins a nice afternoon quite like the wheel coming off that piece of crap scooter you bought for lil’ Joey’s birthday. Buy quality. Short term pain is long term gain.

#5 – Zippers & Velcro were created not to be ignored
After your child is born and you’ve experience about 3 months of sleep deprivation and you and The Wife are battling the dreaded “Eye-Twitch”, and its 4:00am, you don’t want to deal with buttons…it’s hard enough to jumble with those tiny diapers, throw in 46 random buttons that NEVER align correctly, and you’ll be wishing for that zipper. As for Velcro, you’ll quickly find that your life as a parent is a constant battle of the dressing and undressing of your children. The knots and double knots, and broken strings and tripping and tripping….there’s no need for it! Embrace The Velcro, fathers, Embrace The Velcro.

Image Credit: Helen Harrop

Clifford The Big Red Dog – A Statistical Analysis

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As a father in search of his DaddyBalance, I ask myself many questions. Many can’t be answered and that can become overwhelming. There are medical questions like “What is that bump on his head? Is it serious? Should I call the doctor?” There are social questions like “Does he play well with others at school? Does he misbehave like this when I’m not around?”  Even political questions like “Which of these two candidates give my family the best chance for continued success? Which candidate will implement policies that are best for my boys?”  To be honest, I don’t consider myself qualified to answer many of the questions that pop in my head, so let’s stick with one that I am qualified to answer:

“How much do you think it costs to care for Clifford the Big Red Dog?”

If you are new to parenting small children, or have retired from that game many years ago, you may not be aware of the three-storied Clifford and his child owner Emily Elizabeth.  But if you are aware, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself that question numerous times…right? No, really, please tell me that you’ve asked yourself that question…maybe once? No? Well, let’s move on…

As the story goes, Mary Elizabeth sets out to buy a puppy and chooses the runt of the litter, which happens to be a red Labrador. Once she brings it home, it begins to eat them out of house and home, becoming larger and larger until he’s outgrown the apartment, forcing Mary Elizabeth and her family to leave the city for the spacious island life off the coast. Let’s start here: That takes some real parenting dedication to uproot your family and job for a dog. Also, wouldn’t you think about selling him at this point? I mean you have a red dinosaur-size dog in your possession, at best, Purina wants it for science, at worst a traveling freak show would pay high dollar for this thing…sell then and you probably break even, hold onto him and your about to make a very sizable investment, how large? Let me answer that for you…Read on, my friends, read on:

Food

Can you imagine feeding that animal?  This would be one of your larger line items when assessing the cost of ownership. When you watch the opening credits of Clifford, it’s easy to see that he’s grown to become a 3 story behemoth.  According to http://www.goldenretrieverforum.com, the average lab grows to be about two feet, meaning that Clifford is approximately 15 times the size of the regular dog (30’/2′). According to that same site, labs tend to eat 4 cups of food a day, once again multiplying this by 15, that’s 60 cups a food a day. Considering you can get 208 cups of food out a 52 lb. bag, it would take about 2 bags to feed Clifford for one week, or about 104 bags a year.  At $25/bag, that’s about $2500.  Let’s not forget treats, after all, Clifford spends most of his day saving the people of his island from fires and floods.  Let’s assume 30 boxes of Kibble n Bits for the Big Guy, which will run us another $500.  Grand total for food?  $3,500/year.

Water

Imagine filling up your child’s backyard pool…2-3 times…everyday! That’s a lot of water. I watered my grass a bit this summer and filled up the pool a few times and saw my bill skyrocket by over $100/month. I’m willing to be conservative here and say that Clifford would increase your water bill by $300/month. Who knows, maybe you could move to place that has a well or is close to a lake, but for the sake of this projected budget, let’s assume we don’t.

Housing

Ol’ Cliffdog’s not sleeping at the end of your bed.  If you’re an avid watcher of the show, you’ll know that Clifford lives in a warehouse-like dog house. It looks pretty cool, actually, for a dog-warehouse.   New construction on a place like that, with heating and cooling, could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, but we’ll assume $100,000. Further, let’s assume you believe Clifford will live for 15 years and you take out a 15 year loan, at a very competitive 4.35%, your mortgage, including estimated tax and insurance would come to $878/month.  Congrats, you now have two mortgages.

Leashes, Collars & Toys

I checked out this site, to get an idea of various dog ownership costs.  It’s been a while since I had a dog…Gracie was her name, lab/chow mix …she was nice…scared of her own shadow, shed all over the place, couldn’t sit down in a car, but nice none-the-less.  She bit my oldest son, twice, so now she’s in doggy heaven.  Look, I pretty much took the numbers from that site and multiplied it by 15…we don’t have all day here people, it’s a cartoon.

Grooming

A shampoo & rinse at my local Petsmart runs $25-$50.  If we multiplied that by 15, it puts us at $375-$750.  How many times does Clifford need washed?  Every six weeks?  Every few months?  Who knows, but I assumed $3,500 for the year.

Medical  

Type of Expense Approximately Amount/Yearly
Food and Treats $3,000
Water $2,500
Mortgage on Dog House w/ 1% Tax $10,300
Toys $1,000
Leashes and Collars $375
Grooming $3,500
Routine Veterinary Care $3,500
Preventive Medications and Supplements $500
Yearly Total $24,675
Average Monthly Cost of Owning a Dog $2,014
15 Year Cost $370,125

The costs to medically care for a dog the size of Clifford could be off the charts.  According to the site referenced above, you should budget $200-$300 year, which would put us in the $2,000 range, but quite frankly, that seems low, so I made up a number and we’ll go with $3,500.  Throw in another $500 for preventive care and supplements and I’m beginning to wonder if Obamacare covers Big Red Dogs.

So, how much does it cost to care for Clifford The Big Red Dog?  About 2 G’s a month, $24,000 a year, or $370,000 for a 15 year life span…for that kind of money, he should be able to talk…oh, he does?  Maybe we should call that freak show!  The lesson here?  Don’t let your child buy a red dog…ever.

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As a father in search of his DaddyBalance, I ask myself many questions.  There are, of course, real questions that need my attention.  Questions like, “which school should Henry attend?” “Is Charlie’s speech OK for a three-year old?”…”Is that O.J. or pee on the floor?”

Other questions enter my mind, or better yet, are sent there from others.  But part of finding balance is understanding which ones stay and which one’s go.  A father, a mother, a parent of any kind, could, if they weren’t careful, spend a lot of negative time and energy debating questions of perceived importance.  They could double down on that mistake by debating those questions with information based on assumptions.  Assumptions of fiscal cliffs and balanced budgets…assumptions of future job growth and unemployment…assumptions of tax rates and “One-Percents”, but debating at the top of my lungs those items based on assumptions & assumptions only, seems to be silly to me…as a silly as a statistical analysis of a cartoon dog.

Photo Credit

The Conundrum of a Displaced DadFan

The great Beat writer, Allen Ginsberg, once wrote a poem called the Wichita Vortex Sutra. Basically, Ginsberg was driving from New York City to Dallas, when his car broke down. Forced to spend a few days in Wichita, KS his experience was so horrendous, the people so uninspiring, he wrote the poem, which plays on the theme of tornadoes (given Wichita’s presence in tornado alley) and the fact that Wichita is the center of all evil. Fascinating read, especially if you grew up there, which I did.

Growing up in Ginsberg’s “Center of all Evil” was bad enough…what made it worse was the lack of any professional football.  If you lived in Wichita in 1985, you were stuck watching either an annoying Tom Landry led Cowboys team or rather insufferable Chiefs team. Talk about the lesser of two evils…

Oh, So Sweet

So it was, during the winter of 85-86, that I began to hear about this team from Chicago, so-called the Bears.  Where the Chiefs had boring, the Bears had pizzaz…  They had the Shuffle, the Fridge, and of course “Sweetness”.  I was hooked.  I jumped on the bandwagon and never looked back.  And believe me, there were many opportunities to hop off  over the years…I think the Bears had 148 starting quarterbacks in 20 plus years I followed them…I fell in love with Erik Kramer, would have taken a bullet for running back Neal Anderson, and thought Mike Ditka walked on water.  I started every year, convinced, this would be the team to go 16-0…I was a fan, through and through.

So last week,  followers of my twitter feed began to wonder what I was doing at the St Louis Rams training camp.  The Rams camp, not unlike many others I’m sure, is made up of mostly middle-aged men, sweating profusely, wishing they could join the autograph line, yearning to see these larger than life players up close….no righful Bears fan would ever go to a training camp of another NFC team, right?  Let alone, take his two young, impressionable sons…

One of my favorite authors, Bill Simmons, writes about how we only have a few years to brainwash our children to love our teams, before they develop a mind of their own…so shouldn’t I be talking up Jay Cutler, not Sam Bradford? What am I doing?  Where is my fatherly judgement?

Sports is about shared experiences, traditions, and loyalty.  I graduated from the University of Kansas, my father took me to games in Allen Fieldhouse when I was a boy.  I saw “DownTown” Terry Brown drop seven 3-pointer in a 150-95 route of Kentucky. My grandpa still spends Saturday afternoons listening to Jayhawk football games over the radio in McPherson, KS (or Macpherson as Ginsberg refers to it).  I save money every month so my boys will be able to go to college…but if they think even one dime of that savings is going to go to the University of Missouri, they’d be mistaken.  To bring my boys up as anything but Jayhawkers would go against the family, and you saw how good that worked out for Fredo.  Love the Missouri Tigers in my house?  You just don’t do it.

So how is my love of the Bears any different?  Why don’t feel the same way?  I find myself taping pre-season Rams games, buying my boys Bradford jersey’s, while researching 5th round draft picks…all this for a team that’s won maybe 5 games in 3 years.

My SonFans w/ Rampage the Ram

I guess I care more about the shared experience than the tradition and loyalty.  My love of the Bears is only one generation…my generation.  I jumped on the bandwagon, no one will miss me when I jump off.  My dad turns his favorite NFL team in every few years like a used Toyota.  My grandpa stays loyal to  the Chiefs, but for me, that shipped has sailed. Besides, should my loyalty to the Bears mean that my boys can’t experience sports?  Do I stand on my team principles, while my sons get no local NFL exposure?  Doesn’t seem fair to them.  What’s a DadFan to do?

I care about my sons…seeing their eyes light up at the sight of Rampage the Mascot was the highlight of my week.  I want them to remember those hot August days, when Dad took them to see the Rams camp.  Yes, I take videos of them on the Play60 obstacle course, set to music, because I’m a dork, but mostly because I want those memories.  I’d rather find a new love, a new team, if that means I get to share in those experiences.  Oh sure, I’ll root for Cutler, Urlacher…I’ll still love me some Lovie Smith.  But it won’t be the same.  And that’s OK…  After all, I’m a DadFan raising three SonFans, and that’s what DadFan’s do.

Gotta Run

To review, four weeks ago I accepted a challenge, then revealed intimate details of my life, followed by the purchase of a  van, culminating in the birth of a child.  All-in-all, a pretty good four weeks…only one issue…I feel awful…

I used to weigh about 210 pounds…(want to see a pic? My assistant, Anita, says it looks like a normal picture of me, only squeezed into a small box…I’d be mad if wasn’t so true). Two years ago, I stopped drinking, started running, and haven’t looked back…In April of 2012 I completed my first full marathon in Nashville, and I felt great.

It worked so well…I stopped.

Stopped running, stopped eating right and now I feel just awful. I’ve lost my energy, don’t sleep well, and I’m subject to fits of moodiness, much to the dismay of the Better Half. So, it’s time to get back on the horse. I’ve signed up for the St Louis Rock n Roll half marathon, and I’m gonna start training today. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I’ll use this blog to check in from time-to-time to give you updates.

The Plan

First, you may ask, why a half marathon instead of the full…(or your might think, why either, they both sound obnoxious) Well, for me, training for the full marathon became a part-time job…nothing like waking up on a random Wednesday morning and running 10 miles before work. I already have a full-time job and a third baby…so in order to keep the wife happy, maintain some Daddy Balance, I decided to scale back to the half. Besides, the full marathon was brutal. The half is a great distance. Long enough that you must train and take care of your body to run well, but not so long that you think you might die.

The Rock n Roll is Sunday, Oct 20th, about 12 weeks away. I’ll be following the intermediate training plan here.  My goal is to finish under 1 hour 45 minutes. To accomplish this goal, I’m going to try a couple of things.

First, I’m gonna lose some weight. I realize that I’ve already lost quite a bit, but I’m one of these guys who goes out for a long run and burns a lot of calories, then comes home and eats ice cream…hey, something to reward yourself, right? The issue is that I don’t lose a lot of weight, and end up heavier than I want to be…it’s hard enough to run 13.2 miles, try carrying an extra 10lbs. To that end, I’m gonna start with a 7 day cleanse, (at the suggestion of my personal trainer, who moonlights as my Big Sis, you can follow her on twitter @jenpietrzak) then follow Bob Greene’s Best Life Diet to lose some weight.

Second, I’m gonna do some cross training. In the past, I’ve run, then I’ve run some more…after which, I’d go for a run. I do very little in the way of changing things up, so this time, I’m gonna try some yoga. I looked it up earlier, and I am, in fact, the most inflexible person in the world. Adding some flexibility should help my balance, weight and speed. All things that I need help on.

There you have it…Cleanse, run, diet, yoga, run, diet, yoga, Half Marathon…who’s with me?

Seriously, who’s in?  Do you run?  Would you like to?

Join me for the Rock n Roll on Saturday, October 20th.  They offer a 5k race if your are just starting, or marathons if you’d like.  Keep me updated on this blog or twitter https://twitter.com/gregyounger.  You can find all the info at http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/st-louis

The Birth of Maxwell James – A Diary

Let’s be clear, I’m a very lucky man.

But I always find it interesting that we never seem to remember the important things in life…oh sure, we remember the dates, maybe some particulars, but time clears the mind of many details.  So with the birth of my third boy on the horizon, I decided do a running diary of the day’s events.  I figured, if nothing else, we could look back and remember a few moments from his birth.  I also believe it’s another fact (in a long history of facts), that third borns are the best raised children in the world, and have yielded most of humankind’s most tremendous people…(figured out where I reside in the birth order yet?)

Think about it for a second, like shooting free-throw’s after practice or  golf balls at the range, what on this earth don’t we get better at with practice?  Why should parenting be any different?  We hover like helicopters over the first, over- compensate on the second, by the third, we’ve hit our Parenting Prime…they should call all of us third born’s Goldilock Kids!

So, in an honor of one of my all-time favorite writers, who happens to be an only child, The Sportsguy, I’ve decided to keep a running diary of the birth if my 3rd child, and rewind the action for you today.

Let’s begin

Weds, July 11th, 8:00 pm. My Mom has come in from Alabama to take care of my two boys.  The wife has an appointment to be at the hospital at 8. They’ll start the induction shortly after, with the idea that the baby will come sometime on Thursday, July 12th.

The One & Only John Holmes

8:49pm. At the hospital, wife hooked up to some machines, nurses asking lots of questions, I’m watching Modern Family… One thing they don’t tell you about having small kids? Your tv watching declines considerably. If it’s not a live sporting event, my tv is stuck on Power Rangers or Clifford. With that said, Modern Family is one I continue to watch, or at least try to… just so funny, especially to me, since my family is nothing, but traditional.

Also, they put us in the John Holmes room…apparently this hospital likes its porn stars. They must know something about my son’s “equipment”…

9:48pm. The cynic in me figured we wouldn’t have this baby until tomorrow morning, right when the doc wanted him to come.  I always figured these docs could telegraph a birth like the backup QB throwing into double coverage… But lo and behold, we may be getting started early. There’s lots of talk of effacing and dilating and Jill the Nurse just told me I’d better start drinking the coffee, it could be a long night…Jill’s a hoot…she just told us she doesn’t come to work and NOT celebrate birthday parties…better get ready to get tough!

9:58pm. Contractions getting stronger, might be about time to bring on the ol’ epidural. For those of you that don’t know, I’m one of those small business owners that both Republicans and Democrats like to talk about, especially when it comes to healthcare. Well, Rep or Dem, it doesn’t matter…all I know is I’m paying out-of-pocket (and out the nose) for this whole deal, so I’m thinking…are you allowed to negotiate with the epidural doctor? After my recent car buying episode, I’m yearning for another shot at using my negotiating prowess, or lack there of:) Granted, when the pain is hot and heavy, I’m pretty sure I’d lose on any negotiating.

10:46pm. Well, things have slowed down, maybe my previous cynicism was correct. Might be time to get a little shut-eye.

11:31pm. Nothing tonight, time for sleep.

Thursday, July 12th, 6:02am. Not exactly a Tempur-Pedic night sleep, but not too bad on the ol’ fold-out, or as my buddy Hyleme calls it, The Daddy Couch.

If it looks uncomfortable, it’s because it is…

Somewhat chilly laying next to the vent, but hey, I’m not the pregnant one, right? They drugged the wife up pretty good, so she was out as well. Laying here watching TV, with 6 channels, because apparently Direct TV & Viacom are having a hissy fit over fees. TV or no TV, today seems like a good day to have a child, don’t you think?

If I had to bet, I’d guess we’ll meet our new guy sometime after lunch.

Our “I-came-here-to-celebrate-birthdays” nurse, Jill, goes off in an hour. We’ll miss her…

8:56pm. Breakfast. Time to take a quick trip down to the cafeteria, which is always an overwhelming experience for me… So many options, you can only pick one…don’t screw it up!

Went with a breakfast sandwich, meanwhile, back on the baby front, the doctor came in and apparently kick started the process as contractions are beginning again hot and heavy… got to hand it to these docs, they handle these births like a bowling ball rolling towards the pins with the bumpers up…if something looks to be going in the wrong direction, bang!, a hit on the bumper and the ball gets rolling down the lane towards the pins…

10:22pm. Epidural doc has come and gone, and no, I didn’t try to negotiate with her. The house doc is gonna come in here shortly and re-position the bowling ball, err, break her water. Still looking at an afternoon birth. Meanwhile, what to do for the next 6 hours. My oldest was born on a Sunday on October…lots of football to watch… a Thursday in the middle of July? Catch up on Days of Our Life’s? Re-run of the Tour de France?  Once again, who has the toughest job today?

10:31pm. Water Broken. We’ll stop there, no need for details.

11:46pm. Time to grab some lunch. Nurse Karen seems to think things will “go quickly” now. Been spending the last hour reading up on this Sandusky/Freer investigation. Pretty sick/scary stuff, especially for a guy who’s about to have his third boy. So tragic, so ridiculous that college football has become such a big deal that people (Paterno) feel compelled to suppress their morals to save their teams/jobs. Great article by Jason Whitlock on this… Much evil in this world, much evil.

12:25pm. Must be getting close, they just wheeled in the baby’s bed.

12:50pm. 8cm, whatever that means.

2:11pm. Well, we now have 2 nurses and the room is filled with all types of machines, the wife is having contractions every minute or so, feeling pain even through the epidural. Guessing this wouldn’t be a good time to grab some Starbucks.

2:36pm. The doc has been called.

Maxwell James, 8lbs 2 oz

3:06pm. Maxwell James is born. 8lbs 2 oz, 20.25 inches. He’s got a lot of dark hair, considering I have none and the wife is blond we’ll be taking a closer look at the mailman this week;) the bowling ball has come down for a perfect strike!

3:55pm. As with the two previous, just an amazing experience.  If you’ve ever thought about having kids, I would highly recommend it.  The wife is a real rock star during these things. And this little guy is a miracle.  Make no mistake, I’m a lucky man!

So, do we have a deal?

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Everyone always says how having a new child changes your life.  My blogging buddy, Chris Bumeter (http://chrisbumeter.wordpress.com/), recently told me that he’s a new father and loves it.  When you read his blog and twitter accounts, you see the proof.

So what does having three kids feel like?  Let’s just say it makes you want to go out and do things you’d never thought in a million years you’d want to do…that’s right, it makes you want to buy a mini-van.

For the record, I’d rather try to take my contacts out with coal-fired tweezers than buy a used car.

So, just days before the birth of my 3rd child, where do I find myself? You guessed it, the Auto Dealership.

I’ve spent almost my entire adult life in sales, and yet, here I am, wrapped in the used car salesman’s web of lies, wishing I was home, staring into the mirror with those scorching tweezers.

I hate buying cars like my kids hate eating healthy, brushing teeth or listening to their mother.

I’m not entirely certain what I hate the most. It’s probably the feeling that no matter how much I research, how much “homework” I do, I always feel like the biggest sucker as I walk out the door. I’m certain my sales guy, Blake, and his manager will be high-fiving each other after selling me a car, while calling their wife’s to tell them that they had a great day and asking whether they would like them to bring home PF Chang’s tonight…

“We can afford it Honey, Daddy sold a big one tonight!”

I also hate the whole Good Cop, Bad Cop routine.

“I want to sell you this car, but my manager’s having a bad day and says he’s gonna lose big on this sale, so we’ll see what he says”…really?  Bad day?  That’s the best you could come up with?

I imagine he goes back to the manager’s office and a tape of Glengarry Glen Ross’s “Coffee’s for Closer’s” is playing on loop  http://www.hark.com/clips/rfvsbnczny-coffees-for-closers

How about all the waiting? If I kept my clients waiting like that they’d leave me in droves and I’d feel awful. And yet, there I am, sifting through October 2010 issues of Motor Trend, while sipping on day’s old coffee, looking for the damn remote to the tv in the waiting room. I guess that’s the fundamental issue with buying a car these days…the salesmen always seem to have us were it hurts. I feel like I should walk out…

But I won’t..

I just bought a mini-van….hope he enjoys the PF Chang’s tonight.

Have you bought a car recently?  Did you enjoy it?  What tips do you have for buying a car?

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