Tag Archives: school


Ring, ring…

DISPATCH:  Police dispatch, how can I help you today?

ME:  Hi, thank you for taking my call. I called you the other day about my kids.

DISPATCH: Sir, I take lots of calls every day… what about your kids?

ME:  Well I’d reported that they’d been kidnapped… but you can just disregard that now.

DISPATCH:  Sir, may I have your name please?

ME:  Mr. Warner.

DISPATCH:  Okay Mr. Warner, it looks like you live on Brown Road?

ME:  Yes I do… I write a blog called Brown Road Chronicles… it’s very funny… have you read it.

DISPATCH:  No, I have not read it… I’m very busy sir, can we please get back to the reason for your call?

ME:  Oh, yes, I’m sorry. I need to cancel that kidnapping report.

DISPATCH:  Okay, let me find your file… one moment, please.

A few minutes later

DISPATCH:  Okay, sir, I am looking at your file.  It looks like you reported your children missing this past Tuesday morning.  That was the first day of school, correct?

ME:  Yes, the first day of school.

DISPATCH:  Did you see your kids that morning?

ME:  No… just the two other kids.

DISPATCH:  Uhhh… who are the two other kids?

ME:  Well you see, when I woke up that morning there were these two other kids in my house. They were wide awake and ready to go to school. They looked familiar, but they were definitely not my kids.

DISPATCH:  Whose kids were they?

ME:  I don’t know sir… I didn’t really recognize them… but they were very pleasant… they must have very good and responsible parents. They were here Wednesday morning also.

DISPATCH:  And your own kids were gone?

ME:  Yes, they appeared to be gone. There was just those two other kids… that’s when I reported the kidnapping.

DISPATCH:  Ummm… okay…. but your kids are back now?

ME:  Yes, yes, I’m pretty sure they’ve been returned safely.

DISPATCH:  What do you mean, you are pretty sure? Are you not sure?

ME:  No, I’m pretty sure.

DISPATCH:  Sir, kidnapping is a serious situation.  Are you sure your kids are there with you?

ME:  Well they’re not with me right now… they’re probably at home.  I am not at home right now, but I drove them to school this morning.

DISPATCH:  So they were at home this morning?

ME:  Yes, I’m pretty sure it was them.

DISPATCH:  And not those other kids that you referred to.

ME:  Yes, yes, not those other kids.  You see, when I went into my son’s bedroom this morning he complained about getting up. After three or four times, he finally got up, but then he lied on the couch and didn’t want to get ready for school and he didn’t want to get his own breakfast.  So I’m pretty sure that it was my son and not that other boy… you know… the one that was here on Tuesday and Wednesday… he didn’t do any of that stuff.

DISPATCH:  Uhhhh…. okay… and your daughter… is she home safely as well?

ME:  I think so.

DISPATCH:  You think so?

ME:  Yes, you see, after the fourth or fifth trip upstairs to get her to wake up, she finally got up, and then she was running around quite chaotically and very disorganized, looking for her school supplies and the stuff she needed for volleyball practice. So I’m pretty sure that it was my daughter and not that other girl… you know… the one that was here on Tuesday and Wednesday… she had all her stuff very organized and packed and ready to go.

DISPATCH:  Sir, have you ever heard the expression “the honeymoon is over”? I think maybe that was just your own kids and they were excited to go to school on those first two days.  It doesn’t take long for kids to get back into their old habits though.  Two days might be a record… I hate to say it, but I think the honeymoon may be over.

ME:  So you don’t think they were missing?

DISPATCH:  No, I think everything was okay. They’re kids… and that’s how kids are.  I will go ahead and close up this case.  Is there anything else I can help you with today?

ME:  Do you have a calendar there?

DISPATCH:  Yes I do… is there something I can look up for you?

ME:  Yes, please… can you tell me how many days until summer vacation?


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School Daze

It’s back to school time for kids all over the country. Fancy new school clothes are being purchased and worn, lunch boxes are being filled, pencils are being sharpened, weapon and drug sniffing dogs are being hired. I know that many of you have probably already sent your kids back to school, but mine don’t start until this coming Tuesday, September 6th. Here in Michigan there is this great law that says all public schools must start after Labor Day, so that the tourism industry can have one last money-making weekend.

These are such important and exciting times when we send our kids off to school to become educated and productive members of our society. I know many parents, this time of year, are quite enthusiastic about the valuable learning opportunities and academic virtues that the schools will bestow on their kids… and that their kids will finally be out of their hair again. Some parents have even been known to celebrate these scholastically important milestone days by dancing around saying things like;


Not me, however. I find it reprehensible that there are parents out there that dislike their children so much that they want to throw a party just because it’s time for their kids to go back to school. I like when my kids are home during the summer. We don’t have to do nearly as much laundry because they can wear the same clothes over and over again. Plus, I get to see them more and I don’t have to drive them to school every day.

Truth be told, I hate these last few days of my kid’s summer vacation. I feel a deep down, intense sorrow for them as summer vacation ends and the reality of going back to school hits. I vividly remember those days as a kid, and how horrible it was. Summers were only two or three months, but they felt like they lasted years. Then suddenly, like a stake through the heart, it was over. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, let alone my own flesh and blood, who I am proud to say, have spent the summer months productively lying around like slugs, playing video games and destroying the house.

So in honor of my kid’s endless summer… well, unfortunately… ending, here is a great post I wrote a while back about children not wanting to go to school. It’s funny, I promise.

A Troubling Situation

On a serious note… if you are a teacher, teacher aide, school administrator… whatever… if you are working with kids, you deserve a round of applause, a pat on the back and a big, sloppy kiss for doing what I believe is some of the most important work out there, educating our kids. Seriously, I believe that! Sorry, I can’t do anything about your salary.

Happy school daze!!


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Diary of a Flat Tire… How I got to keep my man card for another day!

Archive from September 2009… the very first post I ever wrote! Funny! 🙂

I dragged myself out of bed last Friday, normal time, about 6:30 a.m., and started the regular routine.  Shower, shave, Cheerios coffee, fight with the kids to get ready for school.  “At least it’s Friday I thought”, even though I had a 10 hour work day on my schedule for Saturday.  My wife usually leaves for work after me, I drive the kids to school in the mornings and she picks them up in the afternoons.   This day she had to leave early for a staff meeting she had at work.  So I finished getting the troops ready and by 7:20 we headed out the door, got in my truck, a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500, Hemi pick-up, a manly vehicle if I don’t say so myself!  Backing out of the driveway just as I hit the main road outside our house, I heard a little popping sound but didn’t really think much about it.  We have a gravel driveway and live on a dirt road and I figured it was probably just the sound of gravel popping on the tire treads.  So we headed off to school and within a minute or so, there was that sound that every driving adult somehow knows, even though thankfully we don’t get to hear it that often.  Flup, flup, flup, flup…

“Hey, something doesn’t sound right” I said to the kids as I pulled to the side of the road.

“What if we have a flat tire?” my daughter said anxiously.  Mind you, she just started middle school two weeks before and was still trying to get all her ducks in a row.  Now I was about to be responsible for her first tardy!

“Let me get out and see” I said.  Sure enough, my driver’s side rear tire was flat as a pancake… Ugh!   Since we were still close to home, I turned around, and slowly drove back to the house to assess the damage!

What’s the first thing you think of when you have a flat tire? “Damn, I hope the spare is still hooked to the bottom of the truck!”  I tried to remember the last time I’d looked under the truck to inspect the spare tire, and decided I wasn’t sure if I’d ever looked under there.  This truck has 108,000 miles on it and I’d never had to use the spare tire!  I climbed underneath and alas, it was there and appeared to be in good shape other than the years of accumulated road gunk on it.  So I got out the jack and the tire changing tools, all of which appeared to be severely inadequate for a 1.5 ton truck, but I figured the guys at Dodge must have known what they were doing when the spec’d out this toy jack and the various metal pipes that came with it, and I got to work, figuring I could bang this job out quick and still get the kids to school in reasonable time.

I’ll be the first to admit, I not the manliest of men.  I’m about 6’1”, 170 lbs, somewhere between scrawny and reasonably built.  Although I live in Michigan now, I grew up on 1980’s Long Island, wearing parachute pants, pointy shoes and other bit and pieces of apparel that hopefully never show up in photographs on Facebook!  I still like clothes, and try to dress well most days.  I am reasonably athletic, but other than Little League and the occasional intramural team, I never played any organized sports in grade school or in college.  In fact, I spent most of my time in the high school orchestra playing the cello and still occasionally listen to classical music.  I lift weights and exercise a few days a week, but don’t have the guns, pecs or six-pack to show for it.  But I’m also not a complete nancy-boy!  I recently suffered  through  two knee surgeries on an arthritic knee that continues to plague me every day.  I’m handy around the house, having done some major renovations to the 100+ year old farm-house that my family lives in Michigan.  I’ve installed floors, doors, toilets, appliances.  Heavy, physical, exhausting work, weekend after weekend!  Plus, I drive a 2003 Dodge RAM 1500 Hemi pick-up!  Surely I could change my own tire.

The kids had quickly forgotten about going to school and were playfully running around the yard while I got to work on my truck tire.  I assembled the spare tire rod and cranked the spare down from underneath the truck, removed it from the attachment cord and pulled it out to inspect.  “Wow, looks good” I thought, “first crisis averted!”  Next I set the jack underneath the side of the truck, a couple of feet in front of the rear tire, hooked the crank to it and started cranking it up.   Crank, crank, turn, turn, crank… pretty soon this thing was fully extended and would you believe it, the tire wasn’t even off the ground!  Maybe those Dodge guys didn’t know what they were doing!  Or maybe they accidentally slipped the jack for the Dodge Avenger into my truck.   Crank, crank, turn, turn, I jacked the truck all the way back down.  “Guess I better look at the manual” I thought.  I looked through the index, which guided me to Page 258 – How to Change a Flat Tire.  Blah, blah, blah, there it is, you have to “locate the jack underneath the axle between the spring and the shock absorber.”  I guess it pays to read the directions.

But before that, better call the middle school, my daughter is now going to be late.  “Hello, this is Mr. Warner, Madeline Warner’s Dad.  We just got in our car to drive to school and we have a flat tire, so she is going to be a little bit late.”  “But it’s okay”, I wanted to say, “her superhero Dad has changed his share of flat tires before and will just bang this one out… so we’ll see you in about 20 minutes.”  But I didn’t.

Back to the truck.  I got down underneath, put the jack where it’s supposed to be, and started cranking.  Crank, crank, turn, turn, crank, turn and there it goes, the tire is off the ground, and we’re ready to roll.  Next I got out the lug wrench, attached it to each lug nut, stamped on it to loosen each nut, twisted each one off, thought “we’ll be done here in 5 minutes”, grabbed the flat, and pulled… and pulled… and yanked… and pulled.  “What the fuck” I said, hoping afterward that the kids we’re not within earshot.  I couldn’t get the damn wheel off the truck.  I continued to pull and yank and pry until my arms were vibrating from the workout I was getting.  By this time the kids were fascinated with this whole routine and were watching anxiously, wondering now if they were ever getting to school, or if maybe they’d get to take the day off.

“I can’t get the friggin wheel off” I told them, toning down the four letter words that were shooting out of my mouth like fireworks on the 4th of July.

“Can I try?” asked my son.

“Yeah, give it a whirl buddy” I said with a smile, his comment taking some of the edge off this whole troubling situation.  No, he couldn’t get the wheel off either.

Back to the manual.  I read and re-read every step but couldn’t find anything beyond the ordinary steps of changing a tire.  Remove the spare, jack it up, remove the lug nuts, pull off the wheel, put the spare on, tighten the lug nuts most of the way, jack it back down, tighten the lug nuts TIGHT!  Nothing anywhere about stuck wheels, or wheels fused onto the lug bolts, or special tools that only the dealerships have access to, so that ordinary guys like me can’t change their own tires.  After another 15-20 minutes of tugging and yanking and kicking I put up the white flag.  “Sorry guys, I can’t get the wheel off, I am going to call uncle Bob and see if he can give us a ride.”

Ring, ring, ring…


“Bob, it’s Steve, I’ve got a problem.  I have a flat tire on my truck, I have it jacked up, lug nuts are off and I can’t get the wheel off the truck… and I’ve got to get the kids to school.  Madeline is already late, Jonathan will be late shortly.  Are you anywhere nearby?”

“Do you want me to just come by and pick you up?”.

“Yeah, would you mind?”

Sunday morning I got up, made coffee, turned on CBS Sunday Morning, a typical relaxing weekend day.  Bob had picked us up Friday morning.  We delivered the kids to school and me to work.  I had told my horror story to all my co-workers, everyone got a good laugh and all was okay.  “That happened to me once”, a colleague offered, “you need to hit it with a sledge-hammer.”  That sounded a little aggressive to me, but I was accepting any and all advice at this point.  I used one of our business vehicles to get home Friday night and back to work Saturday morning, and my wife picked me up Saturday evening and drove me home.  On Saturday at work I had done some internet research and discovered that I was not alone in my experience.  Lots of folks had written about this situation, and the consensus solution seemed to be, put the lug nuts back on, don’t tighten them up much, drive back and forth a few times, and that should free up whatever evil force is holding the wheel on.

So about 11:30 Sunday morning I headed back out to battle the stuck wheel once again.  I cranked down the jack, pulled it out from underneath the truck, got in, drove back and forth a few times, got out, jacked it back up… and pulled and yanked and pried.  Still nothing!  This wheel was not coming off.

“Do you want me to help you pull”, my wife came out and asked, probably feeling more sympathy for me than actually believing the two of us would be able to pull off this wheel.  But we tried anyhow.

“One, two, three, pull!”

“Nope” she said, “that’s not coming off!”

“This shouldn’t be this hard, I said”

“What if you put it in neutral”, my wife offered, “then you’d be able to spin the tire and maybe loosen it up.”

“Okay, I guess we’ll try that” I conceded.

Let alone being a stupidly unsafe idea, if you want to destroy your jack, put your car in neutral and yank on the wheel a few times.  The truck rolled off the jack, forcing the jack’s crank shaft into the ground and bending it into a nice curved shape.

“Well that jack is finished”, I grumbled.   “Let’s get the jack out of your van.”

“You could call Mike”, my wife offered. Mike is a friend of ours who is a Ford mechanic and can pretty much fix anything.

“Or you could call AAA” she added.  “We pay $75.00 a year and we never use the service, this is what it’s there for.”

“Yeah, I guess I could do that” I offered, thinking “there’s no way in hell I’m gonna call AAA ‘cause I have a flat tire in my own driveway.  That $75.00 is for when I drive off the road on a snowy, icy night on a road trip across the county.”

“You’re not embarrassed to call AAA, are you”, she asked?

“Uh, no, no” I mumbled, “I could, uh, maybe do that.”  I felt my own lug nuts shrink just a little bit up into my body!  Mike on the other hand, yeah, maybe I could call Mike and see if he has ever run into this situation.

Ring, ring, ring.


“Hi, Jordan, this is Mr. Warner, any chance your Dad is around, I’d like to speak to him.”

“He’s up on the roof” she replied.

“Oh… uh… what’s he doing up there?”

“He and a few friends are stripping off the old shingles and installing a new roof.”

“Oh, okay, well maybe when he gets down, could you have him call me, thanks.”  So, Mike is installing a new roof on his house, and I can’t even change my own truck tire!  I went back in the house, poured some more coffee, waited for Mike to call back, and decided to get back on-line to see if I could Google the “magic bullet” that would finally help me release my flat tire from my truck.

And that’s when I found it.  No, not the magic bullet… but the motivation!  I found this website, where there was this big long forum thread where people where talking and bitching about flat tires.  “They always happen at the most inopportune time” wrote one lady.  “Right outside your house is probably the best option,” I thought to myself.  Another guy wrote about how there was no space along the side of the highway to change a tire. “I have plenty of space in my driveway”, I said under my breath, “without the threat of 80 mph traffic flying by my head.”  So I scrolled down farther, past the various musings about flat tires, and there was the post of all posts:

“The first time that I tried to change a tire on my current car, the stupid wheel would not come off.  I was shaking the whole car, trying to get it off, and afraid that it would fall right off the jack. So I call roadside assistance. 30 minutes later, a big guy with a Russian accent arrives, takes one look at the tire, says “this is what you do”, kicks it, and it falls right off. I tore up my Man Card right there.”

I laughed my ass off when I read that!!  Man, I could totally relate to this guy, and I could totally picture this big burly Russian dude, showing up, probably wearing a flannel wife-beater shirt, jeans, ratty work boots with the heels worn down on that angle that makes your feet hurt just looking at it.  He kicks this guy’s sissy little tire, and it falls off like a lump of clay.  “Good thing I didn’t call AAA” I thought to myself, “I don’t want to have to tear up my Man Card!”

I shut down the computer, went back outside, grabbed my crowbar out of the barn, walked over to the truck, laid down in the gravel driveway, just outside the back bumper, just far enough back that I wouldn’t be crushed if the truck came off the jack.  And I swung the crowbar, hard, right into the back of the wheel…THUD!  And the wheel just fell right off, just like the Russian guy said.  I put the spare on and within minutes my good ‘ol truck was ready for another day, or at least ready to drive to the tire shop to buy a new tire.

So, I can keep my Man Card for another day.  I called Mike back, got his wife this time, and told her that all was well, and Mike didn’t need to call anymore.

“He hasn’t come down off the roof yet” she interjected.

“Well, he doesn’t need to call anymore.  I was having some car trouble, but I figured it all out,” I said, not leading on that I was just trying to change my truck tire.  He’ll probably think I was putting in a new transmission or something!


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A Troubling Situation

I wrote a post awhile back called “I Don’t Want to Go to School”. I was having one of those Sunday nights where I didn’t want to get up for work the next day. It wasn’t really even about not wanting to go to school. It was about that feeling I used to get as a kid on Sunday nights when the joy of the weekend was over, and how I have been feeling it lately as an adult. But what I have discovered since writing that fine piece is that it appears there is a rampant outbreak in the child populous, of kids that don’t want to go to school… an epidemic! No, perhaps it should be classified as an endemic:

en•dem•ic:  natural to or characteristic of a specific people or place; native; indigenous.

Yes, an endemic, characteristic of a specific people… those people being kids… and not just any kids… indigenous kids… and not just any indigenous kids… but apparently a rogue band of thugs that think they can take on the world with total disregard to the covenants of law and order and societal stability, kids that are trying to deceive their parents, and ultimately figuring out ways to not have to go to school.

Heathens, I say… heathens!

Personally I am troubled by this development, by this trend towards school based animosity in our youth… I always wanted to go to school… and even when I didn’t want to go to school, which was most days, I got up and went to school. I didn’t try to get out of going to school and I didn’t have the internet to help me design some trickster scheme to get out of it, like these fraudulent children that are sitting in their rooms at night typing away on their computers or their i-phones, trying to find ways to pretend to be sick or incapacitated and unable to attend school. In fact, I was always up and ready for school on time, promptly out to the bus stop, dressed dapperly in my matching Garanimals clothing and proudly carrying my lunchbox… the epitome of grade school scholarly excellence. My older brothers on the other hand… hooligans… always late, running around chaotically every morning trying to get showered and dressed and find their school books and finish their homework and perhaps eat something for breakfast.

So… how, you ask, do I know about this endemic that is destroying our youth, eating away at our future leaders of the free world, sucking the life out of our society? Well, let me tell you… let me see if I can convey the gravity of this dire situation. Each day as I read my stats page, which as you know from my post B.O.O.B.S. can become a serious mental health condition, I have noticed a boon of readership being directed to my blog by an abundance of search engine terms from disillusioned children that don’t want to go to school.

I have listed and cataloged these search terms and expressions below and included some expert analysis about these youth that I gathered from a team of renowned experts and led by Professor of Sociopathology at Harvard University, Dr. Schullis Sukey.

Category 1:  i don’t want to go to school  and  “i don’t want to go to school”

These children clearly have the capacity to become future leaders of a rogue nation, all spelling and punctuation is correct, they are educated, they state the facts clearly and succinctly. Our experts could not decipher the use of quotation marks, perhaps a future blogger or leader of a terrorist organization.

Category 2:  I don’t want to go to school tomorrow  and  tomorrow don’t want to go to school

These children are singularly focused only on the following day, tomorrow… clearly a function of not having an assignment done. These are procrastinators, deadbeats, delinquents, those who will one day be taking handouts and sucking entitlements from our government.

Category 3:  I don’t want school  and  don’t want school

These are not just children that don’t want to go to school. These kids don’t WANT school, they don’t believe in school, as if society would be better off if we didn’t have laws that required our children to become educated and productive members of our society. They can only be classified as renegades, laggards. As adults, these children will thrive only in some kind of Mad-Max apocalyptic society.

Category 4:  Don’t want to to go to school photos  and  I don’t want to go to school youtube

Not only do these children not want to go to school, they are voyeuristic, they are searching for images and video of other kids not going to school. It is suspected that since they don’t know how not to have to go to school themselves, they can only thrive vicariously on images of other outlaw youth not going to school. These children will grow into adults who will be chronically unemployed and will wastefully spend their days viewing videos and images of other non-productive adults not going to work.

Category 5:  I don’t want 2 go school  and  Don’t wanna go 2 school 2 day

These children like numbers, maybe they excel in mathematics. More likely they are chronic texters, technologically saavy, early-adapters of the latest high-tech gadgets. These children can only be classified as those who will someday develop the skills to infiltrate vast government and financial computer systems. Studies show these kids have the potential to cause great harm to society but only if they are able to refrain from the deleterious effects of texting while driving.

Category 6:  I don’t go to school  and  I don’t to go to school

These children are an anomaly. At first glance it appears they have already abandoned any semblance of a productive life. They don’t go to school. They most likely have parents who are so wrapped-up in their own personal problems that they are unaware that their children are not going to school. Yet, on the other hand, these are kids that are the deciders, kids that have taken this whole school situation into their own hands. These children will probably grow up to become successful leaders and entrepreneurs.

Category 7:  don’t go school, do not want to school, I don’t wan school  and  I don,t want school

These children are a major concern. Evidence suggests that they do not want to go to school because, frankly, it’s most obvious that they are struggling in school. Issues with spelling, grammar and punctuation lead our experts to believe these kids are not getting the special attention and access to remedial programs necessary to bring them up to academic speed with the rest of their classmates. The No Child Left Behind program has clearly left these children behind. Rapid intervention is crucial for these children to not become criminally active and a scourge to society.

Category 8:  Kid don’t want to go to school

This classification of child baffled our team of experts. In the search engine terms, this youth clearly identifies himself as a “kid”. It is believed that this youngster has a clear and confident self-image. Evidence here suggests this is just an average kid that doesn’t want to go to school.

So, my friends… now that you have a clear understanding of the issues at hand, I implore you to stay aware and abreast of this troubling situation. I’ll leave you with this message:  to all the kids out there that are reading my blog…

Kids, stay in school and don’t do drugs.

Now, if I could only get control of all of the creepy readership being directed to my blog by my article on B.O.O.B.S.


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