Nightmare

What was that?

You bolt upright.

Groggy from a sleep cut short, you stay still to let your eyes adjust to the dark. The house is silent, yet you feel an uneasy presence. You scan the room, glancing briefly at the bedside clock. Three in the morning.

Suddenly, a remote, rustling noise.

No. It can’t be.

You hold your breath and listen. Motionless.

Swoosh. Swoosh. Swoosh. Faint shuffle of feet being dragged across the floor at the far corner of the house. A pause.

You take a deep breath. Silence.

You exhale. Nothing.

Then an eerie, unmistakable sound of a door creaking open.

Not again!

The shuffling continues. Louder now. More tangible. Then it stops once more.

You force your eyes to focus.

There.

At the end of the narrow corridor, silhouetted against the living room window, looms a dark, featureless figure. It sways silently in bleak moonlight. Outside, in the distance, a dog howls.

You gulp.

With a sharp jerk, the ghostly visitor swivels and looks right at you. It sees you now, despite the darkness of the bedroom.

You thought this was over!

The ghost starts to amble in your direction. Slow, deliberate steps. It doesn’t speak. All it produces is a rhythmic sucking sound.

You’re frozen in place.

The figure locks eyes with you and speeds up, each step now punctuated by a thud.

This must stop. It has to stop.

The phantom comes to an abrupt halt just a few feet from you. It hovers there, still shrouded by shadows. Reaching into its unseen mouth, the specter grabs hold of something and yanks it out.

It speaks.

“I had a bad dream. Can I sleep with you, Daddy?”

You sigh, then smile.

“Sure, little monkey. Climb in.”

You slide over to make room for her. She snuggles up to you, puts the pacifier back in, and clutches your hand. Soon, she’s sleeping.

Tomorrow. She’ll stay in her bed tomorrow.

Holding hands

Here’s to seven. Go for seventy?

Exactly seven years ago, I kissed a girl (and I liked it).

Fast forward to today, and we have our own place, two cats, two kids, and two wedding rings that spell “Infinity and beyond” when you put them next to each other.

Only seven years. That’s not such a long time, really. But what a lifetime of difference.

I thought for a while about what word I’d pick to best describe this time with you. The word I keep coming back to is: “Easy.”

Wow, how romantic, right?

Yet it’s true. Hear me out.

I’ve always been told that relationships are tough. That conflict is virtually unavoidable. That, after a while, it’ll all be about arguments, constant push and pull, and half-hearted compromises that leave nobody happy.

Growing up as one of so many children with divorced parents, some part of me assumed that couples sticking together happily was a miracle on par with finding a literal pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Every clichéd marriage stereotype has been preparing me for this weird life of unspoken grudges and mind games, because “women be from Venus and men be from Mars, yo”…

…and then you came along to prove all of that wrong.

After seven years, I can count the number of serious fights we’ve had on the fingers of Captain Hook’s hand. I fail to recall a single instance of drama for the sake of drama. No meaningless conflict, no blame placing and finger pointing.

Thanks to you, major life decisions—ones that should give people cold feet and keep them awake at night—have been some of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made.

Buying an apartment together? Easy.

Getting married? Easy.

Traveling the world together, getting cats, becoming parents, and then becoming parents again. All easy. I wouldn’t hesitate to do it all over again.

Now, I won’t pretend that parenting is a smooth ride without friction. If anything, these past few weeks have proven that it’s an often bumpy road. But I couldn’t have wished for a better partner than you to navigate these rough waters with.

You juggle so many roles—wife, friend, boss, mother—with such effortless grace.

Whenever I watch you intuitively use the right combination of words to turn Nathan from combative to compliant or soothe seemingly inconsolable Nia gently to sleep, I catch myself being in awe of the endless well of positive energy you seem to draw from.

Your patience and inner strength are a huge part of what holds this family together.

Hell, you often hold me together.

You’re a calming presence when I’m quick to anger. You’re a counterweight to my neurotic brain. You’re a rock-steady constant in an often hectic life full of daily struggles and frustrations.

You ground me.

You’re my home.

You make it so easy for me to be, well, me.

All of this is why it’s just so incredibly easy to keep being in love with you.

If there’s one thing I do find difficult, it’s to imagine anyone else I’d rather spend the rest of my life with.

So what do you say…go for seventy?

Baby feet girl

And then they were two…

This is going to surprise you, but parenting is sort of hard. Harder than owning cats, even.

You take care of a tiny little human that relies on you for everything and needs near-constant attention. In return, you’re rewarded with sleepless nights, constant worries, and—later—toddler’s temper tantrums. Awesome!

So then you, a rational, sane person, look upon this shitty deal and go, “Hey, I know! Let’s have another baby!”

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Trump holding two babies

James Comey bombshell: “Trump may be devouring infants.”

Dear Messrs Chairmen,

In my previous congressional testimony, I have not mentioned Donald Trump in any capacity. Due to recent developments, I am writing to supplement my previous testimony.

In connection with an unrelated case, the FBI has learned of the existence of two words that may be pertinent to describing Donald Trump. That case: a casual perusal of the English Thesaurus. The words: “infanticide” and “cannibalism.”

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Group of people dressed as red superheroes

Email troll: “Pssst, hey…got some superpowers, man?”

Many a moon ago, in the ancient year of 2012, yours truly penned an article about ridiculous superpowers for sale on eBay.

Most of you read the articles, chuckled about how silly it’d be if someone naively fell for buying a magic ring that allegedly granted them invisibility, and went on with your lives.

But one man dared to be different. He read the article, bravely ignored the words inside it, and contacted me about buying some superpowers.

That man’s name is Ravi, and this is the story of our brief correspondence, delivered to you in its full, unfiltered glory.

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Donald Trump at RNC in July 2016

So you’re still voting for Trump. Why the bleeping bleep?!

It’s mid-October. Less than a month to go until America elects a new president. Are you planning to vote for Trump? Cool, cool…

Hey, quick question: What the actual Muslim-banning fuck?! How in the name of molesting Tic Tac can this be true?!

Listen, I understand. You dislike Clinton. You really, really, really dislike Clinton. Crooked Hillary. Benghazi. Emails. “Hillary For Prison.” Loud noises. Okay!

I’m not here to defend Clinton. She does happen to have the next-worst favorability rating of all presidential nominees in history, second only to Trump himself.

But again: Why are you still voting for Trump?

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Man holding fork, picking up a slice of chicken

7 honest reviews of food I found in my fridge

My wife and son went on vacation last Friday. I was left to my own devices (laptop, smartphone).

You probably think I spent my alone time having a series of mini-comas to catch up on all the sleep I’d lost during the last year of parenting. That’s because you haven’t met my brain.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Daniel’s brain. I like to keep Daniel awake with inconsequential crap like whether he remembered to cross out an item on his to-do list or whether he should consider starting a to-do list to keep track of crossed-out items on his other to-do lists. I am the worst.”

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