Working My Contacts

Nothing unnatural about this!

In spite of the fact that I’m moving in just over a week, quitting my job of eight years, and prepping to begin graduate school, I looked at my life and decided that there simply weren’t enough changes to adjust to. To that end, I am now shedding 25 years of history and using contact lenses instead of glasses. The logic here was that I’m on my current job’s vision plan until the end of the month, and I’ve spent a lot of years not taking advantage of it. Well no more of that! Now I can join the ranks of people who stick their fingers in their eye on a daily basis. Continue reading

Writing Sucks

writer's block

Maybe I’d be more comfortable if I wasn’t wearing a suit…

I discovered that I don’t really like writing.

Okay, that’s not true. I do like writing. I like sitting down to the keyboard and hammering something out, posting it, and maybe responding to a few comments. But what I discovered is that’s about as far as my love goes. Continue reading

Mr. Controversy

shouting match

Well, I say England’s greatest Prime Minister was Lord Palmerston!

One the worst days, I feel like the chief purpose of the internet is to share opinions. Well, “share” might be too strong a word. More like “declare” them. We all have to guide our way through our Facebook feeds to keep our heckles from rising as we read the various opinions from our friends that angry up the blood. Blogging has a particular tendency toward this, because it allows for things to be a little more long-form and thought-out (ideally). In spite of the fact that The Rumpus Room started as a board game blog, in my quest for more content I’ve expanded to a wider range of topics, mostly revolving around 1) piddly crap that interests me and 2) my kids. Continue reading

A Shotgun Full of Snow

Class 3 Kill-Storm

Look, I hate overwrought media hoopla as much as the next person. But that being said, I’m a total sucker for the lead-up to a big storm. For those who don’t live in the Kansas City area, we are evidently about the get buried in a good 8 inches of the white stuff, and very likely more. Snow storms are great, because big ones start getting quiet murmurs as far out as a week. I’m lucky enough to have one of those jobs that actually gets snow days when things get bad enough, so a day where more than six inches falls means I won’t have to brave the elements. That’s not as relaxing as it used to be now that I have kids and a driveway to shovel, but I’ll take it anyway. Besides, if the kids become too much of a headache I can arm them with shovels and bundle them up. Just like that, both problems are solved. Continue reading

The Worst Christmas Songs Ever

broken christmas ornament

Christmas is RUINED.

I  like Christmas songs a lot, but I don’t think any of us could doubt that a large percentage of holiday music is terrible. This became obvious when I discovered 24-hour Christmas music stations, and realized that a couple of songs were awful no matter what. There’s a magical balance between schmaltz and earnest emotion that only the most skilled of musicians can hit. I’m more tolerant of sacred music, if only because it resonates on a deeper level for me and isn’t played mercilessly on the radio. There are awful versions of good songs too, like all of those overwrought renditions of O Holy Night. But there are some that are terrible at a deeper level, the kind that make you change the station before you are compelled to jump out a window. Continue reading

The Stairs, the Baby, and the Wardrobe


Our house is not nearly this magical.

For some reason unknown, our duplex is a quintuple split-level. That is, there are five levels staggered from the basement to The Big One’s room, or as I call it the Crow’s Nest. This means there are stairs, stairs everywhere. It wasn’t a huge problem when we moved in, because we only had one kid at the time and he could climb stairs pretty well. But when we had the second one I was worried we would be impeded by baby gates all over the place. Continue reading