Search results for peter mckay
Apr 29, 2017 / By Peter McKay

On my Facebook wall, my wife recently posted a picture of a signboard that said: “Being a Dad seems to consist mainly of being grumpy and knowing things.”

My daughters instantly agreed that the sign summed me up completely in just 13 words. I’m OK with that job description, especially the grumpy part. 

Being a dad is a thankless job in which you are called on only to give advice, fix things and, once a week, hand over your entire paycheck without cryi

Apr 01, 2017 / By Peter McKay
I grew up reading the comic strip “The Family Circus,” and I always looked forward to the yearly strip where Bil Keane would hand over his pen to his kid Billy, who would take over for a day with scribbly drawings. And I always meant to do the same. But none of our kids are around these days, and I’m pretty sure most of them would be surprised to hear that Dad still writes a newspaper column. So looking around, the only candidate I’ve got is our West Highland white terrier, Sophie. She looks lik
Apr 15, 2017 / By Peter McKay
When my wife and I traveled last month, we decided to do Airbnb instead of staying in a stuffy hotel. When we first arrived at the house, there was a handy checklist on the kitchen table from the homeowners — the Wi-Fi password, best restaurants in the neighborhood, favorite walks and even a note on the cute dog next door. (He’s very friendly, and if he’s out, you should definitely pet him through the fence!) Very importantly, the list told us there was a bottle of wine in the fridge and where t
Mar 04, 2017 / By Peter McKay
Little confession here. I have not had a professional haircut in almost 10 years. The paper doesn’t run my picture, but if it did, that confession would be unnecessary. My hair, where it exists, sprouts in various directions, as if I’d stuck my finger in a light socket on a day when there was already a fair amount of static electricity in the air. I have hair in the back and some in the front, but there’s a growing chasm between them. In another year or so, I will have just a little isolated pat
Mar 18, 2017 / By Peter McKay
I pretty much wait all week for Sunday morning. Weekdays my wife and I both have to roll out of bed early for work, and Saturday mornings, my wife gets up at the crack of dawn to go running, so I have to crawl out of the sack early to avoid looking like a total bum. (Having your wife come home from a 10-mile slog in subzero temps and finding you still snoring away is a good way to ruin the rest of the day.) But Sunday mornings, we sleep in, and whoever wakes up first goes downstairs to bring
Feb 18, 2017 / By Peter McKay
This week, I read that handsomest guy in the world George Clooney and his wife, Amal, are expecting twins. The babies are expected to arrive in the spring. It’s great news, and I expect that pretty much every woman in the world would like to be in Mrs. Clooney’s shoes, and not just because they’re most likely Manolo Blahniks. He seems to be a great guy, and the Clooney twins will never have to work a day in their lives. Odds are those kids are going to be great looking. If they ever end up marry
Feb 04, 2017 / By Peter McKay
It happens just about every winter. The weather gets cold and mice start making their way through the many, many cracks and crevices in our old house to find places to wait out the winter. I personally don’t think it’s all that warm, or even all that nice, inside our place, but they seem to like it. Most years, I’ll find a ripped bag of chips or a cake with suspicious nibbling. Once or twice I’ve come down to find the butter with little claw marks on the side, and I know our winter house guests
Jan 21, 2017 / By Peter McKay
About 20 years ago, my wife and I realized that we were reproducing at an alarming rate. Every time we turned around, there was a new baby crawling across the floor. We made two important decisions. First, when we hit the magic number of five, we stopped. It’s a big family but not in the Duggar range. Second, we moved our master bedroom up to the third floor of our house just so I could get away from the chaos. Our third floor, originally meant as an attic, is hot in the summer and freezing in t
Jan 07, 2017 / By Peter McKay
When it comes to cars, there are two different kinds of owners. There are the folks who drive newer cars and cruise happily and confidently down the highway, assured that they’re getting where they’re going. Then there are people, like my wife and me, who drive older cars. With every mile, we used car people know, deep in our souls, that something is going to go wrong. It might not be today or tomorrow, but it’s a-coming. As long as we’re classifying people, there’s an even further breakdown amo
Dec 24, 2016 / By Peter McKay
So now we come to the most stressful day of the holiday season. If you have time to read this, it means that you’ve already purchased all your gifts. (Of course, if you haven’t finished your shopping, put down the paper and get to the mall, you dope.) But now, as you sit there with your coffee and burnt toast, you have to listen to the annoying voice in the back of your head: Did I get enough? Did I get the right things? What if I got something small and my spouse got me something big? Gift givi
Dec 10, 2016 / By Peter McKay
Last weekend, we faced the annual deadline that everyone greets with dread — the last leaf pickup of the fall. Our town is great on leaves. All autumn, on almost a weekly basis, the borough crew comes by with a big vacuum/​chopper thing attached to a dump truck, and, as long as you get your leaves to the curb, they’ll take them up the hill to a cliff and drop them off into a nearby ravine. Some day there’s going to be a huge leaf slide, and the whole thing’s going to roll down and block the en
Sep 17, 2016 / By Peter McKay
I hate going to the supermarket alone. I find it confusing, frustrating and full of neighbors I ought to know the names of but don’t. I greatly prefer to follow my wife around the market as she selects products, talks to the butcher and greets people. My main job is to push the shopping cart, following slowly behind my spouse like some dimwitted apprentice. This was an important job when we had lots of kids in the house. Sometimes we’d buy so much we'd fill the cart, and I’d have to run and ge
Sep 03, 2016 / By Peter McKay
I have a terrible confession to make. I hate kids. Before I get hate mail, maybe “hate” is too strong a word. I have no interest in kids whatsoever. In general, they are smelly, dirty and unable to hold interesting conversations. Unless their parents are standing right there, they probably don’t wash their hands after using the restroom. More often than not, they have stuff coming out of their noses. Parents I meet seem to think their kids are fantastical beings that need to be shared with e
Nov 05, 2016 / By Peter McKay
As you’re reading this, my wife and I are getting ready to marry off our oldest son, Daniel, to a lovely girl from Philadelphia he met right out of college. It’s a real moment for us. Even though our kids are all out of the house, this will be the first time one of them actually crosses over into adulthood. Over 30 years ago, when my wife and I were about to tie the knot, I remember submitting ourselves to an interview by the minister. He sent us a series of detailed questions, a checklist des
Jul 23, 2016 / By Peter McKay / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Over the past week, the news people on my TV have been going absolutely crazy about a craze sweeping the nation — Pokemon Go. If you’re not familiar with the whole phenomenon, it’s the latest version of a Japanese game where you run around, collect little cartoon monsters with odd names, train them to fight each other and then rack up points if your monster beats someone else’s monster. Thanks to smart phones, players can now dart all over creation collecting virtual Pokemon characters, which
Jul 09, 2016 / By Peter McKay
The other day, I noticed that the apple tree in our backyard was looking sickly. The leaves were wilted, the new baby apples look like dried prunes, and little mounds of sawdust around the base meant that something, or things, had treated the trunk as a smorgasbord. It didn’t come as a big surprise. The apple tree was kind of funky when we bought the house 25 years ago. Split in the middle, it was held together by two metal hooks and an old rusty chain. Our kids knew they were not allowed to c
Jun 25, 2016 / By Peter McKay
The internet is great for a lot of things. You can keep up on news that isn’t really news. You can see what other people are eating for dinner, and you can reacquaint yourself with people you’re not sure you ever even knew.The one bad thing, though, is that the internet has convinced all of us that we have a medical degree. In the bad old days, folks died of things such as “consumption” or “the grippe,” and you woke up every morning knowing today could be the first day of the end of your life.
Jun 11, 2016 / By Peter McKay
Last Sunday, my wife had to work and asked me to go to the supermarket. I cringed. In my defense, I do a lot of things that many men would balk at. Half the time, I cook my own dinner. I do my own laundry and iron my own shirts. I have washed so many dishes over the course of our marriage that I should have “Maytag” tattooed on my arm. I go to the supermarket all the time but with my wife in charge. When she’s there, my responsibility consists of following behind like a zombie on a leash,
Aug 06, 2016 / By Peter McKay
In the news this week, researchers at the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services released an astounding report upending what most of us had taken to be gospel on tooth and gum care. The government researchers now say …you might want to sit down for this … that flossing your teeth is pretty much a waste of time. The announcement was met with aggravation by millions of Americans who’d been spending countless hours and billions of bucks on dental floss, relief by thousands of ot
Apr 02, 2016 / By Peter McKay
For years now, my wife and I have been dog owners — nights and weekends. Our West Highland white terrier Sophie sleeps at our house but goes to my in-laws down the street during the week. It works out well for both sides. My in-laws enjoy Sophie’s company, and Sophie gets bored just peeing on our carpets. Going someplace else gives her a fresh canvas. Sophie also enjoys the fact that at Grandpa’s house, there’s a constant supply of munchies. She gets whatever grub Grandpa offers her off the ta

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