“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively”  ~Dalai Lama



My father, who Ian calls Grandpa B, was notorious for what can only be described as, ‘flying in the face of all rules,’ and being crafty enough to spin a perfect argument for its justification. It was difficult to be angry or call him out on it, because it was incredibly hilarious, and in some twisted way, made a lot of sense. One particular event is the epitome of his life approach and has been retold numerous times over the years since my father passed. 

One year, my parents visited us in Colorado where they stayed at a nice hotel, maybe Country Inn and Suites, who served the typical continental breakfast each morning for their guests. My dad, more than anyone I know except Ian, loved breakfast, and food in general, so I assumed he and my mom enjoyed their muffins, cereal and coffee each morning at the hotel. A year later, when they returned to visit and stayed with us at our place, I learned that was not the case.  One morning my dad arrived back from his bike ride, but quite a bit later than we expected, so he missed my homemade breakfast.  This was a rare occurrence for the man who always helped himself to two servings at each meal, and used at least two tablespoons of butter for each piece of bread.  When asked why he was late, he simply looked at us and explained, “Well, last year we skipped the continental breakfast one morning at that hotel where we stayed, so I ate there this morning.  They owed me one meal. After all, I did pay for it.” Rumor has it, he boldly rolled his bike right into the lobby (with no key), feasted on the buffet and rode home – without giving it a second thought. 

There is no doubt that if my father was around today, he and Ian would be evading many rules together.  This one’s for you Dad!  HAPPY BIRTHDAY!  I miss you everyday.

Finger in Your Butt

Text from Ian’s Special Education Teacher: 

According to Ian, there are no rules that forbid ordering pizza at midnight delivered to your back window, dancing in the middle of a hockey game, or borrowing your mom’s money from her ‘secret’ drawer.  However, in high school, you should NEVER, “put your finger in your butt!” That very text inspired the following and reminded me of all of the mishaps, misconduct, and misunderstandings in our lives, courtesy of Ian.



What Filter? 

Most of the time, we all love the fact that Ian is uninhibited and seems to have no filter at all. We often envy his carefree, ‘say anything’ attitude about life and rules (thanks, Grandpa B).. With that said, one afternoon between hockey games, the parents were standing around enjoying  a few beverages between games. One of Ian’s coaches was sharing stories about Ian and what he pulls off during practices and games. Many of the tales revolve around the fact that Ian says and does things that the rest of us think–but would never act upon. He described how, at the beginning of each game Ian always made his rounds to the referee and opposing team’s players to ask if he might ‘get a goal’ or to secure his place in every faceoff. I am sure every other player would like the same treatment, but really?  Who does that?  One of the dads piped up and exclaimed, “That’s it! I’m just gonna live my life like Ian –  F*@k it!”  Laughter filled the room, and at that moment, we all decided that t-shirts and bumper stickers should definitely be ordered.  Entrepreneur Grandpa B. would have purchased and distributed those t-shirts – and promptly secured a profit.

What Are You Wearing Now?

In the last year or so, Chad and I have had the luxury of being able to leave Ian home, unattended, for short periods of time. For better or worse, Ian is always intensely engrossed with his video game, such that he hardly notices we left the premises. If we sneak off for 20 minutes while he is holed up in his room, in the midst of a heated Fortnite battle, he would be none the wiser. Still, I always worry that he might re-enter the real world and wreak havoc, maybe trying to cook a Big Nasty. Either way, we lose. Yet, he is nice enough to allow us to think he was an angel, as we often do not discover what mayhem he caused until later, such as Chad being unable to log into a computer the next day to work. Or, even a few days later, when Chad yells, “Where the hell did the 10 tortillas go that were in the outside fridge?” 

Despite what might ensue, we take the chance and head out for a daily walk. Upon return, I always do a quick check around and discover that Ian had changed pants from what he was wearing in the morning. Likely missed by the untrained eye, this is a subtle sign that something is amiss. Plus I have enough damn laundry on a weekly basis without Ian changing clothes mid-day.  

Caught with Your Pants Down

A play inspired by true events – unfortunately. 

Act I 

Scene 1

Narrator:  Mom is trying to be calm and rational, while coaxing son (Ian) to truthfully answer the simple question about why he has on different pants. 

Mom: “So in order for us to go out for ice cream tonight, you need to tell us what happened to the black sweat pants you wore all day. Why did you need to change?”

Stage direction: Sound: dead silence. Son (Ian) will stare into space as if not being talked to.

Mom: (Repeats the same question, but a little slower and a bit more agitated)  “So in order for us to go out for ice cream tonight, you need to tell us what happened to the black sweat pants you wore all day. Why did you need to change?”

Mom: (Decides to put words into son’s mouth otherwise this scene will drag on for what feels like eternity.) “Let me guess, we went for a walk, you played with a cat a little too rough and then threw your pants in the bottom of the closet to hide them.”

Son(speaks quickly and without hesitation.) “No, I didn’t put them in the CLOSET, I put them in the LAUNDRY!”

Stage direction: Mom is speechless, which if you know this character is a very rare occurrence. 

Son: Tilts head slightly and looks at mom with his usual smug “I won this one” grin.


High School Cafeteria Fine Dining 

Despite the amazing, healthy meals Chad prepares every night that end up in Ian’s lunch the next day, Ian insists that the school’s hot lunch is far superior to this gourmet cooking. Most kids probably open their lunch to a dry bologna sandwich, Cheetos and some fruit – aka fruit snacks. Meanwhile, Ian dines on a Korean pork bowl or Indian lentil soup accompanied with a side of naan bread.  To Ian, the act of walking through the lunch line and just grabbing everything in sight, is far more satisfying. Of course his teachers know Ian is only allowed one meal a day, but alas, he is a sneaky fellow. Ian quickly runs up a tab of over $15 before anyone even notices. Some days he eats the lunch we packed, so as not to raise suspicion, along with: two pieces of pizza, veggies, fruit, and a sugar-filled energy drink. Ian must think like his Grandpa B., figuring that he should avail himself of an extra hot lunch for each day he misses during the rest of the month!  My dad would be so proud.

Top 10 Rules According to Ian – Volume 1

  1. During a hockey game, if you want to stay on the ice, even though your coach is demanding  a line change, it is perfectly acceptable to skate as far away as possible, lo away and ignore everyone screaming your name from the bench.
  2. All  lines and other markings on the ice or soccer field are meant to be crossed at any time, for any reason, despite what a coach or referee might be yelling. In addition, playing multiple positions –of your choosing – in the same game is allowed.
  3. Purchasing a school lunch, when you’ve brought your own from home, and then adding on several additional, overpriced, a la carte menu items to rack up a bill is encouraged.
  4. When grounded from technology on home devices, secretly stuff your school Chromebook into your backpack, sneak it into the house, hack into it and watch girls wrestling.
  5. If you are mad, never use your words to explain, just take other people’s shit and hide it ( i.e your dad’s wallet, phone and tv remotes – all of them, at the same time).
  6. Never stick your finger in your butt at school, but it is always fair game at home or in public. 
  7. When biking, go wherever you want. The cars are watching for a highschooler on a Trek bike with training wheels cruising like a bat out of  hell – they will move. 
  8. Always make a midnight snack involving an enormous tortilla with a pound of shredded cheese and anything else that looks good in the fridge.
  9. The same rules do not apply to all settings. Feel free to pick and choose.
  10. Last but not least, always take advantage of a school lunch or a hotel continental breakfast if you missed one, here’s to you, Grandpa B.

We would love to hear about your stories of celebrations — the expectations and realities of these events that can rattle us, make us cry, and make us laugh, all at once. 


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