The End of the Raggies

Valentine Brkich January 8, 2016

“Oh great, what now?” I thought, hearing a thud from upstairs.  I had just put the kiddos to bed and sat down in the den with a good book and a better beer. Now one of them was up, and it was only a matter of time until he or she came downstairs. Wonderful. Just then the door opened and…

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Keeper of the Doodles

Valentine Brkich December 16, 2015

“This is for you, Daddy,” says The Animal, handing me a piece of paper featuring his latest work of art—a blue-headed monster/demon, with a yellow body and orange arms, and which is surrounded by 19 stamped monkeys and two (what I assume are) stars. If anyone else had handed this to me, I’d have crumpled it…

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The Last Times

Valentine Brkich December 3, 2015

Parents are always marking their children’s “firsts”. The first time they roll over. The first word they speak. The first time they walk. The first time they have an explosive, diaper-overflowing bowel movement, when you’re at the mall, you don’t have any diapers, and you just used your last wipey. (True story.) These are all memorable…

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Afloat in Nothingness

Valentine Brkich November 18, 2015

I first heard about Levity in Squirrel Hill ( on Twitter, where people were tweeting about the joys of sensory deprivation floats and how effective they can be at clearing one’s busy mind. Since I figured my mind could definitely use a little housekeeping, I contacted Levity and made an appointment. I was a little nervous in the…

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After-School Chaos

Valentine Brkich November 12, 2015

You might remember a couple of months back I wrote about how sad I was after sending The Animal off to all-day kindergarten and then returning to my startlingly quiet home. That was the moment I realized how much I’d enjoyed having him around, and the resulting silence left by his departure left me utterly heartbroken. Well, I…

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Clean Livin’

Valentine Brkich November 3, 2015

First off, forgive me if this post is even more nonsensical and disjointed than normal. My brain is isn’t exactly functioning at full capacity. You see, I’m in the ninth day of a 10-day cleanse. I’m writing this on fumes. Kale fumes. For those of you who don’t know what a “cleanse” is, allow me…

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Giant Salad Bowls and Big Swarthy Men

Valentine Brkich October 23, 2015

As I drove in darkness towards the city, I made a promise to myself: Just try to be positive and have a good attitude. In other words, be the exact opposite of my normal self. I was on my way to the all-day The Authors’ Zone Writers Conference in Pittsburgh. When I’d originally registered for the event, I…

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The Sound of Silence

Valentine Brkich August 25, 2015

I’d been dreaming about it for years. The day when both our kids would head off to school and leave me with six and a half glorious, peaceful, kid-free hours to do as I pleased (i.e., work, nap, read, nap again, repeat.). For stay-at-home parents like my wife and me, the first day of school…

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Another Lovely Dinner

Valentine Brkich August 4, 2015

I knew there was going to be trouble right from the start. “Is this fish or chicken?” asked The Animal, as my wife placed the blue Pyrex on the table.  Uh-oh. “It’s chicken,” replied my wife. “It doesn’t look like chicken,” Boogieface chimed in. The chicken had paprika on it—a foreign substance to my children. The…

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On a Steel Horse I Ride

Valentine Brkich July 29, 2015

It all started with my good friend Hugh, who’s been riding motorcycles for years. “You need to get a bike,” he said. Over and over again. Countless hours watching “American Pickers” and seeing Mike and Frank drool over rusty old Chiefs and Knuckleheads only further piqued my interest. Then, one night whilst imbibing a few beers with my cousin…

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