The Complete Guide To The Common Cold

This is Rusty.

Common Cold 1

Rusty has a cold.

Common Cold 2

More specifically, Rusty has contracted rhinovirus, the virus responsible for over half of common colds.

Common Cold 3

In Rusty’s world, today is Wednesday. On average, it takes 46 hours between when the virus enters the body and when symptoms begin. This means Rusty contracted the virus on Monday. Let’s review 3 scenarios where it could have happened.

How To Catch A Cold

1. Direct Contact With An Infected Person

This is Rusty’s coworker Donny.

Common Cold 4

Donny has a cold.

Common Cold 5

Donny also has poor hygiene.

Common Cold 6

Common Cold 7

Common Cold 8

Common Cold 9

Common Cold 10

Common Cold 11

Rhinovirus loves mucus. That’s where it hangs out and that’s how it spreads, most commonly through direct contact with an infected person. In the example above, Donny passed the virus to Rusty through a 3 step process.

  1. Donny contaminated his own hands with infected mucus.
  2. Donny transferred the virus to Rusty via hand to hand contact.
  3. Rusty introduced the virus into his upper respiratory tract by touching his nose, eyes, or mouth with contaminated fingers.

In fact, Donny’s mucus is so heavily concentrated with rhinovirus that once he sneezes, the virus will remain on his hand and infectious for over an hour, even if he wipes the physical snot on a tissue.

2. Contact With A Contaminated Object

Common Cold 6

Common Cold 8

Common Cold 12

Common Cold 13

Common Cold 14

A sick person with mucus on his hands can contaminate surfaces and objects. These items can remain infectious for up to 24 hours.

3. Inhalation Of Airborne Particles

Common Cold 15

Common Cold 16

Common Cold 17

Lord save us all, rhinovirus is airborne. When Donny sneezed, he launched thousands of virus-laced droplets into the air. These droplets travel at speeds up to 100 mph, as far as 26 feet, and can even remain suspended for over 10 minutes.

There is a ton of conflicting research on this topic, but it’s worth noting that coughing likely does not contribute significantly to the spread of colds. This is because when you cough, most of what’s expelled is saliva, and saliva doesn’t contain enough of the virus to be overly contagious. In fact, one study says you can even make out with a cold sufferer and not have to worry about becoming infected.

Okay, so we know rhinovirus spreads through mucus and lurks on hands, objects and surfaces, and in the air. Now, let’s talk about the filthy little creatures most likely to give you the virus…

Kids

Kids are the primary culprits of spreading colds. If you’ve ever seen a sick, snotty, booger-wiping toddler, this will not surprise you.

But why are kids such a problem?

Poor hygiene. This…is pretty obvious: kids are monsters. They touch everything. They touch each other. They put things in their mouths. When a kid has a runny nose, snot is gonna be everywhere. That is science and that is fact.

Densely populated in classrooms and daycare centers, making it easy for viruses to spread from Jackson to Aiden and from Olivia to Sophia.

They live in our homes. Then they bring their germs directly into your home: eating where you eat, touching what you touch, and DAMMIT MILA STOP WIPING BOOGERS ON THE COUCH.

Inexperienced immune systems. As adults, you and I have what’s known as acquired immunity. Inside our bodies are specialized white blood cells. Each time we’re infected with a virus, these cells retain a memory of it. Then, if we encounter the same strain of virus in the future, our bodies use this memory to better fight off infection and prevent symptoms.

In fact, our acquired immunity is so effective it can eradicate a virus before you experience any symptoms at all, which means you can have rhinovirus and not even know it. This happens more than you think, especially if you’re a parent.

According to one study, if your kid has a cold virus, there is a 50% chance you have it too. But because of acquired immunity, there’s only a 29% chance you’ll have symptoms.

Since there are over 200 strains of cold causing viruses, we never become fully immune to colds. But each time we get sick, we acquire additional immunity. Now, since this happens only through experience, kids are being exposed to all viruses for the first time. This makes for a lot of snotty toddlers.

Cold Symptoms: What Is Happening To Me?

Timeline Common Cold

There is a point during every cold when I wonder, What in the hell is happening to me? I’m manufacturing snot faster than I can blow it out my nose. I can’t close my mouth in fear I’ll suffocate. I kinda want to die, and seriously what is going on up there? If you’ve wondered the same, this section is for you.

Colds vary in severity. But both rhinovirus’ path to infection and our immune response are pretty consistent, which means the average cold follows a standard timeline. Now, let’s check back in with our boy Rusty and see what this poor, poor man is in for.

Common Cold Day 0

The rhinovirus enters your upper respiratory tract through the nose, eyes or mouth either by touching these areas with contaminated fingers or by airborne particles. Once inside, the virus attaches to the back of the throat and infects the surrounding cells.

Common Cold Day 1

It takes roughly 24 hours for the body to detect the virus. Once it does, it triggers the immune system and begins to fight back. Cold symptoms are the result of the immune response.

The body sends white blood cells and fluids to the infection site, and the throat becomes inflamed and swells. This swelling results in a sore throat — the classic early symptom of a cold.

Common Cold Day 2

Swelling increases, and membranes in the nose secrete mucus in an attempt to clear the virus. Mucus build up leads to a stuffy/runny nose.

Common Cold Day 3

The virus spreads by infecting neighboring cells and by day 3 reaches its largest population in the body. As a result, the next 24 hours are the worst for symptoms. Mucus buildup irritates the nose and throat. Sneezing is the body’s attempt to remove the irritant.

This is also when you’re most contagious. Since rhinovirus spreads through mucus, the more mucus you produce, the more contagious you are.

Common Cold Day 4

The body works overtime to fight the virus, leading to fatigue. Mucus piles up and causes sinus pressure, the inability to breathe through the nose, and a resentment for life in general.

Common Cold Day 5

Things aren’t worse, and maybe they’re even a little better today. But still mucus has piled up further down the throat. Much like a sneeze, coughing is the body’s attempt at removing irritants from the throat.

Common Cold Day 6

The cold begins to dry up, literally, as snot turns to boogers. Breathing is easier and sinus pressure subsides.

Common Cold Day 7

On average, symptoms last 7-10 days. However, a cough can linger for another week or two.

Preventing Colds

The common cold has no cure. With over 200 different strains of cold causing viruses, we have yet to develop a vaccine. You can take over-the-counter medicine to relieve symptoms, and some research suggests vitamin C and zinc help curb symptom duration. But for now, the only way to avoid getting sick is prevention. Here are the 3 best ways to do that.

Don’t Touch Your Face

Don't touch your face

As discussed earlier, the rhinovirus spreads primarily through contact with a sick person or contaminated surface. In both cases, the only way you get infected is if you transmit the virus into your upper respiratory tract by touching your nose, eyes, or mouth with contaminated fingers.

Disinfect Your Hands

Disinfect Your Hands

Okay, so you want to touch your face. Fine. You’re not alone. Rubbing the eyes and picking the nose are normal parts of human behavior and said to occur once every 3 hours (which honestly seems understated).

Anyway, if you’re gonna pick your nose, do so with clean fingers. Also, make sure to wash your hands before eating and immediately after handling your kid’s snot and/or boogers. Frequent hand cleansing when you’re sick also prevents spreading the virus to others. Here are two ways to disinfect hands.

Hand Sanitizer

Quick and easy, look for a product that’s at least 60% alcohol.

Soap And Water

Tried and true, regular soap or anti-bacterial, either will do. What’s important is that you:

  • Use hot water
  • Scrub hard for 20 seconds
  • Don’t touch anything in the bathroom on the way out

Disinfect Your Stuff With Lysol

Disinfect Your Stuff

Lysol disinfectant spray (see on Amazon) reduces rhinovirus infectivity by 99.99%, which is more effective than domestic bleach.

Start with high-touch areas: light switches, remotes, door knobs, phones, counter tops, etc. Then gather all your kid’s crap and spray it to oblivion.

Go And Be Healthy

Now, go, dear reader. Go and be healthy. Wash your hands. Be responsible with your mucus. Disinfect your crap, and your kids. Use this newfound knowledge for the good of the people, and together let’s rid the world of pesky rhinovirus.

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Sources

https://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Wellness/video/effective-flu-season-hand-washing-hand-sanitizer-52867891

https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/197/3/382/2908647

https://aem.asm.org/content/59/5/1579.short

https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/227820-overview

http://sites.psu.edu/coreybowneportfolio/wp-content/uploads/sites/36775/2015/12/Rhinovirus.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC182122/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2279427/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3553670/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21412799

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1198743X14001384

https://www.sciencefocus.com/the-human-body/how-far-do-coughs-and-sneezes-travel/

Never Parent Hungover

Last Saturday was a BIG day for the Palma family. For the first time ever, my wife and I would attempt to raise 2 kids completely and utterly hungover.

Would both of us survive? Would either of us? What about the children? How would they fare? How would they behave? Would I kill one of them? Just kidding. Or am I? I am. Mostly.

Anyway, here now, in riveting timeline form, is why you should never parent hungover.

8:00 AM

Where am I? What happened? There was the wedding and, oh God, the open bar. Yup, that’ll do it. Take the excitement of our first night without kids in over a year, add a festive environment, and sprinkle in an open bar and that is why I’m waking up in this hotel room without a short-term memory. We gotta go. We need to be home by 9:00 to relieve Grandma of her sitter duties.

8:30 AM

We leave the hotel and head for the car. St. Paul is buzzing. Joggers jog. Walkers walk. Groups of people on their way to breakfast marvel over the beautiful fall weather. Meanwhile, I, short of breath, lean against a light pole and snag a loogie through a sewer grate. Nice.

9:00 AM

We arrive home. Grandma is outside with the kids. This is a shameful moment. I feel dirty and stink like a bar, and that’s where I belong, hunched over a bar stool, blabbering on about how to survive a bear attack, not at home in front of Grandma and the kids and the watchful eyes of God. I need to shower.

9:30 AM

The house is a mess. How do parents find time to both raise kids and clean up after them? Hire a cleaner, I suppose. But then again, how do parents both raise kids and afford literally anything else?

10:00 AM

We eat breakfast and…oh no. The 3 year old is speaking Perma-Whine, a pesky form of communication where instead of talking like a normal human, she issues demands through her nose in elongated syllables.

This is always my least favorite feature of the 3 year old, but today I fear her Perma-Whining may kill me. This could last for minutes or hours or, who knows, maybe this is the day she adopts Perma-Whine as her everyday dialect.

I shut my eyes and think back to a few weeks before our second daughter was born. I worried I’d never love this second kid as much as the first. I lol at this thought and marvel at just how quickly and dominantly the baby has become my favorite child.

10:30 AM

The 3 year old demands to listen to Baby Shark, which literally is the last piece of media on earth I want to hear right now.

I hesitate.

“BABY SHAAAARRRRRRKK,” she whines.

I quickly weigh what’s more annoying, Baby Shark or her incessant whining. Easy choice.

“Hey, Siri, play Baby Shark.”

11:00 AM

I turn on the TV and fire up Daniel Tiger. This should give me at least 20 minutes to lie down.

11:05 AM

My wife sets the baby on the floor and joins me on the couch. A few weeks ago, the baby found her voice. Since then, she has become a nonstop noise machine. Usually I find her coos and squawks sweet and comforting. But today they sound like something out of The Walking Dead.

I say, “Shhhh, quiet please,” forgetting that she is only a baby and doesn’t obey commands. She continues her ruckus. I close my eyes and fall further into misery.

The 3 year old walks over. “WAKE UP DADDY!” I tell her the same thing I told the baby, “Shhhh, quiet please,” forgetting that the 3 year old doesn’t listen to a goddamn thing I say.

11:10 AM

The dog trots over starved for attention. He tries to squeeze between the couch and ottoman but can’t. He settles to sit at the end of the couch and lick my foot, clearly intrigued by whatever has grown between my toes after being shoved in a dress sock for 14 hours.

The gang’s all here. Peering through a window, you would see a man physically surrounded by loved ones. Internally, however, I am blanketed in a personal hell. I need to be alone. I need to shut my eyes. Oh God, I need to vomit.

11:55 AM

Well, I did it. I will spare you the gory details but just know that I spent 45 minutes trying to vomit before actually vomiting.

12:00 PM

Having barfed away my headache, I am finally comfortable enough to sleep. I feel like the worst is over. My body is ready. I just need to calm my mind but every time I close my eyes, Baby Shark Rings through my head.

12:05 PM

The bedroom door opens. It’s my wife. She pushes the 3 year old in and shuts the door again. Dammit! That is a solid move by Mom. I both respect and hate her for it.

I’m in trouble. The girl is unable to deal with anything even slightly out of the ordinary. To her, the novelty of napping in our bed is the equivalent of me trying to fall asleep on the moon.

12:15 PM

I finally get the girl to lie down. She asks to sing a lullaby. I ignore her. She starts singing Baby Shark, and for a moment I wonder…Is this how I die?

12:30 PM

I need to sleep. I shut my eyes, leaving the girl to either fall asleep on her own or go play unattended in the medicine cabinet.

2:00 PM

I wake up dripping in sweat. I grab my water cup and chug all 30 ounces. I check on the girl. She is asleep next to me. God does exist. I go back to sleep.

3:00 PM

I wake up and the girl’s face is an inch from mine peering right into my eyes.

Gahhh! The hell is wrong with you?

3:05 PM

We head downstairs. I’m starving. There is no food in the house. I eat $19 worth of teething crackers while standing over the sink.

4:00 PM

I am craving grease. After that nap, I feel good enough to go out to eat. Of course, I’d rather be hungover for a month than spend even 5 minutes in a restaurant with 2 children. We’ll have to settle for takeout. Oh well, just 18 more years and the kids will be out of the house. Then we’ll really start living.

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Mac Miller Had Soul

Mac Miller was found dead in his home on September 7th in what is highly suspected to be an accidental drug overdose. He was 26.

Miller emerged during the early 2010’s frat rap scene, that pesky strain of hip-hop where white twenty-somethings turn lyrics about beer bongs and topless coeds into party anthems for blacked-out college kids (i.e. Asher Roth’s I Love College). The music was shallow and the artists unlikeable. To think that any one of them could escape the genre and evolve into an actual musician was comical. But Mac Miller did just that.

Miller’s impact on music can be measured by the number of tributes and memorials that have poured in from artists like Drake, Childish Gambino, J. Cole, John Mayer, and even Elton JohnInterviews with friends and collaborators portray Miller as a genuinely good person with a legendary work ethic. In this interview with Larry King, Miller comes across as a down to earth average guy, albeit one who clearly has his demons.

As you can probably tell, I have spent the last 2 weeks stuck inside a Mac Miller wormhole, cycling between YouTube and Apple Music, witnessing a once self-proclaimed corny white rapper evolve into a singer, songwriter, collaborator, producer, instrumentalist, and maybe most impressively a performer. If there’s one thing I learned during this crash course, it’s this: Mac Miller had soul. Here now are examples 1a, b, c, d, e, and f.

Objects In The Mirror (feat. The Internet)

NPR Tiny Desk Concert (feat. Thundercat)

My Favorite Part (feat. Ariana Grande)

We (feat. CeeLoo Green)

Best Day Ever

Soulmate

What Kid’s Crap Is The Worst To Pick Up?

I have been a dad for 3 years, 3 months and 9 days and in that time, I have become a master picker-upper of kid’s crap. If it’s for ages 3 and under, you best believe I have picked it up and carefully put it away, only to repeat this exercise 20 goddamn minutes later.

And it’s this never-ending churn of cleaning, picking up, maintaining, and reassembling that has inspired me to explore one of fatherhood’s most compelling questions: of all my kid’s crap, which is the crappiest to pick up?

10. Thomas and Friends Train Table

Trains

No toy requires more time and energy than this train table. I have spent more man hours tending to Thomas and Friends than I have raising actual children: a bridge collapsed, Thomas is stuck in a tunnel, Percy’s battery is dead, my nephew came over and disassembled each of the 150 pieces and tossed them in the subway, etc.

The only reason the train table isn’t higher on this list is because, relative to the other crap, it’s not a bad gig if you can get it. Within me still exists a tiny sliver of my 5 year old self who takes great pride in helping Thomas haul essential freight from Alpine Mountain to the townspeople down below. When things are running smoothly at the station, I am oddly satisfied. I have created this train town. I have given it life. I am a GOD.

9. Sippy Cups

Sippy Cups

We begin each day with two sippy cups: one for juice and one for water. On a perfect day, the girl will maintain both cups throughout. But, of course, there are no perfect days in parenthood so instead what happens is at 7:00AM sharp, the girl sticks her water cup under the couch, where it will remain for a week. Then the dog licks the juice cup and she demands a new one.

Then she leaves a cup upstairs after nap and I can’t retrieve it because the baby is crying and the grilled cheese will burn. Then for lunch she demands milk in her Big Girl cup. Then she immediately spills that milk all over the grilled cheese. Then I sprint downstairs, tie a noose, and hang myself from the rafters. And then by bedtime, there are enough half-filled sippy cups in this house to hydrate an entire preschool.

8. Play-Doh

Play-Doh

The problem with Play-Doh is you can play with it once before it crumbles like a stale cookie. After that, you’re doomed to hundreds of tiny Doh shards falling from the mother blob and onto the floor. From there, they will dry and turn to rock or be carried by your sock directly into your carpet where they will remain for all eternity.

7. Art Supplies

Remember in elementary when you’d open your crayon box for the first time? The crayons were all uniformly sized and pointed and organized by hue. Remember that smell? It was the start to a new year. You had new supplies. New clothes. New shoes! There was so much promise.

There is no promise, however, in the girl’s art box pictured above. It is no more than a hospice center for crayon nubs, uncapped markers, and palettes of water colors that are now just 10 shades of brown.

In fact, Craft Time usually lasts all of 7 minutes and ends up going just like this:

Minutes 1-3: The girl, frustrated with all the dried up markers and unsharpened colored pencils, whines for my help.

Minutes 3-6: I, frustrated with my involvement in what was supposed to be an independent activity, toss all the non-working supplies in the trash.

Minute 7: With both of us fed up, I turn on Daniel Tiger and park the girl on the couch so I can get some shit done.

6. Play Kitchen

Play Kitchen

Last Thursday, I was picking up after a tea party and as I returned the fake food to the pantry and fridge and stacked the dishes upside down in the drying rack, it dawned on me — I just spent 90 minutes doing this exact same shit in my own kitchen.

Now, the purpose of the play kitchen is to promote pretend play and stimulate the imagination. But let me tell you, that magic is lost on a grown-ass man who has just spent 8 hours sitting in a cubicle and another 2 slaving away in his own, actually functional kitchen.

5. Alphabet Mat

Alphabet Mat

The alphabet mat is a staple of kid’s crap. Not only is it educational but it provides the, uh, essential shock absorption necessary for any play area.

I’ll admit the first time it was assembled, it was nice. The pieces fit tightly together. It was colorful and smelled fresh of whatever noxious injectants they’re using over in the Chinese labor camps.

But then this thing started falling apart. The squares started to bend and the letters fell out. Then the little pieces inside the O and the D and the P and the B popped out and before I knew it, the play room was covered in little P-holes and B-holes. Finally, the mat has found it’s rightful place, sitting unassembled in a corner of the basement.

4. Bubbles

Bubbles

I have fond childhood memories of bubbles, so it pains me to feature them on this list. But alas, these fancy modern day bubbles are nothing like bubbles from the 90s. That bubble blower you see above? It blows 5 bubbles per second, an entirely unnecessary rate of fire. It is the AR-15 of bubble machines.

And of course the girl can’t just pop or run through the bubbles, she needs to sit directly in the line of fire and absorb the onslaught point blank. Within seconds, every inch of hair, clothing, and skin is saturated in bubble concentrate.

I am then left with no choice but to bust out the hose and spray her down like a dusty Toyota. I see no other solution.

3. Bottles

Bottles

We use Dr. Brown bottles because they prevent gas and reflux. But in order to accomplish this, each bottle consists of exactly 600 tiny pieces, all of which must be soaked, washed and dried after every use.

Lately, I’ve been trying to take full ownership of all bottle washing. I figure since my wife carried the child for 9 months, then gave birth, and now nurses the child, I can take care of the bottles. It’s tough, but fair is fair.

2. Puzzles

Puzzles

The worst part about picking up puzzles is that you have to do the puzzle, making it the only job on this list where you’re required to complete an actual activity. And some puzzles are hard, man. I don’t have the patience to be challenged by child’s play.

The other problem, of course, is that pieces are scattered throughout this house: under the couch, in a random toy bin, or sucked into the black hole that exists somewhere on this property and devours ¼ of all the kid’s crap. When we move, the family that replaces us will find one missing piece to each of our 78 puzzles. To that family: you can keep them.

1. Ball Castle, Ball Pit, or Other Ball Containing Structure

Ball Castle

As a general rule, the more pieces a toy has, the more of your life you spend picking it up. So, a toy with 100 pieces is inherently worse than a toy with 10. But when a toy is comprised of 100 balls, things descend into chaos.

Balls have rolled everywhere: on every level of the house, under every piece of furniture. The dog has brought balls outside. They’re his balls now.

Even the staircases usually contain a ball or two, which is not only annoying but downright hazardous. What if the dog trips? What if I trip? What if I’m carrying the baby or, God forbid, a beer? Domestic ball pits should be outlawed.

Bonus: Literal Crap (not pictured)

Poop! All new parents should expect plenty of poop. But the biggest surprise isn’t the quantity, which again is substantial, it’s the variety.

You experience poop you never knew existed! For the first few days, a newborn poops meconium, which is a mixture of amniotic fluid and other stuff and is unlike anything else here on earth. Then, if your baby is breastfed, you’ll enjoy a few months of Dijon mustard blowouts. When the baby transitions to table food, they’ll start pooping like a normal human. At first, it’s alarming to find real life human poop inside a diaper, but you get used to it.

And then you start potty training, where you’ll be treated to a collection of skids, sharts, smears, crumbs, and the surprise log on your Play-Doh ridden carpet.

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6 Surprising Lessons From Daddy Daughter Music Class

6 Lessons From Music Class

Is Sharing This Household Chore The Secret To A Happy Marriage?

What are the most important qualities in a partner? Honesty? Common interests? What about someone to share the chores with?

A study from the Pew Research Group revealed that “sharing household chores” now ranks 3rd in a list of 9 items commonly associated with a happy marriage — ahead of adequate income, common interests, and shared religious beliefs.

This shift in marital satisfaction comes as gender roles continue to evolve. As more women enter the workplace and more fathers increase their hours of childcare, sharing household chores is more important for today’s couples than ever before — and couples that share the load are rewarded with happier marriages, greater partner satisfaction, and a better sex life.

But there’s more to a blissful marriage than picking up the vacuum once a week. As relationships tend to be, it’s complicated. Here are 3 things you need to know.

Fair Is Only Fair If She Says So

When it comes to housework, it’s perceived equality that matters. If the partners believe the split is fair, then there is no resentment and the two can go on with their happy, sexy marriage.

But since women still do on average 3.4 times more housework than men, it’s really the wife’s perception that counts. This, of course, is an interesting nuance because regardless of the actual split — 60/40, 50/50, 70/30 — if Mrs. Smith feels it’s unfair, then it is.

This also means that ‘fair’ can change. Say the Smiths have been running happily at a 60/40 split. Until one day Mrs. Smith heads over to the Thompsons and notices Husband of the Year hopeful Mr. Thompson is shouldering 50% of the housework. Suddenly, Mrs. Smith is no longer content with her 60% workload.

So in other words, when it comes to ‘fair’, the wife is always right — proof that while marriage is ever-evolving, some things never change.

More Bad News For Men: Dad Chores Don’t Count

Like any loving couple, my wife and I occasionally argue over the division of housework. And like any loving husband, I inevitably lose this argument, despite presenting a logical and factual case.

Whenever we’re discussing workloads or whenever she gives me the ol’ I Can’t Do Everything Around Here, my go-to argument is that my chores don’t count.

It doesn’t matter that I freeze my ass off at 5AM clearing 2 feet of snow from the driveway. Or that I’m out there in grueling heat and humidity pushing the lawn mower around the yard like some schmuck. It doesn’t matter that whenever some appliance breaks or a drain gets clogged or the sump pump shits out I’m the one who has to helplessly troubleshoot it before giving up and calling my dad. Like doesn’t any of that count? Dear reader, it does not. Why?

Because mowing the grass isn’t shitty enough to qualify as housework. When I mow, I’m away from the kids. I take off my shirt and unleash the Dad Bod and bang out to my high school hip hop playlist.

Scrubbing the grease from a frying pan, on the other hand, puts you up close and personal with filth. It’s gritty. You gotta get right up in there, clench your teeth, and scrub. You’re hunched over the sink, usually to the sound of tantruming children

The benefits of a shared workload apply only to the grimy, thankless chores that have traditionally been done by women, like laundry, cleaning bathrooms, and surprisingly most important…dishes.

Sharing Dishes: The Secret To Marital Bliss?

A recent study revealed that for women, sharing dishes is more important than any other chore. Women stuck with the full load are less satisfied in almost all areas of their relationship than those who split dishes with their partner. Not only was sharing dishes the biggest source of satisfaction in the relationship, but not sharing was the biggest source of discontent. Why is sharing dishes so important?

You do a lot of them. Many chores are weekly. A few are daily. But dishes might be the only chore you do multiple times per day.

They often follow other tasks, like cooking. You’ve cooked, you’ve eaten, you’ve been in the kitchen for 2 hours, now it’s time for dishes.

They are gross. You’re handling your family’s half-eaten food.

And thankless. A clean house looks nice and can even get compliments. But no one says oh wow that’s a clean dish.

But they do promote teamwork. We’ve been pretty hard on dishes so far, so let’s say something nice about them. When done together, dishes can promote teamwork, which can make partners feel more connected.

Sharing dishes sparks other components of a happy marriage. We discussed earlier that sharing household chores ranked 3rd in a list of 9 items important to a happy marriage. The 2 items that ranked higher? 1) Faithfulness and 2) A good sex life.

Now, since sharing dishes is shown to increase intimacy — both in frequency and quality — and one of the leading causes of infidelity is unmet sexual needs, then not only is sharing dishes important as an integral part of #3 sharing household chores, but it also supercharges the 2 items that rank higher.

So there you have it. You want an intimate and faithful relationship? Grab a dish towel.

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How To Drink Tequila, And Actually Enjoy It

Forget everything you know about tequila. Forget sugary 2-for-1 margaritas. Forget late night tequila shots and wrecked mornings, and forget the body shots you slurped off those nubile coeds while spring breaking in Cozumel…Hey! I said forget about it.

Because what we have here is Tequila’s redemption song, everything you need to know to enjoy what has quietly become America’s favorite liquor. So join us, dear reader, as we discuss how to find quality tequila, what style is right for you, and how to make the perfect margarita.

Booze Up offers alcohol delivery near me to lots of locations across London, such as Paddington, UK.

Tequila: How It’s Made And Why It Matters

To enjoy tequila, you first must find the right bottle. But to find the right bottle, you first must understand what’s inside.

What Is Tequila?

Tequila is a spirit made from the fermented sap of the blue agave. It’s produced primarily in the Mexican state of Jalisco.

What Is Blue Agave?

A large spiky plant that flourishes in the volcanic soils of southern Mexico. While it looks like a cactus, the agave is actually a succulent, a plant known for retaining water in its leaves in dry climates.

blue agave

How Does Blue Agave Become Tequila?

The blue agave takes 8-12 years to mature. When it’s ready, harvesters known as jimadors use a coa, a sharp blade attached to a long wooden handle, to remove the plant’s spiky leaves and sever its roots.

el jimador

What’s left after harvest is the pina. The core or heart of the plant can weigh up to 200 pounds and is packed with sap. The pinas are then roasted and steamed before having their juices extracted for fermentation. Each pina provides enough sap for 3-4 liters of tequila.

pina

Along with sap from the pina, yeast, bacteria, and spring water are added to the fermentation tank. After fermentation, the spirit must be distilled twice, per Mexican regulations.

The first distillation separates the alcohol. The beginning (head) and ending (tail) are discarded, removing ethanol and other toxins. The center stream (heart) is kept and distilled a second time to further purify the alcohol.

Finally, after one last filtering process, the tequila is crystal clear at 80-110 proof and ready to leave the still for either bottling or aging in barrels.

Why Does Any Of This Matter?: The Tale Of Two Tequilas

Tequila is produced in two primary styles. The first and one you’re likely familiar with is mixto tequila, which literally means ‘mixed’ tequila. This is your well tequila. Your Jose Cuervo. The stuff poured into bar shots and hidden beneath overpowering margarita mixes at TGI Fridays. Mixto tequila has one big problem: it’s only half tequila.

By law, tequila needs to be made from only 51% blue agave sugar. The remaining 49% can come from other sources, usually cane or corn sugar — cheap substitutes that not only dilute quality but, because you’re essentially mixing alcohols, also make for the notorious tequila hangover.

Now, the good stuff, the stuff many of us have never tried or even heard of is 100% agave and it makes all the difference in enjoying tequila.

100% Agave: What You Need To Know

There are no surprises with 100% agave tequila. Strict regulations ensure the alcohol is fermented only from the sugars of the blue agave and bottled within its production region. The heavy agave profile also makes for superior body, flavor, and aroma.

How Do I Know If A Bottle Is 100% Agave?

Tequila made from 100% agave will always be labeled as “100% de agave” or “100% puro de agave.”

Mixto tequila, however, is not required to be labelled “mixto,” and will just read “tequila.” So read the label closely. If you don’t see some iteration of “100% agave” somewhere on the front of the bottle, then you’re drinking mixto.

100 agave

Silver And Gold: What’s The Difference?

After distillation, all tequila is clear (silver) in color. It can be bottled right away and sold as ‘blanco’ tequila. Often, though, tequila is aged in charred oak barrels. Over time, the wood imparts a gold hue on the spirit as well as mellowing flavors of oak and vanilla, much like whiskey.

Generally, the darker the spirit, the longer it has been aged and the more the barrel impacts the flavor. (Note that mixto ‘gold’ tequila often isn’t aged at all, but just mixed with caramel coloring to give the impression of aging).

100% agave tequila is almost always classified as either blanco, reposado or anejo — labels determined by how long the spirit has aged. Here’s a breakdown:

Tequila Blanco

tequila blanco

Aged: 0-2 months
Color: clear
Flavor: sweet, floral and citrusy
Who might like it: Fans of gin, vodka, and other clear spirits

Tequila Reposado

tequila reposado

Aged: 2-12 months
Color: gold
Flavor: balanced; oak and vanilla mellow the sweetness of the agave
Who might like it: fans of clear spirits as well as fans of barrel aged spirits like bourbon and brandy

Tequila Anejo

tequila anejo

Aged: 1-3 years
Color: dark amber
Flavor: smooth and complex; smoked oak, vanilla, and caramel
Who might like it: fans of long aged spirits like bourbon and scotch

How Do I Drink Tequila?

You can sip all 3 styles of 100% agave tequila like you would a good bourbon. You can enjoy it neat in a white wine glass or on the rocks in a rocks glass. Of course, tequila also makes for some fantastic cocktails, most notably the margarita.

The Margarita

The margarita was born on the patio. It is sweet, citrusy, and pairs perfectly with grilled meats, Adirondack Chairs, and passing out in your daughter’s kiddie pool at 2 in the afternoon.

But let’s keep this general. The margarita is America’s favorite cocktail, and for good reason. Not only does it radiate summer vibes, but it’s customizable. Like yours extra sweet? Extra boozy? You can tailor the recipe to your personal preferences.

Here is everything you need to make a perfect margarita, including my go-to recipe.

Essential Ingredients

Margaritas are complex in flavor, yet deceptively simple. The whirlwind of salty, sweet, bitter and sour flavors comes from only 3 ingredients:

  • Tequila
  • Cointreau
  • Lime juice

However, because these ingredients make up the entire cocktail, it’s important to use quality stuff. Here’s what you need.

100% Agave Reposado Or Blanco Tequila

el jimador

There is more tequila in this cocktail than anything else, so make sure to use 100% agave. While anejo tequila is generally reserved for standalone sipping, both reposado and blanco are fantastic in margaritas. Use whichever you prefer.

Note: If you’re looking to upgrade to 100% agave without breaking the bank, El Jimador is a great value. It’s just a few bucks more than Cuervo and tasty enough to satisfy most casual margarita drinkers.

Cointreau

cointreau

Cointreau is a premium orange liqueur. While technically classified as a triple sec, it’s of much higher quality than other brands in the category. It’s made from sweet and bitter orange peels, which brings a vibrant and complex flavor that is worth the additional cost.

Lime Juice

If you’re drinking margs, you’re juicing limes. That’s part of the territory. But a lime squeezer, like this one, will make life as a home bartender much easier.

Optional Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • Agave nectar

Kosher Salt

While not a necessary ingredient, you may want to consider salting the rim of your glass. Salt enhances flavor. It subdues the bitterness and brings out the sweet and sour flavors of the drink.

How to salt your rim:

  1. Pour kosher salt onto a plate.
  2. Use a lime wedge to line the rim of your glass with juice.
  3. Dip the glass into the salt and rotate. Then, with any sort of effort or skill, you will have a salted rim that looks much better than this one.

How To Salt A Rim

Agave Nectar

There are 2 perfectly acceptable reasons why you’d add agave nectar to your margarita:

  1. You prefer a sweeter drink. Adding agave nectar is a great way to naturally sweeten any cocktail.
  2. You prefer an easy-drinker. The margarita is strong. And if you add additional lime juice in an attempt to decrease alcohol content, you’ll end up with a bitter mess. But if you also add agave nectar to offset the increased bitterness, you’ll end up with a balanced, quaffable cocktail.

Proportions

Balance is the key to any good cocktail. For the drink to work, the ingredients need to be in proper proportion. After making hundreds of margaritas, I’ve settled on 2 recipes, a light and heavy version. Typically, I’ll make the heavys for me and my buddies, whereas my wife and her friends prefer the light version.

The Heavy

  • 2 oz reposado tequila
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz lime juice

The Light

  • 1.5 oz blanco tequila
  • .5 oz Cointreau
  • 1.5 oz lime juice
  • .5 oz agave nectar

Always Shake, Never Stir

When making margs, always shake your ingredients. This will fill the liquid with air bubbles and give you a cocktail that’s fizzy and fluffy.

A few years ago, I bought this $10 shaker from Amazon and it has served me well. But if you don’t have a shaker, a protein shaker or leak-proof travel mug make great substitutes.

Serving

A few years ago, my wife got some margarita glasses for her birthday, so I figure since we have them, might as well use them. But you can just as easily serve over ice in a rocks or highball glass.

Putting It All Together

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz reposado tequila
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • Kosher salt (for rim)

or

  • 1.5 oz blanco tequila
  • .5 oz Cointreau
  • 1.5 oz lime juice
  • .5 oz agave nectar

Directions:

  1. Salt the rim of a margarita glass
  2. Add ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice
  3. Shake for 15 seconds
  4. Strain into the glass and serve
  5. Repeat steps 1-4

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10 Random YouTube Videos To Watch On Repeat

If you have hopes of being productive today, then you better go somewhere else. Seriously, get out of here.

But if, on the other hand, you woke up this morning with a curious urge to burn a boatload of time on YouTube, then welcome. Please come in. You are among friends here.

What follows are 10 videos that I have spent days upon days watching, listening to, and LOLing at. A lot of them are musical, but some are not. Hence, they are random. So without further ado, here are 10 random YouTube videos to watch on repeat.

T-Pain Unplugs at Tiny Desk

The Tiny Desk Concert series features musicians performing at a desk inside the NPR music office. The sets are small and intimate and absolutely fantastic. But the most surprising performance is seeing auto-tune guru T-Pain unplug and go au naturel.

Prince Rips A 3 Minute Guitar Solo

Here is Prince absolutely shredding the solo to While My Guitar Gently Weeps. He comes in at the 3:28 mark and then just plays through the conclusion of the performance, whether he was supposed to or not, before tossing his guitar into the stratosphere and strutting off stage. Goddamn, Prince was the coolest.

God Dammit Donald Brown

Here we have the premier sports lowlight. Listen closely before the snap and you can hear future HOF quarterback and raging perfectionist Peyton Manning scream LEFT, presumably signaling for running back Donald Brown to head that direction and help with the weak side blitz.

So what does Donald do? He immediately goes right. The protection crumbles and a notoriously immobile Manning is forced to flee and slide. But before going down, he takes a moment to curse Donald’s name. A mic picks up the audio and carries it into the homes of half the country. Classic. (You’ll have to click through to YouTube to watch the video).

Mike Tyson KOs Some Guys

Sometimes after a long day at the office or when I’m generally just sick and tired, it really lifts my spirits to watch Mike Tyson beat the living shit out of some guys. Listen closely to the smack at 2:20. Brutal.

Chance The Rapper Rocks The White House

Here we have your standard, run-of-the-mill rap performance. You know, just a rapper, choir, and trumpeter performing for the President and First Family on the front lawn of the White House.

Amy Winehouse – Valerie

A few years ago, my cousin sent me this video. I have listened to it 1,000 times since. Amy Winehouse was 5’2” 110 pounds. Here now is proof that soul comes in very small packages.

SonReal – Try

Apparently, soul also comes wrapped in a floral pattern with knee socks and a dangly earring. Finder’s fee here goes to my brother.

Volcano Choir – Comrade

Justin Vernon is the best musician of this generation and if you disagree, then come fight me, because I am willing to go to war over this proclamation. Anyway, here is an absolute gem.

Pinegrove Live From Some Forest

There are better live versions of this song, but this one is the most intriguing. For example, what are they doing on this rock? What exactly is the bearded kid doing with that Casio? And where did the blonde kid get those pants? I want to know. Anyway, good tune.

Leon Bridges Live At Tiny Desk

A lot of great soul singers have been compared to Sam Cooke. Few are worthy of the comparison. Leon Bridges is one of the few.

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My Kids Turned Our Dog Into A Desperate Robot

For 5 years, my dog and I had a relationship that would make Scooby and Shaggy jealous. We’d go for morning walks, play fetch after work, and lounge on the couch all evening. We were buds. I even referred to us as “The Buds,” a duo so exclusive not even my wife could become a member, try as she might.

But then the kids came, and the demands of fathering human children quickly began to cannibalize quality time with The Buds.

As a result, Mo went from receiving 100% of the attention to, like, still 50%. But he’s handled this change with all the grace and elegance of a drunken frat boy.

I try to be sensitive to his situation, but my God…my God…sometimes his bids for attention are so desperate and so repetitive that I swear he has turned into an affection seeking robot. And because of this, I end up saying the same things to him over and over. Here now are 13 of those things.

SHHHHHHHH! Shut up. It’s 5AM. You’re so loud. Do you have to shake like that every time you get out of bed? This is the only waking hour I get alone. If you wake one of the children, I’m going to kill myself and make you watch me die.

Move! Get out of the way! Why are you always loitering in the primary intersections of the house? Can’t you tell everyone has to walk around you? Or is this your master plan?

Go potty. If you go to the door, it better be an emergency. I don’t have time to let you out just so you can stand on the stoop and sniff the air. Now, go on!

DON’T EAT THAT! [screaming out the patio door] Don’t eat that, it’s goose shit!

No lick! You just ate goose shit. Please stop licking the baby.

Easy! Why are you so physical? Stop boxing out the children.

Drop it! You have a hundred toys in this house. Why must you take the toddler’s Mickey Mouse slippers? She is screaming like a slasher movie victim, and I cannot handle it. Now, drop it!

No bark! What is your deal? Why must you lose your mind any time the neighbor dog is out/the UPS guy drives by/I ever-so-gently place a cup of coffee on the table at 5 in the morning?

We’ll go soon. Walk soon, bud. But for now…

Go lie down. You lingering in my peripheral at all hours of the day is driving me crazy.

What do you want? You’ve had food, water, 2 walks, 5 bones, and so many treats that you now have diarrhea. Why are you still whisper crying by the treat door?

You’re doing this on purpose. Oh, your ball is stuck under the couch again…for the 5th time in 5 minutes…and you require my assistance? Hmmmm, how queer.

I’m sorry. I’m sorry the toddler pulled your ears. I’m sorry the baby requires around the clock attention. I’m sorry things aren’t the way they used to be. I’m sorry, all right?

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