We are updating our terms and conditions, interspersed with photos of ducks

Hello! Below are our updated terms and conditions applicable to loving but emotionally-draining children ages 5-18 living in our apartment (“Members”). These updates are to better support our evolving living arrangement, clarify language, and address current laws and regulations. (i.e. they are a reminder that you (“Members”) are under no circumstances permitted to refer to your Parents as “Bruh,” despite assertions that “Mateo calls his mom ‘Bruh’ all the time” and she is allegedly “fine with it.

We (“The Employer”) remind you that we are not Mateo’s mom, that this information is unverified, and that (regardless of veracity) you have at no time entered into a legally-binding contract with Mateo’s parents.

To read through additional updates to our Members Terms of Service, please continue below!


Member Eligibility

We know that you strive to remain in good standing. Please note that effective MARCH 1, 2024, the following actions will cause immediate suspension of Member Privileges:

1. Responding to Employer requests to “fold and put away your own laundry,” as though Employer had asked you to eat a human foot/design and build a complex interstate highway system

2. Walking up to Employer with your waterbottle/jacket/bookbag in your outstretched arms, smugly assuming that Employer will just take and hold them for you (as if Employer is some sort of side table/coat closet/storage unit where you can casually deposit things) without your uttering the mandated phrase, “Excuse me valued Employer, would you kindly hold my [INSERT ITEM DESCRIPTION]?”.

3. Blatant member refusal (in above scenario) to accept Employer responses of:  “Sorry, I am unable to hold [INSERT ITEM DESCRIPTION], I am already holding a bunch of stuff,” or even, “Not today, you need to get used to holding your own [INSERT ITEM DESCRIPTION].”


5. Member interruption of Employer/Employer conversations in which Member literally just steps between two conversing Employers with all the subtlety of a pop-up ad, attempting to convey information that is neither essential nor time sensitive.  (Ex. interruption of a conversation about finances to enthusiastically ask “If either of us can guess Mateo’s cat’s name.”)*

Consent to Communication Solely Through Non-Digital Messaging

You (“Member”) accept that all Member/Employer communication will take place through the following non-digital mediums:

spoken words
written words
tired shrugs
frustrated nods
extremely dramatic eye rolls
exhausted yelling

You consent that Members will not be given a phone until such time as Members can reliably do homework on their school laptop without getting sucked into an internet wormhole about Mosasaurs (see also: Titanoboas, Greek Myths, Outdated Legend of Zelda Games), and that we (“Employer”) retain the right to deny phone possession or privileges at any time.  

You accept that each repetition of the question “When will I be allowed to get a phone?” will be met with an additional six-month period in which you (“Members”) will not be given a phone, because we (“Employers”) don’t think people who laugh hysterically when anyone says the word “balls” needs to be in possession of an expensive personal computing device small enough to be dropped in a toilet.


Distribution of Personal Information

Personal information (“Employer-collected Data”) constitutes everything from digital images/schoolwork to your unsolicited (and for the record, unneeded) opinions about local art museums.  You understand that Employer-collected Data may be shared with third parties (grandparents) which will result in the Data being subject to that third party’s extremely lax privacy policy. (i.e. your school photo may be shown to random strangers in a Wegmans and any members of their book group/gym/knitting circle will be forced to read the poem you wrote about wolves.)

Indemnity and Liability

We (“The Employer”) agree that we are obviously 100% to blame for all the stress, ridicule and discomfort that you (“Members”) will inevitably endure as a result of this updated contract, and accept that everything is, and will forever be, our fault.  Employer agrees to cover the full cost of all therapeutic procedures stemming from the trauma caused by the policies described herein, until such time as Member reaches 18 years of age, at which point Member will be considered a legal adult (with all of the responsibilities and dispensations entailed by that status) and will be responsible for their own emotional well-being/psychiatric bills.

Employer is aware that there will be a period of discomfort as Members adjust to meeting their own needs/setting their own schedules/managing their own income, but would like to remind Members that (on the plus side) once they’re taking responsibility for all that other stuff, they can totally just go out and get a f***ing phone if they want one.

*The End*


* Mateo’s cat is (of course) named Cateo.


 *.              *.              *.

Thanks for reading.  If you know someone (with a sense of humor) who’s either pregnant or struggling through raising a baby, please feel free to buy them a copy of my book, linked to HERE, or if you don’t want to use Amazon, HERE.

If you’re here for the photos of ducks (I totally get it. Ducks are great.) and want further information about their origins/usage rights, you can grab those HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.

If you want to follow me on Facebook, you can do that HERE.  If you want to follow me on Twitter or Instagram you can, but it’s probably a huge waste of your time.  If you want to follow me around in real life, I’m probably walking down some street in Jersey City dropping groceries all over the place because I didn’t think to bring enough bags and (as always) didn’t expect to buy as many groceries as I wound up buying.




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