Ding-Dong! The Cat is Dead

(Sigh) Until last week, a furry little bone of contention has be running around our house for the past 3½ years. Before that, he was just the family (read: my wife’s) cat.

Just before our son was born, I realized having a cat wasn’t “a good fit” for the new life on which my wife and I were about to embark. But the cat had been with her through thick and thin for longer than me—he had seniority. Since then, we’ve argued over his presence in our house and our lives.

It’s been a cold war: One in which I’ve used passive measures such abdicating cat maintenance responsibilities only to begrudgingly “help out” to defend our household from “House of Squalor” status. I’ve joked that it would be horrible if “something” were to happen to the cat—admittedly half joked knowing that was the only way I’d live cat-free. I’ve argued that it would be best for everyone—including the cat—to give him away.

All to no avail.

The arguments against having a cat are:

  1. Less fur around the house.
  2. Less cat urine on our stuff: beds; closets floors; etc.
  3. Less cat shit on our stuff: See cat urine list
  4. Less cat vomit on our stuff: That could really be anywhere.
  5. No litter box to clean.

  6. Not being awakened early in the morning (like 4:30 am…) by a hungry cat.
  7. Spend less money on cat food, supplies, and vet bills

Honestly, I don’t know what is up with cats. They have a reputation of being clean animals because of their constant grooming and bathroom habits. But I think we’d all agree that if a person stood in the toilet with bare feet, licked themselves constantly to the point of coughing up hair, and threw up every 3 days, we’d consider that individual to have a number of problems. In this light, I’m surprised cats haven’t joined the ranks of rats, mice, and roaches as creatures you’d pay someone to eliminate from your home—Lord knows I’ve thought about it.

But don’t think that I hate cats—in fact, I much prefer them dogs. And I didn’t really have a problem with “our” cat. My only problem with cats was that we had one. My only problem with our cat was that he was our cat: a guy doing cat things (see list above) in our house.

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Gone Fishin’

Today is a beautiful day to be out on the lake. It’s not sunny, but it’s comfortably warm and there’s just a hint of a breeze. It’s so quiet—just a gentle ripple on the water. It’s perfect.

Unfortunately…

Im sitting in a beige cubicle surrounded by other people unfortunate enough to be in the same position: having to be somewhere other than where they’d like; doing something other than what they’d like; with people other than…you get it.

Chances are you’re just like us.

The Great Hamster Wheel

We grind the days of our life away—working—so we can pay another mortgage payment; another electricity bill; another cable TV bill—all so we have a place to put our TVs; electricity to run our TVs; and programming for our TVs so we can forget about how crappy work is at the end of the day. We work/save/work/save/work/save just so we can take vacations that take us away from our work/save lives.

It’s the great hamster wheel of modern life.

I’m sorry, is this too bleak for you…

Whoever said the greatest things in life are free knew what he was talking about. My son is gorgeous—and a real character. He get’s it from his parents—and he’d be the greatest thing in my life no matter how hard I work; no matter how much I save; no matter how much I watch The Daily Show to burry the pain of working, etc.

But…

If I knew it would out this way, I would have chucked it all at an early age and moved to the woods to fish all day. I’d feel free—and still may be able to afford my precious cable TV.

My brother’s only job is to play drums for local bands. Often, his monthly income could be measured in the hundreds. But he’s wealthy in time. Usually I think, “Why doesn’t he get a job so he can have some money (and stuff)?” But he doesn’t have to put his soul into the hamster-wheel-powered soul grinder every morning.

This weekend, I will be out on the lake with my brother to do some fishing. For me, it will be a fantasy—like fantasy baseball camp: It will be a taste of what my life could be like if only…Then it’s back to the hamster wheel on Monday.

I can’t wait.

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Teaching a Toddler

Setting: My three-year-old son fights with my wife as she tries to put him into his car seat. I’m putting groceries into the back of our small SUV.

Son: Leave my alone! Leave my alone!

Me: Hey Kiddo, it’s “Leave me alone.” Say it.

Son: Leave me alone.

Me: Good. Now, don’t talk to your mother like that.

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Handicap Ramp Available

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A stupid sign at Bill’s Pub in Mundelein, IL

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There’s nothing on my plate that wouldn’t give you a heart attack or diabetes.

The closest thing to health food on the table is coffee with sugar.

Yeah. I ate it anyway.

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Drank waaaay too much last night: It’s one of those “Oh good, there are my keys.” kinda’ mornings.

Glad it’s not one of those “Oh fuck! Where the fuck are my keys!! Shit! Shit! Shit!” mornings.

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In the early years, most of parenting revolves around protecting your kid from your stuff and your stuff from your kid.

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Braille Menu Available at McDonald’s Drive-Thru Window

Braille and Picture Menus Available Sign at McDonald's Drive-Thru Window
"Braille and Picture Menus Available" Sign at McDonald's Drive-Thru Window”

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Acute Plumbers Crack

Before I get into this story, some background facts:

  1. At the time of this story, I had lost about 30 lbs since becoming a flexitarian seven weeks earlier.
  2. I had plumbers dig a (stinky) hole in my basement to install a check valve in my sewer line.

Okay, so…

During the check valve project, the hole in my basement was filling with water. The plumbers were concerned: Was it caused by something they did; something that was already wrong with my pipes; or just natural ground water from rain the night before?

My job was to observe and report. Once my family and I were done making sewage for the night, I was to observe if the water level in the hole would rise. At 12:15 am, I washed the last of the dishes, used the toilet, and brushed my teeth. I waited a few minutes. Then, I went down in the basement, got out my 12 gallon shop vac and started sucking.

The tiny shop vac quickly choked down it’s fill of the stinky hole water. I popped the motor off, picked up the bucket, and carried 12 gallons of wretched water up the stairs (my arms couldn’t be long enough), exited out the back door, and walked to my fence line where I dumped it.

But the hole still had a good amount of water. So, I went back to the basement to repeat the process. Again, I filled the shop vac, carried up the stairs and out the back door.

(sigh) If the neighbors were watching out their window, this is what they would have seen in the dark of my backyard at 12:30 at night on a Thursday: I came out of my backdoor hugging a large bucket. As I cross the width of my property, pants that fit me 30 lbs earlier work their way over my hips and down my thighs until I arrive at the fence line with my pants around my knees where I dump the mysterious bucket.

Yeah. So, apparently plumber’s crack is contagious.

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Parenting a toddler and honesty are nearly strangers in my house.

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