Sunday, July 30, 2006

Something that irritates me…

So, someone who may or may not be my coworker gets into my car last week.

Now, it’s hot inside the vehicle (heck, it’s almost August. In Texas, no less! "Hot inside the vehicle" is kinda' a given...), and the Person In Question (PIQ, for short) immediately reaches for the AC controls (that’s “Air Conditioning” for those of you that live in places like Point Barrow, Alaska, Grise Fiord, Nunavut (Canada), or…ahem…Minnesota). Without asking how anything in my car works, PIQ starts turning dials and punching buttons (at one point PIQ had managed to turn ON the rear window defroster within nanoseconds of turning OFF both the radio AND the AC) – all while making this annoying whiney-gaspy noise.

Meanwhile, I hadn’t even put my car in DRIVE, yet.

Now, I don’t know about everyone else’s car, but mine takes a couple of minutes to cool off after starting it – especially on a hot and sunny day down here in Texas. Not once have I been in a vehicle where you turn the thing on in the summer and it instantly blows icy-cool air out of the vents (nor have I been in a car in the winter that immediately wafts warm with a mere turn of the ignition key). So, why was PIQ expecting my car to perform the miraculous?

Anyway, I finally get my car into gear (and begin the process of turning off the rear window defroster, resetting my radio and reactivating the AC) when PIQ finally graduates from the whiney-gasp to the whiney-whine.

“It’s sooooo hot! How loooooong does it take for your car to cool off? I’m dying here! I think your AC is broken!”

“Just give it a second. It’ll cool off. It’s not an instantaneous process, you know.”

“But it’s sooooooo hot! Can’t it work any faster?”

It was a miracle I didn’t boot PIQ out of my car and onto the asphalt.

I don't know what irritated me more:

  • The fact that PIQ started blindly punching buttons and turning dials instead of just being patient and/or asking how to adjust the air.


  • PIQ's incessant whining.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

In response to my sister’s post…

Because she looks SOOOOO abused...
So, THE RUNT decided to post HERE about how I’ve apparently “dumped” Dolly on her.

I would like to start out by letting everyone know that I LOVE Dolly. I love Dolly a lot, actually. She is my “Number One”, my “Honey Bear”, my “Cashew” (yes, my pets have “pet” names…shut up). In fact, I love Dolly SO much that I sent her to stay with her “Mommy” (a.k.a. my sister).

See, Dolly is going on twelve years old. According to the weight/age chart at the vet’s office, this makes Dolly not just old or “senior” – but a canine geriatric.

This summer is particularly hot in Texas, and poor, little Dolly has been experiencing problems with the heat. It has literately been making her crazy (can dogs go senile?), and she started doing some bizarre things – like barking at nothing for no reason over long periods of time. One day, I came home to find her barking at a brick wall (and my next door neighbor asking me, “If that little, black and tan dog has an ‘off switch’?”).

The heat has also been causing Dolly to have problems…uh…“digesting” properly, and the vet recommended that I keep her cool, calm and indoors as much as possible – especially during the heat of the day – in an effort to prevent such attacks. So, starting in early June, I began keeping Dolly inside most of the time.

Well, normally this would have been the perfect solution, but Dolly (also due to her advanced age) is starting to experience some bladder weakness, and – despite the fact that I was coming home on my lunch break to let her outside to pee – was starting to have “accidents”. At first, it rarely happened, but as the days and weeks progressed, it began to occur more regularly. I knew the second I opened the door whether or not she’d had an “oops” in the house. If she hadn’t peed on the floor, she was waiting to great me at the door. Otherwise, Dolly was hiding under the bed - refusing to come out until the situation was cleaned up and all evidence thrown away. I’ve never, ever reprimanded her for her accidents – she was already doing enough of that by herself at the time. Plus, I knew she was upset about it, so there was no point in adding insult to injury.

Of course, it didn’t help that, after a couple of weeks, Dolly started refusing to pee when I let her outside on my lunch break (she’d look at me like, “I don’t want to pee there. The grass isn’t the right color,” and, then, in protest, she’d get up and go sit next to the front door as if to say, “I cannot believe I got out bed for this!”), apparently preferring to go on a walk instead. Well, that is until the walking got too hot for her liking. All of a sudden – in the middle of a walk - Dolly would refuse to go another step. She’d literately sit/lay down and do the whole “drag dog” thing until I finally relented and started back towards the house. Once it was clear that I was returning home, Dolly would jump up and trot on ahead of me - tail a'waggin'. So, essentially, I was now taking care of a dog with bladder weakness that refused to pee when “the facilities” were available to her.

Anyway, I’ve recently had to move out of my house temporarily while some repairs are being made (something I need to post about, by the way). I originally thought I’d only be out for a few days, but now looks like it will be closer to four or five weeks. So, in the meantime, I’ve been staying with anyone and everyone who will take me (namely, my mother, father and boyfriend).

Since Dolly presents a little more of a “maintenance” problem than Haskell and Gypsy Kitty (who are fine outside during the day), I decided to see if my sister could take her for awhile. After all, Dolly’s schedule and my sister’s schedule are identical. You know, sleep till noon, pee, eat breakfast, take nap, pee, watch TV, make dinner, pee, watch movie, pee, go to bed, repeat. Plus, Dolly does BELONG to my sister (and Dolly is ALWAYS excited to see her), so I thought it was a good idea. Luckily, my sister agreed, and I delivered Dolly shortly thereafter along with her “luggage” (which consists of Dolly’s kibble, joint medication, supply of treats, temperpedic mattress, fleece blanket, and doggie bowls).

Now, it’s not like I’ve abandoned or “dumped” Dolly or anything like that. In fact, over the weekend, I went to the vet and purchased more heartworm tablets and Frontline for her (not cheap, either). I also received this email from my sister yesterday morning:

Hey. I'm guessing you're at work because that's what old people do, but I wanted to let you know that I am no longer ill (not that anyone cares). I also wanted you to know that Dolly only has about a few more days of food left and she smells. She is chewing on a bone right now because I was eating last night and she wanted me to give her what I was eating and I told her that she was getting fat, and then she gave me a look as if to say, ‘Ya...and you're not?’ So, she guilted me into going to the store today…

So, I’m obviously still providing for Dolly in every since of the word. In fact, I even promised my sister that I’d bring more kibble over for Dolly tonight. What service! I’ll probably even end up bathing her, so she won’t smell anymore. All this for a dog that I love dearly (and spoil accordingly), but isn’t even mine.

Anyway, I just thought I’d post my side of the story (lest anyone think that I don’t always have my pets’ best interests at heart).

What are you lookin' at?!

For once, I think I (might) agree...

You Are 5: The Investigator

You're independent - and a logical analytical thinker.

You love learning and ideas... and know things no one else does.

Bored by small talk, you refuse to participate in boring conversations.

You are open minded. A visionary. You understand the world and may change it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Alas! and alone...

Friday was RR's last day at the museum. She's going back to school, and - consequently - can no longer be my coworker (whimper, whimper).

Part of me is really excited for her. I know she's wanted to go back for awhile now, but put it off until her sister was done with law school. I'm happy that RR's finally doing something she wants to be doing - something she's really enthusiastic about. She deserves it.

The other part of me (the selfish side) is sad that she's gone. It isn't easy to convince RR to hang out outside of work, and it's almost impossible to get her to commit to anything planned in advance. Then (making matters worse), the twins are moving to the mid-cities (i.e. New Mexico), which means RR will no longer be available for things like:

1. Tennis

2. Bike riding

3. Nonsensical conversations

4. Lunch

5. Dealing with the toilet 'o' perpetual flush

6. Caffeine breaks

7. Going on work-related field trips

8. Going to work-related conferences, etc.

Plus, RR and her sister are really close (they share a bladder, an apartment, two cats and a calendar), and - outside of JLR and graduate school - I'm not sure RR will have any time to, say, drive to Dallas and play with Gypsy Kitty visit me.

Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is that I'm grumpy and I miss my friend. Work isn't nearly as entertaining without her. Sigh.

For the time being, I think I will imagine that she's only away on extended vacation - just like Fred (my other coworker that left at the end of June).

(RR - who is randomly going to put money in my egg, now?!)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Random thought, random story (or "Why I hate Brussel Sprouts")...

I read somewhere that there are over two-hundred edible vegetables on Earth. Out of all of the vegetables available to us, however, humans choose to consume a mere 5% of the existing variety with any consistent regularity. Apparently, we are creatures of habit, and prefer to stick to what we know (and/or what our parents made us eat when we were growing up). Thus, around the globe, people typically only eat their “vegetable staples”, like corn, spinach, broccoli, asparagus, eggplant, squash, carrots, celery, fungi, etc.

Maybe since many forms of vegetables were thought, throughout history, to be poisonous, it was better to avoid branching out (lest you accidentally poison yourself or your family). Plus, it is not like vegetables are a favorite food of people everywhere. In fact, I think most individuals detest them, and only eat them because they know it is good to do so (mainly to avoid developing Scurvy). After all, if left to their own devices, I’d bet the majority of children, college-age about-twenty-somethings and adults (especially those sans offspring) would forgo eating vegetables altogether. Particularly, if the world’s supply of cheese, dressings (like Ranch) and other delectable toppings, generally utilized to disguise the true taste of vegetables, were suddenly rendered unavailable.

But what really surprises me is that the Brussel Sprout is ON the short list of vegetables that people will eat. I have yet to encounter a person who actually enjoys eating Brussel Sprouts (although I have met many adults who derive secret pleasure from forcing them down the throats of their children, simply because their parents did it to them).

I can get behind carrots and celery. I like corn and spinach. I will even voluntarily consume broccoli (although it is not a particularly enjoyable experience for me). However, I refuse to eat Brussel Sprouts, and would support legislation to deem them “inedible” (perhaps even “poisonous”). I am confident that somewhere on that list of over two-hundred other edible vegetables, we can find one that tastes, looks and has a better consistency than the personally offending Brussel Sprout.

Where does this all come from, you ask?

Well, when I was little, I was sent to stay with my maternal grandparents while my mom and dad went on vacation. In preparation for her absence, my mother went over all the things (i.e. “rules”) that she expected of me while she was away. The list included: “doing as I was told”, “cleaning up after myself”, “helping my grandmother ‘voluntarily’ (i.e. before I was asked to help)”, as well as “EATING WHAT MY GRANDMOTHER FED ME AND NOT COMPLAINING ABOUT IT”.

It was the last one that got me.

See, my mother had never made me eat Brussel Sprouts. This, of course, stemmed from the years and years that she was forced to eat them as a child. Consequently, I don’t think I had ever seen a Brussel Sprout before staying with my grandparents for the first time. However, it wasn’t long until I knew the icky-green veggies all too well.

The VERY, FIRST NIGHT I was there (I kid you not), my grandmother served me Brussel Sprouts for dinner. After close inspection (they were green and smelled gross), I decided that I did not want to eat them. Yet, because I wanted the approval of my grandparents (and a “good report” for my mother upon her return), I decided to choke them down one by one until they were all gone. This was, of course, a lot easier said than done.

It was on this evening of Brussel Sprout deflowering, that I first discovered it was possible to gag without throwing up. Normally (since I was a tomboy), this new tidbit of information would have interested me greatly. However, since gagging was an involuntary reaction to the less-than-joyful experience of consuming Brussel Sprouts, I was uncharacteristically unmoved by my newfound knowledge. In fact, the only “joy” I was able to extract from the entire situation was in finally finishing all my Brussel Sprouts (without my grandmother noticing the physical torture that eating them was inflicting upon me, of course).

But the story doesn’t end there. No, no. Much to my dismay, my grandmother (upon spotting that I had cleaned my plate) immediately jumped to two (erroneous) conclusions:

1) Since I ate them all, I must like Brussel Sprouts.
2) Since I ate them all, I must want more Brussel Sprouts.

As a result, my grandmother (much to my horror) gave me another helping. I – not wanting her to hurt her feelings – cleaned my plate for a second time and quickly excused myself from the dinner table (before my plate could acquire any more of the green, mini-cabbages).

Naively, I spent the rest of the night and most of the next day thinking that I had overcome the worst of the dinnertime torture. After all, every Brussel Sprout that had been cooked that evening had been eaten (which meant that there would be no leftovers threatening to reappear at another meal). Similarly, I was used to a variety of food and assumed that my grandparents were as well. Thus, it stood to reason that, since we had already had Brussel Sprouts on Day 1 (and there were no leftovers), they would not pop up on the “dinnertime rotation” for at least another week. By then, I would be back with my parents and wouldn’t have to worry about eating another Brussel Sprout ever again. Or so I thought…

Alas, my grandparents were used to no such (logical) routine, and – once they found something that worked – had a tendency to repeat successful behaviors in an effort to guarantee another success. In other words, my grandmother had fed me Brussel Sprouts…I had eaten two servings of Brussel Sprouts…thus, it stood to reason that I must like Brussel Sprouts. Therefore, instead of running the risk of making a dinner that I would not like or eat, my grandmother decided to play it safe and serve Brussel Sprouts AGAIN the next night. Her rationale: stick with what works.

I think I ate Brussel Sprouts for three dinners straight before my grandmother changed up the menu and served lima beans instead (which I actually do like). Not once did I let it slip that I hated Brussel Sprouts (or that I wasn’t enjoying eating them night after night after night). Not once! I deserved an award!

It was all worth it when my parents finally got back from their vacation, and I received my (hard earned) “good report” from my grandparents. My grandmother even thought to include how much I loved Brussel Sprouts, and encouraged my mother to cook them for me at home. She, however, did not tell my mother about my newfound love for the lima bean – just the Brussel Sprout (I remember feeling a twinge of panic at this…).

Don’t worry, though. Once my mother and I were in the car (and safely out of the range of my grandmother’s hearing), I clarified the situation and let my mother know that I did NOT, in fact, like Brussel Sprouts. Then, in an effort to win the extra brownie points that I thought I deserved, I explained to my mom (in painstaking detail) exactly how many Brussel Sprouts I had forced myself to eat, how gross they were, and how they made me gag just by looking at them. I concluded (like some sort of melodramatic martyr, I’m sure) with the fact that I had done it all in an effort to spare my grandmother’s feelings about her cooking and apparent love of Brussel Sprouts.

Sadly, I don’t remember my mom being as impressed as I thought she should be.

At any rate, my mother confided in me that she didn’t like Brussel Sprouts, either. And, as a result, she promised to never make me eat them. My grandmother was, of course, another story…

Saturday, July 15, 2006


I have a new foster dog.

(If you just sighed, shook your head and said, "Oh, no" or something to that effect, we are sooooo in a fight...)

It was Friday the 23rd of June, and I was driving home from work when this dog ran out in front of my car.

Calm down, calm down. I didn’t hit him. Someone else did, though, and the poor, little guy was only utilizing 3/4ths of his paw power as a result. He was obviously in a lot of pain, and needed immediate veterinary attention.

Since I am not the kind of person that can just overlook a creature in need (much to my family’s dismay, I’m sure), I pulled over and followed the dog until he collapsed in someone's front yard. I noticed an old lady sitting on the front porch fanning herself.

“Hey, is this your dog,” I inquired?

“Not really,” answered the elderly woman. “He’s just a stray. I’ve been feeding him ever since he showed up as a pup. He lives under my porch here.”

“Do you know what happened to him? He looks hurt,” I asked?

“Yeah. He got hit by a car, poor thing. The people in the car didn't even stop after they hit him. Just kept going. Probably assumed they killed him. But he's not dead, just hurting. Cries all the time now. Real sad. I’d take him to the vet, but I can’t afford it. Especially, if he needs X-rays or something like that. I think that paw might be broken. He won't put weight on it. I called the pound last week, but no one has come out to take him. I guess they are too busy. If he doesn’t get better soon on his own, I’ll have my grandson come over and put him out of his misery. Probably what the pound would do, anyway. Probably be doing them a favor by taking care of it ourselves.”

I looked over at the dog. He was lying in the grass, gently licking his wounded paw and whimpering. I knew I couldn't leave him there.

So, I turned back to the lady and said, “May I take him?”

“Sure. Be my guest,” She replied.

The old lady helped me catch the injured dog (which wasn’t very hard. He was in too much pain to move very fast), and I gently placed him in the back of my car. He was terrified - literately frozen with fear, and shaking all over. I'm sure he thought I was about to kill him.

I thanked the elderly woman, and immediately drove the dog to the emergency vet. On the way, I decided to call him “Haskell” because I was just north of…you guessed it…Haskell Avenue when he ran out in front of my car. Plus, I knew I had to call him something once I got him to the vet, and Haskell just seemed to fit.

The doctor, after examining him, came back to me with the whole, “Well, there’s good news and there is bad news”. Apparently, Haskell had (amazingly enough) avoided breaking anything – at least as far as the vet could without performing x-rays. It was possible that it was something as mild as a severe sprain in his wrist and shoulder, or as serious as a fracture (neither of which they can do much about except prescribe pain medication). What the vet did find, though, was that Haskell was in shock. Dogs in shock are a little trickier to treat, apparently. It makes it more difficult to sedate them safely when performing medical tests and procedures. Plus, since Haskell wasn’t my dog, but a stray, the vet didn’t want to perform a bunch of expensive tests only to discover that the dog was on death’s doorstep or had so many problems that the most humane thing was to simply put him to sleep.

The vet recommended that I keep Haskell over night, observe him and take him to the SPCA the following morning. Apparently, the SPCA down on Industrial no longer puts animals down for space. They only put a dog to sleep if he is too sick, old or aggressive to be adoptable. The emergency vet told me that if I offered to “sponsor” Haskell’s treatment, then the SPCA would treat him – barring any life-threatening injuries (they have a medical center that offers low cost or free animal care and vaccinations) – and then help adopt him out if/when he recovered. The emergency vet thought that this would be the best option for me, so I would not be stuck with expensive vet bills for a dog I found on the street.

This was taken just after the conclusion of his first bath.  He was soooo scared...

So, early the next morning, I took Haskell down to the SPCA. The clinic was holding one of its pet vaccine specials, and people were lined up with their pets in the parking lot. It was completely swamped, but with Trevor’s help I got the car parked and Haskell inside the building. Sadly, however, the SPCA was full (largely due to the influx of unwanted dogs and cats in the summer months) and there was not enough room in the veterinary wing to take in yet another sick or injured animal, even with a sponsor.

“If you leave him with us, he’ll be put to sleep before the day is over,” said the lady at the receptionist’s desk.

Of course, the very idea of leaving him – knowing that he would be put to death by dinnertime - made me burst into tears (there are very few things that will make me cry in public, but one of them is the idea of putting an animal to sleep just because no one wants him. I just can’t help it. I know I cannot save them all, but I didn’t have to place Haskell on “Doggie Death Row”, either). So, I thanked the lady at the receptionist’s desk, picked up Haskell, and walked back to the car.

Then I did what I probably should have done in the first place. I called my vet and made an appointment for Haskell. To my surprise, they already knew about him and his unfortunate run in with a car (apparently the emergency vet had faxed over his medical records incase I decided to keep or foster him), and told me to come right over. Once there, my vet treated him at virtually no cost to me – including a complimentary flea treatment utilizing the feline equivalent of Frontline (which the vet measured out for Haskell’s size and weight).

Because Haskell was still in shock, he couldn’t be properly vaccinated (dogs in shock have suppressed immune systems that can make vaccinations very, very dangerous) for at least a week. However, as of July 1st, the little guy is now “legal” and has an appointment in a few weeks for a Lepto Booster and to be…ahem…neutered.


In the meantime, Haskell is adjusting to the “pampered life”. Before he met me, he had never been in a car, inside a house or walked on a leash. He is a quick study, though, and is currently mastering the “sit” command. Also, mainly due to the brilliance of crate training, Haskell hasn’t had an accident inside (thank goodness!). He’s about a year old, and just as sweet as he can be. A little timid around new people and places, but warms up once he realizes you aren’t going to kill or eat him. I’ve never even heard him growl or bark – only whine when his painkillers wear off and his paw starts to bother him. In fact, Haskell’s main line of defense when he gets nervous or scared is to drool excessively, which I find rather odd (the vet says this is normal for dogs with submissive personalities and/or dogs that have been abused or mistreated by people). In other words, I’ve found the male version of my dog, Gypsy Kitty (who’s key defense mechanism is to hide under the dining room table and/or get as close to “mommy” as physically possible when scared).


Actually, Gypsy Kitty and Haskell are alike in more ways than their irrational fears of…well, let’s be honest here…everything. They are almost identical to each other. In fact, when I first saw Haskell dart out in front of my car, I thought he was Gypsy. Seriously. It is uncanny how much they look alike.

FYI:  Gypsy Kitty is the one wearing the red collar…

Anyway, I am quickly becoming way too attached to Haskell (so is Gypsy. Haskell is her new best friend and perpetual doggie shadow). I’m not sure I’ll be able to let Haskell go. In other words, it is more than likely that he’s already found his forever home with me.

We playin’…

Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem. Lots of people have two dogs. However, since my sister’s dog is also a quasi-permanent guest at my house, I feel like I’m becoming THAT neighborhood lady with all the dogs. That said, Dolly is currently spending time her “mom” at the moment (something THE RUNT says she wants to do more often), so maybe having two dogs isn’t that unrealistic. Plus, Dolly is going on twelve, so it’s not like she wants to do more than eat and sleep nowadays, anyway. Even when she is with me, Dolly is the quintessential low-maintenance canine. She just demands regular feedings, her Temperpedic doggie mattress, and frequent treats to be happy.

So, I’ve decided not to think about finding a home for Haskell for the time being. He still isn’t fully recovered from the run in with the car, and hasn’t been neutered, yet. Instead, I’m just going to keep-on-keeping-on and see what develops. After “The Carla Tragedy” (see HERE and HERE), I’m not sure I’ll be able to trust adopting Haskell out to strangers. You never know, though. Maybe the perfect home for Haskell will suddenly present itself. Maybe that home will be with me, and maybe not. Only time will tell.

In the meantime, I’m doing the multiple-dog-thing and enjoying the summer sun. Gypsy Kitty has a friend and Haskell has a home…what could be more perfect than that?!

The sun has a rather soporific affect…on dogs!


Friday, July 14, 2006

Bonding with "The Village People"...

(and you thought your Friday was exciting...)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

When babies crawl out from underneath cars (or why some people shouldn't be allowed to have children)...

I just got some rather distressing news.

In order for everyone to fully grasp the level of “distressing” here, I offer the following back-story:

About six months ago, Trevor stopped by to pick me up for lunch. Since it was the weekend (and I hadn’t gotten out of bed until Trevor called to see if I was hungry), I wasn’t quite ready to go when he arrived at my house. So, I invited him to come inside while I finished getting dressed.

It wasn’t long until I was good to go, however (my winter weekend attire generally consists of blue jeans, a long-sleeved T-shirt and a hooded-sweatshirt. No make-up allowed. Hat to cover undone hair, optional). So, Trevor headed out to the car, while I locked up my house, set the alarm, etc.

I live next door to an older couple. They are very nice people. A little white trash, but sweet. If I ever go missing, I’m confident that they will be the ones – not my parents, friends, family or coworkers – that will first notice my absence. I swear they keep a log of my comings and goings. I might find it creepy, if it wasn’t kinda reassuring.

Anyway, this older couple (who I’ll refer to as “The Toolsons” to protect their identity) has a son that is about my age. We will call him “Chase”. Chase has always been nice enough to me, although you can tell that there is definitely another side to him. Since I’ve lived in my little house (which, by the way, has been just under a year), Chase has:

  • Been beaten up by his ex-girlfriend (who lives directly across the street).

  • Had his tires slashed by said ex-girlfriend…TWICE.

  • Been beaten up by said ex-girlfriend AGAIN (this time he was dumped in the driveway, and was bleeding so badly that an ambulance had to be called to take him to the hospital).

  • Been imprisoned for six months for illegal drug possession.

  • Now, until recently, Chase has been living at home (with the exception of when he was in prison, of course) with his parents, his current girlfriend (who’s name I’ve never known), and his infant son, Jet (yes, like the plane).

    Since Chase’s current girlfriend is so central to this story, I’ll call her “Jane Doe” from here on out.

    Now where was I? Oh, yes. So, Trevor heads out to the car, while I finished locking up my house and all. My front door is a little tricky to lock properly, and it was giving me an especially hard time that day. This was particularly frustrating because it was a tad on the chilly side that morning, and I was looking forward to being in the nice, warm car. Trevor, as if reading my mind, got inside and started the engine.

    Meanwhile, Jane Doe walks up to Trevor and asks if he’s seen her baby.

    Trevor: “Your baby?”

    Jane Doe: “Yeah, Jet. He was just here a second ago.”

    Trevor: “[Starting to look for baby…] Uhmmmm…”

    Jane Doe: “He couldn’t have gone very far. I mean, I was just inside for, like, two seconds. The phone rang, and I stepped inside to grab it. I bet he’s in a bush or something. Jet really likes nature.”

    Trevor: “[Now looking under the bushes…] Uhmmmm…”

    This was about the time that I finally finished locking my front door, and I turned around just in time to see the baby CRAWLING OUT FROM UNDERNEATH TREVOR’S CAR!!

    Me: “Uh, I found the baby.”

    Trevor: “Really?”

    Jane Doe: “Oh, good. Where is he?”

    Me: “Right here. He just crawled out from underneath Trevor’s car.”

    Trevor: “[Loosing all color in his face…] Crawled out from underneath…WHERE?!”

    Me: “Your car.”

    Jane Doe: “[Picking up baby…] Oh, how funny! Jet just loves cars! I bet he’ll grow up to be an auto-mechanic someday! He’s always crawling underneath them. I guess I should have thought to look there first, huh?!”

    Me & Trevor: [Staring at Jane in shocked silence…]

    Jane Doe: “Well, thanks for helping me find him! You two going to lunch?”

    Me & Trevor: “[Nodding slowly…] Uh huh.”

    Jane Doe: “Cool! Well have fun. Bye!”

    Me & Trevor: “[Still in shock…] Bye.”

    So, that was a tad disconcerting! I still cannot believe it! We could have run over a baby! There was a baby under Trevor’s car! AGGGGHHHH!!!!

    It is six months later, and I STILL find myself looking under my car before I get in it!! Is that normal?! Is it normal to have to check for babies underneath one’s car?! Does anyone else have to check for babies underneath THEIR car?!

    Anyway, as if this event wasn’t bad enough, a few days later I returned home to find Jane Doe smoking in driveway (she’s a regular chimney, she is):

    Jane Doe: “Hey.”

    Me: “Hey.”

    Jane Doe: “What’s going on?”

    Me: “Not much. Just working. Any news from Chase? Doesn’t he get out [of prison] soon?”

    Jane Doe: “I hope so. He was supposed to be out already, but they won’t let him go, yet. It might be another three months, which really, really sucks. I mean, he knows he did wrong. He misses his family. He has a kid. Let him out!”

    Me: “Well, hopefully he’ll get out soon.”

    Jane Doe: “Yeah. I write him a letter everyday. I think he is going to miss Jet’s first steps.”

    Me: “Really? Aw. That’s too bad.”

    Jane Doe: “Yeah. It is.”

    Me: “[After long, awkward pause…] So, how is Jet?”

    Jane Doe: “Sick.”

    Me: “Oh, no! Really?”

    Jane Doe: “Yeah. He has bad diarrhea. He’s had it for a couple of days now.”

    Me: “Have you taken him to the doctor?”

    Jane Doe: “Yeah, but there was a really long wait at the clinic. Plus, the doctor there doesn’t really know what he’s talking about, at least not enough at what he charges. So, I left.”

    Me: “Oh.”

    Jane Doe: “Do you know what to do for babies with diarrhea?”

    Me: “No. I’m not a doctor. I don’t even have kids.”

    Jane Doe: “Yeah, but you’re smart. I can tell. You’ve been to college and sh*t.”

    Me: “But that doesn’t mean I know anything. Much less about babies.”

    Jane Doe: “C’mon. Please?”

    Me: “[Long pause…] Well, have you tried Pedialyte? I mean, I dunno, but I’ve seen commercials on TV for it. I think it can help with the dehydration.”

    Jane Doe: “Jet’s dehydrated?”

    Me: “Yeah, I bet he probably is. I think that’s what happens when you have diarrhea. It takes the fluid right out of you.”

    Jane Doe: “And the Pedialyte will help?”

    Me: “Well, I don’t think it will hurt anyway. I’d still take him to the doctor, though, if he’s not better by tomorrow morning.”

    Jane Doe: “Okay. I’ll try it. Thanks.”

    And try it she did. The next time I saw her, she ran up and thanked me for helping Jet when he was sick. Apparently, the Pedialyte “cured him” (Jane Doe’s words, not mine). I’ve spent the past six months worrying that I’d be summoned again for more impromptu pediatric medical care for the baby next door. Luckily, Jet has been blessed with an immune system that doesn’t “do sick” often (thank goodness. I’m sure Pedialyte only goes so far…).

    Plus, Chase finally got released from prison, and (after holding down a steady job for two months) was able to move his small family out of his parents’ house a few of weeks ago. They now live in an apartment complex several miles away.

    Now to the bad news…

    It cannot be medically confirmed because she hasn’t been to the doctor yet (what is it with doctors and her, anyway?!), but Jane is pregnant again. Notice I didn’t say “thinks she is pregnant”. The word “thinks” is totally moot at this point. She’s already showing. So, by the looks of things, I’m guessing that baby Jet will have a new brother or sister before Christmas (possibly Thanksgiving).


    Some people shouldn’t be allowed to spawn be parents – especially those that think the undercarriage of a parked car is an appropriate place for their baby to play.

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Earth to all teachers! Come in, teachers...

    So, last night, while watching the Lakewood Country Club fireworks with Trevor, RR, JLR and Gypsy Kitty, I had an epiphany.

    I am the first to admit that I am not scientifically minded (not in the least), but I believe that there are ways to teach scientific concepts so they appeal to us right-brainers.

    Take fireworks for example. You see the pretty, pretty lights in the sky about four or five seconds before you hear the “BANG”. Therefore, why not use fireworks as an example of how light travels faster than sound? Seriously, I don’t need a mathematical formula or a lesson in physics. All that I require is a real-world example, and the lights turn on.

    Now, it is important to mention that I accepted the fact that sound travels at a much slower rate than light a long time ago. It was just one of those things, like learning count from 1 to 10, that you learn to live with – no matter if it was seemingly logical or not.

    “Wait. So, it’s 6, 8, 7, 9, 10?”

    “No. It’s 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.”

    “But I like it better when the number 8 comes before the number 7.”

    “Doesn’t matter. The number 7 comes before the number 8.”


    “It just is”

    “Oh. Okay.”

    The light traveling faster than sound thing is no different:

    “Light travels faster than sound.”

    “Uh, how do you know?”

    “Because it does.”


    “Yeah. While both light and sound travel as waves, the speed of light is much, much faster. This is because light is composed of electromagnetic waves which travel independent of a medium. That is to say, light can travel in a vacuum, such as outer space. Electromagnetic waves travel very fast. In a vacuum, the speed is 300,000,000 meters per second; the maximum speed which energy may obtain. This value is abbreviated as ‘c’ , and you may have seen it before as part of Einstein's equation E=mc2. However, when light passes through transparent materials, it slows down a bit. This is because electromagnetic waves interact with the subatomic components of matter. In water, for example, light slows down to around 0.75c, or 225,000,000 meters per second. Even in a material as dense as diamond light travels well over 100 million meters per second! Sound, however, is created by small changes in pressure near the surface of a vibrating object. These changes are propagated through a material medium, such as air, like the ripples formed when one tosses a stone into a pool of water. Sound travels through air at about 340 meters per second. In contrast to light, sound often travels faster in dense materials. In liquid water, sound travels 1450 meters per second. And, in metals such as iron, sounds can travel well over 5000 meters per second. While this is about ten times the speed of a supersonic jet airplane, it is only a tiny fraction of the speed of light.”

    [Blinking blankly] Oh, right. Okay.”

    Now, if you really wanted me to understand what you were saying, why not simply give me an example that I can get my brain behind (or around for that matter)? Otherwise, I’ll just take your word for it and memorize a concept that means nothing to me (other than a BIG headache).

    Just a suggestion...

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006