Mar 30, 2008

A Better Mouse Trap and a Ride on the Karma Train

I am supposed to be doing the dishes, or cleaning the cat boxes. But I need to get a little something out before I feel like I can move on.

My wife and I generally get along pretty darn well. We like to do a lot of the same things and we are tolerant of each other when there are differences.... for the most part. Right now, though, we have what some might call an irreconcilable difference. And now, I feel like I have given up something of myself, something I may never get back, but hopefully will build character?

Let me explain. This is my wife:

This is a look I get on a regular basis, when she is doing her best to be tolerant of me and my crazy ideas and ways of doing things.

I have generally gotten used to this look, and for the most part it doesn't faze me too much. Although, when I do get "The Look," I usually take a second to make sure it's just the look of begrudging tolerance instead of seething anger. If I discover it is the latter, I only have about 2 seconds to retrace my steps and find where I went wrong before the eruption.

I bring all this up because I got "The Look" on Friday night. Let me set up the story a little bit.

It was about 2 months ago (I think) when I was coming home from work one night and something skittered across the patio in the dark. It was fast, it was small, and there was no doubt in my mind it was a rodent. This alone wouldn't be too bad except it went straight under the deck. Over the next two months we would see it from time to time, but never anything in the light where I could get a good look at it, until Friday.

Friday afternoon I saw it. It was grey. It was fat. It was running across the patio in broad daylight in complete defiance of any laws of nature and the food chain. It was not afraid. And it was a monster! This is no ordinary rat. This is a Leviathan. I can't think of any other way to describe it. So I finally decided the time ha come to take action. The beast has to go.

This is when I get the look (if you have forgotten what exactly the look is, refer to the picture of the wife above then return to this spot). I want the rat to die. The wife has decided there will be no needless suffering of animals in our backyard. This has caused a little contention over the last day and half. But in end, as I stated before, I have given a little of my soul on this one, all in the name of "Karma." This is a idea that really is somewhat foreign to me. Its not something I have ever really put much stock in. But the wife feels strongly about, and apparently, she feels I should to.

The result of this difference:
The trap is set, next to a spot where a board came off the deck over a year ago. Its baited with peanut butter. I wanted to lace the peanut butter with De-Con, but again, I have given a bit of myself up here in the name of Karma.
So now I will sit and watch. And wait. And I will be victorious. And the foul beast will be extracted from the yard (apparently she plans to release it deep in the forrest behind the house).
I'm on the Karma train now, and I hope to heck it brings me to a decent place, cause right now its a bit of a bumpy ride. And if the beast returns, I will be ready, and waiting.

Mar 27, 2008

A little rest, relaxation and reorientation in progress.

I have not been to work since last Thursday. I have slept in nearly every morning since. I have stayed up past 2200 hours (usually way past my bedtime). I have had an 8 year-old here running amuck. Man, life is good.

This week has been everything I wanted, and really needed. I am firm believer that time away from work is sometimes what people need to get themselves back together and on the right track. The last couple of weeks have been crazy to say the least, and all I can say is this last week has been extremely nice.
As you can see here, Ben is here and we are down at the waterfront. This whole waterfront idea is Eureka's big plan for tourism and general city improvement. Its a good start, and provides a pretty nice area for people to wander around and see some of the "Historical Old Town Eureka." It has actually been a while since I have been down there, and I really enjoy the area. The harbor behind us is where the commercial fleet docks. There is a pretty big business in commercial crabbing, and the dungeoness crab here is excellent. During crab season here, head to the dock and get a couple of live crabs to take home. Excellent.

I honestly think we have about ten pictures, just like this one. I don't know how old this goat is, but he is pretty much famous in our albums. For whatever reason, probably his size, he is Ben's favorite. There is nothing better than seeing a happy boy a goat together, and thanks to the Sequoia Park Zoo for providing hours of entertainment for the small coast of a donation. You really can't beat the deal. I don't think any trip outside the house here excludes a trip to the Zoo. After all, its around the corner (we can here the Spider Monkeys and Gibbons in the mornings). Why pass up such a golden opportunity. And our little zoo is going to grow as well. I was looking at the plans they have for a whole slew of new animal exhibits. I don't know when the plan to have all this work done, but when it's done I would imagine it won't be free any more. We'll just have to wait and see.

One of the major factors in Ben's life right now is his Heelys. For those who are unfamiliar with them, Heelys are shoes with a skate wheel built into the heel. So the Boy runs a little and flips his toes up and rolls away. These are the only shoes he wears and it is a chore at times to get him to not skate (like in a store). But he loves them and revels in his ability to roll anywhere he wants to.

Prepare to be educated! This is the common Llama. This one in particular is fairly photogenic and was actually a little pushy about getting his picture taken. I would imagine it was the stellar hair-do he is sporting that gives him such a sense of self confidence. Anyway, back to the Llama. Llamas and their cousins Alpacas were actually domesticated a long, long time ago from the Guanaco (they look a lot like a Llama, but not as hairy). Our little zoo actually has a couple of Guanacos, and quite honestly, aside from the interesting information about their domestication are wholly unremarkable. I was simply looking for a reason to put this picture in the Blog and have basically forced it here with this small bit of trivia. Hopefully you fell a little smarter for it.

Lastly, our day ended with us back at the house. And after a long day of playing and fun filled activities, there is nothing better than sitting on the couch with a couple of cats and playing a few video games. Tomorrow (actually today, since I didn't post this yesterday) we are going to Iver's for dinner and I should have a few good pictures from that. We'll keep you posted.

Mar 22, 2008

No little black rain cloud here.

I love my son. He always makes me smile, even on those occasions when I don't want to.

A direction unforseen.

Sometimes it seems that resting is not something I am allowed to do. With all the events of the past week, and preparing for a funeral on Tuesday, life has taken an unexpected turn. And with that turn it seems I am required to reorient myself with the world. I didn't see that turn coming, and I don't know when this reorientation period will be over.

So here I sit at my parents house. I am hiding in an up-stairs room, away from the kids and family and the general ruckus that accompanies them. These things are not bad things, on the contrary, it really has been a pretty good weekend all together. Aside from the 5 hour drive I had to make by myself, things here have been good. If there was any one thing I am looking forward to, though, its a little down time.

A person might think that is hard to come by when I am going to be bringing my 8 year-old son to the house. But truthfully, he is a good boy and I'm looking forward to some father-son time. A walk in the woods, going to the marina and seeing the boats, the park, watching a movie or two. Yes, its going to be a good week. I need it. I think a lot of people need it, I just happened to get lucky enough to get it.

So I have the next week off and I am hoping to find a little bit of energy and spirit that I seemed to have lost recently.

Its going to be a good week.

Mar 19, 2008

An unexpected loss.

I am making this entry with mixed emotions. For the last couple of days I have wanted to make an entry that covered the weekend, and what a decent weekend it was. It was spent with friends and bbq-ing lots of meat and stuffed mushrooms. On top of that, Ubu has been doing better, and has even started eating on his own (a little), which is a huge improvement. These entries are long over due and deserving, in their own rite, of a little more detail and attention.

Sadly, the last couple of days have been busy. Work has been hectic, to say the least, and I have been getting home later and later every day. Then, when I do get home, I am hand feeding the cat and making dinner and trying to clean up the house for Ben's arrival this weekend. So this morning, when I got here, I was hoping to find some down time in order make these entries and make sure they received the detail they deserved. Then I received a phone call today 6:45 this morning that threw my whole day off.

At some point last night, one of my co-workers passed away. To say this was unexpected would be an understatement. He and I worked together yesterday. the best we can figure from the information that we have is that he died of a heart attack at some point in night. He and I were not exactly close. We never did anything on the weekends together, we never sat and watched a Sunday football game. But we have worked together over the last 5 years. And in my profession, one of the best things you can say about a person is that I would happy to have that man back me up. And if he called for help I would run as fast as I could to make sure I was there to back him up. He was a good man and he deserved a lot longer of a life.

I am sorry for his family, his wife and children, who will no longer have him there. I am sorry for those friends who were closer than I and will miss him.

Anytime there is a loss of life it is tragic and leaves many people feeling lost, helpless and searching for answers. We all feel that way today. We want answers to a problem that we will not get answers to today. And In my profession, we consider ourselves family, and we watch out for each other. The forunate thing for us is we have each other here, we can support those who are in need.

Don will be missed, and we all grieve for his family.

Mar 12, 2008

An old friend.

I had the odd chance to talk talk to an old friend yesterday.

Allow me to introduce Kim. Kim and I used to work together in Napa County. For whatever reason, she and I hit things off and became very good friends. As our friendship progressed, it became clear that we were meant to be friends and I can say with 100% confidence, Kim is a true friend, and a good person.

About6 years ago she I were sent to Humboldt County for training. For nearly a month and a half, she and I were shack up at the Red Lion here in Eureka (no, we were not sharing a room). During that time I was dealing with issues in a relationship that was eventually doomed and the fact that Ben was moving to Florida. Kim was a solid friend during that time, and I could have asked for a better person to be stranded in a foreign town with.

Along with that, there were many mornings spent in Fairfield where I had breakfast with her and her family, and truly they took me in as one of there own. For that I grateful and thank her.

Now, its bee quite a while since I have talked to her. Then, by chance, I ended up needing to call my old employment as part of my regular job duties. Odd, eh? So I asked the person I was talking to, "Does Kim still work there?" I was told she did and that she happened to be on duty at that moment. We were reunited and we talked for about 10 minutes (OK, it was a brief reunification, but hey! We were both on clock and things to do!).

I love Kim. I used to call her Mom (of course, no disrespect meant to my own mother, but more a sign of my deep respect for Kim and her friendship). She called me Son. I think she felt the need to watch over, feeling I needed an extra set of eyes to keep an eye on me.

Kim, I have missed you. I hope that we can keep in better touch from now on.

Mar 10, 2008

A very expensive cat.

I'm starting to feel as though I have not had a positive thing to say in quite a while. Every time I get a response from friends or family it is condolences and hopes of things getting better. So I want to take a few moments to make it clear that things are not really that bad. In fact, over all, things are pretty good.

Sadly, though, I can't seem to think of a single thing right now that is worth mentioning as positive. But at the same time, I think that things are going just fine, with a jut a few rough spots along the way.

Lets talk about Ubu. Ubu came home yesterday evening. I don't want to talk about the vet bill. I used to think I was the type of guy who, having an old pet who is sick and needing all sorts of medical attention, would say, "Its time to put him down." Apparently I was horribly wrong. In fact, I was so wrong, I found out am the guy who says, "Lets do whatever we can, we'll figure out the finances later." This realization comes as a huge shock, really. Apparently I don't know myself quite as well as I thought I did. On the flip side, we usually have a 2 ton paperweight in bed with us at night and he has been obviously absent the last few days (for a good explanation of why a sleeping cat weighs 2 tons, see this post by my LazyBhuddist Friend). Normally there is a struggle that ensues every night over the covers. I tend to roll to my left, taking covers with me. Delia tends to complain when I do this. Ubu tends to be what saves Delia from being cold. As my son would say, he likes to be in the middle. This is very true. He worms his way between us, even if he has to walk on top of us and force to separate. While I find this nightly ritual annoying, I have to say I have missed it.

Now, he is home. He has to be given medication every 8 hours and and hand fed every 2 hours. Yikes. But he seems to be in OK spirits, although I think there is some resentment at having been left at the Vet all weekend. But I think he'll get over that.

And all in all, life goes on. Sometimes its just a little harder to trudge along than others.

Mar 9, 2008

A little black rain cloud.

Its Sunday morning. Its 10:15 am. The sun is shining and it looks like its going to be a beautiful day. This is the good news.

Now, lets go on to the little black rain cloud that seems to have settled over our house.
  1. Ubu is still at the Vet. They called yesterday and said he had recovered from his surgery, which didn't yield any results, but was overly sluggish which was concerning them. So they wanted him to stay the weekend. I can't say I blame them for this precaution, but I guess they don't know that sleep and grogginess are an important part of Ubu's life. None the less, he is still there and bill gets higher and higher.
  2. The truck is home and running. The real problem? A burnt valve. Apparently, this is a problem that should be happening to a Toyota with over 200k, not 133k. Lucky me. Its paid off, and now the only question is do we sell it or sink the money into it? My inclination is to sell it and get a bigger truck (which we need anyway). Hopefully things work out here.

OK, so there is our little problems in a nutshell. They really aren't that bad, since the tax return came in and we can afford the needed things. Its just frustrating that it all seems to be happening at once. But what am I to do? No clue really. Just trudge on and hope for the best.

Wow, this has been a rather somber post. Hopefully I'll come up with something later to counteract this gloominess.

Mar 6, 2008

The Appointment

Ok, I saw my doctor. As he opened my chart and started going over the report from the CT he was shaking his head, and let fly a couple of expletives. While some might find this as unprofessional, I myself find him to be very personable. So this is what he told me:

First off, there is a complete collapse of the fibular/tibular something-or-other. I really can't begin to say what exactly all that means, but it sounds bad. On the flip side, I think what they are calling a collapse is simply years of abuse and wear.

Second, there are signs of arthritis. Again, there is nothing new there.

Last, there are 4 "loose bodies", also known as bone fragments. The largest of which is nearly 1/2 inch in diameter. This is most likely causing most of my pain.

So there is the report. The doctor's official diagnosis? And I quote, "Your ankle is wrecked."

He then told that my ailments are far beyond the scope of his practice, and I am being referred to an orthopedist. This information is really nothing new to me either, and was expected. It seems ridiculous to me that I have had to go through all this red tape and a couple of hoops in order to see the orthopedist, but that is just the way it goes I guess. I can't say I have ever personally felt the need for health care reform, but if ever I did, it would be now. It should be a little easier than this to get things done.

OK, so for now, I am wearing my little boot on a regular basis, and waiting for an appointment with the orthopedist. I'll keep you posted.

Mar 4, 2008

Reflections on Modified Duty

Where I work, there is a certain expectancy that you are going to show up for work every day and be prepared to perform your duties. I realize that this expectation seems rather obvious, but there are other factors to consider. For example, here at the office I accrue sick time. Right now I have almost 400 hours of sick time on the books. That's a lot of time I could miss and still receive my normal salary. We accrue vacation time (of which I use a lot), which is more time I could use to miss work. And last, for every designated holiday (of which there 8 per year) I accrue 8 hours of holiday time which, yes, I could use to take time off from work. All these things in mind, people still issue out a verbal assault on those who are not at work (usually in good fun, but still an assault none-the-less).

Now, I myself am in a particular quandary. I plan to miss a minimal amount of work, although I will be put onto a light duty status tomorrow. I will be here, but will pretty much be limited to a desk job and answering phones. Not ideal, but is better than me not being here at all. Even though I won't be missing work (yet) I am not exempt from the verbal abuse.

Take my good friend Dean, for example. Apparently, according to him, my modified work status will not really change anything because my co-workers are used to carrying my slack anyway. My good friend Tim has stated that they hardly notice me at all anyway, and simply have gotten used to the very little amount of work that I do. My wife, simply states that I do my best to do as little as possible and this won't make any difference either.

Do I take offense to this? Not in the least. Do I think they don't care? Absolutely not. I don't know where this odd way of showing support and care for a person came from. Saying the opposite of what you really mean seems, well, backwards. But it is what it is. There is a saying that goes around the office to some of the new guys, as they take a ration of flack for simply being the new guy, "When we are joking with you, its because we like you. When no one talks to you, you should be worried." And so it is, and so it is.

So I am here at work right now, knowing that moving my ankle as little possible is the only thing that keeps it from hurting. And to my dear friends who so happily comment on my inability to do my job, I say "The phone in front of me is ringing. Some one hand it to me!"

Mar 3, 2008

It seems, anymore, that if I am at home I barely have time to do anything. If I am not at home, I am at work. This schedule is not conducive to my overall well being. But I seem to get by anyway. Here is what's new:
  1. The ankle join is causing me pain on a regular basis. A regimen of Motrin and Tylenol helps, but I don't think its an end all solution. It is rather frustrating, though, because I'll be at work and labeled a "gimp," and I just feel like a burden to the shift. Such is life though, and I know its the needed thing to do in order to make it better in the long run. So for now fellow co-workers, you have to pick up my slack.
  2. My truck has been having trouble lately. It has been idling a little on the rough side, and the other day the electrical in the dash went out all together. Then, on Saturday morning, it simply would not start. That sucks. So AAA towed it for us and the prognosis is still unknown.
  3. Our house has been somewhat of a Kitty infirmary. Stinky had her dental work done, and the Vet extracted 6 teeth. On the plus side, she doesn't stink at all any more. I guess we will have to come up with new name for her. Ubu is still not eating and drinking. We are having to administer fluids through IV every other day right now. His prognosis is still unknown.

So that's the rundown. I see the doctor again on Wednesday, but I don't expect to know anything different by that time, only to be referred to an orthopedist.

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