Garfield (I did not name him - that would be Jonathan's "fault", but I'll tell you what, he sure lives up to his namesake) is a climber. He climbs into the ceiling joists in or laundry room and them roams the house in the gap between the upstairs floor and the downstairs ceiling.
3 days ago, my wife heard him in the kitchen area (in that gap) and went to pick the kids up from the Skate Park (so new it's not yet listed on the link - but is part of the Mini-Met). When she returned, Garfield was laying down on some laundry on the floor of the laundry room. She did not did not think anything about it (he is a "napper"). The next day (while everyone else was at work or school) I noticed that Garfield had not moved from where he was "napping" all day long. Because of our opposite schedules, and having more important things to discuss in the 30 minutes a day I get to talk to my wife, I had neglected to tell her my observations, and I had not heard about the prior day's events. By that evening, my wife had also noticed that he had still not moved from the original location that she found him in the day before. In the morning we shared our observations, and decided that he needed to get to the vet. This was the morning of day three since his fall.
That morning he had again not moved, but since we put food, water and litter near him, he had been able to hobble (on three legs) to take care of any necessities he had (eat, drink, pee, and poop), but he would screech and howl in pain if you lifted him. Well, in an "already to busy", after Ben's Culinary Arts final (more to come on that) I had to squeeze in a trip to our VET. After arriving at the vet, and getting Garfield weighed in, I met with the vet Tech, and then the Vet. Both were very kind, and gentle with Garfield. I was told to expect a broken bone, but they would have to xray to confirm that, which I agreed to. Twenty minutes later I was asked to return to the room, and shown the xrays.
According to the vet, the break was an complete oblique fracture (broken all the way through). The vet said the best course of action would be immediate surgery (that they do not preform in the Belle Plaine office), and resetting the bone with a plate and pins. I was told to expect the bill to come in around $3,000.00.
Yup folks, "three large" - for Garfield our $10.00 farm cat. That is a hard pill to swallow. But, Garfield really is a good cat, and a lot of fun to have around. He is huge, and clumsy, always knocking something down, and as curious (if not more) than Molly our cairn Terrier. He provides our family with a lot of "comic relief". I would say of all the cats that have come and gone over the past ump-teen years, I would put Garfield tied for first place. So, the news was devastating. Sorry everyone, as much as I love the cat, 3k just aint gonna happen.
At the vet's office, they have three stray cats that were left abandoned at their office. One of the three is a gimp (a politically incorrect or pejorative term for a crippled, paraplegic, or anyone (or anything in this case) with a limp or physical disability in the legs). The gimp hops along on three legs (missing one rear leg). I was just about to ask the vet how much it would cost to make Garfield a "three-wheeler" when the vet (sencing my apprehention) came up with a second (although not as effective) option.
The vet said she could put Garfield under, reset the bone, and put him in a cast for around $300. The cast would be less effective, and the bone could heal crooked, misaligned, or even partially separated, although less effective, it was a significantly less costly option. She also said that due to Garfield's age (less than one year), the probability that the bone will heal "pretty well" was high.
So before the vet got to "the third option", not wanting to come home "empty handed" (if you know what I mean - Thanks "Anonymous") to a living room full of kids wanting to know where Garfield is, I did what I thought was a reasonable compromise. I had the cat's leg set in a cast by our vet.
I left the vet a little over an hour later with a casted cat in a crate (say that 10 times fast!) and (all total, including the initial visit charges, x-rays, sedative, cast and application of the cast, and the take home drugs) with $360.00 less to my name - all for the sake of Garfield the cat.
Damn, I hope he lives the rest of his life like he "owes me one" - I did (after all) skip "The Thrid Option".
(Images can be enlarged by clicking - for ease of reading)
For thoes of you intrested, credit for these charts and graphs go to my free account at Twin Cities Gas Prices (or it's affiliated site Minnesota Gas Prices - If you have an accout with one, you have an account in the other). Great sites, and they give you a free "Fuel Logbook" which tracks your fuel purchaces and usage, and spits it out in the formats below. It's very easy to use, and I've been doing it since 2004. Give em a try!
This is where Jonathan is going to be spending a week this summer for his first true extended period of time away from home. His first week long "summer camp". It will be "transitionary" (if that is a word) for him because it is recommended that all first year Boy Scouts have a parent attend for at least a portion of the week.
So far I have been unable to attend any of Jonathan's weekend trips to Camp Phillippo, nor will I be able to attend this year's Ripley Rendezvous.
My work schedule just happens to fall in place that I am able to attend Tomahawk with Jonathan for 4 of the 7 days (which I was looking forward to, that was until the Troop Leader said something about putting the new parent chaperons with older scouts, so that the older scouts can show the new parents "the ropes". - Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of having the new scouts bring along a parent???). Well, being the rule follower that I am, I will do as I am told.
My only concern with the "half week" proposition is that I will have to drive myself to and from the camp so that I can get home to return to work half way through the week of camping.
For those of you who know what I drive, please, keep me in your thoughts and prayers, as this could be a "wonder of wonders" and a "miracle of miracles"...
Up until today all the posts under the "Scouts" tag have been about Boy Scouts, Pinewood Derby, and Jonathan's Crossing over from Weblos to Boy Scouts. Well, I am officially changing that. Last night Rebecca "Crossed Over" from a Daisy Girl Scout to Brownie Girl Scout.
Although I missed it, my wife videotaped it. I watched it this morning with Rebecca, and was as proud of her as if I was there! She proudly ran up to her room, and donned her new "Brownie Vest" (that is yet to be adorned with the numbers, pins, and patches that will eventually fill it). Last night Rebecca was awarded the "Brownie Scout Pin" and the "Bridge to Brownies" patch. The Brownie Pin is for all current Brownie Scouts, and the "Bridge to Brownies" patch is for all girls that completed "Daisy Scouts".
Also - an interesting little story involving the Jordan Girl Scouts...
At the ceremony there was a special US flag predominantly displayed. One of the Jordan Girl Scout Troops got together and decided to send two "cases" of Girl Scout Cookies to some of the US Troops fighting in Iraq. The soldiers were so delighted to get the boxes of cookies that, as a gesture of thank-you, in return they sent back the flag that had flown over their camp. The Girl Scouts have made this their official ceremonial flag to be displayed at all events. What a simple gesture each way, but in it's own special way it meant a lot to each group.
(Hey Ed and Bill... Y'all should pay special attention to this post. Ed, it's only a couple of short years before Allison is old enough, and Bill, you still have a bit over five years before Maeve can join, but it's never too early to start learning about all this stuff!)
Back in 1987, I graduated from the Academy of Holy Angels (or AHA for short). Today I received all the paperwork for this year's reunion event(s).
I graduated in a relatively small group of people (about 120), and knew everyone pretty well. I always have looked forward to my reunion(s), and this one is no different. I have stayed in contact with about 6 of my old classmates over the years. (I have even talked about one of them here on the blog before as inspiration for starting my "Father of Five" blog.)
One of the forms is called "What's Your Scoop?". They are putting together information on what I (and my classmates) have been up to since June 1987. It has all the basic questions.. Spouse, Kids, Job, etc, etc, etc... But at the very bottom of the page they are trying to put together a little reunion fun with the following question...
Stump your classmates! For a little fun at the reunion, we'll try to guess who answered what to the following question. (Be creative and truthful!)
"Since AHA, I've ___________________________________________________."
I have already started my answer. I will share the "final answer" that I give later... In the mean time, I'd like to see how those who "think" they know me best feel I would answer this question. Post your answers as a comment! Remember, be as "creative and truthful" as you think I am being!!
It seems that Ed had left his dog Jake with his sister and their family while they were all dealing with the hospitalization of their father. Ed had to make a trip to the Twin Cities to pick Jake up, and he had something to drop off at my house (I will describe later). Since Ed was traveling from Duluth, Mn - we decided to make it an afternoon.
Ed arrived around 9 am, and I welcomed him in just as I was finished rebuilding our kitchen phone.
The phone is an AT&T 1817 corded wall phone with a built in answering machine. Over the last few years this phone had gone from bad to worse (from use by a large family). The ringer volume switch is broken. It was painted with "white-out" by one of "the five", the (answering machine's) volume up and down buttons no longer worked, and as of yesterday, the delete message button got stuck on, and would delete messages after you played them back.
Being the "Jack of all trades - Master of none" that I am, I am not afraid of the disassembly of small electronic appliances. In fact, I sometimes amaze myself on the things I have been able to repair / restore / "bring back from the dead" over the years. I have made "electronic repairs" on the circuit boards of a fried police scanner, baby monitor, a couple of CB radios, numerous AM/FM radios, and video games. This morning I had disassembled the entire phone, and began cleaning all the "mechanical components" (buttons, carbon contact membrane, levers, and switches), and then I carefully cleaned all the "white out" from the phone. I was in the process of reassembling the phone, and hooking it all back up when Ed arrived.
It was great to see Ed, and he was looking "none worse for the wear" for all the stress that he went through last week. We got to catching up with everything that was going on, and he brought out a "WAY TO NICE" birthday gift he got for me.
One of the reasons Ed came down to the Twin Cities (referenced above) was to deliver an "ultra high quality hand crafted toddler bed" that he made. After searching out a toddler bed for his daughter, Ed decided that he could make a better one on his own. As always, when Ed does something, he does it well! That meant that Ed needed a couple of new tools to build the bed correctly. After explaining how much he spent for the materials, and to the tools, I suggested that he make a couple of extra beds to sell on eBay or Craigslist which could use to pay off the extra cost of the tools. Ed did just that. He made one additional bed (so far). With my "computer skills" - I agreed to create a sheet of "assembly instructions" for him, get some good photos, and I'll see if he wants to try and sell this bed via Craigslist here in the metro area (since it's already down here). If this works well, I believe he is planning on making, and selling a few more. Who knows, this could become a cottage industry!
The bed is unbelievable. It is what I would call heirloom quality. This bed will outlast both Ed and I - and, I believe, will outlast his daughter, and his daughter's children. The craftsmanship and attention to detail is nothing short of breathtaking.
After some visiting, unloading & oogling over the toddler bed, and a little more visiting, we ran to Rademacher's Grocery and picked up our "regular" lunch staple - Ambassador wieners by Wimmer's Meats (drooling "Homer Simpson style"), and Bushes Onion Baked Beans. We got back home, BBQ'ed the wieners, cooked the beans, and poured a couple of Long Island Iced Teas.
Life is good.
After lunch, we returned to the garage, (or what Ed likes to refer to as "Man Central") and proceeded to fire up a couple of vintage premium Colorado/Maduro Petit Perfecto Ashe Cigars (These are no longer produced, and are ULTRA RARE!). We both agreed - they were MOST EXCELLENT! The garage smelled great!
Once the cigars became nothing more than a lingering taste, smell, and memory - we wandered around the yard with Molly (our cairn terrier) laughing at (well, at least Ed was laughing at) the sprinkler heads that Molly has dug up, the holes she has dug into the yard, the trees she has "peeled" the bark off of, and other miscellaneous doggy mischief she has gotten herself into.
By this time, I needed to get ready to leave for work, and so, Ed headed out to get his dog Jake, and I headed out to work. This was the first day this week that I went to work not feeling overly stressed. It was refreshing!
We had a great afternoon doing - NOTHING. We hung out just like old times. It was a bit breezy and cold, so we spent much of our time just hanging out in "Man-Central" (the garage),
Today was truly a "Desperately Needed Break" (see the title of this entry).
It all started last week while listening to the Ron & Fez radio show. Fezzie had been having some "chest pains" while on the air. Since he suffered a previous heart attack in 2005, Ron, East Side Dave and Black Earl took it pretty serious, and convinced him into going to the hospital - all live and on the air. It was very emotional. It was later discovered that he needed a 2nd stint put into one of his arteries. Yeah, I know it's a radio show, but I love my "radio buddays" and feel like I know them personally. Hang in there Fezzie! I have been sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to hear back on how Fez is doing. I'll find out today (Monday) between 11am - 2pm (Central) on XM Radio's channel 202 "The Virus".
Then, two days later, priorities hit hard when Ed called me up and said that his Dad was in the hospital - His heart was acting up again. (Ed's parents were my "second parents" growing up. They are still very near and dear to me...) Without going into a lot of details, Ed called and explained the situation. I asked to be kept abreast of what was happening, and kept their family in my constant thoughts and prayers. Not long after the first call, Ed called again and told me he was packing his family up and they were on their way to the hospital where his Dad was staying (2 hours away). From what I understand, it was pretty "touch and go" and Ed's Dad's heart was quickly loosing it's capabilities. Again, asking Ed to call me with any updates (at any time of the day or night) I was expecting "the call" in the middle of the night. When no call came in that night, I called Ed the next morning, and discovered that his Dad was rallying back a bit, and that the fluids that were building up in his body (and reducing the effectiveness of his heart) had drained, and that things were looking up a bit.
Out of respect for the family I wont go into a lot of details here, but suffice it to say that while the news is not "great", it certainly could have been much worse, and as of the last contact I had with Ed, after a surgery on Sunday (yesterday) things should have stabilized for his Dad last night and into this morning.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
I am still trying to adjust to my new schedule. It is a very different type of work that happens from 3pm - 11pm. I frequently give the "junior dispatchers" a hard time, but I gotta tell you - they have it much harder than I did when I was in their position (or any of us "senior dispatchers"). There have been a lot of changes over the past dozen years at the department, and while I frequenly give them a hard time (comparing "old school" dispatching with what goes on now), and therefore do not acknowldge how good they are (as dispatchers) to be able to do what they are doing, and as good as they do it. It is not an easy job, and some of the recent changes have made a stressful job even more difficult.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
Remember my posts about the alarm system? Well, I have had my alarm system about 50% complete (installed and functioning, but I only had half of the parts I really wanted). A brief tour of ebay over the past couple of weeks has neted me (at a damn good price) the remainder of the parts needed to alarm everything I want alarmed in the house. Originally my house was only to have 4 sensors. I was not comfortable with that number, and after installing the four, I have been watching for more at a good price. Last week I was able to pick up the remaining seven sensors, and the remote access keepad that I have been watching for. These parts should all arrive sometime this week, and I hope by next week to have the alarm system 100% complete and functional.
A very special Mother's Day to the mother's in MY life. I too am guilty of under appreciating you. You all have a special roll to play, and deserve far more recognition that I give you. Thanks for all you do.
- - - - - - - - - - -
We live in a "split entry" home, and we have a modest sized entryway. A number of years back we picked up an "el-cheapo" / "build it yourself" pine bench for the entryway. We always intended on finishing it, but the pine was of "less than good" quality, and was very soft (easily ding'ed, dented, scratched, bitten, and chewed). The bench did not take "wood stain" well, but "would stain" very easily with other products (like melting Popsicles, freezy-pops, spilled drinks, melted chocolate, dog tinkle, markers, crayons, pencils, dirt, sand, water - I think you get the picture). The pine bench became an eyesore and frankly, an excuse / place to drop whatever we walked into the house with (bags, coats, shoes, toys, etc, etc, etc). For Mother's Day, I picked up a furniture set that my wife has been looking at for a while to replace the pine bench from hell.
After giving her the gift, we cleared out the bench and set the furniture up along the wall. I took some photos of it, but alas, I forgot my camera in the van, and my wife has the van today.
I scoured the web for a link to the furniture, (Ed wanted to know what it looked like last week - but I could not find a pic or a link). So, without any of my own pics, or a link to set up, I did the next best thing. I took a scan of the set from an advertisement. This looks just like the set, but it is not an actual picture of the set in my house. (I suppose I'll get around to replacing this photo with a real one in the next few days... but for now, you will have to live with this.
Earlier today I posted about two books I wanted to read. I posted about them because my friend Bill would be intrested in them, and would add them to his "reading list". I then made reference to Bill to post his reading list (which I still think is a good idea), and I have also gotten a book recomendation from Eric. I decided that since I found a good book from Eric's list, and told Bill to post his reading list, why would I not post my own?
So, here goes! (In no particular order)
My Father's Gun
Nightmares and Secrets
The Journal of Professor Abraham Van Helsing
The Story of a Lifetime
Walking with the Devil
Working the Edge: Surviving In the World's Most Dangerous Profession: King Crab Fishing on Alaska's High Seas
Stories of the Old Duck Hunters: & Other Drivel
Last Stories of the Old Duck Hunters
They Used to Call Us Game Wardens
They Used to Call Us Game Wardens Volume 2
Root Beer Lady
Bass Guitar for Dummies
Books I own, and are awaiting a read.
More Stories of the Old Duck Hunters
Nights of Ice: True Stories of Disaster and Survival on Alaska's High Seas
One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey
I also have an "e-book" I need to read.
More Readings from One Man's Wilderness: The Journals of Richard L. Proenneke 1974-1980
(Look for the link on the left sidebar on the blog.)
Currently on my "Wish List" is...
- A Bench Grinder
- An Indoor / Outdoor Weather Station
- An AM/FM/CD/MP3 Projection Clock Radio (if they even make such a thing...)
- An Internal framed backpack
- A Ron and Fez tee Shirt.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Last Updated 08-19-07
"They Used to Call Us Game Wardens" and "They Used to Call Us Game Wardens Volume 2"
Now, I know my friend and colleague Bill has a "Reading list" that he keeps. I do not recall if he has these books on his list, but knowing what I know about Bill (read the last sentence of the first paragraph from THIS post...) if these books are not on his list, after he reads this entry I am confident that they will! (Hey Bill, your "reading list" would make a great post!)
As for me, I'll be adding these books to my "Wish List".
I have been busy plugging away at "graduation plans" for Ben (the oldest of the five) who graduates High School next month. Lots to do, for that.
As for any other fathers out there with kids in "less than high school age" or are awaiting their birth... (ahem... Eric, Bill, Mark...) one tip... Start saving money now for your kids senior year. WOW - it gets expensive... Class ring, Senior Pictures, Senior Party, Graduation fees, Graduation announcements, Graduation invites, parties, etc, etc, etc... It's the "black hole" of "disposable income" for us dads.... Just a heads up from me to you...
But, the world of 9-1-1 is a 24 hour need, and therefore requires many shifts to provide accurate coverage for the citizens that it is our duty to serve and protect.
Two days ago was the start to our next "trimester", and because of some changes here at home, I needed to switch shifts to the 3pm to 11pm shift. For many years the "midwatch" shift was my favorite. Things change. Time and tide stand still for no one. So now, it is with trepidation that I move to my former "favorite" shift.
I bet you are asking why I am blathering on about this shift change. Well, I am letting my readers know this because in the past eight months, my entries would be posted in the evenings (after 3pm). Now, you will find my postings occur in the mornings (before 3pm) - Unless of course it is my day off...
I'll give you a hint, and finish the post tonight or tomorow...
Be kind to me... It was the first web page(es) I ever built.
(Oh, and P.S. - There is a low bandwith limit on that page, so you may or may not get a "temporarly unavaiable" notice. If you do, you will just have to try back later. Not much I can do about that unless I make it a paid page, and... well... I'm not going to do that.)
The story behind the fish tank is that I too am an "aquariust" I have kept fish tank(s) ever since I was 16 years old.
My first fish tank - I bought with my own money. My parents did not even know I did it - The store (which to this day is still my favorite fish store was "Pets Unlimited" in Edina. It is no longer open. It closed maybe 15 years ago (or so). I would walk up and down the fish isles of that store for hours at a time. Daydream about setting up a salt water aquarium, and drool over all the high priced doo-dads.
- - - - - - - -
I started fishkeeping at age 16 (1985). I bought my first tank after I started workin' for a living. I started with a 10g. Being very new, and inexperienced in keeping fish, the whole tank got ich and died. But I was determined for no other reason than I liked the sound of the bubbling water in my bedroom at night! I broke the tank down, cleaned everything and started over, learning from my mistakes as I went.
A couple of years later I added a 29g while keeping the 10g up and running.
Some time after that my (then girlfriend / now wife) wanted me to set up a fishbowl for her 2 year old son. (Against my better judgement) I did. They loved the bowl, but wanted an aquarium. I took the bowl home as a rescue attempt (my only real unsavory long-term experience with fishkeeping) and set up another 10g for the Girlfriend and her son. At this point I was maintaining my 29g, 10g, the goldfish bowl – and a "remote" 10g (at the girlfriend’s place).
By now I was finishing college and moving out on my own. I moved into a SMALL apartment with a roommate, and (initially) did not set up any tanks. I (very quickly) got bored and missed my fish. I spoke to my roommate and (again) set up a 10g in a small corner of the apartment.
By now it is now 1993 (8 years later). One wedding (mine), two moves, and the purchase of a "fixer-upper" house finally caused me to give up the tanks.
We fixed up and sold the "fixer-upper" and in 1999 had a custom home built. Still no room for tanks. We built a 2 bedroom home, with the plan that we would be adding 2 more bedrooms in the basement, but the basement was unfinished, and I wanted my tank(s) down there. As we approached Christmas, my (now) 13 year old stepson had a large Science Fair project coming up, so we took care of both by buying him a new 10g tank, setting it up, and doing his Science Project on the Nitrogen Cycle. (He finished 2 nd). Needless to say while helping him out with his tank, I got that "itch" again.
Well, the basement is just about finished (well, enough to set up a tank again). I dug out an old 30g tank that belonged to my sister from my parents house. I just finished building a "rough" stand for it and am starting to pick up items I need to get it up and running. I have been researching fish, fish tanks, equipment, etc (since I have had a nine year hiatus from the hobby some things have changed / improved), and have decided on setting up a Shell Dwelling Cichlid tank.
- - - - - -
That was written back in 2002-2003. I did set up my Multifacitus tank (that Web page documents quite a bit of it). You can see what my tank looks like (for the most part) now HERE. (There have been a few changes in "decoration" - mostly the texas holey rock has been re-arragned a few times...)
Well, I have ended yet another busy workweek. In addition to work, and training a new employee, Ben was Confirmed, and Melissa (the youngest) celebrated her thrid birthday. Let's just say that my schedule was busy enough that my 38th birthday came and went (and I did not even notice it - which is not a bad thing). I am not much of a birthday guy anyway. A quick phone call, or a hug from the kids wishing me happy birthday is about all I need!
I start three days off today, and have quite a few things planned. (Many "little" tasks that need my attention)
Here is a list of some of the things I want to get done on my days off.
(Crossed off items have been completed)
Buy some new jeans (On-line)
Fill the cracks in our driveway
Research a replacement battery for my Palm Pilot
Finish the last few items left on the deck
Apply for our annual "Recreational Fire" permit