Seven Layers of Me

100% Complete!
(updated 01-30-08 @ 2009 hours)
Dad Stuff "tagged me" with the "Seven Layers of Me" meme. The rules for the Seven Layers of Me meme state that I am to link the person who tagged me, post my seven tales of wonder about myself that are either interesting, weird or true, then tag seven other blogs to do the same.
If you don't know what a "meme" is, check out THIS LINK.
(And don't feel to bad - it was not until recently that I knew what one was
First of all, there is very little about my life that is actually "interesting". Weird on the other-hand.... That's another story. If you find it "interesting", then it is probably not "true", but if you find it "weird" - then it is most likely "true".

I am supposed to "tag" seven other bloggers for this meme. Well, this (for me) this post was not easy. I put a lot of effort into it (probably more than I needed to). So, I am not going to "tag" anyone to do it. What I will do is create a list of bloggers that I think would have "7 interesting layers". If you find yourselves on the list, do not consider yourself "tagged" - rather, consider writing it. I found it to be quite interesting!

Heck... I am not sure howm many (if any) of these people are regular "readers" here on FOF... So - let me again stress... If you are on the list, I dont want you to feel any pressure, but I'd be interested in reading posts with "7 layers" of info about...

The King of Clubs - because he's one of the neatest people I know!
JDZ Photography - because his hiatus after NaBloPoMo is WAY over!
Krystal the Pistol - because she is... well... she lives a... BECAUSE SHE IS KRYSTAL! (Need I say more?)
The Etheral Garage - because he reminds me a lot of The King of Clubs! (and that is a good thing!)
Electric Lazy Land - because he is a great commenter on Etheral Garage!
It's Not About the Badge - a newer (to me) blog that seems to have a lot going on.
and V-Hold - a blog I have recently discovered - and have been enjoying reading

I would have listed At Home Daddy, but he already did this one, as well as A Family Runs Through It.-- I did not need to include
Samok Daddy - he was already "tagged" by DadStuff.

There are quite a few bloggers out there I would also enjoy - so just because your name does not appear above, don't feel like you can not run with it on your own! (I'm quite sure a few of the blogs listed above will not be doing it - wink!)

So, without further ado - here are "Seven things about me that are either interesting, weird, or true".

#1 - I never really planned to be a "Father of Five".

I would never have guessed that I would be the father of five children. I (we) did not plan to have five children. I assumed when "Number Three" came along - that he was it, and I would grow up "daughter-less". "Number Four" really surprised me - and when I found out "it" was a "she", I could not have been happier! "Number Five" shocked, and truly scared me, but as my wife has often said (beat into my head over and over), God only gives you what you can handle, so trust God that this is what was meant for us. So, after much (unnecessary) stress on my part, some prayerful reflection, and a lot of faith, we welcomed "Number Five" into this world, and I got another daughter.

That was over three years ago now, and regardless of how "stressful" it has gotten, and how (at times) I wonder how different things in my life would be with fewer "dependents" - I WOULD NOT CHANGE A THING! Each of my kids are so special and unique in their own way... I cannot even begin to imagine a day of my life without all five of them!!

So, I made the decision to "embrace" and "celebrate" being the Father of Five instead of hiding, or being embarrassed by it... After all - not many could be or would be a "FOF"!

#2 - I can not get enough "talk radio". Addicted you might even call it.
(Note: I tried to keep this a BRIEF overview - I could go on ad-nausium - but I'll do my best to save you from all the gory details)

Some time during my first year of marriage (in perhaps a vain attempt to appear to be a responsible husband and father), I started listening to talk radio. In all honesty, I do not actually recall how or why I started listening, but it all started with the "Afternoon Saloon" hosted by the Late, Great Don Vogel - AKA "The Round Mound of Sound". One of Don's young interns was a then yet unknown fella named Tommy "T.D." Mischke. Later, after Don's death, Young T.D. Mischke started his own show. As I grew into T.D.'s unique sense of humor, I found that I could not get enough of him. I used to set up tape recorders when I could not listen, and play back the show later (or as much of the show as I could fit on one side of a C-90 cassette tape). If I had to look back and find a beginning to my love for talk radio - after thinking about it a bit more I put most responsiblity on Don Vogel & T.D. Mischke.

As my job and schedule changed, I was introduced to Joe Soucheray, and the world of Garage Logic. I spent many years enjoying The Mayor, and his sidekick "The Rookie".

By this point I could hardly get enough AM1500. Just some of the AM1500 shows that have come and since gone, but some of the shows that I truly had a love affair with / for include Jessie Ventura, Barbara "Babbs" Carlson, and of course... who could have listened to late night talk radio in the 1990's without having listened to Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell.

It was the 90's and radio "shock jock" Howard Stern was in his prime. He had a short stint on local radio - but he sort of fizzled out here in Minnesota. I filled that gap with the local talent of Tom Bernard, and the KQRS morning show.

Don't forget the always gut busting duo of Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky from Loveline. I spent many years driving home with Adam and Dr. Drew - and truly felt I learned quite a bit from them. I have nearly a year of shows that I have not listened to, and WFMP (also referred to as FM107) - I really enjoyed Ian (and Marjory) Punnet (whom I recognized from Coast to Coast AM) in the morning, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Kevyn Burger, and Lori & Julia. The real (original) pull for WFMP (which is also known as a "woman oriented talk radio station" (which I disagree with - or perhaps I am more feminine than I realize)) was Ian Punnet followed by Dr. Laura. When Dr. Laura left - It just did not feel the same.

Then, the draw of satellite radio got to be just too great, and (being the geek that I am) I waded in the waters with the purchase of a low cost receiver for XM Satellite Radio (for use on a "trial basis"). I've been HOOKED ever since! The "libertarian" in me (See #5) enjoys the adult content, and "free speech" of the talk radio stations (I started listening to Opie & Anthony, but I quickly discovered and have been addicted to the Ron & Fez show - (Which I have talked about quite a bit), not to mention the unending choices of music that it provides.

Don't get me wrong. I still listen to and enjoy many of the local radio personalities listed above... It's just that XM is my first option when Radio time comes around. And usually I can find something to listen to on XM!

Enough about my (unhealthy) love affair with talk radio.

#3 - I believe that I suffer with some "Social Anxiety Disorder" issues.

As I grew up - I spent many years (over seven) working in a small neighborhood hardware store ("Coast to Coast" HARDWARE - not to be confused with Coast to Coast AM with Art Bell!). Doing so, I became very comfortable dealing with people. As a teenager - I loved spending time at my Church's Youth Group, heck... I could not wait to get there and see all my friends. My junior and senior years in high school were what I refer to as "Social Hour". I looked forward to college, and meeting new people - met a great group of friends (many whom I stll remain in contact with), and we would go out dancing, drinking, and having a good time!

Somewhere between then and now - something changed. While I do enjoy new and adventurous activities - then tend to be more "solo" in nature (or "family-oriented"). I have become very uncomfortable in social settings. While I still can "fake it" - I struggle (significantly) to do so. I am very comfortable around the group of people I have become familiar with - it's just new or strange settings, and new people that tend to set this off.

#4 - I maintain a breeding Colony of Neolamprologus multifasciatus.

Nelolamprologus Multifasciatus?? No, please don't say Gesundheit - I did not sneeze. You must be asking what the heck Nelolamprologus Multifasciatus are (also known as "Multis" in certain circles). Well, Multis are small (one of the smallest known) members of the species of fish known as African Cichlids. They originate from Lake Tanganyika in central Africa - and are among a group of cichlids that are known as "Shell Dwellers". Shell Dwellers are fish that use abandoned Neothauma snail shells for breeding and shelter.

Now - for all you aquaria-techies out there... Here is the low-down... so keep it on the down-low.

I have maintained a breeding colony of Multis since 2003. I keep them in a 30 gal glass aquarium with custom built solid oak base and hood. I utilize the stock 20w flourescent tube lighting, and have added a supplemental 20w stock flourescent tube (robbed from an older aquarium we no longer have). For a while I ran a blue cold cathode tube to simulate "moon light" (which was really cool at night!)

My substrate is Aragonite sand (which is said to raise the pH of the water - but since we have VERY hard water anyway - it not necessary). Changing the Aragonite back to "nautural" sand is on my "to-do list", and will put the Multis back to a more "natural" surrounding.

For decoration (as well as shelter) the tank is decorated with Texas Holey Rock (honeycomb limestone), green turbo snail shells (I don't have access to genuine Neothauma shells), and a Hagen Rock background.

The tank is heated with a 150w fully submersible Ebo-Jager heater. The tank is triple filtered. The primary filtration is a Eheim 2213, with a Marineland HOB (hang on back) Bio-wheel filter, and finally a PowerSweep 212 power head with bio-filtration intake.

I used to be an active member of Cichlid-Fourms - and still have a tank page up there, if you are intrested.

(CLICK HERE - and you will be whisked away to my aquarium... (Sort of... The interior looks much different now then it did back then....) But you can see the custom built oak canopy - and get a little idea on what it looks like.)

#5 - I consider my political ideology "Libertarian"

I have been a third party voter since Dean Barkley ran for US Senate back in 1992. Yes... I am also one of the many Minnesotans that voted Jesse Ventura into the Governor's office. He was not perfect, but no one is... I'm proud to say I voted for him, and I'd vote Ventura again. (I really connected with him when he was the morning talk show host on AM1500 - See #2)

If you have made it this far, without being board to death...

I challenge any and all of you to take The World's Smallest Political Quiz. I'd really be interested in hearing where you score. Leave me a comment - and let me know.

In this day and age, the two-party politics are outdated. People associate themselves with the donkey or the elephant, the blue or the red. Pro-life or pro-choice... There is no easy answer - and limiting my choice to two people is rediculious. We have more options for sizes of soda or french-fries from your favorite fast food establishment.

I do not fully subscribe to the Libertarian ideology. We do need order, we do need laws, we do need to protect and help the most vulnerable of our society... But I do believe in the free market (which is different from NAFTA), and that the market should dictate (as opposed to the government dictating) how a person lives their lives, or how a business is run. We need some basic guidelines - but sometimes it get's out of hand.

I could go on and on about this - because I think I confuse some people when I say Libertarian. Just know this. I have some conservative views, some liberal views, and in between - I have quite a few libertarian views.

Hey.. How much more can any third party candidate muck things up than the two major parties have thus far???

#6 - I LOVE visiting old cemeteries.

I can not remember a time that I did not enjoy spending time in cemeteries - particularly old ones. The earliest memories I have of spending time in cemeteries was with my grandmothers. We would visit old family cemeteries, and then venture out beyond our relatives, trying to find unique headstones, or unique "circumstances" (the very young, the very old, or perhaps notation on headstones such as "taken from us by tuberculosis").

I used to (prior to marriage and children) try exercising my limited photography skills - and photographing old cemeteries in black and white.

Although I have not been there in years, I used to (as a teenager) visit my Mémère and Pépère's grave. I would clean it up - trim the overgrowing grass around the headstone, hang a wind chime in the tree next to their grave. (Something that my Mémère and I used to talk about.)

Even now, in the spring - just to get out for some fresh air - I'll take the kids and we will walk around the local cemeteries in our hometown.

I'll post a surprise followup post regarding #6... It should prove to be quite enjoyable for my "regulars".

(And... Saving the best for last... )
#7 - I have experienced true and unconditional love in my life.

Yes, my parents love me, as I love my children unconditionally. But I have been lucky enough have found a woman who is truly my perfect match. There is not a day that goes by without me thinking to myself how much I love her, and how truly blessed and appreciative I am to have had God put us together.

My wife is so very beautiful - both inside and out. She has so many wonderful qualities - I wouldn't know exactly where to begin - nor would I be doing her justice by trying. She is both my friend and my wife. I love spending time with her (even when what I am doing with her is something that I am "less than thrilled" to be doing (aka. "Shopping")).

Being a "Father of Five", I would be remiss without having mentioned something about her roll as a Mother. Again, my words would not serve her justice. I will simply say that I struck the jackpot when it came to a wife with mothering skills!

Her family has treated me with love and respect from day one. They have become as much my family as my "blood" relatives are!

Now, don't get me wrong here. She is not perfect, as I am not perfect (believe it or not...). I accept her for who she is (including her flaws), and she accepts me with all my flaws (why, I'll never totally understand). Sure - we argue. But we argue respectfully. Yes, at times we disagree, but do so respectfully. Whatever obstacle life has thrown us, we have always been able to work through together to find the solution.

We have seen some pretty significant "challenges" in the past five or so years. Her strength and fortitude through this "challenge" has been nothing more than amazing! She is truly an inspiration to me!

The emotion(s) I feel for my wife, and I feel back in return is what I can only describe as unconditional love. It is simply amazing. I feel badly for people who have never experienced this level of connection and love in their lives.

As I look forward to growing old with my wonderful wife, continuing to watch as our children grow, and eventually experiencing the joys of being grandparents, I continue to be thankful for having her as my wife. I thank God for delivering such a truly beautiful (inside and outside) woman to me. She has been, and continues to be a heavenly gift to me.

(Oh, wonderful wife of mine (who does not like to be mentioned too much on the blog) - I know you read my blog when I am not home... I cannot thank you enough for being who you are - nor can I tell you enough how much I love you, and how much you mean to me! This is something I am happy to share with the rest of the world, and will never tire of saying. Darling - I love you so very much!)

This is going to be fun!

This weekend, one of our long-time family friends will be married.
My sister and her husband ("Texans" as we refer to them up here) will be attending the wedding.  Now, I know Texas get "cold" and they have "snow" (from time to time), but (as a true - born and bred Minnesotan) I have been tickled pink to have been (and will continue to be) delivering winter weather updates to them!
I just sent them the most recent forecast, and after reading back my "taunting" e-mails, I thought maybe some of the other Dad's that regularly stop by FOF (from the more "southern" climates) may too enjoy these.
So, for my sister and her husband, and for the sheer enjoyment of a few of my "further south" visitors - I'd like to share with you a couple of e-mails I sent my sister, and a few other "details" I was advised about, and then remembered! 
To:D, A
From: The Father of Five
Subject:  Welcome to Minnesota!
Hey D and A...
Be prepared!  The weather forecast was just announced for Saturday - and the temps will be about -10 with wind chills in the -25 to -35 range!!! 
Um... That's twenty-five to thirty-five BELOW zero!
Then - I was told a few more of the details regarding the weather this weekend from a "weatherbug" co-worker...  (the same one that pens my "Missives")
To:D, A
From: The Father of Five
Subject:  Oh yeah, I forgot to add!
The HIGH temp on Saturday will be a SULTRY +4.  Yup.. That's four whole degrees above zero! 
Don't "spend" all of those four degrees in one place!
Welcome to Minnesota!  (Bwa-ha-ha-h-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah-ah (evil laugh)
Hey A... you up for a little ice fishin'?  Better start growin' that big burly "Grizzly Adams" beard!
So... Some of the "details" I left out.. 
At 0700 hours (7am) - the ambient temp is expected to be -13.
At 1300 hours (1pm) - the ambient temp is expected to be -2.
(and, the frosting on the cake)
Our #2 of 5 is going on an OUTDOOR WINTER CAMPING ADVENTURE with the Boy Scouts!!! 
Yup!  Camping - Outdoors - No cabins - Tents - Winter Survival - Woo Hoo!! 
I think this would be PERFECT bonding time for Uncle A and his nephew!  Come on Uncle A.. What'cha say... If #2 can do it... you should be able to also.  Consider it a challenge from me to you!  Come on... Skip the Casino, and gamble with your fingers and toes!!!
For the record... I'm actually LOOKING FORWARD to this weather!  I LOVE Minnesota!!!
On a side note - I am also looking forward to some weather reports from my friend Ed, and from Eric too! 
If you think we got it bad....  They are WAY up there!
Eric, you can consider yourself "tagged" with a request for a couple of good winter weather reports!  Will you be skiing this weekend??? 

Honoring a Fallen Soldier & An Amazing Sight

Our little town recently felt the direct pain of loss from the war in Iraq. Local resident Pfc Joshua R. Anderson was killed in action on January 2nd. While I did not know Joshua, or his family - his death has affected everyone in town. Our family has talked quite a bit about the death of Pfc Anderson, and the sacrifice his family has made.

My neighbor is a lifetime resident of our town, and felt compelled to support Pfc Anderson's family by stopping in and wishing the family her condolences. After doing so, she stopped by our house (her children were over playing with ours), and she started explaining to us just how amazing the event was. She talked about speaking to Josh's father - and thanking him for their sacrifice, and what Joshua had done for us as a nation. She then described the scene outside the funeral home. She talked about the lines of people waiting to go in, lines of cars just driving by to show their support for our town, and Joshua's family. After talking it over with the Mother-of-Five, we decided that it would be a nice show of support, and a good example for our kids to get in our van in line to drive by as well.

So, last night as we drove through town and past Ballad-Sunder, I saw the most AMAZING site. It was the evening of the visitation, and not just the parking lot, but the entire area was PACKED with cars and people. Then, I noticed a site that literally gave me goose-bumps. The funeral home entrance, parking lot, and block around the funeral home was surrounded by what appeared to be big burly leather clad bikers, all standing at attention, each holding an American Flag on a pole.
Most of you that stop by on a regular (or even semi-regular) basis wont be surprised to hear that while listening to Ron & Fez on XM Radio, I have (several times) heard Shirley Phelps Roper of the Westboro Baptist Church being "interviewed" as a call-in guest. (I use "interviewed" as a loose term... It was more like oblivious, sarcastic, and well-deserved mockery.)

For those of you who are unaware who SPR and the WBC is, they are the masterminds (and I use the term "masterminds" both loosely and sarcastically) behind the "God Hates..." rhetoric campaigns. (God hates fags, the USA, US Troops, Roman Catholics, Priests, Nuns, Swedes, Canadians, Irish, British, heck.. According to the WBC, Got pretty much hates everyone and everything.) These are also the people (and I use the term "people" loosely) that protest the funerals of our fallen soldiers, shouting their vile slogans and spewing their hateful messages to the grieving survivors. But, enough about these folks (and I use the term "folks" loosely) - they do not deserve the attention they get. I do not usually swear here (I like my blog's family "G" rating... but some times... you just have to say what you feel...)

Fuck them - 'nough said 'bout that.
Anyway, talking to my neighbor about these big burly biker guys, I found out they are knows at the Patriot Guard Riders, and I found out what they were doing at Pfc Anderson's visitation and Funeral.

Have you ever heard of these guys? If you have not, please check out the above wikipedia link, and their Home Page! These guys are also HEROES in my eyes too. I went home amazed... The image of the Patriot Guard Riders standing diligent in respect and to protect the honor of the fallen Pfc Anderson (or any other fallen soldier for that matter) stuck with me, and will be with me for a very long time.

I had to go to bed early (due to an 3am start time the next morning), and after returning home from work the following day, and checking in with my kids - I found out that the Patriot Guard Riders not only honored and protected Pfc Anderson's funeral, but when the ceremony was over, many of the Patriot Guard Riders took time to visit the kids classrooms! (The funeral was held at St. John's Church - which is attached to St. John's School (where my kids attend school.))

I was utterly amazed... Both at the fact that the Riders took the time to share with the children about what they do and why they do it, but that the school made the time to work this in.

I am so very thankful to the Patriot Guard Riders, and the staff at St. John's for making this work.
You may or may not agree with my stance here but ppersonally, but I subscribe to the notion that children should not be completely sheltered from "real life". Although some details may be more than they need to, or should have to deal with - a slightly "diluted" version of what goes on in this world is both healthy and necessary as stepping stones to becoming a well adjusted, responsible, and successful member of adult society. Regarding the PGR - I chose to share with my children that they began as a group of people who felt the need to both honor our fallen soldiers, and to help protect the grieving families of the fallen soldiers whose memorial services and / or funerals were being (here is where I diluted reality just a bit) "protested" by a group of hateful people who's "mission" in life is to twist the verses of the Bible and use the name of God as a means to deliver vile and hateful messages.
From the stories my children shared with me about their visit, the Patriot Guard Riders were very respectful, and age appropriate. According to #3 of 5, they "did not talk at all about 'the riots'." (his way of refering to the protests). They (the kids) were anxious to get outside and play (it's snowing again), so I let them go, but I am looking forward to hearing more about their perspective of the classroom visits!

I don't know if they will ever see this post or not, but from both my roll of a son, and as a father - I'd like to dedicate this post to Pfc Joshua R. Anderson and his family. Our nation will truly never be able to thank them enough for the sacrifice they have made for us.

I found a link to a video of the event. You can view it HERE. (I dont know how long it will stay active...)

- - - - - - - -

Just a quick post script here. If you plan on leaving a comment sharing your commentary on the politics of the war in Iraq - save your time. It will be deleted. Regardless of your view on that subject, THIS POST is neither the time or place for that discussion. Comments left in honor of Pfc Anderson, or the Patriot Guard Riders WILL be accepted.

Thank you for your respect.

Pinewood Derby 2008

This year represents the last foray into the Pinewood Derby for our family. #3 is our last Cub Scout, and will be crossing over into Boy Scouts later this year. The Pinewood Derby has been a pretty fun part of our family life for quite a few years now - and as of tonight - that era is over.

Well, as predicted, we did not come home with any trophies. The trophies are given out for speed. This year #3's car came home with two awards for design! He won 2nd place for "Most Unique", and won 1st place for "Best Scouting Theme"! (It's a brown canoe, with paddles on the top, and painted brown!

In overall speed placement, #3 did not do to bad. They (the Scout Masters) scrolled the scores and placement on an overhead projector - but it was moving a bit to fast to really get a read. I know he fell between #8 and #13 overall... (I know because #8 was "R - - -", our neighbor and #2 & #3's closest friend....) And I saw the number #13 below #3's ranking... I would say either #11 or #12 in overall placement.

I dont know... It's nice to win the speed races, but (in my opinion) the creativity awards win bigger in my book... Take "The Final Lap" for example... How many other casket (or coffin) pinewood derby cars (lined with genuine satin and a mini satin pillow) have you ever seen? (That'd would be the car I entered last year, my "grand finally" so to say (pun intended).

Read more about it HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Another "Scouting moment" that occured tonight was #2's "Court of Honor" - which we were unable to attend because of the Pinewood Derby. Today #2 moved to "2nd Class Scout". He is really moving up the ranks in Boy Scouts!

Out with the boys.

Today #1, #2, and #3 of five and I all took a small "road trip" to the Cabelas Store in Owatana. We were on a mission to pick up some "belated" Christmas gifts for my twin nephews. We made an afternoon out of it, and after selecting just the right gifts, we walked through the store (oogling the portable ice houses), and then we dined in the "Northwoods Cafe".

The Northwoods Cafe offers some special food offerings - unique to the atmosphere of the store. While #2 and I stayed a bit more "traditional" (#2 had a Cheeseburger, and I had the Club Sandwich on a hoagie roll). #1 and #3 got a bit more "adventurous". #1 had the Fiery Hot Bison Burger (the special of the day) and #3 had the bison bratwurst.

Overall, we had a great day, and EVERYONE was in a good mood. The store was a little crowded (a bit more than my "touch" of social anxiety disorder can deal with - but I muddled through it). One of my favorite areas of the store - The Bargin Cave - was so crowded, I left before I even had a chance to look around.

Much of the discussion amongst the men throughout the da centered around video games, and more specifically, the comparison between the XBox 360 and the Play Station 3. How can my boys make a comparison between the two systems is beyond me. (Since neither will cross the threshold of the FOF household until they reach the $99.99 price point - i.e. at least ten years).

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

And, on another front - Monday is Pinewood Derby 2008 race day! Last year I talked quite a bit about the race, but this year, since we have only one car entering the race this year, (#2 is in the Boy Scouts (and having a meeting the same day / time as the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Race), the motivation to make four cars went out the window.

This year, #3 chose to venture more towards design, and less for speed / aerodynamics with his design. (Photos pending - the paint is still drying). #3 and I had a good time hanging out in the garage using power tools together, (and I thoroughly enjoyed a cigar!)

Tomorrow is the weigh in, and Monday is the race. Wish us luck! I was going to try and squeeze in some ice fishing tomorrow, but between the weigh-in, and another "last minute" task that came up - I doubt I will be able to fit it in.

Oh well.. Perphaps Monday?

Dedicated to my sister...

I'm going to dedicate this, my first post of 2008 to my sister.

She is going to be starting off 2008 with a difficult task. Her long time companion Missy (her cat) has been getting progressively sicker over the past month or so. After a visit to the vet in December, she was told that Missy was likely dealing with a condition called Feline Hepatic Lipidosis (a liver condition) and it is either secondary to some sort of an infection or to cancer.

The only way to diagnose it as cancer is to do an intrusive biopsy, so my sister (who is very attached to Missy) decided that she is no worse off by treating it. Since the discovery of this, she has been feeding her cat "no less than 1/3 cup of liquid/puree food total per day, and 100cc of water". This is all done via an eyedropper every 3 hours. My sister was told that if Missy did not start getting better within a week or two, than it can be assumed to be cancer. (The liver condition with the infection would typically improve in that time frame.)

It has been just under a month now, and my sister has been desperately trying to care for her Missy. She has sent me numerous e-mails about this, but this morning, she sent an email that I could tell she had a difficult time writing. She told me that since they have not seen any improvements, the decision to end Missy's suffering has been made.

I (to the best of my knowledge) do not believe my sister has ever had to have an animal euthanized. She has made the decision to be present with / for Missy when it happens. I have been there / done that. It's not easy.
I pride myself on being able to detach emotionally from many things. (Some say this is very unhealthy.) I believe my career has a lot to do with this, but that is a post for another time. Let's just say it takes a mountain (and a half) of emotion to move me. Putting down our last cat hit me pretty hard.
With that being said, I agree that she should be there "for Missy" (and for herself). Based on how attached she is to Missy, I believe this will be a very difficult task for her.

What does an (adult) big brother tell his (adult) little sister when she is so obviously in pain. When we were younger, helping her with difficult times was easy.
I can think of one instance where a classmate relentlessly harassed her. I heard all about what she was going through, and the steps she had taken to stop it ("legitimately" through the school staff). When that failed, and faced with the pain and tears of my sister - I took it upon myself to "take care" of the situation in "my own way". I helped this classmate "understand" what he was doing was "wrong" and that continued harassment would result in further "involvement" on my part. This classmate got back up, dusted himself off, and threatened to have a friend take care of me in the same manner (I think the exact words were "kick the shit" out of me). After a couple of threats of retaliation by his friends, I heard nothing more from this classmate or his posse of "shit kickers". To the best of my knowledge there was no further harassment towards my sister either.
If only I could help my sister the way I did back in high school. Like I said, back then - it was easy. Nowadays, we are both grown adults. My sister has become a very accomplished woman (more energetic, enthusiastic, and capable then I can be). We live a thousand miles apart - and both have very busy lives that keep us less "in touch" with each other as we should. But that does not change the love that I hold in my heart for her. Seeing her in pain, and not being able to do anything to help hurts me.

So, I do what I can. I am reassuring. I have told her what she is doing is the right thing. That every living thing has it's "time", and I try to soothe a little bit of her pain with words. Words that are based in logic, and reasoning - but as she has told me - "Yea, the brain knows all those things, but the heart can't quite get it yet. I just can't seem to stop crying."

I can use the power of my words here to share with my sister (and the rest of the world) that which I am not very good at sharing in person. I can tell her that her stoic, (at times) emotionless giant of a big brother is feeling for her, and trying his best (across the miles, and through our busy schedules) to help her through this difficult time. To let her know that she is in my thoughts, and prayers - and that (even though I am a thousand miles away, and sometimes too busy to even stop and poop - (which combined with a case of Parcopresis - is not an easy thing to deal with)) I will do what I can to be there for her.

So, please feel free to share any kind words, thoughts, or experience you may have so that I can pass along to my sister to help her out. It's the least I can do for her.

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