Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

I just wanted to take a moment and wish everyone a Happy New Year!

Here in Columbus, we've got a freezer full of frozen junk food we'll be cooking up along with a couple Wii games, we are living large for the night. I'm actually looking forward to a casual evening, it's been a long time since we didn't go out for New Years and although I'll miss spending time with my family and friends from Cleveland, I'm looking forward to just relaxing at home.

Be safe if you are heading out tonight!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Of Cats and Men

I love animals, I really believe I do. I'm a bit perplexed though at my thoughts over the last day or so and thought it would something interesting to write about.

As I may have mentioned before, we live in a townhouse development that has a couple hundred units. Over the course of a couple months we've developed a bit of knowledge of the houses and occupants in our immediate area. Things like who has dogs, what cars people own, and who and how many people live in certain houses. (The last bit of knowledge leads to questions like, "How the hell do fit that many into the house?"). On occasion during the warmer months, we'd see cats roaming around, but figuring out what home they belong to is about impossible.

Last night as we were standing outside smoking (I know, bad habit, I'm working on it). We heard a rather large meow coming from about 2 units down. We looked over and a fairly skinny (scrawny) orange and brown cat made its way over to us. It was about 20 degrees last night and has been that way for a number of nights. It was obvious the cat was cold and while not typically 'cat friendly' he did make his way over to us and start moving through our legs.

My first instinct was to walk away and back in the house. (Horrible, I know).

Of course, my wife was having none of that and was feeling extremely sorry for the cat.

Our conversation went like this:

Her: Oh, poor little kitty, it must be so cold.

Me: I'm sure it's fine, looking away from cat and wife. (Hoping ignorance would work here).

Her: But look how he's walking, he's already cold, I bet he can't find his home.

Me: I'm sure he'll find his home, cats do that all the time.

Her: Poor thing.

Me: (thinking: uh oh!)

I took a walk around the complex to see if anyone was looking for a cat, no luck there. The wife then took another longer walk to see and ask some neighbors that were outside if they knew of anyone looking for a lost cat. I followed her progress peering out the window at her. After her rounds, she came home and brought the cat in. We decided to put the cat in the basement in the dog's crate for the night. She tried calling an animal warden (advertised as 24 hours), but had no luck. I told her the best thing we could do would be to keep it over night and then she'd need to take it to a shelter in the morning. We got it some dry cereal and water, but it wanted neither and just proceeded to meow as it was locked in the cage.

I really didn't want the cat in the house and I wish I fully understood why. I definitely felt bad for the cat once I thought about it and realized that we needed to do something for it, but I had little desire to do so. My best guess as to why I wanted to ignore the problem is that it can just lead to complications. The cat could have been feral and caused a problem, bitten my wife or me, taking the time to find a shelter to take it wouldn't be a piece of cake, and once we took it in, in my opinion we at least had an obligation to get it somewhere. Pile all of those up in addition to life's regular stressors and I was able to successfully remove myself from the emotional side of it.

This isn't a post to try and defend my position, I was wrong for that line of thinking and my wife was right. While it took extra time and the cat maybe in no better situation, as the shelter she found that eventually took it, euthanizes after a period of time. At least the cat has a fighting chance for either it's owner to find it (if they are looking, which I doubt due to no collar) or for someone to adopt it. It's certainly a more humane situation then letting it freeze out in the cold.

After examination the shelter definitely felt like it was a house cat, not a feral cat. So we'll put up a couple signs in the area for it too. In truth there is a part of me that would have liked to keep it, he was very friendly, fairly young, and had a beautiful color to him, but with the additional price of vet bills, additional security deposits to the complex, and monthly rent for him, it just wasn't going to happen. It doesn't help that we already have one pet, who happens to have very buggy eyes, that I just don't want to take the chance of getting scratched up by a feline.

I'm going to have to work on the feeling issue still it seems, my decision making process in this case was devoid of emotion and it's not ultimately who I want to be. Emotionless decision making can be an extreme benefit in certain situations, but I also expect it makes you a little less human.

Good luck to the cat, and if someone in the Columbus area is interested in it, shoot me an email or comment and I'll get you the information on the cat.

Christmas dilemna

I took Bronwyn to see Santa Claus at the mall about three weeks before Christmas, she had already seen him once or twice before, but she was adamant that she wanted to see him again. I conceded, even though I knew it mean an hour long line on a Sunday. After holding her as she napped on my shoulder for a good part of the hour, we finally made it up to the big man. Where she asked for what she wanted for Christmas. (I should note, we already had a fairly lengthy list of things wanted, and thought we were quite familiar with the Santa Claus requests).

It's at this point, that I hear her mention Pixos for the first time, which are another one of the many crafts out today with billions of small pieces and requires regular refills, in some senses the perfect toy for today's capitalistic world. She didn't know I overheard her conversation with Santa, and she was fairly nonchalant in her conversation with me after her meeting with Santa, to the point, where she essentially avoided my questions on the subject.

We made our way to the food court for a quick snack before setting home and came across a fountain. Bronwyn asked for some change to throw in the fountain to make a wish. Of course in today's day and age, it's rare that I have any money on me, much less change. Luckily for her (and me), I picked up our snack with cash and wound up with some change, so I gave her a quarter for her wish.

She took a moment or two, close her eyes, and launched the quarter, it plunked it's way into the fountain. Immediately she asked me whether I wanted to know what her wish was, but that I couldn't tell her mom. She then went on to tell me that she really wanted Pixos for Christmas, but that mom said she couldn't have them as they were too messy and since we had less room in the new place, there were too many chances our dog could get them if they dropped. She also advised me that she was just pleading her case to Santa on the matter.

This means I had a dilemma, I was very familiar with my wife's argument, but at the same time my personal belief that requests within reason at Christmas are essential for providing a bit of magic during childhood. I talked with the wife about my concerns, and she stuck to her position, that it would be better as a gift for next year, since we'd likely be in a bigger place (hopefully). I told her I understood, but that I'd still have to think about it. (Notice I made no such promise to go along with the her line of thinking).

After some contemplation, I decided to get the Pixos, at worst it's a $20 loss and I figured it was worth it for some wish fulfillment regardless of the outcome with my wife. I wrapped it up and in the spirit of "A Christmas Story" strategically placed it partially under the tree skirt and delivered it as a last gift.

A bit to my surprise, the wife caught up in the moment of Christmas morning, shrugged it off and my daughter was bit less enthused then I expected (I blame it on gift overload). This just proves that working yourself up with anxiety over a dilemma such as this is really not worth it.

I'm hopeful that someday the little one will remember that Santa did come through with Pixos though when she really wanted them.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Thoughts 12/17/2010

It's been awhile since I've done one of these. Hopefully that means it won't be boring.

1. I've probably said it before and I'm not the last person that's going to say it, but the fees ticketmaster charges are beyond ridiculous. I purchased some tickets for Disney on Ice last night for the three of us. Tickets were on sale for $6.50/each which was half price. My fees were $6.50 per ticket. Now considering that the majority of Ticketmaster's work is handled by their computer systems, I can't see where they can justify this price. I mean compare the fact that this travelling skating show pays talent, movers, creative teams, promotions, licensing, etc. and still comes in at the same price. Unbelievable and gouging to the extreme in my opinion. No wonder why no one wants to go to any events any more, add in crowds, parking, and expensive concessions, it's just not worth the hassle.

2. I should point out, I really don't care about the total price of the tickets, $13 per person for Disney on Ice isn't bad at all. The thing that irritates me though is that half of the dollars are going to an entity that does nothing, and keeps the revenue from those that are performing. I'm not in favor of paying companies or people that aren't performing much work significantly higher then their effort requires.

3. We had a birthday party for Bronwyn last weekend at Chik-fil-a. It was a chance to meet some of the parents of her friends from school and the kids could play in the indoor playground and have a lunch. It was a nice time and the prices were very good for a small birthday party (under $4/head for the kids). Plus we wound up with a fair amount of space and were well taken care of by the staff. It was also nice to meet some of the parents, partially because my days outside of phone conversation are limited to conversations with my daughter and wife, there are just times when some adult conversation is necessary. I'm hopeful that we'll be able to set up some play dates or dinner dates with the families in the future.

4. Sunday, we were invited to one of Bronwyn's friends birthday party at Bounce City. Bounce City is an indoor facility with those large inflatable play areas. It's actually a lot of fun, and they let the parents play on them if they want, for the price of a child, since it was a party Bronwyn got in as a guest. There parties are a little expensive, but you are allowed to invite 15-25 kids depending on the package. We thought about holding Bronwyn's party there, but considering we didn't know whether anyone would show up, we thought it might be better to do something more low key this year. And if you are wondering, yes, I did get on some of the inflatables and it was pretty crazy. The slide they have has to be three stories tall and one of the fastest drops I've ever experienced.

5. Today's the last day of work and then I'm off all next week on vacation. Usually I take this past week off, but with Laurie having Christmas break and Bronwyn in day care it only made more sense to take this week or next off (next week was already locked up). I don't think I've had the week before Christmas off since I was in school, so it will be a bit different of a vacation for me.

6. During my shopping this year, I've been able to find small gifts for people, that I think they'll like. These are typically people I might not give a gift too, only because we don't typically exchange them or for the fact that finding something they want is an exercise in futility. I won't say what it is though in case they read the blog. I will say it's sort of fun when you can find something relatively inexpensive that should make a nice gift for someone and is a bit personal.

7. So far Columbus seems to avoid a good deal of snow that Cleveland gets. We've only had one mild pass through of snow so far and considering what my family and friends have dealt with over the last two weeks in Cleveland, it's not bad at all.

8. The car battery on my Stratus went this week. (Those 5 degree morning temperatures will have that effect on an old battery.) And lucky me to find out that the battery on Dodge cars are located in the driver side wheel well. WTF??? After a wasted day of trying to figure out where in the wheel well it was, I was finally able to get it done the next day. Needless to say I'm not a car guy, this is about the extent of my automotive expertise.

9. As usual, I've been baking up a storm. I think I've settled in on four staples for every Christmas and have come up with a new one this year, chocolate peppermint cookies. The taste and texture turned out well on them this year, but they didn't look quite like I wanted them too. I'm hoping to come up with about 2 more and then just have 6 I can make every year.

10. Happy Holidays to everyone, be safe, and enjoy yourselves!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Bronwyn!

Forgive me for a self indulgent post, but I'm taking a moment to wish my daughter, Bronwyn (or Boof around here) a happy 5th birthday.

I can honestly say nothing has changed my life like her being here has, there are days I can't even fathom what life was like before she got here.

She's becoming quite the little lady as well as her personality develops, and it's so much fun to assist in providing experiences and watching her grow.

We held a party for her and some of her daycare friends over the weekend that went well, and today, she got a special trip to the Donut shop this morning for a treat and then the three of us went out to dinner. (Her choice Chik-fil-a, mainly because it has an indoor playground, her addiction).

Anyway, it was a great day and I'm glad she had such a good time. To close out, I'll share one of my new favorites from the massive photo collection we have of her.

Happy Birthday beautiful!