Monday, July 30, 2007

A milestone

Alright. I have a tendency to think some pretty silly things are really big deals. In that last meme I told you about my calendar thing. I wasn't kidding. I find changing the calendar to a new month and new picture one of my greatest joys in life. So much so that we always have at least three or four calendars in our house every year, and I have two or three in my office. So you see what I'm talking about?

So, now that you have a peak into the insanity of my brain, let me tell you about another thing I find very important. Odometers. I think it's so cool to watch a car turn over 100,000 miles. I've had the pleasure of watching three of my cars do it; including my present Volkswagen. And I have pictures of all of them reading all those zeros. Way cool.

I decided to have a little fun with this car. The odometer and trip meter are digital, and the trip meter goes to 2000 before it resets. So when the odometer turned 110,000, I set the trip meter to zero at the same time. To the tenth of a mile no less. Over the weekend, the odometer turned 111,111 miles and the trip meter read 1111.1 at the same time. Totally awesome. I took pictures. My own little mini milestone.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Friday Funny

As a child, the word "Fart" was considered a bad word in our house. I don't even remember what we were supposed to say instead, but I know we got yelled at something fierce if my Mom heard that word. As a result, whenever we heard it in public, where Mom couldn't yell at us, we laughed a lot.
I found a list of alternative phrases on CPS that would have been fun to use instead of "Fart." I thought I'd share them with all of you today. Throw a couple of these around and you'll be sure to get a laugh or two. Have a great weekend everyone!

1. Anal Salute
2. Beep your horn
3. Blast the chair
4. Blat
5. Blow Mud
6. Blow the big brown horn
7. Bottom blast
8. Bottom burp
9. Break wind
10. Butt burp
11. Butt trumpet
12. Butt tuba
13. Buttock bassoon
14. Cut a stinker
15. Cut the cheese
16. Cut the wind
17. Drop a bomb
18. Flatulate
20. Flatulence
21. Float an air biscuit
22. Funky rollers
23. Gaseous intestinal by-products
24. HUMrrhoids
25. Honk
26. Let a Beefer
27. Let each little bean be heard
28. Mating call of the barking spider
29. Mexican jet propulsion
30. One-gun salute
31. Pass gas
32. Pass wind
33. Poot
34. Puff, the Magic Dragon!
35. Rebuild the ozone layer one poof at a time
36. Rectal honk
37. Rectal shout
38. Ripple ****
39. Shoot the cannon
40. Singe the [noun] (e.g. carpet)
41. Step on a duck
42. The colonic calliope
43. The gluteal tuba
44. Toot your own horn
45. Trouser cough
46. Trouser trumpet

A cat story with relevance to current events, Pt. 5

I was heartbroken. My Annie was gone. We searched for her everywhere. We asked neighbors and called everyone we knew. She was nowhere to be found. Karin had grown tired of Tammy's incessant squawking and willingly gave her to me as my own. But I missed Annie. A month or so later, as my Dad sat reading the newspaper, I noticed a picture on the front page. It was a photo of a cat in an antique store in a town 10 miles away. The closer I looked, I began to notice that the cat in the picture looked very much like my very own Annie. The next day, we all traveled to the store to see for ourselves. Sure enough, there she was.

As the store owners told the story of how she just walked in one day, we marveled at the over ten mile distance the not-yet-full-grown kitten had traveled to end up on their doorstep. I asked the owners of the store what they had named her and they said, "Sam." They explained that they originally thought he was a girl, but when they took her to the Vet to have her fixed, the Vet informed them that "she" was actually a "he." Turns out mistaken sexual identity ran in the family, which was just one more thing in a long line of weirdness that was about to get weirder.

That summer, Tammy slept on my bed every night. One morning she was gone when I woke up. Before I could wonder where she had wandered off to, a blood curdling scream erupted from my sisters' bedroom. An animal was behind Karin's dresser, and it was bloody. The scream must have scared it silly, because whatever it was flew into my room and dove under my bed. I quickly pulled out all the stuff and found the mystery animal. It was Tammy, and she was indeed bloody. Something must have attacked her in the night, and her fur had completely separated from her tail bone. She had lost a lot of blood, and the Vet said her tail would never heal properly. He performed surgery on her and removed her tail. So now I had a tailless cat. While the vet was doing the surgery, he also removed two testicles. That's right, Tammy was a boy. (I told you this story was weird.) Tammy lived a long life, all without a tail, and all of it as a boy. And no, we never changed his name. One more thing, in case you're wondering about my sister Kristen's boy kitten, you guessed right, it was a girl.

And so ends the strange story of Smokey, Annie (Sam,) and Tammy; and the story of four crazy kids with a crazy plan to surprise their Mom.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

A cat story with relevance to current events, Pt. 4

My Mom took the cat from my sister. He settled into her arms and began to purr. Her love of gray cats was as deep as my Dad's love for her, so after much debate (and another call to the weird people, who wouldn't answer their phone) he decided we could keep it. As my Mom rubbed the cat's ears, she asked what his name was. I looked at my sisters and realized the creepy couple hadn't told me. So now we had to name him. Since he was an adult cat, we decided to try to figure out what his name had been instead of naming him something new. We started with common things like Kitty, Harry (which didn't make Mom laugh like we thought it would,) Thomas, Spot, and so many others I can't remember. The only name he responded to was Smokey, so that became his name.

The next Saturday, my Mom was sitting in her chair holding Smokey and rubbing his stomach. All of sudden, she turned him over, lifted up his tail, and looked between his legs. We knew what she was doing; that was how you checked the sex of an animal. But why was she doing it? Her look of confusion was discomforting. She called my Dad over, who confirmed Smokey was in fact, a boy. But her look of confusion turned to one of worry. Her worries were justified two weeks later when Smokey went into labor.

My Mom has always had a weak stomach, so Dad was the official kitten midwife in our house. And it was always a fun time for everyone. This birthing session was a little less joyous than all the others had been, though. The entire time he sat with Smokey, Dad mumbled indiscernible things under his breath. None of us kids ventured close to him, because we knew our little surprise had blown up to something we could now not control. But despite our Dad's anger with us, he gently helped Smokey deliver three healthy little kittens, two girls and a boy.

As kids tend to do, we each claimed a kitten as our own. I claimed the gray, tiger striped girl and named her Annie. The boy kitten went to my sister Kristen. The other girl kitten, with her distinctive painted face, was Karin's. That kitten squawked all the time and was very annoying. We name her Tammy after the distinctively painted-face Tammy Faye Baker, who at the time was squawking all over the news about her scandalous husband. (And thus the relevance to current events; Tammy Faye died last weekend after a battle with cancer. That's all the relevance I have, but it made me remember the cat story. There you go.) When the kittens were weaned from their mother, we tried unsuccessfully to give them away. Dad again caved to his family and we had three more cats in the house. But the day after his decision, my cat Annie, disappeared.

The story continues tomorrow...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A cat story with relevance to current events, Pt. 3

Inside the getting-wetter-by-the-moment cardboard box, was a mass of gray fur. My sister Kristen tipped the box over and out walked a long haired gray cat. When I say long, I mean down to the floor long. I searched for the newspaper from the day before and re-read the ad. Sure enough, it said short-haired in bold print. This cat was not short-haired. But it was gray. (Which would end up being our only saving grace.) No matter the length of his hair, he was a friendly cat. He rubbed all over us, he let us hold him, he sat in our laps, and he even got along with my Mom's other cats. We were having so much fun we totally forgot about my parents until they walked in the front door.

We had completely neglected our chores, and there wasn't a spot of food prepared for dinner. (I know; the least of our worries.) As my parents walked up the three steps into our dining room, Kristen scooped up the cat and hid behind Karin and myself. Our neighbor/sister Ginny excused herself and ran home. (She may have been the smartest one of us all.) We were ready to present our Mom with her surprise. I went into a finely prepared speech about our love for our Mother and ended with a big, "Surprise!" Karin and I stepped aside to reveal Kristen holding our new gray cat.

A puzzled look crossed my Mom's face, and a scowl came down darkly on my Dad's. I tried to explain how we had acquired the cat, but my Dad grew more cross with every word. He grabbed the newspaper out of my hand and furiously dialed the phone. I don't remember much of what my Father said to those people, but it wasn't nice. "How could someone do something so stupid?" "Who gives a child a cat without talking to parents?" Etc. The people hung up on him. Even though they went into their bedroom to discuss what to do, my Dad and Mom may as well have stayed in the dining room because we heard every word they yelled. The three of us kids sat down dejected at the table, Kristen still holding the cat. Mom came out a few minutes later and told us how disappointed they were with us, but thanked us for the surprise. The one thing she didn't say was whether or not the cat was going to stay.

The story continues tomorrow...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

A cat story with relevance to current events, pt. 2

The next morning I was up early, having barely slept at all during the night. But despite the bags under my eyes and the ginourmous yawns, I couldn't stop smiling. My Dad had already left for work and my Mom was too busy getting ready to notice the devilishness in my face, so the coast was clear. That day of school was the longest day ever. As soon as the closing bell sounded, I started jogging but my adrenaline turned that into running the mile home. My sister's got home ten minutes later on the school bus and we all sat anxiously watching the driveway.

About a half hour before my parents were scheduled to get home, a beat up old brown station wagon with that gaudy 1980's fake wood on the doors, pulled into the driveway. My sisters screamed, I got really nervous. I made the girls go upstairs so that I could answer the door myself. I stood up as tall as I could, brushed back the overgrown business end of my mullet, and practiced speaking in my deepest voice. I waited for the knock of the "As for me and this house, we will serve the Lord" door-knocker, and opened the door. An overweight middle-aged woman, and a nervous twenty-but-looked-fifty-from-smoking-too-much-year old guy stood there staring at me. My standing up tall thing didn't matter, because I dwarfed both of them by at least six inches. My voice cracked as I asked, "Are you here for the cat?"

The woman looked at me kind of sideways, and asked if my parents were home. (Now she asks.) I told her the cat was a surprise for my Mom, but it was alright with my Dad. I'd never asked my Dad, but it was the first thing that popped into my head to convince this lady to hand over the feline. She didn't question my answer and handed me a cardboard box. The box was shaking and it was wet on the bottom, but I was too excited to notice. I thanked the creepy couple, and closed the door in their face. My sister's watched from the window until the car had pulled out and drove away. Then we all huddled around the box sitting in the middle of the dining room floor. My sister Kristen gingerly pulled the tape off the lid (yes, it was sealed with tape and no hair holes) and pulled open the cardboard flaps. In one motion, all our heads leaned in to see our surprise.

The story continues tomorrow...

Monday, July 23, 2007

A cat story with relevance to current events, pt. 1

When I was in eighth grade, my parents opened a paint and wallpaper store in downtown Columbiana, Ohio. A dilemma unfolded in regards to who would watch us kids from the end of the school day until my parents returned home around 6 pm. Because of my age, the decision was made that we were old enough to stay home alone. I agreed to take care of a few extra chores, and my sisters agreed to help out with dinners. And so it came to be that we were home alone Monday through Thursday every week.

As anyone with teenage kids knows, or anyone who was once a teenager, that's an open door for trouble. Fires were started, food fights were had, hair was pulled, bodies were punched, rooms were messed, and so much more. But one of the worst things that ever happened unfolded one fall afternoon. After all these years it's hard to remember who's idea it was first, but placing blame is no longer necessary. What was to follow was far more memorable than whoever originally thought that crazy thought.

A newspaper laid open on the kitchen table, an ad was circled in red.
*Free to good home, male, short-haired, gray cat*
My Mom was, and is, the quintessential cat lady. Gray being my Mom's favorite color in cats, this was a no-brainer. I called the number and a gruff sounding lady answered the phone. I explained to her we wanted to get a present for my Mom who loved gray cats. The lady asked if I knew anything about cats. (An odd question, but one that would have major significance.) I answered yes, we already had a couple. She agreed to bring the cat over the next day and asked for our address. I freely gave it. (It was the 80's.) I got off the phone, ecstatic she hadn't asked to speak to my parents. In hindsight, rather foolish.

So the date was set. We sure were going to surprise my Mom. Little did we know, that strange phone call was only the beginning of the strange things this cat would bring into our lives.

The story continues tomorrow...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Friday Funny

An elderly man in Louisiana had owned a farm for several years. He had a large pond in the back of the farm. The pond was properly shaped for swimming, so he fixed it up with nice picnic tables, horseshoe courts, and some apple and peach trees.

One evening the old farmer decided to go down to the pond, as he hadn't been there for a while. He grabbed a five-gallon bucket to bring back some fruit. As he neared the pond he voices shouting and laughing with glee. As he came closer he saw it was a bunch of young women skinny dipping in his pond.

The old farmer cleared his throat and made them aware of his presence. They all swam to the deep end and one of the women yelled to him, "We're not coming out until you leave."

The old man thought for a minute and then replied, "I didn't come down here to watch you ladies swim naked or make you get out of the pond naked." Holding the bucket up he said, "I'm just here to feed the alligator."

And since I missed the funny last week, here's another short one.

It was Palm Sunday, and because of a sore throat, five year old Johnny stayed home from church with a sitter. When the family returned home, they were carrying several palm branches. The boy asked, "What are those for?" His Mom replied, "People held them over Jesus' head as he walked by."

"Wouldn't you know it," the boy fumed, "The one Sunday I don't go and He shows up!"

Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

At the Bank

A conversation I had on the phone yesterday.
Middle-aged woman:
"I am trying to find out about my Dad's loan. He just paid the Esquire and he needs to know how much he owes to pay off the loan."
"Do you mean escrow?"
"No, no, no! He paid the Esquire."
"Do you mean the taxes and insurance? The escrow?"
"No. I said he paid the Esquire, not the escrow."
Me (In all seriousness, just in case she was British):
"Who is the Esquire? Is he someone taking care of your Dad's affairs?"
Woman (Very frustrated now):
"No. He's the guy my Dad paid for his property taxes."
Me (Trying to be sensitive, but needing to do my job):
"Ma'am, if your Dad was paying his property taxes, he was paying his escrow. Escrow isn't a person, it's sort of like a companion account that goes with your mortgage to cover things like property taxes and homeowners insurance. It's called escrow, not Esquire."
"You know what sir, I'm just going to call another branch and ask them about my Dad's Esquire and see what they say..." *********dial tone**********

Well, I hope she finds this Esquire, he sounds like a nice guy. :-)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Vacations, Loans, and Volkswagens

July is here. The month I don't get to breath at work. Between the last week of June through the first week of August, there's only one week I'm not filling in for somebody while they're on vacation. That means I still have to do all the work required for my position, and I'm on the teller line the entire week. In a word, sucks. I come in early and go home late and I still have so much work left on my desk at the end of every day.

I must apologize for the lack of Funny last week. I even had some pretty funny Friday the 13th jokes to share and never got to it. I had four loans to process and sign and book all on Friday. To put that in perspective for you non-bank geeks, a loan takes at least a day or two to process and at least an hour of paperwork preparation. And I did four just on Friday.

The annual Buckeye German Jubilee was this past weekend. The show gets smaller every year, and we haven't camped out there in a couple years, but it's still my own little mecca to the holy land. Many cool Vee-Dubs and some really cool people. It's the one time a year I can be around a whole bunch of people who just plain ol' get the VW mentality.

Well, I'm off. I had a few minutes to write and I needed to take a little brain break. I love being busy and having a lot of work to do. I thrive in those situations. But I hate knowing there's no way of getting out. It's hard to be motivated when there's no actual ending to feel accomplishment over. Oh well, another day another dollar.

Sunday, July 08, 2007


Last week I was telling someone how much I love those blog tags that get people to talk about little or unknown facts about themselves. And then this week I get tagged by Kimmy for the exact same type of thing. How cool is that?! So here we go...

1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each participant posts eight random facts about themselves.
3. Tagees should write a blog post of eight random facts about themselves.
4. At the end of the post, eight more bloggers are tagged (named and shamed).
5. Go to their blog, leave a comment telling them they’re tagged (cut and run).

1. One of my greatest joys in life is turning calendars to the next month.

2. I grew up in a house where my parents raised me to eat everything I was offered or I had taken. Now that I'm an adult I have a longer list than most of stuff I don't eat or drink.

3. My favorite food is apples.

4. I have more unsecured debt than any of my friends. I'm slowly changing that.

5. I've never had a birthday party. I had cake and gifts with family as a kid, but I've never had a party specifically for my birthday with my friends.

6. I washed my cars yesterday, inside and out, to go to a VW show that I thought was this weekend but is actually next weekend. My wife thought it was hilarious.

7. I've been writing certain thoughts, ideas, theories, etc. in a book for 6 or 7 years. If this book were to be made public it would surely offend and/or shock many many people.

8. I was a virgin when I got married.

Alright, who to tag that hasn't been tagged already or at least are still talking to me???

Dave from CPS

I really do love these things. It's so neat to find out off-the-wall stuff about people I think I know fairly well. Well, off to save the world.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Friday Funny

God said, "Adam, I want you to do something for me."
Adam said, "Gladly Lord, what do you want me to do for you?"
God said, "Go down into that valley..."
Adam interrupted him and asked, "What's a valley?"
A little annoyed at the interruption, God explained it to him.

When He was done He continued with his instruction, "Go down into that valley, cross the river..."
Adam interrupted again by asking, "What's a river?"
God explained that to him, and then said, "Go over the hill..."
"What's a hill?" Adam asked.
So God explained to Adam what a hill was.

God continued his request to Adam, "On the other side of the hill you find a cave..."
Adam continued his interrupting, "What's a cave?"
After explaining what a cave was, God said, "In the cave you will find a woman."
Adam said, "What's a woman?"
God explained that to him too.

Then God said, "I want you to reproduce."
Adam said, "How do I do that?"
God rolled his eyes.
And then, like everything else, God explained that to Adam as well.

So Adam goes down into the valley, across the river, over the hill, into the cave, and finds the woman.
He was back in about five minutes.
God, His patience wearing thin, said angrily, "What is it now?"
To which Adam asked,
"What's a headache?"

Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Off to Minneapolis

Well, the day has come. Andrew and Lyndsay leave this evening for Minneapolis. All the goodbyes have been said, all the hugs have been shared, and only a few tears were shed. (Probably a different story at their own houses with their respective mothers, but for us there was only a little public crying.) As they pulled out of our driveway this morning around 2 am, Ell and I sat on the porch and watched them go. It was then that I realized, besides those in the service, I've never had someone close to me move really far away. I've had friends go to school an hour or so away, my parents moved to Columbus, and quite a few people we know moved when they got married. But none of those were farther away than it would take to drive there and back in a day if necessary. In other words, close enough to get there in an emergency. Minneapolis is fourteen hours away. That's not even a trip we could make in a weekend. Not that I'd ever need to, I just wish they were closer.

I'm gonna miss those two.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Disappearing Stories

(The bulk of this information is from an article in the USA Weekend publication from this past Sunday.)
In September, Ken Burns, the legendary war documentarian, will release a World War II documentary on PBS. This special will be different than other war documentaries in that it will only be interviews with veterans. No war footage, no propaganda, no pretenses; it will only be the voice and memories of those that were there. To get the interviews, Burns sat down with over 500 people that included veterans as well as their spouses. The unique thing about these interviews, is that for some of these men, this was the first time they talked about their time in the war. Ever. Those men weren't part of the "talking is healing" generation, and some never even shared their stories with their wives. They went to war at 18 or 19 because it was the right thing to do (or so they were told,) and then came home and went back to their lives. They saw their friends die and they caused others to die. And they didn't want to talk about it.

Since movies of any genre have more tape than they ever use, only forty of the interviews are used in the documentary. Besides the ones that didn't make the cut, I have to wonder how many more stories are out there in homes across America? According to Burns, there are an estimated 2.9 million WWII veterans and about 1000 pass away every day. And many of them are taking their stories with them.

Both of my Grandpa's served in World War II. My Dad's dad died almost eight years ago. I would have loved to talk to him about the war. Unfortunately, my parents told us from childhood never to ask, it would only upset him. That most likely could have been true, and I understand why they told us that. But my Grandpa and I had a good relationship and I have to wonder whether he would have shared his stories with me. I never had the nerve, or took the time to ask him so now I'll never know. My Mom's Dad is still alive but not doing well. I know he'd talk about whatever I asked him, but now it may be too late. Their stories will be dead with them.

Ken Burns left the article with one question. More of a plea, actually. We are living in the You-Tube age and it seems that everyone has a video recorder. So since almost all of us know at least one WWII veteran, we should take advantage of the time we still have with them and let them tell us their stories while we record them. This needs to be approached with a certain level of tact, but you'd be surprised at how many old people would love to just sit and talk. I want to buy a video camera just to do this.

If you love your freedom, thank a vet. Happy Birthday America.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Babies pt.2

I went back and re-read my previous post and I want to clarify a couple things. First of all, in no way whatsoever do I condone abortions. I don't care what the situation is, abortion is murder. I've struggled with some of the stickier points like rape and incest, but I have to wonder even in those cases what fault it is of the child's. In the same way that two married people decide to conceive a child and the child doesn't have a say in the matter, a child conceived in any other way is still just as much the result and not the reason. Some really famous, ingenious, intelligent, interesting people have come into this world as a result of rape. While it was more traumatic than I could ever imagine to the mother, the child is still faultless. They come into the world not of anything they've done. And they deserve the same chance the rest of us have had. I know I may make some enemies with that stance, but it's what I believe.

The main point I wanted to make in pt.1 was the strangely apathetic actions of people (not just women) in the world today. Just like Elizabeth and Ell said, we are incubating an attitude of disrespect and alone-ness in regards to women and life. Men think it's fine to treat women like crap, and women think it's fine to be treated as such. I'm not a woman, but I can't imagine that feels good or normal. I can't imagine being a woman and not wanting to be held and loved and honored. But yet I see women and girls everyday that sleep with whoever is around and the babies are just a by-product you deal with. No problem. I know they are reaching out for love, but for them sex isn't just an option or an excuse, it's how they get it. They aren't just hiding their disappointment, they are proud of where they're at. Thank you Adrienne for calling that as it is, stupid.

I also want to repeat that I haven't been hiding under a rock for the past 30-something years. My wife is a product of unmarried sex, as are all three of my nephews, as is my dear friend Lyndsay, I could go on and on. These topics aren't new at all. What I'm trying to expose is that having a kid, keeping it, ignoring marriage or even a partner, and that being just a fact of life as much as the insanity of bottled water, isn't only craziness but it's scary sad. Divorce isn't something to be ashamed of anymore and we accept it as part of our lives in this era; this topic is becoming so as well.

Unfortunately, I don't see us going anywhere different in our culture. As in most things that need to be fixed, you have to hit rock bottom before you get help or change. We have AIDS and over 500 other STD's, an out of control welfare situation, the untalked about over-population of the world, and a steady decline in morality. Where do we go from here? At some point people are going to realize they are missing out, and virginity and sexual-monogamy are going to come back into style. We may see a meltdown before that happens, or the end of the world, but it will happen. Sexual immorality will never end, but emotional honest relational living will survive. I'm on a tangent now, so I'm done.