Friday, January 30, 2009

It's nice to have my daughter back

Sometimes you don't realize how cool your kid is until she gets sick. Kaylee came down with (we think) the flu last Friday--at least that's when the symptoms "came up", if you catch my drift. She had been pretty cranky most of the week, and she continued to be cranky this week. Taking her to daycare in the morning was a real chore, as she didn't want me to leave. Usually she loves being there. Nights were difficult; she either wanted to sit and watch TV or cry.

Something clicked on Wednesday, though; when I came home, Kaylee and I sat on the floor playing with her little plastic animals (Little Tykes?). We had most of them out, and a piece of a fence from one of the sets, and we took turns walking the little animals up to the fence and pretending to have them eat. Kaylee was smiling, laughing, and daddy was breathing a sigh of relief.

When I got home last night, Kaylee was up at the dining room table playing with the cash register she got for Christmas; Jen sat next to her updating her food journal. Jen had to leave for an appointment, and so Kaylee and I played together again. This time, Kaylee spent probably 45 minutes using her toy hammer to "nail" little letter flash cards to various areas of the floor. She'd pull out a card, grab the hammer, and "bang, bang, bang!". She was having a blast, and I couldn't have been more proud. I can't wait till I can get her a toy nail gun. :)

To top it off, she's beginning to show an interest in using the potty; apparently she peed at daycare on both Wednesday and Thursday, and then last night, before going to bed, she wanted to sit on the potty and she went for us! Her doctor said that she's smart enough that she most likely could just potty train herself whenever she wants--but she wants control, and she has to have the interest. Maybe we're finally getting to that point.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An American Pes'dent

It's been a big day. Hits to and the like basically slowed down our internet connection at the office to a crawl between 11:30 and 12:30. I guess something big was going on. :)

I didn't vote for the guy, nor do I think that his policies will bring an immediate beneficial result to our nation. But, without doubt, hundreds of millions of people spent time today observing one of the most important procedures of our Republic. If one percent of them comes away with an interest in, as JFK put it 48 years ago, "not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country", then perhaps it's worth it.

Perhaps a new generation will take an interest in what my generation has been apathetic to. Perhaps a new, respectable debate will develop within us--a debate that will lead us to answers, not to hatred and impasse. Perhaps my two year old daughter will actually understand the role of the man that she saw on TV today and called "Pes'dent, Pes'dent!"

Mr. President, if for no other reason, for that fact I'm willing to give you a chance.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Someone broke into my truck the other night, or "Why I love living next door to a cop."

Got back from a conference in Chicago Thursday night and pretty much crashed. Our garage is a mess right now, so both vehicles are in the driveway. And, typically, we don't lock them.

Jen yelled upstairs as she left on Friday morning that my truck (which was parked behind her car, so she was taking it to work) was a mess, and that since I left my door open she wasn't sure what state the battery was in (the dome light turns itself off, so there was no real worry). I figured I must have knocked some stuff around getting my bags out the night before, so I didn't worry about it.

When Jen got home that afternoon, our neighbor Tom (the afformentioned cop) called. He was curious if our vehicles were OK, and if anything was missing. Turns out we had some punks wandering the neighborhood the night before...and that's where it gets interesting.

Tom said that around 1:30 am he heard someone in our driveway. Our motion sensor light snapped on, and being trained to be inquisitive and protective, he threw on some clothes (over an arm in a sling--he's off work for a couple weeks because of arm surgery), snuck outside, and saw two kids heading down the street. He hopped in his son's car and followed them. When he saw them head towards another car, he called 911.

When the lights and sirens showed up, they were about a block away. The kids took off in different directions. Tom let the cops in uniform (and with two good arms each) deal with it, and he caught up with them a couple minutes later. They had caught one, but not the other.

Tom, again not able to betray his nature, set off to find the other kid. He spotted him one block west of our street. He pulled up nearby, got out of his car, and yelled (I might not have the right words, but you get the idea): "Police! Down on the ground now!" And then he apparently remembered that he wasn't carrying his gun and only had one good arm. (Which one of those best fits the definition of "unarmed"?)

Thankfully, the kid dropped and didn't realize he was being detained by a guy that couldn't fight back. Tom stumbled to get his cell and start to call 911, but then one of the uniformed cops came up. Apparently he was walking the sidewalk a few houses down and heard Tom yelling, and figured he'd help out.

So both punks are in jail, nobody was hurt, and the only thing that the kids got from us were our two bluetooth headsets. The forensics guys (who drive minivans here--Grand Rapids doesn't have the SUV budget that Vegas, Miami, and New York have) spent some time at our house Friday night taking pictures of footprints (freshly plowed snow leaves some pretty good evidence). They mentioned that, if the find the headsets were checked in as the kids property, we'd get them back. I'm not worried about it--bluetooth headsets are pretty cheap these days, and I was thinking about upgrading mine anyway.

We lock the car doors now...but I still contend that the best home security system out there is having an insomniac policeman neighbor.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Fishicide... yes there was a death!

Rule 1 - NEVER follow the feeding instructions on the back of the package of fish food.
Rule 2 - Always check with the pet store before you start feeding new fish.
Rule 3 - Destroy the evidence before you get caught.
And last but not least...
Rule 4 - Never tell the kid that the fish is dead.

So, Tuesday morning I get up and go to feed the fish... the back of the can said to feed them 2-3 times per day as much as they could eat in 5 minutes... THEY LIED and the Fish DIED! I find poor little Eyeballs laying in the little plastic plant, like some poor shmuck who got foisted into the wilderness after someone murdered him. I admit I thought Bubbles might have pulled a Godfather type of hit on him, but I didn't find any evidence of gun residue or piano wire, so I couldn't prove it.

So, I called Tim down from his slumber to help me clean up the crime scene and put him in the morgue... I mean fridge... so he would be safe from grave robbers... I mean Dru... for the day, until I could get him to the fish store so Kaylee and I could trade him in for a replacement. Oh the horror, when to my shock and amazement I check the pet store website and read the Goldfish feeding instructions. And I quote:

It is very difficult to starve your fish, but very easy to overfeed it. If the food falls to the bottom of bowl you are overfeeding. In a bowl if you overfeed 2 or 3 times in a week you could kill your fish. We recommend you feed your fish every other day once a day.

Every other day! Once a day! What? I'm... I'm... I'm a MURDERER! I have committed Fishicide! Oh the horror! I was of course upset that I had just killed one of my sweet baby's first fish. What was I going to do? My first thought was dump the body, but then there would be no replacement. My second thought, blame the cat... no really, I wouldn't do that! What kind of monster do you people think I am?

I actually confessed to Tim and then to Kaylee... and then to the pet store fish guy. I would be a terrible criminal, because I would just go and confess to whatever I had just done! So needless to say, today after two days of being "Eyeball-less" we now have a new fish. He is an orange larger fantail. No deformities to speak of or abnormalities. Kaylee named him Orange! Real original I know, but she was extremely adamant about what his name was. She was also adamant about which fish at the pet store she wanted! I have to say, my child is very decisive.

Well, now that I've confessed on the web, I suppose I'll have the PETA people after me, or the FCSI (Fish Crime Scene Investigators) hounding me for a DNA sample and an affidavit stating where I was on the night in question. I'd have to say, "Sound asleep in my bed, while my goldfish pellets was killing Eyeballs the fish! I did it officer, please don't throw the fin at me! I promise not to overfeed again!"

Grissom would have figured it out in a minute and would have had me hauled in by Brass by breakfast. It took me half the day to figure out that I was the responsible party. Shhhh! Just don't remind Kaylee when the next one croaks, I'll probably get blamed for that one too!

Here's to hoping that there are no more deaths in the immediate future. I don't know if my conscience can take anymore murder and mayhem!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Here Fishy, Fishy, Fishy... Come here Fishy!

So, I guess it's my turn to blog again. As Tim just suggested, the blog might just explode, but so be it!

As you can see by the title, my little foray back into blogging is about our newest additions to our family. Kaylee got an aquarium for Christmas from Tim and I. On Friday, she got fish, or "fiss," as she calls them. We got two of them for now and eventually there will be 6 in total. For now we are sticking with the goldfish variety, because we figure we don't want a bunch of fishy funerals or a bunch of Sharks biting fingers off of little Kaylee!

So Friday, Kaylee and I went to one of our local pet stores VI Pets. (It's been in the area since I was a kid and I have always liked them.) They are extremely knowledgeable with all kinds of pets, but they are extremely good with fish! Well, we went to the pet store and Kaylee is jumping around like a kid that's eaten way too much candy, which I can assure you, she hadn't. We had to wait for the lady to help several other people before she could get to us, so we went from tank to tank in their large fish area looking at fish.

Kaylee would pull me, "come on, come on" and say, "Up! Fiss!" then we'd be off to the next one. This got extremely tiresome, but I managed. She ended up picking out her goldfish. We got a Bubble Eyed Organda and a very small Black Moor Fantail. They look similar to these.

This one is a Bubble Eyed Organda. Kaylee's is similar in color and size to this one. Of course given a few years and it'll be huge, but for now, she's pretty midsized for a starter fish. Kaylee named her Bubbles.

This one is a Black Moor Fantail. Kaylee's is smaller than this one, but of course will be bigger in a few months, given the size of the tank and all. She named the black moor, Eyeballs.

The fish are safe in their home away from the cats and Kaylee of course loves to go in and watch the fish and the bubbles from the bubbler and the filter. When we first put the aquarium together and it had no fish, she sat for a total of 35 minutes the first day just watching the bubbles with the light on. It was pretty boring for me, but hey, whatever floats the boat! Now she gets to watch the fish and even feeds them. This is the highlight of her day!

She puts the food in and then yells at the tank, "Eat fish, Eat!" Of course, when we go in to see the fish, the first thing she usually says is, "Here fishy, fishy!" I just hope that in a few weeks I'm not standing over a toilet reading the 23rd Psalm over a bunch of fish, with Kaylee saying a final, "Bye-bye fishy!"