Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Long Goodbye to My Best Friend

While petting Regis last night, I noticed a sizeable lump on his neck, and his yelp indicated it was clearly sore.

The vet confirmed my worst suspicion this morning, lymphoma. We won't be 100 percent certain until the pathology report comes back, but he's seen it a million times and there is little doubt in his mind.

I had pets as a kid, but have never bonded with them the way I have with Regis. He doesn't even seem like a dog to me, he seems like a full blown member of the family.

As usual, he's at my feet right now and those big, brown eyes are looking up at me. It's clear he's frustrated by the pain. I would do anything to take it away, but canine lymphoma never ends positively.

I expected that he and Grayson would be good buddies and do everything together. The first word Gray learned in sign language was "puppy." At dinnertime, Grayson sneaks bites of his food off the edge of the table for Regis to pick up. And to think he isn't even old enough to keep our "puppy" in his memory.

It's likely we have only three to six months left. You can bet we'll make the best of it, and be thankful for the seven great years he was here.

I miss him already.

Monday, February 16, 2009

A new favorite quote

Jonathan Winters:
"If your ship doesn't come in, swim out to it."
I love this for a couple of reasons. Jonathan Winters was one of my favorites, a comedy genius and incredibly intelligent. (former radio personality too)

But mostly for the message. Opportunity must be created. People get wrapped up in the wait, an incredible waste of time.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Another way we're totally screwing up our kids

On Valentine's Day when you were a kid, how did you celebrate?

For me, each child brought a "Balumtimes" card for every other child in our classroom. They had those tiny envelopes, and we scribbled our classmates' names on the outside in red ink. Some were hand-made, others were pre-packaged Scooby, Barbie or pirate themed cards. But if there were thirty kids in the class, you had to bring thirty cards.

This is wrong for a number of reasons. First, and most obvious, we're using school time to perpetuate something ill-conceived and greed-motivated. I've never gotten V-D off, so it's not a real holiday. The Hallmark company, restaurants and florists make a killing! So much so, we contacted a florist Monday to set up a meeting to discuss our wedding floral needs and they told us to call back after V-D was over. They refused to even set up an appointment because love birds are clogging the system.

Needless to say, Mexico Road Florist can kiss my ass.

The second way we're failing our kids is, you're supposed to have one Valentine... not every kid in your class. One special person! We should teach our children to pick their favorite classmate and present them with a card. Sure, invariably, one or two of the kids will be left out. Good for them. No amount of book learning can equal what that kind of pain and humiliation teaches you.

So Happy Valentine's Day! Thanks Em, I love the gift you gave me. It's really very special.

And it's nice you didn't give one to every person "in the class."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Musical heaven...

Tonight, between the drive home from the restaurant and taking the babysitter home, I enjoyed an approximately 50 mile trip with my iPod. Now and then, a sequence of songs fits together so perfectly, you actually file it away in your memory.

Tonight's completely random playlist:
  • Phil Collins - If Leavin' Me Was Easy
  • The Hollies - He Ain't Heavy
  • Clint Black - Better Man
  • Matchbox Twenty - Busted
  • 10cc - I'm Not In Love
  • The Fray - Vienna
  • Melissa - Allman Brothers
  • Billy Joel - And So It Goes
  • Cross Canadian Ragweed - Sick & Tired
  • Dan Fogelberg - Same Auld Lang Syne
  • Steve Miller - The Joker
  • Eagles - Last Resort
  • The Decemberists - Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect
  • Bob Marley - Jammin'
  • Warren Zevon - Exciteable Boy
  • Waylon/Willie - Luckenbach, Texas
  • Emerson, Lake & Palmer - From The Beginning
  • Korgi's - Everybody's Gotta Learn Sometime
  • Billy Paul - Me And Mrs. Jones

Every time I thumb through my 4,000+ song library, I think I should start a streaming radio station.

Ten minutes of hilarious television

This proves Letterman is still the master, and Joaquin Phoenix is a total drug user.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The nine-month-old "chip off the old block"

Grayson is getting more and more handsome every day. Good thing he takes after Mommy!

These are a few shots from his 9-month photo session.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pay me to let you pay me

Hidden service fees chap my ass.

At the travel agency last week, I was exploring travel insurance options. They quoted me a figure for coverage, and below the quote, in small print, it said "plus $8 processing fee per policy."

Processing fee??? No, thanks. If you're going to charge me extra to deliver the service you're quoting, you are a thief.

The outdoor ampitheater in St. Louis used to charge for parking. To me, that's a similarly offensive practice. Raise ticket prices if you must, but stop forcing customers to pay extra to be a customer.

Most companies charge you to pay your bill by phone or online. They have a healthy profit built in to those fees, yet it costs them less than classic invoicing via US mail.

In short, those who charge service fees are engaging in douchebaggery. Let them know, next time you have an opportunity.


I'm not really a crier, but there are a few things that I just can't handle. Taps, for one. I don't have to know the person, the circumstances of their death... anything. Just hearing Taps makes me well up. I think it's probably because it was when they played Taps that I realized my Grandfather was really gone.

The 21-gun salute has a similar effect. Stories of selflessness can get to me. Watching my children sleep does it sometimes.

And the movie Field of Dreams.

What about you?