Farewell, Bruno. Rest In Peace.

I live in the woods. Here, you either have cats, or you have mice. We chose the former. You may remember a post I did in September 2012, about two of our kittens. Their mother died while they were still very small, and we had to bottle feed them, and clean them constantly.

Most of our cats are rather feral now, and won’t come in except to eat. Bruno and Charlie though, are indoor cats.

Here they are below, a couple of months old. Bruno is on the left, Charlie, the right.

5 7

Having been bottle fed and handled from such an early age, they both were very friendly.

Bruno attached himself to me, and Charlie to my wife. They’d come into the room, jump up on your lap, rub their faces all over your chin.

Bruno had a bit of a drooling problem… He wasn’t the most adept of cats. He frequently misjudged when he jumped, didn’t quite make it up on the couch, never really learned to run when the dominant male cat was around outside… He thought everyone was his friend.

Now that they’re a little older, they’ve started doing things that adult cats do. Laying around a lot more. Not chasing little thingies. …marking their territory… Though Charlie doesn’t, Bruno always would, and I wouldn’t find out until the most inconvenient time, that “his territory today was my hat, or my jacket, or a roll of paper towels.

Bruno liked to jump up on the hood of the car when you got in. I don’t know if he thought he was coming with us, or just wanted to visit, or what… He’d surf on the car for ten or twelve feet before jumping off.

He had some pretty bad gas as a kitten. I’m told it’s common for cats who have been drinking the formula to have gas like that. Bruno’s was pretty terrible. I started calling him Bean-o, and subsequently just “Beans”.

We noticed a few days ago, that he wasn’t around. Any of the other cats, we wouldn’t have thought twice of. Bruno however, was not really equipped for life out doors. I fully believe he would have tried to make friends with a wandering coyote.

In fact, I think he might have.

I found him yesterday, beneath our deck. I’ll spare you the grim details… suffice to say, he was a meal to something. It was getting dark and I didn’t want to go digging in the woods right then, so I covered him over so the girls wouldn’t find him. I struggled for the night, wondering if I should tell my daughters or not. Ashley, my oldest (now 7) speculated that he may have been eaten, but I wasn’t sure how she’d take confirmation of the fact.

The decision turned out not to be in my hands anyway. Ashley found him this morning. I was worried when she told me. It was certainly a somewhat grizzly scene, and he was such a sweet cat. She seems to have taken it well, so far… She’d found Bruno’s mother when she died too. She still talks about her (Abbey) from time to time. She’s happy that at least mother and son are now together. I’ll be watching her though, I’m sure it’ll hit her at some point, when nobody’s expecting it.

Here’s how I prefer to remember my buddy, Beans:

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Always happy. Always cuddly. Always in our hearts.

Goodbye Beans.

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Thoroughly Disgusted by Today’s Music

Earlier this week I took my 7-year-old daughter to a dance that was held at her school. It’s a well-known fact that I really hate dancing, but frankly, at 7 years old, they don’t really want to dance with their father’s, they want to run around and play with their friends. I was told “Dad, don’t embarrass me.” so I spent the night standing around talking to other dads.

As one who doesn’t dance, music written specifically for dancing is completely wasted on me. Most of the time I find it very annoying, like a pair of boots in the dryer.

guh-THUMP, guh-THUMP, guh-THUMP, CLANK! guh-THUMP, guh-THUMP, guh-THUMP, CLANK!guh-THUMP, guh-THUMP, guh-THUMP, CLANK!

However, I was more bothered than usual by the music I heard at this dance. Now, this school is a K-4 school, putting the attendees at 5-10ish? Let me share with you the play list. I’ll start with the most acceptable.

Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Not bad, I thought. I don’t hate it. It’s Halloween, and the kids actually did a modified version of the dance in one of their previous school presentations, so a bunch of them were dancing to it, having a great time.

Katy Perry – Firework. Ok, I really hate the song myself, and I can’t F’ing get away from it, but frankly there’s nothing I can really call inappropriate about it, except the artist.

Dynamite. I don’t know who sings it, and again… Very annoying song, everywhere I go, but…

Katy Perry’s other music they played:

Last Friday Night.”
Don’t know it? Let me acquaint you with some of the lyrics…

There’s a stranger in my bed,
There’s a pounding my head
Glitter all over the room
Pink flamingos in the pool
I smell like a minibar
DJ’s passed out in the yard
Barbie’s on the barbecue

There’s a hickie or a bruise
Pictures of last night
Ended up online
I’m screwed
Oh well
It’s a black top blur
But I’m pretty sure it ruled

Last Friday night
Yeah we danced on tabletops
And we took too many shots
Think we kissed but I forgot

And

Last Friday night
Yeah we maxed our credit cards
And got kicked out of the bar
So we hit the boulevard

Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a menage a trois

Last Friday night
Yeah I think we broke the law
Always say we’re gonna stop
Oh-whoa-oh
This Friday night
Do it all again

Ok…

How about Katy Perry – California Gurls. Let’s just overlook the fact that that’s not how you spell girls.

California girls, we’re unforgettable
Daisy dukes, bikinis on top
Sun-kissed skin, so hot
We’ll melt your popsicle

California girls, we’re undeniable
Fine, fresh, fierce, we got it one lock
West-coast represent
Now put your hands up

Sex on the beach
We’ve got white sand in our stilettos
We freak in my jeep
Snoop Doggy Dogg on the stereo

AND

I mean the ones, I mean like she’s the one
Kiss her, touch her, squeeze her buns
The girl’s a freak, she drive a Jeep
And live on the Beach

I’m okay, I won’t play, I love the bay
Just like I love L.A.
Venice Beach and Palm Springs
Summertime is everyday

Homeboys bangin’ out
All that ass hangin’ out
Bikinis, zuchinis, martinis, no weenies
Just a king and a queenie

But wait, there’s more!

LMFAO – Sexy and I know it. Like I want my 7-year-old listening to a band called “Laughing my fucking ass off” in the first place.

This entire song is inappropriate first of all, but here are my favorite parts:

When I walk in the spot (yeah), this is what I see (ok)
Everybody stops and they staring at me
I got passion in my pants and I ain’t afraid to show it, show it, show it, show it

When I’m at the mall, security just can’t fight them off
And when I’m at the beach, I’m in a Speedo trying to tan my cheeks (what)
This is how I roll, come on ladies it’s time to go
We headed to the bar, baby don’t be nervous
No shoes, no shirt, and I still get serviced (watch)

How about the Macarena? You remember that… Here’s the translation to English:
http://lyricstranslate.com
Give happiness to your body Macarena
’cause your body is for giving happiness and nice things to
Give happiness to your body Macarena
Heeey,… Macarena! Aaay!
(repeat once)

Macarena has a boyfriend who’s called
who’s called the last name Vitorino,
and while he was taking his oath as a conscript
she was giving it to two friends …Aaay!
(repeat once)

(Chorus)

Macarena , Macarena , Macarena
you’re popular the summers in Marbella
Macarena , Macarena , Macarena
you like the guerilla excesses …Aaay! (Wha? What the hell does that even mean??)
(repeat once)

(Chorus)

Macarena dreams of the English Tailor*
and buys the latest models
She would like living in New York
and seduce a new boyfriend… Aaay!

PSY – Gangnam style
First of all, this song is not so bad as these other ones, but uses the word “sexy” an awful lot… I didn’t know that word until I was like 13. Maybe that’s a different story. However, the video is filled with scantily clad women, and the kids were all doing the ridiculous dance… I wouldn’t want my daughter watching those women, personally, but I guess it’s the least of the evils.

Nicki Minaj. First of all… “Sticks in my bun”.
[Chorus:]
I done put two sticks in my bun
So they recognize me when I come
I’m D-M-C like Run
Listen mami I’m the muthafuckin one

[Verse:]
You don’t like me you just like my flow
Just booked a show but I might not go
Nigga said he didn’t have a pole for my hoe
Damn why a nigga tryna fuck up my dough
When it come to me it be like they go
They tell me to stop but I’m like hell no
Now everybody watch my M-O
Nicki been hot since you rock shell tops
Yessir

Ha ha ha ha
Gotta laugh at that
Bitch give me the ball I’m a pass it back
Spit nothin but crack got bags of that
When it come to rap I master that

Or how about “I’m Cumin”?
Okaye okaye okaye okaye (I’m cominnnnn)
Now whose hot, whose not? Shorty du whoop, it’s
Cool you blood clot, (COOL), you come to the spot see if you
Don’t get got, see if you don’t get got when the semi go cop,
I’m like ayee what the fuck a bitch think? (uh huh) Nick, you know ain’t nuttin changed but
My wink (okaye), pink on pink everything insync, I write pretty lyrics every pen pink ink,
I’m representin all my girls, niggas double up, I don’t play around I’m a have to
Shut ‘er down, run up into town I’m a have to get the crown, I’m the Youngs Queens
Bitch with the platinum sound, None of ya girls can steal my shine, Fendi brought me to
The game, Now I’m in my prime (yup), stay humble, stay low, stay on the grind
I don’t needa a light but I stay in the lime,

[Hook:]
When I tell em that I’m cumin I’m cumin
Rap bitches in the game always huffin and puffin
(Damn) why these bitches always frontin for nuthin
Fuck around I’m a have these bitches runnin from suttin [x2]

[Verse 2:]
Guess what Nicki spit crack like yayo, yup matter fact when I rap
It okayo, Come through the hood all the boys say ayo, lettuce and tomato
Don’t forget the mayo, Words in the street that Nicki don’t play doe,
Bitches pop shit but they soft like play dough, gotta lotta banks so she wanna be
Me, I gotta full tank little momma on E, I fly first class overseas on this BB, snapple
In my hand and it’s strawberry kiwi, I ain’t even make it, and these girls wanna be me
You Mrs. Me too like you always say me me, I’m who they believe in, mami
Don’t even, Soon as I put the keys in I switch like seasons, get a couple beats from my
Nigga dough bezy, why would I go hard when this shit is so easy,

[Hook x2]

But they played Superbase.
He a motherfucking trip, trip, sailor of the ship, ship
When he make it drip, drip kiss him on the lip, lip
That’s the kind of dude I was lookin’ for
And yes you’ll get slapped if you’re lookin’ hoe

I said, excuse me, you’re a hell of a guy
I mean my, my, my, my you’re like pelican fly
I mean, you’re so shy and I’m loving your tie
You’re like slicker than the guy with the thing on his eye, oh
Yes I did, yes I did, somebody please tell him who the F I is
I am Nicki Minaj, I mack them dudes up, back coupes up, and chuck the deuce up

I could literally go on and on. These are just the ones that popped up in my mind as I started to type.

I can truly say, I’m disgusted by this. Seven year old girls singing
“Last Friday night
We went streaking in the park
Skinny dipping in the dark
Then had a menage a trois”

I don’t swear much on this blog, but are you fucking kidding me? Seriously? People look down on other parents who swear in front of their kids, but they let them listen to this garbage? No wonder teen pregnancy is a problem. No wonder girls are so fucking self-conscious! They’re looking up to people who commercialize being sluts! I don’t care that they have one lyrically decent song, once that’s in the kid’s head, they’re going to look for more, and the rest of the menu is atrocious!

I’m a father of two girls, and I’m scared to fucking death by this shit! And why am I the only person in the god damned room who was looking around in shock?? This is disgusting! people are ok with this? Am I turning into “that parent” who wants to ruin a good time for everyone else? …is THIS what qualifies as a “good time” now?? I’ve always been a little older than my age, but… seriously?

I am well aware that you’re not able to insulate a kid from everything that you’d like to, and frankly, you’d have one heck of a weenie for a kid if you did… But I feel this sort of thing is just unnecessary and over the line, and all together disgusting. You wouldn’t had kids pictures of adults doing the things these people are singing about right? Allowing kids to learn and perform these lyrics and dance moves should get people registered as sex offenders and child abusers.

And performers: You may not like it, but you are being looked at as role models. Show some self respect and class. You may not have a responsibility to anyone but yourself, but if you can’t be successful without shaking your chest and talking about sexual favors, then you are worthless, I don’t care how much money it makes you.

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Lucky Number 13

For most, 13 is a number associated with a great deal of superstition. For my family, it’s a lucky number!

When I was born in 1979, the youngest of my brothers was 13. When I was 13, his first son was born. When his first son was 13, my first daughter was born.

A few years back, my mother in law hit for a decent (not incredible, but considerable) sum of money at Foxwoods on Friday the 13th. (Don’t bother calling, it’s long gone!)

Tuesday night, my wife and I were going to bed, and her water broke. We didn’t know what to think though, cause it wasn’t a rush of water like you see in the movies, just a trickle, and she was only in week 34. We went to the hospital anyway and when we got there, they put us in examination room 13. I knew the baby was coming at that point, and turns out I was right.

After the initial exam, we were sent to wait in room 5013.

I think it’s safe to say, the number 13 will always be my lucky number.

Could The Internet Spell The End Of Snow Days??

There’s a story here that suggests that this may be the case!

I’m not sure how I feel about this… I’m all for using the Internet for the education of kids and what not, but… Snow days?

Do you remember staying home on snow days and how awesome it was? A day when all mother nature, or god or whomever you believe in graced you with an unexpected reprieve from school, and a pile of snow to go play in! Sure, you make the day up at the end of the year, but there’s nothing more in line with the procrastinator in all of us than the good fortune of having school called off for snow.

Snow days are a little different for parents, logistically… If you have kids, you know that if your kids are staying home on a day you didn’t plan for, it can throw a wrench into your schedule. But it’s not necessarily a problem if you can get some work done from home, or get day care or something… But if the kids are expected to be able to attend school on your computer, there’s no way for you to get your work done unless you have another computer or something… and even then, you’re likely to have to get them set up or what have you.

Are schools going a little too far? Should the magic of the snow day be left sacred? How many things like this will be taken from our kids? We’re already giving homework to preschoolers, and my kindergartner is now writing full sentences, and counting nickels, dimes and quarters… She’s doing things now that I didn’t have to do until first or second grade. How hard are we going to push these kids? Sure, it’s nice that she’s ahead of where I was, but would I be any better off now, had I started reading a year earlier?

She recently developed a nervous tick where she scrunches her face a bit… It’s noticeable, but it’s not an impediment or anything, so we just monitored it at the Dr.’s orders. It went away, but he did say that it was a sign of stress. I do feel like I spend most of my time telling her to stop this or that, or to do x, y, or z… but a nervous tick?? …And they’re looking at things we can do at home to alleviate stress? How about I stop making her try to read books and do arithmetic for another year or two, and let the poor kid be a kid.

Well, if nothing else comes of this post, I think NOW I DO know how I feel about it…

How do you feel?

#atozchallenge – Satisfaction

The work day today ended like any other, for the most part. I had to pick up Thing 1 from her after school program, so I jumped in the car a little earlier than I had to and stopped at the liquor store. I picked up a bottle of W. H. Harrison Straight Bourbon Whiskey, which is my new favorite. Very smooth, and quite affordable.

I then went on to get the kid. RIGHT next to the place she goes is a smoke shop. I picked up a couple cigars. Partagas, the dark ones, in case you wanted to send me a box of them.

I had a little extra room on the credit card, so I told the lass she could pick the venue for dinner tonight, fearing she’d choose Friendly’s. She did. I said, “Hey, you know the 99 is a lot closer…” She agreed. Good lass.

The waiter came over, looking a bit like he’d been working the bar from the wrong side. He leaned over the edge of the table, a little droopy eyed, a little too friendly, the way some folks do when they’ve had a bit too much to drink. “Hey.” he said offhandedly.

Now… I like to drink on occasion, and frankly I am not bothered by someone else who does. Yeah, I know, he’s working, unprofessional, blahblahblah and he was clearly drunk… but it really didn’t bother me. All he’s gotta do is get the food to me. He was friendly, and nice, etc… Yeah, I’d be singing a different tune if he dropped something hot on us or what have you, but… He took our drink order, and went off…

That however, was the last we’d seen of him. My six year old was thirsty, saying things like “Ugh, C’mon, dude!” but the reality was that we sat there for maybe five minutes before a nice young lass came over and asked, “Did your waiter take your order yet?” He hadn’t, but I told her what we’d ordered for drinks. She said that the fellow who’d taken the drink order had gotten a party of eight, and was a little over burdened. She apologized, and I assured her it was fine.

She came back again, and said that she’d be taking over for him. He’d dropped a considerably large tray of food and drink, and would be going home for the day. Yikes, I thought. Still, I was in good spirits, enjoying my time with my first born.

Dinner came, I got the double BBQ turkey tips, which I highly recommend to anyone, even vegetarians, cause I get a kick out of doing things like that. They tried to give me potatoes in the form of mashed, which I do like, but I’m watching the intake… I asked what else they had, she suggested french fries… eventually, I got broccoli and carrots. When the dinner came they threw in a dinner biscuit, cause god forbid I go without some kind of complex carb, right? Don’t worry, we found a use for it.

The lass got mozzarella sticks, french fries, apple sauce and a side of pickles.

We had a great dinner, goofing around with the crayons, flicking bits of rolled up straw wrappers at one another, telling jokes… being kids.

Thing 1

The manager then paid us a visit, and apologized. I was actually surprised, because in no way was I put out or even peeved. He wanted to make sure everything was OK, and told me that dinner was on the house. He said the waiter had had a bad day, something with his mother and father, etc… and in the course of things we were neglected.

I told him I had no problems whatsoever, these things happen, not a big deal, etc… But graciously accepted a free meal. 🙂

As I had said, I had planned on using the credit card though, so was unable to tip our waitress. I told her I’d feel badly not tipping, but she said not to worry about it, and just get her next time I came in. I plan to. If you’d like, and if you’re in the area of the Ninety Nine restaurant in Taunton MA, ask for Nicole and give her a good tip.

We got home and rejoined the rest of the family, and I retreated to the back deck with a fold up chair, a cigar, and a glass of whiskey, turned on the Red Sox game on my cell phone and listened to innings three through five.

Very enjoyable evening. Here’s my view:

Click for original

So as I thought there, thinking about how perfect an evening it was, my wife brought thing 2 out, (the 2 year old) who told me “Daday! I pooped! It’s dehskustin!”

Thing 2

What’s that Smell??

I got up this morning, a little bit later than I should have. I came down, poured a coffee and threw some frozen waffles into the toaster. I got a couple things ready in the living room where I’ve been setting up shop lately, logged into my computer, started my necessary programs, and I heard my waffles pop up.

I took a sip of my coffee and headed out to the kitchen. As I rounded the doorway I was punched in the face by a memory associated with the smell of toaster waffles. They say smell is the sense most powerfully associated with memory, and it’s moments like this that prove it.

I’d mentioned before that I was never a great student, and that was never more apparent than shortly after the 6th grade. I’d done some hard-core slacking off that year, and got a failing grade for the fourth quarter of Science. I passed the other quarters, but only barely, so I didn’t know whether or not I’d passed for the year. I took it in stride; calm, cool, and collective, as was my way.

Several days later, we got a letter in the mail that my disappointed and mildly angry mother read to me. It wasn’t required, but strong recommended that I go to summer school, as I had passed science by the skin of my teeth with a D- average. Further, was the fact that going to summer school had a price associated with it, and I knew my folks didn’t exactly have cash laying around. Phew! I thought. Summer school would have interfered with our trips to the MDC pool in Brighton that we frequented every day of every summer for the last few years.

I sat at the table, feeling like I was invincible, having dodged the summer school bullet. I was eating my waffles, feeling very pleased with myself and probably acting the part. I was feeling great, right up until I said something, or did something that pissed off my already angry mother. I can honestly tell you, I don’t remember what it was that I did, but I knew I’d stepped in it as soon as it happened… In a tone that tied my stomach in a knot, a tone that I couldn’t begin to describe, she said “…oh yeah?”

She got on the phone and called my father at work. I listened, hoping that he’d tell her to forget it, that we didn’t have the money for it. “I think that’s a good idea,” I heard him say over the phone. Crushed, I started to cry as I tried to eat my now-cold waffles. I tried to ride out the storm, thinking it was a scare tactic. I moved a waffle bit around in the syrup, and squished some butter between the tines of my fork, in an effort to distract myself until it blew over.

Alas, it did not.

I went to summer school a couple days later. I went again for failing science the summer between 7th and 8th grade, and again for failing English (of all things) before entering high school. I don’t remember anything about the events leading up to the second two bouts with summer school, except that there had been no two ways about those two times. I didn’t pass at all, I was going to go to summer school, or stay back a grade. Perhaps having gone through the first round thickened the skin enough that by then it was no big deal.

You might think that reliving that memory this morning, as I walked into the kitchen would be an unpleasant one, but sending me to summer school was the right decision. Were I the parent in that particular instance, I’d have done the same thing without a moment’s hesitation.