Monthly Archives: April 2013

What, son? … It’s Elementary!

Where to start? Birthday, art, beer … books and Sherlocks galore … just another exciting week. Can there ever be anything else around here?

Drew - 14th birthday largeOur youngest son Drew turned 14 on Wednesday. Just the night before, he was standing next to me in the kitchen and I experienced an optical illusion of my peripheral vision: he seemed to be taller than me!

Okay…it wasn’t an illusion…he really had grown about two inches in the last month. So I am now officially shorter than all of my sons. But you know what? I can still… [say it with me boys…] … take them!

You see, I fully expected oh so long ago that all of my sons would be bigger, faster, stronger, taller, smarter (or some combination of the above) than me. So I prepared for just such an eventuality.

In the old days, circuses would tie a baby elephant’s leg to a stake in the ground (for the record, I dislike the use of animals in circuses, but for the sake of an oft-told story…) That poor baby would strain and strain and never be able to pull the stake out. Later, when he was a much bigger adult, he could probably quite easily pull the stake out, but he never did…because he thought he couldn’t.

Now, when Brandon, Colin, Dylan and Drew were all tiny babies, I would whisper subliminally over and over as they slept, “I can still take you…I can still take you.” And when they were teens, full of testosterone, strength and a need to show the old man that strength if they got mad at me, they would haul back and …

…think, “Nah. He can still take me!”

{None of my sons have ever “hauled back”…that’s just part of the story.}

Anyway, Drew had a great birthday with a bunch of friends at JumpStreet (trampolines), a nice dinner with his family at the restaurant of his choice (Cheddar’s), a Reese’s Fudge cake made with love by Momma, all capped with the awesome movie “The Princess Bride“.

And …

…I didn’t have to “take him”!

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An unexpected surprise, a dose of art, and Hawking

Saturday was a beautiful day and we needed to focus on the outside chores…trimming back all of the bushes, some of the trees, beginning the task of getting the pool ready for swimming, etc. I worked on the pool for about an hour before rousting the troops to get on the greenery. After six years living here, I still can’t figure out who plants a sweet gum tree right next to a pool, nor can I understand planting that pernicious weed honeysuckle. Another year for me to dislike it and it hasn’t even starting reeking yet (That’s just me…Andrea likes it). While pulling out some of the long runners from behind a less aggressive bush, I discovered a small moving mass of dark fur.

IExhausted aslepp holding kittent turned out to be FOUR small masses of fur…kittens. Tiny kittens. Probably less than three weeks old. I let them be while we moved on to another part of the back yard, for the mother would show up now and then atop our ten foot wooden fence and look down on her charges.

After we worked our way to the front yard, Drew and Dylan saw the momma racing on the other side of the house, across the street, with one of the kittens in her mouth. Over the next hour or so, she moved two more, but the last one was alone for quite a while.

I read somewhere ages ago that dogs and cats don’t have a concept of four or more – one, two, three…many. The species will propagate fine with those three. Whether or not the counting anecdote is true, this particular mother stopped one short of “many”. When it became apparent that the mother wasn’t coming back, Andrea rescued the six inch long mewler and set about trying to figure out how to care for it and find someone else who could take over the care.

This shot is me, exhausted after all the yard work (unfinished, unfortunately, as we ran out of battery charges for the hedge trimmer), holding the tiny critter as I was “reading” a book on my iPad – note the reading glasses. Meanwhile, Andrea contacted someone who fosters cats/kittens and learned that the kitten might not last the night as it refused the fake milk Andrea got at the pet store. Persistence paid off, though, and Andrea did get the little one to drink some. I didn’t wake nearly as much as Andrea (exhausted, remember? that’s my story), but that tiny critter did survive. And the fostering contact found a host who had a nursing mother cat, so Andrea’s taking the kitten now to meet up and hand off, hopefully to a better life.

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Just how big IS a cubit?

{Don’t take this seriously…it’s just an exercise in how many assumptions have to be made for one story to be true}

This week, I saw that a Texas Congressman cited a story of a flood as an example of non-anthropogenic induced climate change and recalled something I was working on about  20 years ago and set aside. You’ll see why I set it aside in a moment.

I grew up with the understanding that a cubit was about 18 inches, or the length of the forearm from the elbow to the middle finger tip. Now, I’ve come to believe that those estimates are far, far short of the actual length. Indulge me, I respectfully request, as I take a wild stab at determining the length of the cubit…all in good fun…

Repeat: this is just for fun!

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Simply Shocking!

English is such a trippy language. Words can mean so many things. It’s time for my spring push to prepare the pool for eventual use, and I have to shock it. So I went out in my starkers and yelled “Boo!”

Oh well. Didn’t work last year and didn’t work this morning either. Back to the old chemical methods…multiple bags of shock.

People shock us all the time. No need to explain, I’m sure.

Another shock comes when we mistake small packages for being harmless. Last night I found a tiny ant – it was black and didn’t look like a fire ant – crawling on my hand and before I brushed it off, it apparently bit me right between the knuckles of my first and second fingers. It itched for a while and when I woke up, I thought I had slept on the hand…it felt numb like that. Turns out it was swollen and the numbness was my skin being stretched. A less than three millimeter ant injected enough formic acid to cause that much of a reaction? Shocking!

There’s medical shock, impact shock, hair shock (okay, shock of hair), shocks of grain (sheaves stacked for drying) … lots of shocks. But “shock” also has the electrical connotation.

As long as I can remember, I seem to have an … (pardon) … attraction to static electricity. I don’t mean that I like or am obsessed by it. No, more like the other way around. I’m sure those who live in dry climates, or even just dry seasonal climates have experienced that spark getting out of a car. Or, walking across a room and grabbing a door handle only to receive a jarring jolt of reality that electricity is all around us. For whatever reason, my body seems to pick up more than the average person. And when it lets go… Bam!

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