Friday, August 21, 2009

Farewell To Lou-Lou - Part Two

When last I wrote, Lou-Lou was growing up and was found to have a heart murmur.

So ... first wife and I worked hard to make sure Lou-Lou took his medicine everyday. Because she and I did not yet have any children yet, he was the center of our attention. Toys, beds, etc., he had it all. He would slept on the bottom of the bed or on us, pretty much "allowing us" to be around him. The one nice thing was that Delena did not ever give him any wet cat food, we just always had a bowl of dry out for him.

Leaving out dry cat food on the front porch of course gave for interesting visitors. Birds, other cats, and even a really gross opossum visited us over the years snacking on Lou-Lou's dry food. He always remained an "outdoor kitty".

After several years of this and a couple of other cats joining our family, we started to see less and less of Lou-Lou. He got to the point of only being seen about 3 times a week. After some investigation and talking to friends, we found out he was double timing us with some of the neighbors. He was their cat during the day, and our cat at night.

All of our neighbors thought this was funny, some also letting us know that he was also staying in their our buildings at night, eating their dogs food, etc. It was great fun and lasted until my divorce in 2003 .....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Farewell To Lou-Lou - Part One

When I was dating my first wife, one of my best friends Scott called me. He was upset that his cat's kittens were attacked by a dog and only three had survived. He wanted to know if I wanted any of them. Being his friend and trying to help him out, I thought I would be nice and take one to Rhonda.

If you are reading this, you "probably" know who Rhonda is as we were pretty much joined at the hip in high school. Rhonda LOVES cats and I was a normal boy jerk in high school that loved to be Mr. Man and act like I loathed cats. I was trying to "make up" for my old ways by bringing her a kitten.

Little did I know that Rhonda did not want the kitten and I was left "holding the cat". I can remember very well spending the night at my parents where NO CATS ARE ALLOWED. I had to sleep with the kitten on my chest all night long.

This is where the story begins. I have a cat that I did not really want, one friend that needs me to take it from him, and another friend that does not want it. I also have a kitten that has slept on my chest and completely, and I mean COMPLETELY bonded to me after only one night. Finally, my girlfriend (at the time) convinced me to keep it and she would help me take care of it.

For whatever reason, we named the kitten Lou-Lou (I believe it was a name she had for a cat earlier, even though we knew he was a boy). Trying to be a good pet owner, I took the kitten / cat into the local vet and started its shots and medical exams.

Back then, I was in college, so my time was spent working part time, going to school, eating, sleeping, and playing with the new cat. Since I had never owned (or been owned would be more precise) a cat before, everything he did was new to me and just like new parents, I thought it was all new to everyone.

As an example, Lou-Lou would sleep on my clothes. Being a college kid, I had to be cheap, so I rarely used the dryer instead putting my clothes on one of those folding wooden racks. I started to notice that sometimes, the clothes would have fallen off the rack. One day as I was putting the clothes back, I was attacked by the kitten. HE WAS THE ONE that was throwing my clothes off the rack. I started "sneaking" up to the apartment to see that he was actually sleeping on the top of the clothes and could see out the window.

During this time, we took Lou-Lou to the vet for one of his final vaccinations. During his exam, we found out that the vet thought she heard a heart murmur. I had so quickly gotten attached to this cat that I was really shocked at how upset I was that he could be sick. We had an ultrasound done (yes, writing this I still cannot believe that I paid for it) so they could confirm the murmur. I was given pills and taught how I was supposed to give them to him everyday.

This was my first indication at how attached I had already become to this cat ..........

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Vacation Bible School week

Well ... J.C. is now with his Dad for the summer and Patrick & Andrew are now with their dad (me!) for the summer. We did get one time out on the boat so I could pull J.C. and Patrick around with the new tube.

J.C. has had a great time with his dad in Washington, D.C. with the Young Marines. He has seen the Pentagon, Smithsonian, Arlington, and stayed the week at Quantico (see his bedroom on the right!).

Vickie is starting to be up and about more after re-damaging her shoulder. She is sometimes very bored and cooks so much/so good for Patrick and I that I fear this will be a summer we will have to lose weight from, yeehaw! She is also starting to work in the yard. One of the women from my work gave her some tomato plants that are really growing and starting to yield tomatoes.

Patrick, Andrew, and I spent this week in Summer Camp, then going straight to Vacation Bible School every night. We did not get home until after 9 PM each night. This was rough on the three of us, but VBS was great and we had a wonderful time. The other issue that made this so difficult was that I planned two doctor visits, two trips to the library, and a special reading adventure during this week. Whew!

Vickie and I are very much looking forward to the coming calm, summer camp, nightly reading time, nightly Bible study, maybe some trampoline jumping evenings.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

How bad is your grammer?

While most people have memories of special meals or gifts with their mom, I will always remember a "special" time in my life more than any other. My parents demanded that we do well in school and we always did, until "Dana the engineer" hit the eighth grade. My mother came home one night after a parent-teacher conference so mad that my father had to step in. It seems I forgot to tell my mom that I had failed multiple grammar tests and was about to fail that subject completely. For the first time in my life, I got an E (old school grading) on my report card.

For the rest of the year, every Thursday night my mother and I spent hours going over and over my grammar homework until I was able to get an A. I did not miss another answer for the next two grading periods. Straight from failing to an A in one grading period.

In case I have never said it enough ..... Thanks Mom!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Small Potatoes

The dinner that my wife cooked tonight was very good, one of those where you want to kiss her just to smell the scent of dinner on her. It so reminded me of the days of growing up. I found out during the meal that my mother had visited during the day, and brought some home grown potatoes. Now these are not JUST home grown potatoes .....

I grew up in Eastern North Carolina, where the soil is very fertile. I am talking about soil that would grow anything, was completely black, and was the envy of farmers everywhere. Years after I moved to Central North Carolina, my father visited and did not understand planting or fertilizing grass as he was accustomed to it just growing automatically from the seeds of the grass near it. Dirt that makes you want to just scoop up a handful and eat the dirt straight. God's perfect soil, everything added.

Now when I was younger, my sister (aka THE slave driver) would wake me up on the hottest day of the year, usually somewhere around the end of July June. At the end of two 100 foot rows of potato plants, she would pull up the vines, and make me dig down 12 inches or so, the full length of the garden rows. We would collect and clean every potato from the size of your pinky fingernail, to the really big "baking potatoes". This might be a fond memory now, but even as a child, I had to rest for a day or two after this digging frenzy.

The next part of the process was my mother taking an old five gallon bucket full of these spuds, washing them as she would run them around and around in the bucket to clean off the skins. Then it was off to a boiling pot with plenty of oil and flour to make a paste on everything. Good Southern cooking always involves some type of cooking grease and these potatoes were no exception.

Move ahead 15 years to a time when that same sister now has two little girls. These same potatoes were now the golden fruits of intense battles between my niece and her Uncle Dana. The power that comes with making a 7 year old cry, just by first getting her "little tators" cannot be described, but must be experienced. This same little girl has now traded places with me in the war of the baby potatoes, her opponent being my son.

I assume that most people do not have these types of memories when they are finishing their starches. For me Small Potatoes rush in so many memories that it is difficult to tell which was better, the memories or the meal.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Mama

With today being the "something someth" birthday of my mother (I know the number, I am just not sharing, to protect the guilty .... me), I thought I would take some time to look up other events that happened on this day. I cannot believe that I have not done this in the past, but WOW, there were a lot of things that have happened on May 19th in history.

From the New York Times "On This Day" Page, here are a few high lights.

1536 Anne Boleyn, the second wife of England's King Henry VIII, was beheaded after being convicted of adultery.

1962 Actress Marilyn Monroe performed a sultry rendition of "Happy Birthday" for President John F. Kennedy during a fund-raiser at New York's Madison Square Garden.

1992 Vice President Dan Quayle criticized the CBS sitcom "Murphy Brown" because the title character chose to have a child out of wedlock.

1994 Former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died in New York at age 64.

2005 "Revenge of the Sith," the final chapter of the "Star Wars" saga, opened in movie theaters.

Sorry Mama, but I HAD to put the Marilyn Monroe dance in as a link.

I Love You Mama and I hope you have had a really great birthday!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

How many souls sleep here?

When we go to sleep at night, it is fun to think about how many souls are nodding off under this roof that are not Mom, Dad, or one of the children.

Come in and meet the four legged family members (smallest to largest).

Scruffy - Abyssinian Australian Guinea Pig
Basically a ball of fur that eats, makes whistling noises, and drops little raisins. I was completely against getting the thing, now she is one of my favorite pets.

Abby - Berman - Ragdoll
The internet is not big enough to describe the attitude that this cat has. You know your cat is sexy when she is missing three teeth and is two toes short of a world record. She got lost once for almost two weeks. Once found and returned, she is terrified of leaving the yard.

Jingle - Black Short Hair Domestic
The cat that most disliked me when she arrived is now that one that Vickie swears cries "Dadddddyyy" when she walks by me. She acts like a six year old girl after her fathers affection.

Lou-Lou - Tabby / Short Hair Domestic
This is the "old-man" of the house. I have had him since 1994 and as far as I can tell, he thinks he is human. He would be the only cat still having front claws, although I don't believe he knows it.

Recon - Blue Point Siamese
This bad boy wakes up for about 1 hour a day, sleeps with his face always buried in something (carpet, pillow, another cat, etc.). When he is awake and plays, he is usually upside down or chasing a moth .... WEIRDO!

Shem - Bobbed Tailed Tabby / Short Hair Domestic
When he first moved into our house, he was so big we had to install a dog door instead of a cat door. This cat even has it's own facebook page, now that is a big, fat, lazy hunk of manly fur.

Jasmine - Yellow Labrador Retriever
She is one of the most gentle dogs I have ever met, even after we brought all these cats into her life. She so loves Vickie, she brings her bones, squirrels, rabbits, and chunks of dead deer.

Here are just a few of the fun facts about the animals.
  • "Love me, love my cats", Vickie Gunderson, just before we got married.
  • My mother (Mattie Bostic), really dislikes ALL the animals.
  • It took almost 3 months to stop the cats from sleeping all over us.
  • Shem has a thing for head butting and following women into the bathroom.
  • The word "Shem" can be a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb, depending on how it is used.
  • Jingle can jump over six feet high to the top of a cabinet without any help.
I could continue with story after story, but maybe that will be something to write in another post.

The wonderful world of insomnia

Sometimes I believe it would be really nice if everyone had to video tape or otherwise "record" their lives. There are so many questions I have about what is normal vs. what everyone else pretends to be normal. I am speaking science here and not some weirdo wish to be a peeping tom.

Take for example the whole nose picking .... chore. This is of course, not something that is acceptable with others around, however, we have to tell our children not to do this from a young age. It must be something that everyone does when others are not around, just that we have to learn not to do it when others are around .... right?

My real curiosity is about how everyone else prepares for sleeping at night. I have struggled for so many years with insomnia that I just want to know if it is only me? Does everyone else exaggerate how much they sleep? Do I minimize how much I am sleeping and it is actually more that would be quantified if a scientific method were used? What do I do wrong that wakes me up or what could I be doing differently to catch and keep the illusive sandman?

I have gained some insight after getting married. Vickie has been struggling for about 5 days now. Since I do not really believe that my wife is strange (other than her taste in men) I have to conclude that not sleeping comes and goes like the seasons. I seem to be no help at all as I wake up as she goes to bed for the past week. I guess it is the interruption or more specifically, the change in the temperature, sounds, and body placement. Both of us seem to go until we finally fall down.

My actual conclusion from years of thought on the subject is that I have little control of my thoughts. I worry over Vickie, children, money, work, and pretty much anything else that I cannot stop thinking about. Reading before bed seems to help, however I still wake up in the middle of the night and cannot return to sleep.

I guess the recording device would actually need to be storing thoughts as well as actions for any type of analysis, so for now, I will continue to chase the Z.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

First Posting on new blog site

Having now been through a marriage, the birth of two children, a divorce, dating, and now the re-marriage / merging of two households, I can honestly say, I have never been busier or happier.

It has taken over nine months for Vickie and I to get settled enough that I have taken time to update the bostic website enough to just incorporate our blogs. WOW that site needs an upgrade!

I am hoping that I will be spending more and more time writing on both my blog and hopefully something for Geekdad once in a while. I am very interested in what the blog with grow into as I hopefully spend some time updating it.