Are You Kitten Me?

Two weeks ago, I got a text from Tara.

So…what are your thoughts on getting a kitten?

This question came from out of the blue. Tara has always been a dog person. She puts up with our calico, Sydney, but if push came to shove, I know she’d rather have a canine. So I was a bit surprised that she would even ask, and thought nothing more of it.

Until I came home a few days later and nearly tripped over a little gray bullet racing around the living room like hell on wheels.

“Surprise!” Tara said.

Understatement of the year.

She wanted to do something special for Audrey, who loves animals and has long expressed a desire to have a kitten. And I guess because I am a cat fan (not to mention a big softie), I had no problem with this. I mean, come on – look at that face. Who can resist?

Mia

The first order of business was naming her. It took a couple of days, with each suggestion eighty-sixed by one person or another in the household. I thought I’d struck gold with Lucy, but it didn’t fly. Neither did Daphne, Sophie, Phoebe, or Zoey. Ditto Cashmere. My brother called me, letting me know he “has a knack for naming pets.” Take your best shot, I told him.

His best shot was Conrad. Wrong sex, for one thing, and even if the kitten was a male…no. Not Conrad. Because Sydney is a reference to the city in Australia (and also Lost, which I was super into at the time), he suggested we stick with the Down Under theme and came up with Victoria. “You can call her Vicky for short,” he said.

Again…no.

And then he came up with Vegemite (“Lil’ Veggie for short!”) and I knew it was time to gently let him know that under no circumstances would he be naming our cat. “Esther thinks she looks like a Mia,” he said finally, and what do you know? We all agreed she does look like a Mia. So, Mia it was.

Mia, I might point out, is All Kitten. Which means she is a whirling dervish of energy who makes Sydney, now 9 years old, look fat, slow, and lazy. I get worn out just watching her zip around the room.

As for Syd, who has been the sole house animal for the better part of eight years now (minus one thankfully-brief period when Audrey’s mom let her have a rat that she toted back and forth between houses every week) and does not get along very well with other cats? She’s learning to tolerate Mia, which basically means ignoring her for the most part. There’s a little hissing here and there and she might swat at her with her paw, but in all fairness Mia – being a rambunctious kitten – instigates a lot of this. For the most part, they are able to coexist peacefully. And Audrey is happy, which is what matters most.

Multiple pet owners: how do your animals get along? Any spats between cats? Dogs having a ruff time with other dogs? Ruffled feathers amongst birds who share cage space? Turtles shellshocked over the very presence of other turtles? How did you overcome the squabbling? And how many puns did you think I’d trot out before quitting?

With This Ring, I Thee Dread

Last week, I picked up my wedding ring from Fred Meyer Jewelers. No, I’m not getting married again – just having it resized. This was the second time in my life I’d been in that store for ring servicing, though the contrast could not have been more jarring.

Back in 2006, I’d gone in to have my wedding ring cut from my finger. It had fit me just fine when I’d gotten married fourteen years earlier, but time and too much cake had changed all that. As my marriage began to unravel I tried desperately to free my finger from the ring, to no avail. I tried all the tricks in the book, including buttering my ring finger (which made me crave popcorn), dousing spraying it with Windex (hey, it was the magic cure-all in My Big, Fat Greek Wedding), submerging my hand in ice water (which left me muttering, “You’re gonna die an old lady warm in her bed…not here, not this night” to some mystery woman named Rose). I even tried a trick involving dental floss, but nothing worked.

So in a fit of desperation I stopped by the jewelry store. Apparently this sort of thing happens all the time, because the sales associate put me at ease by cracking jokes. “Go ahead and make yourself comfortable, and I’ll be back with the wine,” she said. There was no chablis, but she came back with a tiny saw and clamp, and less than 30 seconds later my finger was liberated. “How does she feel about this?” the lady asked. I simply shrugged my shoulders. That was a moot point, as our fate had already been cast. I just wanted it off. Later that day, I blogged about my experience.

I just had my wedding ring cut off my finger. It’s currently residing in an envelope tucked into my pocket. My ring, that is. Not my finger. That, thankfully, is still attached to my hand.

July 16, 2006. My world may have been crumbling around me, but at least my sense of humor was intact.

This time around was quite different. Instead of being unable to get my ring off my finger, I couldn’t get it to stay on. Which is a good problem to have, until your ring ends up down a drain somewhere. Fortunately, we paid for an extended service agreement, which includes a lifetime of free ring resizing. Bring on the cauliflower! (Or doughnuts, if I want to go the opposite direction). I’m glad to have my ring back now. I was feeling quite naked without it.

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Asphalt Intrusion

I seem to have run out of things to say as of late. Ironic, considering words are my bread and butter. Literally. (Though nowadays, it’s whole wheat bread and nothing more than a schmear. Damn you, diabetes).

But then I remembered today is Flashback Friday, and who says that only applies to photos? Memories are flashbacks, too. So I’m going to write about the loneliest road I ever traveled. I mean that literally, but you can also take it metaphorically, I suppose.

The place: U.S. Route 212, somewhere in eastern Montana. The date: June 24, 2011. Late morning.

It was Day 3 of my solo road trip from Vancouver, WA to Dayton, Ohio. I’d had a rough evening in Billings the day before; I was far enough from home by then to realize there was no turning back, and the fact that I was alone hit me pretty hard. It was the only time I seriously questioned the wisdom of my journey. But on this, the third day, my mood changed completely and the whole thing began to feel like an adventure. It all started when I crested a hill on Interstate 90 E and saw what looked like the whole world spread out before me. I had a view of the wide open Montana prairie stretching from one end of the horizon to the other, and it took my breath away. I had always laughed at the nickname “Big Sky Country” thinking, come on, the sky is the same size everywhere! But I was wrong. It really is bigger in Montana. Maybe because there is nothing else to distract from the view.

Shortly afterwards, my GPS had me turn off the interstate onto U.S. 212. I had not been expecting this, and debated whether she (yes, I’m referring to my GPS as if it were a woman – remember, I was single then) had screwed up by having me detour onto a two-lane highway with a reduced speed limit, especially when the little traffic I had encountered dwindled to an occasional car passing by every twenty or thirty minutes, but I had long ago learned to trust Maggie (yes, she even had a name), so I went with it.

I ended up in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by endless miles of gently rolling hills dotted with rock formations and trees, and a carpet of purple and yellow wildflowers that made the landscape look as though an indecisive artist had dragged his paintbrush over the whole thing. At one point I pulled over and got out of my car to stretch my legs. I stood in the middle of the highway, looking west at the road I had just traversed. It stretched on seemingly forever, a twisting black line that narrowed to a distant speck before disappearing from view entirely, snuffed out by the horizon. There was not another soul around; in that moment, I felt like the only person on the entire planet.

And it was liberating.

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U.S. 212 in Montana. I found enlightenment here. And not much else.

There was a field beside the road, which now felt like an asphalt intrusion; a stream meandered through it haphazardly. There was no sense of purpose to the trickling water, no rush or need to be anywhere. It doubled and tripled back on itself serpent-like, as directionless as I was. I walked through the grass, the hot summer sun beating down on me, nearly hypnotized by the constant buzz of a thousand cicadas and the realization that I had found one spot on earth where time did not matter.

Nothing mattered. And that mattered more to me than everything.

Go, my brain urged, instructing my legs to just keep walking. Where to, exactly? I did not know, nor did I care. Anyplace else sounded like a good enough plan as I stood in that lonely field, and besides, isn’t the journey more important than the destination? It wouldn’t take long for the prairie to swallow me up and make me disappear. I felt the pull of nature, the allure of the unknown. Like Chris McCandless, suddenly I contemplated ditching it all and taking my own trip Into The Wild.

And why not? My life at that time was in shambles. I had been unemployed for eight months with nary a prospect in sight. “What if somebody calls you for an interview when you’re on the road?” my dad had asked before I set out, and I had to choke off a laugh. Nobody was calling me for anything. I was burning through my savings, hopelessly upside down in my mortgage. And mired in the quicksand of a relationship that had run its course the previous year, but had been oblivious to the circling vultures with gleaming eyes and blood on their lips, despite the very obvious empty passenger seat beside me. How much deader could I get? I reasoned.

One step, the voices whispered.
Very good. Now another.

The tall grass tickled my knees. I became keenly aware of every minuscule droplet of sweat trailing down the back of my neck, gravity working its humdrum miracle. Counting each step away.

Away from the road.
Away from my car.
Away away away away AWAY.

Quite unexpectedly, just as the abyss was looming, a new realization dawned, something I had previously overlooked.

I was, in fact, alive.

Maybe I hadn’t actually overlooked the obvious. Perhaps instead, I was born in that moment.

All I know is, I stopped. Told my subconscious to quit its yammering. Drank in my surroundings one last time before settling behind the steering wheel and continuing east. Where sunrises are born, I might point out. A compass direction as an allegory, no need to spell out phrases like dawn of a new day. Some stories just write themselves.

Is it any wonder I look back on my trip with great reverence? It was nothing short of a life changing experience.

Maybe even a life saving experience.

Two and a half months later, I found myself on the realloneliest road in America,” U.S. Route 50 in Nevada. And yet, I couldn’t have felt less lonely if I’d tried. I was on my way to see a girl, after all.

But that chapter had yet to be written.

Fresh Fish? Touché!

About six months ago, Tara told me her dad wanted to drive out to The Dalles for a little walleye fishing and asked if I’d be interested in going.

“Sure,” I said, thinking we’d bait a hook, toss a line in the water, sit back, and wait. All from the comfort of the shore, because that’s what fishing is. Right?

Turns out Randy takes fishing a tad more seriously than I do.

“Seriously” meant chartering a boat for 8 hours and plying miles and miles of the Columbia River in search of walleye, and then hopping into his boat the next day for a few more hours of the same. Which, to me, was a helluva lot of fishing. But we had a great time.

Friday evening after work, Tara and I drove out to Rufus. This small town (pop.: 210) in Oregon is about two hours east of us, and I’d never heard of it before. My first impression was…well, I’ll let Facebook do the talking.

Screenshot 2015-05-11 08.16.36

No offense to banjo players, of course.

Actually, Rufus wasn’t that bad. It had one restaurant/bar. We ended up eating there four times. And the motel bed was really comfortable.

We were there for the fishing, though. Saturday morning we met up with our guide, Touché – that’s a nickname, but he never divulged his real one, so that’s what we called him. And it fit. He’s this white haired guy of 75 who has been fishing the Columbia River for 30+ years, so he knows his way around. Real nice dude, too. Very affable. We were on the water by 7 AM, and immediately got down to the important business at hand.

Fishing the Columbia River.
Fishing the Columbia River.

Drinking Bloody Marys.

After that, we got down to the other important business at hand, which would be the fishing. It didn’t take long before we reeled in a couple. Tara hooked a bass and I caught the first walleye (not bad for a landlubber like me). We spent the next eight hours going up and down a good portion of the river while Touché regaled us with humorous stories. The weather was damn near perfect – sunny, not too warm, very little wind. And sadly, very little fish, I guess. We ended up with six total, which was a disappointment to the others. I, on the other hand, was like, “Hey! I caught a fish! I rock!!”

A fish. Oh, I amuse myself sometimes…

Our guide's boat was pretty slick!
Our guide’s boat was pretty slick!
The important business at hand.
The important business at hand.
This is the life!
This is the life!
Touche!
Touche!

We ate dinner and then crashed early, since we’d been up since 5 AM. Fishing wears you out, even if you’re just sitting on a boat for most of the day.

Sunday we ditched Touché and went out on Randy’s boat – it was me, Tara, him and Cynthia, his girlfriend. We didn’t catch a damn thing.

Well, that’s not exactly true…

Say cheese!
Say cheese!

Before we headed home, there was one more place to visit. Stonehenge. No, we didn’t hop on a plane and fly to England. There is a full-size replica of the ancient monument in Maryhill, Washington. And this one is better than that stupid one on the Salisbury Plain, because none of the stones have fallen over. Take that, Great Britain!

Think of it as Stonehenge West.
Think of it as Stonehenge West.

 

Stonehenge in the Columbia Gorge.

We were back home by 2 PM.

And if you’re wondering about the walleye? It was delicious, sauteed in a little olive oil and butter and lightly seasoned with garlic pepper and salt.

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See You in 364 Days, Chewbacca

I am so glad it’s May 5th. Not because I have a special affinity for Cinco de Mayo (though, hello nacho bar at work!). It’s just that, if I see one more lame May the 4th be with you post on social media, I am going to scream.

It’s not that I’m anti-Star Wars. I like Yoda as much as the next person. Hell, I once dressed up like C3PO for fun Halloween. (My brother was Darth Vader that year, proving that he was much cooler than me back in the day). But this pun has been so beaten to death, it makes me want to jab a lightsaber in my eye. I chuckled the first time I heard it…but that was three years ago. I haven’t even cracked a smile since.

In case you don’t get it, “May the 4th be with you” is a play on the famous Jedi line, “May the force be with you.” If you don’t know what a Jedi is, clearly your pop culture skills need work. Every May 4th, people take up the rallying cry ad nauseum.

More like, ad nausea.

It started when I arrived at work…

May4th

…and was a steady barrage the rest of the day. Every time I scrolled through my Facebook newsfeed to see photos of people’s dogs and lunches and find out the color of their aura or which Game of Thrones character they embody most, I was assaulted with May the 4th nonsense. This trivial fluff was getting in the way of really important matters! Because of the clutter, I almost missed the invitation to “like” my friends’ uncle’s cousin’s neighbor’s daughter-in-law’s nail salon page. Close call, people! And I nearly overlooked the hilarious George Takei meme that was sandwiched between a picture of Bad White Police Officers and that Timehop shot of my friend from one year ago (but God loves me, so it’s all good).

timehopMay the 4th is just too stressful these days. May 5th? Much better.

Or should I say mucho better? After all, it’s Cinco de Mayo, and my newsfeed is going crazy with that topic…

And also Bernie Sanders. He’s running for President. Too bad he’s a Socialist. You just know he’s going to take away all our guns and privatize healthcare.

Ooh, a baby picture.

GREAT headline, The Onion.

My buddy from Wisconsin’s sister is holding a Scentsy party and I’m invited!

What am I doing here, still blogging?! Gotta go……………

The Great Escape

This morning I found myself trapped in the pool area behind my apartment complex’s fitness center at 5 AM. It was dark, nobody else was around, and I was surrounded by a 5′ iron fence.

It may not be Monday, but it was my Monday.

I had gone down to the fitness center to check if the stationary cycle that had been on the fritz was working yet. It was not, so I exited through the back door as I typically do, but when I tried to open one of the gates to leave, it was locked. I inserted my key, but nothing happened. I tried the other gate, and got the same result. To my credit, I did not panic. I figured if nothing else I could go back through the fitness center, but once again, my key did nothing.

Then I panicked.

Well, not really. I did what anybody else would have done in that situation: tried all three locks again, twisting and pushing and pulling, because surely I must have done something wrong the first time. I’ve only been sticking keys into locks for 40 years or so, and was probably a little rusty. When that didn’t do the trick, I tried swearing. Because calling a locked gate a “cold steel bitch” while demanding it open on command is always effective.

Not to worry, though. I had my phone, and Audrey was back in the apartment. A quick call, and she’d be down to set me free in two minutes.

Only, did I mention it was 5 AM?

“I thought I was dreaming when the phone rang,” she told me later. Huh. I don’t blame the kid. What person in their right mind is up on purpose three and a half hours before he’s due at work?

This guy, who likes to work out in the mornings. But only this guy. Audrey was fast asleep and did not answer her phone. I knew she’d be up in a half-hour, and there are usually one or two others who arrive at the fitness center around 6. Either way, I was looking at a long wait in the cold darkness with no company other than a random duck who has taken up residence atop the tarp that covers the pool, which is closed for the season. And he was eyeing me skittishly, clearly debating whether he should take flight. That would have really ruffled my feathers, but it made me realize the only way out was over the fence. So, I ended up scaling it, a feat made possible thanks to a large ceramic flower pot on this side of the gate, and an air conditioning duct on that side of the gate. Both provided me with all the footing I needed, and led me to sweet, sweet freedom.

A scary few minutes, though.

It was my Monday because the real Monday was my birthday, and I took the day off from work. Tara and I drove up to the Olympic Peninsula on Saturday, exploring Port Townsend and Sequim. Our weekend getaway included a recreation of a famous Richard Gere scene in An Officer and a Gentleman, a trip to the Makah indian reservation to visit the northwesternmost tip of the contiguous 48 states at Cape Flattery, a fantastic seafood dinner in a 90-year old restaurant in Port Angeles, not one but two ferry trips across Puget Sound, and a wedding (congratulations to my MIL Tracy and her new husband (and longtime partner) David). Yeah, this weekend had it all. And now Tara and I want to move to Port Townsend. We even found a house.

That view, though...
That view, though…

Audrey is none too pleased about this. She insists on finishing high school here. Can’t say I blame her; moving is rough. Ahh, well. It’s not like we have, oh – you know – jobs up there. Maybe someday.

Here’s a link to my acting debut.

And the original scene.

Last but not least, some photos from when I wasn’t goofing around and pretending to be Richard Gere.

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Big Man Off Campus

I’m very popular in high school. Which is funny, because when I was in high school, I wasn’t very popular.

I probably need to explain…

Audrey says all her friends like me. Which is funny, because most of them have never met me. I have somehow earned a reputation as “the cool dad” amongst her peers.

I don’t overdo it, like some people…

coolmomI’m just real. And I treat Audrey like she’s real. Apparently, that’s a novelty to many of her friends. We talk. Not about school and chores. Well, about school and chores. But we also do not shy away from topics like drugs, alcohol, and sex. I photobomb her selfies. I say things like “peace out” when we’re ending our phone calls. I crank my rock ‘n roll when picking her up from tennis practice. And I give her enough freedom to do the things she wants to do, so long as she doesn’t take advantage of my good graces. She’s earning straight A’s, so she deserves it.

And though I shouldn’t give a damn what a bunch of 15 year olds think, I have to admit it is pretty flattering to be considered “cool.” Especially by an age group who considers anybody over 30 – actually, more like 25 – to be the very antithesis of the word.

Audrey asked me if I was popular in high school, and I laughed. There’s an adjective that never applied to me. I wasn’t an outcast, either. Didn’t fit into any of the social cliques, to be honest. When she asked me what I was, I said, “I just was.” Which pretty much sums it up. I was one of those kids who never really made waves, good or bad. People liked me, but they never went out of their way to invite me to parties or make out with me under the bleachers. I was not a jock, but I also wasn’t a stoner, a preppie, or a dweeb. In P.E., if we had to choose teams and there were 10 students, I was picked fifth. Middle of the road, all the way. Had I ever run for school council, I would have had no shot at student body president, but would have made a hell of a treasurer.

I also used to dress like Sonny Crockett. This certainly didn’t help my social standing, though it didn’t really hinder it, either. And no, I do not have pics. I’ve searched high and low, but no such luck.

So the fact that I have gained all these cool points many years later leaves me feeling stoked. Better late than never, right?

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Feeding the Ego Machine

Audrey asked a seemingly innocent question recently.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

But upon further reflection – pun intended – I realized the question required more thought than simply blurting out “a face!” as I’d originally intended. My daughter was digging for deeper truths. For more complex nuances. So I gave it some serious consideration before answering.

man-looking-in-mirror

I should point out that, had she asked this question six months ago, my answer would have been much different. I think that applies to most people. Our perception of the face staring back at us every morning changes often. For too long, I did not like what I saw. It was more of a resigned yeah, that’s me. 

But when I replied to my daughter, I said,

Confidence.
Commitment.
Strength.
Vitality.

And I thought to myself, it should have been this way all along. Sadly, it took a health scare to motivate me. I knew I was not at an ideal weight and making poor eating decisions, but I didn’t care (or I did care, but didn’t care enough to take the steps needed to change that). Tara warned me about my carb intake, but I dismissed her concerns with a wave of the hand while muttering about “junk science.” We made spaghetti one time and she substituted zucchini strips for the pasta. I thought she was nuts.

zucchini spaghetti

A year later, I never would have guessed I’d be making “mashed potatoes” out of cauliflower. Cauliflower, folks. I practically declared a fatwa against it once.

We Taurans (plural for Taurus people?) have a stubborn streak a mile wide.

So I was in denial, allowing myself only the briefest glimpse into the mirror each morning in order to avoid the truth. Nowadays, the mirror is my friend. Sounds like an incredibly vain thing to say, but I don’t mean it that way. The truth is, I am proud of all my accomplishments, and I love seeing the visual evidence of my hard work and determination. It’s quite amazing to me, this transformation. I want to savor it.

I also want to apologize to Tara for not being more open minded earlier. I’m sorry, babe. You were right. As usual.

And while I’m at it, I’d like to issue an apology to bacon. I feel somewhat responsible for the swine decline because I devoured far too much of it.

baconchase

I spent two hours yesterday shopping for new clothes. Very few things fit any more. They’re all baggy and loose, and starting to look ridiculous on me. I pulled on a pair of shorts, and they immediately slipped down to my ankles.  Even my new jeans, purchased two months ago when I dropped a size, are too big. I’ve been buying XL for so long, L is a novelty, albeit a happy one. I even bought a couple of M’s. Relaxed fit has given way to regular fit. “First world problems,” Tara said, and she’s right. This is a good problem to have. But I also find myself walking on egg shells. I do not want to come across as boastful. I know people who have gone on health kicks, got into shape, and talked about it incessantly, and you know what?

It made me resentful.

Which is a terrible thing to say. Of course, I “get” it now – but I don’t want anybody to feel that way about me, so I try not to make a big deal out of it.

scaleWhen I stepped on the scale this morning, I weighed 63.5 lbs. less than I did one year ago. And I’m 45 pounds lighter than I was the day I came home from the hospital. That was less than four months ago. My diabetes is firmly under control without any medication. My blood pressure, once high, is now low. I’ll talk to my doctor about quitting my meds during my next appointment. My sleep apnea is gone; I packed up the CPAP machine and haven’t used it in weeks. And I have so much damn energy I can’t sit still. I owe all of this to the old standbys, diet and exercise. You know what?

That shit works.

I severely limit my carbs, avoid sugar like the plague, choose healthy foods, and keep my calories under 1,500. I also work out every day without fail, either walking, cycling or hiking. Treadmill, city streets, forested trail: it really doesn’t matter. Here’s a little secret: losing weight is easy. Finding the determination to make these lifestyle changes and stick with them is the hard part. My friends and coworkers compliment me on a daily basis, and that feeds the Ego Machine and provides the spark I need to keep up my healthy lifestyle.

I’m a new man, in more ways than one. And it feels great.

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

My Subconscious is on Sabbatical

I recently filled out a PTO request at work, but accidentally asked for 5 weeks off instead of 5 days.

My boss got a good laugh out of that, and I did, too. Until I started thinking about how wonderful five weeks off would be, and then I was like, wait a minute…why are we laughing?!

This reminded me of how my former father-in-law used to get these months-long “sabbaticals” from his job. “We’ll pay you not to come to work for the next three months,” they’d tell him. What a sweet deal, huh? He used the time off to travel, work on projects around the house, etc. I love my job – don’t get me wrong – but damn, what I’d give to be able to take five weeks off for real. I shouldn’t complain; after all, I did have a 618-day sabbatical of my own a few years ago, but that was without pay, which dampened my enthusiasm ever so slightly. Sure, I didn’t have to get dressed until noon, but I ended up wiping out my 401K. In the Dances With Wolves parlance, that is “not a good trade.”

DWWGoodTrade

But if I could keep the paycheck and still get the time off? That’d be okay with me. I’d love to take another road trip, with an endpoint a little farther than Dayton this time around. Actually, Tara and I have talked about buying an RV and traveling all over the country when we’re old and retired, which sounds great to me. Only problem: I’m going to have eight years to kill before she turns old enough to join me in retirement. I’ll have to take up a hobby, like whittling. Or making sweaters for penguins.

Speaking of work (technically I was speaking of not working, but close enough), I had an awkward encounter today with one of our new hires. It was awkward because she clearly had me confused with somebody else, but I’m not even sure who.

“Thanks for the help with {insert member name}!” she said brightly when we bumped into each other in the kitchen.

“Of course!” I replied “Glad to help.”

Now, I didn’t specifically remember helping her with {insert member name}, but I work on stuff for a lot of different people every day, and figured I must have helped her somehow.

“I’m still having technical issues with the workflow algorithm,” she continued. “Is it supposed to auto-populate the address fields?”

Umm. Err. WTF?!

By now, I realized she thought I was somebody else entirely. Somebody in the web or IT department. I should have bailed out gracefully, but then I’d have looked stupid for taking credit for helping her earlier, so in order to save face I continued to play along. Only I don’t know a damn thing about which fields are supposed to auto-populate and, in fact, didn’t understand one damn thing she had just asked, so my blurted-out answer – “I am not aware of any limitations pertaining to that particular program” – made me sound like the world’s stupidest IT guy.

Which means, in an effort to not look dumb, I ended up looking dumber than if I’d just corrected her the moment I realized she thought I was somebody else.

I did save it with an “I’ll look into that and get back to you!”, only I can’t really do that because I don’t even know what I’m looking into in the first place.

Work is so damn complicated these days. I could really use a week or five off…

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Like Hugh Hefner

University of Washington
Reflecting on the future.

We took a quick trip to Seattle over the weekend – partly to celebrate Tara’s nephew’s 3rd birthday, partly to visit her mom and stepdad, and partly to take my new car for a really long test drive. Sunday morning, we hit the University of Washington (UW, or “U-Dub” to the locals) because Audrey has expressed an interest in going to college there. It’s a beautiful campus, with stunning architecture and scenery. She wasn’t the only enthusiastic one…

If I can just hang on for eight seconds...
If I can just hang on for eight seconds…

We made a brief trip downtown, as well. Zipped through Pike Place Market and grabbed Chinese food to go. I guess the fact that it was Easter weekend explained the hundreds of bunnies roaming the streets…

unnamedThough it does not explain their attire. This trio is dressed conservatively. A few minutes earlier, I ran across a topless bunny and had a brief inkling of what Hugh Hefner’s charmed life must be like.

And they say Portland is weird…

Nothing weird about this little dude, though. His face says it all.

unnamedWe’ll be back for my birthday weekend in sixteen days, though I doubt there will be any bunnies next time.