Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What's In a Name?

Several years ago my wife and I were talking and she was sharing a tragic story about a lost puppy. It seems a neighbor of ours that owns a contracting company was working on a house in the woods down a very rural road. While my neighbor was at the job site cleaning up his tools after a long day, a dachshund puppy came walking out of the woods. The puppy ran up and was licking the man’s hands and climbing over his work boots. My neighbor picked the puppy up and walked into the woods looking for the owners. There wasn’t another house within view – the puppy was lost.

My neighbor brought the puppy home but couldn’t keep the puppy for long. It seems his wife is allergic to a few animal furs so they kept it for a few days while the looked for a home. One morning my wife started telling me this story about a lost puppy and I said ABSOLUTELY NOT to the idea of taking the dog in. We had two dogs already – three would be INSANE – was she CRAZY????

That morning as I was driving to work I saw the man outside with the tiny dog in the front yard. I turned the car around and went back home and said to my wife, “I guess it wouldn’t hurt if we just went and looked at it”. Before I continue I should tell you that people who know me know that I LOVE puppy breath. In fact, I’ll go to a pet store today to get my puppy-breath-crack-fix. It’s intoxicating. Have you ever noticed that puppies and helium have the same effect on people? By that I mean that both of those things seem to make you talk in the stupidest high-pitched voice that you would otherwise never speak in. Strange how we do that – ok, back to the story.

After holding this puppy for 15 seconds while getting licked and smelling his puppy breath, I ate my own words – we took the puppy. How could you not? Puppies are cute and dachshund puppies are the cutest of them all!

We decided to keep the dog for a couple of days and observe him before we named him. I thought this would be a ‘no-brainer’ but the kids wanted to name him Joey because he hopped around in the grass like a kangaroo and what is a baby kangaroo called? Joey. I on the other hand wanted to name him Woody – like the dachshund on Disney’s Toy Story movie. We were at an impasse, I hated Joey and they thought Woody was ‘dumb’. The only way to solve this was democratically so we voted. Each of us put in 3 names. The rules were you had to use three different names. The kids put in Joey, Peanut & Buttface (can you guess which one my son contributed?). I put in Woody, “The Woodster” and “Sir Woodmeister”. When “The Woodster” was drawn from the hat by a neutral party (the wife), the kids revolted. They said my 3 weren’t different because all of them would result in him being called ‘Woody’ for short. I was disqualified for ballot tampering.

We then moved onto something a bit more fund and suggested the dog decide his own name. It went like this:

Me: “We’ll write down each name on a separate piece of paper. That means we’ll have Joey, Peanut and Woody each on a piece of paper. I think we can all agree that Buttface isn’t in the running. Next we’ll ball them up and place them a few inches apart on the floor. Whichever one the puppy picks up or chews will be his name. Do we all agree?”

Kids: “YEAH!” (they were really into this idea)

At this time the kids left to go find the puppy while I prepared the pieces of paper in the kitchen. I could hear the kids running back with the puppy so I quickly returned to the living room and balled the papers up and put them on the floor. I suggested to my oldest daughter that she hold the puppy just inches above each piece of paper and let him sniff them so that each name got a fair evaluation. The kids agreed this was a good idea. My daughter then put the puppy near the floor and let him go. He barely had all 4 paws on the floor before he took off and made a bee-line for the ball of paper in the middle. He didn’t just sniff the paper, he began to EAT it! We had to grab him and hold his mouth open and pull the paper out. Soggy with dog saliva we un-rolled it and despite the running ink you could clearly see it said WOODY!

The kids were heartbroken. About that time my wife came into the kitchen and after a quick glance she was immediately upset by something. She said loudly, “OK WHO LEFT THE HAM ON THE KITCHEN COUNTER!” My oldest daughter (in gifted with a genius IQ) pointed at me and said, “Dad! You cheated, you put ham juice on yours!” I said, “Alright Nancy Drew, you caught me!”

I then picked Joey up and continued to smell his puppy breath. I still think Woody would’ve been a cool name.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Like father, like son

If you didn't notice yet, I have what some call a 'warped' sense of humor. I'm not sure what that means, perhaps I find things funny that others don't. I think I just do a good job of finding humor in things others don't. Nevertheless, here's a little life story that I kept in my memory bank.

I'm sure that at some time in your educational experience, highschool or college, you have been or encountered a cheater. If you do work hard, it can piss you off at times to see cheaters skate by. Sometimes they get caught but usually that squeak by. One night at dinner my SEVEN YEAR OLD son shared this with me. It should be a lesson for you all....and it makes me a proud father.

Me: "So what did you do in school today?"
Son: "I played a trick on Martha". (being a practical joker, I'm skeptical of his ability to 'trick')

Me: "Really, what kinda trick?" (being a practical joker myself, I was skeptical of his ability to 'trick')
Son: "We took a math test today and I could tell she was cheating off me."
Me: "So how did you trick her?"

Son: "Well when I saw her trying to cheat off me I started counting and saying the wrong answer kinda loud, sorta like I was talking to myself. After I saw her write the number down, I wrote the right answer on my test."

Me: "Do you know how proud you just made me?" (tear, gulp!)
Son: "Can I get Mech Assault now for Xbox."

Me: "Consider it done".

Yesiree---that's my boy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Almost Garage Sale

I love garage sales. I go to them almost every Saturday morning and what I find goes up on eBay. It's become a nice revenue stream to satisfy my other habit - buying electronic gadgets for no apparent reason. In any event, the following happened to me one Saturday morning as I was heading out.

While driving out of my neighborhood I saw that a neighbor was having a garage sale, stuff was all out in the driveway and one of their cars was parked on the street in front of the house. People do this to keep the shoppers from driving in their grass.

One of the homeowners must'e been out putting the signs up in the other car so I whipped into their driveway to get the early bird deals. No one was outside but that didn't matter, I've been to many garage sales where the homeowners were going in and out of the house to get more stuff.

This particular sale was mostly tools. I don't have many tools so I snapped up a 'like new' wet-dry shop vac and was going through a tool box when the guy came out. It went like this:

Neighbor: "Can I help you?"
Me: "Yeah, how much for the shop vac?" (I was holding it)

Neighbor: "The shop vac isn't for sale."
Me: "Oh, sorry, what about this socket and ratchet, it looks new!"

Neighbor: "It is. Do you think this is a garage sale or something? It's not, I moved everything out of the garage to seal the garage floor, we aren't selling anything."

Me: "Oh........uh.....ok."

Needless to say I put the stuff down and left feeling like the total loser I was :)