11.23.2011

The Week Before Thanksgiving

Greetings and welcome back! After a brief but forced hiatus from my website, I am able to once again view, create, and share the melodrama that is my life.

Episode VII: Tempered Tempers

It's been lovely to share the simple, mundane, and truly wonderful things that have been going on lately. I've had a great time putting together various ramblings and creative attempts over the month of November. Last Saturday night I recall a moment of pride as I clicked Publish and saw twenty consecutive days of "shipping" new content. (I said new, not good!)

We've been told pride comes before a fall many times. Well, sometime between 11pm Saturday night and 8am Sunday morning, my website went crashing into the abyss of the internet. Sunday morning it was gone. All gone. Without a trace. After about a half-hour's search I was ready to call Anthony LaPaglia (the Hank Malone version, not the Simon Moon version) or Tommy Lee Jones to find it and bring it back!

And I was really ticked off. 

Here it was Sunday morning, two-thirds of the way through this one month challenge I'd given myself, and the dang thing I'd been attempting to do was wiped from the internet. I went from sleepy to grumpy in zero-point-two seconds. Got short-tempered with the kids who were just climbing from bed. Got a little whiny with Danielle who was making suggestions. And got a little hopeless about everything. 

The sob story in my head went something like, "If I can't figure out a simple little thing like a free blog and $10 annual domain renewal...what can I do? This is another sign that I'm a loser and life's out of control. Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I think I'll go eat worms..."

Nice, right?!

It was Sunday morning, we had good times planned for the day, and this bad news first thing in the morning had guillotined to my attitude. It rippled. The boys started fighting over something silly. Danielle tried to keep it together, but tempers were primed to flare.

By 8:30 Sunday morning we were at Threat Level: Nuclear!

In a rare moment of clarity, I saw it. I recognized that I'd started this about-to-blow-up moment and it was up to me to change it, stat! I needed to remove the heat from the boiling over kettle or we were going to have a mess to clean up.

I'm thankful for that moment of clarity.

I was able to get up, walk to the rest of the family who were in one of the boys' rooms, and apologize.

I owned the frustrating emotions I had inadvertently spread to each of them. I wanted us to fight for our day rather than with each other. We stopped together and prayed over the day, asked forgiveness for the moment, and asked for protection for the day. And a major meltdown was avoided. And a really good day ensued!

Today as I relive those moments in writing, it's easy to see that the inciting incident was really not a big deal. It certainly wasn't worth getting upset about, or upsetting my family over. The website is back just a couple short days later. No harm done really. My mom and the handful of people who read this are certainly not worse off for my absence from the internet.

My hope is that my family is better off from the experience too. I hope that we will become better at recognizing when our fuses are being lit by things that don't matter or things out of our control.

I want to improve my attitude control. 

Episode VIII: Resolutions

The crib sheet version of the broken website story is that Google has a known issue with their domain auto-renewal system. Something is not communicating with something else to say that web domain names have been paid for so there is a team of people who are manually conducting the renewals.

Unfortunately Google hasn't found a fix yet and so there are times when a domain expires even though the annual auto-renewal has been paid. That's what happened to me. It took a couple trouble tickets and a few emails with Jenn at Google to figure this out.

Oh, and about three days of downtime! Which stunk, but not really. First world issues for sure.

Episode IX: Replacements

On Monday I joined the ranks of those who have had one or more wheels sever from their vehicle while going down the road. Thankfully no one was injured in the production of this event.

Another crib sheet version, but Monday was an odd day for me all around. I was making connections with a new vendor who was diligently calling to talk with me at inopportune times, and I was immediately forgetting to call back like I'd said I would.

I had set an afternoon appointment for an oil change in our car and in the midst of forgetting to call this vendor back I dropped the car off. I was quickly given a loaner (very nice of them) which I jumped in and drove back to the office. Twenty minutes later the shop mechanic was at my office asking if he might have the keys to my car to conduct the oil change!

Embarrassed, I handed over the keys and we added thirty minutes to the duration of the appointment. In the meantime I finally had time to connect with my very patient, phone calling, thrice ignored, vendor. Then ran over to pick up the car.

On my way out of the lot I could hear a crunchy sound. Seemed odd, but since the car had been washed and it was a bit frosty, I thought maybe there was some ice buildup in the tire tread that needed to work itself out.

On the highway I throttled up a bit to see if that would take care of it, and it seemed to quiet down...until I braked for a stop sign. It sounded horrible!

I pulled away from the stop and dialed back to the garage. We connected as I made a right onto the street our house is on. After mentioning the grinding rumble, I was told, "Get back here!" By that time I'd taken another left and was at another stop sign, turning right. I lowered my phone, began to accelerate into the turn, and ka-thunk - the rear end of my car dropped significantly!

The phone connection had already terminated as I sorta yelled, "Hello! Hello!" into the mouthpiece.

I was bewildered. I could not figure how my wheel had just fallen off after an oil change!

I redialed the garage and let them know that I was not going to be moving the vehicle and needed some assistance. They were great in their response and felt genuinely horrible, and embarrassed, and confused too. I was quickly met by a tow truck and a loaner vehicle to take home. Answers about why would have to wait until morning.

I drove home with a funny story to share and a smile on my face, thankful that this event had went down as perfectly as it could (yet still happen). I didn't want to consider what could have happened had the lugs come off while I was going 50 MPH rather than when I was going zero-point-five MPH! I was home, safe with my family with another notch in my weirdo Monday!

The moral of the story: Stuff Breaks, Don't Let Stuff Break You

Episode X: Commissioned

I have recently become a commissioned artist. I was asked to create a hand drawn piece for a local contest. There were some pretty specific requirements:

  • Must have a barn in the right portion of composition
  • Must have a house in the left portion of composition
  • Incorporate a horse into composition if possible
I was able to come up with this so far (lacking a horse yet).

This morning, after the drawing was reviewed, I was asked to incorporate a few more items:
  • A kitten
  • A horse (apparently that wasn't really an if possible request the first time)
  • A pickup truck

We'll see how it turns out and how I do in the overall contest and commission. I guess judging is in a couple weeks.

I was commissioned by my 8 year old. He is apparently having a drawing contest with a few buddies from school. They are recruiting the top talent from their families to participate in this high stakes, juried affair.

Episode XI: Rescued

Last night as I arrived at home I was greeted by the sound of a shrieking eel from somewhere in our backyard. Upon investigation I found a very scared, stuck, kitten had somehow gotten into our shed and was meowing for its life to get out. Unfortunately when I opened the door this little puff would get more scared and hide out under the floor.


I tried luring him out with my most soothing, "Here Kitty, Kitty..."

I left the doors open and placed a dish of dog food outside the door.

I stood motionless inside the door and watched him scurry about but never toward the exit.

I didn't want to leave the doors open over night for fear his calls for help would just attract more cats to the scene of a slightly warmer than outdoors shed.

So I decided to trap him...as humanely as possible using a live trap I've had since evicting some wood chucks from my pool a few moves ago.

I set the trap, baited with a bit more food, and went into the house, planning to check every hour or so.

Two hours later, we had a very spooked, but safe and unharmed bundle of fur on our hands.

What to do next?


A bath of course! He actually cooperated really well for a quick warm water bath. The boys watched enthusiastically while Danielle dosed up on allergy meds from the other room. She and I both have had pretty severe reactions to cats, so having one in the house was like inviting the devil over for ice cream. After bathing, we pretty much tried to keep him calm and comfortable for the night.

Our dog, Link, is pretty freaked out about the whole thing. We have to keep him elsewhere while messing with "Hobbes" (my 10 year old's choice for a name). Last night at lights out I put Link in our bedroom while I went to check on Hobbes. When I finished up and came to bed I opened the door and Link scooted past me toward the kennel. I called him back and attempted to calm him down. He proceeded to pee out 5 gallons of smelly urine onto my stockinged foot!

And I was really ticked off!

Following the cleanup, we all went to bed for the night. Far as I can tell everyone slept well...even Hobbes. Now we're on the search for a good, new home for him/her. He's pretty cute!


We are hoping one of my siblings (hint, hint) decides to take her so we can come visit once in awhile, but so long as the home's a good one, we're pretty okay wherever she ends up.

By the way, I'm not sure of Hobbes sex. It didn't seem polite to digging about this early in the relationship. So I alternate between him and her, but I'm pretty sure he's a she!

That's it for now! If we don't talk or see one another beforehand...have an absolutely fantastic Thanksgiving!

Focus on the Thanks.

Focus on the Giving.

Try not to let it become Thankshopping...there's so much more important in life than helping retailers get back in the black.

Jesus loves you! I think you're swell.

Mike