Ides of September

You just never know what to expect at our house. These past few weeks have been no exception. I walked into the living room yesterday morning and Kolaso the rabbit was sitting beside Jane on the couch watching cartoons. He has been neglected a little lately with all the new pets cycling through so I was glad to see him getting some love. Just a normal morning around here.

We recently fostered a squirrel baby who lost his mother and hurt his leg. His name is Phillip.


He loves to hang on the front of your shirt like you are a tree and he loves his special milk. For anyone taking notes the milk is puppy formula with heavy cream mixed in and he is growing really well. He should be big enough to release back into the great outdoors here soon. The girls are no longer surprised when we get a new animal to look at, they are mildly interested and learn just enough to tell their friends at school.

Our other “new” pet Judy Cornbread has been growing quickly and is still working on her place in the pack (the bottom). We think she might have the dog version of pica because she really enjoys eating plastic pieces that she chews out of cups and water bottles. This is extra fun because she will randomly puke up a wad of flotsam that has been rolled around in her stomach. They look like an owl pellet if owls ate small plastic toys. Sometimes it is worse than owl pellets. Sometimes she gets carsick like on Labor Day weekend on a long car ride to the river. I heard a slimy sound and smelled something akin to grease and corn chips for about five miles. It was dog vomit.


Oh God. Look at the bubbles. I can still smell it.

At least she is potty trained now. Crazy mutt.

The cat has been getting in the story mix as well. This morning I stumbled into the kitchen in my early morning haze and heard a desperate meow. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from but luckily the cat talks with me when I say, “caaaat”. She responded to my voice in an impromptu game of Marco Polo that led me to the stove. Confusing because there is only one way to get stuck behind the stove and that is from falling behind it against the wall. I noticed our bacon grease container had been knocked over near the edge of the abyss.


Mystery solved.

I slid the stove out and the poor cat began singing my praises. Meow-lelujahs. She had been wedged in one place while the spilled bacon grease slowly dripped on her rear end. I don’t know how long she was back there but it was long enough for her entire bottom half to resemble Danny Zuko’s hair.


So instead of making my coffee I held the cat under the sink faucet and scrubbed her butt with Dawn dish detergent for the better part of five minutes. She still looks like the napkin under microwaved bacon. Another added bonus, the smell of old grease is well dispersed in the kitchen. This brings us back around to Ms. Judy Cornbread who already has a mild obsession with the cat. She knows the cat is a friend but her instincts tell her to be really, really interested. If the cat were outdoors and ran away fast enough I think Judy would try to eat her. Fair enough because I think if the cat were bigger she would try to eat us. Now that Judy suspects the cat is bacon flavored she has been hovering around the kitchen and licking her lips. Strange to see your children thinking of eating each other but…. Nature.

In non-pet-related news, someone in our neighborhood called several homes in to the local City inspectors for grass that was longer than the regulation of six inches. It wasn’t at the time but if I’m going to be accused, I might as well be guilty. Game on assholes, game on. It needs to be mowed for sure but public nuisance… hardly. I can’t believe they called me out on this while the dead pumpkins were a non-issue for nine months.

I am counting down the days to our cabin in the woods. (It is hard to count when I don’t really have an estimated timeframe but I long for it.)


I haven’t been writing much of anything. Life is busy. Work is interesting because we are in the dry season which = work season. I designed a new outlet system for lakes and we are finishing the installation this week.


I have an underused engineering blog where I will put the details and story for all you STEM nerds. Also, we are taking a vacation to Arizona soon to Sedona. We want to see the Grand Canyon and the beauty of the southwest for our tenth anniversary.

If you hang around and wait for new stories, this post is for you. Thank you! Oh and you’re welcome.

-Underdaddy to the rescue.

Death and Hamburger Helper

I am ready for sunshine and that general happy feeling of summer. I am tired of dreary, sickness, and death. Not as tired as some but still I think we’ve all had enough bad things that we could use a good day. I would like to coordinate the international “Good Day” when we just agree to not let things suck. No gifts or thoughts or cards or imaginary creatures that allow grownups to keep the kids in-line for a month before. Just a day where we follow the rules of; 1) Smile for no reason and 2) Don’t be a jerk.

One of our children has become pre-occupied with death. I don’t know why or really how to deal with it because she is somewhat obsessive about different subjects at different times. She is scared about dying or death meaning that you are in a box inside the Earth and it will spin for all eternity and she doesn’t want to be stuck in a box. It seemed irrelevant to tell her that she would be dead and it wouldn’t matter.

 What a crappy subject. I have mixed feelings about what to tell her concerning death because I worry that if there is a personality or chemical imbalance then I certainly don’t want to sell death as a vacation. Then again how dreary can it get to be unhappy and think that the next phase is spinning around the earth in a box in the dark forever. Do you tell her about the cremation option? “Don’t worry there isn’t a box if you choose to be burned into a pile of ash.” Yeah I can see the father-of-the-year award being handed over.

So we took an alternate route. I decided maybe we could talk about it head on.

“What is bothering you about death?”

“They say you don’t get to talk anymore.”

“Who says that?”


“Did Jane say that?”

“Maybe. No. Maybe…”

“Well whoever said anything about death is just guessing.”

“But they know.”

“Are they dead?”


“Then how can they know?”


“They don’t. And we don’t like things we don’t know. Those things scare us.”

“The dark scares me too.”

“Is it because you don’t know what is there? Or is it because you tell yourself something bad is there?”

“I don’t know. But I don’t want to die.”

Sometimes you want to hug the answers into them and the fear out. Sometimes you want that to work for you too. We have similar fears and children are just honest about it.

How many of us are totally faking the funk about being scared of the dark. I hate going places that I can’t see what is waiting around the corner. I remember one night I was taking the trash out to the curb and the wind was blustery and the streetlight was out. Further streetlights were casting dim light and long shadows. Rustling leaves would completely hide sounds from whatever boogey man or vicious dog was lying in wait for me. My brain was hyper-alert and I moved quickly to the curb. I made the drop and turned back towards the house and my would-be attacker suddenly moved in the shadows. I was convinced a panther was on my heels and the adrenaline fueled war-cry and Chuck Norris style flying kick were plenty defense against any predator that would have been attacking me. That little black kitten had no idea who he was messing with and the sheer panic on his face as he escaped across my path and into some bushes didn’t help me feel anymore manly about my reaction. The little bastard could have hissed or something sinister.

Today I faced a new shadow along a walk to the curb. Death is around. Lurking.  Most of us don’t even try to fake that fear. I looked at my precious little girl and saw her mother and my mother and her sisters and a grandmother. I had a new thought to try out on her.

“So Prima, you are scared to die because you don’t want to go away, right?”


“You know how people tell you that you look like other people? Like Aunt Daisy and Supermom and your Noni?”


“But then sometimes you say something funny and people tell you that you are like daddy.”

“Yes that happens too.”

“So if every part of you is shared with someone else. Every thought you have is a collection from people you love. If every person you meet will take something from meeting you that they will remember. Our job is to take as much in as we can and to send it right back out to those who need it. It seems to me that not only will the things that define “Prima” not truly die but by giving all the best of yourself to others, you might have a chance to live forever. But remember not to overshare with strangers, people are afraid of what they don’t know. I would start with a smile and go from there. “

“I don’t like Hamburger helper daddy.”

“Who is talking Hamburger Helper? I am giving you existential nuggets of truth to validate your existence and you ponder back and forth for Hamburger Helper? It isn’t even hamburger it is the Tuna Helper brand. See the box, shitty tuna skillet meal, says so right there.”

That is exactly why we don’t have serious hobbies. No attention span.

 I have no idea what I accomplished. Maybe she was looking for attention for a little while and when supper was done she felt better. She says some strange things and I just want to explore the tough subjects.

I just hope they never corner me and demand to know why I fixed unhealthy meals like Hamburger Helper. That is a question that I am seriously underprepared for.

So if you answer a kids question about death with, “Oh wow! Was that a squirrel?” This post is for you. You’re Welcome.


-Underdaddy to the Rescue