Big Little Moments

I took the training wheels off Austin’s bike today.

In a child’s life, before a driver’s license or a kiss, this is the biggest moment there is. He was cruising around with the training wheels raised from yesterday. After some time barely touching them to the ground, he finally asked for them to be removed. I removed them, and off he went.

Riding circle after circle, a whole new world of adventure opened up to him. Suddenly, he could travel fast and without restriction. It was the official turning point of being a big kid.

I wish that moment was just the two of us. Him spinning circles in the street and I proudly watching and smiling. As it was, I was also chasing a little sister around, who desperately wanted to ride her tricycle into the street. I blocked the trike, but she still wound up walking in the swampy gutter a bit.

It was a special little moment, though. I still have recollections of losing my training wheels and blazing around our street in Oakdale, California. Of course, those memories are quite fuzzy, though my Gram (the Queen Mother for those in the know) was apparently there for the event that weekend.

Austin was surely beside himself. He would come back into the driveway and tout how amazingly well he was doing after having his training wheels raised only the day before. Then he’d be off again, wheeling quietly around our street and down a block as Em and I took a walk.

The lad’s still plenty wobbly, as one would assume my son would be. But man oh man does he want it now.  I guess I’ll have to get either my running shoes or my bike up and ready for when he wants an adventure.

I think for posterity’s sake, it’s worth mentioning that about half an hour into losing his training wheels, Austin ran into a parked car.

No damage except to his pride.

The end.

More Evidence I’m a Twit

  • Well, I'm ready to pack up and head out, I tell you what. #
  • I need to stop daydreaming. It's been weird this weekend. Very weird. #
  • My daughter is on fire with the snottiness this morning… #
  • Possible Summer project: rain barrels with spigots for running hoses. Of course, I'd have to install some gutters as well… #
  • Dang. #
  • It's 4 already? What am I supposed to feed my kids in an hour? #
  • Not only does my daughter suddenly say 'backwards', but also knows that it is the opposite as 'forward'. #
  • Now she's shouting, "ELEVENTEEN!" I don't know if she's a genius or just two years old. #
  • Who's house can I crash to see the Futurama return show? #
  • I know it's cheap and kinda weak, but for me, Rolling Rock holds a special place in my heart and tastes mighty fine after a long, hard day. #
  • Star Wars Gentlemen http://tinyurl.com/27axw6r (via @TeamHate) – Very cool! Gotta dig Chewie, I say! #
  • Hella! More Star Wars! http://bit.ly/bJY8wd #
  • Dear Facebook: Fuck you. Quit judging me. http://twitpic.com/1zpsd1 #
  • I'm tired. I'm going to bed. After I switch the laundry over, of course.

    Damn chores. #

  • Working on redsn0w to get all of iOS4 running on this phone. Looks good so far. #
  • Jailbroken but cannot connect to WiFi. So no software unlock for a bit. #
  • I wish we had a projector and screen at home. What a proper way to enjoy a movie! #
  • "I used to be a stuck-up white boy fakin' the funk. Bump that!" #
  • Tornado warning siren. Time to go out on the porch. (via @kwmurphy) – This right here is one of the big reasons I moved to the midwest! #
  • Did you know the government pays to keep soap prices low? It's a federal sudsidy. #pun #
  • Absolute best thing ever: Big brother reading to little sister. He pleaded to read to her, even! #

This Is Hard

Farewells are never easy, least of all when they are permanent. We gave Puma to a new owner today. She has a farm and space for him to get the exercise he needs, and he won’t be trapped in our house with Tyrone anymore. No more fights, every hour, on the hour. There was no way any of us could be happy with a pair of cats who fought so much they made one another sick.
All that is really tough to keep in mind when trying to console a six year old boy. The toddler can say goodbye, not understand that its permanent, and forget it all in a month. But it’s hard for a little boy to forget the great big cuddly cat that would snuggle at his feet all winter long.

He won’t forget him, as well he shouldn’t. I still remember (very vaguely, and I’m sure incorrectly) the big black dog that was my first word, and all the other pets that passed through my life. It is a part of life.

What is really hard is not to eulogize Puma. He’s not dead; far from it. And it’s odd, because it’s usually the farm story that gets told to hide the truth of death from children. In this case, though, Puma is off to a friend of the family’s place in the country to live out of their barn. I really do hope they’re pleasantly surprised at how nice Puma is.

I’ve done my best to hold a stiff upper lip for the sake of the family. It’s the father’s place, I would say, to be the solid, sorted person in times of stress. A father keeps rowing the boat, long after anyone has passed out from exhaustion. That’s not to say we have a heart of stone. Of course things hit our souls, and hit us hard. It is simply part of the job to get people safely where they need to be before finally resting and breaking down a bit.

I wish we did not have to find him a new family. I love that cat a lot. But there was no way we could get through another decade of Puma and Tyrone going after each other, me cleaning the carpet at least weekly (and usually as soon as I get home from work with kids in tow), or me fending off the door from two animals every time I try to leave the house. We will all miss him, but we all, even Puma, will be much better off.

Truly farewell, my silly fat cat.

Time and Again

I have a dubious relationship with Time. I do my best to stop and catch it before it gets to far, but still it manages to evade my snares. It probably is because it’s aided by my two children at either side of me, distracting me with feints of illness and injury and simple hunger.

Silly kids.

That is why I’m eating an egg roll at 10 at night.

And a cupcake.

And drinking a beer.

More Nuclear Debate

(Found via The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan.)

This was a really great debate between the two camps of whether or not to add nuclear power to our arsenal of energy sources sans fossil fuels. The big piece wrong is that they are talking about two different sets of numbers. The pro side is talking about overall current energy needs, whereas the anti side was speaking about replacing transportation energy costs. Once you see that, it undercuts the anti side quite a bit.

Still, it is great to hear those points out. It does seem that with our knowledge, wind can and ought to be a strong power source, and solar ought to be on all suburban and rural rooftops. Hell, you can farm underneath wind turbines, so you might as well plug your tractor in and remove even more of the black energy required to generate our food.

Both points, though, miss a big step: transportation of energy. We lose tons of electricity over our power lines. Superconductors aren’t viable for mass production. Battery power keeps getting better so long as we keep wanting Internet access in our pockets. But how do you think all the electricity is going to get from 10,000 wind turbines to a town?

The first speaker was right that we can hold onto our nuclear waste materials while fourth-generation generators (waste burners, essentially) are developed further. And who wouldn’t love the idea of burning our kill-Earth-ten-times stockpile down to a simple kill-Earth-twice stockpile? That right there should be the front retort of any anti-nuclear energy argument.

So the future is nuclear for base load, wind for topping off that base and for sale (windy in one place, calm in another), and solar for the extra daytime use? Sounds reasonable for me. Now if we can either quit burning fossils for creating and moving our foods (oh yeah, and packaging them), we may do better. Plastics aren’t going anywhere, but I wouldn’t mind going back to a world of mostly wood, metal, stone, and glass.

It would help us all out if we made our food more short-range, for certain. And if I could take a train to anywhere in the region. But if we can at least kick the black energy for using our computers and lights and toasters, we’re at least going to be in a better place.

More Evidence I’m a Twit

  • Can't resist liking this at least a little: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=epUk3T2Kfno& #
  • Coping with reality is hard. If you can avoid it, do. Then, of course, get hired by Fox News. #digress #
  • I got a bad heart. / Homer, if I could give you my heart, I would. / Shut up, Flanders. (via @dailysimpsons) #
  • What do I do with semi-sick kids on a rainy day? #
  • Which sounds more appealing: "A Meatball" or "A Meat Ball"? #
  • About time to head out for part deux of crazy day. #
  • So many blogs and podcasts to catch up on, and I'm just going to sit with a beer in as much quiet as I can get. #
  • Good and proper stereo sound can't be beat. #
  • Why can't I work like this just once a week? #
  • Never saw this coming: chatting over Instant Messenger with my niece. Quite surreal, I must say. #
  • Totally back to working the way I wanna. I earned this Friday! #
  • Anybody out there able to bring me a cold beer? I'll pay for it. #
  • I say 'graham cracker' like Peter Griffin says 'butt scratcher.' #
  • Unknown fact about parenthood: you will regret feeding your children. #
  • I'm blogging and I'm referring to teenagers as kids. Guess I really am a grown-up now. Never saw it coming. #
  • Writing is easy for me. Why don't I do it more often? #
  • My week is ending by watching Weird Al videos. I'm okay with that. #
  • Yup, the Fat music video is still so awesome. Nevermind the song was so well done in the first place. #
  • My sweet, giant cat needs a home with no other cats or accessible wiring. Today. (sigh) #
  • Enter to win a $100 gift card from @OfficeMax and @OfficeSupplyGee http://bit.ly/bMPStZ #SupplyJackers #giveaway #
  • I am so stoked that Fraise has taken over the Smultron project! #
  • "You really should carry a banner with you all the time in battle. That's just standards." (via @JollyAndy) #

While Mowing My Lawn…

I finally got out to mow my lawn this evening. It’s been storming off and on for over a week and the grass was as high as a pygmy elephant’s eye. M was home and lots of sunlight was left so I set to work.

As I began my first round around my property (easy to find since the neighbors had already mowed this week), a neighbor kid and his friend came and played basketball using my hoop in my yard. The previous owner of my house had athlete daughters, so he installed a professional, adjustable hoop that hangs over into the cul de sac. Neighbor kids regularly come out and use it, especially this teenager, so I thought nothing of it. He waved hello at me while I passed by.

Once I started making passes under the branches of my crabapple, the basketball rolled onto my driveway. I could see the kid coming up to get it out of the corner of my eye and continued to concentrate on not nailing my head on the one low-hanging limb of the tree. After emerging from this big tree’s low canopy, I saw the kid had walked up to me and wanted to ask me something.

“It’s okay if we use your hoop, right?”

“Yeah, totally. As long as you don’t make tons of noise after dark when my kids are sleeping I don’t mind.”

“I never use it after dark anyway.”

“So yeah, no problem.” I said.

“Well the guy from that house came up and said we weren’t allowed. I said you’d let me do it before, but he said it wasn’t your choice, it’s just for kids in the neighborhood.”

“It’s in my yard, I’ve known you for years, and you still live just around the corner. I’d say that qualifies you as a neighbor, don’t worry about it.”

So the kid went back to his friend and game. I put my earbuds back in and proceeded to start another pass.

Soon as I had got myself into a groove, the guy two doors down stomps across my lawn to me. Not the next-door neighbor who would’ve had a reasonable issue, since it’s feet from his driveway too. No, it’s the old guy, my height but twice the width, ragged t-shirt and a bent cigarette dangling from his mouth.

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