• Getting rid of a pesky cat.

  • Finding out one of my two hundred fish died.

  • Watching the Fox Network.

Getting rid of a pesky cat.
I have two outdoor cats. One is an abandoned runt of the litter cat, and the other is a cow colored old lazy cat. But a third cat seems to be making its way into my garage and eating the cat food. Two years ago it was a skunk, who we by accident trapped in the garage and it let its scent go... But now it’s a stray cat who I call Pinky. I’m sure it’s a female, because my cats hate males and won’t go near them. But this cat won’t go near humans. She lives off of cat food from garage to garage. Yesterday I saw her coming up the driveway from my higher-story window, I tapped the window and got her attention; this didn’t matter and she went in the garage anyway. I ran down to the garage, jumped out at her and she ran for the dickens. Today she attempted to get in my garage again, and she made it right under the garage door which is left eight inches high for cats to go through. She fell asleep in a box next to the cat food, and slept, that is until I opened the garage door and saw her. I attempted to get close, she woke up, hissed and ran. Unfortunately she was paying attention to me and not where she was running. She hit a bike square in the head and knocked herself out. I walked over to see if she was dead and she got back up hissed some more and ran for her life. This cat is getting annoying because if she won’t let us pet her she doesn’t deserve our food.

Finding out one of my two hundred fish died.
I look into my fish tank every morning and every night to feed them. I find a clump of dead bloated fish floating at the top. Oh no poor Fred has died. The other fish were eating the dead carcass. I removed the carcass and flushed him down the toilet. I then sang a song to his dedication. “And another one bites the dust.” I went back to the tank to finish feeding the fish. They weren’t hungry, not after eating poor Fred! I hope someday I will meet Fred again in heaven. But until then, long live the rest of my fish!

Watching the Fox Network.
The Fox Network, channel thirteen for me, is probably the most watched in my home. I watch it mostly because of The Simpsons, but since I have Satellite and my television is hooked up to the one upstairs I can only control if I go get the changer. I’m lazy, so I don’t. Thus when the Satellite is on the only channels I get are one, the channel of Satellite, and two, channel Fox 13. I watched this channel all day long today, I noticed a total of five different judge shows, of which three of them aired twice. That is pathetic and sad. From divorces to disputes about cars, and who loaned who money and who should pay who, I am sad. It is pathetic that people watch this stuff, that the people who agree to put their cases on the air, and why there is that much of it on television. After watching these judge shows for a very long time, it was finally 4:30pm and King of the Hill came on. I’m saved, but not completely. This show is also pathetic. Today Bobby and “Propaniacs.” For heavens sake. So the only worth while is Simpsons, and it is kind of getting destroyed because of new episode ideas. They blow. But the old classics are still worth watching, and I’ll keep watching.

Trip to Wal Mart: $1 in gas.
Supplies needed to finish Moogle head: $20.
Putting up with a second trip to the store today: Mental Anguish.
Being helped by a gorgeous girl I knew long ago at the checkout line: Priceless.

It's amazing how much I remember, sometimes. The only real conversation I had with this girl was in my physics classroom, when I was in 10th or 11th grade in high school. We really didn't chat about too much, except for potential career choices. I wanted to go into science, and she wanted to be a gym teacher. She said she would enjoy her work, and I wouldn't. At any rate, that day, years ago, was perhaps the first and last time I had spoken to this beauty of a girl. As young boys are wont to do, I fantasized about her quite regularly for some time; until the visions faded and she became more distant in my mind. She was never a girl I thought I could love, or like very much even - but she was, and still is, drop-dead gorgeous in every way.

I was wading through the mass of people at the Belle Vernon Wal Mart checkout aisles, until I stumbled upon the self-checkout lanes. Fantastic! No wait. And there she was, just a few feet from me, standing next to a (presumably) very lucky young man who probably makes love to her every night. It took some doing, but I tore my glance away from her, and made my way to an open lane. I slide up to a machine, and scan the two items I was picking up for my costume. Not one to pay with cash, I whip out my credit card and go to town on the machine.

beep
BEEEEEEEP

Whoa. I backed away from the machine in disgust, and turned to face the people behind me. There she was, with arms outreached, moving towards the credit card machine. I handed her my card, and lo and behold, our fingers mingled, if only for a brief second. My heart fluttered, and I wanted to grab onto her, and take her away for the evening - or more. I want something wild and fantasitc to happen, something sporatic and wonderful, something to remember my childhood by before it is gone with the rest of life's precious moments. And here, I didn't even remind her of who I was.

I saw her there, and I smiled.

New Years is upon us, and this year I have decided to make New Years resolutions. I would like to jot them down so that I have reference of them. In doing so, maybe I can also keep up with them. So without any interuptions:

1) Lose at least 15 lbs. I will be working out at least every Tuesday night with Erika in Trees Hall.

2) Don't talk to strangers. I would really not like to make any new friends. This summer was great, and with a great disaster. I must avoid outside people at all costs.

and lastly
3) Don't tickle. (Except Megan) It may be fun and games at the moment, but it hurts people. I wish pain on no one.

Well, I am sure there will be more however, these are the most important to remember. Hope 2003 is wonderful for everyone.

I feel compelled to do this as a part rant, part did-this-all-really-happen-to-me kind of thing. The general consensus among my family, though, seems to be that 2002 is a year we would all just as soon forget and the sooner we can close the book on that year and burn it, the better.

Let's see what I can recollect. Feel free to join in whenever you think you know the tune.

JANUARY: Warmer than usual. The only other web developer at the medium-sized business where I work is fired for misrepresenting company work as his own, leaving me the sole web anything in the company. Finances being what they are, I don't expect them to replace my coworker anytime soon, and I'm not disappointed.

FEBRUARY: My wife and I complete our certification to be foster parents. Our intention, which DCFS knows, is to take on a "legal risk" child who will probably, but not certainly, be up for adoption after a year in the system. This follows our inability to conceive in vitro twice in the previous year, both times submitting my wife (and through her, the whole family) to rather severe emotional chaos.

My small company informs all the employees that everyone who isn't laid off this month will take a 10% cut in pay or a 10% cut in hours. I'm not laid off, but I'm sure it was seriously considered.

My wife turns thirty. I'm still twenty-six. Fortunately, she appears to take this in stride.

MARCH: Pulled through.

APRIL: We find a stray cat in our back yard and decide to feed it every day in hopes it'll get better. It's a white Persian, badly de-furred and undernourished when it comes by, although it still hisses when it feels threatened. A little more observation confirms it's probably a she, and deaf as a post as well. My stepdaughter names her Kelly; I name her Percy.

MAY: DCFS calls us on Mother's Day and asks if we want to take in a five-month-old preemie boy. We agree immediately, and after visiting him in the hospital, where he was being treated for medicinal and general neglect, are able to take him home with us two days later. My wife spares no amount of attention on him, and he's not lacking it from the rest of us either, and he's brought back to full health in surprisingly little time.

His bio-parents are another puzzle entirely. His birth mother doesn't really want him, by all appearances, but she does seem to want her other two children who weren't premature and apparently were always in fair health. So DCFS (and our family) have to watch her and the baby's father, her boyfriend, miss their times in the courtroom and make at best half-hearted attempts to make it to Carl's visitations and doctor's appointments. This becomes ongoing.

JUNE: Our second foster child is a teen mom-to-be, sixteen years old with a history of running away. We're assured that she isn't likely to run away from a home where she feels safe, and this turns out to be true. For the most part she's happy to be here, especially since my wife was a teen mom herself with lots of helpful advice to give. Their relationship becomes more friendly than parent-child; this eventually proves to be not so good a thing as it sounds.

JULY: My stepdaughter has a Very Bad Weekend at her bio-father's. (Several weeks ago she started calling me "Dad" and him by his first name, instead of the other way around, which threw me off for a couple of days.) When we pick her up she tells us about her attempted suicide by taking several of her brother's pills and, when that failed, stabbing herself with a pair of sharp scissors. Continued inquiries by my wife reveal that the pills were apparently to aid digestion and the scissors were really just poked into the back of her hand, so her "suicide attempt" didn't really have much chance of success.

It did, however, earn her a visit to the local hospital's psychiatric wing, following the written recommendation of a few adult leaders from back here. That wasn't as much fun as she'd hoped, but eventually it got her what she wanted: a legal reason not to visit her birth father's home every other weekend any longer, until such time as she "felt safe" there. Considerable savings of stress, time and gasoline for all, but he does have one card still up his sleeve. She wants to visit her half-siblings in a neutral location from time to time, and he refuses unless it's at his house. This micro-Cold War has yet to resolve itself.

She still visits a counselor to talk things through periodically. My wife gave up her just-recently-begun sessions with that counselor for her daughter, and she has yet to try and resume them. This is almost certainly a mistake.

Our foster daughter's baby is born at the end of the month, nearly three weeks overdue but in excellent health. Her first names are NaKhiya Shamontea Imani; not one of those names mean a blessed thing.

AUGUST: My brother finally gets married; I'm one of four groomsmen. The reception's actually pretty good, although I'm bummed by the fact that my wife was unable to attend with me due to illness. Eventually I decide to dance with an aunt and a few friends of the bride, but it's just not the same.

SEPTEMBER: Our foster daughter's visit to her friends and family ninety miles from our house turns into a disappearing act, costing all of the rest of us several hours of searching and inquiring as to where she might be in town. This is her third disappearance, and by far her longest and most evasive. We finally find her at another friend's house, and she comes back with us without a fuss, but my wife and I stew about it for a good long while anyways. She's denied any more visits indefinitely, although we eventually let her go back for a three-day Christmas visit, which she doesn't disappear on, thankfully.

OCTOBER: Pulled through.

NOVEMBER: My (35-year-old) sister finds out her live-in boyfriend/fiance has been cheating on her with a 23-year-old blonde. Not that they've been getting along all that well of late anyhow, but the fact that they recently bought a house and a golden retriever puppy together rather adds to the blow. She moves back into our mom's house and eventually gets her dog back, though not the house. I find out about this some weeks later; news about this sister has a way of taking the long way around before it reaches me.

Meanwhile, our immediate family collectively agrees that my dad, whose Alzheimer's disease has progressed nearly beyond my mom's ability to cope with him, moves into a managed care facility specifically for seniors with dementia. It's small and fairly house-like instead of nursing-home-like, with only twelve residents per building, and we all agree it's the best and safest place for him.

Winter arrives early. Percy moves into the house and becomes Kelly. Unsurprisingly, she and our existing two-year-old cat Sadie do not get along like a house afire, and Kelly is mainly confined to the basement.

DECEMBER: I get fired. They blame me for not working hard enough, I blame them for expecting me to manage myself. We're both right, in all honesty. I spend a few days being bitter and pissy about it and am eventually guided into substitute teaching for the local school districts. It's yet to be determined what kind of long-term career plans I am to have. I want to be back in computers, but at least one relative thinks I could/should spend some time getting a teaching certificate and pursuing that until I can get training in a more expansive computing field than web development.

Net gains: One cat, one teenager, two babies, two weekends with my stepdaughter per month. Net losses: one job, several thousand dollars and much of my sanity. I'm ready for 2003 now, thank you....

The man and I are going to go shopping for a ring! Yes, that kind of ring!

well, well, well, oh well

So LIVE FROM NYC it's New Year's Eve!!!!

Well I got on a plane in Bonn yesterday morning and flew to Frankfurt. From there on to JFK, NYC, where I was met by my sister Sami, who was passing through the city on her way to Israel. We then met Qousqous at the subway station and then headed downtown to Ground Zero.

This was sobering... hard to imagine it was more than a year ago. I remember it like it was yesterday. It puts a lot of things into perspective in my personal life to see the mass grave site of more than 3,000 people. It makes you happy to be alive (weather your heartbroken or not).

After that we headed down to Greenwrich Village for dinner. We were all starving. We hit up Burrittoville with it's plush leather couches and three kinds of salsa and whole wheat tortilla wraps. MMMM... yummy! After that it was back to the Take the A Train, where Quous and I dropped off miene schwister so she could get back to JFK to catch her plane to the other side of the world.

Then me and Q. headed to B & H Photo so I could buy some Super 8 film for the camera Dirk gave me to shoot some film of the faces of New Yorkers. I also bought myself a new Minolta Dimage F100 digital camera. There's Nothing Like a new bit of electronic gadgetry to cheer a boy up!

Then we headed down to Queens and Walter's place to crash out. There I met all sorts of noder folks and heard Phish's new record Round Room for the first time.

Now it's morning and NYE, later there is the Noder party in Brooklyn and the Phish show at Madison Square Garden. I need to go to the post office and send Quinn (my son) his birthday gift. Then I'm gonna go and sell some photos.

Thank god I got out of Germany for a while, thank god I got out of Bonn and my ex-girlfriends house. I needed this trip. BAD.It's been a rough December for me and I'm excited to start something new and get on with my life, lots to look forward to: new job, new apartment, new city to live in, new roomates and friends to meet and make...

Concering the ex: She's welcome to her fate. She is responsible for her own happiness, I never was. She can make her life whatever she wants to and I hope she finds what it is she's looking for in this world. I truely loved her and I guess I might just allways will in some place in my heart. The pain is reeceeding from her bitter betrayal of our friendship and I am certain that I will recover from this. I would wish she might think hard about what has happened in the past month. I would hope... but that's not under my thumb.

"What the fuck do you want?"

"To kick you in the nads, fucker."

We hug. It's been a long time since we've seen each other, and we stand in the train station hugging for a while. Then we all go get drinks, 7 of us, 6 from college plus Ryan's girlfriend. We go to the new place in Dinkytown, the one that should be a lesbian bar but isn't. We sit under the stairs where the draft from the door to Annie's freezes us regularly, but it's private and has enough seats for us. Cold is tolerable sometimes.

We talk about what's going on with us. Everyone except Pete and I are in school or just finishing, law school, grad school, bachelor's. Pete's working on x-ray machines. I can't hold a job and don't have money for school. One of the things this means is that I don't have to buy my own drinks.

Pete tries to convince me to move to Boston. I'm always under pressure to move somewhere, Minneapolis, LA, San Francisco, Detriot, Boston. One of these places is off limits; I'm not moving back to the city where I got shot. Boston's the best possibility, once I get myself figured out, once I get some therapy. It's going to be a while, and I don't want to move there without a job, but I like Boston a lot. They've got good mass transit, real weather, you can hear people speaking languages you can't recognize out in public.

Everyone talks about their personal lives. 4 live with their SOs, 3 of us don't. Justin is in a long distance thing that seems to be working, David's single, and I'm seeing someone here.

It's not a big deal to them that I'm seeing a boy, although I surprised Justin by saying something about being bi. He doesn't identify me like that. Neither do the rest of them, but it's always funnier to me that my ex-boyfriend thinks of me as a lesbian, is better with me just not identifying, which is what I've been doing recently.

Talk turns to physics, discussions of math and law school and what's it good for? Your mom seemed to like it last night. Wise cracks provide a sense of place for those who have no one to insult their mothers regularly.

It's always strange what constitutes home.

We talk about getting the band back together, about the t-shirts, about the drummer, dead of heart failure this summer, about who's doing lead vocals. No one mentions what a great band stereotype it is to have someone die unexpectedly. Instead we talk about some of the people we'd gladly give to have him back, domestic abusers we know, politicians, rich assholes, people who don't have our sympathy. He's still dead at the end of the conversation. We're still learning how to live with it.

More drinks. Justin and I realize we dated and split up 5 years ago, that we were 19 and 22 then. The time is made less because we're still talking to each other, a miracle or maybe evidence of not knowing when to give up. We try to tell each other how we feel, with a lot more success than when we were dating. The message gets through better than it used to. What were we doing going out with each other, he asks. I shrug. Learning how to be friends, maybe, is the only answer I can come up with.

Ha, rot in Hell 2002! You thought you could take me, but I sure outlasted you!

Oh, what's that, 2003? You want a piece of me? Bring it on.

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