Giving You the Business

I’ve been thinking lately about businesses that you pay for the service of insulting you, or at least giving you guilt trips. It’s probably been on my mind because I just had the oil changed in both of our cars after about 6,000 miles. I put it off because whenever I do it they remind me that I should really have X service done that is on special today for only $169.99. I’m not talking about fake stuff like “stem lube,” but things like having the tires rotated and the transmission fluid changed, which I probably should do but can’t ever afford it.

It’s a lot like going to the dentist. No matter how faithful you are, the dentist knows you should still be doing better. Ditto for banks—“You couldn’t leave the minimum $25 in there? Were those limited edition Justin Beiber oven mitts really a necessity?”

What are some other examples of businesses/people who earn money by making you unhappy?

Exit Sandman

Okay, someone is playing a joke on me. My adversarial relationship with sleep is familiar to anyone who is a parent. It's just a tradeoff we make for the joy (and frustration, and constant confusion) of raising children. And I’ve come to accept that.

What I can’t come to terms with, however, is what my brain does on the rare occasion when I am able to get to bed at a decent time, as was the case Sunday night. When that happens, and I wish I were kidding here, I get so excited about the potential for 8 hours of sleep that the excitement keeps me awake. It just seems supremely unfair.

Pepe le Pew

When I was on the parkway running this morning, I noticed that there was a skunk caught in a trap on the side of the trail, attached to a fence that marked the boundary of a bunch of farmers' fields. Then I remembered that I had heard someone tell me that he had seen it trapped there last Saturday. So I decided the poor thing had suffered long enough. After my run, I put on my rollerblades, grabbed a couple tools ans some gloves, and headed back down the trail for a couple miles.

I was pretty nervous about approaching a skunk (who wouldn't be?) but I figured that if it had been there for a week it was unlikely to put up much resistance. The trap was something like a snare, with wire wrapped around its neck and one leg. It took me a while, but I finally got the wire cut from around it. The poor thing had gotten it so twisted, and its skin had swollen enough that I couldn't extract the wire from all the way around it, but at least it could breathe easier and escape if it wanted.

I called animal control, although I have my doubts that they will do anything (apparently it's run by the police department, and I doubt they are interested in attending to a skunk on a relatively inaccessible part of the trail). But I left it some food and water, so I figure that's all I could do. I hope it survives.

And, although it made no attempt to spray me, just being around it for a few minutes was enough to leave me with a bit of a smell on my skin and clothes. Our house actually has a bit of a musk right now.

Clodhopper

Last night I was talking to Katie when we noticed Allison trying to shuffle our way wearing her mom's heavy Doc Martens.

On Second Thought

Have you ever had the experience of suddenly realizing you don’t like something that you always thought you did? One example for me is the writings of Orson Scott Card. I enjoy Ender’s Game, and a couple other things he’s done, but eventually I realized that I just don’t care for his writing style.

The same thing can happen with people. Sometimes I will meet someone and think they are great, and then later realize that they’re really annoying (and I’m sure this happens all the time in reverse). It also happens with food. It’s not the same as just getting tired of something; it really is a sudden realization that I don’t care for it.

Do any of you have any examples? Besides my blog, I mean…

Okay, this is a boring running post. But it’s also a confession of my stupid stubbornness that may entertain someone. On Saturday I ended up running on a part of the trail that I hadn’t before, to get the distance that I wanted. The problem is, that particular section of trail climbs at a 20% grade for about 500 feet. And that was after running into surprisingly stiff wind for 6 miles. And I wasn’t going to let myself stop and walk, because (stubbornness again) I refuse to stop for anything when I run. So it exhausted me, and then I had to turn around and run the other 6.5 miles back home.

Twinkle Twinkle

In the last few years I've become interested in astronomy, to the extent I can enjoy it without actually working or studying hard to learn more about it. But I like to watch shows about space, and I sometimes check out the incredible photos on NASA's website.

Sam has been interested too, and we sometimes talk about stars and black holes and such. He has mentioned that he wants a telescope. And then, last time we were at my parents' house my dad asked me if we were interested in taking the telescope he had bought the kids for Christmas a few years ago. Um, yes?

I remember that we were never able to use the telescope to see anything useful, but I was willing to give it another shot, especially because of the Google Sky Map app for my phone. I can point it up at the sky and see the names of everything, making it a lot easier to know what to look for. So Sam and I decided to look for Jupiter, since that's the most visible object to look for, aside from the moon.

So last night was finally less than totally cloudy, and we were able to check it out. And it worked! We were able to see Jupiter, if not super clearly, and a few tiny point of light that were some of its moons.

They say that when you travel to outer space and see the earth below, you get a sense that "All the people of this earth are truly one." While I didn't have that epiphany, it was an amazing feeling to know that I was looking at something nearly 400 million miles away (actually a little more, given its current position).

Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that it was neat.

Heavyweight

For lack of anything better to do on Saturday, Sam and I went to Cabela's. And I'm sad to say that he got in a little scuffle...

[caption id="attachment_1516" align="aligncenter" width="645" caption="You should see the other guy"][/caption]

Hold Your Breath

The other day I decided to see how long I could hold my breath. So I sat down, took a few deep breaths to get ready, and went for it. I got 1 minute and 30 seconds.

Now it's your turn. What did you get?

Doors Opened

Last weekend we got a nice early Christmas present. My parents came over on Saturday, and my dad helped me clean out the garage. Now our cars actually fit in there! It’s amazing. This is the fourth place we’ve lived in seven years of marriage, and we’ve never had an actual garage that fit a car inside of it. Never knowing what we were missing, we didn’t really think too much of it. But now, it’s fantastic! I loved going out this morning and not having to scrape the frost off of my windows before work.

Sartorial Anachronism

On a whim tonight, I put on some corduroy pants that I've saved from years ago, waiting a decade or so for them to come back. Are we almost there?

Of Halloween and Heaving

Hmm, where to begin? On Saturday afternoon we went for a walk with Katie's brother and sister, who had come to visit. The first signs of illness among us appeared as I picked Allison up out of the stroller, and she immediately started throwing up the pizza we had had for lunch. Meanwhile, I came down with a nasty cold that night, so Allison and I stayed home from church the next day.

Sunday night my cold was in full bloom, but I was determined to make it to work Monday, since it was after all Halloween. So I made it, although it was pretty annoying to have to keep blowing my nose and messing up my makeup. Sam, meanwhile, was dressed as a mummy. The challenge there was keeping his bandages from slipping down his legs, as you can see in our post-trick-or-treat photo.


Meanwhile, Katie had picked up pirate costumes for her and Allison, which was fun because Katie doesn't usually get into Halloween much. I didn't have a decent photo of Allison's costume, but here she is dressed in it watching the old Batman movie, which she has started asking for.




[caption id="attachment_1501" align="aligncenter" width="404" caption="Bat-Pirate Girl?"][/caption]

And here's Katie:




[caption id="attachment_1502" align="aligncenter" width="404" caption="Nice Booty"][/caption]

After trick-or-treating was when the real fun began. I started feeling sick and went to bed after Sam fell asleep. Sam was up about midnight throwing up, and I joined in the fun soon after. A couple hours later, Katie joined the fun.


This seemed like that nasty 24-hour virus that seems to come our way once every year or so, but it hit me harder than it has before. Let me try to describe it euphemistically. Imagine that criminals burst into a crowded concert hall to rob everyone, and people start running for the exit. There are two exits, and people run toward both exits at the exact same time. Yeah, it was like that. Never in my life have I experienced anything so unpleasant.


Anyway, enough of that. Despite the sickness, it was still a fun Halloween. How was yours?