Well, That Went Well…

Our heads finally hit the pillows around 3:30 yesterday morning. While my preparations for dinner were right on time, we had a few delays getting some things wrapped, and planning the reveal of ‘The Kitty’.

We set our alarm for 7:00 am so we could get her into her spacious kennel and get her ready to meet her boy. We rolled out of bed at 7:15, and I took the dogs out and the cat was placed under the tree. Within minutes of taking the dogs out, Josh woke up.

After a 5 minute delay while he made his bed (I can’t believe he actually made his bed before he checked out his presents under the tree), he stumbled into the living room. As he entered the room, she called out. In his sleepy mind he thought he heard a bird. Then he heard her again. He was bewildered about the noise he was hearing, and I told him to walk over to the back door to see if he could see what he was hearing.

He walked right by the kennel, then she called out again. He looked down, saw the giant tag on the kennel, and almost started crying. He couldn’t believe that ‘Santa’ brought him a cat for Christmas.

After spending five minutes with her, he gave her a name.

Meet Amelia.


Welcoming her to the family couldn’t have gone any better, in fact, it was the perfect Christmas morning, at least it was until moments after this photo was taken.

In my infinite wisdom, things were going well so I decided it was time for Amelia to meet Chuck and Stitches. Needless to say, that was a very bad idea.

Amelia was laying next to Josh as the dogs rounded the couch coming to greet the boys. I realized that Amelia was not going to handle things very well, so I moved between her and Josh. As I moved one way, Stitches (the Cairn Terrier) moved the other way, and Amelia freaked. She freaked all over me. She bit my finger, then sliced it wide open with her claws. As I tried to move away from the boys and I raised my hands to get away from her, she latched on to my left hand in the palm with her front claws and my right palm with her back claws. She tore down my right leg, claws still extended, and the dogs followed her into the kitchen.

All of this took place in 2.4 seconds. After which I was leaving a blood trail to the kitchen sink, and she was sitting more than 6 feet off the floor (and 30 feet away) on a shelf of knicknacks just 4 inches wide. It’s a miracle that she didn’t break a thing.

I stopped the bleeding almost immediately, although by that time I was already going to pass out. I barely made my way to our bed while keeping pressure on my finger. After several minutes I was able to sit up, bandage the finger, and continue on with my day. (Don’t worry, she is current on her shots so there is no worry that I may start foaming at the mouth. Well, no more than normal anyway).

The first item on the agenda was putting the dogs outside for the day while we planned a little space management. We put a pet gate up in the boys hallway giving Amelia access to the two oldest boys’ bedrooms, the hallway, and their bathroom.

Once we got her settled, we spent the day cooking delicious food, enjoying the company of my mother and our friend Bill, and watching the boys play sports games on their new Nintendo Wii. We missed having my sister here, and we all decided tonight that we cannot allow that to happen again in the future. From now on, if she can’t come here, we’re all going there.

By 7:00 pm I was ready (and my finger was healed enough) to re-introduce the cat to the dogs with a nice sturdy divider between them. This evenings introduction went much smoother than our attempt this morning, as the dogs were exhausted from running all day and Amelia was quite content in her castle (also known as Josh’s room).

As I sit here finishing this post tonight, my finger is still slightly numb where she sliced it, and the scratches on my palms are burning like crazy. I am keeping everything nice and clean with an antiseptic and Neosporin is my new best friend.

I realized as I was typing tonight, that the last time we saw George he bit me on the same finger Amelia ripped into this morning. Is that fate or what?

I hope you enjoyed the day with your family and friends, and I hope you had a very Merry Christmas.

Twas The Night Before Christmas…

As many of you know it’s been a tough year around here. I was laid off in the first two weeks of the year and although it’s been a rough ride, I really cannot complain. I have my health, I have a wonderful family, I have great friends, and most of all I have a great God.

With so much uncertainty facing us earlier this year, we used what little money we had to get a couple nice things for the boys just in case things were really tight. It turns out that wasn’t such a bad idea.

The best present of the season, however, didn’t cost an arm or a leg. In fact, tomorrow morning our oldest son will awaken to a special gift from ‘Santa’ that he’s been wanting for more than two years.

Meet ‘The Kitty’.


She’s a “shelter cat” that was going to spend Christmas alone at the Carroll County Animal Shelter, and well, to be honest, we just couldn’t let that happen. Not this year.

Five years ago, on Halloween, our cat George disappeared into the night. He was acting funny all day, lounging around the house. He never just ‘laid around’ and when I picked him up to see what was going on with him, he bit me on my index finger and ran out the door as the kids were coming in. We searched for him late into the night and the next day, but we never saw him again.

Not long after George disappeared, when Josh realized the cat probably wasn’t coming back, he asked for a new kitten. We resisted temptation at the time, hoping his desire for a new cat would fade in time. It didn’t. He has asked for a kitten off and on for the past five years.

We took care of a neighborhood cat for a while (Oreo) but she set off Gidget’s allergies really bad, so she went to live on a farm with someone in Alabama so she could mouse all she wanted too. Josh didn’t bond with Oreo, but the short time she was in our lives made him want another cat even more.

This year, knowing our financial situation, Josh asked for just three small items. He didn’t ask for anything more than a birding book, and two small lego sets he had his eye on. When he first sat down to write his list though, he thought of adding a cat, but changed his mind at the last minute.

It seemed almost as if he had given up on a dream, or at least that one special Christmas wish he had been hoping for. That’s when we caved. An eleven year old should never give up on their dreams or lose hope at Christmas time. Especially not my eleven year old.

Tomorrow morning he will awaken to the sounds of dainty little cat calling out from a spacious kennel underneath the Christmas tree and his dream will come true.

Tomorrow he will spend the day cuddling his new found love and his hope for the future will be restored.

Tomorrow night I will lay in bed and thank God for sending us his own son, and for allowing me to live a life full of happiness and joy, with friends and family, with the ability to make my sons dreams come true.

That my friends, is what Christmas is all about.

The Chosen Path

When I started blogging more than 12 years ago, before they even called it “blogging”, I wrote a lot about items and experiences in my personal life. I know many bloggers do that on a daily basis, and I still post personal stories from time to time, but I still feel uncomfortable writing about me (or my family) all the time. This is one of those times.

A long time ago, I found my “niche” per say and realized that I enjoyed blogging about current events and politics. I’ve spent more than a decade doing just that. I have written about some interesting topics and I have been on the receiving end of some vicious attacks. The most memorable was the professor from Columbia who had a hard time reading the truth and tossed veiled threats in my direction many years ago.

When you decide to start blogging you open yourself up to the possibility that some people just cannot remain civil during a debate. You have to be willing to accept the good with the bad and expect that there are going to be trolls hiding underneath many of the bridges you must cross while making the journey known as blogging.

One thing I never expected was the fact that the most vicious attacks would come from family members. I am completely stunned by the attitude of some family members and their attacks on me and my wife.

That being said, a good friend told me that I shouldn’t write about this particular “issue”. Now that I am writing about it, I think he may be right, but some things just need to be said.

The family members in question need to take a step back, look in the mirror, and realize the good that’s been done over the past 12 years. They need to review what they said and decide if acting this way was appropriate given the fact that their words will forever change our relationship with them. They need to decide if insulting us, calling us names, and attacking our character was something they were proud of doing or if an apology is in order. Only they can determine which path their lives will take, but I can guarantee you that their chosen path might not be the same path we are willing to take.

All my life I have treated everyone, especially family members, with respect. If I did something to wrong someone, anyone, I always apologized, learned from my mistake, and grew from the experience. I expect nothing less from anyone else, especially family members.

This is not the first time I have been insulted by these family members, but it’s definitely the last time I will allow anything like this to be said to me, my wife, or my children without raising my voice and letting it be known how completely unacceptable their actions have been.

And They Call Me Crazy

Here’s a short post tonight while I work to finish up a project I’ve been working on for a week or two now.

Some people, including family members call me crazy because I happen to pay attention to all news outlets including FoxNews rather than bury my head in the sand and pretend reality doesn’t exist.

Well, welcome to reality.

I’m sure things are tough for some people. We all know that something needs to be done to catch those who fall through the cracks with our current health care system, but Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) is must be completely out of his mind.

How can anyone compare health care in America with the Holocaust? How can anyone compare the standard of living in America to the horror experienced by millions of Jews sixty years ago? How can anyone compare their definition of poor health care with the death of six million people?

That’s sick. That’s really sick.

Maybe I should just go hang out with my crazy right wing conservative friends and watch FoxNews? Is any other news channel covering this story? I wouldn’t know, because as you know, I am just crazy.

The Dangers Of Bench Legislation

One of my biggest pet peeves is when judges attempt to legislate from the bench. Our system of government is set up with checks and balances for a reason, and some people feel that their “cause” is more important than following the normal course of events as our founding fathers defined them.

With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that some organizations are trying to persuade the Supreme Court to apply the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child as a matter of binding ‘customary international law’, even though the United States has not ratified the CRC.

Amnesty International believes that international law, rather than American law, should be used to make this decision. We have been warning people for some time that this theory could be used to force this treaty upon an unwilling American public. Americans want to retain family-based decision-making and American-made law. The UN Convention Rights of the Child would undermine both of these principles,” constitutional lawyer Michael Farris said.

If the Supreme Court rules that the international laws defined in the CRC are binding on the American people, a vast majority of family laws from virtually every state could be impacted and no longer applicable.

No international law should supersede an American law within the borders of our sovereign nation and our nation’s laws should originate in an American legislative body not from the hammering of a gavel from the bench.

You can read about these cases which could have a long-lasting impact on families across America, at parentalrights.org.

The Evolutionary Clock Is Running Backwards

Something has been gnawing at me for a while now, more so in the past few days than ever before, and I want to see if it’s something you have noticed as well.

It seems to me that good, honest, debate has been shoved to the wayside as more and more people insert their ideological positions into any discussion and cement their “truth” with assertions that any dissent whatsoever is nothing more than an affront to the good of society.

These same people have no intention of debating the issues or participating in true political discourse to help solve our country’s problems. They simply want you to fall in line, obey the leaders of the party which holds the majority in our government, and shut your mouth.

If you choose to exercise your freedom of speech and voice your concerns about a particular piece of legislation you are accused of being nothing more than a right-wing hack.

If you choose to exercise your right to peaceful assembly and tell the government that you feel you have been taxed enough already, you are told you must be crazy.

If you choose to speak up and make your voice heard because you’re concerned with the direction the current administration is taking us, you are branded as a racist.

Things are getting completely out of hand.

During the Bush administration anti-war protests were held all the time. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told us at the time that it was patriotic to protest an American President.

Believe it or not, under most circumstances, she is right. Protesting and making your voice heard, in a republic, is one of the most important things you can do for your country. Well, it used to be anyway.

Now that Barack Obama sits in the Oval Office, Nancy Pelosi has changed her tune and now claims that those who protest the health reform bill are “un-American”.

That makes no sense at all, does it?

Debate is good. Debate is healthy. Good, honest debate helped shape the founding of our nation. Without healthy debate there can no longer be any honest discussion of current issues, and the chance to reach a productive end is null and void. How do we continue to shape our nation if there is no longer room for debate?

Like I said before, it’s getting real bad.

Back in August a man showed up at an Obama opposition rally carrying an AR-15 assault rifle. For several days MSNBC used this man as an example of the “racial undertones” of those oppositionseen at these rallies. From their report,

“Here you have a man of color in the presidency and white people showing up with guns strapped to their waists or to their legs.”

Take a look at the video.

Video coverage showed him from the shoulders down, from the back, and MSNBC used that situation in Arizona to demonstrate that there was a “disturbing trend” that racism would soon be on display at town hall meetings across the country. It turns out the man was black. There were no racist undertones, there was no disturbing trend, other than those which existed in the media.

The media itself has successfully turned any honest debate about health care ,or opposition to any of Barack Obama’s policies, into a not so subtle accusation of racism against those who protest. Even former President Jimmy Carter has jumped on the racism bandwagon by stating,

I think it’s bubbled up to the surface because of a belief among many white people not just in the South but around the country … that African-Americans are not qualified to lead this great country. It’s an abominable circumstance and grieves me and concerns me very deeply.

I’m not even going to get into the debate about why Jimmy Carter chose this particular moment and this particular event to open his mouth, that’s a topic for an entirely different post. But I will say that Jimmy Carter has done more damage to the United States of America than any other President in U.S. History. Maybe one day we’ll debate that issue, that is, if debate is still alive by the time we get around to it.

What’s with all the deception in the media? Have you watched many of the news programs lately?

There is no discussion, there is no debate. On many networks you simply listen to a pundit and his or her “guests” discuss one side of an issue. Their side of the issue. You don’t have to watch any of those programs very long to notice the fact that debate does not exist anymore. Yelling is not a form of debate.

It’s not just the media either. Listen to the conversations around you. The disturbing trend to completely ignore “the other side” has expanded to company water coolers, coffee shops, Twitter, Facebook, and even the family dining room. In fact, some of the nastiest, personal attacks seem to be coming from those closest to you.

As you know I analyzed the health care bill, H.R. 3200, and then I pointed out the glaring contradictions of President Obama’s speech on health care to the Joint Session of Congress. During those series of posts I quoted the source document whether it was the bill or the speech, and I made my point(s) accordingly. I opened the floor for debate, hoping people would (at the very least) become educated about what is going on in their country.

I admit that I inject a lot of personal ideology into my posts, but it’s my blog, so that’s expected isn’t it? One thing I don’t do, however, is slam the door on honest, intelligent, civil debate. I studied the health care bill so I would be prepared for such debates. I criticized the President’s speech because he made so many glaring contradictions with the bill. I wanted people to have an honest, intelligent, civil debate, but what did I get in return?

Over the course of the past month I received sarcastic, snide comments, antagonistic replies, and then the most insulting diatribe I have received from anyone since I started writing about the health care bill. I learned quickly that the persons most likely to attack you and insult you, are family members.

I’m not going to quote the comment exchange because the actual words are no longer relevant. What matters to me is the fact that a family member thought it would be better to insult me, call me crazy, resort to second-grade name calling, and claim that my “complaining” didn’t matter because of the “democratic control” in Washington, rather than participate in a civil, honest, intelligent debate on the issue.

It just goes to show you that even those people who are highly educated sometimes lack the common courtesy and civility to communicate with family members, let alone society as a whole.

And therein lies the issue I wanted to discuss tonight.

What happened to the ability to debate? What happened to civil discourse? What happened to treating each other with respect while we discuss the issues important to us as individuals, as family members, and as a society?

Is it just me or have people lost the ability to truly debate the issues?

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
Albert Einstein