UPDATE: So guess who greeted me as I parked my car at the office this morning? RAVEN, that's who. I fed her some seeds and some pizza crust. Let's see if she can help steer hurricanes around my dock :-)
Last night my first born daughter graduated from the 5th grade. There was a big ceremony at the school -- no gown or mortar boards, but that was all that was missing. My girl is a great kid and gathered in 7 earned awards. I'm very proud of her.
That said, there were some interesting and funny things going on:
Compared to my youngest daughter's graduation from pre-school (also complete with more awards than Carter has pills)... well, this will sound unkind, but, well, at pre-school, I couldn't help but notice how gosh darn cute nearly all the kids were. All of them. And it struck me then, well, not that many of us are cute now. So therefore most of us peak appearance-wise around age 5. By the end of 5th grade, the cute ratio has dropped to about 50%. Sad but true.
My kids' public school doesn't suffer too much from awards-for-everybody syndrome. The vast majority of awards were for genuine accomplishments, although some were rather minor. Well done, school.
But the music teacher went nuts with awards for perfect scores in the final grading period, the last two grading period, and for all grading periods. Plus awards for participating in chorus. Yeah, music is great and important, but it doesn't deserve 40% of the attention. On the other hand, Mrs. A is a hottie and she can stand up there all night if she wants to.
Like I said, there were a lot of awards, mostly merit based, and really it was the same kids walking on stage over and over and over to gather up their certificates. But then came the award for perfect attendance... The speaker said this was an award for freakishly good immune systems, and as the kids stood on stage getting their pictures taken, I thought to myself "Emphasis on freakish". If we get hit with a major plague, Heaven help the human race.
This young girl, 17 year old Brittany Anderson, has gone missing from my area - Pinellas County, Florida. Please keep her in mind. If you see her, contact the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office at (727) 582-6200 or by email at email@example.com. Or just call 911.
The Happy Wife was up in Nashville last week hob-nobbing with the stars of Country Music. she had a blast. See the new photo album, "Nashville!" Yes, that's Keith Urban.
My wife Dee Dee has completely lost it! Now she's sitting at the computer hitting the refresh button on this post because she wants her picture to come up when people Google Keith Urban's, instead of Nicole's. Sheesh, give me a break! She's going to be hopping mad when she sees this, but, hey! I'm the one who's getting dissed here dammit.
She's got really great teeth, doesn't she? And a lot of them, too.
We wanted a little buddy for Honey Girl, our standard poodle who suffers from separation anxiety, and The Happy Wife always wanted a tiny tiny dog. If Honey Girl doesn't eat him, he'll be great.
The name "Cutie Patootie" comes from an old family story. Way back in the day, before The Happy Carpenter was born, big sister Betsy got a dog. She wanted to name him Howdy Doody after the TV star, but couldn't quite pronounce it correctly, so the dog was named Hootie Kapootie. When I told eldest daughter that story, she dubbed the 2 pound Maltese Cutie Patootie.
We also considered naming him:
Little Guy (I had to settle for this being his official nick name)
But Cutie Patootie won out. He's really fun. Shoulda got the auxiliary dog a long time ago.
My 9 year old son's take on the two coaches of the Super Bowl:
"Look, Dad, both coaches are baldies."
In all the hype about two head coaches in the Super Bowl being black, I thought it was a good sign about race relations that the color of the head coaches was irrelevant to my young son. In his mind, why shouldn't the coaches be black?
But then, not five minutes late:
"Is Rex Grossman the only white guy on the Bears?"
Congrat's to Tony Dungy. Great guy, great coach. We miss him around here.
Yesterday evening, First Mate Mavich, Cabin Boy Noel, and I went out in the cold overcast evening to pull in our new wire style crab traps. The best we've done so far was 32 claws. Last night we came home with 47 stone crab claws and a nice by-catch of 30 blue crabs! We also caught and released two trigger fish, another big puffer, a flounder, a sea horse, and a bunch of little purple crabs we'd never seen before. We couldn't believe how far our traps had moved in a week; they'd drifted about 1/2 a mile! We ran out of light before we could find the last three, but we also found and recovered three ghost traps, so it was a wash.
Almost a year ago I put up a post about my kids riding in the carts at Home Depot. For some reason, I keep getting comments to the old post, about once a month. Interesting. I wonder what search engine entry keeps bringing people to that post. Here's a copy of it:
I owe that guy an apology
I was at Home Depot the other night with my 6 year old daughter and, as usual, she was riding on the cart. She loves going to Home Depot with me because riding on the cart is fun. I like having her with me because she's fun, and she's interested, and of course, because I love her.
Then the well-trained Home Depot guy comes up to me and says she needs to get off the cart. And I say back to him "It's all right. She can ride." And he says, "No, sir, she really has to get off the cart." Firm, but polite. Not rude in any way.
And that's when I went off on the guy. Not sure what all I said, but I do remember saying "Weren't you ever a kid?", and "I don't care about Home Depot's lawyers!" I wasn't, remarkably, profane, but I was pissed and I think I had some Bill Cowher style spittle flying there for a minute. I shouldn't have been quite so forceful with the guy, who was just doing his job, but really!
I am the DAD. I will decide what level of safety is appropriate for my children.
If I say it's OK, then it's OK. Back off, quickly.
There are way too many lawyers and they need to be ignored and defied more.
There are too many risk managers and we've given them too much power. Take it back.
You might get hurt in life -- this does not give you any kind of legal standing whatsoever.
If I see that guy today when I go to get some ogee baseboard to replace the termite-eaten baseboard in my bedroom I'll apologize to him. I'll also tell him to tell his manager to back off on this one -- when we go back to Home Depot my daughter will be riding in the cart whether they like it or not.
Little did I realize the controversy I was stirring up. Invariably, the comments I receive are much like this most recent one:
You are the dad so ACT like one! you should be helping to prevent your kid from getting injured. Not a very pleasant site [sic] for your daughter to be going to prom some years later with a huge scar on her lip or missing an eye. grow up and act like the adult rather than letting your child go wild. ESPECIALLY at home depot of all places!!! you types piss me off when I go in there and you pay no mind to your children especially since they have no concept on [sic] danger. I was a kid once and got hurt plenty of times but not under my dad's supervision.
Hmmm. These people, always men so far, always miss the point -- It's up to me to set the standards for my children, not Home Depot, its lawyers or its risk management department. And it's not up to them, either. Hey, I'm a law & order kind of guy, but respect for excessive authority can be taken too far. All these would-be principals will suck the all the fun out of life, if we let them.
And besides, how dangerous is riding in a cart, anyway? Is it more dangerous than riding a bike or a scooter or a skate board or snow boarding or surfing? Is it more dangerous than riding in a car on US 19? Or climbing a tree? What is wrong with you people? How do you plan to teach your kids courage and joi de vie if you never let them do anything that might scratch their beautiful little faces?
Mind your own business.
UPDATE: a picture of my daughter after last night's zip line accident, which had her flopped on her back in 8" of decomosing seaweed goo. She was not a happy camper.
Hummingbird Finally, my first hummingbirds. Saw them on a fire bush in Crystal Beach, FL. My rental's neighbor's yard is all xeriscaped, which is ugly to me but just fine with the little hummers. At first, I thought they were the biggest hornets I'd ever seen.
Flamingo! One of these dudes flew right over my house. I couldn't believe it. And please don't tell me it was a roseated spoonbill because it was a frickin' flamingo, dude! Huge and pink and right there above me. I was like so freaking out, you know?
Falcon! Don't see these guys too often. Wish we did. Bet the morning doves don't.
Black Skimmer These beauties are getting scarce, but one flew by yesterday at low tide on the hunt for minnows.
Dead sea turtle cool, but smelly
Reddish Egret These have been hanging out around the pool quite a bit lately. Must be a new group of adolesent birds -- the youngsters like to hunt where the water is clear, and it takes them a day to figure out there are not now and never will be fish in the swimming pool no matter how clear the water.
Brown Pelican I saw a flock of about 200 of these at Disappearing Island yesterday, just south of Anclote Island on the west coast of FL. Good to see such a large flock.
Wood Pecker They've developed a sudden interest in the orange tree, which just went into bloom.