Troy's Blog

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I'm just a typical Dad. I have a good wife of 20+ years and 2 good kids. All 3, at times, contribute to my hair graying or falling out.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

To Tip or Not To Tip

Are you a good tipper? Going out to eat is becoming rare as the kids no longer order off the kid's menu. Plus, since Sean started swimming again, he'd order two full meals. However, when we do, and it's not fast food, I tip about 20% or $2 per person at the table. I know there are still people who dig the change from their pocket/purse and tip what ever is in the bottom. 50 cents, 75 cents - now that's more of an insult.

When I get my hair cut, whether at a barber or if Kaitlyn does it, I tip a couple of bucks. I know Shirley tips the dog groomer about $5. (Why does the dog groomer get a larger tip than my barber?) As Ty will say "The dog has hair".

When Kaitlyn started working at Skateland, I let her in on a little secret. If it looks like the father will be paying, gently put your hand on his shoulder and ask if there is anything else they need. Nothing too obvious and nothing that gets the wife's attention. If we are out and the waitress puts her hand on my shoulder, it's an automatic $5 more. If HE puts HIS hand on Shirley's shoulder, I deduct $10.

When I get my car washed, I leave change lying around - not so much as a tip but to see if it disappears. Who are the people you should really tip? Your Dr. or nurse probably wouldn't hurt. Your kids' teachers would be most deserving. Our former mail lady should have been tipped. I don't care how bad the weather was, we ALWAYS got our mail. The school bus driver - is there a person who can't get paid enough?

This is our dilemma - the paper delivery person (PDP). Years ago, we'd pay the PDP monthly for the paper and they'd take the payment to The Forum. We may have tipped a little but I don't remember making a conscious effort of it. After all, what were they going to do? Not deliver the paper? Chuck it through out window? For the past decade, we've gotten only the Sat. and Sun. paper and pay The Forum directly. It is almost always delivered before we arise in the morning. The rarest of rare exceptions is a problem with the printing process or a blizzard. I know there are people that complain when their paper isn't delivered during a blizzard. I, however, don't want someone out risking their life so I can read the comics.

The trouble is, we don't know who the delivery person is. Is it the same person each week? Do they change routes? What if I left $5 in the door and their substitute gets it?

Yesterday (Saturday) our paper came with a small bag of chocolates and a nice Christmas card with a picture of a delivery person in the snow selling The Forum. A true Normal Rockwell scene. At the bottom of the card, it was signed "Merry Christmas from your PDP - baby on the way". I read it a couple of times just to make sure I was reading it correctly.

So last night I stuck a card in the door where the PDP would see it. It was one of the cheaper 100 cards for $2 stock. On the inside I wrote "Merry Christmas from the DeWitz Family - 2 teenager$, they each have their driver'$ licen$e, and will $oon be heading off to college."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ready for Winter

Yesterday was the day at the DeWitz household to batten down the hatches and settle in for winter. Sean and I got the snow blower out, put the lawn mower away (needs an oil spring will have to do), got the garden hoses drained and rolled up, got the pots and planters in or at least moved from harm's way, and all that fun stuff.

We have a storage shed behind our garage that is the catch all for everything. The patio furniture is always packed in first. The table is too big to carry down the steps the safe way. It has to be hoisted overhead and carried down above the rail. I've done it for years and it is not a big deal. Yesterday, with the 40 mph winds, I wasn't sure if it would be my last year or not, but I made it. Next is the other large stuff: mower, wheel barrow, fertilizer spreader, edger, trimmer, then we start piling the small stuff on that. The trampoline cushion and mat, the pots and planters, the leaf blower, the hoses, the sprinklers (like we ever need more water in Fargo), etc, etc. The hardest part is making sure there is 1/2 inch of space so the doors can close until next spring. At which time I'll open the shed and swear at the mess I created last fall. Trust me, though - there will be a time in mid January when someone somewhere will need something....that's stored in the shed. It happens every year. So then it is digging the snow away from the door, chipping the ice, and opening to the not so well packed mess. Best case scenario.......the "needed" item can be seen - way at the back. Worst case, it can't be seen, I assume it is in the back, but after rummaging realize it is not there.

But, anyway, we got the doors shut and locked. The fun part of the day was taking my snow blower in for a tune up. In 1988 I sold my first car (well used by then) and took the proceeds to buy a new snow blower. The house we lived in had a single driveway leading up to a 2 stall garage BEHIND the house. I always knew the person who designed the "garage behind the house" had never grown up in ND. My point....we needed a good snow blower and the neighbor who had been doing our driveway had the balls to move. Back then, I even did some work for hire in the neighborhood. Not enough to pay for the snow blower, but enough to pay for gauze and ointment for my frost bite.

That snow blower has survived many a storm. The winters of 95-96, 96-97, and 08-09. I've done countless nieghbor's driveways. I've run several wood blocks, rocks, garden hoses, sprinklers, lawn ornaments, and stray pets through it over the years and have never done a repair except for the occasional spark plug and annual oil change. I've had it apart several times removing foreign, non snow, objects from it's mechanism, but nothing broken.

It has always needed full choke and it honestly had to be primed until the gas runs out of the carburetor to start. Yesterday, as we were getting it out and ready to be hauled to the shop, Sean asked why it had an electrical cord attached. I explained the trouble with starting a 8 hp engine when it's 30 below (leaving out his father's lack of patience when it is 30 below). So instead of moving it closer to an outlet (....let's look at that. First I'm too lazy to manually start it so pay for the electric start attachment, now I'm even too damn lazy to move it close to the outlet??!!)...I decided to try it the old fashioned way. Full choke, prime prime prime it until gas is running out the engine, key on, full throttle, and with ONE (yes, one) pull......boom, boom, boom, boom, smoke everywhere, machine rattling like a bucket of loose bolts, it comes to life and purrs like a kitten. Runs like a charm - always has. This thing doesn't miss a beat, as long as you POUR gas into it.

We loaded it on the trailer (see previous story) and hauled it to The Garden Hut. Neighbor Rob had started this business from scratch and it has really grown. I'd never been there so was anxious to see his new business (I have something else in mind, too). Sean and I get there, get it unloaded, do the usual small talk, and on my way out, Rob starts commenting about his new items in stock. Yeeessss, the real reason I'm here. I told him that the next time I need a new blower/mower, I'm doing away with one of each and getting a riding mower/blower. But that's a few years off......

Rob said "well, before you completely dismiss it, let me show you what I've got in back".

"I can't", I I rushed to follow him to the back. Sean was right behind me. I'm sure, going through his mind, was "oh, this is going to be good. Dad is going to sit on a riding mower, fall in love, and buy one. Besides that fun, when he has to tell Mom, I'll get to listen to him get in TROUBLE - AGAIN".

Rob took me back to furthest secret corner of the building. The place reserved for "showing" his best of the best. There it was. Spotlights shining like an epiphany from above on a brand new Cub Cadet "Cadillac of Cadillacs" garden tractor with a snow blower. I knew I didn't dare sit on it - as I hoisted myself up to the seat. The thing was like a stretch limo - and I like big cars. It even had a cup holder for my hot chocolate in the winter and iced beverage in the summer. Damn....I'd look good on this. I'd welcome the 3 foot chunk of icy sludge at the end of the driveway from the fk'n city plows if I had this machine in my garage. I'd be plowing FOR the city, instead of against them.

No, I didn't buy it. My mower is new and the blower works fine.

But (isn't there always a "but") as I was falling asleep last night, I started dreaming of me doing a "walk around" of my new machine. The final instructions before I took it home.

You know how when you start to fall asleep, you often jump because of some stupid thing in your dream - falling, getting hit, stumbling?? During the walk around in my dream I slipped on ice and woke up. I think in some sort of twisted way that Shirley was the patch of ice.

My brother in law, Jeff, is supposed to get the snow blower attachment for his new riding mower so he can endlessly brag about it when we're around - thus convincing US it would be a good idea to get one as well. I think my sister is his patch of ice. (oh, the comments that could come from that sentence).

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Since I bought my motorcycle earlier this summer, I've been wanting to take it somewhere fun to drive. The flats of Fargo aren't that scenic - Duluth and the Black Hills come to mind first. I'm not one for hours of interstate riding on a motorcycle so naturally, I'd have to haul it. Hauling it would involve two options - buying a pickup ($$$$$) or buying a trailer ($). The fewer ($) present, the better it'd fly at home so I decided to go with the trailer option.

I started looking at new trailers; anywhere from $400 to $1,700. For $400 you got two small wheels and a frame made of Erector Set material. For $1,700 the trailer loaded itself. I was looking for something UNDER $300. All the used ones I could find in that range had been welded and badly reinforced or needed so much welding that I wasn't sure if I'd make it home with them.

It has been said a million times when out shopping for something....I can make it myself cheaper than that. Knowing that this is always(?) true, I got the bright idea of making one. That seemed like it'd get expensive in a hurry as well (the sum of the parts is greater than that of the whole theory). Scratch that idea. I'm not sure why so many of my ideas get scratched...I must be related to Ty (my brother).

After all these ideas, I read about people converting boat trailers to utility trailers. Larger wheels, heavy frames, axles rated for higher pounds...YES, that's it. And boat trailers are picked up fairly easily toward the end of summer - abundant and cheap.

So I began looking for those. As soon as one went up for sale, I'd call to look at it but it had already been sold. Or the trailer wasn't built like I needed it. It had to be a flat frame, not a bowed frame. Finally one Sunday, minutes before we were to leave for church, one popped up on the Internet. I emailed the party saying I'd be there right after church and to call me. Looking further at the picture, it was exactly what I wanted. I e-mailed again saying never mind...I'LL TAKE IT - call me - evening during church. I turned my phone on vibrate, sat at the end of the pew, and at the call, no call, no call. Great...someone else bought it, I thought. Luckily I got a call as soon as church was out - I was the first to respond to their posting so had first chance at it - Divine Intervention, I'm sure! By now, it was dark (we'd gone to the Sunday night service). I immediately drove to the trailer, looked it over, and damn near pissed myself with excitement as I handed the seller the cash. Exactly what I wanted!!

Of course, during this whole "looking for a trailer" process, my family had become bored and resentful of my struggles. They were all extremely excited that I'd finally found something. Upon bringing it home, honestly, you could see the disappointment in their eyes as they walked into the garage to see the FAMILY'S new trailer - yes, I was willing to share my prize. It was a 16' Lund boat trailer with all the trimmings. Roller arms, rollers, pads, guides, and a winch.....all necessary for a boat trailer, but not a motorcycle trailer.

The first thing I did was take off all the unnecessary items and reposition the hitch. There, it looked like a heavy duty jet ski trailer. I won't bore you with the constant harassing comments from the kids; let's just say they still weren't impressed. I moved it to the back yard so we could have our garage back and explained to the neighbors that, no, I was not going to hang a Sanford and Son sign in our this time we had 7 licensed modes of transportation - but that's a story for another time.

I loved (notice the past tense verbiage) this trailer; it was heavy duty but easy to move, well balanced and sturdy, step fenders and brand new 14" tires, and only $150 - what a steal....did these people know what they'd sold and how much more they could have gotten?

Labor Day weekend....I should repack or replace the wheel bearings. A boat trailer - the bearings had been submersed in water countless times. A fresh start wouldn't hurt.

Thursday night, I went to the back yard to loosen the lug nuts and make sure they weren't rusted on. "What the hell.....the lug nuts aren't the same size on each side". Upon further inspection, there was a reason it looked good - IN THE DARK!. At one time the axle had snapped and been welded on....but how good of a weld was it? With any weight and the right bump, would the whole thing fold in half somewhere miles from anywhere with my precious cargo strewn about. And the right hub was sealed, cleverly I might add, with a Mountain Dew can and a Coke can. Hmmmm.....and from there the $ started turning into $$ + $ + $ .

Now remember, I can buy what I deemed as the perfect NEW trailer for $900 at a dealer just out of Minneapolis. But Noooooooo.......I can build one for cheaper! Let's go down the checkbook register.




Trailer - a STEAL at $150

New axle and hubs - a lesson learned but still within budget - $150

Iron and welding to add a base and convert the "V" trailer to a square - excellent craftsmanship, hired out, not mine - $250

Iron to make the square back into a "V" as it looks better (this is starting to add up in $$) $25

Iron to make sides on top of the frame - needed $75

Labor for the last two - free so far....Thank you Ty for doing 75% of this part. I owe you.

Lumber for the floor and sides - well, I got a Fleet Farm charge card out of the deal and saved 10% plus got deferred interest- $200

Bolts and misc. clamps, clasps, tie downs, etc. (hopefully Ma doesn't see the Fleet Farm charge card bill) - $100

Primer, paint, and stain - we painted our first house for less than this but I need to protect my investment - it may soon be MY house - $75 (when exactly does that Fleet Farm bill come in the mail - could I have it sent to work instead of home?)

Lights - gotta be legal when I have to add a topper and live in my new trailer - $50

By now this thing is so damn heavy, I can barely roll it downhill. I'm going to need a trailer dolly for the front - $50 (or a chiropractor adjustment every time I move it at $35 each; opt for the $50 dolly).

Hours spent on this...I know it's well over 60. Taking it apart, putting it together, sanding, priming, painting, measuring, cutting lumber, wiring, etc. No fee....lots of experience

Flowers for the wife because she won't have stopped reading when she was told to $25

Bribery for the kids to quit bringing it up in front of their mother.....$25 x2

To review:

Unauthorized budget request - under $300

New trailer - $900

Reconditioned boat trailer that I got for cheap and would be an inexpensive "do it yourself" project - to date, over $1,200.

Proving to my wife and family that, yes, once again, I am right, I can build this for cheaper than I can buy it - not sure; had it happened....possibly priceless?

KJ....we'll be there next weekend, need anything hauled?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Your vote matters

We are having a dilemma here at the DeWitz household. Before we left on vacation, I gave myself a buzz cut. While on vacation, parts of my face didn't see a razor. The first picture is how my mother would like to see me - with long hair. The second is after my "do it yourself" buzz cut. The third is from after we got back from vacation.

Your vote does matter. Which do you prefer? The majority rules the razor on this one.

Last minute announcement - #1 dropped out of the race.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pictures below, story here

My last blog was about me putting the snowblower through Sean's window. No, not a rock through the window from the snowblower, but actually putting the snowblower through the window.

Since then we've window shopped....for windows. We had two options. One was to buy windows that cut into the budget, the other was to buy windows that amputated the budget and put it on life support. We chose the lesser option. There are a couple of things that come with new windows. One would be new woodwork for around the windows. The window company brought it over for me to sand, stain, and varnish. After all, it'd save a couple hundred and I like (possibly LIKED as in past tense) staining and varnishing. So I sanded, stained, varnished, sanded, varnished, etc many many many yards of boards. When I was done, I took one into the house to see how it looked. Pretty good...not an exact match but darn close. EXCEPT....the trim wasn't the same. What they supplied was a more modern look, ours is colonial. Maybe it would be close enough. After a restless night, I decided the difference would bother me too much. Off we went to find matching wood, better matching stain, then sand, stain, varnish, repeat. Anyone need some extra trim....will sell for cheap.

The windows went in with no problems. EXCEPT for the inches of dust that coated the house from cut sheetrock, etc. So we cleaned the house from top to bottom.

The new windows are about the same size, just about. Holding up the old blinds, they fit perfectly. Good....this will be a breeze. So I drilled into the new windows to hang the blinds in the office first. Perfect fit left to right. are a genius, I thought. Notice the past tense used again. Ok, first blinds hung, let's let them down to see how they fit. Hmmmm, not the normal clunk you hear as the blinds drop. Hmmmm, well, not actually "Hmmmmm", more like "#*@&, $(#*, *@!^, they're not long enough.

Next step, order new blinds for almost all the windows. They arrived and went up ea$$$$$ily.

You know, as long as we've got new windows and new blinds. we might as well paint the kids' rooms. It's been 7-8 years.

Kaitlyn's room first: Kaitlyn had bought a new bedspread a few months back so wanted to paint her room to match. Kaitlyn is not a "decisive" person. Her bedspread has many colors on it. The most I'd paint the room was 2 colors and the ceiling must stay white. Did I mention that Kaitlyn is not a decisive person. Finally the 2 colors were picked - it wasn't that easy but I won't stress you with the story. I can't use Behr paint as something in it makes me sick. No problems with any other paint, just Behr. Kaitlyn's colors were Behr Disney paint. Yes, Scheels hardware can match the pink and the orange. Until it came time to pick it up the 4th of July weekend. They could match the pink.'s the 4th of July weekend....only an official paint store can match the remaining orange....finally we found one that could do the orange. By the way, both places said we'd need colored primer to cover the sea foam green with the other colors.

The pink primer and pink paint covered the green in one coat each. The orange.....not such good luck. After THREE coats of primer I finally said, enough. The paint will have to cover what's still showing through. And, yes, green was still showing through. 2 coats of orange paint and we were done. Out of primer, out of paint, we are done. That room is now 24 square feet smaller because of all the coats of primer and paint. Honestly, it has taken a week for the room to dry. By the way, Kailyn went with white blinds. Miracle of miracles.

Sean's room: Sean IS a decider. Right or wrong, he's decided. "I want my room painted black. Black walls, black ceiling, black blinds". Sorry, Sean, that'd be too dark. "OK then, I want it dark brown and dark red". We not talking tan and a burnt orange/red. We're talking just lighter than black brown and just lighter than black red. Seeking Kaitlyn's input, we secretly asked her to talk to Sean about his choice of colors. Her reply "I'm not talking to him about it. I'm not his parents, you are".

Step #2, Sean's room. Reasoning. Won't bore you with the failed attempts.

Step #3 Sean's room. Bargaining. Finally we came up with a solution. Dark brown blinds, dark brown valances, dark brown bedspread, dark tan and DARK red walls. That didn't take as many coats.

During this time, I discovered a new drink - Southern Comfort.

We're all looking forward to the projects being done. Summer goes by too fast to spend all of it inside working. After all, we have all these projects waiting for us outside as well.

Finished Painting !!!!

We finally finished the kids' rooms. Sean's was little boy blue and is not teenager brown and red. Kaitlyn's was "sea foam" green and is now Disney orange and pink. One thing remains constant...the cleanliness of the rooms. No, there isn't garbage strewn about. But just about everything else.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Mistake Numero Uno

Looking at Kaitlyn and Sean's blog, you can see how much snow has accumulated between the shed and the house. With the chance of sudden melting and in the interest of keeping the house above water, I decided to leave work early one day, open the walk through door on the garage (behind the snow bank) and just blow the 10 feet of snow away. My plan was to keep going until it was all clear. Before we started, Sean, who was volunteered to help me, asked "Shouldn't we put a piece of plywood over my bedroom window so it doesn't break?". I'm sure you can tell where this story is going already.

"No, son, I'll just stay far enough away from it" I said in my best "trust me, I'm a snow blower expert" arrogance. My first attempt at the snow bank - the snow blower hit the bank, sucked in some slush, pooped it about 6 inches, and just started to spin. Ok...this isn't going to be as easy as I thought. About 2 hours later, Sean and I had a walkable path. But there was still a lot of snow against the shed and against his window. The snow was so deep and slushy that I'd blow a path and Sean would have to help push the blower back to try again. By now the snow on the ground was just mud and slush. Not to mention all the landscaping rock I had put through the snow blower. During one of these attempts, the snow blower ran out of gas. Normally this isn't an issue. However, it was buried in slush in our back yard and would not start. Get the cords, drag them through the mud, choke, prime, turn it over, repeat, repeat, repeat....and this was after I had tried to pull start it for some time. This job was really starting to suck.

I'll work on the shed side now. OK, I got as close to the shed as I dare and had only nicked it a couple of times. Next, the snow near Sean's bedroom window. With my last 2 1/2 hours of snow blowing experience, I should be able to just whittle away at that...being careful to keep a respectable distance from the window. There...that looks good. You know.....I bet I could get just a little closer. During the last pass by the window. the right wheel fell into the mud, the left wheel grabbed the rock, and the snow blower turned and tilted right through Sean's window.

To say I was REALLY pissed is an understatement. The outside pane caved in enough to crack the inside pane. Both still have the glass in but it really won't keep the rain, wind, bugs, dirt, etc. out. It took 2 days before I was calmed down enough to even discuss it. Sean was very careful on his timing "Dad, I hate to say it, but before we started I asked if we should put a board...."

We need to replace almost all the windows in the house but I wanted to do it on my schedule. I guess my schedule has just been moved up.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

GPS v. Shirley

Last weekend I took Kaitlyn and 4 of her closest friends to Minneapolis for the weekend. You may wonder how a father would be persuaded to do such a thing. Kaitlyn just celebrated her 16th birthday and for a final hurah we said she could do something fun with friends. We left it up to Kaitlyn to pick who she wanted to chaperon the weekend. Shirley said "If we go shopping in Minneapolis, I'm not just dropping you girls off at some mall and leaving you alone".

I said "If you decide on Minneapolis, I AM dropping you off at the mall. I will NOT stick with you and your friends. You'll be on your own". Kaitlyn's response, "Dad is taking me!"

My Mom and Dad just went to Arizona and before they left, they bought a Garmin GPS unit. We'll call her "Ms. Garmin". I've never used one of these before and never thought I'd have a use for one. Shirley is typically my navigator and chief map reader. Since she was not going to be along and I wanted to be anywhere but the mall, I asked if I could borrow it for the trip. Plus....Sakakawea (my map reader name for Shirley) has been slipping a little lately in the navigational area.....possibly time to look for another scout option. I doubt Lewis & Clark kept Sakakawea the entire trip, unless she was a good cook as well.

Right away I noticed the difference between Shirley and Ms. Garmin. Ms. Garmin took up LESS space. Just a little 3X5 square that sat on the dash board. Ms. Garmin only spoke when I needed a reminder to turn.

Typically when we are in unfamiliar territory, Shirley will read the map and I'm usually in the left lane when I need to be in the right lane. I'll hear"...RIGHT, get in the RIGHT lane; why aren't you in the right lane we have to turn Right right here!".

"Possibly because it is full of OTHER vehicles and I need more notice than as we are going by the turn??!", I'd say.

Ms. Garmin on the other hand typically says, in a rather sluty voice I might add, "in 1 mile you will need to turn right"....followed by silence for the next 1 mile. Then Ms. Garmin will say "in 400 feet "you need to turn right".....followed by silence for 400 feet. Then Ms. Garmin will say "turn right here".

On the rare(?) occasion that Shirley and I do get lost (and by now the kids don't even put down their books, they know we have to turn around and go through the whole thing all over again), we screach and claw at each other until I've turned the family fun bus around and we now have to figure out how to get back to the original set back - using the same methods as previously described.

When I took a wrong turn in Mpls, Ms. Garmin just said, again in that mystifiying voice, "Recalculating". The first time I ignored Ms. Garmin's suggestions, I was already cringing in fear - exactly like a dog that has been beat too many times. MUCH to my surprise, all I heard was "recalculating". Throughout the weekend, whenever I made an error, Ms. Garmin simply said "recalculating". She'd then take about 2 seconds and have a new route all maped out. It was certainly different than the turning and thrashing of the map we'd usually endure from Sakakawea.

The other slight difference is that after an exhausting multi route trip, the family doesn't even wait for the fun bus to stop before the doors are thrown open and everyone vacates the vessel. We're just plain tired of the confusion and arguing. All 4 go in different directions. With Ms. Garmin, all you hear, again in that voice but with a much more excited tone, is "Arriving at destination!" There wasn't a "if you'd listened to me, we'd have gotten here sooner", or "Geez, Dad, that took long enough. Thanks for all the detours" Or, from everyone including the dog "It is about time!".

Next time we saunter into unfamiliar territory with the family fun bus, I'm taking Ms. Garmin AND Shirley along. Yes, the volume on both will be turned up and it will be interesting who's commands I follow. Old habits are hard to break.

There is one area though that Ms. Garmin can't compare to Shirley. That comes in the physical department, if you know what I mean. That's right, Ms. Garmin can't fetch the remote for me....yet.

Possibly, after Shirley reads this and I am sleeping in the van tonight, I'll be rehashing Ms. Garmin's advice and when I thought of typing this, I should have been "recalculating".

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Who's Your Sugar Daddy

OK....a few of you have asked for the "printed" version of the sugar story. There will NOT be a video. The saying that a picture is worth a thousand words would be changed to "a video created a thousand questions....and a call to PETA".

One Friday evening, last summer, Shirley and I headed downtown the the Street Fair. The kids decided not to go (with us ----- however, when their friends asked them to go, there was a different response). As Shirley and I made our way to the furthest end of the fair, Shirley's cell phone rang and Kaitlyn was on the other end.

Shirley: "Hi, Kaitlyn."

Kaitlyn: "S~~~~~ fell down the steps and hurt his wiener."

- pause for clarification - Shirley is hard of hearing. That, and the noise from the crowd at the fair, confused her keen sense of sound and she thought Kaitlyn said "Sean fell down....."

Shirley (to Troy): "Sean fell down the steps and hurt his privates, we need to go home now."

Shirley (to Kaitlyn): "Have him put some ice in a Ziploc and hold it where it hurts."

Kaitlyn: "He's not going to let us keep it there, he'll run away."

Shirley: "Just have him sit in the recliner with ice on it."

Troy: (thoughts rushing through my mind)
1) falling down the steps normally doesn't hurt that part of your body....unless your soldier is standing at attention. If that were the case, why would you be running down the stairs.

2) is it his soldier that is hurt, or, more than likely, the lower goods at the store? I suppose if he landed on a shoe with heels, that could happen.

3) yes, we need to get Sean to the ER. Just the thought of being injured there made me sweat and weak in the knees

Kaitlyn: "MOM!!!, Scooby is the one that hurt his wiener, not Sean!!!" - followed by Kaitlyn's laughter.

Kaitlyn (to Sean): "Mom thought you were the one that got hurt."

Shirley (to Troy) "Oh, it was Scooby, not Sean. We still need to get home right away."

Troy (thoughts rushing through my mind):
1) I was relieved that it was not Sean 2) humored that Shirley got it wrong 3) mildly disturbed that the kids would call for something that trivial.

Troy (to Shirley): "We're not rushing home because the damn dog fell and hurt his dink."

Shirley (to Kaitlyn): "We'll be home in a bit."

So we semi-rushed through the rest of the fair and got home to assess the damages.

Apparently Scooby (not Sean - much to every one's relief, except Kaitlyn) was running UP the carpeted steps and stumbled. This caused his "unit" to protrude from it natural protective environment and dried it at the same time --- rug burn where you don't want rug burn. Apparently dogs' units have to remain wet to be able to have full range of motion. It was obvious that Scooby was in pain. By now his unit was as dry as the Sahara and had started to swell. Swelling there - not typically seen as a "problem" as far as I know, but I've never been - and now never want to be - a dog.

I was the least worried about the situation. Scooby had been fixed so stud service was not on his agenda. Dr. Troy took a look and tried to "recover - as in get the cover over" said dry swollen unit. Being dry and swollen, it did not recover. In addition, male dogs have a bulbous that also swells when they are excited. Apparently, for Scooby, the first part of the fall must have been exciting, as that was now also a tissue issue that needed to be packed back into the protective environment.

At this point, I truly did feel sorry for the dog. First he gets this. The next conversation went like this:

Troy: "Sean, get on the Internet and Google "broken dog dicks" ".

Shirley: "Troy !!!!! There isn't going to be anything on there about this."

Sean: "Found it."

Troy: "OK, let me see."

Kaitlyn: "We need to take him to the vet (I ignored this the time)."

I clicked on the first site and read their details. Sure enough, dogs with long hair on their undercarriage are susceptible to their units not being able to retract. The unit goes out, dries a little, and when it is retracted, the hair and surrounding tissue dry to the unit and cause all functions to halt....including possible blood flow. If this happens to your dog and you can't correct the situation, immediately take him to the vet.

Troy (thoughts rushing through my mind):

1) we got the call about 6, it is now 8. What do they mean by "immediate"?; 2) maybe we should have left the fair sooner; 3) (and this raced through my mind and out my lips) "we are not taking the dog in to the vet on the weekend because of a broken dick, do you know how much that would cost - a weekend visit!!!??? "

Of course, this was falling on deaf ears and does most "Troy/Dad Speak" at our house. When it comes to the dog, given the choice, I believe, no, I know, the kids would take better care of Scooby than me. The only advantage I have is that I give them cash. can be bought.

Back to the Internet: "If this happens to your dog and you can't get immediate help (yes, light at the end of the tunnel.....we have to put him down...someone get the gun!) there are a couple of things you can try that may remedy this yourself."

If I can avoid a vet bill, I'll try anything once. After all, on the farm we never paid for pet's medical attention. We didn't name our cats until they had survived the winter....then we just named them Lucky.

There was an internet video on this site that explained exactly what Scooby was suffering from and the lady (odd choice for this delicate matter) was now going to explain what to do. Try wetting the unit with a damp cloth and then poking it back in. (This did not work as it was VERY dry, swollen, and bulbous).

If this does not work, get some lubricating jelly such as KY. (This opened up a whole other can of worms in our household that I will not get into). After much discussion about discretion, I got out the lube. Given Scooby's situation and the cost of a emergency weekend vet bill, I didn't care who knew what we had where. The kids watch commercials and I knew "KY" wasn't the matter at hand....well, actually it was in a way.

We put Scooby on a towel and Shirley held him down. I believe that at this point he was in enough pain that the lube probably felt pretty damn good. So I lubed our dog up and tried to poke the little gopher back down it's hole. It was a no go. As it was extended and swollen, it was not about to go back.

Back to the video. "If this does not work, you have to take the swelling down."

Pause - NOW, there were a couple thoughts going through my mind. 1) what disturbing act are they now going to suggest? The quickest way to take care of swelling in that area that I know of, I was not about to perform on the family dog.....even with rubber gloves....I wonder where those gloves are anyway; 2) maybe the vet bill would be worth it.

Video - "This is best done by applying sugar to the unit. The sugar will draw out the fluid and cause the swelling to go down". Pheeewwwwww, I wasn't sure what they were going to suggest....sugar seemed much simpler that a lot of scenarios that had just played in my mind.

Troy: "Get the little sugar container from the cupboard - the one that we use to sprinkle sugar on lefsa."

Shirley: "Here is it.....why are you taking the cover off?"

Troy: "I'm not going to "sprinkle" his pecker with sugar, I'm going to coat it."

Shirley: "You're going to use ALL that sugar??????!!!"

Troy: "It's only about 3 tablespoons and we need to WASH the whole thing after this anyway!"

At this point, I wouldn't have cared if we had to dump 10 pounds of sugar on the dog. Scooby and I were both smeared with water, KY, and dog hair. So I poured the bottle of sugar on his unit and immediately it shriveled up and tucked itself back in.

Why wasn't this step #1???? Was this just a cruel joke to see if you'd actually try the other suggestionsd first? Or were the readers smart enough to skip to the end? I was not.

Instantly Scooby (and the family) felt better. Because of the mess that he was, we just put him in his kennel knowing he'd sleep anyway....after licking himself clean of the sugar, of course.

Within a couple of hours, he was back to himself and all of us had gained knowledge about a dog's reproductive system, some about the humans', and gone from "101 uses for sugar" to 102.

So next time you're at our house and you are sprinkling sugar on your lefse, Scooby will be standing beside you looking up with that sparkle in his eye as if saying "Is some of that for me?"

Sunday, January 4, 2009

My Handkerchief and Some X-Mas Pictures from Our House

There are times, lots of times, that Kaitlyn buys something to wear and I tell her "I have handkerchiefs that have more material than that.....and for 1/10 the price". However, once she puts the new top or shorts on AND THEN puts sweat pants, a sweatshirt, coveralls, and a coat on, everything is appropriately covered.

Sean just got his new swim suit. It is called a "Jammer". (I had to ask and look it up)
Now I can honestly say "I have handkerchiefs that......" This thing is 8" wide and 12" long. Sean is really skinny but I can't imagine how he gets into these. Not to mention a whole list of other questions that come to mind. AND - they wear these for hours.

For the Christmas season, Kaitlyn and her friend Chelsey dyed Scooby's tail pink. It has faded now but was pretty vivid earlier. Being a male dog, this did cause him some issues. He had another "sugar" incident the other day. For those that don't know, I will spare you the details unless you ask for them.

For x-mas the kids got a Wii (in July) and new cell phones the first part of December. So when x-mas did arrive, under our tree it looked like the Grinch had come and gone, taking everything with was bare.

No, our house is not so cold that we need all the blankets that are on the couch. Jeff was coming to visit and we wanted to make him feel at we shut the furnace off.