The Harry Chapin song “The Cat’s in the Cradle” starts with the line “A child arrived, just the other day, he came to the world in the usual way.” I talked about the process my daughter and I went through to select Fran and have her join our family. When our Australian Shepard left us in March 2011, we didn’t add a dog for more than a year. In part because we were about to move. (Gwen passed away in March, we moved to Maryland in August of the same year). My wife decided that she wanted to add a new parameter to the dog selection process; she did not want us to add another puppy. Fran had chewed on so many things in the house while she was teething!
No puppy was a different experience. Then my daughter said I want to adopt a dog from a rescue or shelter. We talked and decided to work with the Lab Rescue of Maryland and Virginia. I expected us to do all the work. Boy, was I surprised? The first thing they did was ask us to fill out a questionnaire about the type of dog we were looking for. Then we had to meet with the coordinator and accept that once the dog was placed with us, we might not pass the home inspection. After all that, the coordinator called me and asked many more questions. We started the process in March of 2012. By the end of May, we were ready to add a dog to our family, and we were approved.
Does fate intervene and change things in life? Probably. We got a call on a Tuesday saying that there was a dog that fit what we were looking for. The only downside was it was a male (we were thinking female). Gwen and Fran were both female dogs. We decided to drive down to Richmond, VA, on Saturday to see if this dog was a fit for us. I can honestly say that Fran tolerated him, never really liked the dog, then called Cedar. But, he and I hit it off. So Cedar joined our family. On the way back to DC, Cedar and Fran were separated by a seat and three humans. We called my daughter (she was working) to come up with a permanent name. Cedar became Dylan.
Fran never really liked Dylan. She tolerated him. But Dylan soon became the official walk supervisor of our home. Every person, child, and a dog that has joined my life has changed my life.
Hey, let’s play the caption game – I added a bunch of captions to the pictures – feel free to make new ones! You can share them in the comments or on the actual images!
The pictures today are all from a trip back to Cincinnati. We lived in the city from 1991 to 1999, moving back to Indiana. In 2001, early in the summer, we drove over to Cincinnati to see our old houses, and to visit the new Children’s museum that had been moved to the old Cincinnati Grand Central Station. That move allowed the city to combine several museums. As long time residents, we wanted to wander back and see the sights.
I flew out of the Cincinnati Northern Kentucky International Airport a few times over the years we lived there. My job involving travel came to pass after we moved back to Indiana. In Cincinnati, I had a lot of local customers and only traveled a few times a year to various customer and internal company events. That said, that airport was a considerable distance from our house. So I didn’t enjoy landing at night and then driving home. Our daughter used to love making the drive from Northern Kentucky at night, heading to Cincinnati. She loved to see the lights of the city. The road that passes through Cincinnati and then leads towards the airport climbs a big hill on the Kentucky side of the river.
When we would crest that hill, you could see Cincinnati laid out in front of you!
Anyway, there are some fun pictures today that you can make your captions for! Have fun, be creative!
Let’s have some fun and go crazy with captions!
Today’s pictures come from my first trip to Mexico City, Mexico. My wife was able to go along on the journey, my parents had both retired and came up to our house to stay with the kids (they were in school). I like traveling with my wife more than traveling alone. We, my wife and I have a comfort level that comes with years of being together. But it is also that she is a dear friend—one of those people that you want to talk to and hang out with. But today, I wanted to focus more on the reality of the fragility of travel. As we are all in Lockdown now (airlines travel in the US is down by as much as 93% overall), the world is different. After 9/11 in the US, travel changed.
Travel is changing again now. The bad thing I suspect will be that airfares are going to go up to replace that lost revenue. But it will also change in that people will now think before boarding that plane. I know that cruise ships got a bad reputation from the virus. And I do understand that people often consider them floating Petri dishes. But the reality of the spread of this virus is that Cruise Ship didn’t spread it. Yes, it spread on Cruise Ships, but it was not covered by cruise ships. It was spread by airplanes and air travel—tourists and business travelers that traveled to China or perhaps Italy later on. Then flew somewhere else carrying the little pieces of that virus with them.
Air travel is going to change again. It is time for us to consider that air travel has a risk. I remember traveling when I was 8, on a propeller plane from Indianapolis to Milwaukee. It took 2 hours to fly a distance that a Jet covers in around 39 minutes. That 39 minutes used to be the small part of my morning commute when I flew from Indianapolis to Chicago. I suspect the world now has to consider the reality of quick air travel. Should we quickly close specific places? I am not blaming China. The next disease could come from Europe, the US, or Canda. There is no limit to where bad things happen. But will the world learn from this pandemic? Will we, in the future, limit air travel faster?
The story today has nothing to do with snow. It is not about people cuddling under a blanket or a dog asking for food. Today instead, I wanted to move away from yesterday’s sad post and head instead of the happier posts. Today a collection of happy memories. The first was the process my daughter and I used, now many times, to add a dog to our family. We looked at so many dogs over the spring of that year. We got some useful input from people and some useless input from people. People that provide you with advice without asking questions are often the first ignored. We, as humans, like the validation that you at least attempted to understand what we were doing!
We agonized and finally agreed that whatever dog we got had to have three distinct characters (and one thing my wife said was mandatory). Friendly was critical, a dog that would have a relationship with more than one person, intelligent, and the rule my wife added could not shed a lot. That threw Newfoundland and Great Pyrenees off the list. Great Danes went off the list because they didn’t live long. We kept looking for dogs for nearly three months. We finally used our process to select a Lab. Now my daughter at that time was going to be the primary caregiver for the dog. She was seven years old. A lot of people would say that seven years old was too young to be responsible.
But she had been taking care of, feeding and even changing twins. If you can keep twins calm, a puppy isn’t that hard. Now, I started looking for breeders that would have litters in the next couple of months. It was in June 2001. I found a breeder that had a littler of black Labradors available in about three weeks. My daughter decided she wanted a yellow Lab. So I found another breeder, but the two yellows she had were already claimed. Finally, I found the third litter with three yellow Labs. We had decided on a female for many reasons. The breeder emailed me a picture, and I showed my daughter. She picked the puppy she wanted, and we set a date for four weeks in the future to go pick her up.
Happy day – the day Francine Marshmutt Andersen joined our family was coming soon!
As is the case with most of us, there have been times in my life when I was scared—not scared in the sense of feeling trepidation. I mean fear. Stop, breathe slowly and calm down anxiety. I have felt that several times in my life. Funny, I cut my head and my arm at times when I was younger. In both cases, lots of stitches and in neither case was I afraid; I didn’t feel fear. The first time was when we had to rush our daughter to the hospital. It was the summer after she was born, and she had a staph infection. We spent a week in the hospital with her, not wanting to leave and not wanting to have to say goodbye just in case. It was an awful helpless feeling that I would have again.
The next time was when we were off to enjoy Thanksgiving with my wife’s family. We were running late all day and left Cincinnati, Ohio, around 9 am. We ended up on Thanksgiving day, not making it to Birmingham, Alabama, until 8 pm. That was it he days before GPS guidance we were navigating by paper maps and got lost three times. We missed the family Thanksgiving celebration and went to bed. In the morning, we got up and drove from Birmingham, Alabama, to Destin, Florida. We were going to have a family vacation with my wife’s family on the shores of the Caribbean. The first day we were there we wandered to the art district (Destin is famous for that) we then went to bed.
The next day was a little harder. My wife didn’t feel right and stayed home. I was a little worried about her but wanted to make sure the kids had fun at the beach, so we went to the beach. When I got back, and the kids were in bed, my poor wife was hot. Her forehead felt like it was on fire. We went to bed, thinking this will pass. But around 3 am she woke me up saying I can’t stand the pain. I carried her to the car, then went back and got the two sleeping girls. I took them to my mother-in-law. Of course, she said I would watch them. I drove my wife to the hospital. By the time we got there, she couldn’t walk. I carried her into the emergency room. My wife is one of the toughest people I know. When I put her down on the bed in the emergency room, I felt the same fear I had when my daughter was sick.
For the next four days, she was in the hospital with a staph infection. It was a horrible time. I don’t think I would have made it without my beautiful family (brother-in-law, sister-in-law stayed a day and then had to go back to work, Mother-in-law and father-in-law remained until the end)
Traveling is interesting. You can always tell how much someone goes by the way they pack. Those who travel an extensive amount, take the very least amount with them when traveling, but their least amount is more than most people would assume. You never know when you are in turkey, how many devices you have to charge at the same time. So you have two travel adapters. You never know if you will be able to charge your camera, so you have two batteries. The same for your laptop. You see, the difference is knowing what might or might not happen once you land where you are going. Experienced travelers know that you can easily buy anything you need when you arrive, but then you have to have a way to return the new item home.
In the long run, the cheaper way to travel is to have what you need. I had that discussion with several visiting friends over the years. There were people I sat next to every Monday morning at the Weir Cook Airport. We knew the other person’s name. We knew what they did. We also knew when they weren’t on the plane early in the morning why they weren’t there. Oh yeah, he is on vacation this week. That is the concept of community. A community formed and created by the simple act of where you are, flying to Chicago on Mondays. Landing at O’Hare airport and getting a rental car, or catching the next flight bound for another place, another city.
Sometimes early in my traveling, I would work for the entire flight. That changed over time, I learned to grab them away time the alone time of the plane to rest and relax. I began reading books on medication and practices mediation sitting by the window and watching the world go by. You can see shapes in the clouds from above that are different than what you see on the ground looking up! Mediation led to relaxation, and sometimes I would be more relaxed arriving than leaving. The excitement of going homemade the medication harder; the realization was tied instead of coming home and seeing my family. But at times, I could as well relax on the flight home.
Warning the pictures included with this post are beyond cute. The last one, plus a different view, indeed is my favorite picture of the twins. We had long discussions with therapists (because the twins were born seven weeks early, we were worried about the development.) we were allowed to be part of a program called Frist Steps. It sent a physical therapist to your house to help the child learn how to deal with the issues that impact them. I will never forget the first visit we had with the physical therapist. First, it was a husband and wife team; they would alternate who came to the house to work with the twins. The therapist was a very nice person, and I am not making fun of him.
He was seated in the living room, getting ready, and my wife said: “what should we be worried about.” He smiled and said, well, most premature children have issues with balance. I came out of the kitchen right as he said that, saw one of the twins, and started laughing (I was getting waters for the three of us). One of the twins was on the stairs. He was not on the inside carpeted part of the stairs but walking up the outside of the stairs. The therapist saw that and started laughing. “Ok,” he said we don’t have to worry about balance. I will never forget that moment. The First Steps program helped us with the things we needed to be focusing our time doing.
We did get the twins to stop going up the outside of the staircase, but it took a week. Finally, there were threats made, and they stopped. First Steps did help us with childproofing the house. We ended up with every drawer in the kitchen is ten times harder to open. And we had plastic on the staircase so that no one could stick their head through the stair rails! It is funny when you look back at the things you had to do! How about today in the comments, add a better caption for all the pictures than the ones I included. Be wild, be creative! Come up with better captions for the photos. Always interesting for me to hear what other people think the pictures could be about!