Socks: 1989 – 2009

Farewell to Socks, the First Cat during the Clinton administration. He died yesterday just short of 20 years old. Here is a picture of him from 1994 addressing the press. I love this picture.

SOCKS WHITE HOUSE

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The Cat Ate My Homework

No teacher with a pulse would believe the excuse that “My dog ate my homework”, right? Well, would they believe it with a cat?

Enter Neeko the devil cat.

Now tell me, could this adorable creature…

neeko

 be capable of destoying the education of child?

neeko2

Just Horsing Around

On Saturday we purchased Fantasia, a miniature horse. She is 8 months old and stands about 26 inches tall. Take a look and tell me she’s not the most adorable thing in the world.

With our latest acquisition, Petting Zoo 1.0 is now complete. That is, we have all the animals we intend to get until we see if this thing is going to take off. So here’s what we have:

  • 1 Miniature horse
  • 2 Pygmy goats
  • 2 Lionhead rabbits
  • 5 Chickens
  • 1 Calf (that we’ll borrow from a friend that owns a dairy)
  • 1 German Shepard

So we’ve got all the animals in place–we just need to finish a few administrative tasks:

  • Create a brochure
  • Get business cards
  • Setup a website
  • Advertise in the local family magazine

After that, we’ll sit back and hope to hear the phone ringing off the hook rather than crickets.

8 Things About Me I’m Pretty Sure You Don’t Care About

Okay, my posting rate has been a little slow over the last few days. So I’m lifting a meme from John to get things moving along again. With this meme, you basically tell 8 facts about yourself and then tag someone else. I’m not going to officially tag anyone, but be a good sport and play along okay?

1. Both of my grandpas were named after famous people: Jesse James and Benjamin Franklin. Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure meeting either one (neither the grandpas nor the actual famous people).

2. I have ridden in the back of a police car and briefly checked out the county jail. You see, back in junior high, we had a zero-tolerance policy for fighting. If you were caught, you automatically got to ride to the county jail–about 13 miles away. They scared the hell out of you by showing you some cells, then your parents got to come pick you up. The fight was so minor that it was not worth it. No charges were filed. In retrospect, I should have drawn some blood or something for all the trouble of having my parents pick me up from jail.

3. Several years back, I was a good sport and took Irish dance lessons with the Younger Daughter. For the record, she grew bored of it and decided to quit–not me.

4. My biggest traffic pet peeve: Not using your turn signal. In an earlier post, I threatened to develop a tactical nuke capable of taking out a car. I would definitely use this on those who can’t be bothered with such formalities as signalling turns.

5. I am a sucker for cats. I could easily be one of those freaks that has like 47 cats. I hope this doesn’t threaten my Man Club membership.

6. In junior high, I once told a counselor that my goal was to be an NBA basketball player. For some weird reason, he thought I should have a backup plan, but I didn’t think so. For the record, I never even tried out for basketball. Oh yeah, and I’m 5’9″. Thankfully, I did come up with a backup plan.

7. I was so painfully shy in my younger years, that I never attended a single dance–not even the big ones: homecoming, prom, etc. That’s probably my single biggest regret from my youth.

8. Many years ago now, John and I decided at around 3pm to drive from Portland, Oregon, to Vancouver, B.C…for no particular reason. And we just turned around and drove right back after grabbing some fuel and snacks in Vancouver. A 12-hour round-trip if I remember correctly. Crazy. And one of my fondest memories.

A Tribute to Buddy: 1991 – 2008

I had always wanted a cat, but couldn’t have one as a child. As a teen, I loved going over to John’s house, because I was able to play with his cat Toby. So, within a week of getting married in 1991, The Wife and I were at the Idaho Humane Society to pick out a kitten. We looked at many, but this adorable little orange fuzzball captured our hearts immediately. We took care of the adoption paperwork and then headed to the store to pick the necessary supplies. I waited in the car and bonded with my new friend while The Wife went inside to get the stuff. He was so tiny that I was able to place him in the recessed instrument panel on our Mazda 323. I was stroking his chin and he was purring like a buzz saw. I looked down at him, he looked up at me, and I said “Hey buddy”. It was that simple…that’s how he became Buddy.

Buddy was the most easy-going cat I have ever known. Whether it was bringing a new animal into the house or having a baby pull on his tail, he never complained–he just purred away. He loved car rides. I would take him with me on a trip to the store. On the trip there, he would wander around the car, look out the windows, then eventually sack out somewhere. However, he would apparently miss me while I was in the store, because on the trip home he was on my lap rubbing all over me.

He also loved to talk. When you talked to him, he was always ready with a reply. He also didn’t have any problem yelling at us after we were gone for too long or if dinner was late. We could always ask a question and fancy that his reply was “yes” or “no”.

About 7 years ago, Buddy developed chronic pancreatitis. It was so severe at one point, that we nearly had to put him to sleep. However, the vet had us try some special food that she thought might buy him some more time. The vet is still amazed that he lived as long as he did.

For many years, he slept at my side. With him there purring, it was a comforting and relaxing tonic for a stressful life. In recent months, he simply preferred sleeping elsewhere. I think that climbing on and off the bed was too difficult for him. However, right up until the end, he would sit on my lap in the recliner each evening–purring like crazy. It was a highlight of my day that I will miss.

Through 17 years, 4 residences, 2 kids growing from infants to tween- and teen-hood, and multiple other animals coming and going, Buddy had always been there. Now that he is gone, there is a huge hole in our home and a pain in our hearts that will take a long time to heal.

Goodbye Buddy…We love you!

Memory Like an Elephant

When the Older Daughter was probably 5 years old, we were in a pet store one weekend. I was checking out the birds and thought that cockatiels were just the coolest. Actually, I liked some of the other birds better–you know those that can talk a little bit. But those were out of our price range. Cockatiels were affordable, yet still had loving personalities. I did a little research, read a book, etc. A few weeks later, we picked one up.

Things were going well initially. She would sing beautifully for us. We put her up on our shoulders and should would nuzzle our necks and “talk” to us. However, the good times didn’t last long enough–at least from my standpoint. We gave her lots of attention and let her out of the cage a lot when we were home. However, if she didn’t have constant attention (basically being on a shoulder or hand) she would screech. We are talking a loud, high pitched screech that made the loudest baby cry/scream sound like a cooing dove. I couldn’t take it. The constant screeching irritated the heck out of me. And then there was the pooping on the shoulder all the time. I reached a breaking point.

So The Wife asked around and finally found someone willing to take the bird off our hands. End of story, right? Not really. Somehow this whole thing came up in conversation recently, and it seems the Older Daughter still vividly remembers this and is still bitter about it. Apparently she was a lot more attached to the bird and a lot more broken up about giving it up than she let on at the time.

Not to mention what a heartless beast I am. Yes, this is the Miracle Bird a wrote about a few days ago. The poor thing survived 3 cold Idaho night outside, only to be sent packing her bags not too long after that.

The Miracle Bird

When the kids were much younger, we had a cockatiel named Jasmine. The bird was in its cage at night or when we were gone. However, when we were home, we often let have the freedom to fly around the house. One day, I needed to head to the store to pick up something. I quickly opened and shut the front door as I went out, so as not to let the bird out. The only problem was, I had forgotten to say goodbye to the kids. As I was getting into the car, one of the girls opened the front door to run out and say goodbye. I watched in horror as the bird flew out the door and out of sight.

The Wife and I comforted two devastated kids and assured them we would do everything we could to find her. We drove around for quite some time, but had no luck. As a last ditch effort to assure the kids we had done everything, we placed an ad in the newspaper. Now The Wife and I knew there was no way the bird could survive even a single night outside. The cockatiel is native to Australia, which is slighly warmer than Idaho in February (the temperatures were in the twenties and thirties as I recall).

To our complete shock, we received a call 3 days later. It seems that this lady walked out onto her front porch and saw something completely out of place–a cockatiel perched up on the light. Somehow she was able to coax it down onto her shoulder. She then checked out the newspaper–and sure enough found our ad.

Jasmine certainly must have been lonely, cold, and scared for those 3 long days. But how fascinating would it have been to have a little camera attached to her to see exactly where she went and what she did? It would go a long ways toward answering the question: How did this miracle bird manage to survive 3 days outside during a frigid Idaho winter?