Pessimistic Optimism

Life as I see it… sort of.

Watchdog, My Arse

Man’s best friend has a lot of good uses in this world.  Number one is probably being a, well, best friend, but after that our furry possessions perform numerous other tasks on a daily basis for their supposedly smarter two-legged dog license holders.

Like most dogs mine wears many hats, and he looks damn good in them, especially the Stetson accompanied by some spurs.  Never mind that, but he does serve many purposes for my family.

He’s a fantastic plaything for the kiddies, you know, something to pull at or climb on or just plain pet and he never shies away from them unless he sees them coming.  When he bucks them off when their hand or foot accidentally hits the right spot he looks in my direction for approval and I nod.  I figure that he needs to get his licks in, too.

Having our dog around fulfills a lot of basic needs at my house and none of them have anything to do with peanut butter.  His thick mane makes a great footrest which is mutually beneficial because my feet stay warm and my corns and warts and whatever the hell else is growing down there scratches his back for him.  Stress reliever is a job that my k-9 boy relishes, I think, because he always listens to me, most of the time, and no one else does, most of the time and this makes me feel good.  I didn’t even have to beat him to obey, much.

Fertilizer is a job title that most dogs take to heart.  Mine’s going for top dog in this field.  He’s so proficient at it that I share his talents with my neighbors when they’re sleeping or not home.  I have him do this because I think everyone should be empowered the same way I am every time I shovel up a load of yesterday’s Kibblesn Bits.  It’s kind of like a Robin Hood thing, but has nothing to do with stealing or gold or anything similar to the story about that tight-wearing freak.

I have to admit that my four-legged boy isn’t as good at one of his chores, being a vacuum for dropped food.  The finicky pooch ignores the conveniently dropped veggies while scarfing up the chicken, steak or SPAM.  The sad part is that this was exactly the reason why we wanted a dog in the first place, sort of.

One of the most important things a dog can do is protect your home from intruders or Tony Danza.  A good watchdog’s priceless as long as he doesn’t eat you or one of your children or was previously owned by Michael Vick.  My family thought we had the best because he always barks loudly at people walking by or urinating in our bushes, that is until the other day.  It was just a regular night with my wife and I getting cozy on the couch using Fido as a footrest while watching The Girls Next Door when our child’s finger painting masterpiece sailed off of the kitchen wall and made an odd noise.  The not-so-brave doggy jumped up, stuck his tail between his legs and whimpered endlessly.  I guess that’s what we get for choosing a Golden Retriever.

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August 27, 2007 Posted by | Dogs, family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, Ranting | 4 Comments

Raw Chicken and Then Some; A Year of Remembrance

One day ago was the one-year anniversary of my first post.  It almost seems like yesterday… plus 364 other days, which I decided to let the world have a peek at my writing.  In the past year I’ve hit the “publish” button 140 times, each one hurled my thoughts and meanderings into the depths of cyberspace for all to see and even scarier, to form an opinion on.  As the days went by and the posts accumulated it got easier to hit the button.  It went from indigestion to butterflies to anticipation to cockiness to apathy to butterflies and so on.

The decision for me to enter the blogosphere came easily after I talked to my nephew last summer about his entertaining blog manninchina.  For some reason, he validated the medium for me so thanks to him Pessimistic Optimism lives, in other words, if you don’t like what you see, he’s to blame.  Don’t upset him too much because I don’t like to fight with family… that’s bigger than me.

Writing somewhat true tales about my life as a father and husband came to me during a visit from an angel in my bedroom advising me that it was God’s will or it came on a whim.  Either way it’s difficult to remember what happened in my life before I started writing it down.  This decision was the most frightening one because I only wrote fiction before this and I wasn’t only putting my writing out there, my life would be on display, too… sort of.  After a year it’s easier for me to write about myself than characters I make up in my head, so I’m not sure if this is for the good or not.  It definitely hasn’t helped me further my fiction-writing career, but I intend to add a fiction page to the blog soon… hopefully.  That might get me in the right direction if the right person reads it.  Stephen or Nelson are you paying attention? 

If you’ve read this blog or others you probably noticed that some people like to comment on what’s posted.  So far, there have been 289 non-spam comments on this hopefully witty display of odd thoughts and stories.  I bet about a third of them came from my keypad, because I heard that acknowledging commentators is the proper thing to do if you want them to comment again or eat their freaking words in a shallow grave covered in chocolate sauce and maggots, but I digress.  One of these comments sent me into a tizzy that led to my most viewed, and probably stupidest post called Raw Chicken Good.  The comment from imhelendt was misinterpreted by my hypersensitive ego and sent me into an over-reaction because only I can pick on my parenting skills even though she really wasn’t.  The title of this post has made it my most viewed because people type “raw chicken” into their search engines just about everyday and my post is the seventh offering on Google as of today and has been as high as number two in the past.  This post has been viewed 804 times, which is probably about 700 more times than any other one yet to date.  It’s good to know that I can be associated with something of such great importance as raw chicken as opposed to world hunger or Quantum physics.

Aunt Weather is my number one commentator and for that she gets a great big wet one… from my dog which I know she’ll enjoy because he absolutely adores her and vice versa.  The person that gets a nod for being tied for the least comments is my beautiful wife.  She has commented here as often as almost every living person in the world, English speaking and otherwise, zero times.  I think she just doesn’t want to show me up, because she’s very funny and sexy and a great mother and wonderful spouse and whatever else give me brownie points.

Hits are something that a lot of bloggers like to watch.  It’s very sad and doesn’t mean a whole lot, but I like this, too.  My site received it’s 12,000th hit in just under a year, so I can say that I average 1,000 hits a month and I wouldn’t be exaggerating like I do in my posts, but I won’t get into what qualifies a hit to be a hit (just so you know, mine don’t count).  Twelve thousand hits might seem like a lot to a non-blogger, but some people get that in one day.  They must have a lot of friends or some kind of nudie thing going on, it couldn’t possibly be that they have an audience that likes to read them.  Some day I aspire to have at least three readers that aren’t reading my posts as an obligation, but that’s just wishful thinking.

An odd bonus of this blogging thing was that I hooked up with Humor-Blogs.com, which introduced me digitally to a few blogophiles that are hilarious, or on an off day, amusing.  One is known as Diesel at Mattress Police - Antisocial Commentary and various other sites, he also commandeers Humor-Blogs.com, and another is a chick from Zoning Out Again who is out there, in a good way.  Humor-blogs somehow lists Pessimistic Optimism  along side the heavy hitters of the humor blogging world without having a disclaimer on it that says only read this one if you are really bored and want to remain that way.  Another site and interesting person I discovered is a guy named Bill that writes a site called Dying mans daily journal, which is an in depth look at a person facing the inevitable.  That’s the uniqueness (word?) about blogs, they can be about anything whether it’s interesting or not as you can see by this site.

Thanks to everyone that’s perused my thoughts this past year and also to those that have read my blog.  I hope to post more often soon when my kids stop taking up all my time so check back in about twenty years. 

August 17, 2007 Posted by | All about me, Blogging, Buffalo, career opportunities, Dogs, family, fiction, Friends, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, Ranting, Writing | 6 Comments

Who’s Under Your Blanket?

Bedtime for two little kids can be a hectic time, so it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle and that’s exactly what I did.

The boy went down first without any protest, mostly because he loves to sleep, just like his sperm donor, me.  The next thing on the agenda was potty time for our daughter.  This is where I faded away unnoticed.

Mommy and Daughter discussed the day’s happenings during the latter’s (hopefully) last urine evacuation of her waking hours.  It’s great to eavesdrop on these conversations because I get to know what goes on in the XX chromosome mind… or at least hear if my daughter’s talking about me.

Hiding in my daughter’s bedroom has become an occasional bedtime ritual for us.  I actually scared the living crap out of her a few months ago by hiding too well under the covers along the side of the wall.  The worst part was the scary noise I made when I presented myself.  I felt shame almost immediately and vowed not to do that again, so now the hiding spots are pretty much obvious.  You know, like sitting on the bed with something blocking my face or standing with my back against the wall waiting for my punishment to come a la The Blair Witch Project, or my most common one, hiding under the blanket on the closest side of the bed.  This was what I chose this time with a little twist.

My wife and the victim of the prank, the prankee, walked merrily toward the bedroom.  I heard the usual, “where’s Daddy?” with a giggle.  That’s when I almost blew it because my wife heard me snickering from our bedroom.  She walked behind my daughter because she always wants to be the leader and my wife peaked her head in on me and smiled.  Luckily, I married an intelligent woman because she comprehended what I was doing immediately and played along greatly.

I have to give her credit for the idea because I unexpectedly found the same thing in my bed a while back, and she told me it was just a joke on me and not some off-the-wall kinky thing and I believe her… I think.

“Is Daddy hiding?”

“I think so.”

My daughter peeled away the blankets one by one with enthusiasm.  That’s when I heard a laugh so loud and long that I could only compare it to what I must sound like when I’m on a really good roller coaster or I’m watching The Office or The Facts of Life.  That Tootie’s a card.

I swaggered into her bedroom and smiled at my still-laughing little angel and asked who was in her bed.  She giggled, “Our doggy was in my bed.”  Our oldest boy performed his role as good as any of the seventy-two Lassies and much better than that pompous ass, Benji.  He must’v known he had only one take to pull it off because he didn’t make a sound or move a muscle.

My daughter’s plastered smile was still there when we shut off her light and I expect that she laughed herself to sleep.  I know I did. 

  

May 22, 2007 Posted by | Dogs, family, Humor, kids, life, parenthood, parenting | 3 Comments

Happy Barkday

Our dog turned five today so I thought it would be appropriate to pay homage to him.  We couldn’t ask for a better-behaved and more loving dog than our Golden Retriever.  No really, we tried, but the dog people said no.

This dog is a true member of the family… except when we go on vacation, usually.  We love him just as much as the kids… almost.  He never fails to amaze me… definitely.

Smart is an understatement in regards to our pup.  He will not touch the kids’ toys even if they are lying amongst his multitude of soggy, chewed up, limb missing playthings unless a person gives it to him directly.  He also has never chewed on our socks, shoes, underwear or chain mail unless we asked him to.  When he comes in the door he sits down on the tile until we wipe his paws.  That one took a while to sink into his furry little head, but dog treats and body blows can do wonders.  I’m kidding… about the dog treats.

The kids love playing with our pooch and he doesn’t mind a bit, even when they get a little rough.  I saw him twitching when my daughter was about nine months old and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with him until I noticed that she was poking him in the eye.  He just sat there and took it right until I stopped her ten minutes later.

The K-9 does indeed love the kids because many times in the day I see him sidle into where they are and just lay down as close as possible.  It’s love or the hope of them dropping some sort of food or beverage, either one works for me.

I mentioned how smart he is but he does have momentary lapses of good judgment.  The other night on our way back from a walk I noticed a stray cat happily sauntering onto our lawn so I told our best friend to “get the kitty” and released him from the leash.  He darted across the street at full throttle and the cat hopped over the fence and ran into our yard.  The boy must have been focused in on one thing, the cat, because he slammed head first into the fence and bounced backwards about five feet.  Luckily, the only thing he seemed to hurt was his pride.

Happy birthday, big guy!  Cake’s at seven PM tonight for whoever’s interested.     

March 30, 2007 Posted by | Dogs, family, Humor, kids, life | 3 Comments

Brrrr

It’s freaking cold outside.  This is the type of cold that not only freezes your nose hairs, but also tunnels under your layers of clothing and sends a chill up your ass… I need to stop wearing those low-rise jeans.  The little temperature reading on the morning news reads 5 degrees, and that’s not Centigrade for you metric freaks.

In most winters a January freeze is no big deal in Western New York, but this year Mother Nature let us off easy after kicking our ass in the October Surprise storm, until now, so I wasn’t mentally prepared for it.  Not that I’m mentally prepared for most things in life, but that’s a different story.

Some regular routines have to be altered to survive in this weather.  One of them is how you take care of your pets.  Hopefully the kids or Al Roker don’t distract me enough this morning after I let my dog out in the yard.  I’d hate to go to the back door an hour later and find him frozen to the deck, it’s a bitch to clean this time of year.  Yes, even dogs shouldn’t be exposed to this weather very long, with a few exceptions, like Huskies and poodles.  Did I mention my dislike for poodles?  As for cats, I think owners are encouraged to let them out in this weather, even if they’re primarily house cats.  Those shut-ins need to see the outside world and there’s no better time than now.  Little frozen whiskers are good character builders and it let’s them know who’s the boss… at least until they thaw out. 

My kids aren’t in school yet so they don’t have to be exposed to this cold, unless I’m out of Budweiser or cheese.  But I’d hope they could drink something else until this chill blows over.  I probably won’t take them outside today because of the hypothermia and frostbite dangers, but if they don’t behave I might shut the heat off for a little while and keep them in the den, where the average temperature on a 45 degrees day is 48 degrees.  I’m kidding, I wouldn’t do that to the little bastards, but I can’t speak for my wife.

I guess the most important thing to keep in mind while we’re freezing our behinds off in Buffalo, Paris Hilton and friends are suffering, too.  The high in Beverly Hills is only going to hit 66 degrees today.    

January 26, 2007 Posted by | Buffalo, Dogs, Humor, kids, parenthood, Ranting | 2 Comments

Snubbed

Dogs are fickle people sometimes.

I mentioned in my last post that we ventured to New Jersey recently to visit our relatives.  What I didn’t mention was that our beloved pup went, too.  He scouted the place out the night before we hit the road.  Even though he’s proficient in many things, driving isn’t one of them so he rode down there with Uncle Scientist and the Restaurateur.

I left for work before he was picked up and carelessly forgot to say good-bye to my friend otherwise known as Dog.  I realized this while speaking to my wife a few hours later.  He didn’t want that kind of too-da-loo so he didn’t come to the phone.  It was no big deal to me because I knew that I would see him when we got to New Jersey.  Little did I know that it would be a big deal when I got there… to him.

My canine son made himself at home in Uncle and Aunt NJ’s house right away happily shedding hair everywhere and slapping ornaments off the tree with his tail with glee.  When we arrived he couldn’t have been more excited to see everyone… except me.  He seemed to go out of his way to not let me even pet him. 

Whoever says dogs don’t hold a grudge, doesn’t know our dog.  He avoided me for at least an hour until he realized his water bowl was empty.  That’s when he extended the olive branch to me.  If I had known that’s what it would take to break the ice I would have emptied it even earlier. 

  

January 17, 2007 Posted by | Dogs, Humor, Ranting | Leave a comment

Kids’ Best Friend

There’s a special relationship going on in our house right under our noses.  Our kids are in love… with our dog… and vice versa, whether he’ll admit it or not.

I can tell when our son wants to “play” with our dog.  He gets that certain look in his eyes.  It’s unique to this situation.  It doesn’t matter where the dog is, he’ll hone in on him and own him for the next little while. 

Today was one of those days.  As soon as we stepped in the door the boy was with the other boy.  He didn’t seem to care that his sister was in the kitchen munching on candy corn, he just wanted to play with his doggy.  I checked in on the two boys in between the candy corn give aways to make sure that our son wasn’t injuring the K-9 and I was pleasantly surprised at what they were doing.  Our son had a little towel over the dog’s face and played a sort of peek-a-boo with him.  The dog must have enjoyed it otherwise he would have excused himself like he does if one of the kids gets too rough.  They kept at it for about fifteen minutes before the eighteen-month-old wanted to see a big truck out the front door window.

My daughter’s favorite game to play with the dog, besides dress-up (yes, he’s been a princess a few times), is chase the doggy treat.  She runs the circular pattern around the kitchen to the living room and back and he chases her.  It usually ends when one of us instructs her to relinquish the treat.  It’s fun and exercise rolled up in one.  I try this one once in a while forgetting how exhausted and humiliated I get.  The exhaustion comes from being out of shape and the humiliation comes from not being able to catch my three-year-old daughter and get the treat. 

Occasionally our dog acts aloof towards the kids but he doesn’t fool me for a second.  I see him creep next to them any chance he gets and lays down as close as possible to them.  He’s the most docile animal you can imagine, but I know that he would defend them with his life… unless the attacker has doggy treats.

October 26, 2006 Posted by | Dogs, kids, parenthood | 2 Comments