Bike for MS

First post in a long while that wasn’t a bible study. 🙂

I’m riding a bicycle for 150 miles in two day for a fundraiser, the MS150, benefitting Multiple Sclerosis.  I also set a goal to raise $1000, and I am oh so close.  Won’t you consider donating?  Here is my fundraising link:

Michael’s MS150 Fundraising Page

non-Facebook Michael’s MS150 Fundraising Page

Bella in Italy

Our hearts are breaking with the news that our wonderful little Bella has passed away suddenly this week, and we share our grief, and our joy, that we found in this beautiful creation of God.

We have hundreds of wonderful memories of Bella, a feisty terrier mix that was also calm and gentle, a rare mix in a terrier. From Diane’s first memory of how they chose each other at the shelter to the way Bella would greet us when we came home with a toy. And if we went outside to the garage and came back in, that was another chance to greet us happily. Her constant companionship in the evenings while watching a movie. And her compulsive vice to shred Kleenex if given the opportunity. And the way we would hide our suitcases from her when going on a trip, for Bella understood that we were going on a trip without her.

This trip was going to be different, though. We discovered that bringing a small dog to Italy was easier than we expected, so we changed our flights and made all the arrangements. Her trip to Italy had so many firsts – her first airplane, her first escalator, her first elevator, her first taxi. She handled all them bravely, quietly, though anxiously we could tell when she trembled.

This last week she went to her first Italian restaurants and sat quietly and patiently. After a week in our apartment, she had learned to navigate the stairs to the front door as we took her for her daily walks to the parks where she chased pigeons from her new territory. And she went to church for the first time in Florence this past Sunday. If you would ask Bella if she knew Jesus, she’d happily agree with you.

On Thursday, the staff informed us that during the cleaning of the apartment, Bella left the apartment through the open door, navigated the stairs, and was seen exiting the front doors. For hours we searched the city streets with the help of some good friends, then posted missing posters, then searched some more. And we cried. And we prayed, for ultimately the source of all things is the Lord our God.

Friday evening I received a call from the apartment staff that she had been found, but she had not survived being alone in the city. Later this morning, I am to accompany then to identify our precious little girl and complete some sort of paperwork. Bella gave us 11 years of affection and love, and we grieve deeply that she is no longer with us. For those of you whose lives she also touched, we know you also share our grief. We began last night by picking up her food and water dish, little dresses, and leash, because they are stark reminders that she will not ever be needing them again.

From all of our friends and family, we ask for your prayers for comfort for us as we begin grieving for our loss, and we give thanks to our Lord for giving us many wonderful years from His beautiful creation. He is truly amazing that He created such joy and beauty in such a tiny package.

Goodbye, Bella. We miss you, and we are so thankful you gave us warmth, affection, and love to our lives.

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful:
The Lord God made them all.

Children's Benedryl Packs a Punch

We went out with friends Friday night to get away from the deconstruction / reconstruction cycle going on at the house. There’s only so much sheet rock and dryer fan noise you can take before a dose of sake is required.

We had a great time. Benihana’s has this new Japanese / Mexican fusion chicken that’s interesting. The shrimp appetizers were tasty.

Have I ever mentioned I’m allergic to shrimp? I know I am, but it’s not a highly reactive allergy. I can’t eat a shellfish dinner without having a reaction like Will Smith does in “Hitch”, but appetizers are usually ok.

But not Friday night. Immediately the lumps on the neck and cheeks started, then my throat tightened up a little and my voice went all husky. I sang a sexy medley of Barry White and Lou Rawls in my new throaty voice for entertainment.

I stopped at the grocery store for Benedryl. In liquid form, all they had was Children’s Benedryl. A doctor once told me to drink a half a bottle of Benedryl if I had a reaction. Diane poured me a little capful of Benedryl which I downed. Then I took the rest of the bottle and downed that, too.

Children’s Benedryl can pack quite a punch, I’ve discovered. That stuff knocked me for a loop, and I passed out on the sofa.

I guess I just can’t hold my Benedryl as well as Will Smith can.

Bad Start. Reset, Begin Again.

So, the dog steps on a bee during the mandatory walk.

Last night, the mighty dog hunter slayed a cockroach. Knowing the propensity of the wife to scream upon spying cockroaches, dead or alive, it behooves me to remove the carcas from the middle of the dining room.

A water, swirling grave is called for. But as the water recedes, taking the evil and suddenly very much alive cockroach with it, my auditory sensory receptors detect an anomoly. The toilet is not refilling. The toilet contraption, which I call “the contraption,” is stuck in the off position and must be replaced.

I leave a most un-romantic note for the wife, detailing dead bugs and broken toilets.

I also have a voicemail from General Electric who says they’re coming today to repair the oven. Since I didn’t schedule this appointment, I wonder why it now becomes my responsibility to cancel it. Attempts to do so, however, are met with further automated voices telling me to call back later.

Not as bad as last week when a machine called me and asked if I wanted to speak to the DSL phone technician, and when I pressed “1” for yes, proceeded to place me on hold and tell me in a patient but automated and uncompromising way that my wait time would be 12 minutes. But still.

I have to wait till 8 to cancel the oven repair. I have to use my lunch our to buy a toilet contraption. Pulling into the work parking garage, I nearly hit a large turtle. I put on the emergency blinkers, moved the turtle to the lake to the side. Parked the car and walked into a giant spider web manned by a maneating spider that’s probably still in my hair as we speak, who is understandably upset that his web was not strong enough to catch this morning’s meal of the humanoid biped.

That’s the first hour today. How’s your day going?

Late for Work

I was late for work this morning with a new and unusual excuse. First, let me setup the scenario.

It’s a little stressful around the house right now. Last Tuesday we received nearly 10 inches of rain in about 5 hours. I woke up that morning to find an inch of water in the study. Fortunately, the floor isn’t completely level and the computer gear was on a tiny island. Unfortunately, the closet absorbed a lot of water and all the boxes on the floor. And we’re sure the walls have absorbed water and will have to be replaced.

There was eighteen inches of water in the garage. Shop vac, camping stove, other minor stuff was ruined, but the water was high enough to cover the floorboards of both cars.

So I’ve been talking to the insurance company a lot this week. Homeowner’s insurance, flood insurance, townhome group insurance, and two separate auto insurance claims come into play. Last night, a remedial company drilled holes in the water and sprayed anit-mold chemicals and set up two noisy air dryers. The house is noisy and smells funny.

I dropped my car off last week to be repaired; my wife’s car is still pending because the rental car company only seems to make a car available for an hour before saying “oops, sorry, it’s rented already.” And I’m driving a smelly, beatup rental car that reinforces my believe that Enterprise Rent a Car supplies only trashy vehicles.

On top of that, I’m working 65 hours a week, trying to hit an important, expensive deadline.

So this morning, I’m up a little early. I’m going to de-stress and pick up a latte on the way to work and count it as my protein for the morning. And I chill, relaxing in the car, listening to AM 700 talk radio.

After a while, I glance at the clock. It’s 7:00 on the nose.

After a while longer, I glance at the clock. It’s still 7:00 on the nose.

And I realize it’s not 7:00am. It’s 700AM. What I thought was a digital clock was actually the radio station readout. It’s likely to be 700AM all morning.

And that’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.