Sunday, November 30, 2008

The $300 mistake

In July I bought a digital picture frame for my Dad for his birthday. I had originally wanted to get him a 10 inch frame or so, but I ended up purchasing a $300 15-inch frame instead because it was capable of wifi and it'd pull photos off of Flickr, so anyone in the family would be able to drop photos onto it really easy.

It turned out the frame didn't work well. It'd keep showing the same photos over and over and we couldn't figure out why it'd suddenly drop a few and seemed to be unable to display them all of a sudden. It happened when pulling photos from Flickr, or off wifi from a local computer, as well as off of a memory card, or off the internal memory. It just seemed to be a problem with the frame, so I got a 10-inch Kodak frame to replace it and packed it up and took it home so I could return it.

But, I lost the receipt for it. Believe me, I tore the house apart looking for it -it was nowhere to be seen. I must have thrown it out? I figured I'd try to return it anyway, but it just sat there as months went by because I dreaded trying to do a return without a receipt. My next plan was to eBay it and that's been on my "to do" list since I quit work in September. An easy $250 at least I thought.

...well, tonight we left Apex out of the crate while we ran to the hardware store really quick and when we got back the picture frame box was on the floor ripped to shreads. I don't know what made him go after it -it was tucked back in a corner. The power suppy is in 3 pieces, but luckily the frame itself as well as the remote is okay. The box is absolutely trashed, though -no eBaying it as "New In Box" that's for sure!

Grrr. I have a feeling we'll try to replace the power supply and just keep the frame, I don't know. All I know is that dog is not on my good side at the moment!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Religion & Politics

'Tis the season...

Two things are occupying my mind as of late. First, with Obama being our new President-Elect, I'm hoping the right's fringe who chanted hateful things about him hating America and being a Muslim realize that they were mislead. I'm not deluded enough to think they'll ever LIKE the guy, but they'll have to see that his agenda doesn't include changing our religious beliefs or helping terrorists destroy the country. And my hope is that they'll take the next step as well and wonder how they were misled, who lied to them, and probe the possible motivation behind it as well.

We, as a society, seem to be going in a direction where we look to others to tell us what to do and how to think while we follow along blindly, taking them at their word. The mortgage crisis, for example, could have been avoided if people didn't take the bank's word for what they could afford. Our mortgage company told us we could afford a $300,000 house -well, we ran the numbers, used several online calculators and we targeted half that price for our house -what WE thought we could afford. Why didn't others do the same thing? We've forgotten the mantra "buyer beware".

So, in the end, I hope people stop falling for the politics of fear and begin taking responsibility for checking on sources for the information they take in as truth. Listening to both the left and right radio hosts (as well as O'Reilly or Olberman) makes me sick. They stretch the truth until it's unrecognizable. We need to move back towards the middle as a country I think.

It's also the "Holiday Season". As the right and left settle down after the political season, another group of people are sharpening their teeth. Yes, it's highly offensive now to say "Happy Holidays" or ghod forbid write Christmas "X-mas"! Bill O'Reilly popularized this newfound anger with his book "War On Christmas".

I don't see the need for this fight. I'm a non-theist who understands that the majority of my fellow citizens are Christians. I've also learned, through observation, that Christmas has two parts. There's the Jesus in the manger part and there's the Santa Claus in the chimney part. One excludes me, the other includes everyone.

So, if the trend is to turn this religious holiday into a secular one that can be enjoyed by all and then families can decide whether or not to include the Jesus part within their circle of friends and family, I'd think we could all be happy with that. But, if the "War On Christmas" people (because it's important to acknowledge that not all religious people are in that camp) ...if the "War on Christmas" people keep this up and make Christmas a solely Christian holiday, well, you can expect more anger and fighting.

...that's why I'm a "moderate" -it's the most logical, most peaceful way. And isn't that what we should all be striving for?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Reality hits with Apex

We adopted a 3 year old dog who was supposed to be housebroken, but we let Apex have the run of the house last night and we had a few problems.

At 2am he woke me up with his face in mine. I tried to get him to leave me alone, but he insisted on having my attention. I decided to get up and let him out in case he needed to go -I knew he didn't have the routine of bedtime and asking to go out down yet since this was his first night with us.

As he and our first dog, Forty-Two were outside I was walking around the (dark) house and I stepped in a puddle. I cleaned it up, let them in, and went to bed without correcting him (I doubt after-the-fact correction really works).

Again, at 2:30am I was woken up by Apex breathing in my face. Immediately I smelled poop and got up to scout it out. He made a nice pile near the front door on the pergo, so at least it was easy to clean up :-\.

At 4am I was awoken by the sound of something being chewed on downstairs and it didn't sound like a bone. All I could see was a black thing between his paws and I hoped it wasn't Ed's brand new shoes. I turned on the light and it was one of his older shoes and I had been lucky enough to catch him before much damage was done. I corrected him and put him in Forty-Two's crate for the rest of the night.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

"Buddy" is now "Apex"

So today we brought Forty-Two to the Naperville Humane Society to meet "Buddy", who we put on hold yesterday with the adoption pending on this meeting. They had us bring Forty-Two into a fenced-in pen and keep him on the leash while they brought out "Buddy". First, they had them meet through the fence. Their tails wagged and they sortof got bored, so they brought "Buddy" into the pen and we kept them apart at first, then slowly brought them together so they could meet on-leash. That went well, so we did a walk side-by-side around the pen. That went okay too although with each step of the meeting process they'd get bored and ignore each other. We were finally allowed to drop Forty-Two's leash and he ran off -away from "Buddy" (for a ball), but eventually they got back to sniffing and there was a little prodding to play. "Buddy" was ok with leaving Forty-Two's toys alone, etc. So it looked like Forty-Two was alpha and when they finally both got off-leash we were given the ok to adopt "Buddy". We brought Forty-Two back to the car, filled out the paperwork, handed over the "donation" and then started wondering how they'd get along on the ride home!

They were fine -Forty-Two in the back seat of the WRX and "Buddy" behind him in the "way back" area of my station wagon. When we got home the Humane Society told us to walk them on-leash around the house before taking the leashes off. We decided, instead, to walk them straight outside and let them off-leash to play where they wouldn't break things.

Well, outside the laid-back and aloof "Buddy" came to life! He and Forty-Two were running like crazy, switching who was in-front and giving the play signal (front paws down, rear up in the air). They were getting along great! And it looks like "Buddy" will help us keep Forty-Two exercised! This may just work out perfectly!

Inside, they were fine and Ed and I tested "Buddy" on his name -he wasn't really reacting to it, so we decided to change it. After some research we decided on "Apex".

We went out to eat and tried putting Apex into his crate, but it turned out he needed a bigger one. Luckily, Forty-Two was ok with Apex using his crate, so that worked out ok too.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

We're adopting a 2nd dog!

Today we adopted Apex from the Naperville Humane Society. At first I was iffy on adopting a second dog -I wondered if it'd help occupy Forty-Two, who can be somewhat whiny and needy when I can't give him the massive amount of exercise he needs or if we'd end up with 2 demanding dogs. But, we decided we'd take our chances and look for another dog.

After searching for an hour or so yesterday we realized we weren't getting anywhere and the Humane Societies were all closing soon, so we just picked one that had a few dogs we liked and ended up at the Naperville Humane Society.

Two weeks before Ed fell in love with a Sheltie in a pet store, then the week after we were at my Mom's as they were profiling dog breeds on TV and Ed decided he really liked Dashaunds and Westies. As we searched Petfinder he was gravitating towards Pit Bulls, which I didn't like at all! Ed was also set on getting a puppy -I wanted an adult. We compromised and were looking for one that was around 6mos old.

So, we get to the Humane Society and go back to look at the dogs and two of them stood out for us. One we had seen online, "Buddy" who was a 3 year old Husky mix and a 9mo old Doberman puppy. Dobermans were profiled on that TV show we were watching and I learned that they were great dogs. In the end, though, Ed liked "Buddy" and we took him first to get to know him. "Buddy was very laid back and kindof aloof, but I did all my usual temperment tests -playing with his paws, ears, mouth, etc then flipping him over on his back -he passed every one. He could care less and he was happy as could be to be petted. He was said to be housebroken, knew "sit", and walked well on a leash. When we were finished it was closing time, so we didn't get a chance to see the Doberman puppy. It didn't matter, though, Ed had made up his mind and we put "Buddy" on hold awaiting a meeting with Forty-Two tomorrow!