Poop Story #2: Poop Shovel

Ok...time for the next poop story. I think you've all been waiting long enough. So here you go...

Around the same time that Oliver had his pooper poked, our pooper got clogged too. Toilets everywhere were regurgitating unwanted solids, things weren't draining, the basement was getting unnaturally wet, etc...

We had the problem about a month prior and we thought we were in the clear. Apparently not. The vent pipe in the yard had a new habit of vomiting used toilet paper and solid watse. mmmm.

So we called the Roto-Rooter guy. He came post haste.

In he pulls with his poop-mobile and he unloads all of his poop tools. I went in the house and start to do some work. After about 15 minutes, I look out in the yard and he was standing there staring at the vent pipe...I decided that if I'm gonna get this guy out of here within the first hour I should probably go help. Out I go. I started by making small talk blah blah blah. Then he told me that he seems to have hit something strange. I think, "Hey it's a drainpipe...There's probably all sorts of crap down there". Ha ha...heh...uh...ok that wasn't funny.

I asked if I could take a look and lo and behold there was something weird down there. Looking at it, I thought it might have been a dead rat. For a split second I imagined sitting down on the toilet and having a rat jump up at my jubblies. Not a good thought.

He got a really long stick and poked at it. 'clink clink' It wasn't a rat. My next thought was of us digging up the back yard because the pipe was broken. Thankfully, that thought was diffused quickly because it appeared to have moved when he poked it. So...the poop-man goes off to his poop-truck and comes back with another poop-tool. It's a really long metal stick with a little grabby-hand at the end. My thought immediately jumped to a sadistic proctologist's tool.

He asked it I could help him with it. We were going to grab whatever it was and pull it out. After about 10 minutes of "Ok...close the hand. Damn. Missed." We finally got a hold of what I thought to be the rat's tail. We lifetd it out and...it was a trowel. A very poop covered, worn looking, gardening trowel.

It was strange, but as soon as I saw it I knew exactly when and how tat thing got down there. Maribeth, Declan and I were all doing yardwork one day about 4 to 6 months prior. We got rid of a so-called 'decorative' landscaping feature: a round blob of rocks with bushes on it. Maribeth had the gardening tools out because she was gardening by the lilac bushes and I was scooping up the last of the rock-blob. Declan was behind me and I heard this 'clack clack clack'. I thurned around and there was lil man. He had popped the vent pipe cover off and was 'stirring' the weeder in the pipe and had the cultivator in his other hand. I grabbed the weeder, put the lid back on and got the cultivator from him...it never dawned on me that he had already dropped the trowel down the pipe.

Needless to say, I am glad we were able to retrieve the obstruction and this will definitely be brought up in his teenage years as leverage...I kept the trowel as evidence.

up next..."Santa Nuts"

Poop Story #1: Cat Bowels

Well. It has been a little while since our last posting. This time we were legitimately busy. Before I go into the lovely subject of cat bowels, I want to backtrack and talk about the housework we wanted done by Dec 1st. The list was as follows (followed by the progress made):

1. a finished dining room (DONE!!...just needs some crown moulding and paint touch up)
2. a bartop installed (almost done. Needs trim and grout)
3. a countertop that doesn't move when it's leaned on (DONE!!)
4. hood over the stove (nope)
5. tin ceiling installed (we ordered and painted samples...we need to order the rest)

All in all, we're not doing too bad.

Ok back to the poop. Oliver seemed to be getting fat over the course of a few days, so when I came home and he was meowing and lethargic, we got concerned. He was running all over the house squatting so we came to the conclusion that his pooper was clogged. We called about 6 different vets but to no avail. They all referred us to the PETS emergency place in Lancaster. All other optins exhausted, we decided to call a friend of ours who works in a vet (assisting with surgeries and such). Angie came over with a little plastic bag full of stuff..."hmmm...what could that stuff be?" I wondered.

I didn't have to wait long. She opened the bag and pulled out a rubber glove and some KY Jelly. Here we go. On the tile floor with a towel in hand and a cat in the other she asked me to hold him down. Ugh...the glove goes on, next is the KY Jelly aaaand 'bloop'! In it goes. Ollie didn't like that very much.

After violating the cat we waited to see if things would get flowing again. Nope. Then the phone rings. It was one of the vets we had called. He said that as long as the cat is peeing, we should be good to wait until the morning but we should take him in to get an enema.
Figuring that we traumatized Ollie enough we decided we would wait until the morning to take him to the vet.

The sun came up and Ollie was off to the vet. Maribeth took him in and all was well. It turns out that he wasn't stopped up at all...it was his peeper not his pooper. He had a urinary tract infection and his bladder was full. So medications were prescribed and passed along to Oliver's insides and he is doing much better.

Coming up next: Poop Story #2: Poop Shovel

"Hello, deer..."

My Thursday night commute home always seems to be a fight to stay awake. It's not the most visually stimulating route. It's full of trees, road, trees and more trees. As pretty as they are to look at, trees too can get boring...

I picked up lil man and started on the treck home. Declan was in the back munching on pretzel sticks and we were both listening to a great mix of fun, Declan-friendly songs. Kermit and Fozzie were just about to lead into the second chorus of "Movin' Right Along" when lo and behold a deer magically appears in front of my car. I put my foot on the brake and swerved to the left (the deer was crossing from left to right, plus there was no opposing traffic). My headlights traveled over the deer's backside, across empty road and then..."Oh look another deer".

I was no more than 3 feet away from them. I moved my foot from the brake to the accelerator and swerved back to the right a little bit, aiming for the narrow spot of empty road between them.

Woosh! Right between them.

Declan got the sense that something wasn't right because as soon as we cleared them and I slowed down to pull over, he started crying.

I pulled over, put on my four-ways and hopped out of the car. Walking around the back to get to the passenger rear door, I checked the driver side of my car for deer snot and the passenger side of my car for deer poop. It must have scared something out of them. Clean car...all the way around.

Also, oddly enough I saw a police car coming down the road toward me with its lights on. I thought, "Great...I almost hit 2 deer and my prize is a ticket for speeding."

I opened lil man's door and he was still crying a little bit. I asked him if he was ok and he replied with a little, shaky 'yeah'. Then I started smiling at him and asked him if he saw the deer. Again I got a 'yeah', but it was a lot more excited and no tears followed it. So I knew all was well.

By now, the police car had made a U-turn and was pulling in behind me. I walked back around and got into the car like a good little driver. The cop walked up to the door, asked if everything was ok and if I had hit a deer. Declan started to get a little fussy again, but I proceeded to tell him that I drove between them and didn't hit anything. He asked if the little guy in the back was ok too. I told him 'yes' and that was that. Back to his car he went.

I found it odd that the response time to my near accident was less than 4 seconds. However, as I drove about a 1/2 mile down the road, I saw another police car parked with its lights on, another car in front of it and a deer lying in the road. That answered my question.

So all in all, I'd say that this commute home takes first prize for most eventful. Let's hope it is never bumped down to second place.

The Lone Brave

One little brave stood alone in a land that was unknown to him. He was in a land far from the badlands that his people knew so well, far from what he called home. The little Indian stood; alert to the unfamiliar surroundings. Then by what seemed to be instinct, the mighty brave dropped to the ground, his ear pressed flush to the Earth, listening to a distant sound. A sound he had heard before. Approaching from the east were six enemies. Time was short. Preparations had to be made. He had the element of surprise. His only path to success was to ambush them.

Gathering his personal effects and stowing them neatly in his pouch, the lone brave donned his feathered headdress. Reaching to the Earth, his fingertips outstretched, he ran them along the soft ground scooping up dark mud. Almost ceremoniously, he applied the Earth to his face. He took the hatchet from his belt and gripped it tightly in his hand. He was ready. Now able to hear his enemy approaching, he clambered into a nearby tree.

Peering around the branches and leaves he squinted into the darkness, nothing he could have done could have prepared him for what his eyes now beheld. A man was walking towards him, but the man looked to have been buried long ago. Holes in the decayed flesh showed bloodless muscle beneath. Torn and tattered clothing hung off of his lifeless form. Next to him was what appeared to be a pale looking man with knives for teeth. With his hood hiding his face, all that could be seen were two small, red eyes. A golden amulet glistened on his chest. Following closely behind were four other beings that the brave could never have imagined. A man clothed in a smooth white material with what seemed to be a clear round helmet over his head and face. A giant lizard walking upright appeared to be talking to the man with the sharp teeth. In the rear were two females. One had a beautiful dress with what looked like wings protruding from her back. The other had strange ears and a tail...resembling a dog.

Mustering what courage he had, the mighty warrior leapt from the tree, hatchet in hand. To his disbelief, the group of people ran toward him, their arms outstretched and each of them holding some sort of satchel. Before he could move or react at all they were all around him. Then almost in unison, they all cried, “Trick or treeeat!"

Laughing, the mighty brave reached into his deerskin pouch and pulled out some candy. He jovially dropped some in each of the bags. Then, unwrapping one for himself he stood laughing, eating his lollipop.

Housework and egg nog...

Ok...the date I have put in place to finish with the larger projects of the downstairs is December 1st. "Why", you ask? Well, to me the answer is simple: I want to enjoy Christmas this year.

I'm not implying that I didn't enjoy Christmas last year, in fact the holiday spirit was high in our house. It was Declan's first Christmas and that was enough to make it one of the best holiday seasons ever. Although, you have to agree that there is a difference in the potency of the holiday spirit when, on Christmas Eve day, one is sanding spackle whilst listening to Bing Crosby croon away 'White Christmas'. It felt that what made my Christmas white was spackle dust and not snow. Not to mention that our Christmas tree was constructed out of creatively cut wrapping paper and taped to our bedroom wall.

This year however, we have a finished bay window where we can trim and display the Christmas tree, we have a finished stairwell where we can hang the stockings, we have a finished archway between the foyer and living room to hang garland and we have a finished foyer where we can hang some mistletoe for Christmas smooching.

What I want for Christmas, or should I say in time for Christmas is the following:

1. I want a finished dining room where we can sit Christmas eve with Declan and put out cookies and carrots for Santa and his reindeer.
2. I want a bartop installed so I can sit there and enjoy warm egg nog spiked with...whatever.
3. I want a countertop that doesn't move when it's leaned on; where Maribeth can bake her wonderful pumpkin bread on Christmas eve.
4. I want a hood over the stove that can suck up the horrid smell of any Christmas cookies that I may burn.
5. And I wouldn't mind having the tin ceiling installed in the kitchen, that way when I'm flat on my back from the egg nog, I'll have something pretty to look at.

All in all, I think the above list is possible. 30 days is all we have left. That's plenty of time. I think that if we buckle down and maybe take a day or two off of work, Maribeth and I will be able finish all of the items on our wish list. We'll be able to relax this holiday season...and enjoy Christmas.

Here's to egg nog...cheers!

When the bough breaks...

Maribeth's brake light had not been working for quite some time. So on the way home the other night I decided to stop at Advance Auto Parts and pick up a replacement bulb. And naturally my spontaneity got the best of me at 8:30 at night and I decided to change her bulb.

So I gathered all I needed to do the job. One replacement bulb? check. One flashlight? check. One mysterious rustling in the trees? check. Wait. One what? Yes. A mysterious rustling in the trees. hmm...I have a flashlight why not take a look? Well, I like to think that my fear of el Chupacabra would be one good reason not to look...but that's another blog entry.

One flashlight sweep of the trees showed nothing abnormal and no red glowing chupacabra eyes, so back to work I went. Out with the old bulb...in with the...in with..with...drat. It didn't fit. I guess I shouldn't have put my stock in the guy behind the counter at the autoparts store. Oh well. Time to clean up. I start putting things back and all of a sudden I hear the mysterious rustling again...then I hear a hard thwump!

I pointed my flashlight in the direction of the noise and lo and behold...I see a little furry brown lump lying on the ground. Moving closer I notice that it's a squirrel. It either had to be knocked out cold or else its little neck snapped when it hit the ground. Either way, it's not moving. I creep next to it and poke it with the flashlight. "Eee Eee Eeeeee". It got on all fours and started screaming. It looks like that's all it had in it because a second later it was lying on the ground again, exhausted.

I go inside and yell up to Maribeth, "Come outside. Quick! In front of the garage." I grabbed a box and a towel and head back outside. Maribeth comes out with Declan and there we all stood; staring at a squirrel. As I retold my story about the rustling in the trees and the thud, I scooped him up in the towel. We took turns petting the little guy and placed him in the box.

Initially, we placed the box outside. Then, in all my wondrous softiness, I decided that it was too cold for the lil fella outside and brought him into the laundry room. I pushed the cats away and into the kitchen and closed the door. I picked up the lil guy (in the towel) and held him for a little. I had never seen a squirrel this close before. They are actually really pretty. They have little ears like a hamster, a thin tail with lots of fluff, their coats are really soft and their teeth are huuge! At that point I decided to put him down. I crushed a walnut, put it in there with him and went upstairs.

I started watching a movie and naturally, my childish curiosity kicked in and I went downstairs to have another look. I went into the laundry room and turned on the light. As soon as the light came on, the little guy freaked out and started to thrash inside the box. Having only my pajamas on and no slippers, I decided it best to go upstairs and put some real clothes on. Maribeth was already sleeping, so of course I woke her up and told her about how well he was doing. I convinced her to come downstairs and together we crept into the laundry room. we picked up the box, and set it outside on it's side so that it could get out if it so desired. And once again we climbed up the stairs. Maribeth under the covers and me on the covers watching the movie again.

When it was over I decided to check on him one last time. I grabbed the flashlight and down I went. I peeked in the box and there he was. All curled up in the towel. But this time, he wasn't breathing. No movement at all. With a sigh, I set the box upright and gently pulled the towel out of the box. He slid off and onto the bottom, motionless. I picked up the box and walked across the yard. I gave him one last rub on the nose and said, "If you're actually a really sound sleeper, then I'm sorry for this." And with that, I tossed him onto the woodpile, turned and went back inside.

Alas, it was a valiant effort. I guess last night was its night to go. It could have ended lying there on the cold wet earth, but it didn't. It ended wrapped in a towel, in a warm place, and with a few walnuts to munch on.

Goodbye little friend.

What Exactly is a Swarr? Part 2 of 5

What exactly is a Swarr? That is the million dollar question that I've been asking too.

On Monday, September 11th, 2006 I was an official Swarr for 2 years. Amazing isn’t it? And some people actually still like me…

I became a Swarr one beautiful September day what seems like ages ago. I said “I do” and that was that. No turning back now. I like to think I have adapted well to this new family’s style. And by “adapted well”, I mean “learned to survive”.

It is a cutthroat world where I now live. I am forced to belch in public, forced to partake in countless discussions regarding bodily functions and I can’t even begin to describe the lessons in patience I have been forced to learn. On the upside, I now have a whole new appreciation for art, and I have realized that merciless pranks and jibes are really just expressions of love (thanks Gabe. You teach your lessons well).

My skin has thickened and my wit has quickened. On top of it all, my circle of deeply loved family has widened. And that enough is worth it all.

So all in all I feel that two years ago, a good decision was made…no mater how many times I may step back, look at these people with the utmost curiosity, and be grateful I will soon have my degree in Psychology.



Ok. The time it takes us to update this this is getting out of hand. I think the reason for the delay is because there isn't much going on that is significant enough to write about, so we're constantly waiting for the next big thing to blog...so I have decided that no matter how mundane, we will blog. And blog often.

However, this one is not mundane. It is significant. Read on...

Last night was just like any other night. We played with Declan, read him a story, gave him a bottle, said prayers, gave kisses and turned on his music to fall asleep. Declan got fussy as I left the room, but that is the norm. He will fall asleep.

I went back to our bedroom and sat there piddling around on my laptop. I had noticed that lil man had stopped fussing and that his CD had played through. Maribeth was already sleeping, so I went about my business of playing games on my laptop when I noticed little Declan noises coming from little Declan's room. Nothing alarming, but I stopped to listen. It sounded as though he had fallen asleep and was making noises while dreaming. I thought, "Hey...why not turn his music back on and let him sleep to it?". So over to his room I went.

I opened the door a little, sneaked over to the radio and turned on his Kermit CD. I turned to leave and I saw that Declan was standing up in his pack and play (his 'bed') with his bottle, making faces and making tiny little laughing noises. I walked over to him and said, "Hey, bud. What are you doing?". He glanced at me and then pointed across his room to the area where the radio and rocking chair were and said, "Ah-ne."

I looked in the direction he was pointing and thought that he meant "Ernie" because Kermit was singing (Jim Henson had been both Kermit and Ernie, so they sound similar). It didn't make sense to me though that he would think it was Ernie singing because we must have listed to those songs a hundred times and he knows that it is 'Termit' and not Ernie. I looked at him and said, "What?"

Once again, while still making faces and noises he pointed and said, "Ah-ne." I asked him, "Do you mean Ernie?". He replied with a cute little "Noo".

Then it clicked...He was imitating someone. You could tell. His attention was focused, he was making faces and little laughing noises.

He wasn't saying 'Ernie'. I took a deep breath and hesitantly asked, "Do you mean Arna?".

Without skipping a beat, he replied, "Yeah".

With an odd feeling, I kissed him goodnight, walked over to the door and said, "Tell Great Grandma not to keep you up all night" and pulled it shut. He didn't fuss at all.


For those of you that may not know, Arna is Declan's great-grandma. She passed away some time ago and Declan had never met her before.

We had been over at my parent's house this weekend, and coincidentally enough we showed him a picture of her and had told him her name was Arna.
So that's the story in a nutshell...If it was you...thanks, Gramdma.


I knew it....

Well, I guess I can see the future. This is the first update on here in a looong time. I had a feeling that would happen. Sorry about that. Maribeth and I were getting so caught up in all the goings on and--uh..ok...so there's not much going on.

The only real news we have is that Maribeth got her new job!!! Yippee!! Congrats, honey! She starts in less than two weeks. It was a huge relief when she got the news. She absolutely deserves it. Good job, MJ!

Oh and I got my discharge papers in the mail on Friday. I had actually been out since June 29th, but it didn't really sink in until I got the certificate in the mail. That chapter is closed.

Not much else is new. I have a feeling that work on the house is going to increase as it is not so blasted hot outside. Hopefully this weather is the start of the downfall of summer heat. I for one will be keeping my fingers crossed. Heat = grumpy.

The "What exactly is a Swarr" profiles will continue with none other than Maribeth herself.

Not much has changed on the Declan front either. Once in a while he spits out a sentence here and there. It's pretty cute:

wangedown-nwok = I want to get down and walk

See? Cute. I win. Actually Declan wins. He always wins. Even when he's bad, he still wins. Just this weekend he pitter-pattered over to the cat's water and . "Uh-oh" he says staring at the mess. I walked over and told him (for the 1,000,000th time) "Kitty water is yuck. It is not to play in". And what does he do? He shakes his little cute-infested finger and says, "No, no, no" while looking at the mess. He turns, walks away, rubs his soaked overalls and says, "Ahwet" (All wet). See? He always wins. cute.

Needless to say, the posts will continue (and in a more timely manner). Hopefully the content is fresh and exciting enough for all of you.

Talk to you soon.



Good news everyone! I got a call from the venue where we had the company picnic...they needed Animal Control to show up to pick up a wild tiger! Yippee!

After work I drove over to daycare and picked up Declan and then off to get Meow. I walked inside and there he was, sitting on a watermelon looking all mischevious. I scooped him up and walked him out to the car where Declan was excitedly waiting. I opened the car door and handed the little tiger to the little man. He said "Meow!" and grabbed him and hugged him, kicked his little feet, and gave him a biiiig kiss on the nose.

The were together for the rest of the night...

Meow is MIA

There is no easy way to say this...Meow is missing. For those of you that don't know, Meow is a little stuffed tiger that is best friends with Declan. Not only is he just a stuffed animal, he is THE stuffed animal. Declan goes everywhere with him. And Meow goes everywhere with Declan.

Our story begins at my company's annual summer picnic. Much fun was had by all. A magician, a bouncy castle, and a little frog pond for Declan to fall into. "Froggie?" sploosh! Time to change the clothes. So there we were having fun and enjoying ourselves to the point where we decided to call it a day. Packing up the lawn chairs, the diaper bag and the wet clothes, we made our way to the car. We loaded little man up and piled the things in the back. Upon looking around and making a mental inventory of what we brought vs. what we're leaving with, something struck me. Taking a second and even third look around I could only come to one conclusion: no little tiger. So naturally we went back to the table we called home during the party to search. Outside and inside we looked. No tiger. We even asked around...got a few funny looks in response (because how often are you asked , "Have you seen a little tiger anywhere?"). Coming to the conclusion that that Meow was no longer there, we slumped back to the car, drove the two minutes home and proceeded to unload our goods. Untangling Declan from his web of a car seat, we picked him up and turned to go back to the house. "Wha Meow?". There it was...the realization that his little tiger didn't come home. Of course we responded as any responsible and honest parent would: "I think he's inside. Let's go inside" and hurried off.

We did a good job keeping him distracted throughout the evening, but when it came time for bed there was no avoiding it. Following the bedtime rituals, we read him a story, gave him his bottle and said our goodnight prayers. He laid down and..."Wha Meow?". Crap. There I sat explaining to him how Meow went bye-byes, he's sleeping over at someone else's house, etc, etc...Not an easy thing to explain to an 18 month old. Partially because I don't think he understood a word I was saying. We said a little prayer for Meow and off to slumberland he went.

The next morning, Mommy woke him up. He sleepily opened his eyes, smiled and reached up for her. She picked him up and turned to walk out of the room and, of course "Uh Meow" (meaning "I want Meow"). She went throught the same routine that I went through explaining how Meow went bye-byes, but he is safe and we'll get him back, etc...

Here we are...Meow-less. Declan slowly realizing that his friend may be gone forever.

So the hunt is on. Maribeth and I will not rest until we bring Meow home. We have a couple of leads and some questioning to do. We'll see what turns up.

Meow, wherever you are...keep your chin up. We're coming to get you.

What Exactly is a Swarr? Part 1 of 5

This entry is the first in the series entitled "What Exactly is a Swarr?" In this series we will profile who...or what a Swarr really is. What make them tick? Do they tick? And What exactly gives one the right to be called a Swarr anyway? Is it a birth-rite? A trial by fire? Or just sheer stupidity in a 'wrong place wrong time' sense of the word? We shall see...

And the first profile is....


Artemus J Cat or just 'Arty' was originally a Schaeffer...a wha? Yes. A Schaeffer. He was originally discovered living among a tribe deep in the jungles of Lancaster...I believe they called themselves the Humane League tribe or something. Anywho, Maribeth and I discovered him in October of 2004 as a 4 month old kitten bottled up in the Kitten Room of that jungle village. We instantly fell in love with the little bugger...ok...we looked at about 4 others before him, but who's counting? We loved him and he loved us. We saw Swarr potential. There was only one problem: We lived in our apartment at the time and technically couldn't have cats. Our landlord had an off the books, "I don't care" policy, but officially we weren't allowed to have them. But getting him from the Humane League required approval from the landlord which we obviously couldn't get. Maribeth and I sat in the parking lot contemplating a way to free our trapped Swarr-to-be. Then It struck us like Lightening Force: Lamar the Revenger. Known to many commonfolk as 'Dean'. He came to the rescue and adopted Artemus for himself...only to transfer ownership wholeheartedly to the Swarr family. For that we salute you, Lamar the Revenger. Wherever you are.

But not all was rose petals and dandelions. Arty came down with a nasty respiritory infection. Maribeth and I took turns pinning him down and giving him a dropper full of medicine. Ahh, clawmarks. How I miss thy burn. Given time and a LOT of babying by Dad, Arty eventually came around and began his journey into Swarrhood.

Arty has since become a big, lazy and snuggley cat. He loves to sit on nightstands and meow until I scooch over in the bed to make enough room for him to lie down. He sometimes curls up under the covers with us. Maribeth loves it! He's become very cuddley as of late, but the summer months make him shed and make us sticky creating a beautiful faux beard and moustache for everyday use.

Arty has his fun days and his lazy days, but overall, he makes a great addition to the Swarr family. A top notch feline.

Thank you, Arty.

Hello Swarr Blog

Well here we are typin up our first post. All of the witty remarks and humorous anecdotes that made this seem like a good idea an hour ago have just oozed out of my brain onto the floor somewhere and I think the cats are eating it. eww!

For those of you who can't get enough of the lil Swarr family, you can now feel a little closer just by reading this handy little blog whenever your heart desires. You'll get updates on the latest cat musings, Declan antics and parental woes and wows along the way.

Hopefully we'll get the hang of the posting thing and have enough gumption to keep it going so that that it can grow and progress as we do.

Here's to much blogging together! CHEERS!!