There has been a lot going on around here lately and I have experienced some serious highs and lows. I have so many thoughts and stories and lessons I want to share that I don’t even know where to start. That is why I am turning to you, my Most Loyal Readers. Please vote in the comments and let me know which story you most want to read.
Matty Furrypants Jenkins: We Will Miss You
In some real circle of life type bullshit my cat’s heart began to fail right after my son was born. His belly swelled to more than twice its normal size over the last two weeks. I knew that he didn’t have much longer as I saw his appetite dwindle and his activity decrease. We made a vet appt for Saturday morning and on Friday night I brought Matty into our bed and I held him and cried.
Matty joined our family in the summer of 2007. We found him huddled inside a carpeted tube at the Babylon Animal Shelter. I was immediately struck by his coloring and handsome face and I recognized that he must have some Maine Coone in him. I asked to see him and the attendant dragged Matty out of his hiding spot while Matty desperately tried to dig in with his trimmed claws.
We went into a large room and the attendant held Matty in her lap and we saw how matted his fur was. He had been neglected for some time. Eventually she put him down and he looked around cautiously before slinking into another hiding spot. I forget if I even got a chance to pet him.
I sensed that he was just an afraid cat and not a “fraidy cat.” There is a big difference and frankly the latter give the species as a whole a bad rap.
To read more of this story vote for “Matty” in the comments
Kiteboarding Misadventure; Gear Failure in the Great South Bay
It was supposed to be the best kitesurfing day of the summer. Wind was forecast to blow 20-30mph, South by Southwest. Conditions in August are never very good, but this summer has been particularly disappointing and when I saw the forecast I knew I needed to get some.
It has been over six months since I have been kitesurfing. Besides moving almost an hour further from the beach, I started a new job with normal business hours, started writing and practicing guitar on a regular basis, and am giving more time and attention to my family.
So here I was with the perfect forecast and an understanding wife. She was going to help make this happen by watching a newborn and a toddler on her own. I packed all my gear in the car, fixed lunch for Kelly and Lily, got dinner going in the crock-pot and took off for the South Shore.
Little did I know that I was about to experience a gear failure that would strand me a mile off-shore in the Great South Bay. As I drifted through the water in an attempt to self-rescue I began to wonder if I was going to make it home in time for dinner.
To read more of this story vote for “Kiteboarding” in the comments
Sailing on the Hudson with our Newborn Son
You know that feeling when you are searching on Craigslist or Ebay and you are tempted to buy something really expensive and indulgent just because it looks like a lot of fun? Well, we did that a couple weeks ago when we impulsively bought a sailboat.
I was bored one night and I hopped on Craigslist to see if there were any sailboats for sale. I quickly spied the listing for a 1985 Sanibel 17, a trailerable pocket cruiser with steady production over the last thirty years and a loyal following.
She will not win any races with her beamy hips or catch one’s eye with her protruding cabin. But I was able to look past her looks and see an opportunity to take my family on sailing adventures. Trailerable so that we could sail it anywhere. Slow and stable to keep her upright and safe. Comfortable cabin for children to play in underway. A Bimini shade to protect my wife’s fair skin.
We bought the boat a couple weeks before Link was born and I wasn’t sure if we were going to get out this season.
That is why all I could do was smile as we tacked under the Tappan Zee Bridge last Sunday. The boat heeled over as the wind filled her sails and she settled into a nice motion through the water. Looking into the cabin I see my Wife reading stories to my daughter and my son Link is asleep in the Moses basket.
To read more of this story vote for “Sailing” in the comments
The Ukulele Guitar: Introducing our Children to Music
One of the main reasons I wanted to learn how to play the guitar was so that my kids would grow up in a house with music. Not just listening to music but seeing it played and learning how to play musical instruments themselves. In addition to the guitar which I practice on regularly we also have a keyboard and a small box of percussion instruments.
Lily will often climb into my lap while I am practicing guitar and want to participate and other times she will sit at the keyboard and bang on the keys. She loves playing with the various percussion instruments and just recently learned how to really pound on the drum.
With the addition of Link to our family we had been advised to give Lily extra attention and even to give her gifts from her “baby brother” to defray some of the inevitable jealousy. I immediately thought of the Ukulele I had been eying for months.
When she opened it her eyes went wide. “Guitar! Guitar!” she said excitedly. We didn’t have the heart or the patience to correct her. “Yes, that is Lily’s guitar,” we said. “Your Ukulele guitar” I tried to add subtly.
To read more of this story vote for “Ukulele” in the comments
So what is it going to be? Matty, Kiteboarding, Sailing or Ukulele? Please leave a comment with your vote.
All photos are by the Jenkins Family except the “Question Mark” thumbnail which was licensed under Creative Commons by Leo Reynolds