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June 30, 2006

Early Birds

OK, I feel guilty for taking so long to respond to the tagging post, so in addition to today’s regularly scheduled post, you’re getting a bonus post afterward. Looks like I picked the wrong week to cut back on my blogging...

Part I – The Birds

Allow me to introduce you to our summer houseguests:

That’s Hoot on the left, and Ringo on the right. They are ring-necked doves. We picked them up about three weeks ago.

During each of the past two years (and this will be our third), we have been a foster family for these birds during summer vacation. When school is in session, they live in the classroom of my son’s former kindergarten teacher.

Apparently her husband doesn’t like the constant cooing from the birds throughout the day, so the birds aren’t welcome at her house when school is out. On the other hand, our house maintains a pretty much constant din anyway, so the birds just fit right in.

My wife and I find the cooing of the doves to be a fairly soothing sound, and the kids love watching and listening to them throughout the day. They (the birds) constantly hoot and coo and echo each other during every waking minute, and their background chatter has become part of the natural summertime soundtrack at our house. (Come to think of it, that could apply to our kids, too.)

The doves are also very light sleepers.

When my bedroom alarm goes off in the pre-dawn darkness, they hear it and spring to life within minutes. When the first traces of gray daylight seep through the windows, they inevitably start chattering at full volume. And when they do, my chances of falling back asleep become very slim.

In that regard, they are beneficial to my training. There are several mornings when I feel like canceling my workout plans simply because I’m too tired to crawl out of bed. But when the birds remind me that I probably won’t be able to fall back asleep anyway, I will begrudgingly pull back the sheets and get ready to head out the door.

So I’ve started thinking of the doves as my summertime training partners. When I realize that they won’t let me go back to sleep, it’s just as effective as knowing someone is waiting for you on the corner; even though you don’t want to, you feel obligated to drag your butt outside.

There’s no way of telling how many workouts I would have skipped if it weren’t for the doves; it may be only a few, or possibly a lot more. Either way, I’ve come to be thankful for their time in our house, and when they leave us again at the beginning of the school year, it will probably feel like a training partner is moving away.

I guess you could say I’m attached to them.

Part II - Tag

Yes, I’ve been tagged. I think everyone is familiar with this one, so I’ll jump right in:

4 jobs I've had:
1. Poop-scooper crew assistant for the Pioneer Days parade, Butternut WI. Sure, it wasn't glamorous, but it was an easy way for a 9-year-old kid to pick up 20 bucks in the summertime. That buys a lot of Tangy Taffy.
2. In high school, I was on a work crew that cleaned up the assembly room of our neighborhood Catholic church after wedding receptions on weekend nights. We started work at midnight, and spent the next four hours cleaning up beer, urine, vomit and assorted other messes in the dancing area, dining area, and bathrooms. I know that Catholics are all about clean living, but they sure make a holy mess at their parties.
3. In grad school I was a per-diem meat and cheese slicer in the deli at our local gourmet store. I got pretty good at it, too – I could slice the Black Forest ham so thinly you could see shadows through it. When it came to slicing, I had crazy game.
4. Remember the Vlasic pickle stork? One day I was paid to dress in a costume of him – all the way down to a pair of yellow tights and oversized bird feet - and walk around the grocery store handing out pickle coupons. It was a fun gig, aside for the elderly ladies (yes, more than one) who took it upon themselves to pinch my thighs when I wasn’t looking. Who violates a 6-foot bird like that? Does this happen on Sesame Street?

4 movies I watch over and over:
1. Shrek
2. Shrek 2
3. Finding Nemo
4. Star Wars Episode IV
(Have I mentioned before that I live with young children? Just checking.)

4 Places I have lived:
1. Los Angeles, CA
2. Westwood, CA (Go Bruins!)
3. Denver, CO
4. Chapel Hill, NC (Go Tar Heels!)

4 TV shows I watch (What? Just 4?):
1. Pardon The Interruption
2. The Daily Show
3. VH1 Jump Start (you must have figured this one)
4. Jeopardy
Plus just about any manner of sports you can imagine. I've got the U.S. Paintball Championships on my TiVo right now. I'm not kidding.

4 Places I've been on vacation:
1. Disneyland
2. Big Trees, CA
3. Kauai, HI
4. Key West

4 Websites I visit everyday:
1. Bloglines
2. ESPN.com
3. LetsRun.com
4. Slate

4 Favorite Foods (again – just 4?):
1. Pizza
2. Barbecued Salmon
3. Fajitas
4. Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins – one of my wife’s specialties.

4 Places I'd rather be right now:
1. In the pool
2. On my bike
3. Running the trails, or…
4. Home with my family. But not necessarily in that order. In fact, turn that list upside down, then read it. There - that’s better.

4 Favorite Bands/Singers: This list varies tremendously from month to month, and depends on where I am…
1. At work: Fall Out Boy or Yellowcard
2. In the car alone: Avenged Sevenfold or Foo Fighters
3. In the car with the kids: Bob Marley or Jack Johnson
4. At home: Classical – typically Yo-yo Ma or Anne-Sophie Mutter

4 Bloggers I'll tag: Seriously, aren’t I one of the last people to do this? So no tagging from me – just best wishes for a nice weekend.


backofpack 6/30/06, 10:38 AM  

Thanks for being a good sport. I tagged you because I just knew your list would be interesting - and it was! If we ever have that blogger potluck, bring the muffins!

Funny about the doves, when my alarm goes off I hear the clicking of our dog's nails as she comes down the hall. I know she's waiting on the other side of the door. Most mornings I can get her to go back to her bed, but once in a while, she'll start the "food dance". There's no hope of calming her down at that point. Her tail will be whacking the walls in the hall and the bedroom doors, making a huge ruckus. Aren't pets the best?

Robb 6/30/06, 11:13 AM  

The best part of having the birds visit is likely waving bye bye to them. Imagine, if you will, receiving a bird as a wedding gift (that was me). I was glad to find it staring at the ceiling one morning.

Now, we have a dog. It's better.

Cliff 6/30/06, 11:20 AM  

Star wars III was a good movie. I like it how he turn to the dark side.

My cat does the same to me too. He start to realize I get up early and bug me all the time for food.

angie's pink fuzzy 6/30/06, 12:28 PM  

do the doves wake your kids up in the morning?

Anne 6/30/06, 2:29 PM  

I like your houseguests, though for a minute I thought they were love birds...and all 'The Birds' fans know what happened when they entered the picture.

robtherunner 6/30/06, 2:36 PM  

I could have easily switched my movies I watch over and over to ones that are similar to yours as well. Oh, and if you do a Shakira post can you please add lots of pictures? I love that woman!

matt 6/30/06, 4:57 PM  

per diem meat slicer...that has to be one of the best job descriptions i have ever read...and you had 'crazy game', too. you are too funny, donald!

KILROY_60 7/1/06, 9:50 PM  

I must be living a sheltered life. I see so many of these What Ben & Jerry's flavor are you...What Disney character are you...What color are you...and on and on and on. The tagging I haven't seen much of. At least not that I recall. Of course, that might be my CRS (Cant' Remember Shit) acting up.

The one thing I didn't forget to do is include you in the newest A Hitchhiker's Guide To The Blososphere post. Cheers!

Brit 7/4/06, 6:47 PM  

regarding your tag and living with small children...can I just say when the fising kids float went by us at the parade today, I was the only adult who knew why the kids were ylling "fish are friends not food!"

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