Monthly Archives: July 2007

links for 2007-08-01

The Newest Member of Our Family

While some people I know are having kids or adopting from as far afield as Guatemala, we’ve been adding a different kind of member to our family: a new pet. I’ve already mentioned that we don’t do moderation well, and now I’ll prove it once and for all.

We stopped by the feed store for bedding and pellets on Sunday, right before we hit the berry fields. Julie went straight to the bunny section. Though interested, I thought to myself that it would be neat if they had a brown bunny . . . and they did.

This wasn’t any brown bunny though, this was a really cute brown bunny who settled down by the side of the cage and let me pet him for a long time. Of course I was completely at his mercy. Julie tried to push on to the practical matters at hand, but all I could think of was the brown bunny.

We already have two rabbits (Eva and Evan), but they don’t get along. We have been hoping that we could find a friend for Eva, but Evan, her current prospect, has this habit of biting her, and she happily returns the favor. So I was wondering if some fresh blood in the house would be just the thing for her. Of course that was all a front for my true motivation: I wanted to take home the cute brown bunny.

Our decision was to wait, but we asked for him to be held for a day. Though we wanted to sleep on it, we already had a name picked out within three hours of meeting him: Baxter. We did pray about it and felt peace so long as we recognized he’s God’s gift to us because in a sense we don’t “own” anything in this world.

Baxter small So I’d like to introduce Baxter, our brown mini-rex rabbit. He’s currently residing in the guest room, but that’s only because we don’t have room in my office/rabbit room. Pretty soon he’ll move in to Eva’s play pen.

He’s a spunky little guy who loves laying on his towel. I dare you to look at some more pictures of him at our flickr account.

So now you know what happens when I go to the rabbit section of the feed store. Over the next couple days we hope to introduce him to his roommates. I’m sure it’s not going to go well.

We Don’t Do Moderation Well

I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so many blue berries in my life. It all began yesterday when we found a pick-your-own blueberry place that doesn’t use any sprays. We pulled in, grabbed a few colanders, and set to work.

My preferred method of picking was bush-wacking my way into a tight spot, holding the colander under clumps of untouched berries, and then tearing 3-4 down at a time. Quality control was tough, but I made excellent progress. We kept at it for one hour until our eyes crossed.

We drove away with 11 pounds of blue berries. They are now sitting in a huge bag in our fridge. Blue berries on cereal, in yogurt, on salad and whatever else we could find. The winner though was our homemade custard.

Being from Philadelphia, I’m an ice cream snob. The soft serve ice cream, known as a “creamy” in Vermont, tastes like blended ice to my refined buds. In Philadelphia we have frozen custard, a truly creamy, rich soft serve that may be the one thing Julie misses about living in Philadelphia. I grew up eating blue berries with custard and quickly won her over.

As a resourceful wife, she dug out our ice cream maker, loaded in the salt and ice, and then set to work churning her custard mixture. We took turns at the crank and soon had a bucket of frozen custard.

Dumping it into bowls we covered the custard with blue berries and went to work while sitting on our back deck. It was like being in Philadelphia again, just without the humidity and allergies from pollution. The best part is we have a yogurt container full of custard waiting in the freezer along with the remaining eight pounds of berries in the fridge.

Oh, and we had all of this after making a rhubarb pie the day before. I spearheaded the effort, but Julie led the charge. I am still amazed at the amount of sugar you need to keep it from tasting bitter. I’ve also had the Prairie Home Companion song in my head all day: “Momma’s little baby loves rhubarb, rhubarb, bee, bop-a rebob, rhubarb pie.”

We need to have company over soon before we eat all of this on our own.  

Jordon has Converted

It was bound to happen. WordPress is slowly winning more converts to its pure publishing, and now the grandfather of many Christian bloggers has kicked his Blogger habit and changed over to WordPress.

Jordon Cooper, one the earliest Christian bloggers I know of, has made the major jump from two-columns to the three-column Prosumer theme. I myself have been very pleased with the myriad themes, extensions, and management features offered by WordPress.

Even with these options it’s still very easy to use. The spam blocking for WordPress is also second to none. Now I’m waiting for Andrew Jones to drop TypePad . . .

I Thought We Had a Rat in the House

After finishing my morning blogging, I went to the bedroom to snatch up some socks. The distinct scurrying of little feet on the other side of the room caught my attention.

I saw a gray blur slip underneath my wife’s dresser.

Shoot, I thought, we probably have a rat or a squirrel in the house; not a far-fetched thought for our country home. The squirrels have parties in the attic all of the time.

I slowly walked over when a little nose popped out and I recognized two long, familiar ears: it was just Evan, our gray rabbit. In awe of his ability to escape his cage, I peeked in the rabbit room (also my office) and found that I left the top of his cage open when I gave him lettuce this morning.

There is nothing more frustrating than trying to get a rabbit out of a bedroom. They hide in the darkest, hard-to-reach corners under the bed and then cannot be moved.

Since I was already on the later side of arriving at work, I needed something that would work quickly. Rabbit trauma could not be a concern. After barricading off the hallway, leaving only the rabbit room as an option, I looked for a long, broom-like object.

I found our swifter and set to work on chasing Evan from under the bed. After some minor furniture modifications, I took a swipe at him and ended up with an encouraging push that sent him scattering out of the bedroom.

With the rabbit on the run, I kept up the momentum with some yelling and brandishing of the swifter. The results were favorable. Though he didn’t hop into his cage, he did run under my desk.

Now when a rabbit is out, they typically want to go where they can’t. So I shut the door to the office/rabbit room and waited a few seconds. Sure enough, when I opened the door he was heading right for the door,  hoping to wiggle his way out.

I pounced on Evan, pinning him to the floor with one hand long enough to scoop up his powerful back feet and settle him into his cage. He made a few grunts of protest, but soon began inhaling his lettuce as if nothing at all had happened.

The Customer is Usually Unreasonable

Whoever said “the customer is always right,” didn’t have both feet firmly planted in reality. Us customers are a lot of things–cranky, whiny, disagreeable, demanding, annoying, short-tempered–but we certainly do not have a corner on being right.

That’s not to vilify us customers and make us out to be worse than we are, but it’s my experience that customers are either out to lunch in their demands or simply peg the wrong person when disenfranchised. We are completely in the right on a few occasions.

For example, every time I’m at a restaurant I find myself keeping careful watch on my water glass. If it’s empty, I expect it to be filled. That’s an unreasonable thing to expect EVERY time I’m at a restaurant. Oftentimes there isn’t enough staff to keep up with the number of tables, but the manager isn’t the one who receives a bad tip . . .

And if us customers usually expect better service than is possible or even deserved, then perhaps it’s time for businesses to adopt a new mantra: “Get rid of customers as fast as possible.” That takes into account the same need to take care of customers without the flattery.

Customers may not always be right, but a business can’t afford to have disgruntled people hanging around either. Besides, who’s keeping score on right or wrong? So much boils down to expectations.

I like the old farming mantra: “Git ‘er done.” Perhaps retailers could change it to: “Get ’em out.”