Fairytales with not so good endings…

Originally published at Kickin’ the new Kuh-nowledge. You can comment here or there.

OK. So sometimes fairytales have not so good endings. Remember my last post where I said all was well and good in the world. Well… something happened on the way to happily everafter.

Yesterday morning I received a call from my boss. I’ve been laid off. He was nervous and sad. I was sad and beginning to cry. The weird thing was this. Since I’m remote and I had logged into the network already, I was able to actually talk to my friends around the company via IM and e-mail while my boss was talking to me.

It was kind of surreal. My boss was speaking to me from a script. At the same time I was typing to my colleagues… “I’ve been laid off.” It turned out that my little IMs were a godsend. I received so many supportive responses that within an hour of learning of my lay off, I was already feeling better and it allowed me to focus on the things I needed to do. It was comforting to know that all of those relationships I had built up over 12 years at USA Today actually meant something.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a little shellshocked about the whole thing. It’s hard to grok the concept that it doesn’t matter how good you are at what you do… the bean counters don’t care about that. They look at the numbers and make the cut. Are there still people working at the company that would make more sense to cut instead of me? Of course. That’s not the way lay offs work. It’s not about talent, it’s about accounting. Anyone that tries to feed you a line of bull about how “businesses are hurting and this is necessary so that the company is on a firm footing for the future” needs to pay better attention. If a business was really interested in having a firm footing for the future, they would trim the folks that aren’t producing… not just the ones that make incrementally more than the next guy (not that I even make that much money to begin with).

That said… maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m the slacker that doesn’t produce. Who knows. It’s hard to judge that from where I’m sitting. I like to think that I produce good to great results with the things I did at USA Today… but it’s hard to be objective about yourself. LOL

Well, I’m not saying that this is the end of the fairytale, but damn if it isn’t that stretch of the story where you’re not quite sure if the hero is going to make it. This turn of events came as a complete and total surprise.

I sent out my first resume today for a help desk job at the University. I’ll be sending a lot more resumes out soon. Some final proofreading and layout, and I’ll be back on track with the job search. If I can’t find anything within the next 3 months, I’ll start doing desperation moves like widening the search to all 50 states.

–sam

Massive Update!

Originally published at Kickin’ the new Kuh-nowledge. You can comment here or there.

Well, it’s been like 5 months since I had enough time to think, much less post anything substantive to the good olde series of tubes more commonly known as the internets.  Well, I lot has happened in that 5 months.  Here’s a quick rundown (with bullet points for emphasis)…

  • The puppy is now 7 months old.  She’s big, but she was the runt of her litter so while she’s big, her siblings are actually much bigger.  Kiko, the pug, had his 8th birthday recently.  He’s due to have some tooth surgery, but is otherwise healthy.  Lilith, the cat is going crazy, but that’s normal.
  • How sly of me to post about the pets before getting to the really big news.  Liz, my lovely wife, decided several months ago that things weren’t working out in her PhD program at Illinois.  She did some soul searching and decided that a clean break was best.  She needed to find a program that worked for her, and more importantly, she needed to find one where she could have a mentor.    Long story short, Liz opted to apply to the U of Utah in Salt Lake City.  She was accepted and she starts this fall.
  • I’m glad that last bit got your attention.  I’m sure you’re wondering what I was wondering.  This is not the best economy for Sam to go move cross country.  What’s he going to do?  And what about the house?  This is the point in time where I must explain to you that there is a world of fairy tales.  In this world of fairy tales things like serendipity, fate, and good luck mysteriously intertwine to make for all the happily everafters we often dream about.  I could be cruel and say… “This is not one of those stories.”  Well, cruel isn’t the right word for it because it would be a lie.  This is in fact one of those stories.
  • One day, out of the blue, my boss calls me and explains to me that my talents are underused in the Chicago office.  Well that certainly piqued my interest because I thought the next sentence was going to be something like…  and it seems we wouldn’t be needing your talents at all.  You see we’ve had a few layoffs in the last year, and I thought my number might have been up.  Instead, he explained that my talents would be better used in the Circulation Systems department.  Not only that, but things had already been arranged and my new boss would be calling me with the details.  I was sitting on pins and needles for a week until I spoke with my new boss, but the bottom line was better than I could have ever hoped.  My new job wouldn’t require that I report to any particular office.  I could, in fact, work from just about anywhere I wanted to.  Sure, it would be nice if it was close to an office, but I could even work from home.  I think you’re starting to see the fairy tale now.
  • Around the same time, Liz and I decided to test the market and try to sell the house.  We didn’t use a realtor.  Instead we hired an attorney to handle the paperwork, then we listed our house on Craigslist.  Yes, Craigslist.  Within a month we had an offer on the house.  Yeah… something like fate might be at work here.  Initially, the offer was really good and we thought we might actually make a little money on the house.  Unfortunately, the arcane art of house appraisals put the kaibosh on that.  Sure, we’ll lose a little money, but considering the kind of money that people are losing on their houses these days…  our $2K loss (from the price we paid, and doesn’t include money we put into the place) doesn’t seem so bad.  Well, even fairy tales have their harrowing moments.
  • So… on the second week of June, Liz and I, Liz’s old friend Shannon, and our pets got into the Penske truck and made our way west to Salt Lake City.  It was a fun trip that was only slightly marred by the sad news about the house appraisal.  If you’re moving cross country, I highly recommend the Penske truck.  Cheaper than U-Haul and the truck was pretty spacious (we were able to fit our lives into a 16′ truck).  As an aside, I would like to thank everyone that helped us pack.  We couldn’t have done it without you.  Even if all you did was come over and hang out for a few minutes.  It was great to have the moral support.
  • A couple of months ago, I happened to make online friends with Madeline Boudreaux, an SLC local.  If she didn’t know it before, she now has a friend for life.  When Liz, Shannon and I arrived in Salt Lake City, Madeline offered to help us move our stuff into our new place.  She enlisted her partner, Paul, who is a pro at this sort of thing.  Well, with their help (and some very nice neighbors too) we were able to unload the truck in record time.  Now that’s what I call a great welcome.

That’s the big news.  Liz and I are now in Salt Lake City.  We’re still unpacking.  Sorry for the super long rambling post, but it was the only way to get everything out.  If you know something about Salt Lake City, please share it.

Oh yeah…  it’s really nice to live in the same city as my partner in life and love.  I knew our situation was tough before, but now that I’m out of it, I can see it for the hell it truly was.  There may be some aspects of Salt Lake City that I probably won’t like, but I can deal with that if it means I don’t have to make that long ass drive each week.

Hugs, Kisses and All That!
–sam

Tara Croft: Poop Raider

Tara is doing well. She is bringing up the rear of the litter and weighing in at 30 pounds. As I type, she is playing with her newspaper chew toy right next to Kiko, so as to tantalize him and try to get him to play with her. Too cute! Here are a few t…

Tara is doing well. She is bringing up the rear of the litter and weighing in at 30 pounds. As I type, she is playing with her newspaper chew toy right next to Kiko, so as to tantalize him and try to get him to play with her. Too cute! Here are a few things Tara is into this week (besides poop eating, which of course continues to top the list):

1. Tara has this very adorable little grunt that she does. She’s not big on licking your face, but sometimes when she “noses” us or is in a really good mood she does this very cute little grunt. Kind of like a baby pot belly pig, it’s just really fun to hear!

2. Tara gets the hiccups. a lot. I’ve never known a dog to hiccup before, but Tara gets the hiccups several times each week. I don’t think she is eating too fast or anything like that (we use the ‘eat better’ bowl and also her treat ball for meals). She just gets the hiccups fairly often.

3. She lost at least two baby teeth last week. I happened to see one hanging sideways by a thread in her mouth one night, and the next morning two were gone. I did not find them, but I can see the new teeth starting to come through the surface.

4. Tara discovered the upstairs and the basement this week. The upstairs is exciting because my cat, Lilith, lives up there most of the time. Although Lilith is not very friendly to dogs, Tara is still intrigued. And the basement is even more exciting because the kitty litter boxes are down there . . . and of course, cat poop! She knows she’s not supposed to go up or downstairs so she’s been taking ninja lessons to effectively tip toe on the stairs without anybody noticing. We’ve creatively blocked both entranceways to upstairs and basement now, and so sometimes she sits at the gate and stares longingly up or down the stairs and whines to let me know that I have blocked one of her favorite pasttimes.

5. When Tara wants to get off of the couch, lounger, or chair, instead of walking or jumping off she lays down and slides her body off of the chair in a snake-like fashion. It is hysterical. We don’t know why she does this, but I think maybe sometimes she is trying to decide whether she really wants to leave or not and then takes her sweet time deciding while she slowly rolls off the place she’s sitting.


Pet Names oozing with “cute”

This post was inspired by my friends, Nathan & Charles, and their dog Sadie. Sadie has what I think is the best alias pet name EVER: Mrs. Woofington. Yes, that’s right. It’s so good that I think they should copyright it, because I am tempted to st…

This post was inspired by my friends, Nathan & Charles, and their dog Sadie. Sadie has what I think is the best alias pet name EVER: Mrs. Woofington. Yes, that’s right. It’s so good that I think they should copyright it, because I am tempted to steal it every day.

Everyone has cutesy names for their pets and loved ones. And we’re certainly not having any shortage of pet names in our household! In fact, Sam and I often make up songs for our pets that go along with their pet names, or that sing to the tune of popular songs. Here are some of our favorite names for our furry four-legged babies. What are some of your favorite “pet” names for your loved ones?

Kiko
kiko biko
kiko butter
kikos fart-anopolis (his greek name)
keekster & keekmeister (from his aunt katy)
keeker beeker
buddy
buddy-boo-bah
snorey-snore-alot


Tara

Tara-bo-bara
Sleepyhead
T-time
Tara-boo
Tarr-ible (when she’s in full-on energy puppy mode)
Tare-bear
baby bear

Lilith
Lily girl
Lily
lily-potamus
sweet baby girl


It always comes back to Kiko

One of my friends mentioned that this blog is titled “kiko and his furry friends” but then all the photos are of Tara. Now, that’s not exactly true, but . . . point taken. If you go back far enough there is some history and many photos of Kiko, from wh…

One of my friends mentioned that this blog is titled “kiko and his furry friends” but then all the photos are of Tara. Now, that’s not exactly true, but . . . point taken. If you go back far enough there is some history and many photos of Kiko, from when I first began this blog. But it feels like too much time has lapsed since Kiko’s last featured post, so here it is.

Many people ask, “So how is Kiko doing with this new puppy?” Well, it’s been a process for sure, but I think Kiko is doing really well with his new charge of “big brother.” At first Kiko barely tolerated Tara, as she wanted to chew on him and attack him in play, all the time. But as Tara has grown and matured some she has started to understand that Kiko is not her chew toy, and she is gentler with him. And as her gentleness grows, so does Kiko’s acceptance of Tara. As of last week, we see Kiko allowing Tara to snuggle with him on the bear chair, and sometimes he follows her out at the dog park. Overall he is still Kiko, who’s favorite pasttime is snoring away while he’s cuddling with you. So, as long as Tara wants to participate in that, Kiko’s all for hanging out! Besides that, we have noticed that Kiko has developed some more food aggression than he had with Bentley. In fact, I think Bentley taught Kiko about food aggression, so I am really hoping Kiko does not pass that on to Tara . . .

Ok, well enough talk. Let’s get to some Kiko-fabulous photos!








Berners and pugs and friends, oh my!

Today Tara and Kiko met up with some friends at the dog park . . . A beautiful and gentle 3 1/2 year old berner named Brody, a german shephard / corgi mix friend named Logan, Maya the beautiful golden retriever, and Siva the sleek and playful shephard …

Today Tara and Kiko met up with some friends at the dog park . . . A beautiful and gentle 3 1/2 year old berner named Brody, a german shephard / corgi mix friend named Logan, Maya the beautiful golden retriever, and Siva the sleek and playful shephard mix! She also played with some other dogs, a german shephard named Sasha and a cute little hound puppy. We’ve been watching Tara closely at the dog park, because we know sometimes dogs can be aggressive there, but she seems to seek out the gentler playful dogs and tries to run with them. In a few photos here, you can see Tara and Brody sharing a stick together. How sweet!














Tara’s Weekly Top Ten

I really like posting a weekly Top Ten list for Tara, because I think it is a nice way to pay attention to what she likes/doesn’t like on a weekly basis and to see what she is learning and how she is growing over several weeks. So, here is her top ten …

I really like posting a weekly Top Ten list for Tara, because I think it is a nice way to pay attention to what she likes/doesn’t like on a weekly basis and to see what she is learning and how she is growing over several weeks. So, here is her top ten for this week (18 weeks old).

Tara’s Top Ten For This Week

1. Being sideways and upside down (Tara can get herself into all kinds of crazy positions)
2. Eating poop
3. Eating sticks
4. Going to the dog park and getting slobbered on by other dogs
5. Trying to get her gentle leader off (although she is getting used to it through her normal fun activities)
6. Laying underneath the coffeetable
7. Snuggling with Kiko and getting into Kiko’s bed with him
8. Belly rubs
9. Eating her ‘puppy fish’ and bully sticks
10. Eating her breakfast and lunch out of her ‘treat ball’ instead of her bowl

Tara’s Not-Favorite Things
1. This week we discovered she is afraid of the wind. We were at the dog park when this fear of wind came on suddenly. She began trying to run away from the wind. So I started doing recall and sit with her to redirect her attention and that worked pretty well, she eventually became less afraid of the big bad wind.

We are using the Susan Garrett training tips that Mary-Ann alerted us to a few weeks ago, and they are really fabulous. Today is week 4 at puppy class, and she is doing pretty well. Walking on a leash is becoming much easier since we started using the gentle leader, and Susan Garrett had some great tips today on how to really normalize using this head collar.

Dog Park!

This weekend Tara went to the dog park for the very first time! Her and Kiko had a blast, she played and played and played with just about every dog in the park. Kiko found another little pug named Maya to play with! What we’ve realized about Kiko, is …

This weekend Tara went to the dog park for the very first time! Her and Kiko had a blast, she played and played and played with just about every dog in the park. Kiko found another little pug named Maya to play with! What we’ve realized about Kiko, is that he is like the “doorman” to the club, at the dog park. He loves to hang out by the gate, check out and greet the new dogs as they come in, and then keep the line moving! Kiko does not like to hang out with any one dog for very long, just enough for a proper greeting and then he wants them to move on. Ahh, Kiko, always makes us laugh and smile!

Here are some shots of Tara and Kiko at the park, and also some of Tara snuggling with Kiko on the bear chair that night after the dog park (passed out!). Enjoy