Tigger is no longer with us. The cantankerous tabby has been Michelle’s companion for 18 years. The old man has been in renal failure for quite some time, occasionally dipping in and out of poor health. Finally, after a week long decline, we took him to the vet to put him to sleep. We’ve struggled with the decision for months now, though the quality of his life has not been that great, and his grooming and mood have suffered lately. The old man moved with stiffness, wobbled when standing, talked to no one, and drank like a fish.

As a memorial, we placed him at the foot of Ella’s tree so he could share his watchfulness, hardiness and pith with its developing roots. We had joked about getting a cactus to extend his legacy, but they do not fair as well in this climate. Maybe we’ll put one indoors so we can drop it in our laps when we miss him, snag new clothing on it shortly after a first wear, and risk a blood-drawing nip if we pet it too long. The only problem with the plan is that cactus don’t make any noise. Tigger’s secret was that he was part Siamese. Tigger vocalized unlike any other cat I’ve met, and though it was usually a nuisance at 1am, 2am, and then 4am, occasionally it was funny to listen to his vocal contortions. House guests may disagree.

Michelle has had Tigger since she was 10 years old, so he’s done his share of moving. Starting during college (and the flea incident), Tigger has moved 5 times in the last several years. Each time (since the flea incident) he has rebounded quickly. He’s an indoor/outdoor cat, so as long as there was a cat door, he pretty much moved on his own schedule. That’s a double entendre. Oddly enough, each additional move seemed to improve his mood some, though I think he favored the Alberta area most. Cats love Thai food. He was part Siamese after all.

Tigger and I didn’t always get along. Something about me taking his bed and attention soured him to me. Still, it didn’t sour him enough from constantly wanting my attention, or puking on stuff. Still, we had a healthy pseudo-nemesis relationship that I’ll now have to fill with something else. He will be missed, but not as much at night.

A photo tribute

One down

Ella’s Birthday CakeElla officially turned one year old at the beaver den exhibit at the Oregon Zoo today. It was probably pretty obvious that something was up since she had two parents in tow who alternated between tears, smiles, and picture taking. The zoo was of some interest to Ella; she saw a number of the animals, and seemed the most interested by the fish, otters, and other marine exhibits, though the chocolate ice cream was just as engaging. She’s still too young to understand that she is part ape, so I think her interest wasn’t as keen as it will be in coming years.

Michelle and I took a mulligan Sunday and hung out with the girl on her first. We reminisced about the changes we’ve seen, chased after her as she tottered off towards the dog food, and tried to get her to walk in a pair of semi-soft shoes. The whole day was wonderful, and the girl in a diaper with sassy pink shoes taking Frankenstein steps is both completely recognizable and different from the tiny creature that joined us last year.

I’ll admit, I don’t think babies are much fun. But each day that passes brings another way to interact with this little person who used to sleep everywhere we’d go. Now she’s mobile, starting to sign her displeasure with some foods, and paying Barley his dividend for all his patience.

Barley could not, however, help clean up the chocolate cupcake that Ella destroyed in celebration.

Eat that!

Last Thursday I won the technical services pie eating contest. It was a single fruit-pie, no hands, winter takes all. My approach of eating in a clean progression put me behind at first, but the technique paid off once the other contestants tried to work with the crushed pulp of their fruit pies. The prize? Besides the title, I won $25 worth of go-kart tickets. I ended up sharing them though because the go-karts at Oaks Bottom are slow, and run by disgruntled power-tripping teenagers. 5 minutes of karting with 4 stops was enough.

Bridge Pileup 2007

Bridge Pedal 2007

Michelle, Ella, my parents, sister and I all rode (and stood) in the Bridge Pedal this year. It was Ella’s first real ride in the buggy and we put on a total of about 22 miles. Ella is really not so certain about the helmet, so we all had to show her that we too had helmets on, and that she was ok. Things went fine until the line up, when we had to take her out for a while and let her see mom. Then, the ride was on, and she was relatively happy while in motion.

Sadly, there were long swaths of time where we were not in motion. The confusion at the Hawethorn Bridge wasn’t bad, but the 1+ hour of standing and waddling to the Ross Island bridge was lame. Ella was very distraught, and cried for a bit when we prematurely put her back in the trailer thinking we were going to start again. I tried to explain to her that we would be moving soon, but she was vocalizing what everyone else was thinking. Waiting sucks.

We pit-stopped in the bushes to eat then crossed the Ross Island slowly and enjoyed movement for the remainder of the ride. Michelle got ahead of us on the Marquham, but thought she was behind us, so she finished in a hurry, trying to catch up. We of course waited at each bridge for her before figuring that she’d ventured on.

I have a secret though – I didn’t actually finish the event. A mere 5 blocks from the finish, I met up with Michelle and we hastened back up Interstate to get home before our company had to leave. Ella and I had a top speed of 29 MPH getting on to 405 to then climb on to the Marquham. She slept through it all – whee!


Michelle and I celebrated our 6th anniversary today by tiling a counter and priming the walls in our bathroom, installing some gutters, and ogling the city from way up big pink at City Grill. Tiling was a surprising amount of fun, and we’re hoping after the grouting tomorrow that we’ll still feel that way. We still have the floor to do. One bonus? The tile was free. We pulled it out of a dumpster near my sisters. A tile place was emptying their warehouse and had lots of small batches available. Score.

The gutters are in dire need of repairs and I’ve been slowly working on them for the last 2 weeks. The biggest challenge has been getting the new downspouts to fit into the old smaller drainpipe. Today I finally figured out the proper technique. I was briefly thwarted by some wasps who seem to have made a home between some trim and old shakes. My pesticide-free way of getting rid of them? Zip-tie a small propane torch to a long pole and alternate between spraying the entrance to the nest with water and bumping it with a pole, then trying to burn the defensive wasps before the wised up or bit me. After half an hour, I finally gave up and decided to work on another part of the house. The wasp-torch-pole is patent pending.

Finally, we cleaned up and Michelle tricked me in to dressing up for dinner at City Grill, 30 floors up in the Bankcorp tower. We had window seating on the east side of the building, and Michelle was kind enough to let me face south. The view was spectacular, and only interrupted by good service and food. For a guy whose family would pay to climb church towers in Germany for a good view, this was an excellent surprise.

Now, with a baby who is getting ready to walk, we head in to year 7.

Brett Dennen at lunch

Jas and I met up with Michelle and her coworker for lunch in Pioneer courthouse square to see Brett Dennen play a set for the Noon Tunes. Brett is one of the few folk singer/songwriters that I’ve been drawn to in a long while and the show today was really a lovely way to spend a long lunch. He’s playing at the Crystal Ballroom Friday if anyone is interested. Michelle and Jas say he puts on a great show. If lunch was any indication, I suspect they are right.

In addition to the music, it was fun to watch work on the buildings downtown, including the packed elevators coming off the old Meier and Frank building, which has part of its facade peeled back during renovation.