Dick Van Fatten my dog up

Are you sure you're a dog?
Genetic testing would confirm that Jasmine is a dog. But she's nobody's Balto.

There is no proud, regal wolf ancestor peering down from the heaven to which all dogs go and nodding thoughtfully as if to say, "Yes. THAT is my bloodline."

For years I've given Kirby the guinea pig more dog cred than Jasmine.

She was skinny. Her hair would get tragically matted way too quickly. She was whiney and a fantastically conflicted combination of timid and aggressive that may have made sense to Cesar but always just left me shaking my head.

That's just who she was. She was one of us and we pretty much loved her. But she sure wasn't going to win many favorite pet contests in a house currently occupied by personalities like Shouko and Bijou. Such is life.

Then our dogs got the runs.

In the process of trying to firm that situation up, one thing we did was throw out their current bag of food. For a few days I was actually fixing boiled chicken and rice for three dogs twice a day. But anyone who knows me knows THAT shit ain't gonna fly for very long, so we needed to get some dog food.

Partly in the interest of making sure our dogs were happy and comfortable (but mostly just because I didn't want to go back to cleaning up runny dog crap several times a day) we opted to temporarily switch from our regular super-premium brand of dog food up to some sort of insanely expensive ultra-mondo-uber-premium dog food.

At least for a little while, Iams was out. And Dick Van Patten's Natural Balance was in.

As '70s quasi-celebrity endorsements go, this seems to be among the more random. Suzanne Somers for the Thighmaster? That made sense because her claim to fame was that she was allegedly hot. (I was always more of a Janet guy than a Chrissy guy.) Sally Struthers for the Christian Children's Fund? That was totally in character.

But this? Seriously. Did the Bradfords even HAVE a dog?

Well, whatever. As Tom Bradford, he may not have known anything about birth control, but as Dick Van Patten he's totally got dog food figured out.

Jasmine's so happy now she can't hold still for a picture.
Shouko and Bijou are fine. But, with the exception of that brief intestinal episode, they were fine before. Jasmine, on the other hand, has officially flourished. She's put on at least 40 percent additional body weight. Her hair's calmed down. She's just generally happier. She's even started doing DOG things like finding smelly stuff and rolling around in it.

Jasmine, why the heck are you pink?
Who knew we were starving our dog by buying Iams? (For real. That stuff's not cheap. It's not like we were shoveling Atta Boy down their throats or something.) So, while the two bigger dogs are migrating back to regular dog food, I think we're going to keep spending some extra extra money to keep Jasmine under Dick Van Patten's watchful eye.

Now. Where do I go for a bottle of that Gavin MacLeod Kitchen & Bathroom Cleanser? (Just kidding. No way Gavin could come up with anything to top simplyneutral!)

Mud Run

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I would say that my father suffers with multiple sclerosis, but that would be inaccurate.

Anyone who’s had to spend any time with my Dad would point out that it’s more likely that MS suffers with my father.

But, whichever one’s been suffering more, they’ve been suffering together for thirty-some years. So Corinne and I would be excited about our next race just because our next race is a fundraiser for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

But we’re more excited than that. We’re way excited because the Mud Run 2010 looks AWESOME! Take a look at this video and see what I mean.

So this is how we’ve decided to spend our anniversary weekend this year.

Kick ass, right?

Okay, here’s the next thing I need you to do: Click these links and go sponsor me and/or Corinne. We need to meet our fundraising goal before the race on Sept. 11.

Multiple sclerosis interrupts the flow of information between the brain and the body. Every hour in the United States, someone is diagnosed with MS — an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. More than 400,000 people in the United States and 2.5 million worldwide live with MS.

The National MS Society uses dollars raised to fund cutting-edge research, drive change through advocacy, facilitate professional education, collaborate with MS organizations around the world, and provide programs and services designed to help people with MS and their families move their lives forward.

Help move us toward a world free of the disease. Make a donation!

There’s an app for that

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It's Corinne's birthday! And I think I did pretty well on her $5 birthday present.

I got her a $4.99 iPhone app — which would be an oddly pointless gift if we hadn't just caved last week. That's right; last week we gave up the desperate, futile wait for Apple to make the iPhone available for Sprint.

Corinne's switching to AT&T and getting the iPhone she's coveted so desperately and for so long. We shuffled some expenses and some budget dollars…and we'll make it work.

Now, if you're sensing a similarity between Corinne's $5 birthday present and her $1 Mother's Day present — and thinking that indicates a halfhearted effort and lack of creativity on my part — go screw yourself. Just kidding. But, in my opinion, what that similarity indicates is just how well I know and love my fantastic wife. She's a techno-geek. A beautiful, wonderful, adorable techno-geek.

So, as foreign as the idea sounds to me, I think an iPhone app is the thing that's truly going to bring joy to my wife… As soon as AT&T gets their act together and ships the damned phone.

iPhone = awesome

AT&T = lame

One…and, two


Got word today about a eight-year-old who shall remain here unnamed who was “crabby” after surgery for an undescended left testicle. (If ever there were an excuse for being crabby, I think I just named it. Women, don't start with the menstrual stuff. Usually I totally defer to you on that one. But this trumps that.)

After I finished cringing, I stopped to wonder. Just how, exactly, is an affliction like that discovered?

Cuz, now that I stop to think about it, I'm pretty sure I've never counted Quinn’s testicles.

Am I a bad parent? (That’s rhetorical. Don’t answer that.)

When anniversary parties attack

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Important stuff up front: Anniversaries are big deals. They're a testament to and a symbol of your patience, your commitment, your forgiving heart and your ability to make wise choices in the first place. As a guy who's made it into mid-range numbers before having it all go wrong – and as a guy who's trying again, armed with lessons and perspective – I have serious respect for any two people who can make it to any number. Any number. So congratulations to my in-laws, Sherman and Marie Anundsen, as they get close to their 40th anniversary. That's truly impressive.

So let me start by saying that I was fully prepared for Sherman and Marie's surprise anniversary party on Sunday to be a traumatically scarring experience. I went through at least a half dozen antacids in the 15 hours before we left Sartell. But that was based totally on my dread over dragging along two grumpy, self-absorbed teenagers with maddeningly narrow definitions of "family."

That part actually went relatively smooth. They both got some quality time to read and nap as they mopily secluded themselves in the truck. They made their brief, command performance for the "surprise" part and then quickly retreated back into their self-imposed sequestration. Given the scenarios that had floated through my mind, I was willing to consider that a ringing success.

I wasn't expecting the trouble to come from Molly. Of my three, Molly's the youngest. She's still willing to be engaged and positive because she thinks it gains my love and approval. Inaccurate (because, of course, I love all of our kids even when they're complete flaming turds). But nice.

Molly helped with set up. She was charming during lunch. She dragged me out to pitch some softballs to her and actually made some good contact…

But she was also modeling for Josie. And when she came up with the idea to pose on top of the fence and scampered on up over the top of the dugout, the die was cast. She jumped down and, somewhere along that journey, her arm had a brief-but-memorable encounter with the top of a chain-link fence.

Model Molly.

Mischief Molly

So we spent the remainder of the afternoon driving to Brainerd and enjoying the hospitality of their hospital emergency room. Molly got six stitches. She also got the part of this summer that she's been consistently dreading for the last four months out of the way when they gave her the tetanus booster she was going to need before starting 7th grade.

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I got to watch two episodes of Spongebob that I hadn't seen before. Erin got to make snarky observations about the fact that the doctor looked like Paul Blart, Mall Cop. (I laughed. I admit it.) Josie got the sense of validation that comes from being our navigator and getting us to Brainerd on the first shot – cuz I had no idea which direction we were going. (That's right, internet, Josie was my navigator and as frightening as that sounds, she did a great job of it.)

In fact, Quinn's was the only afternoon that proved fruitless, since the nurse at the front desk continually refused to let him ride around in one of the wheelchairs.

So there, Quinn. Let that be a lesson to you. Grumpy, mopey teenagers with surly attitudes almost never get to ride in wheelchairs that have cool oxygen tanks on them that look like they could maybe serve as propulsion devices. (And Erin, there must be a lesson for you in there somewhere. I just haven't figured it out yet!)

Molly, I love you. And you're not a klutz.

Medical update

Remember last week when Corinne went to the doctor and got that sexy wrist brace? Yeah, that was hot.

So a few days later she goes to a different doctor – this time to find out about a recurring clicking in her jaw. Jaw trouble. A little problem in the jawular region.

He checks her out, considers the problem carefully and sends her home with this little gem:


Dear God, please tell me that means what I think it means…