Big Dumb Blond

ChiquiStPatrickWe have been blessed with a gentle giant for almost 10 years.

She was a small fluff ball when she joined our family, in the shape of a small St Bernard, and Beethoven era was upon us.  It was like a Gremlin hairy ball, who grew fast.

One important piece of advise, never go see St Bernard puppies with your kids!  That’s how we ended up with three dogs simultaneously; labrador, Bernese Mountain Dog and St Bernard.  Each dog become a bigger breed.

Nevertheless, we loved the dogs and they became part of our family.  Kids rode them like ponies, ran with them in the snow and cried as the parted us, walking across the Rainbow Bridge.

Chiquita (named after the banana for no apparent reason) was the last of the trio.  She was a gentle clumsy giant, who loved everyone she met.  Yes, she wasn’t the brightest bulb in the lamp shop, but that didn’t bother her or us.  It was the sheer love she gave us, in particular the kids.

It was a moving carpet and when she slept the neighbours could hear her snoring.  It resonated throughout the house.  At times I woke up in the middle of the night to move her, which only lasted a few minutes.  We had many fun filled moments with her … or at least on her account 🙂

  • If she was in the garden, and I would call, she would look the opposite direction.  Not to piss me off, but simply because she had no clue where my voice came from.  EVEN, if I would stand 10 yards from her.
  • When shaking her head, we would have slobber streaks on walls and ceiling, as well as furniture, windows, TV, furniture – that’s just part of having a large breed.
  • A few times she was running towards me, only to trip over her front legs, almost crash into the ground, but magically recover the fall gracefully.
  • We would throw her treats, almost hitting her head.  She either couldn’t see the treat or had not idea what to do when we threw them.  She just continued to stare at whoever was throwing it.
  • She had the ability to dig out treats hidden in her dry-food, and lick off all gravy, and still leave all the dry-food behind.  She was a picky eater.  In fact, she would only eat meats and treats while in heat.

You can imagine the sadness that fell upon the family, when we found her lifeless in the living room the other morning.  She had slept in during the early morning.  I gently petted her head and body, said a few loving words, and then woke up my wife with the sad news.

The girls woke up and broke into tears.  They knew she was old, but that doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye.  They hugged the fluffy giant while she slept, and my wife cancelled school that day.  It was simply too much for the girls.

keyringst_bernardLater that day, we carried her (not easy to carry 140lbs) to the car and I drove her to the vet.  One final visit and final goodbyes.  The girls had joined me, but couldn’t hold back the tears as they drove her away.  My oldest ran over to stretcher and gave her a strong loving hug, while tears were rolling down her face.  Then she came to me and needed a big hug.

Now the third dog has crossed the rainbow bridge, waiting for us to one day come across to play with them again.

15 Years!

Not too sure if I should be worried or delighted when I recently received a mail from the company I work for, congratulating me for having spent the past 15 years with them.  Should I be worried that I had been with them for 15 years or delighted that I have been there for 15 years?

Well, I choose to be delighted.  It may sound corny, but for me it has been a great journey – a journey that many of my colleagues over the years have expressed amazement.

OfficeSpacePicYes, I have been ridiculed for being a company man, but I’m actually proud of that.  To me it shows that they believe in me just as much as I believe in them.  The more cynical would say that I’ve been stuck in the Matrix and that I have not lived.

For the cynical, as we say in Ireland, well feck ya!  I’ve had a blast and I’ve met so many wonderful people … and some have even inspired me to do better.

The year I started my job the Celtic tiger was still alive and roaring across the Globe.  We had a fantastic life inside our little Leprechaun world, where most bankers would give you a 110% mortgage, the credit cards limits were increased weekly just for being happy and the only house common people could afford was 15-20 miles outside Dublin City … unless you of course didn’t mind buying an overpriced town house that would eat away at both your incomes.

A lot of Irish people who had left the country in the mid 80’s came back to their homeland to take part in this phenomenon, trying to reach the pot of gold.  But as many found out in recent years, we got somewhat shafted by the same generous bankers and people ended up leaving again.

During the 15 years I made great friends.  Some are more than friends, but that’s because we grew up together, started families, had kids and got older.  At times I spent more time with my colleagues than at home, and our partners participated in various corporate events.

The worst memory of my working life was in 2008 when we had to make a number of very hard decisions.  At this point in my career I had made it to senior management and was now faced with some harsh realities of management.  We had to reduce our team by 25% and I was part of the team having to share the news with the individuals.

That afternoon, after having told friends they were no longer with the firm, I spent good parts of 15 minutes crying.  Many might think it’s easy being management, but it breaks my heart to send people into the job market, especially because we weren’t parting ways because of poor performance, but because some twats in banking society had started the killing of Celtic Tiger.

A few years later I was offered a great opportunity to move to the US and be part of the Global organisation.  Professionally it was a side step, but I’m willing to work hard and become part of another great team.  More importantly, it was a fantastic opportunity for the family to improve our quality of life.

The only laughing matter was how the company would actually thank me for all these years?  Was I really at the age where they would dish out the traditional gold watch or would I just get a free meal in the canteen.  It didn’t really matter to me, I was just happy to have been able to contribute to the growth of the organisation over the years.

I was utterly amazed with the selection of gifts I could select from; iPod, Bose sound system, TV, bicycle, lamps, etc.  In the end I decided to get a pool table.

We don’t really have space for a pool table, but that’s a minor detail.  We just have to buy a house that has the necessary space.

Roll on the next decade and may I find new opportunities to grow professionally, and I’m certain it will continue to be an adventure.

How long have you been with your company?  Are you prod to work for your company?  Or do you work to live?

calvin_and_hobbes__15_years_later____by_zenitram_anth-d5ajnsy

Walking through Copenhagen

OK, there many benefits from flying overnight to a far away country, but the shitty thing is that you land ridiculously early in the morning … so early that you might even wonder if the public services are open yet.

This happen for me when going to Denmark on business, again, and I flew out Saturday evening to combat the jet-lag before heading to the office Monday morning.  I’m not great for sleeping on a plane that travels 700mph at 20000ft.  I need as much time as possible to recover when arriving.  The notion of doing the red-eye doesn’t work for me.  I’ll end up being shut-eye.

copenhagenbynightAnyway, the flight to Copenhagen was 30-40 minutes ahead of schedule when landing.  It was pretty clear from looking out the window that The Little Mermaid (and the rest of Denmark) were snoring in their warm beds.  Thankfully I had actually managed to sleep on the plane, some achievement, so I wasn’t as tired as last time.

As the passengers embarked the plane and rushed towards the passport control, some of the airport shops were only just opening up and several people were waiting for their flights out of Denmark to the warmer parts of the World.

Being an old Dane, I knew it would be cheaper to catch the local train to the center of Copenhagen and then stroll the 5-7 minutes to the hotel.

I was greeted by a strong odor of bleach as I stepped on the train, which clearly indicated that it was the first trip for the little Thomas the Train, and not many passengers joined me on the 12 minute journey to Copenhagen.

The train arrived, on time of course, and as I jumped out on the empty platform and made my way through the station, I noticed some strange people staggering around the place and feared for a moment that World War Z had become a real story, and buddies were stacked in corners making strange sounds.

It wasn’t as cold as In the US, but it was still dark and chilly as I walked the streets through Copenhagen on a Sunday morning.  The only cars were taxis and some city buses had started to go.  Sidewalks were deserted.

As I walked towards the hotel I couldn’t help but notice more of the staggering creatures, who had a strong odor of alcohol.  Some were still giggling.  Some were practicing french-kissing under the shelter of the nearest shop and some just looked utterly confused walking in all directions at once.

Even Tivoli was closed!

Thankfully the hotel wasn’t too far and I quickly checked in and crashed on my under-sized bed.  The Danes have taken the notion minimalism to a new level, by introducing pigeon-hole sized hotel rooms, where you have to reverse your arse into the toilet and limited floor space.

A few days back in the homeland, before I head back to my lovely family.

Rainbow Bridge Poem

The below poem is widely available on the internet, on numerous pet sites, I thought it would be fitting to share it with my readers given our close connection with our pets.

It’s a lovely poem that certainly brings a tear to my eye.

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.  There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.  There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor.  Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.  The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance.  His bright eyes are intent.  His eager body quivers.  Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.  The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together.

Author unknown

Abducted? Nah!!

I normally don’t share or comment on articles I read or stumble across, but I simply had to share this little story.

Meet Jeffrey, a not-so-normal guy who was apparently abducted by ET … or something similar.

You have to question the intentions of these possible abductors, as they could surely find a more attractive specimen, considering they are planning to learn more about the human race.  What message does this send to the alien abductors?

… these humans are push-overs.  Give them some alcohol, an inflatable doll and then we’ll rule over their measly little planet.  They are scum!

Surely, we as humans want to get a little more respect from our fellow space travelers.

Anyway, read Jeffrey’s story carefully, and see if you can see what really happened.

“It happened eleven years ago in St. Louis, Missouri at an exotic dancing bar. I went in there to just have a few drinks and look at some strip-girls dance around the pole. And this guy comes in out of nowhere and he was black in color but he had a very strange voice. And he knew things about me that no-one in the bar knew. Like how many trips I took. He knew things I was doing. He knew when my parents were going to die and what they were going to die of. Then he tells me he’s here to abduct me and replace forty nine chips [in my body]. Dr. Lewinsky one of those Grey hybrids was going to do the operation. And they were going to take me aboard a flying saucer. […] I was swept up for like three hours and they did exactly what they said they were going to do to me and then took me back to the bar and woke me up and I lost three hours in time.”

I’m sure you found the story illuminating and fascinating, just as I did, but here’s my take on this little “abduction”.

Jeffrey visited the local strip joint, probably after payday, got absolutely hammered, was sexually assaulted by Gremlins and woke up three hours later with a serious hangover.

Worse, he might have attempted to grope the pole dancing she-man and was punched unconscious by the over-sized Eastern European bouncer, but decided to say he had been abducted instead.

Honestly, if you were an alien, would you have abducted Jeffery?