Saturday, July 30, 2005

Go figure.....

Leaving the office tonight at 11:38pm, I had an interesting thought pass through my mind as I tried, but failed, to pick up Letterman on the radio.....

"I work in radio, but my radio doesn't work."

How ironic is that??

PS: CBS in Richmond is on Channel 6, the audio of which is on the same frequency as 87.7 FM, so that's how I can "hear" Letterman on the radio.....

No energy for an advertising cliche tonight. As the athlete would say, "I left it all out on the court tonight."

Thank God I can sleep the morning away.....:)

Be back later. Hoping this will actually be a PRODUCTIVE weekend!!

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Various thoughts and observations.....


Today's Advertising Cliche from hell:

"Operators are standing by!"

First, they don't make them stand. (I know, that's a matter of semantics) Second, if I'm in any way using phones as a way of pushing product, I would not:

A) Leave the phone off the hook;
B) Summarily fire all the operators;
C) Go deliquent on the phone bill.

Go ahead. Call them. Someone's there. I already know it. Don't insult me.


--A Pro and a Con regarding Natalee Holloway:

Pro: It's good not to let her fade into the background of our conscience, until there is some sort of closure.

Con: There are lots of other similar stories out there and we don't know about them. So, what makes one "newsworthy" and another not?


Speaking of which:

Did you get this story?

So, your son isn't sitting properly. Has it annoyed me with my kids? Sure--everyone goes through it, and, like me, I'm sure you did because YOU CARED FOR YOUR CHILD'S SAFETY.

I don't think we can apply that logic here. Otherwise, she wouldn't have bumped into him with her vehicle for good measure to make sure he didn't get back in.

Nuts. Absolutely nuts. Can't wait to see the penalty here. She should never have the child again (duh!), and I don't know what the sentence guidelines are. Whatever they are, make it the maximum, and remind me to complain when this happens that the maximum sentence wasn't enough.


My wife just belched. On the 1-10 scale, it was a definite "9".


What's the hub-bub over Jessica Simpson? Was this really a "Christian Resistance" group calling for her to re-shoot her video, or is it a joke, or is it some sort of wacko ultra-right wing group that should be ignored? I'm not linking. I looked. Too weird!

Apparently, from what I've read, you cannot ignore certain portions of Simpson's anatomy during the video. For her sake, I hope she doesn't look like sis Ashlee sang at the Orange Bowel in January......

Oh, and after seeing the "Dukes of Hazzard" trailer before Star Wars the other week, my son, a HUGE Dukes fan, was completely unimpressed. He has no desire to watch the movie.

I hated the TV show. I'd only watch the movie if I were paid six figures, and then I'd sneak a blindfold into the theatre with me....


My guilty pleasure while working hour after hour?

Great place to hear music; the commercial interruptions are bearable, and there's a premium subscription available that cuts them out (but that hurts my feelings, seeing as I make a living in connection w/commercials).

I enjoy several 80s stations. Now if someone could just do a Contemporary Christian station that runs both today's music and great hits of 1985-2000. I've only found one Classic Christian station, but they seem stuck in the Jesus People years. That just wasn't my cup of tea.

But I do enjoy throwing down on "This Is The Way Love Is" by The 77's, circa 1990.

The song I REALLY, REALLY want to find a recording of is Undercover's remake of, yes the classic hymn, "Holy, Holy, Holy". LOVED this song in college when playing it on the old WCWL-FM.

Of course, at a Christian college, you "weren't supposed to dance". If memory serves me correctly, when we'd play this song, those in attendance at above said radio station would immediately run into the station office (so as not to make the record skip on the air), and begin slam-dancing!!!! If it wasn't slam-dancing, it was tremendous amounts of jumping up and down (viva la 80s!!!) You couldn't help it.

Maybe one day, I'll get my hands on that CD Box Set.


Well, the kids head to separate (and hopefully equal) sleepovers tomorrow night, so, I'm supposed to come home to an empty house (save the missus, of course). Fridays are not my "gotta work late" day, because I have to have all my commercial copy in and ready to go Friday mid-afternoon so my friends in the party room, the girls in traffic, can finish their jobs.

So, Thursday night is stay late night. But, Friday will suffice in that I can start working ahead on next week, and maybe, just maybe, get far enough ahead to sneak out a day and take the family to Busch Gardens, since the vacation week was cancelled.

Then my name wouldn't be quite as "mud" at home as it is right now.


And in closing....Proverbs 21:9 states: "It is better to in a corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a wide house." (KJV)

The NLT is nicer...."It is better to live alone in the corner of an attic than with a contentious wife in a lovely home."

Here, go and read Matthew Henry's take on the verse.

Then, before you go commenting on my horrific attitude toward women and vindictive use of God's Word.....see my tongue slide out of the cheek....


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Heart in Throat....for 12 more days.....

I was really worried about the shuttle launch. I remember not being that way at all in September 1988 when we returned to space travel after Challenger.

As the time after launch continued, the fear faded some, as the awe took over. That camera they placed onto the shuttle like a "backpack" was incredible.

First shot, you see Florida like you're leaving on a jet plane.

Next shot, there's a clear delineation between earth atmosphere and space.

That clarity got better and better with each shot until the payoff.

When the shuttle disengaged from the external fuel tank, and said goodbye to the camera, the sight of it slowly lifting up and to the right away from the tank was downright unbelievable.

Now, let's make sure the debris situation is taken care of, for my heart will not return to its normal location until I hear the word, "Touchdown".

Simply put--had there been another accident today, NASA would have ceased to exist.
Now, we've got 11 days to go.



"Looking for an exciting and challenging career?"

"Recruitment" advertising has increased greatly on radio in recent years as a way for employers to find people employed, but unhappy or looking to advance, who aren't lookin' at the classifieds.

But how many commercials for job openings have I seen come through the office begin with the above-typed inane line? Hundreds.

Just for grins, what would people say if one of them began like this:

"Looking to completely sabotage your career and your family's future in a guaranteed dead-end environment?"

There's got to be more than one way to introduce a job ad. We're trying to cultivate 'em.


Well, it was, oh, I don't know....96, 98, 101 degrees....did it matter? It was hot, and I can't stand it. One more day and then relief. :)

Rachel started, ah, BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING today. Yikes!!! By choice, I must add. SHE wanted to go. She's already asking when school starts. Funny---Robbie isn't. :)

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Horizontal Weekend

In 1980, I owned the Bob Seger album, "Against The Wind". One of my favorite songs from it was "The Horizontal Bop". At a naive 13, I had no idea what Bob was really wanting to do; I, as usual, just loved the music and sang along as if there were no consequences....

This brings us to July 23 and 24, 2005---The Horizontal Weekend.

And no, not for reasons that would bring smiles of ecstasy.....

I slept.

And I slept.

I missed my five year old niece's birthday party at the fire station (yes, the fire station...)

And I slept.

I made it to church Sunday morning.

Then I sat dazed in the recliner for the rest of the day, missing a meeting.

I guess the last several weeks finally took their toll---one (sometimes two) people short at work, working 11-12 hours a day, church on Sunday, trying to find two minutes to remind the kids who I am, etc., etc., etc.

And let's not forget the OCD battle on a daily basis brought to you by "Lack-O-Serotonin"!!

And it's not like I fell asleep one time and woke up 28 hours later. No, we only sleep an hour-ish at a time. Overnights? If I get four hours in a row of sleep, it's breaking news on Fox.

So, I sorta staggered through today, and hope to find the other side tomorrow.

Blah blah, enough of me, blah blah.


"For More Information"

When you call your local florist, mechanic, printer, whoever....don't you want them to magically stick a tube through the phone, connect it to your ear, and then SUCK INFORMATION OUT OF YOUR BRAIN????

Thank you.


In's hot. I hate heat. I hate humidity even more.

Forecast high for tomorrow: 104.
Forecast high for Wednesday: 103.

This ain't flippin' Phoenix!!


Friday, July 22, 2005


It's been hangin' most of the day.

At first it didn't feel like sinus; it felt like the "overtired" pains you get in your head and elsewhere.

Now that my head is clamming shut in the warmer environment (it was cooler in the office than here at home), I'm realizing the culprit.

I'd like to thank Sudafed for joining us in tonight's pillfest.


Today's Advertising Cliche From Hell.........
"It's (fill in the blank) season again!"
Thank you for the insult. I KNOW it's vacation season. In October, I'll know "the holidays are fast approaching" (and with my penchant for procrastination, don't want to be reminded), and in December I'm well aware the "shopping days are winding down".

This is exactly why I attempted to have "Joy To The World" sung at our church's Easter Sunday service one year. Those who don't "get it" won out. (You pick and choose your battles.) :)


Today reminded me why I scheduled to take this week as my vacation week....

Friday was a much slower than usual Friday. We finished early, and one of my guys had the day off.

This lull is about to end, though. August, in radio, is plain nuts. Back to School, Labor Day, lots of "clearance" car sales (when do they start offering the "Ex-Employee Discount"?) and, of course, the ever-popular commercials in upcoming college football coverage.

Nothing like living life in increments of 15, 30, and 60 seconds.

Oops. Sudafed's taking effect. Good night!

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Double standard titled with a double entendre....

Thanks to ALa once again! :)

Check out the recent "Screw Abstinence" party, courtesy of the Washington State Chapter of NARAL.

Remember when abortions were going to be "legal, safe, and rare"? From what's happening these days, it seems only "legal" applies.

I warn you, this link has definite objectionable content. But it needs to be exposed. Gotta love NARAL........not!

Now....NARAL's darling for their future said the following while running for the US Senate in 1999 (thanks to!)....

"We come to [the abortion] issue as men and women, young and old, some far beyond years when we have to worry about getting pregnant, others too young to remember what it was like in the days before Roe v. Wade. But I think it’s essential that as Americans we look for that common ground that we can all stand upon. [Our] core beliefs and values. can guide us in reaching our goal of keeping abortion safe, legal and rare into the next century."
Source: Remarks to NARAL, Washington DC Jan 22, 1999

Hillary? Follow-up question---couldn't abortions be more rare if people made the reasonable decision to exercise a long-forgotten art....SELF-CONTROL....and actually embrace the abstinence your friends mock? Wouldn't your "hope" be closer to being fulfilled?

Hillary? Hillary? Where'd she go????

Various notes and observations.....


We begin with today's advertising cliche from hell (suggested by the one and only Rodney Woody at work today.....):

"We're broadcasting live at........"

Now, I don't know about you, but personally I think some of the better radio broadcasts in history were when one was broadcasting dead, don't you?


Two of the past three Thursdays I have been shown why I should be proud of my English heritage, albeit in a needless, horrendous way.

The way the British citizenry picks up and goes on so quickly is unreal. Yeah, I know. I'm NOT comparing 7/7 and 7/21 to 9/11. There is no comparison.

But....give the Brits credit for holding their heads up in spite of the events around them.

Now.....I want to know how the Withams got to be so nervous, and edgy, etc....after immigrating to this side of the Atlantic.....:)


I didn't think about it, but an emailer to a TV News website I follow daily hit it right on the money.

Sky News is very professional at going about breaking coverage. All the anchors and reporters were very calm, reporting events surrounding them in a thoughtful, non-panic-filled way. Fox definitely has the advantage of being their "sister network" (thanks, Rupert!). CNN has their own international unit, but other than Christiane Amanpour , they are pretty bare.

It's also interesting to turn on CBS News' coverage of anything breaking these days for one reason:

---find out who's anchoring today.

SPEAKING OF WHICH: Why does CBS allow Julie Chen to be a "news-person" on the Early Show, and host "Big Brother"? She's done it for six years now. Wonder if she's dated Les that long.......

AND FINALLY............. the back door greetin' people after church back on Sunday, my daughter comes up to me and says.....

"Dad, it's July, right?"

"Yes, honey."---I said.

"Then if it's July, why are there Junebugs out?"

Oh, to be that innocent again. :) :) Carefree, too!!!

Now THIS is a discount!!

Everyone's talking about employee pricing for cars......

I want the prices THESE guys pay.......


Sunday, July 17, 2005

FINALLY!! The Rob Has Come Back To....The Pool!!!!

Story in a moment, but first......

Today's Advertising Cliche from Hell:
"...check out our wide selection of....."

Why are all selections wide? What does that exactly describe? If you sell 100 widgets, and tell me it's a wide selection, for all I know there could be 100,000 of them and you're lying to me. Plus, "wide"? Why not "in-depth"? Is it a metaphor that it's easier to open your arms to grab something than to exert the force to dig deep for it?

A wide selection tells me nothing. Besides, if you don't have what I want, I could care less how wide it is.

Enough for today......

My last foray into the backyard pool was August 2003.

Before I go on, I note it's above ground, a circle, 15 feet by 4 feet. Nice, but certainly does not lift us from our "middle-class" status.

In 2004, I had this little trouble called a separated shoulder. I spent ten weeks in an arm sling and those ten weeks coincided with the first ten of my kids' eleven weeks of summer vacation.

So, no pool in '04. Hadn't been in yet this year....until tonight.

Yep--made it in. Nice and warm; Rachel's without a jacket now and swims like a fish (Robbie taught well!) and, about five or ten minutes into my triumphal return...


We knew there was a chance, so the Weather Channel was on on the back porch TV. The second clap of thunder was louder (thus, closer) than the first, so that's when I suggested we bail.

Good thing; as Bonnie was getting out (she was the last to do so), here comes this nice bolt (if there is such a thing) of lightning.

So, yes, it wasn't a three hour tour, complete with float with drink holder....but I did get in. And considering the physical and psychological issues I've had the past few years, I see this as a victory.

Yesterday was another. It was Vacation Bible School day at church (we do a big one-day shindig because we're so small, we don't have the luxury of having enough volunteers to do five nights). I had worked between 55 and 60 hours at the station, and wasn't "fatigued" as much as I was simply "sleepy".

When Saturday morning arrived, I knew I wouldn't be going anywhere. Bonnie asked about 7am and got the message. Then, as her sister and kids arrived to caravan down to church, she asked if I was sure I couldn't make it.

So, the extra prompt worked. I slid out of my bed (got a new, much thicker mattress so it's a longer drop to the floor! :) ) and stumbled to the shower.

Bonnie drove and I kinda flopped in the front seat.

We got there, and I felt better and was able to conduct myself normally. I was supposed to teach the teenage problem. They weren't there.

Two (including my son) teetered on the age, so they combined with other kids and I spent four hours in the sanctuary, getting to run the sound system during music time, having nice conversations with people (which is harder to do on Sunday morning when everyone is so busy "doing" church we don't stop long enough to say much more than "How are you?"), and got to study the Word for awhile.

Bonnie was worried because I had no backup. Turns out I didn't teach. And that was a good thing.

On the one hand I could think, "Stink, I could've stayed home and rested."

On the better hand, I was there to support the kids, my kids enjoyed me being there, I enjoyed talking, got to study and just "take in the atmosphere" of the place for a few hours.

Yep, I was supposed to be there. Just for different reasons. Sometimes when we "assign" ourselves a purpose to an event and it doesn't happen that way, we gravitate to "well, I guess I wasn't supposed to be here". Not true. You may not have been supposed to be there for the pre-assigned reason that you had going into it, but another more important purpose may become apparent as the time moves on.

So, two victories this weekend....and I still snuck in two naps. :)

Today after church it was "take Robbie to Toys R Us to find the elusive Star Wars Action Figures"......

Rats. We went oh for three.

The good news is, by reading the packaging of other figures, we figured out (pardon the pun) that his wish list consists of the following:

1) Obi-Wan
2) Anakin
26) Yoda

See, the numbers are important because all three of the above-mentioned intergalactic stars have not one, but two figures in the set. So, you have to know which one of each is the "one to be found". Thankfully, they've assigned numbers to each figure in the set (like baseball cards!!) and so, old man Dad can now look for figures with little or no difficulty.

Oh, and, by the way, it's his money he's using. Not mine. To protect his money today, he kept it inside a shoe during church so he'd have it at the store afterwards.

One word: Stink!


Well, the family leaves for DC tomorrow. Bonnie, the kids, her mom, her sister and her husband, and their three kids.

Something's missing.....

Oh, yeah. Me.

Another summer, another conflict which causes me to sit out a trip.

2003---Anxiety attacks
2004---Busted Shoulder
2005---Understaffed at work

What will it be in 2006?

I can tell you this much.....liberals would look at all four years posted above and assign the blame to Ronald Reagan.

And, finally---props to ALa on her one-year blogiversary! She was so nice to give me a shout-out on her anniversary post.

She can expect one in return at month's end when I hit the mark, too.

To look at the depth of her site (both sight and content-wise), you'd think she'd been bloggin' much longer than a year!! Love you, too, Philly girl!


Guess I'll be around the next couple of days here in the blogosphere. These new kittens aren't talkative yet to me.....gotta talk to someone! :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

New Opening Feature: Advertising Quotes from Hell....

For the next several posts, I'd like to open each of them with a phrase that, if you ever write a commercial, you should NEVER use.

You know, the filler copy you've heard a million times in a million spots but when translated into everyday speaking, it makes no sense.

TODAY'S PHRASE TO FLUSH: "....that number again is...."

When's the last time you introduced your friend to someone by saying, "Tom, meet my old friend Chuck! That old friend's name again is Chuck!"

Then why insult the intelligence of a radio listener by telling them they are about to hear what they just heard repeated? Even worse, it's a phone number, which really should NOT be used in radio advertising unless it's a "hook" type number.... 1-888-GOT-BURN.

They're easy to remember; otherwise, I know no one personally who drives around with Post-it notes and a pen ready to write down that number while driving.

You know why?

They're too busy talking on their cell phone while spilling coffee!!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Ponder these church thoughts....

1) I know of a church that recently polled its parishoners to get feedback for their Pastoral Committee in what to look for in a minister.

One of the three "least important" characteristics: Visionary. who's God giving the vision to, the janitor? Tell ya what, if you get 300 people to completely agree on the vision God lays on the heart of that church, then I'll eat these words. I suspect I'll be hungry awhile.

Does this mean only the pastor can cast a vision? No, but he/she better be a vital part of it!!

2) I know a pastor, who, at a board meeting one time, was told by a board member, "take no offense, but we're (the board members being members of the church) the ones who are vested here. We'll be here after you are gone."

A pastor isn't vested in the church he/she pastors? If that's the attitude of leadership, this begs the question, "How much respect is their truly for the pastoral position, no matter who is in it?"

Friday, July 08, 2005

Here she is......

The one, the only, Katie Pickles Witham. :)

Welcome the new additions!!

Katie Pickles would be so happy to see two beautiful kittens get a nice home (though with a weird family).

As Rachel said Tuesday, "I want to get a kitten; if we don't, I'll be lonely."

She didn't want a day in this house to pass without paws. Mission accomplished.

News Updates, and a look at books.....

First off, we did have three confirmed tornadoes in the area, all hitting in the second batch of storms that arrived after midnight last night, after we'd gone to bed. One, in Varina, was close to one of my co-worker's house, who, by the way, also lost a tree in the storm (and almost his Firebird, but, thankfully, it's okay.)

I intensely watched (being the weather freak I am) coverage from 10p thru 1145ish, didn't take the 2nd round seriously, and went to sleep. Never heard the 2nd storm, though the worst of it was quite east of here, so there was probably little or no action here, other than LOTS of rain.




We have two new members of the family!!!

First, we set the record straight. Katie Pickles has NOT been replaced. All of you who have lost a pet understand that that just never happens.

So, this time, the wife and kids decide, since cats need love, too, that a brother/sister kitten combo would grace our home. So, please welcome....

Cody Myles and Zoe Belle!!

They're on top of the chair next to me, lying right where Katie Pickles slept many, many nights. Good choice, guys. Good choice. :)


Tag, I'm it!!

Okay, welcome to my confession concerning books. I warn you; it ain't pretty.

NUMBER OF BOOKS I OWN: Really, the only way to answer that question would be "somewhere in the three figures". In the early/mid '90s, I hosted an interview show five days a week with authors. Thus, invariably, I'd get advance copies of books for review. Two, maybe three boxes are in the attic, and then there's the bookcases, and....well, you get the idea.

LAST BOOK I BOUGHT: Well, I kinda inherited it. :) The Bible I currently use in the pulpit would be the roundabout answer, as it was originally bought for my wife. But, not much later, my Bible completely fell to shreds (wonder if that scores any brownie points with God? Hee hee...), so the wife was kind enough to let me "inherit" hers. So, Slimline NLT Leather Bible it is.

LAST BOOK I READ: Here's where it gets embarrassing. I don't read books generally. I have time to read internet news, blogs, but rarely a book. So, I would think my last read would have been "The Purpose Driven Life", and that dates back to last year. (Yikes!) My wife, though I know this doesn't count, is currently reading, "The Bureau--The Secret History of the FBI", which, by the way, does not star Efram Zimbalist, Jr.


1) The Bible (duh). Prefer the New Living Translation; very readable. (No "thys", either!)

2) The 1964 World Book Encyclopedia: Honest. We'll count a collection as "one really, really big book." Here's how voracious I was for information as a kid; I would read portions of World Book in the morning waiting for the school bus to come. This was, by the way, in elementary school.

By the way, what do encyclopedia salesmen sell today?

3) Mickey Mantle: A biography of the Mick circa 1970'ish. I must have checked it out of the Beaverdam Elementary School library 13 times, and, it was cool to see I was signing the same library card as my brother did EIGHT years earlier!!

4) When Pride Still Mattered: The story of Vince Lombardi. You want excellence, in performing, demanding, and achieving? Read it.

5) The Act of Marriage: Tim and Beverly LaHaye's look at and somewhat helpful guide to sex. Yes I SAID SEX!!! GOT A PROBLEM WITH IT??? We enjoy lovemaking like (I hope) other couples do, and, ah, look forward to the day when Robbie has moved out and Rachel's "out for the evening w/her high school buddies". Not that I'm trying to push time quickly or anything...hee hee

Now I tag five:

What Would Jesus Blog?---Greetings to Darlene (and I wonder if Jesus would use Blogger??)

Contemblogging---Greetings to Suzanne (and I find I can't contemplate and blog at the same time; I always end up throwing the breaker switch.)

Caffeinated Adventures---Wassup Rick? Think we'll both avoid Dennis (but pray for the Gulf Coast....)

Martha, Martha...---I'm jealous. She got a verse in the Bible, from Jesus no less, and it describes one of MY problems!!! :)

The Road Less Traveled By---(Come back, Jen!!) Finished moving, yet??


Cody (the male kitty) is now resting on top of my mouse wire, underneath my desk lamp, taking a snooze. Wonder how long he'll stay? Zoe's still on the chair. :)

Meanwhile, the wife is watching the premiere of Season Four of "Monk". She loves the show, as I've mentioned sometime in the last year here.

Speaking of which, I'm coming up on my one-year blog-a-versary. Sure went fast.

This weekend?

Taking Robbie and his best friend to see Star Wars: Episode III. We've seen it, his friend has not, and Robbie's thrilled to be able to take him to see it.

Sunday it's service in the AM, the semi-annual Council meeting in the PM. Maybe some good, original ideas or creativity will come out of it? I'll leave that in God's hands, and, at the same time, ask Him to forgive me for being cynical.

Oh, and a trip to the radio station Sunday night to make sure no one calls me at 6am Monday morning saying they don't have a spot.

Next week, I'm TWO people down in my department; one opening, one on vacation. God help us.

On the whole, though, I'd rather be in this than in Pensacola right now. God protect them! :)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I got tagged and I'm hunkered down....

I got tagged by my favorite blogger yesterday, and will respond as duty requires Friday evening.

Right now, we're getting blitzed by the remnants of Cindy, and we're on the eastern side, which means tornado warnings. Several of them.

All will be well, and we'll be back, oh, 24 hours hence.


Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Katie Pickles Witham: March 26, 2000---July 3, 2005

I'm a firm believer in starting at the beginning. Especially when the end is so jarring and painful.

One day in early May, 2000, my wife called me at work while WRVA was still in our historic Church Hill studios. I'm in the break room when it is announced to me, "Can we have a kitty?".

I didn't like the idea one bit. One simple reason....I hated cats. They drove me nuts. I saw them serving no good purpose, other than scratching me.

But, for the sake of the kids (awww, good job Dad), I said yes.

So, I come home that night and meet this teeny, tiny little light-colored bundle of energy....who proceeded to jump on my lap and start clawing at my khaki pants. I wasn't happy. I was, though, resigned to living with a feline.

Time passed, and Katie Pickles, as she was named, grew.

Oh, the name. How did it arrive, you ask? Katie was offered by Robbie after Nana (my mama), and Rachel gave us pickles because she likes them and because of Rugrats.

So, Katie kept growing, became playful, and then....

....she finally just "had" to go outside.

She was an only cat, and it's only fair she would like to hang with her own. So, after a long time virtually always in the house, there she went.

She was mostly Himalayan, and partly Siamese. She had a mind of her own, and she either liked you alot, or disliked you alot. She would also tell you how she felt very, very quickly. :)

She became friends with Sylvester next door, with Rachel and Grim over at Aunt Sharon's across the street. She even like to hang out at James and Dawn's house next to Aunt Sharon, just 'cuz it was a cool place to hang.

Robbie---He was the caretaker. He made sure she got out to the box in the morning. He gave her lots and lots of affection.

Rachel---She was the motherly type. She watched out for her, played with her and loved her lots and lots and lots.

Mom---Katie Pickles drove her nuts. Constantly feeding, changing the litter box, cleaning up her, ah, messes (for lack of a grosser term) on the carpet, gave her baths (she hated baths)----and most of all----Katie loved to sleep in our bed, but only on Mom's comforter. Drove Mom nuts. Mom should realize she had the preferred phermones!

Dad---Yes, eventually, the dislike became tolerance, then co-inhabitant, then we liked each other, and then, well, we bonded like you wouldn't believe. I'm sick in bed and can't get out? Katie comes and sleeps with me at the foot of my bed to make sure I'm not lonely and that I'd be okay. When I pulled in the driveway, I would many times say "dumb cat" to myself while waiting for her to get out of the way so I could park. She greeted me every night.

Last Saturday, Robbie and Rachel went to Grandma Norma's for the holiday weekend. When Bonnie and I returned home Saturday night, Katie Pickles met us, and had that "where are the kids" look on her face. She came in with us briefly, then, when I went to take out the trash, she went out, too.

She would never come back in again.

Mom did her nightly call before bedtime, but Katie, as many other nights beforehand, opted for an overnight in the great outdoors. Nothing unusual. For sure, the first thing that would happen in the morning would be her running to the door to come in and eat breakfast.

Mom and I finish getting ready for church; we get to the van and back up into the road for the normal Sunday morning trip to church.

As I put the van into drive, I notice something at the end of the road and thought, "oh, we got some roadkill today". Thankfully, before I could get the "oh" out, it became dreadfully apparent that we were looking at our worst nightmare.

I said, "Oh, no."

I'll never forget Bonnie's quote as she immediately began to cry: "No, No, not my Katie Pickles!!".

I pulled over to the side of the road, got out and went to see, and when I got there, it was confirmed. Katie had been hit, and she was gone.

I turned around to Bonnie back at the van (she couldn't approach Katie) and I sadly nodded my head. She asked me to go get Uncle Brian and Aunt Sharon across the street, so I put the van in reverse and go 1/2 block to their house.

Brian and Sharon, followed by Sarah (18 year old and lover of animals) came quickly. Sharon and I looked over her, and Sharon was kind enough to take off her collar. Brian then took over and got her out of the turn-area where she was, and we started looking for a box to carry her back to the house.

We found one, and Brian took care of it. He had to run home to get the post-hole digger for a shocking, unexpected burial. So, I picked up the box, and carried my baby girl into the backyard onto the picnic table next to her future resting place.

By now, Seth, Robbie and Rachel's cousin, had arrived, too, so the whole Hornberger family had lovingly come to the rescue.

It also needs to be noted, that while Brian was beginning the process at the intersection, a neighbor from just down the street, walking her dog, stopped at the sight of the event, and immediately consoled both Bonnie and myself. I was leaning against the Stop sign, crying, and her words were very appreciated. I don't even know her name, but God sure used her at that dreadful moment in our life.

Uncle Brian finished the work, and carefully placed Katie into the ground. By now, we're on our second box of tissues. All the while, I'm thinking, "I've got to go preach and serve Communion." But that was my second thought.....

My first thought was, "Oh God...Robbie and Rachel".

Once the work in the backyard was done (she was laid to rest in the same corner area as Robbie's hamster, Neko, from several years back), Sarah and Sharon took care of Bonnie (I would not let her go to church in her condition); Brian and Seth headed home, and I headed for Prince George.

I cried almost the entire way down there, but hardest when I got to the stop sign, looked down, and saw where she died. I bawled. I couldn't believe it.

We made it through church, got home, and took Bonnie out to Olive Garden (by the way, this all happened on Bonnie's birthday....)

Then we went to PetSmart for a memorial stone and found one. We checked on the grave and watered it down for the night, then came in and cried some more.

Monday, Bonnie ran the errands to get the rest of the necessities for the memorial, and I went to work on the holiday to make sure I could leave early, because I absolutely HAD to be home Tuesday afternoon when the kids returned from Grandma's.

We also absolutely refused to break the news to the kids during their holiday weekend w/Grandma. They went to a fair, cooked out, saw fireworks, and had a great time. They would need it, and we refused to ruin it.

Around 4:30 yesterday, I hear Rachel in the yard. I had waited on the porch about 30 minutes for them, then went in a few minutes to cool off. In those few minutes, they arrived. I sat at the kitchen table where I should have seen them pull up.
I didn't.

The first words I heard from Rachel were, "Katie! Katie! Katie!"

The kids came in with their three weeks' worth of suitcases and backpacks, and Robbie asked as he got settled, "Where's Katie Pickles, Mom?"

It was time.

I called the kids to the great room and they sat on either side of me. I began to cry as I explained to them I had to give them some news and it was very hard for me to do so. Then I broke it.

At the exact same moment, both Robbie and Rachel welled up; Rachel headed for Mom's arms, and Robbie to mine. And we all cried. Alot.

After talking awhile and trying to grasp the reality, we went outside to the grave. The kids placed the memorial stone on top of the grave, and I gave a brief funeral.

The rest of the evening was spent watching two DVD's with the kids as they tried their best to hang in there. Then, they grabbed their pillows and blankets, and Robbie piled on the floor next to my side of the bed, and Rachel on the floor next to Mom. We prayed and they cried themselves to sleep.

And thus ended easily one of the hardest days of my life.

In some ways (and some of you might think this almost sacreligious), it was harder to break the news about Katie Pickles than it was breaking the news to the kids that my mama (Nana) had passed.

We had known since September 2002 that Mama's time was short. Robbie and I had already had a good cry over it (she worshipped Robbie and vice versa). I figured six months. She lasted 3 1/2. She spent the last 9 days at Henrico Doctors Hospital.

So, when I told them, there was no surprise. Much sadness, and a long period of grieving (each done their own way), but no jolt.

Yesterday was a bolt of lightning.

No one saw this coming. They left Saturday fully expecting to see Katie Tuesday. I got up Sunday morning to go to church and come back to watch Katie outside lying around in the hot day (why she liked to do that, I'll never know). Neither happened.

We were stunned. I can't say the possibility of this had never crossed my mind since she started living alot outside. But I sure didn't expect it.

I know she went quickly, examining her at the scene. No sense going into details, but I will say her body was in impeccable shape. She was about as beautiful as always, except she was gone.

How it happened? I suspect near dawn, either on the main road, or, more likely, as someone pulled out of our street into the main road (as she wasn't on the main road, but in the turning area). No use wasting alot of time figuring it out in the long run.

So, we grieve. We mourn. The kids took it very hard. So did Bonnie and I. In fact, we both shocked ourselves at how hard we took it.

So, in retrospect, I absolutely could not believe how much I loved that "dumb cat". And I can't believe how much I miss her.

I think it'll be many days before I pull into the driveway at night and not cry because she's not there to greet me.

Katie Pickles Witham. Also known as "Katie", "Katie P", "KP", and "Miss Pickles".

The best cat who ever lived. Period.

Can't wait to see her again. And I will. :)

Monday, July 04, 2005

Not a happy 4th.....

I hope your 4th of July weekend was better than ours.

It has been very, very sad here at Witham World Headquarters the past two days.

By the way, this is NOT satire or tongue-in-cheek.

Unfortunately, this is real.

I'll be back to use this blog as a cathartic medium tomorrow night.

In the meantime, pray for my kids. Tomorrow is going to be a very hard day for them.


Friday, July 01, 2005

At the Halfway Turn.....

Well, as posted REALLY earlier today (like, 23 hours ago).....

It's now the second half of 2005.

How was the first half?

Well, I'll think of these...

--Patriots win Super Bowl (yawn...) Now, five years ago, say "Patriots win Super Bowl" and people laughed.

--Bush part two: Letterman's got it right. He's got the gig a second time; just hang out at the White House and relax. Doesn't have to reapply for the position.

--The troops continue their thankless work, and the media continue to, by and large, ignore the accomplishments of both them and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Yes, I want the troops home ASAP, but now cannot be the time. There's way too much to be done; otherwise, Iran could do in eight days what it couldn't do in eight years, roll into Iraq, and, isn't it ironic we were on Iraq's side in the 1980's, too!

--No snow; very mild and dry winter. The spring had some rain, then it turned dry; and really dry conditions snuck up on us, while we still drowned in our memories of Gaston last August....

--My family vacationed on Spring Break in the mountains. I was home working.

--Bonnie's best friend moved to Greensboro, NC. Guess who's planning a three-day weekend trip to Greensboro??

--"24". Enough said.

--We've made it through the first seven chapters of Revelation in our study at church.

--NC State made the Sweet 16, when I thought they'd end up in the NIT. Go Herb!

--The Pope passes.

--I bust up my eye real good April 4th and end up in E.R.

--Bonnie gets a double whammy; shingles in January, vertigo this past week. Nothing like getting a series of recurring diseases.....

--Robbie's field trip to Williamsburg with chorus (they won!!)

--Rachel completed her first year at her new school.

--Rachel turned 8, Robbie hit teen status, I quietly moved the abacus up to 38.

--"24". Oh, I said that already, didn't I?

--Finally seeing Letterman on a regular basis for the first time since high school.

--Goodbye to JAG.

--I slept. Some. I laid in bed. Alot.

--I cried. Alot.

--I worked. Too much.

--Tiger Woods made the shot of the 21st century. No one in the next 95 years will overcome it, unless they can ace in Par 5.

And through it all, we enjoyed the constant drumbeats of our lives...

--The love of God
--the love among our family (and cat) in our chaotic existence.
--and, of course....

The Weather Channel.

It's good to have some stability in an ever-changing world.

Happy 4th!

Bonnie's birthday is Sunday, and America's is Monday. I'll be with her Sunday, and at work Monday. That's what happens when you lose 1/3 of your production staff.


Happy Half Year!!!!

What? No streamers? No celebrations or confetti?

The poor ol' "halfway mark" just doesn't get the respect if deserves.

At least Dave Letterman just marked it, by keeping the world safe. He had a staff member put away the Late Show Bear. Wouldn't want to start off the second half of '05 with a mauling, now, would we??


I'm two months behind as of a few minutes ago....

May 2005: 12, 15, 18, 22, 25, and 31

June 2005: 4, 11, and 19

Went for the lotto in May, settled for Pick 3 in June. :)