Our Modern Family


Pet Owner

Independence Day

This is the story of our two boys who have both discovered their independence in different ways.

We’ll start with Pancake.  His story began one day back in September.  Don and I were unloading a box truck and Pancake was supervising as usual.  That is until Pancake decided we no longer needed his supervision and took off.  It was about 10 minutes later when I realized he was no longer around.  I made a mad dash out the door looked left, then right, and left again to see if I could tell which way he may have gone.

Right about that time, a car pulls up and asks if I am looking for something…I guess it was probably pretty obvious.  I told her yes, my dog had gotten loose.

Is it Pancake? She asked.

Well apparently he has made a name for himself.  Hopefully it wasn’t in his typical greeting in which was recently described by Jenn’s second cousin as piggybacking on my back. I told her that I was indeed looking for Pancake and she nicely informed me that he was in her car.  It was at that moment that the New Jersey came out of her in a big way.  She took the next two minutes to scold me on why I shouldn’t let him loose, how the number on his collar should be answered at all times, and why it was irresponsible that I was not actually at my house because had she gone there and no one was home, she would not have known what to do. I bit my tongue and thanked her again for finding Pancake.

The next day as Pancake and I were walking around the neighborhood, Jerseylicious’ car again stopped me and said “Hey, I helped you find your dog the other day, and it inspired us..we’re having pancakes for breakfast this morning.”  I gave her my uncomfortable laugh, and thought to myself that is actually kind of twisted.  I thanked her again and kept walking.  Jenn and her parents thought I was exaggerating both encounters.

That is until this past Friday, when Pancake pulled a Houdini once again.  This time on Don & Teresa’s watch.  Once again it seems our favorite New Jersey Housewife did not need to travel far to bring Pancake home.  She knocked on the door and proceeded to tell Don & Teresa how they should be taking car of a dog.  She also informed them, that if they didn’t know how to take responsibility for Pancake than she would.  It was at that moment that I think Pancake realized his new-found independence may not be such a good thing.  I am pretty sure that even Snooki couldn’t live with that woman for a day.

Next we have Nolin.  He is growing up way too fast and asserting his new personality more and more every day.  He has now taken to climbing stairs, pulling up on everything and pulling everything out.  If he wants it, he will get it.  It has become quite the game for him.  He will look over give you his little smile, and then quickly turn around and take off like a race horse.  I just hope that he does not one day run off towards Ms. Jersey Turnpike’s house…I can only imagine the scolding we would get at that point.

Nolin has also decided that he no longer needs you to hold his bottle for him because he is plenty big enough to do it himself.  This is the one that may be the most difficult to accept.  Up until now he has relied on Jenn and I for everything.  I would be lying if I said that the first time he held the bottle himself I didn’t feel like this was this beginning of him becoming his own person.  You can see his personality forming right in front of you as you look into his eyes and see him just making sense of everything around him.  It is so exciting to watch him grow up, but maybe we could get just a few more years (like 30) before he decides that we are no longer cool and he gets to become too independent.

The Legend of Toonces The Cat

Toonces at the head of the table

As I mentioned in And So Our Story Begins, our modern family is made up of a cast of characters and so it is only fitting to begin introducing you to our first addition…Toonces “The Driving Cat”. 

To start off with Toonces neither looks like the Saturday Night Live alum (actually he looks more like Toonces’ arch nemesis Spunky), nor does he like riding in cars and driving.  We first met him about 3 years ago, when he started hanging around our house.  Eventually he made his way into our house and our lives, as well as all of our neighbors.  That’s right, sometimes it takes a village to raise a child and all of our neighbors take care of Toonces although no one would dare admit it. 

No one knows exactly where Toonces came from,  where he stays at night, or where he goes during the day.  He just sort of appeared one day and quickly took ownership of our street and all the families that live on it.  He doesn’t wait for an invite and is not afraid to make your house his own. 

I am pretty certain that Toonces suffers from an identity crisis because to us he is Toonces and a girl (until a friend recently pointed out two little areas on his backside that would indicate why Toonces has never had kittens), to our neighbors across the street who feed him he is Tiger and to our other neighbors he simply goes by Orangy.  Although he will answer to all of them, I know he likes Toonces best. 

In the world of stray cats, Toonces hit the lottery.  He has a street full of families who secretly vie for his attention.  He will sit in the middle of the street and wait to see if Jenn & I or our neighbors get home first and immediately head over to that house for food.  After he has eaten, he will walk over to the other house (when he thinks no one is looking), and get food over there.  It is particularly funny when we arrive at the same time because he doesn’t know what to do and totally knows that he has been busted. 

Toonces was the best introduction ever to responsibility.  We didn’t need to worry about feeding him (although we eventually broke down and bought food).  We also didn’t need to have a litter box in our house because if Toonces ever needs to go to the bathroom, he just taps on the door a few times to let us know.  He will hang around long enough for you to enjoy him, but will never over stay his welcome.  We can also come and go as we please because we have a street of families that will watch out for him when we are gone. 

Our cover with Toonces was blown when we headed up north for an extended vacation.  Jenn’s motherly instinct and guilt for leaving him eventually kicked in so she called our friend Lee to check in on him (to be honest, I was getting a little worried too, and was glad that she called cause I never would have).  He drove over and couldn’t find Toonces hanging around the house, so he knocked on our neighbors door and asked if they had seen the cat around.  

They mentioned that they had seen him a few days before and that he was fine.  Lee thanked them and gave them some ham to give Toonces when they saw him again…awesome, no hiding that one anymore.  To be honest, we didn’t really even know them that well.  We just knew them as Toonces’ other parents.  I only wish I could have seen their faces when a stranger knocked on their door with a piece of ham asking if they could keep their garage door open for a stray cat since it was cold outside. 

When we got back Toonces acted like most teenagers and refused to acknowledge our existence and then two days later (like a teenager) he was back at our house and seeking attention. 

I am not a cat person, never have been…I’m a dog person  I would never dream of having a cat in my house, but Toonces is different.  I like to think of Toonces as a dog trapped in a cat’s body.  I guess it just goes to show,  you can’t always pick your family…most of the time they pick you.

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