Thursday, December 21, 2006

Telephone companies, the sequel!

Lest you all think that the total sum of all Grizzwold experiences are bad, let me bring you all up to date on the telephone company situation:

  1. There's no new information on the lawsuit, but I have been assured that the phone company has paid the landscaping company (I got the check number and date of issue). Sadly, the phone company waited to pay until I was threatened with a lawsuit.
  2. The billing stuff has all but been erased, even the nasty collectors have gone away.
  3. I now have a new friend at the phone company, Mike, who managed to make all of this "go away" in a matter of hours (I personally think that I "primed the pump" as it were, but as long as ol' Clark is out of the woods, it's all good).

I'm hoping that this is the last posting on telephone companies, but remember....we are the Grizzwold's!


Friday, December 08, 2006

Telephone companies

The mantra is that you don't know how much you take something for granted until it's gone or breaks.

I guess that can be applied to services provided by the telephone company.

You see, about two summers ago, the local phone company started digging up yards in our neighborhood as they were installing fiber optic data lines. Eventually, they got to our street and finally to the Grizzwold mansion front yard. Things had been going swimmingly for the contractor until they hit our yard. You see, the front yard of the Grizzwold mansion is about 8 or so inches of topsoil over top of about 1 million feet of solid rock. We found this out when the contractor said they had to dig down about a foot or so to bury the data lines. Since they missed their mark because of the rocks, they said they had to shoot a "missile" into the rocks to break them up. Since we are the Grizzwolds, the "missile" not only blew up the rocks, it blew up the water line! This mishap left the Grizzwold family without water for a day, which was kind of disconcerting considering we had a new baby in the house. Thankfully, the line was repaired late that night.

You might think the story is over, but nooooooooo, we are the Grizzwolds, so there's more:
  • The continued construction damaged at different points, the electricity and the telephone service.
  • The yard was a mess and was put back together several times by the construction contractor only to sink into the indentation left as a result of the "missle" mishap. You see, if you take rocks out of a hole, you have to replace the rocks with an equal volume of dirt, something that the construction contractor didn't seem to understand. The indentation in the front yard persisted throughout the winter and into the early spring when they dug it up again to make a "repair" and install junction boxes.
  • A family friend stumbled and fractured an elbow as a result of falling on the uneven mess of a front yard that was left. The mess was never marked clearly, so the friend wandered too close to the edge of it and was nearly sucked into it as the ground slumped away.
  • The yard was finally replaced in the middle of the second summer by a landscaping contractor. I had to water it frequently, which resulted in a massive Grizzwold water bill. I did have the best grass in the neighborhood (at least in the front yard).
  • At first, the telephone company wasn't going to reimburse us for the costs incurred, but they did say they would provide us 4 months of phone services (about $200). It took three months to get that (they finally sent us a check). During that time, we signed up for the new fiber optic service. They said it was free to install and free to connect. Since that time, we've been billed for the installation and connectivity, but on a different account! A collection company came after me for the money that hadn't been paid (in which we didn't owe in the first place). It took several two hour phone calls to try and fix that.
  • The landscaping company called us a couple of times to ask us when they would be paid. Funny that, since we didn't screw up our own yard and have to contract out someone competent enough to repair it, that was the phone company. More two hour phone calls...supervisors...district managers and stress from seemingly empty promises. This week, during one of my many phone marathons to the phone company call center, the landscaping company calls Mrs. Grizzwold and says that if they don't get their money, they are taking us to court! At this point, old Clark is ready to pull out his hair. Not to worry though, the phone company is ready to serve!!

At this point, the Grizzwold's are in limbo. Not sure if we're going to have to pay the over one thousand dollars to the landscaping company to avoid court or wait for the phone company to pull their records and figure out where the check is. From what the phone company has told me, they haven't found it yet.

Only 17 days until Christmas...and small claims court!


Pets, Dogs this time

We Grizzwolds love animals. Well, my kids and I do. Mrs. Grizzwold could really care less, although I have a new found belief that her attitude might have changed somewhat.

Grandma Grizzwold decided to raise West Highland White Terriers upon her retirement two summers ago. She got two purebreads and put them in the back yard and let them have the run of her place. Long story short, the dogs mated and had puppies. Sadly, Grandma Grizzwold hurt her hip and couldn't really take care of the puppies in the manner in which they needed.

In swoops Mrs. Grizzwold! We took in the whole litter (5 puppies - 3 male and 2 female) to the Grizzwold manse and took care of them from the point where they were getting around. We found homes for three of them right away (2 males and 1 female). The other two left were kind of sick. You see, puppies are pretty much born with worms. The puppies had been treated for worms once, but they need multiple treatments. None of the other puppies got as sick as the one female and male we had kept. Additionally, the male exhibited an irregular heartbeat! A couple thousand dollars (including a night's stay in the doggie hospital) both dogs were back in the pink!
We've since found a nice home for the other male as his irregular heartbeat has resolved, so we're left with our little female.

Thankfully, Grandma Grizzwold felt bad that we had to do all this for the dogs, so she pitched in some funds to help take care of them.



It's been a while since I last posted. Sorry about that...

The Grizzwold clan has been through a lot, but we perservere.

More to come!


Monday, August 07, 2006

She had a what?

We Grizzwolds are accustomed to having bizzarre stuff happen that wouldn't normally happen to anyone else.

Case in point. Our oldest of three daughter's plays fastpitch softball as a catcher for her local team. During a point of a recent game, she was hit in the right breast. Now, Clark, you might ask, don't catchers wear all sorts of protective gear? Right. They do. However, in this particular case, the breastplate had moved to the side or something and exposed her right boob. Over the course of a few days, it hurt more and more. It wasn't really bruised, although you could see seam marks from the ball. A lump appears and she starts to run a fever. The Doctor's suspect an infection (mind you, there was no open wound) and give oral antibiotics. Nothing really changes and the lump on her breast gets larger and it starts to turn red. Next thing you know, we're at the hospital for two days having an abcess removed from the area adjacent to her right nipple.

Kids being what they are, after the surgery she bounces back to play in a national tournament. I suppose you might think that since she didn't die from the infection, I shouldn't be posting this. However it's not the ultimate outcome that makes us the Grizzwolds, it's the circumstances and the wacky path that we take to get there.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Grizzwold Moment - Pet Style

Since we are the Grizzwolds, we're unique in our lives and experiences. However, it's completely possible for others to have what I call a "Grizzwold Moment". Case in point below is an experience related to me today:

Good morning!!! I have a good dog story to share with both of you - I knew you'd appreciate this.
Yesterday, I had to take my cat Christina for her annual check up and shots. This is a traumatic experience for her - she literally loses all her bodily functions during the 25 minute ride to the vet (ie: she poops, pukes, pees, and foams at the mouth BIG TIME). Anyway - she is processed like normal and all is well. She is at a healthy weight and her ears were clean as a whistle. Next, I have to go over the boarding place to pick up Buster, who has been boarded since Thursday afternoon. The boarding kennel is part of [name withheld] animal hospital and is right next door to the hospital section. I had scheduled him for doggie day care on Friday and yesterday.
So…I pay the bill, which included a new prescription for heart worm meds and a heart worm test so it was a steep bill. They bring Buster out to me and he is really happy to see me. He always looks great when he comes out, especially after he has his bath and toenails trimmed. Anyway - off we go to the car and Buster jumps up as usual but needs help getting in the back seat. I'm driving down Falls Road and I start looking at Buster in the rear view mirror and notice that he doesn't have as much grey around his muzzle as usual. Then I notice not as much grey on his stomach - and his eyes looks different. THIS IS NOT MY DOG!!! Yes, it is a chocolate lab and yes, this dog is named Buster. Thank goodness I had not gone too far - I high tail it back to the vet and bring back the dog to them. Of course, Christina is still freaking out and foaming at the mouth in her cage!!!
What are the chances that there would be another chocolate lab named Buster that really looks like him?????????????? They were all extremely apologetic at the boarding kennel - no one could believe it!
Now we are trying to figure out if my Buster really did go to doggie day care and really did get a heartworm test, etc……I'm disputing the bill until we get this all straightened out.
I did finally get the real Buster home and he looks completely exhausted - he couldn't get off the bed this morning to go out and do his business.

Poor Buster!


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Pets, Cats to be specific

Like all most "normal" families (we are the Grizzwolds, dontcha know) we have had family pets. It seems as if these pets are cursed once they cross our threshold. We've had both cats and now dogs, so let's start at the beginning:

Cats - The Grizzwold family has had three cats. The first, Disney, was a grey tabby who liked to sleep on my head at night. Sadly, this cat ran away after we moved to a new home. The second cat was Belle, a big fluffy black and white domestic long haired cat...with a horrible "cattitude". This cat would allow you to pet it about three times, then it would lash out and bite. It walked around like it owned the place. This cat was smart about it's nastiness. Instead of growling and hissing, it would purr, luring you into a false sense of security before WHAMMO! You've got teeth marks in your arm or leg. Make a loud noise next to Belle? WHAMMO! Teeth marks. Crying kids were the worst. After our third child was born we had to start kicking Belle outside because the baby cries were making her nuts and she was taking it out on everyone else, including the baby. The final straw was when she laid in wait for a neighborhood kid who, not knowing any better, patted the cat on the head. WHAMMO! No more Belle. She was sent to "the farm".

Our final entrant in the Grizzwold cat parade is Dewey. Dewey arrived a few summers ago with four of his brothers and sisters in a fostering effort for the Humane Society. We had agreed to foster cats, so we got cats. All four of them. Dewey's brother's and sisters (Daffy, Donald, and Daisy...sense a theme here?) are adorable orange tabby cats. They had the run of our unfinished basement for the summer until Donald got sick. It turns out Donald had FIP (which has a meaning, I assure you, but darned if I can remember it), which is an immunodeficiency disease that is terminal in felines. You can equate it with HIV in humans. Since they were kittens, their immunodefense mechanisms were too weak to defend against it. Donald got horribly sick (there are two forms of FIP, wet and dry...both involve body water either the overabundance of it or lack thereof) and literally drank water until he got horribly bloated. We put him down to avoid additional suffering. Daisy did the same about a month later. We shipped Daffy and Dewey back to the Humane Society for a while, hoping that they wouldn't get sick, but they both were carried and no one wanted cats with terminal diseases, even if the Humane Society was picking up the tab. Long story short, Daffy and Dewey came back to our home. After about another month, Daffy came down sick and had to be put down. Then there was one. Dewey somehow has survived all of this death around him. He's infected, but shows no symptoms. For the most part Dewey is a good cat. He's not over aggressive like Belle, has not run away like Disney, and has maintained his health for the most part. Good is all relative as Dewey has one of the most BIZARRE habits I've ever seen in a cat or a dog. HE HUMPS STUFFED ANIMALS!

I'm sure you're asking, "Grizzwold, why isn't the cat neutered? That will solve his little problem." Well, Dewey was neutered quite a while ago. Still, he'll latch on to a stuff animal (he has his favorites) drag it out into an open area, and "get bizzy". I feel sorry for the poor stuffed animal, as he generally leaves his victims behind after he's done with them. Most of them look like murder victims sans the chalk outline. How do I know this? I've seen him in action. Scruff of the stuffed animal neck in his mouth, back all hunched over, gentle grumbles and slight panting, tail all twitchy and off to the side. It's pretty disturbing. I'd had a little trouble explaining this to my kids (all girls, mind you), but now he's the butt of family jokes. Lest you think he's exclusive to stuffed animals, we've caught him with baby blankets, pillows, and cotton T-shirts. He had a stuffed lion hidden in a corner of the Grizzwold laundry room. It's fur was all stuck together and matted down. I found it one day when I was cleaning up. It was splayed out, on it's back, the vacant stuffed animal look in it's eye almost saying "make him stop"!

(next posting: our new puppies. Yes, there is more than one!)


Thursday, July 06, 2006

Independence Day '06

I figured I would share our most recent adventure before I delve into the dark depths of past adventures.

It was hot! Headed into the mid-90s for sure with potential for wicked T-storms. Still, we relished the fact that we didn't have any major chores to do around the house. So we puttered here and there until the Mrs. decided we needed a swim!

Mind you, being a Grizzwold means that you have stuff, but not the greatest stuff. We have "Caviar dreams with a Spam wallet", so to speak. So me and the Mrs decided to jump into the 18' Entex pool (you know, the one that you blow up, then fill up?) and sun and fun for a bit.

Of course, since we are the Grizzwolds, immediately upon jumping into the pool, the sun is obscured by clouds. Undaunted, we figure a good cloud tan is in order. I take to sweeping the pool of grass and dead bug carcasses while the Mrs. splays herself upon a pool float. Being an 18' above the ground pool means that when anyone is laying on a pool float, only about half the pool is left for others. Therefore, I had to work around the Mrs while she got her cloud tan.

Time marches on and so do the clouds and we managed to escape the T-storms, for about half an hour when the next wave rolls in. This time, the rain pushed us back into the Manse du Grizzwold. Because we expect it, the Mrs. and I were undaunted still. Our plan continued toward the 6pm hour when we were going to the local public park for food, music, and fireworks.

The Mrs. invite her friend and their family to come join us. While the Mrs. and I have an average amount of individual friends, each of our friends family's come with the obtuse and bizarre. This particular friend has a husband who, while working in the same profession as I, can't carry a conversation past a few sentences unless he's bombed. I was pleasantly surprised to be able to carry on at least two conversations with him in the space of ten minutes that were completely coherent and relatable! He must have been blitzed! In addition to their kids, who are kind of bizarre in their own way (one is a teen the other a pre-teen...I mean who wears long sleeve shirts and blue jeans on a 90 plus degree day? the pre-teen), there is the sister of my Mrs. friend.

This particular woman is a lesbian and suffers from a "debilitating disease". Now, we're tolerant Grizzwold's and welcome all types and shapes and sizes into our home and lives. In this particular case, the sister has the fashion sense of....well....just about any French designer. Today, she was having her "blue period" and I'm NOT referring to any biological function. She was decked out...head to shades of blue. Atop her noggin was a shiny, royal blue "do-rag". She had on a blue hawaiian shirt with a surfing theme, also in accented royal blue. She had on very baggy pants whose material was not identifiable to me, but was just as shiny and just as royal blue as the "do-rag". Fortunately, she had the sense to leave her blue suede shoes at home. Instead, she wore bright white leather hitop sneakers! To accent her "Royal Blueness" she decided that bright red lipstick and blue eyeshadow were apropo! I shook my head. I wondered when this particular genie was going back into her bottle. But we are Grizzwolds, so we soldiered on to the event.

The weather had cooled, so we didn't roast too badly, but the sister was looking a bit rumpled in all of her blueness. We got some oddball looks, but we're used to that since we were also toting my three girls (14, 9, and almost 2) and their friends and all their crap along with us. But we were in it for the relaxation and the atmosphere, so we plopped down in our camp chairs and enjoyed the band and the food and the bottled water. We positioned ourselves so as to be close to the exit to avoid losing anyone in the melee after the show and far enough away from the bands to hold on to what was left of our hearing. The bands played their last songs and the soundtrack to the fireworks started.

I stared up into the sky forward of my position expecting to see the brightly colored explosions. That's where they were the last time, I thought. Where the heck are they this time? Out of the corner of my right eye I could see them. Quickly, and with all the coordination of a rugby scrum, the entire Grizzwold entourage reseated themselves "right face" from their initial position. I flopped into my seat and looked up...into a tree! Out of all the spaces we could have picked, our optimum viewing angle was interrupted by those things Al Gore savors! TREEEEEEEES! I could only really see half of the show. I watched for a few moments, craning my neck over the cooler to see if I could get a better view. Natch! The Mrs. had taken her seat behind me with the baby, so I moved from my seat and picked up the spare and moved to the more romantic location. I plopped into the seat and was immediately cooled by spilled lemonade. So now, not only could I still only see half the show, but my butt was wet! I smiled and echoed several lines of "Tree" (a la Rick Moranis from "The Bear") to keep my Mrs. in stitches and only half enjoyed the fireworks. :)

Remember, we are the Grizzwolds.



Welcome to my blog site!

If you're familiar with the "National Lampoon:Vacation" series of movies, you'll know about "Clark Grizzwold". Played by Chevy Chase, Grizzwold suffers through series of misadventures that one would believe only happens in the movies. Well, I'm here to prove to you that my family and I are the real life "Grizzwolds".