I’ve become a crazy rat person.

A couple years ago, our oldest son brought home a fancy rat named “Sheila.”  This occurred after one of his roommates received a rat terrier puppy for Christmas.  As a result, “She-she,” as she became known, needed a new home.  So began the following conversation:

Son: I need you and Mom to house Sheila for a little while.

Me: How long is a “little while”?

Son: Until she dies.

Me: That’s what I figured.

Now, the thing to know about fancy rats is, they only live 2-4 years.  The other thing to know is, they will charm their way into your hearts faster than you can say, “Ratatouille.”

Before long, She-she had become one of the most beloved pets my wife and I had ever cared for.  When we were home, she often had the run of the house (full disclosure: she was litter trained when we got her).  When we had ice cream for dessert, She-she got her own little bowl.

Then the inevitable happened.  She-she became ill and, at barely more than two-and-a-half years old, we were forced to put her down.  Tears were shed.

My wife and I subsequently vowed to take a break from owning pets. The traumatic end-of-life business had taken its toll.

A short while later, we welcomed two new housemates to our abode: Milli and Vee (short for Vanilli).

Don’t judge me.


2015 Oscar Predictions

In case anyone is wondering, here are my 2015 Oscar predictions:
Best Picture
Who Should Win: Whiplash
Who Will Win: Boyhood
Best Director
Who Should Win: Alexandro G. Iñárritu
Who Will Win: Richard Linklater
Best Actor
Who Should Win: Michael Keaton
Who Will Win: Eddie Redmayne
Best Actress
Who Should Win: Julianne Moore
Who Will Win: Julianne Moore
Best Supporting Actor
Who Should Win: J.K. Simmons
Who Will Win: J.K. Simmons
Best Supporting Actress
Who Should Win: Patricia Arquette
Who Will Win: Patricia Arquette
And now on to the categories that are most important (at least to me)…
Best Original Screenplay
Who Should Win: Dan Gilroy (Nightcrawler)
Who Will Win: Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel)
Best Adapted Screenplay
Who Should Win: Damien Chazelle (Whiplash)
Who Will Win: Graham Moore (The Imitation Game)


Circle of life

We are empty-nesters. Our youngest has jumped from the nest to begin his freshman year of college in he Windy City. This event was met, not with exclamations or fist-bumps, but rather with tears, moments of personal reflection and, in my case, a brief bout of diarrhea. We have entered the next phase of our adult lives, and it’s a bit unsettling.

Of course, there will be new adventures to experience. For instance, walking around the house bucknaked, with no concern for the fact that we’ve left butt-prints on the leather furniture. Or eating a halfgallon of ice cream for dinner, then bragging about it to our envious children. Or using our big-screen television for something other than playing Xbox games.

More than these pleasures, an empty nest means my wife and I will get to know each other as individuals again. For the past twenty years, we have been, first and foremost, the parents of two unique boys. Now, we have the opportunity to rekindle our romance and, perhaps, even go out onadult-style dates.

This is a good thing. We’ve been best friends since the day we married, but the romance has had to take a back seat to poopy diapers, family vacations, homework assistance, travel teams and musical performances. It’s time to bring the romance back. Tonight, we play naked backgammon!