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Across the Table from my girls

Across the Table from my girls

It occurred to me recently that I’ve spent a lot of time across the table from my girls and have taken many a photo. Some, I think, truly captured the essence of their personalities. This is my Valentine’s Day present to them both.

Across the Table

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Cece Dollar Update

Cece Dollar Update

20130914-141355.jpgIn case you were wondering, we continue to use the Cece dollar at the Garbin homestead. Despite some protestations, Cecelia has so far submitted to the plan. In the two months or so since starting it, prices for privileges have fluctuated. One hour of screen time started at one Cece dollar and peaked at five. Currently, it stands at three.

As a tool for behavioral modification, we can’t claim complete success, but we have used it to positive effect. The mere mention of price hike is usually enough to stem a problem situation. On the other hand, she only seems to part with her “wealth” on screen time, and she rarely takes advantage of opportunities to earn extra dollars beyond her five-dollar a week “salary”.

So, by and large, so far, so good, and so the experiment continues.

The Cece Dollar

The Cece Dollar

Behold the Cece Dollar. This is our latest attempt at behavior modification for our daughter.


She starts with $20.

One hour on the TV or iPad costs $1
Special family fun event: $10

She earns dollars by minding her manners, helping out, and generally being agreeable.

She earns $2 if she goes through the day without watching TV or iPad.

Prices rise when she gets whiny and difficult.

Skippy Update

Skippy Update

We’re sorry to say that we’ve received no Skippy sightings now in almost a week. We have left the trap outside the house and replace the food every night. I can’t run SkippyCam because of technical issues, but there’d be very little to see anyway.

We have contacted the county dog warden, but he says there’s little he can do either. He promised to patrol the area, but until someone corners Skippy or he plum tuckers out or the unspeakable happens, we might not see him again. He did urge us, however, not to give up.

Just to remind everyone, there is a standing $70 reward for the return of Skippy. We hope he comes back to us so that we can take care of him for a little while on his way to find a permanent home, but he’s one dog that just does not want to be caught.

Skippy Update: Setting the trap

Skippy Update: Setting the trap

Skippy's future home?
Skippy’s future home?

Today, a volunteer from the animal rescue arrived with a live trap that will hopefully capture Skippy. We had no sightings of him so far today, but something came into the garage last night and ate the food and drank the water we set out for him. Hopefully, it was him. We have no shortage of wild critters around here. The volunteer advised us to leave food outside of the trap tonight, so he’ll get used to seeing the cage. Then, tomorrow night, put the food inside the cage and hope for the best.

At least we know that Skippy is well fed and hydrated, and we can only assume that he’s hunkered down somewhere close by the house. We hope that he’s become familiar enough with the area that he’ll return again tonight. Imagine our frustration upon realizing that all that effort searching all over town for this dog didn’t matter at all. He came back on his own anyway! I’m sorry to admit that I’m already sick of this stupid dog. We won’t be adopting him.

Last night, a couple of our neighbors did their best to lure Skippy close enough in order to grab his collar. Sarah and Aly literally lay on the ground for over a half  hour with food in their hand to pique the dog’s curiosity. They sure piqued anyone walking or driving by who saw this spectacle.

On that note, I also want to thank everyone in our little town for helping out. We have some great neighbors who fanned out all over the area in search of a dog no bigger than a large cat. They make us feel pretty lucky to live here. I have to say that the response to our notices on Facebook, our flyers, and the general outreach has been tremendous. When I approach total strangers if they’ve seen a little black dog, more often than not they ask me if it’s the dog they heard about on the internet.

Our mayor, Ed Foley has even drummed up a campaign to raise money for an award for Skippy’s safe return. So far, there’s $70 in the (forgive me) kitty.

I plan to set up a webcam in the garage by the trap that will hopefully capture at least an image of Skippy. I hope the trap captures the dog, but who knows? We live among plenty of wildlife only a few miles north of the Philadelphia city line. I will  have that webcam embedded in this blog.

Stay tuned!

Finding Skippy

Finding Skippy

We spent the better part of yesterday looking for Skippy, our first foster dog. He bolted out of the house on Sunday morning after he discovered an open door.

To help find him, I’ve put together a map plotting where people have seen him. If you have any information or if you see Skippy, call us at 215-370-7082. Do not try to catch him. He’s very skittish and will not approach people.

View Skippy’s Path in a larger map


Home Theater

Home Theater


She as a propensity for carving out her own spaces in our tiny house. She’s made whole worlds inside her closets; she’s built a library under a table; she’s architected sprawling structures from chairs, umbrellas, and blankets; and now she’s created her own home theater.

I wonder which one of her proclivities will lead to a career. My daughter the architect has a nice ring to it, though I continue to harbor the hope that she’ll become baseball’s first woman general manager.