If I only had another biscuit

We were at my older son Jonathan’s end of the year soccer party.  He was seven at the time and his younger brother Michael was four.  The party was at a pizza parlor with the usual array of video games peppered throughout the building.  Like most kids my boys loved video games and they would spend hours and hours (and a lot of money) playing them if we had allowed them to.  My younger son Michael was especially “passionate” about video games and could become laser locked on any given game especially if he was about to beat a “level” or the “boss”.

The soccer team and their siblings were given a small bag with eight quarters to play video games before the pizza came out and before awards were presented.  My boys quickly consumed the eight quarters and then I gave them another eight quarters each.  The end of the year party goes on and most of the kids have had enough video games and are ready for pizza.  But then there’s Michael standing in the middle of the dinning room looking quite forlorn.  Looking at no one directly he says in a most exasperated voice, “If I only had another quarter”.  All at once about ten dads reach in their pockets and offer their quarters to Michael.

So fast forward about 25 years and now this is Kali. Standing in the middle of the room saying, “If only I had another biscuit.”

Today was not much different from most days for Kali.  Get up, eat breakfast.  Go for a walk, get training treats.  Come home watch dad make his breakfast and for staying out of the kitchen, get biscuits.  Later on watch dad make his lunch and get biscuits for staying out of the kitchen again.  Later in the afternoon get a Kong filled with carrots and peanut butter just ’cause.  I think even my son Michael, at four years old as he was in that pizza parlor,  would have to agree that this is a lot of (figurative) quarters.

But there Kali is with her big brown eyes and her oh-so-optimistic outlook.  If dad’s got food there is a chance I’ll get some.  If dad has quarters in his pocket there’s a chance for one more video game.

And Kali, like Michael, is right.  There’s always another quarter. All you’ve got to have is a little moxie to ask for it, indirectly or otherwise.   I love Kali like I love my kids. But as a parent there had to be some limits.  And for Kali there needs to be limits too, right?  Michael’s sad eyes staring longingly over at the giant Atari game.  Kali’s beautiful brown eyes staring at my snack.  Arghh!…  Stay strong.  Be mature,  Be the voice of reason and discipline.  Don’t lie.  Be honest and say “yes, I do have another quarter but it is not in your best interest if I give it to you”.

Kali with her sweet brown piercing eyes and  thought bubble over her head with a small picture of my son Michael next to it, “If I only had another biscuit”.

Me with a thought bubble over my head “Kali and Michael have been spending WAY too much time together”.

If I only had another biscuit

If I only had another biscuit

Fagan’s Den

I watched the little dog come off the bus in his owners arms.  The dog was little mutt about 15 pounds with black fur and a cute little face.  The owner – a scruffy looking guy about forty or so – put the dog down,  unhooked his leash, and called him to follow as he walked up the street.  But the little guy wouldn’t follow; he stood and stared at his owner. I was standing in an office in San Francisco looking out the window of the second floor almost on top of the dog and his owner.  I thought of Kali back home enjoying the afternoon sun or sleeping somewhere in the house.

In my professional life I’m a business operations consultant fortunate to work mostly from my home office periodically going to client sites for meetings and business reviews.  I have a new client in San Francisco so I’ve been at their offices from time t time over the past several weeks.  Yesterday, I stood up to stretch towards the end of a long meeting and looked out the window to see the owner and little dog disembark from the city bus.

What struck me as funny was my keen interest in the dog and my waning interest in the meeting.

My client’s offices are very eclectic and really something to see; a mix wood, open ceilings, surrounded by art, offices, open meeting space, and elevated conference rooms with glass walls and large concrete posts from the original structure,  Located South of Market in the thick of a growing software and high-tech hub like most parts of The City it’s crowded, filled with traffic, and bustling with an array of activity.

As the meeting went on behind me I continued to stare out the window looking down at the owner calling his little dog to follow and the little dog not moving.  My first thought was why in the world would the owner take off the dog’s leash on the curb of this incredibly busy intersection.  Was this the reason the dog wouldn’t follow?  Was he petrified of all the cars, people, and movement he was experiencing as his little paws hit the ground?  Probably not.  He seemed relaxed and seemed very used to the environment.  He was probably more comfortable on the street than this blogger, a suburban dweller,  would be while walking the two or three blocks back to the parking garage.

The scruffy owner, with packages in his arms, continued to call the dog to follow.  I watched him call, point up the street, and try to coax the little guy to come along. But the dog stayed put.  At one point the dog stretched pushing his front paws down and his butt up in the air as if to say, “You go on ahead, I’ll just hang back here for a while”.  This went on for a minute or so and I began to think that maybe this guy wasn’t the owner.  But he had the dog on a leash as they got off the bus.  Maybe this guy goes around the city rescuing little strays from an even busier section of San Francisco and brings them here to safety.  Maybe he was like Fagan of Oliver Twist and this little dog was The Artful Dodger loosening up to go pick some wallets and return later to Fagan’s Den.  Maybe I should get back to the meeting….

So as I stood there watching the owner finally relents, takes the few steps back to the dog, picks him up and continues walking up the street with the little guy safely in his arms.  I turned back to the meeting and laughed to myself because I realized I had a big smile on my face.  I was amused because I realized that at that moment in time I was far more interested in the little dog than the meeting and I was totally OK with that.  I like my work.  And being self-employed I like to have work.  Work is a good thing when the word “retirement” is not present in my vocabulary or anywhere in my near future.

So there I stood in this very cool conference room with glass walls suspended above the street level in the middle of the universe, surrounded by high-tech and a booming economy, with very smart people behind me talking in business-speak about the project we are working on.  Pretty cool place to be on a Wednesday afternoon and getting paid for it.  For that I am grateful.

But at that moment it was much more important to me that the little pup was in his owners arms and, at least for now as they walked out of my sight line, was safe.

Safe and on his way back home with Fagan’s to meet up with Oliver and the other pups in the den.


I hope I shall have the honor of your intimate acquaintance. – Fagan, from Oliver Twist