Wednesday, September 25, 2013

High Hopes Dashed

Amanda's favourite house is only a few blocks away from where we live. When we go for a walk together, we often head down that particular street and stop to admire the house. She's told me more than once that if it ever is for sale, we'll take a look at it regardless of whether the price is in our range or not.

When we were driving to her parents' house for supper tonight, Amanda pointed and said "My favourite house is for sale!" We quickly agreed to drive by on the way home to confirm her sighting. So a few minutes ago, we were driving home and Amanda reminded me. So we turned off and looped back around. We could see the house up ahead, and as we drove closer, saw the sign...

...a sign that said "Elect Blah for council". >:-(

Monday, September 9, 2013

My Niece

I don't know if I've mentioned her without it being in passing, but my newly-acquired niece is pretty awesome. She's cheerful, smart, and the fact that she likes Hello Kitty *and* Ninja Turtles is incredibly cool. The middle statement really hit home today, as I found myself in a position of talking with an eight year old. I think he was trying to impress me, but the conversation ended up feeling like a month's worth of late-1980s gossip about video games. He had all sorts of theories that were sort of the equivalent of "If you beat Mario 37 times, he gets a gun". After less than five minutes, I was thinking that my niece (only five years old) was a better conversationalist than that boy.  So, she's pretty cool, and when she, her mom, and her brother come to the library, she hops right into the chair next to me to ask me to search for books for her.

This all makes what happened on Saturday night even funnier. Amanda was reading our niece a bedtime story that involved various Marvel superheroes and villains. One page showed the Blob, a nemesis of the X-Men. Our niece asked about him, and I explained that he's really fat and can't be hurt. After a bit of talking, she pointed at my stomach and said "Like that one?" I said yes, and she said "It's soo big!" (In reference to my stomach)

I thought it was hilarious, Amanda (while grinning) told her that it wasn't a very nice thing to say. Anyway, when the time came for us to leave, I said goodbye and scooted up the stairs. Amanda was a little bit behind me. But I clearly heard our niece say "Auntie Amanda, you forgot to close the door!" So Amanda walked back down the stairs, and I heard the bedroom door shut. Then after a second, I heard her yell "AUNTIE AMANDA, you forgot to say goodbye!"

Her parents, Amanda, and I all started cracking up.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Blame Game

As a culture, we like the play the "What-if" game. What if a different actor had been in the movie? What if I hadn't gone to Japan? What if I hadn't met Amanda? (The last one is a particularly horrible thought!)

In fact, we're encouraged to think this way -- to look back at the decisions we've made and how they contributed to our current situation. For instance, when I worked at a mill a few years ago, I was hit by a tier of lumber at the stacker. The operator hadn't been paying attention, and forwarded the next tier before I finished pulling the poorly-graded boards away from the previous one. It's pretty clear that the stacker operator was at fault, but when we did an accident investigation, we had to look at the root cause. I was on the wrong side of the boards.

I didn't cause the accident, and the other person involved was certainly to blame. But I had made what I'd normally call a low-percentage move -- something that may work, but has a low percentage of happening without other consequences (see balancing a milk jug on a cereal box).

Traffic accident investigations and post-action reports work the same way too. They focus on finding all things that may have led to the final result. Were you past the stop line? You may have contributed. Were you texting with your cell phone? Your distraction may have helped cause the accident. I realize these examples are concrete evidence rather than matters of opinion, but they help show that as a society, we're obsessed with looking for anything that might have helped to cause an event.

We need to get away from victim blaming. This is true. But at the same time, I think that people need to realize that our culture surrounds us with these few questions: "What if?" and "How could it have been avoided?" So if we screw up and ask these questions at precisely the wrong time, please cut us a little slack before denouncing us as horrible people, okay? Believe it or not, most of us are actively trying *not* to be.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Wheels that Drive our Lives

Since January, we've been keeping our eyes open for a newer car for Amanda. Her faithful Ford Taurus  that has served her well for many years is now on its last legs. Her family is definitely a Ford family. Her dad owns a Ford truck and a Mercury, and her mom drives a ford as well. Her sister and sister-in-law? Also Fords.

As for me, my family has a bigger mixture. Dad: Ford, Mom: Toyota for life, Tyler: Dodge now, but who knows later? I've ended up taking after my mom -- I drive a Toyota Yaris, and if I were to win the lottery, would happily stay in the Toyota family.

So what has it been like looking at vehicles with Amanda? Well, it mostly involves checking out used Fords while I excitedly point out any Toyota on the lot. I constantly joke that Amanda should get a newer version of my car so she can be cool like me. But she's a Ford fan.

So it looks like this Fehr household will have a multiple automotive personality disorder: Fords for the hydraulic shop and Toyotas for the library.