Tuesday, August 19, 2003

on the john 2.8: All growed up...

approx. read time: 9 mins

Every once in a while I need to remind readers of what this correspondence is for. I don't want anyone to think of it as some clever, or otherwise, scam to get your money via spamming. No no, this is simply the avenue I utilize to keep my friends and family up to date on the life and times of John Maxim, while chronicling, in a journal of sorts the better events and ideas of my life. It is titled “on the john” because I still find potty humor exciting (this due to my slow maturing rate). The numerals next to the title indicate the year and the number of the coinciding letter within that year, i.e. 2.8 is second year, eighth letter this year. I explain this mostly for those of you who are new to “on the johns”; some may not even know who I am. You might be receiving this because I used to be John Henderson, and if you haven't heard, my identity was stolen and I was forced to change my name. Or you could be receiving this because I am that guy that married your niece, daughter, or sister Lara Sio Rice Collins Nielson (different last names used at different periods of her life, she is now Lara Maxim) and she has asked me to add you to my humble list of recipients. So, now that you’re aware, these letters come out once a month or less, and if you no longer wish to receive them all you need do is ask.

Now in our 8th month of marriage, life has taken an interesting turn for me and Lara [see fig. 1]. About a month ago, Lara invited her youngest sister, who is expecting a baby girl, to move in with us. Lara's sister, Jessica [see fig. 2], thought it would be a nice change of pace for her and her boyfriend, Jake [see fig. 2], who has also moved in with us. Their move here is mostly to get away from negative influences and start a new life together that they can be proud to raise their daughter in. Their Daughter who they are going to name Nevaeh: nuh-vay-uh (heaveN) is due to be born on Nov. 13th-ish. So far they have lived here for two weeks... our tiny 2 bedroom apartment is bursting with the arrival of our new guests. The adjustment to living with two more people is easy for me; I used to live with 9 guys, and grew up in a family of 8. Lara doesn't have any complaints either, because now she has family close and someone she can shop for 2 1/2 hours with that doesn't get grumpy. So far it's been great. We are actively working on getting them jobs and driver’s licenses. Any assistance you can provide in any of those areas would be great. (Jake has four years of construction experience if that gives you any ideas) Though I'm only 25 it makes me feel old to be living with these two 18 year old kids, luckily I have 'google' to answer any of the poignant questions life might throw out* and have coped with being an authority figure in the home.

Lara [see fig. 3] got a new super cool job, which she loves. She got hired as a server/caterer at Jeremy Ranch Golf & spa Resort. Again unlike most serving jobs in Utah she makes a significant hourly wage which towers above the usual $2.13. Also the tips are enormous in comparison. With frequent guests like Billy Bob Thornton and Robert Redford, and their excellent tipping etiquette she will probably become the bread winner in the family... which I have no problems with. Another perk is that she gets free golf for her and her family (that’s me) so I expect to be a force of awesome power in the next Nelson Family Reunion Golf Tournament.

I've had a lot of questions about what I do for a living so I'll lay that out. I work [see figure 4] for the infamous mortgage company Fairbanks Capital Corp. You can learn about our exploits on various “hate Fairbanks” websites, and news programs like “Get Gephardt”, “Dateline”, and “7 Exposed”**. I work in the Loss Mitigation department, and basically negotiate with borrowers who are 120 days past due or more on their home loan. I sit at a phone all day and try to either keep people in their homes or help them with a resolution other than foreclosure. I used to really like the job, but lately some administrative changes have made the job a little less enjoyable. Non-the-less, coupled with my Real Estate experience I have become quite an expert in matters relating to Foreclosure, Short Sales, Bankruptcy's, and other such matters. If you happen to find yourself in any of the aforementioned unfortunate situations feel free to ask me for advice. The only charges for my services are that for one day you think I am the coolest person you've ever known***. Also, I still am a licensed real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, however my contract with them will be up in November and I will be moving to another company.

Pets pets pets. First, I should note that now, not only do we have a dog (Vodka), we have a cat (Batman), and Jake and Jessica have a cat too (Gomez). This doesn't make our tiny apartment much easier to live in, and sometimes I wonder who actually rules the house, us or them? Vodka and Batman [see figure 5] have known each other for over a month, and get along great. However Gomez hates dogs, and he doesn't understand that when Vodka lunges towards him and begins licking his entire little feline figure one lick at a time, that he is just playing. So Gomez thrashes Vodka's faces with a myriad of bites and scratches and shakes with fear for three days following. We hope that in time Gomez will calm down but right now great care has to be taken to keep them separated, and it can become fairly taxing at times.

Batman is 3 months old [see fig. 6]. He is a brownish grayish orangish strippedish kitten. He is overly affectionate and really sweet. Batman tolerates Vodka but enjoys tormenting him, by approaching him slowly until Vodka makes a move he runs into a hole Vodka can't enter. Vodka's influence on Batman has been more significant than I realized however, as I walked into the bathroom the other day and caught Batman drinking out of the toilet. I don't have a picture yet, but I will soon, you should see how he actually climbs into the bowl and straddles the pool then ever so gracefully sips the water inside.

Gomez is only a week younger than Batman [see fig. 7], and they are best friends. He is Black and white, with a black mustache looking mark on his face that makes him look, well like Gomez. About a month ago Gomez had a run in with the fan belt of Jakes Dads pick up, and as a result is missing his right ear. He's okay, but with his equilibrium askew, he always has his head cocked so the ear he does have is hoisted in the air. He loves to sleep, and he takes great care in finding a comfortable place to lay. Usually it’s in the highest place in the room. If he can help it it's right in Vodka's view and out of reach, which drives the dog nuts of course.

Vodka is our dog [see fig. 8(this picture is at 3 months old)]. He is 7 months old yesterday, weighs in at 87 lbs and has an incredibly hilarious personality. He is a purebred dog, the breed is called Dogo Argentino****. He is all white with faint specking on his fur. Specking is different then spotting because when a dog has specking the spot is largely on their skin and not their fur. Because the fur is white the spot faintly shows through, and on some of the bigger skin spots there are small specks of dark fur, hence specking. Since getting the dog I have realized that male bonding is not restricted within one's own species. I call him 'the boy' often to Lara, and little does she know I feel more fatherly than I probably should. As I watch my little boy (yes the dog) grow up I feel an element of pride as he learns and progresses. For example, one thing someone who has never owned a dog or puppy may not know is that dogs have to learn things just like us. I was always under the impression they were just born knowing how to be dogs. Male dogs even have to learn how to lift their legs when they pee. For the first few months they squat like a girl dog. Just the other day whilst out and about with Vodka, he was standing by a bush, and I wasn't watching closely, but he stumbled and fell awkwardly into the bush. Later that day as I walked him I realized he was attempting to lift his leg, but couldn't quite get his balance right. Each time he would square up to an object, start to lift his leg. What looked to me like 'nervously', he would move his leg up, down, up, down, and then extend. His other three legs began to wobble, and then all at once he would fall into the object he was “marking”. I felt bad for him each time he would fail, trying so hard, I felt embarrassed. I wanted to help him out, you know hold his leg up or something... but obviously, either he never would have learned or I would have to hold his leg up for the rest of my life. Even for me, that’s just silly. I was rewarded as any proud father when I saw his first successful leg lift from start to finish. He finished and trotted off with all the triumph of an Olympic Gold winner. I realized however that his triumph, his sense of achievement was dwarfed by my beaming pride in that moment. It was very exciting. Very very exciting. In that same week Vodka learned how to swim. He has also learned how to bark at strangers in the night who come with-in 5 meters of our ghetto located apartment. Also how to catch a tennis ball in the air. It was a very cool week. For some, the comparison between my dog and fatherhood my seem a little off the mark. I think its great preparation in the future event that I have children.

Well, that about sums things up for now. Just a couple side notes, soccer is still fun and good, we start the fall season on Sept. 6th. The summer has been very exciting with numerous vacations and adventures in our convertible [see fig. 12]. Finally, I have the Movie that my good friend Cameron Daley and I co-wrote, directed, and produced which won “Best Picture” at the University of Utah Independent film festival in 2000 out on DVD. There are only 6 copies left, they are $9.99, that includes shipping. If you’re interested, please notify me.

I love you and look forward to further fraternizations. Keep in touch. Until next time, goodbye.


*This includes questions like: What is the difference between a Catholic and a Mormon? or, Rumor has it there is a disease contracted from contact to cat poop that pregnant women are susceptible to and can give the Baby brain damage... What should we do?

**While writing my letter I think of points that are an “asterisks worthy addition”, however I don't write the point down until after the letter is completed. For the life of me I can't remember what I wanted to insert here.

***This would be in the case that someone asked you “Who is the coolest person that you have ever known?” For the designated day you would simply say John Maxim. Other qualifying questions on said day are “Who is your hero?” “If you could be like anybody who would it be?” and “If there is one person you would have accompany you on a deserted desert Island who would it be?” - Also, there are T-shirts of various sizes and colors now available which say “John Maxim is the coolest person I've ever known” for only $9.95. Contact me for availability.

****Most people haven't heard of Vodka's breed, and I was ridiculed recently for relaying the tale of how he was named in a previous email, but not regaling you with the tale of how the breed came to be about. So, here goes. In the early 1900's in Argentina the economy, for some reasons I haven't yet determined called for children to travel between towns to transport stuffs. Wild puma's would use this opportunity to come out of the jungle and have a quick kiddy snack. A Doctor who happened to be a dog enthusiast and hunter, wanted to create a dog that could be tame and gentle enough to accompany the children on their treks, but also not only deter the large feline assailant but in the event of a confrontation be big, strong, and courageous enough to defend the little children to the death. This Doctor began in 1904 and finally after 20 years of methodical breeding using 10 previous breeds***** produced the Dogo Argentino (which I believe translated into English means 'Argentine Bulldog'). After the years they became astounding “Large Game” pack hunters specializing in Puma, Cougar and 400+ pound Wild Boar. Argentina became so proud of the beast that for fear of the breed being perverted by the savage Americans (much like the Pit Bull) did not allow the Dog out of Argentina until 1985. Now it is practically unknown, the only reason I learned about it was because of one of those “Which Dog Breed is best for you” tests on the internet.

***** Including Old Cordoba Fighting Dog (a now extinct breed from Argentina), Old English Mastiff, Bull Terrier, English Bull Dog, Pointer, Great Dane, Spanish Mastiff, Irish Wolfhound, Great Pyrenees, Dogue De Bordeaux, and the Boxer.