In Memory of Panda

Panda, my dogHow do you decide it is time? I am not afraid of Death, just the timing of it. I am afraid the Lord will bring me home before I am ready to go. And the issue we always face is, “there was so much I wanted to do before I died”. If you want to do something before you die, start living today. I read about how “bucket lists” are a waste. You know the movie, The Bucket List. In this movie Jack Nicholson’s character creates a bucket list of things he wants to do before he dies. Because of this movie, many have been inspired to make their own bucket lists of things they want to do before they die. But if you don’t know when you are going to die, it is probably better to start doing these things now rather than wait. We don’t all get a fatal disease with an almost known date of date. Those months or even days to live doctors are known to give in TV and movies are guesses at best. A man given a year to live, lived for twelve more years. The woman given six months to live died four days later. So if you aren’t living the life you want, it is time to start because tomorrow is not a given.

Today, I lost a good friend, Panda. Panda was a wonderful dog. She had been suffering for a while and while many times I thought it might be time I found ways to see if she could make it a few more days. Lately she had been sleeping a lot more, turning around in circles over and over for no apparent reason, waiting up with her body shaped like a letter C from arthritis, and walking into corners of the room just standing there. She was biting herself a lot and she was having trouble with her hind legs at times, not holding her up properly. I had been giving her various things to try and make her comfortable. But after searching online on how to know when it is time, I realized it really is time and perhaps it has only been convenient for me that she kept living, not convenient for her. I could only help ease her pain, not stop her pain with anything I could give her. When she walked into a corner today unable to figure out how to get out and her legs shaking at the attempts, I realize she needed this to end. So I called the vet and explained what I had seen the last few weeks and months and she said to bring her in. Probably dementia, probably failing kidneys, probably arthritis, probably many other things that we could only alleviate so much but not fix at this point. At 15 1/2 years old, she had lived a good life.

She belonged originally to my wife. I adopted Panda as part of our marriage. When she was younger, Panda, not my wife, she used to chase tennis balls in the yard. She was such a high energy dog back then. Over time Panda became “my” dog, probably because I do most of the cooking in my house and because of that, guess who always go the left overs. Panda is like me in a lot of ways, we both would eat because there was food, not so much because we were hungry. For a time she was probably eating too much because of that. Unlike me though, I was able to reduce the amount of table scraps I fed her. Over time I knew what she liked a lot, and what didn’t like all that much. Like me, there wasn’t much she wouldn’t eat except maybe broccoli. I will eat broccoli but if it is overcooked, I am not a fan. And there were things she would eat that she wasn’t supposed to. Like candy the kids left laying around after Halloween.

Long ago she and her best bud, Max (another dog we used to have before he passed away) played so well together. Panda did nip at his years but in a loving way, never intent to hurt Max. Max was not the smartest dog but Panda was the George to Max’s Lennie. They were such a great pair. And Panda was as heartbroken as I when  Max passed away. Today I am heartbroken. I have cherished Panda. She was my bud, my kitchen cleaning pal, my middle of the night, I really gotta go, gotta go right now, companion who tapped danced all through the house when she needed to pee in the middle of the night. Today in that Vet’s office my eyes sweat. To see how pitiful she looked quickly took away the feelings of, “Am I doing the right thing?” It was the right thing. And when I am unable to care for myself, kept alive only by a machine, it will be the right thing for me too. If dogs go to heaven, Panda is running around with some old friends today. I hope Max is one of them.

The So-Called Expert

How do you define expert?

How do you define expert?

I have always been leery of so-called experts. A long time ago I worked for a company that implemented a major Enterprise Resource Planning project. We simply did not have enough experienced staff so we hired an outside consulting firm to help offset our staff shortage. The consulting company was one of the well respected ones of their day and we were paying huge hourly rates for these people. They had Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and then they had some that were supposed to be the smartest of the bunch who were project leads. The project leads were $350 a hour. The SMEs were $150 an hour. Turns out the SMEs were mostly college students who went through a two week “boot camp” on the topic they were hired for and often we were their first customers. Before the project was over, we let the company go and decided, thanks but no thanks. From that I became skeptical of any one who called themselves an expert.

Years later we hired a consultant again who was highly recommended. We even interviewed him ahead of time having learned our lesson from previous consultants. He was a rock star, at least at interviewing. He knew all the buzzwords and since the product we needed help with we only knew a little, it seemed he was a good fit. When he arrived we left him to his own devices so to speak because again, we were short staffed. However, he began to ask a lot of basic questions that he should have known the answer to. An analogy that comes to mind is a baker. Because a person worked in a bakery and frosted cakes, doesn’t make him a baker. When our baker left, we had to not only clean the kitchen but destroy the bakery. One day out of the blue I received a call from someone looking to hire this consultant and asking for a reference. Not wanting to say anything bad, I said, “He is good at the things he does well.”

When your life is over, what do you want to be known as an expert in?Click To Tweet

Today I was looking on Klout, which I know has lost a lot of significance and has struggled to find a new identity, but I find it interesting what they say and sometimes the Klout scores tell you something about people you are thinking of following or who are giving you advice on topics you care about. I looked and Klout said I was an expert in a lot of things.

Klout Expert Items

These are picked by Klout and not by me, supposedly based on the content I post about on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram. The Starred ones are what Klout says I am an expert on. The checkboxes are the ones that I sort of agree on. But there are some that I just don’t understand. The Bible and Christianity. Those jump out at me. I am a Christian but I am not an expert at it. I know most of the things I am supposed to do as a Christian, but I not always faithful to God as I should be. And while I read the Bible and have read it cover to cover a few times and I have done Bible studies and do research on my own about the Bible, again, I am not an expert. I want to be but even if I were a Seminary schooled preacher, I will never know all there is to know about the Bible. And Walmart? Why am I am expert on Walmart? I don’t recall ever posting about that. Google Fiber, I know a lot about but not being an actual Google Fiber customer, there are things I probably will not know because experience is usually the best teacher.

Are you an expert? How do you define expert? How about those around you who say they are experts? Are they?