… on encouragemental obligation

Merry Christmas Mom!

On Christmas morning, Mac handed me a box.

‘Here, Mom. Open this one!”

It was a big box.

I held it up and kind of shook it back and forth. It felt like it was stuffed full, maybe with a new, big fluffy blanket or something.

I couldn’t tell.

Mac just smiled at me, and a few of the others in the Dingle Peanut gallery smiled too. Or chuckled.

I counted to three out loud and ripped open my present.

And laughed out loud.

Pet Petter!

At a speed of approximately 85 ppm (Pets Per Minute), I would – the box told me – never have to touch my pets again.

I started laughing.

This product was hysterical!

And I loved my family for knowing I would find it so flippin’ funny.

Who wouldn’t want to touch their pets?! … I guess I could put it over in the corner… I wonder if there is a height adjustment?

All of these thoughts passed through my giggling mind as I turned it over to open the box and pull out my Pet Petter 6000 (model number added by my brain).

The outer flap had a photo of the inventor – one Todd Lawson – holding the leash of a pretty pit mix, and said the following:

Pets are wonderful. And filthy. I have loved pets all my life. I’ve also contracted ringworm, toxoplasmosis and parvovirus twice. You see, whether your pet is long-haired, pure-bred, or mutt, all pets have one thing in common. They are dirty, disease-carrying friends. That’s why I’ve developed a new line of pet products designed with both your pet AND your immune system in mind. Hope you enjoy.

There were also pictures of a turtle, ferret, little lamb, and small pony on the box. Also? It told me that the XL Pet Petter reaches to 54″.

So. Versatility as well as practicality.

I was loving it.

But then…

As I opened the big flap, each little one inside had a message for me.

The left one said, “PRANK YOU!”

The right, “Settle down, your real gift is inside.”

Wait. What?!

The Pet Petter wasn’t – isn’t – real?!

My disappointment could have been profound, but for the very loud laughter coming from Mac, Jack, Sam, Avery, Gabe, JoHn, and Granny.

Clearly, I looked stunned.

I was encouraged to dig deeper into the box which – apparently – was not only not filled with the Pet Petter 6000, but also did not seem to be filled with my aforementioned guess of a new, big fluffy blanket.

It was, however filled with a lot of bubble wrap.

And then…

No way.

I pulled out the camera I’d been drooling over since before it ever came on the scene… a year after I got my own camera more than five years ago.

I’d looked at it off and on (okay, I stalked it), sometimes close to seriously. But it was a professional camera, more camera than I could handle. I didn’t want it to just have it, because it was way cool. I wanted it when I was ready to really use it for all that it is.

The second version of it came out last December, and it went on to win a bazillion awards. I still stood back.

Too much for me. 

Too much money.

Too much camera.

But on Christmas morning, there I was pulling it out of a Pet Petter joke box while my family congratulated themselves on pulling off a big one.

They’d chipped in… all the kids, JoHn, and Granny.

I must have looked stunned. This camera didn’t even have pre-set scenes for when I want (or need) to be lazy and avoid math and stuff.

Jack looked at me with a huge smile and said, “You’ve got this.”

I was blown away.

I also don’t think I’ve been this inspired since I bought a car with a manual transmission before knowing how to drive a standard (yep. 1979 Renault Le Car, baby!)

I was under the weather coming up to, and passing through Christmas this year. So the imposed rest gave me a lot of time with my new camera, its manual, and a few books I’ve had hanging around for a while (but now really need!)

For days I’ve been snapping too-dark pics of my coffee table, eerie pics of my tea-pot, a kajillion super-bright pics of my big toe in front of the flames in my fireplace (no, I’m not showing you those). And I think I’m kind of getting it now.

It’s a balance thing.

And, luckily, I’m kind of big on balance!

I’m told, by those who know how to do this, that I’ll be making my own pics now, vs. taking the pics that the camera companies have set up for me over the years in their pre-sets. I kind of like that mentality.

Plus I’ve got a fave quote by Abe Lincoln in my head. One that always jumps to the forefront when someone offers faith, or support.

I’m a success today because I had a friend who believed in me and I didn’t have the heart to let him down.

I know.

It’s just a camera.

But it’s also my family’s encouragement that I get to hold in my hand.

Pretty cool.

And it turns out Marshal Dillon Dingle isn’t a bad practice model! Here he is posing in a dark room, so I could play around with manual focusing and shutter speeds and apertures and ISOs and stuff.

No, I didn’t end up getting a Pet Petter 6000.

But this’ll do just fine.

Thanks for readin’.

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