Josh’s Morning Routine

When Josh is getting ready for a school day, I can only imagine how he processes his to do list.

“Lets see, I have to

A. Bug Joe
B. Bug Amy
C. Bug Lauryn
D. Change underwear
E. Get dressed
F. Put on socks AND shoes
G. Brush teeth

Wow, that’s a lot. Time to prioritize. A-C are non-negotiables, but that’s going to leave me pressed. D is optional, so I’ll put that off til next week. I can manage to squeeze in E and F as long as I leave out the sock part. If I just run my toothbrush under the faucet, that might just leave me enough time for another round of A-C. This should work.”

Wonder Dog–New York Times

service dog I read an interesting article in today’s Times, titled “Wonder Dog,” about the amazing ways service dogs can affect the lives of their families. The opening anecdote focused on a family in Georgia whose son has behavioral and cognitive issues stemming from prenatal exposure to alcohol. After trying all kinds of interventions, the mom was encouraged to consider a dog who was specifically trained to intervene in her son’s frequent tantrums. Over time, the family has seen the tantrums decrease, and they have also seen some striking developments in their son’s cognitive development.

The article also talks about the training process these dogs go through, which is rigorous and highly specific. They can be trained to perform physical tasks in a home environment–everything from opening doors and turning on light switches to getting items out of the refrigerator and helping someone undress–as well as to recognize physical symptoms, such as impending seizures. Here is a video showing the training process in action.

Lauryn and the dogsAround our house, we don’t have dogs trained for service. At times, one of the 14-yr-old “seniors”–Buddy–forgets that he’s housetrained. But, as this photo attests, we’re a thoroughly integrated family. The dogs let us know when the atmospheric pressure drops and a front is moving in, Digory–the other “old man”–makes frequent rounds of the house to make sure everyone is accounted for, and the beagles . . . well, the beagles make sure that any crumbs get licked up, whether they’re on the floor, on a low table, or in an open pantry closet.

2010 in review

I haven’t posted much in the last month–I’ll have  a few thoughts about the Christmas holidays in the next few days.

In the meantime, check out some of the more popular posts from this past year.  The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s an overall summary:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire! (We all know how accurate the Blog-Health-o-Meter is.)

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,300 times in 2010. That’s about 3 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 33 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 40 posts. There were 35 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 13mb. That’s about 3 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was May 27th with 273 views. The most popular post that day was Running with scissors, glasses, and dogs.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for c. gobin wordpress,, c. gobin wordpress running with scissors, c. gobin homepage wordpress, and josh gobin.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Running with scissors, glasses, and dogs May 2010


Happy Birthday, “Breathless.” May 2010


Joe Crosses Over! May 2010


When a third of the family goes to camp June 2010
1 comment


My response to Jacques Steinberg’s column May 2010

Cleaning up on Saturdays

WARNING: the following contains a fair amount of griping and moaning.  I’ve edited out objectionable language.

I remember Saturdays growing up being a rather calm affair.  Waking up relatively early to watch cartoons most weeks, except for the occasional attempt at sleeping in, which was usually interrupted by my dad standing at the end of the bed, waiting for a few minutes and then exclaiming, “you gonna sleep your life away?”  Apparently, there was much to be lost by 8:00 am.

Fast forward forty-five years.  At 6:30 the dogs begin their day, which sets the five-year-old in motion.  One might think she’d simply go out to the family room, turn on the tv, and entertain herself for a half hour while I get my eyes open.  And, in fact, she’s happy to do that, as well as helping herself to a jar of peanut butter, which she’s happy to share with the dogs.  In other words, sleeping in at this point, if possible, is not advisable.

Melissa does most of the cooking around here, but Saturdays are pancakes or waffles a la Dad.  Things move relatively smoothly through this phase, as long as I don’t get too much “help.”  Then comes the dreaded phrase, “ok, guys, it’s time to pick up the house a bit.”  Suddenly, it appears as if I am the only who lives in this house, since the air is filled with rhetoric straight out of the courtroom or negotiating table: “I did not play with that,” “she’s not helping,” “I will clean up this half of the room because that’s the only place I was.”

At which point Dad begins to turn a bilious shade of green, his biceps and chest begin expanding, and the buttons pop off his shirt.  I think of all those helpful lists of house rules  the supernanny claims does the trick, and I cast a resentful glance at the copies of Real Simple lying around: “De-clutter in 15 Minutes!” “Organizing that works!”  These articles always feature some Nordic-looking mom sitting in an all-white kitchen with a bowl of fresh lemons on the counter, while her surely-drugged, J. Crew-dressed kids bake cookies on their own and help each other with their homework.  If there are pets, they are busy wiping their own feet before coming in.

I have yet to see a picture featuring Legos strewn on the floor, a cute beagle chewing a Croc, while a kindergartner with a sticky face eats dog food out of the pantry.  I’m not saying any of that happens around here, of course, just that I never see it in a magazine.

So, after getting thirty minutes of straightening out of them (if I’m lucky and the stars are aligned), chaos resumes.  What keeps me off the ledge are moments of seeing them play well together, such as Joe trying to show Josh how a game on Wii works, or Amy challenging Lauryn to a game of arcade ball in the hallway.  Maybe we can have a fire later; I have some magazines that will work well to get it started.