1. When I'm laying in bed and trying to go to sleep, yet Lovely Wife is still up watching TV, and I hear her, across the house, laugh at something funny. I love her laugh.
2. When I'm sitting at our computer Photoshopping digital photos, and Number Two Daughter comes up and leans over and hugs my neck from behind.
3. When Number One Daughter comes in and says, "What's up Homey G.? High five!" and makes me give her a high five.
4. Sister in Law always says, "I love you" to us when we're ending a phone conversation. Yet she only lives one block over from us.
5. Angel, our oldest and first and smallest poodle, a white toy poodle (6 pounds), basically took to me early on, even though Lovely Wife picked her out an brought home. She's considered "Daddy's" dog. When I lay down in bed to go to sleep at night, she jumps on the bed and comes and stands and tucks her head down, sticks it under my chin and then reaches up with her left paw and scratches me, demanding I love on her a little bit. If I stop too soon for her, she scratches me to let me know she needs more lovin'.
6. Rosie, our red miniature poodle, gets all excited and runs around and spinning in circles when she comes back into the house from taking a poop in the back yard. We always know when she's been out taking care of some business because otherwise she's very lady-like and sedate. Not to get too crass here, but as a man, I can appreciate the benefits of having your plumbing in good working order.
7. Lilly, one of our "puppies" that were born to Rosie, the one I mentioned just above, is also our biggest poodle. She's a miniature but very stout and heavily built like her father. She's also the one that needs the most attention. She'll jump up in my lap and then just throw herself back in your arms like a little baby for belly rubs. She's the alpha dog and is very good at making her needs known.
8. Sassy, our cat who is about 12 now, is what I call our forgotten child. She waits until I'm on the computer and jumps up next to me and for a couple of minutes makes a pretense of looking out of the window, but a few seconds later she steps between me and the keyboard, stretching luxuriously and rubs the top of her head on my hand, like, "Pet me with this hand today. She "tolerates" our dogs, but when they get too uppity, she can still do that 32-punches-per-second thing that cats do and scares the crap out of the dogs for a while.
9. Lovely Wife loves her some flowers. And this far south in Florida, you can have them blooming pretty much year 'round. She keeps the place all prettied up. Being a typical guy, I wouldn't bother if I were alone. They make great fodder for photographs too.
10. I turned both of my daughters onto heavy metal. Back when they thought the Backstreet Boys, Nsync, and Spice Girls were the bomb, I took them to a couple of Disciple concerts and straightened them up.
11. Sainted Mother still calls me on my birthday every October and tells me the "forty-xxx years ago right now, I was…" story.
12. Big Sis and I were far enough apart in age that, as kids, we didn't get along that great, but as adults we're very close. If my life seems boring sometimes, I can be assured of a great story if I call her. Something's ALWAYS causing drama in her life. I don't understand her ability to listen to country music though. I blame Keith Urban.
13. Mr. Spike. Spike isn't a girl, but he's our fourth poodle. He's a mama's boy and loves Lovely Wife to distraction, but he still freaks out when I get home from work, and he likes to sit with me in my recliner. He's a gentle, laid back doggy, but when he sees a strange dog, he "gets all hound dog on us" and lets out a long, Bah-uuuurrrrrr! To warn the family that potential danger is afoot. He's jet black with Sylvester Stalone sad eyes and a white patch on his chin that we call his "soul patch." His eyes and natural expression is like Eeeyore's, from Winnie the Pooh. (The black poodle there is Mr. Spike, and the white on behind him is his sister, Lilly.)