Surprises. I’m not sure how I feel about them. If it is a surprise cookie — preferably peanut butter chocolate chip — waiting for me at work, I’m all in. If it is a surprise left by a dog, I’m all out.

More on the dog surprise later. But first, a more pleasant surprise. 

On Sunday, after watching Russell Wilson cook the Dolphins, I received a text message from my youngest sister.

The message contained a photo of two of my nephews holding a newborn baby wrapped in a blanket. The two older kids were all smiles. The newborn appeared to be sleeping.

“Hey, this just happened ... introducing your new nephew Oliver Rex, born on October 3, 2020.”

My response, “Whose kid is that?”

Her response, “This is your newest nephew. He is mine.”

Me: “Huh???? I’m confused. Did I miss something?”

My sister: “There is nothing to miss. LOL. Just didn’t tell you and Janet (Lady Human). Wanted to surprise you guys.” 

Mission accomplished. I couldn’t have been more surprised. However, still not convinced, I quickly penned a text to Momma Clarkston. Certainly, the lady born to gab wouldn’t have kept my sister’s pregnancy a secret. If true, she would have had mentioned it, right? Maybe she did, and I just faded off, which tends to happen when she begins to talk about the neighbors — I don’t care who is mowing their lawns or feeding the neighborhood cat.

It took Momma Clarkston six minutes to reply.

“She didn’t know she was having one till the end of April because she was sick with pneumonia and wasn’t getting better ... probably didn’t know how to tell you.” 

I couldn’t believe she kept the pregnancy a secret. We correspond every day.  

At this point, Lady Human texted me. Apparently, my sister also sent her the same photo that I received. 

“How come you never told me Megan was pregnant?” 

BECAUSE I DIDN’T KNOW! Everybody else in my family new, but NOT ME. Guess this is what happens when you live 3,000 miles away. 

I have to hand it to my sister, her having a kid was a complete surprise to me. It would have been even better if little Oliver Rex had stayed in the oven one more day so he could have shared a birthday with his grandfather, big Rex, who passed away in 2018 due to cancer.  

And now for the not-so-pleasant surprise. 

On Tuesday, Cody James found a treat on our morning walk. I didn’t realize he had something in his mouth until we returned home, and I heard him crunching on something. I attempted to take whatever it was from his mouth, but when I got within striking distance, he growled. I let him be. 

Later that night came the surprise. Cody’s enjoyment of the treat turned to displeasure in the form of doggy diarrhea. He left a few splatterings around the Clarkston Apartment for Lady Human to discover when she arrived home from work. I also got notified via text.  

As I’m writing this Thursday, Cody’s unpleasant bowel movements haven’t stopped. It’s been a constant cycle of taking him outside and putting him in the tub.

We hope this incident will discourage him from scavenging the grounds for treats that turn his tummy upside down. Nah, who are we kidding? Cody has been nothing but surprises since joining the Zoo last December.   

NFL PICKS

I put up a 10-5 record in Week 4 to run my overall record to 40-22-1. 

All the games in Week 5 are slated to happen, but that could change as two Sunday games have already been pushed to Monday and Tuesday. 

BUFFALO (4-0) AT 

TENNESSEE (3-0)

Who knows if this game will take place in Week 5. Because of the COVID-19 outbreak within the Titans’ locker room, the game has been moved to Tuesday. And even then, there is a chance that it gets canceled. 

Let’s hope the game gets played because it is one of the week’s better matchups ... Bills 31, Titans 28. 

PHILADELPHIA (1-2-1) AT 

PITTSBURGH (3-0) 

How bad is the NFC East? The Eagles, at 1-2-1, are leading the East with a .375 winning percentage. Philadelphia, Washington, Dallas and New York Giants have combined for three wins. In contrast, the AFC North, which houses Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Cleveland and Cincinnati, have combined for 10 wins. 

With that said, the Eagles looked good in a Sunday night victory over the 49ers, while the Steelers had an unexpected week off thanks to the COVID-19 outbreak in Tennessee. Since Pittsburgh had extra time to prepare ... Steelers 24, Eagles 17. 

INDIANAPOLIS (3-1) AT 

CLEVELAND (3-1)

In a season where offenses are scoring at will, the Indianapolis defense has shined. The Colts are only allowing 236.3 yards — 53.7 yards better than the next best team — and 14 points per game. 

The Colts will get tested this week with a trip to Cleveland. The Browns exploded last week with 49 points, that, of course, was against the hapless Cowboys. I’m still not sold on Baker Mayfield ... Colts 19, Browns 12.

MINNESOTA (1-3) AT 

SEATTLE (4-0)

What’s on the line for the Seahawks this week? Only the best start in franchise history. The Hawks have sizzled through the first quarter of the season, posting 416.3 yards and 35.5 points per game. 

As much as the offense has surged, the defense has struggled. Seattle is allowing a league-worst 476.8 yards per game. In four games, the secondary has been burnt for 1,604 passing yards. Minnesota has two talented pass catchers in Adam Thielen and the emerging Justin Jefferson. Still, that’s not enough fire power to keep with Seattle ... Seahawks 38, Vikings 28

LOS ANGELES 

CHARGERS (1-3) 

AT NEW ORLEANS (2-2)

Oregon product Justin Herbert has been fantastic in the first three starts of his young career, and on Thursday, was named the Chargers’ starting quarterback for the rest of the season. 

Oregon doesn’t have a great history of turning out NFL quarterbacks, but Herbert might be the exception. He gets a tough draw this week, facing the Saints in New Orleans ... Saints 34, Chargers 21. 

Other games: 

Falcons 34, Panthers 31

Ravens 45, Bengals 17

Chiefs 42, Raiders 24

Rams 21, Football Team 7

Cardinals 28, Jets 10

Texans 34, Jaguars 28

49ers 27, Dolphins 14

Cowboys 49, Giants 26

Patriots 24, Broncos 14 

   

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