Saturday, August 30, 2008

My wife is amazing XVII

I am not a sadist, but I do like to tickle my wife and kids. I think of it as a term of endearment. The fact that J-Mom is VERY ticklish is a wonderful thing.

I exercise a lot of restraint in taking advantage of this trait.

Friday, August 29, 2008

My wife is amazing XVI

I'm usually a wuss when it comes to illness and injury, but I can't stand staying in bed. My back's been messed up for a while this time. I had to go and get another spinal block done Tuesday. It's a procedure where they inject cortisone into your discs in your spine. It can take as long as two weeks to feel the effects and to get over the fact you were just stabbed in the back. But I couldn't take it easy. I had to put my new computer together, drag my old one upstairs and go to work Thursday. It was too much.

Today I've been on J-Mom enforced bed rest. I'm glad. I really needed it and I do feel better now that I'm at the end of the day.

Sometimes we need our wives to be moms to us as well as our children.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My wife is amazing XV

I drive everywhere. That is, when we load up to go somewhere as a family, I drive. I'm not sure why this is -- some male "must control the situation thing" -- but it is what it is. J-Mom drives very well and, in fact, has fewer mishaps on her record than I do, but she still allows me to take the wheel more times than not.

Thanks for letting me take the wheel, hon'.

My wife is amazing XIV

I missed yesterday. I feel horrible.

Daughters One and Two are both involved in sports programs. DN1 is involved in swimming at the local Y and DN2 is getting into gymnastics. Both have done activities in the past, mainly soccer, but none of this is due to me. J-Mom is very active in ensuring the kids get into these activities.

I very much want them to do this stuff, but I'd be lost if I was in charge of doing it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My new computer

Just got this in the mail. When I ordered it it was offered at this price $499 with the Lenovo 19" LCD monitor. Just too good a deal to pass up.

I added a 512MB video card and larger power supply. Otherwise, everything's good. I might overclock the processor. Been reading up on it and the tech reports say I can get another GHz out just by setting the front side bus to 1300MHz. And that's with stock cooling.

I'm just glad I got into this deal when it was still good. They stopped selling the system with the monitor a couple of days after I ordered it. Looking forward to playing around with it.

My new coffee blend

I have found a new coffee: Patriot Blend from Newhall Coffee. From the packaging (and if you follow the link, the Web site):
Patriots deserve our support and that is why with your purchase of this bag we are sending free coffee to an active duty military man or woman as a "Thank You" for their service.
That's a pretty cool thing. It's hard to get quality coffee in on the bases in Afghanistan or Iraq. J-Mom bought me one bag from Sam's and I plan on getting more this weekend. The kicker? It's really good coffee.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My wife is amazing XIII

She took me to the hospital today (no worries -- it was a scheduled spinal block).

Being taken care of is always awesome.

Monday, August 25, 2008

My wife is amazing XII

Being a communicator I am, by nature, a horrible communicator.

Well, I am a pretty good communicator at work. I am a horrible interpersonal and familial communicator. I don’t like talking on the phone. I am bad about keeping up with e-mail. Don’t even think about getting a letter from me. I wish I was better, but I don’t wish it enough to really do much about it (though I do kind of consider this blog my communication tool).

J-Mom, on the other hand, is a wonderful interpersonal communicator. I would be so out of the loop on so many different aspects of my family and extended family were it not for her skills. It is a testament to her ability to make herself a part of any group and add and take information from them.

I am learning from her. I actually reply to my mom’s e-mail! I talk to my brother more than once a year! Yeah, it’s a slow process.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My wife is awesome XI

One of the things that everyone likes about my wife is her sense of humor and how easily she succumbs to laughing fits. It is one of the things that made me fall in love with her and one of the things that has rubbed off on me most.

There are times where she can just blow into a room and make the entire dynamic more lighthearted. I wish I was half as bright as she is.

If you need someone to bring you up, all you need to do is talk to J-Mom.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My wife is amazing X

I like to hit the bed and go to sleep at night. My wife likes to read, watch TV, and/or play on the laptop, winding down in bed before falling asleep. This has, as you can imagine, provided some interesting challenges over the years.

The compromise has really fallen in my favor, I think.

Most nights, when we get ready to go to bed, I lay on my side and my wonderful wife will scratch my back lightly until I fall asleep. That's love I tell ya'.

Friday, August 22, 2008

My wife is amazing IX

So, yes, I don’t get to go blow money whenever I want on whatever I want. But she that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t like to have fun or buy fun stuff.

When there’s some extra money, she’s fine with buying some toys here and there. We have a few Wii games. The kids get DS games occasionally. We just try and be moderate with what we get and how often. Sometimes we’re not very good at that, but that’s the nature of the beast, I guess.

I appreciate the fact that J-Mom understands the need for toys. And she’s going to get blasted tomorrow with the Super Soakers we picked up yesterday -- this, I promise.

UPDATE No water-gun fights tomorrow. It's supposed to be pouring out so our outing was postponed.

Dude, that sounds like shit

There are a lot of people out there that shouldn't sing. You know them. You're related to them. Some of them refuse to listen to reason. Some are nicer than that. But what's really wrong is the guy who doesn't listen to reason and somehow gets into a band and becomes famous. That's the universe messing with you.

However, I'll tell you what bothers me more: Folks who can sing, but still shouldn't be. Let me explain. Professional musicians like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed ... none of them are good singers. I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about guys who can sing. Guys who, technically, do everything right, but they still don't sound good. It's usually the tone of their voice. The best example I can think of is pictured here, James LaBrie, the lead singer of Dream Theater. Man, I love this band so much, but I don't understand why they chose him as a singer. I realize they wanted someone similar to Geoff Tate, but if Tate's a Ford F-250, LaBrie is a Chevy Avalanche -- can do all the stuff, but is just awkward.

I tried to think of a good analogy for this problem and the best I can come up with is this: An artist who paints with shit. LaBrie's singin is like that. Imagine the best artist in the world, someone who can create the most lifelike or best interpretive images but does so with shit. Yes, technically it's brilliant. But it still stinks.

There are plenty of singers out there than can hit all of the notes. Hold them forever. Have a monster range. But they still shouldn't sing because the tone of their voice makes children cry. Stop it, y'all.

I named LaBrie, anyone have any other suggestions?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My wife is amazing VIII

This one is tough.

I like to buy stuff. I can be pretty bad about it. So can J-Mom. When we have an access of funds, we seem to find a way to spend it on stuff. And yet, there are certain things I really want to spend money on -- lots of money -- and she stops me.

See, we've had the same TV for about 10 years. It's not a bad TV -- it's a 32-inch Goldstar (from right before LG changed their name!). It works. But I want an LCD TV. I've wanted a flat-panel TV since I first learned that plasma TV technology was on the horizon (1999 or so). But, given the current state of our finances, it's not something we should do, and if it wasn't for J-Mom, I'd be buying it right up.

So, it pisses me off in the short term, but I see the wisdom in the long term. And I'm very appreciative of it.

More crazy kid posting

We're trying to get Bo-Bo potty trained. It's been a long time coming, but he really just hasn't been ready before now. But he's taking to it well now and went all day yesterday with no issues. That is due, in large part, to J-Mom staying on top of his bladder issues.

Last night, though, I was talking to him about going poop on the potty. I was telling Bo about how he'll be a really big boy when he starts pooping on the potty. I said something to the effect: "And then you'll be like daddy, just flushing your poop down."

"No, daddy. It goes up"

"Up? No, silly, it goes down."

He looks at me smiling, "Noooo. It goes up?"

"OK, silly boy, up where?"

He looks at me like I'm crazy, points up and says, "Up there!"

Yeah, dad. Don't you get it? It goes up there. How silly of me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My wife is amazing VII

So, she calls my bluff when I’m all hyperbolic. But when I’m not exaggerating for effect, I can sometimes dream big. J-Mom has been very supportive of all the things I’ve wanted to do.

She has been dragged around the world in the name of the military and because I chose to work for them again, ultimately. I have had some big goals that I’ve wound up dropping somewhere along the way. I’ve had others that have modified over time. And still others that I’m still working on today. Whatever the case, J-Mom has constantly supported me and helped me define and refine what it is I want and how it will best serve the family.

I know plenty of couples where the wives demand a degree of stability that I would have not been able to provide in early years. I appreciate my wife so much for living this life with me and supporting me all along the way.

Cute story for the day

My mom sent this photo to my son recently. This is me at four. We were living in Great Falls, MT, at the time. J-Mom opened the letter, found the photo and called to Bo-Bo to come over and look at it.

J-Mom said, "Bo-Bo, who is this?"

"It's Bo-Bo."

"No, this is daddy."

Bo kind of thought about it for a second and then said, "Got my face!"

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My wife is amazing VI

Man. I can hyperbolize with the best of ‘em.

“Damn. It took me like, five hours to clean that room.”

“My yard … sheesh, it’s pretty much all crabgrass.”

“Yeah, (Daughter Number One) read the last Harry Potter book in like four hours or something.”

With the exception of that last one (she did finish the book in one day), these are gross exaggerations and J-Mom does not let me get away with this kind of stuff.

It starts with an eye roll and then she’s all: “You went in that room at 2 o’clock.” (like, two hours before I would have made the above comment.)

“It’s not all crabgrass.”

“It took her longer than that.”

She keeps me honest even when it’s trivial.

This is not something I used to appreciate, but I do know. I do because it makes me think a lot more before I open my freakin’ mouth.

I like the fact that I don’t eat quite so much toe jam any more.


When it comes to stuff like strategic visions, or mission or vision statements ... why is it that the people who put these things together never realize that the only people who care about this stuff are the people who put these things together?

Brace yourselves

Back braces have come a long way in the past 20 years. When I was in junior high, I inured my back dead lifting. I was playing JV football and trying to “bulk up.” Improperly lifting too much weight can really mess you up. I got a back brace to help support my back and cut down the pain. In retrospect, my back problems were probably just a pulled muscle, but it was quite painful and the brace did help. But it was also a case of the care being worse than the problem. The brace was amazingly uncomfortable and painful. It did not conform to your body, rather it was much like a corset (I assume) in that it forced your body to fit its mold. The brace also had these semi-rigid metal slats that would slide out of their housing and poke into your sides.

Now, many years later, I was asked if I would like to have a brace for my back. I still feel a bit traumatized by my previous use, but I figured I’d give it a shot and said that I’d try one out. I’m glad I did. This brace is not only conforming and more comfortable but there’s a big lumbar support that cushions, pushes and braces the spine. Feels great.

Wish I’d looked into these things earlier.

Monday, August 18, 2008

My wife is amazing V

In the business of conducting life, we need stuff. It may be milk, or motor oil, or cinder blocks -- we all need stuff. I seem to always need stuff. All kinds of stuff. But the only time I can ever seem to remember what it is is when I'm actually trying to do what it is that requires that particular thing. So, I always forget to buy my stuff.

J-Mom always remembers the stuff I need. I go through Sharpies. Not sure what happens to them, but I seem to run through them pretty fast. So, I always seem to need them and I never remember to get them. J-Mom is great about remembering to pick up things like that for me.

I wish I could do the same for her.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

My wife is amazing IV

This ties in with MWIA II.

After having kids, we had many discussions about child care and schooling. We also talked about J-Mom working or staying home and caring for the children full time. I tell you, I had my concerns about money. I had my concerns about the kids getting the social interaction they need. I had my concerns about lots of things. I never once had any concerns about my wife's care of our children or her ability to be successful in doing whatever it is she felt she needed to do.

J-Mom is an amazing person who lets her feelings guide her to do many selfless things that I could never even approach doing. Her care of our children is stellar and it's just another one of the many things about her that I lover her for and am awed by.

Space Chimps: Better than I thought

I took the kids to see Space Chimps yesterday. J-Mom and I are attempting something new: I am trying to get the kids out of the house with me for a few hours at least once a week. This gives mommy some time to herself to put toward whatever she wants to put it toward and gives me some more alone time with the kids. Yesterday, we spent it at the theater.

I wasn't looking forward to seeing Space Chimps, but it was infinitely preferable to Clone Wars. Surprisingly, it was a decent flick. Of course it was completely geared to kids under 10, but there was some decent adult-geared one liners here and there (nothing risqué though). I had barely seen any of the trailers for the movie, and hearing the "I am Titan I am strong," in the trailers I did see didn't make me want to see the film. There is a twist to it I wasn't expecting and it was pleasant. The pacing was great too, it was over before I knew it. Funny, quick paced, sappy and good for the kids. I recommend it if you're into this sort of thing or if you have young kids.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

My wife is amazing III

I am a dessert fiend. There's not much out there I don't like. But there are a couple of desserts for which I will go out of my way. One of those desserts is cheesecake. The other, the one I have an almost debilitating love of, is ice cream.

I buy it almost every time I go to the store for something. I'm not terribly particular either. There are certain blends and brands I like, but it it's cold and creamy, I'll eat it. That's why I limit my trips to the store. I'd have an ice cream store in my freezer otherwise.

J-Mom buys treats for the house on occasion. She helps regulate the flow of ice cream in the house, but recognizes my love. She's always thinking of us, her family, even when it's something as trite as ice cream.

Friday, August 15, 2008

My wife is amazing II

Being a homeschooler and homemaker, J-Mom spends a lot of time with our children. I do not. Work and school take their toll, of course, but I’m also stupid with a lot of my time. I’m working on that, but it’s a slow process. Changing learned behavior is tough, you know?

Anyway, my wife is amazing. She spends so much time with the kids and makes sure to report to me about what they did and what they said. There’s almost always a funny anecdote from the day that she shares with me. I treasure this. I live for this. It just makes me love her that much more that she makes sure I get to know about these little things.

A hazy shade of summer

Merely existing right now causes me excruciating pain. It’s hard to describe exactly, but it’s what I would imagine it would feel like if someone stabbed me in the back with a small knife and began twisting and rooting around.

Then there’s pain that shoots through my hip, down my leg to my ankle. Along the way, it pools in different spots. My calf is the worst. There is a pool of pain in the middle of my calf. The only time I’m not in pain is when I’m lying down or on medication.

So I medicate because I’m a wuss. It means I can do stuff though. Not much because there’s still pain, but some stuff. The downside is that everything is hazy. Originally I was on some muscle relaxers and loritab. Nice enough but not very effective. Like I said yesterday, my doc now has me on Lyrica and Percocet. The Percocet helps with the back pain and the Lyrica really knocks down the nerve pain. However, there is a noticeable “drugged” feeling. Also, the Lyrica kind of blurs vision and that’s probably the most unpleasant aspect because it acts with the reduced mental acuity to make everything seem kind of surreal. Not bad if you’re lying in bed with no worries, kind of uncool when you’re at work and you need to get things done.

Folks, my wife had to help me spell Tennessee last night. I’m not sure what’s more painful anymore.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My wife is amazing

I don't know how she does such a fantastic job raising and homeschooling three kids, managing the household and putting up with my shit.

She deserves a medal.

I love you hon.

They're Daddy's Little Helper also

Man. I can understand how people get addicted to this stuff.

I have been suffering from back pain for a few months this time around. Long-time readers know that I have recurring back problems. It's been pretty bad this time. I saw my doctor a little more than a week before we went on vacation and got a shot. It was supposed to be a sacroiliac joint problem, but neither the shot nor the meds have helped. I attempted to schedule an appointment before I left for Oregon, but couldn't get in. So I made an appointment for shortly after I returned. That appointment was supposed to be on Tuesday.

Back pain is bad enough. Sciatica is just your body's natural sadism.

Tuesday came and I was relieved. So relieved. I mean, I know that I'm not going to get something fixed after one visit to the doctor, but they would give me better drugs (I was completely out and the pain and pressure was building) and we'd at least be one step closer to figuring out exactly what was wrong.

I signed the patient sign-in sheet. I sat down. I started reading the obligatory magazine. I got called to the front desk. I got told that the doctor would not see me today.

What? Excuse me?

The doctor, not my doctor, but the other clinic doctor, doesn't like to see her partner's patients. Also, she only sees one back patient a day and had already seen her back patient.

What? Excuse me?

So, you mean the appointment I made, the appointment where I asked if it would be OK to see the other doctor and was told, "Yes, that's fine," is invalid?

Yes, I'm sorry. I'll talk to your doctor's nurse and see what we can do.

OMFG I was pissed. In pain and pissed. Seriously. I was about to cry from frustration. The sharp jabs that shot down my leg were now shooting into my mind as well. If something didn't happen I was going to kill that receptionist. I had to get out of there.

But it got worse. After talking to the nurse, the receptionist came back and told me that after looking at my chart, they didn't think there was anything more they could do. They'd already done the most they could do and would have to refer me to a back specialist. I'm thinking, "WTF? I've only been here one time." I'm getting more pissed. I tell the receptionist that I'm in intense pain, out of drugs and could the nurse at least call in a refill for me? She does, at least, do that.

I get home. It takes an hour for me to drive to and from this clinic. I went there because a coworker I trust implicitly recommended it. I begin to question her judgment.

As soon as I get home I log on to my insurance’s Web site and begin to look up other orthopedic doctors that are considered primary providers. The specialist they would send me to is not on the list.

I really don’t like the last orthopedic doctor I saw. He spent little time speaking with me about anything. I saw him several times and I had seen this second ortho once. In that one time she spoke with me and listened to me much longer than my previous doctor had in all our visits combined. That’s why it pissed me off so much that I was considering leaving. That the receptionist and, it seemed, the nurse, had fucked things up so bad. The medical care was fantastic.

I swallowed a bitter pill and made an appointment with the old doctor’s office.

A few hours later I got a call from my doctor’s nurse. She says, “Mr. J, we’re really sorry and don’t know what happened. Dr. L would love to see you and she says she’s really sorry she didn’t get to see you today. Could you come in at 11:15 tomorrow?”

Although I was still very pissed about the day’s incidents, I didn’t hesitate to say yes, I would be there. I hated my old clinic so much.

Yesterday proved to be a very different experience than Tuesday. I got in on time. My wait in the examination room was lengthy, but I was there. Dr. L came in an apologized profusely. She even refunded my co-pay. She said, “I don’t know why they wouldn’t see you yesterday. It makes no sense. Of course (Dr. P) would have seen you.” I guess I probably got a receptionist fired, or bitched out at least.

Dr. L scheduled me for an MRI so we can see what’s going on in my back and gave me better drugs. Lyrica seems pretty cool. It helps with the sciatica. Percocet is always welcome.

You know I wouldn’t have been so upset on Tuesday if I’d had some kind of care. Even if they didn’t see me, but showed some compassion and wanted to help, that would have been something. It’s quite upsetting when the caregivers don’t.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

My favorite pic from crater lake

Made it back in from vacay yesterday. I left Redmond 8 p.m. their time and arrived here in Memphis at 8:45 a.m. my time. Long flights. Tiny seats (well, big ass, actually). And improperly working air conditioning. Not fun.

Still, I had it better than J-Mom. She arrived in at 6:45 p.m. yesterday (I had bought tickets earlier because originally, the family was supposed to drive out and I'd meet them later, things changed). On her last flight, Dallas to Memphis, the air conditioning was not working. She said it was cooler outside than on the plane (it was 95 degrees F when she landed).

Anyway, this is my favorite pic I took while we were at Crater Lake:

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The travel of the future

Flying sucks but poor routing sucks more. I leave for home tonight and am dreading my flight. Coming out here was Memphis to Seattle, hour wait, Seattle to Redmond. Boom. Done.

Flying out I have to go Redmond to Seattle, hour wait, Seattle to Detroit, hour-and-a-half wait, Detroit to Memphis. What a suck ass flight that is going to be. Never flown into Detroit though, so that's another one to mark off the list.

Don't forget to head over to Temple of Suck today for more food-related blogging. And pie fights.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Not sonic temple

Folks, you might have noticed a new link in my sidebar, but I want to give plugs to a new group blog of which I am part: the Temple of Suck.

We've been working on it for a couple of days, but today is our official launch day and this week's theme is food. So, stop by and check us out throughout the week. Leave comments. There are a lot of smart asses who write there and the conversations are the best part.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

A phone booth!

Long thought a relic of a past time, we found the elusive phone booth during our trek home from Crater Lake.

J-Mom rails against 25-cent-a-minute rates.

Greetings Pt. 2

Crater Lake National Park is amazingly cool.