September 2006


Erin and I went to our usual Friday evening football game to see Evan march in the band.  This week was homecoming which, like many other things, I find cynically amusing at best and completely worthless at worst.  Still, one can’t stop tradition.  If you try, the traditions just stomp you in the ground.  So we sat and watched as five girls walked out onto the field in their mock royalty election and one got to wear the tiara.  I still haven’t figured out the homecoming queen algorithm.  It’s obviously not the most attractive nor the most intelligent.  Perhaps it’s a popularity contest.

The game was a complete rout and by half time the visitors were behind by 28 points.  After the band marched, I wanted to leave but Erin had found her usual posse of friends and was deeply involved in a process that was clearly none of my business to hear her response to my question of “what are you doing?”  Rain was forecast for after midnight and we could see huge thunderstorms building off to the west; the thunderheads stuck up over the horizon and glowed red in the setting sun.  It was quite impressive and this was followed by an equally impressive lightning show after the sun went down.

After midnight, it did indeed rain – cats and dogs in fact.  The line of trash along the streets and sidewalks the following morning was a testament to how much water had come down while I was asleep.  Except for that period during which our dog was frightened by the thunder and woke me up.  We lost power for about two hours and so all our electronics woke up deprogrammed.

Saturday itself was beautiful weatherwise.   I love this time of year when the oppressive heat of the summer is gone and it’s cool and breezy with beautiful blue skies.  I ran some errands, the most important being to go to the grocery store.  We were just about out of everything.  Mel would normally go but she was still in Colorado.  Plus, Evan wanted to go to the Greek Festival at the Orthodox church downtown.  He had intended to go with a group of friends but the power outage had fouled up his alarm clock and he didn’t wake up in time.  If I had known about this little plan, I would have waked him up but that came together without my knowledge.  So the three of us went by ourselves.  We took the church tour which was a bit strange since it was clearly mainstream Christianity but the doofus Oklahomans were asking questions of the rector as if they thought the denomination was some sort of strange middle-eastern cult.  The audience seemed truly surprised that they actually read through the gospels and observed Christmas and Easter.  Dolts!

Mel got home late Saturday night after only one hour of flight delays.  They had snow in Telluride several nights and so things could have been much worse weatherwise.  She got home about he same time Evan got home from Pride practice and so we all got to be excited together.  It was pretty late by the time we got to bed and so church came too early for us.  We kind of slept through parts of it.  Most parts actually.  I hope we get points for showing up.

Last night, everything got done if not smoothly. We had decided in advance to go to Taco Bell for dinner but when I got home I was informed that Evan had no jeans to wear. So laundry was in order. In addition, we discovered that there were no breakfast items in the cupboard so some shopping was in order. Finally, Erin had several homework issues which is unusual and so there was the accompanying high emotion level.

All in all, it was a bit busy and stressful but we managed to deal with it. I only had to be rude once when I was walking down the hallway with an armful of dirty jeans while Erin followed me asking an extrordinarily detailed question about two trains leaving a town in opposite directions and at different speeds. Plus the dog was scratching to get out. I had to order everyone into there respective corners (or in one case, their respective lawns) to recover some order to the proceedings.

Evan provided some much-appreciated tutelage on the balancing of chemical equations and then that was that. Bedtime.

Mel reports snow from Telluride so I guess the wedding may look like a winter one rather than a fall one but I imagine that the happy couple will not care.

So Mel left with her mother, sister, and brother yesterday to head to Telluride, CO for the wedding of her other brother. And I mean we got up early. Darn those early flights. I drove them of course and the old minivan was filled to the gills with all those people and suitcases.

That leaves us at home to fend for ourselves. Ever since Mel went back to work, we all assumed various chores around the house and so last night, things continued to plod along just fine in her absence but we did discover that we were all out of clean clothes and breakfast cereal. That in itself will determine our activities for tonight. I hate laundry so much that if I ever win the lottery, I intend to just buy new all the time and give my once-worn clothing to the clothes bank ever week on the way to work. (Wait a minute! Work? If I win the lottery, I don’t think so! On my way to the golf course perhaps.) I just found a flaw in that plan though – I hate shopping for clothes too. Oh well, I’ll just have Erin do the laundry and I will go to do the shopping.

Evan will of course weasle out of any chores since he’s taking all those AP classes and has to “do homework”. He never wanted to do homework before but when properly presented with alternatives, he’s pretty good about getting to work on it.

I actually prepared dinner last night although Mel had conveniently bought some stuff and suggested I fix that so there was none of the decision-making or planning. It was kind of the cooking equivalent of T-ball; it was there, all I had to do was cook it.

Tonight will be different. I must decide and plan. Taco-Bell here we come!

This weekend was a busy one beginning with our trip to OSU. In all the time we’ve lived here, I’ve never been to Stillwater but since there’s nothing there but the university, I would have little reason to go there unless I had a kid enrolled.

They were having a hoop-dee-do there for high school juniors in which they tell the kids how wonderful OSU is and then let them attend a football game for half price. Unfortunately for me, the weather turned out to be really hot after a period of cool fall weather so it was 97 degrees and felt much hotter to me. Since we were going to an “event”, I wore jeans instead of my usual hot weather attire (shorts and T shirt) and I was pretty uncomfortable most of the time. There were so many students there that we couldn’t do much in the way of a detailed campus tour or actually meet any of the OSU students but we were favorably impressed enough to decide to go back later when there were fewer other high schoolers around.

The campus is very attractive and over all there loomed the stadium like a cathedral. It has recently been enlarged to good effect. I had not been to a college game where the fans actually got into it and expected to win in over 20 years. (too many years at TCU and the occasional game at the University of Tulsa) It reminded me of the old days at Arkansas but when you start saying things like “it reminded me of the old days” it’s time to give it up and move on so we enjoyed it for what it was worth, yelled a little, and left at half time when they were up by 27 points.

Good thing too since we were all craving something to drink in that heat. For some reason, Evan wanted to drive the car out of the parking garage and to the first available Sonic/convenience store. After wetting our collective whistles, everyone but me (the driver) fell asleep and no sounds were heard until we made it back into Tulsa.

I drove home to me the fact that the time has come for us to start filling out college apps, applying for financial aid, and choosing a major.

Sunday dawned rainy which was a relief. We let everybody sleep and went to the later service at church where we realized that Erin’s fall retreat photo-fest was scheduled. This was the event where they review last week’s fall retreat, talk about how fun it was, and show photos of the event. Those are always fun. Erin was asked to give a testimonial and so she got to take the stage for a moment. Most kids fear that more than death but she’s OK with it.

Later, Mel had bought tickets to take Erin to see “Cats” at the Performing Arts Center and so off they went. Erin has become quite a fan of broadway style musicals ever since we went to see Phantom of the Opera in New York and so she was extremely excited about this trip and she was not dissappointed.

Suffice it to say that things didn’t turn out like I’d hoped in that regard – not even close. Different planet in fact.

Anyway, nothing much going on – school and work.  My only interesting event (and associated gripe) involves the fact that during the last gas station fill-up the pump was out of kilter and didn’t automatically shut off and gas began pouring out onto the ground.  I was sitting in the truck listening to the radio and wasn’t aware of this and so several gallons were lost to the environment.  Even though gas had reduced in price significantly, I had to pay $40 anyway – several dollars of that wasted on a toxic waste spill.  I often use those leftover cents on the WalMart cash cards to pay for downloaded songs and so now I don’t have that either.  Gripe, gripe, gripe.  Life is good if that’s all I can find to complain about.

There’s a good bit to compain about at that particular WalMart.  They apparently can’t keep people in the automotive department so the tires I bought there have gone unbalanced due to a lack of tire “technicians”.  Plus, we can only sporadically get our oil changed due to shorthandedness.  Time to write an email to the corporate dweebs and see if my voice is ever heard at all.

So about this time last year (maybe later) the doc told me my cholesterol was high.  It had been normal for my entire life (to judge from previous tests) and now it was high.

Why is this?  Did some switch get flipped by accident?  Did I fall in the yard while picking up a stick and accidently hit the “cholesterol – ON” switch?  Them doctors, they knows a lot but they don’t knows enough I’m-a thinkin’.

He wrote me a prescription.  This stuff worked on me like gangbusters – apparently I’m super-sensitive and responsive to it and my cholesterol went from over 200 to 85.  Well, this is way below normal. It isn’t clear what this means now.  Cholesterol must be there for a reason so it follows that I do need at least some of it.  Plus, that stuff made me feel tired and run-down.  Maybe.  Perhaps it was the lack of exercise.  I was very unscientific about it in that I started taking those meds and exercising at the same time.

At any rate, the doc told me to crack each little pill in half and take that.  Either that or the exercise has made me feel much better.  Or maybe it was some random virus that hit me.  I’ll never know.  But the latest cholesterol test shows the following:

Total:  108, HDL 37, LDL, 55.  All of these are below normal – outside the (pretty generous) ranges.  So now what?  How much cholesterol does one really need?  Is it bad to be below normal?

Questions.  Always more questions.  Just once I want to notice something about my body and have the doctor say “No, that’s no problem.”  Just one definitive answer; that’s all I want.

I sure did yesterday.  I was home from work and needed to clear some brush from the back yard; detritus from my tree-felling project.  I’ve been putting it off due to the heat but yesterday came in very cool.  It was under 70 degrees when I started.  So there we were, the dog and I, working in the cool shade with a cool breeze.  It’s been a long time since the weather has been that nice and furthermore, it was nice when I had to spend the day outside working.  Maybe the long hot summer is over.

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