July 2008


Well, Evan has successfully graduated and has his diploma in hand so I guess he’s well and truly out of marching band and thank heavens for that.

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Saturday shaped up to be one of the hottest days of the year.  It was also chosen by Mel’s brother to celebrate his 25th wedding anniversary.  They had it outside.

But, since it was over in Fayetteville, AR, it was at least 10 degrees cooler that it was in Tulsa so it wasn’t so bad.  They chose “Agri Park” which is between the University of Arkansas equestrian center and some of the experimental farms and is more than adequately shaded.  There was quite a crowd since his wife has a pretty large family.

Erin brought along her latest boyfriend who coincidentally also comes from a large family so he felt right at home.  I have made numerous attempts at humor at his expense when he’s not around; making large family jokes like “which house is his? – never mind I’ll just look for the house with its own parking lot”, etc.  I’m sure this will all come back to haunt me one day.  Blogging about it will certainly not delay that day of judgement.

Evan couldn’t go since he needs to work as much as possible.  Truthfully, he wasn’t all that disappointed.  At his age, family gatherings are not high on his list of fun things to do.

The high point for everyone was the new baby.  She is now over a month old and is much more interesting and drew quite a crowd.  She did not sit in the infant carrier for more than a few seconds all day long.

I’m still very hazy on what the relationships are exactly.  When one’s inlaws have been married before and the children of the spouse then marry others and have children, the genealogy gets a bit complicated and I stop trying to figure it out.  I know that all these people show up at holidays and that’s good enough for me.  Beyond the obvious in-law situations, I just call them all “cousins”.

One of these (the father of the new baby) owns two restaurants and a skate park in Fayetteville and he enthusiastically told me to have Evan call him when he gets to the University; they’ll go wakeboarding, wakesurfing, and other guy stuff.  Mel broke in to point out that Evan will be studying chemistry and perhaps won’t have a lot of time to spend too many weekends at the lake.

“Oh… Yeah.” was the disappointed response.

I hope he does go at least once though.  I just feel better knowing that if some disaster happens with his car there will be somebody who knows the area that he can call.  I gave him a Honda to drive so that this would not happen but if it does, he’s got some contacts in the area.

It was a fun day though.  It’s far enough into the summer that we’re kind of getting used to the heat.  We’ll be going back in a few weeks to move Evan into the dorm.  I hope it’s not a record setting hot day then but since it’s in August, there’s a decent chance of it.

By this of course I mean that it was extremely hot while I attempted a home improvement project.  There is some evidence that I’m a smart guy but tackling a project outdoors this time of year would be one example of evidence to the contrary.  Still, a little sweat is good for me.

Maybe.

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Evan got his wisdom teeth out yesterday and did not react gracefully to the anesthetic.

Most people are groggy and maybe nauseus but he was really groggy and nauseus.  Poor guy.  When all that wore off, he was in pain.  Of course they gave him a prescription for all that but he still wasn’t himself.  He seems much better today though.

The good part is that he works at that doctor’s office so he’ll have full-time advice when he goes back to work tomorrow.  Plenty of free advice from the doc himself – pretty sweet.  Believe it or not, the surgeon called us last night.  I’ve never heard of a doctor calling a patient before.

When Mel had her surgeries during the breast cancer episode each surgeon showed up for five minutes after the procedures to tell me how they went and then disappeared forever.  The numbers we called for advice were all automated systems that eventually rolled over to a nurse and she never saw the surgeons again until a followup appointment weeks later.  Come to think of it I don’t think she ever saw the same health care giver more than once consecutively. I’ve always imagined the hospital having a secret bat cave entrance somewhere behind a row of bushes.  Perhaps the surgeons and other doctors punch the accelerators of their BMWs or Lexuses and blast through these bushes and over a river into a secret underground tunnel so that all us patients cannot get access to them other than to run the gauntlet of the health care system; first seeing the receptionists, nurses, physician’s assistants, lab technicians, and insurance verifiers – none of whom know the whole story.

HAS ANYBODY EVER ACTUALLY GOTTEN TO TALK TO A DOCTOR FOR MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES OF PERFUNCTORY INFORMATION?

Once recently, while the road past my doctor’s office was being repaved, the detour took us around the office and I would gaze around the side and back of it looking for some side door where the doctor might sneak in and out.  I also looked for an ostentatious Lexus SUV or something.  I’m not proud of this BTW.  But I never saw anything.  Perhaps his entrance is via underground tunnel whose access is inside.

I guess what makes me uneasy is that none of us is under the care of anybody any more.  We are cared for by “the system”.  No one individual ever gets to know us or deal with us at all for more than a few minutes.

But the oral surgeon called us directly.  My hat is off to him.  Of course, he’s right out of school and is new to this.  They’ll probably beat him into submission soon but for now, he’s created a positive blog entry for himself.

I’ve been looking at the stats for this blog.  I almost never do that; I type stuff and walk away from it.  I often wonder why I do it at all but I keep on.

But I noticed that yesterday, I had 12 page views.  12.  That’s actually an all time high apparently.  Recently I had 9 on one day.  What confuses me is where they come from.  I have two known readers and that would account for two page views.  Who are the rest?  The search terms are interesting too.

My all time most read post is entitled “Crummy Jobs” and obviously the search string “crummy jobs” is what led the readers there.  But what were people looking for when they typed these strings?

“knocked out by boobs” (Odd that I actually have a post by that title).

“wallpaper evil”

“learning to weld”

I may never know but I hope that one day I’ll find out why somebody was searching for “wallpaper evil”.

I gave Evan the keys to my car today.  It was long planned but hard to do.

We’ve always tried to keep our cars on a “rotation” so that none of them ever gets too old or worn out to do anything with (although we do keep them a pretty long time).  We’ve had to accelerate the process a bit since we have two teenagers, one of whom will start driving within six months. At that point, we’ll have four drivers and a fleet of four cars.

So we’ve been altering course for a couple of years to handle this challenge; the first step of which was to buy Evan a ’94 Ford Escort two years ago.  We then bought a Honda Accord last summer with the intention of my driving it (sold my pickup) until Evan left for college.  At that point, he would drive the Honda, we’d transfer the little Escort to Erin and buy another “real” car for Mel to drive.  It’s been a couple of years since she’s gotten to drive the newest car so it’s her turn.  I will take over the driving of the minivan.

At this point, none of them has less than 85,000 miles so it’s a bit of a juggling act to keep them all running well but so far so good.  It’s probably not unreasonable to expect 150,000 miles out of any car on the road today.

My problem is that I love the Honda; I don’t want to give it up.  It’s totally luxurious and has accomodation for an iPod.  Now I’ve got to start driving the WagonQueen Family Truxter and I’m not thrilled about it although from a strictly engineering standpoint, it does drive very well and is pretty nice.  It’s just not cool looking.  Furthermore, you can get some pretty big stuff in there if you have to; I’ve hauled full-length lumber in it and probably will again.

Maybe Mel will get something nice like a Honda Accord for herself or something similar.  Maybe she’ll get something really smokin’ like a Mazda RX8.

Probably not.

Erin finished up the electrical engineering camp on Friday.  I went to have lunch with them and see the slide show.  She seemed to have had a good time; she still likes the idea of majoring in engineering.

She came home with a nice breadboard, some integrated circuit chips, and a few other electronic odds and ends to make some projects with.  I loaned her my multimeter and soldering iron but although her spirit was willing to experiment some more, she had no time for that.  There was socializing to be done.

There was a concert at the church that she met some friends at and one boy asked her out.  She had enough intelligence from her network that she knew it was coming so she made sure to prepare.  He actually came over to the car and shook my hand which is more mature-acting than anything I did at age 15.

Now, she is off to another camp; this one a leadership conference for student council officers.  It is different from electrical engineering camp in every possible way except that it is at a university campus.  But heaven help us it’s in Alva.  That isn’t the back side of the moon but you can see it from there. But with a camp full of student council officers, she should have a pretty good time.

After that, she goes to some other week long thing; I forget what it is exactly.

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