January 2009

I can’t figure out why my dog thinks that when she gets sick, she needs to find the carpet to throw up on. I used to think that she just puked where she stood but the other night I gave a piece of leftover chicken and she did what all dogs do: she tried to inhale it.

It didn’t quite go like she intended and she started retching.  There she was on the nice easy-to-clean linoleum and she started staggering for the carpet.  I shouted (which did no good to a deaf dog) and pulled her to the door and shoved her out.  So she obviously thinks the carpet is just the right spot to throw up.

I hope science will get right onto this issue.

I’ve sported a beard for over thirty years.  In fact I’ve had it for longer than Melissa has known me. 

Last night I shaved it off.

We’ve been talking about it for some time.  I’ve gotten lots of gray hair in the beard in the past few years and it isn’t an attractive gray; it’s gray here and there.  When I see photos of myself, I think “homeless guy”.  I’ve been complaining about that for quite awhile and lately Mel suggested shaving it off.  She has never seen my naked face before now.  I agreed that it was looking a bit scroungy and I might even look younger without it so when I stopped at the barbershop yesterday for a haircut, I had him take the beard too.

The next customer was a man with his little girl who was about four years old.  She thought the shaving of the beard was really funny for some reason and spent the entire time standing close by, watching, and laughing.

When I got home I had to endure about one half hour of staring from both Melissa and Erin.  They concluded that I did indeed look better (and younger) so I guess that’s all good.

I made a sensation at work today when I strode into a big meeting.  Naturally it was the women who noticed and decided to comment.  Well, I hope everybody gets over it soon.

My face is cold now.  And it feels like a butt.  Hopefully it does not also look like one.

The ice storm came and went.  It dropped several things, first a thin glazing of pure ice as a base, then about one inch of sleet, topped off by a bit of snow to smooth things over.  It’s actually quite lovely until you have to get out and drive on it.

I took the day off yesterday to avoid the hassle of being out since stuff was falling most of the day and of all the things I find unpleasant about ice storms, the most unpleasant is where you have to chisel your way into your car and then sit in it for 20 minutes shivering while it warms up enough to loosen the plates of ice off the windshield.  Then you have a bit more chiseling to do.

So I just avoided all that and I enjoyed myself immensely.  Something about ditching work when you hadn’t planned to is like finding a twenty dollar bill.  You just feel jazzed the rest of the day.  My body is used to getting up so there was no question of returning to bed.  Plus, I’m used to working on such days and so I was up for accomplishment.  I ended up doing some things that were suited to inside work that had been languishing.  I worked up a spreadsheet to figure out if adding a bit to our house payment would shorten our mortgage much (short answer: no – we’re too close to paying It off anyway).  Then I headed for my scanner and scanned several rolls of negatives from the late ‘80s featuring some long lost friends and a trip to Mexico. 

Erin woke up with a cold and so her snow day ended up being wasted from her perspective.  We watched “Wall-E” and then (since Wall-E was always watching a scene from it throughout the movie), we watched “Hello Dolly” to see what Wall-E was all fired up about.

It was fun. 

I’m home!  The weather turned nasty, ice and sleet are all over the roads and I decided to just stay at home.  Now is when I’m glad I can choose that option.

Remind me of that next time I complain about my job at all.

Last night, my dentist – not the office but THE DENTIST – to tell me that he’d have to reschedule my appointment due to weather.  Thanks for calling Dr. Dentist.  That was nice.

I shall spend the day websurfing.  Whee!  I’m off.

Even though we only lived in California for four years, it seems we crammed a lot of activity into them.  We saw just about everything there was to see in the Bay Area, had our second child, they both then had chicken pox and of course I had the flu.  It was then that I had one of my most embarrassing experiences and got my first and only ride in an ambulance. Plus, I learned to never, ever miss an opportunity for a flu shot.

At the time, I thought that flu shots were only for the elderly but that turned out to be old news.  So it was that I ended up feeling poorly one morning.  I felt really, really poorly actually but I was working in the defense industry and at the time, Lockheed was laying people off whenever they could.  It had become institutionalized.  I had an appointment to meet with our new manager (who wanted to meet everyone who reported to him) and I wanted to make sure he knew who I was.  He certainly did remember me ever after that day.

I drove to work with some difficulty; I had a bout of dizziness about halfway along the Lawrence Expressway and I was running the air conditioner even though it was the middle of winter.  After I got to my desk, I realized very soon that I was not going to make it.  The dizzy spells were hitting me every so often and I could feel the fever spiking up.  In fact, I decided that I should not drive home and called Mel at her office to ask her to come get me.  She agreed and I hung up the phone.  I then had a pretty severe dizzy spell and thought to myself that it would feel really good to lay down on the floor and go downstairs to await Mel in a few minutes.  And so I laid down under my desk.  At least that’s how I remember it.  My office mate remembers it differently.

To hear her tell it, I hung up the phone and collapsed onto the floor.  She called 911 and came over to help me out to whatever extent she could which was not much.  I don’t remember much besides some fragments of conversation:  “I called and told them we have a man down”, “ambulance is rolling…”,   “they’re here…”  The next thing I recall is an EMT asking me my name.  My tie was gone.  I had an oxygen thing around my head and sort of in my nose.  I told him my name.  He then wanted to know why I was on the floor.  I told him that it was voluntary but my cubicle mates told him otherwise.  The other EMT was checking my blood pressure and making unintelligible comments into his radio. 

The EMT asked me if I had felt nauseous.  I said “No” but then had to change my mind – perhaps due to the power of suggestion.  I rolled over, retched a bit, and went back to my spread-eagle pose.  That apparently was a decision factor to the EMTs and they began to get me onto that rolling EMT bed thing.  I didn’t want to go; everybody in the office was there staring at me.  I tried to make them understand that I was feeling a lot better and could probably walk out under my own power but they told me that was an effect of the oxygen and that no way was I going to walk or drive.

Finally we rolled to the freight elevator and went downstairs.  On the way I asked my friend Rick to call Melissa and update her, I gave him the number, and then we were gone.  There was more unintelligible garble from the radio as we rolled into the ambulance and went over to the medical facility at Lockheed which apparently is not uncommon at large facilities where they build big things.  I briefly saw a doctor there who told me conclusively that I had the flu and I was to go home immediately.  I waited there for awhile until Mel drove up. 

That was on a Monday and I did not wake up voluntarily for the next five days.  At one point, Mel discovered an infestation of ants in the kitchen and that, coupled with having to single-mom it with Evan, pushed her over the line.  She got me up to clear the cabinets and spray while she was at work.  I vaguely remember staggering around the kitchen in a dizzy haze dealing with ants and then falling back into the bed.

I have never missed a flu shot since then and it’s not really because I felt so bad – it is to a large extend due to the superficial reason that I do not want to risk any more really embarrassing episodes at the office.  I guess any reason to maintain good health is a good one, no matter how superficial.

I almost couldn’t show up back at work but of course, by that time, everybody had forgotten about it unless reminded.  The janitor who showed up to clean up the aftermath even said “Ah, that was nothing.  I’ve seen a lot worse.”  But I still haven’t ever missed a flu shot since then.

I made a huge effort this weekend and managed to scan every slide that I own. I can now sell my slide projector, the trays, and other related stuff.  The images are all on the computer and have been backed up to disk.  Now they are actually viewable by everyone.

Was it worth it?  Not sure.  Time will tell.

I also shopped a bit for a new car which is a process I dread.  I hope I find something quickly so I can get it over with.

After this, it’s on to scanning the negatives.  They don’t look so good so I may have to solve the problem of the weird color before moving on.  I also think that there are a few slides I should send off to have done professionally. But other than that, I’m well on my way.

Me in 1987

Originally uploaded by gregwest98

Never mind posting images of new babies and grand scenery. Post pictures of yourself making a fool of same. Those graduation parties were fun though.

Here I am putting that newly minted Ph.D. to work.

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