Wednesday, March 26, 2008

It MUST be the weather!

Spring must be in the air. That's the only explanation I have for it.

Today I was clearing dishes after lunch when I got to "the mens' table" (as it is dubbed by those at work cuz only men sit there - this is the same table where Vic, from my previous entry, sits). Lionel was sitting there and he started singing "Hey good-lookin' (what ya got cookin')" to me. Then Ed (who sits next to him) joined in. It was odd, to say the least.

It's gotta be spring... that's all I can come up with for an explanation for the crazy behaviour I'm experiencing on an almost daily basis at work...

Huh?

Tonight Jamie has his friend Kenny over to spend the night. We met up with Kenny and his family at another friend's house where we all had dinner together. On the way home I was listening to their conversation in the backseat. Most of the talk revolved around typical boy stuff; cars, guns, weapons of mass destruction, military stuff, etc. All of a sudden in the middle of it the following occurs:

K: Do you think we talk too much?
J: Yeah, maybe.
K: Weird.

And then they went back to talking about something contained in the above list.

Kids are weird...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wahhhh??!??

On Sunday (the 23rd) I was at work passing out drinks to my residents when Vic, one of the residents, came into the dining room. He was getting seated at his table while I was behind him bending down to get a glass so I could give Marie, another resident, her drink when I hear him say to me, "That must be jelly cuz jam don't shake like that." I laughed as he then said, "That's a compliment, y'know." I told him I knew and went about my business but now in a more shocked state.

I've never had any of my residents say anything like that before! I guess there are firsts for everything, though.

Monday, March 24, 2008

I was in the news!! :)

Thursday, March 1, 2007:

I just wanted to let everyone know the latest, most exciting event to happen around here. I will be (featured?, maybe?, I don't know if anyone else was interviewed) in an article coming up in the Detroit Free Press.

What makes me so special? I am an amateur ("ham") radio operator who's Skywarn trained for severe weather spotting/monitoring for the National Weather Service (NWS). I am also one of the net control operators for MICON (Michigan Inter-County Organizational Network), working directly with the NWS to provide communications during severe weather events.

Skywarn training for this year is about to begin and apparently the newspaper was looking specifically for females who'd been trained and they wanted to run an article about it. I'll be photographed tomorrow morning (hopefully the weather will be better than it is today) and the article will run Monday, March 5th.

Monday, March 5, 2007:

OAKLAND COUNTY

Residents eye the stormy skies

A new round of weather spotter classes to start WednesdayMarch 5, 2007

BY JULIE EDGAR FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

When a low-hanging funnel cloud in north Oakland County refused to materialize into a tornado, Piper V. felt a familiar tug of disappointment as she stood and watched. The weather spotter and licensed ham radio operator lives for atypical weather. On that day four years ago, nature had failed her again. Still, the Commerce Township mother of two went back to weather-tracking classes a few more times, so dedicated is she to the art of catching a cloud that others might have missed. On Wednesday, Oakland County starts another round of free Skywarn classes. Ordinary folks learn their way around hailstones and rushing water, cloud formations and wind patterns so that they can spot a sign that may have eluded National Weather Service radar. The agency's been offering the instruction for more than 25 years.

Gail Novak, chief of Oakland County's Emergency Response and Preparedness division, estimates there are 100 trained weather spotters throughout the county. The spotters drive or walk around during storms and call in their findings, via the county, to the weather service in White Lake Township. "Oakland County is over 900 square miles, so more eyes on the sky and out in the field benefits us," she said.

The Skywarn classes attract about 200 people each year. Each gets a certification card after a single two-hour session. Anyone 12 and older is welcome. Piper, 29, also is part of the county's Amateur Radio Public Service Corps, using her ham radio skills to relay weather information directly to the weather service. And she volunteers at the weather service operations center, which tracks climatic events for 17 counties.

Still, she would much rather be in the field. (Editor's note: Not necessarily, she loves tracking weather from the NWS just as much as she does from a vehicle) Piper says she wants nothing more than to chase tornadoes in Texas and Oklahoma.

Even if the last few summers were pretty mild, there were still 173 severe weather warnings in Oakland last year. "But it always seems like the really exciting, important things happen when I'm not around," Piper said.

Contact JULIE EDGAR at 248-351-3294 or edgar@freepress.com.

Piper V., 29, of Commerce Township took free National Weather Service classes to be a weather spotter in Oakland County. She uses her ham radio at home to call in reports of bad weather to the weather service. Oakland County has about 100 trained weather spotters.

Be a cloud chaser. The National Weather Service is offering these Skywarn Spotter Training classes:

*Wednesday, 7-9 p.m., Oakland County Emergency Response and Preparedness complex, Information Technology auditorium, Campus Drive South, west of Telegraph, Waterford.
*March 13, 7-9 p.m., Oak Valley Middle School, 4200 White Oak Trail, Commerce Township.
*March 20, 6-8 p.m., Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen, Southfield.
*March 22, 7-9 p.m., Groveland Township Fire Station 1, 14645 Dixie Highway, Groveland Township.

Reservations for any of the classes are recommended by calling 248-858-5300 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

For April classes, go to www.oakgov.com/erp/.cq-schroth

And that's that! I'll be at two Skywarn classes this year, the one at the Oakland County building and the one after that at Oak Valley. I'm going to the first one for training and the second one to help out the person who put it together and organized it for that location. I'm emailing Heather (the photographer) for the other photos she took of me. We spent almost 3 hours taking photos in various places. I had a great time (aside from freezing my butt off during the outside photos). I'm honored that I was chosen/suggested to be interviewed for the article.

(Editor's note: I got the photos from Heather, here they are!)

I haven't the slightest idea what I'm pointing at here.

Here I am in the Blazer (a.k.a. spotter-mobile) making a contact on the ham radio.

Keeping an eye on the sky, that's me!

Man, it was blisteringly cold that day, can you tell?

Y'know, it's hard to get those gripping, hard-hitting, award-winning weather spotting photos in the middle of WINTER!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Typical for *my* kids!

Tuesday, February 12, 2007 (Jason's birthday):

Today Jamie picked up the mail on his way in from shoveling driveways in the neighborhood behind us. Jason's issues of Rolling Stone and Popular Mechanics had arrived. After putting the mail on the kitchen table, Jamie grabbed the P.M. to look at cars and related stuff. Andrew grabbed the R.S.

I thought it was cute and totally appropriate given Jamie's affinity for cars/mechanics and Andrew is constantly singing songs from the radio or the Rock Band/Guitar Hero video games unless he's composing his own songs with his guitar (not bad for a 4 year old, eh? He just needs to learn to play the thing properly...).

Jamie's 5th Grade Graduation

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Today Jamie graduated 5th grade and we're getting him fitted for his orchestra instrument for junior high school later on. Oh, and I am a crispy critter (thanks to my lack of tanning abilities).

The graduation festivities began at 8:30 this morning with a breakfast for the families. There was a slide presentation being shown at the same time we ate. It was really nice, at the end they showed all the baby pictures and 5th grade school pictures of all the 5th graders. Afterward we did the graduation ceremony itself. Each 5th grader got called up to the front and shook hands with their teacher and principal then got their diploma (I guess....it was something all rolled into a tube and tied shut). Afterward the kids sang Celebration by Kool and the Gang for the parents then did their school's motto (or whatever) as a chant and filed out. Later on it turned out that what was rolled into the tube was a colour coordinated t-shirt (each of the four classes had their own colour). On the front it said "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" and on the back it said "We don't think so! Commerce Elementary Class 2007". The kids all met outside in front of the media center for a full class (of 2007) photo and individual class (room) photos. Then it was back in to their classrooms for some instructions on the rest of the day.

At this point I left to go pick up Andrew from the babysitter because it was then that I realized that this was going to be an all day event.

When I got back Jamie was in the classroom next door to his room. Every kid had gotten a new backpack (one of those ones that isn't real heavy duty but you can carry light stuff around in). In the backpack was an envelope with a bunch of freebie goodies in it (a kids dinner at Red Robin, ice cream at the Dairy Queen, fries from McDonald's, etc) and a sharpie marker so they could sign each others' shirts. The reason Jamie was in the room next door was because most of the other kids were going from their Kindergarten through 4th grade rooms and saying good-bye to their former teachers. Jamie didn't start there until 4th grade so he didn't have anywhere to go so he had to go to the room next door, until they called 4th grade. After that was done we headed back to his classroom for a few minutes before heading outside to the "carnival".

The carnival was 2 inflated bouncy "rides" (a house and an obstacle course), several games (skeeball, frog flipper, balloon blow up race, etc), karaoke, a balloon object maker guy, a card trick guy, sandy candy, cotton candy, ice cream, airbrush tattoos, and (for the grand finale) human ice cream sundae.

Before all that got started we had an outdoor picnic. You had your choice of hot dog, Wendy's hamburger, or Wendy's chicken nuggets, Cheetos or Doritos, and 2 kinds of brownies from Panera! And water or orange drink.We had a great time and I took tons of pictures (especially of the human sundae made from Jamie's teacher, Mr. Bison). Needless to say I'm a crispy critter on my shoulders from the sun! :( I came home and showered (I thought I smelled like dirt from being out on the playground all day) and put some aloe stuff on my burn but it still is stinging to this moment... :( I can feel the heat radiating off my shoulders right now. Oh well, I'll survive.

Here are some photo highlights:



Jamie shaking hands with Mr. Graham, the principal. His teacher, Mr. Bison is on the right.



5th Grade class photo.



Mr. Bison a.k.a. Human Sundae.

The Great Blog Move - a recap (and super long post)

Here are old blog posts from another blog I used to have...

Without further ado...

Sunday, February 19, 2006:
December 1st we moved to a new home.  We're no longer ghetto dwellers.  We've moved on up (to the east side...to a deluxe apartment in the sky.... j/k, we're not the Jeffersons) to a duplex from a crappy ghetto apartment.  It's nice and quiet here, no one fighting in front of our bedroom windows at 3 in the morning, no more shiny white painted walls (who paints their interior walls in glossy white anyway???), no more people stealing our stuff, no more fights in the street (as entertaining as they were), just wonderful peace and quiet.  Thank goodness.  The best part of all, as cheesy as it may sound... we now have our own washer and dryer, no more laundromat trips or wasted weekend days doing laundry for hours on end because it had piled up all week.  It's sooooo nice.

Sunday, June 11, 2006:
Tonight my parents invited Jason and me out for a "mystery date".  Turned out it was dinner at a restaurant.  Jamie planned the whole thing (except for where we were eating) with my parents as an anniversary present for Jason and me.

My mom tells me the whole thing started like this:

She and my dad were talking and she mentioned that it was our anniversary on Tuesday (yes, I know it was 6-6-6).  Jamie overheard them and turned around and asked why he didn't know about this upcoming event and that they should have a party for us.  That's how the ball got rolling.  We had dinner at at a local restaurant.  It was really nice and the food was good.  A great time was had by all.

August 12, 2006:
Yesterday were birthdays for my mom and my sister.  She, my dad, my brother, my boys, and I went out to dinner in celebration of the big 6-0!  Yikes, my parents are old!  Dad turned 60 in April.

So, my parents are senior citizens in some places and they take advantage of it, but then who wouldn't?  It's so weird to think of them as that old because they don't seem like it.  I guess it's good that they don't seem as old as they are because I like to think it means that when I get that old (gasp!) I won't seem like I'm really that old either.

Back in September of 1999 I went to California with my mom to visit my (maternal) grandmother.  While I was there my grandmother's twin sister came by to visit.  I've learned that elderly people only talk about a few subjects - like bridge (the card game) and golf and their ailments...  On this particular occasion Grandma and Aunt Harriet got on the subject of their medical ills and basically I learned exactly how I'll deteriorate and die (if I'm "blessed" with my grandmother's genes).  That's a pretty creepy and startling reality check for a 21 year old.

Thursday, August 24, 2006:
About three days ago Jason told me he had a dream the night before that I was filling out papers to divorce him.  He said it made him sad.

Yesterday after Jason picked me up from work we ran to Meijer to pick up a couple things before going home.  On our way out of Meijer Jason commented that gas prices are going down and he lamented on how high they'd been the weekend we'd gone on our mini-vacation.  Gas was something like $3.30 when we went camping.

So anyway... Jason says, after we've passed the gas station, "I had another dream the same night you were divorcing me that gas prices were really expensive, like $4.00."  I said that if that happened it would really suck.  Then he comes back with, "I think I was more upset about the price of gas in my dream than I was about you divorcing me!"

We both had a good laugh over that one...

Thursday, September 14, 2006:
My (maternal) grandmother has been sick.  Apparently she's been experiencing dementia and weakness along with some "intestinal issues" (I'll spare the details).  My mom went out to California for a week to be with her from September 2nd to the 9th.  On the first night there she found my grandma in the bathroom on the floor, she'd fallen.  It had apparently happened some time before my mom found her because she had "messed" herself and was asleep when my mom got there.  It totally freaked my mom out because she thought Grandma was dead!  Right after that episode Grandma went into the hospital for dehydration, among her other problems.  She was still there when my mom had to come home.  Mom's been on the phone with the doctors ever since she's been back and sending out e-mails to update the rest of the family with what she's finding out.  Here's what I know:
*in the hospital Grandma took a fall from the bed last (she tried to get up by herself) and hit her head but she seemed otherwise unaffected by it (she knew her name, where she was, the year it was and so on).  The Dr. ordered a CT scan to make sure there was no bleeding or any other internal injuries, which there weren't.  She had no obvious external bruises.  He said the CT scan showed a fair amount of degeneration of the small blood vessels, which is indicative of her dementia.  The degeneration was more than he would have normally expected, but given her "confused" state of mind at times, he was not surprised.
*she had a colon biopsy and it shows she has inflammatory bowel disease.

*she had a bone marrow biopsy.  It is the Dr.'s opinion at this time that she will probably not recover from the low counts, and gradually will become weaker and weaker.  He said she had maybe a year, maybe less left to live but that he wasn't going to pin it down more than that until after he saw the bone marrow biopsy.
*the Dr. pointed out that if the family wants to move her home, she will require permanent 24 hour care.  At some point we will also need to consider Hospice care.
*the results of the bone marrow biopsy-She has leukemia; it is fairly advanced, and untreatable.  The most the doctor said they could do was continue to give or an occasional blood transfusion to give her blood a "boost", but eventually she'd stop responding to this.  She will grow weaker over the next few weeks, start sleeping more, and will finally die quietly in her sleep.  She will not suffer.
*the doctor informed her of her status, she expressed a desire to know whatever the doctor wanted to tell her, and he filled her in on most of the details.  She knows that her bone marrow is not working properly, and that there is no treatment they can do at her age that will fix the problem.  Her platelet levels dropped a few more points.  The Dr. said this was what we could expect to happen.
*Kaiser (her insurance company) will send her home tomorrow (9/14/06).  There's no point in putting her in a nursing home.  There will be no physical therapy, no IVs, no blood transfusions, so the doctor explained there was no necessity of going to the nursing home unless she wanted to.  Of course, she wanted to go home.  So Kaiser will provide a hospital bed, bedside commode, and all the linens needed to make her comfortable.  Hospice will provide nursing care.  Otherwise, she was alert, still had her sense of humor, and chided her children when they wouldn't let her make some of the decisions about rearranging the furniture in her room to accommodate the hospital bed.
*(back at home now) She is comfortable now in her own room.  She ate a little dinner (ice cream, a cookie, and strawberry parfait jello) which she thoroughly enjoyed.  Then she curled up and has been napping ever since.
*9/15/06 Her hospice nurse visited.  She's realizing that her condition is not going to get better but she says she'll pray for a miracle anyway.
*9/16/06 She had a good day.  She spent some time in her wheelchair - having breakfast, spending time with her children, reading the newspaper, spending time with visitors (family and friends), etc.  She's been questioning why she got sick but her children are keeping her in good spirits.
*9/17/06 Pretty much a repeat of the day before.  The days and nights tend to get confusing for her because of how much she sleeps.
*9/18/06 A good day but she did have a fever the night before.  It was gone by the morning.  This day was pretty much the same as the day before and the day before it.
*9/19/06 Same as the past few days (minus the fever from the one night).
*9/20/06 Another day that's pretty much the same as the rest of the days.
*9/21/06 My mom left for California to be with Grandma and the rest of the family.  Mom is prepared to be out there for up to 3 months, depending on how long Grandma's illness lingers.  My "Aunt" Ruthie also went out (on 9/25) to be with my mom and help out where needed, she's a former Hospice nurse.  Mom arrived fine but was terribly busy the first night with learning everything that was going on.
*9/22/06 Mom took her sister, who'd been in to visit Grandma, to the airport.  Grandma had a few visitors otherwise, not much to report about the day.  It was kinda busy for her is all.
*9/23/06 Pretty uneventful day - Grandma spent a lot of it sleeping.
*9/24/06 Grandma had some strange dreams but was able to realize that they were just dreams and not real.  Some family and friends visited.  Aunt Ruthie arrived.
*9/25/06 Grandma passed away today.  :(  She was at peace and had no pain.  Her funeral is on 10/9/06. Her and my grandfather's ashes were spread at French Meadows by their children.
*10/13/06 Mom came home from California with what she could bring of Grandma and Grandpa's effects.  Thus ending the saga of Grandma's sickness and demise.  At least she's in a better place and she's with my grandfather now.


Wednesday, November 1, 2006:
I found out the hard way, last night, that trick or treating can be a dangerous endeavor.

Jason and I took the boys and went over to the neighborhood where his parents live to go trick or treating.   We should have stayed home and went in our own neighborhood, hindsight is 20/20, right?

So, what happened?

While pulling Andrew in the wagon, we were going down a side street toward a house with its light on when the next thing I knew everything went black, I was somehow on the ground, and hollering in EXTREME pain!  Almost as extreme as being in labor, extreme.  I apparently had stepped wrong on uneven cement and my left ankle rolled outward from under my weight and totally gave way.  In falling to the ground I landed on my right knee and my right hand caught me, something like that.

Anyway, all I remember is being on the freezing cold ground in the most intense pain I've ever been in since Andrew was born (prior to the epidural, of course).  It hurt so bad I couldn't think, I couldn't open my eyes, I couldn't speak, and I could barely breathe.

Jason was by my side in an instant (he was behind me when I fell so there wasn't much he could do.  It happened so fast I was already on the ground before he knew what I'd done).  He kept trying to get me to stand up and I kept shaking my head no.  I knew there was no way I was getting up, not until I, at the very least, stopped feeling like I was going to puke.  When I'd regained my ability to speak, that's what I told him.

I was on that ground for like 5 minutes.  Finally I manged to get up, with help, of course.  I tried to walk but that was basically impossible.  That's when I started to cry.

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not a crier.  I have a pretty high pain tolerance.  I didn't cry when I was in labor, nor did I cry on the coldest night of the winter, when a drunk driver slammed into us at 40 MPH while I was 6 months pregnant with Andrew.  I shed not a tear, even though my back has NEVER been the same.

Anyway, Jason and the kids went on to hit the houses that were down the street from where I was while I stood on my right foot, leaning on the wagon handle, and silently cried.  It hurt SOOOO bad.  Some kind soul from the nearest house gave me a chair to sit in while I waited for Jason and the boys to come back.  We decided that we had to get the car and go to the ER.  Fortunately, the car wasn't far away.

2 hours in the ER, 2 or 3 x-rays, and 1 Tetanus shot later it was determined that I just sprained my ankle.  Which is fortunate, I could have broken it, but it still hurts a lot and is difficult to walk on.  But I will survive...


Saturday, November 11, 2006:
The boy finally did it!  Jamie is getting ALL 'A's!  We had parent teacher conferences on the 7th and he's doing fabulously!!  We couldn't be happier.  It just hammers home that putting him in 4th grade when we moved rather than keeping him in 5th was the right decision.  Now, in 5th grade, all his teachers say he's pretty much right on track (rather than us hearing that he's behind, like we have since we put him in school).  I'll admit, my mom was right, I shouldn't have started him in Kindergarten when he was 4, even though he met the birthday cut-off (and even though that's what my parents did with me).

Jamie will turn 11 on the 14th.  I can't believe that much time has passed.  It doesn't seem possible.  But then I did just turn 29 on the 6th......


Thursday, November 30, 2006:
(now known as "The Adventure")
First off, let me start this at the beginning because I never would have been involved had the other stuff not happened first...

Monday (Nov. 27) - My dad had surgery on his neck.  I went with my mom to visit him in the hospital that night.  He'd opted to stay overnight rather than come home, which was a good thing, in my opinion.  After the visit we went back to the house and I dropped Mom off, she loaned me their car so I could pick up Dad on Tuesday, as I didn't have to work.

Tuesday (Nov. 28) - Around noon I picked up Dad and brought him home.  He slept the whole time I stayed at the house (a few hours, until Mom came home).  Mom drove me home and I accidentally left my keys to my car and house and to work in their car.  But I hadn't noticed it yet...

Wednesday (Nov. 29) - As Jason, Andrew and I are rushing out of the house to take Jason to work I realize that I've left the keys in my parents' Saturn.  I called Mom at work and let her know and asked her to drop them off to me at work after she came home because I can't lock up the store without them and I was closing that night.  Later on in the day Brent, my brother, called and said he was off work early and he'd be home soon.  He told me that he'd bought (and watched) one of my Christmas presents, Clerks 2 on DVD.  He said he'd bring it by and give it to me later on.  That's when I thought, why not have him pick me up and bring my keys and save Jason the trip.  I asked him if that would be cool and he said sure.

7pm rolls around and he and Jamie have arrived to pick me up.  After helping me with a few closing procedures we left.  He mentioned that he needed to stop at Meijer to pick up something for Dad.  We pull into the lot and he says he wants to go up the big hill behind the store and see if the 4 wheel drive that he just had fixed is working so we climb the mini-mountain and are off on our off-roading "adventure"....

It had been somewhat warm all week, around 60 degrees.  It had been raining on and off all day but at this point in time the rain had stopped and the ground had dried up for the most part.  The road, strike that, the PATH we choose, to get us up the steep hill, had been driven over many times before us because the tire marks were well established already (even though going where we were going was technically trespassing).  The 4 wheel drive had apparently been repaired properly because we had no problems using it to get up there.

Once at the top of the hill there is pavement which allows access to the water tower that's up there.  The pavement goes along back behind Meijer and comes out on the opposite side of the store from where we were.  Going off the pavement will take you to some kind of pre-formed unpaved off road course that is full of dips and drops (like potholes).  I'd never been back there before but Brent has taken our dad and both Jamie and Andrew back there on other occasions so he's familiar with it.  However, I have no idea if he's ever been back there in the dark, like we are now.

So we're bouncing around the course, going over other hills and dropping down little inclines/cliffs.  It goes really far back behind the store and next to the local ski hill.  We go along over many bumps and little hills when we come to a curve.  Around this curve is a large mud puddle.  We stop and look at it.  It's probably 20 feet across (give or take).  Unfortunately, I do not have a photo of this puddle so you'll have to take my word on its size.  I immediately know what Brent is going to do.  He's going to go through it.  Before he starts I say to him, "You don't know how deep that puddle is."  But he's convinced that, "It'll be OK".

Famous last words, right?

Brent hits the gas and goes right for the mid point of the puddle to cross it.  Hoping, I'm sure, for a wondrous puddle spray from either side of the truck.  Unfortunately, that's not exactly how it happened...

At first there was spray, then the water quickly got deeper and deeper and we were going too fast to comprehend it all until the front driver side of the truck was almost completely underwater.  By the time our brains had caught up with the momentum of the truck and the deepness of the water the truck had shut itself off because the engine was hydro-locked and the whole truck was tipped on a 30 - 40 degree angle down into the puddle!

I bit my tongue and didn't say "I told you so".

There are pictures of the truck in the puddle but no good ones.  This is the best example of how deep the water was:



Looking at that I'm sure you're thinking "That doesn't look very deep".  Perhaps it wasn't really, but running into the water at about 20 or 30 MPH throws a lot of water up over the hood and, of course, into the engine, thus causing the hydro-lock.

Maybe this picture will better explain the "depth" of our problem:



The above photo is the interior of his truck on the driver side.  See the brake pedal to the right?  Now go out and look in your car at the brake pedal, how far from the floor is it?  Can you comprehend how deep the water was?  Did you notice, toward the left, how the water is up to the junction in the seat where the back meets the seat?  Yeah, it was deep and we were stuck/screwed!

Knowing we'd have to get out of the truck because it wasn't going anywhere I opened my door on the passenger side (which wouldn't stay open because of the angle at which the truck came to rest).  I removed my sandals, thankful that I'd chosen to wear them due to the warm weather rather than my tennis shoes and socks.  I rolled up my pant legs as far as they'd go (which was pretty far since they were really loose wearing pants) and I placed my right foot in some FREEZING cold muddy water.  When I got up to my knee and my foot still hadn't made contact with the bottom of the puddle I looked over at Brent and told him that he's getting out first, since he got us in this mess in the first place.

Meanwhile, Jamie is in the backseat starting to freak out.  I think he thought we were in some kind of mini-lake and the truck was going to continue to sink and take us down with it.  We managed to calm him down as I climbed out and clung to the side of the truck so Brent could get out.

Turned out, the water was only knee deep on my side.  I probably had missed the bottom by inches when I put my foot in originally.  This is the sight I was confronted with upon exiting the vehicle; the back passenger tire:



and the front passenger tire:



I made Brent go back and carry Jamie out so he wouldn't get all wet.  Walking out, Brent called Mom and Dad (thank goodness for cell phones!), explained the situation and requested a pick up for Jamie and me.  Next he called Lakeside Towing and, again explained himself.  They told him it'd be 40 minutes before they could get a tow truck of the magnitude he'd need up there.

Mom showed up to pick up me and Jamie a little while after we'd come down the hill.  Brent stayed behind to wait for his tow.  In the meantime he called his friend who knew a guy who had a truck that could pull his out:



And here's what happened after they pulled the truck out (you can see the water line, it's darker on the bottom of the truck than on the upper part):



Water poured forth from the closed door...and..



Even MORE water poured out once the door was opened (of course)!

Turned out, the water was about waist deep on the driver side of the truck.  If he'd driven through the puddle 2 or 3 feet to the right we would have made it, or he could have gone completely around it on the track that was around it!

With Brent in the puddle pushing the truck from behind, Brent's friends pulled the truck all the way out of the puddle and all the way down back to the Meijer parking lot before Lakeside showed up, so Brent managed to save some money by not having to pay for being towed out of the puddle, Lakeside just towed it back to Mom and Dad's house where Brent put it in the garage and set to drying it out and un-hydro-locking the engine. Two days later, SUCCESS!!!

Brent managed to use Dad's space heater, a dehumidifier, and a torque wrench to remove all the water from the truck and turn the engine so the water in it came out as well.  It got new plugs and wires and it's back on the road again!

That boy has all the luck in the world. Go rub his head some time if you need any!


Wednesday, June 6, 2007:

It is my 10th anniversary today.  I can't believe it's been 10 years.  Jason said, last night as we were getting into bed, "That's a long time to spend around just one person."  I suppose he's right.  Maybe it's time to trade him in.... ha-ha just kidding. :)

Here's to another 10 years!

Jason just walked in from work.  He brought me 2 dozen red roses, a card, and a bottle of wine.  How sweet. :)

Friday, October 5, 2007:

Earlier today I got a call from Jason who said he'd just been told by the son of one of his oxygen patients that his name was called out over the airwaves of 94.7 and that he needed to call the station back because he'd been called for the WCSX workforce contest!

(For details on the contest, in case you don't know, go to http://www.wcsx.com/content/2007_09workforcecash.asp *link may or may not work..)

Jason called back in the allotted time, so far he's won $400!!!  And just in time too.  Since I lost my job last month things have been getting tighter and tighter around here.

Props to the forces that pointed Karma in our direction today!!  Thank you GOD!!!  (And Buddha, and Allah, and all the others out there - I'm not one to leave any good entity/force/person/whatever out when goodness comes as a windfall in my/our direction.)

Monday, October 8, 2007:

Today was the big day.  We were to pick up our winnings from 94.7.  The time slot for pick ups was between 3 and 5 pm.  Jason got out of work at 2 and was home and ready to go by 2:30.  He, Andrew and I piled into the car to head out on our way.

94.7 is housed in the same building as 101.1 and 105.1.  It's set in the middle of an industrial area in Oak Park.  It was an adventure of sorts to find it, but we managed and we got there at 3:02pm.  There were a few others there to claim their money as well.

It turned out that we were the biggest winners there.  Most people only won one or two hundred dollars.

It took a little bit for them to get the paperwork taken care of and get the money back to us.  It came in little spurts.  A guy would come out with a couple peoples' money then go back for more (once he'd gotten the paperwork).

The second time someone came out from the main part of the building Andrew ran up to him and said, "My daddy won FOUR HUNDRED DOLLARS!"

The guy laughed and said something like, "Oh, yeah?"

As he pointed over to Jason, Andrew said, "YEAH! He's my daddy!"

The guy laughed again and said something about how cute Andrew is and how he loved his voice and wanted to get it recorded.  Then he headed back to the back (he wasn't the guy with the money).

Another guy came out with a digital camera.  Andrew told him about the money, too.  He sure was excited by the whole process!  The guy took our picture (all 3 of us) and then the money guy came out again.  Jason got the money and the guy took his picture again, alone this time.

One of the girls in the lobby who works for the station asked one of the guys (either the with the camera or the money one, I'm not sure which because I wasn't really paying attention) if he knew if the first guy Andrew spoke to was getting a recorder.  I wasn't sure what she was talking about until she asked the question again to another guy who'd come out from the back.  Then I realized that she was talking about Andrew being recorded.

The last guy to come out from the back found Andrew sitting in a chair next to another winner of the WCSX Workforce contest.  He was telling her about our winnings (he told the whole lobby, really).  The guy from the staff told us that he wanted to take us to the back, to a recording studio to record a promo of Andrew saying the following:

"I'm Andrew and my Dad won $400 on 94.7, WCSX!"

He did it! It was adorable.

The guy also had Jason record a promo. He had him say:

"Hi, I'm Jason from Commerce Township and I won $400 as a WCSX Workforce member." (Or something like that.)

The radio guy said he'd have the whole thing edited and put together so they could start running the promos tomorrow.  I got the feeling, from the guy, that they plan to run Andrew's promo like crazy (I don't know if they'll run both his and Jason's together or not).

So that's how my 4 year old became a radio star!  :)  Maybe he'll end up in broadcasting when he grows up...

(Editor's note: We never actually heard the promo run but I heard from others that they heard it.  We did finally get a CD with the actual promo on it in the mail but it took forever to come and I had to keep bugging the people there to send it to me. Errr....)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008:

My little sister is getting married.  I got the news from my parents but I got the (mass) email from her boyfriend.  Here's what it says:

Hello to all,

I am writing to let everyone know, that Amber and I have decided (after years of deliberation,) to get married. We will be doing the legal stuff this weekend so that we can have our UNCLE SAM start paying a little better.  However, we will still be having a ceremony back in Michigan around Memorial Day, specifically the 24th of May, to share with our friends and family.  I know it is short notice, but with every one's help I am sure we can pull this off and have a really fun party celebrating your two favorite chronic movers.

Cheers,

Nick & Amber

So come Sunday night it'll be official, they'll be married.

I now have to check my mail because my sister is supposed to be sending me questions about the BIG day in May....

Wednesday, January 23, 2008:

I've been invited to be in my sister's ceremony in May.

Since my cell phone has been killed (it was my fault) she couldn't call me so we did everything by email yesterday.  Here are some snippets of our conversations (starting with her email to me):

----- Original Message -----
hey-
is there any other phone number to get you at - i just called your phone and got the message that your phone is not working...

i have a few questions for you about the big day in may....  if you can't call me, let me know and i'll email you my questions.

a

On 1/22/08, I wrote back:

Email is probably the best way right now.

Or, if you want to wait, I should have my phone back in like 10 days...

----- Original Message -----
ok..  well, do you want to be in the wedding?  we're planning on may 24th.  i'm not set on anything yet, but i was thinking that everyone could just buy their own black dress to wear.  you don't have to have one from some wedding store; you can get something that you might wear again.  but think cocktail style and plain - no sequins or bedazzling - just plain.  i don't care if it's shiny (like satin) or flat (like cotton) or if it's long or short - your choice.  i was figuring black would be easy for everyone to match and it might be wearable somewhere else, too.

let me know if you want to....

On 1/22/08, I wrote back:
Sure.  And I already have a black dress so that works out perfectly.  Do you want me to send you a photo of it (in case it's not fancy enough for a wedding)?

----- Original Message -----
sure - send a pic...  i just picked black because then we wouldn't have to worry about people matching colors - black's pretty easy to get right.  and, it's something that can be worn again for lots of stuff...  i just didn't want to try to get everyone to buy dresses from a dress place and then never be able to use it again.  i have a bunch of those and you can't do much with a dress that is pretty obviously a bridesmaid dress...

if you check out the jcrew website there are some black dresses there and i like those idea.  the dress i bought is also on the website - it's under the "for the bride" link - the sofia long dress if you want to see it.

but yea - send a pic...

On 1/22/08, I wrote back:
Ok here ya go..  This is the whole dress, the bottom is currently dirty because the cat gets in my closet and gets his fur all over it.

(photo was posted here but I no longer have it saved in my computer and she eventually decided she didn't think it would work out for the wedding after all)

As you can see it has crinoline that sticks out (it's supposed to, it was made that way).
Will this be ok?  It's not super fancy but I've worn it to other weddings and fancy-like occasions.

----- Original Message -----
sure - looks fine.  maybe less the cat hair - but if you're happy with it, that's the idea.  i'll let you know more about what's going on as things get planned.  i emailed janice to see if she would want to do hair the day of - if you want your hair done, your choice.  she hasn't gotten back to me, yet, but like i said - as things happen i'll let you know.

So there ya have it people....  Oh and here's a picture of the dress she'll be wearing...


(there was a photo posted here but she found a different dress after she'd picked this one so there's no point in posting a photo of a dress she's not wearing anymore. I don't have a photo of the one she ultimately picked. YET...)

That's all the news I have for now....