Wednesday, January 30, 2013


This morning I was trying to teach DF a song with the letters of his name.  After a few attempts he stopped me and said he couldn't learn because 'he's too dangerous'. 
And no, I'm not sure what was going on there either.


Yesterday Relia told me that she was teased at school for being the smartest one in class.  Now, she comes home with stories about teasing on a pretty regular basis.  Upon questioning, most of them turn out to be largely a consequence of her flair for drama.  This may have been more of the same, but it game me an opportunity to talk up the 'smart' thing.
This morning I sat her down and told her that I couldn't be prouder of her for being the smartest in class.  I said that she doesn't need to show off but if she has brains I want her using them and using them and using them.  And if the other kids don't like it, well, that's their problem.
I continued and told her that I often felt like the big ol' smarty pants when I was growing up.  You get used to it.  And you grow to see the advantages.  Now, maybe this is different for girls, though I hope not.  I want her to confidently be herself and this is a big time for cementing that.
So go out and be smart, you brainy child!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Happy Monday


Ok, so after reading this, I've made up my mind that we should actually plan on a trip in the future to Disneyland (or Disneyworld or other great park).  It seems that it would be best if our youngest was at least five so that means summer of 2017.  Hans, Heidi, grandparents, let's make this happen, ok?

If others want to join in, well, the more the merrier.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Monday

Here in Minneyota we're 'enjoying' the coldest day in about three years.  Sure wish I was in Greece, enjoying this cave . . .

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Can't Find the Atlantic

Stories like this make my blood boil.  Seriously parents, point to some things on the map every once in a while.  Play some Risk with your kids.  Get an atlas.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Olympic Music

The other night I got the urge to hear the music from the Industrial Revolution part of the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony.  I got out my recording and watched (well listened) to that part three or four times.  I'd looked for the music on iTunes and Amazon but hadn't been able to find it.  Finally I hit paydirt on YouTube.  It's long and it's loud so you may not want to listen. Which is fine. This is mostly here so I can come back to it. By all means, enjoy it if you'd like. It's quite rousing.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Little House on the Bedtime Docket

While we're putting the kids to bed, we've been reading the 'Little House' books.  DF is a little young for chapter books but he's gamely putting up with it.  Relia is kind of getting into it.  The FP Gal told me I should be recording some of the stuff they say.  (This may be a series, we'll see.)
  • The first book takes place in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in the 1860's.  After a few chapters Relia told me that she was afraid of the forest.  She was sure that she'd meet a bear.  I assured her that the forests near us are very bear free.  I might have convinced her.
  • DF took a different tack.  He said that he would use a sword and cut up any bears that he met.  I told him that I was sure he would, but I hoped it didn't come to that.
  • For Christmas, all of the girls get a pair of red mittens.  Can you imagine what would happen if we gave Relia a single pair of red mittens for Christmas next year?  I'm sure Child Services would eventually become involved.
  • We told them that the first book takes places near the Eagle Center (where we've been a few times).  Relia wants to go back there and investigate.  We'll have to set that up sometime next summer.  I wonder if we could get a certain Grandma D and cousin Pat to go there with us . . . 
  • The second book starts with a passage about how the story takes place 'when all grandmas and grandpas were young or not born yet'.  We talked about how old the story is.  I told Relia that it was published in 1935.  She said "I knew it was in the 1900's!".  She also told me, authoritatively, that covered wagons first started in the 1890's.  Um, close, Sweetie.
  • The Ingalls move from Wisconsin to go out to 'Indian country'.  They have to cross the Mississippi while it's still frozen.  I told Relia that they didn't have any bridges across the Mississippi yet.  "They didn't have bridges?!?"  No, they didn't.  They had to cross on the ice or on a boat.  "They had boats?!?"  Yes, sweetie, boats have been around for a long, long time.
  • Tonight's chapter ended with them deep in the wilds of Kansas.  Relia was excited, because she has heard of Kansas.  I promised that I'd show her where all of the states are on the map.  DF tried to tell me something about Antarctica but he was pretty tired so I didn't catch it.  
I like that we're providing some perspective with these books.  I hope it sticks.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Crash Day - 10 Year Anniversary

10 years ago today, at about this time, I was swerving on an icy road, trying to decided if I should risk hitting the oncoming minivan or go in the ditch.  I picked the ditch and we hit a tree, going about 60mph.  It was like being punched with an I-beam.  Pictures show that my chair, the driver's seat, actually broke loose.  I probably hit the door frame but it could have been the steering wheel.  (Later surgery showed four or five major facial fractures when most accidents have one.)
We (me, my brother and his new wife, Rachel) were obviously shaken up.  She had been thrown from the back seat, spun 180 degrees and ended up facing backwards between the front seats.  She'd hit the gear shift and broken one arm, some ribs and suffered a collapsed lung.  Hans wrenched his shoulder.  Me?  Well, at first I thought that my left eye was swollen shut and I couldn't talk clearly.
Hans had me call 911.  I could still reach my cell phone and I did.  "We just had a car crash. We're on Hwy 218, just north of Pratt."  Before the rescue crew reached us, at least one car stopped to try and help us, maybe more.  The police couldn't open the doors so they used the jaws of life to cut the roof of the car off.  Rachel looked the worst, so they airlifted her to Mayo.  They put me in an ambulance to go to Rochester.  Apparently the swelling was terrible so they had to put a tube in so I could breathe.  I fought them so first we went to Owatonna so they could put me under. 
I came to later that day with doctors and family around me.  There was still a tube in my mouth so I had to write on a notepad.  The first thing I asked about was the other passengers.  Secondly, I asked how the football games came out.  This was on a Sunday.  The tubes would come out on Friday.  All that time it was sign language and notepads. 
I don't remember Monday.  On Tuesday, Hans and Rachel came to visit me.  I asked Hans how I looked.  He took a quick picture to show me.  Here it is:

For reference, here's a picture taken of me at my brother's wedding, six weeks earlier.
That was in Intensive Care.  On Wednesday(?), my sister flew in to be with me.  She got a Super Nintendo hooked up to my TV and we played some Super Mario Brothers.  I later found out that while we were playing, the medical people were harvesting organs next door.  Good times!  The nights were rough.  I can only sleep on my belly and you can't lay like that when you're all wired up.
On Friday they helped me out of bed and we went somewhere to have the tubes out.  I could finally talk but I found out why I couldn't talk clearly before.  My jaw and teeth were all messed up.  That day they moved me out of ICU and into a regular room.  Finally I could have visitors!  Tip to others, visitors in the hospital are life savers.
Surgery was scheduled for Thursday.  Before they operated, they had to make sure I was no longer leaking spinal fluid so I had both a CAT scan and an MRI.  We also found out that I was allergic to one of the drugs, which was making me nauseated.  Sleep was still hard.  We also talked about my left eye.  It wasn't swollen shut, I simply couldn't see out of it.  They said that swelling had most likely injured the optic nerve and I'd probably never see out of it again. 
They operated for more than ten hours.  There are seven permanent pins, as you can see from the x-ray.  Three for the bridge of my nose, two for the left eye socket and two for my left check.  You can see the bands on my teeth.  My jaw was partially wired for some time, more than a month, I think.  By the end, I was literally dreaming about bacon cheeseburgers. 
The Friday after the surgery was brutal.  I was mostly out of it, the only thing I can remember was that I was always too hot or too cold.  I got a personal morphine drip, so that helped.  Late in the day I regained some sense and was able to walk for a short time.  There were more than forty staples in my scalp.  The guy I shared a room with thought I'd had brain surgery.
The next Monday they let me go home.  Well, most of the way there.  I spent two days at my brother's house.  They helped me with soft food and movies.  I repaid them with a late night combination nosebleed and vomiting session.  The bathroom looked simply awful.  Sorry!
On Wednesday I got back to my own apartment, the first time I'd had any real privacy in 17 days.  I took a nice long shower, let me tell you!  The next day Jodi got my cats back to me.  I was back to work four weeks after the accident.
Being blind in one eye isn't that big of a deal.  I can do just about everything that anyone else can.  People have worked with me for years without knowing about it.  Somewhere in there, I also lost my sense of smell, and that's been a little tougher. 
A lot has happened since then.  I've gotten married and had three kids.  Relia knows about the accident and the eye but she forgets about it.  My wife is well trained to sit and walk on my right hand side.  I drive a little bit more cautiously and I'm more prone to cancel a trip if the roads are iffy. 

This was ten years ago.  I think I can finally start letting it go.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Happy New Year

Last night we stayed in to celebrate the New Year.  About 630p, I set off some fireworks on the front sidewalk to thrill Relia and DF.  Then we put the kids to bed and watched 'Moulin Rouge'.  When that was done we prepared for midnight.  We had some drinks ready and was ready to go back out with some more fireworks.  But DF started yelling for me.
I went upstairs and he told me that the noised were keeping him awake.  Relia was also awake enough to talk.  There were some scattered fireworks in the neighborhood but nothing all that loud.  But I guess they woke him.  I held him for a bit, turned on their music and then counted them back to sleep.
I didn't kiss the FP Gal at midnight.  More like twenty after.  And I didn't rush out to do fireworks.  I guess I had other duties.