Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Being sick means I fall behind on everything - work, chores, phone calls (sorry to everyone I failed to call back), etc. But I'm thankful that I'm still gainfully employed, that the laundry and dishes can wait, and that I have friends and loved ones who care enough to call.
So today's 'Membrance Monday theme is my 12-yr old blessing - Emily Kay Kline - or as she called herself for her first couple years of speaking, "Emmy Tay Fwine". Here are some pictures that give you just a flavor of all of the happy memories this wonderful young woman has given her daddy. Oh, and Emily keeps a blog of her own at http://emmytayfwine.blogspot.com.
My Emmy Tay is only 12 yrs old. That's a seventh grader. I remember 7th grade. I made some great friends in those days. Emily's bestest friend is Bailey. Bailey is as fair as Emily is dark. They make a great pair, like a dog and his bark.
Emily got her nickname for two reasons. First, she called herself "Emmy Tay Fwine" when she was an itty bitty girl. But the thing that really cemented it was she would sit in my lap for long stretches of time while I played Diablo II and to make her happy I created a character named Emmy Tay Fwine, jut for the fun of it. The character was a dark haired sorceress and she looked kind'a like Emily. That character wound up being my best one, a level 92 Ice sorceress.
Well, she's gotten bigger over the years. And she's almost as tall as her mom at only 12! But she seems to be getting more and more beautiful every day.
And here attitude? The only way to describe it is "100% Emily".
The Emmy Tay attitude is an odd mixture of humor, bossiness, silliness, haughtiness, goofiness, and queenly disdain.
She gets smarter and more capable every year. I'm a lucky dad and I have so much to be proud of!
I love you, Emmy Ta Fwine! From Dad...
Tuesday, January 24, 2006
I'm doing the same thing today. Yesterday, I flew out of Nashville for a week of Quest business in California. Quest does a yearly kick-off meeting to train on new products and talk about strategies in the new year. Travel was its usual glamorous self - rainy airports, delayed flights, and worse...
I'm not sure if you can tell by the picture, but the nice looking middle-aged man who came out of the lavatory before me somehow managed to hose down the entire "seating area" worse than a 3-yr old with no bladder control. I mean, c'mon dude, what gives??? Also, the departures screen shows my Orange County flights are all delayed. Whoohoo!
So back to remembrances. We're having Kick-Off at the Disneyland Grand Hotel & Convention Center. So I thought I'd harken back to some other good amusement park memories. Here they go:
1. Universal Studios in June 2005 with Dylan. I love our family tradition that once the kids pass 5th grade, they get a weekend getaway with dad. That year Dylan and I went to a conference in Orlando where I was speaking. He slept late and played on the hotel Playstation until I got back from speaking and exhibit hall duties, then we went and had fun together. We even got to celebrate his 14th birthday together. And while I was gone, I got the sweetest message from a mom about how Dylan had looked after and played with her two pre-school sons. (sniffle) He makes me so proud!
2. Disney World in March 2005 with Emily. We had a great time at the park together and enjoyed the quality time at the wonderful Hyatt Grand Resort where I speaking at another conference. The people at the Hyatt Grand Resort also won me over with their winning customer service. Everything you see in the picture at left was sent up as a gift to Emily when the assistant manager at the Front Desk heard that this was a trip for her birthday. And isn't she just gorgeous?!?
3. I don't have too many other pictures to post because I only really started to take a lot of pictures once I got my wonderful Treo 650. But I did have a little Kodak digital camera for a while before that. And I have one set of great memories while I toted that camera around - September 2004. I was acting as President of PASS at our annual North American conference and so I was privileged to have THE presidential suite to stay in at the beautiful Gaylord Palms in Orlando. I kid you not - this suite had 7 balconies and was probably 2500 sq ft in size. And it was all comp'ed. That's right - we didn't pay a dime for a room that cost George H. Bush and Bill Gates about $2300 per night earlier in the year. Kelly and the kids came down about mid-week to enjoy the lavish amenities.
So I'm very thankful for the opportunity to enjoy these beautiful sights and sites. But I'm even more thankful that I got to spend that time with the ones who matter the most to me.
Love to you all,
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Bad Moon Rising
Of course, it started with Dylan's grievious injury to his finger, which I already told you about.
Then, my beloved little Katie Jo, came down with a urinary track infection. I've come to learn that little girls cannot have bubble baths twice a week. I should've known that because we never allowed more than one per month with Emily. But somehow I just forgot my dad training and let her have a lot of them. She's doing much better now.
Then, after our day of snowy fun, Emily took a spill coming down from the staircase and we spent all night at the Vanderbilt Children's Clinic. Emily is normally the most stoic and healthy of my kids. She's not prone to exaggerating her situation and does not cry easily. It was about 7:30 on Wednesday and we were trying to get out the door for some grocery shopping. So when I heard her yell and start crying from the area of the staircase, I knew she was seriously hurt. I came running in (with Katie Jo in my arms) to check her out.
She was crumpled on the last couple steps of the staircase with her left foot pushed up into the air. She was wearing some fancy, fluffy winter socks so I couldn't see her ankle easily. However, she'd start crying again any time I or she moved her left foot. I knew it was time to go straight to the ER. Thankfull, Kelly, was available and willing to take Anna Lynn and Katie Jo so that they wouldn't have to spend a long and boring night at the ER. (Thanks again, Kell!) Once her ankle recovered from the initial shock and pain of falling off of that last step, her spirits seemed to recover pretty well.
I'm sure you probably have an idea how it is in the ER. Lots of waiting punctuated by an occassional "hurry up!". Our first hurry up of the evening was for X-Ray ("imaging" as the medical people call it). Emily did great in there and she really seemed to enjoy all of the Wiggles stickers I was plastering on my disco-sparkly navy blue radiation overalls.
The imaging made it clear that nothing was broken. This picture (to the left) also makes it clear that Emily definitely had some swelling on the outside of her left ankle. Plus, still had on a little toe nail polish from the last time she put it on - November of 2005. Yikes! Put on a new coat o'polish girl! Oh - and put that tongue on a leash.
The ER doctor decided that her ankle was sprained in three places and that she'd have to take it really easy for at least one week. That means crutches. The doctor also said that if the size of her feet are any guide (like with puppies), she'll be 5'11" at full height.
She managed to get through the evening in good spirits. So it was back to the house at about midnight. Kell was, again, very graceous and kept Anna Lynn and Katie Jo for the evening. So I didn't have to worry about getting them back home and into bed.
The next day, I took them all out to the new Cinco De Mayo Mexican restaurant. The food tasted great, but the portions could've been a little bigger.
The next morning, it was time for Dylan's stitches to come out. He was surprisingly stoic. Maybe he's turned a corner on how he controls himself in the face of something unpleasant but necessary. He did really great and I was really proud of him.
Well, I leave for a trip to Irvine on Sunday, Jan 22nd. I've got tons of chores to tackle, some work to finish, packing to do, my professional blog to update, blah blah blah. So lots to do. But all I really want to do is crawl back in bed.
Hope you're having a better day than me!
Friday, January 20, 2006
I'm a changed man!
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
It seems like global warming has certainly taken it's toll on Nashville winters in the last few years. Every winter seems milder and milder. This winter, at least, we can claim one good snow fall.
Katie Jo and Anna Lynn had the BIGGEST TIME frollicking in the snow on my back porch. The snow melted quickly if it hit bare ground, but it also accumulated quickly if it landed on something that didn't touch the ground such as the roof and hood of your car, a exposed table or chair, or a wooden deck. So it turned out that the deck on the back of the house was perfect for this snowfall.
Dylan, in his own typical style, decided to launch an attack. It was fun! I don't know if the picture reveals it well, but the snow was coming down pretty hard. Any white streaks on the picture are big, fat, wet snowflakes.
Emily also had a lot of fun on the back porch too. She proceeded to bogart most of the snow and made a very respectable 3+ foot tall snowman.
They all had a great time there on the back porch. Naturnally, they were in and out of the backdoor and leaving it open most of the time. I HATE to think of what my gas bill will look like next month!
After playing in the snow, I fed 'em all hot chocolate and graham crackers (by Katie Jo and Anna Lynn's request). They watched a couple movies that I'd picked up for them like "Kronk's New Groove" and some Mary-Kate and Ashley stuff. You can bet Dylan loved that one, NOT!
Emily, however, snuck off to the front yard and put her artistic talents to work. This one says "Emily was here". The "...was here..." part is really small and not as easy to see.
She eventually came in too, with frozen fingers and soaked gloves.
But she loved it!
How was your snowy day?
Friday, January 13, 2006
Another adventure of Zebraman and Safariboy
If you know much about my 14 year old son Dylan, you know that he's prone to spectacular injuries. He doesn't go for the little injuries like skining your knees on the street. Instead, he crashes through the front storm door, splits his legs open in three different places, and winds up getting fifty-seven stitches.
Well, this time, we have a "Christmas Story" adventure to tell. Dylan was excited to spend some of his Christmas money on a very nice, very realistic looking BB air pistol. I said "Are you sure? You could shoot your eye out, kid!" He said that he could handle anything that came his way with regards to the prized BB pistol.
So two days later, he comes into my office from outside, with his left hand index finger held in that distinctly "I gotta booboo" sort of posture. He described that he was clearing a jam in his BB pistol when it discharged. He was careful to explain that it wasn't loaded and the big puncture hole in the end of his finger was from compressed air and not from a BB. Fast forward two weeks and the end of his finger is the same size and color as a big Concord grape. He obviously had a bad infection.
So we went to the doctor's office yesterday and here's what the X-Ray showed. Yes - that pretty little sphere adjacent to the bone is the BB that wasn't loaded into his gun. (grin)
The X-Ray took place on Tuesday. But the doctor was so busy on Tuesday that they couldn't actually remove the BB at that time. We schedule a return trip on Thursday (thanks to Kelly for getting that on the books) and went on our way.
When we came back, we expected a couple shots of lidocane, a couple quick snips, and a loud "plink!" into a metal basin. That's not what we got. Have you ever dropped a BB on a hardwood floor? Did it ever stay exactly where it dropped? Heck no! So in the same way, every time the doctor tried to grab the BB, it'd roll out of the way.
I tried to make things as fun and lighthearted as possible. But for some reason, Dylan didn't enjoy my attempts at levity. (grin) Here he is with Doctor Jones making the initial incision.
It also took a lot more cutting than Dr Jones expected because the BB kept on taking evasive maneuvers (below).
Dylan didn't enjoy the lidocane and the cutting was pretty gross. But the thing he liked the least was the miniature tournaquet on his finger to staunch the bleeding. Eventually, the evil BB from Hades ran out of places to run - the doctor was victorious (below)!
In the end, it all worked out OK. But it was a bigger cut than anyone expected and Safariboy was going to need some time to heal... and learn about BB gun safety!
Our nurse, Lora, comforted him with these final thoughts. "Dylan," she said, "chicks dig scars."
Wednesday, January 11, 2006
A Wonderful Weekend
The kids and I had a great time this weekend. I've found a new must-read now that I'm subscribing to the Tennessean again - Ms Cheap. Ever since Kelly and I separated, I've been looking for FUN ways to entertain ourselves while still being CHEAP. The thing that has amazed me is that there really are a lot of fun things to do that won't burn a hole in your pocket.
So, the first thing I had on the calendar was a trip to the Hermitage. For some reason, I'd read Ms Cheap as saying that Saturday, January 7th would be a free day. It was the annual celebration of the Battle of New Orleans, the famous last battle in the War of 1812 that catapulted Andrew Jackson into the national spotlight and lead to his election to the Presidency.
I hate to admit it but in all the years that I've lived here in the Hermitage area - within 6 miles of THE Hermitage itself - I'd never been to the historic mansion and estate. It was time to go.
We got there with lots of time to spare. And the parking was easy... way TOO easy. So I checked in at the gate and, yes my friends, I was a day early. Well, we were all hungry. So we went to the nice little cafeteria right there called the Garden Gate for lunch.
The food was actually quite nice. But the company was even nicer... and somewhat less mentally stable, but hey I'm not picky!
We all enjoyed a nice meal. But the kids were a little disappointed not to be able to see the house and grounds. So I made it up to them by picking up Anna Lynn's best friend, Zoe, and taking them to the Charlie Daniels park over in Mt Juliet. It was sunny and nice out, but since it was about 4:00 pm, I knew that I wasn't volunteering for more than an hour and a half of kid-fun/parent-torture.
The girls certainly did have a ball. They ran, played chase, played follow-the-leader, played tag, swang on the swings, balanced on the beams, and did everything else they could think of. All in all, it wasn't nearly as much work for me as I expected. I have to give Emily a lot of credit for being such a big help. But then I also think the girls are just getting a little bit older and don't need their old man so much. (sniffle)
Emily, being true to her inner bohemia, also spent a lot of time creating a major work of art. The little girls did their part too, including smashing Emily's major work of art.
The hour went very quickly and before you know it, it was time to go. But we'd had a lot of fun and burnt off some of that winter time energy that can turn into cabin fever. And believe me, I don't want these little girls (Katie Jo in particular) to get cabin fever because they'll destroy my "cabin"! Yikes!
Now, here is the final irony of our expedition into Tennessee history. I forgot my beloved cellphone/PDA/camera when we went back on Sunday! Don't worry - I stopped at the gift shop and bought a disposable camera. We got lots of great shots about our second day of fun. But I just can post them so quickly and easily. C'est la vie...
Wednesday, January 04, 2006
Death by Clutter!
How can I get any work done when the place looks like this???
But now I'm caught in a Catch-22. I've got so much work to do that I shouldn't take the time to clean up. But I've got so much cleaning up to do that I can't concentrate.
This bugs the crap outta me!
I don't know if everyone keeps a list of to-do's, but here's mine.
1. Fix old Compaq computer
2. Set up scanner on kids computer
3. Set up Epson printer on Compaq computer (unless Kelly wants the printer)
4. Replace light fixtures in girl's room
5. Replace light fixture in girl's bathroom
6. Start unpacking in the garage (that's a 2+ week long ordeal)
7. Fix my loan with Wachovia
8. Complete the Geico insurance claim from Dylan & Will's wreck
9. Replace all the blown out light bulbs
10. Clean up my office (dammit!)
Do you have a list? If so, what's on it?
Well, at least I got a load of laundry going. That kind'a makes me feel better. (sigh) Oh well, I hope you're having a better day than I am!