Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bummer #3

While most people are having time off for Christmas and New Years vacation - I am and have been working every week day except Christmas and New Years day.

The reason for this is two-fold. 1) I am trying to catch up to my schedule on a particular task. 2) I'm gaining time off to use when child #3 is born.

So I'm glad to be able to (hopefully) catch up with my project and also to have more time off for a new baby. But it still sucks for now.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bummer #2

No, this is not related to my accident (Big Bummer) in any way. I just had a cyst on the back of my head that I finally decided to have lanced on Monday morning. When they removed it, it was about the size of a plum pit.

Since your scalp has many capillaries and is thus prone to bleed a lot, the doctor requested/suggested that continuous pressure be applied to the wound in order to prevent bleeding. Thus the silly bandage.

You should have seen Amanda's face when I came home wearing it though - her eyes were as big as saucers. It figures that she would have already scheduled a few friends to come over that evening too. Welcome to the freak show!

The picture below is of the wound and the stitches. And I must warn you - it's not pretty!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Big Bummer

As you can see from the pictures above - I wrecked my car last Friday.

It has been at least 10 years since my last accident, but I was hoping to make that record a bit longer (yes, I know most people go their whole lives without one).

Here's how it happened - I was driving in the rain and ended up breaking the back tires loose just after shifting from 2nd to 3rd gear. That hasn't phased me in the past and I would normally just straighten it out without any problem. But the road wasn't straight (curved to the right), or even level (slightly uphill), so I guess I was already slightly steered to the right and the weight of the car just pulled it farther and faster than I could counter, or something like that. I wish I could replay it and really see what went wrong, but oh well.

Anyway - I ended up up jumping a curb and over a small ditch, Dukes of Hazzard style, then down an otherwise unseen muddy little access road (cue Dixie car horn).

The bottom line is that while I wasn't hot dogging or driving foolishly, I wasn't cautious enough either. It definitely could have been avoided if I had respected the wet roads a little more...

... or maybe if I had all-wheel-drive. Maybe that's the solution instead - an Audi, an Evo, or a WRX! Then I could drive with reckless abandon worry-free! (yeeee - haw!)

Now here comes the really sucky part of the story. When I called my insurance company to request a tow and to report the accident, they informed me that I don't have either tow coverage or collision coverage on that car - only liability. I was completely dumfounded. There I was, sitting in my car, on the side of the road, with my cell phone in my hand, staring blankly with my mouth open like a psyche patient gone catatonic.

"What are you talking about?" I finally managed to say. "I have the tow card right here in my hand with my policy number on it." "That's for the coverage on your other car" the lady explained.

After talking with them further, the best I can figure is that shortly after purchasing my car I had it on jackstands in the garage for about a year while I replaced the clutch, fuel injectors, and made some upgrades while I was at it. During that time I reported the car to the DMV as not being driven and also reduced my insurance coverage to the bare minimal. And when it was road-worthy again I did remember to restore my registration, but I guess I forgot to increase the insurance coverage.

So I had to pay $300 for the tow. And now I have to determine a) if the car is even repairable or if it's relished to junkyard/parts car status (the frame may be bent), and b) if it is repairable how much more will it cost me to be able to drive it again. And all out of pocket.

The one small sliver of good news is that I calculated that we have saved about $800 in insurance fees over the last 4 years. So when combining that with the $500 deductible, if the repairs cost less than $1300 then I will have actually saved money in the long haul.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Work Christmas Parties

Last weekend (I know it's sad that I'm just now posting about it) were the Christmas parties for both my job, and Amanda's job (she works a few hours each week at our church). Both were memorable, but there were many highlights from my company's party, including...
  • The food was absolutely excellent, with plenty of tasty appetizers, a great selection and quality for the main course, and scrumptious desserts as well.

  • The open bar was nice, even if I don't take advantage of it as much as most guys did. I did enjoy a Whiskey Sour, a glass of wine, and a shot of Tequila (along with a dozen other employees, all at once). The drinks were spread out throughout the night though, so I didn't even feel any affect from them.

  • The scavenger hunt was fun, but our table got robbed. We actually came in 2nd place on points, but the DJ used a dance off as a tiebreaker for 3rd place to somehow screw us over. Our theory is that my boss' table either wins or places every year, so the DJ just wanted to let someone else win for a change.

  • They also had two raffle drawings - one for the employees and one for their guests. Well, Amanda and I won something from both of the drawings. Our prizes were a Happy Feet DVD (a kid's movie with penguins that we've never seen before), and a $25 gift card for Shell gas (which we used on the way home).
We don't get out much, let alone go places that give us a reason to dress up too, then prizes to boot! It was a fun and blessed evening.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Evacuation Complete

On Wednesday my company had an emergency evacuation drill - and the timing of it couldn't have been any worse, occurring just a few seconds after having sat down on the ceramic throne. And let me tell you, the alarm is freakin' loud in there! After finally finishing up my "task", I ended up being one of the last people to exit the building.

Oh, and did anyone get the reference to Austin Powers in the title?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Calculations

I read an interesting news article today about Jesus' birth. Using computer calculations, astronomers can track the exact location of the planets in our solar system at any point in the last several thousand years of time.

In doing so, it was realized that on June 17 in the year 2BC the planets were aligned such that both Venus and Jupiter were almost overlapping each other relevant to Earth's location. The two planets together would have shone with a great intensity and could very well be what was described in the Bible as the star representing Jesus' birth.

You can read the full article here.

Hard Core!?

I played basketball today in 40 degree weather, wearing just shorts and a double layer of t-shirts.

In addition to having numb hands and stiff muscles and joints from the cold, my legs were really sore from working out with weights yesterday too.

I wouldn't say that it was one of my better days of ballin', but all things considered it wasn't one of my worse ones either.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Black Beauty

I recently went to our local Nissan dealership to look into ordering some parts for my 300ZX. As I pulled up, there was the usual flock of annoying salesmen circling around, like vultures over a dying beast. I walked toward the building, ready to reenact the scene from Airplane with Rex Kramer and the religious zealots.

After one of them greets me, I immediately state that I'm headed for the parts department. Then he says "You drive that Z, right? You might want to take the long way around", and points toward the front door of the dealership.

I take his advice, and as I round the corner I see a shiny black metallic glow and I'm pretty sure that I heard the hallelujah choir sing their high note. There it is - a brand new pitch black Nissan GT-R. All of the adrenaline and testosterone rush that my heart desires, right there in front of me! If I had that, I could not only be the ruler of the streets, but the whole world too! Mwuahahaha!

So I promptly decided to sell my 300Z, our house, the few retirement accounts we have, and possibly the kids into slavery too. As I was signing the papers though, I realized that I would probably miss my family, not to mention having a roof over my head. So I finally snapped out of it, proceeded to wipe the drool off of my chin with my sleeve, and returned on my path to the parts department.

When I was finished there, I sat back down in my 91' 300Z with 135k miles, started it up, and headed home. And I thanked God for the blessing that it is. Maybe, I thought, I'll keep the kids after all. And then I began thinking about what modifications I could do to make my Z an even faster blessing! Maybe eventually, with enough time and effort, I could even beat a GT-R! Mwuahahahah! Snort.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Annual Reviews - for Marriages?

Well, it's that time of year for employees at my company and at others across the nation - performance reviews. I have filled out and submitted mine, and I am now eagerly (or not) anticipating feedback from my peers and superiors for my job performance over the last year.

In addition to my review at work, I recently sat down with our roommate to discuss how things are going with her. She's been living with us for over 6 months now, and not only was I interested in her perspective, but I also wanted to mention a few marginal improvements I am hoping she will work on.

Although I have been in positions of leadership before, I had never sat down with someone to give them a "review". I think it went well, but the next day I thought about a new twist on this idea - what if marriages had an annual review? What if we scheduled a recurring date to exchange honest feedback about our performance as spouses?

I think it's a great idea! There are two problems that I can foresee though - 1) Both sides would have to be willing and able to accept criticism, otherwise what's the point really? 2) I can't think of any viable consequences for negative feedback. Firing them isn't an option, nor is not giving them a raise.

What do you think readers (crickets chirping)?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Christmas Question

What would Christmas be like if you could redo it completely, starting from scratch? No presents, no Christmas trees, no Santa, no ornaments, lights, holly, mistletoe - just erase all of it and start over.

With all of that stuff gone, all you have left is Jesus' birthday, right? So now what can you think of to do on Christmas day to celebrate it? What traditions, if any, would you now want to start with your family?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Thanksgiving Weekend Details

Thanksgiving weekend was fun filled and eventful, including the following activities:
  • I arranged a boyz night out on the town on Wednesday night. One of them suggested going to Old Town Roseville. For such a small-town downtown, I was pretty impressed. They have six clubs within a 1/2 mile square area and we hit each of them that night, since none of them were charging a cover. We got drinks at two of them, played darts in another, then played pool in yet another one. We just walked into and back out of the others to check them out. I can't remember the last time I went club/bar hopping, so I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

  • Amanda and I ran/walked in a 10K on Thursday morning, in the Run For the Hungry. Unfortunately, Amanda wrenched her ankle on the way to the starting line. She's tough as nails though, so she still wanted to run it. We had originally planned to do the 5K, but that crowd was so thick that it was difficult to maneuver the double jogger though it. Since we were both feeling good at the point where the two routes split, we decided to participate in the 10K instead. About halfway through though, Amanda's ankle was bothering her again - along with her leg, knee, hip on that side (probably from favoring the ankle). So we walked a good portion of the 2nd half.

  • Our family ate Thanksgiving dinner with another family from church, Greg and Elise Winter, and their son Zachary. They invited us over to their house and made some absolutely incredible food. And Marilyn's (another guest they invited over) cheese cake was some of the best I have ever tasted too.

  • We actually joined the fray on Friday to purchase a multi-purpose HP printer from Best Buy and I got a little taste of man heaven at Harbor Freight Tools. The coupon prices were phenomenal, so I bought a decent amount of various tools and project helpers for only $40 total.

Thanksgiving Dinner Pictures

Ok, not really. These are pictures of toxic sludge that I cleaned out from my sink drain over the weekend. It gets so full of this nasty goo that the water barely drains anymore.

<-- The drain stopper.

This is the second time that I've cleaned it in the two years that we've been here. The only thing that could possibly be causing this is a combination of shaving stubble, toothpaste, soap, some leave-in conditioner, and perhaps the hard California water?

The drain.-->

But we've been in two other houses for five years prior to this one, and my cleaning and preening routine has never caused a problem such as this one before. So what's different now - the plumbing in this house? The water?

<-- The trap.

All I do know is that the sludge that results from cleaning it is some of the grossest, nastiest looking junk that I have ever seen. Thankfully, at least it doesn't smell bad too.

Oh, and our Thanksgiving was actually really awesome. Our friends from church, Greg and Elise Winter, invited us over to their house for dinner. They made some absolutely incredible food. And Marilyn's (another guest they invited over) cheese cake was some of the best I have ever tasted too.
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