Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Many Adventures of Man-Man

Man-Man is a superhero. But he's more than just any superhero. To Alyssa, he is every superhero - Superman; Batman; Mr. Incredible. Tonight, Man-Man is Spider-Man, and he's on Alyssa's new shoes.

Why does a sweet little girl have Spider-Man shoes? I guess you can thank her male cousins for that. These shoes are the same size as her Thomas shoes (which also came from the boy's department), but they allow for quite a bit more room top to bottom, which is what Alyssa needs.

On an entirely different note, tonight is the annual recognition dinner for the Angel Flight West Utah Wing. Saying good-bye to that great group was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I can honestly say that the people in Angel Flight were the best bunch I've ever had the privilege of working with, and I miss them almost as much as family. Thanks, guys.

I've been able to bury myself in the work that I'm doing here in Texas, and wrap myself up in a layer of delusion to maintain a happy face for everyone (including myself) to see. But every once in a while I'm reminded just how much I've chosen to give up, and I allow myself a few minutes of sadness. But only a few.

I know our choice to move was the right one, as hard as it may have been. I believe it was only through divine intervention that I was able to make the move without cracking up completely. Things are coming together here, although not as quickly as I had hoped. But they are most certainly coming together.

And that, I believe, is more than just a delusion.

A little fun and a cause for concern

Yesterday during Anna's acting class, Alyssa and I began walking over to the Ft. Worth Science museum when I decided to try and walk through the back roads of the Will Rogers Memorial Center, as I thought it might be a bit shorter. The stock show is still in full swing, and I think by doing this we inadvertently bypassed the admissions gate. Oops.

While we were walking past the large livestock buildings, we saw a sign pointing to a free petting zoo, which Alyssa said she would like to visit. It had a bunch of pint-sized goats, (and a few half-pints) as well as ducks, chickens, and rabbits. Alyssa did great petting the animals, and I was glad I had brought the camera. If only I had checked the batteries first, I could show you some really cute pictures.

As we continued our hike to the museum, Kara called to tell me that a group of inspectors had been at her clinic in Dallas. They were there as part of an effort led by Aetna insurance company to have the clinic shut down. The clinic has apparently survived such efforts in the past, but if they are shut down, I'm not quite sure what Kara will do for treatment. She's still on IV nutrition exclusively, and has a number of antigen shots to keep her from reacting. These are both very important parts of her recovery, provided to her by Dr. Rae.

Now, the information that I have is long on emotion and short on facts, so I don't know who the inspectors are or exactly what they're looking for. One thing I do know is that Aetna was our insurance company for the last third of 2006. We are currently working on submitting insurance claims to Aetna for Kara's visits to the clinic that they're reportedly trying to shut down. If they are in fact trying to shut down the clinic, this would not be a good sign, especially since the claims are in the neighborhood of $20,000.

As we've prayed about this situation, neither one of us feel particularly anxious, so hopefully that means things will work out in the end. However, any prayers you might offer are always welcome, too.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The hazards of being fast

When Anna was about 21 months old, we were headed to the carnival at the Orem Summerfest. We had to park a few blocks away and walk. Anna was not interested in walking, though. She wanted to run. "I tast" she said, and ran at full speed down the sidewalk.

Yes, you're fast," we told her, "but you need to slow down."

"No! I tast!" And within seconds, we were picking her up off the sidewalk and cleaning off a couple of skinned knees.

This week, both of our girls were fast.

Last Thursday, Alyssa came home with something of a raspberry square in the middle of her forehead, right at the hairline. I asked her what happened, and she said. "Fell. P.E." Her teacher sent a note confirming the nature of her injury, with her usual dose of positive spin. "Her motor skills are just overflowing!!! In fact, she ran so fast today, she fell."

She's doing just fine - no sign of trauma other than the little abrasion on her forehead. Hopefully Anna will heal up just as quickly.

When Anna walked out the front door today, the school bus was already at the stop, and the last of the kids were getting on. It's about 500 feet from our door to the bus, so she decided to make a run for it. Even as the bus pulled away, she kept up the pace, but the heavy books in her backpack swung more wildly with every step until they finally pulled her off balance and she fell right in the middle of the street.

I ran down and gave her a hug, prepared to take her to take her back in the house, clean her up, and drive her to school. But through her tears she said "I think the bus stopped for me," and sure enough it had. I gave her a kiss and off she went again, this time with a bit more success.

I'm reminded of a quote I read this week. Jennifer Aniston said "Life's rough. Get a helmet."

It's hard when a child gets hurt, but I'm grateful that they both have the strength and ability to run. I have to remind myself that going too fast once in a while is just a part of life. We run, we fall, we get up. We heal, and we move on.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Everything's bigger in Texas

We're finding that everything really is bigger in Texas. The power bills are bigger. The auto insurance bills are bigger. The property tax bills are bigger. Grrrrrr...

Fortunately, today was a fairly nice day, and we could let the sun shine in, giving the heater a little bit of a rest. We also set the chairs outside for a visit from our Home Teachers. We sat outside the garage, on the south side, so we could be in the sun and have a little shelter from the wind.

Sometimes I feel like we're running for the title of "Strangest Family in the State."

Sometimes I feel like we're winning.

Our neighbors to the south are very understanding. I haven't met our neighbors to the north, but I wonder what they think of us climbing in and out the bedroom window all day.

I did some measuring today, and figured out that all of the kitchen and bathroom cabinets that we won't be able to use in the house will fit along the walls of the garage. This will be a really great improvement over having them piled in the middle of the garage, which is where half of them are now.

I'm not exactly sure when the great Garage Cabinet Installation Party will be, but it is probably going to be after the Kitchen Cabinet Removal party. I'm going to take a couple of the smaller cabinets out myself, and make sure I can get them replaced with the wire racks before I have a bunch of people over to help with the big, long cabinet. That one includes the sink and dishwasher, so it should be quite a challenge.

The island will be easy. I don't think it ever got screwed back down to the floor.

That's where Kara and the girls are right now - making more cookies on the island. I think I'll go and see if there are any ready to eat.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

How many Annas can YOU find?

I met one of Anna's new friends yesterday. I told her she needed to be a little more selective in the friends she chooses. You see, this little girl is the second friend she has made who's name is also Anna. Now there are three Anna's, and I'm getting confused.

Why can't she meet a nice Yolanda or Tiffany or Esmarelda? At least one of her friends is named Zealand. I don't get her mixed up with anyone.

This new Anna's house happens to be on our regular bike route, so we met her while we were out riding. It was another beautiful day, and Anna (my daughter, not the friend - see what I mean?) rode home from the halfway point without taking a break. She's always had a lot of explosive energy with next to no endurance, but hopefully we're getting that taken care of.

Today started out nice, too, and I thought we might take a bike ride down to a little park that's near our house. But by the time I got my big ol' task list done, the wind had come around from the north, with a vengeance. So I talked Alyssa (the bike and park queen) into a quick swing on our way to the store (in the car), where we picked up the makings for some Valentine's day sugar cookies.

Kara and the girls made cookies while I went to our Ward temple night. It's about an 70-minute drive from our house to the temple
in Dallas. When we lived in Austin, it was a three-hour drive, and we came up several times. I never noticed then just how poor the ergonomics are in that temple. Things that should be right next to each other are on opposite ends of the building. Even the temple in Laie, which is almost 100 years old, seems to have been laid out with more thought.

However, the spirit there is strong, just as in all of the other temples, and I guess that's the whole point in going in the first place.

Friday, January 26, 2007

In search of 8 hours sleep

Yesterday was a beautiful day, with sunshine and spring-like temperatures. I made sure to get the bikes out so we could go riding after school. Anna decided that she had too much homework, so just Alyssa and I went for a short ride around the block. Alyssa is usually very quiet, but put her on the back of the bike and she talks almost as much as her sister! The ride wasn't very long, maybe three miles, but I got a much better workout than normal, as I didn't have to stop every half mile for Anna to take a break.

Doug finally came and replaced the gasket in the water system. It seems to be working OK, but it took several days for the first one to blow. I've got my eye on it, and the 72 hour kits are on the other side of the garage.

He was here until after 11:00 on Wednesday night, which meant I was pretty short on sleep again yesterday. I managed OK, but I was certainly not in my best form. So last night I pulled out all the stops and got myself to bed by 9:30, all set for a full 8 hours. I know; How selfish of me. :-)

Somehow, the girls seem to know when I need extra sleep, because they don't go to bed, no matter how hard I try. I finally got them down, Alyssa asleep (she had a 2 hour nap in the afternoon), and I go into bed. Kara is still spending two nights a week in Dallas, and on those nights I sleep in the room next to the girls. Alyssa knows this, and so not long after I fell asleep, she was in my room. Rather than fight with her, I just pulled her into bed with me. About every two hours I would wake up and tell her that it was time to put her back in her own bed, and then fall asleep before I could follow through.

Finally, around 4:30, I was able to get her back in her bed and get my final hour of sleep before the off-to-school stampede began again.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A half-dozen photos

Nothing worth sharing really happened today, other than a trip to Wal-Mart. So, really, nothing worth sharing happened today.

But don't despair. I have gone back into the archives and pulled out a half-dozen pictures of my girls to keep you entertained. Click the preview to see the full-size image.

Anna was a bookworm in her school play. Good thing we had a pair of "Harry Potter" glasses lying around.

Here are the girls at Halloween. These costumes were made by one of our great neighbors in Lehi last year, and they still fit!

Here Anna and Alyssa dig for dinosaur bones at the Ft. Worth Science museum.

We put the girls in charge of decorating the table for Thanksgiving, and I think they did a great job!

Alyssa and Anna look great in their Christmas dresses.

One more picture of the life-saving train at DFW.

Anna the Actress

Yesterday was Anna's first class at Casa Manana, a theater in Fort Worth that offers a variety of classes. Her big gift for Christmas was an acting class, and when she finally figured out what it was, I thought she was going to cry. She was very excited, and I was excited for her. She really needs this creative outlet.

To get to the class on time, we have to leave as soon as the kids are off the bus. In order to do that, I had to work straight through, without a chance to go to the ATM and get cash for parking. Since the theater is even closer to the Stock Show than the Science Museum, I was sure their lot would have sprouted a toll booth, too (see yesterdays post). Anna had mentioned that she had several dollars, so I asked her to go and get it. I had a buck and some change, so I figured we could scrape together $6, just in case.

Anna showed up with a handful of coins - no paper money. So I got a jar and filled it with enough quarters, nickels and dimes to get us a spot, hoping all the while that the theater would be considerate enough to somehow accommodate us (but secretly looking forward to shoving a jar of change at the attendant.) Fortunately, the booth was unattended when we got there, and the theater gave us a little parking pass to use. Good thing, too, as the theater lot spaces were going for $8!

After a brief orientation, Alyssa and I left Anna and walked a quarter-mile to the Science Museum for 20 minutes of fun. Alyssa really surprised me by walking all the way there and (almost) all the way back.When class got out, Anna was on top of the world. At a hundred miles an hour, she told us about the acting exercises they had done, and how much fun she had.

I think she's going to do well in this class.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Leaks, Talks, and Chocolate Chip Cookies

At the end of a week-long trip, it's important to hit the ground running. This weekend I just about ran my little feet off. But now it's Monday night, and I'm still standing. (OK, actually I'm sitting, but I deserve it.)

The Jumbo/LARGE to do list is still pretty big, but I finally got all of the laundry done. I also drug the girls out into the rain to do grocery shopping. While we were gone, our "Mother of All Residential Water Systems" sprung a leak and soaked all of the 72 hour kits. Fortunately, my wise sister recommended that we put everything from the kits into plastic bags, so the damage was minimal. But the fact that we even have to put up with this kind of problem in a system that cost as much as a good certified used car.....

In the mail on Saturday was a letter to Anna reminding her that she was giving a talk in Primary. I got up early on Sunday morning and wrote her a quick outline. Because I am a computer geek, I couldn't actually write it by hand, so I typed it into my computer. However, I had sealed the office door before our trip in order to keep the toxic printer fumes out of the rest of the house, and I didn't want to take the tape off just yet. So I climbed through the window of the office in order to print it out. Anna was very appreciative, although she ended up rewriting the talk with a pen later that morning.

The weather on Sunday was absolutely gorgeous. Alyssa was constantly begging me to go on a bike ride, and I was having a hard time saying no. The weather was sunny again today, although a bit colder and much windier. The girl's were home from school, but I still needed to work. So I bribed them with a trip to the Cowgirl Museum (it's right next to the Science Museum, and included in our pass) if they let me get my work done.

For the most part, they did pretty well today. Anna did some of her homework (although I have just been told she has quite a bit more to do) and Alyssa actually slept for several hours. I worked really hard, and by 4:00 we were ready to roll. It takes half an hour to get to the museums, and they close at 5:30 during the week, so we were set for a full hour of happy trails.

Unfortunately, the Ft Worth Stock Show and Rodeo is next door at the Will Rogers Center, and all of the parking lots have been taken over by dude's in Stetsons charging $6 a car. Well, I usually don't carry that kind of cash, and I figured the museums would just about be closed by the time I found an ATM, so the trip was a bust. We went to the mall instead, where I blew my diet at one of those cookie places.

Maybe I'll make it up by typing extra fast tomorrow.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The jumbo/LARGE To Do list

The girls and I found our way home to Willow Park last night. It was an uneventful ending to a good week. My friend Karl Beckstrand works at the airport, and he met us after we went through the security gauntlet. The bookstore had a copy of his new children's book, "Crumbs on the Stairs," so we bought a copy and he signed it for the girls.

I miss a lot of things about Utah, but the chronic winter "urban haze" is certainly not one of them. It was especially bad yesterday as we took off from Salt Lake City International. Alyssa slept most of the way home, and Anna did her homework. By the time we got home from the airport, unloaded the car, and got everyone ready for bed, there were no more fifteen minutes left in the day.

Today, I am faced with the jumbo/LARGE To Do list. First task is to wash all of the clothes that we took. It's amazing how many scents we picked up just being out and about, without even trying. It's also amazing how I don't notice them until I come into our relatively scent-free house, and then they are very obvious.

It's STILL raining here in Willow Park, although it's just warm enough for it to stay liquid. By next weekend, though it's supposed to be back to the sunny fifties. I can't wait!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Winding down with a good book

How does a voracious reader of Science Fiction and Fantasy get to be nearly 40 years old without having read the Chronicles of Narnia? Fortunately, thanks to the wonderful tradition of Bedtime Stories I am able to correct that deficiency.

Not all that long ago, I was always in the middle of one book or another. Then life happened, and I ran out of time for reading fiction the way I like to. I still read quite a bit, but only newspapers, magazines, and children's books. Then, seemingly overnight, Anna was old enough to appreciate books that also appeal to me, and suddenly I'm reading fiction again. As an added bonus, the once difficult-to-put-to-bed Alyssa will almost always fall asleep before a chapter is over.

I thought we were going to have to skip our chapter in "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" tonight, because Anna had played so hard with her cousins that she was in bed before Alyssa - an almost unheard of event! But she made sure to stay awake long enough for one chapter.

We had dinner with most of the girl's aunties, uncles and cousins tonight, and it was the same old circus. What surprised me, though, is that when the cousins left, Anna didn't cry like she used to do. This was especially interesting as she will not be seeing them again until the summer. I suspect there will be a few tears at the airport as we wait to get on the plane. The girls love their cousins, and being a thousand miles from them has been the hardest part of this move.

Fortunately, the internet is a great tool for staying connected.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I miss writing code in my pajamas

My employer, Onyx Graphics, has been very good to let me work from home in Texas while Kara is going through her recovery. My office is in one of the bedrooms, and while I have tried to stick to a fairly regular schedule, I must admit that there are times I start my work day wearing my pajamas, especially if there are pressing issues to be worked. After an hour or two, I finally get around to taking a shower and getting dressed for the day.

It has been really good to be at the office in Utah this week. We have a lot of tools to help keep in touch, which is much easier than it would have been even a few years ago, but there is nothing like working in the same building as everyone else to really get a sense of community. However, I have been reminded that a long commute can be a real inconvenience. It's much harder balancing family and work commitments when I spend 45 minutes just driving - each way.

Before I could start my commute this morning, we had a fair bit of excitement. I was getting ready for work when Mom came in and told me that Ed was spitting up blood and wanted me to give him a blessing before she took him to the emergency room. Fortunately, by the time they got there the bleeding had stopped, and the doctors were unable to find any reason for him to be having a problem.

Tonight we had dinner with my dad. He made a nice minestrone-type soup, which was perfect for Alyssa's mouth situation. Anna ate it like a trooper, although she later confessed that "it was really good for us tonight, but I don't think I want you to get the recipe." She has one of the hardest palettes to please, although she is getting better at eating what is given to her. Alyssa, on the other hand, will eat just about anything as long as it's tepid (we put ice in soup and ice cream in the microwave) and not too spicy.

It has been really good to see everyone while on this trip. I had imagined my regular trips to the office would be quiet, restful periods away from the responsibilities of home, but I find myself filling every available minute visiting friends and family. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Sleep is for the plane ride home, I guess.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Flight of the Tooth Fairy

The Tooth Fairy has been shown many different ways in art and media, but Art LaFleur's depiction, as seen in the Santa Clause movies, is probably the closest to reality - at least in this house. And when the Tooth Fairy visited Alyssa tonight, he needed to bring some extra dough. The poor girl left the dentist today with not one, not two, but three little treasure boxes, each holding a tooth.

Alyssa has had at least a half-dozen crowns, plus a number of fillings and five extractions, and yet she still just loves going to the dentist. Anna hates going to the dentist, and that's why I didn't tell her until the very last minute. I was going to try and keep her appointment a secret until we got to the dentist's office, but when I told her to go and brush her teeth "really, really good," she figured it out and cried until we got there ten minutes later.

Anna accused me of being mean, waiting until the last minute to spring the dentist visit on her. I maintain that ten minutes of crying is much better than a whole day, or a whole week, of intermittent sobs, which is what I got the last time she went.

And this time the fuss was in vain, as she came away with a perfect checkup.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Weather delays en route to DFW

Willow Park finally got some real ice from our ice storm. Nothing like the poor folks in Oklahoma, but enough to really mess up our trip to the airport. I got up at 4:30 and made sure our flight was still scheduled to depart. Delta's online system said the plane was already at the airport, so we wouldn't be stuck by another flights delays.

The driveway had a thin layer of ice on it. The ice on the car was a bit thicker - about a quarter of an inch. I had put a big piece of plastic over the windshield, so it was pretty easy to clean off. My biggest concern, as I tried to get the driver's side door open, was that the door handle would break before the ice did. But with a combination of firm tugs and body slams, the seal around the door gave way and, once inside I was able to push the other doors open from the inside.

Watching the news, I knew we were in for a slow ride, so I got everything loaded in the car as quickly as I could, and got the girls out the door ahead of schedule. Kara had made us a quick breakfast of bagels and grapes, which we ate in the car. I drove as fast as I dared, taking careful heed of the cars that had spun out around me.

In the end, however, it was a pointless exercise, as we got to the airport no more than ten minutes too late to check in for our flight.

The next plane to Salt Lake was scheduled for three and a half hours later, so the girls and I made the best of our weather delay at DFW. There are a number of shops and restaurants, and Anna is very good at asking me to buy her things. "No," I said. "I won't buy you a $7 dolphin magnet. I just spent $15 on pretzels."

The five terminals at DFW are connected by a train. Two trains, actually - one that goes clockwise, the other, counterclockwise. We rode them both. We also bought a Sudoku book for Anna, ate the lunches that Kara wisely packed for us (even though our initially scheduled arrival in Salt Lake was well before lunch), and educated Anna on the joys of watching CNN. ("I've seen this thing five times already. Isn't there any other news?")

Our original flight had a 2-3 seating configuration, and we were all going to sit together. Our new plane was smaller, with 2-2 seating. Fortunately, Anna didn't want to sit by Alyssa, and I didn't want Alyssa to sit alone, so Anna sat by the rather large gentleman from South Africa, which is nice because I honestly don't think I would have fit.

We arrived safely, and Grandpa Ed dropped me off at work before taking the girls on to the house. As much as I enjoy working from home, it's great to be in the office and see all the old faces, and a few new ones, too. After dinner, the girls had a great time playing with Grandpa Ed's Lionel train set that is covering the basement floor, and while I'm a little over my fifteen minutes, I'll still be going to sleep early enough to get those elusive eight hours of sleep.

I'll need all of the energy I can pull together when I give the girls their surprise tomorrow: A trip to the dentist.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Mad Dash towards Takeoff

I've managed to get the girls all packed up for our trip tomorrow, and thanks to the miracle of technology I already have our boarding passes in hand. This could come in handy, as I don't know how long it will take us to get to the airport.

DFW is about 50 minutes from our house in ideal conditions, but tomorrow morning the conditions will certainly not be ideal. The ice is starting to stack up on the car, and the driveway was finally a little slick. Delta says the flight is still scheduled to depart on time, but we'll see what they say tomorrow morning. Hopefully, if our flight is delayed or canceled, it will happen BEFORE we leave home.

It's going to be an early morning, and I still have a long night ahead of me. I have as yet to pack anything for myself, and there are still a few tasks I want to get done before I leave. Fortunately Kara spent several hours pulling together snacks and breakfast for us, so at least that is something I won't have to worry about.

Nonetheless, tonight's post is going to be far shy of the full fifteen minutes. Hopefully I won't find myself with hours and hours to write while waiting to take off tomorrow.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A slow start is a time to prepare

So far, the ice storm has been fairly mild. We got a fair amount of rain, and I had to scrape the windows of the truck and kick the doors to get in, but the roads were OK. The forecast for tomorrow, however, is a little more dire. 1/2 to 1 and 1/2" of ice on everything, bringing down trees and power lines. I'll believe it when I see it, but just in case I went and picked up the generator this morning.

I took Alyssa with me to get the generator and other emergency equipment. I enjoy spending one-on-one time with her, because she really opens up and will talk quite a bit. Understanding her words is hard, and understanding their meaning is even harder, but it's worth the effort. Today she was telling me an hilarious story about the kids in her class. I recognized their names, and I new it was funny because of the way she was laughing. I didn't quite catch any other details.

Alyssa survived the long, disappointing ride home from the party last night, and only cried half of the way. She probably wouldn't have cried at all if I hadn't conked her head on the doorjamb while putting her in the car. Bring on the daddy guilt!

We had a slumber party of our own back in Kara's safe room. We have closed the Master Bedroom off from the rest of the house by sealing the door and vents with aluminum tape, and climbing in and out through a window. The windows in the room are quite tall, fortunately, and the bottom sill is only about a foot off of the ground.

The room is quite spartan, with only a space heater, air filter, and a futon mattress laid on the floor. Next to this we put a bed roll for Alyssa, and she was asleep within minutes. She's just not cut out for the traditional sleepover, which is why I brought her home in the first place.

Friday, January 12, 2007

The ice storm cometh

It's cold and rainy outside now. This is the leading edge of a two-day ice storm that's headed our way. They're only predicting1/4" or so of ice here in our area, but that would be enough. I'm not worried so much about being homebound, but I'm concerned about the power going out. We're a very energy-intense family.

We do own a generator. Kara and I bought it back in 1999 as everyone was preparing for the disaster that was to be Y2K. It's still in the box, unopened. It, along with our 72 hour kits, are 15 miles away in a storage unit. Most of our earthly belongings are still in the storage unit. Most of them will only come out of storage when the weather is good enough to have a yard sale. Why we paid thousands of dollars to move things that we will never be able to use is one of the mysteries I haven't the time to ponder.

Anna and Alyssa are at a birthday party tonight. It's a sleepover, but only Anna will be sleeping over. Alyssa is going to cry all the way home when I go and get her, so I'm not looking forward to that. I should be able to find the house this time, though.

I got lost taking them. I've only been there once, and it's dark tonight. I figured I could find it OK, since it has a window on the right, the garage on the left, and it's for sale by owner. There are WAY to many houses in that little subdivision for sale by owner. After carting all of the sleepover gear through near-freezing rain to not one but two wrong houses, Anna refused to go to the door until I could prove that the third house was right.

Work on the house is creeping along. Someone from the church came last night to help me take the cabinets back out of the kitchen. We're replacing them with wire shelves, as the 4 coats of hard seal we put on the cabinets (specially formulated for the chemically sensitive) wasn't working as expected. We probably should have tossed the cabinets in the first place, but we decided to give them a shot.

We also have a water system that is ALMOST in. It looks really nice, with the big stainless steel tanks. It was supposed to be operational on Tuesday, but it's still in process. The guy putting them in was going to finish tonight, but he forgot one of the main parts. He's going to try and come back tomorrow. If I don't sound convinced, it's probably because of the aforementioned ice. But if the system works half as nice as it looks, we'll be in business.

I'm sure it will work well, and make a huge difference, because it is the most expensive component of our house remodel. And it has been worse than major dental surgery just getting it in.

But that's another story for another fifteen minutes.

The Bikes of Christmas

Here is the picture of Alyssa, Anna and I riding our bikes on Christmas Day. We started out with Anna running along next to Alyssa, holding on to her while I rode as s-l-o-w-l-y as I could. It took several trips up and down the cul-de-sac before Alyssa had the confidence to let Anna ride her own bike.
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Thursday, January 11, 2007

The first fifteen minutes

Well, here it goes. My first foray into the blogosphere. This is an attempt to share the accomplishments and struggles of my life and my family with friends and loved ones, as well as interested strangers who feel they can make a connection.

I have tried (and failed) to make this connection with irregular email updates. The problem there was that I hesitated to flood the in box of the people I care about with email after email, but so much happens around here every day that soon the update was too big to write (and far to big to read) and so my attempt at communication ground to a halt.

My hope here is that by committing to fifteen minutes a day, I will actually follow through with my updates. And by writing a blog rather than emails, I don't have to worry about becoming a "spam king" with daily emails.

That intro took about half the time. Here's the quick update to fill in the rest:

Work is going well for me. I had the chance to go to Korea for a week in December and work with three different printer manufacturers. It was a quick, busy trip, but I did manage to have a little fun at the Num Dea Mun market in Seoul on Saturday before I came home.

I will be visiting company HQ in Midvale, UT next week, and I am bringing the girls with me. I think it will be great for them to see everyone, since they didn't have that extended family circus atmosphere during the Holidays.

Kara is still working hard on getting well. It's a 10-steps forward, 9-steps back process, and winter time in Texas is when many, many things bloom. She's hit by city pollution when she's at the clinic in Dallas, and all of the pollen that the country has to offer when at home.

Anna has discovered the internet in a big way, and is constantly checking her email and "networking" with other kids on a site called "Club Penguin." She enjoys the internet so much, we now have tremendous leverage by threatening that privelege.

Alyssa is also doing well, and is having a lot of fun with her bike. We all got bikes for Christmas (except Anna, who already had one) and Alyssa's is an Alley Cat - one that clamps onto the back of my bike to make an "instant Tandem." We can now go on bike rides together, and all she has to do is balance. I get a good workout towing her behind me, and Anna is learning she can ride for more than two minutes without taking a break.

I have some great pictures of us on our bikes, and one of these 15 minutes I'll figure out how to post them.

OK, we're at 16:30 and counting. Not bad for a first attempt - especially with trying to squeeze in months worth of follow-up. Let's see how things go tomorrow.