Has it Been a Week?

I hate to let my blog go too long without an update, so here’s a short entry. I’ve had a lot going on, but not really much to write about. Things are busy at work and I’ve had more to do in the last few weeks than I’ve had in several months, which is good. My “Lunch & Learn” sessions have been going very well, and I’ve gotten good feedback about them. A couple of projects that I’m in charge of are about to be complete, so that’s a good feeling.

Yesterday was a fairly relaxing Saturday, aside from a trip to Sam’s Club to spend way too much money. We were out of so many things around the house, and since I like to buy in bulk (to save trips to the store as much as to save money), we had to get a lot of stuff. The car was packed.

Today, we had a great church service, and this evening we had a Thanksgiving dinner with our Sunday School class. For a small class, we sure had a lot of good food! It was very nice to hang out and visit for a while, and of course, to eat.

Earlier this week, I had lunch with Pastor Rick Smith, who is over the Christian Education department at our church. We talked about my class and things we can do to get more people in there. I think we are going to take the “newlywed” tag off the class and just make it a general marriage class. It will still be great for newlyweds, but that will open it up to a larger group of people, from engaged couples to those who have been married for many years, but maybe want to re-learn (or learn for the first time) some of the marriage principles that we are talking about. We have one such couple who came and asked if it was ok to join the class even though they have been married for several years, and that has worked out fine so far.

Owen is growing so much and his personality is really starting to show. Mary mentioned that he has spent a lot of time over the past week just sitting and organizing his blocks – arranging them by color, shape, size, etc. That is something that he definitely gets from me. I have a tendency to over-analyze the best way to organize things, and can (if I let myself) spend more time organizing certain things than actually using said things. I try not to get too anal about it, though.

Anyway – it’s a mixed bag of stuff, but that’s your update for today. Stay tuned for more, whenever I get around to it.

Elmo

Owen and ElmoA little over a week ago, just before I left for my trip to Florida, I spent a day at Dave and Busters (formerly Jillian’s) with some co-workers. It was a sort of team building / celebration event, because my team has gotten a lot done in the past year, including some very big and high-profile projects.

We spent the day bowling, shooting pool, eating, and playing games in the midway. Most of it was racing-type video games (including one of my favorites which is an 18-wheeler race), but some of the games were the type that dispense tickets (Skee Ball, Basketball, etc.). A couple of my co-workers kept giving me the tickets they were winning, because usually all you can get with them is cheap junk. By the end of the day, I had over a thousand tickets.

Owen and Elmo SleepingI looked around in the prize store where you exchange your tickets, and was actually impressed with the stuff they have in there. There were a couple of things that I would have liked (Titans gear, etc.), but I decided I should get something for Owen. They had a lot of stuffed animals and characters, but not anything that I thought he would recognize. So, in the end, I decided to just keep the tickets I had (they put them on a card for you), and wait until I could bring Owen there sometime and see what he would like.

We went to Opry Mills to walk around this evening, so I stopped in at D&B to see if Owen could find something he would like. Their selection changes pretty regularly, so there was some different stuff than what they had a week ago.

Needless to say, he did find something that he liked. He’s been hugging it all evening, and he will randomly interject into any conversation – “Hey, I got Elmo!”. The two of them played together at home before we put them to bed. I’m sure they’ll be nearly inseperable for a while.

Airplanes, Alligators, and Roller Coasters

Once again I have neglected to update my blog during one of the best times to update a blog – while on a trip. I went to Orlando, Florida this week to attend (and speak at) the Business Objects 2006 International User Conference at the Gaylord Palms Resort.

Sunday was travel day, and although I had a morning flight, I was able to teach my Sunday School class and then go straight to the airport from there. The flight was pretty good, and even though I was one of the last people on the plane, I managed to get a front row seat (with extra leg room) because there was a couple sitting there with a young child (probably about 12 months old) and apparently no one wanted to sit next to a baby on the plane. The kid was pretty good, though, and I had my MP3 player just in case.

It was a little different flying this time because since I have joined the Middle Tennessee Ultralight Group, I’ve been learning about flight rules and landing patterns and such. As we took off and landed, I knew why we went the direction we did and what leg of the landing pattern we were in, etc. It made it a little more interesting for me.

My parents picked me up at the airport, along with my brother, Keith, and we went out for lunch before heading to the hotel. I immediately noticed that the Gaylord Palms is identical to the Gaylord Texan (where the conference was last year) except for the decor. That was a little disappointing, since I’m used to the Gaylord Opryland hotel here in Nashville, and assumed they would each be unique.

Alligators in the lobbyOne thing that was unique, though, was that they had about a dozen alligators in the lobby area, along with a handful of turtles. They have public feeding times several days a week, but I didn’t get to see any of that.

The conference was pretty good, and my presentation was well received. Having attended this particular conference several times over the past 6 years, I ran into several people I have met before. There were also a number of people from our local user group, and some consultants that I have worked with over the years.

The big conference party was at Islands of Adventure, where we had exclusive access to several of the rides and game areas, and that was a lot of fun. I managed to acquire a free guest pass for the party, so my brother Kevin came over and joined me. It would have been nice to have gotten some pictures at the park, but I didn’t want to have to carry a camera around.

By Wednesday, I was pretty wiped out, and I had to leave the conference a couple of hours early in order to catch my flight home. The return flight wasn’t quite as comfortable, and was about a half hour late leaving the airport, but I got to enjoy some great views and a beautiful sunset from my west-facing window seat. I took some pictures out the window but they are still on the camera (I’ll update and post one later if they turn out well).

So, that’s a short summary of my week. There are a lot of details left out, but that’s all I have time to write at the moment.

People are Dumb

This morning, someone at work got one of those “if you forward this to everyone in your address book, Bill Gates will send you 1 million dollars and a free trip to Disney World” e-mails, and decided to send it to everyone in the company…

Not only was this annoying, but it had serious consequences for our e-mail system. When this bright person chose all 5000+ names in the global address book to put in the TO: line of his e-mail, he instantly made the message itself over 1 MB in size just because of the number of names attached. Then, he sent it to all those people, which created a copy of that 1 MB e-mail in every person’s mailbox. This alone added 5 GB to the amount of e-mail storage in use.

But that’s not enough – idiots travel in groups. Dozens of people hit “reply to all” (’cause they want to get their million bucks too) and re-sent it to everyone again! A few people were smart enough to know that it was just a scam, and replied with some reprimand or request that they not be included in these “waste of time” e-mails, but they too used “reply to all” (I guess they wanted to make sure everyone knew not to send it to them), which sent even more 1 MB e-mails to all 5000+ people.

The server that forwards e-mails to our Blackberries is completely down, which is probably good, because my Blackberry doesn’t even have enough memory for all those messages. The mail system itself is horribly slow now as it tries to sort and manage a couple hundred gigabytes of mail over the last hour or so.

You gotta love technology!

3-Day Saturday

On Wednesday night, I started feeling dizzy and nauseous. My throat hurt. My head hurt. I had a fever. It was not good. I hardly slept that night – mostly tossing and turning in that fuzzy state where you can’t separate reality from fiction. I hate that state.

Needless to say, I did not go to work on Thursday, and in fact did not even get out of bed much. By Thursday night I was feeling better, but I still had a slight fever so I stayed home from work on Friday as well. I don’t want to be that guy who brings germs back into the office to share with everyone.

Last night I was pretty much back to normal so I got out of the house a little and we got some Christmas shopping done. I love and hate shopping for gifts at the same time. I like to give gifts, and I especially like it when I feel like I picked out just the right thing and the person loves the gift. I hate trying to figure out what that right thing is, though. It’s rarely easy. Sometimes I know what I want to get for someone, but I can’t find it or it’s too expensive or something. Then there’s the whole fair treatment thing where you don’t want to spend twice as much on one niece or nephew as you do on another. Over all of that, of course, is the budget. Unfortunately, there’s only so much we can spend on gifts. I wish we could just buy everyone whatever they would like, regardless of cost, but there’s that whole feed-my-family thing…

Anyway – even though the past two days have felt somewhat like Saturday (although not exactly a fun Saturday), today is the real Saturday.

Side note – Mary just sent Owen to me with a post-it note requesting that I give him something to take back to her. We have our own household courier service!

So, what shall we do today? I have several things on a list that I would like to get done, but somehow, I don’t feel like doing them. I need to run some wires underneath the house to add a network connection to a couple of rooms downstairs. Don’t feel like doing that. I really need to pressure wash the back of our house, which is a lovely shade of green. Really don’t feel like doing that. My desk is piled with mail and other papers that I need to organize and file. Nah, don’t feel like doing that either. Man, I’m lazy today. No, I’m not lazy – I’m recovering

I do have to go over my Sunday School lesson, whether I feel like it or not. That one has a deadline. I also need to make a few phone calls. This evening we are going to a birthday party up in Springfield, so I have some time limits on whatever I’m going to get done today. I guess I’d better get busy. I think I’ll start by eating lunch.

Owen and Ivan

Just in case there is anyone reading this that doesn’t also read Mary’s blog, we’ve decided to name our second son (due December 25) Ivan Harrison.

I like this name for a number of reasons:

  1. It goes well with Owen. Owen and Ivan sound like brothers.
  2. They follow a similar pattern – O-W-E-N and I-V-A-N
  3. Owen is learning to spell his name, and he loves the W. Ivan will hopefully enjoy his V just as well.
  4. It’s short, with no real way to shorten it into some other name.
  5. It means “God is Good”, and that just about sums up my life to this point.

It took us a lot longer to decide on this name than Owen’s name, but I’m sure we will like it just as well. I’m just glad to know what to call the little guy. We’re getting really close now…

“I Walk”

I worked from home this morning so that I could be here when the doctor called with the x-ray results. That way, if we needed to take Owen anywhere else, I wouldn’t have driven all the way to work just to come right back. Owen was still crawling around, playing happily, and I was almost resolved to just accept that his ankle was broken somewhere and we would have to see more doctors and possibly get a cast put on.

Just a few minutes ago, though, Mary called me into the other room and there was Owen, standing up! He said “Daddy – I walk” and he ran over to give me a hug (not a fast run, but more than a walk). We were so excited and made sure to thank God right away.

Mary went ahead and called the doctor’s office to see if there was any news. The woman who answered the phone initially said that the doctor could call us back sometime this evening, but when Mary explained that we were waiting on x-ray results for our son, she took a look at the x-rays herself and said that she didn’t see anything wrong. I’d still like to hear it from the doctor, but I am fairly confident at this point that Owen’s foot is fine and will be back to normal very soon.

Thanks to everyone who prayed for him. I’m going to go to work now.

X-Rays

After talking with several different people who have had young children with broken bones, we decided the wise and prudent thing was to take Owen to get examined and make sure there is nothing seriously wrong with his foot. He’s been acting better each day since the injury, but he still won’t walk and avoids putting any weight or pressure on it.

I came home early from work today to take Owen to a local family practice. It’s a place right down the road that Mary had noticed and called. They had an opening this afternoon so it was very convenient (no emergency room charges or anything). It was obvious when I entered that it was a family-run practice, and a Christian family at that. Everyone was very nice. The doctor looked him over, and she didn’t seem to think that there was obvious evidence that it was broken, but with as many small bones as there are in the foot and ankle, she wanted to get it x-rayed just in case.

So, we headed down to Hermitage Imaging (where they cook fresh Otis Spunkmeyer cookies in the lobby) to get the x-rays done. Owen was a little freaked out by the large machinery and didn’t want to sit on the table alone, but once I sat down with him and we took the first couple of images, he saw that it was no big deal. It only took a few minutes to get them all done, and we were back on our way home. Since it was late in the afternoon, the doctor said she would probably not get the results until tomorrow morning, at which time she will call us. If there is a break of some kind, then she will probably refer us to a specialist.

I’ll post the results here as soon as I can.

Lorikeets

Owen petting the LorikeetYesterday, as expected, we had a cold front come through, which dropped the daytime temperatures into the 60’s. As we were discussing what we should do with such beautiful weather, I remembered that the new lorikeet aviary had recently opened at the Nashville Zoo.

Since Amy had mentioned going to Fall Creek Falls on a previous blog entry, but no actual plans were ever made, we decided to call the Buttons to see if they would like to go to the zoo with us. Having just moved into their new apartment, had way too much that they needed to get done to spend the day at the zoo, but they said yes anyway.

I was really curious as to how Owen would react to the free-flight environment of an aviary. He is sometimes very bold and brave with certain animals that he likes, but other times he can be very easily scared if he’s not sure about what’s going on or if he feels like something is attacking him. I guess most kids are that way – very curious until they feel like they are threatened in some way.

In case you’ve never been in an aviary, it’s an enclosed area where you can walk in and the birds are flying all around you and even land on you sometimes. You can encourage this, if you like, by buying a little cup of nectar that the birds love to eat. The only downside is that birds who are eating a lot tend to, well, naturally process their food and expend the waste products… on you.

Chloe and TravisHe did pretty well for the most part. He wanted to be held most of the time, but he walked around by himself a little. He liked to pet the birds (which they don’t really like you to do there), and even laughed when the birds would snap at his fingers (they can bite, but don’t break the skin). When one landed on his hat, though, he freaked out. It was probably the flapping of the wings and the fact that he couldn’t see what was happening up there that really scared him.

The Buttons had a great time, too, of course, with Chloe being a little older and a little more willing to let the birds actually land on her. She had a great laugh when one of them tried to eat something out of Travis’ ear (what are you keeping in there, anyway?).

Amanda the bird lady?Amanda had several birds on her on a couple of occasions. I think they conspired together to mess up her hair. She was not hit by any “waste material”, though, so I think she got out very lucky. I can’t say as much for the rest of us.

We stayed in there for at least 30 minutes until moving on to the rest of the zoo.

It’s been more than a year since the Button family has been to the Nashville Zoo, so we ended up spending a lot of time there, and saw just about everything there is to see. We left temporarily to go to Las Americas for lunch (mmm… papusas…), and then returned for the rest of the afternoon.

One of the biggest additions since the last time the Buttons were at the zoo is the new elephant habitat. The elephants were out and moving around quite a bit, and a couple were even playing with tires and logs and things. I’ve still never seen one get in the large pool they have there (and may not for a while, now that it’s colder), but one did sit down by the pool for a few minutes, and I got an interesting photo of him. At least, I thought it was interesting. How often do you see an elephant sitting down?

Did you know elephants could sit down?The rest of the afternoon was very nice, up until the end of our visit. We were all very tired, and stopped at the giant playground to let the kids play a bit. To make a long story short, Owen hurt his foot pretty badly while he and I were going down a slide. His shoe got caught and somehow folded his foot backwards up underneath us. He cried quite a bit, but I checked it over and it didn’t look like it was broken or anything.

Last night was pretty tough for us. Although there was no swelling or visible bruises, I could tell that he was in a lot of pain, and it took several hours for us to get him to sleep. He’s better today, and even took a few steps at one point, but still doesn’t want to put much weight on it. I think it’s just a little sore and I fully expect it to be back to normal in another day or two. Please keep him in your prayers.