Mark Your Calendar

For those of you in the Middle Tennessee area, be sure to mark your calendar for the Middle Tennessee Ultralight Group’s annual Fall Fly-in on Saturday, October 1st, at T-Top Airfield in Eagleville, TN (about 45 minutes south of Nashville). There will be dozens of small planes and ultralights, including powered parachutes and gliders. The flying will probably begin at dawn and last all day, weather permitting.

I was originally planning to go camping at T-Top Airfield on Friday night, September 30th, but there are some activities going on at our church that night, so I’m going to do that and just go to the fly-in early Saturday morning. However, anyone interested in camping could go down there on Friday – there will probably be quite a few pilots flying (or driving) in on Friday and staying the night.

There is a good chance you could get to ride in an ultralight if you are interested, as long as you are willing to sign a waiver, etc. They might also have some competitions for the pilots that would be fun to watch. At the very least, you will get a chance to see some very unique and interesting aircraft and meet some very nice people.

No Sleep. Watch Football.

Owen has become very interested in watching football. I’m not sure if it’s because I do it, or because he enjoys saying “all fall down” whenever someone gets tackled, or if he is really interested in what’s going on.

Last week, Mary was at a rehearsal at church during the last Titans’ preseason game, so I told Owen that after dinner we could watch football together. He was so excited that I had to turn it on early and let him sit and watch the pre-game stuff. By the time the game started, though, he was asleep. I took him to his room to put him to bed, but while I was changing him, he woke up, and started crying because we weren’t watching football. I put his PJ’s on and took him back in to watch more of the game.

Before long, he was asleep again, so I picked him up and carried him towards his room. He woke up pretty quickly, and immediately said “no sleep – watch football”. So, I took him to the bathroom and brushed his teeth and then took him back in to watch the game with me. This time, he didn’t even try to watch the game, though – he fell asleep on my chest. So, at the next break, I put him to bed. He whined a little as I took him to his room, but once he saw his bed, I think he realized how much he wanted it, and he laid right down.

Since football (and the occasional movie) is about all we watch as far as TV (or the computer, in our case) goes, I had just assumed that Owen’s fascination with it was just about “watching” in general. That is, until last night.

Yesterday, the weather was nice, so we thought we’d pack some sandwiches for dinner and head to a local park to eat outside and let Owen play on the playground. Usually, he’s pretty interested in slides and swings and climbing things, but at this particular park, there were several groups of kids having football practices (full pads and everything). Owen was totally consumed with what they were doing, and I had to hold him back from getting to close to them. He had no desire to go swing or slide until I eventually just drug him away and distracted him enough to get him to play on the playground.

He’s always been pretty fascinated by other kids – especially ones just a little bigger than himself. It’s like he realizes that they are not that far ahead of where he is, so he wants to see what they can do and figure out if he can do it himself. Maybe the combination of the familiar football outfits and little kids (some of these were only about 5 or 6) was what interested him so much. All of the sudden, football was not just something we watched on the computer – it was something little kids could do.

Whatever the reason, I was surprised at how interested he was. I’m pretty sure Mary would prefer that he be interested in baseball or just about any other sport where the players don’t hit each other so hard, but I think all the running and crashing and tackling is what interests him so much. Maybe as he gets older he can appreciate some other sports. If he has any athletic ability, though, he almost certainly will have gotten it from Mary.

Feeling Better Again

I feel much better today than I did yesterday. I woke up with a clear nose and only a slightly sore throat. The headache is gone and I feel like I have some energy. I’m going to work from home today, mainly so that I don’t carry any germs into the office (don’t you love it when sick people come to work?), but also so that I can make sure to get enough rest. I don’t want to prolong my recovery or risk a relapse.

The hard part about working from home is that Owen knows that I am here and wants to play with me. He does pretty well playing by himself when there are no other options, but when he knows I’m around he can be pretty persistent about getting my attention. I end up giving in every now and then, because I really do like to play with him, but I have to get some actual work done at some point. It makes me appreciate even more all that Mary gets done while I’m at work every day.

Last night, I watched FSU beat Miami, which is a rare occurance (both that they beat them and that I watched a collage football game). It was not what I would call a great game – there was some sloppiness on both teams and there was no scoring in the second half. It basically came down to one interception that Miami threw that led to a touchdown for FSU. Both teams had a first down inside the 5 yard line and came up empty (both missed a short field goal on fourth down). I guess you could say it was a defensive game…


We know one thing about whatever has been bothering Owen – it’s contagious. Mary started experiencing symptoms yesterday, and this morning I feel pretty awful myself. On top of that, we’ve had several friends and family in the area reporting similar illness in their houses. I guess something’s going around. I just hope we can get over it more quickly than Owen did.

He’s been better over the last two days. His voice has improved, but is still raspy, and he coughs every now and then. His fever is gone, though, and he’s eating well and all that, so I think he’s just got to let his throat heal up.

I guess it’s a good thing we didn’t have any big plans for this weekend.

He’ll Be Fine

Co-Pay at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital Emergency Room: $75
Dinner at McDougal’s Village Coop: $20
Knowing my son doesn’t have pneumonia: priceless

Owen is still suffering from congestion, fever, and possibly a sore throat (it’s so hard to tell what he’s feeling, because he doesn’t complain much). He was eating a popsicle this afternoon, when he suddenly grabbed his chest and bent over crying. It may very well have been a reaction to the cold popsicle or something, but we decided that since it was the third day of this we shouldn’t take chances, so we headed down to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

We are fortunate in Nashville to have one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation. Some friends of ours have a son with Spina Bifida, and they have spent a lot of time there and have nothing but good things to say about the staff and facility.

Several doctors looked at Owen, and decided that all he has is some sort of infection that should run its course in a few days. They didn’t do any x-rays, and they didn’t give us any prescriptions, but just gave us some advice on things we can do to help him at home and some optional over-the-counter drugs for his fever. We were glad we went there, because had we gone to a closer hospital, they would have almost certainly done x-rays and prescribed something, which would cost more money but probably not actually help much. We even discussed with one of the doctors how we feel that our society in general is overmedicated and although we are not anti-drugs, we try not to turn to them immediately for every little thing like most people seem to do. For the most part, he agreed with us.

Afterwards, we went to McDougal’s Village Coop for some chicken fingers and fries. I’ve been there once before with some guys from work, but Mary had not been there so I wanted to share it with her. We sat out on the porch and the weather was beautiful. I’m stuffed.

By the time we got home, Owen was ready to run around and play and was acting like he’s already feeling much better. We got on the webcam for a few minutes with my parents and some other family they had over at their house, and then Owen got ready for bed.

Mary’s going to stay home with Owen tomorrow, but I’ll go to church and teach my Sunday School class. Speaking of which, I’ve got to finish up that lesson…

Holiday Weekend

You gotta love the 3-day weekend. I have no plans for the holiday, and that’s just the way I like it right now. There is a lot I could do around the house, and I might just get some of it done. Our garage is a mess and I need to clean it out and get it organized again, but I’ve been waiting for it to cool off a little before I take that on. Maybe if the weather is good, I’ll get to ride my bike.

The high tempurature for today is supposed to be 90 degrees, and then in the mid to high 80s the rest of the week. Could this be the last day of 90 degree weather for this year? I really hope so. It’s been a long, hot summer. I’ve heard that this winter may be colder than the last couple of years, and that would be great. When I moved to Tennessee, I loved the fact that we got a couple of good snows each winter without getting buried and having to deal with it for months at a time. Last year, though, we didn’t really get any.

Owen has been a little ill for the past couple of days. He acts fine, but he’s had a temperature and his voice is almost completely gone. I feel so bad for him because he just keeps on talking, and I can’t explain to him that he should spare his voice and let his throat heal. Yesterday morning I worked from home for the first part of the day so that Mary could go to the grocery store without taking Owen out of the house, and I ended up just putting him in front of a movie so he would sit quietly. I hate using the TV (or computer, in our case) as a babysitter, but this time I was trying to help him. He still laughed with a raspy old-man-sounding laugh every now and then.

I got a new old computer yesterday. By that I mean that someone gave me an old computer to replace another old computer that I have. It ended up not working for what I needed, though, because the new old computer cannot recognize large hard drives (bigger than 137 Gig). I may be able to use some of the parts from it, but if not, I’ll give it to someone else. I certainly don’t need an extra one, as anyone who’s been to my house can tell you.

Not About the Bed

Just so no one thinks the “Saga” is the only thing goin on in my life, I thought I’d give an update as to what else has been happening.

I went back to work on Thursday, feeling much better than the first part of the week. I even managed to find a very obscure fix to a problem that had been going on for a couple of weeks with no end in sight. There was rejoycing in the streets.

The weekend flew by. On Wednesday night, Travis had called me to say that they had decided to move back to Nashville. On Thursday, Amy realized that they needed to come to Nashville as soon as possible in order to get Amanda into school, which had already started the previous week. So on Friday, Amy, Amanda, Chloe and Halle were with us for the night, and on Saturday, Travis joined them.

We had a nice visit, although they spent a lot of the weekend out looking at aparments and houses for rent. Travis and Amy came to our Sunday School Class, even though they are not newlyweds (we’ll let it slide). Today, they put down a deposit on an apartment and got Amanda enrolled in school. Travis will have to return to Alabama to work his last week or so, and it will be another month before they can actually get into their apartment, but by the end of September things will be back to normal… right?

Let’s see – what else is going on? Last night, as Mary was trying to get Owen to settle down for bed, one of the sets of blinds in the bonus room came crashing down. We’ve had this happen before in another room. The screws that were used are only long enough to get up into the drywall, not the actual wood. I will probably have to re-hang all the blinds in the house at some point. It not only scared Owen, but it damaged his favorite toy – his beach ball. So, after he finally went to bed, and after a trip to Wal-Mart (the only thing open at 8 PM on Sunday) to get some deeper screws and a particular tool I did not have, I re-hung the blinds and patched his ball.

We have another checkup with our midwife on Wednesday, and then I have an all-day meeting down in Franklin. Wednesday night will be unusual, because we have no church service this week. They are doing construction in the sanctuary to re-build and re-carpet the stage and choir loft. I’m sure that’s going to throw off my inner calendar, and by Friday I won’t know what day it is.

The Saga of the Sleep Number Bed – Part 5.1

I spoke to Adam, a manager at He was very friendly, and although he could not change or cancel my order (which still amazes me), he offered to waive all restocking fees and pay the shipping for me to return the California King pad and get a refund. It just means that I will be out that money for about a month while the return is processed. What’s sad is that it is in their warehouse right now, and they are going to send it to me, and then pay to have it sent back…

Adam also gave me some valuable information – the actual sizes of their mattress pads. As it turns out, they all run a few inches short of the standard bed sizes they claim to be:

Product Width Height
King size bed   76-78″   80″
King size mattress pad   76″   77″
California King size bed   72″   84″
Californial King size mattress pad   70″   80″

So, that means that there is no mattress pad offered by that will fit my King size bed.

I have a few days to decide what I want to do about this. It will take them up to 4 days to send me the e-mails (what is the problem with this company?) with my return shipping labels and instructions for sending the stuff back. Even then, I’m not obligated to return any of it, since they don’t refund any money until 2-3 weeks after I send the item back. I may just decide to live with the King sized pad we have, and offer to sell the California King sized pad to someone else. We have several friends with Queen sized beds, and they would be able to easily cut that to fit (Queen size is 60″ x 80″).

Manager Adam did say that he thought the pads would stretch a little with use, so maybe that’s the reason they are short. I would think they would include that info in the packaging somewhere, though. I can’t be the first person to be frustrated by this.

The Saga of the Sleep Number Bed – Part 5

We got our memory foam mattress topper last week, and immediately noticed that it did not appear to be quite as big as our bed… The instructions said that you should let it sit for 24 to 72 hours to fully expand, since it was compressed for shipping (it came srinkwrapped tightly and packed in a small box).

After 3 days, though, it was still not quite long enough. We’ve been using it anyway, and it is very comfortable, but the 4-inch gap at the end of the bed is annoying. So, I contacted customer support once again. Their website says that memory foam mattresses cannot be returned, but I explained the problem to the agent and he was very nice and arranged for a return label to be sent to me and a full refund given so that I can order another one.

Here’s where I made my bone-head mistake.

I remember reading somewhere that another person had a similar problem, and recommended that you order a size larger than the bed you have and just cut it to fit your bed. So, what’s larger than a king size bed? A California King, of course. So that’s what I just ordered.

Right after I placed my order, though, I had a thought – I wasn’t exactly sure how big a California King really was. I had always just heard that it was bigger than a standard (or “Eastern”) King size. A quick trip to Google showed me that a California King is longer, but not as wide as a standard King (72 inches vs. 76 inches). Aaarrgg! That’s not going to work. Now I’ll have it long enough, but a large gap on the sides.

In case you forgot, I can’t cancel my order with because their warehouse was “immediately notified to pick and pack the order for shipment” when I clicked the order button, and for some reason it takes 4 days to get a message from customer service to the warehouse to stop an order. That means I will likely have to go through this return process again. I’m beginning to wonder if it’s worth it.

On top of that, there’s no way to guarantee that I’ll actually get one that fits, since there is no size that is actually larger in both directions than my bed.

Why, why, why is this so hard?

I contacted Customer Support yet again, and actually found someone with no ability to do anything whatsoever. I asked her if I could just refuse the shipment, and she said “If you want to”. I asked if I would get a refund if I did that, and she said “That’s up to the warehouse, not me”. Remembering my previous lesson about poor customer service. I ended the chat session and called the phone number to see if I could have a conversation with someone who actually wanted to help me. I’m typing all this while I’m on hold…

Day 3

I’m staying home again today. I feel much better than this time yesterday (mostly because I actually slept last night), but still not great so instead of trying to push it and go back early like I usually would do, I’m going to make myself rest so that I’ll be that much better tomorrow. Tomorrow could be an interesting day, because the CIO of the company that is acquiring my company is coming to give us some sort of presentation and answer questions we may have. I’m sure there will be some interesting questions.

Our mattress cover did arrive yesterday, but we haven’t tried it out yet because it comes compressed in a small box and you have to open it up, unfold it, and then give it at least 24 hours to expand fully to its normal shape. It looks pretty close to normal now, so maybe sometime this afternoon we’ll put it on. I hope our sheets are big enough to fit over it. Otherwise, we’ll have to get some new ones, and I’d prefer not to spend any more money on this bed project.