Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Anger and sadness

Bad timing, lack of time, and lots of stress have created a pretty angry environment in our house. When Tracey arrived home on Monday we all sat down to discuss a few family matters. Tracey was tired and was hit hard by the whole meeting. Unfortunately, due to her Chemo session yesterday, it was the only time Ma (Tracey's mom) felt we had to go over these things, especially since Ma is leaving on Thursday (tomorrow). There has been a lot of yelling, angry words, and hurt feelings. I absolutely hate it, especially when the kids (particularly Kayla) are caught in the middle. This is one of those times that I wish I could cry but can't.

Chemo #6
Tracey had Chemo #6 yesterday. Ma took her to the hospital and stayed with her all day. At one point Tracey's blood pressure shot up and the staff had to slow down the Chemo treatment. Ma and Tracey were at the hospital until after 3 PM. When they got home, Tracey was OK to stay up for a while, and took a nap between 4 and 7. Her appetite is good and she seems to be strong! The Oncology staff wants to have an X-Ray of her chest done tomorrow to find out if she is developing pneumonia because she experienced shortness of breath during most of her trip to California.

Maytag Neptune washer defect
Yesterday I found out that the problem we are experiencing with our washer is a well known (and expensive) design flaw in the Neptune front-loading washers. Essentially, moisture gets trapped on the inside of the door, damaging the circuit board that controls the door locking function. If the door fails to lock, then the washer will not spin (a safety feature) and clothes are left socking wet. There is also a problem with the "boot" (a part on the front of the washer) that retains excess water and develops mold. There is a class action suit in progress against Maytag. We are going to try to get a response from Maytag first (although the complaints logged on the Net indicate that Maytag is very unresponsive to consumer's requests for help). If that fails then we will join the class action suit (see Maytag settlement site for more information).

Ethan's passing
For the last few weeks, Tracey and I have been long distance cheerleaders to this little boy from Texas that, despite all odds, survived a rough start in life. Last night he developed an infection and had internal bleeding -- surgery was successful but he was still in critical condition. We learned at 5:35 PM today that Ethan passed. Everyday he reminded me of several valuable lessons: always keep trying, always appreciate every moment, and big miracles come in small packages. We will miss him!

Goals and Wills
One of the areas I have been struggling with is goal-setting. Today I spent a great deal of time reading on goal-setting and also developed a first draft of my Ethical Will. I am a firm believer in the importance of dreams and goals -- but I have not been so good at sticking with the required processes to consistently set and achieve goals. I will correct that situation.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Tracey is home a winner!

Tracey arrived this evening from California -- she is exhausted but also exhilarated because her tribe won in the Survivor Crop contest! They raised over $6,500! WOO HOO! :-) The even raised more than $50,000 towards breast cancer research and support. Everyone that participated is a REAL winner in my eyes!

Tracey's trip to Charlotte's airport was fairly uneventful (except for a 45 minute delay).

Noah, Tracey's mom and I spent the afternoon window-shopping (mostly) in Statesville, NC (at JR's outlet). We also drove around the NASCAR shops in Mooresville (although we sort of got lost and did not get to see as much as we wanted). Tracey called while we were doing this to let us know she would be at least 30 minutes late, so we decided to wash the car and have dinner to kill some time. The dinner experience (at Denny's) left a lot to be desired (I will write more about it later, because there is a funny side to it).

On the way to the airport we managed to get lost -- again! Even four-year old Noah knew we were lost. From the back seat: "Oh geeze, we are definitely lost!" Both occupants of the front seats bursted laughing.

Saturday, October 16, 2004

MacKenzie's First Award

As usual for Saturday, the kids and I went bowling this morning. We got a big surprise when they announced the awards: MacK got her first award! She earned Bowler of the Month for September 2004. Although she does not quite understand what getting an award means, she was very proud of it and showed the plaque to everyone at the bowling alley! :-)

Noah was very proud of MacKenzie, but he was also disappointed that he did not get one himself. Yet, he reacted by trying even harder to bowl well -- and he did! That was a great attitude for a four year old!

Granny Visits
After bowling, MacKenzie and I went to pick-up my Mom ("Granny" to the kids), and took her shopping. Afterwards, we all went home for dinner. It was Halloween taco night! :D

Noah and I took Granny back to her house after dinner (with a quick stop at Lowe's which Noah enjoyed a lot).

Friday, October 15, 2004

w.bloggar works great!

I just tried the bloggar software and it works superbly! It is hard to believe that it is free!

Tracey's mom has been with us for almost a week -- what a great lady she is! We went out with MacKenzie today (first we stopped at the bank to pay the mortgage, then we went to Big Lots, which is one of her favorite stores to visit when she is here). As usual, we had a great time and talked a lot about things. She is an excellent source of information and a great listener! Whenever she comes to visit she works so hard and helps so much that I am not sure she can really consider these trips a "vacation"!

I am going to be posting some retroactive logs to record things as accurately as possible. For now, I will say that our roof still leaks, despite our hard work this past weekend. On the positive side, leaking appears to be confined to one spot. Unfortunately, it was bad enough that the ceiling fell down in the kid's bathroom. We woke up to a mess! I am sure we will get it straightened out sooner or later.

Posting again

It has been a long time (at least it seems that way) since my last post. So much has happened that I have not had a chance to post.

Today, I discovered what may help me do more posting: a program called w.bloggar. I am writing this post in the program and will try to upload it to to see how things work.

Tracey is in California, north of San Diego. Her plans were to go to the beach (soak her feet in the Pacific Ocean, one of her life dreams) and hang out with her friends there. The Survivor Crop starts tomorrow at Noon!

OK, I will send this post to the website and see what happens. I will write more later.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Don't Like Rain

(Retroactive posting)

I never thought I would say this: I don't like rainy days anymore. Rainy days used to be nice -- I used to love the relaxing music of rain drops hiting the windows and roof.

But now I almost hate rain -- the damage to our house continues despite our best efforts. It rained yesterday and we experienced serious leaks in the kids bathroom -- enough to bring down the ceiling. Worst of all, a new and large leak showed up in the kids' bedroom, all around the ceiling fan! I am not sure if this will jeopardize the safety of that light/fan -- we'll keep an eye on it for now.

We just can't seem to catch a break!

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Washer down

Wonderful news (NOT!): our washer is no longer rinsing clothes properly or spinning them dry. Therefore, we have to squeeze the water out of everything by hand!

To make matters worse, the kids have been wetting their beds at night (this is night number two) despite our best efforts. I suspect this has to do with Tracey being gone to California. So washing sheets has become a daily (and painful) routine.

[This is a retroactive posting]

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Boxing it up!

Dan, Shirley, Bob and Audra came back this morning to put the finishing touches on the roof (what I learned is called boxing). This will help tremendously with ventilation and keeping the roof area free of moisture. It is a lot of work for them and we cannot thank them enough for all their help!

As luck would have it, they ran short on some materials, so we will have the pleasure of a follow-up visit sometime in the next few days!

This weekend, amongst other things, was great for Noah and MacK because they had two playmates: Audra had her boys (7 and 4, names withheld on purpose) with her! Our kids were delighted to have other young ones to play with! Noah was rough with Audra's youngest, but they seemed to get along well. They spent a great deal of time in the backyard running around! MacKenzie enjoyed the company so much that she called them "my boys." ;D What a kid!

[This is a retroactive posting]

Saturday, October 09, 2004

Roofing it up!

We roofed and roofed and roofed! And we had a great time doing it too! Right at 8:30 we began back on the roof and, except for meal breaks, we did not stop until almost 5 PM. But the roof is done! WOW!

Our friend Paul brought an air roofing nail gun that made a huge difference in our ability to make progress with this. Audra became the gun master and did a great job of getting hundreds of shingles nailed down! Wooo Hooo!

The morning was spent fixing wood areas on the rear part of the roof and shingling the front, West part. The rest of the day we handled installing shingles on the rear of the house.

Today's crew: Dan, Shirley, Bob, Audra, Terry, Paul, Terri, Tracey and I.

[This is a retroactive posting]

Friday, October 08, 2004

Let's Roof!

Our dear friends arrived this morning with everything we need to fix our roof -- and we began working hard on it! From around 10 AM to past 5 PM we fixed the front, East portion of the roof. We only stripped parts of the roof where we could determine that we needed to replace the OSB wood. Otherwise, we simply put the new shingles over the old ones. Of course, this cut down on a lot of work and the trash we generated. Hopefully it will do the job for us!

Today's crew consisted of Dan, Shirley, Bob, Audra, Terry, Leora, Tracey and I.

[This is a retroactive posting]

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Chemo #5

Chemo #5 started today, and it was not a good start. Tracey felt very dizzy at one point during the session and she had to lay down (a first for her) in order to recover. The new medication can produce a serious allergic reaction with some patients, so they had to test it on Tracey first, then give her the full dose after they determined that she was OK with it. Our friend Shelley was kind enough to bring Tracey lunch (I was at work).

Today is the first day we have had to do Chemo while we are apart. My partner (Ben) is in training all week, so I am working the day shift. I dropped Tracey at the hospital at 9 AM and then picked her up after Chemo. Although she is doing OK with the nasuea, etc., the aching/pain is pretty bad.

[This is a retroactive posting]