Saturday, July 30, 2005

What happened to "Be Prepared"?

In the last week I have read two articles about deaths in Boy Scout activities that make me wonder what has happened to their philosophy of being prepared. I was a Boy Scout for several years in my early teens, and I know we were always taught to look for what could go wrong and be ready for that and more!

The first incident happened at the Jamboree in VA. Four adult Scout leaders got killed when the pole they were using to erect a tent touched a power line and electrocuted them. CNN Report

This happened a day after another Scout died from an apparent heart attack at that same event.

The day after the electrocutions, hundreds of Scouts became ill from heat exhaustion and some had to be hospitalized. CNN Report

In today's news we learn that a Boy Scout and a Scout leader were killed by lightining in CA, with seven others injured by the storm. USA Today report

The Scouts have been plagued by scandal in the last few years; this week has been a tremendous blow to the Scout organization. I cannot excuse the deaths of seven people associated with the Scouts movement.

It is time for the Scouts organization to take another hard look at what they do and how they do it — what they are doing right now is killing people and that is unacceptable!

Outing with the family

Yesterday the whole family went out to dinner and movies to celebrate my 45th birthday (or the 20th anniversary of my 25th birthday). We enjoyed a great meal at Chicago Uno and then went to see the "Fantastic Four." I had a great time and the kids were awesome! The movie was "fantastic" and I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

High-speed Satellite!

Yesterday I finally ordered DirecWay for the house. They have a pretty good deal that is worth checking out if you cannot get DSL or cable where you live.

The person that took my order told me that it would take approximately 3-5 business day for the equipment to arrive and then another week to get the installatino scheduled and done. This morning, however, I get a call on my cell phone as I am driving to work; the installation company has the equipment and they ask if we could possibly allow them to install it today because they had a cancellation and they can do our order this morning. Bonus!

Unfortunately, things did not go so well during the day. Tracey calls me to tell me that the installer is going to charge $125 to install a pole for the dish and another $50 to run the cable under the house (tight crawl space). I get on the phone with the guy and I negotiate the price down to $150.

An hour later Tracey calls me and tells me the guy cannot get a good signal because there is one pine tree in the way. We go back and forth and I agre to leave work to cut the tree down so that he can get the dish calibrated. When I get home, I look at this pine tree and realize that there is no way I can get it cut safely by myself or with the available help I have. So ... I go back and forth with Carlos and we convince him to move the pole and try a different angle. He agrees if I pay for $10 of the cement and extra work. Fine — just get it done!

Within minutes he gives up and tells me that he cannot get a signal there either — game over, cannot get high-speed internet. :-(

So I call the company to cancel the service — when I ask how long it will take to get my deposit money back (which they promptly took ouot of my checking account) the guy tells me 6-8 weeks! Something tells me this was not meant to be and that I will have more headaches in the future with this company.

I have now set up a plan to call and write to Verizon every month until they deliver DSL service to our area. We should not be punished for living only 10 miles outside of town (where DSL is available).

Mom's health

Mom had an appointment on Tuesday to have a CT Scan of her chest. Last week I took her to see a specialist to deal with her breathing problems. The doctor ordered a chest X-Ray in anticipation of a full respiratory test to be done on August 23. The day after the X-Ray was taken, the doctor's office called her to advise her that she had been scheduled for a CT Scan because they found something abnormal in the X-Ray. Could this be cancer? The mere thought scares me. I know what Tracey went through with her cancer struggle -- I cannot imagine what my Mom would have to go through if it is diagnosed as cancer.

She has already said that she will not have surgery — she has had enough of those in her life, and I certainly cannot blame her for not wanting to go through it again. Will she do chemo or radiation? In her current state of mind I doubt that she will.

I am scared of what the future may bring for my Mom -- will she be in pain, and die a horrible, painful, death? She is having a terrible time breathing as it is, the effects of smoking have caught up with her and now she is struggling with each breath.

I am glad I quit smoking seven years ago — I definitely need to get back into physical activities again so that I can lose weight and regain physical fitness. I have a plan to get me started and I will begin implementing it ASAP.

The day that smoking is no longer a part of human habits cannot come too soon!

Kids Heading to School

Tracey called me yesterday to let me know that the kids are now enrolled in school -- sort of. There may be an overcrowding problem at the school closer to our house. However, we may have preference because we live in this community. We have an open house coming up on August 4 and then they start school on August 8.

It is strange thinking that my little babies are now going to start school -- but they are so ready for it! They are definitely excited to go to school and make friends and do all the things that they see on TV.

By the way, I got them this "game" form that helps them from pre-Kindergarten through First Grade. Both of my kids are doing great with letters and numbers -- I am so proud of them!

I think having a computer for the last year has really helped them advance in their learning. Their current PC is loaded with Windows XP but I am about to put together a different system for them that will have a version of Linux in it. I will probably make it a dual-boot system so that they can explore both "worlds" and decide which one they are more comofortable with.

I can still clearly remember the first day we brought Noah home and he and I crashed on the couch! Now, all he wants to do is have fist fights / karate fights with me — he is such a boy!

MacKenzie is just as advance in computer skills as Noah is — she is a good learner and in some ways she has surpassed her teacher (Noah). MacK is very good with strategy games and only gives a response when she actually knows the answer (whereas Noah will guess and try again a lot).

It will be interesting to see how they do in school, especially in the first few days as they integrate into a completely new world to them. Stay tuned!