Thursday, May 31, 2007

Coming together...

Well, just another two days until we start on our vacation. I have been looking forward to this for a while. This is the first long term planned vacation we have taken in a LONG time. Besides I am really looking forward to hopefully a nice break from work. The medication I started yesterday is starting to help - though I did just tweak my back again helping Devin. So tomorrow we pack everything into the van and get ready to go. The plan is to leave early Saturday and start the long road trip. Hopefully everyone will cooperate and we will have a good trip. So if I don't post until we get to Oklahoma I will write then! Otherwise if I can connect while traveling I may post on the way.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Okay, I call uncle...

Okay, I give up... Today it felt like my back was getting worse and not better so I punted, took the afternoon off, and headed down to the doctor to get some real medication to deal with my back problem. For the most part the doc agreed that I pulled a muscle in my back and nothing else was really wrong. My range-of-motion was good (considering my attractive pear shape) and he didn't think anything else was wrong. I told him about our upcoming trip and asked for some muscle relaxer to try to help the healing process. So I left with three prescriptions. Hopefully this will be the beginning of recover - or at least I will have something to help manage the pain during the trip...

On another note I just want to comment how much I LOVE my PPO medical plan. All the BS that the dems talk about with standard health care - meaning more of the same with HMO - just scares the crud out of me. Anyway with my medical insurance all three prescriptions cost me a whopping $3.84. So lets recap here, my monthly premium has decrease, I can go anywhere I want (meaning I can call tomorrow and get an appointment with a specialist in LA for Devin), get my durable medical equipment from anyone I want, and it costs more to DRIVE to the pharmacy than it does for the prescriptions... Like I said before, I LOVE my PPO... If you are using an HMO and you have an option do yourself a favor a switch during the next open seasons!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Waste of a long weekend...

So here's the deal. I took off Friday so I could have a REALLY long weekend so we could get a bunch of stuff done around the house before our vacation. I had all kind of good plans like taking stuff to the dump, doing yard work, squeezing in some studio time. All kinds of good stuff. Well, Thursday at work my back was starting to cause me problems. Friday was a full-on problem meaning heating pad and medication. Pretty much the entire weekend was like this and as a result I got pretty much NOTHING accomplished. Well, that's not entirely true I did... Hmmm, nope I did nothing... Oh well - hopefully everything will be right again before we hit the road, otherwise it is going to be a miserable trip...

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Video and plasma

Okay, so here's the deal. We started watching Battlestar Galactica and have purchased the first two seasons on DVD. This all started because we started watching the end of Season 3. If you are familiar with getting addicted to television shows then probably understand how you just keep watching program after program and before you know it hours upon hours have just vanished into thin air! Okay so here is the point... We finished the DVDs and we missed setting up our DVR to record the marathon season 3 that they played a week or so ago. So, now what do you do??? Well, as it turns out, you can buy the episodes through iTunes and play them back on your Mac (actually a PC will work too - at least I have heard it will work). Anyway we bought the MINI-DVI to VGA cable for the Mac Book so we could connect it to an external monitor (read 50" plasma TV). Amazingly enough it works pretty darn good and we just connect the Mac Book to the TV and the stereo and play it through Front Row. It actually works pretty good...

Okay - so the main point is this. We had the Mac Book in the living room and we ended up connecting with Nana and Max for a video conference. I stuck my iSight firewire camera on top of the tv and we had a nice video chat. It was really pretty cool because the audio was coming out of our A/V receiver and we had a huge full screen window to talk to them. I am not sure if we will do it again or more often but it was really pretty cool!

OBTW - the plasma works REALLY well as a monitor. The native resolution is about the screen dimensions of the Mac Book and it's pretty clear and sharp. We also ran some slides shows and web surfing through it and I was pretty impressed. Not exactly something we would do on a regular basis but it was pretty darn nice.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Denise met up with Ann to let the kids play for a bit at the park. Denise captured this video of the kids pushing Deanna in the swing. Other than the face Denise got a really nice sunburn they had a good time!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Patriotic Program

Devin's school had a Patriotic Program on Thursday after school and Devin had a speaking part in it. Denise has been working with him for a few weeks to make sure he practiced his part. I was running a bit late, but I did make it in time to see his part. He did an outstanding job. I was able to take quite a few pictures (more than I really needed too, like normal) and they can be found here! It was a petty cute program though.

Denise also took some video so here is Devin's speaking part!

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Good intentions...

With everything that has been going on I thought it would be nice to replace Denise's TV with a new one. Our old has served us well - nearly 10 years - but it is old and is starting to have problem (plus the service tech said the bulbs were pretty darn expensive to replace). When we were at Gene and Cindy's place they had a pretty nice 50" plasma television and since it seemed like it worked pretty good for them, and it was on sale at circuit city we went ahead yesterday and bought one.

But keep in mind that you can't buy JUST a television especially when it is a new High Definition one. You have to have high definition devices. Okay, no problem, our DirecTV Tivo box was starting to die (would just shut off for some reason and take a lot of coaxing to get it to come back). So into the shopping cart a new DirecTV HD DVR goes!

But wait, you need a “special” cable for your new television to work. Now special just means instead of paying $5 for a piece of wire you get to pay $190 for it. Give me a freaking break, over $100 for a freaking cable??? Okay, whatever no problem, nothings too good for my honey! So in the cart the cable goes.

Alright, should be done…. Oh wait a minute where are we going to put this monstrosity? We don’t have a cabinet and the kids are little monkeys so that isn’t going to work anyway… Hmmm, you what, you want it where??? Ok on the wall, sure how hard can that be??? So in the cart goes the wall mount kit (they just like give those things away)…

So we make the purchase and load everything into the van. The dude who helped me said, “ah, you can’t stand it up… You’re close right?” Close, hmmm, close it a relative term. I guess we are close compared to the moon. So after getting the idea that laying it down isn’t a good idea but if we travel quickly and smoothly there should be any problems. Hmmm, this isn’t really turning out to be as easy as I thought…

Okay so we make the s-m-o-o-o-o-o-t-h trip home and unload everyone. Then we upload the new stuff. First problem, the freaking thing is REALLY heavy. How in the world can something like that be so heavy. I think they must put concert in it to balance it out. You know, make you feel like you bought something with some heft to it! Well the bottom line, Denise can’t lift the thing, and I can barely lift the thing. We finally manage to get it on the coffee table and test it out to make sure everything works.

I get to mounting that new fangled bracket. It seems much easier now – but during it – whoa those are so LARGE bolts. But I got it mounted! Then I tried to remember who I knew in town so off I called Randy who agreed to come by in the morning and give a hand hanging the thing.

So – all is well – everything is planned – what more could we need??? Hmm, first, even though I thought we asked if we need a NEW HD dish to replace our old non-HD dish we can’t get HD programming (yet) because we need a NEW dish. Okay, great, so make an appointment for that. No problem we have our non-HD programming rolling and we got our 6 DVD Onkyo changer! So nice large pretty movies here we come!!!!

Hmmm, pretty movies, here we come??? Hello, DVD player, you can stop loading now and start playing…. So, we are now the proud owners of a Denon (read, non Onkyo, never again to be an Onkyo, soon to replace the Onkyo A/V receive we have to never again own a freaking Onkyo!!!!!!!!).

Okay, but the end of the day we have everything mounted, the picture looks awesome. I guess the real point of this is that for some reason this is ALWAYS how things got for us. Happened with the house, the cars, you name it there is always something to detract from the experience just a bit. But you know what, remembering that and putting it into context makes it oh-so-much-better! So in the end everything works out!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Seth and home...

Before we left for home Seth played a bit for us. Actually he, Jeff, and Gene played a lot while we were there but I only made a few captures. I plan on making more when we go back there in a few weeks.

Anyway - we finally made it back home. It was a LONG trip under very stressful circumstances. Denise is doing well, as is everyone, although everyone is still in shock that this even happened. It still seems very unbelievable. For now it is just good to be home.

Speaking of home my mom packed everything up and headed for home herself today. I know this has been pretty hard on her too but we are VERY fortunate that she was able to come back. Had she not been here we would have either driven back with everyone (unlikely) or Denise would have just flown back with her and Deanna. In the end I was very glad I was able to go back with her - I think it was important for both of us to be there.

Well life starts to return to normal when I go back to work... And the weirdest part of all... Life goes on...

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Bob's service...

They had a really nice service for my father-in-law Bob Harris yesterday. They had setup Bob's motorcycle was in the lobby of the church. It was pretty intense when we first walked in to see that. Thursday was the visitation and it was a pretty emotional day. The one really amazing thing was the number of people who came to pay their respects. Someone said that the pastor said the only other time he had seen that many people come in for a visitation was when a local senator had died.

Anyway, I thought I would attach the obituary from the Pea Ridge newspaper...

Bobie Jean Harris

PEA RIDGE -- Bobie Jean Harris, 64, of Pea Ridge died April 29, 2007, in Missouri. He was born May 13, 1942, in Gravette to Berl and Effie Harris. He was an Army veteran. His interests included riding dirt bikes, Bible study and timed enduro events.

Survivors include his wife of 15 years, Charlette Harris of the home; three sons, Gene Harris and wife Cindy of Broken Arrow, Okla., Brad Harris of Fayetteville and Brian Harris of Gravette; three daughters, Michelle Erhart and husband Fred of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, Denise Ellison and husband Duane of California City, Calif., and Angela Shubert of Pea Ridge; two brothers, Berl Dean Harris of Gravette and Dick Harris of Gravette; 12 grandchildren.

Services will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Immanuel Baptist Church in Rogers with Tom Hatley officiating.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. today at the church.

Burial will be in Lee Cemetery near Gravette.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made in his name to Arkansas National Bank, 100 S. 28th St., Rogers, 72758.

Arrangements are by Rollins Funeral Home in Rogers.

Update I added the photographs that I have taken while on this trip here!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

On our way...

This will be a quick one. Denise and I am enroute and are in Denver for a layover. We should be bording in about a half hour and should arrive in Tulsa around 10 something. Gene will be picking us up at the airport. This whole this is still very surreal. Denise is doing well - but there are ups and downs. Tomorrow and Friday are going to be VERY hard. I try not to think about it because this really bothers me as well...