Tonsils Out 5 Year Old

Winston had his tonsils out on Wednesday morning and the doctors and
nurses all said it would be two awful weeks of recovery. After two
days, I can say it has been much better than I could have imagined.
The hardest part was when he awoke from the anesthesia, he was
screaming and expressing a significant amount of discomfort, which is
the hardest thing for a parent to hear. Jaclyn comforted Winston, the
pain meds kicked in and he fell back asleep. When he woke again, he
was a happy camper and asked if his tonsils were out.

To be continued…

Another Dumb Saying…

On my long commute, I often have the misfortune of sitting in traffic and examining other people’s vehicles (OPV!), it’s a good time to catch up on bumper sticker philosophies. One saying that I just can’t stand is “Guns kill people like spoons made Rosie O’Donnell fat”. Here’s why this is a dumb statement:
1. People never say “Guns kill people”, you never hear news anchor lead with “Today, the gun killed 12 people in Aurora, Colorado”. What we all end up hearing is “Today, 12 people were shot to death”. Getting shot by a gun is a lethal event, for those of you who disagree, try it and see what happens.
2. How did we pick the spoon? While a gun fires bullets with lethal consequences, a spoon is incapable of making someone obese. I think a better analogy would be, “Guns kill people like an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise made Rosie O’Donnell fat”
3. How did Rosie O’Donnell get selected for this bumper sticker? Is she anti-gun? Seems like she got dragged into this thing as an innocent bystander.
4. Even if the statement was coherent or a proper analogy, it still doesn’t establish solid ground for more relaxed gun laws, as the conclusion is that guns can kill people and Rosie O’Donnell is overweight. It sounds like the argument this bumper sticker is trying to make is that if a person is responsible with a gun or a spoon, we can live healthy and productive lives. Maybe they should update their bumper sticker to say: “Good thing guns only end up in the hands of responsible people”

All this being said, I think it is fine to own a gun, but maybe, we can acknowledge that they can and often do kill people. According to the CDC, there were 11,493 gun related homicides in 2009 (most recent data), there were 2,996 in the 9/11 attacks. We sent hundreds of thousands of troops to fight after 9/11, spent billions of dollars on the war, and killed thousands of innocent civilians to fight terror around the world, when we are nearly 4 times as likely to be shot to death each year in our own country. If spent half the money we did on Iraq and Afghanistan, just rebuilding our own communities and cracking down on the terror in our own country, would we be better off?

Finally, if we can’t figure out how to limit guns and gun violence in this country, I say we just open things up and let people have any kind of weapon they want. Bazookas, tanks, and rocket propelled grenades, they don’t kill people either, and for Rosie, I’m sure she’ll be content with her spoon.

Tomorrow Winston gets his tonsils out at 8:45AM, keep him in mind, he’s really being brave about this event and I know he’d like to hear from you in the next couple of days.

Santa Fe Blues

My new commute to work stinks. Not only is it long, which is reason enough to not like it, but it is freaking expensive. I am filling up twice a week which comes to $400 a month + I spend $80 a month on EZ Pass. This new commute really hurts RKDeem’s pocketbook. My new ride, Jaclyn’s old Santa Fe is starting to have some issues. Yesterday, I left for work around 6:30AM, worked until 5PM, and then I had to take out some customers in Delaware to present new information about my product. I finally returned home around 10:30PM and I tried to open the door from the inside, like I have a million times before, but the door wouldn’t open. I tried again, still not opening, then I locked and unlocked the doors and still didn’t open. I was tired and anxious to get out, so I crawled over to the passenger seat, opened the passenger door, and slid out and went up to bed.

I woke up this morning, hopped into my car, and was getting ready to leave for work, but realized I left my bag inside, so I went to open the door and was reminded the handle didn’t work. I looked at the passenger seat and didn’t want to crawl over it again, so finally I realized I could roll down my window and open the door from the outside and let myself out. I was very excited that I found a quick and cheap solution to the inside handle not working and was heading to work. My friends have been making me all kinds of wonderful CDs and I decided to pop one in and listen to it on my long haul to Frazer. The CD went 99% into the CD player and then the CD player started clicking like crazy. The CD was too far in, there was nothing I could grab to pull it out, I was reminded by the situation periodically by the random clicking coming from the console.

As you could imagine, the commute is wearing me down, but the job is going well so I can’t complain too much. I am exploring a job opportunity within my current company where I would get a car, this will be key.

My friend Matt made a very cool laid back CD that I really enjoy. San Diego Dave made me numerous comedy CDs, but my favorite was Bill Burr, he made me laugh until I was convulsing, while stuck in a two hour traffic delay on the PA Turnpike.

Definition of Insanity

I have heard many people say, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” First of all, has anyone ever really opened up the dictionary and looked up insanity, this is not the definition. “Insanity is the condition of being insane, a derangement of mind. Synonyms include dementia, lunacy, madness, craziness, mania, and aberration.”

The definition comes up fairly often at work, someone will say, “You know, our sales numbers continue to be stagnate among specialists. It reminds me of the definition of insanity, when you keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome. I propose we employ a new campaign for specialists.”

I am not a “meeting” person, much rather be working than meeting, the only meetings I enjoy are when we’re really working, but when we’re in a big conference room listening to a didactic presentation, it takes all kinds of effort to stay engaged (this is why I am avoiding further academic endeavors, if possible). Well, when I hear the incorrect definition of insanity in one of these meetings, its nearly too much to bear. Let’s help correct the definition of insanity, next time you hear the incorrect definition of insanity, you could raise your hand and say the following:

“Actually, that is not the definition of insanity, it is more like the definition of stubborn or foolishness, but not insanity. Insanity would be like if peeing in your milk and then pouring the glass on your head.”

We The People

Did you ever read the Constitution? It really isn’t that cool of a document, it basically just defines the branches of government and puts some rules in place. I was expecting something a whole lot more inspirational, actually, I was really trying to get clear guidance on what the government should be doing, the scope of government, it’s purpose, the constitution really leaves a lot to interpretation. It starts out beautifully, with a bold statement with vast purpose, “We the people of the United States, in Order (RKDeem wonders why they felt the need to capitalize the “O” in Order) to form a more perfect union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

That sounds terrific, but the document takes a big nosedive after that, it is extremely vague and just talks about the different branches and really focuses a lot on the citizenship requirements to work in government, enforcing the laws on counterfeiting, how long you can stay in office, and establishes elections as the vehicle to get someone a job in government. I know these are all important things, they need to be written somewhere, but I sort of hoped the Constitution would provide more direction. I guess it all comes down to that first sentence, but if you really take that first sentence literally, it is easy to understand why our country in debt to our eyeballs.

“Obamacare” could easily be supported by “promote the general Welfare”, so could Medicaid, Medicare, welfare, and affirmative action. Starting wars, building border fences, and airport security is all under common “defence”. I think it is worth mentioning that the economy is not mentioned, it does not state that the government should grow the economy or fight off recessions. The amazing thing is, the economy is what people are saying will decide this election. The citizens of the United States have been pretty critical of our government lately, all branches, even the Supreme Court are getting dragged into it. If I hold the government accountable to the first line of the Constitution, I think they are actually doing what they are supposed to be doing, we have a good union, I’m not hearing any states planning to secede anytime soon. We have a justice system which is pretty good, domestic tranquility is good, no one really interrupts me at home, the common defense is terrific (no attacks in the past 10 years), and we have the blessings of liberty.

I think the government’s real shortcoming is two-fold. The first issue is that they should immediately remove themselves from anything that has to do with the economy. The second issue is that things are overwhelmingly complicated, any person can Google the Constitution and read and understand it. God forbid you want to Google the tax rules and figure out how to do taxes if you’re a small business or perhaps you want to read the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and read over 1,000 pages on health exchanges. If Government can implement guidance and structure that is more straightforward and could be understood by the common man, I think they’d gain a lot more of our trust and approval.

I’m Crying Because I’m So Happy

Took the kids to a couple events this weekend that freaked them out pretty good. On Saturday, we ventured down to Blobfest in Phoenixville. Phoenixville is where the movie, The Blob, was first filmed. There is a scene where The Blob invaded a movie theater and all the patrons ran out of the movie theater screaming. Now, on an annual basis, people reenact the scene and run from the Phoenixville movie theater screaming. We didn’t see the people running from the theater, but on Saturday they blocked off the main street, had a great rockabilly band playing on the street and a costume contest with about 9 people going for the title. Jaclyn suggested that aspiring costume contest winners should compete at the Blobfest as competition was minimal. I am not sure who won, but I would have given my vote for best costume to the guy dressed as the Swamp Man. Its funny how scarey characters usually have the word “The’ before their name, I guess that could be cause for concern for The Edman.

In addition to the rock band and costume contests, there was a classic car show and lots of booths selling morbid paraphernalia. We didn’t buy anything other than an iced coffee. The kids were anxious to leave and couldn’t understand why we were at The Blobfest and why it was cause for celebration. Glad we saw the Blobfest, but Shadfest beats Blobfest any day.

On Sunday, we saw the movie Brave. Brave is a really intense movie with the main character’s mother turning into a giant and scary bear. Winston and Dalia were scared to death and both stated on several occasions that they wanted to go home. I made them rough it out (movie tickets are expensive!). At the movie’s conclusion, as the main character triumphed and was able to reverse the curse and get the bear turned back to her mother (a very powerful scene that had the many of the eyes in the audience misty), Winston shouted through his heavy crying, “I’M CRYING BECAUSE I’M SO HAPPY!” He had never experienced such emotion in his life and he shared it with the whole audience. Winston and Dalia both agreed that we shouldn’t turn Jaclyn into a bear.

Statue of Joe Paterno

I suspect there will be calls for the toppling of Joe Paterno’s statue now that the public has a good idea that he was involved in protecting Jerry Sandusky. I know this will be an unpopular stance, but I think it needs to stay where it is…forever. If this statue was initially constructed to evoke pride and to glorify the popular coach, it now can serve a much deeper and higher calling, it can spawn a wave of contemplation on the complexities of life, the ups and downs, the decisions we make. This statue can remind us that no one is perfect, not the winning-est coach, not the president of an university. It can remind us that while the truth hurts, hiding the truth can hurt much worse. It can remind you that no matter how successful you are, you should never marginalize the strife of the poor, the young, or the vulnerable. When I look at this statue, I think about the power of accountability, how the tragic stories of abuse became diluted as they passed from janitor to supervisor, from assistant coach to head coach to athletic director, from athletic director to university president, the horrific action, went from first hand accounts of tragic abuse, to emails on amicably releasing an employee with compensation. You can look at this statue and say, “I would have stopped this.”, but you wouldn’t have, too many people from all walks of life had an opportunity to halt this tragic series of events and they didn’t, the sample size is big enough, you would not have stopped this from happening, whether you were the police (involved), the janitor (involved), the psychologist (involved), athletic director (involved), university president (involved), assistant coach (involved), or head coach (involved). This statue can remind us, that we need to be accountable, we have the power and responsibility to improve this world, no matter our role, we can do better.

Sunflower Seeds & Other Stuff

I bought a bag of sunflower seeds from the grocery store the other day. Back when I played baseball all the time for the highschool, Connie Mack, and DAA teams, I used to eat hundreds of seeds every week. Some kids on the highschool team experimented with chewing tobacco and I was even forced to try it once. I pinched a little bit of it and followed the instructions of a 17 year old derelict who demonstrated by pulling out his bottom lip and inserted a clump of it between his gums and lip, as I did the same and felt the immediate sensation of many little cuts and mint flavor, I spit it out and said the whole thing was retarded. Why the heck was it cutting the me? The 17 year old said there’s fiberglass in it to make tiny cuts in your lips and gums, so that the nicotine can get into your blood stream. I remember thinking, “Do you know how crazy you sound? You bought something to cut up the inside of your month, it can ultimately give you cancer, if you accidentally swallow it, you’ll throw up, and best of all, it has absolutely no effect on you at all.” I could understand people drinking beer or wine if it resulted in cancer because some people really enjoy the relaxation that accompanies intoxication, there’s a tangible sensation that results from consuming alcohol. If you’re addicted to nicotine, I understand that you need to have it, but for someone just starting out, there’s really no benefit in trying it, but the potential downside of smelling bad and getting cancer. I hope my kids can avoid nicotine.

So I was driving home from work, which is now a pretty long drive and I’m eating sunflower seeds. I toss a handful into my mouth, taste the salty coating of the shells transition into my saliva, I use my back teeth to crack the shell, fish out the seed with my tongue, crush the seed and swallow it, spit the shell out the window. This process was going along fine, but as my car approached 75 MPH on the Turnpike, the disposal of the shells became more challenging and I feared that the car behind me would end up with shells on its windshield or I would cause an accident, I guess that’s why baseball players eat the seeds and you don’t see them prominently featured at NASCAR races.

It got me thinking about what materials are appropriate for disposal out of car windows, here’s my guidance on the issue:

Sunflower seeds – Allowed, except when traveling greater than 45 MPH

Apple core, banana peel, and orange peel – Allowed, but should only be thrown out the window in wooded areas, should not be thrown in someone’s front yard

Gum – Now Allowed. It can get stuck on someone’s shoe and I do not think it disintegrates rapidly

Cigarette Butts – Not Allowed. Not sure what they are made of, but they don’t seem to disintegrate, plus I’ve seen my curious kids pick them up and ask what they are, yuck

Paper Products – Not Allowed, unless it is money or a newspaper. Someone please ban the practice of Yellow Book deliveries too, I just pick up the phone book from the end of my driveway and throw it in the garbage, what a waste

Meat or dead animal – I can’t think of a reason why this would be a problem, try to throw it near an existing carcass if possible

Winston + Popcorn Seed = Trip To Hospital

Jaclyn finally got some reprieve from the kids and me, on Saturday night she was going to a bachelorette party with some girlfriends. I was in charge of watching the kids which I usually interpret as feeding them with mindless distractions to keep them occupied and minimize how much “watching” I need to do. A couple guys from the gang came over to hang out and have some beers and watch one of my all-time favorite movies, Step Brothers. I set the kids up with some popcorn in the upstairs office and put on the movie Horton Hears A Who.

After about 15 minutes and one Coors Light, I went upstairs to make sure the kids were good and ready for bed. As I walked up the stairs, Winston intercepted me in the hallway with a brief but complex question, “How do you get a popcorn seed out of your ear?”

My mind immediately established that it had no good answer to the question. I asked, “Do you have a popcorn seed in your ear?” Winston looked at me with the reality of the situation kind of sinking in and responded, “Yes…but how do I get it out?”

I did what any good father would do, I Googled “remove popcorn seed from ear”. Google offered that this was a problem that a parent should not try to solve as worsening the issue is the most common result. Google also said to take the child to the doctor quickly as swelling can begin and complicate the extraction. I told the gang that there’s a seed in my son’s ear and I need to leave for the hospital, I am sure my friends immediately questioned my parenting prowess. The Edman took a photo of the popcorn seed with his iPhone.

Here’s a side story. Awhile back, when I was a self-employed consultant, Dalia was born at the Doylestown Hospital. My health insurance was super expensive and super crappy, Dalia’s delivery at the hospital ended up costing us thousands of dollars which I paid promptly, but we had neighbors who said they just told the hospital they were broke and got out of paying tons of money when they had to go to the emergency room. I remember being disgruntled by my neighbor’s lack of willingness to contribute to the system that they benefited from, I wondered if I was an idiot for paying super expensive health insurance (COBRA), getting super high deductibles/copayments, and then paying it all promptly while my neighbors were just not paying anything. I am happy that the Affordable Care Act was passed so everyone will be required to contribute to the system, as deadbeats annoy me.

Anyways, we got to the Doylestown Hospital around 9PM and the staff was pleasant and got us into an exam room quickly. A nurse had some special tools which seemed to be designed for this precise occasion and extracted the seed within minutes. I was so impressed by the cleanliness of the hospital, the staff, the upbeat attitude, and overall quality of care, it made me proud that I paid the insurance + hospital bills for Dalia’s birth, because that is a great hospital.

The Edman is getting married soon and I went to pick him out a gift on his registry. I have concluded that registries are crap, 99% of the stuff listed on them are totally for the girl. Here’s what you see on every registry: plates, silverware, glasses, bed stuff, vacuum, more bed stuff, and more kitchen stuff. Here’s what I would put on my registry if I was getting married: kegarator, Phillies tickets, Yogi Berra signed baseball with the saying “It Aint Over Till Its Over” written on it, Call of Duty for the XBOX 360, large Rebel Popper fishing lure, Greg Luzinski rookie card, keg for the kegarator, a nice bottle of tequila, two Miller Light pint glasses, a shot glass shaped like a boot, and one of those lampshade shaped hats that Asian farmers wear.

I waited to tell Jaclyn about the popcorn seed incident until she returned home, she asked why Winston put the seed in his ear, again my mind immediately established that it had no good answer to the question, other than he’s my son.