Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Hello Friend

My photographer friend Megan Owens and her husband Rodd are on vacation for a few weeks. (I shamelessly heisted their photo off of her blog so you can see who I'm talking about - yeah, two photographers and not a damned picture taken between us last night) They live in northern Idaho, and they drove out through the Dakotas and down through Iowa and Moberly/Macon Missouri, where she has relatives. And they stopped by here and took us to dinner at Murry's (thanks guys, we really didn't expect you to pay!!!) and we spent several hours talking. They were off toward the Lake of the Ozarks today, and then out to ... mmmmm, Colorado. They should be there for some nice aspenglow.

Megan and I met on the innertubewebs. She'd been searching for pictures of the Maroon Bells and found my blog entries from September (probably posted in October) 2006 when Vicki, Sam and I were out there.

It turns out Megan and Rodd had been out there the same week we had. Megan and i share a passion for photography and wide-open spaces with interesting landscapes... yeah, Mountains, too ... and so we've had quite a bit to talk about the past couple of years over the internet. We were emailing back and forth so much to begin with that Vicki started jokingly calling her my "internet girlfriend".

They were every bit as nice and decent, down-to-earth people as they seemed from her emails. We have an awful lot in common.

Megan is an excellent photographer who would probably only need a little luck to make it professionally. Her work quality is all there. She knows what she's doing. She has a real eye and a knack. Grew up in her dad's dark room doing film. She works in digital now and can do some amazing stuff. You should check her site out. I send people who think I'm good out to her site to see what someone who really knows what they're doing can do. If she's not making a living doing it, my chances of making it at my dream job are less than slim :-)

We traded stories and routes to travel, places to stop in the Colorado mountains, and of course I'm expecting to see some pictures when they get back to Idaho.

'Course, that'll probably be after I see Sarah's from their trip out west. Hear that, Sarah? ;-)

Oh, for you photography freaks out there -- or even if you just take a lot of pictures of your family ... you should really check out this site she introduced me to in the last couple of years. Ken Rockwell has some great advice for anybody with a camera. He is the anti-elitist, honest-to-goodness professional photographer who knows what's going on between your ears is actually far more important that your camera equipment.


Our grandson has a mild/moderate case of hemophilia. It's a pretty rare, genetic "bleeding disorder".

Kristin's starting a blog about being a Hemophilia Mom.

We went to Kansas City last weekend with Kristin (and Trenton!) for a regional hemophilia conference and learned quite a bit about it. I was a little freaked out hearing the stories of especially the severe cases and what can happen to their joints and how expensive treatment is. It's pretty expensive... but Trenton shouldn't need it nearly as often as the severe cases. He has to be careful... no massive bumps or severe cuts or he'll really need the "factor" ... a protein that makes normal people's blood clot.

You and I have a 50% or better "factor" level. I think hemophiliacs have under 10%. 3-5% is mild to moderate. 2% or less is severe. And basically, if you get cut and you don't get "factor" infused, you run the risk of bleeding to death. It just won't stop.

We learned a lot and met other families and people with the disease. It's nice to have a support community to share stories and tips. Turns out they've decided it's best that they remain active -- musculo-skeletal health as well as cardiovascular health is important, plus the more they can be like other kids, the better off mentally they will be. They encourage them to play sports if they want to ... probably not football (though we did hear from a guy who was a kicker. Still he took a pretty good shot on a fake punt and couldn't walk for a day or so after that).

We got to go to a Kansas City Royals game with the group as part of the package. Met Matt and Brooke tailgating in the stadium parking lot, and then headed into the game. The Royals beat the White Sox 5-3, and we had a good time. A bus took us there and back to the hotel.

Vicki and I hit the Hereford House restaurant ... the bar area, and met this couple from Springfield Missouri. The man had graduated from Manchester College in Indiana where Vicki's grandfather graduated (and taught there we think) and mom & Aunt Fern went to school there -- Aunt Fern and Vicki's cousin Andie graduated from there as well. So we chatted it up with them for a couple of hours, went to bed, and finished the conference the next morning by asking questions of doctors and specialists and hemophiliacs. It was a good thing for us to go to.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Here Comes the Rain Again

Well folks, if you've been following along, you'll recall the great drainage project of 2008, where I replaced much of the sump pump hose with PVC pipe, running it the 6 feet up the wall, out through the hole, back down a bit to near the ground, and out away from the house to a downspout diverter.

I cleaned a gutter, and have had no more problems with water coming in the basement.

That is, until last night.

We got 3.6" of rain over about 24 hours (it could have been MUCH worse, as it was further to our southeast) from the remains of Hurricane Ike as it moved up a cold front that moved through early this morning.

I'd even gone out to Lowes a few days ago and had gotten a one way flow valve to keep the water left in the pipe after the sump drained from running down and filling the sump again. I was actually pretty psyched for this test of my new system.

Unfortunately, in the interest of being able to take the thing apart and remove it if I had to, I didn't pvc glue the stuff on the outside of the house. And unfortunately, what with the pump kicking on every 20 seconds through the heavy rain last night, it blew one of the joints loose and deposited a lot of water right next to the basement wall. And of course that water worked its way down to that weak spot right behind the couch in our basement. When I came downstairs this morning I heard and felt the cold squish of wet carpet beneath my bare feet.

Worse than it had ever been.

Soooooooooooooo.... I spent most of the morning and part of the afternoon using the carpet cleaner vac to suck water out of the carpet. I probably removed 10 or 12 gallons of water.

Went out to Wal-Mart and got some plastic sliders to get the wooden feet of the furniture up off of the wet carpet, and I have the box fan going full-tilt boogie over the floor. We've opened the house up ... it's lovely outside. It's been right around 60 degrees all day, on its way down to the mid 40's tonight.

Yesterday we went to the Mizzou/Nevada game, and sat in the rain with BrianM, Pam, BrianC, & Deanna and watched the Tigers rack up a school record tying 69 points against the poor Wolf Pack of Nevada. I'm a tad worried about our pass defense. Hope they can fix that. (Picture was taken on my lousy phone camera)

It rained on again, off again. Sometimes light, sometimes moderate. Sometimes stopping completely. It was warm and humid ... we kept putting our ponchos on and taking them off because ... well, they were hot.

Went to Aires Pizza with the Carletons afterward, then came home and watched the Boisie State/Oklahoma Fiesta Bowl game from a couple of years ago (Vicki bought the DVD ... it's probably the most exciting game of college football ... ever!)

We'll probably be all week drying out this basement.

We may get a chance to meet photographer and blogger friend Megan and her husband Rodd here early next week ... they're on a road trip through the Rockies for some fall color and then I think they're coming to visit some family in Missouri and will hopefully be able to stop by and hang out a while on their way through. So that's pretty exciting.

Our weekends are getting pretty booked. Got a hemophilia conference next weekend (Trenton has a mild case of hemophilia and the whole Carleton family has been very involved in this organization for a while. Hey, we need to learn how to keep the little guy intact!!!!) Then a wedding. Then Fort Wayne/Carmel/Yosmeite (two weekends) and by that time it's late October. Come November there'll be Thanksgiving (more Fort Wayne) and the busy Christmas season and... man... it doesn't end, does it?

Well, like I've said since I've been an adult. Life is all about the people!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

He Lives

Yeah. I've been bad, bad, bad about posting.

Somewhere back in there my MP3 player's hard drive went out. I use it a lot. 30 GB of music on a 40 GB player. But it turns out you can replace those hard drives, and the music was replacable. With a bigger one. So now I have a 60 GB player. Which comes in handy on those long trips.

Ummm, what else, what else? Our grandson -- who is seriously the cutest baby I have ever seen... ever... we get to babysit him fairly often, and we're always ready to do it.

He's a big boy, wearing 6-9 month clothes at 4.5 months. But both of his parents have significant stature, so that's not surprising. We get to spend time with Brian and Kristin quite a bit, and we're very happy that they live so close and we have the opportunity.

A couple of weekends ago we went to visit Kevin and Angela, whom we hadn't seen in a while, in St. Louis. We saw the house they're living in for the first time. It's small, but it's such a cool old house. The dogs were happy to see us, but I'm pretty sure they're happy to see anyone. I wonder if Mia really remembers us - couple of years ago we had her for a couple of months because Kevin couldn't have her where he was living.

We went to an REI store, where ... stun! I didn't buy anything. Vicki bought a couple of things for Angela and for Kevin. She's such a mom. Can't help herself. We also went to Trader Joes -- which neither of us had ever been to. It was pretty cool. And of course we had to pick up some Three Buck Chuck there. So we have plenty of wine now for the fall season. And I got a couple of special release ales that came in champagne style bottles as well. A quick stop at Ted Drewes for that famous St. Louis frozen custard filled us up pretty well, so we headed back to their house for a few hours before hitting Shlafley's Bottleworks for dinner.

We had appetizers, and they'd just released their pumpkin ale. I'm a big fan of pumpkin ales. It was really good. They released it to distributors a couple of days later and I grabbed a couple of six packs when we got back to Columbia.

Went to Ryan and Kristie's for Labor day. Brian and Trenton came along. Kristin had to work. We had a brat & hamburger grill-out and enjoyed some time on their deck and lake. Went down to The Man Cave and checked out the firearms and camping equipment, talked about safes and all kinds of guy stuff. Finished off the evening with a nice cigar on the deck, and headed back home.

About halfway home, the AC in Vicki's car suddenly went out. The estimate on that's $1,000 to $1,600 -- wow. At least half of it will be labor. But I ain't doin' it, so I'm payin' for the labor.

It's cooled off this week between a cold front and the remnants of Hurricane Gustav. It is September. Temperatures start falling in earnest in about 5 weeks, according to some research I did back in grad school ... not that it won't fall some between now and then.

My car gave me a little scare... the day we took Vicki's car in to get the AC system checked, I was getting a "whap-whap-whap-whap-whap" noise every time I coasted to a stop and had the clutch pushed in. But after driving 10 minutes on rain soaked roads yesterday, it stopped. So I'm thinking it was some mud gluing something to the drive shaft and now it's gone.

And that about catches you up.