Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stardate 62914.12 - Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving Cheryl and I decided to do things a little differently. With her due date in January, we decided we won't be traveling over Christmas. Since it was the year to visit Virginia for Christmas (we alternate between families), we decided to go down there over Thanksgiving instead. To try and avoid traffic as well as many Loren-requested stops, we left Wednesday evening at 7 PM. Loren slept in the car starting around 9:45 or so, and with only 2 stops we made it to Verona at 1:40 AM Thursday morning. It made for a tired day on Thanksgiving, but the trip was faster than if Loren had been awake and demanding a stop every couple of hours or so. Saturday night we did the same thing, leaving Virginia at 7 PM and arriving back home around 1:15 AM Sunday morning.

We did the Thanksgiving meal at Ginger's, where Aidan, Zach, and Loren played dress-up before lunch was served.

Loren got a little time in with the XBox 360.

After the meal was over we hung out for a while, catching up.

Later today or tomorrow I'll post some more pictures, but we didn't really take too many. My Mom will probably send me of hers and I'll post some of those.


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Stardate 62900.21 - Top Hotels for Business Travelers

I don't travel on business any more (one of the advantages to having a job with a local client), but I do keep my eyes open for interesting travel items. Forbes just released a survey on the best hotels for business travelers (click here for the survey). None of the hotels listed are ones I've ever stayed at, but it was interesting that personalization and customization are rated pretty highly. I also appreciate that (which is why I'm a member of a dozen hotel loyalty programs), but the customization at places I stay seems to be pretty minimal. Apparently, I need a higher class of hotel.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Stardate 62894.23 - Too Cute!

Here Loren poses in her new poncho last Sunday before she and Cheryl went to NJ for the day (I was still recovering from surgery).


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stardate 62884.65 - Jess on EpicFu!

Jessica Stover was interviewed by EpicFu -- click here for the video (Jess appears about half-way through the segment).


Stardate 62885.83 - Medical Report

As many of you already know, I had surgery last Wednesday for a Right Inguinal Hernia. This is something I'm pretty sure I've had for over a year, but as the doctor told me, "Hernias never get better, they can only get worse." So I finally scheduled the surgery at NYU Medical Center (same hospital where Loren was born).

I know some of my friends and co-workers have already had this procedure, but for anyone else who may need it now or in the future I wanted to briefly talk about my experience. People with no interest in this type of thing can stop reading and hope for a new picture of Loren tomorrow. Some people may feel this is too much information, but I found it very helpful to talk to people who had already been through the procedure so if my experience can help set people at ease who are anticipating this procedure then that is what I want to do.

I had to go in 10-14 days in advance for a pre-surgery screening and other than a 2-hour wait that was uneventful - drawing some blood, an EKG, and a lot of questions. The day before the surgery I received my instructions and my time - no food or drink starting at midnight Tuesday and report at 0730 Wednesday morning. After meeting with every single person who would be working on me (and even the people who clean the room, I think!) and answering the same questions over and over I was finally ready for the procedure. The doctor was running about 30 minutes late, but I was quickly taken into the surgical room around 0900 and climbed up onto the table. There was some small talk, I was given an IV and oxygen, and then I don't remember anything until being woken up post-op and asked to help move off the table onto a gurney.

I was wheeled into recovery and asked if I wanted anything to eat or drink. I was very tired and groggy, so I asked for some decaf coffee. As soon as I drank a sip, I realized I was very nauseous. After lying on the bed for 30 minutes or so they moved me into a chair. They asked me about the pain - on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain ever (the time I broke 3 ribs and the morning after when I sneezed both came to mind). I replied the pain was a 2 or a 3, but the nausea was overwhelming. They gave me something in the IV for that (along with a lot of fluid), but it didn't help. Later they gave me a shot of something in the leg that was supposed to help. It helped me enough to get into a cab with help from Cheryl and get home around 1330, but I felt like I had the stomach flu. I went to bed and didn't get up until the next morning. I would sleep for 2 hours, get up to use the bathroom, and go back to sleep.

The nausea didn't dissipate until Thursday afternoon, and I didn't completely get my appetite back until Sunday. The entire time from the surgery through today the pain has been around a 1-2. The pain was completely dwarfed by the nausea, which I understand can happen from general anesthesia. In fact, the pain was so low I didn't even use the Percocet they prescribed for me and instead just used over-the-counter ibuprofen. In fact, I haven't even taken an ibuprofen in more than 24 hours as I write this post.

My friend Brian Hampton told me that the worst part would be getting up in the morning, and he was right. Everything is just sore and it is hard to get out of bed, but once I am up I am fine. I have an appointment this Friday with the doctor for a follow-up and I'm hoping the dressing gets removed--think about having a few napkins held on you by plastic wrap. Lets just say the itching really started kicking in yesterday.

So I spent Thursday and Friday off of work and watching nearly an entire season of Star Trek: Voyager (most of season three and the start of season four). Saturday I took it easy with the family, and on Sunday Cheryl took Loren to New Jersey to her parents' place so I could have another day with minimal activity. I worked a half-day from home on Monday and was back up to a full day yesterday (I'll be telecommuting through the end of the week). I should be able to go back to work in person the Monday before Thanksgiving.

Overall, it wasn't too bad. The pain was a lot less than I anticipated but the nausea was much, much worse. Apparently being under a general doesn't affect everyone the same, but for me it was so much worse than any other part of the procedure. I also recommend people really listen and take it easy for several days so that you have time to recover and heal up -- I was pretty tired for the next few days and was in bed by 9 PM for a few days afterward.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Stardate 62876.61 - Team GeoTrax!

Here is Loren with her GeoTrax train set we gave her for her birthday (and Grandma and Grandpop gave her the tunnel accessory).


Stardate 62876.53 - Loren's Birthday, Actual

On Loren's actual birthday she opened up her GeoTrax gifts (actually, I set them up the night before). Cheryl stopped for cupcakes on the way home from school and we had a little mini-party just for the family that night at home.


Friday, November 14, 2008

Stardate 62870.93 - Loren's Birthday Party

It was Loren's birthday this week, and we held a birthday party for Loren on Saturday the 8th at Moonsoup. Before the party, Loren practices her present opening skills when a gift from Nanna and Kracker arrived. The party was a big success with around 15 kids and 20 adults. Cheryl's parents and Grandmother came in to help out, as we needed to transport food and beverage to the location and brings gifts back home afterwards.

Moonsoup had a large playroom that the kids enjoyed running around in.

Denise and Greg were able to visit from Monroe, NY.

Loren really enjoyed blowing out the candles on her cake, and she enjoyed eating the icing off her piece even more!

After the party, Denise and Greg and Allison and Max came back to our place with Cheryl's parents and Grandmother. Allison especially liked the drill toy that Nanna and Kracker had sent for Loren!

It was a great success and we were very happy so many of Loren's friends were able to attend!


Sunday, November 09, 2008

Stardate 62856.16 - Loren's Third Halloween

For Halloween we bought Loren a new doctor costume and pirate costume and let her choose which she wanted to wear. When we were in Arkansas we also picked up a Halloween shirt for her to wear to school on Halloween during the day, before the "fall festival" began. She decided to take the pirate costume with her for the festival.

After school, Cheryl took Loren down to Peter Cooper Village to where our friends Chris and Lisa and their daughter were participating in their local Halloween event outside.

Once back home, Loren decided she wanted to be a cat for trick-or-treating in our building (Cheryl ran into the Super and mentioned to him about not being able to trick-or-treat in the building and he told her our building does do trick-or-treating and that there was a sign-up sheet). Loren remembered her cat costume from last year and when Cheryl pulled it out of the drawer we found that it still fit (barely!).

People signed up if they wanted to hand out candy, although many people just ended up placing it on tables in the hallways with a sign saying "Help Yourself!". Loren was very good at taking only 1 piece, and in fact for our second stop she put her first piece into their collection before taking a new one. We told her that she could actually keep one piece per stop!

Then we went back so we could start handing out candy at 7 PM (we signed up to hand out candy, but only after 7). We had probably 5-10 groups stop by, including the mother of twins who are Loren's age. In fact, they ended up inviting us to their birthday party today (Sunday). We would have returned the favor, however our party from yesterday was already at capacity for the facility (we'll try and post pictures today or tomorrow).


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Stardate 62854.65 - Arkansas

A couple of weekends ago we took a trip to Arkansas to visit Cheryl's brother Steve, his wife Rachel, and their two children Ethan and Ellie. They have been in Arkansas for more than a year, and we've been saying we needed to get down there for a visit so we finally put a trip on the calendar. We flew out on Friday the 17th and back on Monday the 20th. On Saturday, we went to a wild animal safari and Loren got to see her favorite again - Zebras!

We were a little concerned about the donkeys that seemed to be in or right next door to the tiger cages, but then we saw the following sign:

The animals didn't seem too "wild" and frequently came right up to the cars or pretty much ignored us.

This one ostrich, however, came right up to the car and began pecking at the glass. He (or she) did this for a good 2 minutes before I gently moved the car forward. The ostrich did continue to follow us for another 30 seconds or so before moving away off of the road.

After the ride through the park, which turned out to be longer than we expected, the kids were hungry and thirsty and ready for a snack.

We then entered the petting portion of the facility, where we were immediately beset upon by hungry goats.

Loren did help feed them.

Then we found the ceramic gorilla for the kids to climb on and pose for pictures.

On Sunday we went to Drake Field to see the planes and the big hit was a helicopter that the kids could get inside of and play. They had a blast pretending to drive.

We also had a lot of fun just hanging out and watching the kids play in the back yard. Loren's favorite toys were the Geotrack trains, although I think the gas pump for the little red car is a close second.

We flew back on Monday with minimal delays on both ends, although there were some slight delays.

It was a great trip overall, and Loren's favorite place we ate at during the trip was Mad Pizza, which she still talked about for a couple of days after we got home.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Stardate 62850.60 - Busy, Busy, Busy

Things have been crazy these past couple of weeks. I was very busy with preparations for the General Election and then I worked a 20-hour day on Tuesday. I'm finally getting a chance to catch my breath and realized that we haven't posted anything in over a week, including the photos from our trip to Arkansas (the photo above is one from that trip).

I'm quite happy that Palin...I mean McCain...lost the election. It made the long, long day bearable. I won't get into a long political rant or anything, but I think this country has been on the wrong path for a while and it really is time for a change. And McCain can claim to be a maverick all he wants, but by picking Palin as his running mate the Republicans have proven once again that they pander, pander, pander to the religious right. If only they would focus on fiscal conservatism and leave the social issues alone they'd be a party I might like. Back in April I wrote about political parties and my beliefs, so I won't repeat them here. Regardless, I was pleased with the outcome.

Now I have to get Loren ready for school and me ready for work. TGIF. We'll try to get the Arkansas pictures up on Sunday.