Friday, January 17, 2014


I know this blog has not grown much in reputation.  In fact, I would dare say that there wasn't much to begin with since I started this blog with little idea of what I was doing or how I wanted to do it.  I felt that something needed to be said, but I wasn't sure how I would say it.  After a time, the voice would find itself, or so was the idea back in March 2006.

Things went pretty well.  I made about half of the posts up to this point in that inaugural year.  Didn't get much exposure, but this was before I got into Facebook, and well before I discovered Twitter.

Then things got really crazy, and everything about my reputation changed.  In July of the same year, I started a new blog that gave me an entirely new reputation, for good and ill.  Mostly good I would like to think, but even after nearly seven years a father, I still think there is room for improvement.

Right now my reputation as a reliable blogger would not be accurate, but I want to change that around.  I've been listening to an audiobook version of The School Revolution by Ron Paul and part of the curriculum is to keep a blog.  Posts don't have to be long, 250 words is ideal.  Mostly because blogging becomes part of the curriculum in the sixth grade.  With that idea of posting 250 words a day, I figured it would be worth it try again.

One goal I have for 2014 is to attain my Amateur Radio Operators Licence.  Antennas are a part of the materials I'm studying, and I have come across the term 'resonant frequency.'  Seems that resonance isn't just for destructive purposes, though if I remembered what a tuning fork did when eight years ago my first post would not be quite as rambling.

Regardless, in order to turn this into a reputable blog, work needs to be done.  And that's what I intend to do from this day forward.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

New Digs

Things have been a little crazy over the past few weeks. I broke my back and was in the hospital for four days. I was back at work the next week, but I was wearing my clamshell brace the entire time. When I went for the follow up appointment on 7 Mar 2011, the doctor told me that I probably wouldn't have to wear a brace, and he was surprised when I demonstrated that I was wearing one. He then told me that it would be in my best interest to take my brace off for a few hours at a time. He also told me 'formally' that I should not drive while wearing my brace. Combine the two pieces of advice, and I can drive again!

When I got home that evening, I took off the brace, and kept it off for about 90 hours. (three and a half days) The reason I put it back on, was because Friday morning when I got to work, it felt like there was a piece of hot glass right at the fracture point, which was the L1 vertebra. I took my brace and put it on as tight as I could manage, and I felt fine. I was a little stiff and had to make more of an effort to breathe, but I was functional yet again, with minimal pain.

All the while, things were being moved to the new apartment, but there was still a big thing missing: Beds for our daughters. We had been searching around, with the main focus being Kijiji, and just last week we found something. A set of bunk beds, two end tables, and two chests of drawers, all in a very fine wood. Not sure what kind, might be maple or birch, but there are very nice. The best part? It cost $200 for the entire set. We could not believe our good fortune!

Also the fact that we were able to move into this apartment in Beaumont, which has always been a dream of Caitlin's to have our own place in this town. The amazing thing is that it's cheaper than many places in Edmonton! There are some advantages to having a single income household. Most people would wonder how we get by on so little money, but I just grateful that things have worked out as well as they have.

There are a few trouble spots on the horizon, such as the fact that I have yet to get a response regarding my student loans repayment assistance application, but there was a massive SNAFU simply because I wrote the wrong date on the application. Instead of 1 Dec 2010, I put 30 Nov 2010. This was too early, and I was told this when the deadline had almost run out. Furthermore, there was a mark on my application for permanent disability, so it had to be reviewed in Ottawa, and I was told if there was any further documentation needed then I would be notified accordingly. The only issue with that is I thought the permanent disability application was discarded because I failed to produce a doctor's note stating my situation.

In any case, it's been nearly two months since I put in my application, and both the National Student Loans and Alberta Student Loan people are starting to breathe down my neck. The other day I got a letter printed on green paper reminding me that payment is due. Every time I get one of those notifications, I call in and they tell me not to worry, because the application is still being processed.

I wish I could just get rid of that debt, but I brought it upon myself, and I'll have to get out of it myself.

However, our new apartment has been working quite well for us. It's smaller than what we're used to, and we're still searching through stuff and sending clothes to Goodwill, but this has been a long time coming. Even when we were moving in, there were a number of things that we threw out. There was a shirt that I inherited from Chris that was too big and had more than a few holes. Caitlin threw it out while I was incapacitated. Eh, I have lots more shirts, so I don't think I'll miss that one!

The other thing that I need to work through is the orange foot locker I got from my Grandpa Joe. It has stuff in there going back to when I was seven or eight years old. WAY BACK. My plan is to take pictures of things, make a blog entry about it, and then toss or donate it. I'm certain there are some toys in there too, and those I might give to Erini and Bronwyn, depending on what shape they're in. I can start with that project now because we picked up the camera from the Tolley's on Sunday.

There is still a bunch of stuff that's over there, such as all the boxes in the Mezzanine, and a couple of jackets, and there's my murse that I can't seem to find anywhere. Caitlin suggested that it's hanging behind my striped jacket, but I'll have to check next time we're over there.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


Monday 21 Feb 2011 Life changed in an instant for my family. We were enjoying the lovely sledding activity at Bearspaw, though I was a little concerned that the hill was so steep, and slick. I just wanted to show off my new sled, the Zipfy, that I had not had a lot of chance to try out. Previously, I had taken a few runs, and hit the jump at the bottom, sending myself, and my daughter all over the hill. The second to last run I tried my hardest to stay on course, and with the big blue sled, it seemed natural to lean back after I went over the jump. I now wonder if that is what did me in. On my final run, using the Zipfy sled, I had a good start, good run, and moments before I hit the jump at the bottom the though crossed my mind that I was going far too fast. A shame I didn't act on it, because over the jump I went, and down I came. Unlike the previous Zipfy run, I tried to keep the sled under my butt. This transferred the shock of impact right through me, and peaked at my L1 vertebrae, inducing a burst fracture of the spinal column segment.

I didn't know those particular details at the time, but what I did know was that I was hurt. Very badly. There were a few boys from Jamie Brown's family who asked if I was ok after they celebrated my amazing jump. Then their inquiry turned to alert, then panic when I told them that I was not okay, and I needed help. They called, “MEDIC!” and waved their arms crossing them above their heads, the universal sign of help, and Caitlin came down as quick as she could. A little too quick, but she was able to stop herself from doing a faceplant in the snow. The best I could do was roll around, and Caitlin helped stretch out my back. I was quite comfortable lying on the snow, and as it turns out, icing a break is the best thing to do.

But I couldn't stay there forever, and after some rolling around, I managed to get to my feet. With the aid of Caitlin and Mike Meldrum, we were able to slowly walk up the hill. Some would say it was the longest walk ever, and while it was painful, I just focused on taking one step at a time, and before I knew it, we were at the top. Once at the top, I walked unaided back to the church building where I was looked over my Mark Sommerfelt. He checked to make sure all parts of my legs were still responsive, indicating there wasn't any nerve damage, but he strongly advised getting xrays to be sure what was wrong, and further advised it would be best to get an ambulance to take me there. In hindsight, that might have been a good idea, but when he made that ambulance suggestion, that's when the Tolley's showed up. I then opted to get a ride with Dad Tolley to the Grey Nuns Emergency in their GMC Sonoma. The most difficult thing was getting in and out of the vehicle.

Once at the hospital, Dad Tolley got me a wheelchair so that I didn't have to walk anymore, and that helped a little. After the preliminary check-in, he left me in the waiting room and told me to call him when they have a full diagnosis. It was at this point that I really had to use the bathroom, and was able to do so successfully. At the time I was just relieved to empty my bladder, but the fact I had full control of my bladder and bowels meant I had very little, if any, spinal nerve damage.

Once I was seen by a doctor, they but me on a bed with a slider board, in Front Hallway #2 area. With the exception of going for xrays and a CT scan, I was there for seven and a half hours. I'll tell you this much, if you think that hospitals are boring, try staring at the ceiling for seven hours! To be fair, I had my cell phone with me, and I was posting to Facebook and Twitter like there was no limit to my text plan. I also made a few calls, but it was encouraging to get words from people that were worried about me, and hoping all the best for my recovery.

I was a little frustrated, thinking that this was all a little overblown, and that I was going to be discharged once they came back with the results from the xray. When the doctor came back with a somber look on his face, then announced that I had fractured my L1, my entire attitude changed. I started crying and I was near inconsolable. The attending nurse asked if I needed a painkiller, to which I just told him that I was really freaked out. He told me to think positive.

There are few times in my life that I have felt quite that vulnerable. My other visits to the hospital, such as May 16, 2005, and November 3, 2004 are very close to match the intensity of worry and fear that choked my soul. Another time I had the same sense of dread was when I failed two courses in my second year. I was forced to face consequences for my actions and the reality of failure. With the engineering courses, they were quite difficult and required a significant amount of work, something that I didn't put in to the full force that I should have. Yes, I finished my degree and never had to take Dean's Vacation, but sometimes I wonder if that would have given me the needed boot in the rear that could have got me into a career that has a bit more of a future than an office assistant.

I need to get my resume and cover letter prepped for the tech position a family friend has waiting in the wings. It's not based in Edmonton, but it should pay sufficient, and it should also be a bit more fulfilling than what I do now.

Returning to the matter of my injury, after the CT scan confirmed the fracture, the official word was L1 burst fracture. The treatment would involve a back brace, which would be fitted at the Royal Alexandria Hospital, north of the downtown core. That meant I would have to be transported via ambulance. That was quite the experience, because they had to put a collar on me, strap me down to a spinal board, which was thicker and harder than the one I been lying on for the past eight hours. Though the trip was less than half an hour, my pelvic bone was just screaming in pain by the time we got there. Once I was on a bed, and the board was out, I was much relieved.

Then I needed to get some basic examinations. Like a rectal exam. As of 11:15pm 21 Feb 2011, I no longer have a virgin butt. Not to say it was a painful experience, just awkward. Especially since it was a male doctor that did the exam, and four female nurses were watching. That kind of sounds like a really kinky porn movie.

The events that followed get a little fuzzy. Largely due to the morphine that I was given to deal with the pain that I said was like a 12 on a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the highest. In retrospect, I probably didn't need the meds that bad. But that's in retrospect, and when you're in the thick of it, it's hard to judge what to do.