Further from Young

I helped a new friend the other day with some plumbing work. I will go back and help him finish soon. It was nothing too strenuous- crawling around under his house; cutting pipes; crawling back out. Now- it was a LITTLE more than just that, but not too much more. And my body is aching like I just finished the first wrestling practice of the season. My back, arms, and legs are sore. Maybe, just maybe, I was getting a little more out of Army Physical training than I originally thought. We'll join the gym this week.

On a hopefully completely unrelated note- I received a pair of sweatpants for Christmas. Wow- I mean- those things are as comfortable as can be and have LOTS of room to grow! I may wear sweatpants every weekend day for now on! I epitomize sex appeal!

A Favorite

Definitely a favorite video of my boys. They are trying to eat lunch while singing about how they don't do anything!

Good Idea- Poor Execution

I love coffee. Seriously. Some people drink coffee out of necessity. I drink it because it is wonderful. I am getting better and better at differentiating beans and roasts. I can taste the subtle flavors in certain beans. I LOVE coffee. I didn't always love it. In fact, until around January of 2003, I hated coffee. I liked the smell, but couldn't stomach the taste. Then I discovered coffee the way it was intended to be consumed. Black. No sugar and no cream. I have had that beautiful dark princess warming my hand, body and disposition ever since.

Dillano's Coffee is probably the best coffee I have had the pleasure of drinking. Just wonderful. Call me and I will gladly send you a pound or so. When I returned from Iraq, I and some of the gentlemen I worked with went to thank the very kind and giving people of Dillano's for the very gracious gift of about 100 lbs of coffee they sent us while we were deployed. We ended up taking an impromptu tour of their roasting facility and found out why they are so much better than the McDonalds of coffee.

I have not had a hobby since... wow- besides reading, I have no hobbies. JA tells me I need to find SOMETHING I like to do and do it. Drinking beer and smoking cigars does not count as a hobby. I would love to find something that interests me and I enjoy doing. I think that I may have found it. This afternoon I walked into a small organic coffee and tea shop and discovered the beauty of an unroasted green coffee bean. Apparently, you can buy green coffee beans there and roast them yourself in your home. What is the startup expense of this? Just the cost of the beans (about 3-5 bucks a pound instead of the 8-11 bucks a pound that you would pay for some premium (and overcooked) coffee beans.

Before I finish the coffee thoughts and happenings- let me tell you about JA's day. She started the day with our six year old coming into our room because he was thirsty at 1 AM. Then she fed Elsie. Then she slept for 2 or so hours and fed Elsie again at 4. Then our Six year old was back because he had a dream about snakes that froze people. He crawled into bed and sleep was done. Then I went to the store to get a few things that we needed for dinner tonight. While I was there, I picked her up a latte from Starbucks. Since she is breastfeeding, she has been trying to cut out all milk from her diet because it causes incredible gas pains for Elsie. Instead of her normal (tall gingerbread latte) I got her a tall soy gingerbread latte. JA hates soy. Good morning honey- here is your coffee that you think you are going to love, but you are really going to hate. Sorta like wrapping up a present of poop for someone. "Oh, a present for me? Wow- you shouldn't have. Seriously. I'll just open it... ewww. what the?!?!? Gross. You REALLY shouldn't have!" That was at 7:15 and it went downhill from there. On the way home I picked up some children's Tylenol to try to combat the 104.7 degree fever David developed throughout the day.

Tonight, after Jonathan and Thomas went to bed; David was laid out on the couch sweating, and Elsie was barely sleeping in the swing, I decided that it was definitely time to start my very first batch of coffee. Did you know that all of the smoke alarms in my house are wired together? Did you know that as hard as I try, I cannot reach the smoke alarm nearest the stove because it is on a nine foot ceiling? Did you FURTHER know that roasting coffee beans in an iron skillet on the stove (a recommended method, by the way) produces an ENORMOUS amount of smoke?

How did the beans turn out? I don't know. I used the garbage disposal to grind them as they were on their way down to the sewer. Maybe I'll do the next batch in the garage. Or maybe while no one in the house is sleeping.

You have to worry about all of 'em!

Trying to cleanly paraphrase my younger and much funnier brother, I will relay his sentiments about having a girl like this: "When you have a boy, you only have to worry about 1 boy. When you have a girl, you have to worry about ALL of 'em!" He also explained to me shortly after his daughter was born that outdoor plumbing is MUCH easier to take care of than indoor plumbing. After Elsie's birth, I almost immediatly began to think about the future- say 14-18 years in the future. I understand the deep feelings when a dad says that his daughter can start dating when she is 34 years old. He says it to be funny, but beneath the humor is angst and fear. I walked into a store a few weeks ago and saw two boys (about 18 years old or so) standing around. They both had exceptionally long hair and several unnatural holes in their faces that could not heal because of the hardware placed in them. Their clothes were grungy and they both smoked. I thought, "That could be any of my boys one day" and said a prayer for both of them as I walked in. Oh- and prayed that my boys would not turn out like them. Then as I walked out later the same two boys were standing there with a little doe-eyed girl who looked about 15 staring up at one of them like he hung the moon. My thoughts towards those boys suddenly had nothing to do with prayers, but more of paralysis; the kind you get when a dad hits you in the back of your skull with a 16 pound sledge hammer. The thoughts of "that could be my son one day" turned to "that could be my daughter"! I immediatly began judging her parents: don't they know what kind of slimy guy their daughter is hanging out with?; don't they care about her?; do they know where she is? I have no idea how this blog entry ends. I want to trust my kids, but I want them to do everything right. I will update this in about 15 years.

It's (finally) beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

I shopped today. December 23rd, and I finally shopped. I did almost all of my shopping in one day. Between working a new job, having a new baby, living in a new town, buying a new house and still deciding which church we want to attend, Christmas has been a hassle that I have not welcomed this year. I was feeling very Jehovah's Witnessy in my desire not to celebrate this year. Since we killed Santa Clause I was just feeling ready for it to be over. Today, I finally turned the corner. I believe it was a combination of being mostly (at that point) done with my shopping and seeing something. As I was driving up to one of the last two stores I had to shop at a homeless guy was standing on the corner. A guy (about my age give or take a few years) was walking up to him and taking off his coat. It being a cold a rainy (more misty) day, the homeless guy could not have been warm. Coat Guy said a few words to Homeless Guy and handed him his coat. Then Coatless Guy walked off and went about his business. Homeless guy and his dog walked back under the bridge. Kindness is heartwarming. On second thought, I don't think my joy was at all related to being done shopping.

Florida What?!?!?

Since it was Saturday the TV was on and we were watching football. The current discussion was whether I would rather South Carolina or Florida win their game. Its a tough decision because I don't know if I dislike Florida only because of their former coach (Steve Spurrier) or if I dislike them on their own merits. This is key in this discussion because their former coach is now the coach at South Carolina. I think I may have used slightly stronger language than "dislike".

In the middle of dinner, Jonathan opens his mouth and emphatically declares, "Florida SUCKS!" That was when the conversation quickly stopped. It was a strange moment for me. Do I jump up and give him a high five and say. "Heck yeah they do!" Do I ask him if he thinks that Florida sucks because they beat Tennessee so bad this year? Do I take him aside and ask his opinion on LSU?

Nope, I tried to do the responsible thing. As his grandparents were stiffling laughter and his mom was sitting there wide-eyed, I carefully phrased my next question. I said, "What?" He said, "You know. Like, 'Oregon Beavers suck!'" (welcome to the PAC-10, by the way.) I asked where he heard that. School, of course.

I should probably talk to him about it all again. And I probably will. But I like his passion and negative feelings toward Florida, so I don't want to discourage him... too much.

And I think I dislike Steve Spurrier more than Florida.

Letter to Myself

There is a song on the radio lately where the singer says that if could write a letter to himself when he was younger, he would say... I've been thinking about what I would say.

- Check the oil before you drive to Florida with Matt and Josh
- Don't assume anything when you see her at the mall with that other guy
- Don't quit football
- Check the gas before you go out with Jane Anne... on second thought, don't worry about it- that turned out ok
- Say goodbye to Pop before heading to Colorado
- and Mark before going to Iraq
- Don't quit- You're going to graduate
- Don't worry about getting out of the Army- it turns out good

I'll have to add more to this later. I don't have a lot of things that I would change. I wish I spent more time with some of the people who are gone but I think thats a pretty common regret.

Dad's Signs of Labor

So here is what I found when I got nervous about an impending baby delivery...

"Another labor sign to be aware of is that when you go to the bathroom, you may notice mucus on the toilet paper. This may appear as the mucus plug starts to dissolve from the cervix. You may also notice some bloody show which is mucus tinged with blood. As labor progresses, you will have more and more "bloody show" as tiny capillaries in the cervix break as it dilates.

Flu-like symptoms, including mild nausea and diarrhea, are yet another sign that labor may be imminent. You may feel a low backache that comes and goes, or you may feel like you are having menstrual cramps. An increase in contractions, whether painful or not, is another sign that labor may be starting."

I am an experienced father, so let me explain somethings here...
The mild nausea and diarrhea are right on. I don't think the bloody show applies in my case, nor the mucus plug...I don't even know where my cervix is! As far as the backache- definitely the tension I feel has increased the backache. They didn't mention the racing heart, nervous feelings, rambling, checking and re-checking the bag for the hospital, dry mouth, or constant pacing while asking JA "how are you feeling".

As far as JA's signs that labor may be starting, I guess I need to look that up on the internet as well.


JA had our first child 12 days before her due date.

JA had our second child just over 5 weeks before her due date.

JA had our third child 1 week before her due date.

She is due on November 16th. When will she REALLY have her?
I think November 1st.

She Messed Me Up

OOOOOOhhhhhhh Very Bad.

This morning I was so happy because JA got up and made coffee. I knew this because she was walking around with a coffee cup when I got out of the shower. I helped (a little) get the kids ready for school, filled Silver (my stainless steel starbucks coffee mug JA passed down to me when I was in Iraq) and headed out the door. I took a big swig as I hit the door and had trouble not spewing it forth. It was just a little over luke warm. It was yesterdays coffee that stayed warm in the caraffe. But just warm. Just when I was thinking how great it was that JA made coffee too. She was drinking chocolate milk.

The Rockies are about to lose game 2. That stinks.

VA Tech blew a 10 point lead in the last 4 minutes to Boston College. The QB From BC looked awesome. VTs defense was non-existent. I was hoping BC would lose.

It is a bad day

Even in Korea I was able to watch the Tennessee-Alabama game on TV. I probably could have seen it in Iraq, but I was in transit from Kuwait to Iraq during the game and missed out. Apparently, Seeing it from Oregon or Washington is not an option though. Grrrrr.

New Blog-

I can still function getting up at 1 AM and going in to work. But, wow, it hurts.

I was talking to one of my managers today and realized that although I felt like the young guy in management and I thought of him as an older manager, he only has a couple years on me and I may just look older. He didn’t view me as a young manager. I drank my coffee and took a look in the mirror and could see, even though I have maintained a nice short haircut, the grey hair making its trek from my temples toward the back of my head.

I saw my first grey hair when I was 19- no kidding- not long after I got engaged. I earned a lot more while I was in Iraq. I am still mostly (by quite a bit) brown haired. But the battle rages on.

I never loved PT (physical training) while I was in the Army. Honestly, I did less than I should. Especially the last 18 months (Iraq and on my way out of the Army.) But I think I have perfected the “Formula for Fat” and here it is: Walk away from an extremely regimented physical training program when you are in your 30s. Almost a guarantee that you will pack on a few extra pounds. Want proof? Too bad; I‘m not walking around with my shirt off for ANYONE that reads this that doesn’t live in my house.

The military awarded the second Medal of Honor since the beginning of hostilities in Iraq and Afghanistan. Somewhere out there you can see a list of how many Bronze Stars, Silver Stars and Medals of Honor have been awarded by war. Although in my opinion, the Bronze Star is handed out like candy, the Silver Star and Medal of Honor has been very difficult to get approved. I believe the balance should be a little better. Maybe cut the Bronze Stars in less than half (not every Captain and above, including me, deserves a Bronze Star for showing up), and award the MOH when it is deserved. We are pretty crappy about doing these in a timely manner. More on the Bronze Star- A Soldier who dies in action ranging from a direct firefight with a hostile force to standing in the wrong place at the wrong time and getting hit by an enemy mortar, will receive the Bronze Star. A staff officer that never leaves the Logistics Support Area (read that as “in the rear with the gear” as it gets in Iraq) will more times than not be awarded a Bronze Star. I asked for my award to be downgraded to something I felt more appropriate. I was told that the award is given to the company commander not only for him, but for his company as well. I think that is… not a good answer. After the awards ceremony, a senior officer who I will call Doug, walked up to me and said that I should be proud of my Bronze Star because it’s the same award that Soldiers who are killed receive. I felt sickened. He definitely did not produce a feeling of pride in me whatsoever.

I have been completely out of the Army for 32 days and signed out on leave for 60 days before that. I received a message on my cell phone yesterday informing me that I am due for a PT test and I need to be in front of the unit area at 0600 this morning. As I type this, I am 34 minutes late- I hope I don’t get in trouble!