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Friday, December 17, 2010

Tis the season... for a van?

So lately, we have realized that with the arrival of our second child in a few months, we will be in need of a larger vehicle. This was something that we were originally hoping to avoid until our third child, but since Karla's sister Kristina has moved in with us and doesn't have a vehicle, we will be needing one that can comfortably seat 3 adults with at least 2 car seats. I've been doing some research and have found some surprising results! I looked into a company called leasebusters, since our vehicle is a lease, and found that there are quite a few mini vans on their website that people are looking to get out of leasing. In particular there are 2 Mazda mini vans that only have 15-16 months of their lease left before the buyout. These 2 people need to get rid of them quickly and so they are also offering a cash incentive and the monthly payment is roughly equivalent to what we're paying for our Toyota! The only bad part is that they're both in Quebec! So I looked into getting a vehicle shipped here from Quebec and found that the cash incentive they are offering would be enough to cover the shipping and still have a fair bit left over! So on Tuesday, Karla and I will be taking an equivalent Mazda mini van for a test drive to see if we like it and then if we do, we'll be getting in touch with the sellers in Quebec and start to proceed with the further information and potential purchase! Please pray that if this is what we should be doing that God would help all of the little details to fall into place quickly and easily and that if it's not something that we should be doing right now that God would quickly shut down these options.

For a totally different topic, I've been reading a new book called The Seventh Son by Orson Scott Card. It's a really great book and it's the first in a series of 6 books. It's nothing like Ender's Game which is without doubt his most well-known book. This book takes place back when America was first being settled but it takes a twist from reality and throws a bit of fantasy into it. One thing that I quite enjoyed about it is the style in which he wrote. For example he would write things like "Ma said to set yer butt down." I love it! It's a really fun read and it has a lot of spirituality in it, although it's not always Christian. I just really enjoy books that incorporate the spiritual realm in them. If any of you are looking for a new book, try this one out. After I had finished reading it, Karla read it and now Kristina is reading it too!

For a third totally unrelated topic, I have a real appreciation for the way my family has been re-vamping Christmas gifts. This year instead of buying more "stuff" for each other, we decided that we would give money to charity in each other's names. We've been doing charitable gifts with my dad's extended family for quite some time and now I'm excited that we're incorporating this idea into our immediate family too! There are some amazing things that you can put your money towards. For instance if you look at World Vision, they have a bunch of medical supplies that have already been donated to them by pharmaceutical companies and all they need is money to ship it. So for every dollar you give, SEVENTEEN DOLLARS worth of medical supplies are shipped to the countries that need it most! This is just one of the many awesome places that you could put your money. At our church, our pastor has been really encouraging us to be more generous with money, even if things are tight right now. We have accepted that challenge and have been amazed! It seems that now that we have committed to giving more, we are less stressed about ourselves and it seems that we actually have more breathing room financially. It's bizarre and all I can say is that God is amazing and that he explicitly says in scripture to test Him with our money and to see what He can do. This has been a real encouragement to me and has really helped me to trust Him more and to rely on myself less. I would highly encourage you all to try to give even just 1% more than what you have been and to watch and see what God does in your life!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

A bunch of things...

So a lot has happened since my last post, so this post will have a bunch of topics in it. For starters, youth group last Friday was a blast! We got to go to a gymnastics club and basically have free reign on all of the equipment! They had huge crash mats, a couple of tall ropes, some balancing beams, some of those bars that you see people use in the Olympics (I'm not sure what they're called), and they had trampolines that were flush mounted in the floor! It was so great! So for a while, we just did whatever we wanted, and then we started some competitions, like who can jump the furthest into the foam pit, and who can bounce the furthest from a trampoline onto a crash mat, and who can jump over the highest obstacle. I won the rope climbing! Overall, it was a great night and it was especially memorable since it's something that you don't get to do too often!

I also learned that there are some kids with some pretty unique names. In this youth group there is a Hunter, Nairn, Georgia, and we also have 2 Aaron's and an Erin! It's crazy!

At soccer on Monday, we were playing against the first place team in our division, we were in fifth place. I thought that if our whole team showed up, we'd have a decent chance since a bunch of our last few games were close ones. When I got there, however, I learned that our best forward was at home in bed with the flu. I had heard that our best goalie had hurt his back and most likely wouldn't be coming and one of our best defender's was on holidays in Saskatchewan! Thankfully, Steffan (our goalie) was able to make it to the game but he played out instead of goal tending. It paid off because early on in the game I had scored the first goal but the other team had answered us with a beautiful goal of their own, just before half time. As the end of the game was drawing near Steffan was in our opponent's half and someone set him a beautiful pass which he proceeded to head-butt into the net, with only 30 seconds left! It was awesome! Another great part about the game was that it was a fairly clean game. The last couple that we have played have been rather rough, so this was a very refreshing experience!

So, at our small group on Tuesday, we've been going through a video series by Louie Giglio called Indescribable. It's really amazing stuff and it really makes you realize just how small you are and how HUGE and POWERFUL God really is! If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it! There are four sessions in this particular series, all of which you can find on Youtube. At one point he talks about four stars and their sizes in comparison with Earth. He says that the largest star that astronomers have found so far is so huge that if the Earth was a golf ball, then this star would be as tall as Mount Everest in comparison! That's Crazy!!! It's a really incredible series and we just finished the second episode, so I'm really looking forward to the next couple of Tuesdays.

Yesterday, the choir that Dad is in, The Master's Singers, had their 10th Anniversary concert at the Jack Singer Concert Hall. Their conductor, had asked me to play trumpet for one of their songs and I quickly and enthusiastically jumped at the opportunity! Let me give you just a little bit of background. The Jack Singer Concert Hall, is one of the finest venues for a concert in the city. It's acoustics are incredible, and it seats about 1600 people! The last time that I was in the Hall, it was to see Wynton Marsalis, who has been recognized as the greatest Jazz trumpet player in North America. It was a great concert with him playing and now I had been given a chance to play there too! It was so incredible! Unfortunately, my dad got a really bad case of the flu that morning and couldn't even stand up because he would get so dizzy. Thankfully, they recorded the concert and Dad will be able to get a copy of it!

So they figured that there were about 1300 people in the hall that night, so needless to say I was a bit nervous. When my turn to play came I walked out to the middle of the stage, right at the front and I played along with the choir. I did quite well overall, looking back at my performance I rated myself at 93%. There were a few notes that I didn't hit solidly and then I was a bit late starting the last really high note, but I was able to hit it and hold it until the cut-off! It was really good! After I was done playing, my heart was racing and my legs were all trembly, it was really weird!

Oh and some other great news! I found out that my apprentice will be doing undergrounds starting in January! This means that he will no longer be my apprentice!!! YAY!!! I'm so excited!

So, all in all, life is great! It's really busy, but it's great!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happiness, I seem to have caught you!

I LOVE kids!

This may not come as much of a surprise to any of you but I really do love kids... a lot! I'm not simply talking about Emma, I love her tons, but right now I'm talking about kids in general.

Tonight I was able to go help out at our church's youth group for the second time. The first time was a few weeks ago and I haven't been able to go until tonight thanks to that flu bug. Tonight we did a photo scavenger hunt. For those of you who don't know what that is, you are in a group of about 5 or 6 people and you have a list of things to get pictures of and things that you need to do. For instance, one of our photos tonight was someone on our team had to put French fries in their nose, straws in their ears and make their eyes cross. So we spent the better part of two hours going around our neighborhood asking strangers to be in certain photos for bonus points and just generally having a great time of hanging out together!

There were three kids and three leaders in our group and we were all guys. It was awesome! Because we were constantly wandering around we had many chances to talk and joke and get to know each other. I made a few really good friends that I really think are gonna stick! I've been away from youth group for a little less than a year now and I knew I missed it, but I didn't realize just how much, until I went back tonight. My heart is happy and feels full! It's a great feeling! I knew that I loved kids and especially youth, but I just didn't realize how much of a passion I actually have for them, until I went without it. I am so blessed that I was able to get involved so quickly with this youth group at our new church, it's awesome! I've also been incorporated into their worship team, about once a month and some of the other youth leaders are also in the band, so it's really great! I'm so excited for the rest of the school year, to see what will happen in the youths' lives and to get to know them better and for them to get to know me! It's going to be a great year!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

video

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Rant

Today I feel the need to rant for a bit, so consider yourselves warned...

Today at work I was having an average day. My apprentice was constantly swearing and getting really angry over very small and common issues. He is like this most days. I am usually a very happy person and quite laid back. It takes quite a bit to get me stressed or upset and it is especially difficult to make me mad. Today, I was mad! I can remember how many times in my life I have felt this particular emotion and today's occurrence brings the total up to 5. I won't go into the other times in this blog, as at this point they would only divert from my rant. So anyways, we had two houses to do today, but we also had someone else's apprentice helping us as her journeyman is on holidays this week. She is a very experienced apprentice and has been doing electrical for nine years. She is also a very happy person. Having her work with us today was like a breath of fresh air for my soul! It was so nice to have a bit of joy and happiness at the workplace. It really made me realize just how stressed out my current apprentice makes me. So here's the deal with my apprentice, he is unfortunately my boss's nephew. His uncle gave him this job as a sort of second chance in an effort to get his nephew's life back on track. This apprentice has worked with me before at this company. It was around 3 years ago. He thought it was too difficult so after a couple of weeks, he up and quit. His uncle was quite unimpressed. After he quit he apparently got into a bad crowd and did lost of drugs and partied a lot. After he hit rock bottom he begged his uncle for a second chance and he got it. He worked with a few different journeymen at first but only lasted 3 days at the most before the journeyman complained about him and then he got switched to me. He has now been with me for just over 4 months. The shop asked me if I would do them a favor. I said sure, they then proceeded to ask me to train this apprentice since I have quite a bit more patience than most other Journeymen at our shop. So I agreed to try to train him. It turns out that his short term memory is pretty much pooched from all of the drugs that he's done. What should normally take a few days to teach someone is a matter of a few weeks for this apprentice to learn. It has been very trying but I have been giving him an honest effort.

So today he starts off a bit grumpier than usual but the three of us all are working hard. There was just a few things to finish up in the basement so I got my apprentice to do them while me and the other apprentice got a start on the next house which was right next door. This way we could get the lights done quickly since Adam doesn't know how to do lights yet, this seemed like a good idea. Also the houses were quite small so this way we would stay out of each other's way more. While I'm building lights and the other apprentice was installing them, my apprentice came over and basically said that he thought I was being lazy and not doing much work. He said this within earshot of the other apprentice. This made me really mad because I am quite a hard worker and there are many people at my work that will vouch for that. In this particular house we had run into a number of problems that required fixing. Most of those fixes took quite a while to do and my apprentice for some reason thought that I had just sat downstairs doing nothing. He also said that the reason that I was being lazy was because we had a third person with us today. This also made me really mad, because whenever I work with other people I work especially hard so that they don't have to do as much. So I kinda said a few choice words to him and he said some back. Then I was quiet and just ignored him for quite awhile, while I finished building lights. Then I went back to the basement that my apprentice had finished and I pretty much had to redo the whole thing because it was so sloppy and there were so many basic mistakes! He's done many basements and this one wasn't anything special. For instance, he ran the wire for the furnace (which came from the ceiling above the furnace) down in front of the furnace then around the hot pipes and the rest of the furnace in a big loose loop, then down to the floor with a few more loops of wire and then finally up to the switch on the wall, with no staples or straps! This is HUGE!!! You ALWAYS strap or secure your wire and you never leave any on the floor! He knew that! That basement was so full of mistakes that was there for over an hour just re-doing what he had done! It was ridiculous! He tries to tell me how to do my job! BAH!!!!

As I kept ignoring him and kept trying to come up with a decent way of handling the situation, he sort of apologized in that he said that he was sorry for hurting my feelings, that's not what he meant to do. He just calls things like he sees them. I had a few smart replies to this in my head but I kept them in there. His apology didn't really seem very sincere to me. My theory is that he realized that I was pretty mad and that I was probably going to talk to my boss about it and he doesn't want to upset his uncle again. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it. I am still going to talk to the shop about it and I'm going to let them know that I am at the end of my patience with him and that I don't want to work with him much longer. We'll see if anything happens, but I doubt it. The shop is pretty slow with apprentice complaints. I know that's pretty pessimistic of me but from what I've seen I think it's pretty realistic.

There! I'm done ranting! Sorry about that, but I needed to get that off of my chest, so that I could calm down and sleep tonight. On a lighter note, I recorded a video of Emma and I reading Mr Brown can moo, can you? and I'll be putting it on the videos tab, hopefully in the next few days. I'm having some problems with it right now. I did manage to get some new pictures of Emma up in the photos tab though! I hope it'll give you a smile before you leave my blog! I hope you all have a great week!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Extremely Overdue...

So the other day, I was reading some of my family's blogs and I realized that I should blog again, that it had probably been a while. So I went to my links to find my blog page and it wasn't there, I checked my other browsers and even my wife's computer and I couldn't find the address anywhere. I guess that just goes to show how long it's been since I last updated this blog... Oops! So here I go again, endeavoring to blog at least once a week, even if it's just a short one, because I do enjoy writing (well typing anyway, if it was actually in my writing, then nobody would be able to read it. Thank goodness for computers!).

So I had a bit of an adventure this last week, on thursday morning I woke up early to go to work, like every other dull thursday, and my stomach hurt a lot. This is not particularly out of the ordinary for me since I often wake up hungry. I assumed that this was the reason for my pain and that I was just hungrier than usual. So I proceeded to quickly pour myself a large bowl of Honeycomb cereal, which is awesome first thing in the morning! Now before I had even gotten half-way through my bowl of greatness, I had to rush to the bathroom. This was quite out of the ordinary for me and then I was very sick, which is also very odd for me. I proceeded to finish my cereal, not thinking too much about anything, let alone my being sick. In my defense it was only 6:15 or so in the morning and I hadn't had all systems firing yet, if you know what I mean.

So as the morning progressed, so my sickness did intensify. I kept having to rush to the bathroom, which for me hasn't happened in probably fifteen years or so. I went to work since I knew I had an easy day and thought that I could be home in about three or four hours and then I could worry about getting better. As my apprentice was loading the van however, I started to feel even worse and it felt like I was going to be sick in multiple ways in short order. My apprentice also told me that I looked really pale, so I decided to call the shop and do my job the next day as I also had an easy day scheduled for Friday. I went home and proceeded to be sick in multiple ways throughout the rest of the morning and early afternoon. I also slept for around 6 hours throughout that time! To give you an idea of how rare that is for me, I might nap for one or two hours maybe once every three or four months. Karla was beginning to get more and more concerned about my well-being, so she called Health-link who told us that if I was sick more than 6-8 times in a 24 hour period, that I should go to the hospital. So we waited and I was sick a few more times. By 7 pm I had been sick 10 times in a matter of just 13 hours, so we decided to go to the urgent care clinic.

There weren't that many people there, so I was relieved because I thought that would mean a shorter wait time. I have been to this clinic just a few times, so I know. We got there around 7:45 or so and the clinic closes at 10 so I thought that no matter what happened it wouldn't be that long of a visit. After I had been waiting for maybe 5 minutes or so and a couple of other names had been called, they announced that it was my turn! I was excited to get in so quickly, but also curious as to why they thought I should get seen before about 6 other people that were waiting, all of whom had been there longer than I. "Oh well," I thought, "I'll take what I can get." So I was shown to a room and I had only time to take a quick cursory look at the sad selection of women's magazines and to decide that despite my urges I wouldn't take my own blood pressure with the machine that was hanging ever so temptingly on the wall next to me. Suddenly a nurse came into the room and asked me only a couple of quick questions before tossing me a gown and blanket. She told me to get in the gown and that she would need to start me on an I.V. as soon as possible. I had a few thoughts running around inside my head after that whirlwind of activity but I pushed them to the side long enough to realize that whoever designed hospital gowns was in no way concerned about the ability of the patient to tie bows behind their backs. This frustrated me only briefly as I surprised even myself by being able to tie both sets of strings on only my second and third tries. Now I had time to process my thoughts about the I.V. while I waited for the nurse to return. My thoughts were the following;

Thought #1. I've never had an I.V. before! This may not be a surprising thought to the average person, but I have had plenty more than my fair share of hospital experiences so this actually was quite a surprise to me as I slowly and methodically went back through my memories of all of my hospital experiences to realize that this was indeed the truth.

Thought #2. I have only seen a couple of people get an I.V. before, my daughter and my wife. My daughter had had one when she broke her arm a few months ago to keep her hydrated and to administer the anesthesia more easily. My wife's was when she was giving birth to our daughter, again for the same reasons as Emma's I.V. I knew I must be dehydrated, so that didn't really phase me at all. The thing that made me nervous was that I could remember quite clearly when Karla was given her I.V. It was a student nurse who, I guess hadn't had enough practise at it yet. She was to give it to Karla in the back of the hand, which to me seems like a fairly sensitive area to be poking around, but hey, I'm no doctor. So the student nurse missed Karla's vein, not once, but twice! I also remembered that the size of that needle struck me as being the fattest piece of metal I've ever seen being poked into a person to help them. I had only a little more time to focus on this thought before the nurse came back to do my very first I.V.

As she was getting ready she said that it was going to be quite a big poke and so I psyched myself up for it even more. I don't usually watch when they stick needles into me, because I find it easier if I can just focus on the pain rather than what I'm seeing on top of the pain. This time, for some unknown reason, I looked at the last second, just in time to see the needle go into my skin and my vein to slide away from it to the side! She had missed! "Oh no," I thought, "here we go again!" Thankfully on the second try she got it and she remarked to me that I have "fairly tough skin!" Apparently she had to push pretty hard to get that needle in there. Once the needle was in she kept apologizing for how hard she had had to push and I told her that really, it wasn't as bad as I was expecting and that at least she hadn't made me cry. That seemed to put her at ease a bit more. She set up the machine pretty quickly and I instantly felt a cold rush of fluid going into my vein! It is quite the bizarre feeling that I'm not too sure just how to describe. It's so odd to be able to feel something like that entering your body through a place where things don't usually enter. My whole arm started to get very cold, but the nurse assured me that this was normal since the I.V. was quite a bit cooler than my body temperature.

After I had sucked back one bag of I.V. the doctor came to see me and asked me a few more questions and then assured me that it was a good thing that I came in when I did! She seemed to be overly concerned about me, which I thought was odd. She said that they had done some blood work and that my white blood cell count was quite high, but they didn't know why yet. They were going to run some more tests. She then said that I should probably have a second bag of I.V. since I was so dehydrated. As my veins starting sucking away at the second bag I realized that it was already after 10. I figured that it was going to be a long night after all. Karla got too uncomfortable in the chair so she spread my jacket and hoody out on the floor and lay down in an attempt to get some much needed rest. The doctor came back and said that I was going to have to give her some samples of an undesirable nature since they had ruled out a viral problem and now were focused on a bacterial infection of some sort. She said that I would have to take them myself at home. (For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, it involved a toilet but not a cup). This experience scarred me for life! I thought that it must be even more terrible though, to be the person who had to look at the sample and make sure nothing was wrong. I instantly had an immense amount of pity for lab technicians everywhere.

The good news

Finally, it has been more than 24 hours since I was sick last and I have actually had an appetite which had alluded me for the duration of my sickness. I have eaten a few meals to no ill effect and am quite happy to feel hunger again and not have to cringe at the thought of needing to use the toilet! It's amazing how such a little thing can make one so happy! So here I am, writing this while contemplating which food I will once again enjoy shortly, and all of the possibilities that are again available to my palette!

Farewell and happy eating!