Category Archives: Randomness

5 Years Ago Today

5 Years ago today, Angelica might have had mono because the antibiotics weren’t working so it wasn’t strep.

The closest "before" picture I can find is almost a year before, Aug 2009.
The closest “before” picture I can find is almost a year before, Aug 2009.

5 Years ago today, we went to the family doctor to get checked out.

5 Years ago today, Angelica got a routine diagnostic blood test.

5 Years ago today, I dropped Angelica off at home and headed in late to work.

5 Years ago today, I came home from work and helped make dinner… Roast chicken with potatoes and veggies and gravy.

5 Years ago today, the phone rang during dinner. Our family doctor called our home phone from his home phone at 6:30pm.

5 Years ago today, I heard a word that I had heard before, but this time was like hearing it for the first time. For the first time “leukemia” was relevant to my family; to my daughter’s life; to my life.

5 Years ago today, we packed bags, though we had no idea what to pack or what would come.

5 Years ago today, I sat on the side of my bed, in the stillness of my room, holding some clothing in my hand, and I cried. For a few seconds I cried, then I prayed, “Father, I can’t do this. Just tell me how it ends.” Then I heard, “She will be ok, but you have to take this journey with Me.” That was all I needed.

5 Years ago today, I left my 9 month pregnant wife, and took my very sick daughter to BC Children’s Hospital.

5 Years ago today, we signed in to the ER and sat waiting, for what seemed like too long, though they were waiting for us. A young ER student doctor tried to give us hope – false hope – that it might still be mono; it can give a false positive.

5 Years ago today, the Oncologist-on-call was Jacob Rozmus. If there was ever a doctor that was gifted to work with very sick children and their parents, it was Dr. Jacob. Though we passed in the halls a number of times in the years to come, it was the only time he actually worked with us, and one of the only times we talked… that I can remember. He told us to not have false hope. He explained what we were facing. He told us details and answered questions. There was a kindness and a peace in his voice that I can’t explain.

5 Years ago today, an orderly with a wheel chair brought Angelica and me to a wonderful and horrible place; we signed in for the first time to 3B. (few words/numbers/letters/symbols hold as much emotion for me as “3B”)

5 Years ago today, I met parents in a small lounge that gave me advice and encouragement, and even gave me some of their fears. As I write this out today, I remember two children lost, who’s parents I met that night.

June 17, 2010The official beginning would be the next day, when we met the amazing man and doctor that would oversee Angelica’s treatment. But the day of June 16th, 2010 stays permanently etched in my mind; the events, the colors, the details, the words, the emotions, all permanently burned into my mind. It was almost 2 1/2 years later that I got to stop Dr Jacob in the hall and thank him for that night, what a difference he made.

There was a peace in the chaos and fear and pain, “She will be ok, but you have to take this journey with Me.”

I’m not sure why today is so significant to me, but it is. For some reason making it as a family 5 years from that day seems unbelievable. It is unbelievable. In the moment, you can’t see tomorrow… there were years of not seeing tomorrow. Looking back and seeing 5 years brings a lot of things into perspective. I am grateful to all the doctors, and staff, and family, and friends, and strangers who helped, and carried us. I am grateful that today, 5 Years later, Angelica is graduating from high school with amazing grades, a bright future, rock solid faith… and most importantly, she has life.

How long should you work at McDonald’s

It is the time in my daughters’ lives to go get some work. Well, I figure they should get some work and pay their own way for some of the expensive things that they want to do. Patti figures they should not be rushed into the marketplace where they will spend the rest of their lives. Regardless, one day I told Xandra this story and she asked me to add it to this blog.

McDonalds I Was Loving It

My first job was at McDonald’s. On my 16th birthday I got my learner’s license, just under six weeks later I had my unrestricted driver’s license and the day after that I had a job at McDonald’s. The particular McDonald’s in question was right beside my high school and for the rest of grade 11, all of grade 12 and about a year after that, I worked almost full time hours.

McDonald’s was great. They taught me how to work hard, how to work in a team, and that effort and attitude were rewarded. I had spending money, a car, and something that required me – something that really helped me to find relevance while bouncing around inside this ADHD mind of mine.

I worked hard, and was promoted and trained on everything they could possibly train me to do. I became a trainer, a crew chief, and eventually a swing-shift manager. A swing-shift manager is still technically a crew-member and not an actual manager, but you start wearing the manager clothes and that changes how people relate to you… which is an interesting study on human psychology on its own. I was even part of the team that hosted the media release of McPizza.

Now the real managers at my store liked to party at night and no one wanted the opening morning shift, so I volunteered for that. I started opening in the mornings and doing all the manager stuff, before an actual manager would show up. I earned the trust of the other managers and eventually I was put in charge of all weekday openings and I alone ran my store from opening to 10:00AM (which at the time was the #2 grossing revenue store in Western Canada). This created a problem because I was not an actual manager.

Let me back up a bit and explain something about McDonald’s managers’ social lives. Corporate McDonald’s doesn’t pay their managers all that well, and the benefits are not all that great. But what they do do is drive around a corporate funded McParty Van and pick up managers from different stores and take them out to various evening social establishments (they go clubbing). This creates an odd social dynamic where these managers become friends and create their own socioeconomic peer group. By creating a peer group where everyone earns the same, has the same financial issues, gets the same benefits, there is no motivation to improve on any of those things. There is also a lot of McDonald’s manager inbreeding, which is a whole other kind of odd.

I had two problems while working at the big M. The first was that I was volunteering at my local church, helping to run the youth group and this meant that I had schedule conflicts with giving McDonald’s 24×7 availability (something that is required of managers), and secondly I was observant enough to see that all the managers I knew only ever hung out with other managers, and all the married managers that I knew were always married to other managers, and I thought that was weird.

So when the regional manager came to our store, specifically to meet with me to rectify the opening manager issue, and he offered me a promotion to manager trainee, I said “No”. Then we he came back and said that he would promote me directly to second assistant, I said “No” again. Then when he said he would make me second assistant and let me choose which store I wanted to work at (something that they never did) and I said “No” again… they let me go.

Leaving McD’s was sad, but great at the same time. I had learned a lot, including some interesting tactics for employee retention, but I was also glad to not become part of some cult community.

Answer: Work at McDonald’s or any other ‘first job’ place that has the resources to invest in you and train you and give you new skills, but get out before you have to sign your life away in blood.

How many mosquitoes does it take to kill you?

Mosquito HazardWe were just up at a lake where mosquitoes make up most of the local wildlife. After counting over 200 mosquito bites (she actually took a mirror and counted all of her bites), Alexandra asked me how many mosquitoes it would take to kill you.

I guess you would first need to define what it means for a mosquito to kill you. For me, this can not mean getting West Nile Virus or something else from the little midges, it means that the mosquito actually does the physical killing themselves.

There are several ways that this could happen. The first and most obvious is that they could suck enough of your blood to kill you. This means that you would need to loose more than 40% of your blood, or more than 2800mL. A mosquito can take anywhere from 0.001 to 0.01mL of blood, so it would take between 280,000 and 2,800,000 mosquitoes all getting at you at the same time. Believe it or not, that’s over 15,000 lbs of mosquitoes. I’m pretty sure that more than enough weight to do the trick. But either sucking blood or crushing you would mean that they can all get to you… 2.8 Mil mosquitoes take up about 22,400 cm2. An average adult human has about 18,000cm2 of skin surface area, so a good number of the little guys will have to wait in line. In the crushing you scenario they would all have to be on one side of you, and one exposed side is less than half of that area, and your body can handle the dispersed weight of the little vampires of the ones that could land at one time.

I’m not even going to go into the math of how fast you create blood vs. how fast mosquitoes can take it out…

The next option would be that an overdose of their venom could kill you… but its not venom. Its mosquito spit and its mostly protein. It is designed to block blood clotting so they don’t get turned off at the pump. I searched really hard to find out what an overdose of mosquito spit would do, but there is surprisingly very little research on this topic. (They are in the process of creating a machine to harvest mosquito spit for blood thinning studies to help heart disease patients.) I did find an odd reference to a study that found repeated exposure to the stuff actually creates a tolerance in your body and mosquitoes will stop visiting you… so you won’t die from spit.

I did come across something surprising in my countless hours of research for this post; there have been reported bovine deaths where the cause of death was discovered to be asphyxia due to the nasal cavity being clogged with mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are drawn to CO2 (your breath) and given the chance, they will aim for your face. If you had enough of them right around your nose, and you breathed in deeply enough… This would still take several thousand all hanging out around your upper lip. (The mental image I conjure up for this looks like a really bad mustache.)

The bottom line: Other than the very slim chance of mosquitoes spreading disease, they can’t kill you with the tools they currently have.

An open invitation from my daughter

xandraXandra shared the Boys, Dating, Testosterone and How To Punch Hard post with her greater Facebook audience.  It was fairly well received and in her status message she said that her friends could ask me questions too if they wanted my unique opinion or perspective on something.

I figured I would just confirm that I would be happy to take anyone’s questions.  I would find it really interesting what other teens would like to know about, and no topic is off limits.

You can post questions anonymously in the comments on this post or over on the Ask Me Here page.  I have to approve comments before they are posted, but unless you are a spammer or have something evil to say, i will approve your comment ;-).

Don’t be shy and thanks for stopping by.

How to get teens to do chores… quickly

This is not a question that my daughters have asked me, but it is a conversation we have had many times. In fact they have said, “I HATE THAT YOU’RE SO GOOD WITH TECHNOLOGY!!!”

ChoresI don’t know about you, but getting teens to do reasonable work around the house is difficult. There are so many distractions and different forms of instant communication that directing and redirecting and reminding and harping and yelling to get your teen to do one load of dishes or fold one load of laundry seems like more work than doing it yourself.

There is a solution

Grab a piece of paper and make a list  that looks like this:

Wash Dishes

1 Load of Laundry

Make Dad cookies

 

wifi

 

Now consult your internet modem instructions to change your wifi password:

Cisco or Linksys: http://kb.linksys.com/Linksys
DLink: http://www.ehow.com/

Don’t get overwhelmed by the techy stuff. This is worth learning if you don’t already know how to do it. I recommend using “WPA-Personal” when you get the chance to choose what kind of password you want.

If you are not good at picking passwords, try this handy tool: Semi-Secure Password Generator – don’t forget to copy the password somewhere so you won’t forget it.

The result is that you have just turned off 95% of whatever was distracting them and taken away most of what they want to do. So now they will be motivated to get the work done and won’t be distracted doing it. When they have checked off what you have asked them to do, you can give them the new wifi password.

Gotcha… You may need to scan your available wifi networks to see if you have neighbors with unprotected wifi access and ask them to put on a password… Tell them you saw a creepy guy in front of their house in a car with a laptop on their lap… usually does the trick.

Another Gotha… in my house no wifi access means hand in all data capable phones… those kids are sneaky.

Pro Tip… change the wifi password when you say “go to bed” to get kids to actually fall asleep faster.

Pro tip… If you have a router that has guest wifi access, change the name (ssid) of guest to “kids” and change the name (ssid) of the regular wifi account to “parents only-hahaha” and you can keep your devices connected while “motivating” your children… its a win-win.

What pranks would you pull if you were a ghost?

Seeing as I don’t believe in ghosts as per se, this takes a bit of qualification.  What Xandra and I have agreed on, is that being a ghost consists of being invisible and being able to pass through walls / objects and yet retain that ability to move objects around.  I’m also going to go with immortality – or infinite existence – or whatever it is that ghosts get where they don’t go away. With that said…

I’ve thought about this long and hard…

I would travel the world looking for people who are making home movies or filming some random event and I would make really freaky accidents happen, like make a big inflatable pool rip open and dump all the people on the lawn when the big guy gets in, or throw a cat out a window to make it look like they were following a laser pointer, or make dump stunts teens do go really really bad, and then I would see how many of “my” videos I can get on AFV.  I would keep score and challenge all my ghost buddies to try and beet my score… and I would win!

Answer: Rule AFV

Did Adam and Eve have belly buttons?

I asked her for some of her favorite questions and this is the first one?!? Going Deep to start…

OK, so this all depends on your view of creation. The first point that I always try and make is that the Bible was never intended to be an authority on science. I personally believe that the Bible is crazy accurate when it comes to references about science (check out what the Bible says about singing stars in Job, the oldest written book in the Bible, and when scientist discovered that stars ‘sing’ in modern times), but it does not go into the how or why at all.  For instance Jesus walked on water, turned water into wine, walked through walls and ‘ascended’ into heaven. This, in my opinion, is not mystic behavior, but rather a demonstration of God’s control of dimensions that we can’t even comprehend (the phase of atoms, elemental properties, etc.). But the Bible doesn’t reference anywhere ‘how’ he did it.  You can speculate all you want, but it will take a lab and particle accelerators and scientists to guess at that stuff.

With that said, we have no real clue how God made us, the Bible just says that He did, and creation can’t be observed any more than evolution can, so neither qualify as ‘scientific’ discussions. The only clue we have at all about how God might have operated is that he put man to sleep, took a rib and then made woman. So if God likes to work in patterns (which is debatable) then He very likely could have used a directed evolutionary process to take a monkey and then make and ape, and then take and ape and make a man, or something like that.  If He did that, then he could have used birth as a decent place to make His various vertebrate iterations and so Adam may have had a belly button.  Eve is a complete and total guess, because she seems to have been a unique creation with a rib (marrow, undifferentiated stem cells, DNA mapping, etc), but was not born of another woman, so I’m going with “No” for Eve.

Final Answer: Yes for Adam, No for Eve