Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Surprise, Just Not A Party

Angie handed me her laptop and said, "Happy Birthday, sweetheart!" I didn't know what she was doing since I had bought the laptop for her birthday the year previous. As I sat on the hospital bed waiting for my discharge papers, I had no clue as to what she was doing.

What she was doing was trying to make my birthday somewhat special. After being prodded and poked and worked out on the treadmill on minimal sleep and even less food, I think she felt bad that my birthday was a bust. (Truth be told, she hadn't done anything for my birthday because I wasn't supposed to be home, I was supposed to be in Raleigh working.)

So, she came to the hospital today with some KFC and a birthday cake. I had just eaten the lunch that the hospital provided, so I think she wanted to do SOMETHING special - even if it was small. And, she decided to let me know what my present was...

Now, you have to step back about a year and a half to understand how our birthdays were planned. A year and a half ago, I had thrown Angie a big surprise 40th birthday bash with 50 of her closet friends and kids, catering from her favorite restaurant, etc. etc. That party was awesome and I assumed when I turned 40 she'd reciprocate.

Then, last year, I bought a rifle and hunted. At that point, I knew that for my birthday I didn't want a party but a hunt where I could have a reasonable chance at a large deer. Not necessarily a trophy buck, but something large enough to hang on a wall while filling my freezer. She's been tight lipped since then. If I asked her about it or even mentioned it, she'd give me that look she has; the look that says, "shut up!" For the most part, I'd shut up.

About a week ago I walked in on her while she was on the phone with was evident that she was planning my present. (Either that or she just got busted having an affair and since I really didn't think that was the case, I knew it was for a hunt). I honored her request not to bug her, so I didn't even ask. She asked if I wanted to fly or drive and indicated that she would accompany - but that was all she gave me.

Until she handed me her laptop. On the page, I saw:
I was blown away. She indicated that we'd be going for the pre-rut package. She then showed me pictures of the ranch, lodging, food, etc. I can't wait. This is going to be a hunt of a life time for me. If I never shoot at a trophy again, I know that this is the trip to savour and enjoy.

I don't have a lot of details yet and I have a list of questions for her and the ranch...but, Angie is real dedicated to pulling this off all by herself. I don't think she understands this, but she took such great care of me at the hospital and she's doing all the work for this hunt that even though I spent my 40th birthday in the hospital, this has been a really awesome birthday.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Happy Stress Test to Me

An aunt tells me that I just entered my fifth decade. I think that somehow I really started a new beginning. I spent the beginning of my birthday strapped to a heart monitor dissolving Nitro and getting a battery of tests on my heart.

I hadn't been feeling great all weekend, having suffered a couple of bouts of shortness of breath, profuse sweating and chills. None of them lasted very long, so I basically committed to visiting my doctor when I had an opportunity.

I had a very early flight scheduled for Monday morning, so I went to bed early on Sunday night. However, I could never really get comfortable, I felt "off" and then the chest pains began. Not bad pain, but a dull squeezing sensation that never went away. I postponed my flight for the evening and tried to get a couple of hours of sleep. As the day progressed, the pain remained, but it was when I had another episode like that from the weekend, I called my doctor. As expected, when I mentioned chest pain, he said to get to the ER immediately. I did.

EKG, blood work, Nitro pills and an extensive history had the doctor thinking I might have had a clot from my leg. The did a sonogram on my leg and a cat scan on my chest. Both checked out OK. They decided to admit me, but had not beds, so I basically lay in the ER until about 1am. Angie stayed with me the whole time and a good bud came up to visit and pray. The next day, some more blood work and a stress test proved that my heart is fine. They discharged me at noon today and I've been resting since. I will take a day off of work to continue that rest.

So, my birthday mystery is that we don't know what set me off, but Angie is already beating me up to exercise more and to eat less and more healthy. Being sent to the ER on your 40th is a real wake up call, one in which I don't plan on pressing the 'snooze' button.

Besides the motivation behind getting health Angie gave me my present which gives me about six months to get into shape. More on that tomorrow.

Thanks to everyone for the prayers, well wishes, and birthday wishes...


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Red Hot Poker

I'm not sure why, but I have gotten very much into poker lately. It may come from the small cash tournament that I won several weeks ago. Since then, I've been playing online a lot, AND winning a lot.

I know that the chips are not real money, but there has to be something to the fact that every 'sit-and-go' tournament I am in, I am among the top, if I don't win outright. Even Angie seems on board with me playing - not the fact that I'm on the computer playing, but that I seem to be pretty good at it. She's telling me that Justin and I should to go Choctaw and enter one of their cash games. She's also making plans for us to go back to Vegas with her sister and her husband so we can play some poker.

I think that what really has her convinced is that I entered an online World Series of Poker qualifying event at It was a free entry qualifying tournament where the top 10 got to play for a paid entry into the WSOP's Main Event (a seat that costs $10,000.00). There were almost 7,300 entries into the qualifier that started at midnight. About an hour and a half later, I had won my table. After waiting for all of the 1000 tables to finish, we started another. Another 90 minutes later, I had won that table. By now, there are 10 tables of 10 players was also 4am by now. I ended up getting knocked out from that table, but I ended up in 71st place out of 7,233 players. That's pretty good and would have been in the money in any tournament.

As I crawled into bed at 5am Angie asked me where I had been all night. I told her and she shook her head at me like I was some kind of dummy...

I might be, but I bet she wouldn't be shaking her head if I was handing her a wad of cash.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Soft Spoken

It isn't uncommon to ask Dylan to repeat himself not once or twice, but several times. But don't let his soft spoken demeanor fool you...he's got a lot going on. Here's his birthday post as he turns fifteen today (driving looms - will we survive?)

When he comes out of his shell, which he does more and more these days, he's as funny a person I've met. He's got these voices and sayings that make the room erupt in laughter. I've seen him do things that were so funny that his mom and I have almost puked from laughing. It's funny, because he doesn't always get silly, but when he does, watch out because you are going to laugh and laugh hard.

Dylan has to face things with humor - before Justin moved back, during the day he would basically be outnumbered by three females . Thank God for his presence. I can always count on SportsCenter or a ballgame being on TV when he is around. He's a welcome contrast to all of the HGTV and iCarley that goes on around here. Especially during baseball season. Dylan is singlehandedly responsible for rekindling my love for PLAYING the game. When he got involved with Little League, I started getting the competitive urge again. I played several seasons with the MSBL in North Texas before blowing out a shoulder. I'd love to do that again - maybe we can play together when he turns 18.

Dylan is also very artistic. He's just good with his hands - whether he is making something or drawing a picture. He's definitely got some skills there. He's designed his own house and he's got some amazing drawings. He's got a great future ahead of him if he stays focused. The picture with this post is his most recent creation - an amazing pencil self-portrait. Did I mention he can play drums rather awesomely? Yeah, he can do that, too.

Come to think of it, there isn't anything he can't do when he chooses to. That's why we love him so much, and why we thank God he is in our lives. He's awesome, period.

Happy Birthday, Dylan. We're enjoying watching you become a man.


Monday, May 04, 2009

Mistaken Identity

A couple of posts ago, I mentioned the yahoos at the IRS and thanked God that those same yahoos don't work for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The TSA are the good people that keep us safe in the air (hopefully).

Based on my experience going to Las Vegas this week, I have some serious concerns if this is indeed true.

Our trip began like any other business trip for me, except that Angie was accompanying me. We got to the airport early and decided to get some breakfast at a restaurant. This took a little longer than we had expected, so by the time we got to our gate, the plane was almost fully boarded. In fact, they were calling my name for final boarding. Angie and I gave the agent our boarding passes and then things got weird.

The agent said that there was someone already in my seat, 18F. The sorted some stuff out on the computer and told me to tell the woman in my seat to move to 19E. I knew that we'd be moving that person from an exit row window to a normal (non-legroom) middle seat so I balked...and told the agent that 'that was her job'. She assented and boarded in front of us.

So, we get to the row and the lady is a little upset at having to move, until we looked at her boarding pass. She has a boarding pass WITH MY NAME ON IT!!! Basically, when she checked in, she got my boarding pass from the ticket agent. So, mistakes happen, I can understand that. Additionally, I rarely look at my tickets when I get them, so I can completely understand her not checking. But, what I am having a problem with is how she got through security, particularly that TSA agent with the ultraviolet light flashlight and highlighter pen who checks your ID, your boarding pass, and marks the pass to show that things are good to go.

Hers had been marked up....basically, the TSA agent fell asleep, didn't verify the names and allowed her to pass.

The more I think about that, the more I get pissed off. Is the agent at the x-ray machine making the same mistakes? Have they become so comfortable that diligence isn't maintained?

More importantly, have we? Has terrorism once again become something that happens elsewhere to others? I guarantee there are still those who hate our way of life and are motivated to cause fear and terror. I'm sure that our president bowing to foreign leaders is interpreted as a sign of weakness by those same people - instead of the conciliatory tone that is presumably intended.

I know this is probably a better post for a September 11 anniversary, but any day is a good day to be reminded not to forget.


Saturday, May 02, 2009

Insane Footage

This is footage from the roof collapse at Dallas Cowboys special teams practice. The storm is raging pretty good outside - I hope the same doesn't happen to my roof and pray for those injured.