Tee Quillin | News
blog,paged,paged-4,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode-theme-ver-3.4,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.4.0,vc_responsive

What I Learned On My Vacation This Summer

What I Learned On My Vacation This Summer

  |   general ramblings   |   No comment

Now that my vacation is almost at an end, I thought I’d wrap it up a bit with a few lessons that I learned.

  1. You don’t have to travel overnight to have a great vacation.  It’s never too late to drive home to sleep in your own bed.
  2. Vacation is most definitely a state of mind.
  3. No matter how tired you are, you can always find renewed energy in just seeing the world as your children see it.
  4. Planning for a vacation is a lot more fun when it feels like there is no plan.
  5. Fish are cool.
  6. IMAX 3D movies are cool, too.
  7. We are neglecting our history and our traditions for the sake of “progress”.  Pardon me, boy, is that the Chattanooga Choo-Choo?  I don’t know, I can’t see it for all the shiny new stuff around the river.
  8. Don’t wait 15 years before going back to visit the places where you grew up.
  9. Make more time for long “lost” friends.
  10. If your vacation is to occur during the summer, time must be allowed for jumping in a pool; preferrably one that is not crowded or even private.
  11. Brand new movie theatres with 70mm high definition digital projectors and 40 million watt 78 speaker array Dolby THX surround sound don’t have anything on sitting in the front seat of your car watching a great movie through the FM radio with your wife and kids.
  12. There are still people in Hollywood who, even when while they are blazing new technological grounds in digital, computer generated animated filmmaking, take the time to not lose sight of the thing that makes all those breakthroughs possible:  The Story.

There might be more later.  Technically speaking, we are still on vacation…

Read More

Date Night

  |   Husbandry   |   No comment

Getting a little more personal now…

Can we dim the lights a little?  Thank you.

Bekah and I have been married for…(pause while I do math)…13 years now; dating for…(another pause) 16.  We’ve been through a lot in that time.  For the most part, though, I’d say we have a very happy marriage.  Let’s be honest, every couple has their ups and downs.  Thankfully, we’ve mostly had ups.  I mean there are things about me that drive her absolutely insane and there are things about her that do the same to me.  For the sake of enjoying my king-sized bed and having a lumpy couch, I’ll not itemize those things here.

Anyway, about 5 or 6 months ago, Bekah and I instigated Date Night.  Full disclosure:  it was her idea.  I got chastised the other day for saying

Date Night is the best idea we’ve had in a long time.

The correct statement should’ve been

Date Night is the best idea you’ve had in a long time.

I’ll not make that mistake again.

But I digress.

The concept is simple:  we set aside one night every week that is ours.  It’s not always easy to do with her working retail and me professing theatre, but we actually take the time to put Date Night in our calendars.  Since the budget is tight, we don’t feel like we have to go out to a fancy dinner (or even a take-out/drive-thru dinner).  We cook either for or with each other, eat in peace after the kids are in bed, and then spend some quality time focusing on each other.

I won’t go into all the details of what Date Night involves.  I’m sure most of you are adults and can use your imagination. Plus, going into more detail would put me in danger of sleeping on the patio or worse. However, I will tell you that, even when we don’t or can’t get a babysitter, we still have Date Night.  We just wait until we’ve put the kids to bed and then we have our time together.  We usually turn the ringers off on the phones.  We are very selfish with that time.  Nothing supercedes Date Night. We usually try to keep it the same night every week, but sometimes that just can’t happen.  We don’t let a week go by without having at least one night that is totally ours.

The best part about Date Night is…okay the second best thing about Date Night is that regardless of anything else, we know that there is one night that we can have to be Real People; not Parents, Teachers, or Co-Workers.

And you know what?  It’s really improved our marriage.  Not that our marriage was perfect, but there’s always room for improvement, right?  It’s drawn us closer together; allowed us to get to know one another all over again; remember the cute little things that made us crazy for the other one while we were dating; and, yes, even learn a few new things about each other.

What’s the secret?  There isn’t one.

Other than taking the time and making it absolutely sacred.  Rarely do we have any kind of plan for the evening.  We usually fly by the seat of our pants and make it up as we go.  Every now and then one of us will get a wild idea and try to surprise the other one with something, but neither of us feels like we have to do that.  There is no pressure whatsoever.

Okay.  I’ve got to go.  Tonight is Date Night and I’ve got to go finishing getting ready.  Don’t bother calling tonight.  We won’t answer the phone.

Read More


  |   general ramblings   |   No comment

I’ve been a Twitter user for a couple of months now and I’m going to be honest, at first, I really wasn’t sure what to make of it.  At first, I just connected it to my Facebook account for status updates and that was that.

However, in the past couple of weeks, I began to see what the big deal was.  Ironically enough, it took reading a story about how several of our Congressmen and -women were “twitting” during Obama’s first non-State of the Union speech.   Then I started looking into who all is into the Twitter-thing.  It’s amazing who you can follow on Twitter.  I’m still finding more and more.  Not just people, but all kinds of organizations.

So, if you’re interested:  Twit me.  It’s not as dirty as it sounds.  Seriously.

Read More

Like Pulling Teeth

  |   Family   |   No comment

It’s been a busy last couple of weeks.  Just after Christmas, we always have a flurry of birthdays in January so that keeps us hopping.

Morgan has finally lost two more teeth.  Her two front teeth are missing.  So, I guess that was one Christmas song we won’t have to sing. The first tooth came out last week and it was pretty traumatic.  I actually had to pull it out.  I opted not to use the String Tied to the Doorknob Trick.  After all, Morgan  is a wee delicate thing.  So, I just very slowly worked it out.  There were tears, but mostly at the sight of the blood.  Then we reminded her of the Tooth Fairy and everything was just fine.

The second tooth is a different story.  She did most of the work on that one by herself!  She pulled and pulled until it was almost falling out by itself, but she just couldn’t bring herself to give it that last little tug, so Daddy had to do it.  She is so proud of her missing teeth.  She couldn’t wait to show everyone at church this morning.

Here she is:


Read More

Creativity: It Can Save Your Ass

  |   Other Interests   |   No comment

So, I’ve been burned in the past by this statement from Bekah:

“Let’s not get anything for each other on Valentine’s Day.”

It was our first year of marriage and I will never, ever forget that lesson learned.  In fact, it’s going to be the first lesson I teach Ian when he starts dating.  I’m sure the statement will go something like this:

(Ian and Tee are at home while Morgan and Bekah are out shopping…or something.)

Ian:  Dad?  My girlfriend and I aren’t going to get each other anything for Christmas this year.  It’s just too expensive to buy stuff.  She told me it was okay.

(Tee drops what he’s doing, rushes over to his son and holds him firmly by both shoulders and stares directly into his eyes.)

Tee:  Son.  It’s a lie.  Here’s some money.  (stuffs a handful of bills into his son’s hand) You go out and you buy her something right now, bring it home and wrap it.  And for God’s sake put a bow on the thing.  And a card.

(Ian is rattled by the serious nature of his father’s demeanor.)

Ian:  But, Dad, we talked about it.  It was her idea…

Tee:  (interrupting) I know, son.  I know you did, but it’s not true.  Christmas will come and she will arrive at our house with a gift for you all wrapped up and perfect and it will be something she’s put a lot of thought into and taken a lot of time to wrap and make special.

Ian:  (interrupting) But, Dad…

Tee:  Trust me.  This is like some bizarre female mating ritual where she tests your devotion to her and your ability to read her mind successfully every time.  You must learn how to do this if you are to survive.  It’s not easy at first, but you must understand that she did not mean what she actually said.

Ian:  Dad, that doesn’t make any sense.

Tee:  I know, son.  I know.  There are a lot of things in relationships that don’t make any sense, but trust me I learned this one the hard way… (proceeds to tell him the Valentine’s Day story).

In the spirit of helping some other young men who might be at this point in their lives already, I’m going to tell you the story of this year and pass along the idea that I had that has already paid off this Christmas Season.

Earlier this year, Bekah and I were talking about Christmas presents and one of the things we were discussing is how to spend out extremely limited budget acquiring gifts for everyone.  As part of the conversation, she said:

Let’s not get each other anything this year for Christmas.  We just don’t have the money.

As soon as these words left her mouth, I lost all track of the conversation.  While I was “um-hmm-ing” and “uh-huh-ing” through the rest of it, in my mind alarm bells were going off and I started running through a possible list of gifts for Bekah.

However, this year, I had another problem:  We really didn’t have that much money in the budget.  Everything that was coming into my head as a potential gift cost more money than we had.  Damn, I was in a tight spot.  I’m lucky in one respect.  Bekah likes to begin planning Christmas gifts around…uh…February.  She’s learned not to include me in the conversation until around October because I will forget that the conversation even happened, let alone the details.

So, I had some time to come up with something.  I breathed a mental sigh of relief and returned to the conversation at hand.

Skip ahead to December.  Around the 10th.  Holy crap, I thought, I’ve only got 15 days until Christmas to figure out what I’m going to get Bekah that doesn’t cost anything.  15 days.  15 days.  What can I possibly come up with in 15 days?

Then, while I was sitting in the car waiting to pick Morgan up from school, it hit me:  The 12 Days of Christmas, right? Bingo.  Wait a minute.  I know in years past that it costs like $300,000 or something to by all that crap.  Damn, I’m in a tight spot.

The key was to find something to do with those 12 days (which start on December 14th, by the way).  Then, in a moment of clarity, inspiration, and creativity, I had my idea.

I would write her a letter.  One letter for each day of the 12 days, and each letter would cover a different topic.  But wait, the ideas just kept flowing.  The topics of the letters would be different things that I love about her.  Not only that, but I would write them on some decent paper (not just notebook paper, it’s not nearly special enough) and I would make each one of them pretty…somehow.

Believe it or not, we have a wax seal set.  Yes, don’t ask.

So, I would write all of the letters ahead of time and date them for the appropriate date.  Then, I could seal the letters with the wax seal and hide them until December 14th when I would present her with her first letter first thing in the morning.

It worked.  Here’s a look at how they turned out.



I was giddy.  Here’s what to do:

  1. Come up with a list of the 12 things
  2. Reorganized them into the order I wanted her to receive them
  3. Started writing letters.
  4. Folded them up and wrote her name and the correct date on the outside of the letter.
  5. Sealed them with the wax seals.

The hardest part about this project was sealing the letters with the wax seal.  I had not used the wax for several years so I was out of practice.  Trust me, it’s not as easy as it looks in all of those period films.  Be prepared:  You will make a mess with this part of the project.  Try it out on a couple of test pages before you start working on the real letters.

Bekah’s only got three more letters to go.  She gets the last one on Christmas morning just after Santa Claus has arrived.  When I gave her the first one on the 14th, she was shocked.  The first letter told her that she would be receiving for each of the 12  days.

I knew that it had worked when she said:

Now I’ve got to think of something to get you for Christmas!

Earning Good Husband Points is a rare thing.  Trust me, this is a thing to be cherished.

Read More

A Christmas Story

  |   Family   |   3 Comments

Here’s a great little Christmas story to help get the spirit flowing if it wasn’t already.

For those of you who don’t know, Ian is in a special needs pre-k classroom at his school because of a speech delay.  He’s four-years-old and has made some amazing progress in the past year since he’s been in speech therapy.

So, Ian had a Holiday Assembly today at school.  His class was invited down to hear some of the other classes sing some Christmas carols.  After they arrived in the gym, Ian’s class was invited to take part in the assembly by singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.  Ian’s teacher didn’t volunteer the entire class to sing because they hadn’t practiced or anything, but she asked the class if anyone wanted to go up on stage to sing.  Ian and one other little boy said they wanted to.  Ian’s teacher sent them up on the stage and began to look for her camera to snap some photos.

Here’s where it gets good.

As she was getting her camera ready, she heard a single voice coming over the PA system singing Rudolph.  She looked up and saw Ian standing on the stage at the microphone performing an impromptu solo.

In front of the whole school.

He sang the whole song.

Hang on.  It gets better.

Later they were invited back up on stage to sing Jingle Bells.  He went back up on stage for his encore.

Since his teacher hadn’t planned on going to the assembly let alone Ian having his solo, we weren’t aware of any of this going on and missed it.  I’m just hoping that someone got it on video so I can get a copy of it.  Still, I’m proud of the little guy for just jumping up on stage and getting it done.  I am told he got up onstage as though he did it every day without hesitation or any sense of nervous energy.

That’s my boy.

UPDATE:  When we picked Ian up from school the next day, his teacher told us she forgot to mention that after he returned to his seat, before he sat down he took a good deep bow with one arm over his tummy and the other at his back.  That’s my boy.

Read More

Lots of stuff

  |   general ramblings   |   No comment

It’s been a busy time around here.  Since I’m playing catch-up from my last post, I’ll give you the Readers Digest version of the past couple of months.

After being diagnosed with extremely high cholesterol, low testosterone and vitamin B12 levels, the doctor put me on a regimen of medications in the hopes of bringing everything back under control and bring me back from the brink of a heart attack.  I was okay with this decision.  The hardest part of the medications was the fact that Bekah gets to give me a shot every two weeks with a needle the size of the one in Gatlinburg.

So, I took the medications for nearly two months and invoked a radical change of my diet.  First of all, I cut out sugar completely.  This is a huge thing for me.  That means no sweet tea.  I’m a southern man.  Technically speaking, I think this is actually in violation of the Geneva Convention.  Second, I cut out all red meat.  See the first point.  Then, I cut out all enriched white flour and switched totally to 100% whole grain.  Everything.  This part wasn’t that bad.

This diet, along with the testosterone shots has proved to be quite a great thing.  The most important thing is that I went down two pants sizes.  I didn’t lose any actual weight, it just all suddenly turned to muscle.  I have more energy than I think I’ve ever had.  In short, it’s been incredible.

I even brought my cholesterol down nearly 600 points in two months.  My doc was shocked.  She’d never seen such a drastic turn around so quickly.

Here’s the bad news:  Just about the time I started getting all this energy and feeling great, I developed water on my knee.  This is incredibly painful and I don’t recommend it.  After tracking down my medical records from my knee surgery in Texas, I finally got an appointment with an orthopedist and got it looked at.  I was put in a leg immobilizer and on crutches – again, just at the time when I’ve got all this newfound energy.

I had a series of X-rays and MRIs all of which showed absolutely nothing wrong with my knee except the fluid.  In other words, there was no apparent trauma that cause the fluid buildup.  Strange.  So, the doctor drained it.  This is quite possibly the most excruciating thing I’ve ever been through.  Ever.  Then again, I’ve never given birth to a child.

He sent the fluid off to the lab in the hopes of finding out something there, but the labs came back clean.  No infection, no gout, no arthritis (which is good news, but didn’t explain my problem).  After draining it, the swelling went down a bit, but the flexibility had not yet come back and I could not put weight on it.  The next week I went back and he gave me a cortizone shot (again, very painful to have a needle stuck into your knee) and over the past 10 days, I’ve slowly worked myself down from two crutches to one, from one crutch down to my cane, and finally I’ve started leaving the cane at home and am flying solo again.  I go back in today for a “final” checkup on the knee and hopefully to be fitted for a proper knee brace.  I’ve been using the generic “OTC” knee braces forever.  They work okay, but I can never find one large enough to fit around my calf muscles.  They usually wind up cutting off my circulation throughout the day.

Every day since the cortizone shot has been better than the one before it.  I’m still not running any marathons, but at least I’m walking without any help.  I’m still cringing when I go up or down a set of stairs.

Ian’s speech keeps getting better and better.  We are still on the books for an autism screening in May at Vanderbilt.  He is making great strides.  He loves his speech teachers (both at the Bellwood School and at MTSU)!  Morgan made the honor roll and was named a Good Citizen at her school last month.  We couldn’t be happier with either of our kids!  Halloween pictures can be found in the Facebook gallery.  Ian made a pretty convincing Woody from Toy Story.

In other news, my office (which I share with John Mauldin) is being moved to a larger one across campus.  Get this:  I’m actually going to have an office in the theatre building!  This move should be happening in the next week or so.

Read More

Was There Ever Life Before Ambien?

  |   Family   |   2 Comments


It’s been a rough week since I last posted. In fact, it’s been so rough, that I’m opening a new window to read my last post to make sure I’m not repeating anything.

So, Tylenol with Codine did the trick. It was much easier to deal with the pain after that and he slept a little better (at least during the day–more on that in a bit), but the psychological damage had been done with regards to food and we are still dealing with that a little bit even today.

The day of the surgery, when we got home, he saw mom eating her lunch which just happened to be his favorite meal in the world: spaghetti. He pointed at it to indicate that he would like some and when I asked him if that’s what he wanted, he nodded “yes”. (Speaking was still painful to him at this point so, speech therapy or no, we weren’t pushing the whole talking thing like we normally do.) The doctor told us to give him anything he wanted as long as it wasn’t any warmer than room temperature. So, I cooled down some of mommy’s spaghetti (testing on my arm like I haven’t done in nearly nearly 4 years) and got down to work.

I picked up the fork and tried to give him a small bite all the while telling him to chew it up really good. Well, bless his heart, he was so hungry from not having eaten since the night before the surgery that he kept trying to grab the fork out of my hand. I would back the fork away telling him that I needed to feed him, but that just upset him further. I decided that it would be okay for him to feed himself as long as I was right there with him. He tried to scarf the food down in huge handful-sized bites. At this point, he was still riding the high of the anesthesia from the surgery, but it still didn’t stop the sharp pains in his throat as he swallowed the huge bites of food.

So now, in addition to just being pretty pissed off about the constant pain in his throat, he was also afraid of food. He wouldn’t even go near the typical tonsillectomy fare like ice cream and popsicles. We could hardly get him to drink anything let alone eat. So, keeping him hydrated and medicated became a WWE affair with the tag team of Big Bad Daddy and Hot Momma in one corner and Ian “The Hulk” Quillin taking on a grudge match in the other corner. “THIS TIME THEY’RE GOING DOWN!!!”

No kidding. Bekah had to hold his arms in place while I, standing off to the side so as not to get kicked in the nuts (kicking below the belt is apparently not only allowed, but encouraged in this league), would have to use one hand to hold his head straight while I tried to use the other to put the medicine–and eventualy, Pedialyte–into his mouth with a syringe, of which he would promptly spit out 75%. Of every dosage.

At one point, there was a streak of pink goo streaked across his bedroom wall that, had it been red would have looked perfect in the next Halloween installment–what is it now, XXXV? But I digress.

By Saturday, the only thing he would even attempt to put down his throat on his own was chocolate milk. I now own stock in Nesquick. I love that damn rabbit. Love him. And somehow he just knows, you know? If you click on that link, one of the first things you’ll see if the phrase, “Come to Your Happy Place.” Coincidence? Uh-uh.

Ian didn’t eat his first solid food until almost exactly one week after his last meal before the surgery. That’s right. Tuesday night, he suddenly walks into the living room, pats me on the shoulder and says–actually speaks–, “I want pizza.”

We were in the car headed to Lil Caesars so fast, I’m sure I broke several land speed records. I got the pizza home and adequately cooled off and he very carefully ate two whole slices (he doesn’t like the crusts) and helped himself to two cups of his beloved chocolate milk.

But, I haven’t even mentioned the lack of sleep. The first night, since we were on Tylenol only, he suddenly reached up with his hand and pointed toward his bedroom and slipped off mommy’s lap and started putting himself to bed. I thought, wow, this might actually be an okay night. That was around 7pm and rather than Bekah and I immediately following suit and crashing into our own bed, we decided to sit up and have some adult TV time. (No, not that kind of adult TV time.) Silly parents.

By 9pm, we would hear him beginning to cry through the baby monitor which I had dug out of moth balls and placed back in his room for the first time in nearly 3 years. By the time we could round the corner and step into his room, he was into full-out hysterics. 9pm also happened to be when his next dosage of Tylenol was due. So, we headed back into the ring for one more round. After that, the only thing that would calm him down was mommy slowly rocking him back and forth. So, she headed to the rocking chair while I acted like I could go to sleep without having taken my Ambien that night. Silly Daddy.

Eventually, Mommy made her way back into the bed room with an arm full of very sleepy, yet very pissed off little boy. We decided to let him sleep in our bed that night. I use the term “sleep” in a humorous way. We didn’t sleep because every time he swallowed, he would burst out into tears. Even after the Tylenol. So, every 10 minutes or so, when his mouth had filled up with all the saliva it could handle and he was forced to swallow it, we were awakened by the sound of him screaming and catching his breath after having swallowed. This didn’t help the whole fear of food thing, either. Eventually, whether through exhaustion or simple repetition, he got to the point where we could just tell him that everyting was okay and he would stop crying and catch another 10 minutes of sleep.

We did this for two nights straight.

Friday morning, neither Bekah nor I felt human. If you listen to this week’s episode of the podcast, you’ll see that I wasn’t really part of it. John put the whole show together for me. He also got to have a lot of fun at my expense, but what did I know? I was a walking zombie.

In a way, it was worse for her because she had to go in to work and deal with The Public. I, on the other hand, got to stay home and try the one-on-one bouts of administering his medication. The first real night of sleep we got was Monday night. Thankfully, Bekah had Tuesday off so as to get Morgan registered for school.

Skip forward to yesterday; one week and one day after Ian’s surgery. Morgan wakes Bekah and I up complaining of a sore throat. Since we were both enjoying the deep restful sleep that only corpses and overnight security men enjoy, we shrugged it off as her trying to get a little bit of the attention that brother had been stealing from her for a whole week now.

After we got up and checked her out, it turns out that, in fact, she was running a fever. We both instantly jumped to worst case scenario (because we are parents). If Morgan had strep throat, then it would be likely that Ian could get it. If Ian got it on top of just having had his tonsils out, not only would he wind up in the hospital, we would also be starting over from square one with his recovery.

We quaratined Morgan to her room and called the doctor for an appointment. Then we watched the flashing colon on the digital clock that is our cable box slow down just to mock us. I finally took Morgan in to the doctor and we went thought the whole culture thing–which I can’t stand, let alone sit by and watch someone do it to my daughter. It came back negative, so after spending the co-pay to the doctor’s office we went home without so much as a courtesy prescription of Placebex (use only as directed) just to make us feel better. We were told to watch her temperature and come back if it didn’t go away in 24 hours.

It did.

The story is not quite over, however. This afternoon, Morgan began to develop a light rash around her lips. Bekah treated it with some Neosporin and we went about our day. In fact, Morgan got to spend the day swimming at her Maw-maw and Paw-paw’s house. Tonight, when she got home, the rash had begun to show up on her hands as well. I immediately called Nurse Maw-Maw and asked her what I could do tonight other than putting more Neosporin on it. She told me that it looked like the beginnings of impetigo, which she very likely picked up while we were at the doctor’s office getting her sore throat checked out.

And now, tomorrow morning, I have to take her back to the same doctor’s office to get her diagnosed with impetigo and, hopefully, have something a little stronger than just the over-the-counter Neosporin to knock it out because she could very well miss her first day of the first grade if she’s not contagion-free. I don’t want my little girl to miss her first day of first grade for some silly, highly contagious rash.

I wrote all of this to simply tell you that if you happen to live in the greater Nashville area and happen to need any medications of any kind, they are probably all over at our house. See, I didn’t even tell you about all the medical stuff that happened to me this week…

Read More

Tonsils: An Update

  |   Family   |   No comment

We kinda survived. There were no issues with the IV. However, he was not a happy camper about the seemingly never ending sore throat that goes along with getting your tonsils out.

To make matters worse, it took this operation to discover that my son is allergic to hydrocodone. The painkillers they prescribed for him had the exact opposite reaction that it was supposed to. Rather than making him lethargic and want to sleep (and numb the pain at the same time), this medicine made him completely hyper (and we couldn’t tell if he was feeling less pain or not). So, we had to tough it out with regular old children’s Tylenol until we could get in touch with the doctor’s office the next day.

Needless to say, Wednesday night was pretty rough around here. At first, it looked like everything was going to be okay. Without notice, Ian suddenly sat up in Bekah’s lap and announced that he was going to bed at around 7:30p. We did not argue. We walked him into his room, made him as comfortable as we could and hoped for the best for a good night’s sleep. However, about two hours later, he was up and screaming because of the pain in his throat. We gave him his Tylenol and put him to bed with us. Where we learned that he had been not swallowing his saliva until he absolutely had to. So, about every 10-15 minutes, we would hear him swallow followed by either a very dry cough and/or a short round of screaming in pain. This went on until about 2:30a. After that, I couldn’t sleep anymore. I got up, had a midnight snack, and read a lot in my book.

Anyway, yesterday, they prescribed Tylenol with Codine and that seemed to do the trick. My son has been sleeping very well since. In fact, I think he’s actually on another orbit right now. He really wants something to eat and/or drink, but he takes the first sip of something and will not touch another drop of it after he feels it causing more pain in this throat. We are having to force liquids on him to keep him from getting dehydrated.

It’s been a long two days and today is probably going to be the worst for me. Bekah’s at work today and I’m home with both of the kids by myself. After he wakes up from his early morning drug-induced nap, I’m going to have to force him to take his antibiotic and try to get some Pedialyte into him somehow. Yesterday, it took Bekah and I together to accomplish both of these tasks and it still was a wrestling match.

Wish me luck.

Read More

Tonsils and Acting

  |   Family   |   1 Comment

Okay, so I went a couple of weeks without updating.  Shoot me.

I was in Arab helping my brother with an acting workshop for his musical theatre program at the high school.  The kids rocked the house.  It was a two week program and I found myself wishing there were more time even though I was also homesick for the rest of the family.  The first week, I had both kids with me (Granna and Aunt Lena watched them while I did the camp) and the second week, it was just Morgan and I staying down in Hunstville while I drove back and forth to Arab every day.  It was a tough schedule, but it was oh so worth it.

In other news:

The day after tomorrow, Ian is having a tonsillectomy.   Bekah has the day of the surgery off, but after that I’m on my own with a irritable little boy with a very sore throat.  Thank God for pain medication.  I also have a He-Man of a son.  When we took him in for his blood work a couple of weeks ago, the first time the nurse stuck him, he bucked like a mule and ripped the needle out of his arm.  It took three of us to hold him down while another nurse stuck him again!

That’s one of the hardest things about being a parent:  taking them to the doctor.  Here is a child who looks to you for everything.



And, then you have to sit and look them in the eyes and try to tell them it’s okay and that this is going to make them feel better or that this shot will keep them from getting sick knowing full well that the child looking back at you is only thinking one thing:  WHY ARE YOU LETTING THIS STRANGE PERSON HURT ME, DADDY?  The guilt factor is very high with doctor visits when shots are involved.  Luckily, most of the shots are complete before the children begin to develop a memory for these things.  Coincidence?

Not likely.

Anyway, back to Ian being a He-Man.  The day I took him in for his last round of booster shots last year (before he started to the new preschool), I had to take him in by myself because Bekah had to work that day.  Not only that, but I had Morgan as well.  The visit with the doctor went amazingly well.  I love our pediatrician.  He rocks.  Great, dry sense of humor and an amazingly relaxed beside manner (especially considering that 99% of the kids that come in to see him leave the office screaming).

Anyway, the nurse and I played it really cool with the whole shot thing.  Ian had had a great time with Dr. Rosser but I knew that his day was about to get really bad. She came in and started prepping him and everything was going well even all the way through the alcohol swap.  Ian was laughing and playing and I actually thought, “you know; everything’s going to be okay this time.”  Needless to say, neither the nurse nor I were prepared for the Hulk emerging from my son at the very moment the first needle went into his leg.  My son–I kid you not–instinctively lashed out with the hand that I was holding and grabbed the syringe and yanked it out of his leg before she could drop the plunger.  Knocked it completely out of her hand.  The syringe landed on the table beside his leg with the needle completely bent in a 45 degree angle right at the base.  The nurse and I were in such shock that we almost let him get off the table (because he was suddenly moving with the speed of a hungry cheetah).  She had to go out and prep another syringe in order to get all three in one swoop, but it took two nurses that time to hold him down while the third did the dirty work.

Needless to say, Bekah and I are very concerned about this upcoming surgery.  Not because of the risks of the surgery or any of that.  We’re worried about the fact that the anesthesia has to be administered via an IV.

I know the doctors and nurses are experienced in this stuff, but I can’t shake the image of my son on a screaming rampage, completely destroying the operating room just before he leaps through the plate-glass window and runs off looking for a few unsuspecting villagers to ravage.

After all this, I’ll make sure I post something on Wednesday night to let you know that we all survived the surgery.  And I don’t just mean the family.  I mean the whole damn town.

Read More

The Gadget Wars

  |   general ramblings   |   1 Comment

No, it’s not what you think.

Those of you who know me well know that I’m a gadget freak. Almost to a fault (but, then again, who’s really going to admit to an excess of anything, right?). So, for Christmas, my present was a GPS unit for the truck. I picked out the Garmin c340, because it is a GPS. I know there are fancier models out there, but really, who needs their GPS unit to show pictures and play mp3s on that tiny crappy speaker? The price was right and I went for it.

Skip ahead to this morning. I found out that the 2009 Map Upgrade was available and I was going to pick it up since we are leaving for out trip on Sunday. I figured, why not have the most current map on the thing since we are about to take our first “road trip” in several years? So, I got online to Garmin’s website to see about ordering it. I went through the process and attempted to place the order and I got a response that told me that my order had not been processed. So, I gave up and decided to find if there was a store in town that had it on DVD and I would just install it that way. It turns out BestBuy had it, so I scurried over there and picked it up.

Then I get home to find out that Garmin Internation has charged my debit card for the amount of the upgrade 15 TIMES!! You read it correctly, my friends. Fifteen friggin’ times they charged my card and I only clicked the submit button once. Total charges equalling over $1,000. So, I got back online to find out what the hell was going on. I logged in to my account on their website and clicked on the link to track my current orders expecting to see 15 orders. The account showed no recent purchase activity on my account.

I called the bank first, to tell them of the error and to hold those charges. They told me there was something about the charges and they would have to wait to be posted to my account and then I would have to get the merchant to reimburse me. Oh, hell no.

I called Garmin. The droid that answered the phone was helpful, but was not very nice about it. If you know me well enough to know that I’m a gadget freak, you also know that I’m very patient – especially with customer service types. I paid my dues by being one of those people all the way through grad school. So, all I did was tell the same story you just read to the lady on the phone very plainly so there would be no confusion. I didn’t condescend to her, lose my temper or make any derogetory remarks of any kind. After telling me to treat her like a human being (oh yeah), she informed me that since there was no order number attached to those charges they would simply disappear from my bank account within 24-48 hours. I asked her what assurance I had that would happen. She replied, “It’s just the way our system works.” I told her that wasn’t good enough and she told me to call my bank if I had any more issues. I informed her that I had already been in touch with my bank and that they told me to call them. I further explained that if those funds cleared my account and the money was actually withdrawn that I would begin the process with the bank to have them labelled as fraudulent and her company could take it up with the FTC. She asked me if there was anything else she could do for me and I laughed – I never do that. Through my laugh I said no and she thanked me for calling and told me to have a nice day.

I called the bank back and informed them of the situation. Bottom line: the charges are incorrect and they must not be allowed to be withdrawn from my account. Period. The young man I spoke with, Braulio, was most helpful. He looked into the issue and verified what the droid at Garmin had said: more than likely the charges would disappear overnight and everything would be okay. No funds withdrawn; no potential for an overdrawn account. I explained that more than likely was not good enough. I asked him to make a note on my account that this was a merchant error and that I should not be charged any overdraft fees in the unlikely event of a further problem. He agreed and asked me to hold for a second. (By this point, I had been on the phone for over an hour, most of the time spent listening to hold music. The longest hold times were Garmin’s, not the bank’s.) When he picked up again, he told me to contact Garmin again and ask them to contact the bank with a magic six digit merchant authorization number and tell them to ask the bank to remove the charges. I thanked him and told him I would do that.

Let me be clear. At no time did I ask for, nor did I expect, Garmin to refund the money to my account. I understood that no transaction had actually occurred yet. I was simply asking them to make sure that no transaction took place at all.

So, I had to wait on hold again with Garmin (minimum hold time with them was 28 minutes) and another droid picked up again. I explained my problem again and she put me on hold to talk to her supervisor. When she came back, she informed me that she would have to get some detailed information from me and forward it on their accounting department. We did that.

Finally, everything was taken care of to my satisfaction, but not without a lot of gnashing of teeth in this household. I’m writing this to pass along this message to the world: Garmin makes some of the best navigation systems in the world. I own two of them. However, they haven’t figured out the world of online commerce yet. DO NOT purchase any Garmin equipment via their website. It is crap. You can log in to access free updates to software and “window shop,” but don’t give them a credit card number via their website. Go to a brick-and-mortar place and buy it there.

Read More