Sunday, May 28, 2006

Mental "Little People"....Geez!!!

This post is for NativeMinnow...the correct term is Mental Little Person, not Mental Midget. ;)

Actually, I am feeling like a mental midget myself as I am sitting here working on my dissertation. I am such a mental midget, that I am stupefied on how to write my dissertation for binding, and how to have a shorter version to attach as a publishable journal article in an appendix to the dissertation. I don't want to have two working copies of the same manuscript. :)

Actually, I will probably work on the dissertation for binding, then I said, I am feeling like a mental midget tonight, and with my mind going to mush, I should probably go home and sleep on it so I don't do something totally idiotic and damage my entire dissertation in irreparable ways...

More dissertation drama...

Well, I got up bright and early to work on the Big D only to be thwarted in my efforts most of the day. My mother-in-law is in town to help watch the toddler while I am at work, and to help us move in 1.5 weeks. I know she is already burned out and bored of watching kids and staying home all day, every day. I felt guilty making her watch the kids all day again, so I stayed home and tried to work on my dissertation. I was able to do a lit search for a few hours, while the toddler intermittently would come and sit on my lap, ask me to read a book, ask for a drink, demand to watch Dora the Explorer, or Elmo's World, etc. I then tried to type up some of the information from the lit search, and had the same problems with the toddler and our 5-year old too. Then the landlady called to inform us that people were coming to look at the house between 1 and 3, so we had to clean for about 1.5-2 hours (doing the deep-cleaning, like vacuuming where the carpet meets the wall with the hand extension, etc. Then I had to run Abby to her friend's house and run to Costco to get my photos to ship out and pick up milk and eggs. I got back home and was able to do a tiny bit more on my dissertation, but then had to go pick up Abby. Then the kids made dinner (and I helped a little bit) and finally I decided to just get out of the house. At 7 PM, I finally arrived at my office and I have been working steadily for the past 5 hours. :) I feel I have accomplished a lot. I might have to abandon ship again tomorrow and find refuge in my work office again. I feel bad for my mother-in-law, but I will feel worse if I am unable to graduate in August and have to wait until December. I think I will also come here all day Monday (Memorial Day) as I don't have to makes for a pretty boring weekend though.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Open-minded does not include unattractive, short, overweight, bald, or flaky men

I was checking out the site Hot or Not and laughed when I saw this description:

I am 26 and 5,9. Open-Minded, Friendly, High Energy, Humorous, Outgoing, Self Confident, Outspoken, and Quirky. ISO a handsome gentleman that knows how to treat a lady. If YOU are unattractive, short, overweight, bald or a flake you are NOT for me

Trauma and Police Work...

I never realized how traumatic it is to be a police officer. My wife has been working on patrol for about a year and has already seen scores of dead people. Last night, she had to respond to a call where a polygamist woman had accidently run over the head of her 16-month old child. The head was crushed and the baby dead. Then she had to respond to a call where a baby was dying. They had a hard time finding the home, and then the paramedics didn't follow her car, they drove up the street. My wife had to hold this baby as it was struggling for air approximately 5X per minute. She said it made a horrible rasping sound as if things were stuck in its throat. Its heart stopped a few times and she had to do CPR, but the baby never revived. They life-flighted it to Salt Lake and as far as we knew this morning, it was stabilizing, but in a coma of some sort. All this because the mother had left her morphine suckers, and lortabs, and percocets, and oxycontins, and about a million other pain medications laying around the house for the baby to get least that is what they told the police. They might have done something else to it...if there is an autopsy, it should show something.

About three weeks ago, my wife responded to an accident where a man hit a cow with his car. It had peeled back the top of his car, pretty much removed the top of his skull, and smashed his two children's heads in the back seat. Again, they were dying and struggling to breathe as blood gurgled in their throats. One of the kids was only three-years old. I think they all died. She has seen others too, but she doesn't talk about all of them. It's too bad therapy is frowned on by police officers. They should have some type of mandatory incident debriefing to help the officers unload their baggage. It's no wonder that officers often become so cynical of the world. They see so much evil, sadness, and suffering nearly every shift they work.

Puke stories...inspired by flieswithoutwings

One of my funniest puke memories is when I was laying on my bed relaxing. Abby came in and lay her head on my chest as she lay next to me. She all of a sudden sat up and had a wild, scared look in her eye. Then the throwup flowed from her mouth, like a Hawaiin lava flow...not once...not twice...not three times, but four or five. It was all over my chest and stomach area, and I was trying to place my arms on the sides to act as a lip to keep all the throw up on my chest, and not on my bed. Luckily someone came in with a towel and helped me out. Abby was mortified, but when I made a funny face and told her it was stinky, she laughed! :)

One of Native Minnow's funniest stories is the time he was puking all the way down the hall in the Forest Service House in Phillipsburg and he was slipping and falling in it...and there were big huge chunks of ham because he didn't know how to chew his food. Do you eat ham anymore? I know you were on a prolonged hiatus at one point...

Friday, May 19, 2006

You've been a slob since the day I married you...

My wife was upset with me last night and complained, "You've been a slob since the day I married you!" At least I'm a slob that does the dishes, washes the laundry, mows the lawn, washes the outsides of the vehicles, and vacuums at times. :)

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

XiXi in the Potty...

Our little girl turns 2 tomorrow, and has been showing an interest in using the toilet for about a month. For the past month, anytime I have to go to the bathroom, I then had to take my daughter's diaper off and let her sit on the toilet as she grunted and said, "It won't come out." Now Melissa brought a little trainer toilet and Miranda used it the other day and actually peed in it. We thought it was pretty cool that she is showing an interest so early. However, now we have to deal with her ripping off her diaper about 10X a day because she thinks she needs to go to the bathroom n(but doesn't). :)

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day Melissa...

I thought I would also do a blog on why my wife rocks!!!

She is a great mother because she knows how to have fun with her kids...

She has demanded respect from her children since they were doesn't always work, but they know what respect is.

She is the hardest working woman I know (she has averaged 20 hours of overtime per week during the past year in Utah).

She is outgoing and able to talk to just about anyone...

She calls her kids and talks with them about what they are doing in their lives.

She has firm limitations with her children, and sticks to those consequences when they choose to disobey the rules.

She actually misses the kids!!! :)

Happy Mother's Day Melissa!!!

Memories of Mom...

NativeMinnow's Blog was really good re: our mother. I thought I would add a few of my memories.
  • Ditto on all the things he said about Mom that involved me...
  • Thanks for buying us the cool flash light ray guns in Trout Creek, MT
  • Thanks for yelling at the Hertel boys when they would push us in the mud puddles and ride their bikes over the top of us.
  • Thanks, not only for home-cooked meals every night, but home-cooked lunches every day during high-school...not to mention hand-delivered meals when I would work at the Conoco
  • Thanks for not getting mad at us when we dug up the sandbox in the Forest Service House in Phillipsburg...we ruined all the sand, but had a fun foxhole/mine to play in.
  • Thanks for buying us BB guns when we were 8...Several of us could be trusted at that age (NM and I)...we had fun shooting dandelions, pine cones out of trees, etc.
  • Thanks for going without a new coat for approximately 10 years so that your kids could have new coats.
  • Thanks for saying, "You know what's right, so you decide..." when we would ask for permission to do things we knew we probably shouldn't.
  • Thanks for paying for my car insurance my freshman and Junior year of college when I didn't have the money...
  • Thanks for baby-sitting so I was able to serve a mission...
  • Thanks for the great Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners every year...She cooks it all by herself and never seems to complain.
  • Thanks for getting rid of the TV when I was age 4-6...It helped us become better readers and more creative in our play and games.
  • Thanks for believing our lie that Derek had thrown his belt at us and broken his window so that he got spanked rather than us. :)
  • Thanks for watching our kids when we went to FL for interviews.

I am sure I could think of a million more...but I actually need to call my mom and sisters and wish them a happy mother's day.

Funny card I saw yesterday

Front: Mom, when I think of the millions of things that you used to do for me when I was growing up...

Inside: I wonder, "What did Dad do?" :)

I thought it was funny...Happy Mother's Day Mom!

Love, Me

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Cranking on the Big D...

Hmmm...that title doesn't sound right,but i am going to leave it because it is funny...

Melissa is in town, and I am working on the big dissertation. I have completed about 5 pages of my results sectio this morning. :) The end is in sight.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Get Healed at Bingo Night...

I had an interesting psychological assessment to do this week. This lady showed up to the assessment center and was acting so schizophrenic that the staff was convinced she was mentally ill and was ready to send her to one of the rehab teams. When they were discussing where to send her the next day, one of the staff members said, "I know her. I see her at Bingo night, and in fact I saw her last night." She went on to describe someone completely opposite of the person who had presented for the interview the previous day. They came to see me the next week to see if I could give her some psychological tests to find out if she was malingering. She again presented as a person who would not make eye contact, sat hunched over, sat wringing her hands non-stop, mumbled or muttered incoherent responses to questions, or ignored them altogether. She very well looked the part of a schizophrenic. However, I was able to catch her in several lies. The family talked about how she often wanders at night, barefoot, to a very dangerous area of town that is at least 2-3 miles from her home. I asked to see her feet (as she was wearing flip-flops), and she very reluctantly raised them up after the third request. Surprise! No callouses, no cuts, no bruises, no marks, no blisters! I watched her on a video monitor for about 10 minutes before going out to get her. She was sitting very quietly, but when she came in my room, sat wringing her hands in an agitated fashion. The daughter-in-law then informed me that the woman was incontinent and wets and messes her pants and so they make her wear diapers to bed. I asked if it was at night or also in the daytime, and she said, "Both." I asked why she was not currently wearing a diaper and she quickly replied, "Oh, I can tell when she needs to go because she starts grabbing herself and it is very obvious." Not five seconds passed, and the woman started grabbing her crotch like Madonna on a stage or Roseanne on a mound singing the star-spangled banner. We rushed out to the bathroom and she went in. She came out and acted like she had wet herself, but no wet stains were apparent. I then quickly talked with her son and asked some questions about her symptoms, and he replied in a consistent manner with his fiancee's responses. Then I asked her what she does during the day. "She sits in the house mostly, unless we take her to the store or a barbecue." I asked how she interacts at the barbecues and he said she just sits to herself. I then asked if she is involved in any other types of activities, and he replied, "No activities at all." I then asked in the most nonchalant way possible, "Well, does she ever go dancing, or out to a bar, or to some of these places that play Bingo on the weekends?" and he said, "No, she just stays home."

So, that night, she was at Bingo again, and approached the staff member and was asking lots of questions like, "why did they refer me to that other guy?" and "He suggested we talk to our doctor about antipsychotics, what are those?" The entire time, she manifested good eye contact, normal speech, got along well with people, talked and laughed with others, ate food, and played Bingo with several cards at once...and even won a few times. She was even there with her son. I guess Bingo has a miraculous healing influence over the mentally ill of the world. :)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Phil Hendrie's Retirement...

I was sad to read today that Phil Hendrie is retiring from radio on June 23. :( I have enjoyed his show for the past two years and subscribe to his website. It is the funniest show I have ever heard in my life.

Go to this link to read about how funny his show is...I read it today and laughed out loud because of how ridiculous some of his "guests" have been...

This other link describes his life and the premise behind his show...

I hope he fails in his attempt to get into television, unless he is able to do something as funny as his radio show.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

No Kids Left In Cars!!! (don't worry about restraints)

I saw something very ironic on my way home from work. I was stuck at a red light behind a van with a sticker in the back window that boldly stated, "NO KIDS LEFT IN CARS!" I am assuming this was a sticker put there in response to the rash of children who die each Summer when their parents leave them in stifling cars with the windows rolled up until they slowly cook to death. I was contemplating this message when I noticed a little 12-18-month old head pop up from the back seat. It was a darling little smiling girl who was obviously unrestrained in the car and was not in a car seat or wearing a seat belt. I wonder what the statistics are of how many children are killed from not being in seatbelts vs. kids roasting to death inside hot cars...I already know which one kills more!!!

During July 2000--June, 2001, data from these two programs documented an estimated 9,160 nonfatal injuries and 78 fatal injuries among children aged <14 years who were left unattended in or around MVs that were not in traffic.....The KIDS 'N CARS™ database provided information on 78 children who died during July 2000--June 2001 in 76 separate incidents. Fatalities occurred in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Of the fatally injured children, 64 (82.1%) were aged <4 years, and 42 (53.8%) were male. In 57 (73.1%) cases, the MV was located near a home (e.g., driveway, unpaved area near home, or street in front of home); in 39 (50%) cases, the child lived at that home. The driver was the parent in 12 (57.1%) of the 21 cases in which a child was backed over. The most common type of fatal incident was exposure to excessive heat inside an MV (e.g., when a child was left inside an MV during hot weather) (34.6%), followed by being backed over and being hurt when a child put an MV in motion (26.9%). Approximately 82% of fatal injuries occurred among children aged <4 years

[Note: This study has now been published in Pediatrics. Click here to download ]
In 2006 there have now been at least two deaths of small children after being left inside a hot vehicle. In 2005 there were at least forty-two child fatalities in the United States due to hyperthermia after they were left in hot cars, trucks, vans and SUV's. Some of these even occurred on days with relatively mild (i.e., ~ 70 degrees F) temperatures. Since 1998 there have been at least a total of 290 of these needless tragedies.

Restraint Use
80% of child restraints are used incorrectly. NHTSA
"Among children ages 14 and under killed as occupants in motor vehicle crashes in 2001, 55% were not using safety restraints at the time of the collision." National SAFE KIDS Campaign
"Nearly a third of children ride in the wrong restraints for their age and size. Recent data from the Crash Injury Research & Engineering Network indicate that inappropriately restrained children are nearly three and a half times more likely to be seriously injured than their appropriately restrained counterparts." National SAFE KIDS Campaign
Car seats reduce the risk of death by 71% for infants and by 54% for children ages 1-4, and reduce the need for hospitalization by 69% for children ages 4 and under. National SAFE KIDS Campaign and NHTSA Child Passenger Safety Technician Program Participant Manual pg. C-4
"As of October 1, 2001, 137 children have been killed by passenger air bags. Approximately 88 percent of all children killed by passenger air bags were either unrestrained or improperly restrained at the time of the crash, including 22 infants in rear-facing child safety seats in front of a passenger air bag." National SAFE KIDS Campaign
83% of children ages 4-8 ride improperly restrained in adult seat belts. Only 19% of children who should be restrained in booster seats use them. National SAFE KIDS Campaign
"Every dollar spent on a child safety seat saves this country $32." National SAFE KIDS Campaign
Based on an observational study of intersections by NHTSA, in 2002:
99% of infants (0-12 months) were restrained. 94% of toddlers (1-4 years) were restrained.
only 83% of booster-age children (4-7 years) were restrained.
66% of infants were in a front-facing car seat, 32% were in a rear-facing car seat.
62% of toddlers were in a front-facing car seat, 4% were rear-facing, 16% were in a high-back booster, 13% were in a vehicle belt or backless booster seat, 6% were in no observable restraint.
9% of booster-age kids were in a front-facing car seat, 1% were rear-facing, 6% were in a high-back booster, 67% were in a vehicle belt or backless booster, 17% were in no observable restraint.
If ejected from the vehicle, an occupant is 4 times more likely to die and 14 times more likely to receive cervical spine injuries. NHTSA 2002 Child Passenger Safety Technician Program Participant Manual pg. D-6
Booster seats reduce injury to 4-8 year olds by 59%. JAMA
Booster seat use among 4-8 year olds increased from 4% in 1999 to 27% in 2004. CHOP
For children in car seats, forward-facing kids are 4 times more likely to be injured in a side impact than rear-facing kids. MSNBC

Whoa, take 'er easy there, Pilgrim.

This is a conversation I had at a training yesterday with this woman in her mid-to-late 40s:

Her: "Has anyone ever told you that you look just like John Wayne?"

Me: "Uhh...No..."

Her: "Cause you look just like him. I bet you're related."

Me: "Uh..maybe...I'll have to look and see..."

Her: "I saw him in person, that's why I say that."

I'll leave it to the blog readers to decide... :)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Trying my hardest...

Ahhhh...the frustrations of parenting. My daughter brought home a progress report for me to sign. She handed it to me and stated, "Oh, that one bad grade is from the day I was sick a few weeks ago...I wasn't able to turn it in until Monday and she docked me for not emailing it earlier."

Me thinking: "Oh good, that's not so bad, if she only had one missing assignment" as I scanned the report and my eyes finally settled on the current overall grade--52% F. "You have an F daughter!" I exclaimed loudly, somewhat in shock (although I don't know why I would be shocked when it is the same report card every midterm).

"Oh's because I didn't turn in that one assignment."

" says here that you are missing several assignments, and that you received Ds and Fs on several others...Look here, you got 25 out of 80 on this assignment!"

Her, now bursting into tears, "I'm trying my hardest!"

" are not trying your hardest because you wouldn't have an F if you were trying your hardest."

Her: "Yes I am...why won't you ever believe me? I'm doing the best I can."

Me, "Then why did you get an F on this particular assignment."

Her, "Because I forgot about it until the beginning of class and couldn't get it done in time."

Me, "Then you must not be trying your hardest, because trying your hardest means you do your homework after school and turn it in the next day."

Her, "Well, I'm doing the best I can!"

About 10 more minutes of wasted breath on my part followed and I am sure it did no good...If this is her best, I'd hate to see her worst. What does it take to develop character in a child? Responsibility? Work ethic? Dependability? Honesty? To be honest, I sometimes think that values like that must come with the soul of a child, and if that soul hasn't developed them in the thousand of years it has lived in the pre-existence, then maybe it is too late now. I feel like giving up and letting my kids flunk their classes and attend summer school. It doesn't seem like it is worth the effort when nothing ever leads to improvements. I just wish when my kids did something wrong, they would at least acknowledge that they screwed up, and promise to try harder, but they never do. I guess in the end it is their life and they can do with it as they wish, but if they wish to live with me when they are 30 and unemployed, forget it...

Monday, May 01, 2006

Dissertation Doldrums...

I feel like I am stuck spinning my wheels and going nowhere...I am so disconnected from my disseration chair and anyone that is able to help me on my dissertation that I feel stranded. I have been trying to do some things by email, but that has not been helpful. I got another student to run some of my analyses by an SEM genius at BYU and he told the guy to have me specify smaller parts of the model and then add them together. I ALREADY DID THAT LAST YEAR!!! My chair never remembers the things that we have already done and he gives me no insight into what I need to be doing. I am stuck and hate that feeling...I am also feeling the pressure of the end of internship fast approaching and I still need to finish and defend my dissertation if I want to graduate in August. :( It feels pretty hopeless...