Thursday, September 29, 2011

Last-Minute Dental Work

After Friday, Catherine and I switch from health insurance through her job to the student plan at BYU. In addition to higher monthly payments and less-awesome coverage, we'll also lose our dental plan. In anticipation of that, Catherine went to the dentist a few weeks ago to make sure that anything that needed to be fixed was fixed while we were still insured. Me being me, I didn't make it in until this week.

Because it was so last minute, I ended up choosing a dentist at random from the ADA website. And I was shocked when the dentist told me I needed 7 fillings and one crown a a cost (to me) of nearly $700. (The crown is because apparently I grind my teeth, and I've worn holes into the top of several molars).

Thinking that couldn't be right, I headed up to Catherine's dentist (and the guy I saw last year) for a second opinion. According to him, I needed four small fillings. Because the holes on top of my molars were free of decay, they could fix them with a bit of sealant (at no additional charge). Guess who I let fix my teeth?

Of course, since my insurance ends after tomorrow, I had to get everything done today, and that involved numbing my mouth completely. The dentist told me the anesthetic would wear off in 3-4 hours, but more than 12 hours later my lower lip is still numb. Also, my cheek hurts because I took a bite out of it when I tried to eat something while my mouth was still numb. Live and learn, I guess.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Beloved Tank

I sold an old road bike a couple of months ago and used the proceeds to buy this on clearance from Jenson USA:

I call it my tank because of the color and because, according to my bathroom scales, it weighs over 28 pounds, which I think is shockingly heavy for a hardtail with no gears. But since I'm not doing any racing (nor do I plan to anytime soon), I guess that doesn't really matter. Besides, I can still climb reasonably well, heavy bike or no.

With school back in session, I haven't had much time to get out and ride, but it's great when I do have time. There are few enough moving parts that I can ride without worrying about mechanical issues too much (although I think I did just strip the threads on one of the post mounts on the fork), and it's perfect for the trails in Corner Canyon, where I spend most of my time.

Best of all, Sean has a single speed, too (and has for years), so we've been riding together a lot. Overall, we're at about the same level. I smoke him on the climbs, and he returns the favor on the descents, so we end up at about the same speed over the course of a ride. Someday I'll figure out how to descend, but he'll probably catch up on the climbs by then, so I doubt much will change.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the point of this post was other than to post something. Maybe I just wanted to mention that as far as I am from racing these days, I'm still riding when I can, and enjoying it as much as I ever did.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Red-Eye Express

This weekend I went down to Las Vegas for a few interviews at a job fair the school put on. My original plan was to drive to visit my grandparents in St. George on Friday night, and then to continue to Vegas in the morning.

Unfortunately, thanks to a few unexpected events, by Friday it was obvious that this was not the best week for a trip to Grandma and Grandpa's. We decided not to go as a family, and I decided that instead of driving to St. George by myself on Friday, I would wake up early and drive by myself to Las Vegas. So, I went to bed a little before 10:00, woke up a little before 1:00, and, after a quick shower and a Red Bull stop at Seven Eleven, I was on the road at 1:15.

I love driving late at night. The roads are so empty, and that makes the trip much less stressful, as long as you're not too tired to enjoy it. I had a rough time through Utah County, where there were not only cars on the road, but rain and construction, too, but by the time I hit Payson the road was wide open.

I debated flooring it and gambling that there would be no police out so late at night, but I decided against it. Despite my conservative pace, the GPS still gave me a 6:00 ETA. I was worried that that meant it was broken, but as I rolled through Parowan I remembered that I gain an hour traveling to Vegas. Which meant I could have slept for another hour. Oh well.

Anyway, despite a gas stop, a bathroom break, and a 20-minute nap at the side of the road, I arrived in Vegas a just after 6:00 local time, which means that the entire trip took less than six hours.

I had planned to grab breakfast and then sleep in the car for an hour or so before getting ready for the interviews, but after I ate I realized I had forgotten to bring copies of my resume and some other documents, so instead of sleeping I set out in search of a FedEx/Kinko's or whatever they're called now. Then, I changed into my suit in a parking garage and headed in for my interviews.

The interviews went well, I think. I spoke to three very different people from very different firms. I guess the interviewers are trying to sell their firms as much as I'm trying to sell myself, and I think they did good jobs. I could see myself being happy at all three, for different reasons.

Anyway, I guess this is going to just be a travelogue post. At the job fair I picked up two passengers for the return trip, which meant I didn't have to drive on the way home--a good thing, given my lack of sleep.

We made it back to Prove at about 7:00, and I headed up to AF to pick up Catherine and Elliott, and then we headed down to Orem to watch the BYU game with Kelsey and Matthew (who, by the way, is catching up with Elliott fast and will probably outgrow her within a month). If you're reading this you already know how things turned out, but I'll say it anyway: Worst. Game. Ever.

By the time we made it home and I made it to bed, it was almost midnight. Talk about a long day.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Late Night False Alarms

I was just about to go to bed, but I realized that would mean two days without posting. And considering how well I've done for the past two weeks or so (quantity, not quality,),that's a slippery slope I don't want to start down. So, here's a story without a point.

Our refrigerator is loud most of the time (although it doesn't bother me, it drives Catherine crazy). But sometimes it's very quiet. For example, it decided to get very quiet sometime after midnight last night. I noticed because I was out in the kitchen finishing up a reading assignment and getting ready to go for a short run (my schedule these days is neither normal nor healthy). But when I heard the refigerator go silent, I panicked. I'm not sure why, because the refrigerator goes silent all the time (in fact, it's not making any noise as I type this). But for some reason, last night I was sure that it had broken.

We have about 400 ounces of milk for Elliott in the freezer, and losing it would not be cool. So I jumped in the car and drove to Wal-Mart, where I bought two coolers. They didn't have any dry ice, so I decided to buy 30 pounds of regular ice (better safe than sorry). As I left the parking lot, I thought that maybe there was dry ice at Smith's, so I took the long route home through Alpine, only to find out what I already knew--Smith's was closed.

Anyway, I got home a little before 2:00. Naturally, the refrigerator was running when I opened the door. So I left the coolers in the car and set the ice out on the doorstep to melt. Then I went to bed.

And that's the end of my story. Like I said, I don't think there's any point to it. Then again, maybe the lesson is that I need to sleep more. It's a lesson that I obviously didn't learn, because it's 1:30 right now.

Good night.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Elliott on her Belliott . . . in HD!

I'm sure this is boring to many, but not to me. I could watch her do this all day.

It's hard to imagine something so simple taking so much effort. Then again, I haven't been three months old for a while.

(The video works pretty well in full-screen.)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Not Cyclists -- People with Bikes

I went out for about as early a ride as I have in a long time. I was supposed to be on the road at 6:00 (still dark) so I could meet Aaron and Ryan at the mouth of Provo Canyon at 6:30. I got off a few minutes late, which stretched out into a few minutes more on the road to Provo, but eventually we all found each other in the parking lot by Will's Pit Stop.

The parking lot was surprisingly crowded for a Saturday morning before sunrise, and the River Trail was correspondingly busy as we headed up toward the Alpine Loop. Once we turned onto the loop, we climbed at a nice, conversational pace, hitting the summit in 57:xx.

As we started down the American Fork side, a white SUV was right on our tails almost immediately. I was bringing up the rear, and since we were going way over the speed limit anyway, I didn't think there was any reason for us to stop and let the driver pass. When we hit the sharp 180 degree turn (anyone who's ridden the route knows what I'm talking about), I took the outside line, and the driver stomped the gas, sliding his tires through the inside line and cutting me off, before blowing down the road (one lane, with two way traffic) at about 60 mph, barely squeezing past Aaron and Ryan on his way.

I've been riding long enough that there are plenty of jerks in cars, but this was a pretty blatant example of bad behavior. But what was most disheartening was that the SUV had a rack with several mountain bikes on the back. In a way, I felt betrayed, because I've always thought that at least some of the drivers on the road are fellow cyclists who wouldn't risk my life to save a few seconds.

The most likely explanation is that the driver and his passengers were not cyclists but people on bikes. Whichever trail they rode, I hope they crashed.

Speaking of cyclists, I consider myself one, even in my semi-retired state. But you know what? I'm not very good at riding bikes. I can put the power to the pedals--it's pretty straightforward, and I seem to be pretty good at it. But when it comes to basic things like turning, not a chance. Seriously, every time I ride with other people I'm reminded of what a terrible bike handler I am the instant we start descending. There's a reason I couldn't cut it as a racer . . .

On a completely unrelated note, Catherine and I went to the temple with her grandparents, her cousin, and her cousin-in-law. It was the first time we've been in a while. (Last time we planned to go, we ended up going to the hospital to have a baby instead.) While we were there, Amy watched Elliott for us. It seems like Jin has taken a liking to Elliott. It's nice to know that she won't grow up afraid of big dogs.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

All Is Well

Whether Catherine's procedure was a success or a failure depends on how you look at it. On the one hand, we know her heart is healthy and ready to handle some serious stress. On the other hand, the doctors were unable to induce any irregular beats and therefore unable to perform the ablation, so the possibility remains that Catherine's condition could come back in the future.

We got a late start this morning, but only because of some miscommunication. The appointment was at 6:30, but somehow I thought it was at 6:45. Catherine couldn't understand why I was so relaxed and sure we'd be on time until we figured that out. Despite the mix-up, we were only a few minutes late, and really we were there with plenty of time to get set up.

Catherine's mom was there to watch Elliott, which was a huge help. She and Elliott stayed in the lobby, while Catherine and I headed into the bowels of the hospital. The prep went quickly. Catherine was lucky enough to have a fantastic team working today; the nurse set up the IV without a hitch (often a much bigger problem than you might expect) and the anesthesiologist was excellent. At about 7:30 they wheeled Catherine out and that was the last I saw of her for a couple of hours.

I knew Catherine would be gone for at least 2 hours and possibly as long as 7 hours, but there was no way to know for sure until the procedure was done. So after they took her away I went and ate some breakfast at the hospital cafeteria, then I hung out in the lobby with Elliott for a bit while working on a law review article. After about an hour I headed back to the hospital room so I would be there for sure when they brought Catherine back. Right as I got there, one of the nurses came in and told me they had been unable to induce a bad beat after one hour, so they had put Catherine under a general anesthetic so they could try some heavier stuff. The nurse said that the last thing Catherine did before going under was ask her to go find me and tell me that she loves me. I thought it was very sweet.

About an hour later, the team brought Catherine back, and I knew then that there had been no ablation. The plus side was that I got to see her sooner. Also, she's pretty funny under the influence of anesthesia, although she doesn't remember much of anything she said. When they came into the room, the anesthesiologist tested her alertness by asking if she knew who I was. She told him I was her "awesome sexy husband." He thought it was hilarious. I was embarrassed.

While under the influence, Catherine was pretty convinced that she could still make the procedure work. Back in the room, she was actively bargaining with the nursing staff to see if she could get them to try a few more things. (Catherine: "He has a few more tricks, right?" Nurse: "What?" Catherine: "You know--the tricks. That he has up his sleeve."

The staff and I had a great time laughing at the things Catherine said. I guess it was so funny because even though she wasn't making much sense, she was so serious about what she was saying. At one point, a nurse told Catherine there was nothing more they could do. Catherine emphatically declared, "that's crap." The nurse explained that the reason for her earlier arrhythmia was the hormones related to pregnancy. Catherine thought about that for a minute and then suggested that if they took her back in she would pretend she was pregnant. Eventually the nurses managed to explain why that wouldn't work.

When the nurses were leaving, Catherine asked her favorite to go "advocate" for her so she could try another procedure. The nurse tactfully told her that she would tell the doctor everything she had said. Catherine thought about that for a while and decided it sounded like a fair compromise.

By the time the doctor came in, Catherine was still coming around, but not there completely. We discussed future options (if Catherine gets pregnant again and the arrhythmia returns, they can operate without x-rays), and then somehow the conversation turned to the lack of cooperation between the IHC hospitals and the U and how it's been that way for more than 50 years. With a very serious expression, Catherine suggested to the doctor that he could change that by inviting someone to lunch.

Anyway, after the doctor left, I went out and brought Elliott and Catherine's mom in. An hour later they let Catherine go home, and that was it. On the one hand, I'm happy that her heart is healthy and that she didn't have to have surgery. On the other hand, it would have been nice for them to resolve the problem once and for all. Of course, after today they say there's a good chance that the condition may never come back, so hurray for that.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Big Day Tomorrow

Catherine, Elliott and I will be at the hospital tomorrow morning at 6:45 for a heart procedure. (Heart surgery, actually, but that sounds so serious.)

Basically, the tachycardia that Catherine had during the pregnancy has gone away, which would be a good thing, except that it will likely pop up again during another pregnancy, which would mean more medication, which might be bad for the baby, etc. Arrhythmias such as Catherine's can be fixed pretty easily through ablation, but there's a catch--they can only perform the procedure if they can see where the irregular beats are coming from. Since Catherine's condition has cleared up, they're going to shoot her full of adrenaline and hope that her heart goes crazy. If it does, they can perform the ablation and the problem will be gone forever. If it doesn't, we cross our fingers and hope the condition is gone for good.

Elliott and I are confident everything will go smoothly. (That is, I'm confident, and I'm projecting onto Elliott.) But as you might expect, Catherine is pretty nervous, she being the one who has to have heart surgery. Please keep her in your prayers.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Back to Work

After a long break (I only have classes on Monday and Wednesday, so thanks to the holiday I haven't been to school in nearly a week), I started my externship this morning. This semester, I'll be working twice a week at the court in American Fork. I took the position because I thought it would be convenient and because I thought it would be a good way to expose myself to a wide range of legal issues. So far, it looks like the position will deliver on both.

The courthouse is no more than a mile from our house, so I was able to head out the door at 7:45 this morning and walk over just in time to start at 8:00. Convenient.

I'll be dealing with civil issues, criminal cases (on my way in I walked past a dude in an orange jumpsuit and manacles with a huge tattoo on the back of his skull), and family law. In other words, I should experience a much wider range of legal issues than I did over the summer.

Right now I'm helping with what seems to be a particularly nasty divorce. I read one side and I'm convinced the husband is a jerk. Then I read the other side and I'm convinced the wife is a jerk. (Of course, I guess they can both be jerks.) Then again, I'd expect things to be nasty when so much money is at stake. I hope that someday I make as much as the husband is paying in alimony and child support alone. Yikes.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Faceless Ghost

I googled "faceless ghost" a few minutes ago. (In case you think that was some sort of ego trip, let me explain. I was looking at results from the Park City Point to Point this weekend and I noticed some pretty funny names in the "representing" column of the results. I googled some of them--my favorite was "really fast donkeys"--and then I got to wondering if there were any Faceless Ghost teams anywhere. So I googled "faceless ghost." And now, back to my post ...)I think this blog came up fourth or fifth.

Anyway, I was most interested in the first hit (wikipedia). Apparently, "the Noppera-bō, or faceless ghost, is a Japanese legendary creature." Pretty cool, I guess. For a minute I thought that meant I was part Japanese, but then I remembered that I'm not really the faceless ghost. I just stole his name.

In other news, Sean and I went mountain biking this morning. We decided to go to Spanish Fork to explore some new trails. Things didn't go quite as planned with the route finding, but we still had a good time. It usually turns into an adventure when I decide to try a new route.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Why I Hate Cycling

I don't actually. In fact, I love it. But I do hate bikes.

More specfically, I hate bike ownership. It's fun to see all the new bikes that come out, and to covet something newer and shinier than whatever you already have. But once you own the bike, the problems never end. It could be that I've just had a tremendous run of bad luck. Or it could be that I'm overly sensitive to mechanical problems. But it seems that once you have a bike, things start breaking. And then it seems to get to the point that you can never just go out and ride because you have to patch a tire, replace a chain, fix a spoke, etc.

Obviously, broken is not a bicycles default condition. As long as I'm reasonably diligent about maintenance, my bikes are usually in good shape and ready to ride. It's just that when something breaks at an inconvenient time (is there ever a convenient time for something to break?), the experience sticks with me.

The reason for this post is a busted disc brake on my mountain bike. While I was lubing the chain and inflating the tires for a ride with Sean tomorrow morning, I noticed a rasping from the front brake. As I tried to figure out what the problem was, the brake seized completely. It turns out that there's some loose piece of metal in there jamming things up. I can't tell for sure, but I think the problem will go away with a new set of pads. But for now, the brake is unusable. Which means that instead of going to bed at ten I've been up trying to swap brakes over from another bike so I can ride tomorrow.

I've got that problem taken care of, but now I've noticed a loud, occasional pop coming somewhere from the front end. I can't tell if that's a sign that something is about to break on me, or just that a new sound is about to drive me crazy. And early this week the bike was out of commission because the wheels were knocked out of true and the bearings in my front hub were loose. With bikes, if it's not one thing, it's another.

Mechanical issues were one of the main reasons I switched to running last year. But then I discovered that mechanicals happen there, too. They're called injuries, and you can't fix them nearly as quickly or easily as a you can a broken bike.

I won't be complaining when I'm on the trail tomorrow morning, but for now I want to cry about it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Alpine Loop

Really, this is another one of those post-just-to-post days.

I got out this morning and rode the Alpine Loop for the first time in a while. In fact, the last time I rode it was during the 2009 Tour of Utah. Come to think of it, after a week of racing that climb hit me so hard that pieces of my racing career are still scattered along the side of the road. I guess there's a reason I haven't been back for a while.

Anyway, the climb is still there, and still as good as it ever was. I rode from our house in American Fork to Provo Canyon, then up the Sundance side. (I've been riding in Utah for at 8 years, and I've still never ridden up the American Fork side.) I felt strong on the climb, but I hit the summit in 50 minutes flat, so I only felt strong. I think the compact crank helps a lot with that. Maybe I should spend more time on the back. Then, I might actually be strong instead of just feeling that way.

In other news, Elliott has slept straight through the night for two nights in a row. We're hoping this is the beginning of a new era.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Time Multiplier

I know I'm stating the obvious to anyone who's had children, and this isn't something I just discovered today, but things take a lot longer when you have kids.

After last night's botched trip to the library, I had to head back with Elliott today. The first delay was waiting for her to wake up and eat. I figured that if I let her sleep until she was hungry and left right after she ate, I'd be able to make it to Provo and back before she got hungry and fussy again.

She slept through the entire drive in, and she was pretty calm when I walked over to the library with her in the Baby Bjorn. (I noticed during the summer semester that I get all kinds of "isn't that cute" looks when I walk around campus with Elliott. It was funny then, but now that there are so many people on campus it makes me a little uncomfortable.)

As soon as we set foot in the periodicals section of the library, however, Elliott decided that she would scream every time I stopped moving. This made it very tricky to get things done.

I still couldn't get the moving shelves to move, so I asked a librarian for help. She came over and pressed the same button I had been pressing and the shelves moved, so maybe the problem was me. But it turned out that the volume I needed was in an auxiliary storage area, so I wouldn't have had any luck last night even if I had figured out the shelf thing.

Anyway, once I got the article I needed I had to figure out how to scan it. Normally, that's pretty easy. But as I already mentioned, Elliott had decided to start screaming every time I stopped moving. And since I was in a crowded library, that meant I couldn't stop moving. After several attempts to get her to be quiet long enough for me to scan my article, I gave up. I tried calling Amy, but she was unavailable. I decided my only choice was to hang out on campus until she was done with her class or her meeting or whatever else she was up to so I could leave Elliott with her for five minutes and scan my article.

Fortunately, just as I was leaving the library I ran into another guy from law review who took five minutes and scanned the article for me. And that was that. In short, I ended up spending over an hour to do what should have taken ten minutes. Daddy-daughter bonding time, I guess.

And of course, Elliott fell asleep as soon as we got back to the car and didn't wake up until after we got home.

Daddy's little monster.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Posting Just to Post

I was all ready to go to bed, and then I remembered that I hadn't posted today, so here I am. And guess what--I don't have much to say tonight. I stayed home with Elliott today and studied while Catherine went to work. Of course, being on daddy duty cuts my productivity in half, but the advantage is that I get to spend time with my daughter. It's a good trade. Especially this early in the semester, when finals are so far away.

I did run into campus tonight, because I needed to pull one article from the periodical archives on campus. But once I got there the sliding shelves were broken and the staff had gone home for the night, so there was no way for me to get at the article I needed. I guess it's possible that the shelves were fine and I was just too stupid to figure it out, but I've been in a library enough that I'm pretty sure that's not the case. Anyway, it was a bit of a wasted trip. I guess I'll be taking Elliott in tomorrow, which is exactly what I was hoping to avoid by going in tonight.