Tuesday, November 23, 2010
When Lindsy got home Sunday, our water heater went out. So she had to shower at work Monday morning. I ended up taking off pretty much the entire day, thinking I would have to buy a new unit and meet a plumber at the house to have it installed. I called Lindsy's electrician step dad for some advice and he told me some things to look for and try. When I connected the hose to drain the water heater, nothing happened. So the thing was filled with sediment and I couldn't break it free or pound it out, which means I was going to have to move the whole thing filled with water. When I opened it up, I also noticed that the insulation was soaked, so it was leaking as well, and that is why our house had smelled like cat piss for the last few days. Well, fortunately, Lindsy's boss had an old electric heater they had replaced. So I drove down to Nicholasville and picked it up. I brought it back, took out the old and put in the new, completely on me own! Ok, well, Jim talked me through the whole thing through about 20 phone calls. Aaaaand.... I may have dropped the old tank in our bonus room and spilled it all over the floor... but it was a minor mess and I ultimately accomplished the entire task myself and only spent about $10 bucks to do it! Maybe I am finally living up to my name. I am the Toolman.
Well, the next weekend, Lindsy was supposed to go on a scrapbooking retreat, but, ended up taking a different kind of retreat. One that requires a green gown that ties in the back. Some bowel issues during the week turned into an all out ralf-fest Thursday night. She was up all night in the bathroom. The next morning, I had to take her to the urgent care to get her some fluids and something to help her stop puking. A little about my wife.... She does everything 100%. Everything. Even getting sick. Once she starts puking, she will not stop until she turns herself inside out. So, we had to do something to stop it. When we got to the urgent care, they took her vitals and found she had pretty low blood pressure and she couldn't stand up w/o chucking again. They called our midwife and she wanted us to go to the hospital so they could monitor the baby. So, no fluids, no drugs. We then had to go to labor and delivery. They hooked her up and eventually gave her something to curb the vomit machine. Turns out, the dehydration had caused her to have some small contractions, but the baby seemed to be doing fine. Her midwife still wanted her to stay overnight. So.... I went home with Kennedy so I could be awake enough to handle them both on Saturday. I went back and picked up Lindsy the next morning and she was much better. It took her several days to fully recover, but she was back to her hard-charging self soon. Still, not the way envisioned our weekend going.
This past weekend, I spent all day Saturday watching Kennedy and doing yard work/cleaning. Kennedy and I raked the backyard, which as small as it is, you wouldn't think it would have all that much, especially since I had already raked it once. It did. I ended up with our lawn/leaf can packed full and ten more lawn/leaf bags.
Here is my slave labor...
She was going pretty slow, so I let her try with the leaf blower... that was a hoot! She was blowing leaves out of the pile, but it was so funny, I didn't mind (plus the wind was blowing them out of the tree as fast as I picked them up).
More Power!! Argh, Argh, Argh....
It wasn't all a hardcore labor camp... She had some fun too!
Fun and Games...
So, our current trip to see Lindsy's family for Thanksgiving should offer a welcome reprieve for both of us. We are currently pit-stopped in WV at my parental units place for the night. Peace out.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Monday, October 25, 2010
At the end of July, I was able to attend a professional training course called River Assessment and Monitoring. It is the 3rd of 5 levels of training offered by Wildland Hydrology, a leader in stream restoration through extensive research, design and implementation. This class focused on techniques/methods of assessing the condition of rivers. We look at bed degradation or aggradation; bank erosion; changes in pattern, profile and cross-sectional dimension; and sediment competence and capacity. The class lasted two weeks with 1-2 days of lecture in class, 3 days of field work, and about 4-5 days of data analysis and presentations. We basically have a class day, then go in the field the next day, analyze the data we collected the next day, then present our analysis the next day and do that through 3 cycles. So there was a lot of work, a lot of late nights in a rustic conference center out in the middle of nowhere. Oh, but it was in the hills of western MONTANA.
I flew out of Lexington early and would have missed my flight if it hadn’t been delayed for more than an hour so the flight crew could finish their McBreakfast platters. I landed in Chicago with just enough time to sprint through the entire airport knocking down old-ladies and punting infant-filled strollers and carseats out of my way. (I did have to sprint). They were literally closing the doors when I got there. So then I flew into Seattle, which, let me tell you, is a beautiful approach… wow. Grabbed some lunch there and then caught my plane to Missoula. The Missoula airport is pretty small, I mean there wasn’t a little guy shouting “de plane, de plane”, but there was more rental car places than depart/arrive gates. I stepped out into the hot, dry air and thought all things were right in the world. Not even the HHR (a cross between a minivan and a pt cruiser) that enterprise gave me could bring down my excitement. I picked up some groceries for the week and headed out to Lubrecht Experimental Forest a sort of “campground” for forestry research in conjunction with the University of Montana. On the way, I spotted a forest fire in one of the neighboring forests (something you don’t see everyday “back East”).
So here is some background on the stuff we were learning…
|Look at that beautiful bankfull bench on the right!|
On field day two, we went to a sight 2 hours away. It was a sight under special attention from the EPA for clean-up. An old mine slurry pond had failed and sent tons of metal-laden sediment throughout the valley below and really jacked up the stream there. So the prior year, the class had set up all kinds of monitoring apparatus like bank pins and scour chains. We were going back through and measuring everything they did exactly the same way they did it to see how things changed.
|Yes, that is my fat finger.|
|Look at that tiny culvert. No wonder the stream has issues.|
OK. Bankpins are pieces of rebar (the stuff you see sticking out of concrete sometimes) that are driven horizontally in the bank until the end is flush with the bank. When you come back to measure it, you can see and measure how far the bank has eroded and get an idea of erosion rates based on the time interval between visits.
|The chains are installed so that the last link is at the surface|
|You can see the chain at the bottom|
Despite being screwed by crappy work from the previous class, our presentation was a much heralded success of which we were proud. At this stage, we learned (I reviewed) a sediment transport model built into my company’s RIVERMorph software. It basically takes a cross section (reference, impaired or designed) and routes bedload and suspended sediment data through the cross-section and tells you whether that cross section has the hydraulic properties to adequately pass the amount of sediment that is coming at it from upstream. If your channel doesn’t have enough capacity, then sediment will drop out and your stream will aggrade and then vice versa. It’s a pretty nifty tool that can be applied to almost any stream, even if you don’t have sediment data readily available.
Anyway… On the third field day, we went to a farm where the farmer wants to fix his crappy (literal) stream. It had a lot of “hoof shear” from his cattle. On this day, we installed our own bank pins and scour chains and surveyed it all so that the class next year could do the same thing we did on field day 2.
|Here we are collecting and analyzing a bar sample. Determining the gradation of material being moved through the stream.|
|You know it's going to be good when a border collie meets you at the door. He had free reign inside too.|
The following are a selection of the photos I took in the park, mostly along Going-to-the-Sun Road.
|This is Lake McDonald... beautiful..|
|No creeks are this clear in the East, and especially not rivers.|
|This is what a riffle looks like from under water... oooooo..... aaaahhhhh...|
That place was gorgeous. Breathtaking. I wanted to hike a couple small trails while were in the park, but a random rain/hail storm popped up when we reached Logan’s Pass at the Continental Divide, which discouraged my weak-stomached fellow travelers. I would love to take Lindsy back there and spend some more time in the park…
We finished up at noon the last day and I headed back to Missoula and had lunch with a local DEQ guy who attended the class (a fellow baseball fanatic). After that, I decided to get some hiking in before my flight left that evening. I went to the Pattee Canyon Recreation Area within the Lolo National Forest near Missoula, MT.
I hiked Crazee Canyon Road to the top of Mt. Sentinel (about 3.5 mi straight up one way) which overlooks the town of Missoula.
When I got back to the car, I bathed in leftover bottled water, changed clothes and splashed some cologne on. Then I grabbed some dinner and headed to the airport.
The trip was amazing and a lot of fun. I wished KCT and Lindsy could have been there with me. We will definitely have to go back. I recommend Montana to anyone who loves being outdoors and seeing natural beauty!
Hopefully you have enjoyed your educational experience. This was better than a PBS special, huh? You thought this was the Discovery channel for a second, didn’t you? Nay, it is merely my simple life as a blessed child of God.
In parting… I will leave you with a few photos of the Blackfoot River. (yes, the same one from A River Runs Through It. Yes, that is where the title of my blog came from. A great movie!!)
Tell me those don’t make your day brighter!!!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Now that I have that off my chest, I need to rewind and pick up my life where I left in the summer, if I can remember back that far. The annual entire family vacation occurred the week before Independence Day this year. We went back to Edisto Beach to stay in a mac-daddy house that supplied ample room for all families, including separate accommodations for each couple, as well as a bedroom where all 4 girls slept in their own tiny individual beds. That made bedtime routine interesting a couple nights, but it was kind of funny and cute to see them all lined up in their beds like the brady bunch or something and I think it was a great experience for them.
The weather was gorgeous for the most part. The last few days it got windy and made things interesting. Everybody got a nice exfoliation on the beach from the sand-blasting we took. It made some nice waves though! While we were violently pounded and I almost lost my shorts a few times, it was great fun. Several waves made it past the fortifications that the little girls had constructed and managed to knock the littles ones over and drench several unsuspecting sunbathers. Although funny eventually, it shortened our beach time.
Once again, it was a fabuloso week with the fam and we had a blast. We found out about the pregnancy on the way down to the beach. The great news sprung forth from a Dollar General bathroom. While incredible news, it greatly limited Lindsy’s ability to let loose at the beach.
This blog doesn't even come close to doing justice to the week, but I could share a million pictures and stories... so.. sorry. I'll leave you with this...
Sunday, August 29, 2010
WE HAVE ANOTHER IN THE OVEN! We are at 12 weeks and Lindsy and I got to hear the heartbeat on Tuesday. There is no more beautiful sound in the world. Well, a sleeping baby is a pretty good sound too, especially after they have been crying for 4 hours. We are super excited and very relieved as well after the loss of our prior attempt this past spring. Lindsy doesn't want to know the sex of the baby until delivery. That seems a little a little crazy to me, but I can live with it. Lindsy had a litte more nausea and sickness with this pregnancy, although she has gotten past most of that. She is handling things like a trooper as always. Be sure to check her blog for pictures and updates. Hopefully we haven't completely forgotten how babies work. I am sure it will all come rushing back as soon as we hear the screaming! HA! I am sure Kennedy will be a big helper too. In true male fashion, I do not know the exact due date, just that it is early April. I think.
Well, that is the first catch-up post. I will try to post another soon, although this will be another busy week of work and travel, as we are going to this weekend NC for K's birthday. The rest of my life is consumed with studying for the Professional Engineer's Licensure Exam coming up at the end of October. It is 8 hours of pain, agony, and suffering at which I am supposed to remember every detail I learned in college, and a little more.
Stay tuned for more exciting posts. New and Improved, with pictures!
Monday, June 14, 2010
Yeah, that's right, straight up and down the sides of mountains. I have a lot of new found respect for people who can do this. Anybody who has seen me lately knows that intense physical activity is not my top priority, so I basically pushed a bike around alot that weekend.
So here is a rundown of the activities. Carl set up the whole thing and is a master planner. He got there on Wednesday and Kevin joined to have a day of "hardcore" riding before the newbies arrived. So Carl and Kevin rode Thursday. Steve got there on Friday afternoon and went for a ride with the guys. I didn't get there until about 9 on Friday night. Just barely in time to set up a tent before dark.
It is still scabbed over, but I'm sure I will get a super macho scar out of it, and that is really all that matters.
That evening we just hung out and had BIL fellowship over a wonderful dinner of "walking tacos" and Reese's S'mores. MMMM..... The next morning, we had one more ride. Steve left a little early because he is a girl. Actually, his knee was jacked up pretty bad. As far as the ride goes, I was spent from the previous day. It wasn't as much of a climb (I still pushed most of it) and it was a much better ride down. I enjoyed it alot more. Kevin and Carl rocked it out, of course.