Monday, August 16, 2010

Healthcare is Broken

Someone needs to call 911 because our healthcare system is definitely in a state of emergency. Although I feel I am somewhat intelligent and I know that healthcare costs have been rising for the last several years, it's not until it has directly affected my family that I have found out just how truly screwed up our healthcare system is. And a quick memo to all of you who think that Obamacare is the answer: it most certainly is not. It is the anti-answer. And yes, I made that word up.

This is a long story that I will try to make short by using bullet points as the highlights:

- Kate is now 10 months old and has had her left eardrum burst three times and her right eardrum burst twice. Needless to say, she has some ear problems and thinks that the cold pink stuff is a yummy snack to accompany all meals. She has had at least eight ear infections that we know of.

- Kate was seen by an otolaryngologist (I did not make that one up) and we were advised to have tubes put in her ears.

- Because of the rising costs of my previous healthcare policy, I have an individual policy through Blue Cross with a high deductible, not astronomical, but not $250. Before taking Kate to the ENT, we hadn't touched that deductible.

- We scheduled the relatively minor procedure for Kate with the doctor and were told we would be going to Phoenix Children's Hospital. It took them a little over a month to fit us in.

- Two days before the procedure, I was called by the pre-registration experts at PCH and told that I would have to PRE-PAY for the procedure because we hadn't met the deductible. Grand total $1,973. Ten minute procedure - two grand. Two days before the procedure. I wouldn't have been all that bothered by this except for what I learned next:

- Uninsured patients have a cash payment option for the EXACT SAME PROCEDURE - $1,020. Upon learning this, I said, "I'll take that option". I was informed it was unavailable for me because I am insured. Let me repeat, I was unable to have the cheaper cash payment option BECAUSE I HAVE INSURANCE. They are required by contract to bill my insurance company. I was floored. I thought it must have been a mistake.

- Anyone who knows me knows that if I think I am right, you are just not going to win an argument with me. I simply will not let it happen. I will talk to whoever it takes, whether it be insurance company management (his name was Vincent), or PCH Registration management (a tool named Linda) the surgical scheduler (Amanda) or the Financial Management Director at PCH (Irma) until I get the right answer.

- For three days, I could not get anybody to give me the answer to this question: "How is it rational that I pay double the cost that an UNINSURED patient pays FOR THE EXACT SAME PROCEDURE????" I must have asked that question 500 times. The answer I got most frequently was: "I don't have a good answer for that. It's just our policy."

- Kate had the procedure, she is a completely different baby now that she can actually hear and Michelle and I are very grateful parents. PCH was an unbelievable facility and the nurses and staff could not have been nicer or more professional.

The point is, I finally did win my argument. Irma, the aforementioned financial director at PCH who was the only professional who I felt was on my side, agreed to bill my insurance and then adjust the amount down to the cash payment option of $1,020. However, I have spent the better part of four days on the phone arguing, name-calling, fighting, complaining and pleading with complete strangers who seem to have more control over my daughter's healthcare than I do. It was the single most frustrating experience that I can remember.

Healthcare is broken. It was broken before Obama took office and it is still broken after Obamacare, probably even more so.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Good Samaritan

There is nothing worse than losing stuff that's important and hard to replace, like your wallet. I lost my wallet at a Diamondbacks game a few years ago - I prefer to say it was stolen just to make myself feel less irresponsible, but that's probably not the case. It was an awful experience, new credit cards, new driver's license, insurance cards, temple recommend and most importantly, my various collections of frequent dining cards. You would think that I would be worried about losing my cash, but I don't ever have any, so it's never a problem.

With that in mind, fast forward two years to yesterday afternoon. I had just finished my Monday afternoon ritual of working out at the gym and getting the kids out of the childcare while Michelle teaches her Monday night muscle and bootcamp classes. I was carrying Kate and holding the keys to the car, my wallet and an empty bottle that Kate had just finished and trying to make sure that my other three kids didn't get hit by a car in the parking lot. Needless to say, my hands were full.

We got to the car and I unlocked the door using the actual key and not a remote because I didn't have one, and I put the bottle and my wallet and the keys on top of the car so I could strap Kate into her carseat. For a split second, I remember thinking to myself, "don't leave that bottle on top of the car, Michelle would be so mad at you." Really? Anyway, because it was 150 degrees inside the car, it took a little longer than normal to get Kate strapped in. I grabbed the bottle, smiling to myself thinking, "You are such a good husband and what a wonderful memory you have", and I got in the car and drove home.

We had been home for about 20 minutes when there was a knock on our front door. I opened the door to find a man who I had never seen before but who I won't soon forget. He didn't say much except that he found my wallet in the middle of the street and found my address from my driver's license. He also said that he didn't know how many credit cards I had but that he hoped he had found them all. Apparently, he spent some time in the street searching for my cards and putting them all back in my wallet before bringing it to my doorstep. Most surprisingly, all $68 that were in my wallet before I left it on the roof of my car were still in my wallet.

He didn't leave his name, he wouldn't let me give him any money (believe me, I tried) and he was very quiet and unassuming. All he said as he left was, "I have lost a wallet before, and I would have loved if someone would have brought it back to me with everything still in it." I wish I knew his name and address so I could do something for him.

In a world that is becoming more and more depressing as the days go by and where there is a severe shortage of good, honest people, it was refreshing to be reminded that there are still some good people out there. Of all the people that could have driven by after my wallet fell off my car, I certainly am grateful that it was that particular man who decided to be a good samaritan. I hope somebody does something real nice for him today.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Things I Love and Hate about Facebook

Let's face it - Facebook (FB) is sweeping the world. I actually joined FB almost two years ago at the urging of some of the youth in our Ward. At the time, I didn't understand what the point was and definitely didn't foresee the unbelievable exploding growth. I spent and still spend very little time on the site. Unfortunately, I do get FB alerts on my cell phone and I end up spending more time than I would like on FB. There are things that I really love about it, and there are things that I absolutely can't stand about it. I am sure you will be able to identify with some of my comments.

"Friends" - I love that I am able to connect with old friends through FB. I have connected with old high school friends, old work buddies, college friends, old missionary companions, long lost family and friends from far far away in Uruguay where I served my mission. (As I write this post, I just got friended by an old work colleague that I couldn't stand) I would guess that 95% of the people that I have connected with on FB are people that I otherwise never would have found. I currently have 271 friends on FB - an unusually small total for somebody who has been on FB for as long as I have. For example, a 15 year-old actual friend of mine has over 1,100 friends to date.

The part about FB that I hate is that I think it gives people a false sense of their own popularity. Although, generally I feel I am a pretty likeable guy, I don't think for a second that all 271 of my "friends" are really my friends. I always hear people talking about how many friends they have on FB, "I just hit 400 friends . . . I just hit my first 500 friends . . . I have 1,000 friends!!!" Blah, blah, blah . . . Like it is some type of status symbol - as if the more friends on FB you have, the more important you are. I used to accept anybody and everybody as a friend on FB; I don't anymore - in fact, I just ignored the invite from the annoying work colleague. So, word to the wise, if part of your self-worth is determined by how many friends on FB you have, you are an FB loser and need to reevaluate your life.

THE WALL - I like that you can write on your wall for all the world to see and tell your "friends" about important things that are going on in your life. For example, my 15-year old friend with 1,100 "friends" used his wall last week to tell his "friends" about an exciting contest that he had won and a competition that he was in that was very important to him and his family. I must admit, I followed his wall through that exciting event just to check in and see how he did and it was a quick, easy way to find out how he had done. This is a Wall-worthy post.

However, for the most part, I hate the Wall. I don't understand why people feel the need to tell the entire world about every detail of their day. "I had wheat toast for breakfast, it was yumms . . . I worked out this morning and I loved it!!! . . . I had a dentist's appointment this afternoon and it was no fun . . . I hate my kids right now and I am ready to go to bed!" These are all actual posts from my "friends". First, where do these people find the time to get on the computer or cell phone and post these things? 'Oh, my toast was really yummy, I better dial up the cell and tell all of my "friends"'. And second, why do these people feel like these events are Wall-worthy? Maybe it's just me, but if I have one Wall-worthy event per month, I feel like I am doing pretty good. Bottom line, if you are posting to your Wall on a daily basis, you might be an FB loser.

Another thing I love is the part on FB that allows you to comment on absolutely anything. "What a cute picture that is of your daughter . . . I am sorry you had a bad day at the dentist . . . Have you gained a few pounds?" These are comments that I have made or have thought about making on FB in the last couple of weeks. This is a worthy FB activity.

The part about commenting that I hate is that it usually brings out the worst in me. I am a slightly sarcastic guy. And by slightly, I mean slightly more than annoying. When I read something that I find stupid, offensive or just plain dumb, it is almost impossible for me not to make a comment. When I see a funny picture, I have to comment. When I feel that someone is sharing too much, I occasionally have to comment and let them know that they need to think before they post. So, if you can't control your commenting, especially when you have nothing nice to say, you most likely are an FB loser. (Guilty as charged)

Finally, I love that I can "communicate" with anyone of my 271 "friends" in the blink of an eye. I don't have to wait for them to answer their cell phone or return a letter in the mail. I can just shoot off a quick note and tell them what I need to tell them. This is a fabulous time-saver.

This instant form of communication is also what I hate most about Facebook . . . and texting and tweeting and all other forms of instant communication. With all the texting and emailing and tweeting that is going on, our young people are not learning how to actually talk to one another. I remember when I was growing up, I used to get in trouble at night for talking on the phone with friends for too long - an activity that doesn't even exist anymore. Kids text or tweet or FB each other. No actual speaking is involved. I used to call the youth from our Ward on their cell phones to ask them a question and they wouldn't answer . . . but they would text me back immediately, a practice that infuriated me. I once watched an entire conversation between two young women in our ward who were sitting right next to each other - and neither of them ever uttered a word. They texted their whole conversation. This is unbelievable to me.

What will these kids do when they grow up and they have to give a talk in Church? Last time I checked, you can't tweet your Church talks. What will they do when they have to give an oral presentation in an English class? You can't text an oral presentation. What will happen when they have a job interview with an actual human being and they can't answer "IDK, OMG, LOL!!" And finally, when they actually go on a date with another living, breathing human, how will they be able to have a thoughtful, intelligent conversation if they have never actually had one before - with their mouths and their voiceboxes.

In summary, Facebook is a very fun and useful internet tool. However, if you check how many "friends" you have on a daily basis and are concerned that your number isn't growing fast enough, you are probably a loser. If you "friend" total strangers just to get your number higher, you are definitely a loser. If you post your daily schedule to your Wall every single day, you might be a loser. If you post something to your Wall that only your husband or wife should know, you are definitely a loser and might need Facebook therapy. And finally and most importantly, if you spend more than 10 minutes (20 minutes if you are under the age of 21) on FB daily, you are just plain wasting time. Wise up.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lessons Learned from Being Alone

During the summer when it is scorching hot here in the AZ Desert, our family enjoys trips to the mountains, namely Pinetop and the Hazar Cabin. We enjoy this ritual several times a year, but mostly during the Summer to escape the heat and remember why it is that we choose to live in Arizona. I play golf with family, we go on long walks (and sometimes, nature walks) in the pines and we enjoy cooking and eating and spending time with family. One week annually, Michelle and the kids stay in Pinetop for a week instead of the traditional weekend that we normally stay. I stay home and try to work. For the last two years, I have secretly looked forward to these "mini-stay-cations" at home by myself. This year, I spent almost 4 days at home by myself and I learned 3 very valuable lessons. (By the way, I have inserted several of my favorite pictures of the family from the last couple of weeks - they really have nothing to do with what I learned and are in no particular order.) The first lesson that I learned is that it is better to have a dirty home than an empty one. I am kind of a stickler about keeping our home clean - I wouldn't say that I am a neat freak, but I do like order in my home. I have written about this before. I am kind of strict about kids picking up after themselves and all in all, keeping an orderly home. Michelle humors me and puts up with me and does her very best in keeping our home as orderly as possible while trying to wrestle 4 active kids and keep up with her busy schedule. When I have a free moment, I generally am cleaning something up, doing some laundry, cleaning the dishes (if there are any, which usually there aren't) or doing something to make our home more orderly. This week, alone in my home, I went to town on cleaning. I hand-cleaned all of our tile floors with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, which is hard work, about 4 hours total, because that is the only thing that gets them clean enough for my taste. I cleaned out the fridge, washed all the dishes, did all the laundry, cleaned all the windows, dusted, vacuumed more than once and de-haired the couches where Carmen sleeps. At the end of the day, the house was immaculate. There was nothing out of order, it smelled good and looked fantastic. However, it was empty. There was no one to dirty it up, no one to leave their toys out to be tripped over, no one to leave dishes out to be cleaned, no one to leave fingerprints on windows and mirrors and no one to create any dirty laundry. It was very sad - I came to the reality that I can have the cleanest, most orderly home in the world, but if it's empty, it's just not worth it. The second lesson I learned is that when I turn the TV off and it is quiet, that is when Heavenly Father speaks to me and answers my prayers. This is a lesson that I have learned before and have taught in Church lessons and on my mission. There is big difference between intuitively knowing this fact and putting it into practice in my life. It's hard to turn off the TV when I am all alone and do the things that I know I should do like read spiritual things, pray and listen for answers. Wednesday night of this week, after doing visits with the Bishopric to members of our ward and then playing basketball with my friends at Church for two hours, I was at home alone in a very very clean house, desperately searching for entertainment. I have a difficult time winding down after playing basketball late at night and so I generally look for something to entertain me on television or play a video game. I couldn't find anything remotely interesting to watch and I didn't feel like playing a game. Luckily, I had brought my laptop home from work that day and was prompted to watch a few General Conference talks. After watching these Conference talks (one was Elder Holland and the other was Elder Bednar), I turned off the computer and just laid in bed and was relaxing (it was 1AM). Although I was lonely and missed my family, I received comfort from Heavenly Father who assured me that my family was OK and they would be protected. I also received comfort and assurance about other concerns that I have been praying about for weeks. I relearned that the Spirit speaks softly and that if I am not actively listening for answers, I will most likely miss them.Finally, I relearned that the family, namely a father and a mother and children, is the divine unit of the Gospel. I have been taught this truth and have taught this truth to others ever since I was a little kid. A husband and a wife, working together as one to raise righteous children in the Gospel is the way that it's supposed to be. Michelle is the most wonderful wife and the kindest mother to our children that I could have ever hoped for. However, towards the end of last week, when she had been husbandless for over 3 days, she called me on the phone and was struggling with the kids and not having me there. (I know, go figure) I mentioned to her that she had help because her mother was there and Tyler and Julia are always very helpful. I realized as I spoke to her, and it hit me again like a ton of bricks, that even though she had help from her Mom with the kids, it's just not the same as having your husband there. There is something that is divinely correct about a man and a woman who love each other and love their children and who spend every waking moment trying to make a happy life for themselves and their children. There is something about a husband and a wife working together in love that is different from any daycare or school facility or any other kind of substitute for the family. I am grateful for this time that I had alone and for the lessons that I relearned. And, I am extremely grateful that my family is home where they should be. (By the way, notice how unhappy my family looks as they are away from me - truly sad)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nancy Pelosi - Oh My Word

I dislike Nancy Pelosi. I find it hard to believe that anybody really likes her at all. However, tonight, I watched this video clip, and if nothing else, this woman knows how to make me laugh.

Does anybody else find this video absolutely hysterical? Thank you, Ms. Speaker of the House. Thank you very much.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Illegal Immigration, AZ, and the LDS Church

There was an article in the paper today about how the new immigration law in Arizona is hurting the LDS Church and our image. The man who sponsored the bill is an LDS state senator and critics of the bill are pointing at the Church as being racist and even some Church members would like the Church to "put a stop to him". I have stayed silent on this issue for too long - it's time that I weigh in. If I offend anyone, so be it.

There is a quote in the article from a man who was investigating the Church but stopped when he heard that the Senator that sponsored it was LDS - saying that he couldn't expose his children to a religion who has members that hate other people because they are different. This is absolutely laughable - 70% of Arizonans support this bill. Not 70% of Mormons - 70% of ALL Arizonans, including I am sure many Hispanics, Catholics, Jews, Atheists, Protestants, Laker fans, etc. You get my drift. To single out the LDS Church is narrow-minded and stupid.

I was in a Church leadership meeting a few weeks ago and this topic came up and it was made very clearly known that the Church will not take a stance on this bill because it is a political issue. Some have asked why they took a stance on the same-sex marriage bill from 2008 - marriage between a man and a woman is fundamental to our faith and is a moral issue, not a political issue.

My personal feelings on illegal immigration are this: I love the Church and I know that it is true and teaches the only true way to be happy in this life and in the eternities to come. That doesn't mean that I have to like every member of the Church - there are some LDS people that I can't stand (i.e. Harry Reid). Not every member of the Church is perfect - some are just not good people, some cheat on and beat their wives, some abuse their children, some speed too much in their cars and text while they are driving, some steal and yes, some LDS members are illegal immigrants. I find it unbelievable that we are so concerned with hurting the feelings of ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. Inherent in the term illegal immigration is the fact that the immigrant is breaking the law - hence the word ILLEGAL.

I have a few friends that are illegal immigrants - I know them from where I served my mission. They came here in search of a better life, they came legally but when their visas expired, they just never left. They have lived here illegally for several years. They are LDS and they are wonderful people. Although I love them and I understand why they came and empathize with them, I believe that we need to be obedient to the laws of the land. And those that are here illegally are breaking the laws of the land. People can sugarcoat it as much as they want and say that they are contributing to the society and that they are great people, but when push comes to shove, they are breaking the law. They can villify those that enforce the law and call them racist and unfair, but the bottom line is, they are breaking the law.

I find it unbelievable that the entire country is so up in arms about this bill, I really do. Last time I checked, the federal law requires deportation of those that are here illegally. This bill just allows us to enforce federal law. And also the last time I checked, 60% of Americans support this bill. Why are people making such a big deal about this? It is stupid, it is political correctness gone crazy and I for one am sick of it. It is a call to action to the federal government to do their job and secure the borders of our country. And anybody that wants to villify the LDS Church or its members because an LDS man sponsored the bill, in my opinion, is ignorant. It could just as easily have been a Catholic, Jew or Atheist - it is supported by the vast majority of Arizonans.

Read the article on at and let me know if you agree with me.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The 5 NBA Teams I Hate the Most

In honor of the Phoenix Suns' glorious sweep of the Spurs, I thought I would share my thoughts about the 5 NBA teams that I love to hate the most. I am interested in your thoughts on my hatred. These go in order from least to most hated:

5. The Dallas Mavericks - I have nothing against Dallas or Maverick players - I actually really like J Kidd, Nowitzki and even Jason Terry. The only reason I hate the Mavericks is because of Mark Cuban. I can't stand the man - the sight of him makes my hair stand on end. I loved watching the Spurs beat the Mavericks for the simple fact that watching Mark Cuban lose makes me happy.

4. The Denver Nuggets - or should I say Thuggets. There is no bigger group of thugs on an NBA court anywhere in the league. Kenyon Martin is a class A thug with very few basketball skills at all. Chris Andersen, although he plays very hard, is a giant tattoo-ridden thug. JR Smith - I don't even have the words for how big a thug that guy is. Nene, thug. Carmelo? Debatable. The only player on their roster that I actually like is Chauncey Billups. I hate the Thuggets and I am glad they are out.

3. The Los Angeles Lakers - some would think that my hatred for the Lakers would top any other team in the league. Even though there are two other teams that I hate more, I despise the Lakers. I dislike them a lot less than I used to and I really don't think Kobe is as bad as Osama bin Laden. I hate Kobe less now than I used to, but I still dislike him strongly. I can't stand Artest for obvious reasons. Other than that, I don't really dislike any of their players. I think the reason I dislike the Lakers so much is because they win so much. I know that's not a good reason to dislike them, but that's my reason. And I guess that's why I don't dislike them nearly as much as I used to. I would love to see them in the Western Conference Finals.

These last two are a toss-up - I hate them both equally. It really depends on the day of the week.

2. Utah Jazzercizers - I have been to many NBA games and I have never been to one where the fans are so lame and mouthy and foul and mean spirited as to when I went to a Suns game in Salt Lake City. Now, I don't know what it is about LDS people and basketball - but we are such bad sports. I know that's an awful thing to say, but it is true. I reffed BYU intramural basketball for several years and I have never seen such poor sportsmanship. Not to say that the entire Jazz arena is filled with Mormons, but it has to be the prevailing majority. I also think that Jerry Sloan (although he gets more out of less than any coach I know of) coaches his players to play dirty, although less now than back in the day of Stockton and Malone. The only time I am a Laker fan ever, is when they play the Jazz. I absolutely love watching the Jazz lose.

1. San Antonio Spurs - was there really any doubt who would be on top of this list? Where do I even begin to describe my hatred for the Spurs? Bruce Bowen - dirty player. Robert Horry - dirty player. Manu Ginobili - biggest flopper (and nose) in league history. Gregg Popazit - the only coach I hate more than the Zen Master. Tony Parker - is he really good looking enough to have landed Eva Longoria? I think not. Tim Duncan - crybaby and reminds me of Cedric the Entertainer (rest his soul) when a foul is called on him with the bulging eyes looking with disbelief. That stupid coyote that passes as a mascot - lame. I categorically HATE the Spurs. Not because they win a lot, and they do. Not because they beat the Suns a lot, and they do. I just hate them. Nothing was more satisfying than to watch the Spurs not only lose, but lose catastrophically in spectacular fashion. You would think that beating them would lessen my hatred for the Spurs, and you would be wrong.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Video Gaming? Really?

So, I walked into my home the other day and found my oldest son Tyler playing his Nintendo DS. I was irritated. Admittedly, I like to play a good video game as much as the next guy, but nothing irritates me more than seeing my sons and daughter playing video games at 3PM on a Saturday when it is 75 degrees outside. I mean, we have about approximately 72 hours left until it's too hot to go outside, so I don't like to see my children wasting their time playing video games.

I often am suggesting to Tyler to do more productive things. Of course, he has to finish his homework everyday, he needs to practice the piano, he needs to clean his room and a couple of times per week, I ask him if he has worked on his Cub Scout requirements. He is in the Webelos group, and is working on several activity badges and his Webelos badge. He is usually good about dropping the video games and working on his Scouts and passing off requirements that help him to be a well-rounded boy and eventually, a productive member of society.

So, imagine my consternation the other day as I walked in as Tyler was playing a Pokemon video game (I could write an entire blog about Pokemon and how I just don't understand that phenomenon) and I asked him, "Tyler, when was the last time you worked on your Cub Scouts". His reply: "Daddy, I am working on my Cub Scouts. I am doing the video game activity pin and belt loop." Ha ha, Tyler, you are veeeery funny. "No, Daddy, I am serious." (By the way, these are the words that Tyler customarily says when he is lying to me.)

"Daddy, I am serious - Cub Scouts just introduced a new video gaming activity pin and belt loop. It's brand new and I am going to get it. I need a couple of extra activity pins." I honestly thought that Tyler was lying to me and so I jumped on the computer and found out, to my utter shock and dismay, there really IS a video gaming activity pin and belt loop.

When I think of Boy Scouts, the first thing that I think of is being outdoors and building fires and camping and hiking and surviving in the outdoors. I think of canoeing and kayaking and rock climbing and orienteering and shooting guns and getting dirty and other outdoor activities. One thing I absolutely DO NOT think about is Pokemon and Super Mario Brothers.

I read the requirements of this new activity pin and all of them are pretty silly if you ask me, but my absolute favorite requirement is this one: play an appropriate video game with a friend for one hour. Really? Do we really need to encourage our Cub Scouts to play MORE video games? I think this is a really bad precedent to set and the wrong message to send to our Cub Scouts.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My Favorite D-Back

For those of you that know me, you know how much I love baseball and the D-Backs. Opening Day was Monday for the D-Backs and it was a glorious day - a 6-3 D-Back victory marked by a Dan Haren gem, a Mark Reynolds bomb and a Stephen Drew inside-the-park homerun. It is fun to have baseball again. Michelle and I love it. (Hee hee)

I have many favorite Diamondbacks - Craig Counsell, Luis Gonzalez, Curt Schilling and currently, Justin Upton. However, my all-time favorite D-Back is my 10 year-old son, Tyler. Tyler currently is playing minor league baseball in the McCormick Ranch Little League and shares my passion for baseball. He absolutely loves it. He is pictured below here on his Opening Day from a couple of weeks ago. I love the Under Armor wristbands; not shown here are his blue Ray-Ban blades that he wears out in the field. He looks like a little pro.

Quick story. Tyler loves to hit. On Opening Day this year, in Tyler's 2nd at bat of the season, he was hit by a pitch in his backside and he went down like he had been shot. As he writhed around on the ground in pain, I had to giggle. I admit, I am a terrible father, but it was quite funny. Anyway, Tyler managed to pick himself up and limp down to first. He eventually scored and shook off the painful episode, but ever since, he has been a little gunshy at the plate.

In the last couple of weeks, I have been waiting for Tyler to break out of his batting slump. I have watched as he has struck out more often than normal and just hasn't been as aggressive as he normally is at the plate. We had a conversation in the car last week about being more aggressive at the plate and swinging hard. The conversation helped him be more aggressive but unfortunately, he was swinging at anything and everything including balls in the dirt and balls that were so high that they had snow on them.

Finally, this weekend in Pinetop, Tyler and I began to retool his swing and get his confidence back. We spent several hours with the whiffle balls and getting him to wait back and drive through the ball. I could start to see him gaining his confidence back and I was anxious to have him play in his game last night. I went home early from work, took Tyler to the park across the street and spent about 30 minutes fine tuning his swing. He looked great and seemed ready for the game.

In the top of the 1st inning, Tyler was batting sixth and I was more nervous than normal. As he stepped into the batter's box, he seemed much more relaxed. He went through his normal routine: he dug his back foot in, tapped the plate three times with his bat and got into his stance with most of his weight on his back foot. He looked fantastic. First pitch, he was so excited that he swung and was about 4 feet in front of it and missed. He looked back at me and smiled. I told him what I always tell him: "Relax, keep your weight back, pick out your pitch and drive it!"

2nd pitch was over his head. 1 ball, 1 strike. Next pitch was a foot outside and he took it for ball 2. Then, the next pitch was at his head; he ducked out of the way and fell back onto his back. He looked back at me and he had the same look in his eye as he has had the last couple of weeks and I was worried that he would lose his aggressiveness. I clapped and yelled, "Get back in there, wait back and drive it!" He dug back in, a little tentatively and I thought he might go back into his old habit of being passive. Next pitch was a perfect pitch and he took a beautiful swing and fouled it straight back. It was a picture perfect swing, he just missed it. I thought he had seen his only good pitch in the at-bat and missed it. (In Minors, you are lucky to see 1 decent pitch per AB) Needless to say, I was very nervous for him.

Two outs in the inning and Tyler had a full count on him. He stepped out, as is normal for him, and took two perfect practice swings and then dug back in, tapped the plate and sat back waiting for that perfect pitch that I feared wouldn't come again. I clapped and yelled,"You can do it buddy. Wait back and drive it!" The pitcher looked in and went into his windup and delivered the pitch. Tyler waited and waited in his beautiful stance and it was a perfect pitch right down the middle and Tyler put the most beautiful swing on that ball that I have ever seen and absolutely hammered it.

A rocket line drive into the left-center field gap and Tyler was off to the races. I jumped up out of the bleachers and kind of choked on my Diet Mountain Dew and Ranch sunflower seeds. I was so excited as Tyler took off as fast as he could and I watched as the ball rolled all the way to the wall. Tyler was cursed with his Dad's speed (to put it kindly, he has less than blinding speed) so I was worried about him getting around the bases, but I was going crazy. As he rounded third, the third-base coach was giving him the windmill sign and sending him home and I could hear in my mind the theme from Chariots of Fire playing. It was a beautiful and proud moment as he crossed home plate for only his 2nd homerun ever. He smiled at me as he went back into the dugout and gave me the fist pump.

I was in heaven for about 30 minutes until his next at-bat. First pitch, he popped out to 2nd base. I love baseball.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Funny Things

It seems like lately, a lot of funny things have happened. I need to write them down somewhere and hopefully, somebody will laugh with me.

A couple of weeks ago, we had our carpets cleaned. The technician (I use that term very loosely) explained to me why it was so important that we have our carpets deep-cleaned. He mentioned the dead skin that gets in our carpet, the dust mites that feed on our dead skin and then relieve themselves in our carpet. So, I have been reminding our children about the dust mite poop in our carpet and the necessity of wearing socks in the house. I know, disgusting. Anyway, the other day, Kate was laying on her back on her blanket and rolled over onto her stomach off of her blanket and was licking the carpet. Yum. So, I was standing there watching this all unfold with Justin. I said to Justin: "Oh, no! Dust mite poop!!" Justin heard: "Oh, no! Dat's my poop!!" His response: "Daddy, gross! We don't poop on the floor!! We poop in the potty!" I had to laugh.

I occasionally have very weird dreams. My favorite all-time weird dream was when Michelle was laying on the ground and I was popping her back by sitting on her back. In my dream, she grew feathers on her back, turned into an owl and turned her head completely around and had creepy owl eyes. I hate owls - they are creepy. This has been my all-time weirdest dream for several years - until now. There is a baby picture of me when I was about 1 year old that is pretty cute. I am enormously fat, but quite cute. Anyway, I had a dream the other night that Michelle got a face transplant (apparently her face wasn't attractive to her in my dream). Instead of getting a normal woman face, the doctors were able to transplant the baby face from my baby picture onto my wife. When I awoke, I didn't know whether to die laughing or die crying. I will never look at that picture the same way.

My final funny item is more ridiculous than funny. I watched yesterday as President Obama signed Obamascare into law. What an absolute freakshow. My first ridiculous moment was when Joe Biden, who I could write an entire blog of funny things about, gave his stupid speech about how historic this moment was and then whispered (sort of) to the President: "This is a big f-ing deal, Mr. President". Really? The Vice President of the United States before the signing of the biggest bill in decades uses an f-bomb to describe the moment??? Unbelievable.

The 2nd most ridiculous moment was the signing itself. President Obama, as is tradition, used 22 pens to sign his name. 22!!! 22 Cross commemorative pens to sign his name that at most, has only 18 letters. BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA - count em, 18 letters. 22 pens. Am I missing something? I know this is a tradition so that the commemorative pens can be given to congressional leaders who helped get the bill passed, but even so, what a stupid tradition. Cross Presidential pens (per my crack research) cost $271 per pen. That's almost $6000 on pens. Even Marcelas Owens, the young African American boy whose mother died because her insurance company dropped her and was standing next to President Obama while he signed, looked puzzled as to what the President was doing. He must have been asking himself, "Does President Obama really think that all these pens might run out of ink?" I mean, with $6000, they could have paid for Marcelas's health insurance for several months, but I guess it made more sense to have really nice pens to hand out to members of Congress. Unbelievable.

I wonder how much it cost to make Nancy Pelosi's giant gavel.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Coupon$ense and Cinnamon Toast Crunch

If you haven't heard about CouponSense, you need to. I love it. It is this company that charges a monthly fee to match up all the store ads with current coupons that you accumulate by way of an online database. Michelle and I have been CouponSense customers for about 3 years now. We save a lot of money (usually about 70 to 80% when we are really working it). In fact, I am to the point now that if we actually are not being compensated in some way for going grocery shopping, it just wasn't a good enough trip for me. But it is a lot of work - for both of us. Mostly Michelle, but sometimes me. I hate the fact that there are free deals out there that I might be missing out on. So, grocery shopping has become like work.
Basically, the idea is that when something is on sale at a particular store, you match it up with a coupon and the item becomes very inexpensive. For example, this week, there is a great deal on cereal at Safeway. I don't know all the particulars, however, I do know that Michelle came home with about 60 boxes of cereal and didn't pay more than about $15 TOTAL.

Here is my dilemma: when is enough enough? My boys both love Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if we let them. And sometimes we do. Well, I came home from work tonight and went to our pantry (actually it's an entryway closet that doubles as a place to put all of our CouponSense spoils) and it was entirely stocked with Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I saw a few shelves of noodles, some cake mix and fruit snacks (which are free this week as well). But for the most part, it was all Cinnamon Toast Crunch all the time. Of the boxes that I could see, I counted 17 boxes. My guess is there are many more.
Will my children ever be able to finish that many boxes of CTC? And do I want them to? Intuitively, I know the answer to both questions should be a resounding NO! However, my fear is that not only will they finish all 17 or more boxes, but I will be the one behind them as they stuff their faces cheering them on.
Because the truth is I love free stuff. And as long as there is still free Cinnamon Toast Crunch out there, I want it. I need it. I must get it. So, my children will continue to eat Cinnamon Toast Crunch three times a day until there is room again in my pantry - you never know what will be free next week.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This morning, I read an email that shocked me and made me smile all at the same time. It was written by Mortimer Zuckerman, editor in chief of US News and World Report. He was an avid Obama-supporter during the election in 2008. He has done a complete 180 on Mr. Obama. My favorite lines of the article: "A man can fail in the eyes of his countrymen and still be dearly loved by those closest to him. But in Obama's case, his wife and his two daughters will be there to suffer every agonizing step of his fall along with him. And for the rest of his life, each time he looks into their eyes, and into the eyes of black people everywhere, he will see the crushing disappointment that his ill-fated attempt at national transformation has caused them. He will be the country's unhappiest man, living the rest of his life knowing that his daughters know that whole world sees him as a failure. He is simply the wrong man, in the wrong job, in the wrong country, at the wrong time in history."

I went back in my blog and in my family's blog to see what I have said about Mr. Obama in the past. I hate to say it, but my predictions about the man couldn't have been more accurate. I predicted that one year into his presidency, the economy would be no better than it was when he took office (which it really isn't) and that he would be losing the confidence of the American people (which he clearly has already lost).

For the first time in my life, I am actually very afraid for the future of the United States of America. The wildly reckless spending with no thought of the future of our country is taking us on the road to bankruptcy. Bankruptcy? Yes, bankruptcy. It's appalling.

I believe that the 2010 elections later this year are the most important elections EVER in the history of our country. Prediction: the Republicans will win back both the House and the Senate and Mr. Obama, thankfully, will be a lame duck President for his final two years in office. Another prediction: Mr. Obama will be a one-term President and most likely, will not win his party's nomination in 2012. Call me crazy, but I truly believe that he will not even be on the ballot in 2012.

I have tried to give the man a chance, I have prayed for him everyday for almost 18 months now. I have now decided that I must change my prayers - from now on, instead of praying for him to be inspired and led by God, I pray that God will protect him long enough for him to lose the House and the Senate, realize he is a lame duck President and resign in shame.

I also wrote a little over a year ago that I felt badly for Mr. Obama because "nobody could possibly live up to the Savior-like expectations that were placed on his shoulders - he is absolutely destined to fail" - those were my exact words. Mr. Zuckerman wrote almost the same thing this week when he said, "His policies have been so extreme and so far outside the mainstream that he was destined to achieve the most spectacular fall from grace of any American President in history."

I hate to say I told you so, but, well, I told you so.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Genetics is a Funny Thing

I don't understand genetics. I have very dark hair and grey/green eyes. Michelle has dark hair as well with green eyes. So, when we found out we were pregnant with a daughter over 7 years ago, we were sure we would have a dark haired, dark eyed baby girl. We couldn't be more wrong. Blonde hair, blue eyes. And we are not sure where they came from - most likely from Michelle's mom. Below is a picture of Julia at 4 months. We couldn't have been more grateful.Then, we learned that we were having a second daughter. We were positive that we would have a Cherrington baby - long, thick dark hair with dark brown or green eyes. Once again, we were wrong. I am fairly sure we got another Candace. Below is Kate from the other day - almost 5 months old. She still has slightly dark hair on top, but all the new hair growing in on the sides is completely blonde with some reddish highlights. And her eyes are bluer than blue. Does she look familiar?
They don't look anything like Michelle or me (in my personal opinion), but I couldn't be more proud. If you can't tell, Julia is absolutely in love with her little sister.

Genetics is a very funny thing.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I am Back

Recently, I received an email from a friend of mine that told me that my blog had been deleted because I haven't posted in so long. It made me feel bad. I went back and read old posts that I have written and enjoyed it thoroughly, especially people's comments. So, I have decided once and for all, I am back. I will catch you up on the happenings in my life.

Our daughter Kate is now 4 months old - I am absolutely in awe of her every day. She had a very rough patch for awhile with cholic and some teething, but she seems to be done with that and is an absolute joy to have in our home. She is Julia's twin at this age, big beautiful blue eyes and an infectious smile.

I attended my mother's wedding over the weekend. I am not going to lie, it is a weird feeling seeing your parents married to other people. My Dad was remarried to Denise almost a year ago and my Mom was married to Kent this weekend. I had mixed emotions at both weddings - but, the overriding feeling that I have was one of gratitude that each of them found somebody that they love and can spend their lives and beyond with. It was a fun weekend to meet some of Kent's family and to see my Ted and Barbara, Uncle Greg and Aunt Jane, Uncle Larry and Aunt Jynene, Shannon, Angela and all of the family that came to see the blessed event.

I just concluded high school basketball season - for those of you that don't know, I officiate high school basketball. It is a passion of mine - I know that sounds weird, but I love to ref basketball. My dream job would be to ref college basketball. It keeps me close to a game that I absolutely love. I also took a job once a week reffing city league games at the club where Michelle has taught for several years - now, we are both employed by the same company. That's kind of fun.

Spring Training is upon us! I love Major League Baseball more than anything. I think the D-Backs could have a great year and I look forward to watching about 160 games over the next 5 months. (Love you Michelle :) )

For those of you that don't know, I am an avid Jim Rome fan - I am a clone. My emails are regularly read. Recently, I had an email that I wrote about Tiger Woods and his recent problems with so-called 'sex-addiction' win the Huge Email of the Day. Proud, proud moment in my life. :)

Until my next post . . .