Sidewalk Art

The other day as Kay-Kay and I were walking to our building I asked him, “Do you want to draw on the sidewalk?” Without hesitation he exclaimed, “Sure!”

Kay-Kay doesn’t go far without his trusty sock. In it are kept some of his most prized possessions: chalk. It is the cause of incessant arguing and consternation in our household. If Kay-Kay has the chalk, our daughter Kema is fighting for her share, and vice versa. Kay-Kay began taking the “jewels” with him when he left the house to ensure they were safe from his sister’s clutches (he’s nearly 5 while she’s 2 and a half, so for now he’s in control). I just laugh.

Here’s some of our work. I say our because I started out helping, but soon was taking direction from Kay-Kay the art director. The recent rain has since washed it all away, but we were greeted warmly by fellow tenants who passed us by as we worked.

Enjoy. 🙂

The wheels on the Bus…
Abstract Piece, Shinning Sun, Smiley Face, Apple, and ice cream cone w/3 scoops
Bigger cone with many scoops, including sprinkles
Close up of trusty pouch (finger poking through hole)

The Pharcyde – Drop

I’m a product of the late 80s early 90s, so my taste in music often reflects this.  One of the groups that can easily be over looked for their many contributions to hip-hop is The Pharcyde.  Based out of South Central LA, they were a different type of music from what Cali was mainly known for during the early 90s.

This song “Drop” was one of the groups’ biggest hit.  More importantly, the video is widely considered one of the greatest videos of all time, for its premise and creativity.  The Pharcyde apparently went as far as speaking their raps backwards, to match the reverse play of the footage.  I really took this era of great Hip-Hop for granted, which is a shame, because only now as I look back do I appreciate it.

I’m glad I can still listen to the stuff from time to time; takes me back.

Revisionist History

I want to introduce you to someone: his name is Clay Jenkinson.  He’s the guy in the revolutionary attire participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  Mr. Jenkinson is also, among many other things, historian who host a weekly syndicated public radio program called the Thomas Jefferson Hour.

What Mr. Jenkinson looks like normally.
What Mr. Jenkinson looks like normally.

Each week, Thomas Jefferson (Jenkinson) and his co-host talks about events and happenings from Jefferson’s life and time as one of The United States’ founding fathers.  Later in the program, Jenkinson jumps out of character to discuss what he spoke about earlier, while in character.  I have caught the program on a number of occasions, and I can’t help but laugh to myself whilst shaking my head.

I didn’t have high expectations for the show.  I have listened to discourse on the weather in Paris while Jefferson visited, to the quality of that season’s tomatoes from the garden at Monticello.  I will assume that the subject matter has been more substantial on other occasions, but I’ve not had the privilege of experiencing it.  What I would like to point out is the manner in which the show sets itself up.  The premise is a leisurely conversation with one of the greatest human beings ever- Thomas Jefferson.  The 3rd President of the United States, Jefferson is portrayed as a warm, kind, fatherly, almost angelic being of the highest moral standard.  The listeners are made to feel a sense of gratitude, awe, and wonder as you listen to the sage words of this infallible man.  The Jenkinson gathers a great deal of pleasure portraying the Jefferson character.  It comes across in the way he roars his oratory and monologues across the airways.  This man is proud of his President, so much so that we went to great lengths to become Jefferson.

It makes me realize how powerful (and dangerous) it is to re-write history.  Even the most staunch Jefferson supporters should blush at the way his legacy has been delicately preserved.  But preservation has turned to cleansing, as not so endearing facts about his life are vehemently criticized.

Master of the Mountain

Mr. Wiencek states that none of the information presented in his text is in fact new, but one wouldn’t know this based upon to reaction to his, and other less than flattering works about Jefferson.  The problem is that over time, some have decided to dismiss the baser aspects of the man, whilst maintaining the Legend and Prestige.  This is disingenuous at best, and at it’s worst nearly criminal.  The goal of history is for present and future generations to look at events from the past, and learn from them what we can, in an attempt to repeat the good while being vigilant to prevent the bad.  But if we are unwilling to acknowledge that which we are not proud of, can we say an honest attempt at self-reflection and learning has been made?  I would like to see more movement in this direction.

On the Bus to the Impound Lot

Did i forget to mention that our van got towed Sunday night so I had to walk our son to the ER in his younger sibling’s stroller?  Oh yeah, pull up a chair.

So Kay-Kay and I get downstairs of our Apartment Building and I’m like “Where’s the van b?” (Kind of like how I was feeling when I was waiting for my Roshes).  I knew there was a slim-to-none chance someone vicked me for it (don’t know what the street value of an ’07 Odyssey is) so I assumed the van was sitting in an impound lot somewhere on the other side of town.

After giving him his inhaler and making sure Kay-Kay was doing better Monday morning, my next priority was to locate the van.  Pro Tip: I’ve been towed numerous times, so if you’re ever in doubt as to where your vehicle is, call your Local Police Department’s non-emergency number (usually 411).  Each time a vehicle is towed, the collector is supposed to alert the Local Police, so the owner knows the vehicle hasn’t been stolen.  I was directed to the City Impound Lot over on Lance Road.  Definitely sounding like a deserted and destitute location.

Like I said before, one of the many benefits to City Life is the access to Public Transportation.  I pulled up HRT’s website to find out which route would get me closest to my destination.  But no matter which, I would be needing my walking shoes.  15 minutes to the nearest stop on the route I needed. rarely is door-to-door transport an option.  I grabbed whatever spare cash I had and headed out the door.

Waiting for the Bus
Waiting for the Bus

I can understand why public transportation has the “poor and undesirable” stigma attached to it.  Someone from my walk of life would normally catch a ride from a friend or call a taxi before riding the bus.  Most Bus Stops are nothing more than a sign post on the side of the road.  You are exposed to the elements as well as the judgmental stares of passing motorists.  If you have a bench or even better a covered shelter, consider yourself blessed.  You had better have exact fare too, because the ticket taker doesn’t make change (I found this out the hard way).  All dignity and pride are torn from you at every turn.  Most municipalities treat Public Transportation with contempt; it’s something they feel they were forced into as part of some economic redevelopment deal from the late 80s early 90s.

Then there’s the matter of the buses and service itself.  Again, if your City or Locality cares enough to keep the fleet updated with clean-air, energy efficient vehicles (that have functioning A/C in the Summer and Heat in the Winter) count your blessings.  Too often there is refuse strewn about the seating area and floor, poor scheduling that creates log jams or overcrowding, and drivers who have checked out eons ago.  I’ve experienced the bad with the good.  To Norfolk’s credit, they do an adequate job of keeping the units clean and presentable.

The ride to the impound lot was somewhat pleasant.  Labor Day traffic is a far cry from the normal commute.  Jaywalking is a necessity for most people who ride the bus.  With 8+ travel lanes to cross in 25-30 seconds, Usain Bolt couldn’t make it through the intersection in time.  I had another 20 minutes by foot to the impound lot.  You see the foot paths created by the countless souls who’ve come this way before you.  I soon realized the importance of appropriate travel gear.  Comfortable walking shoes are a must if you’re going to be covering a lot of ground by foot, as well as a worthy knapsack or book bag.  Only carry what’s needed for the journey is long and the sun unforgiving.

Many have gone before me.
Many have gone before me.
View from the path
View from the path

At last arrived at the impound lot.  It was as I imagined it.  Situated at the end of a road in an industrial park on the City’s South East End, it was straight out of central casting, complete with a lone grizzled city employee.  I couldn’t blame her; I’d be upset too if I drew the Labor Day shift.  Once I payed the tow fee and secured my receipt, I took a seat in the lobby, waiting for the lot supervisor to escort me back to my vehicle.  He was with another “customer”.  I used this opportunity to rest and catch  my breath (the lobby was cool and refreshing after my hike from the bus stop).

Out of time
Out of time

My only company was a lying-on-it’s back cockroach in the corner.  Probably died from the long wait time.  After what was at least 30 minutes, the clerk felt sorry for me and allowed me to retrieve my van unassisted.  I was glad that cool, calm demeanor had payed this dividend.  She didn’t have to do this, so I thanks her heartily.

There are so many vehicles left in the impound lot; some indefinitely.  Each one has or had an owner, and along with it a story.  But now they sit in rows, silent and still.

There she is
There she is

Once I found the van, I started her up, and headed to the release gate.  The clerk opened it up and drive-thru, on my way home.


Visit to the Emergency Room

I want to share my experience of going to the emergency room.  I will offer no opinion on the state of Healthcare in America; simply a recitation of the events of last night.

On Saturday, our family spent part of the day at the beach.  It was our first ( and probably only) visit of the season.  We had a great time, although my eldest had a little too much sea water go the wrong way after entering his mouth.

We didn’t think much of it at the time, but Kay-Kay began to develop a slight cough by Saturday evening.  Thinking a good night’s rest would solve everything, we put him to bed a little earlier than usual.  Unfortunately things weren’t any better Sunday morning.  My wife and I decided to keep him back from Church.  By mid-afternoon, Kay-Kay’s cough got more persistent.  Rest and lots of cartoons hadn’t cured him, so we decided to set up an appointment with the pediatrician in the AM.

But things took a turn for the worse during the night.  Kay-Kay woke up around 10:30 pm with severe shortness of breath.  He is a good sleeper, so for him to wake up meant he was having quite a bit of difficulty.  With no other viable options, the decision was made to take him to the ER.  We’re fortunate to live a 15-minute walk away from the regional children hospital.

Kay-Kay and I arrived at the ER waiting room around 10:55 pm.  There was a woman in her mid-50s ahead of me, waiting to check in.  No one was on duty at the station, so we both waited.  There were about 8 other families with children sitting in the waiting room while The Princess Diaries played on a fairly new Samsung flat panel TV.  There was a Police Officer stationed near the front door.  He was seated, while looking leisurely at his smart phone.  At 11 pm the officer got up, and left the lobby, at which point a hospital employee took his place.

Meanwhile, the woman and I were still waiting at the counter to be checked in.  Hospital employees were coming and going from the back office or a side door here or there, but still no one on duty.  At one point, a curious hospital employee appeared from a back office, startled that we were waiting there.  “Has anyone helped you yet?”  The curious employee asked the woman.  The woman nodded no.  The curious employee remarked to an unseen colleague, “There are people waiting here to be checked in.”  The unseen employee replied, “Oh.”  The original curious employee returned and assisted the two of us who we’re waiting.  No one had set eyes on Kay-Kay yet, and we’d been in the lobby over 10 minutes by this point.

After check-in, we went to the triage room.  Here, Kay-Kay’s situation was evaluated, as well his vitals taken.  The nurse at Triage asked me about our son’s medical history, any allergies, or current medication.  We were ushered back to the treatment area, and given a room.  On our way, we passed a nurse station, with about 8-9 nurses sitting or standing while conversing leisurely with one another.  Once in our assigned room, two nurses and a Doctor on duty came in to further evaluate us.  I was asked about Kay-Kay’s medical history, allergies, and medication usage again.  The three of them were speaking to me at once about what would happen next. Kay-Kay would be given a series of respiratory treatments to help with his shortness of breath, and hopefully open his airways.  Before the treatments were started, a 2nd Doctor on duty arrived.  A third time I answered questions pertaining to Kay-Kay’s medical history, allergies, and medication usage.  In addition to these, the 2nd Doctor asked about how many siblings Kay-Kay had, if they lived at home with him with my wife and I, and a bevy of other questions I do not recall.  After this, our son’s respiratory treatments began.  Liquid medicine was placed into a nebulizer for Kay-Kay to inhale, which would assist in opening up his airways. 

After a few rounds of treatment, the 2nd Doctor on Duty returned with a 3rd Doctor on duty.  The 3rd Doctor on Duty listened to Kay-Kay’s lungs, and then left the room with the 2nd Doctor on Duty.  Next, one of the earlier Nurses returned with a vial of clear liquid.  She approached us and instructed Kay-Kay to open his mouth and swallow.  Before he or I could react, the nurse injected the liquid into Kay-Kay’s unsuspecting mouth, which flowed right out onto his shirt and pants.  “Oh, you were supposed to swallow that.  There are only two ways to take the medicine: by mouth, or through a shot.  Do you want to try this again, or the shot?”  My son, half delirious, didn’t even respond.  I said, “Kay-Kay, I need you to drink this medicine so you can feel better and we can go home.”  The nurse informed us that she would find another dose, and be back to try again later.

There was a relative lull while the inhalation medicine was given the opportunity to work.  One of the side effects of a steroid is an increase in heart rate, as it objective is to open the airways for increased flow.  This fact made sleep or any rest for Kay-Kay difficult, as the body attempted to fight it’s own natural tendencies.

By this point, the clock had reached 2:30 am.  I was trying to stay awake, but fatigue was fast setting in.  We had gotten things down to a routine: 2nd & 3rd Physicians on duty would check Kay-Kay’s breathing and heart rate, followed by the respiratory nurse who administered the medicine by nebulizer.  An hour was allowed for the dose to take effect, before the process was rinsed and repeated.  After the third round, the 2nd and 3rd attending physicians informed me that the medicine was no longer bringing his heart rate down or impacting his respiration.  They would prefer his inhale/exhale rate to return to normal before deciding on whether to discharge us, or admit us into the hospital (I forgot we were still in ER).  I thanked them for the update and shut the door behind them.  “What’s taking so long?  When can we go home?”  Kay-Kay exclaimed.  “I don’t know son; the Doctors want to make sure you’re feeling better before we can leave.”  I felt for him.    I encouraged Kay-Kay to get some rest, while I used the TV to stay awake.  I watched:

  • Frozen
  • Super Buddies
  • chicken little
  • Fast Five
  • Invictus

As well as whatever cartoons were on PBS when Kay-Kay awoke.

At 5:30 am, a 4th attending physician entered our room.  After introducing himself, he reiterated the concerns of his colleagues that the medicine was no longer improving our son’s breathing.  Their thinking was to discharge us with an inhaler to administer at home every 4 hours, and continue to monitor him closely.  Shortly after this, one of the nurses brought us the medicine,with a script for an oral application to improve Kay-Kay’s breathing.  I thanked her as we exited the ER sliding doors.  

As I glanced to my right, the clock showed 6:03 am.