Fast Changes

2 years ago I started chronicling my thoughts on here.  Originally the plan was to talk about how I would make my way through working a job and not loose my sanity, while raising a family in Norfolk, VA.   The topics of discussion have gone beyond just work though; sports, current events, politics, sneakers, Christianity, etc.  It has been a great outlet for me to share and interact.

The next step on our journey will take us Toledo, OH.  My wife and I have been asked to lead a small non-denominational church.  It’s an exciting time, as we look forward to this challenge to our faith.

The changes seem fast, but maybe they’re coming at just the right time…

Letting Go

So my children are away at Grandma & Grandpa’s for much of this week.  This is our first extended (longer than two days) time away from each other.  Initially the thought of having a few days without the crew around was quite appealing, but as is often the case, ideas tend to outpace reality.

It’s not just that I miss our daughter slicking into our bed at least twice a night, being awoken by the shrieks of our 9-month old son, or our oldest asking for cereal before sunup.  I realized that this is the first step in the process of letting go.  Our children will be with us only for a short while, as we try to teach them how to be a light to the world.  18 some-odd years seems like a long time, but it goes by quickly.  Our oldest will be 6 in December, and our is daughter will be 3 in two weeks, going on 14 it feels.  My role as their father is to make the most of these few moments, and pray that God makes up the difference.

Grandma has sent a few phone pics and informed us, that the children ask about us everyday.  That made me smile.

Black-ish played it safe

If you haven’t heard, ABC has a new comedy series out called ‘black-ish.  It’s about a upper middle class family who have ancestral roots from Alkebu-lan.  I like the show.  It’s a bit on the nose, but a change from the standard family sit-com is always welcome with me.  But Black-ish missed a golden opportunity to change the game for real last night.

Airing yesterday evening, the 5th episode of the young series focused on the younger son Jack’s proclivity for hiding, which lead to a great deal of anxiety for his parents.  Warned first by his mother Rainbow (cleva name for Tracee Ellis-Ross’ character) and again by his father Andre (Anthony Anderson) not to do such a thing anymore, Jack decides the fun of sending his family into a frenzy is too good to pass up.  After hiding once more, and not coming out when he hears the panicked cries of his family who is searching for him, Andre drops the hammer: for his misdeeds, Jack has earned a spank.

The rest of the show is a build up of tension and emotions as Andre and Rainbow belabor whether to follow through or not on the threat to dish out some corporal punishment.  This is a particularly hot issue in the wake of NFL Super Star Adrian Peterson’s pending child abuse charges.  Publicly most people claim to be against any form of spanking or physical punishment for their children, but those same people often share different views behind closed doors.  Most folks were given a spanking every now and the while growing up, and we all turned out fine right?  (except for those of you whose parent’s took things too far).  These days, spanking is taboo, almost as bad as bringing an undeclared guest to a wedding reception.

Although I had hopes for the best, in the end Andre chickened out and elected to tell his son Jack how “Disappointed” in him he was.  Apparently this is the new form of spanking, because Jack left his father’s room repentant and crying.  It was a cop out, but an understandable one.  The show is brand new, and they can’t afford to have the kid worshiping segment of society coming for their heads just yet.  Even a show as revolutionary and cutting edge as “black-ish” apparently isn’t about that life.

Still a funny episode; I will continue to watch.

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)

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.  

When Trolling goes too far

I don’t have a problem with a good Troll.  It can be a great opportunity to laugh at myself, or some construct of our society.  But there is a line that should not be cross, which unfortunately is being overstepped with every increasing frequency.

Look no further than this commercial for Staples:

Growing up, I used to cringe every time this commercial would run.  Not just because it signified to close of yet another summer, but it was flat out wrong.

How they gonna show this dad sashaying down the store aisle just because he’s buying back to school supplies?  Look at how dejected his children are!!!  

I was incredulous.  As an adolescent, my mind couldn’t process these emotions.  The fact that someone thought it was cool to employ a popular Christmas song to express the joy parents felt when sending their children back to school was utter sacrilege.  I didn’t care how cleaver or ironic Staples brass thought it was, a line had been crossed.  Weren’t adults supposed to be, you know, adults about things?  It was bad enough most children across the land (I say most because i suspect some students loved school and were eager to return) were unenthusiastic about spending 7-hours a day, 9-months out of the year in the same building.  But now, someone was piking fun at us whilst we suffered.

Little did I know Staples had opened up a Pandora’s box, that would the blueprint for pretty much every “edgy” or “in your face” marketing campaign to come after this.

I’ll never forgive you Staples.