Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pictures are worth a 1000 words

Wow, it has been a while. I’ll give everyone a quick update and hopefully that will explain why I haven’t been blogging lately. I bought the dental practice in May. I have been working there for two years, and finally made the deal to buy the entire practice. I am now the proud owner of a small business. That should be enough for everyone to understand why I haven’t written anything.

More importantly, the other reason I haven’t updated this is because I have been spending the rest of my free time with Wendy. We met at the end of April at a Single Adult Conference in California. She lives an hour away in South Denver so my car has been getting more frequent oil changes.

Since pictures say a 1000 words and there is no way I can explain what I have been doing for six months, I’m posting some pictures.

Wendy convinced me to run the Boulder Boulder. It is a 10K run that is fairly famous around here. She is the runner of the group, and I am the goof ball.

We both like to cycle, which is one of our most enjoyable activities to do together. It is nice to see the amazing landscapes of Colorado by bicycle. In the early summer, we drove up to Estes Park and went exploring.

For Pioneer day, we drove to her house in Alamosa Colorado. We watched a few parades, enjoyed a demolition derby, sat underneath some fireworks, went dancing in a barn by ourselves (almost), and just relaxed. We drove up to the sand dunes and found a waterfall.

In August, my mom came into town and we got up real early to go to the balloon festival. Some amazing colors bouncing off of these brilliant balloons.

Over the Labor Day weekend, we flew to Portland and spent the weekend with my family at the beach. Wendy served her mission in Portland and it was the first time she had been back.

We are heading back to Portland for Thanksgiving. So that is the summary. The two W's in my life right now. Work and Wendy and Writing isn't one of them. I'm going to try and do better.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Yellow Jersey

In cycling, the yellow jersey is worn by the leader of the race. The jersey makes it very obvious who is the leader of the pack because it stands out so well.

Yesterday I went into a war zone. Last week a tornado ripped through a small town less than an hour away from Longmont. A good friend of mine lives in the town and fortunately was not seriously effected by the storm. However, several homes belonging to members of his ward were completely destroyed.

I decided I needed to drive up to help out for a few hours. Ground zero had been closed off to everyone for several days after the storm so that inspectors could enter the homes and determine if they were safe. The neighborhood had only been open for a few hours when I arrived. Hundreds of people with trucks and trailers where there to empty out the houses and get them ready for demolition. At some homes, there was a very obvious common thread...the yellow T-shirt proclaiming, “Mormon Helping Hands.” I couldn’t help think of the yellow jersey.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Open mouth, insert...

Our dental office is located very near a small airport where there is a parachute school. From our office we can watch the parachuters jump from the plane and dive. Our office has very large windows and it is very fun to watch them fall from the sky and then glide to earth. Often, they do tricks while falling.

Each morning during our morning huddle I share a joke with the staff. Yesterday I shared the following.

Four people are in an airplane, the pilot, the smartest man in the world, the richest man in the world, and a punk teenager. The airplane experiences some difficulties, and the pilot informs the three passengers that the plane is going to crash, and there are only three parachutes on the plane. The richest man in the world takes one, because he says that his lawyers will sue everyone else on the plane if he doesn't survive. The smartest man in the world takes a parachute, because he thinks that the world would be a worse place without him. The pilot says to the punk "There's only one parachute left, I'll fight you for it." "That won't be necessary," said the punk, "The smartest man in the world took my backpack."

I thought it was a funny joke. About half of the staff chuckled. The other half had a weird look on their face. Timing is everything and it pays to read the newspaper. The day before there was a man killed at the nearby airport because his chute didn’t open. Not so funny when good intentions go bad.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

$4.57 in pocket change

There has been a movement lately to get rid of the penny. Today ol’ Lincoln saved the day. I was driving to Denver for a meeting and realized I was low on gas. I was half way to my meeting when I also realized I left my wallet at home. That is not a good combination. To make matters worse, I was starving and was planning on grabbing a bite to eat before the meeting. Not to worry...my car console was full of pocket change I have been collecting for the last year. I counted out $2.50 in quarters and few bucks in pennies. Thank goodness for the dollar menu at Burger King. Two Wopper Jr. paid with pennies and on the way back I added .714 gallons of gas to the tank to barely make it home without being stranded on the road. And the look on the attendants face...priceless. I guess cash really is king. I think I’m going to stash $20 bucks in the jockey box for another emergency...so at least I can get the fries.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

More Guatemala Stuff

Here are some of the videos from our zip line adventure in Guatemala.
Its a bird...
video
Its a plane...
video
Its ...Superman??
video
There was a 70-75 year old couple that joined us for the canopy tour. After the third platform the gentleman bashfully admitted to his wife that when he signed them up for the canopy tour he thought they were going to be on a walking tour. Oops. Little did they know they would be joined by three rambunctious men.

And a few more pictures too.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Guatemala

Last week I traveled to Guatemala with a friend from dental school (Mike Lindman) and a friend from his ward (Jeff Newton) to provide dental services to an orphanage. We mixed the trip with a bit of business and a bit of pleasure. I wish I could tell you all of the things that occurred, but the following is a brief travel-log. (More photos and videos will come after I get them from Mike and Jeff. My camera broke after the third day)

Saturday February 23
Arrived Saturday evening to Guatemala City and stayed at a Holiday Inn.

Sunday morning we went to the local LDS church only to find it was Stake Conference. We got on the bus with the rest of the members of the ward to travel together to the conference. After the conference we checked out of the hotel and drove to Panajachel, which is a two hour drive west of Guatemala City and sits on a beautiful lake surrounded by volcanoes. See map below. After arriving and setting up the dental clinic in a one room LDS church, we visited the orphanage for the first time. We were instant heroes as Jeff had brought soccer balls and soccer shoes for the kids.

View Larger Map

Sunday night we slept at the branch presidents house. It reminded me of my days in Brazil while serving a mission. Early Monday morning we started working on the orphan children. Each one of them laid on our make-shift chair (a round table covered with a sheet and pillow) while we examined their mouth. We fixed the teeth that could be fixed and extracted the teeth that couldn't. Jeff did a great job jumping back and forth to translate for us and assist where he could. The process was slow, which made me really grateful for my trained assistant back home. We were able to see most all of the orphan kids on Monday. On Tuesday we opened our services up to the members of the branch and the community. We had a manageable steady flow all day.

It was interesting to me that the condition of the teeth between the orphans and the public. When we opened the clinic up to the public on Tuesday, we saw significantly more decay and tooth problems. It was immediately apparent and obvious that one segment of the population had access to sugar and the other segment did not. The orphan kids had relatively good oral health. They also didn't have access to candy and sweets like the other kids did. Many of the kids outside the orphanage would beg and cry until they could get candy, or the parents would use candy as a mechanism to control behavior. "If you stop crying...or if you are good...you can have some candy." The question really is; who is controlling the behavior of who?

We packed up late Tuesday afternoon and drove back to Guatemala City. We had to "get out of Dodge" before it became dark because the road we were traveling was pretty dangerous. There had been many roadside blockades while thieves stop the cars and steal everything. When we got into Guatemala City we went out to a nice restaurant to celebrate the work we had accomplished. 58 patients, and 170+ procedures: Not bad for two dentists, two days, a headlamp, a make shift dental clinic, and no trained assistant.

It was at dinner when we had one of the more funny experiences of the trip. After we ordered our meal, three singers came to our table and began to sing to us. We enjoyed their performance and tipped them accordingly. When they looked at the tip, they got very angry and said that the cost for three songs was $10. (Interesting that they didn't tell us before they started singing). After a few very awkward and tense moments, we satisfied their request and then mentioned the scam to our waiter. A few minutes later we saw the three amigos arguing with the manager as he kicked them out of the restaurant. We later found out he fired them from all three of his restaurants in town. Apparently, the singers had been warned before for their questionable business practices and that night they got the boot. We were afraid we were going to get jumped and beaten with a guitar as we left the restaurant.

We spent Tuesday night at the hotel and got up the next morning to catch a flight to Tikal. We arrived in Tikal Wednesday afternoon and went on a zip-line adventure before entering the park. You can see in the video that we had a rambunctious time. We walked around the ruins and climbed on the ancient temples. The next morning we awoke at 4:30 a.m. to go on a tour of the park and sit and watch the sunrise while listening to the monkeys and other wildlife wake up. It was a beautiful sight and sound. We finished walking though the park and then that night we flew back to Guatemala City.

Friday we took a taxi to the Guatemala City LDS temple and went through a session before we caught our flight back home. It was interesting to me the oasis the temple provided. The city was dirty, rough, dangerous, busy, and uncaring. As we entered the grounds of the temple a feeling of safety was palpable. What a blessing the temple provides to the members of the church to have a place to go and remove themselves from the struggles of life. Though I've had those feelings before, the safety the temple provided was even more apparent in an environment where safety was not the norm. God bless the USA.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Summoned

I think I have a love hate relationship with mail. I love opening my mailbox to find a letter from a friend, a package from mom, or an item that I have ordered from Amazon. There is always a bit of energy in the air as I thumb through it to see what I got that day. Then there are always letters that I immediately get a bad feeling about; Excel Energy, Chase Credit Cards, Allstate. The list could go on, but I know before I open them that money is going to be involved. Letters from the state dental board always get me a little nervous too (don’t anyone worry, they have all been informational letters.)

This week I got a letter from Boulder County. I’ve been summoned for Jury Duty! What?!@ I don’t want to be on Jury Duty. Luckily the date I am supposed to appear was during the week I will be out of the country. (topic of another blog in the near future.) I had to send them an explanation stating my excuse, but I had to include dates that I would be available. So it looks like I will only be able to postpone the inevitable, rather than evade it.

I’m looking for advise for when they interview me to make it clear I wouldn’t be a very good juror. I could pretend I’m a bigot of some sort, or maybe just bring my Bible and hold it under my arm the entire time. If I have to serve I will, but I’m going to make it clear that I will be kicking and screaming the entire time. I’ve got enough drama in my life right now and certainly don’t need more.

Reboot

I’m no expert in computers but I have found that 9 times out of 10, when my computer crashes, if I just re-boot it, the problem seems to resolve itself. (One more reason I am considering moving to an Apple). This week Microsoft taught me a lesson in car repair.

My car has been burning oil fairly quickly the past few years and the check engine light has been on ever since I bought it. A few years ago, I jimmy-rigged the computer in the car to spit out a code for the warning light without taking it to a mechanic. The code that came back was a faulty oxygen sensor. I certainly wasn’t going to worry about that.

This week I was driving down the freeway and the oil pressure light started to flash. I took the nearest exit which was two to three miles away and stopped at the gas station to buy some oil. Since I am due for an oil change in less than two-hundred miles, I just bought two quarts of oil and put them in the engine.

As I left the gas station, the car seemed to hiccup around 2500 RPM. It would sputter and cough and only allowed me to rev the engine to about 3000 RPM even if I continued pushing on the gas. The symptoms occurred even in neutral. So I quickly turned around and headed back to the gas station. I was ready to call a tow truck.

Microsoft saved the day. I turned off the car, waited ten seconds, and turned it back on. The engine light went off for the first time in six years and the car was running without any problems. I drove away contemplating that now might be the perfect time to sell the car. With that thought, the engine light came back on, but the car kept on moving. I guess I won’t be able to bamboozle anyone.

So now I’m asking all the car experts out there what just happened. If I don’t get a legitimate answer, you may hear me on the Car Talk Radio Show.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

You know you are going crazy when...

The list could be quite long if I really put some thought to it, but the events of tonight were noteworthy. By sharing this with the world I imagine I am only advancing the argument that I am going crazy.

I came home from work starving after a long day. It was 8:30 and I was really excited about dinner. Last night I bought some frozen dinners from Supper Solutions. I thought I would try it out. I know this is blasphemy to the purest cooks out there, but I was tired of supporting the local fast food economy. I figured I could at least eat healthy even if I didn’t want to cook. And only an idiot can mess up these meals.

I set the oven to 350 degrees just as the instructions said. I got out the defrosted meal, put my Chicken Cord-on-Blue in an oven safe dish, and poured the sauce over the food. Then I set the timer for 38 minutes...Easy enough. I went to my office and started working. Checking my email, paying bills, etc. I think my stomach was carefully keeping track of the minutes because my internal clock was perfect. I walked back into the kitchen with a forty seconds left on the timer and opened the oven. It was empty. Details, details. My dish was still sitting on the counter.

But wait there's more. I reset the timer and put the dish in the oven. Then back to the office to finish my work and watch a little TV. I was salivating by this time. Thirty-eight minutes later, the oven door opened again ready to dig in to my "supper solution". It looked a little wet, and not thoroughly cooked...just a little warm. Apparently the oven turned off when I canceled the last forty seconds of my first attempt.

So my "solution" to my "supper" is left-over pizza from last night and some Wheat Thins.