Jan 19 2013

The Treasure Hunt

The Treasure Hunt

In November 2010, I was adding 5 yards of topsoil to my garden with my at the time 2yo Abraham. I had removed my wedding band and placed it in my pocket to avoid the ring getting damaged by the shovel/rake and also to avoid the inevitable pinching that the ring incurs when using garden tools. Sometime that day in my haste I pulled out my handkerchief and apparently with it flung my 14K gold wedding band into oblivion, never to be seen again. Later that day when I realized what had happened I searched my tracks and was totally unsuccessful. I was upset at myself and for two months went without a ring thinking I’d find it. Nope. I should point out that this ring has been through hell and back and never been lost. I’ve jumped many, many times out of airplanes with it; SCUBA dove with it; etc, etc. It always goes with me, and always comes back!

I eventually broke down and bought a replacement band, this time in Silver since a) it’s my favorite metal b) it was $20 and c) I paid $50 for my original 14K gold band which at the time I went to replace it was $260!! Talk about putting salt on a wound!

I talked to my dad, a geologist, and asked if he had a metal detector anymore. He did, and he let me borrow it. Upon reading the instructions, I tried to use this thing and it was giving me false hits all over the place. As it turns out, this type of detector is for large ore bodies 10′ or more below the surface. Furthermore it gives false readings the more moisture there is in the ground. He had warned me of this when I borrowed it but said it was worth a shot. At this point I went online looking for high quality metal detectors that are designed for beach combers in search of jewelry and loot. They all cost more than the ring, so that would sort of be a lost cause there; sentimental value is only worth so much above sticker price! So I was left with either deal with the loss, or perhaps place an ad on craigslist for someone willing to come over and find it with the proper gear and possibly offer a reward. I wasn’t ever comfortable with inviting a stranger from the internet over to my house to find gold, so I opted to deal with the loss.

Fast forward 2+ years to this past Weds when my parents were over celebrating my wife’s birthday. My dad mentioned how my brother and his buddy Matt both have recently purchased very nice metal detectors and have found 90% silver half dollars and a few other small items worth some money. I told dad to pass the word along that I’d pay a $50 reward if they’d stop by and find it.

This afternoon, after having forgot about the conversation, my brother calls out of the blue and wondered if it was alright for him and his buddy to come down and give it a shot. I was glad and said sure, reminding him of the $50 bounty. They arrived a few minutes before 4pm and I got to business showing them my steps from that 11/2010 day (which were many since I’d made trips all over my 1/2 acre lot with a wheelbarrow. Worst case it was buried under about 8″ of topsoil in the garden, or had been flung even further by a lawnmower the last couple years. I followed around with some hand trowels, a garden shovel, etc and we dug perhaps half a dozen holes along the path that had some good hits but the only “loot” we found was a Pepsi can, a shredded Budweiser can, and a Red Bull can. All were 6″ or more below the surface, definitely not where a ring could have settled in such a short time.

Darkness was approaching, and I borrowed my wife’s 18K gold and platinum diamond wedding ring so we could get a sample of a hit on it to know what to listen for. They had 2 different styles of metal detectors which helped a ton having different methods to screen out junk. The machines make different sounds depending on the metal type. Gold sort of sounded like a fart which was different than any other sound on the spectrum. I could tell the guys were getting tired and wanted to pack it up and sunset was maybe 45min away at this point. They began retracing the path beginning at the garden and working their way around the side of the house to the driveway. I was busy patching the holes we’d dug and playing catch up.

At this point my brother and Matt are stopped and talking along the side of the house, and I walk up and they have a hit and it sounded like a strong gold hit. They ask if it’s possible this could be the spot. I thought it unlikely because I’d spent probably 99% of my day that day around the garden not at this place but nothing was impossible since I had walked through this spot a few times with the wheelbarrow that day. They wanted me to start digging, probably because this was about the last spot they were willing to re-search today and wanted to pack up and leave and I didn’t blame them as the wind was brutal. I had them rescan for the exact spot and I went to work with a hand trowel. We sort of take a chunk of earth/sod out, scan it, if it still hits then you tear it apart into small bits. Much of the time the chunk scans clean and you have to dig another chunk up. Many times a chunk that hits would have nothing in it at all, but by this time in the day they had adjusted the squelch/filters up to hopefully prevent any false hits. So, anyway, I have them scan the first chunk and it still made the gold sound. So I removed my gloves and started obliterating this sod chunk and I’ll be darned if right there about an inch below the surface, intertwined in the roots of the grass was my 14K gold ring from 1997!!! We couldn’t believe it. It was maybe 6′ from my electric meter near some shrubs. For the most part the ring was in great condition. It was bent into sort of an oblong egg shape, but nothing a jeweler can’t repair for probably $30 or so. No scratches or gouges at all!

So the reward was paid, the guys were pleased in their skill and equipment, and I was pleased to have my buried treasure back! A good day indeed.

Nov 28 2012

“No shoulder ride?”

"No shoulder ride?"

In late September in the first 1/10th of a mile of a 20 mile long run I stepped on a rather sharp pebble about 3/4″ in size that hurt the ball of my right foot but it felt better quickly so I kept running and went onto finish the best long run I’ve ever had. Upon sitting down to eat lunch afterward, my right foot started getting wicked sore so I iced it for 15min and it felt perfect. Case closed. Then a month later the same spot began hurting for no apparent reason. “Overtraining” I thought. I’d already forgotten about the pebble. I ended up going to see an ortho surgeon at the local foot/ankle center about two weeks before the race because I didn’t want to run the race and make things worse. He said it was either the cartilage band around the base of the big toe, or the tendon that runs under there. Ice, Ibuprofen, and tape it and you’ll be fine. So I did, and everything went great up to the race day.

Saturday 11/3 was the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. I started the race and hung at the reserved and proper pace I was easily capable of for the first 16 or so miles. In fact, within a few seconds I was dead on target for my goal finish of 3:25:00.¬† Then I noticed my “good” foot, the left one, was really tightening up. Very rapidly things fell apart and by about the 16.5 mile mark of the race I sort of fell back from the pack I’d been with most of the race and took a really long walk break to try and flex the foot into feeling good again. I felt great and energetic otherwise. This happens sometimes in training, you just lose your steam for whatever reason (sore muscle, tired, mind wandering, etc) walk a little and you get back into it. No big deal. Except the more I walked, the more my left foot hurt. So I took turns running and walking, mostly walking. At this point I’m thinking about quitting. Except I refuse to do that, I trained very well this year to just give it up, I didn’t feel that bad. Besides, it started sleeting and I wasn’t really dressed to sit in drizzle while waiting for a few hours for the trailing “bus o shame” to pick up stragglers.

As I alluded to in my last post a few weeks ago I decided at this point to just make the most of the experience and put on a smile, be glad I am blessed enough to be running a doggone marathon, and finish the race as well as I could. I ended up mostly walking the last 10 miles with a tad of running tossed in for pride’s sake and to try and keep warm. Nothing like freezing to motivate you! I finished the race in a time respected by many runners as desirable but for me it was defeat.

So, time to fess up. As it turns out I fractured my left foot in the marathon. I see you out there. This is where you non-runners secretly gloat about how pointless running is and exclaim how it just begs to break and damage the body. Not so fast!! Because if running is done correctly it doesn’t hurt you, it makes you stronger not weaker! The arch ache ended after the race, but a pain in my heel picked up the next day and wouldn’t go away for a few days. Marathon +5 days I went for a short 20min run to loosen up and see how things were and the heel pain came back full force and then some. I felt perfect except the left foot. The sharp pebble bruise on the other foot was fine by this point and never did bother me during the marathon or since.

I immediately called the ortho doctor’s office and got in the next Monday. An X-ray discovered an avulsion fracture of the plantar side of my cuboid bone. An avulsion fracture is where a soft tissue like a tendon/ligament/cartilage so fiercely pulls at an anchor point on a bone that the bone peels/splinters off. It was small but bad enough to stop me from even walking without a crutch that we had in the closet. Fortunately my Doctor is not what I’d call a hypochondriac. In fact he’s so nonchalant in a positive way that he makes you feel like it’s no big deal. His best case scenario was that I’d be able to get back to running in a week or two but I needed to chill out in the mean time. Ibuprofen, ice, rest; same old stuff. No cast or braces needed, just take it easy. The bad news is the fracture will never heal. The bone fragment will be loose for the rest of my days. The good news is it shouldn’t bother me, freaky huh?!

So my follow up appointment was Tuesday 11/27 and though I ran a little bit last week and the pain subsided, the good news is I’ve been released and declared good enough to get back to normal life. He agreed that what likely happened is after the pebble bruise from September, my healthy foot subconsciously started doing most of the work in walking, playing, running, etc. That led to the left foot being overtired and during the marathon it just said enough is enough and fractured. So you now see the great news is that had I not stepped on that stupid rock all would be well. It wasn’t overtraining, overexertion, or just the simple act of running that caused the fracture.

On a side note, the Doc noticed in the X ray of the fractured left foot that I have an extra bone in my foot on the inner side of my foot below the ankle. It is about the size and shape of a kidney bean. A review of an older X ray of my other foot shows the same bone there too. So, I have 2 extra bones in my body. Weird! Apparently about 20% of the population have this extra bone. I asked the Doc if it will somehow make me have superhuman powers or anything and he crushed my hopes and said it actually makes me prone to having a certain type of tendinitis. Oh well.

During all of this my family and friends have been praying for my foot to heal swiftly and I’m grateful. The boys took it pretty hard though. The first night after the news of the fracture, Abel asked me to give him his nightly shoulder ride which ends with me plopping him in a heap on his bed. I said, “I’m sorry dude but my foot is broken, so I can’t give you a shoulder ride until it heals.” He was destroyed. While crying he just looks at my foot and accusingly says,”No shoulder ride?” and takes my hand to be dragged off to bed. Every night since then he has asked if tonight was the night for a shoulder ride. Tonight, I was able to say “YES!”

Nov 3 2012

I run marathonS

I run marathonS

It wasn’t pretty but I completed my second full 26.2 mile marathon today. I can now assuredly tell you that I run marathonS. I badly bruised the ball of my right foot back in September and for the most part it healed but recovery required that I cut back substantially the last few weeks. Between that and the freezing rain today made for a race that was less than desired.

Oh well. At a certain point I decided that I could get bent out of shape about it and drop out, or just be thankful that I am blessed to able to run (regardless of speed today) and plant a smile on my face, make the best of it and finish no matter what.

I am very glad I opted for the latter.

In running, just like in life, there are good days and not so good days. The difference in the outcome is how we decide to deal with the days as we live them. For me there’s always next time, and at some point I will have a great day on marathon day. Really, I’ve had 2 years of good races so to finally have one not so good day is, in my opinion, a blessing statistically speaking.

“This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24

Aug 26 2012



To be brief, the A-Team is back home. Details will follow in days to come, but for now let us say the FAA and Air Traffic Control are…

The Road Not Taken
by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Jul 21 2012

FAA/ATC update

FAA/ATC update

Just a quick update (more detailed post to follow in the next few weeks) about the FAA situation.


Firm Offer Letter is in hand:

Destination: Oklahoma City, OK

Date: August 10, 2012 through December 14, 2012


We are in the midst of closing up the house for the summer/fall and packing¬† up like the Beverly Hillbillies and move the entire A-Team to OKC for 18 weeks. We’re leaving on Tuesday evening Aug 7th and planning on driving straight through the night, it is a 12hr drive that I presume will take more like 24hrs with the little children. Just a reminder that this is only temporary, we’ll be back to our house in time for Christmas and also, presuming I graduate, so I can start my new job here at the En Route/ARTCC facility at Indianapolis International Airport.


We’re a little giddy about it, but excited! We have lots to do in very short time. Stay tuned.

Jul 10 2012

3 weeks today!

3 weeks today!

Goodness, how can she be 3 weeks already? Time sure is flying by! We even celebrated her first “first” holiday – Independence Day! Here are some pictures but pictures are so much fun!

Hilarious sleeping position

She really enjoys bath time

Our family – now 5! We were decked out for Independence Day

Our little girl’s first 4th!

Mommy and Daddy

Sweet baby kisses

Abel wanted to give Abilene kisses

And Abraham had to give Abilene kisses too!

This is how we have been beating the heat…indoor pool (kinda)!

I am how old??? 3 weeks today little missy!

We don’t venture out much these days between the heat and my immuno-suppression going on right now (which affects Abilene). Hanging out at home has been tough but worth it for sure. Still trying to catch up on everything and get into the new “normal” for our family. Abilene still wakes to eat about every 2 to 3 hours so sleep is few and far between. That’s okay. Life will go on! This mama needs to crash as the baby is now asleep. Goodnight!

Jul 7 2012

Very quick update


1. My hives are better! Thank you for all the prayers! We still have no idea what caused them other than possibly hormones. Who knows. I am just glad they are gone! I am still on meds but just the steroid now. Hopefully once that is done, things will be right as rain…ah, rain…

2.  Abilene had her 2-week weight check appt on Tuesday. She weighed in at a nice 9 pounds 9 ounces. She is doing great. We are working on this whole sleep at night thing and hang out with us during the day versus flip-flopping it. Plus we have a nasty case of diaper rash which made for 2 very unpleasant nights. We are working through it though and have it mostly under control.

3. We started potty training Abel on Sunday. He has it down pat. He is a pro at this…except pooping. That kid cannot control his urge to poop his pants. He has done so well at the other part of potty training that he actually wears underwear. We really have to be johnny on the spot with him and the poop or it’ll end up in his drawers! Oh well. We think he gets stage fright when he has to think about pooping on the potty. Kinda funny all things considered.

4. We were so blessed to have newborn photos taken of Miss Abilene. Here is a quick preview!


5. Last but not least we are just trying to stay cool in this ridiculous heat. Our poor AC can’t even keep up. It still hits 81 degrees upstairs at bed time which makes for miserable sleep for all involved. It has been rough and I pray that the Lord will send relief soon!

That’s it for now. I will try and get another update done this coming week!

Jun 25 2012

One Week – already?

One Week - already?

Little Miss Abilene is 1 week old today. I really can’t believe that it has been an entire week already. She is a great baby with personality already. She loves her mama, papa and brothers very much and enjoys hanging out with us. She is pretty easy going until diaper changes or clothing changes. Not such a fan of those. She is sleeping well (as long as mommy avoids caffeine) and wakes about every 3 hours to eat. She is growing like a weed already! She barely fits anything newborn especially in the length.

We took her to her first pediatrician visit on Friday and her bilirubin test came back great! We were able to discontinue use of the bili-blanket but had to have another bilirubin test done on Saturday. We headed to Community South because they have a lab there that will do a STAT bili. We got the results of that test and she is doing great! Her levels are almost back to normal without the use of any lights!!! YEAH! She had gained some weight at her office visit. She was at 8 pounds 12.5 ounces. This girl does great with nursing:) She is a bit slower than her brothers when it comes to eating but she doesn’t spit up like they did! So far so good!

We do believe she is allergic to disposable diapers or maybe it’s the wipes. Either way we have a nasty case of diaper rash that causes even more distress than usual. We are now strictly cloth diapers and I am scrambling to get some cloth wipes. Poor baby. It is rather painful looking but I know she will heal up in no time.

And just a side note – I have lost 18 pounds in 7 days! Woohoo!

Anyway, enough of the words – on to the pictures!

Not happy at the clothing change but we are going HOME!!!

Our family leaving the hospital – together!

Bean-bean in her car seat

This was a surprise when I got home. They started digging our new neighbors basement. This equipment was literally just off of our property line.

Abilene enjoying the swing but not swinging. She just likes to sit in it.

Some humor from my 3-year-old – This was his “helmet.” Yes – that is a diaper on his head (thankfully, it was a clean one!)

See – what did I tell you about diaper changes and clothing changes? She really doesn’t like them!

Here we are much more peaceful – I promised her milk was coming right after this picture:)

Her first dress! I am SO addicted to adorable outfits for her:) I love it!!!

Abraham STILL loves to hold Abilene.

This time Little Big Bro wanted in on the action of holding Abilene. But as you can see he wasn’t so sure about it once he was given the opportunity.

Miss Abilene at 1 week. She is wearing an outfit covered in fruit! I had to keep the “fruit man” from noming his little girl!

Peaceful slumber – which is where mommy should be right now:)

So that has been our week:) I am so blessed to have such a beautiful family!

Jun 21 2012

Going Home!

Going Home!

Praise Jesus! We are going home! No NICU visit! It is so wonderful to work with doctors and nurses who truly care and LISTEN to what you have to say. We made sure everyone was aware of our potential situation and they acted on it! It made a HUGE difference and that is how we are being released from the hospital today without a stay in the NICU! Thank you Jesus for putting the right words in our mouths and giving our caregivers the right ears to hear and act on our behalf.

I can’t wait to be reunited with my family!

Jun 17 2012

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

Tomorrow is the Big Day!

As many of you know, we will be welcoming our 3rd baby, 1st daughter, into the world tomorrow morning! I would ask for prayers for an uneventful delivery and that she would have MY blood type. Of course, should she have daddy’s blood type, then prayers for sanity as we deal with another NICU stay as we did with Abel. We will keep you all posted as to her arrival as time allows in the morning!