Posted by tim in SkuddBlog on December 2, 2019

After spending some time away from this and doing some things with Imgur, a friend has suggested that I start a blog. I don't know if she knows that this site exists, but it does suggest something.

Maybe I need to take this site seriously again, and improve the functionality of it. I mean, maybe I need to put some effort into making it look more modern, and add features like image embedding, similar to the way Imgur does it, blended with standard blog layouts.

In the meantime, check out the Imgur thread that prompted the recommendation.

Re: Re: Moving
Posted by tim in General on March 5, 2017

This is a revisit of an old post from 2008, Re: Moving

Back when moving to Houston to work for The Planet was a mere prospect, I was in a much different stage of my own life and maturity than I am now. As you can probably either guess or recall, I did take the offer and I moved to Houston on the company dime. Since then, a lot has happened though.

The first major thing that happened was in 2010, when I learned that I'd actually be moving into a proper software development role as the company merged with SoftLayer and assumed their name and culture accordingly. At the time I was quite overwhelmed and didn't really see any way that I'd get far with it because of all the new things and the culture that I (at that time) wasn't really getting along with.

As time went on though, I was able to get my feet planted firmly and I got my work ethic going again. I was relatively quickly identified as a strong developer and I was quickly promoted from a Software Engineer II up through Software Engineer III for a couple of months, then on to team lead for a little bit, eventually landing at a manager title and role. While I was in team lead role and into my management role, I took on the task of interviewing candidates and hiring the best ones for positions within my team. At the time I really didn't know it, but later on I found out that these people I hired were the best of the best, demonstrated by other teams demanding that I transfer them "on loan" to help with their projects, only to struggle to get them back.

Shortly after getting the management banner on my resume, a much bigger acquisition took place: SoftLayer was acquired by IBM. Yes, you read that right: IBM. I remember a few years before this happened, I looked out across the street from my apartment and saw the IBM campus near the Houston Galleria. As I looked out, I decided to see what sort of job opportunities existed at IBM, only to find that I wasn't quite up to par with what they were looking for. Heh, or so I thought.

Let me fast forward to the current day and age and tell you what's going on.

That rash of hiring-the-best carried on and I got a pretty stellar team of software engineers under me. I now have 18 employees under me, including one manager and the team of his direct reports. Last year, my total management responsibility grew to 20 direct reports, but at the end of the year I lost 7 of them due to restructuring in the organization I'm part of, but at the same time, I gained 5 with room to hire another 10. It's been crazy, but I share all of this to point out that I have made a huge leap from not feeling like I was management material to having a large team that I manage.

In the middle of all of this, I bought a brand new car, met my wife, bought a house, had a kid, then bought another (used) car. I've flown more times than I can count. I've been on 2 western Caribbean cruises, and so much more than I can fully recall.

I feel as though it's my requirement to share all of this for a couple of reasons.

First off, the incredible nature of all of it makes most people say, "wow, great job!" when I'm not the one who deserves the lauding. All of this, every last bit, has been because of God and the immeasurable blessings he's given me. Looking forward is a huge sea of unknowns, but I do know that if I trust God through all of it, he'll continue to bless me in this way (and more).

Secondly, I want everyone who is in a similar position to read the older post I linked to at the beginning of this, then compare it with what I've said here. Yes, it's possible for you to go about and beyond where your highest dreams are today.

Posted by tim in SkuddBlog on March 4, 2017

I forgot to set up any sort of anti-spam techniques on here. Lots of junk comments on the previous post. :P

Re: My thoughts on the election
Posted by tim in Politics on November 10, 2016

I should also state that while I do identify as a republican, I am not happy with the election result.

My thoughts on the election
Posted by tim in Politics on November 10, 2016

With all the turmoil that surrounds the result of the presidential elections, I have been finding it quite hard to keep my mouth shut about it. However, I heard some things on NPR this morning that really struck a nerve. Please note that I am not making any attacks on any specific people, but rather am voicing my understanding of the reality of the claims that people have been making.

First off, all this "not my president" crap.

By being a citizen of the United States of America, you are granted freedoms. If you believe that the presidential elect does not meet your ideal views of what a president should be, then that's great, voice that objection. However, unless you are willing to give up your citizenship, you really need to understand that this is the choice that was made, and if you're going to call yourself a US citizen, stop with all the protest demonstrations and find a common middle ground. This goes for everyone, regardless of your political alignment.

Second, the electoral college.

In the past, the electoral college may have been less than true to policy, but all states except Maine and Nebraska follow a "winner-takes-all" approach with regard to the electoral college. Now, there are different numbers of electoral votes per state, yes, and that might warrant some sort of re-evaluation and redistribution, but in every state, the popular vote dictated how the electoral votes were cast, and it resulted in what you see today.

Lastly, the "I'm disappointed in the country" mindset.

Yes, it is disappointing to some that the outcome of the election is as it is. However, if you're really that disappointed in who won, maybe you should consider emigration. If you're not willing to do that, let's get over the whining and complaining and find unity with each other.

To do list
Posted by tim in SkuddBlog on November 7, 2016
  • New theme ** Something not white-on-black ** Maintain the original logo, perhaps? Maybe dig out the old cartoon face one?
  • Implement the links on the left navbar so they actually do something other than error
  • Add post/comment voting support
  • Implement an RSS feed ** Add ability to skip publishing blog posts to the feed
  • Implement the ability to set the blog post type and status when posting
  • Add support for editing a blog post
  • Add support for changing a comment's status
  • Add user management ** This will be especially useful for all those guest-* users ** Add support for promoting a guest user to a standard user
  • Add audit logging ** Track source IP, date/time, action
  • Improve authentication headers ** Right now, the sessions time out way too quickly, which would be VERY ANNOYING if writing a long post *** Maybe do something with that so that it saves the post and allows you to log in, then it submits the post again?

That's all I can think of at the moment. Here's hoping the markdown list works...

Life Update
Posted by tim in General on November 6, 2016

Okay, now I'll take some time to explain what's been going on. If you look at the older posts on this page, you'll see some evidence of me getting married, dealing with moving, buying a house, etc. One of the posts was about my shoulder surgery, which went fine and the recovery went just as well. That was back in 2010 though, and since then I've gotten mostly back to normal with it. There is the occasional ache that comes and goes, but it's usually not too much for me to handle.

Also in the time since I last blogged, I've received an official medical diagnosis of having Ankylosing Spondylitis. At first, I wasn't too convinced about it, but since then I have started to understand why. My sacroilliac joints are nearly completely fused, my spine from the thoracic/lumbar region down to the sacrum is mostly fused and I've noticed some issues with my neck as of late. I occasionally have "flares", which are just acute pain situations. Sometimes they last a day or so and are mostly manageable, while other times they almost completely cripple me with pain.

I've also discovered that I have some early signs of glaucoma. Whee.

There are plenty of other issues going on that I could fill an entire book describing. I'll stop here though.

Emily and I have been married now for just a little over 6 years. We've had 2 different apartments, lived with her mom for a bit, and bought our own house. Our house has had some issues of its own, but we have been able to far...

Last September we had the overwhelming joy of meeting our firstborn son, Tim Jr. He's now 13 months old, has several teeth, is walking all over the place, and is just starting to be able to say some words other than "Dada". He's such a smart little guy and is most usually a bundle of happiness.

Emily does such an awesome job with everything. No, she didn't hold a gun to my head as I wrote that; I really mean it. She's been working so hard to keep the house in order, to make sure that (reasonable) groceries are bought, she takes care of the baby nearly 100% of the time, and somehow she manages to find time to take part in La Leche League, spend time with the family, and various other activities that she takes part in. I don't know how she does it, but it's simply amazing to watch.

My job has evolved so much since I last grumbled about it. I think last time I was blogging, I was a Software Engineer II. Since then, I've gone up to Software Engineer III (very briefly), then on to Team Lead, then into a basic single-team manager role, and now I'm manager of 2 teams that are spread out between Houston, Dallas, and Austin. When I started off here in Houston, I worked for The Planet. The Planet merged with SoftLayer and the latter was the surviving entity. Since then, IBM has acquired SoftLayer and merged us into their Bluemix brand. This is the most recent happening, but I'm sure it will get a bit more interesting as the next few months roll on and the re-branding really completes.

Last March was probably one of the roughest points in my life, as it was for the rest of the family. You may recall that my Dad and I were pretty close and that I got a lot of my skill and traits from him. Unfortunately, on March 12th of 2015, God decided that Dad had completed his service in this world and called him home by way of a heart attack. It was quite sudden and none of us had really expected it, but we're slowly coming to grips with it. Some of us have been able to at least put up a facade that says we're okay, while others have struggled with it daily. I'm somewhere in the middle, and it does get me choked up once in a while when I think about it today. It will never be the same without him, but I do know - aside from the fact that he was my father - that I wouldn't be the same person today if I hadn't had the chance to get to know him as I did.

Okay, that's all my brain has for now. I'll possibly post more another day. Who knows, I might actually get a project around the house done and have pictures to share.

Import complete, ish.
Posted by tim in General on November 6, 2016

I was able to translate between the two database schemas enough to get the old content imported. You'll notice when you look at the comments on any of the old blog posts that the users all say "... (Guest)". That's because I never had any solid relationship between comments and users in the old system, apparently, and there was no clean way for me to determine which users were legit and which were just visitors. In the new system, the visitors actually get a new user record, which means I have a way to classify them as guests. I just had to make a broad assumption that all the comments on the old system were made by visitors, though, so they're all marked as guests now.

Broken things
Posted by tim in General on November 6, 2016

A lot of the links here might not be working. Just mind the dust as I get things sorted out.

Posted by tim in General on November 6, 2016

Holy cow, it's been a long time since I had a blog. The last one got shut down because I kinda lost interest in it, and I felt like Facebook and/or Google+ filled the need. In retrospect though, I was wrong.

A lot has been going on in my life since I last blogged. The last post I was able to uncover in the bowels of the database server indicates it was right around when we bought our house in 2012. It's now nearing the end of 2016, and as I survey what has happened, I wonder why I haven't had a blog to share about it.

For an introductory post, I just want to explain why the blog went away, and why it's back. I'll cover other things as we go along, so hang around and look for the stories. :)

So why it went away... I think at the time I had decided there was too much going on with the house, I needed to raise some extra cash, and that I needed to focus my time on those two things. My goal was to kill off the blog and replace it with a little shared web hosting business, but that's been difficult to get off the ground. If you go to now, you'll see some sort of ominous page that doesn't really give any clues into what's going on. That's probably going to stay that way until I can finish the web hosting biz, but because of the other things going on (which I will later blog about), that's probably not going to be any time soon.

Now, I feel like you need something more on the web to read, so I'm reviving this thing. The path to here has been a little interesting though. You see, somewhere around March of 2012, I accidentally deleted the blog content. The database is apparently still around, but the rest is a total loss. I went to check out what the Way Back Machine had, and I was able to almost successfully determine that this is what it looked like. I've made some changes to the layout though, because I've implemented Twitter Bootstrap and a new fully MVC framework that I cooked up myself. There are some features missing, but as time and demand permits I'll get the back in place.

You should be able to comment on blog posts. Just be aware that guest usernames are tracked and if you use one that someone else did, you might not be able to distinguish one from the other.

Enough rambling. I need to go do something less mind-demanding. Maybe I'll fire up the flight simulator for a bit. There are thunderstorms in the area right now, and that could be fun to fly in.

Company Review: H.U.B. Mitsubishi
Posted by tim in I am not Denny!! on December 27, 2011

Have you ever bought something that was rather expensive, expecting the seller to provide you with at least some support after the sale? Wouldn't you expect that in buying a car?

Recently I blew a tire on my car, and luckily I had purchased some tire and wheel insurance for the car when I got it. However, to take advantage of this insurance, I had to find a shop that was willing to work on the car.

I attempted to take the car to the dealer I bought it from, but they were all closed up and appeared to be overtaken by a Cadillac dealer. After seeing that, I decided to head to the next Mitsubishi dealer I had already talked to. See, this dealer indicated that if I brought the car in before 5:00PM, they would get the ball rolling for me.

After driving about 50 miles to get there, I went in to the service department and waited patiently to be served. The gentleman who was working the front desk called for someone else to come assist, and the help he had called for arrived.

This service manager asked me right away how he could help me, but as soon as I told him what I was needing, he told me that he wouldn't even be able to look at the car today, and that it would have to wait until tomorrow.

Okay, wait a second. You're telling me that you can't take 15 minutes out of your oh-so-busy day (they had 2 cars waiting and none in the bay) to just look at my wheel and tell me if you could or couldn't help me?

It gets better though. Since this guy was so busy and couldn't take the time to look at my problem, how did he have the time to ramble on and on about how I should go to their other shop? Also, why couldn't he give me the location of their other shop?

Between this experience and the constant barrage of "buy a new car from us" marketing propaganda they have been sending me against my wishes (I'll normally get 2-3 pieces of mail at a time from them), especially after I've asked them to stop (at varying degrees of niceness), I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to do business with H.U.B. Mitsubishi, nor do I recommend them to anyone else.

You're better off doing some more research and going to a different shop. Don't waste your time with H.U.B. Mitsubishi.

Stupid Netflix
Posted by tim in I hate technology. on July 17, 2011

It's been a long while since I've posted anything here, and the last few times I have it's been me complaining about something. Well, it's time for that again. This is going to be the first of two complaints posted. While they may not be a very good way to get my actual problem solved, they are a good way for me to vent and to share my experience with other wondering consumers. Enjoy.

Netflix. They've been up in the news quite a bit lately with their rate changes and such, right? While that's a rant for another day, I want to share with you my current issue. I can't access the streaming.

As part of their plan changes, I now have only streaming service. While I do have one DVD in my presence still, the only way I can really access their service is via streaming. And wouldn't you know it, the only device I have that supports it (computers included) is my Xbox 360. After a very long weekend, I decided I want to go sit lay down in front of the TV, watching one of my favorite shows to lull me to sleep. Apparently that was too high of an expectation. You see, when I started the Netflix app on my Xbox, I was presented with an error stating that it was unable to connect to the service and to see for more details.

I came back to my computer and attempted to access the Netflix site, but I could not log in with my known good user ID and password. After numerous failed attempts at logging in, I decided to try the lost password tool. Unfortunately, I didn't receive the e-mail until over an hour later. In the meantime though, I was able to find a way to log in using my name and the credit card number on my account. However, once I was logged in I couldn't really do anything, including reset my password: Their form decided that "apple" and "apple" were not the same strings (note: my password is not "apple" or anything of the sort).

Great, so I guess I'll call. Once I found the number and tried calling, I got a busy signal. UGH! I guess I'll just go watch a movie I've already seen instead.

After the movie was over, I decided to try it again. While I was finally able to log in to the Netflix site with my password, the Xbox was unable to connect still. I took a look at my authorized streaming devices and saw that there was nothing shown here, so I went about the process of reinstalling the Netflix app on my Xbox. The funny part of this was that when I entered the activation code into the Netflix site, I was greeted with the message of "Activation is complete -- Your {DEVICENAME} is now ready to instantly stream movies from Netflix. Go check it out now!". Really? I have a {DEVICENAME}? Nice to know. Will it stream movies better than my Xbox 360?

Okay, so it's still not working. Let's try calling...

Thank you for calling Netflix. We are currently experiencing a higher than normal call volume. Please try your call again later.

Now how is that helpful? Couldn't they spare the few second it takes to explain what the problem is? Couldn't they post something on their Twitter account? Couldn't they throw a status page up somewhere? All I have to go by is, and that's not really giving me any indication of whether I'll be able to encrust the pillow on my couch in drool while unconsciously watching old episodes of Scrubs.

Is customer support really such a difficult science? What is up with these companies sucking so hard at it?

Why I'll Never Use Comcast
Posted by tim in Pissed on February 14, 2011

When I first moved to Houston, I had quite the issue with getting internet service established at my new place. Before I left Indiana, I had Comcast and was relatively happy with them. This prompted me to call them up and see if I could move my service with me, to which the answer was "yes". The representative I was working with schedule the install at the new place, and all was well.

The day of the install, I realized I had given the wrong address to the representative. However, the time window that I was given had nearly passed, so I gave Comcast a call. The representative I dealt with then was somewhat helpful, but when she found out that I was trying to transfer from another state, the condescending attitude began quite promptly.

Because of the attitude I was receiving from this agent, I asked to speak with a manager. I was already upset, so you'd think that at this point they would do what they could to make me happy. Sadly, that is the wrong thought when it comes to Comcast.

When the manager got on the phone, she too was quite rude to me and when I asked what they could do to resolve the issue, she informed me in a very rude tone, "This is your problem and it's because you messed up. We shouldn't have to do anything because you tried to do something that we don't do."

I was fuming at this point, but as calmly as I could I said, "Well, I'm going to find another provider then. You just lost a customer."

After having service with AT&T for 3 years, I found that they do not provide service at the location to where Emily and I are moving. The AT&T representative was quite ashamed that they were unable to provide anything faster than the slowest DSL on the market, and he was understanding when I let him know that I would have to seek out another provider.

The Realtor that has been assisting us with this new residence informed me that the cable TV provider was Wavevision. However, since I don't know anything about Wavevision, nor do any of my colleagues, I decided to look to Comcast again.

I gave Comcast a call 2 weeks ago to inquire about their service availability at the new location. The representative I spoke with was very helpful and informed me that they would have to send out a technician to actually survey the property because of an existing agreement between Comcast and Wavevision. He opened a service request for me and gave me the service request number and instructed me to call back in 3 days. He said that whoever I spoke with would be able to look up the service request by that number. What struck me as odd though was that he did not ask me for any contact information. However, I was remaining optimistic that Comcast had changed and that I would actually be provided with reasonable service now.

Before I called in, I attempted to speak with a chat representative and obtain the status of the service request. I should have know what joke this would have been before I started, but the story fits the Comcast profile rather well.

When asked how I could be helped, I told the chat representative about the call I had had a few days prior, and gave him the service request number. He informed me that he had no idea what a "service request" was, nor could he look anything up by the number I gave him. When I expressed my frustration, he then offered to open a "service request" for me.

{Insert ellipsis here}

At any rate, I gave the phone staff a call and talked with them about it. They said they couldn't locate any service requests with the ID I had given them, nor could they understand why the previous phone representative failed to collect my contact information. However, I was transferred to a sales associate who said she would open another service request for me, under the same pretenses, and would call me back within 2 business days. In case she failed to reach me though, she gave me her direct number and extension.

Friday, I received a call while I was in a meeting, so I let it ring to voicemail. However, the caller failed to leave a message. I was unable to call back until today, when the drama continued.

Right off the start, the phone representative I spoke with was rude and far from helpful. I explained the situation to her, informed her who I spoke with last week and that I was instructed to call back. I told her that at no point in their voice menu system was I able to enter an extension, but she quickly let that roll off and asked me for my address.

After finding that Comcast serviced that address, but not that unit, she said they would have to open a service request to investigate the situation. I told her that I had already done that twice before, and that I just wanted to be transferred to the previous representative so that I could speak with her about it. In the same rude manner she was speaking to me at the start, she informed me that they are only phone agents and that they do not have the ability to transfer to other extensions, nor do they have direct extensions. I asked her why I would be given an extension if their phone system didn't support transferring to a specific extension, and she said she didn't know.

Okay, so now I was getting upset and I asked to speak with a manager. She informed me that I was unable to do so because they can't transfer to managers.

At this point I stated, "I am getting really tired of the run-around I have been given. This is the third call I've made with the same result. I'll find service elsewhere," and I hung up.

Comcast is supposedly proud of their customer service, but I cannot understand why. However, unless they are able to rectify this ordeal (which I'm doubtful of), they have permanently lost a customer.

Post-Surgery Pictures
Posted by tim in I Feel Sick on October 25, 2010

As promised, here are the pictures from after my surgery. Enjoy!


Surgery - From my perspective
Posted by tim in I Feel Sick on October 25, 2010

It's been 13 days since I had my shoulder surgery, and I finally have a minute where I'm able to tell you all how it went.

The only surgical procedures I've had in my life, up to this procedure, were either simple outpatient with local anesthesia or they were at a point in my life when I was far too young to remember or understand what was going on. Because of that, I was incredibly nervous about surgery of any kind, as I didn't know what to expect.

Monday night before bed, I was working on calming myself down to the point that I would be able to sleep without any sort of pharmaceutical assistance. I was really focusing on my breathing, as I knew that I wasn't allowed any food or drink after midnight, and if I was breathing heavily I would be in dire need of water. Surprisingly, I was successful in my attempt, and I slept like a baby all the way up until 6:30AM when my alarm went off.

I got out of bed, put my clothes on (an oversized button-up shirt, elastic-waisted shorts, and flip flops), took my medicine nearly sans water, and grabbed my duffel bag that I packed the night before and my pillows and Emily and I got in the car and headed out for the surgery center.

We got to the center a little early, and I had to use the restroom, no thanks to my usual stomach issues. By the time I was done with that, I got checked in and within a matter of minutes a nurse came to take me to the pre-op area, Emily accompanying me.

The nurse instructed me to disrobe down to my underpants, and put on the compression stockings and gown and climb into the bed. As I climbed into the bed, I pulled the blanket over me, which was nicely warmed. From this point forward, everything seemed to go at a rushing pace, and I'll try my best to recall the details.

The nurse came back to the area and took my vitals, asked me several times which shoulder was being operated on, and marked it with a black Sharpie marker, saying "YES". She said the surgeon would come and initial it prior to the surgery.

Another nurse came into the scene and took care of starting my IV while the first nurse took care of shaving my shoulder and a couple spots on my chest. Soon thereafter, the anesthesiologist came in and told me what to expect. He gave me two options for the local anesthesia portion, a scaline nerve block, and explained the pros and cons of each. I opted for the method he was more comfortable with, and I didn't see much of him after that.

Meanwhile, the first nurse addressed a concern I had of nausea by giving me a motion sickness patch behind my left ear. She said that it would be the remedy for any sickness after the surgery, as there was some sort of a correlation between motion sickness and anesthesia-related sickness. After she did that, the other nurse gave me a dose of Pepcid via my IV, which would be the remedy for any nausea before and during the surgery.

The first nurse left the picture for a while, as the second nurse asked me my name, my date of birth, and which shoulder was being operated on. Shortly thereafter she left and it was just Emily and me in the pre-op room.

The second nurse came back and gave me another injection via my IV, and said, "This will feel like you've had a couple of cocktails. You'll feel really good." The first nurse came in and informed us that they were going to start the nerve block procedure and asked Emily to vacate to the waiting room until they called her again. This was not the last time I would see her before the surgery though.

The anesthesiologist then came in and moved the bed at an angle in the room. While he was doing this, the first nurse attached some sort of unit that emitted a beeping sound, which I figured was a heart rate monitor of some sort. Things got really fuzzy at this point. I recall the anesthesiologist stretching my arm out to the side, and the first nurse saying something like, "Your arm is going to want to twitch; just let it, as this is normal." After that, it is nothing but static until I remember Emily saying something like, "No, I will not take your picture. The camera is in the car." Apparently I was rather adamant that she take my picture before I went into surgery.

I think I remember asking her if I had a cap on, and she mentioned that I was painted up with a yellow substance (later determined to be betadyne) and that I didn't look too great. I eventually came to my senses though and I remember the surgeon coming in and asking me how I felt. He asked me if I had any pain in my shoulder that morning or the night before, which I did. I explained the sensations to him, he initialed my shoulder as the nurse said he would, then he left.

Emily sat with me for a few minutes, counting down how many minutes remained until my surgery, according to what they had written on the whiteboard in the pre-op area. When the time went over a little bit she made a comment about how they must have been busier than they expected.

I remember a third nurse coming in at some point thereafter, saying it was time to take me to the operating room. I kissed Emily and told her I would see her on the other side (I think I said that anyhow), and they wheeled me down the hall and into the operating room.

When they rolled my bed up next to the operating table, another nurse was in there and instructed me to climb over to the operating table. She said something along the lines of, "Don't worry about your right arm, we'll take care of it." As she said that I looked down to see my right arm just laying across my front while another nurse pulled it across. I couldn't feel it though, and this was a really weird sensation.

After I got on the table, a male nurse brought a mask down to my face and told me it was oxygen and that I just needed to take a deep breath. I thought I was doing well breathing, but I remember him saying, "Don't hold your breath. Just breathe." I remember counting how many breaths I took after that, and the number was just two.

The next thing I remember was laying in the bed in the recovery room with Emily by my side. I don't know much of what was said, but I do remember she helped me get a drink of water and she did take my picture. I also remember the surgeon's primary nurse coming to check on me and to get me more water.

As I started to regain my senses, I asked Emily how the surgery went and she said that it went okay and that they fixed more than just the suspected tear. I also remember another patient being wheeled into an adjacent recovery area, and hearing the nurses telling him that he had knee surgery. I remember one of the nurses telling his mom that he had been smiling really big from the time he woke up, which I found to be a little entertaining.

After I was with it, Emily helped me to get dressed and helped me to the restroom. After I was done in the restroom, she gathered the rest of our things and a nurse wheeled me out to the car in a wheelchair.

I don't remember a whole lot of the trip from the surgery center back to Emily's mom's place, but I do remember when we got there her uncle was sitting in the recliner. He got up and moved to another chair so I could sit there. I don't remember much else after that other than shaking the uncle's hand, Emily and her mom trying to figure out how the compression icepack worked, and eventually moving to the sofa in the front room of the house.

At some point in the afternoon I do remember noticing that my hand was completely paralyzed from the nerve block still. I was trying my hardest to issue a "move" command to my fingers, but they didn't budge.

The rest is pretty much boring after that, as I began the recovery process. I am happy to report though that my stitches have been removed, my doctor is very happy with my progress, and I am able to use my arm about 60% of normal (though I don't know if I'm supposed to...).

I'll post some pictures in a little bit of me laying in the bed post-op, and some pictures from the days after the surgery. In a couple of days I'll try to post some more pictures of my current progress as well.

The day is drawing near
Posted by tim in I Feel Sick on October 3, 2010

My shoulder surgery is officially scheduled for October 12th. I was scheduled to get my wisdom teeth removed on September 24th, but the doctor's office called me the day before and cancelled. This was actually a blessing in disguise though, because when I got home from work on the 24th, I was so sick to my stomach. I spent the evening that night hugging the toilet bowl, and the remainder of that weekend was purely miserable.

I am back on my feet from that little stomach bug, but my shoulder is pretty sore right now. I'm not entirely looking forward to surgery, but I am looking forward to getting it all out of the way and the recovery.

The orthopedic surgeon gave me a prescription for Darvocet, which has been useful to help me sleep at night. But I'm running out of it and I don't know how well I'll be sleeping the night before my surgery.

The financial end of it isn't looking too bad. I have some PTO to use at the office, and I'll probably take all but that Monday off. Everything I've read suggests that I'll be able to get back to work after 4 days or so, which I'm staying optimistic about.

Emily's mom has been gracious enough to allow us to stay at her house for the first couple of days after the surgery. Since she's a nurse, that's an added bonus, but it also allows Emily to be able to take care of me while she's working, taking care of the nephew.

I don't know if I'll have the time or presence of mind to post any more updates between now and then, so please keep me in your thoughts and prayers as the days lead up to the surgery and for the days after. I just need to be able to keep calm about it and I want nothing more than a prompt recovery.

Surgery, surgery, and more surgery!
Posted by tim in I Feel Sick on September 3, 2010

It's been quite a while since I last posted anything here. A lot has happened since that wonderful day when I got married (and I have enjoyed every moment of it!), but there are a couple of not-so-fun things going on right now that I figure warrant some explanation.

The first thing that's going on has to do with my teeth. This really isn't all too big in contrast to the other thing I'll be telling you about in a minute, but it is big enough to mention.

When I was still in Lafayette, I decided to go see a dentist for a check-up and cleaning. Knowing my wisdom teeth would have to come out at some point, what the dentist told me wasn't too surprising: The wisdom teeth had to go. He gave me a referral for the local maxiofacial clinic, but I never followed through with it.

Let's fast-forward to the present. I now have dental professionals, orthodontists to be exact, in the family. If you've ever been around any sort of dental professional, you know that the just love to look at what work you may or may not need done. This actually kind of rubs off on their family members as well. Better yet, I have a loving wife who is concerned about my health, and it doesn't stop anywhere short of my dental health. This is heightened by the fact that her sister and sister's husband are the aforementioned orthodontists.In short though, they all agree that my wisdom teeth have got to go. My new dentist here in Houston didn't say anything to the contrary of that either, so I am now scheduled to get the rotten things out of my head. I look forward to September 24th when I actually have that done.

As much as my teeth have been bothering me, it's miniscule when compared to the trouble I've been having with my right shoulder.

Sometime back in March, I noticed that my shoulder was really sore and it almost felt like it was partially dislocated. I did some research of my own, saw a couple of general practitioners, a couple of different chiropractors, and talked to friends who have had shoulder issues before I finally decided to go see a specialist for it.

I called and got an appointment for this past Wednesday to see an amazing doctor on the north side of town who really doesn't do anything but shoulders, and he determined that I have a SLAP Tear.

I'm not going to go into the full detail of what this tear is, but here's a good analogy that he gave me that you should be able to visualize.

Think of your shoulder as a ball and socket joint. This joint is very much like a golf ball on a tee, in the sense that the socket of the scapula (the tee) is much smaller than the ball of the humeral head (the golf ball). So what is done to keep the ball in the socket is a rim is added to the socket, extending it out to add stability to the joint. In the shoulder, this rim is called the Glenoid Labrum, and it works in the same way as the golf tee.

Unfortunately, the Labrum is susceptible to injury. While it normally hits middle-aged adults, everyone has a chance of experiencing it. And let me tell you first-hand, the experience is not great.

For me, it started with the dislocated feeling, and escalated to a popping and grinding, and is now at the point where I have trouble sleeping because it hurts so bad. I have been taking some pretty strong prescribed drugs (Fiorinol, Methocarbamol, Vicodin, and now Darvocet) just so I can sleep, which makes it very apparent that this is a serious issue that I need to get fixed.

My visit with the specialist on Wednesday was pretty educational and I fully understood the condition when I left. He still wanted to get an MRI to make sure there were no other complications, such as a torn rotator cuff, and I went back to get those results today. The MRI report was pretty clean and said that everything seemed okay, but the doctor said that because of the way the "slices" of the MRI were done, they couldn't get a full picture of the Labrum. With that in mind, he decided to do a physical examination again and confirmed that I have a "classic SLAP tear", and that we needed to move towards surgery since it is causing me so much pain.

Because I'm scheduled to have my wisdom teeth out at the end of September, I told him that I should probably wait until the end of October to get the shoulder done.

The surgery is pretty straight forward. Being arthoscopic, it will only require a couple relatively small holes to be poked into my shoulder. I'll be knocked out for it with general anesthesia, the surgery will take about 30 minutes, then I'll be in a sling for 2-3 weeks and on rehab for 3-4 months after that.

I'm not really all too concerned about having the surgery, since I've been able to talk to people who have had similar procedures. However, I'm worried about being able to function during that time of recovery, and being able to handle it financially. Luckily, one of those concerns is addressed by having a wonderful wife who is a great caretaker. I found this out already when I was sick a few weeks ago and she tended to my every need. :)

So yeah, this is what's going on. I'd very much appreciate your prayers during this time. I know God can work miracles, and I have no doubt that he can work one in this situation. But even if that's not in his plan, I sure could use some calm nerves, focus, and stamina to get through the sleepless nights ahead, and for a financial breakthrough that will allow me to not have any worries about it at all.

Getting Hitched
Posted by tim in Happy on July 10, 2010

It is currently 7:25AM. At 11:00AM, I will be standing at the altar, watching my beautiful bride approach. By 12:00PM I will be married to the most beautiful and wonderful woman whom God has provisioned for me.

I will be out of reach from the point I click the "Submit" button to post this entry until sometime after July 19th. I will do my best to post some sort of update after that (if not sneaking it in sometime before) and share with you the joy of my new married life.


A Letter
Posted by tim in It wouldn't fit in any other category... on June 2, 2010

Mr. Mosquito,

I would like to thank you for finding refuge in my eye socket. I know that the world can be a harsh place, and it gives me a sense of self-worth to know that my eye can be a secure location for you. I hope you enjoyed your stay. Come back any time.


Posted by tim in Happy on May 2, 2010

That's right, engaged.

Emily and I have been dating since June 4, 2009, and with each day that goes by I know with greater clarity that we were meant for each other.

Sometime a couple of months ago, we got to talking about wedding stuff, and she asked me if she and her mom could start planning for a wedding. Even thought I hadn't yet bought a ring and there wasn't an official announcement, I told her they could. I did this knowing that I would soon make it official and ask her to marry me.

Even before that, I began shopping around for rings. She didn't know it, but I was using my limited free time to get around to various shops and inquire about rings, educating myself of the different cuts and grades of diamonds, and finding that one ring that was just right. She had given me some direction before, pointing out ring styles she liked, and I took these into consideration.

Finally, I was able to find the ring that I wanted for her. It wasn't extravagant by any means, but it was definitely something I knew she'd like. This just happened to transpire just before her birthday, so I used the opportunity to make it a very special birthday that she will (hopefully) never forget.

I organized a birthday party for her last night with a group of people from the church. Before we went to dinner though, I had to find a parking space. We got to one space, but I wasn't sure about the cost, so Emily jumped out to check the meter for me. While she did that, I pulled out this little box wrapped in silver paper with a large bow on it, and I gave it to her when she came back to the car.

I wanted her to open it and I would have said a few words then asked her to marry me. But with the frustration of trying to unwrap the box, I lost track of what I was going to say. So when she opened it up and marveled at it, I just asked her a question consisting of the 5 most important words of what I was going to say, "Emily, will you marry me?" Her response was confident; "Of course," she said. This set the mood for the evening and the rest of the weekend though, and she has been on cloud nine ever since.

Thus, I am proud to announce that I will be marrying my lovely girlfriend fiancée, Emily, this summer.