Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Bridget 1998 - 2009

We've known for a long time that this day would come but now that it has it's much more difficult than I thought it would be. Oddly, I remember the day but not the year that Lisa and Kira brought Bridget home. It was April 1 and I think it was 1998. I do know is that Kira was still in high school. The kids (mostly Kira) had been begging for a dog for years and while I love pets I knew that a dog would be more work than I really wanted so I gave them impossible requirements. I told them that if we ever got a dog it would have to be free (why pay money for a dog when there are too many in the world already), short hair (we live in a subtropical county), and it had to be small (we live in a city and I didn't think it was right to confine a big dog in a small yard). I also told the kids that I sort of fancied Beagles. Imagine my surprise when Kira's friends dog (a beagle) had puppies. That is how Bridget came to live with us. When Bridge first came home she was spastic. She ran all over the place and if the door opened for more than a few milliseconds the dog was gone. More than once we received calls from neighbours a few blocks away who had found our dog. Regrettably I once made the comment that "I should fatten the dog up so she would slow down".

There are a few strange things about Beagles that any potential Beagle owner showed know. They eat non-stop. I was used to our cats, we just kept their food bowl full and they ate what they wanted and then stopped. Bridget ate anything you gave her and then hunted all over the floor and yard for anything more she could sniff out. It wasn't long that before my wish for a fat dog was realized. Honest, I didn't do it one purpose, she just ate continuously. The kids now blame me for making the dog fat. The good part is that it did slow her down. The bad part is that it probably exacerbated her arthritis. When Bridget was about five years old she started getting bad pains in her ankles. I took her to the vet and she told me that it was one of two things. It was either arthritis or something else that I don't remember. For $250 she would x-ray the dog and tell me what the problem was. I asked what the cure was for the two different ailments and she told me there wasn't any. I figured it was a total waste of money to find out what the problem was if we still couldn't treat it. I decided to give her Ibuprofen if her pain got to be too much. That worked well for several years.

I then put Bridget on a diet and she did lose some weight but she also gradually slowed down so she got less exercise and it was more difficult for her to lose weight. Finally, about a year ago Bridget pretty much came to a halt. She laid down continuously and it took her forever to get to her food bowl. For the last couple of months it has been so bad that she sometimes didn't even make it outside to relieve herself. It was a tough decision and I often second guess myself but we decided that it wasn't much of a life for a dog to lay on the floor all day long. Everyone was here about a month ago so we had them say goodbye to Bridget. It still took me two months to build up the guts to take her in but last week I made the call and set up an appointment for today at 4:00.

Alex and I left work early today and as we were driving home I had many, very strange emotions. We got home and Sarah and Lisa were crying and that made it worse. Sarah donated one of her pink blankets to the cause.

Alex rooted through the cupboards and found a few cans of wet dog food (a major treat for Bridget) and we let her eat all she wanted. It was a great last meal for the dog. We then picked her up and headed for the vet. The vet took about five minutes to make sure I felt good and guilty. She pointed out that Ibuprofen is very bad for dogs and that I probably gave her liver damage. I mentioned that it was her feet that were hurting and not her liver. She told me that Bridgets nails were way too long (which they were) and that surely made her arthritis even worse. I admitted my guilt but pointed out that even if her nails are cut it made no difference in how she walks. She then tried to talk me into using some different painkillers but when I pressured her she finally admitted that no matter what I did it was going to be high maintenance and I told her that we were all prepared to say goodbye and that I didn't think it was much of a life for Bridget if she had to spend the rest of it laying in the middle of the floor.

She then put a catheter in Bridgets leg and administered a sedative that allowed Bridget to relax. That was pretty much how she's looked for the last year of her life. Laying on the floor not budging. Alex and I then rubbed her as the vet administered an overdose of an anesthetic. There was no change in Bridget. She still just lay there and she died as we caressed her. It was really very sad and I felt very guilty.

We then wrapped her in Sarah's pink blanket and took her home. I had made a little coffin for her last week so we laid her in her coffin and I proceeded to dig a grave in the flower bed. The vet didn't really want me to take Bridget home. She tried to get me to have her cremated. I think she makes a commission on dog cremations. I told her we were going to take her home and bury her in our flower bed. She told me that I needed to dig the grave at least four feet deep. Yeah, like that's going to happen. With the rocks we have in our soil I would be lucky to get two feet deep. As I dug the grave I found Cyrus. He was our cat that was planted there in 1995. I left him undisturbed and put Bridget right beside him. We then had a little family ceremony. We all wrote little notes on the casket and we added Kira, Brandon and Alycia's names because they couldn't be present. We then shared some Bridget memories and Alex and I lowered the casket into the grave.

I shared how annoying Bridget was when she was a puppy. Every time I let her into the house she would make a lap around the house and literally jump over the couch. One time she knocked the lamp right off the end table. Lisa shared how much she loved how patient Bridget was with the kids when they were younger. She also remembered when Alycia was on a walk with Bridget and a big black stray attacked Bridget. She had Bridget in her mouth and Alycia was yanking on the leash trying to get the stray to let go. Finally a man came over from the park and kicked the stray until it finally let go. Both Bridget and Alycia were severely traumatized and Bridget was never really the same after that. She never barked at other dogs before that and afterward she always barked at other dogs.

For the last year or two Bridget has caught several colds and would get a very snotty nose. She would blow a lot often getting snot on everything around her. It was very annoying. One day Ben was talking to the JW's at the door and Bridget came up and blew gobs of snot on one of the ladies shoes. That was his favorite memory. Alex remembered a time when Anna was over and Bridget shoved her entire nose into Anna's mouth. That was pretty funny. Gross, but funny. Sarah remembered how one time when she was sick Bridget fell asleep with her. She also remembered how every time we would gather in a circle for family prayer Bridget would make sure she was right in the middle of the circle. She was certainly a people dog and always wanted to be with us no matter what we were doing.

Of course we all have many memories of Bridgets mutant mole.

When we were done telling stories I filled in the grave and I plan to make a concrete head stone for the poor dog. I guess the good thing is that Bridget is now pain free and running and jumping like she did ten years ago. I will miss her.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

San Jacinto

These last few days have been great. I'm a little sore but it is a wonderful sore. While Lisa usually wants to come and do exciting things with me it rarely happens. Not because she doesn't want to (she usually does want to) but because she doesn't think she has the time. Once in a while, however, the circumstances are such that she will do it. When she does we have a ball. Some of the more memorable fun adventures we have had are, jet skiing on her birthday, kayaking, Trek (with the stake youth), and any chance I can get her to go to the beach with me which is becoming more and more rare. This time she climbed to San Jacinto Peak with me. Actually, what convinced her to go was the Stake Youth Leaders asked if we would go with the young women on their fourth year hike. The youth program goes from 12 years old to 17 years old so they are divided into first years (12 year olds), second years (13), third years (14) and fourth years (15). In their fifth year (16) they are leaders. Some girls get a sixth year where they are leaders again but others (like Kira and Sarah) who have later birthdays get ripped off and don't get a sixth year because they've already graduated and are preparing for college. I think it is completely unfair but that is another story for another day. I really don't understand the progress requirements for the young woman program (it is all I can do to keep up with the Scouts) but I believe that in their fourth year they are required to go on an overnight hike that is more than just a few miles long. Sarah is a fourth year this year and she was on this hike so it was a blast.

I've hiked San Jacinto before and I believe I blogged about it but for those who might not remember, we get to cheat when it comes to San Jacinto. They built a tram that takes you from Palm Springs at around 2,000 feet up to the 8,000 foot line on the mountain side. The best part is that we went from about 110°F to about 85°F. That was a life saver. The peak is nearly 11,000 feet so we still have 3,000 feet we need to climb. The toughest part is that going from sea level to 11,000 feet is pretty hard on the respiratory system. There just isn't enough red blood cells in our bodies to get us the oxygen we need. You get winded walking across the campsite. The best part about how we did this hike is that we went up the night before and hiked two miles in and camped at Round Valley. This gave us a chance to acclimatize. Even just staying overnight can make a huge difference.

In the center of Round Valley is a beautiful meadow. Sarah liked to call it the garden of Eden. I do have to admit that it is a beautiful sight to come across this meadow when you've been hiking in trees for an hour or two. It makes me want to just build myself a cabin and be a hermit. The meadow is fed by a natural spring so there is a source of good drinking water right there. The next day we threw some snacks and a light lunch into day packs and we headed for the peak. I was worried about Lisa's back so all she had in her backpack was a change of clothes and her sleeping bag. I took all of the of gear, food and water. I did make Sarah carry her fair share of stuff as well because I know she is in better shape than all of us. When we hiked to the summit Lisa didn't have any pack at all and I carried all the water and snacks in my Camel Back.

There is some very beautiful scenery going up to the peak and I'm telling you, it is so different hiking with girls than it is hiking with boys. They actually stop and enjoy the view while the boys just put their heads down and see how fast they can get to the top. The girls also spontaneously start singing. You won't ever have that happen with scouts.

As it turned out I didn't really have to worry about Lisa. She wasn't the fastest person on the trail but There were several girls and even a leader or two who was more than happy to set a slower pace and not push things. In the end we did have one girl who was affected by the altitude and decided not to go to the top. Unfortunately that meant that two leaders had to stay back with her and I really felt bad for them. On the other hand there was one girl who was diabetic and had to keep checking her blood sugar levels and pace herself carefully but she did make it to the top. What an accomplishment for her. I think it is great. Anyway, I'm hurting a little bit but what a great feeling it is to sleep under the stars and to stand on top of such a majestic peak.

Scientists believe they have found a cure to all virus related diseases. If it does in humans what it does in mice (no guarantee of that happening) then this will be a cure to all flu's and colds and possibly other diseases such as aids. Human trials begin in a few months.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Base Boards

Lisa and Sarah got home last night. It seems like they've been gone all summer. In fact, Sarah pointed out last night that since school has let out she has been in Utah more than she's been in San Diego. More than two years ago (or was it three years ago?) I started remodeling our house. We finished everything up ages ago but for some reason I have a real problem with baseboards. They were even all stained and ready to go on but today, several years late, I finally got them put on. They look very nice. My remodel job is finally done. Hallelujah! This afternoon we went to an open house for Cameron Bird who just got married. It's been quite a week in their house since today was Cameron's open house and tomorrow Jared is giving his missionary farewell and Ryan is giving his missionary homecoming. Wow! I may actually have gotten those boys mixed up. I have a tough time keeping them all straight.
Also this afternoon Lisa got a phone call from her friend who is good friends with Adam Lambert (from American Idol) and she was given two free tickets to the American Idol concert here in town tonight. They turned out to be $70 tickets and were very close to the stage. I'm sure I would have enjoyed the show but I knew the kids would enjoy them more so Sarah ended up going while I finished up my baseboards. They apparently had a great time. We were supposed to go to Harry Potter today but that can wait until another day, American Idol won't.

Astronomers have discovered the chemical that gives raspberries their flavor in a dust cloud in the center of our galaxy. It is one of the largest molecules ever found in space.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Let me introduce you all to Blue. Last year Ben convinced Sharley to get a cat. The little kitten that they ended up with was a beautiful little white one that has a very strange personality. The cat is literally psycho. She is very clumsy but is afraid of nothing. She will get so excited that she will jump at things (like your hand) but miss what she was aiming for and smash into the walls. When they still lived in Arizona Ben tells me that she jumped into the toilet one time. I believe it. She actually loves water. Alex gave her a shower and the only time she would get mad is when he turned the water off. He shampooed her and cream rinsed her right now she is about the best smelling cat you'll ever smell and her fur is downy soft. Right now Ben and Sharley are living in our house until their apartment in Orange County is ready so Blue has had to get used to Bridget and Sheba. Bridget loves her but she hates Bridget. She loves Sheba but Sheba hates her. It is a very humorous love triangle. Blue is continuously harassing Sheba but once in a while she gets clawed across her face for her efforts. She also gets very jealous of Alex if he pays too much attention to Blue.

In our house we have a balcony that overlooks the living room and the front entrance. The other day Blue was goofing off on the railing of the balcony and too everyone's shock and dismay she fell off. Ben was standing at the bottom of the stairs and was quite surprised when Blue bounced off the stairs beside him. Blue is one lucky cat because if she'd been two feet over she would have landed on hard tile rather than carpeted stairs. As it was she just stood up and shook her self and walked off. Life is never dull with Blue around.

Scientists at the University of Ohio have figured out how to get hydrogen from urine at a very low cost. They figure a cow can generate enough hydrogen to provide hot water to nineteen houses.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Adobe Bluffs

We quickly settled into life in San Diego. I loved my job, the kids loved school and life was wonderful. The biggest adjustment for us was the cost of living. I had drastically underestimated the cost of living in San Diego compared to the cost of living in Rosemary. We did live in one of the nicer neighborhoods in San Diego. I had come to the States for roughly the same wage that I was making in Canada but our rent was $1,200 a month while my mortgage payment in Rosemary was about $250 a month. Everything else was much cheaper but not cheap enough to make up for the difference in housing. Food was cheaper, clothes were much cheaper, gas was cheaper and we didn't even turn on our furnace for the first three years we lived here.

We arrived in San Diego early July (I think about July 5, 1992) and then the kids started school in late August. What a culture shock that was for Kira. She had finished fourth grade in Rosemary in a class of about eight kids. The entire school from kindergarten to twelfth grade had less than a hundred kids. When she showed up to Adobe Bluffs Elementary School there were over a thousand. Her eyes were like saucers. It was even worse because Adobe Bluffs was still under construction so at the beginning of the year Adobe Bluffs met in trailers behind Sunset Hills Elementary School and there were kids from both schools running everywhere. Finally a very wise teacher saw Kira's glazed over look and she very tenderly asked Kira if she would help out a new Chinese girl who couldn't speak English. That was all Kira needed, her little motherly instinct took over and she helped this new girl get registered and find her class. Kira was in fifth grade, Brandon in third grade and Ben was starting first grade. That was tough because in Canada many kids never even took Kindergarten and the ones who did were just expected to learn the alphabet. In San Diego on the other hand everyone graduated kindergarten knowing how to read. Ben had a lot of catching up to do.

The other concern was that the Poway School District is ranked one of the best school districts in the States and many kids who transfer into the school district are a year behind their peers. Our kids had to take tests to make sure they could transfer straight into the grades we wanted them to. Little did they realize that Canada has an excellent school system and our kids did just fine. The school was quite surprised but we weren't.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Twenty Eight Wonderful Years

Today is my wedding anniversary. Twenty eight years ago I knelt across the alter from by sweetheart and we made a covenant to share the rest of the eternities with each other. It was a promise that I have never regretted and every day I look forward to spending more time with my bride (unless she's going shopping).

This wedding anniversary is a bit of a downer though since she is presently six hundred miles away. We will do something to celebrate when she gets back.

Happy Anniversary sweetheart.

On a more solemn note, today was also the birthday of Abram Jones. Abram was one of Ben's best friends growing up and he was tragically killed a few years ago. Every year on his birthday Abrams parents host a barbecue at La Jolla Shores beach and all of his friends and family get together. They also have the blood mobile come by so people can donate blood. I had to go into work for a few hours this morning and then I headed to the beach. After hunting for parking for a half hour I finally made an appearance and made all the excuses for Lisa who is very faithful about supporting Abrams family. There were a lot of people there.

On average, women spend a year of their lives just deciding what to wear.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

God Bless America

I remember that first night in our new house on Talca Avenue. We had boxes piled up all around us and it was a warm evening. The Elders quorum left and we all just sat around on the floor and on what few chairs we had and relaxed. It felt good to be here and we were all exhausted. It was so calming to sit there with the doors open and relax in the gentle breeze that floated through the house.

Over the next few weeks as I acclimatized to my new environment there were two or three things that clearly stood out as being very different from what I was used to. The biggest difference was probably that there was a major grocery store and a major pharmacy a mere three minutes from my house and they were both open until well after midnight. In many ways this was a curse more than a blessing. We would be sitting watching a movie and Lisa would get a craving for something and off I would go to buy some ice cream or perhaps a chocolate bar or something else. At least in Rosemary if she wanted to buy something like that Harry's was closed around 6:00 and it took an hour to get to Brooks and back. I don't know of any stores in Brooks that were open after midnight.

The other big difference was the weather. It was always beautiful weather. The highs in the winter were in the 60's and 70's and the highs in the summer were in the 70's and 80's. There was never any wind and rarely any rain. We moved in July and I didn't see my first raindrop until November. I remember driving to work one day listening to the radio. They were announcing storm warnings and I was a bit excited to have a storm. (I know, we wish for some pretty strange things when we don't have them anymore) It took me a few minutes to figure out that they were talking about the weather I was driving through. My wipers were on intermittent and there was no wind that I could detect but THAT was their storm. I was flabbergasted. To be fair though, when there hasn't been any rain for a long time the oils from the cars and in the road come to the surface and then when it does rain the water puddles on the oil and the roads are very slippery. Nothing like a good snow storm but much more slippery than you would expect. I about wet my pants a time or two when I wasn't careful.

Another big change was the beach. I believe it was only our second day here when Brenda Knowlton called up and invited our kids to go the beach with her family. That was the beginning of a new and wonderful love affair. I love the beach, I love to hear the surf breaking, I love to walk in the sand, I love the sunsets and on a hot day there is nothing like kicking into a wave and feeling the power of the wave throw me forward on my body board.

Finally I was amazed with the language barrier. We started a list of all the words that are different here than in Canada. I wish I had that list still but it grew to at least a hundred words. I can't think of them all off the top of my head but I will list some here.

caty corner
mauve (they pronounce it maw'v)
eh, ( of course)
thongs (my kids about die if I talk about wearing my thongs)
pop (soda)
grades in school, ie. grade ten as compared to tenth grade
Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior
zee vs zed
Candian bacon
boxing day
holiday (synonymous with vacation)
Robertson screwdrivers

Over the years there are many other things I have come to love about California but these were some of my original impressions. I guess the reality that I was now living in a foreign land first hit me when Brandon and Ben went to their first cub scout meeting. Before the meeting started everyone put their hand over their hearts, turned to the flag and recited the pledge of allegiance. It was very strange to me in many ways. First of all it was the stars and stripes and no longer the maple leaf. It was red, white and blue and not red and white. Finally it felt very strange and almost wrong to pledge allegiance to anything other than Canada. As I looked around me and saw how patriotic everyone around me was I decided then and there that this was my new country and if was going to live here then I too was going to pledge my allegiance to this wonderful country. Ever since that day I have sincerely and willingly pledged my allegiance to this great land. No where in the world can a human being have greater freedoms and more opportunities to pursue their goals than they do in this wonderful land. God bless America!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Alex is back

Alex is back and boy am I glad to see him. Here at Hi-Z I am working on two projects and supporting production. Each of these tasks could easily be a full time job but I'm trying to do them by myself. The good thing is that I love all of them and my frustration would be similar to Christmas dinner. I want to eat it all but it is a physical impossibility. Lucky for me Alex came along. As you are all aware, Alex graduated this year and is preparing to head to the University of Utah in the fall. Unfortunately in spite of Obama's borrowing (printing) of a trillion dollars for his stimulus package no one can get a job. It looked like Alex was destined to get a job at a Jack-in-the-Box or something when all of a sudden I realized that under my direction he could do so much of the work that I needed to get done. I talked to my boss and now Alex works for me for the summer. This is a good deal for Alex because he has a job that is a good more fulfilling and less boring that Jack-in-the-Box. It is a good deal for me because this is as rewarding as if I could eat twice as much food at Christmas dinner, better actually because I can have Alex do the jobs that I would find somewhat annoying. It is a good deal for Hi-Z because Alex is actually doing the work that they would be paying me to do but they pay him a lot less than they would pay me to do it.

Alex has worked with me now for two weeks and with him gone this week I have definitely felt his absence. I'm really glad to have him back but now I'm quite worried about September when he leaves for good. These pictures are just some of the things Alex does for me.

The picture at the top of this posting is of the raw materials required to fabricate a PbTe ingot. In this photo Alex's quartz tube containing the raw materials is being sealed.

The ingot is ground to a powder and pressed into legs. There are "P" type conducting legs and "N" type conducting legs. Alex arranged a P and N type leg to form a couple as shown here. Tiny thermocouples and voltage probes are welded to the leg to instrument it. Alex thinks he's pretty good at welding the probes onto the legs.
The couple is then loaded into a test station as shown here. The block above the couple is an electric heater and the block below the couple is a water cooled chill plate.

Once the test station is all sealed up in an argon-hydrogen mix then Alex takes data. It looks like Alex is almost to the point where I can just give him the formulation that I want and he can react the ingot, grind it to a powder, press the powder into legs, build the legs into a couple, load the couple into the test station and take the data. That will be my nirvana. I can hand him a formulation and he will give me data. How can life get much better than that?
A lot of other people want to use Alex to help them out as well. Alex sand blasted and sealed this water cooled chill plate from our 50 ton vacuum hot press. This press can load a sample with 50 tons of force, pull a 10 micron vacuum and heat it to 2,000°C. That is pretty exciting stuff.

There is a bunch more stuff that Alex does but I don't have pictures of it all. Perhaps as the summer progresses I will post more pictures. Right now, I'm just glad to have him back.

When Apollo 11's lunar lander, the Eagle, separated from the orbiter, the cabin wasn't fully depressurized resulting in a burst of gas equivalent to popping a champagne cork. It threw the modules landing four miles off target.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Happy Birthday

Today was Lisa's birthday. We didn't do much special for her but we tried. After church I barbecued some Rib Eye steaks and they were pretty good. I meant to leave some medium for the rest of us but they all ended up well done like Lisa likes them. After that we opened gifts. I got her a digital camera because hers finally gave up the ghost after about ten years of service. I think she got one right after they were invented. Sarah decided to wrap the memory card for the camera in a huge box filled with newspapers. Lisa is kind of addicted to the smell of newsprint so I had to take a picture of her sticking her head in the box taking a deep breath. Sarah got her a necklace and she is strangling her mother while putting the necklace on. For a cake Lisa decided that she wanted a banana cream pie. Sarah figured she wanted to put a whole bunch of candles on the pie but the flames kind of took over and melted the all the whipped cream. I Lisa was scared to blow on them. After the pie Lisa decided that she wanted to clean the house. Go figure. It is a tradition that you can do anything you want on your birthday (within reason of course) but this was nuts. Oh well, what can you do. I tried. I can tell you, I won't be cleaning the house on my birthday. All the kids gave her a phone call and so she spent most of the day on the phone. Ben and Sharley pulled in around ten tonight and he had a big bouquet of flowers for her.

Happy 29th my dear. Again.

Florida has more lightning strikes than any other state.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


I loved my senior year in college. All of my classes were very relevant to my major and I loved them all. I was married, I had a baby and life was great. The only blemish in my ideal picture was the economy. The economy was the pits and no one was getting jobs.

Last year I wrote a series of posts about our years in Rosemary. I started with my senior year and covered some of my memories of Rosemary. Rather than rewrite them all I will just create links to the posts and if you happen to be interested you can just click on the links and read them.

Memoirs of Rosemary
Rosemary, the two moves
George Riel
Rosemary Scouts
Les Grusendorf
Sheldon Baxter
Gopher Hunting
Off with his Head
Ice Skating
It's a boy
Bum Pie
Ice Storm
Kira and the Treehouse
Gravel Roads
Rosemary School
Womens Basketball
Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...
The United Kingdom
Let's Move
Thank you Rosemary

Just a few weeks before the house voted on the "cap and tax" bill the EPA released an internal document that stated that global temperatures are no higher (and perhaps lower) now than they were in the middle of the last century. Due to strong political pressure the report was not released publicly. According to the report, the biggest single influence on global temperatures are changes in solar activity. At the same time another report from Canadian biologist Dr. Mitchell Taylor, the director of wildlife research with the Arctic government of Nunavut was ignored.This report states that Polar bear populations are increasing and they have never been healthier. Arctic air temperatures are decreasing and it is Dr Taylors belief that changes in ocean currents are affecting the sea ice and not global warming. Dr Mitchell’s views are so scary to environmental groups that he has been banned from a meeting of the Polar Bear Specialist Group set up under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission that will take place in Copenhagen this week. The funny thing is that he is considered to be the world expert on Polar Bears. This group has actually funded his studies in the past.

A Hermit

I have a natural tendency to be a bit of a loner. It is a real good thing that I'm married to Lisa because she is so out going that she keeps me from becoming too much of a recluse. I truly think I would be quite content to build myself a cabin in the mountains in some very secluded spot and live off the land. I suppose I might get lonely after a few years but the whole idea is quite appealing to me. That is why when I realized that I was going to be home alone for six whole days I decided to take the opportunity to be a total recluse the entire time. Well the universe conspired against me and it just wasn't to be.

The family was to leave Saturday morning so my plan was to take care of all my errands on Saturday so that I could just be a bum the rest of the time. As it happened Lisa and the kids didn't leave until after noon and I got called into work and didn't get home until late. All I had time for was to make something to eat, read a bit in my book and go to bed.

Sunday was going to be another great opportunity to be a complete loner for the better part of the day but I ended up getting invited to someones house for dinner (they felt sorry for me) and I had a meeting at the temple in the evening. Don't get me wrong, it was great to have a place to go for dinner and if the Pettit's should happen to read this, thank you, honest.

Monday was my next opportunity and I purposely left work on time so I could go home and be a bum. I walked in the door, made a plate full of food and sat down to watch an episode of Star Trek. Unfortunately, as I'm watching TV I looked out the back window at my overgrown yard and I couldn't help myself, I went out and trimmed a row of hedges that was much more work than I had anticipated. It was dark and I was drenched in sweat before I came in the house. Another hermit opportunity was lost.

So Tuesday was to be my big day. I picked up the mail and walked in the house and decided that I should go through my huge stack of mail that has been piling up. As I'm going through it I see that the LCD I ordered for Ben's Palm Centro has come. I call Ben and he brings his phone over for me to replace the LCD but three hours later I finally give up. I think the LCD they sent was defective. I won't bore you with the details but even though I got it to come on a few times it is intermittent and won't stay on. The guy who sold it to me on ebay had better send me a replacement.

Today of course is scouts so that is hardly a hermit opportunity so there you are. Tomorrow is temple night and the family is on the road heading for home. Oh well, as excited as I was about being a hermit I'm more excited to see the family. I can't wait. That hermit thing is still very attractive but I want Lisa to come and live with me and I want the kids to bring my grand babies to see me. Does that still qualify as being a hermit if you have visitors?