House Fire

I got a phone call from mom last night. The house is on fire.

Mom and dad are fine.

They got all the pets but one cat out, and he may show up yet. They grabbed some stuff, like mom’s laptop, some of the family photos, etc. Mom didn’t get her track phone charger though, so I haven’t talked to her yet today.

It looks to be an electrical fire at this point. The fire department was fighting the fire in 5 degree weather. At one point, they ran out of water, and called for water trucks from 4 other towns.

A bunch of neighbors showed up, Lenny the family mechanic from a few miles away – he let mom use his cell phone in the towtruck to call Jennifer after mom’s track phone battery died and the phone in the barn quit working.

My sister said that Aunt Laurie stopped by the house this morning, and the top story of the house is gone. Jennifer is going up there today, bringing some hats and gloves and whatnot. I asked her to take some pictures when she gets up there.

If you are family/friends, and want to get a hold of mom or dad or to pass a message along, email me at thefamily (at) (no spaces, change (at) to @) and I can give you a good contact number for them when we get one figured out (like a charger for the track phone). I don’t know what mom has for phone numbers for family, I don’t know if she has her address book or not.

I will keep updating here as I find out more.

My Friends must miss me

I have spent over 3 hours on the phone with people from my recent job tonight. My former supervisor called with some questions about some options regarding the old website. A friend called with some programming homework questions, and another friend called with other programming questions as he is just starting out.

It is just kinda funny. I don’t like using the phone, and it has been ringing off the hook the last couple of days between friends, and the car dealership calling to make sure I am happy with the vehicle.

I burned up half this month’s minutes on my phone plan just today! Oh well, better to see them used then to be not used, right? I also seem to find it humorous that I usually spend more time using my phone as a modem with my Nokia 770 then using it for voice.

Oh well, best I be getting my tail to bed.

Car Phones

I recently read an article on cell phone usage while driving and I think I figured out part of the why cell phones and driving don’t go well together.

First, the difference between holding the phone and the hands free set.
Driving with the hands free set allows both hands for the wheel. This most closely emulates having a person in the car with you. I even notice a concentration difference between having the set on my right ear (easier) and my left ear(seems harder) probably because I am more used to having the passenger on my right side.
As for hand-holding the phone, I think this shifts your focus from the steering wheel and driving to your phone and the conversation. I seem to “loose” where I am at much more often with the phone in hand.

Needless to say, I try hard to not drive hand holding the phone, but when I need directions, I find that I miss turns more often and have a harder time reading the road signs with the phone in hand then with a hands free set.

Now as for why having a passenger is better. I think the reason is the passenger is participatory with the driving. The report even mentions that the conversation switches to current the traffic twice as frequently with the passengers then when on the phone. I also believe that passengers help navigate. I know I ask my passengers to play an active role in navigation when I am driving to a new location.

For example, I was talking to Katie tonight on the phone on my way home from some friends’ house. Traffic was pretty bad (probably post Superbowl traffic) and it was wet and rainy. I shifted focus from my conversation to completely focus on the road while navigation my exit. Katie kept talking, oblivious that I had tuned her out. If she had been in the car, she would have noticed and paused the conversation until I was through the intersection. I think this example shows how phone conversations while driving can be distracting.

What do you think?

Saturday Date

I went on a date this Saturday. Yes, for real. I have pictures to prove it! I started talking to Katie last weekend, well, actually, she started to talk to me first. We chatted online for a little bit. Then we started to talk on the phone. A lot. A WHOLE lot. I think we spent the whole week on the phone. I am really not looking forward to this next phone bill – but more about that later…

So, anyway, we decided to meet. Not quite as simple as it sounds. She lives in Lakeland Florida. That is between Tampa and Orlando (or, for you who are too lazy to look at a map, 4 hours away). We decided to meet in the middle. What better place then scenic Vero Beach. We met at the Outlet Mall there right off the interstate. I was late. Can you imagine that? Me late? Late for a first date, what a great first impression, right? So, they have a Borders Outlet there. Bookstore! What better way to get to know somebody then to look at books. The Borders Outlet is kinda sparse on selection, so we didn’t stick around very long. We wandered over to the Subway and TCBY to get something to eat. I think we where both so nervious we weren’t really hungry.

So. After a lot of nervious giggles and glances (and that was just me), we decide to head to the beach. About a quarter of the way there Katie points and says “Books a Million”. Huh? It’s a book store, a REAL bookstore. So, I turn the car around and we go in. Airconditioning! LOTS of books! Now we start going through the books and pointing out what we have read to each other, and what is good and what isn’t so good. Can you believe it? She likes the same kind of books as me! I think the bookstore really broke the ice. We got some water and sat in some cooshy chairs and talked like we where old friends.

We then went the rest of the way to the beach. It was really nice. I took a few neat photos. Many of them where while I was out, standing on a pipe leading into the ocean. Can you see where this is going? Yep. I fell off. SPLASH, into the ocean I go. How embarissing! I didn’t get the camera wet, my phone got splashed though. So, now I am soaking wet! And worse yet, I tear my favorite jeans – you know, the ones with the ink stain. We wandered over to one of the boardwalks so I can dry off in the sun and we didn’t have to listen to me go squish squish squish at every step. We sat down and chatted and watched the people walk by. I gave her a back massage, I think she liked it. She said she hadn’t gotten one in a long time.

We get hungry – funny how that happens when your not nervious anymore. We wander back towards the car and stop at this resturuant right on the beach. Katie ordered a philly cheesesteak, I spied a rhuben on the menu. We sit and eat and talk and have a grand o’l time. Oh, the rhuben was good, I can go back there again.

After dinner we go back to her truck so she can get clothes. I don’t think I will ever understand girls. She wore long pants during the day, and changed into shorts for the evening. Anybody have any insight to that one? Oh, she drinks Mt. Dew too! I got her one when she was changing.

So, we end up back at the beach and take a walk along the beach. I suggest we head north, as south hadn’t been so good to me. I was finally mostly dried off by now. We wandered along, stopped and sat down on some steps. We talked and whatnot for the longest time. Counted the stars, listened to the people walk by on the beach. She gave me a backrub. 10 o’clock came up WAY to soon! And poor Katie had to work at 7:45 the next morning!

She is still talking to me! I must have done something right between showing up late and falling into the ocean. Will the wonders never cease!