Today was on and off stressful, as most days with our kids tend to be, but this picture represents one of the happy, little moments when everybody was in a good mood and looking in the same direction and everything!

I’m honestly not sure who gave him the stickers, or why they gave him so many, but I’ll have you know that he was definitely somehow wearing one curled up as a tail while this particular shot was taken… 😯

Scott’s Hospital Fun Guide!

December 12, 2018 1:51am
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So I got released from the hospital today.

I still have cellulitis, but I’m on my way to living my life without it.

Cut to a clip of me throwing a football and you’ve got the commercial for the cocktail of antibiotics that I’m on!

But seriously, kids – I do not recommend cellulitis. I haven’t the foggiest idea how I got it, but I wouldn’t suggest that anyone else give it a try. 

0/5 – Skin Infection not recommended

Thankfully, I had a pretty great care team during my stay that made the whole thing as manageable as possible … thanks to Katie, Brandon, Kristen, and Caitlin for taking care of me and finding me warm socks and all sorts of other things that I don’t think a lot of people realize are just part of the job for nurses. And while you don’t need to go to college to get someone a blanket or refill their ice water, I can’t tell you how much those little gestures helped to make my first stay in a hospital ever a little less lonely.

😉

Anyways, a few final thoughts on my stay before switching track into full blown Christmas vacation mode…

  • The Food Network is a terrible channel to watch in the hospital, particularly at mealtime when you’re trying to figure out how to stomach down “real eggs” and “definitely real sausage” and “not at all cardboard-based pancakes” that the dietary people swear they prepared in a bonafide kitchen and not a microwave and everything.
  • Not having reliable wifi was a real blow. Luckily, they had a decent movie selection, so I watched several during my stay, but I didn’t do a lot online because staring at my phone was bothering me and to write anything I had to do it offline, then tether my laptop to my phone to be able to post.
  • Movies!
    • 1) Get Smart … I just love this movie, so I watched this one the first night I got there. It was interesting to see where the edits for TV were made, but I was relieved that the bit with the swordfish was still included – even if “Holy shit! Holy shit! A swordfish almost just went through my head!” did get corrected to “Holy stuff…” or some other such nonsense…
    • 2) Pacific Rim: Uprising … I hated the first movie, so I figured this was going to be garbage, and it kind of was. I know these movies are more about just giant things fighting, but I have a hard time when the plot holes are big enough for Kaiju to drift through…
    • 3) Jack Reacher: Never Go Back … I thought I remembered Sara and I not really liking the first one, but this was honestly decent. It was basically almost another Mission: Impossible story that gave Tom Cruise two hours in which to be a bad ass, which is always a fun way to wait for one’s pain medication to kick in! 😉
    • Honorable Mention) A Christmas Story … I was going to slip in this one last night, but ended up making some phone calls instead. Sorry, Ralphie – you’ll shoot your eye out soon enough, though – I promise.
  • I must admit that at least once I did contemplate whether I could sneak out to my car and run home for nothing in particular before anyone noticed, considering that the hospital is barely five miles from my house. I pictured stuffing the bed with towels, a la Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and then I remembered that back in reality I couldn’t make it five feet to the bathroom without a walker…
  • I used a walker for the first time! At only 38 years old! It was kind of embarrassing, but then again, so was watching me try to walk without it.
  • A good indicator of how to know when I’m really sick is when I’m willing to wear socks to bed.
  • Also, having another person put on your socks for you is both a very humbling and very endearing thing to experience.
  • Sleeping all day in the hospital isn’t nearly as enjoyable as you think it sounds when you consider it’s because sleeping at the hospital is perpetually interrupted by lab tests and vital signs and people asking you to sign forms promising that you’ll definitely still pay, even if the charges are mutually agreed to be ridiculous.
  • And last but not least, thankfully my charges should be zero or close to it because we exceeded the Out of Pocket Maximum for our insurance two months ago.

So if you’re still thinking about getting cellulitis after all of these glowing reviews that I’ve given for it, I’d recommend waiting until the insurance company is going to pick up the tab before you stumble into the ER on an otherwise uneventful Sunday afternoon.

For best results, wait until about 5:00am and sneak into your insurance company’s room to ask if they’re cool with it – 5:00 am is when people give the best feedback, at least in my own personal experience as a veteran, one-time hospital patient…

I don’t really like to sing in front of other people.

Call it anxiety, call it reality after my bizarre stint back in high school when for like a year and a half I was somehow the singer for the rock band I was in, but as much as I’ll sing along with the radio like anybody else in the car when I’m by myself, I normally just can’t do it with any sort of an audience – even if it’s just my wife.

Yet tonight I found myself singing Christmas carols in the car with Sara and Christopher, and it was both different and kind of nice.

Part of it was because we were desperately trying to distract David from whatever the heck he was crying about, and another part of it was sheer amusement/amazement each and every time that I looked over my shoulder to see Christopher smiling and singing along with us like he knew all of the words by heart!

Considering how much he really struggled with speech over the last couple of years, and even looking back to his end of the year program at school last year where the whole class sang a couple of songs and he just sort of stood there … it was really awesome to see my kid happily singing about Rudolf and Santa and Frosty like it was just another one of those things you do for fun at Christmastime.

…before life and anxieties convince your brain that you have no business emitting any tones other than your normal speaking voice, anyways!

It’s probably hard to tell much from the picture, but I still thought it was kind of neat to notice before going to bed for my unexpected second night in the hospital. It seems that the iconic, blue lights that run the edge of the building’s roofline actually change colors, and in fact are currently set to alternate red and green for the Christmas holiday!

Admittedly I think all of these medications and the general awesome care I’ve been getting are making me a real sap right now, but I thought that was kind of neat to see as I turned out all of my lights to go to bed tonight. 😉

Being a parent of toddlers, right now I’m more so just enjoying the kids experiencing the magic and excitement of Santa for the first time … even though Christopher is four now, I’m not sure in previous years he really understood the whole presents thing. But nonetheless, I haven’t really put much thought into the next next phase where they start to pick at the thread and ask questions like, “How does Santa Claus – who’s built like a dump truck – get down all of those skinny, little chimneys in one night???”

That said, I really liked this anecdote that Erik shared on social media the other day as an awesome way to transform the whimsical kids tale into an inspirational message for adults to lead their own lives by.

In my experience so far, a huge part of how we teach our kids to be the best people we can is through leading by example. It makes me very proud whenever someone remarks that Christopher is so polite, and a lot of that comes from him just being around me and mimicking whenever I tell someone please or thank you.

And if the idea of Santa Claus is a way to push forward those acts of kindness through the whole year by tying them to such a special, childhood favorite, well, talk about the gift that keeps on giving, indeed! 😉

What the hell is cellulitis, anyways?!

December 9, 2018 10:44pm
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A father calls his son a few days after being put into a nursing home…

“Son, you’re not going to believe it! This morning while my nurse was helping me get dressed, I got an erection … and she just gave me a blow job – just like that!” he said enthusiastically.

“Dad, that’s incredible!” replied his son.

“Thank you so much for putting me in this place…” he said before the two said their goodbyes and hung up the phone.

A few hours later, the son received a much more frantic call from his father…”

“Son – you’ve gotta get me out of here! I was walking down the hallway and I slipped and fell, and out of nowhere these two orderlies showed up and fucked me in the ass!”

“Well, Dad…” the son consoled his father, “earlier you said you got a blow job from your nurse, and you’ve gotta take the good with the bad…”

“No, no,” his Dad interrupted him. “You don’t understand – I get an erection once a month, I fall down three or four times a day!”

I love that joke!

So anyways … I’m in the hospital … with cellulitis!

I didn’t know what it was until I googled it, either, so feel free to check out that link above. In my case, it means that my left shin looks like hell and feels even worse to walk on.

And here I’m supposed to be going on vacation the day after tomorrow?!

Truth be told, this is the first time I’ve ever been admitted to the hospital. Sara’s spent the night as a patient more times than I can count, but I’ve been relatively lucky until this point. We’re hoping that I’ll get discharged tomorrow after a few more bags of antibiotics do their thing, so we’ll see.

It does, however, give me a new perspective on how lonely hospitals can be. I mean, my caregivers have all been great so far, but my time down in the ER before I got admitted was really rough – I was by all myself (because Sara stayed home with the kids), and the room was freezing, and I couldn’t eat or drink anything until they decided on a treatment plan, and all of my devices were low on batteries, and it didn’t matter anyways because the hospital’s wifi is shit…

It definitely gives me a newfound sympathy for my fellow inmates here.

Down in the ER, I almost felt guilty because there were so many moans and groans, and my biggest complaint was just being cold because my leg doesn’t really hurt if I keep off it.

For a while they had parked an old lady who was 91 years old right outside my room and I honestly wasn’t sure if she was alive or dead until she too started moaning.

I don’t think I could work in a place like this, but I tip my hat to my wife and sister-in-law and every other nurse and doctor and tech who rises to the challenge each and every day.

One thing I was kind of impressed with is how technology integration is improving. Before I was allowed to watch TV, I had to sit through a handful of tutorial videos about “how to be a good patient” that were actually really good because they talked about how it’s ok to ask questions if you don’t understand something, and to tell your caregivers information even if you’re not sure whether it’s relevant, and even telling patients to call out their caregivers if they don’t wash their hands before they enter the room.

It was a unique way to present what was previously probably just another paper to sign, and I think it gets the message across a little better.

I also like how the TV gets a pop-up whenever someone enters the room that shows you their name, picture, and job.

There are some areas that still have a ways to go – the “learn about my meds” option just goes to a search box, which was useless to me because I only have controls on my remote, not a full keyboard.

Same for the Patient Portal, which just loads a webpage for access to their web portal and ultimately wants a username and password … again, useless without a way to actually input letters and numbers!

I don’t know if maybe there’s a wireless keyboard hiding around this room somewhere, but the key to any good interface is simplicity, so I shouldn’t have to look or ask.

Anyways, the kids already came to visit and Christopher tried stuffing his graham crackers into the controls for my bed, so hopefully they won’t have to move me anywhere tonight!

I’m comfortable, but very restless.

I do have a nice view of my primary care physician’s office from across the little pond thingy, which is better than the roof/construction zone Sara had when she was pregnant with the twins!

Time to watch a bad movie or two before bed…

I get a little antsy about my home Internet speed when I spend any amount of time planning out home server stuff, and considering my little purchase of 50 TB of hard drives the other day…

In a way, it seems only natural – my next steps are to migrate the storage part of my media server into a rackmount NAS to go alongside the other rackmount server I acquired earlier this year that now houses the rest of Plex and the tools that I use to download content.

I’ve already picked out some new Ubiquiti rackmount network gear that I want to replace the router from my ISP with…

…and today I was even looking into the option of running 10 Gbps connections between my servers because, well, the only thing cooler than moving files around at 125 MB/s is moving files around at 1.25 GB/s!!!

So yeah, when we’re talking about internal network speeds in excess of one gigabit, it’s hard not to glance at the weak link in the chain that is my Internet connection and wonder, “Why can’t you keep up, little guy?!”

And don’t get me wrong – I totally get that only 25% of the country currently even has access to fiber Internet and a lot of people are stuck with cable or even DSL … but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow that the line currently running into my garage could be chugging along at a crisp and refreshing 1 Gbps, but instead here I am scrapping by with a mere 200 Mbps like a chump out of the stone age…

Truth be told, I just moved up from 150 Mbps to 200 Mbps this fall, but before that I’ve been sitting at 150 Mbps for almost 4 years now. In fact, I upgraded just before Verizon sold FiOS in Florida off to Frontier because I was afraid they’d make it a lot harder to upgrade in the future…

Foreshadowing!

To be honest, I have kind of a love-hate relationship with Frontier because the FiOS network itself is wonderful … it’s just that Frontier themselves isn’t a very smart company to be running it. Their customer service is typically awful, their pricing isn’t competitive, and lest we not forget, this was the fiber company previously ran by the CEO who thought that gigabit was a fad and consumers don’t really need it.

Sure, maybe not now, but what kind of a technology company doesn’t anticipate their customers’ needs well into the future?!

Anyways, I’ve been going back and forth with Frontier on various social media channels about how it isn’t fair that they only offer promotional pricing to new customers. They’ve actually argued back that it’s an industry standard and everyone does it … as if that makes it ok … and maybe it would, if only they didn’t charge half again as much for existing customers once those crazy promotions run out!

Seriously – I currently pay $75/month for a plan that a new subscriber can get for $50/month.

…and they can’t find any way to incentivize me sticking around for seven years now?!

I think what bugs me the most is the disparity for upgrading to the tiers above me because $10-20/month extra would be understandable, but that’s not what Frontier’s fee structure looks like…

  • 200 Mbps – $75/month
  • 300 Mbps – $125/month
  • 500 Mbps – $175/month
  • 1 Gbps – $225/month

Another fifty bucks for each leap is excessive, particularly when the likes of Verizon and AT&T and Comcast all selling gigabit access in their markets for around $100.

Even Spectrum, our local cable alternative, offers gigabit for $100, although the argument there is that they don’t support symmetrical speeds yet, so the upload is still way lower than the downstream … at least for now.

I told the account manager I was emailing with earlier today that I’d be happy to pay an extra twenty bucks to go up to 500 Mbps or $125 … hell, I’d even do $150/month for gigabit, despite it being almost double what Verizon is charging for the same service!

But when did we get to the point where $50 upgrades were the norm … unless Frontier simply doesn’t really want to sell these highest tiers and they figure if people want them badly enough, they’ll pay through the nose for them.

I suppose this is technically offering gigabit service, but not at a price where it will ever get widely adopted, that’s for sure…

It just makes me wish that Verizon had never sold us off, or that Frontier would hurry up and go bankrupt already so that someone else could swoop in and buy all of the assets from them. It’s sad that broadband rollout hasn’t been far more aggressive in the United States because it’s not like these companies don’t have the money to do it, and we’ve a million times over proven the value of high speed Internet access in our daily lives.

I really don’t like this direction we’re heading where Verizon is convinced that wireless is what we need for broadband – mostly because of how they love to charge by the GB for it – and right now they’ve got their stooge heading the FCC that’s dedicated to gutting any and all regulations holding them back from maximizing Internet profits for shareholder benefit.

Amidst all of my frustrations this evening, I actually found myself pondering if it would be worthwhile to try load balancing between two ISPs … for the same $175/month that Frontier wants for 500 Mbps, I could keep the 200 Mbps line that I have with them and buy a second, gigabit connection from Spectrum to try them out as an ISP and enjoy the benefits of that extreme download speed!

The thing is, as much as Frontier insists that I’m a valued customer, even though they won’t offer me a dime to stick around despite not having to pay the acquisition cost to earn me back again as a new subscriber already, you would think that they would be quick to stop an existing customer from testing the waters with the competition. You’d think that an extra $75/month would still be far better than negative $75/month for a lost customer…

…but Frontier doesn’t think. That’s the problem!

I know that I’ll get gigabit Internet here at home eventually … hell, it has me wondering if we’ll see 10 Gbps home connections still in my lifetime! But much like Veruca Salt, I want it now! 😉

TWO YEARS, I WAITED!!!

I stalked the Amazon, and Target, and Walmart websites.

I randomly showed up at stores when I heard that shipments were due in.

I even got the inside track from a stockman at Toys ‘R Us, who basically hinted that regular customers have no chance at getting coveted items when they show up six at a time and there are at least six employees who are even moderately interested in buying one.

Eventually I gave in like many others and built a RetroPie instead, and it still works great day!

And then I come across an entire stack of the things in the Nintendo aisle at Best Buy like they’re a part of some big holiday promotion or something!

So yeah, I bought one.

I don’t really need it because my RetroPie has all the games on it already, but I have the Super NES Classic and it’s a cute, little option for playing games in the bedroom late at night, so if nothing else I can set it up alongside that and recreate the nostalgic combo that got me through elementary and middle school!

Let’s be honest – I’d play The Legend of Zelda on a shiny rock if Nintendo released it; plus, all of the knock-offs … at least the ones that are bold enough to be sold at the freaking mall … kind of drive me nuts.

I still think it makes a cute way for my generation to relive the classics – especially if they’re not necessarily geeks and don’t want to jump through hoops and whatnot.

Swim lessons are expensive for three kids, but it’s nights like tonight when I’m beyond satisfied with the investment we’re making in these crazy, little swimmers.

The swim school that we’ve taken the boys to basically since Christopher was born does this program twice a year called Water Safety Week – during which instead of their usual lessons, every kid wears their normal clothes into the pool and gets taught at their level about the core basics of keeping themselves safe around around water. They spend some time in the pool so that they’re not foreign to the shock of being in the water with their clothes on, and then they all try on life jackets and float around the pool in the most adorable choo-choo train formation you’ve ever seen in your life!

They also take a few minutes to talk to us parents about the importance of using safety features with our pools at home and having designated watchdogs when attending or hosting a party where kids will be in or around the water. Some of the statistics shared are just terrifying – apparently in Florida alone, we’ve lost 86 kids to drowning this year … which is the equivalent of four preschool classes of drownings on average each year.

Fortunately, they say that swim lessons reduces the risk of a child drowning by 88%, so that’s something to help us sleep even just a little better at night.

Plus, the kids all just absolutely love their swim lessons, and it’s always fun to watch them trying out the new things that they’ve learned and being pushed towards new skills in an area that I myself very much struggled with growing up, and honestly still kind of do!

Plex has become a mainstay in our home over the last couple of years, expanding from only housing our movies and TV shows to also include educational programs and songs for the kids, series I’ve enjoyed and wanted to archive off of YouTube, and now … Christmas movies, too!

This is a little project that I’ve wanted to do for a while because previously all of our holiday shows were scattered throughout the regular movie and TV libraries, which are then separated by adult and kid content, whereas I always thought it would be nice around the holidays to have a dedicated library where you could look through only the Christmas stuff when you were sipping hot chocolate and looking to get all jolly and bright and whatnot.

There are a couple of different ways you can do it…

  • Create a separate folder and copy all of your holiday movies and shows into it, then add it to a new library dedicated to holiday shows … but this takes up twice as much space.
  • Create separate TV and movie folders for Christmas movies, then add them to both your existing libraries as well as your new holiday library.
  • (my choice) Create a new folder for Christmas shows and point your new library at it, then create symlinks to all of the media in their original locations.

This last option ended up working out well for me because it saved me from shuffling a bunch of files around, plus it gave me a fix for an unexpected problem that arose from certain Christmas specials that are normally organized under TV shows…

See, with the main Christmas library in Plex defined as a Movie library, it doesn’t find a metadata lookup for Garfield – S00E06 – A Garfield Christmas.mkv. The nice thing about symlinks, though, is that the linked name doesn’t need to equal the source name, and so I’m able to turn the TV-friendly filename into something that the IMDB can actually recognize like this – A Garfield Christmas Special (1987).mkv.

The command I used in Linux to create these links looks like this (executed in my new Christmas movies library folder):

ln -s "/path/to/TV Shows/Garfield & Friends/Specials/Garfield - S00E06 - A 
Garfield Christmas.mkv" "A Garfield Christmas Special (1987).mkv"

I’d say it took me maybe a couple of hours spread out over several sessions of searching through each library for the shows & movies I wanted, then copy & pasting the links into a Terminal window to create each symlink. The result is a nice, clean library with nothing but Christmas, and if I need to hide it away come January 1st until next season, that’s easy enough to do, too. 😉

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