Monday, November 23, 2009


This morning Sam had to have tubes put in his ears and have his adenoids out. He has been having trouble hearing for a few weeks and a visit to the doctor revealed that his ears were full of fluid. This is the second time he has had tubes put in. It is pretty routine procedure, takes about 10 minutes, and usually isn't a big deal. Nevertheless it caused us to have to get up pretty early and drive into downtown Austin.

The surgery center is next to a big parking garage. When we arrived at 6:10am the garage had its gates open and was pretty much deserted. I wasn't sure of the protocol so I drove in and parked. I did notice that there was a sign that the parking garage only takes cash or checks, but I didn't really have time to deal it before his appointment. (I never carry cash and I hate checks)

Sam's surgery went very well. After he recovered from the anesthesia and got his IV removed we were free to go. He was a bit groggy but felt pretty good. I picked Sam up in my arms carrying the can of soda that he was given, his bag of random items (prescriptions and whatnot) and headed for the car. I headed down the elevator, across the courtyard and up the stairs in the parking garage. The parking garage was manned by this time, and I knew I needed to figure out how to get some cash.

In my head I was being frustrated with the garage. Who doesn't take credit cards nowadays anyway? In fact, I think I even mumbled out loud something like "...these ridiculous cash only people..." Which I had to explain away to Sam, since I realized that it was inappropriate as soon as I said it.

After dropping Sam's stuff at the car, I picked Sam back up and headed back down the stairs in the garage to see if I could find an ATM somewhere. I decided to go ask the garage attendant since he probably gets asked this question at least 40 times a day. I was kind of half hoping that the attendant would simply say something like "its okay, I see you are carrying a little boy in his pajamas, I'll just let you out." Obviously this did not happen. He told us where to find an ATM in an adjacent building, and we were off again.

It was at this point that I was humbled by the 6 year old that I was carrying in my arms. In our family we have a tradition to list things for which we are grateful before we say our family prayer at night. Each person in the family gets to list what they were grateful for that day. These can be very small or big things. Jacob is always grateful for "frogs." Sam is often grateful for "the whole world except mosquitoes".

But today, as we walked to the other building to find that ATM, at a moment when I was clearly tired and a bit frustrated Sam looked up at me and said, "Dad, I'm going to be grateful for that man tonight." (Referring to the garage attendant) Sam was obviously genuinely grateful for this man that had helped us find an ATM so we could get some money and go home.

I am grateful for the Thanksgiving season and for beautiful children that often understand what we teach them better than we do. And after some repentance I am also grateful for a garage attendent that told me how to find an ATM so I could go home.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Special Post

hello i am sam and I have lots of legos because I got them from my family because they know I like legos.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Start of a Blog

Starting a blog is awful. You can tell by the fact that I created this blog months ago, gave it a great look, remade my website, and haven't touched it since. Not that this is surprising to anyone that knows me now.

As a younger man I don't think I would have guessed that I would become that guy that never reads his email. I always had an obsession with technology. I always wanted to get the newest computer operating system, the newest version of the latest thing. One would think that Facebook, email, and cell phones would be an extension of this obsession.

However, currently I own an old Motorola Razr and am quite happy with it. I have become the guy that checks his email weekly instead of hourly or even daily. I don't ever check my voice mail and my answering machine still doesn't list Jacob as part of our family. (He turned three last month...) The last time I updated my facebook status was September 5th and then only because BYU beat OU.

I am impossible to get a hold of, unless you happen to run into me, or give me a call when I'm right next to the phone. Part of it is that life has gotten busy, although I know a lot of people with busy lives that seem to still update their facebook status on a hourly basis or can even stay up with the latest tweet. I'm not really sure how they do it.

Don't get me wrong. I still love technology, and if I had unlimited funds I would still own an iPhone. (although I still wouldn't check my voice mail) But in my opinion technology has gotten too social...the first computer which my family owned was a Tandy 2000. It had no hard drive until my parents upgraded it to a whopping 40 MB hard disk some time after purchasing the computer. It had a blazing processor capable of running at 4.5 or 9 Mhz. And most importantly it had no internet. It was just a box that did what you told it to.

You would give it a list of instructions and it would simply perform them. Exactly how you asked it.

For example you would write something like:

10 PRINT "Hello World!"
20 END

And it would. It was marvelous. I spent hours programming on the computer and it is where I gained my continued love of engineering and software programming. There is something about the predictability of a computer that I found addicting.

Before you say "But my computer never does what it is supposed to!" Let me explain what I mean. Computers do exactly what people tell them to. Exactly. And if a person, say a software developer, says to do something stupid, it does it. This is exactly how we ended up with Windows ME and AOL. Often a user of these complex machines doesn't know what people have told their computer to do, and that is when it seems unpredictable. But every weird behavior your computer exhibits has a logical explanation, even if it is difficult to figure out.

I find that consistency refreshing. Then came social networking. Now people have become more the experience of a computer. And with people comes unpredictability. For example no matter how many times I say to my kids:

20 CLEAN "Your Room"
30 BRUSH "Your Teeth"
40 PUTON "Your Pajamas"

It doesn't seem to have the same level of predictability. The same is true of interactions with people over voice mail, email, Facebook, and Twitter. Let me be clear that I don't avoid being social in general. I'm just not sure if I want to mix the social with my computer.

So I'm rebelling against social technology specifically and not technology in the grander scheme of things. And this is why I never answer my email. I admit it makes me sound crazy but we are all a little crazy.