Wednesday, March 29, 2006

What Sammie didn't do yesterday...

Last night, Sammie was very proud of himself for something he didn't do earlier in the day.

I left work early yesterday--it was my first day back and I was exhausted. Rather than take a nap, I curled up on the couch with the latest afghan I'm working on and watched one of my all-time favorite movies, Sound of Music. When Sammie came home to find me in the middle of the movie he tried to make snide comments about my choice of entertainment, but I cut him off abruptly. He's not allowed to mock Sound of Music. When I got to the romantic highpoint--the gazebo scene between Maria and the Captain--I turned it off and said I wasn't going to watch it with him around because he would ruin it.

Later on, Sammie went to webelos and I went to KFC to grab takeout. (I know, I know. But it's good grease. And we had a coupon.) We watched American Idol while licking the grease off our fingers, then played a game of Scrabble (which he let me win because I'm a poor sport about losing Scrabble. I'm an english professor for crying out loud). After the game, he commented to me that he may be a goofball, but I had no idea how many things he thought of doing but resisted, not knowing how I would react. I asked him what he had come up with lately and not done. He confessed that earlier, when I came home with dinner, he had wanted to be curled up on the couch in front of Sound of Music, crying.

In this case, it was the thought that counted. I laughed as hard as if he had actually done it...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Last night, tired and ready for bed, I said, "Melba, can we pray?"

"Can I take my drugs first?"

Of all the tempting responses to give while she downed a few pills, I chose, "Do you think that will help you better communicate with Diety?"

"No. I'm taking drugs just to help me through your prayer."

Sometimes A- acts more like me than I do and it really makes me wonder how she deals with me all of the time. Whoa, I just re-read that sentence. It's either really deep or really stupid.

I'm going to stop now.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Melba was well enough to go to Sacrament Meeting yesterday, but we left shortly thereafter. Whenever she is sitting, her weight goes to her abdomen which is where the surgery was which causes her pain, which means I need to take her home. She promptly went to bed, I promptly turned on the TV to watch George Mason and UConn. I was to wake Melba up in an hour and then take her to see the cherry blossoms.

1 hour later the game is still on and it looks like George Mason might pull off one of the biggest upsets in the history of College basketball (’86 LSU is the only other 11 seed to make it to the Final Four). “How much longer till the game is over?” she asks. “About 20 minutes.” With a cocky smile of victory she says, “That’s great. Wake me up in about 20 minutes.”

17.5 seconds left, GMU up by 4. “Melba, the game is almost over and it looks like GMU will win. I really think you’ll want to witness this.”

“Wake me up in 17.5 seconds.”

17.5 seconds later – “Melba, the game is going into overtime.” She sees this as yet another victory and promptly goes back to sleep.

GMU wins in overtime and that means that none of the teams I picked get into the Final Four. I’m not upset. About this.

I’m now stuck near the bottom of my pool. Jonas Anderson happens to be in first. He leaped into first when LSU beat Duke. How convenient that the very school Jonas attends loses such an important match-up for his bracket picks. It’s not coincidence, it’s conspiracy. It’s cheating when you pick your own school to lose such an important game. If this were DC (and it is) your career would be over.

And so it is. Jonas, I hereby declare our friendship over. And the friendship I have with your wife (who is also my cousin). And the friendship my wife has with you two (if she stayed friends with you two, there would be way too much weirdness in the House of Funkweiler.)

That’s a joke, btw. I’m still friends with Jonas. And his wife. My wife is friends with them too. But I think the next time we go out to eat, I’m going to make them pay for dinner...

Friday, March 24, 2006


As newlyweds, Sammie and I have given eachother quite a few nicknames. Mine for him are: Ramading, My Treasure, Sammie-Wammie-Dinger-Donger, etc. His for me are: Elbaroon and George (I don't get it either) among others. Well, with the recent renovations on my anatomical make-up, I have been given a new nickname: "A-". This is appropriate, of course, because I am now minus my appendix, but also because I spend so much of my time, energy, and complaints on grading.

The other night, our good friends Steve and Megan were here. Sammie is scheduled to photograph their wedding in Vegas in two weeks with me, of course, as his assistant. Steve threatened to cut me out of the deal, however, saying we needed an "all-appendix" team for this one. Or, of course, an "A team."

I guess I just don't cut it anymore...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

My last blog (the one right below this) was pretty long. Here's a little trivia question for you - which key on my computer did I use most when writing that blog? Answer: The 'Backspace' key. I married into a family of Doctors so most of jokes needed to be deleted out.

I did have a joke that was cut, not for content, but because it didn't really fit in anywhere. I'd hate for it to not get used, so here it is:

The bad news is that Melba had to have her right leg amputated. The good news is that the surgeon did such a good job, you can hardly tell it's missing.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

When anyone in a hospital uses the words/phrases 'now', 'right away', and/or, 'in just a second' what they are really saying is, "Certainly not within the next 30 minutes, and if there's a commercial on TV, we might do it within the hour."

Saturday Night: "Sammie, I'm really sick. My stomach is killing me. I want to die."

Sunday Morning: "Sammie, I'm still really sick. Instead of it being all over my abdomen, it's all in the lower right side."

Off to the ER we went. Not too many people there at 9am. Not too much to do in the waiting room. So we waited. I think they make you do this to prepare you for all of the waiting you'll be doing for the rest of the day. I watched a 4-year-old plug his mom's nose and laugh himself silly everytime she talked in her nasally voice. (I could tell she was doing it intentionally just to make him laugh. What a good mom.)

We get into the ER and Melba got an IV and some drugs to stop the pain. The nurse was having a hard time finding a vein. "If none of her veins will work, you can use one of mine." The nurse scowled at me. "Hey, when we were married we became one." The nurse finally laughed. (I had been trying to make her laugh for a while.)

Then we waited for an hour for the PA to come and look at her. Appendicitis or an ovarian cyst. Melba looked at me and said "My appendix is broken." If you've seen American Idol this season, you'll find that hilarious. I went outside to make the 'update calls'. ER waiting room was PACKED (it would stay that way for the rest of the day).

I got back and helped Melba drink a 'disgusting' cherry flavored drink so when they do the CT scan they can see herinsides. She finishes at 12:15pm. Now we must wait for 2 hours and they will do the CT. In the meantime, they are going to do a sonogram to check the ovaries. Almost an hour later they decide to hurry and do the sonogram, because Melba needs to go to the bathroom and the sonogram requires a full bladder. SURPRISE - they waited so long, Melba goes to the bathroom anyways. They still do the sonogram. Why does it work? By the time they got to doing the sonogram, enough time had passed for her bladder to refill.

Sonogram finishes at 1:50pm. "Someone will by by right away to take you back to the ER." I foolishly believe them, thinking with the CT Scan scheduled for 2:15pm, they've had 2 hours to get ready - what could go wrong? At 2:40pm, we are still waiting to go back to the ER. I conclude that INOVA Fairfax Hospital is really one big waiting room. I'd been looking for someone to complain to for a while, but no one is to be found. I finally find someone watching basketball on TV and ask for help. We get back to the ER, I throw a stink and they take her to do the CT Scan.

Melba returns at 3pm, we should have the results 'shortly'. (Yeah, right.) 3:30pm I start bugging people about when we will know the results. "Oh, we already know them."

"When do we get to learn?"

"I'll get the Dr. right now and she'll tell you." 3:50 pm we learn Melba is going to say good-bye to her appendix until her body is resurrected.

5:30 pm Melba is wheeled off to the surgery room shortly after the hometeacher arrived. Her departing words to me were, "I'm glad I only have one appendix, because I never want to go through this again."

7pm Dr. comes to the 'designated' Waiting Room (not to be confused with every other room in the hospital) and tells me the surgery went fine. Had we waited an extra day, there would have been real problems. I go to the recovery room and see Melba. "Hey" was all she said before faling back asleep. I left to have dinner with the Kidd's (hometeacher).

9pm I get back to the hospital and wait for Melba to get to her room.

9:15pm - She is fine. She could make complete phrases, but not complete sentences. I told her I would come back to pick her up when they release her tomorrow.

Monday 10:45am - I leave work to go pick up Melba who will be released 'shortly'. (Don't worry, I had called her 3 times already to make sure she was OK.) I have time to go fill the Rx, buy flowers, stop by the condo to get her jacket - I get to the hospital at noon and she still hasn't been released.

12:15pm The nurse comes, releases her and tells us a wheelchair is on it's way.

12:45pm we leave without the wheelchair. The nurse sees us and apologizes -- there were 3 people ahead of us waiting for a wheelchair. (Think about that -- it's one of the largest hospitals in the Greater DC Area...)

It's now Tuesday early afternoon. Melba is doing fine. Thanks you RS for the dinners :)

Monday, March 20, 2006

An effective way to measure how much love (the Christ-like kind) one has for another is the Vomit Clean Up Meter or VCU Meter for short.

In my first area as a missionary, I got really sick one night and jumped out of bed to throw up. Without being too descriptive, I got within 5 feet of the toilet and let it go. My companion woke up and saw the mess. Knowing I was sick and tired (no pun intended) he put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Comp, go back to bed. I'll clean this up for you." That, my friends, is maxing out on the VCU Meter.

Saturday night Melba said to me, "Sammie, I'm really sick and I'm think I'm going to throw up." We raced home. Sick she was. Sure enough, before long there was some clean-up to do in the bathroom. At last I had a chance to max out the VCU Meter and really show my wife how much I loved her. "Melba, go to bed -- I'll clean it up."

Without having even heard of the VCU Meter, Melba barked back at me, "Sammie, don't go in the bathroom. Don't look in the bathroom. Don't even try to smell the bathroom. I love you too much than to let you clean up after me."

I guess my VCU Meter was created with a flaw. I never expected a vomiter to love someone else so much that said vomiter would refuse the other away when help to clean up is offered.

I never thought I would marry someone as wonderful as her.

(Tomorrow's exciting episode: Melba has her appendix removed...)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Actual comment made by a 30-something single guy yesterday at lunch:

"I didn't have any cash until I opened the Valetine's Day card my mom sent me. It had $10 in it."

Ture story. No further commentary needed.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Why do I like Tony Corbell?

I’ve discovered a slight problem with my fish-eye lens/flash in that the lens covers a wider space than the flash. This means whenever I use the flash with this lens, the edges are dark. I did some research on the internet and found a flash which gives wider coverage - for $575. I went to a camera store to ask them about it and they said along with the flash, I would need some other accessories which would run another $500ish. So I decided to call Tony and see if all of this gear was really worth the money. He would know because he uses it all.

“Sammie, none of that gear works. What you need is a Lumiquest Stofen Cover. They cost $20. Put it on your flash, point the flash straight up, set your camera to ISO400, F 5.6 @ 1/30th, or 1/15th if it’s really dark, and you’ll have all the coverage you need.”

“Thanks, Tony. You just saved me $1000.”

“You’re welcome. The way I see it, you now owe me that $1000.”

The funny part of the story is that Tony then tells me about a picture of Paul McCartney he saw in an exhibit that he wants to buy. Cost for an original print? $1000. Here is a copy of the picture. You can see a larger version on Paul’s website.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Happy Pi Day, everyone. While the concept of celebrating the number Pi on March 14th (3-14) is new to me, I’m sure my brother Steev (also spelled xdHIV) has been celebrating it for years. It actually wouldn’t surprise me if he started it. But I digress...

I met Satan last night. Just kidding, all I really did was try to get my half of the comforter back. Please note the wording of the previous sentence which was selected rather carefully. In lieu of hogging the whole comforter, Melba had managed to slide my half over herself, and then push her half right off the bed and onto the floor. Bless her poor, little, loving heart – she got mean when I first tried to take the comforter back, then awoke from her sleep in an endless abyss of remorse that she had taken the covers from me.

“Melba, it’s really OK. Let’s just be thankful that the monsters under the bed aren’t drooling.”

(Yes, I stole that line from the Calvin and Hobbes book. It’s a really funny bit of imagination once you understand what’s going on.)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Every time I go to a city for the first time, I often feel compelled as a photographer to take a picture of something that is truly representative of the city. This accounts for my pictures of Red Square in Moscow, The Duomo in Milan and the Monuments in Washington DC – to name a few.

Well, yesterday as Melba was coming home from the gym, she woke me up with comments about how beautiful it was outside. Warm, sunny, fresh air – this is her way of telling me that I need to take her to Shenandoah National Park. Off we went.

Hey, Sammie – we’re really low on gas, we need to fill up before we get to Skyline Drive. (Skyline drive is the main road through Shenandoah.) We stopped at a nearby small town, Luray, known only for it’s smallness and caverns, to fill up with gas. (Which, btw, everyone should see these caverns at least once. They are the bomb.)

Seeing as I haven’t taken any pictures of Luray (other than the caverns) I felt I should take a picture of the one thing that would forever stay in my mind about the town.

Wait a second here. To think I’ve been blinded for so long that I almost tried to earn more money with an MBA. I’m now looking for a good realtor in Luray :)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Sammie in the Morning
A short piece by Melba

He sleeps on his side, barely visible beneath the Star Wars comforter. The dark warmth of the room envelops him like another blanket. I part the covers to kiss his scruffy cheek and giggle inside at the shock of red hair standing up on his head. He responds to my gesture with a low grunt that is almost a moan. I run my fingers through his red hair and tickle his ear with my nose. “Good Morning,” I croon. Another soft moan. My next caress is interrupted by the jangle of the alarm clock on the night stand. He sits up—sleepy, a yawning orangutan roused from hibernation, but smiling. After scratching my cheek with a quick kiss, he staggers into the bathroom.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Anyone Got a Rack?

Friday night, we had some friends over to play games. Another couple, the Ks, came over and our wonderful friend, J, who is female. The game we were playing required the retention of quite a few cards, that needed to be fanned out to easily be seen. While holding her cards, J commented that she wished she had a rack to hold her cards. Sammie, being a smart alec, responded, "You have one, J, it's called your hand!" J's always a good sport about Sammie teasing her. But I scolded him for not being nice to our guests. He responded, "I was just pointing out that she had a rack." By the time he got to the last word, we all saw what was coming, and ducked our heads to giggle. This was one time that Sammie actually didn't mean to make a joke. He rarely gets embarassed, but this was an exception!