Thursday, June 28, 2007

I can't wait to fly in this

Flying in the future looks really comfortable. Check out the Boeing's 787 Dreamliner site. Rockwell Collins is supplying the Displays; communications/surveillance systems and pilot control system for this plane.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's heating up outside

We finally broke down and turned on the central air yesterday. I really can't believe that we waited as long as we did. We have had the little window air on in our bedroom upstairs and it worked just fine for us at night. It's always warmer upstairs, but the rest of the house felt pretty cool except for yesterday.

Daryl has his biopsy today. I know he didn't sleep very well last night as I found him on the couch this morning. His friends Pat and Michael are going with him. I will be going with him next Monday to his doctors appointment to go over the results. The doctor is on vacation this week and he told Daryl to call for the results if he wants to know before Monday. Daryl plans on finding out today when they will know and calling them for the information . All this waiting is really driving him nuts! Every night we get phone calls from family and friends wanting to know what we have heard and we have nothing to tell them. It will be nice to know when everything is going to take place, so I can plan to take the days off that I have to.

Michael's is on the job hunt. He had an interview yesterday and has another one later on this week. I don't think it will take him long to find a job. It's been pretty fun lately having him around. It kind of feels like we have adopted an adult size child.

Monday, June 25, 2007

I'm 24 points from Hell

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Daryl, Michael and the Doctor

The throat specialist said that Daryl has a growth on his thyroid approximately two centimeters in diameter. Monday we should hear from the hospital radiologist as to when the biopsy is scheduled. If it turns out to be cancer they will remove the thyroid and the enlarged lymph nodes around it. That surgery would take place before his back fusion surgery.

Daryl and I decided that his friend Michael can stay with us for a couple of months until he can get back on his feet again, finding a job and saving up enough to get a place of his own. Michael can also help us out by going to the appointments with Daryl as I have to get back to work next week.

our little mouser

You would think a cat that loves to play with fake mice as much as Cole does, would be able to catch a REAL mouse running around our house! Yes, we have two cats, and bate boxes outside the house that are checked every other month by a pest service, but we STILL have mice!

Cole did manage to get himself stuck in a sticky mouse trap. It happened to have a mouse stuck on it with him. So far, the sticky traps have caught three mice. The two cats, ah......ZERO!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Rainy Friday

Rain, rain and more rain. This morning our unofficial rain gauge had 2.5 inches of rain in it. Yesterday we had almost an inch of rain. It's been raining since I got up this morning. Fortunately, I got up before the rain started and was able to get our dog out to go to the bathroom before it started as she won't go out if it's raining.

Daryl had a note on the counter from Micheal this morning. I couldn't help reading it as it was just setting there. Michael wants to move in with us for a while and find a job in Cedar Rapids. I'm going to leave this one up to Daryl to decide. I don't have a problem with him staying for a while, it's Daryl's friend and he has to make the call on this one.

Jeff, Kerry and I were going to go down to the BBQ Roundup when it opens at 11 this morning and eat as we all have the day off. With the rain we may have to change our plans. I'm expecting Jeff to call any time now and let me know what is going on. Daryl went to work this morning , his appointment isn't until this afternoon. Michael will sleep until about noon as he has the past couple of days. It almost seems like a Sunday today. Time seems to be moving slow.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I took the bike out for a ride yesterday. I took this picture standing on the Martin Luther King Jr. bridge facing the downtown area of Cedar Rapids. The red tent is set up for the Barbecue Roundup that will start today.

Tomorrow Daryl has to go to another doctor. Our family doctor called yesterday and said that the CT indicated a large cell mast. They set up an appointment on Friday for him to see a throat specialist.
Daryl's friend Michael has been staying with us the last few days. I think it's nice to have someone around for him to talk to and keep him busy thinking about other things. I'm nervous, but I tend to not get upset at things that are out of my control. I guess we will know more tomorrow.

Friday, June 15, 2007


I took about 6 pictures and I think my hand was shaking so bad that they didn't come out. They are very cool looking, just a bit scary to me.

The locus are a little camera shy. The closer I got to them the more they moved away.

test result update....still waiting

One more test. Daryl's ultrasound indicated that he has a couple of cysts as well as the enlarged lymph node. They are going to schedule a CT scan next week to find out what it is. The nurse said they will probably get back to us on Monday. More waiting.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Daryl's test results

Tuesday Daryl found out from the doctor that he needs to have surgery on his back. He has to have spinal fusion back surgery. He went to the doctor by himself. I think when they mentioned surgery he stopped listening. I kind of feel bad that I didn't go along with him for the appointment. They always say that you should have someone else along to listen. I didn't take off work because we have been short of people, half our department is on vacation. We had scheduled our vacation for next week as we were suppose to be going to Chicago and I had to cover for the people being gone this week. I will still be taking a few days off, but the trip is canceled because of this surgery coming up. Hopefully, they will schedule his surgery this week as I already have it off if I want to use it.
We are waiting today for news on the Daryl's latest test. He has an enlarged lymph node and the surgeon sent him to our primary doctor. Our doctor ordered an ultrasound this week. We are waiting on that result to see if everything is a go for his back surgery.
The surgeon said that Daryl will spend a night in the hospital after the surgery and be off of work for six weeks. He should be feeling better in about a week after the surgery, but will be restricted from lifting our doing any kind of strenuous activities. I guess that wild sex if off for a bit! :)
Pictured above is the Yukka plant that bloomed this week. It is next to our Iowa Cactus.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

St. Louis Marathon

Ever since I have met Jeff he has been going on about St Louis. The five years he lived in the city he said the spring seemed to come early and last a long time. Well, it sure wasn't beautiful the weekend of the St. Louis marathon(April 15)! It started out nice when we left on Friday the 13th around one pm. About an hour into the trip the indicator light came on flashing a warning of some type of tire problem. Jeff called the rental company to find out what it was about. They didn't know what it was , so we decided to continued on on our trip hoping that we didn't have a breakdown on the highway and switch cars when we arrived in St. Louis. At the St. Louis airport we found the the rental company and made the car swap. They said it was the third problem car they had that day and Jeff was given a free rental day for being friendlier than the two previous return people. It pays to be nice every once in a while.

After the airport we went to our hotel. The baseball game didn't start until 7:00 so we had some time to unwind before we headed to the game. On the way down to the stadium Jeff gave me a little tour of the downtown area, pointing out Union Station and of course the arch.

Busch Stadium is really cool! I guess I love the fact that they built a new structure and designed it to look and feel like an old ball park. As we walked in we immediately caught a whiff of hot dogs and beer. On our way to find our seats we grabbed a beer and stopped by the food stand to get a hot dog. I got to try my first St. Louis toasted ravioli! After eating we carried our beers up the stairs to the third level and found our seats. We settled into our seats and took in the atmosphere of the stadium and of course all the cute men sitting around us. We play this game of picking out the guys that would be our first choice of men that we would want to sleep with and and then pick a guy who would be our bare minimum, the last choice before the guy we definitely wouldn't sleep with. Bare minimum is a lot harder. It's really funny sometimes to see how low someone would go. Jeff has a lower standard than me I think!

It would have been a wonderful night if it hadn't started raining 10 minutes before the game was suppose to start. We hung around under the deck with the rest of the crowed until they started to pull the tarps over ball field. We new the game would be called off at that point. It was a bummer for me that the game was an rain out.

Jeff suggested that we go to the Soulard area to the oldest gay bar in St. Louis by the name of Clementine’s. The bar seemed very small to me. Jeff said they have an outside area when the weather is nice. I told Jeff afterwards that I felt REALLY attractive in that bar! I guess I wasn't really in the mood to drink that night as the beer wasn't going down very fast and everyone seemed totally drunk and it was very Smokey. Can I bitch anymore? After having a drink we decided to hit another bar. The weather was so awful and rainy that we really didn't want to walk outside very long. The next bar was some type of gay/country bar. The guy was clueless on how to make a martini, so he only charged us for one drink. I couldn't even choke that drink down. Next we went down the street to a straight sports bar to look at some eye candy before heading back to the hotel. Jeff wanted to get a good nights rest both nights because of the race. I didn’t mind the first night because it was cold and dreary outside and I didn’t feel in the party mood. Jeff didn't want me to watch any TV, so he could get some sleep. Well, I went to sleep, but he kept waking me up because I was snoring and he couldn't get to sleep. I bet he was up a dozen times running to the bathroom and complaining that he couldn't sleep. I don't know why he wanted to get back to the room so early that night if he wasn't ready to sleep?

Saturday morning we did sleep in a little. The hotel had a breakfast and we headed down the 9 floors to eat. I forgot to mention that one of the elevators crapped out Friday night and so it was just easier to take the stairs. It's not to bad going down 9 floors , it really sucks having to go up and then find out your key doesn't work!

Jeff loves the Soulard Farmers Market and he wanted to show it to me. He said Jackie (Jeff's ex-wife) and him would do their grocery shopping all the time at the market when they lived in St. Louis, because it was so cheap. It was fairly easy to find a parking space that morning because of the cold and rain. Most of the vendors didn’t even open. I got a feel of the market. I’m sure it would have been great if not for the cold weather.

The only option for us the rest of the day was to do indoor activities. I suggested that we go to The Arch. Jeff has seen it about 20 times, so he wasn’t too enthused about that. He went along with my idea as long as I went with him to the runner’s expo at the Adam's mark hotel. I enjoyed the Arch and the movie before it. The Arch is a lot larger than I thought it was. The pod elevators are kind of small and I'm glad I'm not claustrophobic. I enjoyed the view from the little windows on top. It had started to spit snow when we got up to the top and the wind that day gave the arch a little sway. It felt as we were on a boat.

After that we went to the expo and then to Union Station. All we had planned for the evening was to go to the Hill area and meet Jeff's adoptive family ( the people he lived and work for during his college years) and eat with them. I had the best lasagna that I have ever had in my life at Guido's! After that we decided to take it easy and just go see a movie, because Jeff had to get his rest for the race in the morning. The movie was and it was OK, not that exciting, but it killed some time.

The night was a disaster. Jeff bounced up and down all night again and complained about me. It kind of pissed me off! It's not like we haven't ever shared a room before and I don't think I snore any louder than I use to. He was just nervous about the race and couldn't sleep. I use to get that way before anything, but now I don't fret the small stuff and sleep pretty well most of the time. I think this is the last trip we will take together unless we have different rooms. He apologised the next day to me and all if forgiven.

The marathon was something to behold. I never seen the beginning of a race before. Lots of people jammed together waiting to start. Jeff's friend Jill also ran the race. The weather was a little cool, but nice considering what we had the day before. Jill finished the 1/2 in a little over 2 hours. Jeff took considerably longer. He said he lost steam 1/2 way during the race. I always have to give Jeff credit for doing these things. Jeff says his metabolism is zero and he would weigh 300 lbs if he didn't exercise every day. I think that may be true to a point, but I know Jeff likes to eat a lot too. Watching the race isn't that exciting, but it was OK, because I got to hang around with Jill's really hot Fiance' by the name of Jeff too. He sells gym equipment and is really a pretty cool guy. He is kind of alfa dog like though, always wanting to be in control of the situation.

After Jeff took his shower we packed up and headed out of town. Pretty boring stuff, but at least I got to see some of St. Louis. I suppose if I was adventurous I could have ventured out on my own. I figured that I would have another chance for that if we every return. I'm sure we will, I think Daryl would really enjoy St. Louis. Although I didn't really get to do that much because of the limitations with the weather and Jeff needing his rest for the race, I'm glad I was able to see a little of St. Louis.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

chinese laterns, wine and friends

This morning I have a few hours to wait until Daryl gets home from work. He has an appointment to get a MRI this morning. He has had some serious pain in his back and shoulder area for some time now. The Chiropractor visits have given him some relief, but now that isn't working. The X-Ray seems to indicate that he may have a bone spur or possibly arthritis. The MRI should be able to tell what exactly the problem is. Tuesday he will have the appointment with the doctor to go over the results.
After Daryl's appointment this morning we have to go get the camper and bring it to my brother's place. He uses it every year for a camping trip he go's on with a bunch of his friends. I hope Daryl will feel up to the ride, or else I will be delivering the camper to him myself.

I headed down to the farmers market in the morning to get some asparagus. I new it was kind of late in the season for it, but I thought by chance someone would still have some to sell. No luck was had. I ended up buying a loaf of bread at the farmers market and the asparagus from the Hyvee grocery store. We planned on having Daryl's friends Rod and Heather over that evening and I thought it would be nice to have the asparagus cooked on the grill. We introduced Rod and Heather a couple of weekends ago at our house and they have been getting along just great! They wanted to thank us again for introducing them, so they brought over some food and we thought we could have a cook-out. Daryl's cousin Mike and his boyfriend Brian stopped by with some beer and Mike had made a baked bean dish. I'm not sure what everyone else had to drink last night, but I know that Mike and I polished off three bottles of wine between us. Daryl cooked the chicken breast and baked potatoes on the the grill. He is the best at grill cooking, everything turns out just perfect! We had been drinking for a few hours before we sat down to eat. I realized half way during the meal that we hadn't made the asparagus. I guess the alcohol must have fuzzed up my head a little bit!

The weather was just perfect last night and we had the fire going out back. During the day I strung up some Chinese lanterns along the side of the garage. It provided us with just enough light and I thought they looked very attractive. I just love being out on our patio during the warm weather!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A bill that will help us

When Rockwell Collins added domestic partnership medical coverage to their plan, we didn't immediately sign up for the benefit. I weighed my plan and Daryl's and thought that the cost would be about the same in premiums, but Daryl would have twice as much coverage under my plan. I didn't realize that the tax burden would also be changed. Currently, the Internal Revenue Code excludes from income the value of insurance premiums and benefits received by employees for coverage of an employee’s spouse and dependents, but does not extend this treatment to coverage of domestic partners. The Domestic partnership benefit for Daryl is $5292 added to my income. I have an extra tax added to my paycheck that other couples do not have for their spouse and dependents. A bill was introduced in March in the House of Representatives and has been introduced in the Senate this week. Hopefully, this bill will pass making it better not only for us, but for other couples, especially those gay and lesbian couples with children. Then of course if it passes, we will have to see if President Bush will sign it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


Bipartisan Bill Will End Tax Inequities That Apply to Employer-Provided Health Insurance for Domestic Partners

WASHINGTON — Today, Sens. Gordon Smith, R-Ore., and Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., introduced the Tax Equity for Domestic Partner and Health Plan Beneficiaries Act, a bill supported by the Human Rights Campaign. Smith and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., are the lead sponsors of the legislation; Lieberman is an original co-sponsor. The legislation, which was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on March 29, 2007, by Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash., would end the tax inequities that currently apply to employer-provided health insurance for domestic partners.

Friday, June 08, 2007

the Iowa Cactus

It has taken 4 years, but finally the cactus have bloomed! I was against Daryl moving them from his former home. My thought was that it was a bad idea to plant something that needs a dry climate and I thought they would be hard to keep looking nice because the weeds would grow up around them, not to mention the spines on them. It survived and is blooming and looking pretty nice. I think the flowers are beautiful!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Drug test at work

Today I got my tap on the shoulder and was sent down to the nurse's station to get my drug and alcohol test. This is a requirement the company has as we are a military contractor. A random selection of people have to take a drug test. I have had to do it a couple of times over the past few year. I guess I'm lucky getting picked at something! My supervisor caught me right at the time I was getting up to head to the bathroom, so it was no problem for me to pee in the cup and fill it to the line that they wanted. This is a big concern for some of the people that are pee shy.
I passed the alcohol breath test and I'm 100% sure of the drug test too, but we don't get the results for that unless it comes up positive for something.
When I got back from the test someone had printed out an article from the Collins web site and left it on my station. It was about the radio (MIDS JTRS) I have been working on for the past year and a half. It's great to hear that the test went OK! This is the second new product I have worked on from the initial design steps. It is always hard to get all the manufacturing bugs worked out . Constantly, they are changing and reworking things as the engineers change the product to get it to work. It keeps me busy, most of the time I like being busy. It has been very hectic at times, but it satisfying to see something evolve into a product line.

Grad. Party at the campgrounds

Sunday night I went and joined Daryl out at the campgrounds. Thankfully, no big bugs to deal with! Below is a picture of our camper. We got it about four years ago. I'm not big on camping as you know and I'm sure Daryl would like something a little better, but since we only camp a few times a year, I don't think it would be worth it. At least that is what I keep telling him when he complains that he has to fix the cables on it every time he cranks the thing up. The other problem is we don't really have a place to store the thing. I'm still not completely sure why people think it's so fun to pack up all that stuff and head out to the woods and then pack everything up again and go home. I enjoy being outside, but I like a nice comfortable bed and my own bathroom when it comes down to it. Daryl's parents camp the whole summer long. I think they are just crazy.

Mikey (Daryl's nephew) had his graduation party at the campgrounds. It rained off and on, but everyone still managed to stay dry and have a good time. Seems like it's been forever since I graduated from high school.