So I Did A Thing!

Hey Everyone!

If you can remember, I had a long family reunion a month ago. Ever since then I have been thinking about something I learned from one of my cousins. That thing was sponsoring a child in need. I found out that my cousin, about my age, had been sponsoring a child for years. She had brought it up because she got exciting news that her child was graduating from the program that she had been supporting for all that time.I looked back at some of her older Facebook posts and found out that she had been going through a company called “World Vision” which seemed like a great option to start looking.

I went to their website and read through some of the stuff. I figured it was a decent one because the cousin I am referring to pays high attention to details and she would not let something shady go on. Although I have heard of organizations not allocating as much as they should to the children, this one wasn’t like that. So I took what I learned from that site and looked for more like it.

At this point I was really getting into the idea of doing this myself. Now I am not someone who has “extra” money laying around. This is something that had to be dear to me, and helping people has always been close to my heart. Since I switched gears in college and decided not to work with children I haven’t felt that sense of lending a “helping hand”, which is also my fraternity’s motto. I was going to be a special education teacher, that fell through. I was a camp counselor, at a camp for children with special needs for 5 years, that ended when I no longer had free time during the summers. I now work with computers only, and do nothing to help others. I mean sure I help my little family and try to get ahead, but nothing more. I lost a piece of myself when all of that ended and this may be what brings it back. Like I said I don’t have “extra” money. I mean hell I can’t even afford my own car at this moment. So justifying this was a little tough for me, but at $32 a month I think I can make it work without setting myself back at all on monetarily. That would never be enough for a car and insurance, and sure it could help towards that in the future. But in the future I will have what I need when I need it. Worse comes to worse, I would have to drop this all together if I was that strapped, but lets hope it doesn’t come to that.

Anyway, I found that most of these places were either super religious which is a no go for me, or that they were one of the organizations that didn’t quite do enough. I scoured the internet and found a place called Children International. They are not based in religion, which is a huge plus for me. They are focused on ending poverty and helping children, and that is what I wanted. I found their FAQ page and read though everything and all all seemed to line up. They are super transparent, going as far as posting their tax info on their public website. The contributions are all 100% tax deductible, which is another big perk. The money does not go to the child directly, but rather helps fund their community center, gives them medical, schooling, and a safe place. Each year they get gifts on their birthday and Christmas, and you can chose to donate more and specify what they should get.

So I was sold. there was way more to cover, but I was sold. I looked around and saw they chose ten of the poorest countries and set up their shops there. The worst area by far was Zambia, so that was where I wanted to help. They flagged kids who were the “most needy” which was determined by social workers, and based on their living arrangements and what not. So, again, that is where I wanted to help. They also had how long each kid was waiting to be sponsored, so I filtered my search to be in Zambia, most needy, and the kid waiting the longest. This is where I found my sponsor child! His name is Abel and he is 9 years old.

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I hope to sponsor him until her graduates from the program. Their goal is to have these kids graduate healthy, educated, employed, and empowered to break the cycle of poverty. That is something I can back whole heatedly! I have sent him a letter, it may take weeks to get to him, but he should know he is sponsored soon. They are encouraged to communicate back as well. Heck you are even allowed to go visit if you were so inclined! Once you sponsor a child you get more access to their family information, and you can even request to see how they are doing in school.

I feel like this is the right thing to do and I feel great about my choice. Oh and I never said how long he was waiting…it was over 900 days! Yikes.

That is all for me. If you have any questions about this feel free to ask, I’ll try to have an answer for you! I’ll see you all again tomorrow. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

 

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Late Night In The Network Closest!

Hey Everyone!

Sorry in advance if you don’t like this type of post, but it is my daily life. This is indeed what happened yesterday. Cleaning up the network closest was the name and game last night.

For a quick and dirty rundown, all companies that have a network have Firewalls, web filters, routers, switches, and servers. Each of these things need ‘plugged in’ somewhere. Most times you end up with a mess like we had. Look below:

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To be fair we had this looking better until we had one of those switches die on us. We had to scramble a little bit and replace it with a spare and re-plug everyone we could back in. We had to prioritize important things and people first and things got messy haha.

Once we ordered and replaced the dead switch it was time to clean it up! We first had to do some port forwarding on just a couple ports. (each spot that can have some thing plugged in to it, is a port) So you can see we used a service called telnet to do that:

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You can also see all the cables I made there haha. So time consuming! As professionals with quite a few devices networked, we have an Excel sheet telling us which ones are ‘plugged in’, where they are, what they are, and where they go. That is the biggest factor and making this a smooth transition. Another thing to note is that we had to do this after hours, since everything needed to be ripped out, as shown below:

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Some of the things still connected above are servers, and a few other things we weren’t sure of at first. they all did get moved around. We wanted less mess, and to be able to attach the wall and door again haha.After three hours my co-worker and I get everything back up and running! And if I do say so myself, looking pretty damn good. With about 8 or so servers, 3 switches, and a few battery backups this is what we have:

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Once we were satisfied we put the wall and door back on. We also moved the server rack closer so that it looked like normal again. this is a sweet sight!

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Everything was all buttoned up. For better reference here is a side by side comparison for your viewing pleasure:

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It was fun getting my hands dirty and getting in there. I’m glad we had to do this.

Tonight we have nothing in store, except for getting groceries and snuggling the baby!

That is all for me today, I hope to see you back again tomorrow! If you have any questions about anything in this post feel free to ask! Bye! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Low Key Night

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday, after work, we headed to the doctor’s office for our baby’s four month checkup. He is still small in stature only being in the 23rd percentile in height and 8th percentile in weight. Of course he is only four months old so not really a big deal. He also had to get a couple shots in his legs. He tends to scream bloody murder for about 20 seconds then he is OK again lol.

Afterwards we got home and cleaned up a bit around the house. My friend from grade school came over for the first time since we bought our house. He is working in town again so we had to catch up. I showed him around and we just talked for a while. He is staying at his parents house while his wife stays in the city, where they reside. It was great to have someone over and break the norm a bit.

Early this morning my boy woke up in, what would seem like, pain. We assume it was from his shots, so we got out the infant Tylenol. He went back to bed so that is a plus! πŸ˜€

Here at work today I will be staying late. We are doing the tidying up of the server room. I have spent a couple days making Ethernet cables to the correct length. About 40 or so, which if you don’t know the process can take a toll on your fingers. I’ll post a video below if you feel inclined to know more.

I have the exact same cable tester, and when you use it they should all light up green in the correct order. It is simple, but it is tedious and making that many takes a while. I’ll take pictures if I can to show before and and after.

That is all for now! I’ll see you all again tomorrow! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Birthday, Shopping, Cabin!

Hey Everyone!

This weekend was jam packed with a little bit of everything. Friday was my mom’s birthday. We all met down town and had dinner at a nice restaurant. Afterwards we bought some pie from the same place and headed to our place. My brother’s family had to go early to put their baby down for the night. We stayed and played a couple of games of Yahtzee! My wife and mother did better than my dad and I. Not a great picture but still captures the moment haha.

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That was the end of our night. Saturday my little family took a trip to the city to get a few things. We had some Olive Garden for lunch. I had a nice grilled chicken flatbread. YUM! Everett was very well behaved, and a few people stuck up a small conversation with us. All around good time.

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We stopped at Babies-R-Us to use up a gift card and a returned item to buy a few things. Jordyn bought a few milk storage bags and what not, and the big purchase was a 4Β  in 1 convertible Graco car seat!

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He will be able to use that seat until he doesn’t need one anymore. It converts all the way to a backless booster seat. It will take a little time to get used to but it is really nice. And just think we really got it for free, can’t beat that.

My wife then wanted to visit Kirkland’s for the first time. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it is a very nice home decor store. Most things are reasonably priced, and fairly well made. She had thoughts of getting a few little things there and then going to Hobby Lobby, but that didn’t quite pan out. I’ll tell you why. She, almost instantly, found a stand that would fit perfectly in our house. It was a large item and we didn’t think we had a way to even get it home. I eventually broke down and went and bought a set of ratchet straps and put it on the roof haha. Once we got it home, it really did transform the space. Check it out:

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So there you have it, we now have a coffee bar! It fits so well. Just before we left to come home we stopped at Barnes and Noble. I was looking to start a Tom Clancy series, then realized that his books are bible large and that may not be the best for me. If you follow my Instagram you will already know what I got, but I did get something different. I picked up a book from an author I know I like. From the author of the Legend, Prodigy, Champion trilogy, comes my newest edition, War Cross!

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I’m not sure how much time I will have to start reading this book but I really want to. I enjoyed that named trilogy above tremendously.

Sunday my dad, brothers, and I went to camp to work on the cabin some more. It is really starting to take shape as a real structure. They already had siding on the back, as shown:

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We were going to be working on insulating the inside as well as putting up some rough cut boards on the front. Here is what it looked like before we started:

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Here are the 40+ rough cut boards we had to carry into the woods:

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My mom came out and helped my brother put up some insulation:

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My dad and I measued and cut each board to fit around the roof rafters and screwed them into place. We are later going to rip a few boards into four inch wide pieces to go over the gaps between the boards. We will also draw a straight line along the bottom and cut the bottom straight, but that is for another day.

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We may end up staining it in the future so it lasts longer but we aren’t sure yet. For now we want it boarded up and ready for winter. We will have to frame the door a bit more and finish the two ends. While at camp I cut a bunch of kindling from the scrap rough cut wood. I was going to go home and start putting wood in my storage container. You know the one I made a little while ago. Here’s how it looks!

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I really like the way this piece turned out! I can’t wait to have a few fires, and not have to trudge through the snow to go get more wood.

That rounded out my weekend. My baby has his four month check up today after work and I have one of my best friends from high school coming over to meet him after. I haven’t seen him in a while so it will be a good time catching up a bit.

That is all for me today, I hope top see you all back again tomorrow! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Gearing Up For The Weekend!

Hey Everyone!

If you haven’t checked it out yet look at my last post. It was a fun app review that got a little longer than expected haha.

I wanted to make a second post just as a life post.

Today is my mother’s birthday, who knows how old she really is. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind people forgetting haha. We are going out to dinner tonight at a local place called the Plaza. It is a little dive, that has good food and great pie. We may head back to our place for further conversation and possibly board games. We really aren’t sure though since we both have little kids. Anyway, Happy Birthday to my mom! πŸ˜€

Tomorrow my little family is going on a day trip to the city to use up some remaining gift cards to Babies-R-Us and a few other places. I’m sure we will get some grub and hit up the book store while we are there. I have been wanting to read a book lately, but really need it to be a good one. I’m a crappy reader and need something that really gets me hooked. I’m leaning towards looking into the series of Jack Ryan, written by Tom Clancy. I see the first one in the logical series to start with is Without Remorse. If I can find it I may just have to purchase it. πŸ˜€

As far as Sunday, I currently have plans to go with my dad and brother to work on siding the cabin. We also have some insulation, but I think we need to seal the floor and what not first. Either way It’ll be fun to get back at it. If we can have it closed up before snow fall we will be grinning!

Big success I was able to mow my lawn finally haha. I know you were all wondering!

I’ll be sure to get some pictures and report back on Monday!

See you then! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

PDF To Word (Cometdocs App Review)

Hey Everyone!

I was contacted by the Community Manager of Cometdocs, to do a review of their ‘PDF to Word’ app. I gladly accepted the opportunity to do another review. I have since downloaded the app and a a few competitors and will jump right in on what I found. *Reminder: This is by no way a biased review, and I have not partnered with anyone*

Here is a link to the app in the Google Play Store.

I first asked myself, as an IT professional, who would use such an app? I found that my honest answer was really only a select few people. It could be useful for a businessman or salesman on the go, or possibly a family or college student that doesn’t have a full desktop to go about it another way. Even that one seems to be a stretch, but we will leave it there.

I next asked myself, does this really need to be an app? Could you not just go to a website converter and do the same thing? The answer is yes, buuut you really can’t beat the readiness of an app, with one tap launching. I would, at the end of the day much rather use an app.

This lead me to wonder, would you really be doing any type of converting, or real work for that matter on your phone or tablet? To answer simply yes, you could. If you fall in the category of an on the go businessman or salesman you could very well be doing some of this. Again I have to stress this is a really small percentage of people in most work forces. This is very much a niche app.

On paper the ‘PDF to Word’ app lists:

  • No limit on file size or number of converted files –Great!
  • Scanned and complex PDFs can also be converted –Great!
  • You can also convert Gmail attachments, Dropbox files, Google Drive files, OneDrive files, and iCloud docs –Great!

All of these features are great, except you would expect this from all converters wouldn’t you?

Review:

I started out just using the app I was to be reviewing. Then tested a couple other ways to convert for a proper test. I used a total of three different converters, one of which being the app under review. I downloaded two test PDF documents of average size, and one at a time I converted each one. I was looking for a good clean conversion, a reliable speed (if you are on the go you want fast), usability, and affordability.

So, the ‘PDF to Word’ app was simple to find and download. It pops right up and installs, simple. When you open it you are greeted with a nice clean Office-esk looking interface.

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You clearly can see that it is easy, you tap the ‘+’ sign to search for your file.You are then given an option to grab a file locally or from some other source. I used my OneDrive, since that is where I downloaded the sample PDFs.

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After the proper selection I was able to easily able to find my PDF files.

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Up until this point everything was great. Everything you expect to find from this app you were getting. Once I tapped on the file I wanted to convert I was honestly shocked at first.

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They seemingly went ad-free, which is cool, but at a staggering price. On top of that they went out of their way to create a wait time if you didn’t pay for the upgrade. Honestly that is a little dirty. I would rather see ads on the free version with less wait time. This is done though for a reason. They aren’t interested in free users, this app is geared for a company to pay for the whole package. This app has that.

I continued with the free version, and started my conversion. I knew there would be a wait, but at this point I already knew it wasn’t set up for a free user to use once or twice.

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I started my conversion at 9:14, it didn’t finish until 10:30. Again they were up front about the wait time. Lets be entirely honest, if this is what the free version holds it wouldn’t make sense to use it, ever. No one in their right mind would wait over an hour for one document to be converted.

I have no question that the upgrade works like it says. If you pay the $7 I guarantee you that it would take a matter of seconds. You would be very happy with the end result. It really boils down to would you spend the money for this service?

The next service I tried was web based, because I figured to avoid the cost of an app without ads you could just browse for a random converter. From my mobile device I went to google, searched for a PDF to Word converter, tapped the link to get there and was greeted with this:

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Again a fairly simple layout that is there to do a simple service. Now keep in mind that there will always be a few steps involved to get here. This isn’t an app, and you won’t have one touch access if you need this again. But it is always available and won’t take anywhere near an hour even after having to search for it. I digress, next you tap to add a file and browse to it.

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Once selected, it starts the conversion process. To my delight it was done in a matter of seconds. The whole process from google search to open Word doc took about 30 seconds.

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So the down side to this method is that you lose out on the once touch capability. It is however free and still took less time than the free version of the ‘PDF to Word’ app. (as to be expected) Browsing to a converter like this makes sense for a conversion here and there, not necessarily all the time.

Next I wondered, what would other free downloaded apps look like. I again searched the store to find a free converter and found this app ‘PDF Converter’ made by Tick talk Soft.

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Once installed they show you right away that there will be ads and that you can pay to remove them.

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I continued with the ad version, and much like the ‘PDF to Word’ app from Cometdocs, was greeted with a simple clean layout.

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You can see a small banner ad at the bottom. Nothing to be bothered by. I next tapped to add a file. Once I found it I was offered a choice of conversion. This being a PDF to Word review I chose a word doc.

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I was also asked something I never thought about. It asked which version of a Word document I wanted.

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I was then prompted to name my new word file, which was also a nice feature.

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Once I named my file and hit the Ok button I encountered my first ad.

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This was followed by one more. They weren’t videos or anything they were just simple screens to ‘X’ out of. So with the double tap of a finger they were gone, and in seconds I had my file, renamed and converted, for free.

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Again with a couple of banner ads , but done in a timely manner. Tapping the file then the preview option I could open and see my file.

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So yes this service had a couple of ads, but again the total amount of time spent, from opening the app to opening Word at the end, took 15 seconds. This app offers no ads as a subscription fee which is silly to me. This app works great for one touch conversions every once and a while.

Conclusion:

I have reviewed the three apps for conversion, in their free mode, and have to say that for me the wait time on the “PDF to Word” app from Cometdocs just doesn’t make sense in any application. Either of the two other options would work much better. Again in the free mode.

If you are the kind of person that may be doing this all the time and don’t want to search the web each time to find a converter, and ads popping up each time you name a file bothers you. It may be worth it for you to spend the one time fee of $7 and have the ‘PDF to Word’ app from Cometdocs. If you are a company looking to add something like this to all ‘Outside Sales’ cell phones, it would absolutely be worth it.

While the other two options are great for one time conversions, the ‘PDF to Word’ app from Cometdocs is really in a league of its own. It isn’t for one time use, or free use. It is there as a tease in free mode. You really wouldn’t choose it for a one time conversion. It is meant for large scale conversions. It is meant for a company to standardize their working habits, without ads. For that there is clearly a need for a fee, and $7 at that point isn’t bad at all!

Rating:

I have to rate this for both versions, as it is only fair.

For the free version with over an hour wait time it would have to be a 1/5 stars. (I think they understand why and are ok with that) An ad riddled service with fast speeds wins everyday over that wait.

For the paid upgrade version, that would be perfect for companies with a need, it would be a knockout with 5/5 stars.

Thank you for taking the time to read through this review I hope it helps! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

 

 

 

 

 

Cable Work, Birthday, Home Coming!

Hey Everyone!

It has been a nice slow day here at work. In a way I enjoy it and in a way it makes the day drag on.

Tomorrow will be a different day. I have 30 patch cables that need ends. That means 60 ends total, possibly more. We are cleaning up our server setup so it no longer looks like a rat’s nest from the switch dying. Again most likely tomorrow we will work on the new set up for the conference room on the second floor. We have 4K TVs and all sorts of goodies going into that room.Β  This should keep us quite busy for a little while.

I was unable to mow the lawn last night due to my wife getting out of work a bit late. I wasn’t able to watch the baby and mow haha. I am hoping that she will be home before me today so I can get right to it. It isn’t fun to cut grass when it it over 80 degree and humid, from all the hurricane rain leftovers. But, it must get done, so I’ll do it!

Friday is also the day my mother was born all those years ago! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ haha Jokes aside we are going to all go eat at a place of her choosing. That is a tradition in my family since as long as I can remember. Fingers crossed that my baby will behave haha.

I was able to book my hotel for my universities home coming events. We go back most every year to see friends and watch the parade and what not. We met in college and we love the town the university is in. If we had it our way we would live there. Thankfully we are only about an hour and a half away, and can visit when ever we want. There may be pipe dreams of the future of buying a lake house out there but we will have to wait and see if that ever becomes a reality.

That is everything from me today, I hope you are enjoying your week day slide into the weekend! I’ll see you all back again tomorrow! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Welcome- Everett’s Birth Story.

Hey Everyone!

My wife has written a post that she has been working on for a while now. Please take the time to check it out. It is about the birth of our precious baby boy. Here is a sneak peak: (click the link to read the whole thing.)

“Moments before my son was born, I laid in the hospital bed, fighting back tears, holding my husbands hand. As my midwife and nurses shuffled around the room, preparing for my son’s birth, so many thoughts ran through my mind; what if I’m not meant to be a mother? What if something goes horribly wrong? What if he doesn’t like me? These thoughts seem childish and silly now, but in that moment I felt a sense of panic.

At 5:20 PM my son breathed his first breath. As the nurse laid him on my chest….”

READ THE REST HERE:

Source: Welcome- Everett’s Birth Story.

Prepping For A Yard Sale

Hey Everyone!

It was a toss up yesterday, on whether or not I would mow the lawn or go to my parent’s house and set stuff out for a yard sale. As you could tell from the title I didn’t mow the lawn!

After work we met at home and grabbed the baby and the dog, and headed over. They only live a literal block away. A little back story, we lived with them for two years while my wife finished grad school and I got established at my current career. We stored a ton of stuff in their basement, andΒ  now was the time to go through most of it. We took what we wanted back to our house, but the majority of it could be sold. They are having a sale this weekend and I really hope they can get rid of most, if not all of it. I don’t even care if they give stuff away at this point. The rest of the stuff, that is ours, in their basement is garbage. It can be thrown out or burned in their yard.

We had a ton of nice wall decorations, that no longer fit the look of our house. I had an old bass guitar amp in there that should be good to go. Everything else is typical of a normal yard sale.

That now just leaves us with a closet full of stuff we want. Once that comes to our place we will be fully out of theirs haha. We have some bigger stuff like my gun safe in there, and I’ll need help with that.

Today work has been steady. I have been putting out a few new computers, and running into some weird issues with a new piece of software that is out of my control. After work I will most likely mow the lawn tonight, if it doesn’t rain. Who knows?!? I don’t really want to tonight.

That is it for me today, we are all feeling better and working on getting our colds fixed up. I’ll see you all tomorrow! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

Where Have I Been! (For Shame)

Hey Everyone!

You may have thought that I fell off the flat parts of the Earth. Even though it seems that way it isn’t the case, I promise!I had every intention to post Thursday and Friday.

Let me explain. As you may know my baby had an ear infection, and my wife and I had head colds. He was already started on his antibiotic and starting to feel better. I was still feeling a bit under the weather. I woke up Thursday feeling worse. I came into work anyway because I didn’t want to take time off and not really have a medical reason. I quickly realized that I couldn’t think full thoughts and even walk in a straight line, without having a shooting pain in my head stopping me in my tracks. I spent the next hour trying to contact my family doctor only to have their line be busy over and over and over again…. Their phone system must have been messed up. I finally made the decision to leave and go to the walk in clinic at the hospital. Of course only to find out that they didn’t open for another hour…. I was clearly not in the right state of mind. When I arrived, at the correct time, I was seen and told that I had a bad sinus infection. At this point it was hurting in my ears and still shooting pains in my head. They sent me a script for some big horse pills. I took the next day, Friday, off as well because I was feeling worse than the day before. I really couldn’t even move the slightest bit without the worst pain I have felt in a long while. By the end of that day I did start feeling better, I wasn’t sure how much better, but it was significant.

I went to bed hoping that I would feel more ‘like normal’ in the morning. That was indeed the case. I woke up still congested but I was able to walk and bend down with out the pain. I was indeed clearing up. Just in time too! My dad and I were signed up for the company men’s outing that day. It started at 8am, but we didn’t go until noon. We were signed up for the horseshoe tourney and the cornhole tourney. I decided that this would be a good test of how I felt and maybe get some fresh air. We stayed and have lunch, dinner and some giveaways. The event was held at the local Amvets gun club. The weather was unbeatable, and the food and company was better. All around it was a great day. Here are just a couple pictures I grabbed.

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Sunday, since I felt like a loser for not pulling my weight, we spent most of the day cleaning and tidying up. Early on we got groceries, which was nice because no one was there at 8:30 am lol.  We later went for a walk around the neighborhood. I tried watching the Dallas game, but they had a lightning delay in Denver and then proceeded to get their asses kicked 😦 It was rough.

Today I am BACK! Back at work, back at blogging, and back to normal.Β  I have some catching up to do here in the office, so my post will be early. Sorry for going dark, but I’m back at it now!

I’ll see you all tomorrow! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€