Thursday, October 22, 2009

Windows 7 is out! (But I can't have it)

I took advantage of Microsoft's pre-order promotion a few months ago.  If you pre-order W7, you can get a huge ($50-$100) discount; so I did.   I placed my order through Amazon.  This will be my last pre-order from Amazon.

Today's the today M$ officially releases Windows 7.  The last few times I've pre-ordered something from Amazon, I have received the item a few days after the release date.  Typically they'll ship on the release date.  (which, to me, seems kind of stupid)  Wondering if they've shipped my copy, I check my account status.  This is what I see:

I know I'm bitching about only a few days, but come on!  4 days, really?!  I'm tired of being treated like this, and I'm putting my foot down.  No more (pre-)orders from me...

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sprained Ankle - I don't recommend it at all!

Late last month I sprained my ankle. I don't recall ever feeling that kind of pain before. I'm on my road to recovery, but it's been a difficult journey.

The weekend of September 12th didn't turn out as well as I had hoped. I had been struggling with feelings of being a less-than-stellar father. Monday morning, I had been brainstorming with the wife on how I can be a better dad.

At 6:30pm the kids & I were discussing what we could do for the evening. All three of them voted to play video games. Given my recent propensity to do the right thing, I vetoed all their votes and stipulated that if we go out on a bike ride to the park, they can do something “fun” when we get back. (Assuming we would indeed have fun at the park)

Just after 7:00pm we arrive at the park, approximately ¾ miles away. There was a soccer practice going on, but the play structure was empty, so we decided to play tag on the structure. During one of my escape maneuvers, I proceeded to walk down a 3-step stairway. On the first step, my foot turned sideways, and I heard a loud “pop” sound, followed by a “crunch”. An immediate surge of pain brought me to my knees on the wood-chip covered ground. Rolling around, in a futile attempt to get away from the pain in my ankle, I manage to drag myself, only using my hands, to the edge of the wood-chip area. At first my kids thought I was being funny. It wasn't until they noticed I wasn't addressing them at all that they realized I was indeed not being funny.

Laura had a PTA meeting to go to and was over at the school at this time. She had been there only 15 minutes when she received a phone call from our oldest daughter (I was in too much pain to hold a conversation) saying she had to come pick up her husband. I laid there a good 20 minutes, before she pulled up to the park. We attempted to hop the ~50' to the curb, but it was a no-go. I made her drive up onto the park lawn so I could crawl up into the van's backseat. She drove me home while the kids rode their bikes back home. (Luckily a neighbor saw what was going on, and volunteered to keep my bike along the side of their house until we could pick it up.)

Since it was now the kids' bedtime, Laura called my mom to take me to the hospital. It was at least 9:30 before I actually saw a doctor. X-rays showed no break, but a “severe sprain”. They gave me crutches, a “4-layer wrap” (sounds like a Taco Bell meal), and an air-cast. We got home at 11:30pm.

I figured I'd be back to work in a couple of days. My instructions were to wait until the swelling went down. 14 days , and 2 doctors visits later, I went back to work. (That whole situation is for another day). Me and my paycheck didn't get along for the following 2 weeks.

Recovery has probably been on-track, but my perception is that it's slow. I literally stayed off my feet for 16 days. I used crutches for an additional 5 days. I am now using the air-cast exclusively, and keep it on all day. It's saved my ankle from re-injury more than a few times. I have scheduled to keep it on until the beginning of November. I do manage to walk around, albeit slowly.

The orthopedic doctor gave me a statistic that is looming over my head. He told me that about 10% of people re-sprain their ankles. He added a side note saying that given the amount of people that sprain their ankles, that's a lot of re-sprains.

I've had to refuse playing outdoor sports with my son a few times. It pains me to see him say, “Okay dad.” and move on. I can't help but think I'm letting him down.

The moral of this story is this: if the kids want to play video games, don't argue. You just might sprain your ankle. (Alternately the moral could be this: You don't have to play on a play structure to be a good dad; video games will do fine.)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


I’ve decided to postpone buying a new car until I have more cash to put down. I’m 80% sure I’ve decided on a model, but there are a few things I still need to nail down (color, options, etc). Waiting also throws a monkey wrench into the options of “good” APRs, as well as being able to write-off in sales tax on my taxes… I still figure that if I can put more money down (and get a lower payment), it’s the best decision.

How to pay off my student loans

"Slow & steady payments..."

How I did it: It took several years, but what it really boils down to is just keep making the payments, use the standard payment plan, & make extra payments when you can afford to.

Lessons & tips: Make sure you're not on the extended pay-off plan.  While in the beginning, this may seem like an attractive option, it really makes the burden of payments seem to last forever.

It took me 10 years.

It made me Ecstatic