Monday, June 30, 2008

Energy Fiasco Unfolding...

So I went to a meeting today to voice my concern over not having power for a number of days. I didn't expect the attention I received; but I'm happy to receive it if it means people will want to resolve my issues from the fallout of a lame power company. I was quoted in a number of places, so as I am able to locate each one, I will post links. Here is hopefully the first step in successfully getting my voice and grievances heard:

Detroit Free Press

Fox News

ABC News

WWJ Newsradio


The Detroit News

The Macomb Daily

Fraser-Clinton Township Chronicle


Keep your fingers crossed!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy Holiday Week!













So tomorrow and Monday are hopefully the last of a painful 3 months of Dave working downtown and coming home almost NEVER!!! He officially starts his co-chief senior resident position on the 1st. I hope to take full advantage of seniority. I want my man back. I know that there is still a year to go yet; but I'm having it my way now. Enough! OK, really, I've to take whatever is thrown at me, but I'm not going to take lying down anymore. Get ready.

In reality, my testy-nature is a result of the two weeks of craziness that we experienced just recently. It all started with losing power on Lathan's birthday (Sunday late afternoon). We were prepared and ok for the time being. When Thursday rolled around and there was still NO POWER, I started to freak out because I knew that our sump pump (for you unaware, our high water table here in MI requires a pump to redirect water out to the sewers instead of accumulating around the foundation of the house) was about to die. We had the choice of a water back-up system, which uses the city's power for its water pressure (when your water works when the power is out, this is the same thing); or we could get a battery back-up. When the whole "black-out" of '03 occurred, the city had no power, so everyone's basement was in trouble unless one had a battery or generator to run the pumps. I was spooked by this prospect, so we bought a battery back-up because I thought no one goes a week without power in this day and age. Ideally, you should spend a couple Ks and get both, but we don't have that as an option in our budget, so we chose one over the other. Well, 4.5 days later, the batter died and the basement flooded. I quickly had another battery on hand ($80 later) and so it was quick and relatively painless - until mold was found in the drywall and wood frame wall-separator down in the basement. Now we are hoping to save the carpet (still drying a week later!). We'll know for sure in a couple of days if the smell is still lingering and everything is dry. My feeling is that we'll be OK, but for a while there I was really bummed because I didn't realize that it takes a week or more for basements to dry completely, so the smell was not good and I thought we were going to have to throw EVERYTHING out. We've only had the carpet for a year now. So that will feel tragic. We have put in thousands of $$$ already, so I'm going after the energy co. that is responsible (little guy, who can't afford a lawyer doesn't really pose a threat, I'm sure). I'm hoping to make a point, though. I'm hoping we get some compensation.


Anyway, on to happier things. We were able to visit a local carnival in downtown Detroit on Monday. The kids had a blast even though it was raining and hailing when we first arrived (so everything was wet). They were a bit bummed when they were excluded from some of the car rides because I was unable to leave JJ behind. All in all, we had a lot of fun.
video


The boys started their programs this week. Kaelan started his preschool and is loving crafts and play time. It's really a fun summer program to warm him up for this coming school year. While Kaelan is there, Lathan goes to tennis. He is very good, but I'm afraid that since there are so many children that he gets a little lost in the shuffle. He is so quiet and easy going that many times he is overlooked. The two of them are doing soccer also. They love it, but Kaelan is SOOO bummed that he doesn't get to practice with Lathan (he's with the bigger kids). This coming week they start piano!!! video

We were able to visit with our old buddy, Rio (our dog before I gave him to our neighbors across the street about 3.5 years ago). He still is the best. I can tell that small children are a little exhausting for him, though. Poor guy is a fat and lazy dog - BUT HAPPY!!!.




We hope to hear from all of you sooner than later.
video

Dave's Take

So, just two days left in Downtown Detroit. I finally get to go back to the suburbs. I don't have to drive 45 minutes to work each way. I don't have to drive period. The only draw back is that Downtown I still have all the perks of a senior surgery resident without all of the responsibilities. So, Griselda is getting ready to enjoy the good life of being the spouse of a senior resident. This is the year that everyone says, to the spouses, makes it all worth it. We will have to see. It always seems like Griselda ends up getting the short end of the stick as far as perks and benefits of seniority go.

Griselda and I have definitely been having some challenging times with basements flooding, power outages, me being downtown for 3 of the last 4 months, and the kids not wanting to nap but staying up late. I think that things are finally under control. With all the craziness of course there are some great sayings from the little ones. Kaelan had a great one the other day. Kaelan and Lathan love to tackle and wrestle with JJ. Of course he is a lug but still doesn't have the strength to fend them off. I keep warning Lathan and Kaelan that they had better watch out because JJ is probably going to be bigger than them both. In fact I turn to Kaelan and told him that he was probably going to be as big as Mama and that JJ was going to be big like Daddy. Kaelan got this pensive almost shocked look on his face, stopped his wrestling, and says with a lot of concern, "oh no!!" Griselda and I almost died. We have also been toying with the idea of another child; however, after this last month there has been some serious rethinking of that idea on Griselda's part. So, while eating cookies last night we had this big discussion with Lathan and Kaelan about more babies. Lathan has always said that there is one more baby waiting to join our family which puts a lot of pressure on Griselda so she wanted to clear the air and see if Lathan still felt the same way. He does. He says that there is one more. One more that is going to be JJ's best friend and playmate. So then we talked about adoption and explained how there are people who have babies that aren't able to take care of them, so they allow others to care for them. Lathan and Kaelan seemed like they understood even though I told that that we could go to walmart and pick out a new baby off the shelf. They didn't buy it. Anyway, we asked if Mama was supposed to have the baby in her belly or if it was OK if the baby came from someone else belly. Lathan replied, " It has to come from mama's belly because I don't want the baby to have different spit." As weird as it sounds, that is probably one of the best answers I have ever heard. One of the things that Griselda adores about our babies is their smell. I like to think that it is because it reminds her of me but who knows. Anyway, then we had to have a discussion about boy babies and girl babies. Lathan went through a period of time where he was really rough and mean to JJ. It turns out that his excuse was that he wanted a baby sister not a baby brother. So, he is know OK with either a boy or a girl baby but it has to come from Griselda.

JJ

Walking, grunting, laughing, playing, running away, fighting with brothers, pouting, and being the cutest boy in the world (well at least one of the three cutest boys).

Kaelan

Starting soccer. Dribbles really well. Sad that he isn't playing with Lathan's team. Going to preschool. Peeing everywhere. We have this plush high end outside mall that was recently built near our home and Kaelan was there with the boys and mama a few days back. He got the urge to urinate. Dropped trousers in the middle of the mall. Found a bush. Pee'd. Saw nothing wrong with it. Griselda was ecstatic. Really proud. Said that one of the reasons that he wants to live in California is because of Nana and Pops but more importantly because of Aunt Christina. Didn't even have to be provoked for the Christina comment. Guess he really likes her. He went on to say that he pooped in Christina's bath tub when we visited California a while back. When asked if he told Christina, he got this evil little grin, and said, "no" and proceeded to giggle.

Lathan

Playing tennis and soccer. Doing well but really dependent on whether he likes his coach or not. growing like crazy. Really skinny. Loves to boss his brothers around.

Griselda

Worked like crazy to get the basement situation resolved. Really unhappy with our energy provider. Starting to relax a little after successfully saving the basement carpet. Excited that I am coming back to the burbs to work. Looking forward to our vacation in August.

Dave

Excited to be coming back to the burbs as well. Downtown is a great place to learn but not a place that I want to work. Starting to schedule interviews for fellowships and jobs at the same time. Excited to be moving on to a different period of my life. The period where I actually get paid for what I do. Getting both excited and a little wary about my triathlons coming up. Griselda and I joke that we have been on a VERY long taper so we should be good. We will see. Hard to exercise when you are getting up at 5 am home at 7 - 10 pm and trying to set everything up for next year, work a second moonlighting job, play with kids, and work on our basement.

Anyway, in spite of all that has happened, we are doing great. Happy to be alive. Waiting for the rain to stop and the summer to begin.

Dave

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Other Side of June 20th

Depending on how one looks at the mysteries of the universe, today is a day that reflection is strange feeling. We celebrate a day when Dave and I began an eternal journey; however, we also remember that one of our beloved began an eternal journey of her own.










Three years ago today, my beautiful and amazing mother finally was released from the long fight against her exhausting cancer. She is a true example of Christ and will always and forever have a wonderful place in many people's hearts. I dream of her and have only regrets of not having had the opportunity to see her interact with all of my boys. She was an independent and tough woman that taught me so much about strength and courage. I hope she sees her family and is proud. We anxiously wait for the day that we can all be together again. We love and miss you Abuelita.


Ten Years Behind Us, Forever in Front of Us...


Ten Years!!!!! Into the double digits we are now.

This is us after being married for only a couple of months. As a member of my family likes to joke, we've been married for 10 years and it's really only felt like 10 minutes................................

under the water!

Not really, of course. We have had our trials. Speaking of which, right now it seems like we're swimming in the middle of one our bigger bumps in the road.

I love having a best friend with me, behind me, supporting me, loving me despite all the faults I carry. Dave is as good as it gets, man. He is the creme de la creme.

I hope that forever is as good as the last 10 years - minus mold in the basement. I couldn't ask for a more perfect companion. Here's to you, darling. You are mahvelous! A tribute and collection to the past ten years.....

Our lovely blooms at one of places in Missouri


Our other Missouri house on a wonderful Saturday when we used to be able to sleep in.


Gonzalez family reunion in Providence, RI.


Nauvoo, Illinois.


Our first house in Wyandotte, MI

This next sequence is what I like to call: Fun With Facial Hair...


Phase I: Hairy Dave


Phase II: Cleaned-up Hairy Dave


Phase III: Metal-head Dave


Phase IV: Metallica Dave


Phase V: Bad cop Dave


Oh yes, fishing in Missouri.





California dreaming...


Lounging at Dave's Grandparent's house.















To Dave, the man who has carried me through the best years of my life.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

To Daddy Dave...How Do I Love Thee?

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!!! And to all who earn this title, whether by their own children or not, a wonderfully wishful and fabulous Father's Day to you, too!

I have been blessed with wonderful fathers all around. My own father, a wonderful example of sacrifice and devotion has taught me a number of things and makes me proud to see his triumphs over the trials of life. My brother, although not a dad of his children, has consistently proven worthy with his love for and affection to my babies. My father-in-law is a perfectexample of patience and love. I feel so blessed to be part of his family. And my fave, my husband, David. He deserves an ocean-sized lot of thanks and love. He has put up with an astounding amount of drama this past week. I've been an emotional wreck and have had only a small reserve of patience for everything I call my life. He has been kind and loving through it all.

This Friday marks our 10th (!!!!!!!) anniversary!!! So awesome to say that I married the COOLEST person ever. I am so thankful that "forever" is only our beginning. A famous poem that expresses my love:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints—I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life!—and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
-Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Dave's Take

Working on Father's day.....pretty awesome.

So, we are finally getting things back in order. The freezer and refrigerator are back up and running. The smell from the basement is still not the greatest. We sucked up the extra water yesterday with our home carpet cleaner and are now just running fans and two dehumidifiers downstairs. Still stinks though. The insurance company is supposed to send out someone to assess the damage. There is a bright side to this though. Griselda and I realized a few things that we didn't know before, such as:

1. air conditioning isn't a necessity, unless you live in hell I mean Arizona......
2. although cable phones / Internet phones are great, if your power goes out for over 4 hours, the usual battery life of your cable modem, you have no phone service.
3. battery back up sump pumps are great. Having a back up battery available for your back up battery is priceless.
4. black outs are a good excuse to go out to eat every night.
5. a weather radio / battery powered radio is great when your sound system is worthless.
6. life does go on without Internet access.
7. friends can be lifesavers

So, thanks to everyone who went out of their way to accommodate us by changing work schedules, letting my family hang out after I locked Griselda out of the house, etc.....

Otherwise, here is the family .....

JJ

A Tank. Walking. Such a smart BIG boy. loves stuffed dogs since Griselda won't let us have a real one for a while.

Kaelan

Seriously the funniest kid I have ever seen. One day we were having dinner and he starts talking with a monotone voice during the whole meal. after about 10 minutes, I stop, look at him, and ask,"Kaelan, are you trying to be a robot?" He replies in the same monotone voice,"yes I am." Who does that as a three year old? Out of the blue. Really.

Lathan

Getting really skinny. Must be growing or something. Had a fun birthday. Loved his presents. Caught spiders in the basement much to Griselda's disappointment. Had his big school opera. Going to be a big kindergartner next year. Time flies.

Griselda

Wishing that she were pregnant. Really. Having to ration out the pregnancy tests now. Anyway, exercising still. Freaked out a little with the power outage. Didn't help that I locked her out of the house one day. Still a trooper and survivor of 96 hours without power with three boys under the age of five in the middle of the summer. She never ceases to amaze me.

Me

Working. Applying to fellowships. Job searching. Trying to get ready for my Sept triathlon. Glad to be alive, and to have power truth be told.

Dave

Friday, June 13, 2008

Take II

The power is finally back on...... It came on Thursday at around 5pm. It has been off since sunday. Griselda is SOOOO happy to have power back. She was going through and having to deal with technology withdrawals, hot flashes, crabby baby syndrome, being locked out of her house by her husband, spoiling food, leaky freezers, and finally to top it off, a flooded basement. It was AWESOME!!!! Anyway, at least we have a reason to clean out our freezer, fridge, and basement. Our phone is also finally working if anyone tried to call. Check out the theme song for us the michigan skeehans.

Dave

Monday, June 9, 2008

Dave's Take

Last night around 6pm we had a big storm come through our neighborhood and knocked out all the power. With no computer, a cable company down, cable phone out, and cell phone power dying we are feeling very communication deprived. So, if you don't hear from us for a few days, the power is probably still out. We are all OK. Luckily, Lathan got a bug catching kit from Nana and Pops so he has been finding all the spiders that are hiding out in our house. The last count was 6. Made Griselda cringe every time he would yell, "I found one!"

Funny story

Griselda has a great one about Lathan telling everyone at Costco that they were number one. Honestly this story is better in person so you aren't going to find it on my blog. Thankfully, Lathan was full of funny stories on that particular day. He walks into the bathroom completely naked grabbing his scrotum. He then asks,"Daddy, what are these two hard things?" I ask, not really looking as of yet, "Where?" "Right here," he said. I look and quickly tell him, "those are your testicles." "I am going to squish my testicles then!" That didn't go over well. I then had to go into a very detailed conversation regarding why it hurt, what testicles are, and how he uses them. Not something I was expecting to have to talk about with my 4 year old son. So we went through the whole babies are made from mommies and daddies and that is where the daddy part of babies is stored. He then asked more questions after more questions and finally afraid that I was going to have to explain the act of baby making to a 4 year old I quickly cut him off, told him enough, and put him in the bath. Whew, I didn't like where his questions were going. Not ready for a full bird and the bees talk yet. Man.

Anyway, we are all fine. Lathan had a great birthday. Hotter than hades here with the power off. Look forward to talking to you all when our phone works again.

Dave

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

And the Winner Is........










{Be sure to check out the other "newer" posts below!}











Davelicious, Davinski, Davarooni DAVE!!!!!!

So for those of you unaware, I competed (and completed!) in my first x-tri this weekend! It was a 1000m swim in a local lake, 20K mountain bike trail ride, and 4 mile path/trail run. It was lots of nerves that turned into lots of fun. I didn't expect to do very well since I didn't think about training until about 2 weeks ago. Since that time, I swam once, rode the trail all the way through once, and ran once. Dave I and joked that I shouldn't be working too hard the two days before the race since it was time to "taper." When you train for 4 or 5 days, then you need to taper for those last couple of days, you see. It's the accelerated version.

He's been such a great support to the family while I raced to get my rear in shape. He watched the kids, trained with me, and cheered me on with the boys. I couldn't have done it without his love and ego-boosting support. Now the results.... the good news is that I came in 1st!!!! Wait, hold on, hold your applause - 1st in my age group (30-39). Now the bad: I also came in last (also in my age group since I was the only competitor in my age group doing the triathlon - a few others did the duathlon). I think I also finished last out of the 9 girls that competed, excluding my friend that dropped out because she thought the bike course was too sketchy. So officially, I wasn't last, but I really was. I thought I did all right, but it never feels good to come in last (although there were a handful of guys still behind me). I suppose that's what I deserve competing with real triathletes AND not training. I almost made it to the finish line in front of another girl, but she sprinted the last 50 feet to overtake me and since I felt like I was already sprinting to keep her behind me, there was nothing I could do but play the slow-motion image in my head of me reaching out with both hands (dream-sequence style), shaking my head and screaming in a low-pitched, slowed down version of me screaming NOOOOOO!!!!!!!! Still, I'm happy to say that I'm hooked, though. Gimme more! I feel I have a better edge if it's an x-tri because I'm usually a bit more aggressive on downhill trails considering my background in competition and all. I need any advantage I can get with my lousy running ability. It's downright sad, but comical. At least to Dave and me! Anyway, I'll continue to blog later this week about our Memorial Day camping trip, soccer games, etc., now that I've retrieved photos from the last couple of weeks and they are ready to post [FYI: new post below!!!].










I need to get to bed since this week is snack week for Lathan (he has his birthday celebration at school tomorrow since it's a busy week preparing for their annual school opera). Don't forget that Lathan turns 5 on Sunday. I've got a big boy!

Love to you all!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Memorial Day Weekend with My Boys





It was so beautiful in the evening, but still a little too chilly for my taste.


Finally! A picture of us both.


It looks like JJ is sweating, but it's really sunscreen and a runny nose.


Sand never gets old with these guys.