Thursday, December 11, 2008

I don't know how we ever survived without it!

If any of you haven't tried living without the Internet for a few days, you really should give it a try. We've successfully moved to Naples Florida and had to wait a full week before we could arrange to have the cable man come and connect us to the rest of the world. When I got to Naples and realized we didn't have Internet yet it was like I was instantly transported back to 1990. Just to stay in touch with what was going on in the world I had to participate in archaic rituals such as 'reading a newspaper', waiting until 11:00pm to 'watch the news', and walk outside to 'look and see what the weather is like'. We couldn't even pay any bills! Who knows where to 'mail' a 'check' off to anymore. I'm not even sure we have a checkbook. I mentioned in my post about flying to Africa that everyone should live in a 3rd world country for a few months so they could see what it was like. Can't afford a trip to Africa? You're in luck, all you have to do to experience a 3rd world country is call the cable company and have them shut your Internet off. Instantly the world changes to a dark and lonely place where only the strong willed and in-shape survive. Our story of survival went something like this:

The Rosen family, a small young pack of four that is trying to turn a new chapter in life in a new town while horribly handicapped having no Internet. We follow the family as they enter their home for the first time, soaking wet since they had no way of getting live weather radar and therefore traveled through severe thunderstorms. Realizing that they must have Internet, the family scurries around in a frenzy to contact the cable company. Without to search for the phone number, one member of the pack volunteers to waste much needed energy to read a phone book. Weakened from the hours of needless searching the Female blurts out a generic 1-800 number that was found amidst the thousands of yellow pages. The Male spends 20 minutes on the phone getting no where through endless voice menus knowing that this phone call is futile, he needs to call the local cable number that can only be found at Frustrated they find an address in the yellow pages and decide a face-to-face meeting cannot be avoided. Unfortunately the address is encoded and the only key is google maps or perhaps mapquest and without them any attempt to find this new address will only end if failure. Finally the local cable number is received through a friend that has Internet. You see, you must HAVE the Internet in order to GET the Internet.
There is discussion about how to pay the bills. Fortunately most of this occurs automatically but for the few that remain; is there enough money in the checking account? There's no way of knowing. The family could go to the bank and find out, but where might that be? As the children begin to show signs of hunger the fear starts to spread. Where to find food or supplies? A restaurant is out of the question, without they could end up at a 3 star diner or worse and the consequences would be great for the male. Weak and hungry the family abandons the idea of eating the youngest to survive and instead decides to wander aimlessly around the countryside hoping to find supplies before their mere six hours of fuel is depleted. They are rewarded with a Target, although not a Super Target as would've been pointed out at Having eaten, the family waits impatiently without on-demand television to entertain the children and with only 75 channels of included cable and DVD's the family bores easily. They desire to let other families know that they have arrived safely at their new destination but their only option is to use the U.S. Postal Service and the way things are going they could be dead before any such news would reach the closest of kin. Besides this family hasn't purchased stamps since 1992. The cable man will come tomorrow sometime between 8am and 10pm. Until then they sit bored, tired, hungry, covered in paper cuts from phone books and paper maps, frustrated at not knowing the outcome of last weeks fantasy football games especially since no changes could be made to the Male's lineup, disconnected, and lonely. Alas they survived.

Ok, so it wasn't quite that bad. I had Internet on the blackberry and that coupled with the GPS in the car made for an easy time. Plus the weather was perfect, clear skies and 75 degrees. Seriously though, it really showed us how dependant we can get on the Internet. One of these days count how many times you hop online in a day or use a device that is somehow connected, it's scary.

On a different note, since computers are pretty much useless when they're disconnected from the rest of the Universe, I was doing some cleaning up and searching and came across lots of pictures. I found these and they made me smile. They are my favorite pictures of the boys.

This one always makes me laugh. Joel was around 6 months old and we took him camping in the winter. The temperature actually dropped down below freezing (rare for Florida) but as you can see he was such a trooper. He only smiled like that for nanoseconds at a time at that age so the timing of this picture was very lucky.

Manda's little sister took this picture of Vance when he was 4 months old. Anyone who's ever tried to take a picture of a baby can appreciate how great of a shot this is. I have a super high resolution version that I use for backgrounds on my computer and phone sometimes. Thanks Rikenna!

Joel and myself at the beach when he was around a year old. I ran it through Photoshop (obviously) to make Joel stand out a bit more and used it for a background at my last job. He's got a smirk that says tons about his little personality (and it kind of resembles the smirk on his dad :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Since everyone else is doing it.

If you've read my wife's blog you know that we've been fortunate enough to spend Thanksgiving out in Idaho with family and friends. My job ended up starting a month earlier than originally planned which is great except we already had plans to come out to Idaho at the end of November. Well the timing worked out perfectly, I went to training for 3 weeks in Dallas and my company flew me from there to Boise and gave me a few days off since I'd just spent so much time away. I owe many thanks to my employer and the two other pilots that I work with for making this whole trip happen as smoothly as it did. Tomorrow I fly home to Naples and Manda and the boys will come back on Friday.

It turned out to be a great trip. We stayed with Becky & Steve (my Aunt & Uncle) and their 5 kids over the holidays. I know it must have been a strain on them to have 4 more people living in their house but they were great hosts and our boys absolutely loved playing with their cousins.

Vance with his cousin Kaden

Jesse & Kaden have all kinds of Thomas the train toys which Joel is obsessed with and there were plenty of people ogling over Vance which makes him quite happy. The adults spent a lot of time playing the Wii, card games, and 'Scene it - Seinfeld'. It was a great time. As an added bonus I found several high school buddies that are back living in the area and we were able to hang out and catch up (unfortunately this meant digging up old stories that scared Manda :)

Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without overeating and Joel got his first experience. He was eating ALL day on Thanksgiving. His Aunt Jenni brought these pumpkin cookies that were really good and he was eating them non stop. Then his new favorite Uncle Steve would put whipped cream all over the top of the cookies which he thought was amazing (until he discovered you could just spray the whipped cream right down your throat and skip a whole step). We didn't realize it but the plate of cookies (by plate I mean tray that would feed an entire ward) was left unattended and the kids were pounding them by the armful. It was all good and well until 02:00 in the morning when all of those cookies started coming up. Which, if you haven't experienced it, is fantastic when you're staying at someone else's house and your kid is barfing over all of their stuff. After a bath and a load of laundry in the middle of the night Joel felt great and went right back to bed. I did not get another wink as every sound he made from then on had me worried that things were going south again. Oh well another lesson learned: You should probably regulate the amount of cookies that your child eats, even on the day of obesity. Although, the image of Joel running around to people with his mouth open like a little birdie hoping they'd spray whipped cream directly into his mouth almost made it worth the clean up (not quite though).

Even though Joel didn't eat any more pumpkin cookies (neither did I for that matter) they had a blast doing the following:
For the moms out there, we weren't riding without helmets we're just posing for the picture ;)

Steve giving Joel a ride on his small motorcycle

Vance watching his brother on the motorcycle

Joel and me, you can't really call it a trip to Idaho without shooting something

Joel was very happy that we found some time for swimming

Vance thought it was great until the engine was started, that was enough

We had the most family at a holiday get-together that we've had in many years and it was great getting to see everyone. I even went to the BSU v. Fresno State game with my Dad and my cousin Kandice which was great. We got some good pictures but Dad has them so I'll have to wait to post them.

In all seriousness we are very grateful for our families this year. Both my parents and my in-laws have been very supportive and helpful during a strange year for us and everything ended up in good shape because of them.

Bring on Christmas....