Monday, October 15, 2007

Hello to family and friends,

This will most likely be a long and boring entry so I suggest that you utilize you’re very best speed-reading skills for the next few paragraphs. Unfortunately I don’t have any speed-writing skills so just be glad you didn’t have to write this.

Monday at work was supposed to be our fist day going “live” with the new electronic medical record (ERM). Dr. Lewis has spent a lot of money on it and is looking forward to the day when everybody (including himself) can use it. Until then I think we’re going to have a grumpy office. Monday was supposed to be only half-booked but somebody missed that memo and we had a full schedule. Dr. Lewis had the staff using both the ERM and the old paper exam forms. The patients really got backed up and the last ones didn’t leave until 7:30 or so.

Our van is still in the shop. A nice (I mean really nice) man from the branch lent us an “old” car of his that they don’t use very often. When he brought it over last Sunday he dropped off a 2002 Buick LeSaber! Pretty nice “old” car I’d say. We were gone all week and so we haven’t had a chance to talk to the mechanic. Our van might be all done, but we’ll find out tomorrow. It’s got an electric problem somewhere and every time they find something that could cause it they fix it and try it. Sometimes it dies on them and they go back to the drawing board. Sometimes it doesn’t so they give it back to us, only to have it die on us later that same day. So far we’ve had to take it back 3 times. I’m not complaining though. I think the mechanic is doing a good job and will be fair.

Tuesday would be a half day for me since later that afternoon I’d be flying to a seminar in Jacksonville, Florida. The Vision Care Institute paid for my travel, lodging, and food to come down there and take some classes with other students. They are an affiliate of Johnson & Johnson, which owns Vistakon, which is the maker of Acuvue contact lenses. Surprisingly they did not push their contact lenses at all. They gave us several classes on contact lenses in which they talked about all types and even told us why they liked some lenses better than Acuvue. Nevertheless, they formed a connection in my brain that associates good food, nice hotels, and free airfare with Acuvue contact lenses. (What do you think about that Matt?) Another one of those old marketing tricks I’m sure. Anyway, we all drove to Wilmington that afternoon and Ruth and the kids dropped me off at the airport and then drove up to her parents in Raleigh where she would spend the rest of the week. My flight was fine and when I arrived a black Lincoln Towncar picked me and another girl (there for the same conference) up and took us to the Embassy Suites Hotel. Luckily I had my own room (and living room and 2 TV’s)! They gave me a $40 voucher to eat at the in-hotel steak house. This was surprisingly barely enough money. I had the fillet minion (sp?) and the “obnoxious chocolate cake”. My fillet was ok for being free, but if I had paid money I would not have been happy. The cake on the other hand was oh-so-worth the $10 it would have cost me. Unfortunately they charged me a $7.00 “service fee” which made me go over $4.00. Oh well, steak, soda, and a huge piece of chocolate cake after a free flight for only $4.00 sounds fair.

Wednesday morning I went down for the continental breakfast and I had a made-to-order omelet. It was yummy. By 8:00 we were all on the bus and heading for the Vistakon headquarters were the Vision Care Institute was. There were 28 students there, all from different schools. I was the only one from SCO though, so that forced me to make some new friends. Everybody was really nice. I’m pretty sure I was the only one married, let alone with kids. Over the next three days we had classes on communications, practice and staff management, and toric and bi-focal contact lens fitting. It was all very nice and, for the most part, helpful. We ate all of our lunches at the cafeteria in the building. Wednesday night they took us out to eat at a Japanese grill. The kind where they have some crazy guy toss, chop, and do tricks with your food on a big grill that you’re all sitting around. It was pretty entertaining. The girl next to me was persuaded by the girl next to her to order sushi. She said she really liked it. It looked gross to me. I ate shrimp and scallops. The fried rice was really good too.

Back at the ranch, Ruth and the kids went with everybody to one of Sheldon’s track meets. After that Daniel and Amy came over and had dinner. Clark and Anthon had a really good time playing air hockey together. I don’t know if anybody ever won, but Ruth said they had a great time hitting the puck back and forth.

Thursday we had more classes. That night they took us out to eat at a Mediterranean place. It was classic. I’d never been to a Greek restaurant before but it was everything I hoped it would be. I had rack of lamb – probably the best meat I’ve had in a long time. While I was on this little trip I met two girls and a guy from the Puerto Rican school. I had told one of them that I was interested in going to that school just for the exposure to Spanish and that I had lived in Nicaragua for couple of years. The topic was left at that. Later in the week she asked me something in Spanish and I responded in Spanish. Her other friends were there and we all started speaking Spanish. I’m going to go out on a limb here and brag about myself; they were totally surprised and impressed with my Spanish! They told me that they couldn’t believe that the Spanish they heard was associated with the white American person they were looking at. Anyway, I was flattered.

Thursday Ruth took the kids to the park with Amy and Anthon and Mom B. After that Amy kept Clark and Ruth went shopping with Cal and the girls.

Friday was the last day of the seminar. Between our last two lectures they took us on a tour of the plant where they make the contact lenses – pretty amazing. I’d tell you more about the details, but they’d probably have to kill me if I did. They fed us pizza for lunch and took us to the airport.

That afternoon Ruth went shopping at the outlet mall with Cal, while Clark and the girls stayed with Grandma. Ruth found a few good deals for some gifts she needed to buy. That evening they all piled back in that “old” car and met me at the airport. On the way home we stopped at McDonalds. Clark and Cal had a fun time. It was a special treat for them.

Saturday we went grocery shopping and I took the boys to the library. Before the kids went to bed they got a good dose of playing outside and getting all their nooks and crannies full of dirt. That behavior was of course rewarded with a bath and they were promptly off to bed.

Church was good today. In sacrament meeting we had a “Hymn Sing” as they called it. We just sang hymns that people would go up front and request. They would basically say which song they wanted to sing and why they liked it. I really enjoyed it. Clark did really well in church today. It helped that a promise of ice cream was on the line. This afternoon we did normal Sunday stuff. We noticed a very large wasp flying in our living room. I was being overly cautious in my killing strategies and thus let it escape my clutches several times. After much excitement and anxiously spoken words the wasp was killed and collected in a paper-towel hearse to be carried out to its grave in the bushes.

Well, the kids are in bed and the kitchen is clean. What could be better?

Another exciting week awaits us all,

Love Shanna, Clark, Haley, Ruth, Cal, Lee

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