Sleeping with an iPhone

You know those NyQuil commercials where the guy tells his wife "You will sleep like you did before you had kids."  Well, that is so true.  Before I had kids I laid my head down, slept and then rose in the morning fresh.  I only needed about 5 hours sleep.  But, after I had kids and started worrying about them all night long, I could not do that.  I can still do it when I am away from home which is odd.

Now, after all this time with kids (I have 5 in case you don't know) they hardly ever wake in the middle of the night.  But, my mind is conditioned to wake on the slightest noise.  We moved out into a quieter (aka more rural) part of the state 3 years ago.  Hardly any traffic on the road late at night.  I find myself waking at the slightest noise: the icemaker, a dog barking, our dog getting up and stretching, or that very rare car.

So, after a restless night, I got the kids up and ready for school at 6AM like usual.  But, I was determined to get some more sleep.  So, I stuck in my ear buds and turned on my iPhone's iPod.  While it was not solid uninterrupted  sleep, it was better than what I had all night.  I need to find some soft music or soothing sounds that will run for several hours.  That may provide the best sleep.  That and some more comfortable earbuds for sleeping.  It is either that or take down our nice quiet Hunter ceiling fan and get the cheapest, loudest one I can find.  That always worked in our older houses.

People still write... with pens and stuff

Earlier this week Terry Chay wrote about his little notebook. I have to wonder if that inspired this xkcd comic or not. Is that your real reason for writing in that notebook Terry?

A coworker of mine has rediscovered the usefulness of a notebook. Yesterday while at our datacenter, he kept notes in his notebook while I typed on my iPhone.

I have self diagnosed myself with dysgraphia. It really does hurt me to write. So, I only do it when I have no other choice. I will type you a book. But, I don't want to write the shortest note.

Working out this year?

It is that time of year when folks promise themselves to get into better shape.  This is usually my time every year to do that.  The holidays always put some extra weight on me.

I know from going to conferences that there are some health conscious geeks out there.  Well, I found a geeky way to help with that.

Some guys here in Huntsville have started a fitness and health tracking site called Gyminee.  They are in the same business incubator that dealnews was in several years ago.  It is all Rails and MySQL.  It is quite convenient for me and some other guys at work since they built an iPhone interface.  Basic accounts are free and fairly full featured.  There are some advanced features that do require a small membership fee.  If I would just quit buying one latte a month it will pay for it.

For the record, I have no stake in this place.  I am just a user and I happen to have met the guys to give them some pointers on some things on their site.

Geek turned Fire Fighter

So, I am sitting here today hacking away and my wife says "The neighbor's house is on fire."  I go out back to see what is up and its clear its not the house.  The fire is beyond the trees, 4 houses down.  Just past that house is a wooded area where no homes have been built yet.  I look out behind the houses and see smoke in the brush behind the houses.

I should explain at this point that our house has a railroad that runs behind it.  Separating us from the railroad is a wooded area about 30 feet deep.  Three houses down, that wooded area is on fire.  The flames are small there for now and there are people out there with extinguishers.

We are thinking at this point that someone was burning leaves or wood (common in emerging areas, aka "out in the country").  We live in a newly developed area that not too long ago was considered very rural.  So, its no uncommon for people to have a burn pile.

But, then we see smoke in the other direction, two houses down, on the tracks.  I stomp through the brush to investigate.  Sure enough, there are flames on the track down there.  Now I see what has happened.  The train that came through a while ago must have leaked/dropped something out that was either on fire already or highly flamable.  So, my wife brings me our extinguisher from the house and I put out that fire that is getting no attention.

The reason it is getting no attention is because they are trying to save the house 4 houses down that borders the heavily wooded area.  Its still burning good.

Suddenly the wind shifts.  The small fires that were 3 houses down now spread quickly through the dry, dead grass that is behind all the houses.  The fire is now in my neighbor's back yard.  His dog is in its pen.  He keeps it in a small, tall pen in his larger fenced in yard during the day to keep him from getting out and roaming.  The dog is freaking out.  I jump the fence and let him out of the pen.  My wife gets our leash and takes him over to our deck.

Seeing that the fire trucks are all still working on the dense woods 4 houses down, I start grabbing my hoses from my house.  I have several 50ft hoses for watering my yard.  By this point, my retired neighbor whose house is in front of the small fire I put out earlier has come down and he starts helping me get the hose through the yard and out to the fire.

The volunteer fire fighters priorities keep changing as things flare here and there.  I decide to be proactive and jump the fence and do what I can with my little hose.  Luckily, my neighbor has cleared out behind his property.  We are just fighting dead grass fires instead of burning brush.  That makes it possible for me to put it out with a garden hose with a spray nozzle.  I soaked the area behind the two houses next to me for about an hour.  Small flames kept popping up, but it was nothing dangerous.  We had to keep an eye out on the other side of the tracks.  These wooden cross ties would be smoldering and would catch the grass on the other side of the tracks on fire from time to time.  There was a lot more grass on that side of the tracks. A fire over there would be bad as I don't think they have gotten hydrants into that new sub division yet.

One of the fire fighters told me that the volunteer fire fighters meeting is Thursday at 7.  Since I don't know when our small area will have the resources for a full time fire department, I am considering going.  I am working at home most days and I don't think dealnews would mind me going to fight a fire from time to time.

I took some photos of the aftermath.  It was so surreal that neither I nor my wife thought to take pictures during the event.  There is a description of what you are looking at on each photo, just click it.

Collin Arrives!

Collin Humphrey Moon was born at 5:20PM on September 13, 2005. He weighed 8 pounds even and measured 20 inches even. Robin and Collin are both fine. He is the sleepiest baby of our five. It seems he has slept since he was born. He has his mother's nose, that is for sure. The rest of his features are still up for debate between the grandmas. He does bare a resemblence to his name sake D.E. Humphrey, Robin's late grandfather. There are more pictures of him here on the web site.

Chattanooga Choo Choo

The family took a trip we took to Chattanooga, TN in March of 2005. The original site of the Chattanooga Choo Choo has been converted into a hotel. We stayed in an old rail car that had been converted into room. That thrilled Parker as he has been really into trains (and anything with wheels) for a while now. While we were there we visited the Tennessee Aquarium, Children's Museum and The IMAX Theater. There is a really fun restaurant at the Choo Choo hotel where the wait staff sings on stage with a live band. Some of them were really, really good too.

The Kids Win Costume Contest

Robin worked for over a month on the kid's Halloween costumes this year.  Along with our friend's child Nathan, they all dressed up as the Scooby Doo gang.  Logan was Fred. Macy was Daphne.  Nathan was Shaggy.  Molly was Velma (jinkies).  Last, Parker was Scooby.  We took them to the Boo At The Zoo at the Birmingham Zoo.  They won first place out of over 100 kids.  We will be getting pictures up real soon. 

School has started

Well, school has started for Logan and Macy.  The kids seem to like their classes and teachers.  Molly starts 3 yr old kindergarten in a few weeks.  We will see how that goes.  Depending on her mood, she will love it or cry her heart out.

The big kids are riding the bus this year.  They wanted to ride it.  It sure is nice not having to look presentable for teachers and staff at 7:30AM.  Those aren't my hours anymore accept Mondays.  They get picked up at 7AM and don't get home until 4PM sometimes.  They have fun with their other bus riding friends.

Logan is having a hard time adjusting to being back in school.  He has been in trouble more days than not so far.  Nothing serious, just nervous energy mostly.  I can relate.  I remember being the exact same way.  Macy is like Robin and my mother.  They never got in trouble.  Macy feels a little slighted as she sees Logan getting bribed to get a smiley face when she has a whole year streak going of smiley faces.  I rewarded her the other day for her smiley faces.  It helped I think.

Well, I will try not to wait so long before writing again.  I don't have much to write or don't know what to write sometimes.