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Pondering The Fail Safe

Normally a Monday goes kind of like this: Get up between 0600 and 0630. Get coffee. Read online papers and listen to the TV news. Check Fantasy baseball waiver wire (I am having a terrible season). Around 0730, wake up Ben. Feed Ben. Pack lunch for Ben, dress Ben and generally finish tasks until 0843, then we leave for school. At 0900 Ben starts school, so I return home to finish up a few things and then by 0930 or so I try to be in the studio to record whatever it is that I have cooked up for the days podcast.

Usually I have had the weekend to think about things, and I have some remarkable thought that I want to build a show around. For example, we stayed in a hotel this weekend where Ben insisted on reading to us the emergency procedures every time we passed them. Specifically he was most concerned that in the event of a fire, we not use the elevator. He had the “don’t use the elevator” part down, but he wasn’t so clear on the why. I really didn’t want to get too graphic with him, so I tried to explain to him that when the electricity fails the elevator gets stuck and you might roast in the elevator.

Also, I informed him – NEVER use an elevator on a ship. Period. Always take the stairs. He wanted to know why, and I didn’t have the heart to share with him the stories about the Lusitania cooks who panicked and tried to escape using the elevator. So I just told him that if the ship floods, it’s easier to swim up the stairs than it is the elevator.

Which all left me to thinking about elevators and emergencies. Specifically, why don’t elevators have Fail Safe systems built into them so that when power is lost, they automatically descend to the next floor down and open the door? Or even the lobby floor? Why are they designed so that they just stop on loss of power? On a submarine, when we lose power, the Main Ballast Tank Vents “fail shut.” They fail in a position that allows them to function and the submarine to blow ballast and surface. It didn’t seem to me that elevators would be that difficult to design to fail safe.

So normally I would have worked that into a conversation this morning about how the plan for the firing of James Comey didn’t appear to have a built in fail safe; or how the PDRK missile launch flew for 700km over thirty minutes (seriously?) lacked a fail safe system. It would have been something along those lines.

But instead of all of that, today I have a rare opportunity to spend time with my parents and some extended family I have not seen since… 2006, I believe.

If you know anything about me, you know that my family is simply the most important thing there is. In the past year I have learned a great deal about our history. But sadly, I have also discovered how much of that history is lost. Forever.

So I have this rare opportunity and I am taking it. As you read this I am probably sitting around a table engaged in a conversation about the past. My past. My family’s past.

All so that I can try to preserve as much of it as I can, for the future.

See ya tomorrow.

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A Lot To Say

In the immortal words of Tony DeSare, I’ve really got s lot to sy about yesterday’s adventure.

On the downside, Ben had been sick since we went to Tacoma a couple of weeks ago. He’s had a cough that is now getting worse and an eye infection, possibly pink eye – that isn’t responding to the eye drops.

When I got home late last night, he was still awake. I walked into the bedroom and he saw me – yes, he was still awake – and I wish that I had the right words to describe the smile that slowly spread across his face. His eye meeting mine, it was the kind of moment that makes being a Dad so incredible.

“Dad, you were gone all day,” he said, not whining, but just happy to see me.

I was. It was a “Dave Day.” The first one I’ve had in years, and I enjoyed myself very much. I laughed, I saw things I’d not seen before and I spent time with my cousin. I’ve told you many times that I am closer to him than most any of the rest of my family, so it was good day. We closed the day catching a Comedy show in Modesto, and my sides still hurt from laughter.

None of that compares to that smile Ben had when I got home.

I will have a lot to say about what we saw and did and why. But Ben is sick today, his eyes hurting and his throat sore. Even his ears seem to bother him. So we’re off again to see his pediatrician and hopefully get this knocked out for good.

As soon as I get a quiet moment, I’ll be in the studio and ready to talk.

Because I’ve really got a lot to say!

Surgery and Ethics

Six years ago, Cami and I had been married for abut a year and a half, Ben was six months old. A few weeks before, Cami had gone to see the Optometrist to get fitted for some new glasses, and for some reason had been gone for nearly four hours (the Eye Doc was literally a block away). I tried calling several times, but there was no answer. To say that I was nervous would be an understatement. And those who know me best will also know it was because I hate being late.

A few minutes before my drop dead leaving time, Cami walked into the house. Because of the dilation she couldn’t see her phone to answer it or to text me. Okay. There’s more…

The reason she had been late is she had been sent for an emergency MRI. On her brain. On which there was a rather larger tumor.

I think that my heart stopped for a moment. I know that I didn’t go to work that day. Several trips to UCSF later, just after New Years Day

My view of the surgery

My view of the surgery

2011, Cami went into surgery while I waited with my parents, my oldest daughter and two of Cami’s best friends. For hours. Twelve to be exact. Dad and I watched the Bowl Game with Stanford’s Andrew Luck proving that he would be the 1st Round Pick. I didn’t pay as much attention to the game as I did to my phone and the information desk. Eventually even that closed, there was still no word. Read the rest of this entry

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