Category Archives: Uncategorized

We finally (almost six years later) have our wedding album

Five years, 10 months and 15 days later, and our wedding album finally arrived today. First, I cannot believe or wedding was that long ago. Second, we JUST got our wedding album! Can’t believe we waited this long to order it.

Photobucket 

Photobucket

Advertisements

Owen at 9 months

Owen turned 9 months old a few weeks ago, so I figured I should share his latest stats. During his visit with the doctor, he checked in at:

Weight: 20 pounds, 14 ounces (75th percentile)
Height: 28.75 inches (75th percentile)
Head circumference: 95th percentile!

I hate to compare kids, but at 9 months, his older brother was exactly 1 inch taller and a little over 1 pound heavier. And head circumference? Exactly the same (i.e., quite large!) size.

Owen’s still such a good kid. As you saw with my last post, he has converted his babbling into a real word (dada). He sleeps great most nights, at least compared to how Oliver did at this age. And Owen constantly smiles.

Here are a couple pictures of him; one sleeping in the car seat he’s about to outgrow and one having his first bite of meat (a jar of turkey on Thanksgiving – yum, right?). Enjoy:

Photobucket 

Photobucket

Details about my shoulder injury

If you’ve been around me or are one of my Facebook friends, you know that I have a separate shoulder. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about it, so I thought I’d put a few things on my blog for all to see. Let’s make it a Q&A. Here we go:

How’d it happened?
At ice hockey last Sunday, I was skating next to a guy who was hooking me with his stick. The ref’s whistle went off, so I relaxed my body and stopped worrying about the play. Then, the guy kicked my skates out from under me. As I fell, I instinctively grabbed onto his arm. Then, the guy forced me to the ice, left shoulder first, and plowed his weight onto me at the same time. Ouch. Nice guy, too … very classy for a men’s league (joking, of course).

How bad does it hurt?
My shoulder only hurts when I move my left in certain directions. If I keep it in my sling or hold my elbow close to my chest, it feels fine.

Will you need surgery?
It’s considered a Grade III separation, meaning it’s borderline in terms of requiring surgery. For now, the doctor wants to wait and see if it heals naturally?

How long will that take?
It’s supposed to take about four to six weeks to heal, then I’ll need some physical therapy.

Isn’t the baby due soon?
Why yes, the baby is due soon. In less than a month, actually. Great timing, I know.
 
So what exactly is going on with your shoulder?
There are two bones, the clavicle (collarbone) and scapula (shoulder blade) that usually are about a centimeter apart. In my case, they are now 2 centimeters apart and two of the three tendons that hold the bones together snapped. They should, however, reattach and heal on their own. Or at least that’s the hope.

Image
Are you on pain meds?
I was given Percoset and took it the first night. I slept great, but woke up dizzy and nauseous. I then got a prescription for a less powerful painkiller, which I’ve only been taking at night. During the day, I either just endure the pain or take something like ibuprofen or Aleve.

Can you still work, or does this affect your ability to type?
I can still type. At first, I had to get into a somewhat awkward position so my fingers could hit the keys without pain. But it’s been a week now, and I’m in much better shape for typing normally.

Will there be any permanent damage?
It should heal and my mobility should be normal in due time. However, I will have a slight bump on my left shoulder for the rest of my life. It’s hardly noticeable, but it’s definitely there.

Aren’t you too old to be out playing ice hockey?
While I may be getting up there in age, I enjoy playing hockey. Plus, it’s one of the few times during the week when I get to spend time with my friends. I’ve been skating with most of the same guys for many, many years now and it’d truly stink to give that up. I will say, however, that at some point I need to consider a less competitive league. But that also would mean an end to many of the friendships that I’ve developed.

So that’s about it. Pretty sucky, but oh well. If you have any other questions, let me know.

UPDATED ON 9/14: My Home Depot customer service story

UPDATED ON 9/14: The Home Depot Twitter folks have been in contact with me several times today and have been very honest and straight-forward, which I appreciate. They also have done a few things to remedy the situation. While I’m still frustrated by what went down, at least I know that my concerns have been heard and that makes me feel better.

Here’s my original post from 9/13:


I’ve you’ve talked to me in the past week or read my tweets (see http://www.twitter.com/justin), you know I’ve been having some issues with my local Home Depot. Since it’s been such a terrible experience, I figured I’d air out my grievances here on the blog.

First, the backstory: I’ve been living near the Harvester (St. Charles County) Home Depot for a little over four years. In that time, I’ve spent thousands of dollars on things like piant, tools, you name it. I had heard bad things about the customer service at other locations, such as the one in south St. Louis, but I’d never had a bad experience. Then, I ordered a custom door several months ago. On the day the item was supposed to have arrived by, I didn’t hear a word. Then, about a week later we finally were contacted – the door was going to be coming late. We were given a new delivery date. I was a little peeved because our old door lets water into the houes and we really needed to get it fixed. Anyway, the next delivery day comes and goes. A few days later, another call. The door is coming late again. Thankfully, it did finally come in – on the third delivery date and about four weeks – and more water damage to our house – after we were supposed to have it.

That was bad experience No. 1. And now the current story, which I like to call strikes two and three:

Last week, our garage door finally bit the dust. It had held up admirably for four years, despite some major damage caused by the previous owner of our house. The door cracked and wouldn’t go down; in fact, it sort of started to fold up like an accordian as I held the button down to close it. I backed the cars out of the garage and tried to manually close the door. As I did this, all but two wheels popped off the tracks. The door was being held by those two wheels and the wires at the front end. It was hanging there like Tom Cruise in “Mission Impossible.” Then the wheels popped out and I grabbed the one end, and I held it until my strength gave out. “Bam!!!” – it came crashing down.

In a panic, I hurried to my Home Depot. There, I purchased a new garage door. That was on Tuesday night. I was told the door would be delivered on Thursday. That was the best the could do, as much as I would have liked to have the door sooner. I had no way to get it to my house, since the panels are 16 feet long.

So Thursday comes and I’ve made arrangements with my work to be at home. And I sit around, and sit around, and sit around. Then, my wife gets home so I head to the office. And she sits around, and sits around, and sits around. A little after 5 p.m. she calls the store. “Looks like they forgot to enter it into the system,” she’s told. “We will deliver on Friday.”

At this point, I’m just starting to get peeved. I mean, we’ve already gone two nights in a row with no garage door. All of our stuff – some valuable and some not – was out in the open and there for the taking. Thank goodness I have friendly neighbors. Had I lived in a shadier part of town, I’m sure a police report or two would have had to have been filed. Anyway, so just the thought of my garage being exposed had me worried every night. I’d hear a noise and peek out the window or flip the lights on and stumble out in my sleep shorts and glasses. Frustrating and nerve-wracking.


Back to Friday. So now I’ve made special arrangements with my work to be home again. The door is scheduled to arrive at 10 a.m. I work a deal out with my father-in-law to come over that afternoon to help install the door. Around 11 a.m., we still have no door so I call the store. It will be there by 2 p.m., I’m told. Even more frustrated, there’s still nothing I can do so I say “OK” and wait. And wait, and wait and wait. Around 3 p.m. I call the store. It will be there around 3:50 p.m. I’m told. I say, “Are you sure?” The guy says, “Yes, I just checked the tracking on the truck and you’re third on the delivery list.” Feeling confident, I call my father-in-law and he agrees to come over around 4 p.m.


Around that time, the garage door finally arrives. I sign the paperwork and my father-in-law arrives. We start opening the boxes and getting ready to put it together. After watching the instructional DVD (there were no written instructions – another major frustration) several times, we keep going out and looking at the parts. Something’s wrong. Finally, we determine that the panel boxes were mislabeled. We had been delivered two sets of the top two (there are four total) panels. We don’t have the bottom two panels – the bottom one, for example, should have a weather strip on it.


We can’t do any work, so the father-in-law heads home. I call the store and talk to the manager. He doesn’t really understand what I’m telling him, so he asks me to come up to the store. OMG, I’m livid by this point. But I’m trying to be nice. I head up to the store – about a 15-minute drive, mind you. Then walk to the back of the store and show him what’s wrong. I even brought pictures with me to show him. He’s really, really confused. After about 10 minutes of talking, he finally gets it. He says he’s going to have to call me back around 6:30 p.m. and that he’d get the right box to me on Saturday, even though Home Depot doesn’t deliver on Saturdays.

Around 8 p.m. (yes, 90 minutes late!) he calls. No dice. The panels will need to be delivered on Monday. I voice some major frustrations. I have my worries. Such as: my father-in-law is headed on vacation next week so I’ll have nobody to help me, my stuff will have to go all weekend sitting out in the open for burglars, and I have a job and can’t keep taking off work. I keep my cool, but I’m pretty stern.

By this point, I’ve also been tweeting with Home Depot (http://www.twitter.com/homedepot). However, not only does Home Depot not deliver on weekends, they also don’t respond to tweets after the bell rings at 5 p.m. Great customer service, let me tell you. I work in PR, and I can honestly tell the Home Depot folks this: If you’re going to be on Twitter and customer friendly, you have to be available at all hours. In fact, you have three people tweeting on your behalf. Do they all work 8-5, M-F??? Re-think your policy! It’s Sunday evening now, and not a word since Friday afternoon. Very nice.

Well, Saturday morning comes. All my stuff is still in the garage, despite me waking up and checking out there two times during the night. Around 10 a.m., the store calls. They tell me they’ll be deliverying the door that afternoon. They called in a favor with a delivery guy, since they don’t do Saturdays. Later, the door arrives. I call my father-in-law and he comes over (mind you, he lives out in Wildwood, so this is not short jaunt over to the Lopinot household – it’s about an hour each way).

Last night, around 8 p.m. we finally had the door in place. I could finally sleep easy. But I guess that’s the end of the matter for Home Depot. I haven’t heard anything from them since. I figured they’d at least refund my delivery charge or give me a coupon to use toward a future purchase. Just something for all the frustrations they put me through. But the silence remains.

So that’s it – my Home Depot customer service story. If you’ve read this far, you deserve an award. Pretty lengthy. The moral of the story: Lowe’s needs to build a store on the south side of St. Charles. I would be the store’s biggest supporter.

Our son loves to read – and sit in his book box

Much to the joy of my reading-obsessed wife, our son loves to read. He also likes to take the books from his book box and toss them on the floor, then climb inside. He then grunts and points at the books until we pile them on top of him. Then he digs around and finds a favorite (such as Sandra Boyton’s “Moo Baa La La La”) and flips through the pages. He does this a lot, and it’s pretty cute. Below are a few pictures. Enjoy:

Photobucket

Photobucket

Dealing with a torn AC joint

Been tough to post blog entries lately – lots going on in my life right now. Some things are exciting, while others are, well, not so great. One of the biggest items I’m dealing with is a torn AC joint. According to this Web site: The acromioclavicular (AC) joint [is] the joint between the scapula (shoulder blade) and the clavicle (collarbone).

The injury happened during an ice hockey game a week ago. Our game was getting a little rough, and the play moved to the other end of the ice. After the refs and I looked that direction, some guy blindsided me into the boards. I went in neck and shoulder first. Figuring it was just a bad bruise, I decided to wait a few days before having my right shoulder checked by a doctor. By Friday, about one-fifth of my chest had turned bright yellow and I was still having trouble lifting heavy objects and moving my arm in certain positions.

Now, I’m wearing a sling. It’s mainly to keep me from using my arm, but it’s made life pretty tough this weekend. Using my left hand for everything is not ideal. Changing diapers is now a chore, as is feeding myself! Using the key to start the car? Surprisingly difficult. Getting a shirt on and off? Often requires assistance. In fact, just about everything is a challenge. I’m sure I’ll be sore after just typing up this blog entry. Certainly should be quite the challenge month between work and parenting. I’m supposed to be in the sling for a minimum of two weeks, but it could be as long as eight. Ouch!
 



Christmas in mid-April

So I’m out cutting the grass for the first time this year (cutting the grass: one of the things I hate most in life), and I turn the corner to the backyard and notice something. It’s our Christmas tree, still out in the yard. Nothing says “class” like a Christmas tree next to your patio in mid-April, right? What do I do with this thing? Assuming all the Christmas tree drop-off sites are closed until late December …

Photobucket

U.S. Rep. Todd Akin: STOP CALLING ME!!!! (Part II)

You may recall an earlier post about our telephone buddy, U.S. Rep. Todd Akin. Well, this guy is at it again. Tonight, during dinner, this goof ball called yet another time (I stand by my earlier post, in which I stated that three people call us on our home line: My mom, Sarah’s mom and Todd Akin). And again, the call featured a recorded message with an invitation to sit in on a conference call.

I immediately hit “0” to join the queue of people awaiting a chance to speak to this wonderful public servant. I couldn’t wait to politely ask to be removed from his calling list. Instead, I sat on the line for several minutes before our phone went dead. Oh yeah, and a catch: The recorded message at the beginning of the call warns you that you cannot use your telephone line for up to 30 minutes after you hang up. That’s right … this guy can call you up without permission, then clog up your telephone line for a half hour.

Well, I’ve now had it up to my ears with this guy so I got online to look up his telephone number. I’d like to personally leave him a message to ask him to remove my telephone number from his call list and apologize for interrupting my life at least once a month. Anyway, you call in and there is no option to leave him a direct message. I’d also like to know why he’s calling me. Is it because I’m white and live in St. Charles? Does that automatically make me a stereotype? How can I have my voice heard?

So please, if you work for Mr. Akin and see this blog post, please look me up in your database and remove my telephone number. And then please call me (yes, I’m giving you permission to call just one more time) to let me know that my number has been removed. I work during the day, so you can simply leave me a voice mail. That’s fine. I’ll feel much better knowing that you’ve actually listened to a constituent.

R.I.P. KNSX (93.3 FM)

R.I.P. 93x, also known as KNSX (93.3 FM): http://www.knsx.com/.

Yes, the best radio station in the area is no more. Back around 1997 or so, I discovered 93x and am forever grateful. At the time, I was into alternative rock, but the scene was being overtaken by “nu metal” or whatever it was called. Thanks to 93x, I was able to avoid the onslaught of rap-rock, Metallica, etc. I did have to change the channel for the occasional Days of the New and Creed songs, but it was a nice trade off to hear all the other great music being played. Oh yeah, and 93x didn’t play commercials. Yes, it was commercial-free radio. Awesome.

So now button No. 1 on my car stereo, which has been tuned to 93.3 for more than a decade through a Dodge and two Hyundais, is up for grabs. I have no clue what station to program there. I may wait until Jan. 1, when 101.1 FM becomes a sports-talk station. Until then, yeesh, I just don’t know. Most of the local radio is pretty bad. I’ve been on an AM kick lately, so I may just stay on that side of the dial for a while longer.

Enjoy the bugs, Mr. Toad

Photobucket


Mr. Toad,

Sitting atop the top step on our patio, you have freaked Sarah and me out for two consecutive summers.

You’re usually out pretty late at night, like when I’m letting the dog out to go to the bathroom before bed. Most times, though I should know you’re out there, I catch a glimpse of you in the corner of my eye and almost jump out of my shoes. When you startle Sarah, she tends to let out a shriek and hop over “your” step as she enters the house and slams the door shut behind her. You must find it all amusing.

Each time we open that door, about 2-3 bugs fly into our kitchen. I’m sure that number would be much higher without you standing guard outside. From your picture, you appear to be eating quite well.

Anyway, I realize that with the cold weather moving in, you’ll soon be hibernating for the winter. I read somewhere that toads usually live 4-15 years, so we hope that you continue to come back and see us each spring. For now, continue to enjoy the bugs.

Your friend,

Justin