Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Couple of Photos

For the medically curious and/or inclined, here are a couple pictures of my hand. I'm sure I'll end up with a nasty scar, since the ER doctor did a purposely quick job, assuming that the hand surgeon would just open it back up.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Wait And See...

Well, the surgeon pointed out that I didn't totally sever my tendon, or I wouldn't be moving my finger up. I was given the choice of having them open it up on Thursday to see if it really needed to be fixed, and maybe fixing, or just waiting to see if it completely breaks.

I chose the wait and see approach, which the doctor also seemed to favor. He said I could take off all of the dressings and should use my finger a lot. For some reason, I'm not overly inclined to try and break my tendon!

I assume what will happen now is that the tendon will rupture right after I arrive in CA next week and I'll have to cut my trip short...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Yep...my chisels are sharp.

So, with Kimberly gone for the week, I decided I had better get some entertainment center work done this morning. While prepping some doors to be painted, I was using a chisel to scrape off some glue seep-out. Despite knowing better, I had my left hand in the path of the chisel.

You can guess what happened next: the chisel slipped, but my left hand was close, so the chisel stopped slipping abruptly when it hit my knuckle bone, sans skin. Fortunately, I'm fairly cool under pressure, so after a few choice words, I got some paper towels on the cut and stopped the bleeding in short order.

Now...I'm at home alone with three kids (one sick) and need to go to the ER. Ummmm....

Ethan helped me splint and bandage my finger. He also helped man the phone and get Aidan (who took this opportunity to get the marshmallows out for a snack) dressed and Owen with his sweatshirt to fight his fever-induced shivers. The Moore family was gracious enough to watch the boys. As we pulled up, Ethan had his look of "something bad is about to happen" as Owen threw up in his lap. Again, yeah for the Moores.

The ER was thankfully quick. After an xray and some poking and prodding (after some numbing), the doctor decided that I had cleanly severed a tendon and that was beyond emergency room care, in fact, beyond Provena care entirely. So, he stuck in a couple of stitches and wrapped me up. The most painful part of the visit was the anti-biotic shot on my butt. I think I was in the hospital for less than 90 minutes! I'll be visiting a hand surgeon at Carle Monday morning to have everything reconnected.

The in-laws came and brought the boys home for me and spent the afternoon keeping us company. We will all look forward to Kimberly's return tomorrow.

Not surprisingly, I will not be flying to Sunnyvale this Monday!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Chanute Air Museum

Last week, my grandparents from New Jersey visited us for a couple of days. I took off work, and we sought out fun things to do that we don't do often, or at all.

On Tuesday, I decided we should investigate the Chanute Air Museum in Rantoul. I know the museum has been around for several years and it sounded neat. We've just never visited. While visiting their website, I was surprised by how many aircraft they actually have on display. I assumed they had a few small craft, and perhaps one large "showcase" plane. However, by my count, they have 42 aircraft on display!

The museum is located in one of the original hangar buildings at the former airbase. Admission is a reasonable $10 for adults, $5 for kids (5+). Kids under 4 are free (great for the Ashbrooks).

First, you wind your way through two long hallways of rooms that have a number of exhibits about the history of the airbase (first built in 1923, I believe), life on the airbase, general military aviation, etc. They have one whole hallway wall of pictures from throughout the years. I found that the most interesting. The kids weren't crazy about this area, but I didn't expect them to. Near the end of this area, they have a room full of old Frasca flight simulators. While it was interesting to see the electro-mechanicals of these 50 (?) year old beasts, there was little to no information in this room, beyond model numbers. As an engineer, I would have at least expected production years and a few factoids.

Finally, we made our way out into the main hangar where most of the planes are located. The planes are all nicely lined up and roped off. They each have a sign or two in front of them describing the particular model, and also the particular plane that's on display. This was interesting, but you couldn't get too close to most of them. There were no hands-on displays for the kids to get up close and personal with the planes, or look inside the cockpits. They are currently restoring a very old F-15 (early 70s?), so that had some interesting information about the restoration.

The kids (with me being drug slowly behind) quickly made their way outside to the large planes. Among the planes outside are a large Navy WV-2 reconnaissance plane, a C-130 cargo plane, a huge C-133 cargo plane, and the only remaing XB-47 (which I thought was particularly cool). These planes are very impressive because of their size. Unfortunately, there still isn't any information beyond a small sign for each. It would definitely be neat to see inside these planes, especially the cargo planes. Sadly, these planes look to be quickly deteriorating because of the weather. I think the museum is historically underfunded.

Finally, we went back inside to see a few more planes, including a B-58 supersonic bomber. This plane is in excellent condition. It would be nice to see the inside. Interestingly, my grandfather (a fellow UI electrical engineering alum) remembers designing antennas for this plane that never quite made the final cut. They are also restoring a B-25. That had a gangway alongside so that you could see into the currently gutted cockpit. They also have pieces of ICBM silos inside that were used for training ICBM crews. They didn't have much information on those though.

All told, we spent a couple of hours at the museum. It wasn't great for the little kids. I thought it was worth the trip for the engineers in the crowd. However, the museum could definitely use a lot of improvements in the plane area to make it more than a display of old planes. I'm sure I'll go again.

Here are a few (rainy) pictures:

Aidan and Owen by the VC-47.

Grandpa and the boys under the WV-2

Ethan violating the look but don't touch rule

Ethan and Aidan next to the C-133

Owen "Ace" Ashbrook

Ethan hanging in a missile silo simulator.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Make The Itching STOP

I realize that everyone (except Kimberly) goes through this, but I'm going to moan and groan anyway.

Why, exactly, did God feel the need to put poison ivy on the earth?

Monday night I found myself itching under my chin a lot. Later, I was scratching my stomach. Later still I was scratching my upper arm. At that point, alarm bells went off and I decided to reassess the situation. Closer examination of these body parts revealed the tell-tale bumps with which I'm quite familiar. I seem to get some poison ivy just about every summer, but I've never had it in so many locations at once.

By Tuesday morning, I'd added my chest, lower arm, and my knee (front and back). This was alarming enough to get me to visit Convenient Care. The doctor agreed that it was weird to be so many places, but said he'd treat it just the same. I've never actually gotten drugs for poison ivy before, what fun!

As I write this, I think I've reconstructed the events. I was spreading mulch on Monday evening, and pulling weeds while I was at it. I thought I had gloves on most of the time, but not all the time. I then proceeded to either (a) scratch a lot, and/or (b) spread it all over in the shower. I've heard that a hot shower immediately after exposure helps the oil penetrate better.

All of the patches are small, and none is too annoying, but the sum is not fun. The lower arm is particularly annoying, because that's where my arm rests 70% of the day in front of my computer.

Next step: find offending plant, remove from children's path.

Monday, June 1, 2009

$60 Pancakes

For reasons that are very Ashbrook, we had to drive to Champaign Saturday morning to get the van so Kimberly could drive north to a wedding shower.

Well, you can't go to Champaign without going somewhere, so we decided to go out to breakfast (with the kids, of course). We hadn't visited the Original Pancake House in recent memory. I love their pancakes, so there we went. We had a surprisingly short 20 minute wait. They had lots of kids books to keep the little ones busy while waiting.

Breakfast started by talking Ethan out of ordering a $4 bowl of cereal. For those of you who aren't familiar, they don't really have a kid's menu. They have a couple of "Jr. Plates," but it's not clear to me exactly what those are. So, the little boys decided to share a plate of chocolate chip pancakes, and a side of sausages.

After a few changes of mind, Ethan settled on ordering the same as me - Bacon and Eggs, with the obligatory side of pancakes. Kimberly ordered Corned Beef Hash. This all sounds reasonable. Except... for those keeping tally, that's 4 full adult meals, and a side of sausage. Did I mention that everyone ordered seemingly expensive milk or juice?

Ethan and I enjoyed our breakfasts. Others enjoyed parts of their breakfasts (Ethan and I enjoyed those as well). We had decent service. Aidan entertained the entire dining room since he didn't really want to eat chocolate chip pancakes -- just make me cut them up. Ethan drew the ultimate disaster movie poster on his place mat (volcano, thunderstorm, tornado, complete with roofless house).

The bill for this quick breakfast (including tip): $60!!!

I'm pretty sure that when we make pancakes and sausage at home, the bill comes in at about $6 for the entire family (think Sam's pancake mix). Maybe we'll try IHOP next time. They have kids meals.

We decided against Hickory River for dinner in lieu of home grilled pork.