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Update: Promotion

We are Pleased to inform you that in recognition of excellent performance in the family, rendered by Hulk, he will be promoted to Big Brother effective October 2017.


Campbell & Olsen, Co.

ps. We bought a house


Feeling 22

My dad's brother died in a traffic accident early January 1st, 2016. We don't know why, I think my grandparents will always wonder. It has been hardest for them to accept. He was only 37 and left behind a young family. He was a bibliophile and wrote poetry; my grandmother has been going through his things and found a piece that he wrote when my sister died in 1995.  

Funeral Customs

My brother's baby
Was born without a brain.
A lot of crying, a lot of wishing,
But I don't think it was in pain.

The baby would never grow up,
We could never ask it.
They told me to take pictures 
And help lower the casket.

People brought over food.
Everyone sat eating in the room.
I escaped and played with my friends,
Escaped the crushing gloom.

A loved one dies
And people sure do funny things.
All I can do is try to decipher
The custom it brings.

After death my final wish
Is the burn.
Keep me out of the ground,
Put me in an urn.

-Carl Olsen

Happy 22n'd Birthday little sister :)


Parting is such sweet sorrow...

Probably the hardest thing about moving to Ohio for Hulk (and me) has been the 2000 mile gap between us and family. JC has handled it well. He's a recluse that would prefer to spend his weekends alone anyways.  But Hulk and I have had a hard time adjusting.

When we moved, I really thought we'd be fine. Hulk was young (it was just before his 2nd birthday) and I had moved around a lot as a kid. When we are able to go home, on the last day I always end up in tears begging JC to let Hulk and I stay (but of course we can't because I have commitments here too). Our family has not been to visit us often but we do love it when they come and always wish they could stay longer (and again, I end up in tears when they leave).

Our latest visit was from my MIL. I put her to work almost as soon as she got here and she was a definite boon. She cleaned our apartment (and oven!), packed boxes for our move (we hope next month!), removed Hulk's artwork from the walls, cooked dinner almost every night and even cleaned the dishes after. We were so spoiled. I was afraid Hulk would be irreconcilable after she left but he seems to be doing well. As an added bonus, JC's uncle was in Lexington for business and we were able to meet in Northern Kentucky for dinner last night. His uncle is kept very busy by the company he works for (he's very good at his job) so we were honored that he would take the time out of his schedule to spend with us. And we enjoyed his company :)

Hulk's visit from Nana (bad lighting on my phone, sorry)

In between family visits we have made a habit of talking with our family each Sunday over GoogleHangouts. It makes things a little better.

A family that 'cubes together stays together


An Open Letter to Ohio Drivers

Dear Ohio Drivers (or more specifically, Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky Drivers),

Since moving to the state of Ohio JC and I have had a steep learning curve due to the local cultural idiosyncrasies. (whoever said that all states in the US were made the same?) And while we've managed to adjust, there is one area that still concerns us. But I don't think that concern is unjustified. We commute on I75 everyday. There are accidents, everyday. It's March and there have already been over 200 accidents. Seriously, not cool guys. So, here is an incomplete list (in no particular order) of our grievances.

1. Speed Limits - while speed limits are generally accepted as "enforced" suggestions and not a hard rule there are still do's and don'ts.
Do: Go within ten mph of the speed limit if conditions permit (weather or traffic)
Don't: Go 75 in a 40 mph construction zone

2. Rain - water on the road can cause hydroplaning (loss of control)
Do: Be attentive (read: stay off of your phone), especially to the cars around you and to any spots on the road where water has collected. Keep your hands loose on the wheel and don't be heavy with the break.
Don't: Slow down to 20 mph on the interstate with your emergency lights on. If you insist on doing this, move over to the right lane and don't stay in the middle of the interstate. You are a hazard to other drivers that actually know how to drive in the rain.

3. Stop Lights - The engineers of Cincinnati lights understood the local driving culture. Here, After the light turns red, there is a long(ish) pause before the cross traffic light turns green. This prevents accidents as there is always someone running the red light.
Green light - go after checking that there is no cross traffic.
Yellow light - do NOT speed up. This is not a warning that you need to hurry up to make it through the light. This is why red lights are run (that, and lack of attention to speed). DO slow down and come to a stop. A YELLOW light mean SLOW DOWN and STOP.
Red light - You should have stopped by then (see yellow light).

4. Tail-gating - this does not mean attending a social gathering before a Bengals game, it means driving too close behind the car in front of you. What is too close? Well, that will depend on road/weather conditions and speed. When I am going 70 mph, I like to keep around 4 seconds between me and the car in front of me. I keep a mental track by selecting a point that the car in front of me passed and then counting how long it takes me to reach that same point. This does keep a gap in front of me for a car in another lane to enter, but at 70 mph one car length is not going to make difference in arrival time.

5. Zippering - this is a term used generally for interstate on ramps but can be applied to any road that converges from say two lanes to one lane. What zippering means is that cars take turns (remember in kindergarten when the teacher taught you how to take turns with that awesome toy? No. You don't. Or else you wouldn't be such a horrible person when it comes to taking turns during zippering). 
Do: If you're in the lane that is ending - turn on your blinker to indicate your desire to merge and be aware of the drivers that are in the lane next to you.
Don't: If you're in the lane that is being merged into - don't be a jerk. It helps the flow of traffic, really it does. Let a car in front of you. It doesn't have to be a whole row of cars (that doesn't help you) but one car. That's how zippering works. You take turns. A car from one lane goes, and then a car from the other lane, and back and forth.

6. Blinkers - Ever wished that there was a device to indicate to other cars what you intend to do? There is! It's called a blinker (or turn signal). EVERY car has one.
Do: Use your blinker to indicate intent to switch lanes (preferably in advance but don't take too long) and intent to turn into a street or parking area.
Don't: Keep your blinker on after it's intended use or not use it all.

7: Phones - are a distraction. Period.
Do: Keep your phone out of reach if it's a distraction. Or use a hands-free setting.
Don't: Text, talk, email, web browse, or otherwise use your phone.

While this list may be in no means complete, these are our major concerns. Personally, I really wish that everyone in Ohio had to retake the driving test every 5 years (or 10 if there were no traffic violations on their record) to be reminded of how to properly drive.

But in summary, Ohio Drivers: you are the worst.

EO and JC


The Devil is Real

JC and I have been saving our pennies, essentially since we married, in the hopes of one day purchasing a house. Last year we felt we were ready to take the plunge into the scary world of home-owners. Early in 2016 (like February or March), JC called our bank to ask about a mortgage. They ran a credit check and my score was over 100 points lower than what it had been when JC checked at Christmas. Since I am not a big spender, I don't have any delinquent loans, or secret off-shore bank accounts this was a red flag. The bank did not know why my credit score would be low so JC pulled my credit reports. The reports showed that I had a delinquent account with Comcast. I have not had an account with Comcast in years.

When we lived in C-ville, JC and I used Comcast. For internet, in C-ville there are really only two options: the first is a very expensive local provider, the second is Comcast. As young newly weds and college students we went with Comcast. The service was awful (as in unreliable). Our internet would frequently stop working, we would call Comcast, they would send a guy out to do service, and then we may or may not have internet again. It was ridiculous. I has in school and had homework assignments that required reliable internet usage. We ultimately decided to end our contract with Comcast and I would do my homework either on campus or at my in-laws.
After that our lives became much happier.
And that was the last time I have held a Comcast account.

So to hear that I had an account with them was laughable. JC was able to get the address and name on the account (Texas and not my name). We were confused why an account held in a state that I had never been to (nor did I know anyone living there) and not in my name would be linked to me. There is no way to directly access the Comcast fraud department and when you call in using the number provided on their website, none of the employees knew how to transfer you to that department. Frustrated, I got onto Comcast's Facebook account and left really bad reviews. Service employees responded to my complaints and we were finally able to get in contact with their fraud department. We spent over a month working with the department. They couldn't do anything but helped us figure out what paper work we needed.

Part of the paper work involved me going to the police station to file a report. The officer thought it was ridiculous and tried calling Comcast who refused to talk to him unless he had a court document.

JC drove to Indiana (where the closest Comcast office is) to get documentation on our most recent Comcast accounts because they would not send them over the phone. The employee at the office could not figure out how to print our accounts as the system was preventing her. She promised to mail them to JC who made the 90 minute drive back home and we received them in the mail a week later. I then filled out the paperwork and sent it in along with the police report, four months later my credit score was fixed (to be fair, the long wait here could be because of the credit agencies and not Comcast as scores are not frequently updated).

What happened, when the person in Texas opened an account with Comcast they gave my SSN. I have no idea how they got my SSN (they could have used a random generator). But here are the important questions: why did Comcast need a SSN to open that account? Neither JC nor I have ever given our SSNs to open internet accounts. Why was the information associated with that SSN not checked? JC and I used to be apartment managers we would run background and checks using the prospective tenants SSN and other provided information. Had a Comcast employee run a credit check when the account was opened they would have seen that the SSN and name did not match and this whole nightmare would not have happened.

This cartoon accurately depicts my feelings:

And we will never have an account with Comcast again.


Mis pensamientos

Creo que el puesto de Presidente de los Estados Unidos debe ser respetado. No puedo gustarme Donald Trump pero respetaré su oficina y oraré para que sea un buen presidente. El respeto no implica la fe ciega, pero pide que la oficina se mantenga a altos estándares. El cambio climático es real. Es major construer puentes que paredes. No es solo de los estadounidenses, ya que todos compartimos este mismo planeta; Estamos todos juntos en esto. Construyamos puentes para cruzar ríos de malentendido. 
Tengo miedo de Trump pero tengo esperanza para el futuro.

Dios bendiga a todos.

Decidimos "celebrar" su inauguración con comida rica Mexicana :)


Old World Disease in a New World

My background is in microbiology. During my undergraduate courses they would mention diseases like Small Pox or Measles simply to illustrate the effect of the pathogen but would never go into any serious epidemiology. But you still had a sense of "unless I go to a small country that doesn't have plumping or electricity I'll never see this."

Not Hulk but looks exactly like his rash.
Original Source
Flash forward a few years to Monday night. Hulk put himself down to bed two hours early with a fever and the start of a rash on his chest. Tuesday morning his body is covered and the fever had persisted. I figure he has a viral infection (no big deal) but decided to follow a prompting from the Holy Ghost to take him in. He had Scarlet Fever. Seriously, who gets Scarlet Fever? No one. (well, almost no one)

During the day he has been a very well behaved patient nor have I had to worry about him getting into things at work. I even had him help me make some protein gels yesterday :) At night he is up every few hours in pain and screaming. The rash is very itchy and the high fever causes his hands and feet to swell and hurt. But he has responded really well to the antibiotic, there's hope yet.


Milestones: Hulk's first ER visit

Have I ever mentioned how amazing my kid is? Because he's pretty great. As a baby I didn't have to worry about his putting random objects into his mouth because, unless it was obviously food, he wasn't into that. He doesn't like climbing on things or running too fast for fear he'll fall and bump his head. He doesn't like getting dirty (this one makes going to the coast rough). I could go on. He does enjoy "helping" and doing things for himself. These traits can sometimes vacillate between being super cute and super obnoxious. The point: I have never had a serious scar or trip to the ER before.

Hulk has been potty-trained for over a year now but he still seeks affirmation. He'll run up to me while I'm in the kitchen, "Mommy! Mommy! I went pee and washed my hands!" And I'll respond by telling him good job and that I'm proud of him (at what point does using the potty stop being point of pride?? I think we're ready to reach that...). So, one morning last week I had just finished packing our lunches and we were about to head out the door for the day when Hulk decided he needed to go potty. So he went, came out running to tell me he went poop and that he now needed to flush the toilet and wash his hands (great!). He then runs back into the bathroom. At this point I hear a thud. I wait a second. Hulk starts crying. I walk into the bathroom and he's sitting on the floor with a bit of blood on his forehead. I sit down on the floor, move him to my lap, and ask him if he's ok, what happened, etc. He cries and tells me he hit is head on the toilet. We have a stool that he moves between the toilet and the sink and I think when he bent down to pick it up he moved to quick and bumped his head. So I wipe up the blood with some toilet paper and look at his war wound. It's not big, but it's deep, and I can see fascia. I contemplate super glueing it but it's on his face so I'd like to avoid too much scaring. So I pull out my phone and start googling where to go for stitches. 

Usually I'd go to my favorite doctor but we're currently over 2000 miles apart (boo!). I call Hulk's pediatrician's office, no, they don't do stitches. So I start looking for the closest Urgent Care Center and load my crying child into the car. At the Center there is only a doctor, nurse, and a receptionist. They claimed they didn't have any anesthesia so we'd have to hold him down. Again, if it wasn't on his face I would not have minded. So I load him back into the car. By this point the initial shock has worn off and he's pretty mellow. I tell him we're going to the hospital and he becomes excited because that's where the ambulances are (spoiler: we didn't see any ambulances and he was disappointed)

Long story short: I have a love/hate relationship with the ER. I love how friendly, kind, and intelligent the staff are. They made Hulk feel comfortable and let him watch kids' TV shows to distract him while the doctor worked (this was a big deal for him as we restrict his screen time at home). I hate that we spent 2.5 hours there for roughly 10 minutes of work and he's been asking to watch The Adventures of Chuck and Friends since. 

If you're to ask Hulk what happened to his forehead he becomes animated and starts talking about trucks. :)

ps. Trying to get your child to hold still for a picture of his stitches is impossible. I probably have a hundred of these on my phone. #ugh

But he's still cute :)