Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Epic Adventure

Last Thursday, within half a day of my posting “Army of Ron”, I received an email that has the potential to change my life dramatically!

Without getting into all the minor details, I have been invited to possibly join Team Epic Adventure. At this point, the first question asked is: “Ok, what is special about this team?” First off, this team is composed of only disabled individuals (primarily Ertl amputees) and they are to begin training for a race that starts in New York City in June 2006. The finish “line” of the race willl be at a port in Falmouth, England … 3,100 nautical miles away. Yep, Epic Adventure is training for a Trans-Atlantic voyage, in a 29 foot vessel powered only by oars. In fact, this will be the first team comprised completely of disabled atheletes to attempt crossing the Atlantic in this method.

Safety was a key thought at the first mention of this event. The crossing will be done within a well organized race with 14 other boats. Each boat will have all the normal/required safety equipment, as well a small fleet of safety vessels following behind (at a reasonable distance) in case of any major emergency. However, once the 15 teams leave dock, they are to be totally self-contained, with no assistance provided fromany outside organization. That means all the supplies we start with will be all we have (yes, I am already using “we” and “us” when talking about it).

The following is from one of the letters being sent out to incourage corporate sponsorship:

This ultimate endurance challenge, a 3,100 nautical mile race, will leave New York in June 2006 and will arrive in Falmouth, England approximately 60 days later. Not satisfied with winning the race Epic Adventure will be attempting to break the record set by a Dutch crew in 2005 of 31 days. Being the first all amputee crew to even attempt this crossing we will generate mass amounts of public and media interest in our endeavor. This translates into greater exposure and higher revenues for your company.

What we are offering our Sponsors is constant exposure to a US and global market for over a year for less then the cost of a single 30 second national commercial spot. This will be accomplished through sponsor logo and product use/placement on the boat and apparel of the team during all media exposure, print and television interviews, both prior to, and after the race.

In addition to world media coverage, the Epic Adventure boat will provide at minimum daily photo/webcam updates. We will have internet access; webcam broadcast through our web site and are working on a bidirectional satellite system that will allow us live webcam broadcast 24/7 from sea, providing worldwide access and exposure 24/7.

Today I will be checking into the possibility of a “leave of absense” from the University. Wish me luck!

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Sunday, August 28, 2005

Today was not a good day driving.

Earlier today, while all of us where in the car, I got a green arrow to make a left turn across a very busy intersection. When I proceeded to make the turn, a guy in a mid 90's model Jeep Cherokee decided he was in a hurry and would run his red light. Needless to say, he had to stand his vehicle on it's front bumper to keep from impacting on Renee & Sarah's side of the car. By the end of the incident, the only thing between our vehicles was an extremely squished guardian angel! After leaving the intersection, I had to pull over for a few seconds to compose myself (those of you who really know me now realizes how close a call that must have been!).

A few hours later, while south bound on I-35, I was involved in a small, but quick game of "dodgeball". Let me set up the scene. I'm in the right lane, behind a white crew-cab Ford with rear dualies, which is behind an 18 wheeler. In the left lane, about midway between the Ford and I, is a dark colored four door sedan.

I have no idea what the semi drove over (but I saw it fly out to the left far enough to land in the median), but whatever it was slashed all four left rear wheels of the trailer. Just a few seconds later, very large shards of rubber started flying from where the tires were supposed to be. A few bounced of of the Ford, and the sedan started braking hard, as was I. My first swerve was to the right, to avoid a huge piece that bounced off the Ford's windshield, but then the Ford went to the shoulder, cutting me off (smoke was coming off his tires, as he had locked up his brakes). At this point, I am trying to determine the next possible moves of both the Ford and sedan, which is also braking ans sweerving, not to mention watching for more flying rubber. My next move was a swerve left, which put me somewhat behind the sedan. At this point, the sedan driver was put in a no-win situation: he had to decide which piece of flying rubber he wants to hit, because there was no way to avoid the next wave of tire treads. He did a good job, and almost missed all of the rubber, but one large piece clipped his passenger side mirror, which in turn became my next item to avoid. The mirror hit the ground once and then took an amazing bounce ..... about 6 feet in the air. Being our Honda is somewhat less than six feet high, I actually accelerated to pass under the mirror before it started down. By now, even though it is still daylight, visable sparks are flying from the rims of the semi, as they were grinding against the pavement . While that was a cool view (if you saw it on Cops or soething), it wasn't one I wanted to be around.

After it was all over, and all had come to a stop on the shoulder, the only damages turn out to be:
-The four destroyed tires and rims of the semi
-A few black marks and$ on the hood and roof of the Ford
-A missing passenger side mirror

I was lucky enough that my squished guardian angel fr& was still on duty and helped me through another situation that could have been very dangerous.

If I had been a cat today, I would have used about a third of my nine life.

Time to hit the post button and turn this thing off.

Sent via my SX66 device (which may explain why it is short)

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Friday, August 26, 2005

From the "What were they thinking" category:

From Infoxchange Australia:
Activities and Programs - Come and Try Boxing Morning
Source: Wesley Disability Support Southern RegionPosted: 19-8-2005
On Monday 5 September 2005, Connect South in conjunction with Leisure Balance and John Hoyne are hosting a Come and Try Boxing Morning for people who have an Acquired Brain Injury.
Link to complete event announcement
Thanks for the tip on this Ozzie!

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Thursday, August 25, 2005

A French commercial with a unique disability message

I have no idea what this commercial is actually saying, but I love the 'turn about" that is presented:

Request: If I have any French speaking readers, will you provide a translation for the commercial in a comment?       -Thanks in advance!
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Best pratical joke from ten years ago

When I discovered that yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the release of Windows 95, I was reminded of a 'geeky' practical joke from the days following the release. You need to remember that the entire user interface changed from Windows 3.1 to Windows 95, and several people were leery about the stability of the new operating system. I had one particular friend that loaded Win 95 on his PC on the day of the release ... and was showing it off to all who would walk past his workstation. I had played with the beta-release for a while on a backup PC, so I had already seen some of the new things you could do with it. This friend, being a support technician, was always rebuilding his computer, so I decided to play with him a little.

After he had the new Win95 install complete, and had loaded several programs, he decided to take a coffee break ... but failed to 'lock' his computer (he hadn't found that option yet). During his absence, I took a screen capture of his desktop, saved it as a bmp file and then set it to be his desktop wallpaper. While I couldn't get rid of the "My Computer" and "Recycle Bin" icons, all other icons were stored away in a different location on the PC. So, here sits the wallpaper, which appears to have numerous icons on it, but they are only images of the working icons. Coffee break is over and my buddy returns to his workstation. Double clicking on the 'icons' have no effect. He can't even select them to move them around. Only the "My Computer" and "Recycle Bin" are responding. Needless to say, he starts ranting about the new OS and how it is a piece of junk (only an hour prior it was the greatest thing since slice bread .. how soon they forget). What does he do before I can get over to his station and let him know about the joke? Formats the drive and starts a reload. He said he needed the practice anyways, since he was going to be helping with the roll out of the new OS. Well, if he wants the practice, I'll help him get it. Next day, coffee break, same thing. He returns, nothing responds, so he formats and rebuilds. He decides that the OS has a bug that has to do with 'extended times of inactivity'.

After a couple more days of this, I can't contain myself anymore, and explain to him how I am the 'bug', and exactly how he was duped. He took it in stride, and started to play the joke on a few of his geeky friends.

Oh, the memories.........
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Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Army of Ron

The first Wednesday night of each fall semester (for the last 18 years) is "Lights on Stillwater", a time when local businesses, churches, organizations & just about any other group that wants to be there set up small booths to meet and greet the students. It was originally held on the OSU football field, under the stadium lights, hence the name 'Lights on Stillwater'. Being that the Athletic Department replaced the old astroturf several years ago, it changes venues almost annually. It is actually a fun activity, and one that you will see numerous people rekindling their friendships lost over the summer.

The US Army is one of the staples of those attending the function. When it was held on the football field, they would bring chin-up bars for the visitors to use. Now that they are more into their big marketing blitz, they have a true Hummer (not an H2) that appears to have been worked over by Xzibit and the rest of the "Pimp my Ride" gang, as well as an approx. 25-30 foot climbing wall. When I got there to help set up a booth for a friend, I think I actually heard the wall call my name (well, not really, but you know what I mean). We got there at 5:30 for setup and the function was to last until 10pm.

Around 9:30, Sarah and I walked around the parking lot and headed straight toward 'the wall'. Sarah asked if I was going to climb it, and I said 'sure'.

Point to remember: I am an amputee today due to a fall of approximately 12-15 feet ... from the side of a wall. In previous posts I have mentioned my being on a rock wall a few months after the amputation, but that was more of a traversing wall (only off the ground by about three feet, but you go across the wall). While I was never 'scared' of heights before my accident, they have effected me since then.

I went to the main table, signed the appropriate "if you get killed or maimed, you can't sue us" paperwork and proceeded to the wall. They suggested going barefoot, for better control on the small outcroppings. When I took off my right shoe, and my fake foot was viable, one of the Army guys said "what's that?" (I think he knew, but simply spoke without thinking ... a true trait of the Army). I asked if there were any problems with an amputee climbing and he replied "No Sir", as if I had been his old drill Sargent. After I was wearing the appropriate rigging, they got me on the wall before I could come to my senses (chicken out, in other words).

About halfway up, I lost my handhold and started to slip. The feeling was just like June 25, 2001 at 2:00 pm, but this time I was able to re-secure my grip. After a few seconds to compose myself, I finished the climb all the way to the top. Oh, what a feeling (no Toyota jokes please) New problem, how to get down. The instructions say "lean back and let go". Hummm, been there, done that, got the prosthetic foot to prove it.

I looked down to confirm the 'just let go' command. Yep, you're right, I shouldn't have looked down. It took a ton of confidence in that mechanical belay brake, but let go I did. Free fall was probably all of three feet before the belay brake activated, but it seemed like a lot more. After it activated, it was a smooth ride down.

I DID IT ... I killed (or at least wounded) my "height dragon"! Between the Pimp my Hummer (there are so many jokes in that statement, I won't even start) and the rock wall, the "Army of Ron" had a small victory!

I would like to extend my thanks to the US Army for this personal victory ... both to those state-side and those away from loved ones :-(

You know, I was trying to figure out how to work in the old "Be all that you can be" slogan, but then realized that might not be appropriate for an amputee. I guess I would have had to use "Be most that you can be". ;-)
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This day in history ... 1995

Win95Windows 95 (codename Chicago) was a hybrid 16-bit/32-bit graphical operating system which was released on August 24, 1995 by the Microsoft Corporation.

Windows 95 is a direct result of combining Microsoft's formerly separate MS-DOS and Windows products. Windows 95 is the first in that line without support for older, 16-bit x86 processors, thus requiring an Intel 80386 (or compatible) processor running in protected mode. It featured significant improvements to the graphical user interface (GUI) and underlying workings, including desktop and Start Menu, support for 256-character mixed-case long filenames and preemptively-multitasked protected-mode 32-bit applications.

The introduction of 32-bit file access in Windows for Workgroups 3.11 meant that 16-bit real mode MS-DOS was no longer used for managing the files while Windows was running, and the earlier introduction of the 32-bit disk access meant that PC BIOS wasn't used for managing hard disks. This essentially reduced MS-DOS to the role of a boot loader for the protected-mode Windows kernel. DOS could still be used for running old-style drivers for compatibility, but Microsoft discouraged using them, as this prevented proper multitasking and impaired system stability. The Control Panel allowed a user to see what MS-DOS components were still used by the system; optimal performance was achieved when they were all bypassed. The Windows kernel still used MS-DOS style real-mode interface calls in the so-called Safe mode, but this mode existed merely to allow a user to fix problems with loading native, protected-mode drivers.
Complete Wikipedia entry

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Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Clever vs Smart

Editor's note: Additional titles for this post could have been:
Testing in Production
Guilt by association

This is a fond(?) memory from several years back, from right after I took over the leadership of the Training and Office Automation team, of which Joe F (remember... one of my favorites) was a new member. Joe was working as my email postmaster, the duties of which are to provide solutions to questions posed by various email users on campus. The question of "how to best configure a rule in Lotus Notes to send an autoreply in response to a received message" was asked. I had no idea that the question had been posed to Joe, until....

Testing in Production:
Joe proceeded to create a new rule in his mail file that was supposed to reply to new messages. Within this message, he typed something to the effect of "For a good time visit http://....", with the URL of a personal website of wav files and celebrity photos he was running on a University system. Thinking that he would only receive a few test messages in the short amount of time the rule was running, he activated the rule. To make a long story short(er), let's just say the rule worked against all the mail in his account, including messages from a couple of listserv lists on campus. Yep ... Joe, in essence, spam the majority of the technical population with several "For a good time..." messages. Needless to say, after I got half a dozen of these messages, I called Joe to ask him what was going on. He was already in a huge firefighting mode attempting to douse the blaze he had started.

Guilt by association:
Needless to say, I was called in to visit my director and I was advised to bring "Joe in tow". When we entered, we sat across from the director's desk, and I planned to remain quiet during this session. Dan, the director, was really a cool guy, but he could get ugly when/if he needed to. Conversation when something like:
Dan: Ron, did you hire Joe to be your postmaster ... the guy who is supposed to be knowledgeable about how the email system works?
Me: Yes sir
Dan: Joe, you seem like a pretty bright guy, and I thought Ron's selection was a good one, but I am being to wonder about that decision.
Joe: I understand
Dan: Let me explain about the situation. We have reasons why we don't test ideas in production, and I think you see the reason for that now.
Joe: Yes sir
Dan: And if you have to test in production, there is a difference between being clever and smart. Let me explain. Smart would have been to put in the test message "I am currently testing a new rule in Lotus Notes, please disregard this message", whereas clever is putting anything like "For a good time.." in a test message. I won't even expand on the fact that it appears you are running a personal website on University equipment.
Joe: Yes sir .... and the web site has already been removed from that computer.
Dan: Good
Dan (to Ron): And you, don't think that I don't know that you have the ability to be a smart @$$ at times also, so I am lumping you into this "Smart vs Clever" talk as well
Ron: Yes Sir (but thinking, dang .... I'm getting slammed for Joe's mistake .. oh, well)
Dan: Do either of you have any questions about the concept of Clever vs Smart?
Ron & Joe (in unison): No sir
Joe: I was preparing an email message to send to all the identified people of my message this morning, explaining what happened and apologizing.
Dan: Delete the message ... don't send it. No use in adding any additional fuel to any fire that may be out there. If someone calls you, talk to them, but don't send out any more messages.
Joe: Yes sir
Dan: You guys probably need to get out of here, but I have some explaining to do to my boss now.
Ron and Joe (in unison): Yes sir
Joe (to Ron, after we left the office): Sorry
Ron: Hey, it wasn't near as bad as I expected. Just don't forget the difference between clever and smart
Joe: Don't worry, I don't think I will ever forget it

Needless to say, that "conversation" with Dan has had a lasting impression on both Joe and I since that day. We have often pointed out 'clever' actions we have observed others perform and commented on what would have been the 'smart' way to handle the situation.

I'm sure I'll get at least one comment to this post ... from Joe ... adding his (fond) memories of this day.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Hey Brent ... this post's for you!

Editor's note: I was a cop for 9 years before turning into the IT Geek boy I am today.

I'm driving home tonight at approximately 11:30pm. No other cars anywhere to be seen. I'm westbound on Airport Rd approaching the intersection with Washington St and I just happened to have a red light shining at me from the traffic signal. While slowing to stop, I noticed a shiny black sedan with white doors and roof approaching from the south, so I made sure to stop completely, before making a right turn on red. I've no more completed the turn when I see the red and blue lights activate behind me (he was still quite a ways back). I figured he had a call to go on and even though we are on a four lane road, I still obediently yield to the emergency vehicle by pulling to the right and stopping.

Does the shiny sedan with bright flashing lights go past me? No, it pulls in right behind me! Like a good law abiding citizen, I turn down the radio, turn on the inside dome lights and keep both hands on the steering wheel (the window is already down). As the officer approaches, curiosity is killing this cat, so I ask the officer "what's the problem?", with the answer being "you didn't stop long enough at the red light before your turn".

Xsqueeze me? (but it actually sounded like a very polite 'excuse me?'). "Yeah, you didn't stop long enough at the red light." Ok, I'm tired and this cop is out trolling for drunks, which is respectable even though it is a Monday night, so I decide not to ask about the required length of time prior to being allowed to turn. But I did reply, "I did stop though". Response: Barely audible grunt, followed by "driver's license and insurance please".

While digging my driver's license from my billfold, I explained I didn't know where the insurance papers were because I was driving a borrowed vehicle. Response? Another grunt. After handing over the license, my fatigue and attitude get the best of me and I fire off the following: "When you get back to your unit and run your checks, the 43 will return valid, 42 will be clear and the 44 will be negative. The 28 will return to (buddy's name) and the 29 will also be negative.***" Sometimes you just gotta speak a language people understand, and I still remember it very clearly.

His response? "Where were you a cop?" After a short conversation, he gives me back my license and wishes me a safe evening. I still wanted to ask about the required length of time for a stop prior to a right turn on red, but sometimes it is better to be smart instead of clever (right Joe? ... but that is something for another post)

***Additional editor's notes:
Unit = patrol car
43 = check for DL status
42 = check for traffic record (previous tickets / accidents)
44 = check for warrants
28 = check vehicle license plate info
29 = check if vehicle is reported stolen

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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Started slow, but ended strong

Well, it is early evening of my Big 4-0 day, and I thought I would share briefly about the day.

Started with Sunday School and church. My SS class is taught by our pastor, who happens to be a very close friend (within the top five of my buddies in the whole world!). I shared with him, and the others sitting close enough to hear, the the joke about the farmer and the fly (see this post) prior to class starting. After the laughter died down, and the joke being retold for the rest of the class, I told Henry that I knew he would be telling the joke before the week was over. He said he would be telling the joke before the day was over. Fast-forward to church ... after singing, greeting and morning prayer, when Henry got up for the sermon, he said something about "in one ear and out the other", and I knew where he was going. He said "That reminds me of something from Sunday School this morning, shared to me by our very own webmaster, who just happens to be celebrating his 40th birthday day ... Ron King." He then begins to share the joke, with only the flair that Henry can muster. It gets a big laugh, and he segways into the sermon as only he can. After service, everyone comes up, wishes me a happy b-day and lets me know they enjoyed the joke.

Leave for lunch with Anthony, the Marble family and my family (Anthony is another in the Top Five group). Nothing major at lunch, other than good conversation about high gas prices and various movie trivia. Off to home we go, where I am looking forward to playing with a new toy police helicopter Sarah gave me this morning. She gave me one like this several years back (except with military markings), but is was broken beyond repair by friends unknown. As I open the box, several pieces of plastic fall out it ... which is not a good sign. After closer examination, we find that this copter will never see the open skies. Sarah bought it for me in early March, and there are no more at the store, so off we go to find a suitable replacement. While I was anxious to play with the helicopter (I had one like it when I was about ten years old), I kept an open mind for a good replacement.

Wally-World to the rescue! While strolling through the toy section, we stumbled across some small remote controlled race cars. The price of two were exactly the same price as the helicopter we just returned. Instantly I imagined hours of racing fun across the tile and hard wood floors of the house. I was hooked on the idea and told Sarah. She like it as well. We took the time to carefully examine all the different selections, and settled on a Mazda RX-8 (burnt orange with black stripe) and a Toyota Celica (white with orange stripe). After getting the correct allocation of batteries, we're off to the house for some serious racing! It was a blast ... much better than a single player helicopter game. Hope also got in on some of the fun later on.

Gotta run .... it's time for some brownies and ice cream!
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Hippo Birdie to me

Well, its finally here. The Big 4-0! When friends and relations have a bday, I normally send them an email with subject line of Hippo Birdie. (copy of message)

I was afraid the width of my blog template would screw up the effect, so I posted it in another page as plain text.

Being I've already had the BDay party (see a few post back), it will be interesting to see what today holds.

(posted with my SX66 device – which may explain why it is short)


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Saturday, August 13, 2005

Today was a day of mixed emotions

Today was, essentially, Joe's last say at OSU. While he is officially on the payroll until next Friday, he is taking annual leave Mon-Thur next week, returning on Friday to complete the needed paperwork.

If you will look about four entries below, you will see where I posted about him leaving, and how he is more of a friend instead of an employee or co-worker. We had an official "Joe is leaving" lunch earlier this week, but we had a more "just the buddies" lunch at EJ's today.

Make sure and visit Joe's blog, unclebubby.blogspot.comto wish him good luck on his new job.

Joe, while I know you will, I just have to say: Bubby, keep in touch!
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Thursday, August 04, 2005

One legged cop catches druggie

There is a web site named that I look at every now and then for various videos.  Sometimes they have stuff that is classified as NSFW (not safe for work), but something I saw this morning that had to be shared.

Check out the video, it is almost 3 minutes long and about 4MB in size, so it may take a while for the video to load.

I wish I knew where there deputy was, cause I would love to chat with him.  He is a RBK (right below knee) amputee and chases down a criminal.  I love at end when the guy asks the deputy shy he is breathing so hard, and the response is "cause I'm outta shape buddy, but I still got you though!" One of my buddies at work saw the video on Cops, and told me the best part was chopped off the end, because the cop ended his statement with “ …. and I only have one leg”.  That is simply priceless!

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Monday, August 01, 2005

Where do I begin?

Saturday night, while I thought I was helping a close friend with a work-related seminar, I was being setup for a surprise 40th Bday party. Now the background:


A couple of months back I received a phone call from Jonathan, my CP (the guy who builds/maintains my prosthesis), and asked if I would help out with an upcoming CP seminar, as they needed a ‘patient model’ to demonstrate new feet from a leading prosthetic distributor. Of course I said I would, and was looking forward to it. Fast forward a couple of weeks and I get a call from a salesman from Otto Bock, the company manufacturing the feet I was going to demo. The conversation was short, but he gathered all the needed info so that he could bring the appropriate equipment for the seminar (I even found his contact info online when I was going to call him a week ago). During our conversation, I was told that I would be a ‘contract employee’ for Otto Bock for the day, and I would either be paid for my time, or I could pick one of the feet I demo’ed and keep it. That decision was a no-brainer, as prosthetic feet run in the thousands of dollars. Needless to say, I was pumped for the seminar, and had spent several hours reviewing the line of feet from Otto Bock (that just sounds weird, doesn’t it?).


Saturday comes and I spend time fixing up a rider lawn mower donated to me by a good friend and then I mow both my lawn and my neighbor’s. Get cleaned up and head south to OKC … to help out a friend. We were supposed to meet at his clinic office to gather needed tools. We were also supposed to do some needed maintenance on my present foot, as I had blown out the shock earlier in the month. After spending a few minutes in his office, we proceeded to the seminar. Jonathan’s wife was with him, but she was just dropping us off and then going to see her parents. When we got to the hotel of the seminar, she decided to go in with to see if there was anyone she knew there. As we entered, Jonathan mentioned it was in the "Appaloosa Room" and I looked at the display case for directions. Imagine my suprise when I saw “Appaloosa Room: Ron King – Happy Birthday”.


Major rewind in time: Three years ago my brother turned 40 and in celebration, my mom threw a suprise party for him. I knew mine was coming, I just had no idea it would be two weeks early or that Jonathan was up to his eye-balls in it!


Back to Saturday: Turns out we went in the front door because Jonathon was afraid we were too early. At one point while headed back to the Appalooa Room, Jonathan’s wife stopped to go to the bathroom (another attempt at time stalling). While she was away from us, I asked Jonathon what my mom had put him up to … he acted all innocent and said he didn’t know what I was talking about.


We get to the room and everyone yelled SUPRISE!, which it was, and we had an wonderful evening. The only sad part was:

I didn’t get my new foot!


Turns out mom made an appointment with Jonathon about three months ago to start this whole thing. Jonathon even got the guy at Otto Bock to play along, since he knew I would probably look the guy up for some reason. It really means a lot that so many people knew about this but went out of their way to insure it was a suprise.

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I've been had

I will explain later (after I get to a fullsize keyboard), but for right now .... let's just say you have to get up pretty early to pull one over on me!

(Sent via my Siemens SX66 device ... which may explain why it is brief)
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