My Family

My Family

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Emergency response

So this past weekend was my turn on the ER pager duty. What is ER you ask? In our work, we have a guy that covers emergency response incidents (chemical spills, well blow outs, etc). That is his job 24/7. To help him out, we rotate on weekends so he gets a break.

This past weekend, I was fixing to fall asleep at 9:30 Saturday night, when the phone rang. Someone called in an H2S leak in Zwolle, which is 2 hours from my house. Ugh. So I got up, got dressed, got to the office and found some better air monitoring equipment that I had in my vehicle. I called a coworker (we need a buddy system when air monitoring) and went pick him up. We left his house at 11:00 pm. Around 11:30, we got a call from the State Police Hazmat on site saying it was not H2S, but just a salt water leak. Phew! We were still needed, but at least it wasn't as bad. I told him we were already on our way. I realized shortly after, I had missed the exit to head to Mansfield, so we went on to Natchitoches. We stopped at a gas station, and at 12:30 am that Hazmat guy called saying the leak was contained and we could go home. Yay us. At least we didn't get all the way to Zwolle to hear this. I arrived back home at 2 am.

I was determined to sleep in that day. So when Jeanne woke up at 7:15, I made Shawn go tend to her. But of course, the mommy in me wouldn't go back to sleep. I got  up at 7:45 and showered. Shawn and Jeanne came in shortly after with Jeanne pouting. I guess daddy doesn't do mornings as good as mommy.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Future possibilities

Yes I know this is the third post in a day, but I am trying to catch up.

So far Shawn has gotten interview invitations to East Tennessee State University, Baylor @Dallas, University of Florida (Gainsville), Vanderbilt (Memphis), University of Alabama at Birmingham, and Tulane. We are excited with this future interviews for a possible residency position. The closest one to our family is Tulane, as it is 2 hours from Lafayette. ETSU is 16 hours away, UF is 10.5 hours away, UAB is about 7.25 hours away, and Baylor about 6.5 hours. I am not going to let distance get in my vision of this, since it is not up to me. I don't want to seem anxious about any school, and let that cloud Shawn's judgement. There are pros and cons to every program, so time will tell. He will know more about each school after interviews, and be able to make a top 10 list. It's funny that we still haven't heard from LSUHSC Shreveport, where he is in medical school.

On another note, my parents were supposed to be coming up today to stay with us a few days. Mom texted me yesterday saying Dad was having trouble with his work computer, and it needs to be fixed before he leaves on the 28th. It's not something that a computer guru can fix, but has to go through his company. So Dad could leave on Tuesday to bring the computer to Houston and fly out from there (he works in Africa). But he decided to stay behind and bring it today to Houston. I am completely bummed, but used to it. Dad has worked overseas for as long as I can remember, meaning he was not in often for birthdays or holidays. We got used to it after a while, and were that much more excited the next birthday/holiday when he was around.

I am bummed because Jeanne won't see him until Christmas. I am on call for Veteran's Day, and Dad is going hunting for Thanksgiving. Not that Jeanne knows any better. Maybe the fact that she is missing him is bringing back the old pangs of us missing him. I am mad that he didn't figure this computer thing out earlier so he could come. I know it is hard for him every time he has to say goodbye, especially when it comes to Jeanne. That doesn't make it easier for the fact that I won't see him till Christmas either. Being 4 hours away means less time I get to see him, which makes the possibility of moving further away that much harder...

A day in the life of an air inspector

So I am training some coworker in the air regulations, and took them with me on a Title V permit inspection the other day. A facility requires a Title V permit when they emit 10 tpy of any single hazardous air pollutant, or 25 tpy of any combination of HAPs.

So we arrive at the facility, and begin with records review. We are required to review all Title V required annual and semiannual reports, as well as any specific requirment records and reports for each individual emission source on site. For this particular site, records review took almost 2 hours. Which is not bad.

Next we conducted a facility tour. During the tour, we checked for leaks using a Cosmometer:
Then I checked a boiler's heat source:

We are looking for any emission problems, as well as spills, hazardous wastes, etc during the tour. This lasted about an hour and a half. We did note a few oil spills onsite, but besides that, they were in compliance with their Title V air permit.

Next month, I am inspecting a refinery that is over twice the size of this gas plant. It will take a while to review the permit before we go, so I will be busy.

Camping trip

So we (husband, baby, and I) went camping at Lake Ouachita this past weekend. It was awesome! A cool 54 degrees when we arrived (it's been 108 here in Shreveport), slight drizzle didn't stop us from setting up our tent. Jeanne was excited to explore the outdoors. She touched every rock and stick she found, and licked trees. I kid you not. Here is Shawn bringing her back up the hill after she tried to get to the water
We enjoyed hot dogs and smores that night over a camp fire. I made the mistake of trying to lay down with Jeanne when it was her bedtime. She is used to being put to bed, in the dark, by herself. So she ran all around the tent, climbing all over the air mattresses, laying on top of my, patting my face, etc, until around 3am. Then she fell asleep.

The next morning, of course she was sleepy. But she was a good sport. We walked around, played near the lake (it was still too cold to get in), chased ants, and talked to all the other kids at the lake.We enjoyed bacon and eggs on the camp fire.


 That afternoon, we did go play in the water. Though slightly cool, Jeanne enjoyed splashing in the lake and bringing rocks from the bank into the water. She grew quite a rock garden while there:

That night, for bedtime, I put her in the tent, said "Night night," and zipped her in. She was asleep within 20 minutes. We did not want to leave camp. It was beautiful and open. We got back to Shreveport and it was 87 outside and I was sweating unloading our stuff from the car. I can't wait until we go back again!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Work grief

So I had my morning planned to go conduct inspections that need to be done soon. I was heading out the door when my manager forwarded an email from my manager. A citizen group was requesting information for a specific industry, and my manager wanted the information by noon. No problem. Except that the group didn't define what they were looking for. So my supervisor, manager, DCL and I talked back and forth trying to figure out a solution to what this group wanted. We began looking at our online database. I worked on a spreadsheet that they group forwarded, so that all our information wouldn't get lost. After an hour or so of back and forth on the phone, I thought "Why don't we just call this group and ask them exactly what they want, instead of trying to guess." So I left a message.

They called back during lunch, so when I returned, I told my supervisor we needed to call the group back. He called my manager, and they decided they were not going to call them back and I got a little rebuke for calling the group in the first place. I got fussed for taking the initiative to try and find out exactly what was meant in her email so we wouldn't be wasting time trying to guess. So we have spent 4+ hours so far working on this information that we aren't even sure is the right information to begin with. And looking in our database for information from as far back as 2005 is NOT easy. If all this info is pooled together, and sent, and the group says that is not what they wanted, I am going to get mad. I am already mad about not calling them. Why don't men take the easier route? Instead of wasting our efforts and resources, we could find out detailed instructions about what they want. Men.

Needless to say, I have to wait until Monday to go conduct my inspections.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Happy birthday to the Blessed Mother

My coworker and I were talking about her son's birthday, which is today, September 8. I said that it is also my grandmother's 85 birthday (I called and left the birthday song on her voicemail). I then said that it is the Blessed Mother's birthday. My coworker asked me how I knew. I told her I had remembered for a while. I guess I learned it in college in bible study, and realized it was the same day at my grandmother, and since then was always able to remember their birthday.

My coworker and I then discussed the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, celebrated on December 8. My coworker thought that the Immaculate Conception referred to when Mary conceived Jesus. I said no, this was her conception we celebrate because we perceive her soul to have been conceived without sin. My coworker is not Catholic, and had never heard that Mary was without sin. I knew I had been taught that, so I had to do some internet research. There is nothing specific in the Bible stating such, but there are several areas that construe she was without sin:
"In Luke 1:28 the angel Gabriel, speaking on God’s behalf, addresses Mary as “full of grace” (or “highly favored”). In that context this phrase means that Mary is receiving all the special divine help necessary for the task ahead. However, the Church grows in understanding with the help of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit led the Church, especially non-theologians, to the insight that Mary had to be the most perfect work of God next to the Incarnation. Or rather, Mary’s intimate association with the Incarnation called for the special involvement of God in Mary’s whole life. The logic of piety helped God’s people to believe that Mary was full of grace and free of sin from the first moment of her existence. Moreover, this great privilege of Mary is the highlight of all that God has done in Jesus. Rightly understood, the incomparable holiness of Mary shows forth the incomparable goodness of God."

We celebrate the Conception on December 8, which nine months later would be September 8, today, which we celebrate as her birthday!
"The present Feast forms a link between the New and the Old Testament. It shows that Truth succeeds symbols and figures and that the New Covenant replaces the Old. Hence, all creation sings with joy, exults, and participates in the joy of this day.... This is, in fact, the day on which the Creator of the world constructed His temple; today is the day on which by a stupendous project a creature becomes the preferred dwelling of the Creator" (Saint Andrew of Crete).
"Let us celebrate with joy the birth of the Virgin Mary, of whom was born the Sun of Justice.... Her birth constitutes the hope and the light of salvation for the whole world.... Her image is light for the whole Christian people" (From the Liturgy).
As these texts so clearly indicate, an atmosphere of joy and light pervades the Birth of the Virgin Mary."

So today is a very special day. Today we celebrate the birth of the Mother of Christ.

Oversleeping after a long night

So yesterday was going well. Shawn had Jeanne playing outside while I finished dinner (after just coming in from work). I was putting laundry to dry and a box by the door to be recycled and saw that I accidentally locked the door. When I went to open it, I heard Jeanne screaming. I went outside to see what was going on. Shawn told me they were coming inside, and he was letting Jeanne walk up the stairs. Jeanne had stumbled, and our dog Clive was running passed her at the same time, causing her to loose her balance and fall backwards on the cement pavement. I could see Shawn was almost as shook up as Jeanne was, so I took Jeanne inside and rocked her as she drank some juice. Of course I was worried about her hitting her head, but she showed no signs of immediate danger.

After her juice, we had dinner, and then Jeanne watched a Baby Einstein dvd. There is this one puppet that scares her, and she cries each time. I thought it was a hippo, but I am not sure. But it scares her bad! She will see it, start crying, run up to me panting and hold my arm tight until the puppet is off the screen (note to self, fast forward through this clip!).

We put her down at 8 for bed, and she fell asleep fast. About 1:30 A.M., I heard her crying. I fixed her some milk and rocked her and put her back to bed. As soon as I got to my bed, I heard her crying again. So I fixed a little more milk, added some tylenol (thinking that she may have had a headache from hitting her head?) and rocked her some more. I was trying to decide if I should bring her back to my bed. Normally, even if she is falling asleep in my arms, by the time I get across the house to my bed, she is wide awake and wants to play. So I decided to take her to the living room to the recliner. I rocked until she was falling asleep. As soon as I put the foot part up to recline, she was bright eyed ready to play. *Sigh* It was 3:00 A.M. by this time, and I was rather sleepy. So I rocked her again, and then brought her back to her room. I had to rub her back a little to calm her (I don't think she wanted to go back to bed). She cried for another 15 minutes and then fell asleep.

When my alarm went off at 6 this morning, I was not ready to get up. "Just a few more minutes," I thought. Then I opened my eyes and saw it was 6:40!! Ugh. So I rushed to dress and get ready for work, got Shawn up, got Jeanne ready, threw some pancakes in the toaster, and drove to Starbucks for my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season. Ahhhh the joys of being a working mother.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A little here, a little there

So this past weekend was a blast! We went to Baton Rouge to spend the weekend with very close family friends. Our daughters are 4 weeks apart in age. The wife and I were best friends the last three years. We were both pregnant with our first babies togther, and enjoyed the first year of their lives together. They moved in June since the husband is now in residency in BR. We haven't seen them since they moved.
When the girls first saw each other, it was like they haven't been apart a day! Jl quickly came up to Jeanne and took her to the toys to play. We ended up staying up till 10 that night, and Jeanne is usually asleep for 8, but she was having such a great time!

On the last day, we were sad to leave them. I did cry on the way back because it is hard being 4 hours away from someone you are so close to. We will plan another trip as soon as we can.

Anyway, to the joys of being a working mother...
I asked my husband to unpack the suitcase on Tuesday when he was finished class, as I was still at work. I get in at 5 after picking up Jeanne, and the suitcase was on our bedroom floor and Jeanne and my clothes were thrown on my bed. At least the suitcase was unpacked.

That is the worst part of going on a trip. Having to unpack when you get home. I still have stuff needing to be put away, but after working 8 hours a day, then spending the next two hours with a very active little girl, I am exhausted once she falls asleep. So there is still a little here, and a little there. Maybe I'll get to it this weekend.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Being a mother

My husband and I have made plans to go to Baton Rouge this weekend to visit our very good friends. The husband was in medical school here last year, and is the parrain of our daughter. Shawn is the parrain of their daughter, who is 4 weeks younger than ours. We haven't seen them, except for Skype, since June. Since Shawn and I have off Monday, we thought it would be a great trip.

Well now there is a little tropical wave in the gulf. My mom has gone into full "mother mode" telling me not to bother making plans to go out anywhere because they are predicting 10-20 inches of rain. The meterologists in Baton Rouge are not that concerned, saying a 40% chance of rain, and call it an upper pressure system. Mom says to bring a sweater bc the high is going to be 88. And she even made the comment that J and K should have just come to visit us up here, since they will probably have to be running from the storm.

We grew up in south Louisiana. If you take I-49 to Lafayette, head south to the Vermilion Bay, then go back north about 10 miles, that's where we lives. We are all very familiar with hurricanes, being prepared, running from storms, and what aftermath looks like. We did lose our home with Hurricane Rita (NOT Katrina). My only assumption of why my mom is getting all frantic about us going visit with this possible tropical wave coming in, is that she is only doing what she knows best: trying to protect her children. I am sure one day, I will be doing the same thing with Jeanne.

Jeanne showing off her cool lunchbox