Last night Graham and Thomas had their final orchestra concert of the year. In anticipation of the event, several months ago I invited my mother to visit us at this time so that she could attend. Graham’s fourth grade orchestra was the first to play and they did a very nice job of showing how much they had improved during the year. After they took their bow, they all started off stage to make room for the fifth grade orchestra. As Graham stood near the edge of the stage waiting for the rest of the kids to move, he chatted and laughed with his nearby friends. I looked away for a second to talk to Tina and then we heard a crash in front of the stage followed by a gasp from the audience. Somebody fell. Tina asked, “Who fell?” Scanning the group near the commotion, I realized Graham was no longer on stage. “It’s Graham!” I told her as she stood and then rushed down the stairs to the stage.
My mother, who was sitting beside me, told me Graham had stepped backwards off of the stage, which is three to four feet high. Later, Graham would tell us that his foot had been caught in the four inch gap between the stage proper and the curtain rod that extends all around the stage. After watching a few people walk down to the scene with medically-trained purpose, I decided I better investigate myself. Graham was still laying on his back, holding his head and crying a little. Someone was checking his eyes for dilation and asking him questions related to head concussions. He was sweating but it was sort of humid in the auditorium. I suggested to him that we go sit outside and get some fresh air. After a bit, he agreed and Tina took him outside while one of the medical people took me aside and told me about concussion symptoms we should watch for during the next 24 hours.
I returned to my seat next to my mom and watched Thomas play with the fifth grade orchestra (to help them keep the beat). Tina and Graham came back in after awhile and Graham reported that his side hurt. After some discussion, we decided that Tina would take Graham to the doctor or the emergency room after consulting with his doctor. The doctor recommended that she take him to the Emanuel ER because they have a pediatric ward. Four hours later the ER doctor told them that he had bruised ribs, some soft tissue damage to his ankle and a slight concussion. Graham is staying home for a couple of days and has a vicodin(!!) prescription for the pain. He still has a headache today and his ribs are sore. Also, he tells me he is bored.
Thomas’ portions of the concert went off much better and nobody was injured. Grandma Ring especially enjoyed Serenade for Strings by Mozart while I really liked hearing the Halo theme again. They finished with “Shrek’s Nightmare” which was really fun and involved screaming. Thomas played in both the Advanced 7th & 8th Grade Orchestra and in the prestigious Chamber Orchestra, for which he arrives an hour early to school every day.
Thomas has also been playing music at home quite a bit recently since we helped him buy an electric bass and amplifier. He picked the Epiphone Thunderbird and we got a 10 watt Acoustic amplifier. We should have waited until school was out because he’s been spending almost every waking moment downloading tablature from the internet and playing it on his bass. He’s helping to pay for the bass by mowing our lawn this summer, a task I’m very glad to delegate to him. Thomas continues to be active with Boy Scout Troop 820. For the second year in a row his troop captured the Top Troop award at the annual Camporee competition. We’re very glad for his participation and the great influence that the older boys have on him and his friends.
As I mentioned earlier, I invited my mother to visit so that she could see the boys play and the timing was also right for her to be here for Graham’s 10th birthday. After mulling his options, he chose to get a new bed for his birthday. He also shocked his Grandma by insisting that we eat at Sushiville for his birthday lunch. Grandma is not very fond of sushi but she was a good sport and even took us all (including Uncle Buddy) to see Up, the latest Pixar film, at Cinetopia. It was tremendous and one of the best stories I have ever seen with no dialog or narration for the first part of the movie. We’ve also been to see Terminator: Salvation and the new Star Trek movie in recent weeks. We don’t go to the movies very often so this will likely signal an upcoming drought of movies in the very near future.
At the start of April, my employer decided that they would finally close the Vancouver office at the end of the month. If you recall, they laid nearly everyone in the office last August but held on to a couple of engineers to work from home. I was lucky enough to be one of those engineers. After the layoffs were finished, they kept my old boss on to work on a “short project” and continue providing support for our previously released products. Well, the short project went on for several months longer than projected and my boss continued working by himself in the Vancouver office. Once the project was finished and they decided to finally close the office, my VP called to tell me that I would be working in Vancouver until the office was closed. You see, part of my job description includes supporting our previously released products much like my old boss had been doing. During the month of April, he and I worked on current issues and he performed what is often described in the software business as a “knowledge dump” to me. I took pages and pages of notes and eventually transferred them to an internal wiki (I love wikis!).
Although I didn’t necessarily enjoy commuting to Vancouver every day again, the extended training session signaled that my employer is committed to my continued employment far into the future. I am now the only person in the company with the knowledge to support these older products and that is very reassuring to me, especially in the face of recent cost cutting measures that have been undertaken at the company. In addition, I’m also enjoying working as a Mac programmer again after having been away from “real” Mac programming since last fall. Management would like if I were able to spend a small portion of my time with these support issues but I don’t see that happening in the very near future.