My Life With CPAP

I have a love/hate relationship with my CPAP machine. I have probably documented this fact before in my blog. I would say I mostly hate it if I were being totally truthful about it. I spend every night tethered to my Dream Station CPAP machine.

For those who aren’t familiar with this, the CPAP is Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Basically, it is a machine which blows air into into my nose and mouth to keep the airway open for those of us who have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. That means we stop breathing during sleep for various periods at night. That’s kinda not a good thing. This machine is designed to help with that.

On a positive note, my CPAP machine has done that. Since I have started using the machine I have gone from 90 events per hour to an average of one per hour.

Yes, that’s good but I still hate the machine. I can never leave home without it and I never like putting the mask on my face at night. It’s a necessary annoyance in my life now. It is possible that if I lost enough weight that I could get off of it but that’s no guarantee. The machine isn’t too loud but enough to be annoying at times. It also dries my sinuses out a lot. I have a water attachment to it that is supposed to help but it doesn’t.

I guess the machine keeps me alive. That’s probably a good thing. When I sleep or nap without it I wake up with a headache so it makes a difference. But unlike those who claim it makes a huge difference and they wake up refreshed with the best sleep they have ever had – I have not experienced that myself. I’m still wondering about that. I suppose I should be happy I am breathing 89 more times each hour.

So therein is my dilemma. I hate it but I have to use it. It took a while for me to adjust to the machine in the beginning. In fact, the folks at the sleep lab were upset the first morning I used the machine when I woke up sick instead of celebrating the best sleep ever. They took it kinda personal. I had a difficult adjustment in the beginning.

I will say that the CPAP does help me fall asleep sooner. It doesn’t take long for me to drift off to sleep. I also dream a lot more now (although I can’t always remember what I dreamed) which my doctor says is a good sign that the machine is working. I don’t wake up with headaches as much but mostly I have to regain my balance since it does something in affecting it. Doctors haven’t been able to figure that one out.

No, I’m not in love with my CPAP but it’s like an annoying family member who moves in with you. The CPAP lives with me like an annoying relative and I just have to manage until me or the technology changes.

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Friday Flashback: All-American Football League

logoallamericanfootballleagueA decade ago, a unique professional football league was scheduled to kickoff its inaugural season with six teams.  The All-American Football League (AAFL) was founded in 2007 and prepared to start their first season in the spring of 2008.  The AAFL was an attempt to appeal to college football fans.  The league was set up as a professional league with a requirement that all players be college graduates.  The league had a big emphasis on Southeastern Conference (SEC) fans with five of the six franchises located in the southern United States.

The most unusual concept of the league were that the teams did not have nicknames but rather referred to their state.  The six original teams and home fields were:

  • Alabama (Legion Field, Birmingham)
  • Arkansas (War Memorial Stadium, Little Rock)
  • Florida (Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville)
  • Michigan (Ford Field, Detroit)
  • Tennessee (Neyland Stadium, Knoxville)
  • Texas (Rice Stadium, Houston)

aafl_logosThe league actually had agreements from college universities to use their stadiums for the spring months.  Each team drafted and/or signed players that graduated from the host state’s universities.

The AAFL Draft took place in Atlanta on Saturday, January 26, 2008. The first player selected overall was Zarah Yisrael, offensive lineman from Troy University, who was picked by Team Arkansas. The 2001 Heisman Trophy award winner Eric Crouch was selected with the third pick by Team Texas.

The league had planned to play a 10-game season for 2008, from April 12 to June 14, with all six teams to play in one division during the first season. The teams with the second and third best records in the regular season would meet in a playoff for the right to face the number one team in a championship game to be played on July 3, 2008. The AAFL released its schedule in October, 2007, with the April 12, 2008 games consisting of Alabama at Florida (at Jacksonville), Arkansas at Texas, and Michigan at Tennessee.

Shortly before the season was set to begin, the league announced it would postpone the start until the spring of 2009 but the league was never heard from again.  Various accounts about the demise of the league claims that financing of the league was indirectly tied to the $300 billion federally guaranteed student loan asset backed securities market; however, in August, the sub prime mortgage crisis hit and possibly affected the financial backing of the league.

It’s really too bad that this league didn’t make it.  I actually think a league where each state has their own team would be a good idea although I’m not sure it would work with college football fans if their teams weren’t properly represented but maybe a concept that features the state’s colors or flag as their team colors/logos might create some good rivalries.

Relativity: How to create a saved search

relativity

Let’s be honest – Relativity can be a bear sometimes.  User friendly?  Not so much.  Useful to manage large amounts of data?  Absolutely.

One of the things I have learned about Relativity that is helpful is how to create saved searches.  Saved searches are very useful when you run a search and don’t want to have to run it again each time you need it.  It is also helpful if you have other users also reviewing the database.

 

When you open your workspace to the database, click on the main documents folder:

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Next, click on the magnifying glass at the bottom to create a new search:

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Click on new search:

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Name the search:

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Go to Conditions and select the ISSUES field:

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Next, for operator, use any of these:

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Click on the ellipses button …

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Select the issue such as “Hot Docs”

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Click ADD button

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Your issue “Hot Docs” will move to Selected Items.  Select it.

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Click on SET button

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If you need to share with other in your review group, change the owner at the top to Public

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Click on Save and Search

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Relativity will now conduct your search and save it under the name you selected.

Since saved searches are executed in real-time, you save the search definition but not the results.  Relativity executes the search each time you click on it in the Saved Searches browser and when you return to it after performing other tasks in the workspace.  This ensures that only data meeting the search criteria is returned in the search results.

 

 

 

 

Dude’s Guide to a 2-year-old and a 2-month-old

My two-year-old grandson has named me “dude”. That’s me. My wife and I (a.k.a. Mimi and Dude) have spent the past two weeks taking care of him and his two-month-old baby sister while his parents were away.

These past two weeks have been the hardest I have worked in a long time. In fact, one day I logged in over 9,000 steps and didn’t even leave the house. It was also an incredible experience in spite of how tired I am physically as I write this.

I have never had children of my own. When I met my wife, her three kids were already grown so I became an extra person in their lives. I am very blessed that they have all accepted me as part of their lives.

When the offer was made for us to babysit the grandkids, we both jumped at the chance. I didn’t think twice about taking the time off from work to do this. Now, for the first time, I have had the opportunity to help take care of the grand kids. I admit that I was scared. I only hoped I was up for the task. People that know me know that I am a planner and cautious so this babysitting adventure was a test for my comfort zones.

For the first time in my life, I have changed diapers, burped a baby and fed a toddler. All of this was new to me. I was a rookie going into this adventure in babysitting. I will be honest and tell you that I didn’t exactly know what I was getting into but my wife was experienced so I knew she would guide me through it. Through this experience I got a little insight of how I would have been as a father.

I will tell you that I have never been one to look down upon anyone who was a stay-at-home parent. I will defy anyone to say that it is not “real” work. I think it is the most important work a person could do. After these two weeks, I have even more respect for the parents. I don’t see how they do it. It is a whole different experience taking care of them versus coming up here for a visit.

I also saw my wife in “mommy mode”. She was in this mode from the moment we took over. We lost a lot of sleep and we were constantly on the move. She told me what to do and I did it. That’s what you do with you have two kids to take care of. There’s no time for romance or being sensitive. You just do it. You take care of things. If a toddler wants a fruit snack you do it. If the infant is crying you feed her. It’s teamwork.

I have been totally in awe of my wife during this time. I saw her even change diapers in the dark. Are you kidding me? I need every light on, lots of wipes and everything ready when I do it. This woman I married can change a diaper in the dark with NASCAR pit crew precision. Amazing. I have never seen anything like it. She’s good.

Speaking of changing diapers….I have to admit that I was a bit mortified when I came into this job. Okay, I was scared. It’s not something I want to be “good” at either. You know what I mean by that right? People like to tell you that you are “good” at chores that are unpleasant. Well, let me tell you that I am not “good” at changing diapers but I have done it and not afraid to do it after two weeks. I won’t be graphic about it but I can tell you I am not a fan of changing the messy diaper. I wanted those changes to be over as soon as possible. You just get it done. The quicker the better.

My wife has been really good at teaching me. I was a rookie going into this venture. She hasn’t laughed at my silly questions regarding child care either. Some of the questions I have posed to her were:

  • How many times a day do you have to change diapers?
  • Why do they have to take naps?
  • Why does an infant have to sleep so much?
  • How does a parent potty train a child?
  • What does it mean when an infant is crying?

Over the past two weeks, I have learned the answers to these questions. I now know why a toddler needs a nap. Believe me, I have come face-to-face on that reason. If you have never seen the effect of what happens when a toddler doesn’t have a nap, you really need to experience it first-hand to truly understand. And I thought dealing with my co-workers was traumatic.

Every day was something new. I never knew what role I was going to play or what I needed to do to entertain them. One day I was building a bridge, the next day I was chasing the toddler from one room to another. The toddler even says the cutest things. One day he said, “Dude needs a coffee.” I’m still laughing at that one.

I have also learned the skill of negotiating with a toddler. It much like a hostage negotiation.

“Okay, if you take one toy will you go downstairs?”

I have also never fed a child until now. They don’t simply sit down and eat. You have to remind them that they are eating. They have the attention span of a butterfly flittering here and there and then back to their plate. You also have to blow on their food to make sure it isn’t too hot. Yes, there’s a lot of little things you learn to do.

My primary duty has been to run errands, get supplies or pick up food for us. I have called my job “Hooper Eats”. It has been a daily task. I have to say that Target has some serious security when it comes to baby formula. When the parents put in an order, it was like getting past airport security to pick up the order. Be proud that your Target store has such tight national security on similac.

Over the past two weeks I have been exposed to children’s entertainment such as Bubble Guppies, PJ Mask and this dude named Blippi. I really don’t know exactly how to describe Blippi. He’s really beyond description. I’m sure I will have flashbacks for weeks to come in some form of PTSD of babysitting. Look him up. He’s a YouTube sensation. You won’t believe it.

As a rookie, I made a rookie mistake in getting too confident. Just when I thought to myself that “I got this” I quickly learned that I didn’t. After a few successful nights of putting the toddler to bed, one night I didn’t do so well. All of my negotiating techniques failed and I was having no success encouraging the little guy to go to bed. I had to call in my wife to be the closing. I felt like a starting pitcher who had been sent to the showers. It was a sharp reminder that I didn’t need to get over confident.

In the end, this was a very rewarding experience for me. Although I am physically exhausted, I am glad to have helped out. I don’t think I am a rookie at this now. Maybe I have even moved up to the Class A level but certainly not the Major Leagues.

These past two weeks have been a lot of work but it has also been very rewarding in bonding with the grandkids. I have learned a lot and have learned to appreciate what it takes to care for an infant and a toddler.

The State of Indoor Football

The indoor version of football is at a crucial point of its existence in my opinion. Whether it is called arena or indoor football, it has been with us since 1987 when the Arena Football League (AFL) gave us a Reader’s Digest version of professional football. Since then, dozens of leagues have come and gone. In the early years, other leagues were not allowed to copy the AFL’s version of the game because they had a copyright enforced which prohibited other indoor leagues for having the rebound nets and even using the term “arena football”. That copyright expired several years ago and other leagues sprouted up. Today, there are seven leagues in existence. They are:

• Arena Football League (1987)

• Indoor Football League (2008)

• Legends Football League (2009)

• Champions Indoor Football League (2015)

• China Arena Football League (2016)

• American Arena League (2018)

• National Arena League (2017)

Aside from the Legends Football League listed above, the other leagues are legitimate indoor football leagues. The LFL is a sad gimmick to exploit women players in my opinion.

The Arena Football League was once considered the major league of indoor football but the league is barely staying afloat as they began this season with four teams all located in the Northeast. The league once had 19 teams in 2007 as well as a minor league system known as AF2 which played from 2000-2009. The AFL is at a critical stage of their existence. The league recently named Randall Boe as their new commissioner last month and former Philadelphia Eagles’ Quarterback Ron Jaworski as Chairman of their Executive Committee. They have promised to being committed to the sport. There have been rumors that the league will expand over the next few seasons and possibly reclaim some of their best markets.

The Indoor Football League (IFL) looked like they were going to step in and take over as the sports’ top league when Arizona Rattlers, one of the AFL’s top franchises defected to the IFL in 2016. The IFL has failed to take advantage of the AFL’s instability with their own issues. On July 25, 2017, the IFL announced that only the Arizona Rattlers, Cedar Rapids Titans, Green Bay Blizzard, Iowa Barnstormers, and Nebraska Danger had committed to play for 2018. On August 30, the Sioux Falls Storm announced that they had joined the Champions Indoor Football League after winning six consecutive IFL championships from 2011 to 2016. The Storm was shortly followed by the Wichita Falls Nighthawks.

The IFL then attempted to lure the Bloomington Edge and West Michigan Ironmen from the CIF. The CIF attempted to sue the IFL, Edge, and Ironmen for leaving the CIF after the two teams had already signed league affiliation agreements with the CIF for 2018. The IFL then threatened to sue the CIF. The CIF then retracted their lawsuit with the IFL but also removed the Storm and Nighthawks from their 2018 schedule. After the IFL meetings in October 2017, the Storm returned to the IFL but the Nighthawks had to suspend operations. While the CIF dropped their lawsuit against the IFL, it filed for an injunction against the Edge and Ironmen teams from participating in the IFL for breaking the terms of their signed affiliation agreements. A temporary injunction from participation in the league was granted on January 31, 2018, with the court ruling determining that both teams had been offered bribes from the owner of the Arizona Rattlers to break their contract with the CIF.

The AFL also had the Jacksonville Sharks to defect to the National Arena League (NAL) in 2017.

Top Ten Indoor Football Teams:

1. Philadelphia Soul (AFL)

2. Arizona Rattlers (IFL)

3. Washington Valor (AFL)

4. Iowa Barnstormers (IFL)

5. Jacksonville Sharks (NAL)

6. Sioux Falls Storm (IFL)

7. Omaha Beef (CIF)

8. Baltimore Brigade (AFL)

9. Columbus (Georgia) Lions (NAL)

10. Lehigh Valley Steelhawks (NAL)

In the past two seasons, indoor football has lost some longtime franchises such as the Orlando Predators, Cleveland Gladiators, Spokane Shock and Tampa Bay Storm. The Tampa Bay Storm had a history of success on the field but often struggled for attention in the Tampa Bay Area. When I lived there from 2012-2014, I barely heard a word about the Storm and was very difficult to find any game stories in the local media.

With the AFL slowly sinking into the graveyard of defunct sports leagues, the sport of indoor football needs to get a grip of the situation now in order to save the sport. I think the sport can be saved.

Here are four ideas that I believe could save Indoor Football:

    1. Have a real partnership with the National Football League (NFL). In the past the NFL has had agreements with the AFL but nothing of substantial significance. It would solidify a strong foundation if the NFL subsidized the indoor sport and use it as a development league for referees, coaches and players.
    2. Unity of all the Indoor leagues. If you really want to strengthen the sport, I think the key is to play together. All the teams should be in the same league and then classified by market size. This “Super League” could be divided by classifications such as AAA, AA and A. This would also help lower travel costs and better create regional rivalries.
    3. Revise the rules. The current game puts a lot of emphasis on the passing game and is more of a quarterback league. The game should make the running game more of a part of the game. One way to do this would be to have one back in the backfield to start the play and one receiver in the formation with four linemen. Another idea would to make the field slightly bigger for arenas that would allow the space.
    4. Develop the game at the local level. This is something that has been a huge oversight for indoor football teams. Each indoor team should establish a local indoor league for high school and amateur players so they can get introduced to the game and possibly move up to the pro team. It would serve as a feeder system for the pro team to develop new talent.

Indoor football is a good, off-season alternative to fall football. It is worth saving and preserving. A few major changes are vital to keeping and growing the sport. The leagues have turned into nothing more than semi-pro football leagues with teams that come and go overnight. Stability is important and the sport needs to find it now.

Don’t Be A (Spiritual) Baby

Have you ever had the opportunity to take care of a newborn and a toddler? My wife and I are doing that right now. I can tell you that it is a whole new world. You get a different perspective on things from their point of view. You quickly learn what their ideas of an emergency are. If you can’t find the right cartoon or toy you’d better find it in a hurry. Believe me I have learned how to find it in a hurry.

I have been a believer all of my life so you might think I’m all grown up and mature spiritually when it comes to my relationship with God. I might as well be honest and tell you that I act like a spiritual toddler sometimes.

I’m sure God wants to tell me to stop acting like a baby because I act like one at times. If things don’t go my way I will sometimes have a temper tantrum and do you know it never works on God? He will just let me get the tantrum all done and let me see that it’s not going to work. It’s like the comedian who said his child was having a tantrum in a grocery store in the cereal aisle. He looked around and said “Where are your parents?”

I honestly try to be mature and learn from my mistakes but the child comes out of me. Some lessons I have to learn over and over again. One of those lessons that I constantly have to repeat is the importance of being patient. Sometimes I’m good at it but sometimes I can really throw a fit.

Although I have heard thousands of sermons, Bible studies and Sunday School lessons, there are still things I need to learn. Serving God is a lifetime classroom. I hope that I have graduated from pre-school. I’m really not sure what grade I would put on my current position.

I remember once I thought for certain that I was going to get a job in Pensacola, Florida. It all seemed to be falling into place and God was opening the doors for me to transfer there. I even knew someone on the interview panel so I was certain God was going to do it. I was shocked when someone else with less experience and no connections got the job over me. It was not what I was expecting or wanted. I took it very hard. I didn’t understand. I’m sure I whined and complained to God about it. Years later I was able to see how everything worked out. When I applied for the Pensacola job I was working with a co-worker who was very difficult. It turns out that he later moved to Tallahassee and would have become my supervisor. When I went a few years down the road, my eyes were opened and I had a lot of apologizing to do to God about it. He knew what was best for me. He wasn’t obligated to tell me why at the time. He was looking out for me.

So, yes, even with all of my experience, I still act like a child. I’m trying to do better about that.

If there is one childlike trait I have it is the childlike faith. A child believes in whatever their parent tells them. I believe God can do anything. Some have criticized me for that kind of faith – even Bible believing people. They say that God doesn’t work in ways I believe He can. I like the quote in the movie “Facing the Giants” when Coach Grant Taylor tells his team: “God can do whatever He wants to do, however He wants to it. And He chooses to work in our lives because He loves us.”

So let’s be spiritually mature adults while keeping some childlike attributes in trusting a God that loves us.

Titans Reveal New Uniforms and…

Under the category of “nothing to see here” the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League (NFL) had a big to-do about the “evolution” of their new uniforms. Aside from the clandestine-like leak of the information prior to the big reveal, it was basically insignificant changes.

Different font and some color changes with the biggest change from white helmets with the Titans logo to a dark helmet with the same logo.

I’m okay with it. Just not wowed by it.

Of course with all this hoopla about a uniform change I think back to a high school coach in Georgia who was once asked about his team wearing new pants color for an upcoming game. He said that he never saw a pair of pants make a play or tackle anyone. Same is true for these publicity stunts of uniform changes. I will have to give the Titans some credit for not doing something stupid like going to gold uniforms.

So will the Titans look pretty? Maybe. Will it affect the way they play on the field? Not at all. Those nice new uniforms will get dirty just like the old ones. No one will care if they changed to blue, black or periwinkle if they win a Super Bowl. No one will give credit to the new font or color variations.

I think back to some of the other NFL teams who had uniform changes;

Atlanta Falcons – I didn’t like the Jerry Granville era when the Falcons were all black. I did like it when they decided to alter the Falcon logo where the Falcons’ wings weren’t completely in a down flap.

Cleveland Browns – Yep, they made a change but no one noticed.

Denver Broncos – I loved the old look with the Bronco bursting through the D. I still have problems with the new look.

Miami Dolphins – Never likes the change and I don’t believe the team has been much of a winner since the change.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – I go back and forth on this one. I liked the old Bruce the Buccaneer logo but not so much the orange.

Seattle Seahawks – Lime Green jersies. Need I say more?

So it remains to be seen how the Titans’ change will affect anything.