Archive for October, 2007

All Things Vols

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

I had started my All Things Vols website back in 2001 when I was trying to find a source for TN Vols items. It sort of took up space on the server and never went anywhere. I was spending time building, redoing and updating the Birmingham Big Orange Club website. Then came the boom of all the of TN Vols websites and I just didn’t have the time to try and compete with all of them. I have resurrected the site and given it a makeover. Now it’s a blog and photo gallery combination. Just what I need, another blog. I’m still trying to get Jeff back to working on his Volsfootball.com site. Now would be a good time to use it to voice his opinions about the turmoil in Knoxville – especially if they lose today.

Lower Than Dirt

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

This is almost a soapbox post. Megan called me in tears again. Again it had to do with how her father made her feel. He’s given the “okay” to the idea of Megan looking for a house to buy instead on renting an apartment. The key stipulation is that the payment has to be less than her rent. That puts her trying to find something for $100,000 or less. She really needs to sit down with her father and get a clear picture of what his “expectations” are. She mentioned to him that she found something for $60,000 but it had a lot wrong with it. Now she feels like her father only wants to buy a dump for her to live in while her sister lives in a house on a golf course that Megan says he pays for.

I’m not going to get into the pissing contest about who does what, I’ve been told the same thing by others. That’s not the point, the point is how he makes her feel. She feels like she is the least favored one, the black sheep, unwanted, ect. She continues to wonder what she has done wrong to be treated the way she feels.

The whole problem is that she and her father can NOT communicate, period. She is very appreciative that he bought her car and is putting her through school. The whole idea of buying a house was to try and help save her father money, maybe give him a tax break and even use it as a rental property down the road.

Megan needs to understand that buying a house is very stressful. She should be open minded to looking at a fixer-upper as long as it’s structurally sound. That’s where a good home inspector will come in handy.

But again she and her father need to communicate!

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – Part 1

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

I’ve been associated with the Birmingham Big Orange Club for about 7 years now. Some of the first meetings I went to were held at a local cafeteria style restaurant were you go through the food line, get your dinner and find your way back to the facility’s “meeting room”. After the meeting were they showed a video replay of game highlights as the guest speaker we opted to skip a few meetings. I was at that same meeting I mentioned I had been working on the club’s website. The person who had been taking care of it moved out of state. It was difficult to mange where it had been “hosted” so I moved it over to my server and got it the domain name bigimingham.bigorangeclub.com. At the time I bought bigorangeclub.com I thought there were more Big Orange Club’s out there and was looking to be able to offer them hosting too. I later came to find out that the University of Tennessee shut down all the other BOC’s because of the booster situations they were causing. Somehow this one in Birmingham was hanging on by a thread.

I had managed to get my email address on the club’s mailing list, so I was getting notices of upcoming meetings. We attended a few more meetings. In the Spring of 2003 the meeting were being held in a the back end of a dark, dank bar and grill. I think they kept it dark so you could see the food you were eating. Maybe they thought you wouldn’t notice the pool they used for jello wrestling or maybe the fact that only 12 people were in attendance.

It was at the last meeting of the season that new officers were being elected. A financial advisor, Dale Carnegie instructor and real outgoing type of guy volunteered for the vice-president’s job. The vice-president job to is secure quality guest speakers for each meeting. The vice-president is also the president-elect. So after one term the vice-president moves into the president’s position. The current secretary/treasurer was ready to step down. I’m not really sure how long he had held the position, he had been the secretary for as long as I had been a member. Since I had already been doing the website for a while, I volunteered, was nominated and elected into the position.

The president-elect not only worked to get us great speakers, he got a us a better meeting location. We held the 2003 Fall Kickoff at Johnny Ray’s BBQ at the Colonnade and had a great turnout. In the fall of 2004 the president-elect became the present. A new VP was elected and said I would stay on as secretary/treasurer/webmaster.

I kept the website updated and had been using a mass mailing application to send out the newsletter. I was well aware of the CAN-SPAM act and our mailing list had grown to over 500 people since the president got involved with it. We added email addresses of local alumni members. Somehow I became the secretary/treasurer of the local UT Alumni chapter. I even got to attend the summer training session of chapter officers.

We kept the meetings going strong with great guest speakers and good turnouts. Pat Summit, Phil Fulmer, Trooper Taylor, even the University president Mike Hamilton and the SEC Commissioner Mike Slive.

By the Spring of 2006 I was getting tired of handling the 3-in-1 position. I came to find out I could not sign checks or handle the bank statements because I was not an alumni. I would get to every meeting that I could get to early to help set up and get name tags ready. I would still be the one to collect the money at the door for dinner at each meeting. Jeff would in turn deposit the money in the bank for me. He was working right across the street from a branch of the bank. On a couple of occasions I had asked Jeff to cover for me at meetings – he was pretty much on his own when he did.

Although I say “I” to all of this Jeff would always try to be there at the same time I got there unless it was one of the meetings where we started setting up at 3PM. He was pretty much the only person helping me collect money, pass out name tags and door prize tickets. We were always the last to eat and sometimes with no place to sit.

The president who was key in turning the club around decided it was time to step down. He held the position for 2 years 2004 & 2005. When he stepped down, I felt it was a good time for me to also. Even after all the work I had done, I still couldn’t shake the “outsider” feeling. Most of the long time club members are also alumni. Things had been turned around, the club still had it’s core group of members that could always be counted on. And now Jeff & I could enjoy the meetings as members if we wanted to. I would still handle the website and get the newsletter out.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished – Part 2

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

This past Friday night was the BBOC Beat Bama pep rally. It’s always a big event since I had been involved. We even have TV coverage from Knoxville. Cameras were there in 2003, 2005 and again this year. We’ve had UT cheerleaders and Smokey twice. It was going to be another 200+ crowd based on the RSVP’s I was monitoring. We get out of town guests from all places that want to attend the pep rally. So I found myself drawn to help out once again. I knew I would be handling registration, money collecting or name tags – would be mostly set up. Seems my niche was found for me in ticket collecting. At the last large event like this I suggested we funnel people through one door, only allowing ticket holders inside for food and to hear the guest speaker. I was troll everyone had to get past and I was asked to do that once again. I offered a few suggestion hear and there – including starting the buffet line 45 minutes earlier than “planned” – it was a good thing they did, people were still getting plates as the guest speaker started.

I also went with a hidden agenda – trying to find tickets for the game. I was willing to pay face value for them. I made mention to one person that I was looking. Things got busy and I never had time to pursue it anymore. Another long time member came up to me and asked if ticket became available, would I go? I said yes, of course. Again I got busy and never thought anymore about it. I had been on my feet since 3:30PM working and then started collecting tickets around 5:15PM. I was finally able to get plates for Jeff and myself around 7:30PM. I told the girls working the line that when they see me, they are almost finished for the night. The tables reserved for the members working that night had been given to the cheerleaders. It was pretty much standing room only with about a dozen tables outside. I told Jeff to guard the table. I don’t mind being on my feet while I’m working, all I have ever asked for was a place to sit down when I done. And each year I wind up losing the place I thought I had.

So we sat in an old booth that had been removed from inside during remodeling but had not yet been carried off. While we were eating, the member who asked me if tickets became available would I go, came up up to us and slipped something in my hand – it was 2 tickets to the game. We were stunned and speechless. While we were cleaning up I ask about paying for them – I was told that we had earned them through all of our hard work. Again, both Jeff and I were speechless.

But this is not where the story end. Much of “the rest of the story” may not make sense if you don’t understand college football rivalries or how seriously Alabama and Tennessee fans take their college football. Most Alabama fans went to the University much less have a college education – they just grew up around it. Some “fans” don’t even understand football. On a tangent (since I fall into the category of fan who didn’t attend UT, but does have a college education ironically from a university in Alabama) I would love to know what the number of fan graduate to fan is for both schools.

On Saturday, we were up at the crack of dawn, gassing up and on the way to Tuscaloosa by 7:15AM for a 11:30AM kick-off. Since we were so early leaving we missed the bottle neck of traffic leaving Birmingham. The University had made some improvements to game day and clearly marked a rural road route which took us off the interstate. We found our way to a designated parking area, parked and started walking to where all the tailgating activities where. It’s not so much like tailgating more like tentgating – hundreds upon hundreds of pop-up canopy type tents with matching folding chairs. TV’s with satellite dishes, food, drink and fans. All pretty good natured before the game. We found the official UT Alumni tailgate party. We skipped the breakfast since we grabbed chicken biscuits before we hit the road. We were just trying to kill time – if I recall correctly it was barely 9AM. Maybe I should start using the time stamp on my camera. We stayed for the pep band and the cheerleaders. We noticed that the group of cheerleaders this morning was not the same group from Friday night, very curious. After all that finished up we worked our way towards the stadium, walking around the entire outside trying to kill time. We still had over 90 minutes before kick off.

We entered the stadium with about an hour to go. Our seats were in the new upper deck expansion. The visitor always get the nose-bleed seats. Add some injury to the insult they faced into the sun for the entire time we were their. I remember sunscreen for Talladega. I remember sunscreen for the MSU-TN game. The sunscreen was still in the truck from that game. I forgot to grab it for this game. Jeff was wearing shorts, his knees were bright red. I had on jeans and could feel my legs cooking (I confirmed the burn when we got home). By half-time I was feeling the heat and starting to get sick. Jeff managed to make his way down (he had to go a second time because it was just so crowded that he couldn’t move across the concourse) and bring back 3 bottles of water. I felt better after getting water back into me but my forearms were very burnt.

The game was a disaster – TN never lead at any point in the game. What I saw, from where I was, makes me want to start a new blog “The musings of a wannabe sports psychologist” but that’s another digression. We held out until the 4th quarter – it was time to leave like so many other TN fans. We still had to make our way through the gauntlet of obnoxious AL fans. It was along walk back to the truck and we tried to be nice. I was in the middle of a “Fire Fulmer” conversation as we were walking around an old TN fan – as we passed I heard him give me an “amen” to my comments.

We should have taken all the TN stuff off before we headed out – we got flipped off a couple of times. The back road had more traffic but it was still better than the interstate route and the taunts we would have had to endure there. We still have to make it through the comments we will get Monday morning at work – most of them will not be very “Christian-like”.

So for all my hard work, I got to witness an embarrassing loss by TN to AL and a bad sunburn.

Alien Butt Probe

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

I had to have a colonoscopy on Monday due some symptoms that I am 95% sure are a result of scar tissue from my hysterectomy. The colonoscopy results were as I expected – nothing wrong inside my colon.

The “prep” leading up to the test was an ordeal in itself. I started the clear liquid diet Sunday morning. I had made a peach flavored Jello Jigglers to “chew” on. I had diet ginger ale and some regular lemon-lime soda. I lived on banana popsicles – they were my main staple for the day. I had a cup of the WalMart brand chicken broth – never ever buy that crap. It was awful. Luckily, I had also bought Wyler’s chicken bouillon – I only made one cup of it. Again, the banana popsicles got me through the day.

At 4PM I had to drink the most gawd awful, vile tasting crap I have ever encountered – Fleet Phospho-soda. When I went through this prep before, the first time I had to use Magnesium Citrate and the second time it was a gallon of Golytely but then neither time did someone have to go inside my colon. The first 1.5 ounce worked within 15 minutes and continued to work for the next two hours. It worked so well I had to stay in the bathroom. I wound up throwing big thick beach towels on the floor with a pillow and used another towel as a blanket. Just when the nausea from the first round had gone away and I started feeling semi-human again, it was time for round two. I had to hold my nose and chug the devil’s brew down. It was so awful, it made me cry. It immediately upset my stomach. I went back to laying on the floor. It didn’t help, I thought maybe if I sat up the solution from hell would work it’s way out of my system just a little quicker. It wanted out alright, but not in the direction it was supposed to go. Good thing I had a bucket in the bathroom with me – none of it stayed down. Poor Jeff was out side the bathroom door. I know he felt so helpless, him just being out there was all the moral support I needed.

I’m not sure what time it was when I felt safe enough to head out of the bathroom and lay on the bed. Jeff cut open a plastic garbage bag to lay on the bed for me. I spread my two big towels over it and tried to get some sleep.

The next morning I was a little worried that because I hadn’t consumed the full 3 ounces of Satan’s bile I might not be able to have the colonoscopy. But then I still had the final stage of the “prep” to complete – the enema. Enough said.

We headed to the hospital for the test. I get to the hospital registration in plenty of time, but they are running behind. On the good side that meant less time waiting at the G.I. Lab. The nurse in the G.I. Lab who did the I.V was good, no bruising afterwards. Whoever came up the warm blanket idea needs to win the Noble Peace Prize. It is the most comforting thing I have ever encountered in a hospital setting. The time for the procedure had come, I was walked back to the exam room. After getting hooked up to all the monitors, the nurse said because of my low blood pressure (it was down to 90 over 45) she was going to have to lower my head because the meds she was about to give would lower it even more. I remember her asking me to unbend my arm so the meds could flow, the other assistant asking me to scoot back a bit and then walking up in recovery. The Demerol and Versed worked very well – I wish there was something similar for the prep portion.

The good news is that I won’t have to have another colonoscopy for 10 years.