Sunday, June 26, 2005


At about 8:05 AM this morning the Medical Director of the ER where I have worked full time for just under 17 years and about 1/2 time for 2 years said:

"You have given a good report."

He then stood erect "at attention" and saluted me.

I have been officially "separated" from the ER after working my last shift last night. And that was my Director's way of saying "goodbye" - he is a retired Army Colonel.

This evening a couple of friends from my Bible class at church came over and brought blueberry muffins and fruit salad to join us for supper in commemoration of the event - Beth fried up some vegetarian saucettes and popped some popcorn.

For the first time since my academy years I will be on a strictly daytime work schedule. A long time.

This is a somewhat bittersweet "moment:"

> I leave behind quite a few friends with whom I have worked for many years;

> I feel some sadness that despite multiple attempts to contact the hospital administration and my employer (a different hospital to whom we had been outsourced 3 years ago) to discuss whether some changes might be made that might result in my staying on a few years longer, no one contacted me to sit down and talk over the issue(s);

> I have done so much above what was involved in my job to try to help this hospital succeed in its mission to more fully reveal God's character to those are ill that it is hard to "walk away;"

> I have patients who have been coming to the ER expecting to see me for just under 20 years - including some whose lives I have been blessed to have been God's instrument in saving their lives in the most literal sense.

On the other hand I can look forward to the future with hope and buoyed by these thoughts:

> That so many administrative types would NOT contact me given the very high cost of recruiting individuals such as myself is, in and of itself, an indication of a Providential "closed door": a clear sign of God's leading in my life;

> That so many individuals who were directly instrumental in helping me get my job and who helped train me for what I am doing now are all gone and no longer work at the corporation where I work is again an evidence of the very close timing and Divine leading that put me where I am: in a job that no one else in this entire corporation does - I am one of a kind - and I love it;

> That I am making new friends in my new job is a real blessing and once again an opportunity to reveal God's character to people I would never have met otherwise;

> That I have been placed in a department with a Director to work with whom I really enjoy working with and who does everything she can to protect me from distractions and corporate politics so that I can simply do my work unencumbered by these issues is a HUGE blessing;

> That I have been given a day time job that will allow me to be at church every week for the first time 1973 is a blessing beyond compare;

> That I have a family that have been supportive during this long transition, which I actively started over a year ago, during which I have been working two jobs alternating day work and night work for 8 months and which has resulted in a decreased income (2/3 of my previous income) is more than I could ever have wished, hoped or prayed for;

> That my dear wife, Jean, made no complaint when I bought a new 2005 Honda Civic Hybrid to use for my commute to work was a very sweet gift of patience;

> That God blessed us with the resources to cover our daughter's upcoming college expenses made this transition possible;

> That in addition, God added enough to pay off Jean's little PT Cruiser which we bought last year was an additonal financial blessing;

> That I will now have paid time off for vacation and holidays which may make it possible for me to not only visit extended family but may make it possible for me to go on short term mission trips - which will stetch my spiritual muscles and help me to learn to trust God more - is an unexpected benefit;

> That I will lose count of all the many ways that God lead me to this job is a reality.

On balance while the emotions are all to near the surface today, on balance this is a very momentous, very positive life change.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Testing, testing, one, two, three

Debbie, oh cruel taskmaster that she is, is making me learn to work this blog site. Cruel, heartless one, she is...who actually does what I ask her, LOL. Now to check and see if this actually worked....

Jean (AKA, the GrandMomPerson, AKA GMP)

Sunday, June 12, 2005

2005 Honda Civic Hybrid

2005 Honda Civic Hybrid
Originally uploaded by Larry13.

This is the car that I bought to commute to my new job. I have about a 33 mile commute which takes about 40 minutes - depending on the traffic.

It is about 1/2 city and 1/2 highway driving timewise.

The EPA fuel efficiency ratings are:

City 47 mpg
Highway 48 mpg

My experience with EPA ratings is that one is typically fortunate to get what they say it is rated for:

1. The tire pressures have to be "just right;"

2. The engine has to be "broken in" but not "worn" so that the rings are loose;

3. One must drive very "defensively" (Read: no jack rabbit starts or screeching halts);

4. Be alone in the car with no luggage;

5. Have all the planets lined up in the right conjunction.

OK, it surely seems that way sometimes.

My Hybrid has been getting about 50.3 mpg over the past couple weeks of fulltime commuting to work.

When someone borrowed my car and made a "quick trip" to Portland because they were running late, the fuel economy DID drop due to the more aggressive driving: to 48.8 mpg!

I am very pleased with the handling. Many people have felt that being a Hybrid means that it has no "pick up" however nothing could be further from the truth! For acceleration the electric motor kicks in and the car really takes off. It is much more manuverable in city driving than the 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan that I was previously driving.

There are several features of this car that I really like:

1. The seats are VERY comfortable - they seem to mold to your so that there are no uncomfortable pressure points,

2. The fuel economy,

3. The use of the generator to recharge the electric batteries during deceleration and braking thus reclaiming kinetic energy already put into the car by the fuel that has already been burned,

4. Emissions Rating: "Advanced Technology - Partial Zero Emission Vehicle" (AT-PZEV). This is only available in New England and California, which borders on being criminal. The rest of the country buys a hybrid model that is "ULEV" (Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) which is still good but not as good as it could be.

I recognize that some will question why I bought a Honda instead of the vaunted Toyota Prius. There are actually a few reasons:

1. The back seat of the Honda has more head room than the Prius (yes, I sat in a Prius before I bought anything).

2. The Prius has a waiting list of about 4 months in our neck of the woods - I went in and bought this after work one day (yes, my dear wife, Jean, was a doll to bring down the checkbook for the down payment when I hadn't really talked with her about it previously).

3. A similarly outfitted Prius costs about $3,000 more than the Honda.

4. I got a GREAT deal on this brand new Honda by getting a $1,100 mark down because it was the next to the last day of the month and the dealer had a quota to meet (and the salesman was 1 sale shy of an incentive bonus!).

5. The Toyata salesman discouraged me from buying a Prius! That's right. He said that it is NOT a good commuter car and that it only gets about 40 mpg highway when it runs primarily on its gasoline engine and doesn't do as well on the hills of Maine. He said I would save money in the long run to buy a Toyota Corolla. (To be fair here the Honda salesman also told me that I could save $3,000 by buying a Honda Civic LE, I believe - I wanted the better emissions control.) Now I believe that the Toyota salesman wanted to make a sale and didn't have a Prius to sell and DID have Corollas sitting around costing the dealership finance fees. Even allowing for that, the Honda doesn't have the dramatic difference between highway and city driving in fuel efficiency and where I will be spending about equal amounts of time in city and on highway, this car seemed to make more sense to me.

So that is the why I ended up buying a Honda Civic Hybrid and not a Toyota Prius.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Building Boo-Boo?

Building Boo-Boo?
Originally uploaded by Larry13.

This condo shows the effects of a combination of pressboard on the sides & roof and being without siding and shingles for nearly a month with multiple rain storms.

We never fail to be amazed at what people will pay nearly $500,000 for these days.

And that gable end looks like it houses a 2nd floor? Nope. That is just 2"x4" trusses and what we call "wasted space." This house is all on one floor. The local fire fighters who have seen this type of structure when it catches fire tell me that their roofs collapse within just a few minutes once a fire starts. The typical 8" or 10" rafters take up to an hour to burn through, but trussed roofs take just a few minutes.

I'm glad we just live beside them, not IN them!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Flowering Crabapple Tree

Originally uploaded by Larry13.

Our flowering crab apple tree started blooming today. It is the prettiest right now when there are green leaves, red buds and pink & white flowers.

We planted it only 3 years ago and last year it didn't bloom at all. When full grown it is only supposed to be about 8' tall.

In other local news:

The US Weather Service in Gray, Maine, announced today that May 2005 was the 3rd coldest May on record with an average daily temperature of 49.5 degrees (F). It also was the 10th wettest May on record ever.

No wonder it felt like we had moved the whole state to ... Seattle!