Below are the highlights of 2010.
On Thursday, Dec 16, Rachel was having trouble breathing and was rushed by the St. Mary's staff to a nearby hospital. It appeared she had vomited in bed during a very bad seizure and aspirated. She was in respiratory distress and had to be taken to Childrens Hospital of the King's Daughters in downtown Norfolk and was admitted to the PICU, where she remained for over a week. Eileen and Bruce were finally able to drive down to see her the following Sunday for a one-day trip/visit. By then she was no longer on BiPAP (oxygen mask) but had been put on high-flow oxygen (tubes in the nose) to keep her blood-oxygen saturation in a safe range. She was having great difficulty breathing and tired easily, but her eyes were open when we arrived and she looked scared. We returned home knowing she was in good hands. By the following Wednesday she was moved from PICU to a regular room. We drove down the next Friday with Andrew along and she was still on high-flow when we arrived at 1:30pm. They were preparing to move her back to St. Mary's at 3:30. So after staying with her until the transport arrived, we then followed her back to St. Mary's and stayed with her for a couple more hours. She was doing much better, and by Saturday she was taken off the high-flow. Though we had planned to stay for the weekend, a bad snow storm threatened to make travel dangerous on Sunday and Monday, so we headed home Saturday. Since then she has recovered well and was breathing and eating normally by the end of the year. This was a close call, but Rachel's strength and will got her through it quickly and safely.
Bruce participated in a discussion panel at Childrens Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk for Bioethics Day. He talked about how we were and have been treated by health providers in the case of Rachel's care. Unfortunately, nobody else in the family was there to see him lose it on stage in front of a room full of doctors, nurses, and hospital administrators.
By the end of November, the roof, siding and gutter replacement was finished. Combined with the concrete and stone work we had done during the summer, the house looks like new and most definitely improved. No longer will we worry about losing shingles during high winds. And since the house got a fresh wrap of Tyvek and thicker vinyl siding (it was aluminum and was not wrapped by the builder), it is quieter inside and less drafty.
Bruce traveled to Connersville, IN, for the funeral of Josh Kunkel, who died at age 84 while chopping wood outside with his older brother, Bob. Josh was like a father figure to Bruce during his teens, and the Kunkels have always been like his extended family. Although everyone was stunned at the suddenness of his death and very sad, it was great to see an entire community come out to honor a man who gave so much to everyone. He is truly missed.
The Joomla! Users Group of Northern Virginia hosted the first-ever Joomla! Day DC this month. It was a huge success and a complete sellout. Bruce is founder and chairman of the group, which held its first meeting in April 2009. This may end up being an annual event, but it was a lot of work that consumed a lot of time for several months. So hopefully we'll get the process streamlined fast.
We bought a Sears snow thrower in hopes to either ward off more snow or at a minimum make it easier to clear the driveway and sidewalks.
On September 5th, Bruce and Eileen went on a group motorcycle ride, the Jimmie's Tavern 9/11 Memorial Poker Run. This was a short (112 miles) but wild and scenic ride including a police escort out of Herndon then through Manassas and then back up through Mount Vernon and along the Potomac River. The ride benefited the local police and fire/rescue squads as well as provided a donation to the National 9/11 Memorial Fund. Over 100 motorcycles participated. Jimmie's Tavern (Herndon, VA) provided buffet breakfast before the ride and an all-night dinner buffet to all participants. It was a full day.
On August 7th, Bruce was to go on an all-day ride with the SCRC. Eileen decided to take a solo bicycle ride to Reston Town Center for breakfast. Bruce left a few minutes after Eileen, and just down the road came upon an accident scene. A bicyclist was down in the middle of the road (2 lanes each way) and several other cyclists were helping to keep the person safe. Bruce made his way through the scene just trying to be safe, but two seconds later realized the person lying in the road was wearing the same color outfit Eileen had on. So he turned around just to be sure. IT WAS EILEEN! She had applied the front brake too hard going downhill, flipped over the handlebars and landed face first into the pavement. Her face had pavement rash and multiple contusions and several teeth had been broken off. Her mouth was bleeding heavily from cuts on the top and bottom lips. She was ambulanced to Reston Hospital Center. Bruce took the bike home, got her some clean clothes, and met her there minutes later. She received 14 stitches in her lips and went to a dental surgeon for some temporary bridge work. She required significant dental reconstructive surgery to fix her broken teeth over that would take up to 6 months to complete.
At the end of July we had hired a contractor to do some stone, brick, concrete, and asphalt work at our house. The back patio, stone garden walls, front stoop and walk, and driveway all got completely redone. Wow, what a difference! This really added a lot of class to the house, especially the south (driveway) side which is mainly the side we see every day. This job took the entire month of August to complete (yes, all 5 weeks!). The yard got torn up quite a bit, but we think it was worth it. You can see before and after photos of our House Facelift here.
David started classes at George Mason University. He decided to finish up his degree there rather than return to Georgia Tech. Probably a good call. David also now officially has a girlfriend. Morgan was a good friend of his at Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology. They were reacquainted via Facebook.
In July we drove down to Norfolk to visit Rachel and attend her quarterly progress meeting. St. Mary's arranged a lunch outing including a ride on a water taxi. Lunch was at Bier Garten in Portsmouth, VA. Rachel didn't seem to like the food much. The day started out hot and sunny, but as we left the restaurant we got caught in a small thunderstorm.
In June, Bruce started to get into gear planning the first annual Joomla! Day DC to be held in Bethesda, MD, on October 16. He also went on lots of motorcycle rides with friends and SCRC.
At the end of the month, Bruce took his longest motorcycle trip ever. The route was essentially a repeat of the one he took in 2008 and 2009, to Connersville, Indiana, and back by way of relatives. Total distance is estimated to be around 1200 miles over the 7-day trip.
May 2, Bruce and Eileen went on their first group motorcycle ride with the Southern Cruisers Riding Club (SCRC), Loudoun Chapter #152. The ride took them to Mineral, VA, where they had barbeque and ice cream for lunch. It was a gorgeous and warm day, and there was even a slight drizzle of rain on the way there that didn't amount to anything. The trip covered about 180 miles. Good times with great people.
For Mother's Day the four of us took Eileen to the National Museum of Women in the Arts in DC. It was a bit cool, but still a gorgeous day. We had never been to this museum before. It was quite elegant and the featured outside sculptures were quite unique.
On May 14th, during our weekly Friday dinner webcam call to Rachel, some unusual weather occurred in Vienna. Bruce had ridden the motorcycle to work and left it in the driveway, signaling Eileen that an evening ride was on his mind. Eileen, seeing the bike in the driveway, left her car out. Just prior to our phone call, storm clouds started coming in fast, so Bruce brought the bike into the garage. At about 10 minutes into the call, we heard a loud "clank" sound and looked at each other asking "what was that?!" Then the sound got more frequent and it was clear it was starting to hail. Eileen had left the Prius in the driveway to rinse off the pollen, so I told her to run as fast as she could and pull it inside. She put on a motorcycle helmet and ran to the car, getting pelted with golf ball-sized hail. The hail fell for about 2 minutes. David was out in our 99 Chrysler taking Andrew to a friend's and got caught in the storm. In all, three of our cars had pretty significant damage and the house took a pretty good beating as well. Total damage to cars and house topped $50,000!!! So now in addition to having to have some concrete work done, we needed a new roof, new siding and gutters, and some other repairs from this storm.
Eileen's job with AIHA took her to the Denver Convention Center for the big conference she worked her first year on the job to organize and plan. The conference finished up just before Memorial Day weekend, so Bruce flew there to spend the weekend with her. The weather was unusually hot for that time of year, hitting 95 degrees on Saturday the 29th.
In April, Bruce took the Motorcycle Safety Foundation beginner course at Northern Virginia Community College. This was the approach to getting his motorcycle driver's license established in Virginia (versus taking the test using his new bike) recommended by several friends who also ride. Bruce aced the written exam and was only shy of a perfect score on the riding test by 5 points.
Bruce and Eileen started getting serious about hiring a contractor to fix the bricks on the front stoop and the back patio, both of which had deteriorated significantly over 10-12 years. We interviewed three different contractors, got referrals, and in some cases photos.
March turned out to be a pretty nice month, a stark contrast from January and February that gave us record snow. Bruce got his motorcycle learner's permit and was able to get the bike out on a few weekend rides with his friend Ken Kueny from Orbital. This gave Bruce some time to get reacclimated to riding before taking the Virginia Motorcycle Safety Course in early April. In early March the weather warmed with lots of snow still on the ground, but with the neighborhood streets dry enough to take the bike out for a short spin. On that day the photos below were taken (click on the photo).
We are so tired of snow it's sickening! Somewhere I read or heard that the winter of '09-'10 set a record for the DC area of some 72" (that's 6 feet!). February brought us a storm that became known as "Snowmageddon". Eileen took a short video of us shoveling during the first day of this blizzard. You can see an appreciable amount of snow still on the ground from December's storm, which stayed with us through the entire month of January and had a couple fresh layers during that month. This is just nuts!
Bruce and Eileen got new Android smart phones from Verizon. After all these years of just having cell phones that make phone calls (imagine that) we finally have handheld computers that, among other things, can make phone calls. Eileen can't get enough of the free games and Bruce is happy to listen to Pandora at work. We can also do email and Facebook while on the road now, which is also handy. We actually got these phones right after Thanksgiving, but didn't think to mention them until now.
Click here to see a video demo of Eileen's phone
The NFL playoffs were extremely exciting this year with the Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, and Indianapolis Colts in the running for the AFC title. Not surprisingly, the Colts came out on top. So now the Scherzingers will be rooting against the Vogels during the Super Bowl.
The big news this month is our purchase of a 2004 Yamaha Road Star Midnight Silverado motorcycle. Bruce had a Yamaha 650 when he met Eileen but had to sell it to get money to pay for that New York wedding. Since then he has longed to buy another one. Finally, 27 years later, the mid-life crisis is evident and the second childhood begins (click on the photo).