Well, I’m feeling better…

Yeeesh, what a Thanksgiving, three glasses of gingerale and two soda crackers for the day…

Some of you may know that we have a moderately sized family with four kids. We live out here in Ohio, with no relatives within hailing distance. Usually when one of us gets sick, there more than enough helping hands. But when all of us get it… oh, it is horrible.

After having my wife moaning about stomach cramps for two hours and then her and daughter empty their stomachs emptying their stomachs twice (my daughter hitting 5 “rooms” on her way to the kitchen sink after ignoring the bucket that had been beside her on the couch) I sent everyone in the house to bed at 8:30.

And so began one of the longest nights of our lives.

I’ll spare you the goriest details, but I was on the underwear and bucket brigade. Literaly for three hours I got one 5 minute break. The three year old slept through but Jaxom fell to it at 9 and Julian at 9:30. Azia’s bedding officially bit the dust at 10. And so it went. Finally after I got the load emergency load of undies started in the washer, I succumbed to it at 11:30, but still was on emptying duty.

A neighbor called and invited us down to her place again for Thanksgiving around 9am. Everyone was asleep. I tried to walk around a bit and checked on everyone. Our neighbor was wonderful and went bought us some 7up, gingerale and saltine crackers. What a blessing! I can honestly say I’ve never been so thankful on Thanksgiving ever in my life.

I think the bigger kids each had a hot dog around 9pm that evening, but that was the limit of our thanksgiving. Saturday I did work on the leaves some (we have a lot and HAVE to work each chance we get before the snow comes.) and fixed the tailpipe on the truck and installed a new horn. But I was WIPED at the end of the day. Sunday, it took all I had in me to complete the Sunday school class (I’m teaching on 1 Corinthians).

Today, Monday, I am actually feeling normal again.

Yeah, that was fun.

RE:Help me keep a family out of a tent.

I was asked:

Good luck with this, but is this the right and fair way to solve this kind of problem? If the money is raised, one family gets a new home and others don’t. Surely $45000 could build a lot of inhabitable garages that could be used until people can do more for themselves.

I say this without knowing much about the situation, like why they don’t have access to insurance money, what kind of house you get for $45000, what kind of house they had before, what their income is now and what it was before the hurricane, what the FEMA is, what the FEMA is going to do with the trailer, how many other people are losing their trailers, how their current situation compares to others there, how much land they have, etc. Perhaps you can fill me in.

BTW, it wouldn’t be practical for me to contribute, having no access to credit cards or US banks. I’d have to pay many times that in Money Order fees.

To which I replied:

I think I can answer all of your questions Peter. It will just take some reading.

First of all, FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management agency. They provided, to the best of my knowledge, 31,400 travel trailers and 4,700 mobile homes as temporary living shelters in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The trailers were provided free of charge for 18 months. In February 2007, that housing assistance will end and the trailers will in all likelihood be disposed of. They were always intended as temporary shelters and after being lived in for a year and a half, I suspect they have reached their safe life expectancy. The mobile homes (not the trailers) can be purchased by those occupying them. (http://www.clarionledger.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20061015/NEWS/610150388)

As of October 95% of those trailers were still occupied. With the need for housing, the price of residences has skyrocketed. (www.nlihc.org/press/101706pr.pdf)

I’ll admit I don’t know the exact Earl family income before Toby lost his fishing boat (well, not really lost – they can see it still up in a tree near them) and before the restaurant where Yvette worked was destroyed. However, the median household income was $31,224 in the year 2000 (http://www.city-data.com/city/Pearlington-Mississippi.html). Toby has since salvaged a flat boat which he can use to go out to reach a smaller number of traps. He’ll work to recover from there.

I also don’t know the specific value of their previous home. I can tell you that 6 years ago the median house value was $60,000 and most of the houses were between 20-30 years old. Right now there really is no median house value to speak of. The $45,000 for a new built house is not building them a luxury condo, but it will be safe, clean and livable. (http://www.city-data.com/housing/houses-Pearlington-Mississippi.html)

You are very correct in saying that a large number of heated enclosures could be built as a stop gap. However, I don’t believe that would be possible. It would not be allowed. One thing that everybody must remember, about the south, is that everything is about power. While it would logically make some sense to suspend zoning laws and some local building codes in this state of emergency, it will not be done. It would reduce the power of those in charge of such things. It would be declared that health concerns would prevent building structures that do not meet code, but there would be other reasons at play. Never mind that the daily low of 40 degree (F) and average daily temp of 50 has an effect on health. People garner power in the south and hold onto it with a death grip. Sometimes that literally involves death.

On one of her trips to Pearlington, Angela delivered supplies and donations from churches up north. A local pastor, Rev. Fred Fields of the Mount Zion AME Church, had agreed for the supplies to be unloaded. However there was a problem. Rev. Fields was also on the pay of the local distribution center – center that had grown a reputation for “mis-allocation” of supplies. It appears that when he reported to the distribution board the size of the donations and they realized the Angela’s actions were reaching a disturbing level compared with what the distribution center was achieving, he refused to let any more donations be delivered to the people of Pearlington from church property. Getting all of this second hand, I can’t be certain of Rev. Fields full motivation, but the end action is that he refused to assist in delivering goods and made a play to funnel all of that material through an operation for which he was on the payroll. The end result was that a neighbor opened up their private property and legal distribution of goods continued 50′ away from the original location. BTW that neighbor was the wife of the pastor that founded the AME church. This wasn’t a church matter. (http://www.pearlingtonproject.org/update3.htm)

So, in short, http://www.pearlingtonproject.org/ – the Pearlington Project is a group of people I am familiar with and that is outside of the corrupt influence of the local southern governmental association. (NOTE THIS IS THE .ORG SITE, I know little about the group running the .com site beyond it being a group of doctors from Colorado) There are many places in which people can make donations to general funds. I’m quite certain that if you were one who wished to help, you could make donations to the Red Cross and other foundations in amounts of $50, $100, $1000, or more compared to which money order fees would be negligible. And when that amount is spread amongst the 35,000 households in need of permanent shelter, it will help some.

My wife and I have chosen to take a different approach. The Pearlington project is working to build houses in general. As many as possible, one at a time. The houses will be prebuilt up north, shipped in pieces to Pearlington and assembled. The $45,000 covers not only all zoning permits, building materials, labor costs and supplies, carpets and internal fixtures for each house. Donations to the general Pearlington project will be spread amongst those efforts. My wife selected the Earl family as a specific target, a way to put distinct faces before those who might not have donated to a general fund. I think that is a very good idea and have taken up the cause. Our goal of reaching $45,000 is difficult, but it just might be achievable.

I certainly do encourage you to donate to a general fund if you think it is a better way for your money to be spent. I look forward to hearing about it. However, I think I can raise more funds through giving people a target goal and some faces to go with it. Additionally, if I can show those that donated, a family moving into a house, maybe people will enjoy the feeling of being a part of that. They will see exactly what their monies helped achieve and maybe – just maybe – we can move on to the next house, and the next one after that – hopefully with your help.

Bloggers Build a House

Allow me to introduce you to the Earl Family: Toby, Yvette, Brittany, and Michael. (Toby was not available for this photo.)

Nearly a year and a half ago, they lost their home when Hurricane Katrina hit the small town of Pearlington, MS. That trailer is where they’ve been living of late. That’s about to change.

For a couple years now, my wife and I (I mostly helped by providing tech support and online resources) have been working to help the residents of Pearlington, MS through her blog, and her Purls of Hope website. She’s been doing this to support the Pearlington Project Katrina Foundation, which was started by Angela Cole, shortly after Katrina hit. I’ve referred you to that site before; referencing some of the roadblocks faced by those that only one to help people in need.

For this project, I’m taking my help a step further because the need is great.
Continue reading Bloggers Build a House

Contaminated: 11M Bottles Of [Off-Brand Acetaminophen]

I this is not as big a deal as it sounds, but here ya go…. It sounds like a machine shredded itself and they are recalling all pill runs anywhere near when it desintigrated into the pills that were being made.


Pills Contaminated With Metal Fragments


POSTED: 9:20 am EST November 9, 2006


A major manufacturer of store-brand acetaminophen recalled 11 million bottles of the pain-relieving pills Thursday after discovering some were contaminated with metal fragments. 

There were no immediate reports of injuries or illness. 

Perrigo Co. said it discovered the metal bits during quality-control checks. The company passed 70 million pills through a metal detector and discovered the metal in about 200 caplets, according to the Food and Drug Administration. The fragments ranged in size from “microdots” to portions of wire one-third of an inch long. 

The recall affects bottles containing various amounts of 500-milligram caplets. 

Perrigo bills itself as the world’s largest manufacturer of store-brand nonprescription drugs. The Allegan, Mich., company did not disclose the chains for which it manufactures the store-brand acetaminophen. A list of batch numbers and store brands affected by the recall was forthcoming, the FDA said. 

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., CVS Corp., Walgreen Co. and Costco Wholesale Corp. are among the companies Perrigo supplies with health care products, according to company Securities and Exchange Commission filings. 

Perrigo said the pills contained raw material purchased from a third-party supplier and affected 383 batches. 

Acetaminophen is best known as the drug in products sold under the Tylenol brand, but is widely available in generic versions. The recall does not affect Tylenol. The recall should not cause a shortage of acetaminophen, the FDA said. 

The voluntary recall is considered a Class II recall since it covers products that might cause a temporary health problem or pose only a slight threat of a serious nature, according to the FDA. 

Consumers with questions can call Perrigo toll free at (877) 546-0454. 

Consumers who swallow any of the contaminated pills could suffer minor stomach discomfort or possible cuts to the mouth and throat, the FDA said, adding that the risk of serious injury was remote. Anyone who suspects they have been injured should contact their doctor, the agency said. 

The FDA said Perrigo began investigating after realizing the equipment it uses to make pills was wearing down prematurely.

It’s my birthday! The Democrats Won!

As a present to me, this is the end of all whining about how an election was stolen and an end of campaign ads.  Anyone living in Ohio realizes that there isn’t a better present than that!

As far as daily living, this election result will be the most benificial.  You can breath better in Ohio now and I’m not referring to the total ban on smoking off of your own private property that goes into effect on December 8th.  Breathing in the office should be easier too.  At the end of the last election, those who voted democrat around the office were very bitter and very angry. You quickly learned to stay away from them. Today the comments I heard were republicans were “Oh, well. Stuff happens; fear not!”. And even the staunchest replublican greeted me with a smile when I walked in the door.  And that is SOOOoooooo much better an environment to be in.  So, it’s a good birthday present. I was not looking forward to the atmosphere in the world in general if the republicans had won by a slim margin.The ballot issues in Ohio were interesting.

The first one, a workman’s comp issue was recalled. So many people spent a lot of time reading the full page of 6pt font when they didn’t need to.

The second issue was raising the minimum wage. It passed. It’s probably over due for the min wage to be raised, but I didn’t like how this was an ammendment to the constitution. I believe the constitution should be left untouched as much as possible. Additionally, the minimum wage is now tied to the inflation rate. I’m not convinced that that’s how it should be. Wages do not raise and lower exactly in harmony with the inflation rate. So, not being an economist, I don’t have enough data to know if this was a good idea. However, now that it is in the constitution, if it is a bad idea, it will be very hard to change.

The next election was the “Earn to Learn” initiative in which said, if you let two gambling cartels build their casinos in Cleveland and lock out all competitors for the next 16 year or so, they’ll give some proceeds to local schools. “Some good can come of this.” was the slogan. Which is just horrible. It told you explicitly that a lot of bad was already part and parcel to it. It’s like a line in the bond movie as a laser is about to insinerate him “Don’t worry Mr. Bond. Some good came come from this: that tie never did go well with that suit.”

The next two issues were smoking bans. The first one was a limited ban and failed. The second one banned smoking pretty much everywhere except in private dwellings and cars. In Ohio, there is no smoking in any place of busines and no smoking in any public area. This is definitely a curtailing of rights. However, as I’ve had asthma symptoms develop since moving to Ohio and its gotten much worse over the years, frankly, this will be a physical relief for me. Its now to the point where I can feel it in my chest if I have to speak with a co-worker about an issue. So, from a purely selfish aspect, this is much better for me. However, from a rights perspective, I think any business should be able to decide EITHER WAY if smoking should be allowed. I’ve weakened my conviction on this as my asthma symptoms have become more suseptable to specific brands of cigarettes. I heard comparison between smoking ban and setting a temperature at which dishes MUST be washed at a restaurant. Asthma has “spread” so much in Ohio that smoking can legitmately be considered a health issue more than a civil rights issue.

The next 5 or so issues were all lowering the school taxes by 0.01%. What!?!?! Who would want to do that? Well, it too had a hidden agenda. By lowering the taxes by an insignificant amount, there cannot be another initiative put forward for the next 5 years (I think) that could lower the taxes any further. So, this was a definate “The best defense is a good offense.” technique. It’s an interesting ploy. One person mentioned that they think that just having it on the ballot meant that it could not be readdressed within a certain time frame. Ahhhh Politics….

My kids had a discussion yesterday about voting:

Mom: “It’s election day!”

Son #1: “For who?”

Mom: “For everyone!”

Daughter: “I get to vote!”

Son #1: “No, you have to be 18, it’s like a rated R movie”

Daughter: “But there’s no violence…”

Mom: …contemplative silence…

Voted today – Good grief quite a turn out!

I usually get in and get out of the voting place in 5 minutes.  A little longer if I go in unprepared. for the issues.  This time there were 13 other people in line and when I left there were still about 10 people in line.

I usually get in and out of there in < 5 minutes when I go in the morning.  But Not today! Today I waited 25 minutes to get to the voting machine. That's not all that outrageous.  Still yeesh...