15. March 2011 · Comments Off on Happy Pi Day!* · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

*I meant to post this earlier in the day, but some online training took up my evening, so I realize it’s no longer Pi Day on the east coast now…sorry!

Happy Pi Day everyone!

Dave let me take this great pic of him over the weekend, sporting his favorite t-shirt!

A closeup shows the digits.

Dave asked for the shirt after seeing an episode of the CBS drama Numb3rs.

He received it for Father’s Day in 2006 while he was working on his PhD, and he wore it at least weekly.

Note the close up detail.  Pardon my poor focus, it was hard to zoom in on the detail without the camera flash:

After we moved to Offutt AFB in Nebraska in 2008, the shirt was worn much less: Dave had to go back to wearing his uniforms daily.  He still breaks out the shirt occasionally, and he’ll definitely wear it after work on Pi Day!

Want your own Pi Shirt?  Order one from ThinkGeek.com!

14. October 2010 · Comments Off on 3 Times in 26 Months! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,
Okay, let’s all sing along (to the tune of Gene Autry’s “Back in the Saddle Again”):
I’m back in the O.R. again
Out under anesthesia, which I dread….
Where doctors take their knives
On what remains of my G.I.
Back in the O.R. again

I’m writing this corny little song from the surgery waiting room at University of Nebraska Medical Center near downtown Omaha.  Dave is in the middle of a basic hernia repair. This is a pretty common procedure, and for the most part I’m feeling pretty confident that everything’s going to be all right.

It’s worth discussing that there’s something about Nebraska that’s been driving Dave into the operating room every 13 months. First, there was his emergency appendectomy about 3 weeks after we moved here in August 2008. Then, in September 2009, Dave’s gall bladder removal. Which apparently I didn’t write much about, I was in a blogging drought in late 2009. Don’t know why.  I just looked at my blog posts from August/September 2009 and there wasn’t much at all.

Anyway, here we are, back again, for Dave’s 3rd surgery in 26 months. All of these procedures are pretty routine, and Dave recovers pretty nicely. You can’t even see his laproscopy scars from the first two procedures anymore. This one is an open procedure, so he’ll have a no-kidding incision on his lower abdomen, but that’s okay.

Dave’s health has been an absolute nightmare since we moved to Nebraska. We aren’t sure if it’s the air here, that our house is haunted, or the stresses of Dave’s job. Or just that his gastro-intestinal system was due to take a nosedive right about when we moved here. We don’t know for sure. It’s certainly frustrating, especially for a guy who didn’t really have any big medical issues right through age 30! The occasional twisted ankle, bout of the flu, etc.

We’re glad he’s getting this taken care of quickly, but it still takes away from the normalcy of our lives. But our life is anything but normal, right? Dave’s convalescent leave will take him right up to his trip to Florida to pick out a new house, then my Reserve 2 week tour in early November, and then we go right into the movers coming to pack up our house for our move!

We aren’t sure if we’ll be contracting with the “Big Orange Truck” company again for this upcoming move.  We’ll probably know this week.  They did a good enough job between NC and NE.
From 2008 07 10 Moving Pictures

In the meantime, I’m in “get ‘er done” mode at the house, wrapping up some projects so I can start preparing for the move. This is stuff I can do while Dave’s recovering at home. First off, finishing the boys’ Halloween costumes, then finishing up my HAP crochet projects so I can put away my sewing/knitting/crochet supplies with my other craft supplies. Then, I can get started on the garden: I have to disassemble our compost bin and dig up Dave’s hops. We plan to take rhizomes with us and get them in the ground as soon as we get to FL. I have to do it before Nebraska’s first hard freeze.

I’m dreading tackling the battery removal again.  Ugh…

26. August 2010 · Comments Off on You’ll Wear It Well, Dave!! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,
I think Dave is going to look outstanding in these!!!!

Yesterday afternoon Dave received the news from his commanders that he has been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Yippee!

The family is so proud of Dave. Yesterday we went out to one of our local favorite restaurants, Quaker Steak and Lube in Council Bluffs for some wings and beer to celebrate. Nothing huge, since it was a school night.

I had bought a greeting card in late July, and even had the boys sign it along with Dave’s birthday cards about 4 weeks ago. The card had been sitting, sitting, sitting, while we waited, waited, waited for this list to come out. I got nervous that I had jinxed things by having everyone preemptively sign the card.

Dave has a line number of 833. Every month Congress and the Air Force designates how many of those selected for promotion will get to put on their new rank. It’s a budget thing. Currently about 130 selectees get to put on their new rank each month. At this rate, I don’t expect Dave to wear his new rank (or see his new paycheck) until at least next summer sometime. And that monthly increment can change according to budget needs…so folks don’t really know for sure what month until 1-2 months prior.

And the goober I am, since I wrote that title up there, this song has been stuck in my brain, so I figured I’d share it with the rest of you. Even though the song itself is totally unrelated to military promotions.

11. May 2010 · Comments Off on The Cat’s Out of the Bag!* · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,
Picture by MAYNARD PAUL
Lovely picture, isn’t it?  Where could that be?  It’s so pretty there…boy…I wish I could live there….

So…those who follow me on Facebook or Twitter already know this, and if you aren’t on either of those websites, you could probably just glance to the right on this blog and see the news.

We ARE going to live there**!  Actually, that picture is of sunset in Destin, Florida, which may or may not be where we live (probably not, we’re looking more at Navarre), but it’s definitely in the area of where we’re headed this fall***!

Yes!  We’re moving back to Florida!!!!!  Whoo hoo!  Dave got a job as a “Director of Operations” for a weather squadron at Hurlburt Field, which is just east of Pensacola.  So this time we’re not returning to the east coast.  That’s okay…I’d spent some time at Hurlburt Field in 2008 while training for my Middle East deployment.  It’s a great area, plenty to see and do.

Whoo hoo!

Not sure how many of you knew that before we were in North Carolina, where I started this blog, we lived in Viera, Florida from 2002-2005.  Dave and I were both on active duty, stationed at Patrick AFB, which is just south of Cape Canaveral.  Both of our sons were born in Melbourne and we owned a great house just off I-95.  We really enjoyed it there.  Lots of great things to do (such as Washington Nationals Spring Training), lots of great friends and lots of rocket and shuttle launches.  Okay, not a lot of shuttle launches.  There were only 5 launches in the 3 1/2 years we lived there: the 4 that occurred in 2002 after we moved there, then STS-107 which was the Columbia mission that exploded upon reentry into Earth’s atmosphere.  It was really cool to see the launches from our front driveway in Viera!

Actually, we had known about this for a couple months now.  But we wanted something in writing first. Dave got his official assignment notification on Friday.  We had mentioned this to the boys back in March, and Jacob’s first question was “How far will we be from Disney World?”  Ha ha!  They’re looking forward to the beaches and the warmth!

So, if you didn’t hear me the first few times on this blog post: Whoo hoo!****

*What does that idiom mean, anyway? Is there some sort of archaic story behind this? Let’s find out!


**Boy, I hope I don’t jinx things by shouting out all this happiness so soon!


***Technically, we’re headed down this fall.  Dave’s report date is before the first day of winter, even if it’s barely so…


****For those in the Omaha area reading this, please don’t feel that we don’t love you guys and gals!  We really like it here, but we Vollmers are EASTERNERS so to get to go back East of the Mississippi is comforting for us…

01. April 2010 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: ,

***A note about this picture. I just stole the picture because I think it’s funny. I checked out that website listed at the bottom and found that lawsuit they’re proposing a bit far-fetched. Just my opinion.

Dave was diagnosed this week with lactose intolerance. Without getting too much into the healthcare debate, this diagnosis was a long time coming…Dave’s been going through multiple referrals, tests and consultations since January. While his gall bladder surgery last September solved many of his problems, this issue emerged slowly this past winter, perhaps masked for some time by the other problems the gall bladder was causing.

This means looking at our family menu in a whole new light! Not only do we need to cut dairy foods from Dave’s diet, but we also need to be aware of the many sources of hidden lactose: baked goods made with milk, hot dogs that contain sodium lactase, cold cuts, cereal containing whey, etc. Oreo cookies, for example. I found this nice list as a starting point.

First off, we are switching our household’s milk. At first I was just switching our skim milk, from Land O’ Lakes to Lactaid Brand Fat Free Milk. Dave enjoys cereal in skim milk, and we each drink 8 oz. of skim milk with dinner every night. He also uses skim milk to cream his coffee in the morning. So the skim would definitely have to switch. The Lactaid milk is your standard skim milk, but with the lactase enzyme added, which breaks the lactose sugar down into two simple sugars: glucose and galactose. It tastes sweeter than we’re accustomed to, but definitely not bad at all.

I then realized that I should switch the 2% milk to Lactaid too. I prefer to cook with 2%, and my still-growing-like-weeds sons drink 6 oz. or so with breakfast and dinner every day. If I also switch the 2% milk, I can continue to use it to make pancakes, breads and mashed potatoes without problems for Dave. It’s going to cost more, about double actually, but that’s okay. I predict an extra $15-20 per month. One less trip out to eat.

Secondly, family meals now needs to have less dairy in its preparation. Probably a good call anyway, right? No more pizzas, lasagnas, enchiladas, pasta bakes, macaroni & cheese, and veggies with cheese sauce. I also need to keep tabs on butter used for things like mashed potatoes and pastries. We’ll be having more Asian stir fries, and traditional grilled meats, with a steamed vegetable and starch offering.

And finally, our ability to eat out at restaurants will take a big hit. This is definitely a good thing! I’ll get on these lazy streaks and want to just drop everything and go to a restaurant once or twice per week. BAD MAJOR MOM! I just did it on Sunday, I couldn’t get Outback Steakhouse off the brain, I hadn’t been in a very long time, and I convinced Dave that we should go. Mistake. It was expensive, and despite Dave’s best efforts, we think some lactose sneaked into dinner somehow — perhaps the bread? Or the Caesar salad dressing, even though it should be dairy free!

While at first I viewed this as an inconvenience, I had to stop for a second and think about my poor Dave. He has to watch his dairy intake with EVERYTHING now! Talk about inconvenient! He’s been advised to cut ALL lactose from his diet for the next several months in an attempt to heal his GI system, which has been very very stressed lately from all this.

I see a trip to our local-but-not-really-local Whole Foods Market to stock up on some lactose-free dairy products and dairy alternatives, such as Tofutti ice cream, and perhaps some soy cheeses. I’m hoping I can find other Lactaid products at Whole Foods, too, such as their evaporated milk.

More evidence that I tend to lead a double life. I have the honor of not just being a member of the military, but I’m also a proud Air Force wife.

When I was active duty, I’d attempt to participate in spouse functions, sometimes successfully, but sometimes NOT. Most were very welcoming and I had a great time playing Bunco, going on shopping trips, and attending countless bridal and baby showers.

The Air Force Wive’s group when I was in Korea in the late 90s was a prime example of not feeling welcome…most of their functions were tailored to times when the kids were in school, but once I made it to an evening event, and, to be honest, I wasn’t very comfortable listening to the men I worked with being referred to as “Billy”, “Joey”, “Tommy”, etc.

On the other hand, when I was stationed with the Army in my first years in the USAF, many of the Army ladies’ functions I participated in were great! They seemed much more laid back, and I didn’t see the distinctions between whether your spouse is enlisted, officer, the commander, etc. And they certainly didn’t care that I was Air Force, not Army.

If you’re a commander’s wife, you’re expected to be a leader in the spouse’s group. Obviously it isn’t required, but the other spouses will look to the commander’s spouse for guidance.

“What in the world is making you think of this NOW?”

Here’s what. Last week I attended a spouse’s appreciation function at Dave’s office. There were about 20 of us, we had a nice catered lunch and they even had some young Airmen who took Timmy and sat with him in a conference room where “Tale of Desperaux” was playing. After the lunch, we received the official Air Force Weather Agency briefing and then got a tour of the relatively-new building they work in now.

I like things like this. ┬áDave will tell you about how much fun I have at social functions, and it’s important to me to know about the people and their families in Dave’s professional life, we help each other out in times of need.

During the function, the AFWA commander came out and addressed us, thanking us for supporting our husbands and even giving us these lovely certificates.

From 2009 05 11 AFWA Spouse Certificate

More »

14. February 2009 · Comments Off on Meanwhile…Back at the Ranch… · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

The kids (and that means Dave too) were enjoying their first “workable” snow of the season.

What does “workable” mean? It means snow angels that didn’t blow away, plus snowmen and snow forts!

Enjoy the slideshow!

02. January 2009 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Yeah, you know what’s about to happen!

If you’re interested in how we did this, you can check out this website that explains it pretty well, and tries to sell you the apparatus we have here, the Geyser Tube by Steve Spangler Science. I picked up ours at our local Hobby Lobby store and stuck it in Dave’s Christmas stocking.
A Facebook friend suggested that you can do something similar by rolling up paper to hold the Mentos and holding a plain playing card underneath it. Remove the playing card and let the Mentos fall into the bottle. I like the apparatus I’m pitching above because it has a pull string that keeps you about a foot further away from the bottle, and you can get away from the shower of soda faster.

26. December 2008 · 2 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Happy Holidays friends!

We had a fun day yesterday…I have to admit I went a bit overboard with the holiday shopping for everyone. I guess I was counting on the extra money I’d earned from my 3 weeks in Florida. I haven’t gotten paid for it yet, but I hope I get the paycheck soon so my credit card can breathe a sigh of relief!

I think our Wii system had the best holiday of all, we got 4 games for it but these are the two we’ve opened and played with so far:

1.) Wii Music. This is a great time, and it’s quite wonderful that our boys are enjoying something on the Wii instead of Lego Star Wars. I’d argue it’s the equivalent of getting Jacob and Timmy their own drum set, guitar, piano and trumpet…it’s hard for them not to mess up here. You use the Wii remotes to make the instruments play — it’s semi in tune.

You can have “jam sessions” with the instruments of your choosing (over 50, including many silly ones, such as “Cheerleader” where you are dressed in a girl’s cheerleading outfit and chanting “rah rah rah”). You can play “Mii Maestro” where you conduct an orchestra with your Wii remote, and they play at the speed of your choosing. If you conduct too fast or with too much enthusiasm, your orchestra starts to sweat and make faces at you. Really funny. You can also record videos, design the album jacket and file the video in a library stored in your Wii memory.

The boys are having a blast with this, although I’m looking forward to more songs getting unlocked, I’m pretty sick of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”.

2.) Guitar Hero World Tour. This was a surprise for Dave…I saw the set (guitar controller + game) on sale the day after Thanksgiving for $99 and I was all set to pick one up for Christmas! But after 3-4 stores with my neighbor on Black Friday, the Wii version was sold out everywhere! Plenty of X-Box and Playstation sets, but none for Wii.

This turned into a mission for me. I decided if I can’t find the set, I’d buy the two parts a la carte: I picked up the game at Toys R Us, and then ordered a cool guitar controller from Amazon. Unfortunately, Amazon e-mailed me 6 days after I placed the order to say they were out of stock.

What?

This happened to me in November with a backpack I was trying to buy for my deployment. I’d place the order, then 24-48 hours later, I’d be notified that the item was out of stock.

I was mad. Both with the backpack in November and with the guitar controller a couple weeks ago.

Anyway, I found the guitar in question at Best Buy in Papillion, NE, and decided that I could pick one up there the weekend before Christmas if need be. In the meantime, I kept the order with Amazon open in case the guitar controller came into stock.

The good news was that on December 18th, the guitar controller shipped, and it arrived on the 23rd, just in the nick of time! It’s not the standard guitar that you get with a game, but a “Les Paul”-designed Gibson guitar…looks a bit more realistic. It didn’t cost any differently, so I thought it would be cool.

Dave was very pleasantly surprised, and wasted no time getting it all set up so he can start rocking on with his favorite bands.
“World Tour” caught my attention because it features a much wider variety of songs, from many genres of music…most of which Dave and I like. From Steely Dan to Paul McCartney and Wings to Sting to Metallica to R.E.M. to Linkin Park to Smashing Pumpkins to Tool to Jimi Hendrix…and more songs are unlocking for us as we successfully play each gig.
I’m not going into the mechanics of how the guitar controller works here, but let’s just say that it’s not the same as a real guitar, so real guitar players (such as my parents) might find this a strange experience. You can edit the settings so you don’t have to use all 5 fret buttons, too, since there’s no way I can handle that yet. For the most part, we’re using 3 or 4 of the buttons right now.
Here’s Dave on Christmas morning sporting his new NY Islanders jersey, rocking on to a tutorial here…you’re practicing the timing of the strumming here, no fret buttons in use. We’re now easily using 4 out of the 5 frets and having a great time working through the song list!


Dave seems to think I’m taking more naturally to this because I played violin as a kid. I’m not having quite as much trouble with the more complex patterns of buttons…but I’m far from good at this. I was boo-ed off the stage trying to play an Oasis song, of all things!

I’m so hooked — and it’s a gift for Dave! Dave’s pretty hooked, too. It’s probably a good thing that I’m leaving in a couple weeks because I can see myself playing this all day long while Dave’s at work!

13. October 2008 · Comments Off on Operation Marriage · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

A Good Read. This doesn’t endorse one candidate or another, but reminds us of the few in America who are fighting for the freedoms of the whole country.

It’s a tough place to be in: on the one hand, I’m grateful that I’m only going to the Middle East for a very short time, and that in 2003 Dave was only in Iraq for a very short time also. But on the other hand, is it fair that those Soldiers, Marines and Airmen who have been on multiple tours carry my family’s burden?