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English girl

Our eldest monkey, Shae, is now in Nottingham, U.K. for a five month study abroad program at the University of Nottingham. She has started her own blog, My Life is Nottingham, to post details and pictures of her experiences. Check it out at Shae.SarcasticMonkeys.com.

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Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner [Mc]

The last week has me thinking about vision, and not in the metaphorical sense that churches and ministers often talk about. You might have seen my Tweets or Facebook status about what has happened, but here’s the whole story.

Several weeks ago – and I won’t get the timing of events before this week exactly right – our friend, Annette, told Trudi about a contest in the newspaper from a local ophthalmologist with a prize of free Lasik surgery. Trudi has talked before about how much she would like to have that done, but it is quite expensive. As much as she would like to have it done, she also loves me [:)] and asked Shae to write a nomination letter to get me into the contest.

They didn’t tell me they were doing this. Here is Shae’s letter:

“My dad has worn corrective lenses since he was a kid. He’s never complained, except for muttering under his breath when he lost his contact on the bathroom floor or when we found a picture of him in his third grade “Harry Potter” look… which is not good, since he was rocking those owl-eyed specs decades before the little wizard ever existed. He’s been a good sport about getting short-changed in the eye department, but when my mom read the blurb in the News-Press about this prize, we both knew we wanted to win for Dad.
So we did a little digging. I’ve never seen my Dad budge without his contacts or his glasses. From the moment he wakes up, he’s wearing something to help him see. I knew his eyes were bad, I just didn’t know how bad until we called his eye doctor. As it turns out, my poor father has 20/400 vision, plus an astigmatism. According to the doctor, without corrective lenses, he can’t see a hand in front of his face. I may be eighteen, but I still haven’t lost the sense of seeing my dad as a superhero who can fix anything, so it was a shock to hear that without those clunky lenses, he would be considered legally blind.

I’m nominating my dad because I love him and because, frankly, he deserves it. He’s been a pastor since 1990. His job is to help others, whether they’re a long-time member of the church or just a visitor passing through. He’s wonderful at his job, but he’s even better as a dad. He gave us his sense of humor, his values on right and wrong, his love of chocolate, and his brown eyes. I love those eyes because they’re his eyes… and mine. He’s done so much for everyone else, so I would love to be able to do this one thing for him. Please pick my father, Reverend Tim McDaniel. Let him ditch those Clark Kent spectacles, so everyone else can see the Superman that we see.”

Okay, obviously she stretched it a bit. I’m not Clark Kent, Superman or even Jimmy Olsen. Although, I might be close to Jimmy. However, the part about my eyes is true. Without glasses or contacts, I can’t focus beyond about six inches. Other than that, it kind of sounds like I’m a doddering old guy. Which I might be.

Anyway, the Giving Eyes contest is offered by Collins Vision and Dr. Michael Collins. He is a rather young-looking doctor who specializes in Lasik surgery. Ann, a very nice lady from his office, called in late April to say that I was one of four finalists. She was very excited for us and seemed to be really impressed by Shae’s letter.

The next thing to be done was to be examined, to find out if my eyes were eligible for the Lasik procedure. My appointment was yesterday, May 28. To prepare for the appointment, I had to go for a week without my contacts, wearing only my glasses.

Wearing my glasses is annoying, because they aren’t up to my current prescription, and wearing them is just bothersome anyway, but I was happy to do it, because of the possibility of winning the contest.

At the same time, I went into this without much expectation, not because I didn’t want the prize, or because I doubted that I might win. Recently I was reading Dan Ariely’s book, Predictably Irrational (see the link on my sidebar), and he was talking about how we are prone to acting in certain ways, especially when we take “ownership” of things. There are good results to taking ownership, and there are not-so-good results, especially when we take ownership of things that don’t belong to us. The funny thing is, we can easily take ownership of things ahead of time. That’s the whole basis of advertising, getting the consumer to picture themselves in ownership of what they’re trying to sell.

I didn’t want to “own” a prize that wasn’t mine. As a result, I kept my expectations down. Paradoxically, I fully expected to win. I can’t explain why, other than I thought Shae’s letter was really good and I had been told that the other finalists had been self-nominated.

Yesterday I went to the Collins Vision office, where I was treated very nicely and got to meet Ann, Dr. Collins, and the rest of the office staff. Dr. Collins’ assistant ran several tests on my eyes, and he remarked that I seemed well-qualified for Lasik.

The last thing he did was dilate my eyes and sent me out to the waiting room. As I sat there, a tall man came in and announced himself to the receptionist as Gary Danielson. For those that don’t know, he was quarterback of the Detroit Lions back in 1976-1984, and currently is the lead analyst for CBS Sports’ Southeastern Conference football broadcasts. Both of those things are important to me, since I am a Lions fan since before he was quarterback (Greg Landry) and I really enjoy his commentating (along with Verne Lundquist) on the CBS broadcasts.

How cool, I thought. I wanted to say something, but didn’t really want to bother him, especially since I didn’t have anything particularly interesting to say. In the end, I left him alone, since no one else in the waiting room seemed to know who he was. I did Tweet that he was there, though.

Eventually I went in and met Dr. Collins, who was very nice, and he did further tests on my eyes. These were the most painful. He had to shine very bright lights in my eyes, which with my eyes dilated, was like poking the sun in my eye.

After he was finished, he confirmed that my eyes were suited to Lasik. However, my left eye, which seems to be my dominant eye, is weaker than my right eye. He said that he doesn’t think my left eye would be able to be fully corrected to 20/20. Because I am at the age where my close vision isn’t perfect, he would normally fully correct my dominant eye and leave the other eye less than fully corrected for distance so that I wouldn’t need reading glasses. But, because of the weakness of my dominant eye, he wouldn’t suggest that for me, choosing rather to fully correct both eyes.

This morning, bright and early, Ann called. I was chosen as the winner! She said the surgery date would be July 10 for what normally would be a $4900 procedure, but will be free to me. This is an advanced Lasik procedure that is $1000 more than their regular Lasik.

The problem is that I am scheduled to leave on July 11 for National Bible Quiz Finals in St. Louis. Ann said she would check with Dr. Collins, because a post-op check-up is necessary. She also mentioned that they had checked online and found my Twitter account. They saw my Tweet about Gary Danielson, which they thought was “cute”, and hoped to get an autograph for me.

Later, she contacted me and we’ve set the date. Unfortunately, my trip has messed up the July date, and surgery is now scheduled for Friday, September 4th. It’s disappointing to wait, but it’ll be great when it’s here.

That’s the story. I’m a winner. I’ll keep you up-to-date here. God is good to me.

I’m Tim and I approve this message.

Without further ado, my thoughts on the election and how I’ll be voting a week from today…

President and Vice-President
There are 13 choices on the ballot. Make your own conclusions on that number. If I were going to vote for the person I would most like to see as President from the list, I’d choose Alan Keyes, who is running on behalf of the American Independent Party. However, with no chance to win, that would be a wasted vote.
I vote: John McCain and Sarah Palin.

District 14 Congress
Another case of wishing I could vote differently, but this is the best choice I have.
I vote: Connie Mack

Public Defender, 20th Judicial Circuit
Sole candidate.
I vote: Kathy Smith

State Representative, District 72
He seems to have done a good job in the last four years.
I vote: Paige Kreegel

Sheriff
I was one of 9% that didn’t vote for Mike Scott in the Republican primary. Even though he would’ve received my vote anyway, he secured it by speaking the truth at Sarah Palin’s Fort Myers’ appearance.
I vote: Mike Scott

Property Appraiser
He’s done a good job in a tough market.
I vote: Ken Wilkinson

County Commissioner, District 1
I haven’t heard or seen enough from the other candidates to remove this incumbent…yet.
I vote: Bob Janes

County Commissioner, District 3
Ray Judah seems like a fairly nice guy. I don’t know him. Les Cochran seems like a nice old guy, too. I don’t know him either. Republican incumbents usually have an edge with me, but at a county level, party isn’t as important, and Cochran is actually a Republican, too. Judah has been in office for a long, long time. So I like his experience. But such a long time in office means that future decisions will be impacted by old alliances, past choices, and wanting to defend things that you were part of.
I vote: Les Cochran

County Commissioner, District 5
I don’t know him, but I like him.
I vote: Frank Mann

Lee Memorial Health System, District 1
You can vote for 2 out of 3 in this category. Anna Clark’s whole reason for running seems to be a bad experience a relative had at Cape Hospital. Um…work that out with your lawyer, dear.
I vote: Stephen Brown and Marilyn Stout

Lee Memorial Health System, District 3
Again, we get to pick two. I’m sure these are important positions to the community, but… Lois Barrett is 84 and would seem to be past her time, but I’m not sure I like the fact that Jason Moon’s father-in-law owns an Oncology practice. Seems conflicting.
I vote: Linda Brown and Lois Barrett

Lee Memorial Health System, District 5
Vilmar Ribeiro needs to finish working on his associate’s degree.
I vote: Kerry Babb and James Green

Mosquito District, Area 1
Another office that is very important in our county, but should this really be an elected position? Even the News-Press didn’t offer an opinion on these races.” That’s what I originally wrote, then I found out that the Lee County independent taxing district for Mosquito Control is the largest of its kind in the entire United States! It has 87 full-time and 125 seasonal employees, and carries a budget of $25 million. Huh.

Larry Murphy is the incumbent and carries a good resume. James Opp’s resume seems to consist of his dad having been the director of the district for 12 years.
I vote: Larry Murphy.

Mosquito District, Area 3
According to the Naples News, Mike Ellis knows “bugs inside out.” I guess that’s a good thing. And I know nothing about Tim Gardner. Sorry, Tim. You have a good name.
I vote: Mike Ellis.

2nd District Court of Appeal
Should Judge Whatley be retained in office? Sure, why not?
I vote: Yes.

Amendment 1
This is a housekeeping amendment, seemingly unnecessary in practice, but a good thing theory.
I vote: Yes.

Amendment 2
Also a housekeeping amendment, of sorts, seemingly unnecessary in theory, but a very thing in practice.
I vote: Yes.

Amendment 3
Seems to be a good thing that should be tied with other good things to make a comprehensive policy, but let’s take what we can get.
I vote: Yes.

Amendment 4
There seem to be some positives for this, but do we have to mess with the Constitution to do it? Don’t we elect legislators to do this kind of thing? This amendment would encourage land conservation, and further limit the amount of land that can be developed. Down the road I think this will make property even harder and more expensive to acquire by the average person.
I vote: No.

Amendment 6
Seems like a good idea, but, again – does it have to be a constitutional amendment?
I vote: Yes.

Amendment 8
Gives voters flexibility in what to do with tax money.
I vote: Yes.

County Charter Amendment 1
Makes the Supervisor of Elections position a non-partisan office. Good idea.
I vote: Yes.

County Charter Amendment 2
Allows for things to by-pass County Commissioners to be put on ballot.
I vote: Yes.

[Note: Yes, the title of this post IS the same as the title of our latest episode of the ChurchDramaPodcast. This post is specifically for my daughter, Shae, who gets to vote for the very first time this fall.]

Happy Birthday, Shae!

Another huge milestone in the McDaniel family. Shaelyn Cherie turns 18 today. Unhappily for us, she’s not here with us in North Fort Myers, but away at the University of Florida. (School begins on Monday.) She’s only been away for a few days, so we are still trying to adjust to her not being here. I’m sure there will be other birthdays that we won’t be able to be with her, but this is the first, so it’s a little more difficult.

We’re very proud of this little girl of ours, who has grown into a wonderful young lady. We are excited about how God will use her and what He has planned for her.

[And a very happy __st birthday to my OLDER sister, Cherie. Yes, that’s where Shae got her middle name.]

Children Make a Father

Happy Father’s Day. I share in that by virtue of my four wonderful children (given to me by God and the lovely Trudi.) Here are just a few pictures from this weekend of the fab four.





Children make a granddad, too. (Happy Father’s Day, dad!)