News Archive: December 2004

Originally, each post from this month appeared on its own separate page. They were combined here in February, 2022.

Random Updates

Posted Thursday, December 9, 2004 at 10:00 p.m.

Nineteen days have passed since my last update. I will combine all of my ramblings into this post, in order to simplify things.

Wendi’s health

Wendi saw the eye doctor on November 23. Good news: her vision has actually improved since her last visit. She had a visual field test on December 1, and the results were improved since her last such test in 2002.

Wendi’s neurologist, at her request, ordered tests for Huntington’s Disease on November 15; she exhibits several of the symptoms, and her uncle has the disease. The results came in on December 2 but were inconclusive. She may be sent to a geneticist for further testing.


We had a great Thanksgiving Day at home, just the three of us. We watched the Macy’s parade on TV and had a lovely turkey dinner with all the trimmings.

Charlie’s mom

We visited my mom (Joe’s grandma) in Whitewater, Wisconsin, on November 27. She is 81 years old and is mainly confined to a wheelchair, but her mind is alert. She was glad to see us; we stayed for two hours.

Our Cats

We took all three cats to the vet for their shots: Shadow and Stormy on November 29, and Sunny on December 3. Stormy is growing; she is six months old now and weighs 5 pounds, 8 ounces (2.5 kilos). Sunny weighs 12 pounds, 2 ounces (5.5 kilos) but is a long cat, so he isn’t overweight (he chases Stormy all over the house, so he stays trim). But Shadow is up to 10 pounds, 2 ounces (4.6 kilos) and is a bit pudgy; the vet said it isn’t a problem yet, but we should watch to make sure she doesn’t get heavier. She isn’t as active as the other cats.

Stormy will need a booster shot next month. We will have her spayed in February, when she is eight months old (and we can afford the surgery).

Local businesses

Woodman’s, a large supermarket in Janesville, added some self-service checkouts in November.

Roherty’s, the Irish pub and restaurant on Milton Avenue in Janesville, has been sold and will close December 11, and another restaurant will open in its place. Roherty’s has been owned and operated by the family whose name it bears, since 1903.


We put up our Christmas tree and decorated it on December 7 with lights, garland and ornaments. I had to laugh when listening to the radio and hearing a commercial for Walgreen’s. “In a perfect world,” the ad proclaimed, “Christmas lights would always burn brightly instead of burning out, and our pets would not think that every ornament is a chew toy.” To that I say, “Amen.”

Website progress

I’ve made a few more minor improvements “behind the scenes” at The Oo Kingdom:

My apologies to anyone surfing the site during the evening of December 3; I was switching themes at intervals, testing the new setup.

Fresh Cat Pics Posted

Posted Tuesday, December 14, 2004 at 2:45 p.m.

Do I hear some of you say… “EEEEE-NOUGH” cat pictures? At the risk of exactly that, I have just posted A Fresh Take on the Cats. Nearly all of the pictures were taken by Joe. They demonstrate his emerging keen eye as a photographer; a variety of creative angles and compositions make this a worthwhile addition to our online photo album, possibly even for those who may be tired of so many cat pictures.

New Home Page Format

Posted Wednesday, December 15, 2004 at 5:40 p.m.

The “In-Season Holiday Pages” and “Latest Additions” have been taken off of the navigation bar on the Home page and moved to a prominent spot at the top of that page’s content.

A Warm Greeting from Illinois

Posted Monday, December 20, 2004 at 10:18 p.m.

After several quiet days in a row, I received this warm greeting today from Afzal A. Azmatullah of Glendale Heights, Illinois. I don’t post all comments on the site, but this one was especially nice:

Dear Mr. Oo
Read the story with interest. Your site is really helpful. How did I reach to you? Just looking search engine for gsm towels, after few sites I learnt the exact need. Some time, easy things be away from memory. But with search we can find to God also. Wish you and your family happy and healthy life always and Oo’s progress in right and upwards direction. Regards Afzal

The “gsm towels” refers to the grams per square meter used to measure the weight and quality of fabrics. Our page which explains this is currently listed eighth on a Google search.

We Have Weather

Posted Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 10:55 a.m.

A four-day local weather forecast for our hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin, now appears on the Home page, courtesy of The graphic, which is linked to their website, is created under a Creative Commons License. The Weather For You website is operated by a Christian and is authored using valid HTML and CSS. The forecasts are taken from the National Weather Service and are in the public domain.

Chilling Out—For Real

Posted Thursday, December 23, 2004 at 8:55 a.m.

This morning we awoke to a chilly start. Our furnace stopped heating sometime in the night, and the temperature in the house was only 60° Fahrenheit (15.5° Celsius). It has since slipped to 59°. Because the insulation is poor upstairs, Joe’s room is 52°.

Wendi phoned a friend who came over and looked at the furnace, supposing that the pilot had gone out. What we didn’t know was that our furnace is a newer one, and it has no pilot; the ignition is electronic. We also found that the blower won’t turn off, even with the thermostat shut off!

I phoned a local repair service; they have not yet arrived as of this posting… but the blower suddenly stopped on its own a few minutes ago. I reset the thermostat and nothing else happened. And the temperature has fallen yet another degree… I’ll keep you posted.

10:05 a.m.

Good news

The repairman was here; the furnace is working again.

Bad news

He didn’t actually fix anything; nothing was broken. All he did was adjust the pressure switch. But the first thing he told us was “This is a bad furnace; you should consider replacing it.”

Rheem, the manufacturer of the furnace, made this particular model from 1991 to 1993. It is prone to frequent breakdowns and failures. The repairman told us that he hadn’t seen one of these in a long time, because most people have replaced them by now.

The next Rheem model, introduced in 1993, is the one they are still making today, he told us.

In addition to all of this, the blower was wired directly instead of through a switch. The repairman told us that the furnace appeared to have been “installed by a moron.” A lot of other stuff in our house looks this way, too. Go figure!

The repairman advised us to call Community Action about getting help with a new furnace. New ones cost “about two grand,” he said, and we cannot afford that much at this time. But we also cannot afford to be without heat. The temperature is expected to drop to minus 10° tonight—the coldest since we’ve lived here. I’ll say it again: Go figure!

And I’ll say this again, too: I’ll keep you posted.

Salvation, Healing Brighten Humble Holiday

Posted Friday, December 31, 2004 at 2:55 p.m.

Wendi’s salvation

Wendi told me on Tuesday, December 28, that she was not really saved. She had prayed for salvation as a teenager, “because everyone else was doing it.” She had expressed doubts about her salvation before, but only when she was in a depressed state. This time she was in a right mind. She wanted to settle this matter as soon as possible—even before the end of the year.

Wendi handed me the Bible the next evening (Wednesday, December 29) and asked me to show her how to be saved. She was confused and could not remember any of the Scriptures. So I showed her Scriptures from the book of Romans as well as from Hebrews 9, John 3, Ephesians 2 and II Corinthians 5. Finally she prayed and asked Christ to come into her heart and “clean out the cobwebs.” Immediately the confusion was gone.

On Thursday, December 30, our pastor, Dave Fremstad, came to the house to talk and read some Scriptures. We talked about baptism, and he prayed with us. Wendi will be baptized at church Sunday morning.

Wendi and Charlie (sickness)

Wendi fell sick with a cold that developed into bronchitis, right before Christmas. I (Charlie) caught the cold myself. Luckily it didn’t get very bad, but it was worst on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when my voice dropped to a deep bass and my nose ran a lot.

Wendi is nearly over her bronchitis now. Her doctor “piggybacked” two antibiotics because the first one wasn’t doing the job. And I am over my cold now. Only Joe did not get sick this time around (thank goodness).


Our Holiday was a humble but good one. The day before was spent in the kitchen: I baked three pies and prepared a turkey dinner for Christmas Eve at home. We attended a brief candlelight service at church on Christmas Eve, before dinner. During (and after) dinner we watched A Christmas Story on television; then I cleaned house, and Joe wrapped presents for others in our family.

Christmas morning at home was simple and fun. We had only a few small gifts for each other, but we were happy and thankful, since many people have nothing at all. And the few gifts we gave each other meant a lot.

We enjoyed sweet snacks and Jamaican coffee for breakfast. During the midday we went to my brother’s house about 20 miles away, where the rest of the family gathered for a gift exchange and potluck dinner. It was very nice. Joe’s deviled eggs (his new culinary specialty) made a big hit.


Last week’s very cold temperatures (as low as -6° Fahrenheit early Friday morning, December 24) gave way to very mild temperatures this week. It was 54° Fahrenheit late Thursday night, December 30. The snow lasted through Christmas but melted away on Monday, December 27. Rain is expected on New Year’s Day and the day after (Sunday).

And by the way, so far the furnace is working fine.