25 Dec 2015 @ 8:24 AM 

Hey  y’all. Here is the latest on what we’ve been doing the last year.

We had a new addition to the family arrive in February. Jason was worried he was going to have to share his birthday, but Cody Wyatt Cotting was considerate enough to arrive two days later. He is now 10 months old and is a happy healthy little boy. He is a really good crawler who is doing his best to become a walker. Cody is currently cruising. He enjoys following around his big sister and playing with her.

Mia turned two back in January. She keeps getting bigger and bigger. Mia is a good big sister to her new little brother. She plays with Cody and helps Mom and Dad take care of him. Mia enjoys helping Wendy in the kitchen. Minnie Mouse has replaced Bear as top friend. Mia enjoyed playing outside at the parks this summer and learning to ride her balance bike. She still enjoys reading which is a wish for Wendy that has come true. We’ll have to see if that continues once she actually learns how to interpret all those little black lines on the page. We are holding off on preschool until next school year.

Vacations were scarce this year. We did an overnight car camping trip during the summer in American Fork Canyon. It was over the July 4th weekend which meant it was full of people. It wasn’t an easy camping trip, but we enjoyed it. It was Cody’s first time to go camping. We also went to Frankenmuth, MI for a family reunion that Wendy’s father had planned. It was nice to get out of town for a few days, but Jason and Wendy were exhausted by the time we got back. The kids made travel tough. We discovered that Detroit’s airport is not stroller friendly in case you were wondering.

Wendy took 12 weeks off for maternity leave. We all enjoyed having her around the house for a long time. She is still enjoying her job with Kidscare. Since most of her shifts are in the evening, she gets to spend a lot of time with the family during the day which she enjoys. She was able to plant another successful garden and is enjoying being a mom.

Jason has continued his stay at home dad responsibilities. He has been unsuccessful in getting hired with the many fire departments he has applied for this year. His firefighter certifications expire next month with no way to renew them. We feel that God has closed a door which has been difficult to understand. Jason has not given up on looking for work as a paramedic though. He has been to a few conferences this year to keep up his continuing education hours. Jason was able to do some bike riding this summer but nothing big. He also was able to finish building Cotting Creek in the backyard.

Day to day Jason and Wendy spend most of their time taking care of Mia and Cody. They would both like to get back to backpacking some day, but that is going to take a few years. In the mean time, they hope to do more car camping next year since Cody will be a little older. This coming summer, Jason has plans to build a new workshop in the backyard, and Wendy wants to do more hiking.

Things are good at Chez Cotting. We hope you all have a great Christmas and New Year

Jason, Wendy, Mia, and Cody

Cottings Christmas 2015

Cottings Christmas 2015

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Categories: Family
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 25 Dec 2015 @ 08 24 AM

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 20 Dec 2015 @ 9:38 PM 

Now that opening weekend of the new Star Wars movie is over, I’m assuming most of the hardcore fans have seen it. SPOILER ALERT, don’t read this if you don’t want to know what happens in the movie.

First off, I went to the midnight showing on Thursday night / Friday morning. I was surprised to see that they were showing it before midnight seeing as how Friday the 18th of December was the release date. I’m sure it has something to do with getting more ticket sales for breaking record opening weekend sales.

As for the movie, I had high expectations. The prequels, episodes I, II, III were not very good. Especially II, I almost fell asleep during that one. The originals, IV, V, VI were the best movies. My favorite was episode V, The Empire Strikes Back. My biggest desire was hoping that the movie was better than the prequels. I got that much out of it.

To use one word to describe what I thought about the new movie, weak. It was entertaining and I’m glad I got to see it, but compared to the original trilogy, there isn’t much for me to get excited about.

Oh Jason, you are just being a naysayer. No, I’m being realistic and not all jacked up on Disney hype. Full disclosure, I own shares of Disney stock.

Why was it weak? Well, as is the case with most of the “entertainment” that Hollywood dumps at the theaters, there is nothing original. Everything is a remake or a continuation of something that was once good. The same can be said about The Force Awakens.

Do you remember how the original Star Wars movie started out? The evil Empire is attacking a Rebel ship and Strom Troopers are boarding the ship to retrieve information the Rebellion has. Princess Leia gives R2-D2 secret battle plans (building plans for the Death Star), and tells him to keep them safe. R2-D2 and C3PO then get off the ship and begin the adventure of staying away from the Empire while delivering the plans.

So guess what happens in the first fifteen minutes of The Force Awakens. Storm Troopers attack a village where a rebel leader, Poe, is getting a map of the location of Luke Skywalker. The rebel leader realizing he is trapped, gives the map to his droid unit, BB8. Poe then tells him to get away where BB8 begins his adventure of trying to get the map to the place that it needs to get. Sound familiar? I think it sounds a little too familiar.

When we first see the Millennium Falcon, our new young hero, Finn, makes his way to the lower gun chair where he has to learn how to shoot down Tie fighters using an unfamiliar weapons system. Hasn’t this happened before?

The Millennium Falcon is then captured inside of another large ship where the new heroes hide themselves in a familiar smuggling compartment while waiting for their captors to board their ship. Hasn’t this happened before?

The Order (the bad guys who may as well be the Empire) continues to pursue our heroes who escape in the Millennium Falcon while trying to get the map of Skywalker’s location to the Rebel leaders.

The new villain in the movie, Kylo Ren, is a guy wearing all black, a cape, and a mask that distorts his voice. Please, really? The worst part is that the voice distortion sounds so bad that it sounds like some cheap Darth Vader toy you buy at Wal-mart that your kids talk through to sound like Darth Vader but not really. This guy too has a bad temper and carries a red light saber.

The Order has built a, wait for it, another planet like weapon for blowing up other planets. Except this time its different because it is built into a planet instead of being a completely separate space station. This of course makes it much larger. So guess what the Rebellion has to do now? I don’t know, maybe find a way to blow it up. This hasn’t happened before, has it?

To blow up the new weapon, they have to disable something on the planet so that the Rebel ships can destroy the weapon. To do this Han Solo must lead a small team to covertly get on the planet to sneak their way to this place they must disable. Hmmm….. I seem to remember in The Return of the Jedi, that Han had to lead a….. no, that’s just my imagination.

A Storm trooper Captain gets captured by Chewbacca and Han Solo. Chewy wants to know where to put the captain and guess where Solo wants Chewy to put her. A garbage compactor. While admittedly that was funny during the movie, it was a bit weak.

In a heroic ending for our brave Han Solo, the new heroes watch helplessly from a distance as they watch the old Rebel battle hero get killed with a light saber. Wasn’t this how Obi Wan died?

I’m sure there are more similarities if I wanted to take the time to delve into it, but my point is that the writing for this movie was weak. They took the same story lines from the old movies and put new actors in them, even old actors.

We finally get a glimpse of Skywalker at the end of the movie. He doesn’t speak a word in the entire movie.

Han Solo was without a doubt the best part of the movie. Harrison Ford I’m sure will be nominated for awards which he deserves recognition for. Now that he is gone, I don’t know how the other actors in the movie are going to have the strength to give the next movies what is needed. I’m sure the next movie will be all about Rey and Skywalker, but if they are relying on Mark Hamill to shoulder the acting load of a movie, maybe they should find a way to resurrect Harrison Ford because I don’t think Hamill is that good of an actor.

I’m sure I’ll watch the next movie, but my hopes for it being anything better than OK movie are not high.

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Categories: Hobbies
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 20 Dec 2015 @ 09 38 PM

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Fist_Full_Of_Money_clip_art_hightA few years ago, I wrote about how my wife was over payed by her employer Intermountain Healthcare over a period of two years to the sum of a six figure amount. TLDR, we agreed to pay the money back, and we have been doing it it over the last four years. The monthly amount was equivalent to what some people pay for a mortgage payment each month. Thankfully, they were willing to waive about 1/3 of the amount for reasons we never understood, but we were grateful for.

During this time, we learned of several other physicians who had also been overpayed by IHC and were now repaying it. IHC also decided to hire an outside company to audit their payroll as apparently they have no ability to make sure they are doing it correctly in house. Earlier this month, we finally made the last payment on our debt. We expected to have a smooth closing to the deal, but more incompetence than I could have imagined followed.

Twice a year, Wendy gets a bonus based on the patients that she has seen. Each year, we agreeded to let IHC take money out of her bonus for the repayment. Earlier this month, she had her second bonus of the year which would pay the balance of what we owed to IHC. To our surprise, we got a notification from mint.com (where we keep track of our finances) that we had gotten a ~$65,000 deposit into our checking account. This was no where near what was supposed to happen. I doubt anyone at IHC gets a $65,000 paycheck for one pay period. Instead of taking more money out of her paycheck for the final payment (it usually shows up as a positive accounts receivable deduction on the pay stub ) they put in a large negative deduction to the accounts receivable ( negative deduction adds to your paycheck for those of you keeping score at home). There was no explanation as to where the amount came from other than someone randomly pressing numbers on a keyboard. Wendy immediately texted her supervisor about the error because we didn’t want to have to go through another dispute about pay.

Wendy corresponded with a payroll person at IHC. It was decided that we would write them a check for the ~$65,000 that got deposited in our account, and they would issue us another check for the correct amount that she was supposed to receive for that pay period. This new amount was calculated to include the deduction for the amount we owed for the last payment. The number that they gave us, unsurprisingly, did not match what the records I had been keeping showed. Wendy emailed her contact what we felt the right number was who then went back to recalculate our payment. He then gave her another number which still did not match my records, but it was in our favor so we decided not to protest it.

The agreed upon amount was taken out of the check they sent us as a replacement for the ~$65,000 payment from earlier, and a new deposit was issued to our checking account. According to this agreed upon amount, our debt was now payed in full. They agreed to send us a letter stating that we had paid our debt to them in full. When the next pay period rolled around, another deduction was taken out of that paycheck which was the same deduction from the previous paycheck. At this point, they were taking money out of her paycheck, that they weren’t supposed to be taking out anymore. Another paycheck was issued to correct this.

You would think, that once a mistake was pointed out earlier this month in her paycheck in closing out our debt to them, someone would have been making sure that all the numbers were going to be correct and that everything was going to be done right. Nope, nothing resembling that happened. It is as if they didn’t even care about what was going on. They did not care. As my father-in-law so correctly described it, someone was asleep at the switch. Even people in management who were CC’d in the emails my wife was corresponding with for all these corrections never once stepped in to make sure things got taken care of correctly. For an organization whose purpose is caring for others, I believe the non patient care employees let their true colors shine throughout this whole ordeal about what kind of people they are.

This is a multi-million dollar nonprofit cooperation. Intermountain Healthcare is the largest healthcare provider in the state of Utah. There are lots of employees and logistics and money to keep track of. Keeping track of money for an organization this size is nothing new. There is zero excuse for not being able to have an accounting department that makes sure employees are paid correctly, especially when it has been pointed out to them multiple times that they are not doing it correctly. Even something as simple as a flagging system for when someone gets a really high paycheck, such as $65,000.

There are only two explanations for what has happened. Someone important must have a brother in law running the payroll department. He’s untouchable, therefor no effort is put into doing the job correctly. The only other explanation I can come up with is that the payroll department is actually a cage full of monkeys throwing poo on the walls. I took some accounting when I was working on my MBA, which I never finished. Even I can see that things are being running poorly. I can’t imagine what it is the people running this organization are thinking when they are making decisions for this organization.

As a nonprofit, Intermountain Healthcare does do fundraising for their Primary Children’s Hospital. Don’t get me wrong, kids need to be able to get good medical care. I have two of my own I want to be taken care of. A philanthropist should have second thoughts about giving money to this organization if they had any idea at how poorly they keep track of the money that they do have.

This paycheck problem is disturbing to us. I wrote about in the earlier post about how her paycheck is calculated. Its pretty complex and we do not have a way to check if what they are calculating is correct. Since mistakes were made with simple calculations for repaying her debt, I shudder to think at what is being done incorrectly when calculating her paycheck.

This whole fiasco has not been all bad. We’ve learned to live with less money, which is good. I think many people get too tied up in their money. We believe God used this to teach us to not rely on our money. After all, He got us through this.

My lesson to anyone reading this, don’t trust that your employer is going to pay you correctly. Keep your own records and be prepared to defend what you think is right.

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Categories: Family
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 23 Oct 2015 @ 02 46 PM

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 22 Oct 2015 @ 3:19 PM 

I would have liked to have seen the Cubs win the World Series this year. Their getting blanked by the NY Mets 4-0 in the NLCS looked bad. I am not bummed nor disappointed. I’m a Cubs fan, the “Next year” mentality has become a natural feeling to me. Here is what their record has been the last few years:

  • 2012: 61 – 101
  • 2013: 66 – 96
  • 2014: 73 – 89
  • 2015: 97 – 65

At the beginning of the season, my expectations were that I wanted the Cubs to have a winning record. Not only did they have a winning record, but they also had the 3rd best record in baseball in 2015. On top of that, they beat the team with the second best record in baseball (Pittsburgh Pirates) and the best record in baseball (St Louis Cardinals) to get to the NLCS. Things didn’t go so for well for the Cubs after that, but over a whole season, the Cubs did a really good job. What is even better is that the majority of their players are young and very talented. This means that they will only get better and they will continue to be competitive for the next several years. Yes my friends, its finally good to be a Cubs fan, and I’m excited about next year. Go Cubs go!

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Categories: Baseball, Cubs
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 22 Oct 2015 @ 03 19 PM

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 13 Oct 2015 @ 4:56 PM 

CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! The Cubs have hit 9 HR in the last two games against the best pitching staff in baseball and the team with the best record in baseball. I’m now convinced that the Cubs can win the World Series!

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Categories: Cubs, Misc
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 13 Oct 2015 @ 04 57 PM

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Shootings have been getting a lot of attention over the last few years. This year the number of nationally reported shootings seems to be more than I can remember in the past. I have no proof of that, but its how I perceive it. Meanwhile, politicians try to tell us what is wrong and what should be done to fix it. Main stream media has also been making a big deal of shootings and telling us what should be done about it. The message I’m getting from the people making the most noise is that there are more shootings and we should do something about allowing people to have or get guns. Assault rifles and high capacity magazine are often demonized as well. Seeing as how I don’t trust a politician and the F.U.D. spreading US news media has long since lost any idea of objective news reporting, I decided to look up some information about people being killed in the United States. All of my data has come from the FBI’s website: https://www.fbi.gov/stats-services/crimestats

I gathered data from that site to the best of my abilities. I used the data to create a Google Docs spreadsheet which I used to create some charts to help visualize the information. This data is free to anyone who takes the time to look at it. If errors were made in my data entry, please make me aware of it and I will correct it. I believe a lot of the data speaks for itself. I’m not a statistician, but I think some of the simple things that I learned from looking at the data are correct.

The first chart shows the rate of the number of violent crimes committed in the USA per year. It clearly shows a trend of declining violent crimes.

Annual firearm caused murders per 100K US Population

Annual number of violent crimes in the USA

This next chart shows the annual number of murders caused by all firearms. From what this shows, there were more firearm caused murders in the early 1990’s than there have been in the last few years. If you ever hear someone telling you that there are more people being killed by guns now, this data shows otherwise.

annual firearm caused murders

Annual firearm caused murders

After looking at that, it got me to thinking. The rate of number of murders per year is not a completely meaningful trend. I felt that population was a relevant statistic for how many people are being killed by firearms. So I took the US population data found on the FBI website and used that to show how relevant the number of murders per year were compared with population growth. My thinking was if the population rate were changing, this could affect the murder rate. To make the numbers more relevant I took the population and divided it by 100,000 people so we could see how many people per 100,00 were being killed. According to the data, despite a population increase, there is a firearm murder rate decrease. This says that while nearly 6 in 100,000 Americans were being killed with firearms in 1992, in 2014 that had dropped to about 2.5 in 100,000 Americans being killed with firearms. This makes a case that people getting shot and killed with guns is happening less often than it used to. Are things getting better?

firearm murders per 100k population

Firearm murders per 100,000 US population

Now that I can see that people getting killed with firearms is not getting worse, I thought it would be interesting to see by what method people are getting killed. The pie chart below breaks out the type of weapon used to kill people. Clearly, murders by use of handguns are the most frequent. Surprisingly, evil assault rifles is at the bottom of the list which is below knives, personal weapons (fists, arms, legs, feet), blunt objects (such as baseball bats), and shotguns.

percent of murders by type

Cause of murders by percent 1992-2014

I hope this allows you to see some of the data that is out there so you can decide what the urgency might be about people being killed by firearms.

I believe we are just getting the usual F.U.D. (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) from politicians and news outlets. Bad people using guns to kill people is not something that is getting worse. Clearly, assault rifles with high capacity magazines are not the most urgent item in need of legislation. Statistics show that violent crime is becoming less common. I believe that the main cause for concern is the devaluing of human life among people. I don’t know how you put a statistic to that, and I certainly don’t know how you legislate morality. Just because a talking head on TV, radio, or your favorite website claim one thing, does not always mean it is the truth.

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Categories: Guns, Political, USA
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 12 Oct 2015 @ 07 09 AM

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 07 Oct 2015 @ 8:01 PM 

Cubs win! St Louis here we come!

Fly the W

Fly the W

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Categories: Baseball, Cubs
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 07 Oct 2015 @ 08 01 PM

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 07 Oct 2015 @ 1:42 PM 

I guess the Nobel Peace Prize just doesn’t mean what it used to. The US Military bombed a hospital in Afghanistan that was being run by Doctors Without Borders.

Obama bombs hospital

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Categories: Political, Status Updates, USA
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 07 Oct 2015 @ 01 42 PM

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 06 Oct 2015 @ 1:36 PM 

Went to Draper City Court today for my parking ticket that was issued to my license plate while my car was parked in my garage in Sandy Utah. I told the judge I was not guilty and now I have a trial date for November. The city prosecutor will issue a subpoena for the officer who wrote the ticket. This is for a $40 parking ticket that someone entered into the system incorrectly. My only defense is my word. Here is your daily dose of freedom.

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Categories: Status Updates
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 07 Oct 2015 @ 01 38 PM

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 26 Sep 2015 @ 1:33 PM 

The Cubs are now in the post season. They will be playing the Pittsburgh Pirates for the Wild Card position in a one game series.

Cubs are in the post season!

Cubs are in the post season!

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Categories: Baseball, Cubs
Posted By: jason
Last Edit: 07 Oct 2015 @ 01 36 PM

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