Thursday, June 12, 2008
Jay: No Birthdays
No birthdays I know of today, a rarity in June, so this’ll be my obligatory post for the day.
The car remains stranded in Sharon. I called my brother and left a message last night, as it was rumored he could help me with it today, which is possible because Deb is on all early shifts now. Meanwhile, I suppose I really ought to work on getting stuff for the yard sale ready, even if I have to drop it off and have it sold by others, or get a ride, or whatever. That all hinged on having the car, but I also needed to spend pretty serious time working toward preparing. If we can’t do much with this one, we may ask the landlord if he’d object to our having one here. Probably not, as he seems to object to little besides having a pool for kids. But then we’d feel like we had to ask the neighbors, too, see if they wanted to participate. Damn politeness!
I’m trying to organize the whole “do what I can to make money from home” thing better, with some explicit unfettered time allotted me evenings and Deb’s days off. Some things can be done in those minute or two or five interludes I get between kid demands, but I need to have them listed and planned out enough so the whole effort isn’t wasted on “so what did I need to do next?” There’s a lot more ad revenue available, and while we won’t live on that, not without serious content and traffic buildup at least, managing that is one of those little things, and boom, there’s the money for, say, utilities each month.
Posting more actively, even if it’s quick links to interesting stuff, makes the blogs more viable for ads, so you’ll see more of that. At least on the WordPress ones, since I can post so quickly via w.bloggar, which doesn’t work with Expression Engine. That’s about the only thing it doesn’t work with, and there’s even a version now that doesn’t use Internet Explorer in the background. It was always annoying, that links in preview in the editor would open in IE, and of course IE was used programatically for the HTML rendering in the editor. There’s now a version that uses Firefox instead.
One of the reasons Carnival of the Capitalists went on hiatus was the time it took me that was annoyingly uncompensated. I miss the structure it gave each week, with a publishing schedule, but TANSTAAFL needs to rule. I’m planning to revive it, starting with a fundraising edition, the success of which will help determine to what degree it continues, and the amount of advertising I deploy at that site. Another project, which isn’t impossible to do in small chunks so much as it’s annoying.
Anyway, off to it. Need more coffee, and a glass of water. Have to keep drinking to combat the gout, which seems to go hand in hand with some swelling and water retention, duh, from getting underhydrated.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Jay: Gout Attacks
I haven’t had trouble with gout to speak of, lately, until today, when it came on suddenly and at least as severely as ever.
As I may have mentioned, from peak weight to recent low weight I lost 55 lbs, 45 this year. The diet is a bit different, if not as much so as you might think, and more fully natural. Still, I’d expect if I ate pinto beans for a few days, I’d get an outbreak.
My first thought was limited fluid today, though I drank plenty yesterday, and stayed in AC a lot, and the weather in general. That’s likely a factor.
However, the cookout Sunday saw me sent home with a banana bread with cranberries, a bunch of sour cream bars, and most of a loaf of homemade bread. Deb and the kids ate the bread, though I had a slice or two at the event itself. However, I ate most of the banana bread and most of the squares in a binge of wanting them not to spoil and, hey, free food. Kind of weird, as I don’t eat much for sweets these days, and even carbs are only moderately from bread.
I’m intrigued by the possibility that the binge on that stuff was a factor. If anything, I’ve had less than usual that should contribute. Heck, I had salad two nights in a row, so I suppose I could speculate about that.
I just hope it goes fast. Now back to stuff I need to get done while I have the chance. I started replying to a job solicitation around 10 hours ago and it’s still on my screen, partly written. Figured I’d reply, even though I don’t think I have the qualifications they want.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
We drove the Buick for the first time today. All the way to Sharon.
At Central Street and route 18 in Stoughton, the brake pedal went to the floor while I was stopped at the light.
The brakes work marginally so it’s not impossible to drive, with the right caution, traffic, etc. However, the brake line is leaking near the passenger side rear wheel. Feels like it sort of rusted through. It was fine driving the rest of the way up near Cobb’s Corner, with caution. The emergency brake has more stopping power than most I’ve ever seen.
I got a ride home from one friend, after they convinced me not to nurse the car home even alone. Turned out the back road I was going to take is closed and I’d have to have driven in real traffic, which is annoying. Deb and the kids are riding with another friend, who fortunately is going by here on her way back to the Cape, and who fortunately has a borrowed car that fit all the car seats. Which the Buick only barely did, and that by not using Sadie’s good one.
Now I need to recruit my brother to help me get up there and patch it, say, tomorrow evening or something.
Kick. Kick. Kick…
Jay: Busy for Someone Lazy and Broke
Wanted to toss out a quick post before I hang out and vegetate for another day. Heh.
Cross your fingers that the car from my aunt works okay, since it’s registered and having a shakedown today when we go to Sharon to see friends, including one who is doing her lucky if it’s annual visit from Oregon. Can’t afford the gas, but we didn’t have to fly across the country. As such, we have to get the car seats in and so forth.
This morning at 10:30 there’s some kind of mortgage inspection the landlord has to have done, and they might need to come in here in the process. There’s the tail end of making the place look more respectable in anticipation of that. We’re curious what in the world it’s about, as that could mean a sale, which would suck. And be a silly time for it, in a down market. Then again, if you bought in the late seventies, down relative to peak, even by 30%, is still going to be a nice cashing out. More likely it’s a refinance or leveraging this property to buy another because, hey, it’s a down market so good time to buy. Or it’s a stealth excuse to inspect our apartment and find a reason to throw us out, but that’s just the paranoid outlook.
The baby isn’t going to let me type much more and I rilly rilly need to get to work on stuff, but…
In 1998 I went on a vacation to Canada, my first and last in forever. Well, 5 1/2 years, if you could California to meet Deb, while still monitoring work and directing someone designated to be my hands back at the office. But anyway, on the way back, I stopped at LL Bean in Maine and bought a T-shirt, among less memorable clothes. It was never my loosest shirt, smaller for its size than they should run.
That shirt is, I am pretty sure, looser on me than it has ever been, which is an interesting anecdote about where my weight was when, given the stretches of time when I didn’t monitor it. I peaked at 308 and had a stable high of 298. Yesterday I hit a not yet stable low of 253, and am solidly 255 wanting to be 254 this morning. Counting to the low yesterday, that’s 55 lost, 45 of it this year so far.
All apparently a metabolism thing by going off drugs that make you gain weight so you can get sneered at that you wouldn’t need the drugs if you’d just lose weight, because only fat slobs have high blood pressure. With a bit of atavistic eating thrown in for emphasis, since apparently eating like someone pre-industrial food, if not pre-agriculture, agrees with me.
Okay, time is flying by so I have to get another coffee (sugar, no artificial sweetener to confuse the body about calories consumed) and see about cleaning and organizing more.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
Jay: Then There’s…
The advertising-related stuff, and the plans to do a CotC and try to restart that. If people will contribute above a threshold when I do a fundraising edition back from hiatus, I’ll not only believe they are interested, but also delay advertising on that site for a duration depending on donations. If not, that’ll be added to the stable, and it’s the most potentially lucrative one. Plus I’ve started posting there again, even aside from restarting CotC or not. The other thing is a hardcore “hire us, dammit” post and associated features across blogs, along with updating of the business and resume sites.
All of which will be relevant, even if I get the support job I’m up for that can be done from anywhere, including if we were to move anywhere in the country with decent broadband. Obviously, I’d prefer to stay somewhere with FiOS, so it’s good that’s an increasingly widespread option.
Anyway, off to working on something, even if it’s dishes and a shower to start. And maybe something for lunch, since I feel hollow. As well I should, given that I fit OK in a T-shirt I’ve seldom worn because it’s too tight. Oh, about to post more pictures, too, which I started working on at an adjacent computer, after forgetting this post was in progress.
Jay: Today, Maybe
Looks like we’ll participate in a yard sale on the weekend of the 14th. I probably have stuff in storage that can be sold that way. We’re constrained by what days Deb works, and the weather, and an expected function on the 8th, and the need for me to run around and register the car because even though we can’t afford it, we can’t not do it. On the far side, we’re constrained by the prepayment on the storage running through July 16, and my not being sure how I’ll make that $40 a month payment once it does.
So I need to go open the storage unit, which is packed like a cartoon closet that sproings out onto the floor when the door is opened, and at least get sort of an inventory of what is there that can be sold or otherwise disposed of. Maybe I’ll take Sadie along. Probably I’ll bring some stuff home for the kids to destroy before it can be sold.
Trouble is, some of that is stuff like the little refrigerator, which might be Craigable, if the smell is gone. Other than something left in it too long, it’s pristine and works great. If our circumstances were different, we’d probably keep it as an office or cellar fridge, maybe store soda or water or unopened juice there. Except we don’t drink soda, can’t afford it, and I think limiting helps me lose weight. And we limit juice, since Henry can’t drink it, it’s suspect if probably OK for Valerie, and it’s expensive. And we drink tap water, except as a matter of portability when needed with work lunches. Where I was going with that is the size. Some of it’s big, and if I am to sell it, it has to come here and go...? At least comics are small, and lucrative for their size. And seriously buried. The storage contents is like a giant 3D puzzle crossed with a house of cards. Which makes me not want to touch it…
I could potentially save some of that for tomorrow or Tuesday, when I am out for other things. It’s just… I am sure there are things that can sell, one way or another, or that I put there and aren’t worth keeping. No extracting the value without diving into it.
There was some discussion of karma lately, and what it is exactly.
It’s not tens of thousands of people killed in a natural disaster because the government, of which they individually may or may not approve, forcefully annexes and treats badly a sovereign country and culture, a process of which they individually may or may not approve.
Karma is when you tell your brother’s wife that he’s old and fat, and therefore will never land another job in his life, and shortly thereafter lose your own job, facing the possibility of having to change fields, accept even lower pay, or both.
That’s the way karma works outside of activist celebrity fantasies.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Jay: Hey, Didn’t This Used to Be a Blog?
We’re kind of busy and distracted, so even with the modest availability things that I can still blog about without an oppressive sense of self-censorship, I just haven’t gotten to it lately. Lack of birthdays has thus meant lack of posts, and the birthday posts are meant to be spice, not meat. There are a couple others I may get to, one imperative and one landmark, despite over a week having passed since it came to mind.
That said, it’s relatively easy and of some interest to post about the baby and where he stands on the food front. It seems these days the biggest problems are unidentified airborne or other environmental, with maybe a low grade effect from even some foods that are “safe.” To the degree we’re dealing with a salicylate sensitivity, almost everything is a source, and it’s difficult not to include a certain amount of high and moderate sources, even if you avoid the very high completely and the next ones down as much as possible. There are also ambiguities, whereby a given item can be higher or lower depending on growing conditions. At any rate, the chart we’ve found most useful notes that each level is ten times the prior. Thus very high is 10x high is 10x moderate is 10x low.
There are two things that have been clear. Three, if you count the big $2600 we can never afford to pay incident and the most probable cause. Two, if you count dairy as singular.
He can’t have milk. Period. He breaks out in a rash almost instantly. Not sure, but he may have gotten his hands on some during the Lactaid experiment, and reacted less badly, whatever that means - maybe ultrapasteurization breaking down proteins more being helpful.
The emergency room incident was almost certainly cheese. It was also topical, never a breathing issue, but more a matter of looking so bad because of where it swelled. The thing is, I seemed to react to that cheese, and as noted, cheddar particularly can apparently generate its own histamines.
Of the other candidates that night, well, he has put egg in his mouth and not reacted, and Deb’s test of eating eggs has shown she is free to have eggs and, by extension, mayonnaise again. He can eat corn. We’re skeptical of wheat being a problem, certainly not at that level. The only thing that leaves from that night might be ham, which would have been a bit player and would mean an awfully extreme reaction to my having handled it. Cheese is likely, especially given the milk thing and the histamine thing.
Of course, his own drool makes him rashy, and I believe he has a bit of a reflux problem, which may be recursion. That is, stuff affects sinuses, sinuses encourage reflux, reflux makes sinuses worse and makes drool acidic. Maybe stuff affects skin worse on contact due to the damage, for that matter.
Anyway, it’s not an item of concern for salicylates, but he had an extreme reaction to banana. Now, that may have been interaction with other stuff, and may not have been as bad as it seemed, but he can wait to try again.
What I was planning to cover mainly is what he can eat. With Valerie confirmed to be unable to have milk, even Lactaid, without losing bladder control, it’s made him less likely to have accidental drinks of it. It makes him so happy, but the result isn’t fun. We’ve been able to speed up trying new things. It’s challenging to be operating on the cheap, but hey.
The only meat of concern might be cured, spiced kinds of things, so I haven’t given him hot dogs when we’ve had them. I thought he might be reacting mildly to pork at times, and when I did a series of “rub things on his skin” tests one day, grease that had primarily rendered from pork during frying was the only thing there might have been a reaction to, but it was ambiguous. My antiperspirant, Irish Spring, some stuff like that all passed. He gets plenty of meat.
Rice (including puffs, cakes)
Some tastes of things that technically contained wheat.
Corn, as a vegetable.
Corn, in tortilla chips soaked in water or chicken broth to soften them.
White potato in any form, though I’d avoid giving him skin even if he could chew it.
White sugar, avoid brown sugar as it charts and he may have reacted to it.
Parsnip, probably - some ambiguity and small sample
Chemicals that qualify to be called lemonade when mixed with water (seemed to react a little to the fruit punch mix).
Canned pears in heavy syrup. Light syrup is pear juice, which is processed in a way that involves the skin.
I swear I’m forgetting something.
Soy seems not to bother him. Usually that’s in the form of oil for cooking. He’s also had stuff fried in Crisco, which would mean exposure to cottonseed oil.
He’ll get to try peas soon. He had a too small to harm him taste of strawberry jello and seemed to be unaffected.
As far as seasonings or veggies used mainly for that purpose, he seems fine with onion and garlic. Black pepper I avoid especially for him. Red pepper and the like, and some of the other things I use routinely, all high, but the quantities in food can be minute. We use caution, but he has or might have eaten food with red pepper, cumin, oregano, garlic, onion, ginger, celery, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, sage, savory, rosemary, or whatever having participated in the making. Not sure exactly which. If it’s, say, chicken, it’s in the oil and on the outside of the meat, but I’ll emphasize giving him bits from the inside with minimal outer layer.
Cauliflower. He tried cauliflower and that went fine. We love that when it’s on sale.
Fruit is the biggest problem. Especially in juice or uncooked. Pear is the lowest of the fruits and he clearly reacted to pear juice. Essentially he needs a caveman diet.
Overall he’s doing well. A lot of the itching he does is emotional, a reaction of habit. Getting sleepy equals uncomfortable. Discomfort equals itchy. Ithchy equals scratch yourself bloody. He is helped a lot by pre-emptive doses of gas drops and Tylenol, assuming he doesn’t decide he does not need one or both, as he did today. Absolutely refused gas drops, period. Refused Tylenol one time, accepted it later. As I always say, he’s little, not stupid. In fact, he’s scary.
Now if he wants to eat he starts dragging his high chair across the kitchen. He also seems to have learned that if food is left in the seat, he can shake the chair to get it where he can reach it. He was mad at me for cleaning up right after he pigged out for supper, because after his bath he was foraging for more. For supper he had chicken, a tiny bit of beef, potato, about 2/3 of a good sized sweet potato, corn, and plain pinto beans. When I found him foraging, I gave him part of a rice cake, but that just wasn’t the same.
Looking at this decent food list, which I need to review in detail again to figure where we are going with trying other things, I was reminded that he seemed to react heavily to sucking on raisins the girls left on the floor for his benefit. Ditto for a couple of the cranberry whatever juice combos. We’ve gone almost exclusively into powdered drink mixes, mainly lemonade, but also fruit punch and - though the girls haven’t warmed to it - iced tea. Lack of juice may also be helping Valerie, though if that was a factor, it was still at least 90% the milk.
I’m barely staying awake, so this is probably rambling and incoherent, and likely incomplete. Oh well. I had some pictures to post, and will have some stunning ones after the camera is next downloaded. He really put on a show today.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Jay: Betrayed By Weather!
Oh wait. I mean, what a wonderful day it appears to be, and how nice it got for a large chunk of yesterday. Hooray for sun and warmth, and their power to dry previously soaked grass. Yeah, that’s it. Assuming the 50% chance of precipitation, focused in the afternoon and beyond, is worth the risk.
Which means it’s looking sadly, I mean happily, like the family gathering Easter egg hunt thing will happen today. That means getting a ride, which appears to be all set. That means preparing and bringing something the baby can eat. That means getting cash I can’t afford to contribute to the purchase of pizza, which means dairy, which means “hey, what’s Deb going to eat?” That means sitting here trying to remember what lyrics my brother wanted me to locate online and print for him, so I don’t have to be like “oops, forgot” or whatever.
But hey, it’ll make my brother and the other kids happy, so it must be worth it.
If it’s happening, and we have no idea for sure yet. As of yesterday it was completely up in the air. Not only does it depend on the lack of rain long enough for the grass to be dry, it also matters whether the grass was cut recently enough, or couldn’t be because mumble mower fixed mumble come do the lawn mumble, or it was too wet at the wrong time.
We also have no idea what time it is scheduled, since nobody in the family who schedules these things ever announces a time for them. Apparently naming the date is considered sufficient.
Oh well. Guess I’d better start frantically scrambling to be ready to go, rather than taking advantage of what for me is a work day with someone else to help redirect the kids.
I relaxed when my look at the weather told me it’s likely to be raining again by 2:00, but I’m told we should show between 12:30 and 1:30, so I really do have to scramble.
Friday, May 16, 2008
Deb: Like Ancient Chinese Curse.
That’s the only word I can conjure up to describe my new life at the Mega Lo Mart. Interesting.
I’m fascinated by the company, but the work is pretty much what you’d expect. Good group of people in my area, though, and I like it about as well as you can like this sort of thing. Even a good retail job is a retail job, lol.
I was planning a more interesting update, but it’s pretty clear that I don’t have much to say about it. So there you go.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Jay: Happy Birthday
Monday, May 05, 2008
Jay: Much to Say
But if I start typing, I risk the kids coming unglued. In a way it’s gone fine, Deb being at work while I’m with the kids. At least, if doing anything useful - at least in chunks longer than 3 minutes - is not desired. Also, working on the house seems to go over better than working on work, even if that runs the risk of “help” or at least being a human moth magnet.
Henry fell asleep repeatedly over lunch, then refused to nap and revived completely by the time I had him cleaned up. I cleverly put lunch on the table for the girls, so they’d be at the opposite end of the house while I put him to sleep, so instead they followed us into the bedroom. Which didn’t matter, because he was openly amused with my antics, thought I was a funny guy, thinking he’d nap.
In a way this isn’t much different from normal, in that there are stretches of peace, but I never know when I will be interrupted or how long I have at once to write, think, code, design, plan, whatever.
I managed to keep them from letting him get any milk, and so far any juice, so that’s a plus.
The idea is for me to do this and that and piece together a living here, while Deb spends a lot of scheduled shifts out of the house, which also constitutes a mental health break. Any running around or seeing clients in person would work around her schedule or get covered by brief, as-needed babysitting.
However, we also talked about the idea of having someone like my mother come here for extended times even while I am not scheduled to leave, so allow me to get things done, while not having the kids alone for long periods without backup. That’s looking better and better.
Okay, gotta check on them…
Friday, May 02, 2008
Deb: This is what you do…
if you haven’t managed to find a job that pays all the bills: you find a job that pays some part of them, however small. So tomorrow morning I’m due to show up for orientation for my fancy new gig stocking shelves at a local branch of America’s most hated RetailMegaCorp.
So many things I could say about this, starting with how amusing I find the full-circle aspect of the job and ending with how much I hate so much of the bashing on this particular company. But I’m short on time today, so I won’t.
Just wanted to share a little update with y’all, since you’ve been hanging in with us through all of the drama.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
Who wants to trip the odometer? Deb’s Neatly Tangled Shop is now at 99 items sold (in under a year - very nice), and this is your opportunity to be the big one-oh-oh. The century buyer. The triple digitizer.
Yay! 100 Items sold! In well under a year. Go Deb! And, yeah, don’t let the benchmark being reached stop you from buying, even if the shop isn’t as well stocked as it was. She’s working on it.
I feel lousy this morning. Got enough sleep, even if much of it was in Sadie’s bed because she apparently decided our bed would be better and warmer. Well, “even if” makes her bed sound bad, and actually it’s awesome. I may have gotten deeper sleep there. I noticed Valerie eventually abandoned her bed too, presumably joining the crowd in ours.
I woke up from one of those crazy mashed up dreams. It involved starting a job, and the place or aspects brought in elements of multiple past employers and situations. The place was named Halliday, which is one job. The lobby was right out of Corporate Software, which later became Stream. I was supposed to start at $8.00 an hour, which happens to be minimum wage in Massachusetts currently. I speculated they might start at slightly higher, which Flatley Company did when I worked at Waterford Village. Minimum wage then was $2.90 and they paid $3.00. Then minimum wage went to $3.10 and they paid… $3.10, which completely destroyed some notions I had.
I was talking with someone, speculating that the company might pay me a little above the minimum. Sure enough, it was going to be $8.02, which somehow morphed into the exact same thing as the $12.02 I started at with Corporate Software. Anyway, even the reference to pay rate is a reference back to prior jobs.
The exterior of the building was some kind of generic cross between places, hard to say one more than another, but there might have been elements of a Christy’s Market, adding another old job.
Later, when I was on the job, there was a scene in an apartment. Apparently apartments were part of what the place did, which goes back to Waterford Village. It was vacant, had been mine, still had some of my stuff in it, and was not going to be rented any time soon. This was like the office I had in Easton, which took me a month extra to move out of after the last official month, with them in no hurry for it. A guy named Matthew showed up in the dream. We once shared an apartment in Greenfield, and I was telling him he might soon want to get his stuff out of this one that he’d left it in with me. He hadn’t even realized I’d moved. Shades of former partners having left stuff in the office in Easton, which had to go to them, be disposed of, be adopted, or be stored.
Confusingly, in a related sequence, I was showing someone how many bookcases I was going to be able to fit, in a ridiculous arrangement, in just the entryway/kitchen area alone. The someone was an amalgamation of a former partner and someone I didn’t work closely with at Stream, but who was similarly brilliant.
Very strange. I also remember thinking that I could crash in the apartment if needed, like if I needed to stay over at work since the place was vacant, I had access to it, and they’d made me welcome to use it, short of actually moving in.
Lots of stuff to do today. Hope I can remember what it is! I have some e-mailing and calling and going and researching and writing and food storing and cleaning and organizing and so forth to be done.
We received a book yesterday that we’d order super cheap from Half.com, a used copy of Teach Your Child To Read In 100 Easy Lessons. I need to do more than skim the intro, but it should be interesting. Sadie is beyond ready. She fell asleep last night with a book named “Ted” open, pages down on her chest. She studies and recites books from memory. She knows the letters. She has an idea of some words, like the Q thing she identifies with closing a program (Quit), that made he so excited to learn about how q and u go together.
This morning she spent some time on my lap while I didn’t write and I did an impromptu tiny lesson on m and s, which are the first ones covered in the book. She can point them out on the keyboard (and sound like I’m stupid to ask her) and I had her say the sounds. The actual lessons take about 15 minutes. Not a bad amount of time to devote, once or twice a day. I doubt she’ll need the whole thing or want to be held back to that speed once we’re rolling.
Anyway, I need to go take care of stuff in the kitchen. And post the birthday I didn’t know about before I started this. Sooner or later I’ll have no birthday-free days.