Saturday, May 29, 2010

Memorial Day and the Garden

First, an update: Windows 7-- STILL HAS NOT CRASHED! Ha. HahahahahahaHA! Take THAT, Vista!

It's Saturday night of Memorial Day weekend and a 3-day weekend couldn't have come at a worse time, work-wise. I've already put in an extra 4 hours since I left work Friday, and if I had a full day at work on Monday, things would look a lot more manageable. Still, though, I'm not really complaining. Like a lot of people, I get some of my best work done when it's do-or-die time. And it's more fun that way. Go figure.

We did have some normal fun today. The 4 of us wandered the neighborhood a little, went to BJ's and bought a barrel of cheese balls (Jambuca is trying to finish them off all by himself), and had Red Robin for dinner. Jambuca and e-baby have been pretty grumpy today, and when we got home I figured out why-- it's this cold they are sharing! Jambuca was running a fever, and e-baby was just pooped. He was asleep by 6:45 and she was out before 8. On top of that, he's got really gloopy eyes. It's probably his blocked tear ducts (the doctor diagnosed it last year and it acts up every time he has a cold) but to be safe, I'm giving him antibiotic eye drops which just makes him cry.

I am hoping to fend off this iteration of the cold because I have to teach throughout June-- and have been teaching the last 2 weeks straight as well. It would be a bad time to lose my voice (again).

The garden's going great. Although I have to admit, I'm a little disappointed about the volume of food it produces. The plants are doing well, and they seem to be productive, but so far the only things the garden has kept me from buying at the store are spinach and snow peas. Which, you know, how much of that do you normally buy anyway? The strawberries were mostly eaten by ants for the 3 or 4 weeks that they produced, and now they're pretty much all done. The snow peas are having a second wind right now, but that'll end soon. I've had some swiss chard, but never more than one person's side-dish's worth. Carrots aren't ready to pick, beans produce maybe 4-5 a day. No asparagus or artichoke this year (I knew that when I planted them), no tomatoes yet, no pumpkins or melons yet. The yellow squash look promising-- there are probably 40-50 tiny little baby squashes on the plants right now, but some of the squashes just turn wilty and brown right there on the plant. I don't have a ton of faith that they'll make it through the summer without an infestation of vine borers. I'm gardening organic, whih means all I do is look for the eggs (to SQUASH 'em! get it?) and spray Dr Bronner's lavender soap on them to kill any little beasties that might be around.

But it has been a super-fun experiment, and e-baby has eaten more spinach than, well, ever in her whole life. If I'm honest, she never ate any spinach beyond the little bit I used to sneak into her baby purees long, long ago. She'd balk at anything green in her food. Now she walks along the fence picking and eating snow peas and spinach leaves. She picks strwaberries for Jambuca (if they have't already been eaten by ants) and he eats them (and the snow peas) like candy. I have the joy of seeing the magic of a seed growing into a plant through the eyes of someone not yet jaded by modern conveniences. And that's worth all the money, time, and hard work of creating this monstrous garden.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Vista's Last Stand

When I bought this netbook a year ago, it was a couple of months before Windows 7 was released. I preferred XP to Vista, but there wasn't such a choice. And Vista was a pain in my butt from the beginning. It would freeze up mysteriously and regularly. At first it mostly had to do with iTunes and Sleep mode. Once I solved a few problems there, it would still freeze, but not as often. Nonetheless, I hate Vista with the fire of a thousand suns. And before you ask, the software named after the company that I work for doesn't run on a Mac without quite a bit of rekajiggering, and I do run it at home, so no, I'm not interested in a Mac.

When Windows 7 came out, it was exciting because everybody got free upgrades. One of my computers at work now runs XP and the other runs Windows 7. I prefer 7. I was looking forward to my free upgrade. Oops, unless you're running Vista Basic, which is what nearly every netbook came loaded with at the time. Vista Basic wasn't eligible for the free upgrade. So I waited. It was a lot of money to spend on a computer that was only $300 to begin with.

I couldn't stand the freezing any longer, so yesterday I bought the Win 7 upgrade. And installing it was an offense that Vista wouldn't tolerate without a fight. The computer froze up no fewer than SIX TIMES and required 18 hours of installing, rebooting, etc. Vista was not about to walk away easily.

At last, though, it died and Windows 7 is running. And I am happy. It hasn't crashed yet. I want Microsoft to pay me for those 18 hours at my consulting rate.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

32 bites and 4 vials of blood

How many hits will I get based on that title alone?

E-baby got into a bunch of chiggers and ticks over the weekend, and poor child has 32 bites that are bad enough to need regular application of caladryl. Most of them are in really inconvenient place-- her toosh, underwear line, armpits, behind the ears, along her hairline in the back. Others are in hard-to-scratch places on her back. What's worse is I can't really tell the difference between the chiggers and the ticks. I know some were ticks because I removed some ticks, but I think that most of the bites are chiggers because of the sheer number and where they're located. Chiggers like warm crevices.

So poor e-baby is really itchy and she takes every opportunity to show people the bites that are waaaay in her buttcrack. I can't move fast enough to stop the drop-trou before it's too late. She even showed the VP of my division some of her most irritating bites in the breakroom at my office. I was sort of frozen to the spot. What do you say when that happens?

Things haven't been much easier for Jambuca. I got a call yesterday from his doc that his hematocrit came back surprisingly low and they wanted a full iron workup on him ASAP. You'll recall how the finger stick went last week--- uh-oh. I brought him in this morning and immediately regretted it because I got the same inept lab tech as last week. She must have read the tentativeness in my voice, and she called in the head technician for the lab. Then they got a third tech and brought us into a separate lab room. I held Jambuca while the lead tech worked the needle, a second tech worked the tubes (they took 4 tubes / vials of blood) and the 3rd tech helped me hold him still. Any of you who are parents know excatly how HORRIBLE it is to hold down a screaming baby who is in pain. It takes a few minutes to get that much blood. By the time they finished, he was hysterical and could barely catch his breath for the next 10 minutes.

I sat outside with him in the meditation garden (one of our perks at work-- along with the health care center) and let him eat a bag of marshmallows. That settled him briefly. Then he cried because he had no more marshmallows.

Well, I just needed to share those sad stories. Really this week is going very well otherwise.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Jambuca at 15 Months

Jambuca had his 15 month doctor's visit yesterday. Poor guy, 3 shots and a finger-stick for a tiny vial of blood that took (no joke) 10 minutes of squeezing his poor little finger and when it was all over, you'd think we'd been slaughtering chickens in the lab. Perhaps the most inept lab tech ever. The shots were expertly administered by 2 nurses-- they really do a great job. But that lab tech with the finger stick-- I mean really, there was enough blood to fill 5 little vials!

He was 50% for weight and head size, and between 50-75% for length. So, he's average like his dad. And I think he's just about perfect.

Although he signs a dozen or so words, he's still not talking at all. He's really coordinated, he can get into trouble that a 1-year-old shouldn't be able to accomplish, but he won't tell me about it. If he doesn't start talking soon, I'll start to wonder if he's just being secretive.

I thought you'd enjoy a little video of Jambuca being silly. Here you go!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Biking past the place where we usually see a goose walking around on the sidewalk:
ebaby: Where's the goose?
me: It must've flown north. They go north in the summer, and south in the winter
ebaby: we live south, right mommy?
me: yes, hunbun- we live south
ebaby: GOOSE IS COMING TO VISIT IN THE WINTER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
me: yes, and then we can have it come to dinner
ebaby: Yeah! We can have it to dinner!
me: we might be able to say "that goose is cooked!" [misunderstood as "that goose has cooked," apparently]
ebaby: yeah. A goose really can cook. You just have to know the trick to make it cook.
me: Oh yeah? What's that?
ebaby: You have to put FISH ON THE STOVE! Haaaaahahahaha! That will make itcook! Goose love fish, so put fish on the stove and they will cook and we can all eat fish for dinner!!!!!!!!!!
me: awesome!
ebaby: And if you want to make a sea otter cook, put FRENCH FRIES on the stove!!!!! If you want to get a sea lion to cook, put hamburgers on the stove! We can have all those things for dinner!

Conversations with e-baby are never boring.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rickshaw Biker Chick

The bike/walk/run to work thing has worked out well. I invested in a contraption that I swore I’d never own because it essentially turns me into a sled dog. But, as it happens, the thing is ideal for jogging with a gigantic double jogger loaded down with 2 quarts of tea, sippy cups., a dozen Nutri-grain bars, 60 pounds of whiney kids, 7 or 8 stuffed animals, an extra helmet, kneepads, and a tiny bike strapped onto the back. Guess what? A friend of mine thought I was a homeless person pulling a homeless person cart around campus the first time she saw me (that was before she realized it was me-- she wasn't like, "Oh, look, Alphagal's gone native, how about that?"). And not just because of the hand-written poster boards with my manifesto (OK, I’m making that part up to justify pulling a cart around on campus). It’s not very dignified, but it’s darn functional so I’ll keep using it.

But it still takes an hour to get to work that way, and last week I was hammered with things at the office. I ended up driving every day. Thursday afternoon, SNG took e-baby to New Bern to visit grandparents, which gave me the chance to put in some overtime after Jambuca was in bed. I needed the time— between Thursday and Friday nights, I got about 6 or 8 hours of overtime in.

Come Sunday, the weather was too nice to miss so we took a ride in the park. I made it about 20 minutes before my legs just completely gave out. It was pathetic. SNG made the point that I should switch to the bike for the summer and not worry about it being a shorter workout—enough weeks of short hops on the bike instead of driving will translate into fitness, and I can do it in less than an hour.

So this week, that’s been my M.O. It’s only 3 miles each way, and from my garage door to my office door, including drop-off at both daycare/preschool, takes 30 minutes. Driving the same route is 15-20 minutes door to door. Walking it takes an hour. But is it a workout? Oh yes. It is a most intense 3 miles. There are no flat spots- just UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN and UP and DOWN and you get the idea. What I don’t understand is how it manages to be a net up-hill coming AND going.

The ride is short enough to be invigorating instead of exhausting. The kids enjoy it when they aren’t at each other’s throats. I’m just glad to be taking some action to turn back those bizarre 7 pounds I found a few weeks ago.

In other news, SNG got a new grill and we made grilled bananas. Those could easily account for another 7 pounds if I’m not careful. Mmmmmm.