Monday, January 31, 2005
- The international team studied the genes of MS patients in the U.S. They also looked at gene patterns in people from Northern Ireland and Belgium, some of whom had MS.
Women with MS were more likely to have a variation of a gene that produces high levels of a protein called interferon gamma. Interferon gamma can aggravate MS by promoting inflammation and tissue damage.
In the U.S. and Northern Ireland, men with the gene variation were more susceptible to MS. That was also true for Belgian men, but the effect wasn't significant there.
- San Diego police recently arrested Dante Dears, leader of the city's most notorious child sex ring – but investigators warn he's only the tip of the iceberg. Though they are trying to control the growing problem of child prostitution, they say the key isn't so much policing as it is parenting.
- BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq's interior minister said Monday that insurgents used a handicapped child as one of the suicide bombers who launched attacks on election day.
Falah al-Naqib told reporters in Baghdad that 38 attacks were carried out on polling stations in Iraq on Sunday and that one of the suicide bombings was carried out by a disabled child.
"A handicapped child was used to carry out a suicide attack on a polling site," al-Naqib said. "This is an indication of what horrific actions they are carrying out."
Equal opportunity bastards I suppose. I'll wager it was remote detonated as well. Cowards, every last one of them.
A nice boring Monday. We got up late and the only reason we did is because Jacob started to wail. He had not done that in quite some time so we assumed that there was something wrong. Nope, he was just awake, hungry and wet. Nothing really messes up your day quite like waking up in a puddle of your own urine. Unless of course you wake up naked in an alley somewhere off Canal street in down-town Manhattan ... in a puddle of your own urine. And it is Wednesday. Not that I have ever done that and the Mrs will vouch for me! It was Thursday. Anywho, we get underway at a quarter after 0700 and venture forth on a brave new Monday. The traffic on the PA TPK is ok, no big surprise. I was low on fuel so I stopped at the rest stop just short of the KOP interchange and filled up with 10 gallons of el-cheapo grade for only 1.91$ a gallon. Odd, the gas stations just at either end of our street sell it for 1.99$. Bastards. I could go to the Hess Mart a mile in the other direction and get it for 1.89$, but I don't think the 2 cent savings per gallon would be worth the extra 30 minutes it would cost me. Where is my mass-production bio-diesel hybrid flying car made of Reardon metal.
Sunday, January 30, 2005
Sunday down time
I spent nearly the entire night coughing and hacking. Every time I rolled over, the crud in my lungs would just shift from one side to the other. I am definitely going back on the meds till this is done ravaging my systems. Since I got nearly no sleep, when I finally had enough I still felt tired and just plain awful. The kids are still coughing too and they are 2 weeks ahead of me on this. I so detest these nasty little viruses. We got up at a reasonable hour and managed to get to Church on time. The Mrs came with me today so both of our little rabblerousers got to accompany us. For the most part, they behaved and did not create too much of a ruckus. They were a bit hungry at the time. Jake the Punk was stuffing his mouth with a fistful of Goldfish Crackers and then switched over to his bumble bar tid-bits. Alexis opened the container of chocolate cereal stars and scattered them across the pew much to the Wife's dismay. A bit of shouting and exclamation about things the saw in books ... nothing that the other children at the family mass were not doing.
We deserted the basement chapel just before the second collection so we could go over the open house that they were having at the OLGC School. I was interested in what they would have available for Pre-K and Kindergarten coming up this fall. As we entered the building, I was immediately shot back to my days of catholic schooling. The smell, the darkness of the long hall, the layout. Are all parochial schools laid out this way, or is this some intentional way to make sure that you are not surprised when you enter one of these finer institutes of higher learning. We stroll down the tiled hallway till we get to the door with a big Pre-K sign on it. It is open and light streams out like the pearly gates of heaven. Too much religious imagery? Well, we did just come from the Parking Lot of Purgatory so just stick with me here. The kids immediately fall upon the toys once we enter and start to look around. Since we deserted the mass early, we were the first ones to arrive. The Mrs and I had a brief discussion with one of the teachers and found out a few things. A few things that will keep us from sending the troublesome two here till they are ready for first grade. First off, they only come to Pre-K for 2 days a week, two hours each day. From 0900 to 1100. What? Ok, I was a bit surprised due to my experiences with our current arrangement. The next shocker is that they would start to teach the kids about colors, numbers and letters 6 months from now. Errrrt! Ok, the kids already count to 10 in English, Chinese, Spanish and I'm working on German with them. They have colors down pat so I am working on the RGB codes in html with them so they can get Steel Grey and Sky Blue down pat. They know their alphabet already and can sing it in 3 part harmony. I think that they would be bored to tears! The only thing that they would get out of this is the 30 minutes of religious instruction. They both go to church now (every other week, I can only handle one at a time) and they almost got the self-blessing with holy water down. The final straw was that Kindergarten would start at 0900 and that is just not going to fly. We are a 2 income family and it needs to stay that way till the kids are out of highschool. Maybe even college, it depends on how well their college savings plan performs. No, it looks like we will be staying with the current daycare program through kindergarten. I wonder if they will start up a charter school before they graduate ... hmmm.
After the school debacle, we shuttled off to the pet store to pick up some dog food since we had run out last weekend. I have been giving the humungous Hounds canned food since then. Thor swallows it all in one grand chomp while Katie nibbles away at hers. I have to stay in the room till she is finished or Thor will saunter over and finish her food as well. It costs me about 10 minutes in the morning if I have to monitor them while they eat. Not an entirely gruesome site, but not very entertaining either. The Mrs went inside to pick up the 10 ton bags because she needed a break from the tots and mostly didn't trust me to go in there and only come out with dog food. Good move on her part, I would have probably bought a Llama or Alpaca or something.
Back at home, we feed the kids and Jake is difficult as usual with the soup. No problem with the sandwich, just the soup. Once I manage to get him to finish it up, we send them off to bed and they pass out fairly quickly. I take this moment of silence and calm to take a nap of my own. Because I need it, dammit! The Mrs heads out to do some shopping and all is right in the world. In the midst of my dream, I hear a faint 'Mommmyyyy' and it immediately throws me from my blissful slumber to a full wakened state. I was even stunned by my own reaction to the faintly audible plea. Upon investigation, I find that Jacob has woken up, but no so much as I have. Alexis is starting to stir due to the commotion. I bring both of them down to the kitchen and let them watch ToyStory while I bumble about. It's been a fairly lazy day so I see no harm in letting the utilization rate for the day sit at zero. Less than zero, but the time with the kids is enough to make it worth the loss.
Saturday, January 29, 2005
The litany of physical ailments continues to mount. Like barbarians at the gate, they assail and siege the body fortress. My left arm still hurts like someone gave me a good pounding from the tetanus shot. I had better get cut with a rusty nail or something or I'll be pretty tweaked. I was doing a cartwheel for the kids the other night and I've managed to pull a flat muscle over my rib cage. I AM NOT OLD, dammit. Ok, maybe out of shape and all, but jeeze, it was just a cartwheel. I can be such a child sometimes. I spent most of Saturday morning bringing in wood from the Back 50 and am a little pooped from that. Forging through the snow, lugging a big old BJ's tote filled with frozen wood, slipping and stumbling over hidden perils ... ahhh, the wonders of winter. I wonder if this 2 hours of labor will count towards the 30 minutes of exercise I'm supposed to be getting three times a week.
We are supposed to have the Seliga's over for dinner tonight, so once the kids were in bed for their afternoon nap, I started to get to work on the evening smorgasbord. I started out with the rice and broccoli soup, but somehow managed to muff it up. I spent too much time toasting the rice and not enough time cooking it. It ended up with the consistency of a thickened 'Cream of Wheat' and significantly more bland. Oh well, looks like I'll be eating that for lunch this week. While the broccoli BioCement was hardening, I started on the Provincial Chicken with Garlic Explosions. The Mrs loves this dish, especially the 400 or so roasted garlic cloves. I guess it's her way of thwarting my hourly amorous advances. Finally, the two-kielbasa with onion and mushroom 'stir-fry'. One of my favorites, of course. Nothing bad can come from a sausage skin! The Mrs had to head out shopping for this one since we did not have the red,green and yellow peppers or the Yukon gold potatoes. The delay was absorbed by the fact that we can depend on the Seligas being at least 30 minutes late. Its tradition! Good thing too since I always underestimate the prep time for the meal. Once the Mrs returned, she set about getting the table ready for our guests and setting up the playroom for the eventual assault on sanity.
The meal was served and there were sufficient left overs to be sent off with our guests. The play time for the kids produced a total mad house. It was nice due mostly to the fact that the kids had more heads to throw things at, thus reducing the number of contusions and concussions for the Mrs and I.
Friday, January 28, 2005
"Situational ethics refers to a particular view of ethics, in which absolute standards are considered less important than the requirements of a particular situation. The standards used may, therefore, vary from one situation to another, and may even contradict one another. This view of ethics is similar to moral relativism, and is contradictory to moral universalism, and moral absolutism."
Under this paradigm, the murder or suppression of several million individuals in the hopes to preserve a larger number is the correct course of action. The reasoning for the actions and what is being 'preserved' becomes more important than the actions themselves. The ends justify the means. The good of the whole trumps the welfare of the individual. Socialism in a nutshell, if I am not mistaken.
In the end though, human nature will question these actions and something must be done to convince the human machinery that these actions ARE just and there is no greater evil than to thwart that which must be done. No matter how distasteful. This is where the propaganda of scapegoating comes into play. The propagandists and their accompanying polemics move this agenda forward with their intellect and unwavering belief that their actions are intrinsically good. In the end, the systems that create these beasts fall upon themselves an implode. We know that though individuals can be silenced, ideologies remain and new champions of these wrongheaded precepts deny that any wrong has been done. The polemics engaged in the denial of the holocaust and other pogroms/ethnic cleansings/genocides must know it exists, but are busy fomenting hate. This is primarily to reinforce that what has been done was not wrong and what they believe should be done again is equally right. Where is this leading? Earlier in a comment I said the following:
"I know that children die every day, but the physical and psychological savagery described here ... I'm dumbstruck at the gross moral ambiguity that those who participated had to create."
I have come to the realization that those who commit the actions are guilty, but not nearly as guilty as those who build the framework that the mind uses to justify it.
Throughout history, there have been a notable number of 'Great Leaders' who have used these methods to advance their own agenda that stems from various motives.
All these cases have children as their greatest victims. Then today I see something that gives me hope, if in no small part, that there are those who do not stand by and do nothing:
Child-porn sweep nets 39 arrests
HAMILTON, N.J. - State authorities have arrested 39 people, including a pediatric neurologist and a high school hockey coach, in a child-pornography sweep across New Jersey that traced movies and pictures being traded over the Internet.
Most are charged with voluntarily possessing and helping to distribute child pornography, including a video of a man raping his 5-year-old daughter in Georgia, authorities said yesterday
I feel better getting off my chest, but the pain remains no matter how muted or how deeply buried.
Thursday night delight
Last night I had my scheduled visit with the family doctor. Nothing much, just to have them kick the tires and check the engine. That, and a few other minor things. The onus was on me to reestablish contact with my neurologist since I have switched health care insurance. Paperwork, gotta love it. This time, however, everything is electronic and I'll have to take the word of the Front Desk Harpies that the referral actually got done. I arrived on time for may appointment and found that there were about 10 other people there waiting. I had brought a book along in preparation for an extended wait. Much to my surprise, I was called in after reading but a few sentences. Hmmm, the Mrs must have sprinkled some magic 'Quick Appointment' dust on me to ensure a prompt return to the manor. The RN escorted me to a waiting room and asked a few questions about the nature of my visit. She listened intently while chomping away on a wad of gum she was nurturing. I had a few complaints, but one stopped her in mid chaw. She instructed me to remove my shirt and then darted out of the room. Before I could remove my KMart Bluelight Special flannel shirt, she had returned with a cart loaded with a device. It looked like some sort of monitoring equipment (its a medical clinic, isn't it all about monitoring?) and she quickly informed me that it was an EKG. I had complained about recurrent chest pains and trivial breathing problems over the last few months. I think this set off the 'Cardiac Disease' alarm and they acted promptly. In moment, there were dozen of little patches peppering my torso with leads trailing off to the EKG device. I was instructed to not move or talk or the EKG phantasm will spring forth and flay me of my skin. There were some beeps and whirring sounds and then the final sound of ripping paper. That was it. She removed the leads and let me remove the patches. I usually choose the 'quick-rip' over the 'excruciatingly slow rending' method of removing adhesive from my epidermis. Fortunate for me, these were not all that firmly attached. Funny thing, I missed one patch on my rib cage under my arm and did not find it till hours later after I had gone to bed. After she was finished spooling up the cables, she let me know that I could put my clothing back on and that Pam (our doctor) would be in shortly. Of course, I knew that shortly in my mind was something entirely different that what she was thinking. I button up my shirt and sit down to read some more from 'Atlas Shrugged' that I had the presence of mind to bring with me. It helped me maintain some semblance of sanity as the minutes ticked by. Soon enough, Pam stopped in and we started talking about the nature of my visit. Upon considering the nature of my complaints in regards to the chest pain and the snappy little printout of my EKG, she proclaims that acid reflux is the most likely suspect. This, is derived from the symptoms, the season (yeah, Thanksgiving+Christmas+New Years = GLUTTONY) and some personal experiences that are akin to mine. Then, out of the blue, she launches into a very technical and in depth monologue on HDL and LDL and other cardiovascular dogma. I understood about 75% of it. She was so enthused about it so I didn't have the heart to stop her and ask for the lay-mans explanation. In the process, she let me know that it would be a good idea that I have some cholesterol tests done even if heart disease is not a family trait. While discussing this, she brought up some interesting euphemisms about heart attack victims. Sayings such as 'people with more than 48 hours of chest pain don't usually wake up'. Heh, she has a pretty good sense of humor. Towards the end of the visit, she harassed me about getting some exercise. The lifestyle I have right now does not provide an opportunity rich environment for this. I do not profess to be a paragon of physical fitness or a specimen of unrivaled health, but I'm not in that bad of shape. Am I? The Chewing RN came in, gave me a tetanus shot and then unshackled me so I could be on my way.
I got back to the Manor by 1915 and spent some time with the family. After bath and bed for the little ones, I settled into the kitchen and cobbled together some bohemian goulash. This should provide meals for the horde over the next few days. I used some of my home made sauce to thin out the can of Manwich so the Mrs would not get heartburn quite so much. I'm awfully sensitive to that these days, go figure. The following morning started a bit late, but went as usual. Since I didn't take anything for the flu symptoms, I woke with my lungs filled with cruft and phlegm. Spent a few hours hacking that up. Nice. Sound like an old geezer with consumption. Traffic was mildly annoying till I to the North Gulph and First Ave intersection beyond the KOP exit. Looks like a couple of people believed they had the right of way and neither wanted to chicken out. The police had just arrived and an ambulance was pulling up. I thought this was particularly overkill since the damage I could see on the cars was limited to a broken headlight assembly and a dented fender. Someone is going to get sued for a large sum.. Absurd. Tort reform ... now please. On an up note, Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky's Marche Slave was playing on WRTI at the time. Love that piece. I think I'll pick it up at Amazon.
Thursday, January 27, 2005
Yesterday was pretty much a dud. Did manage to get up early and leave on time. Then I ground through the day and made the quick trip back to the manor. I am feeling well enough now that I actually feel fatigued. That's good, right? Back at the Manor, I found that Purple Heart picked up the stack of boxes filled with 'stuff' but left behind the super-saucer. I'm not sure how we will ever get rid of that thing. It's not even safe as a child detainment device. I may have to put it at the curb for waste pickup. Speaking of waste, Jake didn't manage a repeat performance last night. He had to go when he had to go, oh well, perhaps tonight we can catch him in time. More stickers for the little superstar.
I was intending on doing some chores other than the usual stuff last night, but after the kids bath, I was all played out. I need to get out to the workshop and get my act together with the molding. It needs at least 3 coats of polyurethane and then I'll have to get cracking on the floor. The work that needs to be done on the wood floor will have to wait till the Mrs gets the stuff she has stored in there out of the way, but that should be an easy enough task. A more gruesome task I need to undertake is restocking the wood brackets for the wood stove. I have exhausted the wood supply I had stacked against the back of the manor so I will now have to trek across the tundra of the back 50 Haupertonian Agricultural Sector. I have a few years worth of wood at the back of the property but man, it's going to be a back-breaker to get all that I need inside. I was thinking about it all night as I lay in bed, awake. Another one of those sleepless nights followed up by a late morning. I should try having a glass of wine before I go to bed ... gotta stop all the voices in my head for just a few minutes ya know.
Wednesday, January 26, 2005
The ones not bolded are a little surprising, especially Jeffords.
UPDATE: The boys over at American Thinker have this to say -
Politics as usual.
Reader Allen O'Donnell's analysis on those Senators who voted against Condi's confirmation for Secretary of State is spot on. But I would submit that Senator Daniel Akaka (D) Hawaii voted the way he did, not because he owed Senator "Kleagle" Byrd a favor, but because in my opinion, he owed retired Gen. Shinseki a measure of payback against the current administration.
Hawaii's Senior Senator, Daniel Inouye, has just been reelected and will not face a challenger until 2010. However, Akaka, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, and is a Ranking Member of the Readiness and Management Support Subcommittee, faces reelection in 2006, which is a more realistic target for the former Army Chief of Staff to make a bid to return to the halls of power in Washington, D.C.
Under a bill signed into law last month by Gov. Rendell, utilities can shut off service to all but their poorest customers at any time of year.
No PUC approval is necessary.
PECO Energy and other utility companies joined the city-owned Gas Works in pushing for the bill. They said that despite the fearsome consequences of winter shutoffs - not just deaths, but fires from space heaters and property abandonment - change was needed to counter loopholes that give some people a free ride at the expense of paying customers.
Since Jan. 10, the Gas Works has sent out more than 5,000 warnings to delinquent customers who could face shutoff. Spokesman Douglas Oliver said that PGW cut off service last week to 16 households - the first winter terminations in decades not to require PUC approval.
Oliver said the Gas Works was setting its initial sights on the worst cases: people who owe large amounts and have income that is at least three times the federal poverty rate.
And for now, PGW is targeting households that have no members 12 or under or 65 or over.
But it is not making any promises.
The lemming-like march to destruction that is my trip home went awfully well last night. Got home with enough time to take care of all the chores before the Mrs arrived. She got to set out the kids meals since I was occupying myself with lugging the bins of clean laundry from the drier to the Master Suite. Since I did not get around to doing the laundry this weekend, I have an extra large load to take care of now. Guest sheets, towels, our clothes ... the works. I dread to think what my Super Mom went through when my sibling and I were large enough to get dirty enough to require a change of clothes twice a day. I think I am going to learn rather quickly.
Once we had finished the evening S&R mission and things had settled down at the manor, I had a task to do. The Lovely Mrs with the Squirt and Punk sat down to have their evening meal while I headed outside into the stabbing cold night. I was to set out the donations for Purple Heart for a morning pickup. They needed a way to get to the front porch without having to trek across the tundra wasteland that was now the front yard. I'm also obligated by local township ordinance to shovel the sidewalk in front of the manor as well under pain of death. Or a fine, or a little slip of hate mail. I doubt it is even enforced, but a civic minded citizen like myself cannot let that taint my decision. So shovel away. I cleared a path on the sidewalk from my northern neighbors walk (which was already cleared by a snow-blower) all the way to the mile-long driveway. Feeling peckish, I then cleared a path from the mailbox, across the sidewalk and up to the front porch. I was starting to sweat a bit and feeling the burn. My lungs, still cobbled up with bits of dead virus, were doing their best to deliver the freezing cold oxygen to the long abandoned muscles that I was forcing into action. Man, I DO need to get to the gym. I managed to get this done is much less time than I expected. The weather has remained fairly cold so none of the snow had a chance to melt into the usual ice-cake mess. An odd thought crossed my mind as I stood on the front porch admiring my work. An oddly generous thought. I trudged over to my southern neighbors yard and start excavation on their sidewalk as well. Marvin just recently had one of his kidneys removed was probably not in the best condition to be out doing this kind of work right now. His wife had other more pressing concerns as well. I'm sure my philanthropy would be appreciated if given but not asked for if offered. Their sidewalk goes around the corner that their cottage is situated on so I only made it 90% of the way before encountering giant piles of snow. I was starting to slow down so I figured that they could call their son up to finish the job if required. Hey, what do you expect from a flu infected exhausted MS daddy! Nuff said, inside to eat my salad and squash with the family.
Things went as they always do at the Manor. Jake needed prompting to eat, Alexis threw a temper tantrum and had to be sent to bed for a while to cool off. We played, I put wood on the fire. The Hounds got let in for a visit with the kids and then tossed out after leaving mountain sized piles of hair on the sofa. Then bath time came. The Mrs and I live for this since it is the moment when we realize that there will soon be a few moments of peace in our day. So close. While I prep the bath and paraphernalia for bath-n-bed, the Mrs strips down the kids and searches them for contraband. More than once we have had to contend with extracting items from the flailing hands of disappointed toddlers that would not fare well in the bath. The end result is a wailing and thrashing little one with little motivation to cooperate with the Evil Oppressors. Before they go in the tub, they are asked to sit on their potty and give it a go. Recently, Alexis has not been entirely interested. Mostly, I think, because she just does not have to go. We try a bit of bribery these days. If they sit on the potty, they get 1 little sticker that they can put on the lid. If they pee, they get another sticker. The stickers are about the size of the fingernail on my pinkie finger. I think Jake is fascinated with the different designs on the stickers and is very eager to get as many stickers as he can. He sat down as soon as he got his diaper off and then popped right back up demanding his prize. Ok, here it is, 1 sticker. He eagerly accepts the bounty and sticks it to the lid. Then, he sits back down and concentrates ... he pees in the potty. Well, that's great! That means another sticker! He grins from ear to ear as he is granted a new sticker. Now, at this point I will empty out the removable container and let him crawl into the tub. He has other plans. After I replace the receptacle and he applies his new sticker, he sits down again! I think he is trying to game the system, but he is trying realllly hard. There is strain showing on his face as a few drops dribble out. I look on with a critical eye as he stands up to inspect his artfully crafted product. And there it was. One lonely little turd in the middle of a tiny puddle of pee. He, the Mrs and I were all equally astounded. He pointed at the little dropping and then gave an inquisitive look to the Mrs. Well, um, wow. That would certainly mean another sticker for you there bub. He starts to reach for the refuse but I quickly take the cup and dispose of its contents in the toilet. He watches on, distraught as I flush away his little creation. I give him his sticker and he seems satisfied. Then, without warning, he turns about and plops his tiny buns right back down on his potty. Ok, what now? He concentrates, then low and behold, more artwork. This has been his lucky day. Never have so many stickers been applied in honor of his voiding attempts. The Mrs and I are quite pleased as well. Small things seem to do that for us these days.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Another problem MS patients also can have in relation to working out: A painfully heightened sensitivity to heat. Although previous studies on the effects of aerobic exercise on MS patients showed promise, many doctors have been hesitant to prescribe exercise regimens as treatment, thinking it could do more harm than good. Strength training, however, does not increase body temperature like aerobic exercise does, and it focuses on muscle mass, one of the primary targets of MS.
Fairly mundane evening last night. The traffic was a mess since we got some more snow right around rush hour. I left at 1615 and went directly to pick up the Squirt and Punk. They were happy to see me and even happier to dance about in the snowflakes. Jake did his best to eat as many as possible, but was interrupted by the fun-sponge daddy who just wanted to get home. I'm sick, tired and ... well, sick. Anyways, We get to the manor right about 1745 and the Mrs is just arriving. Not too bad. I go about the business of taking out the trash and recycling while the Accommodating and Perceptive Mrs MDMHVONPA dishes out some lasagna for the kids to have for dinner. Since I'm home late, there are a load of chores I have yet to get done. Laundry, prepping the kids bath supplies (towels, meds, change of clothes, milk, pottys), tomorrows milk supply, cranking up the fire, letting the dogs out. Not tremendously hard to do, just lots of little details. I have to remember to set out the Purple Heart donation tomorrow as well. That means I should probably shovel the walkway so they can get to the front porch. Tomorrow. I'm not in the mood or in the best shape to be doing that today. After we send the kids of to dream-land, we snack on a few things and surf a few web sites. Nothing is keeping our attention so we head off to bed at the ludicrously early hour of 2130. It's a good thing tough, we need the rest. The Mrs is not recovering all to quickly from her little battle of the bug. A manor of moribund mortals. Ugh, I hate being a mortal, it's soooo pedestrian!
Monday, January 24, 2005
They caught the bastard who abducted the boy from Florida. I can now see why he would prey on little boys. Yesh!
I like being alive today
Last night is something I would prefer not to repeat. I was thrashing about in a puddle of my own sweat till 0200 and then when I finally thought that sleep was going to spread it's gossamer wings over me, the coughing started. My head was spinning, I was feverish, I had sweated out the last drop of fluid in my body and I would hack up a glob of nastiness every 15 minutes or so. I am barely coherent, but it does not seem to be impacting my work at all. Odd. Even odder still were the delusional dreams I ground through last night. One that I can recall had me acting as some sort of film directory/producer. It involved one scene where a car was turned over in a battle scene and the hero took a spindle from the engine and shoved it in his weapon to fire it at a device. It disrupted the device and there were more explosions. Hmmm, title of the film? Turnpike Deathrace 2000? Sounds about right. The kids were okay-ish this morning. Alexis was not entirely happy about having to be changed and sent to school. I sat her in front of Toystory and she got real quiet and obliging in short order. Hmmm, what else. It's colder than a brass door knob on a Nordic out house, my rear tire was flat and I was nearly out of gas. Yeah, a good start for a Monday. When I got to my sensory deprivation chamber at work, I gulped down a cup of black tea or 2 to smooth the rough edges. A maxalt to keep what little frontal lobe pain I still had in submission helped too.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
A pox upon you, thine vile infiltrators! Ahhh, but alas, the pox is truly upon me. I can only beseech the little daemons to vex me no longer with their unending rivers of sputum and mucus and phlegm. Oh, deliver me from my torpidity and distill from my turgid veins, the life blood choked with detritus of dead invaders and defenders alike. I hate being sick. The fevers and night chills are the worst.
My parental units and the little-little brother came down to the frozen wastelands of Philly Friday evening. The fools have fallen into my trap! The next morning, we got a bit of snow. As the weather channel called it: "Winter Wallop". Some executives high school child must have come up with that one. Sheesh. Our family friend Pete has invited us out to the Sportsman show here in the Fort Washington Expo Center on this ominous Saturday morning. We arrived at 1000 and unloaded the 'Man Club'. The Ladies went on their own shopping expedition. I dread the impact that they will have on the local food-stuff reserves. While at the Expo, we found ourselves quite quickly surrounded by hundreds of taxidermy displays, fishing gear merchants and row upon row of boats and campers. The entire floor of the center was used for this pageant of the outdoors. They had indoor trout fishing and a mini-zoo too. I did not buy much of anything, as tempting as it was. There were NO guns to be found. Lots archery paraphernalia. There was even a child archery range and a BB shooting gallery. No conceivable display or activity went unrepresented. Jake found the Girl Scouts and flirted with them for a bit until Gramps bought a box of chocolate covered mint wafers. He enjoyed the first sleeve tremendously. That, and the bumble-bar nibblets ... and the stick of cajun alligator jerky I got for him. Hungry man, he was. The snow started coming down pretty hard around noon, so we packed it in and hit the road. This was quite enjoyable, we will probably do it again next year. By the time we got home, I started to feel that tell-tale tingle behind my eyes and the swimmy feeling in my tummy that told me a migraine was coming on. It masked the nasty little case of the flu that was settling into a defensive position against my weakened immune system.
Got up feeling a tad off on Sunday. Migraine just a little twinge, but manageable. We had a bit of work to do if we were going to make it to the 1000 family mass. The whole carport had to be cleared so we could get the family tank out onto the local roads. It took my Amish Dad and I a bit of time, but we managed to wrap it up by 0925. I was feeling the usual exhaustion from working in the cold as I got myself warmed up. You know it is cold out when you take a shower and the hot water raining down upon your face becomes ice water by the time it hits your chest. You also know it is cold out when the antiperspirant in the medicine cabinet that is installed in the outer wall is nearly frozen. Oh, the devil who thought up gel deodorant was cursed in spades that morning. Nothing quite gets you jumping like putting a copious smear of near-zero degree gel on your armpits after a hot shower.
At church, the parking lot of purgatory is nearly empty at 5 minutes of. Not entirely surprising. The attendance is so sparse that they do not have a mass in the lower chapel. The grace of God was upon us and the little ones were content to mutilate Grandma's glasses and eat all of her Altoids. Yetch, Jake the Punk must have eaten a half dozen of 'em. He emanated peppermint odor to a reach of one meter. Alexis, not to be out done, ate another jerky stick throughout the mass. Hmmm, I wonder if they would consider changing the holy sacrament from unleavened bread to elk jerky. Is that blasphemy? All throughout mass, the little sliver of a migraine grew in width and length until it was a solid spike of white-hot pain from my temple right through to the back of my skull. The nausea, loss of color vision (any colors), sensitivity to light and the dreaded loss of feeling in extremities pretty much floored me. I could not fall back on the Mrs either. She had managed to pick up the nasty little flu virus as well and was pretty much out of commission as well. I had to fall back on the Grandparents to fill in for us. I think they may have planned this. No, I am certain of it. Get the parents out of the way to have exclusive time with the grandkids. Yeahhh, I just have to figure out how they infected us. Musta been the French Toast. Never did trust then French.
The Mrs and I thrash about in our delirium for a few hours while the grandparents put the kids down for a nap. Apparently, Alexis the Squirt woke up later on and went outside to do a bit of sledding in the near-zero weather. She apparently was not too keen on the deeper snow, but enjoyed being pulled along the shoveled driveway. It was much too cold for her to stay out too long and I managed to catch her on the way back inside. She was bundled up so much she could barely waddle down the hallway. Looking at her from a distance one could mistake her for a largish red penguin. I'm still in rough shape and things don't get any better by the time dinner rolls around. Jake the Punk is on the skids too, but he turns a corner after eating some of Grandma's chicken in a pot. I do not. Maybe I'll feel better tomorrow. Maybe the Eagles will play the Steelers in the super-bowl. Perhaps not.
Friday, January 21, 2005
"The sales are potentially huge," said Taylor, who expects to add about 10 employees next year, including electrical engineers and technical manufacturing workers.
Consumers can buy the systems at Costco but must have it installed by a licensed professional to get state energy rebates, Taylor said.
California, Oregon and New Jersey, where PV Powered has most of its sales, offer some of the strongest incentives in the country, he added.
Costco will only choose certain demographics to offer the systems in a "road show" format, Taylor said.
Traffic last night was quick and light. It was fate though. It wanted my to enter he maw of pestilence and despair as expeditiously as possible. The Mrs had a an appointment with our family physician so I did not expect to see her before I put the kids to bed. Somehow, she managed to get to the clinic, see Dr Pam and escape within an hour. I think she bribed the harpies at the front desk because I usually end up waiting for an hour before I get to step into the examination room. Then, I sit there buck nekkid till I turn blue before anyone comes in and asks me how I'm doing. I'll have to extract the secrets of the Doctor Visit from her before I go next week to my own appt. Maybe she will talk in her sleep tonight. Looks like I will get to use that sodium pentothal after all.
Last night was a variation of previous nights this week. The Mrs and I went to bed early due partly to the profound exhaustion and lethargy that had built up over the week. In any event, it did not take the kids much time to start their nocturnal shenanigans. In the end, we brought Jake the Punk in at 0400 and then Alexis the Squirt at 0500. Once in our bed, they slept the sleep of the dead ... kinda like daddy. Only difference is that I did not need a bottle of milk to pass out. I could have used some kind of virus shield though. After two weeks of disease infested little dirty-bombs bouncing about the house, something has made it through my defenses and has struck me down. I have been hacking up yellowish globs from my lungs all morning. It's that tickle that will not go away. Everything is sore too, not the kind of sore I can shake off either. A general blanket of malaise has smothered me it its clingy grasp. Ugh! The Wonderfully Understanding Wife lifts the blankets so I can pour myself out of bed without disturbing the two little space hogs laying beside me. She gently guides me to the shower and tells me to get cracking. Traffic is light except at the KOP interchange where the Daemon Sun is burning the eyes out of our heads. Tends to cause traffic to back up a few miles. Still got to work at 0830 ... not too bad. Now I just have to drag my virus ridden rear through the next 8 hours.
Thursday, January 20, 2005
UPDATE: More on the reprehensible behavior at One Hand Clapping. Here is the permalink. Donald thinks that this is a regular occurrence and the article states that the US tax is 97%. Ouch, where is all that cash going? Red Lobster?
Fun with snow
I love the snow. Let's qualify that ... I love the snow except when I have to drive in it at the same time that the one million moron march is in progress on the turnpike. I left early to try to beat the waves of low IQ zombies. It was only 1545 and the traffic was backed up all the way to the toll gates. Nice. All manner of inane actions were on display, too many to mention. I drove directly to the Child Detainment and ReEducation Facilities so I could get there before 1800 ... made it by 1715. Yeah, 1.5 hours for a trip that should take 45 minutes. The price of living in the NorthEast. Mommy did not do much better. She arrived home at sometime after 1845 and she only drives on local surface roads. The Punk and the Squirt were intrigued by the snowfall. I let them play about in it for a few minutes before we went inside. It was getting cold and we had dinner to get on with. Speaking of dinner, I'm thinking of all the 'Milk,bread and eggs' shoppers that will be dashing out to the stores tonight. I'm thinking that farmers (poultry, dairy, wheat) probably pray that this kind of think happens every week interspersed with 70 degree weather. The Mrs picked up 2 loaves of bread and 2 gallons of milk yesterday ... because we were out. Yeah, this will last us about 4 days because we NEED IT. Of course, we are supposed to get hit by a much bigger storm this weekend so we might be in a pickle then.
The kids eat well and as a treat, I let them watch TV just before the Mrs gets home. To be honest, if I see Toy Story I or II one more time this week, I will probably be able to recite the whole thing to you in one sitting. At least it isn't Barney. Speaking of mutant dinosaur genetics, I was surfing last night and came across a link from OOTP that I thought was pretty neat. Its a home dna test kit. What will Jerry Springer have to talk about now that this is now something that can be done without a lot of paperwork and such? I gave the Mrs a suspicious look after telling her about it. She said, that the kids act exactly like Super Mom said that I had as a child so there can be no doubt. She went on to say that if they had come out African American that I should be worried. She gave me that snarky look again and we dropped it. Touche'. I'll have the boys in the lab work on this one. See if we can link the Mrs DNA to Genghis Khan or something. Mrs Ming the merciless? Yeah, I can see that.
Yet another rough night. Jake the Punk up at midnight, ignore. Alexis the Squirt up at 0300 for an hour, ignore (mostly). Dogs up at 0500, ignore (barely). They are trying to kill me. Get me so discombobulated that I drive down the turnpike the wrong direction so they all can retire to Rio and live off my insurance benefits. Oh and the traffic this morning would have been the perfect bone-crusher for this plan. There were several accidents on the Schuylkill (sure-kill) expressway which caused a backup all the way to the blue route and then onto the turnpike. The advance of the idiots continues, unabated.
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Turnpike of Doooom
Islamic Republic of Europe
And then what? What will we do with them? More interestingly, what will they do to us? Will the 'blue states' fill up with UNphilic Euro-refugees and get bluer? Or will the refugees, haven been driven from their homes by radical Islam, lean more towards the 'red' Scots-Irish motto of nemo me impune lacessit?
I don't have any idea. You don't, either. It's silly to even project current political trends in this country 20 years from now.
The traffic last night was ... retarded. Not to cast any ill will on people with learning disabilities or anything. They can contribute to society and be very productive people. They do not, however, try to read a newspaper and eat a hamburger while driving down the turnpike. In the passing lane. Going 10 mph below the speed limit. Oblivious. Retard motorists. I need a bigger horn for my car. Something that will strip the chrome off the bumper of whoever is within the cone of fury. Or maybe a directional EMP gun. I'll have to talk to the boys in the lab about this. I don't
pay extort keep them locked up for nothing.
I got our utility bill today. I could not believe it, 300$ for gas and electric. We essentially doubled our Oct and Nov bill in one fell swoop. Of course, we used the same amount of gas this December as we did last year, but the electric was right off the chart. I think this is mostly due to us staying put this year for Christmas and then having both families down. The Outlaws from Manhattan tend to be night-owls so that may have contributed to part of the bill. Perhaps having all the lights up on the house and the 10 bazillion watt tree set up could have sucked up a few megawatts. Three hundred greenbacks! It's a mighty good thing that the Mrs pays these bills or I would be turning off the furnace and taking ice-cold showers till March. I guess I should start looking into that solar heat mechanism I was so hot-to-trot on a few months ago. Of course, it will warm up soon and I'll forget all about it till next years PECO LoanShark extortion-fest.
Dinner was interesting last night too. Jake was a gem in the rough. He ate what we gave him and did not make a fuss. He ate his vitamin and all of his food. He then snarfed an entire container of yogurt. Then there was his Evil Twin, Alexis the Squirt. She screamed and refused to eat. Spitting, hissing and lashing out the whole time. She ended up having a time out until she agreed to apologize to mommy for behaving so poorly and caving in on the 'eat your dinner' request. She walked in, gave mommy a hug and the was place back in her seat where she picked up where she left off. Refusing to eat and being generally difficult. Off to bed it was for her till she calmed down a bit. This did it for her. She exploded into a fit of wails and thrashing that would make even Donald Trump blush. The howls of discontent reverberated through the halls of the manor for agonizing eons. Nearly 5 minutes by my count. After she had some quiet time, I brought her back down and she ate her dinner as if none of the previous events had occurred. It is as if she were the MSM denying that they had ever clamored for action in Iraq or squawked about WMD being built by terrorists. But that was in the previous century. As far as Alexis was concerned, whatever happened an hour ago need not be discussed. She who controls the past, owns the present. She who owns the present, molds the future. The future had popcorn in it and all was right in the Haupertonian international HQ and Manor.I had some time to cook dinner for the Lovely and Talented Mrs MDMHVONPA. One batch of Provincial Chicken with Herbs and Garlic and four servings of Pasta with Italian Sausage, Home Made Red Sauce, Straw Mushrooms and sauteed garlic. I let her know right off the top that she should lay off the garlic if she wanted me to kiss her tonight. That, and if she had any meetings tomorrow, it would be a good idea to chew some gum. Whole cloves of garlic can be a mixed blessing. Exquisite taste and innumerable health benefits countered by an unbelievable case of halitosis. Well, at least I know that nobody will try to steal her away from me if the greenish vapor poltergeist that spills from our mouths have anything to say about it.
One last note, it was bone chilling cold again this morning. This had a considerable impact on the traffic. When I went out to check the vehicle fleet this morning, the first thing I did was to start up the Family Tank and crank up the heat. This would make it toasty warm for the Mrs and the Troops. This simple act replicated by my cold-blooded automotive brethren would keep them from lapsing into the cold induced semi-coma state that they seem to bungle through. There should be HUNDREDS of casualties every morning if people drove like this all the time. It was a small wonder that some of these folk manage to get out of the house in the morning without stabbing themselves in the eye with a fork or tripping over their own feet when they try to put two shoes in the same hoof. Time for me to have a cup of coffee so that the caffeine devil can choke the reality of the world out of my view. Oh, on a side note, any one here a big fan of Senator Boxer?
This one tip in particular was of interest to me:
8. Become a veggie vendor. I must have heard, "Doctor, he won't eat his vegetables" a thousand times. Yet, the child keeps right on growing. Vegetables require some creative marketing, as they seem to be the most contested food in households with young children. How much vegetables do toddlers need? Although kids should be offered three to five servings of veggies a day, for children under five, each serving need be only a tablespoon for each year of age. In other words, a two- year-old should ideally consume two tablespoons of vegetables three to five times a day. So if you aren't the proud parent of a veggie lover, try the following tricks:
- Plant a garden with your child. Let her help care for the plants, harvest the ripe vegetables, and wash and prepare them. She will probably be much more interested in eating what she has helped to grow.
Slip grated or diced vegetables into favorite foods. Try adding them to rice, cottage cheese, cream cheese, guacamole, or even macaroni and cheese. Zucchini pancakes are a big hit at our house, as are carrot muffins.
- Camouflage vegetables with a favorite sauce.
- Use vegetables as finger foods and dip them in a favorite sauce or dip.
- Using a small cookie cutter, cut the vegetables into interesting shapes.
- Steam your greens. They are much more flavorful and usually sweeter than when raw.
- Make veggie art . Create colorful faces with olive- slice eyes, tomato ears, mushroom noses, bell-pepper mustaches, and any other playful features you can think of. Our eighth child, Lauren, loved to put olives on the tip of each finger. "Olive fingers" would then nibble this nutritious and nutrient-dense food off her fingertips. Zucchini pancakes make a terrific face to which you can add pea eyes, a carrot nose, and cheese hair.
- Concoct creative camouflages. There are all kinds of possible variations on the old standby "cheese in the trees" (cheese melted on steamed broccoli florets). Or, you can all enjoy the pleasure of veggies topped with peanut- butter sauce, a specialty of Asian cuisines.
This last one brings back that old Saturday morning PSA song ... "Dont Drown Your Food, In catchup or mustard or mayyyyoooo..."
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Heh, I'm sitting here in my sanity deprivation chamber listening to the photocopier repair technician bicker on a speaker phone with his help-desk liaison. He keeps asking for 'Jam Codes', pleading for this disembodied voice to release the information. It's been going on for nearly 2 hours now. This guy is obviously not sufficiently trained or experienced enough to do the job at hand and his solution to over come this shortfall is not going well. My coworkers are commenting on the volume and annoyance while I crank up the volume on my KMFDM cd. I feel badly for this guy but at the same time, wish that he would wrap up his charade and call in the uber-tech to take over.
It's about 1300 right now and it is 12 degrees out at the manor. I have the furnace set at 51 and I KNOW it is burning full force right now. All this cold weather is making my shoulder hurt. Then I think about this. Ummm, -54 in Embarrass Minnesota. Man, that's awfully warm.
Evening at the insane asylum
The drive back to the manor yesterday was the standard rolling slugfest down the turnpike. Semi Trucks in the passing lane, Mario Andretti passing on the shoulder. The strange thing was that my hands got cold. I mean the "Oh wow, that hurts!" type of cold. I did not notice it at first because I was much too busy trying to find something of worth on the radio. Okay, I'm not a big MLK opponent or anything, but cant NPR have something else on for a few minutes? Anyways, after a bit I start to notice the ashen color of the skin on the back of my hand and then the realization that my hands are chilled to the bone. Well, ok. I could turn on the heat, but it wont make a difference by the time I get to the manor. I'm starting to think that winter has really arrived. The real kind of winter where you step outside and the first breath of near-zero air makes you cough in shock. The icicles under the train tracks are starting to get long enough that they look more like massive cave formations than slender traces of ice. It is looking more ominous every day. Ahhh, my kind of winter ... except the damn furnace is running all the time now. When I get inside, I immediately light a fire to help bring the heat up a bit. The hounds are happy to see me and are content for now to do their happy dance about me as I load the wood into the fire box. I think their excessive joy is probably because they are a bit chilly more so than they have to go relieve themselves. In the evenings, I see them sitting next to each other in front of the wood stove just staring at the fire.
While I was taking out the trash and recycling, I noticed that my neighbor's van was no longer parked in the street. He had apparently come back from Greece and moved it to his driveway. There were are few other cars parked about his property, so I guess I will be seeing him sometime soon. I wonder what he thinks about coming back from a balmy Mediterranean state to this little corner of the arctic. At least he did not have to deal with a driveway full of rock-hard ice and snow.
The evening with the kids is ... frustrating. Alexis refused to take her vitamin. She refused to do a lot of other things too, but this was the last straw. Eventually, mommy bargained with her to take a different colored one. Jake, however, was more than happy to take his and was interested in additional 'treats'. I supplied him with some jellybeans instead. While they mixed it up with the Mrs in martial arts combat, I went down to the wood stove to reload and bring in some additional wood. I am nearly done with the stacks of wood out behind the manor now. I'll have to bring up a fresh supply this weekend. Last months heating bill was 160 and the month before was 133. Not that bad considering that we were home for nearly 2 weeks. Although this month has started out pretty warm, the recent cold snap will probably put a smack-down on the savings and the bill next month will be considerably higher. Oh well, looks like the Mrs will not be getting that Reardon-Metal Flying Cold-Fusion Hybrid H2 fleet for valentines day after all.
This morning, Alexis wakes at 0300 ... again. This time, I let her complain for a few hours and she goes back to sleep. I, however, cannot fall back into a restful sleep. I do recall a strange dream though. I am apparently smoking cigars. One of the cigars is shaped like a Thunderer Whistle. To light these cigars (which have become invisible) I light a wooden match and put it to the back of my mouth. After doing this, I blow billowing clouds of smoke. Oddly enough, it goes out after a few puffs. I put a new match to the back of my throat and this time, it hurts a bit. I try this a few times and then wake up. My throat is sore. Weird.
Bleh. Eventually crawled out of bed at 0615. Fed dogs and let them out. Set up the makings of PB&J. Got kids, fed and changed them. Threw Mrs out of the bathroom so I could shower. Blah-blah-blah. The car tire was flatish this morning ... need to call Mike about an appointment. It's cold out. The kind of cold that only 14 degrees can provide. There is no snow. Just the frozen, dead and grey landscape that the early morning dawn light can illuminate in such a melancholy way. Even my fellow motorists have lost their zeal. Perhaps something at work will perk me up this morning.
Insurgents released a video on Tuesday of eight alleged Chinese hostages in Iraq and threatened to kill them in 48 hours unless the Beijing government clarified their role in the country.Read more here.
Monday, January 17, 2005
In Britain, researchers interviewed dozens of fathers in 2002, finding the traditional role has been replaced by a collection of new father personalities. The Enforcer Dad, a dying breed, is the strict disciplinarian; the Entertainer Dad is the family clown who distracts his kids while the mother attends to household tasks; the Useful Dad pitches in, though rarely takes the initiative; and the Fully Involved Dad jumps into domestic matters equally with his wife.I wonder if they would consider Exhausted Utilitarian Gen X MS Dad.
Beyond these labels, there is another: Exhausted Dad.
John Carson of Belmont is another member of the Dads in the Dark crowd who is among the chronically fatigued. On a November evening after work, the 35-year-old vice president of sales at Fidelity Investments in Boston raced home to greet his three children, a 4-year-old son and twin 2-year-old daughters. He is almost always there by 6 p.m.
If the picture does not show up, go here.
I have nothing today. The humidifier I put in the Master Suite did not leak and I didn't have a raspy throat when I woke. The kids slept in till 0630. The dogs didn't puke, pee or crap in the house. It's MLK day so the traffic is light and quick moving. My tire was not flat yet either. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground so there was a chance of ice ... but nope. I dont feel crummy either. The universe is trying to make me complacent so it can sneak up on me. I just know it!
UPDATE: Okay, found something at American Digest to moan about. The True Blue State of Washington must be so embarrassed of this. It is the most brilliant thing I have ever seen in the Rainforest State. I wonder if they are considering a tax on sunshine too.
Sunday, January 16, 2005
EAGLES 27, VIKINGS 14
McNabb threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns as the Eagles cruised to a 27-14 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC divisional playoffs today at Lincoln Financial Field and advanced to their fourth straight NFC Championship game.
For an NFL-record third straight year, it will be at home. This time it's Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons (12-5) who stand between the Eagles (14-3) and the Super Bowl.
Ugh, another early morning. It's 0400 and Alexis is calling me out again. I cant wait till the kids are over this particular unpleasantness. If it doesn't play out soon, the stress will weaken me enough to make me a viable target. That must be the evil plot of the virus. Argh. Just to make sure that I do not succeed in fending off said evil virus engineered by some ancient foe, an bizarre desire to pour a bottle of milk on Jake and the comforter he sat on came over Alexis. She complied. Nice. She spends the rest of the morning behaving poorly till we go to church. Then, by the Grace of God, she behaves for both the Family Mass and the eternity we are trapped in the Parking lot of Purgatory. That's the problem with arriving on time, you get parked in pretty solidly. I could park across the street in one of the business like some of my fellow parishioners, but trekking to the church with a 30lb child in tow is not something I am prepared to do as a loving parent. That, and I have and ethical problem with using the parking lot of a business that I have not intention of patronizing. Darned mid-west morality.
This morning, I had some dizziness and a bit of nausea. I thought it might be a bit of the old MS trying to remind me that it had not given up. I shook of off and went about my business. Later on, I found that I was ignoring the symptoms of a migraine. More on that later. I had a few things to do so I forged ahead. Typical stuff like restocking the wood brackets and the additional laundry that was generated by Alexis the Squirt when she gave her brother a Lactose bath. When we put the kids down, I start to realize that the grinding pain behind my left eye (ITS NOT A TUMOR, DAMMIT) is actually the migraine that the nausea and dizziness was pointing to. I chow down a fist full of pills and settle in for a nap till the kids get up. That should take care of it in due course. Outside of the other standard Sunday activities (talk to parents & brother, prepare lunches for Monday, harass hounds), the only thing of interest was that the Mrs bought Jake a new toy. It was Henry, the larger green steam engine from the Thomas series. He has apparently been asking for it for some time now. The day care set has this engine and it seems that he has established a reputation among the other train-centric children as THE Henry owner. He was pretty pleased to have his own personal Henry and played with it exclusively till it was time for his bath. Then, he would not give it up so the Mrs had to forcibly remove it from him which resulted in many tears and extensive wailing. Once the bath was over, he did get it back and would not let it go. He was going to hold on to that toy till the end of time. Or until he fell asleep. It's in his crib right now, probably under guard by heavily armed Reardon Metal Combat Droids.
Saturday, January 15, 2005
The drive back to the manor yesterday was a slow, tedious and frustrating endeavor. Not that it was backed up or excessively populated with the standard indigenous idiots. Just a lot of people going pretty slow. Must be the weather, depressing them and all that. Personally, I would prefer to be off the road and on the Manor properties as quickly as possible. But hey, to each his own.
The Mrs is going to be late. She is trying to make up some of the hours she lost on Wednesday when she had to leave work and pick up the virus-factories from daycare. I go ahead and pick up Alexis the Squirt and Jacob the Punk. They are not exceedingly happy to see me and there are some strange teen-age girls in the room. Dunno what is going on, but I am not entirely comfortable. No time to
torture interrogate this peculiar horde of Brittany Spears worshippers, I've got places to conquest and people to subjugate. I toss the Squirt and the Punk into the SuperSaturn while they admire the moon as it tries to pierce the wispy clouds of an excessively warm winter night. It's downright balmy by my standards. You have got to expect that we are going to have a really nasty February if January is this warm. When I hear of Snow in Las Vegas, I chuckle.
Later in the evening, the turkey that I ate for lunch starts to let me know that I should not have crossed the two week rule. It really made life uncomfortable for me for 30 minutes or so. Oh well, it's all gone now so I won't be making that mistake again ... tell next turkey season. Curses.
Okay, I admit it. I watched the double presentation for Battlestar Galactica. So I'm a nerd, I'll wager Bill was watching too. It was ... okayish. I've always been a fan of the campy B grade movies and stuff. You know, huge battles where the heroes manage to defeat overwhelming forces of inhuman evil. Can't help it. One thing that did catch my attention is the strange zoom technique they were doing in the cgi space shots. It reminded me of something they used to do in that other epic space battle series they did a while back ... Space, above and beyond. I liked that one too. Such a shame it ended the way it did. I'll wager that SG gets the same inglorious end too.
It's Saturday morning, 0600, and the kids are up ... already. Alexis is howling 'Daaaaadyyyyyy' over and over again between bouts of hacking up sputum. Of course, this wakes Jake the Punk and he demands equal time with the 'Big people who feed me'. They mess about a bit and I eventually leave them to their own devices while I focus on tending to other morning tasks. I run about and do a pass by to see what they are up to every so often. Then, it gets quiet. Really quiet. Daddy psychic powers start to tingle, and this time it is not a migraine. I can't see them in the living room so I wander into the kitchen and try to get a glimpse of them in the grand dining room. Damn surveillance cameras are off, I'll have to get the staff to fix them. I see nothing, but I can hear them. I peek around the corner and there he is, standing on the window sill. The window sill is about 4 feet off the ground and he is trying to get his foot on the top of the bottom pane to get even farther up. I don't want to startle him for fear he may loose his precarious perch and fall. I sneak up on him, but Alexis the Squirt sells me out and alerts him of my approach. He looks over his shoulder and gives me that 'Look what I can do!' smile. I lower him to the floor and try to impress upon him that this is not a condoned activity. Later on, I check to see if the message has sunk in. It did, because now they are busy scaling the buffet table in order to get at the crayons that Mommy put on the top shelf. Okay, I guess I need to spend some time with them. Crayons it is. Talk about making a point.
Later on, the kids are asleep and the Mrs goes out shopping. I take the time with the relative peace and quiet to do some dishes and run through the rest of the laundry. Simple, mundane stuff. After the kids wake up, we head out to the Local Home Depot Temple to pick up some halogen track lights for the kennel/family room and wrap up the evening with some pretty lousy frozen pizza we got at BJ's Wholesale a few months ago.
Friday, January 14, 2005
Ok, here are the cobbled together little tid-bits of stuff that I would like to moan and kvetch about. First off, my shoulders and knees hurt. This always happens when mother nature goes a bit loopy. I got one ache in my left shoulder from a disastrous attempt to bench press 325lb in college. My body was not ready for that and has punished me ever since for my hubris. The left knee revolt is from falling off a ladder, so to speak. The shin bone just below the knee cap took the brunt of the impact force and I have developed a calcium deposit there. I'm almost certain that I may have gotten a hairline fracture or a bruised bone when I fell, but slapping a cast on it would do no better than letting it heal on its own. Quite similar to breaking your tail bone, you just let it go. Now, the mirror aches on the right side are probably from favoring that side to avoid aggravating the left side. Maybe they are just psycho-somatic, but pain is pain in my scar riddled brain and they have undue influence. Perhaps it may be time to stop slacking and start getting active again to thwart my body's attempt to make me invalid. Exercise would be a good thing. Maybe tomorrow. Or next week, this weekend is the Eagles-Viking game.
Speaking of whacked weather, the 'service engine soon' idiot light came on again in the SuperSaturn. That was yesterday. This morning, no light. My little-little brother thinks it is probably a damaged or fouled emissions probe. I think it has a lot to do with the oxygenated fuel formulated for cold weather ... and it's not all that cold out. In any event, my inspection is coming up soon. I don't think this is something I will want to spend much on to get repaired. It will most likely cost more than the worth of the car at this time. You put 120K miles on a car over 8 years and it tends to get some quirks. No, I think I'll have Mike change the oil and fix that slow leak in the rear tire when I drop the car off at the shop. I just need this car to last another 4 years or so before I replace it. That will be about the time that the Family Tank is paid off and flying hybrid cars that run on beef jerky with scotch become available.
Ugh, another night of phlegm, snot and hacking. The wife is running late so I throw a pot of water on the stove and then run off to pick up the kids. I'm going to make her spags-n-balls for dinner tonight. No big surprises. Heck, I'll even use canned sauce and frozen Swedish meat balls so there are no surprises for her. When she arrives, the kids cheer, she eats the meal, I cheer. All happy happy, joy joy. Right? Well, except for the nebulizer of doom stuff. Alexis still hates that more than anything else. Jake, seeing her discontent, loves it more than ever. Strange, silly little man. He is apparently getting worse too. His voice sounds like a toad croak and his usually discernible vocabulary is all but unrecognizable now. After pouring gallons of medication into them, the snot contrails dry up a bit and they stop coughing every 15 seconds. I am hoping that they will both sleep through the night. I know I will be disappointed though. The script given to us by the physician's assistant was for a medication that did not have any expectorant. All it does is lower the coughing a bit, but the root cause is still the crap in their lungs and that has to come out.
Gory details: Mrs gets up at midnight to medicate Jake again, this time with the more expensive/effective expectorant. I get up at 0300 to get Alexis who is not having a good time. We give her some of the same stuff and she sleeps (between kicking my head and yanking out my armpit hair) by my side till 0715. Hmph, late again. What are the chances.
On the road, going sloooowllly. It is raining hard. Like a cow pissing on a flat rock. There is minor flooding everywhere and I'm sure that I'll hear more about it later in the day. The Philly area is not engineered to take excessive rainfall very well. One depressing thing I noticed through the gloom and melancholy, the trees in this open land on Byberry road have been cut down. They used to crowd the road like a gauntlet of fans greeting a celebrity. Their branches forming a canopy overhead, like a living covered bridge. Now, half are gone. There are a few that were too big or to angled to remove, but I'm certain that their days are numbered. This rather large plot of land is going to be yet another office complex. I would have liked to see it become more new housing, but I guess the money wasn't in it for the developers. That's a shame because by making this an office park, we will certainly see more semi trucks and the density of traffic in this already saturated location will only get worse.
Okay, I admit that this is not my most entertaining post. In fact, it is pretty dry. Cut me some slack, I'm friggen tired and my shoulder hurts. Tell ya what, I'll do another post later on and talk about my achy joints. Deal?
Thursday, January 13, 2005
IT IS NOT A TUMOR!
Just so you know, the title is a quote from Kindergarten Cop ... I love that line from Arnie. But I digress ... a lot. I heard a report on AP yesterday that a study on red meat shows that you are 30-50% more likely to get colon cancer if you eat large quantities of red meat. WTF! I hate these types of studies. Sooo, in their study, people who eat a cow a day, 30 percent more get cancer than the ones who eat less. What is more and what is less? Do they mean 3 porterhouse steaks a day? Or one a week? What were the variables? Did any of these folk smoke, drink, use suppositories, engaged in alternate lifestyle activities? Come on now. I cant even find the size of the study or if they had a control set. The Hindu times makes hay with this report, but Steve Milloy rips it to shreds. I'm going to have an Angus burger for lunch after I finish my beef jerky.
I am certainly happy that yesterday is over! As usual, children with illnesses are the most exhausting thing on the planet. I left work shortly after noon in order to get home in time for the appointment at the clinic. The Turnpike traffic was very light, but I knew better than to try and brake the speed of light. I got home with sufficient time left to make our 1310 appointment. We did encounter a raft of characters pretending to drive their cars on the way, however. It seems that you have two periods in the day where the loonies come out, 1000-1600 and 2100-0400. Standard. We got to the clinic at 1300 with no great difficulty except for the fact that the parking lot was very full. We had to crush some smaller imports to make space for the family tank. Those coopers make a funny noise when they know that they will soon be grease beneath our treads.
As everyone knows, the pediatrician's office is not someplace you go when you are in a hurry. Our 1310 appointment soon became a 1330 appointment. Then, we were left in the examination room till 1400 before we saw anyone. The children, missing their nap, nearly exploded by having to wait in the room. Alexis was on the verge of a total meltdown when the Physicians Assistant finally came. Not a doctor or a pediatrician. An assistant. I surely hope she is at least has an RN certification. In any event, after a few moments of looking, poking, prodding and listening, she tells us it is just a bad cold and not anything like ebola or pneumonia. We get a script for a stronger albuterol solution and some cough medicine that has expectorant. Whatever. We could have done this on our own (reduce the saline in the albuterol, up the cough medicine dosage), but I guess it's always good to listen to advice you pay for.
Take the kids home, toss em into bed. Do the laundry, fire up the wood burning stove, blog. The Mrs watches General Hospital (bletch!) and attends a teleconference meeting with the Central Asia Haupertonian Revitalization Squad. Gotta keep them boys on their toes, they get distracted easily. Within a few hours, Jake wakes and I kick the Mrs out of the house so she can fill the prescriptions before rush hour starts. See how dull the 'mundane middle class' can be when detailed 'in painful scrutiny'? Shortly after the WonderWife leaves the house, Alexis wakes up and we all snuggle in the mile-wide water bed while we watch cartoons and they have a bit of milk. I'm sure they are a bit dehydrated. What, with all the gallons of snot and all flying from their noses like squadrons of stealth fighters with virus tipped hellfire missiles.
By the time the Mrs comes home, we have completed the snuggle project and the twins have moved on to the 'Destroy the Kitchen' mission interspersed with watching some television. Grilled cheese sandwiches are formed and partially eaten. The kids are not entirely interested in eating their chewable vitamins, but have no aversion to eating a few jelly beans. I thought that if I put them in my chest pocket, I could magically produce them on demand. They figured out this trick immediately and thrust their hands into my shirt to gain maximum satisfaction. Well, no more of that.
What we thought would be the final task of the evening was the attempt to get out the nebulizer and treat the kids. Well, Alexis made it well known that she was not to be a willing party to this event. The howled and thrashed and proclaimed 'Get Off MEEEEE!' the whole 5 minutes. It seemed like an hour. This is how I am getting a reputation as being a 'bad guy' in our family. The things we do for love. Jake on the other hand, was exceedingly cooperative and thought it would be a treat to get the 'fog' blown in his face. He used to hate this, but I think when he saw me blowing puffs of mist when it was cold outside he became enchanted. He dutifully waited while trying to console his distraught sister. The minute she got up, he plopped down in my lap and proclaimed 'My turn!'. He is buttering me up for something, I'm sure of it.
Early this morning, Jake woke up with all the vim and vigor of a Bull in the spring. He turned on his night-light aquarium and music box at 0330. It woke me nearly immediately. He complained a few times so I poked the Mrs so she could go fetch him and we could go back to sleep. It did not work out that way, he was wide awake and ready to go. He pretty much flailed his way out of the bed and spent the next hour traipsing through the house till the Mrs got tired of the game and put him back to bed. He let out a few cries of contempt and then went back to sleep. My Withering Wife never made it back to the master suite. She collapsed on the sofa/futon in the child detainment room and did not wake till I went in to get her at 0600. That is about the time that her alarm clock went off. I can shut the damn thing off without turning on the light ... sneaky engineering at work here. We had to get up on time this morning so we could go through the Nebulizer of Dooom treatment (it is supposed to be 4 times a day) and evaluate the kids to see if we think they can hack it at day care. They were looking pretty good compared to the Mrs and I so we decided to go out on a limb and let them go to day care. Hope we don't get a call on this foggy January day to go pick them up again. I'm going to be seriously short on vacation days if this keeps up.
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
rain, rain, go away
The Tuesday Evening Routine at the Haupertonian Manor did not adhere to the ISO9003 standards. Given that, it grossly failed to come close to my 'Saturday Evening Press' vision of the happy hearth and home. When I got home, I did the domesticated caveman thing and made dinner for the family. Standard fare for the kids: Fishsticks, meatballs, hotdog, chicken nuggets, declare cup->milk.whole(1), vitamin, turkey-alphabet soup. I mixed up something special for the Mrs; Low-Mein Noodles in chicken broth with mini-corn and Asian straw mushrooms. As for myself, 2 week old dried out white turkey meat. Urg. Needless to say, two bites and the rest of the desiccated turkey went to the dogs. I’m learning ... slowly. No salmonella for me tonight. It quickly becomes time to shove off and pick up the Terror Twins and the Mrs has not shown up yet. I’m not entirely surprised since we got a late start this morning. It has started to rain (again with this winter rain stuff!) and it would have been nice to have a second set of arms to help out, but I can manage alone. I have super powers of distraction and subterfuge! It’s always important to fabricate competition when it comes to the S&R missions. Who can get to the front door first is the best way of making sure that they are not distracted by pretty colors or flashing lights on the way.
Back at the Manor, consumption of the fore-mentioned meal commences with little fan-fare. The Mrs is not present as of yet and Alexis makes several comments on the situation. She identifies that the meal is there, but Mommy is not. She shows up soon enough and is greeted with cheers and much fanfare. I fall in ranking just below chopped liver. While the Mrs revels in the gushing accolades from the fickle ones, I start on the mac->Cheese.water.boil(6, cups) for their lunch tomorrow. The container usually comes home open so I’m assuming that they are eating it. The Mrs, however, is not enjoying the meal I have made for her and opts for a bowl of kix cereal instead. “Here I am, slaving over a hot fusion reactor all night and it’s never good enough for you, is it!” The Mrs gives me her classic snarky look and returns to her improvised meal.
Later in the evening, the Mrs and I head down to the document vault and start filing all the paperwork that has accumulated in the In bin over the last year. Most of the visible stuff is mine, but she has hidden away a couple of metric tons of financial papers. They seem to materialize out of no-where when I look away. It is my greatest hope that some day I can hire a legion of accountants and MIS staff to file, scan and store these documents in sub-basement 27-N so we can get on with our lives. The documents at the bottom are starting to re-form into wood. While spending this time together, the Wonderful Well of Life, the Mrs, mentions that she has paid for the gymnastics class at day-care. This should have some pretty positive effects on the kids. It will 1) tire them out, 2) bolster their appetite, and 3) teach them how to avoid smacking their heads on the ground. All good things in my book.
Later in the evening, I spend time in bed trying to read my book. Every 15 to 30 seconds, I hear Alexis hacking horribly over the monitor and start to become concerned. She will never get better if she cannot clear her lungs. My mind starts to do the ‘over reactive parent’ thing and thoughts of whooping cough or pneumonia start jabbing at my protective nature. Once the Mrs comes to bed, she concurs with me and she retrieves our little germ factory so we can keep an eye on her. Her hacking continues and we hear the wheezing with every breath. Panicked, the Mrs calls the pediatric hotline and gets a callback within minutes. Recommendation: Expectorant for the phlegm in the pipes, nebulizer with albuterol to open up said pipes. Why do they think we have a nebulizer and a prescription only pharmaceutical!? Is this a common household item these days? Of course, we do have these things. You want to talk about privacy protection? Forget it, it’s long gone. Not that it is a bad thing in this case. If you show up at the hospital and they know everything about your medical history, there is probably a really good chance you won’t end up getting the wrong prescription or having a limb/organ accidentally removed. Administering the albuterol is another task entirely. Alexis is not entirely fond of the noise emitted by the nebulizer of doom, and she finds the atomized mist even less endearing. Through much wailing and gnashing of daddy’s private parts, we manage to endure the 15 minutes of administering the illicit prescription. She starts to cough less and the wheezing ameliorates. It is 0030 now and I can pretty much guess that the morning will suck, big time.
The alarm goes off. It is the clock-radio alarm that is tuned into a classical music channel. Some light and pleasant orchestral pieces are playing. I let it go for an hour before I bring my will to bear on my recalcitrant body. I hear over the monitor that Jake is playing with his night-light aquarium so I know he is awake. The Mrs is still out cold. I crank up the microwave as a warning shot over her bow that there will be incoming bogies soon. With the milk warmed, I retrieve Jake and the Mrs makes space in the mile wide water bed for him. Alexis is next, but is still mostly asleep. I would love to let her go, but it is not in the cards today. Out of the house and on the road. I’m at work by 0815 which means departure at 1615, right on schedule. Schedules and follies are predetermined to go awry. At 0945, the Mrs calls to let me know that the Child Detainment and ReEducation Center has rejected our children and asked that they be retrieved at the earliest possible time. Argh, looks like it’s going to be a half day for me. She has a ‘No-Decline’ meeting later in the day so I’ll be taking the second shift, which coincidentally, is the same time when they will be going to the clinic to get their tires kicked. More on this later, it should be an adventure.