Saturday, March 19, 2011

Cheese pain

Cheese Pain is going to be my shorthand for Chest Pain.  Chest pain is too scary. 

So, this morning at Breakfast Wren complained of cheese pain.  He said "Ow, ow, my che** hurts.  I think it is the metal in my chest from surgery!"

Wren only learned or rather, re-learned about the metal in his chest recently.  I thought he might be suffering psychological pain so I asked where it hurt.  

He pointed to a spot between his nipple and sternum and said it was very sore.  Now and Now.

I called the heart center nurses line and thank-the-gods, they answered.  I had this horrible thought that he was going to have a heart attack and I couldn't remember all the steps or the idea rate.

For the record, his pulse is 88 and so that is the goal!

Anyway, spoke to the cardiology nurse and she looked him up and said I should "look at the big picture".  Since he has energy, is not ill and has normal behavior of late, we are not leaping to dark conclusions about the cheese.

She said I should call the Ped if it persists in case its referred pain, a respiratory infection or something gaseous in nature.

I called the Ped in case.  We shall see the doc at 2.45pm unless he is fine by then.

Wren has since added that it hurts when he breathes, a tinsy bit.

We are not panicking.   Now, a secret, I only really gave up dairy completely for two weeks.  I love cheese.

Friday, March 18, 2011

What your mother told ya

This is what I found when I opened the dishwasher last night.  The whole blade of the knife was sheared off.  I theorized to Josh that it was metal fatigue.  See, this is why your mother told you not to put the silver and the bone china in the dishwasher!  Not only is the gold leaf washed from the crockery, the cutlery develops a dark patina and blades from your heirloom knives can just BREAK IN TWO!

This was a knife my Gran bought at Greenacres. 

I am going back to handwashing the knives.  I am offering myself as a life lesson to girls embarking on household management.  Use borax, wash the good stuff by hand and Listen to Your Mother.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Do you want a coffee with that espresso?

I have been using my coffee crutch a bit lately.  Its not my fault (is it ever) - its the fact that I really like peace and quiet with my rain instead of rushing and driving.  Driving in rain is so much work - you can't see properly, everyone is rushing, the single lane roads are always double breasted with traffic and the transitions are complicated by mud and... blah blah [insert complaining here]

But if you're inside and have coffee its so lovely.  Its like a big sign saying "Sit back for some caffeinated contemplation."

Then in the middle of your relaxing midday-crisis when you're drawing Venn diagrams in your mind with words like "Botanical Illustration of mushrooms" in one and "World health activist" in another and "Wise Mother" in a third and you've just seen a potential overlap and then someone yells or breaks something or swears like a sailor and it goes like this:

Wren:  Play with me NOW.
Me: I am just sitting down for a moment.
Wren:  NOOOOO!!!!   Crud!
Me:  Wren!  I am just having a moment of coffee and ...
Wren:  I HATE YOU!
Me:  Well, I don't like you either.
Me:  Well, I would like that right now!

And in your head you are rewriting those Venn Diagrams into "Wise Juvenile Mother" and "Solitary Artist" instead.


Frost is reading his way through Pinkerton’s books [Thanks Mum].  He has read the Hobokin Chicken Emergency and is now enjoying the one about the Cat Whiskered Girl.   He says they are very funny and have unusual things happening in them and keeps wanting to recount detailed incidents which sound a bit Dada.

Meanwhile, as you may have gathered from the earlier dialogue, Wren is practicing being a dictator and I am not going by the Parenting Books in my reaction.  I am just done being reasonable (you can make some creepy laughter here if you think I have never been on the big R side).  

If I were writing a book on Child Development I would get rid of the myth of the terrible twos and start a new theory of the Ferocious Fours.  Four is horrible.  Wren is vocal enough to explain his preferences with exquisite precision and loud enough to make that conversation painful.  He is also cute enough to make his demanding conversations fascinating and worthy so you feel like a stink saying No to anything.

Actually, they are not conversations.  They are directives.   Four is all about telling us what he wants. 

What does Wren want?  The moment he gets up, Wren wants to PLAY with you.  Rather, you have to play with him. IF you don’t he lets out a piercing angry shriek and falls on the floor in angry sobs.   He likes to play Pigs in the [INSERT CURRENT LEVEL OR GAME HERE] and Magic the Gathering.  Many times, he wants to “Check for something on the internet” or “Make a new deck” all before breakfast.  Lately, with Daylight saving beginning and some residual time dislocation from our HAwaai trip, we are getting up by 8am for an 8.30am bus.  There is no time for games. 

What does Frost want?
Internet / games
Stay up late
A bedtime snack at 9pm.

What do I want?
Heck if I know but it better come with a coffee on the side.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Do you want a gun with that Iodine?

I woke up today (an hour early due to daylight savings time) to ongoing US anxiety about the threat of nuclear contamination from the Japanese power plants.   Even as experts say that the risk has decreased and the worst risk has passed, there is news that the US Navy has repositioned some of its ships near Sendai due to nuclear radiation detected 100km offshore.   The BBC News live coverage reports from Tokyo:
1844: Mikan in Tokyo writes: "There is a growing sense that the Japanese government is not telling us the true story. On one end, there is the Japanese media that plays down the nuclear drama and focuses on human drama, and at the other, the foreign media is up-playing the nuclear disaster. In my company I heard at least half the essential staff is being sent to Hong Kong, Singapore or even Sydney. I am preparing to leave Tokyo and/or Japan. So are many of my friends. There is a sense of deserting Tokyo as soon as possible."
So, its probably going to be fine.  Right?   We shouldn't over-react.  Still, many people I have spoken with have been wondering about disaster preparation.  Should we be doing something so we would be prepared? 

And prepared for what, exactly.

Modern disaster anxieties are not specific.  People seem to fear the breakdown of the urban fabric so well documented during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  At the same time as we're worrying about where our food comes from we are worrying about what we'd do if it stopped.  Stopped coming, that is. 

However much we like to eat organic, ethical, yummy, local food,  mass-produced gene-ripped soy-meat-goop is better than nothing.

Or, as a friend mentioned today.  "I have been thinking about buying a gun."  Later in the conversation she admitted she had contacted a local farm to ask about buying an "Armageddon Share" of produce to sustain the family in the event of a catastrophe.

I was interested to learn that although Japan is prone to earthquakes, a Reuters article reports that "some estimates suggest as few as 14 percent of property owners in the country have earthquake insurance".  I have considered adding Earthquake Insurance to our homeowners policy but it adds a lot - like an extra 40% to annual policy costs.  I can understand why people are reluctant to spend so much when there is no earthquake damage to their area in recent memory.

Most of us don't live the life of an insurance risk estimator.  Asteroids and earthquakes are equally costly to me if they are fatal and disasters only occur to me when they happen to someone else.   I don't think this has this really changed through human history.  What seems to be new in the social imagination is this concept of society breaking down. 

Most of us born after the wars haven't really experienced the kind of dislocation and scarcity from widespread damage.  As individuals, we are helpless, lacking even the market gardens or small-holdings of the almost-recent past.  At the same time, our [social] infrastructure is becoming so advanced and pervasive that the notion that we could be cut off from each other and the sources of food and information is almost unbelievable.

If we were cut off from food and money what would we do?

I guess that's where the gun comes in.

I read an anecdote from a resident of Tokyo about his reaction when the power and utilities were cut off due to earthquake damage.  He had a bit of food stored and managed to buy some more from a local supermarket (the staff wrote down the things sold so that they could record them in the absence of electronic systems) but he spent hours walking around Tokyo looking for a battery powered supply for his cell phone.  That was the only remaining form of contact available to him.  He kept switching it off and on hourly to preserve the battery.

Anyway, I have to go and indulge in my utilities right now - to electrically boil water, to make some manufactured hot chocolate for my toy dependent 4-year old who just made up the new word "DESPLOGONAUG" to describe his ultimately destructive monster-machine.

And those of us who live in the Desplogonaug of contemporary society and yet dread the implications of it being damaged or decaying must continue to ponder the question of what constitutes a reasonable response to disaster preparation and what is in the realm of a child's play.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weekend summary

We had a peaceful weekend.  Against the background of heavy rain and frequent checks on BBC News to learn updates on the Tsunami-earthquake-nuclear reactor situation, we went to two birthday parties, a sleepover, a soccer game and out to Indian Late-lunch.

Wren and Frost and Wren both loved Joey's birthday at the Seattle Gymnastics Academy in Salmon Bay.  It was very easy and fun and good to meet some preschool families out of the rush of dropoff and pickup.  Joey is turning 5.

"I am going to drag you back into the pit!"

Sunday morning we went over to Nic and Anna's for a small birthday tea for Leo who turned 4.  Unfortunately, Anna was at a birth and so Nic had to handle things.  We still had a great time and Wren enjoyed playing playdoh in the mini-kitchen.

The birthday boy blows and wishes
(and blows and wishes again)
Leo and Ari (his sister) with their donut birthday cakes.

Frost had his last Indoor Soccer game of the season.  Josh and I had a 'disagreement' at the game.  Josh feels that Frost should not play soccer because he is often inattentive, uncompetitive and not sufficiently motivated to support the team effort. 

Later, I watched some more tsunami footage, ran for the first time in almost a month (3 miles without incident) and ate Indian at Bengal Tiger.

The rain is still falling and news channels are playing the same videos over and over.  I am considering making an emergency plan and buying some supplies. Joshua talked through all the likely emergencies and feels we are well positioned to cope with natural disasters and should probably buy another house in the neighborhood because everyone will want to live here.