« November 2006 | Main | March 2007 »

January 2007 Archives

January 2, 2007

2006 Wrap-Up

I guess it’s time for the obligatory 2006 wrap-up post…

As a year, 2006 was kind of a personal rollercoaster, but I suppose most years are. Here’s a break-down of the good and bad highlights that leap to mind. Or at least the ones that I’d post about in a public blog. I’m sure that I’m forgetting some highlights, but at least it’s a start. If I think of more, I’ll add them later for posterity.

GOOD: Alexander! On March 28th, Alex was born and changed our lives forever. Every day with him has been an adventure. It’s amazing to watch this kid growing, learning, and developing into a sweet little human being. He really is an incredibly great kid.

BAD: Alexander’s operation. At just a few weeks old, Alex needed surgery. We spent a long awful night at Mass General, with just one cot for Liz and I to share, sleeping in shifts. That, and subsequent tests, have been the hardest part of parenting for me. Seeing my son in such discomfort was really rough.

GOOD: Alex’s Health. Despite early worries and aside from the above-mentioned surgery, Alex was a very healthy little boy in 2006. Hardly more than a sniffle. Liz and I were also fairly healthy, with nothing more serious than an occasional cold or stomach bug.

BAD: financial stress. For various reasons, 2006 was a difficult year for us financially. We barely managed to hold things together and keep ourselves fed, clothed, sheltered, daycare paid for, and bill collectors off our back. There wasn’t room for anything else. This was not a year for disposable income. I hate living so close to the edge, especially with a child to care for. It stresses me out. A lot.

GOOD: we have a financial plan, and barring major catastrophe, we should be in very good shape and relatively debt-free in just a few years.

BAD: My Aunt Leisa lost her struggle with cancer in December. She was good person with a great sense of humor, and will be deeply missed by her family and many friends.

GOOD: Many of our friends joined us in parenthood over the past year. Liza and Jill, Katrina and Ken (on the same day as our baby was born!), Meryl and Gary, Tex and Beth, Carrie and Dave, Dan and Kathy, and that’s just naming a few. 2006 was apparently the year for pumping out babies. Crazy!

BAD: On Christmas eve, our sweet cat Kali passed away. He was a really beautiful, loving, and good-natured little guy. I still can’t believe that he’s gone. We really miss him.

GOOD: Liz started a cool new job doing very interesting stuff for an organization that seems to really appreciate her. It looks like it’s going to be rewarding for her on lots of different levels. And if that wasn’t enough, this organization actually HELPS people!

GOOD: Career development. My job has been slowly evolving, with increased responsibilities and challenges. By rising to meet them, I think I’ve laid the groundwork for good things to happen in 2007. Only time will tell, but signs and portents indicate positive change.

So like I said… ups and downs. I often get frustrated and fixate on the bad, but really 2006 carried more than it’s share of blessings for our family. Losses too, certainly, but I suppose that’s part of living. Really, most of the “Bad” above (with the exception of the passing of loved ones) could have been so much worse. At the end of the year, I have an amazing wife and child. We have enough food, clothing, and shelter. We have our health. We have bright prospects for the future. All blessings, for which I'm profoundly thankful.

So bring on 2007 already.

January 16, 2007

Our Plague Days

Wow... It's been a wacked week... What follows is a way-to-long recounting of my family's past ten plague-ridden days playing "swap the virus". This is probably of interest to no one but me, but I'm recording it here for posterity, and so that I can move on to hopefully post more interesting things this year.

In my last post, I foolishly mentioned how thankful I was that Liz, Alex, and I had been in such good health over the last year... then completely forgot to knock on wood. Two days later, Alex came down with a nasty gastrointestinal virus that had him spewing out both ends. He was barely able to keep even Pedialyte down. As a result, a few days later our pediatrician advised us to check Alex into the hospital so that they could rehydrate him via IV. Hospitals are awful places in general, but even more so when the patient is your 9-month old son. After a restless night sleeping on cots next to his hospital bed, Liz and I were both exhausted and stressed out. Alex improved quite a bit with the addition of fluids, and we took him home the next day. The doctor even said he would be fine to go to daycare the next day, as long as his diarrhea was not too leaking out of his diapers. That was last Monday.

Things seemed to be getting better, and Alex was able to mostly hold down Pedialyte and diluted formula. Mostly. Then Monday night, within moments of each other, Liz and I both came down with the virus. Great! So that's two sick parents, taking turns going from the baby to the bathroom. So we figure... okay, we just have to make it through the night. Then we can take Alex to daycare, and spend the day sleeping and trying to recover. Tuesday morning I drop Alex off at daycare, come home, and crawl into bed. An hour and a half later, the phone rings. It's daycare. Alex has pooped all over his daycare crib. Explosively. I picture a firehose of poop covering the walls of the daycare nursery. Not pretty. So back I go to pick up Alex. Not "rest day" for Mom and Dad. Back we go to the Pediatrician... he gives us some probiotics to help repopulate his colon with beneficial bacteria and hopefully clear up the "hershey squirts". This is basically yeast. It is very effective, and has the slightly disconcerting side-effect of making his poop smell like freshly backed bread. The doctor also gives us and antibiotic, because on top of everything else, Alex has an ear infection!

Fortunately for Liz and I, it seems to be sort of a 48 hour virus thing. By Wednesday morning, we were feeling much better, but poor Alex was still having trouble keeping full-strength formula down. The probiotics hadn't kicked in yet, so he was also still having explosive diarrhea. Or maybe the anitbiotics were temporarily canceling the effects of the probiotics... who knows. I stayed home with the boy while Liz goes off to work. The poor kid definitely wanted to play and crawl around, but didn't quite have the energy to manage it. He's was able to keep more formula down and seemed to be getting better as the day progressed. The probiotics stared to kick in. Things seemed to be going well.

Thursday, Alex successfully spent the day at daycare, kept down formula and even a little rice cereal.

Thursday night, the cough started.

Alex came down with a terrible hacking cough. He would cough his head off and then scream in pain. Really awful, gut-wrenching stuff. He was also clawing at his ear. We figured the ear infection hadn't gone away and was being irritated by the coughing. We gave him Tylenol and tried to ride it out, but it didn't seem to go away. By Sunday, Alex was still coughing and screaming, but was otherwise much better. When he wasn't coughing, he was playing, laughing and crawling around like his normal self. He was eating his normal food and had a healthy appetite. But the screaming... yikes.

So Monday (MLK Day) morning, Liz calls the Pediatrician and makes an appointment for later in the afternoon. Then Liz becomes deathly ill. Sounds like the flu this time. Great! I take Alex to see the doctor, prepared to demand antibiotics for his ear and possibly antidepressants for his Dad. The doctor can't get a good view inside Alex's ear, so she has to scrape wax out with a scary little wire device. Needless to say, my son is not impressed and lets us know it. Finally, the doc is able to see what she needs to see. His ears are just fine. No infection. He has a cold, she says. The coughing is irritating his throat, and that's why he's screaming. Nothing to do but give him a little benadryl and ride it out. Nice.

So we go home, where my sweet wife is curled up on the couch with a fever and the chills.

That was yesterday. Today I'm back at work, holding my breath, praying that the flu shot that Alex and I got will protect us from whatever crud Liz has. This crazy cycle of sickness has to end.

Book Log experiment for 2007

I've always meant to keep a log of the books that I read in a given year, maybe even with short reviews or reactions. Unfortunately, I'm very lazy. You may have noticed that there is a "Reading:" line on the sidebar of this blog. You may have also noticed that I never update it. I promise you I haven't been reading the same George R.R. Martin novel for the last 6 months. I mean, the guy writes long books, but not that long.

Since it's January, and I've decided to kick off the new year by trying this experiment. Every time I finish a book, I'll blog the title, author, and at least two sentences about it. I'll categorize them under the tag "What I'm Reading" This seems like a reasonable target. We'll see how long I keep it up. For the purpose of this experiment, I will not be including the books I read to Alex. That might be Phase 2 of the experiment...

With that said...

K-Machines by Damien Broderick
I'm two books into this series (God Players being the first book) and I'm still trying to figure out if I like it or not... The basis of the story, god-like contestants in an ancient and mysterious conflict waging war across multiple realities, had a lot of promise. There are some thought-provoking ideas about the nature of perceived and consensus reality that I like kicking around the old headbone. Unfortunately, I never really developed any kind of emotional involvement with the characters. I wasn't dying to see what happens on the next page. Still, I made it through both books, so it had at least enough of "something" to keep me reading that long.

About January 2007

This page contains all entries posted to Dave's Headblog in January 2007. They are listed from oldest to newest.

November 2006 is the previous archive.

March 2007 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.