Tag Archives: SAHD

Day Fourteen, Part II

OK, I split day fourteen into two posts. I received a few questions that I’d like to answer, but I want to be very clear that perhaps this post is not for everyone. So, here’s your warning:

This post deals with the digestive effects of ABC, specifically, elimination. There will be no other topics discussed here, so if you don’t want to read about it, don’t read any further.

Really.

I’m going to write about poop now, so you’ve had your warning.

One thing no one tells you about becoming a parent is how much time you spend talking about poop. Did she? Didn’t she? Quantity? Texture? Any gas? Well, the same holds true when starting a drastically different diet. Will I? Won’t I? Quantity? Texture? Any gas?

The first couple of days, I didn’t notice much difference. My urine turned fluorescent yellow from all the extra B vitamins, but that’s no surprise. Around day three or four, quantity started to taper off, and things got harder. I changed the recipe a little, adding a bit more fiber.

Unfortunately, that didn’t seem to help. That’s when I started thinking about the benefits of roughage over powdered fiber. I also kept a close eye on the iron content of my recipe, as I was getting about 300% of the RDA at that point. I made some changes and got that under 200%, which should be a fairly safe level.

One big advantage I can see to a manufactured Soylent would be the elimination of so many extra micronutrients. Yes, I could probably make a much more complex recipe and take care of some of that, but frankly, my recipe is already more complex than I want it to be. I’m pushing the limits of convenience as it is.

The only thing that really helped was adding a little food. When I had my first “meal” on day seven, things were much improved on day eight. The same was true a couple days later when I didn’t get my ABC and got Chinese carry out instead.

I don’t think the constipation was too severe, as a single meal was enough to set things right pretty quickly. Quite frankly, I really wouldn’t want it to get much worse than it did. To stick with Futurama, I felt like Nibbler generating dark matter: dark, hard, and just big enough to be uncomfortable.

So, long story short, my ABC recipe led to moderate constipation. I would guess that the longer I stayed on this recipe exclusively, the worse it would get. I would not recommend more than a week on this recipe without some leafy green vegetables.

Many users have reported gas problems, too. It seems the oats are the main culprit, but I personally did not have that problem. If anything, I was less gassy than usual while on ABC.

So, there you have it.

Noooooo. Really? Noooooo. Really? Noooooo.

A significant portion of my time (and mental energy) as a father involves dealing with skeptics. Whether it’s friends or family, teachers or strangers, many people I encounter assume I am exaggerating whenever I talk about my children. For some reason, being the person who spends more time with them every day than anyone else fails to make me any sort of authority on the subject.

When my daughter was small, she went through 40 to 60 diapers a day. I know, I counted. At peak, that comes out to a diaper every 24 minutes. If you figure she was sleeping a bare minimum of six hours a day, that’s a diaper every 18 minutes. Yet, for some reason, we never could convince anyone that she might have a wet diaper at any given moment. She’s crying? Maybe she’s hungry. Or tired. Or teething. Or too cold. Or too warm. It couldn’t possibly be another diaper.

This sort of thing happened over and over, and it continues to happen today. The assumption is that I’m exaggerating. Or lying. Or wrong. And it’s not because I’m a man; my wife faces the same issues regularly. I think she gets a little more credit for being the mom, but not much.

Once people witness some of this stuff first hand, they fall into two categories: group A is shocked, but generally starts to take me at my word. Group B comes to the conclusion that they are witnessing some sort of freak occurrence, and that I’m still exaggerating. Or lying. Or wrong.

All of this raises a couple questions in my mind.

First of all, is it just us? Do other parents deal with this sort of thing, or is there something about my wife and I that makes us lack credibility? Yes, my wife is the breadwinner and I stay home with the kids, and I frequently wonder how that affects things. However, the latest numbers show that the stay-at-home dad is becoming fairly common, so I don’t think that’s a major factor.

Secondly, what can we do about it? You might say I should let it go. Sure, it might be a little annoying, even a bit insulting, but, hey, sticks and stones, right? Wrong. It really cuts into our ability to let someone else watch the kids. If I tell you that, left unrestrained, my daughter will run straight into the street, and you don’t believe me, then YOU MAY NOT WATCH MY KIDS.

If you then proceed to tell me that I look stressed, and I should leave the kids with you so I can take my wife out to dinner, things start to get uncomfortable. Do I lie to you? Do I confront you? Do I attempt to explain things again and hope that you believe me?

Fortunately, this hasn’t been an issue with paid babysitters so far. Sitters seem to welcome my input, and seem to assume that I know my kids pretty well. Unfortunately, money’s a little tight. The fact is that if we’re springing for a night out, an extra $50 for a sitter can hurt, and an extra $100 pretty much cancels our plans.

I need help. I don’t know any parent who doesn’t. I know a lot of people who are not only willing to help, but who honestly want to help. Some don’t know how, so they ask us what we need, and they proceed to do it as well as they are able. We call those people heroes, and they live in our hearts forever. They will always get a Christmas card from us, and they are always welcome in our home, even when they’re not here to help.

Others don’t know how, so they ask us what we need, and they proceed to do something else entirely. We call those people guests, and while they may be welcome in our home, they are not helping. Usually, they create more work for us, and we will try to make sure their visits aren’t too close together.

So if you have a friend or a cousin or a sister with young children, and you want to help, it’s really simple: assume that they know their kids and make sure you’re actually helping. They will love you for it.

10 Things Pet Owners Should Understand About Allergies

OK, I’ve been wanting to write something on this subject for a while, and I just hadn’t gotten around to it. Last night, I was once again forced to leave a really nice party early, and it annoyed me enough to finally do this. I should add, though, that this is in no way meant to be an attack on pet owners, simply an attempt at greater understanding.

1. Everybody is different. Every animal is different. Every day is different. Just because I could hang out at Dick’s house yesterday without a problem doesn’t mean I can hang out at Jane’s house today without a problem.

2. Just because your sister’s boyfriend—who has REALLY bad allergies—didn’t mind Captain Mittens doesn’t mean I’ll be OK.

3. When I get to your house, I’m drugged. I try to get drugged up at least an hour before I arrive. I’m not having a bad time, I’m simply stoned.

4. Sometimes, I can’t stay long at all. No really, it was a lovely party, but my throat is closing, and I should be on my way.

5. When I leave your house, I have to strip off everything I’m wearing, put it in the laundry and take a long shower. I don’t mind, but just understand that my night is not over when I leave your place, so I may be leaving early.

6. I appreciate that you put the cat in the bedroom and vacuumed before I got here; it does help. However, unless you have a really nice vacuum with a microscopic filter, vacuumed all the carpet, rugs, upholstery and linens, wiped down the walls and ceiling, mopped the floors and sealed the cat in a completely isolated room, it’s  no guarantee that I won’t still be breaking out in hives in 3 minutes. Pet dander is like radiation: removing the source doesn’t eliminate the danger.

7. You may have accepted the fact that everything you eat and drink will have hair in it. I haven’t. Please keep that in mind when you toss the fur-and-slobber-covered Frisbee over the buffet line. Seriously, that happened once.

8. I’m not criticizing your housekeeping, really, I’m not. I’ve been in homes that were meticulously cleaned daily  and still had horrible allergy attacks. I’ve been in homes that were disgusting to behold with giant balls of fur in every corner and been fine. It’s not you, it’s me.

9. Sometimes, I may be feeling OK, but I just don’t feel comfortable blowing my nose  every 2 minutes at your house. Call me old-fashioned, but at some point, I think it’s better manners for me to simply go home than to subject you to a never-ending orchestra of sinus gurgling.

10. No, your cat is not different. Just like every parent believes their child is above average, every cat owner I’ve ever met believes their cat is somehow an exception to everything. “Señor Furrypants isn’t like other cats, he has his own personality and everything. I just know you’ll love him!” It’s not a question of whether or not I LIKE your cat (dog, parakeet, weasel, marmot, koala), it’s a question of whether or not the makeup of his saliva reacts badly with my immune system.

BONUS: A few facts about allergies:
• There is no relationship between the pet’s hair length and allergen production.
• There is also no such thing as a non-allergenic breed.
• Allergens can be brought into places where a pet has never been on the hair and clothing of pet owners.
• Unless special steps are taken, pet dander can remain in a home for up to six months after the pet has been removed.

Long story short, don’t take it personally, but if you have a pet, I may not ever be able to hang out at your place for more than a few minutes. I’m not alone; roughly 10% of the population is allergic to animals to some degree. And I don’t have it as bad as some people.

Tropical Ointment

So, we’re back from the Caribbean, lightly tanned, thoroughly cooked and basted in rum. Being bored with the themes in my blog from the last few months, I’m going to review and relate the cruise experience here. This will likely be broken up into several installments. I’m also hopeful that this will get me back into travel writing mode so I can get back to work on my book, which has been set aside for other projects for far too long.

So, without further ado…

Andy’s Adventure of the Seas

The plans for this cruise started out as a high school graduation gift from my sister to her son. It quickly grew into a small family reunion, including both of my sisters with their families and my parents. In all, 12 of us would be taking a trip south for eight days and seven nights of laziness and overeating. I was quite enthusiastic, as it had been a while since my last truly relaxing vacation. The closest I’ve come was two years ago, lounging poolside at my parent’s house… a wonderful trip, but I was attached to my cell phone the whole time, as we were in the process of buying a house.

I figured a Caribbean cruise wouldn’t involve anything more complex than choosing which combination of rum and fruit to try next. My only real concern was the weather; I don’t much care for the heat. With three swimming pools and countless blenders, I’d have to find a way to struggle through.

Most of the group would be arriving in Puerto Rico the day before the cruise, just to allow for unexpected weather delays, airline mergers or Communist plots. The last four, my oldest sister’s family, were arriving the day of the cruise, but still a good five hours before departure.

Now, I love my family. I consider myself very fortunate to have relatives through both blood and marriage who I not only get along with, but also enjoy travel. That said, enjoying a bit of time out of the country with just my wife has some appeal, too. We booked an extra two nights in Puerto Rico after the cruise, just the two of us. As if fate (and the incomprehensible airline rate tables) considered it a good idea, by flying out two days later, our airfare dropped enough to offset the cost of the hotel room.

So, to summarize the setup: 8 people, 1 night in PR, 12 people, 7 night cruise, 2 people, 2 nights in PR.

Next episode: One Night With Hancock.