Tuesday Open Thread

It’s Tuesday! And today I realized DD has four days of school this week and then . . . Thanksgiving vacation next week. The holidays are here! How the f*ck did that happen?

So I wrote out a gift list last night and will slowly get to shopping. I already ordered about half our Xmas cards, because I had to take advantage of crazy good early bird discounts. And other than that, I’ve done nothing to prepare. I have had a couple of friends announce on facebook that they are completely done with their holiday shopping. Who are these people?  :-|

To get you into the spirit, here’s a cute little ad from a British store. I was ready to watch and be annoyed but found myself relating to it. I must admit that I bear a strong resemblance to this woman during the holidays. It’s exhausting, but I love it.

How do you approach the holidays? Are you “All In” like Petraeus, or do you take a more laissez-fare approach?

And how about that Petraeus, eh? Yowza.

What else is on your mind today? Chat away!

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66 thoughts on “Tuesday Open Thread

  1. OMG, you guys, did you hear the news? You know that nosy guy Dave, who’s the class sergeant at arms? He’s been dating Holly forever. Well it turns out he was two-timing her with Paula, that girl who wrote the article about him in the school paper last year. I thought she was writing it for extra credit but it seems like maybe she was trying to get him interested in her and I guess it worked. She was dating Scott but she started going after Dave anyway. Well it seems like Dave must be a playa because he broke up with Paula and I think he might have been interested in this girl Jill instead who is in charge of the prom decorations. Jill has a boyfriend but Paula thought Dave liked Jill and she got totally mad. She started sending these really mean messages to Jill from this email account she shared with Dave. They used to leave each other secret messages by weiting messages and putting them in the drafts folder. Anyway, Jill’s dad is friends with the new social studies teacher, so she told him about the messages and he told her he would look into it, but then get this – ewww – he started sending her shirtless pictures of himself instead! And then he told the assistant principal and now Dave and Paula are in big trouble.

  2. Hi all! I can’t believe it’s almost the holidays… We tried to say we’d do Thanksgiving at home this year as DH and I have both been pretty exhausted. But MIL cried, DH caved, and we’re headed out for Thanksgiving :)

    To give ourselves a little cushion at the holidays, we booked a hotel – prepaid – in Chicago for Dec 25-30. We haven’t been back since we moved a couple years ago and we’re all pretty excited. I think we might talk to the kids about waiting for their presents from us until we’re there so we can all shop :-) Of course, Santa – and grandparents! – will still come for Christmas so there would be more than enough to open!

    This semester has been a rollercoaster – lots of highs and lows with teaching and research and family – not sure if all three balls are ever being really juggled, but they must be plastic because they haven’t exploded yet! Overall I’m feeling more settled now. I’m hoping to start a new project looking at urban revitalization and local food. (Sue – would LOVE to talk with DD :) )

    Anyways, we’re busy. But overall good. I feel a bit lonely in the midst of everything and realize I need to figure out a way to stay plugged in to ME. Hoping to hang out here more for some of that friendship! :-)

  3. So H is supposed to have an appointment with the pediatric lipid specialist on Thursday. (His cholesterol was wicked high- 220- and our pediatrician was concerned. M’s was too, but we decided to do his appointment first since we can’t seem to get both done at once.) We’ve rescheduled once because of my mom’s surgery and now I’m waffling again because I’m just not convinced that we’re going to be able to do anything about his numbers. He’s 5’4″ and he weighs about 100 pounds, so it’s not like he’s obese. He gets exercise- a lot of it- but he eats like crap. He knows he eats like crap but he’s not willing to do anything different, but I keep putting good food on the table just in case. He’s missed a lot of school lately for PT and the ortho and I’m not happy about having to pull him out again.

    What do you think? Keep the appointment? Cancel it and see where his numbers are in 6 months?

    • Seems hard to say. What is the goal of the appointment? Is it possible the specialist would prescribe meds or whatever that the ped doesn’t feel comfortable doing on her own?

      My 12 year old has a lot of moles and our ped was worried about it so he sent him to a specialist (a dermatologist) to look at them to make sure they were not precancerous. All she did was look at him and say he was fine, so we could have skipped the appointment with no harm done. But if it is a condition that might benefit from medication it seems like it might be worth going to.

      • I don’t really know what the purpose is- she just wanted them to see the specialist. I’m not sure I’m comfortable doing a statin at this point- aren’t they pretty tough on the liver?- so what would be the bene? Then again, would I be negligent to NOT go, particularly with the history of heart disease on both sides of the family? Do kids even get heart disease?

        • I hate to say it, but those are questions that the specialist could answer.

          I can totally understand your reluctance. Completely – I’ve had three interactions with specialists with Lily that, to me, were totally unnecessary and required blood tests. OTOH, I got to ask questions that added to my knowledge and allowed me to push back against further appointments.

          • That’s sort of what I’m afraid of, but he hasn’t had a full week of school in nearly a month. I suppose I could postpone again…

            There just doesn’t seem to be a good research base for doing it- the studies are all small and there’s no data on the efficacy or the long-term side effects. I’m afraid that if we go and he recommends the drugs, then we’re sort of bound to do what he says.

            • I hate constantly pulling my son out of school for appointments – pediatric time slots after school are precious and rare, so we don’t often snag one. But H is a smart kid – missing one additional day of 6th grade isn’t going to hurt him. I’m not entirely convinced 6th grade is all that necessary anyway; at least at our school it feels like they’re marking time till 7th.

    • Keep the appointment. Definitely keep the appointment. He’s not obese, and his numbers are not going to move by changing his diet. I seriously doubt he “eats like crap”; I’ve seen your standards and I can’t imagine you’re supplying him with crap (and I know your husband isn’t), so he can’t have enough access to crap to make a difference. But those numbers are not normal. He may need another level of monitoring, or not. He may need meds, or a dietary change, or not. But the absolute minimum you need is conversation with a specialist. Don’t assume that nothing is wrong before gathering as much information as you can.

      My son gets a cardiac workup every other year because his abnormality – lipid, by the way – can cause heart disease in children. Nothing has been seen so far but that doesn’t mean the vigilance is a waste of time. It’s win-win, because I know I’ll either get good news or I’ll say “thank goodness we checked”.

      • Sorry – I didn’t mean to sound so alarmist. I tend to see monsters lurking behind every door because the one time I looked behind the door, there was a monster lurking there. So I’m a big believer in vigilance.

  4. Oh, I thought I was the only one to be badly shocked by the near arrival of Thanksgiving! We’re doing our usual celebrate-the-Saturday-after thing, with a few families and friends. I’m just hoping I can get the turkey…

    • I think it’s ridiculously early this year. As in, the 1st was on a Thursday so the 22nd is as early as it can get. As a plus, we get an extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

      I think I should start a menu soon.

          • Gah. I have 4 weeks off in total starting next week-early Jan. “Off” isn’t really accurate, since I have a ton of work on my website to do. I just shut off my phone and email to clients. But this year I have so much that has to be done for winter/early spring clients (and requests coming in almost daily for new little projects) I’m wondering if I’ll be able to take those days off at all! It sounds like a lot of time off, but when you factor in the zero days off I had between January and August, and since then only about a week total, it’s not much time at all. No weekends off in there, either. I’m spent! But, earning money is really really needed, and turning down orders when I’d otherwise have no income seems irresponsible. Soooo…it’s all a bit too much. I need time to get some things in place so that I can automate a lot of the estimate requests I get, and I want to get a lot more ready-to-order items online, but, I also don’t want to get nervous every time I have to go grocery shopping.

            • Blargh. I’m happy that you have so much interest in your beautiful design, but I’m really sorry that you’re so overwhelmed. Us self-employed project types… no rest for the wicked, hey!?

              • Exactly. I wish I had a solution that would let me earn a decent amount in my field, but I haven’t been able to think of one! Wages have gone down in graphic design. The corporate job I had before kids would now require much more skill than I have, and it would pay less than what I earned 9 years ago. I can definitely add to my skill set (if I had time!), but doing all of that for less than I make working for myself doesn’t make sense. The carrot on the stick is that this is DS’ last year of Montessori, so I only have 6 more tuition payments to make. That’s a huge chunk of money I’ll have in my pocket every month, which I can use to get a proper off-site office, which then means I can hire someone!

          • Shoot, I don’t even start shopping for Thanksgiving before Thanksgiving. I told my boys that if I heard one more “Christmas wish” before Thanksgiving I was going to boycott the entire holiday.

            • We have rules about holidays — DD can’t mention her Feb birthday party until after Christmas, we don’t talk about Halloween until at least after school starts, and “Christmas” doesn’t start until after Thanksgiving. Thing is, I LOVE the Christmas holiday season. I love how festive things look in our town, I love when our weather is wintery this time of year, and I love Christmas music. But when the season lasts 6 weeks, it means I am sick of it by the time Christmas day actually rolls around. So all of the people harping about “Happy Holidays” ruining Christmas are pointing their fingers at the wrong thing. Extending Christmas has ruined Christmas!

    • I’m seriously peeved about it this year. I invited quite a few people and now it looks like I’ll have to cancel because the father-kid camping trip for DS11 may (or may not) be scheduled that weekend. I suggested moving it to the following week, but the father-kid camping trip for DS13 may (or may not) be scheduled that weekend. Or the next. Grr…. I love Thanksgiving, but I’m about ready to give up on it this year.

  5. I was shocked yesterday to find out that Thanksgiving is next week!

    No time like right before the holidays to tear up the house. We’re getting rid of the textured walls and popcorn ceiling throughout the house. We emptied 2 bedrooms, DH scraped the popcorn off, and we have someone coming Thursday to start skim coating the walls and ceiling. Once that’s done, we’ll paint and then have someone else install the floors and trim (yay – old yucky carpet is gone!). Then we’ll swap rooms and do the same thing to the other 2 bedrooms. I’m hoping we’re completely done by end of February.

    • We have carpet on order. I’m willing to bet money that installation will be scheduled after our tree is up. DH floated the idea of getting rid of our popcorn ceiling while we’re at it, but I’m chicken about the mess.

      Our carpet is 19 years old. It’s dead, Jim.

  6. Update on my kid’s heart: S had a catheterization last Tuesday, and we had a follow-up appointment this afternoon. There are two issues. First, his valve is failing. It’s only five years old, and everyone was hoping it would last through puberty (growth is an issue), but these things are totally unpredictable. The valve doesn’t need to be changed now, but it is currently expected to need to be replaced in two to three years. Second, to address the broken pacemaker lead, the team is proposing to replace the pacemaker (even though it has a few years left) so as to move it up to his shoulder. They aren’t sure they would be able to find a good spot to position a lead on the outside of the heart, so they want to move up the schedule for switching to an internal lead. This is good in that they won’t have to go through his ribs (they’ll just leave the old leads in place), but bad in that the pacemaker will be much more noticeable. It’s a good thing my son (aka Medtronic Man) embraces his status as a cyborg.

      • Better than last week, thanks. The cardiologist has been hinting about the valve for a while, and I feel like that is just typical for my son. Nothing is ever easy, but it works out in the end. As for the pacemaker, I guess I am surprised by the plan. It isn’t what I expected, but I think it might be easier on S than the alternative of replacing the existing cable. It’s also going to happen about a month sooner than I thought–early December instead of January. This has all come up rather suddenly, but I trust the cardiologist tremendously.

    • Oh wow. I’m glad that you trust the cardiologist so much. That must be a huge help as you navigate all this. I’m glad you’re doing better and hope that things go well in December. Hugs.

  7. Well, I got back from our ed psych assessment, and it turns out he is fine. Everything (processing, etc) was in the normal to superior range, including attention, which was something I had wondered about, but his was in the 92nd percentile. She gave us some tips about ways to study that will be most helpful to him based on his learning strengths. Repeating things out loud, making pictoral charts and such.

    I think the diagnosis is he is a 12 year old boy with lackluster motivation levels. Which is pretty much what I have thought all along. At least now we know that he doesn’t have any learning issues.

    • I just sat at a school meeting and said I have a bad case of “13yearoldboyitis” . Later the Principal (who I adore) said “I’ll talk to him if you want….but I think you got off easy for the last two years….he’s been so great…this was bound to come along eventually”

      Glad you got “normal” test results – now you know he’s capable of doing the stuff – the motivation will come (for both of our boys!) and we get to push them along in the meantime!

      • see this is why I’m so revelling in Liza these days… I put my time in and have the scars to prove it so I’m darn well gonna enjoy the easy kid now!

      • Yeah, it’s funny – it is so contextual. Some things seem to be going so well and others are a bit of a disaster. I guess that is life but I was always more sort of even rather than having more obvious strengths in particular areas. Pretty much everything she said about him matched what I thought so that was validating I guess.

    • Yeah, I guess that’s good news, even if it leaves you without clear things to take on. Hope he will something that inspires him sooner rather than later.

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