Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ugh! Dental Surgery

(Originally posted on Sunday, October 14, 2007 by Tim)

This week's big event for me has been dental surgery. Some of you may have noticed that I used to brush my teeth with a Sonicare toothbrush. This resulted in the recession of some of my gums. The hygienist has switched me to an Oral B with a very soft brush and a draconian cleaning routine. Unfortunately, it was too late for three teeth and I needed a connective tissue graph (don?t look at this one while you?re eating, it?s gross).

So here I sit, two days later, with a swollen face, a black eye, and stitches all over the inside of my mouth. My current diet is composed primarily of Ensure supplemented by soups, yogurt, and apple sauce. It will continue as such for the next few weeks.

While the procedure and the aftermath have been unpleasant, I can comfort myself in the following facts:

1. The procedure wasn?t as bad as 14 hours of natural labor.
2. The diet in the aftermath isn?t even close to having my jaw wired shut and drinking only Ensure for 6 weeks (this happened to Cathy in college).

These two comforts came from my hygienist and Cathy. Neither mentioned them with direct reference to my predicament. Well, maybe Cathy?s comments on the jaw wired shut were. The hygienist made her comments when she and I were discussing whether or not I should get general anesthesia for the procedure (which I declined in the end). She commented that it would be fine with my mouth being numbed as long as I didn?t freak out when I saw dental instruments. In reference to not liking the loss of control involved with general anesthesia, she mentioned that all three of her kids were natural births. I made the connections between that and this procedure not being as bad as child birth on my own.

It seems that child birth will now be the extreme example used to compare all painful events. It?s kind of like comparing all bad movies to Highlander 2.

Now that I?m now on my all very soft foods diet, I?m going to be making a bunch of soups. I may start posting soup recipes as a result. This may result in a burst of postings over the few weeks or it may result in more radio silence. I?ll let you make your own bets on the outcome.

Last night, we made broccoli, apple, and peanut butter soup (yes, it?s really a recipe). It was different in a good kind of way. Here?s the recipe. It?s slightly modified from Soups for all Seasons by Nava Atlas.

Broccoli, apple, and peanut butter soup
2 tbs butter
2 large onions (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
3 medium carrots (sliced)
3-4 cups broccoli tops (very finely chopped)
2 medium apples (peeled and diced)
6 cups of vegetable stock
¼ of white wine
1 tsp of garam marsala (it?s a spice)
2/3 cup peanut butter
¼ cup of lemon juice

Melt the butter and sauté the garlic and onions in a soup pot. Cook over medium heat until the onions just start to brown. Add carrots, broccoli, apple stock, wine, lemon, and garam marsala. Bring to boil and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and add peanut butter. Use a hand blender to puree the soup. Fish out any chunks of food that obstinately avoid the mixer and feed them to the baby. If you should be in the unique situation that you are not cooking for someone on a liquid diet, feel free to leave the soup a bit chunky.

The soup is now ready to serve unless you aren?t allowed to eat anything hot. If that is the case, wait until it is lukewarm and then enjoy.

We had a first when we took Dalton to the park yesterday. The ?park? is the playground at the local elementary school. It has the standard jungle gym with attached slides. Dalton loves slides. We generally put him at the top, hold his hands, and he zips on down. Once he?s at the bottom, he turns around and tries to climb back up the slippery slope. Having been at a number of parks with slides of late, I?ve been surprised at how many kids climb up the slide as opposed to climbing the ?stairs? on the other side.

Yesterday, one of the slides was pretty short and Dalton started going down it on his own. I don?t know if I?ve posted this before, but he has a ?no? with a head shake that is in his vocabulary. When Cathy would stand at the middle or the end of the slide, he would say ?no? and shake his head. If she was clear, down he would go on his own. He was also walking around and climbing up the stairs to the top of the slide on his own. It was very cool to watch. We would have gotten pictures, but we?re bad parents and forgot the camera.

I know that you all want to see some pictures of my puffy face and black eye, or better yet, the inside of my mouth. Unfortunately, I don?t have any at the moment so you will have to settle for a cute picture of Dalton signing ?more?.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Chore Wars

(Originally posted on Sunday, October 7, 2007 by Tim)

I?m an avid gamer and I hate doing house work. With that knowledge at hand, you may find it surprising that I haven?t played a video game since the end of July and I?ve been doing large amount of house work (for me at least). The explanation for my aberrant behavior is simple and I?ve been using regularly over the last year.

I blame the baby.

I've decided that I don't want Dalton playing video games. I'm not sure how I'm going to pull this off considering how ubiquitous they are these days. My plan is to play it by ear, however, it has not escaped my notice that it will be very hard to make an anti-video game argument if I'm playing them myself. Hence the cold turkey behavior over the last two months.

The increase in housework is baby related as well. We have an old house and we want to keep it cleaner with Dalty running around.

If you?ve been reading this blog for some time, you know that I can be obsessive at times. This is particularly the case when there is a goal involved. Recently, I managed to put this behavior to good use when Cathy and I agreed to a 30 minutes a day rule for housework. Not only did this new system set a goal for daily housework, but it rolls over from one day to the next. This set off my compulsion to collect and hoard. I quickly piled up minutes and I?m currently several days ahead. It just doesn?t get any better than this.

Ahhh, but it does. This weekend, I discovered that there is a web site out there (Chore Wars) that allows you to set up a Dungeons and Dragons type game where you advance by completing chores. I had seen a webcomic on Penny-Arcade (rated PG13 for language) making fun of the web site months ago, but I hadn?t realized that there was actually a game associated with it. I anxiously explored the site to see if my house cleaning experience could be improved, but I was disappointed to find there wasn?t much to the ?game? of Chore Wars. It is pretty much just a chore tracking system.

Fortunately, I had a lot of time in the car this weekend. What I needed was some sort of game where doing more chores yields an advantage. I was brainstorming with Cathy on this and we came up with a set of modified rules for Scrabble. The game is played as normal with the following exceptions.

1. You get a letter for 5 minutes of housework.
2. You can play consecutive words as long as you aren?t just adding to the end (no singular word immediately followed by the plural).
3. You can have more than 7 tiles.
4. No bonus points for 7 letter words.

The result has been a 50% increase in housework for me. Not only do I get to hoard my extra days of work done, but I get to compensate for the fact that Cathy is significantly better at Scrabble than me.

Ok, ok, I know that you really want to hear about Dalton, but I need to get to bed. He?s a great kid and he?s doing well. He?s got a bunch of words and he?s walking and climbing on everything. The picture above is from last week.