Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Is my new job doomed?

Or is it just Halloween?

So, I survived my first day and was only 3 minutes late on my very first day. For my second day, they wanted me to go visit one of our other locations in another state and tour there. SO, I was determined not to be late. I left my sister-in-law's house a bit before 6:30 am. I got to the location 70 miles away at about 7:45 am. 15 to 45 minutes early (I said I'd be there between 8 and 8:30). I took the interstate there. Everyone told me there was a better/shorter way, so I dutifully took down the directions and since we were kicking off early, I figured I'd try it out since it would still be light out (begin rant on the end of Daylight Saving Time: I'd like to stay on it year-'round. I don't mind driving to work in the dark, but I'd like at least a few minutes of daylight at home in the evenings...end rant).
The guy I met at the plant said he'd go first and I could follow him. I told him that wouldn't be necessary if his directions were any good. The first line of the directions went like this: Take a right out of the driveway and go to the first stop light (about 26 miles). Dude, I'm a city girl. I have never i my life gone 26 miles on a non-interstate and not hit a stop light. I mean, really. So, let's just say I was in corn. Oh yes, corn.
So, I told the guy I wouldn't follow him. I went first and he fell behind. A couple cars got in between us, but he was still back there for 20 miles. I tried calluing my sister to pass the time, but here in teh corn, I had no cell service. Then....I blew out a freaking TIRE. A g_d-d*amned tire. The guy had turned off about 2 miles back, so he wasn't coming up behind me. It was getting dark. I wasn't entirely sure where I was. I don't have Triple A. My nearest family was my sister-in-law and her husband 50 miles away. I called my husband while I looked for my jack. Thank goodness the cell coverage here was better.
I drive a pick-up truck. A nice, heavy 4WD truck. I had to remove the car seat from the back seat of my truck so that I could flip the seat forward to access my jack. My husband meanwhile was telling me to call roadside assistance and not take help from anyone if they stopped. I don't have roadside assistance. He assured me that I could call them and they would bill me. I have no idea if this is true, but whatever. I told him I would start to change the tire and would call for help if it got dark before I finished.
So, I got the jack.
Then, I realized it was cold and I put on my coat.
Took the crowbar and removed the lug nut caps (and put them in the glove box so I wouldn't lost them). While in the glove box, I got out the flashlight, just in case).
I "broke" the lug nuts to make sure I could.
I inserted the jack into the slot on the frame designed for that purpose.
I blocked the front wheels.
I lowered the spare tire down from its storage location under the bed of the pickup truck. I crawled under the truck to retrieve the spare.
I loosened the lug nuts most of the way.
I jacked the truck up until the tire was off of the ground.
I remvoed the lugnuts and set them carefully on the ground.
I removed the tire and threw it (I have no idea how, but I bet I'm sore tomorrow) in the bed of the truck.
I rolled the spare over to the wheel.
I lifted the spare into place.
The wheel hub was too low.
I jacked teh car more and tried to put the tire on.
Repeat re-jacking.
Repeat placing the wheel on.
Repeat jacking.
Eventually, I lifted the tire onto the hub.
I put each lug nut on finger tight.
I lowered teh truck just until the tire was barely touching the ground.
I tightened a lug.
Then I tightened the lug opposite with the lug wrench.
Then I continued doing that three or four times until they were about as tight as I could get them.
I lowered the truck to the ground, unblocked the wheels, threw the jack, crowbar, lugwrench, flash light, etc into the bed of the truck.
Called my husband to tell him it was done.
He made me go to the nearest gas station ( 6 miles) and call him so he could talk me through checking the tire pressure (please, I don't need to be talked through that). I inspected the other tires with the flashlight (as it was now dark), and continued teh 45 miles on to my destination.

So, I feel like quite the badarse now. Really, I did not cry and I changed my tire and no one helped me. Honestly, refusing the help of strangers was not a problem since no one stopped to offer help and lots of people drove by. Perhaps they didn't stop since i had it under control. Either way, I am high on grrrrl power right now. I changed my tire. Woo Woo. And, did I mention it only took me 25 minutes? Yep. I am bad. OK, really, I was panting when it was over, because I was moving so fast and I am woefully out of shape, but I did it. Yay for me.

Morals of the story: know where your spare is and how to change it. Keep your spare tire properly inflated (check it when you check your other tires). Make sure the lug nuts are not so tight you can't remove them. In fact, my husband rotates my tires periodically, and I made him promise not to put them on too tight. They are supposed to be on with 100 pound-feet of torque. I can remove that. But some guys really lean on them, and then I can't get them off. Or, if you don't rotate your tires, sometimes, they get rusty and hard to move. So, rotating good, snug but not too tight, also good.

My first day of Work - by the numbers

3: Number of minutes I was late on my first day
2: # of dollars I was paid so that my image could be used in advertising materials
4: # of forms I signed acknowledging receipt (policies and whatnot)
2: # of times my base salary of my life insurance
Nine million: # of people I met whose names I will not remember
5: # of people I met whose names I will remember
2: # of floors in the general office building
0: times I got lost in the building
2: hours spent at lunch (at Applebee's) and then getting a tour of the area
12: # of times I was asked why an engineer would be going into Sales
12: # of times I had no good answer to that question

Today is Halloween

...and my son is a lion. We supplied the juice for the day care party. I hope they took pictures because I am missing all of this.

Being away from my baby

I read Goodnight, Moon over the speaker phone before bed last night. Am very resourceful.

Football - Out Team Lost

We traveled for the Big Ten football action. Our team ended up losing, but the weather was beautiful. All eight of us ended up with mild sunburn on our noses.
There were 4 couples at the game. One couple is pregnant, due in May. THey already have one child. We, obviously, have Chuckles. The other two coupls don't have any children yet.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Off for Football

My husband and I are leaving Chuckles with my MIL and we're taking off in the car for a bit of a road trip. We're off to see a Big Ten football game this weekend. We'll be back on Sunday to retrieve Chuckles and do laundry, then I leave for my new job.

Last Day of Work - by the numbers

# of gifts received: 5 or so (does getting lunch bought count?)
# of times I cried: zero before 4:30, after that it gets a little fuzzy
# of conference calls I took with customers today: 1, but our phones went down, so I had to dial in again from my cell while standing in the parking lot since there is no cell service in the building
What my out-of-office message says: I am out-of-the-office indefinitely. Please redirect your email.
# of pregnancy tests I took today: 1 (this is an interesting story I'll have to blog later)
Amount of work done today: Surprisingly large
# of boxes it took to pack my office: 2 +1 for all the food leftovers
# of Clorox wipes I used cleaning my office: 6
# of minutes after I had let the office before someone repurposed my chair: -5 (I wasn't gone yet)
How I feel about leaving: Sad but excited about the journey ahead of me

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Flu Shots

Just for the record, both Chuckles and I got our flu shots. Neither of us is at particular risk, but children are the most common carriers of flu, and I didn't want him to spread it to any of his SIX grandparents. And I just don't like being sick.

Flu Shots

Just for the record, both Chuckles and I got our flu shots. Neither of us is at particular risk, but children are the most common carriers of flu, and I didn't want him to spread it to any of his SIX grandparents. And I just don't like being sick.

Big Changes Brewing in the Sarcastic Household

And I'm not talking diapers (although I think that needs some attention right now).

OK, I'm back. Where was I? Oh yes, changes. We are selling our house and relocating. I quit my job and am starting a new one next week. My husband will also quit his job once our house sells, and we'll relocate somewhere. Nothing like doing everything all at the same time. So here's the count:
1. New Job (in a new field)
2. Sell House
3. Buy House
4. New Job (TBD)
5. New day care
6. Relocate to a new city, county, state, etc.
7. I foresee a nervous breakdown here somewhere. Probably mine.
8. Did I mention I will be living with my sister-in-law while I go to my new job while my husband and son stay in our house and try to sell it? I didn't??? I must be blocking that part out of my mind. In fact, I must be out of my mind to leave my Chuckles behind.
9. Have I gone completely mad? I haven't been away from my son for more than 14 hours during his entire life (with the exception of a 30-hour hospital stay for my appendectomy but I was drugged, so I hardly recall).

Sarcastic Family Cat

In passing, I'd just like to say that I miss our cat. We had to put her to sleep October 6th after 20 years, 2 months of slothful service. She haad chronic renal failure, which turned acute. She also had steroid-induced liver failure. She tooks steroids for over 10 years for asthma. She was also diabetic, had arthritis, and her lens had detached from her eye and was about to touch her cornea, which is a very painful condition. I did not want her to suffer. I miss her every day.

People (including me) often wonder how you'll know when it's time to euthanize an animal. I just knew. I still doubt myself that maybe I did it too soon because I was tired of cleaning up the messes, but really, when we had the little memorial service, I realize how far down her quality of life had gotten. She no longer groomed herself, rarely left her bed, and no longer haad a cat's zest for life.

Monkey Bread -revisited

The Monkey Bread was a big hit at work. The favor was a little odd (kind of like canned dough), but everyone enjoyed it. I am making an old-fashioned banana bread and another Monkey Bread for Friday, which is my last day.

Absentee Ballot has Arrived

I got my ballot in the mail last night. I mailed the application on Thursday and got the ballot the following Wednesday. That's not too bad. I will start researching the candidates today.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

NJ State Supreme Court Paves Way for Gay Marriage

The NJ state supreme court has held that the state's constitution does not allow the state to discriminate against gays and lesbians by denying them the benefits heterosexuals get from marriage. This does not necessarily mean NJ will get gay marriage. They might also get some separate-but-equal civil union arrangement.
All 7 justices on the state court believed the state constitution bars such discrimination. They only differed in what they thought should be done with that. 4 thought it should go back to the legislature. 3 thought they should just allow gay marriage right there in their decision. Most people believe that is called "judicial overreach", but whatever. It's all good.

The Exit Interview

I alluded to the fact that I recently quit my job. Today I had a pseudo-exit interview. Actually, I had teh exit interview about 3 weeks ago (because the HR guy's wife was 9-months pregnant he wanted to make sure he was there for me - by the way, she had a girl).

Anyway, today Mr. HR wanted to ask me what questions to ask interviewees who are applying for my job. He wanted to make sure they knew their stuff. I told him to interview as normal - teamwork, deadlines, communications, prioritization, etc and assume they were competent in their skills. The following is a pretty true representation of our conversation:

HR: Right, right, right, after all what you do is not rocket science.
SC: That's right; it's brain surgery. Lobotomy anyone?

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


I just checked Freakonomics out of the library (Chuckles was in tow, and I spent the better part of checking out with my book imploring him not to go behind the counter bothering the nice librarian lady). Review of the book to follow before Nov. 7th when it's due back.

More blogging on birth control

This month's "Brain, Child" magazine has an article about birth control. I enjoyed it as I enjoy reading about birth control (no idea why).

Anyway, the article states thusly:
And consider these two facts: According to the National Center for Health Statistics' National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), in 2002, twenty-one percent of women fifteen to forty-four years of age reported their most recent birth was "mis-timed"--meaning, the baby was wanted, just not then. Twelve percent of that total were deemed by the women to be "seriously mistimed"--that is, occurring two or more years too soon. The study doesn't specify, but at least some of those mistimed babies are likely be moms with birth control mess-ups on their hands.
I love the IUD. I don't use an IUD because as I mentioned, I have PCOS and one of the best treatments for it (if you are not currently trying to have a baby) is to use oral contraceptives. Why don't more women use an IUD? Women who are of childbearing age right now are too young to remember the Dalkon Shield mess up and PID, so why aren't we using it? I may use it in the future after I have a second (completely hypothetical) child. Today's modern IUDs are smaller than earlier generations'. There is the copper-T and the Mirena. The Mirena is progestin-coated and can lighten periods. In fact, many many women who use progestin-coated IUDs stop having periods completely. I'm all for that. I wonder if Playtex and Tampax are paying to keep the IUD down. Where will my conspiracy theories take me next?

Election Predictions

There's been a lot of talk recently about who will win and who deserves to win the Fall elections.

The Republicans are supposed to be fiscally conservative.

The Deomcrats are supposed to be socially liberal.

During GWB's presidency, I have not seen fiscal restraint. The democrats, likewise, do not impress me with their plans for the global war on terror/war on islamofascism.

I live in an area where the congressional races are not wide open. The democrats have a lock on the representatives. There are some jobs at the state level that are actually contested, but for representatives and senators, I know who is going back (again and again). It's at the micro-local level where our races are most competitive. School Board could go to any number of different people (as they don't run with party affiliation (they're all republicans anyway)). So,l I am still excited about my absentee ballot.

Overall though, I think the republicans will retain one house and the democrats will gain the other. That's the way it should be. They won't be able to pass any stupid laws this way. No partial birth abortion bans, no Defense of Marriage Acts, and maybe they will be forced into some transparency/earmark reform so they can look like they're doing something. Heck, maybe they'll repeal Campaign Finance Reform and institute term limits while they're at it. I must be delirious.

Tennessee has anti-gay marriage amendment on ballot

I wouldn't go so far as to say I am pro-gay marriage, but I'm certainly not against it. You could say I am neutral toward it. Frankly, I don't care what other people do in their private lives (see also: abortion).

Anyway, where am I going with this? Yes, yes. Amendments to state constitutions to ban gay marriage are on the ballots this fall in both Tennessee and Virginia. I really hope both of those amendments are defeated and gays win the right to marry. Then, I want to see them taxed just like the rest of us married folks. Then, we'll all be equal.

The Milk Allergy

OK, at the end of the last post, I just threw my son's milk allergy out there. It's true. He's allergic to the rubbery protein, casein, found in milk. There are different kinds of casein. There's alpha and there's beta. One is in human milk, the other in cow's milk. Apparently, he's only allergic to the one in cow's milk since he nursed forever without problem. I've read that breastmilk and goat's milk have the same casein. I could put him on goat milk, but have you seen the price? It's like $4 per quart. Soy milk is only 88 cents/quart. The boy gets soy.

Did you also know that casein shows up in some pretty weird places? Like hotdogs? It's true.

Did you also know that he is not allergic to lactose or whey? He is able to consume baby formula for this reason. I'm all concerned about too much exposure to soy's phytoestrogens and possible stunting of his gonad development, so I mix the soy milk with some milk-based formula from time to time.

Why I had an atomic cake at my son's 1st Birthday

I alluded to an atomic cake in my last post. It's true. I gave him a store bought cake. There's a good story to that. I was going to make him a fruit juice sweetened carrot or banana cake with cream cheese frosting for his first birthday (really I was). His birthday was on Friday.

The Sunday before, we would up at urgent care. He had some illness and crud that children often get. Monday, my husband wound up at the hospital with a 104-degree fever for a chest x-ray for suspected pneumonia. At work Monday, I nearly passed out on the couch in the ladies' room. Chuckles was just a year old (duh since his b-day was right around the corner). My monthly cycles were not yet back, but I had weaned him about 3 or 4 weeks earlier. I thought I had the mother of all period cramps (or possibly an ectopic pregnancy) or as I emailed Jenn: "I think I got a hold of some bad clams". Monday night, my MIL came over to help me with Chuckles since he still wasn't all the way better, my cramps were better but still pretty bad, and my husband was doing none-too-well and needed a little TLC from his mommy. The pregnancy test I took came back negative so at least I knew I wasn't at risk of rupturing a Fallopian Tube right there on the living room floor while reading Goodnight Moon.

Tuesday morning, I got up, took Chuckles to day care, called my obstetrician and described the pain, and per her instructions, went straight to the emergency room where I was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and underwent an emergency laparoscopic appendectomy that evening. My husband was forbidden from coming to the hospital as he was so ill he might infect others or pick something else up. My son was retrieved from day care by my FIL and my MIL waited at the hospital with me until I walked up to the operating room myself.

So, I decided not to cancel Chuckles's birthday party. My mom offered to pick up a cake and she called a cleaning lady on my behalf. I contracted with a caterer to supply tacos and I had already purchased the liquor (what you don't serve liquor at your child's parties?). If anything hadn't gone perfectly according to plan or my house wasn't quite clean enough, I had the perfect retort: "I *just* got out of the hospital after having abdominal surgery!".

So much for the bulgar wheat germ cake. Turns out Chuckles is allergic to milk, so the cream cheese frosting would have been a bad idea anyway.

A little more...

I'm slightly horrified that the first recipe I posted contained canned dough. I swear I only made it because someone requested it specifically. Normally, I'm all whole wheat flour and sea salt and whatnot. My poor kid wasn't even allowed real cake on his first birthday. I just gave him teh fruit from the atomic cake.

Speaking of my poor kid....I don't let him watch TV. I just don't get why anyone would let their infant and then toddler do it. OK, that's not true. I would totally let a second child watch TV while the first kid ran around like a screaming banshee if it meant I got to pee in peace with the door closed. So, Chuckles eats no Chips Ahoy and knows not Baby Einstein. I have a sneaking suspicion my mother-in-law (MIL) lets him watch TV and feeds him cake. I swear my parenting decisions are not a personal indictment of how she raised my husband. In fact, I think she did a bang up job (what with the responsible and the not beating me and everything). I just don't want to let my son watch TV right now. OK, that's all for now.

Monkey Bread - Out of the Oven

Some of the monkey bread stuck to the pan, so I had to eat it. I must say "yum".
Here is the recipe:
2 cans refrigerated dough (like Pillsbury Grands (R) dinner rolls)
3/4 cup sugar mixed with 1 T cinnamon
A large handful of chopped walnuts or pecans

Melt together:
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 stick margarine
1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Heat oven to 350F.
Butter or spray a non-stick fluted tube pan (like a Bundt(R) pan)
Drop in a few of the nuts
Cut up the rolls into 4 or 5 pieces per roll
Roll the roll pieces in the cinnamon sugar mixture
Drop pieces loosely into pan
throw the nuts in intermittently
Drizzle with melted mixture as you layer teh roll pieces

Bake at 350F for about 40 minutes
Let cool five minutes and turn out onto a pretty plate

Meet the Cast

Star: SarcastiCarrie
Star's Sidekick and Son: Chuckles
Husband: Long-suffering
Star's Friend: Jenn
Star's Other Friend: Carly
Star's Family: Completely Nuts but pretty wonderful

Let's meet Jenn. Jenn works for a large corporate conglomerate. They think they're cool. They think they are the Big Effing Deal. Let's call her employer BFD, for short. Jenn and I both have primarily desk jobs. We email during the day. We make obtuse references to Office Space. I make references to the Simpson's and she is polite enough not to point out my obsessions.

Jenn will be an occasional commenter on this blog, and I will be quoting from her emails freuently as time goes on. She comes up with some good ones.

Let's talk about PCOS

I just briefly touched on PCOS in my last post. Let's talk a little bit more about that.

It affects 5-10% of women of childbearing age. They have higher than average rates of obesity, hirsuitism, infertility, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, adult acne, endometrial cancer, and lesbianism (I know, that's odd). They have lower than average rates of ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. It's a complex endocrine disorder.

I have a very mild case of it. The only symptoms I have are anovulatory dysmennorhea and infertility. The infertility was treated successfully once and I do have Chuckles now, but I am still anovulatory and probably won't be able to get pregnant again without seeking help. I do not have insulin resistance and obesity (yet). I have some excess facial hair, and I keep it in check with daily pluckings and the occasional waxing.

One of the best treatments currently available for PCOS (to treat symptoms) is use of oral contraceptives. That's great unless you are Catholic and forbidden from using them or are trying to treat infertility. Many people also use insulin sensitizing drugs like metformin (Glucophage).

Today Show

I'm very happy Katie Couric left the Today show. I started hating her the day she said that fellatio degrades women. Sure, Katie. Sure it does. Or, alternately, it's a part of a happy, healthy marriage. Whatever.

Anyway, I am home from work today and I flipped on the TV. Meredith Viera was talking with someone about obesity and infertility and how they are related. Meredith did a very nice job. I was impressed. BUT. And you knew there was a but coming. But, I think both Meredith and the good doctor she was interviewing missed a key part. They both treated it as if obesity causes infertility. And this can certainly be true. However, PCOS (poly-cycstic ovarian syndrome) causes both obesity and infertility. So, it's correlative not causative. They were treating it as if it were a lifestyle and willpower issue. I am sure sometimes it is, but for many women it is not.

Monkey Bread

I recently quit my job. I'm still working, though, waiting for the last day. At a co-worker's request, I am baking Monkey Bread today to bring to the office tomorrow. I've never made anything that included canned dough before. If it turns out well, I'll post the recipe. If not, we'll forget this ever happened.

Monday, October 23, 2006

November Elections - Absentee Ballot Ordered

I'll be out of town on Election Day this year, so I took one of those Absentee Ballot applications mailed by the Republican Party to my home's previous owner, filled it out, and mailed it in. I rather like the idea of voting from home. I can sit at the computer, google the candidates, read news articles about them and their own websites, and make informed electoral decisions.

If you don't have the option of voting absentee, I encourage you to go to your local Board of Elections website and print out a sample ballot so you can see the candidates and issues before you step behind the curtain.
There was an article in slate http://www.slate.com/id/2151746/?nav=tap3 that talks about new hormonal contraceptive methods, specifically birth control pills, that let a woman have zero to four periods per year. Apparently, this is controversial. I don't see it.
I have a toddler. I have not had a period in 29 months. Between being pregnant (9 months), nursing (11.5 months), and taking the progestin-only mini-pill since my son was 5 months old, menses stopped. I couldn't be happier.
The natural order of things was for a woman to spend most of her child-bearing years bearing children and nursing them. We are not meant to spend 40 years with a monthly period.

Choo-choo on my Shoe

I have a toddler. My toddler, Chuckles, is learning to talk. He has some knock-off Robeez from Target with trains on them. He recently told me that there is a choo-choo on his shoe. He is absolutely correct.

Dow 12,000

I'm very excited that the Dow has finished about 12,000. It actually means nothing since those 30-odd stocks in the Dow make up very little of the overall stock market, but I hope psychologically it will bolster the markets and rising tides raise all ships, so perhaps, make me a little money.

First Post as a "Test"

This is the test post to check formatting and templates and all things bloggy.