Saturday, October 20, 2007

Answers and Updates

Just got done with an enormous project and a sticky personnel issue. So it’s back to the rest of life.

Re: $
Q: Why, exactly, are you sending HB to private schools?
We live in a city where the public schools are unfortunately very bad. Not “bad” as in the SAT scores are lousy—bad as in kids get shot at in school, and teachers have been so assaulted so severely that they end up crippled. If we lived somewhere where the public schools were so-so but safe, I’d send HB there; I’m no snob. But we are very committed to city living. And I’m hoping we’ll find a school that will be a good, granola-ish fit. No prep schools for HB. He can stay where he is through kindergarten, which is another two years.

Re: Running
Q: How do you run once the sun sets so early?
Find a well-populated and well-lit path, and wear a reflective vest.

Q: What's the best way to cool down? A hot, lukewarm, or cold shower?
My favorite thing to do is to wait to shower until I’m actually chilly, then take a hot shower. This is a rare luxury, however. If I have to shower soon after a run, I take as cold of a shower as I can stand. I have the unfortunate capacity to continue to sweat for hours. I have this patch between my shoulder blades that is like the core of a nuclear reactor.

Re: Driving
Q: Care to share your thrifty driving techniques?
It’s called hypermiling, and here’s a site that explains it. I always thought I was not an aggressive driver, but turns out, boy was I was wrong. I used to get 27 mpg in the city, and after only my third tank of using many of these techniques, I’m getting more than 32—which is higher than the rating on my car. It’s really fun, too—it’s a challenge. Some people take this to extremes. I’ll admit to squealing my tires a bit coasting down the parking garage if I’m leaving late and no one’s around, but I’ve never drafted an 18-wheeler.

Re: HellBoy
He’s been SO much easier lately. Because I’ve been calmer? Because he’s getting older? Because I’ve been even more careful about picking my battles and sticking with no if that’s what I’ve decided? Because he’s started telling us exactly what he wants us to say when we’re playing with him?* I really have no idea. But the amount of time he spends angry and crying is dramatically decreasing. Hallelujah indeed. (By the way: yes, that song appears in Shr-k. In the movie, John Cale sings it, but for the CD, they used the Rufus Wainwright version. HB prefers John Cale, though he does like other Rufus Wainwright songs—his favorite is Across the Universe, which for a long time he called “Nothing’s Going to Change My Worm,” and would explain, “Because my worm is perfect!”)

*Sample script:
HB: I’m John Cale. (aside:) Say, “Here comes someone who knows the words to Hallelujah!”
ME: Here comes someone who knows the words to Hallelujah!
HB (walking slowly onto the “stage”): Now I’m going to play a song that was written by Leonard Cohen. (aside:) Say “That’s my favorite song!”
ME: That’s my favorite!
HB: No, no, say “That’s my favorite song!”
ME: Oh, sorry. That’s my favorite song!”


Anonymous said...

Gawd, my older two do that same thing (demand a certain exact response from you, or that you say things juuuust so OR ELSE). Sometimes I wonder what makes them demand that from me, and then other times I wonder what makes me think I'll get away with slacking on the word order--am I incapable of LEARNING? Either way, isn't it like, the most charming thing EVER?

Anonymous said...

That is fascinating about the sweaty spot between the shoulder blades. I don't have a spot like that but I see others who do. I'd much rather have a sweaty spot between my shoulder blades than the tomato red face I get when I exert myself. Some people just don't know when they've got it good. :)

DoctorMama said...

oh, see, I have the sweaty spot AND the tomato face. When I run on really hot days (which is of course my favorite time to run), I've had people come up and ask me if I'm all right. Very embarrassing.

Jess said...

Thanks for the tips!!

I won't be drafting semis any time soon either...but maybe breaking and accelerating a little bit more gently.

Anonymous said...

I consider myself very lucky in that department - I sweat like a hose from my underarms but my face, forehead and between my shoulder blades remain absolutely dry and pale. Makes everyone think I haven't been trying hard enough at exercise class.

Re private school, here in Edinburgh the comprehensive ones (mostly) are perfectly fine but paying for childrens' education is a total status thing. As a teacher, it drives me mad. However, if my child's safety was at stake and I had the money I'd do the same as you.


Anonymous said...

Woops, apostrophe error, I think - in my defence, I am a science teacher.


Anonymous said...

Well, I think I'd take a sweaty patch on my back over my upper lip and forehead pouring sweat like Niagara Falls. Sometimes, I am blinded by the torrent of water.
Since I have had children, I drive much better. And, my husband and I both walk to work. I really hate to rush anywhere, so I allot my time accordingly. My husband, on the other hand, drives like a mad fool. It's the only thing I actually dislike about him. I will make sure he reads that info, especially the tail gaiting.

Ozma said...

What is it with the toddlers and their belief that if something is their favorite no one else can have it as a favorite.

It's like this funny fallacy they make. Only so much appreciation to go around!

I'm glad to hear Hellboy is easier now. I don't remember how old he is. My daughter definitely gets easier as she gets older but I wonder what's going to happen when she realizes we are total wimps and stops being (very slightly) afraid of our authority. So this might just be the salad says!

eviec said...

I hate when I take a shower after a workout and continue to sweat while getting dressed - I usually get the spot on my chest or stomach right around the boobs.

And I do think it is SO cute how toddlers have VERY specific ideas about anything. My son likes to specify where I sit on the couch and on which side of him I should sit when we are playing together.

Anonymous said...

I'm very glad things are going so much better with and for HB.

But I am COMPLETELY IN LOVE with the fact that he plays "John Cale sings Leonard Cohen" and the fact that he's a Flea fan, also.

What do you and HB think of Jeff Buckley's version of Hallelujah? I find it particularly haunting.

Anonymous said...

I love "Hallelujah" and also love most Rufus Wainwright songs.

I did my student teaching at an inner-city public school, and I don't think you need to justify sending HB to a private school. The first school I taught in had no cafeteria. The kids and I ate our lunches from vending machines. Every kid in my classes knew someone who had been shot. You can support public schools, but you don't have to sacrifice your first-born to them. The city has some responsibility in making the schools safe enough to support.

Anonymous said...

Hi Doc,

I really appreciated your comment on increasing mileage, and wanted to tell you about what I have done in this department. I was feeling guilty each day driving to work in my (small) SUV, with just me in the car. Over a period of months, I looked at alternate means of transporting myself to work, and investigated buses (too long), biking (just knew I wouldn't do it), and carpooling (not frequent enough). I ultimately decided to buy a scooter. I first wanted to get an electric scooter, but when I discovered that the maximum speed was 30kph, I looked at gas scooters, and found the Honda Jazz scooter (called the Honda Metropolitan in the US). It's a 49cc scooter that doesn't require the user (in Vancouver, where I live) to have a motorcycle license.

Max speed for the scooter is 70kph, and it gets me to work about 5 minutes slower than the car, but the best part is almost nil emissions and the gas is approximately $5 per week - less than busfare!

The cooler temps and rain are now are a bit of a challenge, but I geared up with windproof/rainproof clothing and I'm good to go. I figure I'll have to go back to the car if it snows or is really cold, but otherwise, it's the scooter for me.

I've got over 2300km on the scooter now, and that's 2300km that's not on my SUV, and I feel virtuous every time I ride it!

Give it a shot, Doc - you might like it!

Orange said...

I checked out that Hypermiling site and tried to put the suggestions into action on Sunday. I learned that it's really hard to be a thrifty driver in stop-and-go highway traffic. My new hobby will be keeping the dashboard readout set to show me the average MPG for my trip, and try to maximize that. Why, I feel more virtuous already!

valleygirl said...

I'm new to this site, and I'm loving the blog (and archives). I'm a 30-something mom that is starting the pre-req journey for med school. I'm glad I've found another interesting blog to help me procrastinate ;)

Erin said...

What about the sweaty belly? Or am I the only person who gets that? I feel it's somehow more embarrassing to lead with the big sweaty patch than to have the sweaty spot on one's back... you're making your getaway by that point!

HRCFS said...

Thank you Dr.Mama - ran my first 5K on Saturday. wouldn't have done it without being a maggot of yours.

Catherine said...

Have you heard k.d. lang's version of Hallelujah? It blows the others out of the water.