Lemon-Scented Bivouac  

Fatherly and, eventually, teacherly blather. Also: graphic design, baseball, synthetic fabrics, jug band music and, lord help us, the occasional politics.

Saturday, February 15, 2003  


The corn cob was not in Val's colon; it was in his ileum, which is a tight corner near the end of the small intestine. That's dangerous. When the radiologist figured out it was there, he threw Val into surgery right away. The tissue around the corn cob was (said the surgeon on the speakerphone with Dana) angry but not necrotic (i.e., dead). Had we waited another day, or had the radiologist not made that call, Val might have been necrotic entirely.

Now he has to lie in a sedated state on a cushion in our living room, getting morphine derivatives via intravenous drip. If the 1-inch incision in his ileum leaks, the infection would be very bad, but I guess we can just hope that won't happen. While he's recovering, we have to take shifts watching over him and making sure he stays still -- won't be too hard; he'll mostly stay still. But we'll be housebound for days.

You'll almost never hear me make this plea, but: Call us or come on over. We could use some visiting, nothing major, just some talking or time in the back yard with the chickens. We'd appreciate it.

  posted by Andy @ 5:39 PM §

Meanwhile, since we can't march today (have to sit with Val while he's getting fluids, and Dana's a bit gravid for marching anyway), have a look at this speech to the Senate by Robert Byrd. I don't think anyone else has yet so eloquently laid out the case that we have an inept, arrogant prick for a President.

  posted by Andy @ 10:43 AM §

This morning we saw the last of Val's Thanksgiving Day corncobs -- on an X-ray. There, in Val's colon, was that inimitable image of the corncob that has kept Val from eating, drinking or (pardon) crapping for the last day and a half. It was the distinct possibility that the corncob could be in Val's small intestine that led us to take him to the emergency clinic at 4 this morning -- that, and the fact that he was (pardon) puking what he can't excrete. If that possibility had been real, he might have died without emergency surgery. As it, his colon can probably handle the job.

Val is resting now, utterly gorked on sedatives and receiving I.V. fluids. The Big Event will be when he (pardon) pops out his corncob and this whole damn mess, which began on Thanksgiving Day, ends at last. You can be sure we'll post the news when it happens -- only without an animated photo this time.

  posted by Andy @ 10:41 AM §

Friday, February 14, 2003  

Chiwi went very quickly, with no struggle. I think it felt good for her. Sucks for us.

In related news, something kept Val awake last night with an upset stomach -- probably the fact that we were upset and weren't sleeping well, and that Chiwi had a toxic scent about her. When we fed him this morning, he immediately barfed up the whole meal into a fresh, clean pile -- with a corncob on top. That would be -- has to be -- one of the corncobs that he ate when he plundered the chicken coop on Thanksgiving Day.

  posted by Andy @ 11:29 AM §


Sad news.

We're taking Chiwi to the vet this morning to have her put to sleep. She's been hanging by a thread since her heart failure, but in the last couple of days she has really crashed. As a consequence of the heart meds she needs to take to stay alive, her kidneys are failing. Now her body is flooding with the waste she can't excrete. There's no need to make her go through any more, as no new combination of drugs is going to improve things.

There's no right combination of words I can use here. It's just awfully sad. Dana found Chiwi as a rescue dog about eight years ago, and it was good fortune for both of them -- and me. She's a great dog. We'll miss her.

  posted by Andy @ 9:26 AM §

Thursday, February 13, 2003  

Okay. Last post. But it's not gloomy. The Onion A/V Club asked a bunch of celebrities: "Who could you take in a fight?" Of course, some of them are too nitwittish to give good answers (Eddie Vedder: "I think it's best to communicate your way out of fights."). But -- and this is a rule you can count on -- there is always David Sedaris:

The Onion: Who could you take in a fight?

David Sedaris: I bet I could take... I could take that kid who was in The Sixth Sense. What's his name?

O: Haley Joel Osment.

DS: Yeah. [Laughs.] I could just beat the shit out of him.

  posted by Andy @ 10:37 AM §

By the way, I promise to insert any wry anecdotes I can find into this newsletter to cut some of the Oil of Seriousness I've been pouring lately. I thought last night's class in Conscious Fathering would give me many Humorous Rants but, as it turns out, it was immensely practical (what grip do I use to lift the baby's legs and sneak the diaper under?). We spent lots of time with the realistically-heavy baby doll (with lots of yuk-yuk humor about men playing with dolls, gosh) whose vacant gaze provided a spooky simulation of an unresponsive but compliant baby. There was some talk about wives (and a modicum of she's-the-boss "humor," yuk-yuk) and I say right-on to the talk about not making her the gatekeeper to the baby, doling out a quota of supervised interaction with Dad.

I did respond tepidly to the moments of guy-talk, which I suppose were meant as an antidote to the (let's face it) mostly woman-oriented talk of the birthing classes. We got some jokes about how we probably think of her breasts as our personal playthings (huh?), and we were assured we might wonder: "Am I ever gonna get laid again?" (Eek.) I don't know how women feel about talk that's clearly in a girl-talk style, but I always feel like talk in a guy-talk style is really meant for someone else. Someone other than me, book-pansy that I am. But it's possible that most guys feel the same way, eh?

  posted by Andy @ 10:21 AM §

So a thread started on Metafilter about a (possible) insider's view of the global economic summit. Then, about halfway through the comments on the thread, a detailed, fascinating and pessimistic discussion on the global economy broke out. It's good reading, and surprisingly addictive.

I think Dubya's fiscal policies are spectacularly bad, but obviously large forces beyond a mere administration are at work. Summary: We may be fucked. Practical summary: Don't borrow money. Or: It may all be wrong (but it's hard to see how).

  posted by Andy @ 10:11 AM §

Tuesday, February 11, 2003  

A NYC anti-war protest parade has been denied a permit by a federal judge because "the nation and the City are currently at the second highest security alert." The CIA director is warning us all once again to be very, very scared. Meanwhile the Justice Department is putting the finishing touches on a sequel to the USA PATRIOT act giving the government the power to deport citizens for helping groups that pose a "threat to the security of the nation;" would virtually suspend all Freedom of Information Act requests; create a DNA database of terrorists and those who aid them; and would limit powers of review for the judicial branch of government (read: Supreme Court can't throw out this amazingly unconstitutional garbage).

This is what I think is going on: our country is turning into your company. Particularly your corporate employer. Your corporate employer values your input via the employee message box in the lunch room, or even e-mails to the HR department. And your employer promises to publish a newsletter that addresses your concerns, and will answer some questions at the all-staff meetings (in a careful, PR-friendly way, of course).

But your employer has no intent of allowing you to interfere with core business decisions, and your employer cannot discuss sensitive personnel issues. And do you really think your employer wants you picketing in the hallways? Or even talking against it loudly in the lunchroom?

It's our future, folks.

  posted by Andy @ 1:17 PM §

Monday, February 10, 2003  

Correspondent JJ writes:

and how come there is no link to the popcorn fork in your diary? this is the best site that i have come across today:



I am very interactive. I did, in fact, see the Popcorn Fork site a long time ago but, by the time I had started this site, had forgotten about it. Why? How? Could we truly say that all "Oriental" food is ideal for the popcorn fork?

  posted by Andy @ 10:10 PM §

You'll probably have a very enjoyable hour at bzzzzpeek listening to how children of 13 different countries make the sounds of about 20 different animals plus a few vehicles and a cuckoo clock. I give my award to the Hungarian kid. I also give a vote of utter confusion to the Korean renderings of animal sounds, almost all of which sound like "dhut-dhut" or "ten-ten." By the way: You'll need Flash to use the site.

  posted by Andy @ 12:30 PM §

Sunday, February 09, 2003  

Four more goals today. Afterwards some of the team went to Randy's for lunch and found a book of photographs of aviation disasters -- many of the images seemed to suit our season thus far.

More importantly, though, the giant baby shower was yesterday (that is, the baby-shower-which-was-giant, not the shower for the giant baby). Dana's mother and two aunts spent two days of shopping and many more in planning, and they worked fiercely; unbelievable. They also got us a crib and individual presents. I'm knocked out.

I was knocked out by everyone's presence and presents. Bravo; thanks. Quite symbolically, I woke around midnight last night and went into the bathroom only to find it smelled very strongly of Baby Stuff -- from the bucket of powders, lotions, li'l baby cremes, lineaments, emulsifiers, smoothers, appliques, gels, pastes, sanitizers, oils and soaps. But I'm already almost so used to the smell I can't actually smell it anymore. See -- symbolic!

  posted by Andy @ 2:49 PM §

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