Friday, January 22, 2010

Good news, bad news, and news

There's been a lot going down in Jentown these days, hence my prolonged blog absence. (I've noticed, actually, that by viewing the number of posts per month in the archives, you can easily see when I have a full-time job versus freelancing or unemployed.)

The good news, for me anyway, is that I got word today that my contract with my employer has been extended. So whereas the full-time job was to end next week, it now ends in May. Yay! Steady income! <3

In other good news, Dozer went to the ortho surgeon yesterday for his post-op (after surgery for torn meniscus) and got the all-clear to go back to his normal activities, minus the crazy circus act he puts on while playing fetch. So fetch is now more of a ball-rolling thing (soccer?).

Bonus photo of me in 1983 (age 4) about to whack my little sis in the face with a tether ball:

(Yes, I am wearing shorts. That's just a really long shirt.)

In the bad news category, I got sick with the mysterious illness again (swollen throat and fever)--it was a minor case that went away after a few days, but I still went to the ENT to try and get a diagnosis, only to learn that I will probably never get that. The ENT has concluded that 1) it's a virus, but unknown exactly which (the common ones like mono, strep, etc., have been ruled out), 2) it doesn't seem very contagious (no one around me gets it), 3) it's cyclical in nature for reasons he doesn't understand, and 4) all he can do is treat the symptoms.

Number 4 is unfortunate in that only steroids seem to work against it, and the Dr. says I shouldn't take steroids more than about three or four times a year. Since this is something that I get every two or three months, I plan to save the steroid requests for the bad cases like the one last August, where I was dealing with a high fever for almost a week (the dr. that time gave me antibiotics, which did not help at all).

In other news, Byrd is expressing interest in higher education on his own, without any prompting from me. I bought him an SAT prep book last week, with the hope that he would look through it and realize that college isn't out of reach. We sat down for a couple nights in a row to look over the vocab sections, like fill-in-the-blank sentences and item comparisons (hand:glove::foot:___). He was initially very confused ("Hand dot dot glove four dots foot two dots what? I have to know Morse code?") but seems to be doing better with just a little practice.

I hope he will hang in there and move toward community college as a first step. He's getting too old to continue at his current type of job, as labor, even if it's management-level. He and I both think he could be a great transportation engineer--he's often been consulted by engineers for various traffic projects and works closely with them in a number of ways, he knows the basics, is good at mathematical calculations, and he's a quick study--but the obstacles he's facing to get there are pretty significant, including his inability to read or write well, the length of time since he was last in school (and he never finished high school for that matter), his agoraphobia, and his undiagnosed but blatantly obvious dyslexia.


In my next post I am going to discuss something that has been a popular subject of late: breed-specific legislation versus breed-specific voluntary community programs (i.e. free spay/neuter for "pit bulls")--and why it's acceptable (from an ethical standpoint) to single out "pit bulls" (or other types or breeds of dogs) for special treatment in the latter case, but not the former.

Bonus photo of the word that Byrd slapped down to beat the pants off me in Scrabble:

If I recall correctly, this baby managed to hit several double or triple letter/word squares, and scored extra points because Byrd used all his letters. I think it ended up worth over 70 points, and as it was the last word in the game, I couldn't recover. Well played, sir, well played! (Yes, Byrd gets to use the dictionary freely to look up words, to level the playing field a bit. But still, what a perfect storm.)