I remember the worst moment of my life, the moment the world turned from friendly and full of hidden promise to dangerous and full of unspeakable peril. The moment the words, "Be careful!" became my mantra. The moment I realized all the chillingly simple and unpredictable ways my child could be killed.
Morgan was not quite a year old, standing on a chair, drawing with a pencil. I was so involved in his wanting to draw, I missed the clear and present danger. How could I have been so foolish? Then he fell off the chair, holding the dangerous implement. As I leaped to grab him, all I could see was that pencil lodged in horrible places.
It wasn’t. He cried for about a second, then climbed back onto the chair, back to drawing, never noticing the paradigm shift in our little universe. Wishing I’d let go of him and let him draw in peace. Meanwhile, I’m peering over my shoulder, seeing a house of treachery. Furniture. Pens. Probably dust-covered esophagus sized marbles rolling about in hidden corners reachable only by inquisitive baby-sized bodies… What had I forgotten to child-proof? And all this before bikes and swimming. How would my children survive childhood?
Or my neuroses? With any luck, they will learn to smile and ignore my high drama same as their father. Good thing they have a father or they would never have any fun. Fun is dangerous. When Morgan was four and we were at Disney’s Blizzard Beach, we passed the Summit Plummet on our way to the placid Cross Country Creek. Mo looked up at that slide and said, "I want to do that." I said, "Not a chance. Come on, we’re going to ride INNER TUBES." He looked skeptical, but followed me. What choice did he have?
Just as we got to the Creek, Hal decided he and Mo needed drinks. They were gone for an hour and a half. Where did they go????? The Summit Plummet! I wanted to kill Hal for encouraging such risky behavior. Instead, I dragged my fat old body up those zillion stairs and screamed my head off all the way down. It was terrifying. That’s fun? Mo followed me down, however, eyes wide open, huge grin on his face, silently ecstatic. That was the day he uttered the fateful words, "I’m scareless, Mom." Great.
Why no scareless Ryan stories? Because Ryan values staying alive over fun. He was looking both ways from his stroller. That’s my boy. The teen years seem to be wreaking havoc with that common sense… somehow he’s developed a taste for roller coasters. It’s Hal’s fault.
Now that the boys are gigantic, I’m pretty relaxed about their safety. I simply can’t protect them anymore. Fortuntely, they know everything. This will come in handy because there is still so much to be afraid of today. Like…
On Thursday night, while surfing the web, a window popped up on Hal’s computer that said, "Warning: Windows has discovered a virus and needs to do a security check." There was an "OK" box. He clicked OK, that window closed and thousands of new windows started popping up. As he closed the windows, more popped up… on and on seemingly forever. He finally got them all closed, continued reading and surfing, turned off his computer and went to bed.
The next morning, when he turned on his computer, all the data was gone. My Documents, My Pictures, My Music, Outlook and Outlook Express, all his emails, all his contacts, every file on his desktop, everything wiped spanking clean. Like new.
Now, we consider ourselves pretty geeky. We know the scams, we know a real Windows box from a fake one (or so we thought.) We know not to click anything no matter how flashy or how big the word "WARNING" until we know exactly what it is we are clicking.
But Hal must have been tired when he came upon this page because he didn’t examine it too carefully. He assumed his Windows Firewall was taking care of business and clicked OK. When all the windows started popping open, he then assumed he’d fallen for an advertising ploy, closed the pop-ups and went about his business. But while he was busy closing windows, software was being downloaded on his computer that erased all the data.
When Hal described the warning page to me, I suddenly remembered seeing it a few days before. Usually, as I’m reading an article online and come across a link to another site that looks interesting, I right click the link and select "open in new tab." That new page opens without my having to leave the page I’m on. I can finish reading, then visit the new page at my leisure. By the end of a few articles, I end up with a slew of pages open. Pages I haven’t yet seen. Somewhere along the way, either an extra window opened or a link had been hijacked because, as I finished articles and closed windows, I eventually found myself at the offending page.
It has a blue screen with a perfectly executed Windows warning box. I almost clicked it but then I looked closer and realized it was not an independent window generated by my computer as it appeared to be, but actually a graphic on the blue webpage. You NEVER click a graphic on a webpage unless you know where it’s taking you. I figured it was an advertisement for anti-virus software and closed the window instead of clicking OK. For a brief moment in time, I was smarter than Hal.
And how does one recover from an attack like this? Fortunately, Windows has a clever feature called System Restore found here: Start / Programs / Accessories / System Tools / System Restore. Newer versions of Windows create a restore point everyday. With System Restore, Hal was able to restore his computer to just a few hours before the erase!
Thank goodness we remembered this little rarely-used tool. When you open your computer and all your data is gone, your mind goes as blank as your disk. Wha’ happened??? We also have a hard drive back-up. But System Restore was the most efficient and most recent. These days, you want to know about this feature! These days, you also need to know about…
You know those earth-friendly expensive-to-buy-but-cheap-to-run lightbulbs we are all using now? Read this. You will see them in, ahem, a new light…
Over the past two months, I’ve given up dairy because of this written by Jane Plant, PhD and author. I feel great since doing this, by the way: sinus troubles gone, no junk in my throat. I highly recommend it. I don’t even miss butter!
I went on this diet two weeks ago and it seems to be working. I’ve lost a couple of pounds and Saturdays are SO FUN. Yesterday I had two large orders of McDonald’s french fries with catsup. The salt almost stopped my heart. Thank goodness, I don’t have to do that again for at least a week.
We rarely eat red meat anymore because of this. We eat tons of fruits and vegetables, mostly because they are so abundantly available here and breathtakingly cheap.
We take vitamins, go to the gym 5 days a week, try to get plenty of sleep. Laugh a lot.
But the other day, before reading the lightbulb article, I broke a bulb in Ryan’s room. I swept it up, threw it in a trash can. Licked my finger to get up the really tiny pieces and throw those away… All that good healthy living reversed in an instant. It’d be funny if it weren’t so scary.
Interesting article on Dairy I already sent it off to a few frieds. Would be interesting to tack the occurrence of breast cancer in western vegans.
AWESOME POST. I clicked onto every reference you listed. The light bulbs and mercury article was fascinating. Who knew?
Something else to really consider, my eating habits. Thank you for doing all the homework and sharing. Can you put a “search” on your blog so we can check back on topics you’ve written? I searched for the airline tracker and found it (when you were searching for your Mom). It didn’t work on my computer. Any other trackers you know of for checking a flight?
You are like my mom, she saw danger in everything but I ‘got grown’ with no limbs broken! Thanks mom and thank you, Saratica, for being there and giving us so much info to digest! Teri
p.s. I like the new Spanish Dict on the sidepanel.
The whole dairy thing has always been suspect to me. We never gave our boys milk to drink. It just made no sense that you could grow human bones from calcium in cow’s milk. And so much I read said it was b.s. so we just skipped the milk. The only time they drank it was on cereal which I hardly ever bought. Doesn’t seem to have stunted their growth… This article makes perfect sense to me.
Since moving here, I am more and more aware of the depth of the lies we are told in the U.S. about what is good for us, who’s on our side and who’s doing what to whom for the profit. It’s sickening.
Teri, I used to use the google search but google banned me… long story, one day… I’ve been wanting to find another search box so I will look for one right now! Thank you. Yeah, pretty interesting stuff….
I don’t think the article that you posted about the bulbs is very balanced. I’ve done quite a bit of research on them, and made the decision to buy them. Here is another article that at least somewhat refutes your article, although I won’t say whether it is balanced or not. It does have a clear opinion: http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/ask/cflmercury
Ask yourself this: If you are concerned about mercury and heavy metals, will you also not buy other sources of contamination, such as computer monitors and TVs? Do you get a flu shot? Do you eat any tuna or large fish? There are so many sources of contamination these days that you have to sometimes choose things that are better, although not perfect. In the case of compact fluorescents, I’m gambling that they are better, and that better recycling facilities will eventually exist to take care of the broken ones.
Thanks for the link, Trish. Good information to be found in both articles, I think. I didn’t mean to suggest going back to incandescents, just know the very real risks. We are still buying and using the fluorescents. But now, I’ll be a heck of a lot more careful when changing bulbs!!!
I read both articles and agree that the mercury is a problem but with care and education it should not be a serious one. And when the bulbs fail there are recycling drops where they can be taken.
Having changed out all but two bulbs in my home from incandescents to fluorescents I notice a significant drop in my monthly electric bill.
Even so I am waiting for the new LED bulbs -which purportedly will consume half to a quarter of the power needed for the fluorescent bulbs, which do not produce much heat, which actually become brighter over time, and which are impervious to most jolting (unlike the other two types of bulbs), and which also are able to survive the fluctuating power supplies in CR- to come down in price from $25 to $30 or so per bulb to something more economical.
Here is one discussion of LED bulbs, and there are others to pull up on the web:
[I wrapped the above URL on two lines to be seen in its entirety. May require a copy & paste.]
The LED bulbs listed on the URL above mostly have the Edison-type screw bases, so one can just switch your current bulbs out without retrofitting all the sockets.
One thing I am still searching for is a chart that compares the output of incandescent, fluorescent, and LED bulbs in terms the lay person can understand so one can easily understand which bulbs you need to choose for your own situation.
Let us just keep our collective fingers crossed (there’s an image for you) that LEDs don’t wind up causing their own set of problems for us or the environment. So far, though, all appears well with them.
Sorry for the second post on the heels of the first…
But I did just run across another URL with some LED comparatives that may be useful:
Energy Effecient Lighting
[Again a long URL needing a cut & paste routine. Sorry ’bout that.]
Thanks, Paul. Gee, I never heard of LED lights… where there’s a will, there’s a way I spose!
I had known about the crazy CFL clean-up information but not about the new LEDs coming out; thanks for the scoop, Paul.
Back to the blog, I just had to comment because AWWWWWWWWWW, look at those baby faces! The boys were such adorable little fellas. I bet you can’t believe how big they are now. Time sure flies.
I’m originally from Wisconsin. I think I would go insane if I tried to give up dairy. Pass the cheese, please!
Yeah, those boys were SO yummy when they were little. Hard to believe they turned into such giants. Still sweet, though. I’m a lucky girl!
Giving up the cheese was hard, but I’m in a militant frame of mind these days about my weight and health. Once I decided, it wasn’t that hard. And I can still have goat cheese – that’s pretty yummy! Goat’s milk in my coffee, too. And on Saturdays, I have whatever, even dairy if that’s on the thing I want. Like who could not eat pizza for the rest of your life?????
Warnings were always present about how fast kids grow up. I didn’t realize the truth nor the consequences to that until I actually experienced it with my own son.
Kids grow through phases and each phase represents a different person, a different person who, once he leaves that phase, will never be seen again. My 4 year old was unique as a 4 year old. And then he was an 8 year old. That 8 year old was not very much like the 12 year old at all and the 14 year old is an altogether different individual. I will miss the 14 year old once he becomes a man…which is the very next phase.
I took all the photos parents take along the way. There is one of my 8 year old with two missing front baby teeth and his red and white striped T-shirt. I took it one 4th of July evening as we sat on our roof watching the fire works over the lake. In those days he followed me everywhere. Now, as a teen, he has better things to do and the photo reminds me that we suffer losses every step of the way in our lives. I get extremely nostalgic sometimes for each of those little boys, never to be seen again….ever. Especially the 8 year old.
Yeah, if you want time to fly, have a kid. I guess that’s the biggest warning of all! Mo will be 17 in December… I can’t believe it.
Maybe a blog entry about goat’s milk and cheeses might be in order: sources, prices, products, etc., for there in CR.
I remember when, at the co-op store in Tampa years ago when I worked there, there was another member who kept goats and each week she would bring in fresh, unpastuerized goatmilk in recycled glass, gallon mayonaise jars.
I remember how the cream would settle to the top and the milk was so wonderfully fresh that, if you did not know it was goat’s mink, it was indistinguishable from cow’s milk.
I remember, too, how when I would drink it my sinuses would always clear up -until I ran out and had to drink cow’s milk again.
I also remember the time when some health inspectors on a routine passthru of the store found the goat’s milk in the cooler case and came down on the store, saying that it could not be sold for human consumption as the herd was not certified.
So we labeled it ‘for pet consumption only’ and continued to drink it ourselves.
Ahhh, them wuz the days…
You may not have to call in a HazMat team, but the clean up is pretty frickin’ scary sounding.
If you’re not eating dairy anymore, does that mean I shouldn’t make you any more ice cream? Or can we just pretend it’s soy and eat it anyway?
Not to split hairs or anything, but I stopped eating dairy FOR THE MOST PART. I did not lose my mind!!! Why? Have you been churning?
Hi, Paul, I finally made it to the organic market in Escazú and bought some organic unpasteurzed goat’s milk and goat’s cheese. It was all great. And this milk did not have the thick mound of cream on the top – guess they took that off to make the cheese! It’s delicious and you get about a third more for un mil ($2), lasts me almost two weeks.
I tried some of the herb goat cheese in my scrambled eggs – great! She has all kinds of cheese so when the boys get back and we want to make pizza, I’ll have that on hand. It’s a little more expensive than cow’s cheese but not much. I’m going to take photos and blog about the market next week, then it’ll be easier to get the prices.