Friday, November 30, 2007

I am the Ralph Nader for parents

So I sent DH to Target a few days ago for a new thermometer. The one we have takes about a minute to read, and needless to say, our almost-2 yr old isn't too happy with that thing under his arm for so long, particularly when he's not feeling great which happens to be the only time we try to take his temperature.

DH comes home toting a Vicks thermometer that proclaimed "Professional Accuracy". (I guess the thermometer with semi-professional accuracy isn't such a hot seller.) More importantly, it also boasted an "8-second reading*". I was satisfied until I noticed the asterisk and should have known something was amiss.

I opened up this thing and tried it under my own tongue. After 22-seconds, I was proclaimed not feverish. Great, but what about 8 seconds? I tried it again, with the same result. So I called the customer service and an oh-so-helpful Paul tells me that although the thermometer is "accurate" after 8 seconds which is the "quick-read temperature", but the "peak" temperature isn't read until up to 60-seconds. Peak? Does my kid get more feverish the longer this instrument is under his arm? I explained that when I take his temperature, it's because I want to know if he has a fever, which translates to: I want an accurate number reflecting how hot his little body is. If I call our pediatrician and say his "quick read temperature" is 100.9 but his "peak" temperature is 104.9, I have a feeling she'll be glad I kept the thermometer working the extra 52 seconds.

But this whole thing makes no sense to me. I was really frustrating the customer non-service guy Paul because he explained it around 5 times and was clearly perturbed that I was belaboring the small issue of timing and that I couldn't understand the difference between "accurate" and "peak". He told me, "You get a temperature after 8-seconds, but you'll get the peak temperature after 60 seconds." My reply: "I just want to know his temperature in an accurate fashoin, preferrably after 8 seconds as reflected by your packaging." "Oh, you will have an accurate temperature, but it'll be the quick-read temperature and it's recommended you leave it in until 60 seconds has passed," he replied. "That makes no sense at all! Your package says 8 seconds, and yet disclaims that it should actually take longer!" I said in a very calm voice, as you can imagine. "In 8 seconds you'll have an ACCURATE temperature but not the PEAK temperature. The PEAK temperature comes after 60 seconds," he exclaimed, emphasis his. Sensing his irritation, I asked for his manager. He put me on hold, then came back to say every last manager was busy or at a meeting or somesuch other excuse. So he put me and my shocked self into a voice mail system, never to be heard from again. So voila, people, I've really stood up for the Parents of Fevered Children.

OK, it was a $9.99 item, but it's the principle of it. I don't really think it's too much to want a quick and accurate temperature, especially since I can get a not-quick and accurate temperature from the thermometer I got free from the hospital when I had Boy #1.

Or maybe it's not the principle of the thing and I just have too much time on my hands.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Packrat Help

Okay, all you experienced moms and dads out there: how do you help a packrat child get rid of stuff?

#1 will be five (gasp!) very soon. She loves to draw and write, and she goes through reams (nearly literally) of paper weekly. A few weeks ago, I suggested that we clean their room up and get rid of a few things so that they might have room for a few new things that they just might get for their birthdays. Faithful readers will remember that this summer the kids caught me red handed when a broken toy spilled out of a garbage can in the garage, so this time I decided not to try to sneak stuff away.

However, involving them in it--and suggesting that perhaps we could throw away scribbled on papers, broken plastic things, napkins, empty glue containers (crazy, I know)--didn't go much better. #1 sobbed in broken-hearted betrayal. She shuddered with sorrow and worked herself into hysterical crying, saying things like "why are you doing this to me?" and "these are very, very precious, mommy" and "you are really not being nice". I eventually gave up...and so they have a drawer full of old paper, dried up markers, and broken polly pockets that will soon once again take over a corner of their room.

Any advice for how to help my funny little collector part with things?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A few items to begin the month with

  • Yo, people, where's the chocolate?!?? These charming boys went trick or treating, and although they have plenty of sugar to speed up their already hyper-active brains, I must admit I was disappointed. Firstly, who gives hard cinnamon flavored candy to a 1-yr old? Secondly, what's up with all the gummy body parts and lollipops? Only two fun-sized Hershey bars in my eldest's pumpkin, and one in #2's. What do these people think I'm going to snack on for the next year?!!?

  • I got to go see David Sedaris. If you aren't jealous you are either (a) completely without a sense of humor, or (b) in possession of a sense of humor but haven't yet heard or read him. Hear or read him, people.

  • News from the Mothership (that would be me): The latest rage in our house, at least in our high chair, is drinking from a sippy cup with the lid unscrewed. Does it leak? Oh, yes. But Boy #2 absolutely refuses to drink unless the lid is unscrewed and easy to remove. We have approximately 2 sippy cups with straws, which he is now confined to, as the type where you have to raise it at an angle like a soda can just drenches him. Which also angers him. Where did he get this idea?

  • Think there's nothing on TV? Guess you haven't been to Asia lately. Human Tetris was mentioned at the gym today, and I thought it was worth a mention. If nothing else, the fashion statement it makes is simply good entertainment. (By the way, the point is to contort yourself into the shape that the "wall" comes out with, and if you don't do it early enough, you get pushed into the pool of yellow water. And to think the best the US of A could come up with is The Price is Right.)

  • I'm not known for driving slowly, but this really irritates me. Can anyone explain why a driver would take an expressway through town when there is a perfectly good frontage road on which to go 20 miles UNDER the speed limit? I don't get it. If I'm behind you, I'll be going the speed limit even if it puts me tantalizingly close to the spare tire in your trunk. Use that right shoe to push that rectangular piece of metal to the floor, lady. Or get outta my way.