Friday, April 27, 2018

Quick Takes

I don't think I have ever done a Quick Takes post. I don't have a label anyway. So here are some random thoughts that have been bouncing in my head in the form of Quick Takes


The older I get, the more I think a UBI is the best solution to our poverty problems. Of course most people hate this idea. The more conservative end are scared to death someone might get something for nothing. "Here, have some bootstraps to eat." The more, um, not conservative end are scared someone might choose something unapproved. "You're poor, therefore too stupid to do right without all our required advice." Not to mention the entire scaffolding of government jobs dependent on a steady stream of poor people to help. But how about we just cut everyone a check and be done with it? Although Finland is shelving their UBI program so maybe it's not it, after all. Still, less bureaucracy, more aid without strings.


Related, one of the ongoing conversations in the working mother world is the cost of childcare. I have a third rail opinion, I think? By definition, you must pay your babysitter less than you make. How do you pay the person caring for your child an appropriate wage without making your own work not worth doing because of the cost of childcare. I think in the realm of childcare, it's not possible in most cases. I think most childcare workers are underpaid and most parents are unable to pay more. A Gordian knot. And I wonder how many jobs exist solely to prop up the childcare question? As in I pay you to watch my kids so you can pay me to watch your kids. I wonder about the sustainability of it all. 


Somewhat related, is volunteering a problem everywhere?  It seems no matter where we go, those organizations are bereft of volunteers. The Cub Scouts, AHG, church (forever church), softball, the community garden, everywhere is the constant plea for volunteers, and yet the same 15 people who always do all the work keep doing all the work for that organization. Do we have unreasonable expectations on people's time? Does everyone feel pushed to the brink like I do? Or are there people who do flat nothing? Did it used not to be this way? I don't have good answers. I know that I don't think I have time to volunteer for much of anything and feel immense guilt because of it. People say 'Seasons of Life' but then I hear retired empty-nesters tell me they are busier than ever. Frankly, I don't believe them, but I definitely could be wrong.


Touching on my last post, I thought I'd add that since the beginning of winter, the only significant weight loss I've had was achieved by the week I spend sick as a dog with some GI plague. Five pounds in a week. Not in the recommended way. Part of the trouble with dropping the weight is that when I cut calories, I don't just get hungry, I get compulsively hangry. This is a new experience. In the past, I could be hungry, eat a bit to take the edge off, and maintain the calorie deficit. This time, eating a bit does not take the edge off. If anything it makes me hungrier and so I compulsively eat until I'm back to where I started. I know, intellectually, the body likes to maintain its weight, but I have never quite experienced it in this way in the past. Dave mentioned that the weight also might be a little stickier because I am only feeding baby what she eats instead of pumping off eight extra gallons at work like I did last time around.


So I splurged and bought a summer pass to the local rec center. This is my official experiment to see if I can become the type of person who goes to rec centers to swim and exercise and stuff. My goal is to go once a week. I struggle with getting out of the house in a timely manner so we shall see how I end up handling the logistics of getting myself and five children ready to swim once a week. Do I need a swim cap?


The other big summer news is that maybe finally I shall purge the house. It's summer so no homeschooling to worry about. I do not have a crazy escaping toddler. I won't be pregnant. Please God, the dryer won't break, and we won't get lice. I need to start planning my method of attack. Is anyone interested in hearing about this? I feel like this is the topic that will never die, but maybe that's only in my own head. This summer is the summer, right?


Hey yall, my cute baby:

Photo by Marian

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Weighted Winter

I have been cold my entire life. I have shivered under blankets while my parents kept the heat at an economical temperature. I bring sweaters to restaurants. I wear long sleeves and pants long after everyone else has moved to shorts. It is just the way my life has been. Winter is long and cold.
The only time I have ever had relief from the cold in winter has been during pregnancy. The hormones and the built-in heater meant I was warm. While the increased heat was nice, the pleasantries of pregnancy hormones meant I wasn't really enjoying it.

This winter has been entirely different. Due to circumstance of birth and age, I spent the winter officially overweight. The most striking aspect of this experience, aside from having no pants that fit, is that I am not cold. I am not cold. It is so weird.

My usual winter bed has flannel sheets, a heavy cotton blanket, an acrylic blanket, a fleece blanket, and the quilt. I wear heavy flannel pajamas and fleece socks. And still I shiver.

This year the fleece blanket was never taken out of the closet. The heavy flannel pajamas were never worn. The regular sheets returned before March. I threw the blankets off of me nearly every night, much more likely to be overheated than cold.

I didn't not wear multiple layers under my heavy coat. I wore one layer under an open, button down overshirt. My flannel-lined jeans were only missed that one week the temperatures hovered in the single digits.

It has been eye-opening, this experience of winter warmth. It isn't half bad, being functional through the winter months instead of trying to quiet your chattering teeth. However all good things must come to an end. I am ready for this experiment to conclude as the summer begins. Warmth in winter is good. Extra warmth through the summer? Maybe not so much.

I have been patiently waiting for the pregnancy weight to come off by itself, as it always has in the past, but now at seven months postpartum, I am still a good seven pounds up from my pre-pregnancy weight. It has always been gone by now. And my pre-pregnancy weight was a good five pounds higher than it ought to have been, which in itself was a good five pounds heavier than the glorious ideal of my previous postpartum weight experiences. I don't think it's likely I'll ever see that weight again. I'll give it until June--nine months on, nine months off, dontcha know, and then I suppose the real effort will begin.

In the meantime, I probably need to buy bigger shorts because none of mine currently fit. Hopefully by fall, I won't need even more new pants to replace the two pairs I have thoroughly worn out this winter. I hate buying pants. But I'll have fond memories of this winter that I was neither pregnant nor freezing and marvel.