Monday, April 27, 2009


I've been in pain every time I walk (and quite often when I'm not walking) for weeks now, thanks to this wart on my heel that went ballistic and had to be removed, which meant cutting out a big chunk o' heel. It's the limping that's getting to me, throwing everything else out of whack, straining tendons and joints. I'm miserable and stressed to the breaking point, crying a lot over nothing, insomnia, etc. So, if I'm sounding extra-bitchy... that's why.

The good news is: it's healing. This is not the way things are always going to be, this is temporary, and recovery is on its way. We're focusing on that. The other good news is that the husband that drives me up the wall is also the same husband who has been taking care of me, bringing me things, changing the dvd, getting me food, and just being within earshot whenever I take a shower, just in case I slip and fall... everyone should be so lucky as to have a B like my B.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Days until Sims 3 is released: 40
Days until every single thing in the history of time is cleared off of my credit report so that I can get a mortgage: 15 to 45
Days until I have to give my landlord notice or else renew my lease for another year: 7
Total dollar amount of all items keeping me from making an offer today: $2,087.43
Days left to prepare a level 1 D&D adventure: 10-20
NPCs created for adventure so far: 116
Days left to prepare for seminar on programming for EAV table structures: 2
Slides ready for seminar: 1. Well, almost 1.
Max size of sibling group we'll consider adopting: 3
Min age of oldest child in group: 12
Approximate times I've been told that teens are hard and sibling groups might "gang up on me": 15,000,012

If anybody who has adopted teens or sib groups happens to read this post, did you experience the same reaction coming from family and friends? My friends and co-workers almost universally report that teens drive them crazy. My otherwise supportive family practically turns into concern trolls when I mention the possibility of a sib group. I see it as a kid with an intact relationship and support network; they get very wide eyed, exhale audibly and say "three is a lot of kids."

And for the record, I like teens. They're just like adults but thinner, with less money and more drama. Being around teens is like being a fan of a low-budget soap opera.

UPDATE: so, I opened up the EAV presentation file to work on it, but instead of doing that, um, I did this.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Adoption Meeting

The blog is going slowly, I know. I'm trying to stick to adoption issues and, occasionally, work stuff for filler. Otherwise, I'd be putting up lots of posts about politics, links to things like this video of a robot which solves Rubik's Cubes in which the newscaster asserts that a cube has five sides and that the robot's best solve time (26 seconds) is "almost double" the fastest human time (10 seconds). I weep for humanity.

Or, I would be linking other videos like this one, which I've watched a dozen times today and it makes me cry and smile and I love it. I'm still weeping for humanity, but in a completely different way.

We had a meeting at the adoption agency yesterday. We went back over our opening checklist. The difficult part is that the goal is to be "open" with the agents, but it felt like everything we said just opened us up to misunderstanding. It went like this:

Agent: You've signed the agreement not to use corporal punishment, and you've been to the classes that have talked about discipline methods. Could you talk about how you were disciplined growing up and what your philosophy is with regards to discipline?

Me: I remember when my father announced that he'd decided that spanking was just teaching children that it's acceptable to hit when you're angry, and he wasn't going to do it anymore, and my first thought then was: "why did he wait until now, when I'm eight and too old to spank anyway, to figure that out?" I can see the rationale for a corrective light swat on a pre-reasoning bottom, but I think that, even if there weren't all the other reasons for not using corporal punishment on a fost/adopt, spanking a child over the age of reason is correction through humiliation, and that's a bad idea under any circumstances.

When we talk about discipline, the thing that I keep in mind is that it isn't possible to really "control" a child. A teenager, especially, is going to hit a moment when it occurs to him that there's not really a lot their parents can do to them, and what they can do might be a small price to pay for whatever it is the teen wants to do (I remember clearly when I had that delicious revelation). Children are autonomous beings, and it's up to parents to guide them by building a relationship in which parents' guidance and opinions are valued (or at least complied with because it's such a hassle otherwise...) And that works and it lasts - I still can't stand the idea of disappointing my dad. The important thing is to avoid overreaching the bounds of parental authority, because the inevitable result of that is that the parent either becomes a tyrant or a figure of ridicule or both.

And we have theories, not children, and we'll probably laugh our asses off a year from now at these theories, but for right now, that's where we're coming from. Use a light touch, build the relationship, horse whisperer stuff.

Agent: OK, but you understand that these kids might be 15 years old but emotionally aged 4, so they can't really make good decisions for themselves?
And everything was like that. Except for the part when we told them that what we really wanted was a kid with ropy muscles, good for "working the farm." They asked about what experience we had with kids and one of the things we told them about was the open houses we did in 2003-2006. I was going back to school at VCU and we made dinner for whoever showed up one night a week. Told a few kids at school about it the first time, and they came, and then they told two people, and they told two people, and it went on like that. There was somebody every week who we'd never met before, and we still keep in touch with some of the regulars. Met their parents when the 'rents were in town. Good kids, for the most part. We enjoyed having them around.

Still no firm news on the house situation. The house we'd like to buy has been re-listed at the same excessive price. We're getting close to the point where we're ready to make an offer, but we're not quite there yet.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Code Camp

If you're going to be in Richmond, VA on April 25th, and you want to hear a highly technical (which is the nice way of saying mind meltingly boring) talk about designing Entity-Attribute-Value table structures and programming techniques to compensate for their performance shortcomings, I will be conducting exactly such a seminar at Richmond's Code Camp (too lazy to link) two weeks from this Saturday. Should be fun, and by fun, I mean woohoo! I can check off one of this year's work "stretch goals!"