Tuesday, November 29, 2022

What a drag it is getting old

We were in Chicago last week for Thanksgiving.  If I had a normal life, we could have stayed at my mom's house.  But her crapshack is in seriously bad shape so a pricy West Loop hotel room it was.  It's strange how the West Loop is so neighborhoody now when it once was factories and warehouses back in the day. Next time we will have to find a more cost-effective option, especially if I don't find steady work.

Speaking of, the new gig did not work out.  Not only was it a shitshow but they didn't have enough work for me.  Their leadership was also lacking clarity and direction.  They didn't even have the decency to tell me things were not working out.  I found out because I saw a post for my role, slightly watered down and for less money.  I showed it to the recruiter and he was blindsided as well.

I got paid for 301 hours at $83/hr which was enough to pay for getting our deck stained and sealed and perhaps the new garage door we needed.


Four or Five Sundays ago (Nov 6), I woke up with a sharp, stabbing pain in my right shoulder blade. I didn’t do anything strenuous the days before so I’m assuming I slept on it funny. The pain didn’t go away and antiinflammatories did very little the first few days though they are helping now. Each day it did diminish slightly and shift; one day in my arm, the next day shoulder, the next day shoulder blade, etc.

Some advice my friends at NancyNall shared

"Icarus, there are 4 muscles that are involved in the rotator cuff which allows you to move your arms at the shoulder and keeps your shoulder in its socket. I learned all this last year when I blew out my bicep and also had shoulder issues, and went to physical therapy. The muscles do the following (from the internet): Supraspinatus controls internal rotation and lifting of the arm. Infraspinatus allows you to externally rotate your arm in the shoulder socket. Teres minor is a small muscle that helps rotate your arm. Subscapularis controls arm abduction (holding your arm out straight, away from your body.

The Subscapularis is behind your shoulder blade and curls up over the shoulder. That turned out partly to be the cause of my problems. The physical therapy I did were exercises with rubbery bands and lots of deep massage in the area which was painful while it was happening but helpful overall. I had to hold my elbow up in an awkward position when I was prone facedown so that my shoulder blade stuck up straight and they massaged deep behind it. It helped."  Deborah

Icarus, my husband had polymyalgia rheumatica which began in the shoulders and was oh so painful. His rheumatologist treated him with prednisone over two years weaning him from 40 mg to 0 very gradually. It is problematic for folks with Northern European genetics and he is German to the bone. SED rate was high, which helped diagnosis. No fun.  -Deni Menken

"Icarus, I once woke up with severe shoulder pain and found out that it was cervical radiculopathy. It was coming from a pinched nerve in my neck and had nothing to do with the shoulder at all. I had some steroid injections into the spine and physical therapy and things pretty much came back to normal. That was about 12 or more years ago. Alex

Friday, November 4, 2022

Guest Post: Enjoying the Benefits of Youth Sports Without Busting Your Budget

 by Colleen Stewart

With its crucial role in improving heart and lung function, reducing obesity, and strengthening muscles and bones, it’s no surprise the CDC touts physical activity as beneficial for children. Engaging in competitive youth sports provides intellectual and social upsides, too. While children have fun playing with others, they develop teamwork skills, grow from defeats and setbacks, and learn that winning isn't the only thing that matters.

 Unfortunately, there’s not always room in the family budget to pay for the uniforms, equipment, and fees your children require to participate in sports. Here are four tips to make investing in your kids’ activities more affordable.

 Choose Low-Investment Sports
When you don’t have much to spend on suiting your children up, encourage them to participate in sports that don’t require expensive gear. For instance, rather than playing hockey, which requires investing in costly skates, sticks, pads, and helmets, have them check out swimming or basketball. The former only requires a suit and goggles, while acquiring sturdy shoes and a ball is all it takes to start shooting hoops. Track and volleyball are other low-cost options, as are up-and-coming sports such as hand tennis and paddle.

 Share Gear
Of course, the more children you have, the more expensive sports participation becomes, but there are still ways to stretch your budget. If you’re raising twins or have kids that are close in age or size, try sharing equipment and uniforms. Although it may require juggling your schedule, signing each child up for the same sport on separate teams means they’ll play on different days, and the same equipment can be used by everyone. When there are more significant gaps in your kids’ ages, hold onto sports items as your older ones move onto new activities, and then hand them down to your younger children.

 Organize Neighborhood Swaps
Another gear-sharing idea is to organize a “sports swap,” where you and other neighborhood parents pool outgrown and gently used items and redistribute them. Recycling on a larger scale is not only cost-effective, but it’s also eco-friendly.

 Swapping transportation duties by organizing carpools is another way to keep costs down. Sharing fuel expenses lessens the financial burden of shuttling kids to multiple practices and games, and when you and other neighborhood parents rotate driving duties you put less mileage on your own vehicle. This helps your car last longer and extends the time between costly maintenance tasks.


Skip Club Sports
Although youth sports clubs have proliferated in recent years, it’s cheaper for casual players to stick with school or community teams. Between higher coaching costs, equipment investments, and travel expenses, joining a club program isn’t the most affordable way to play sports.

 Participating in neighborhood or school leagues allows kids to benefit from team play on a smaller budget. Equipment is often provided or shared, games are scheduled close to home, and most leagues are free or inexpensive to join. Plus, with a different sport played each season, your kids build new social connections and develop different physical and mental skills.

 There’s little doubt that the seeds of lifelong healthy habits are planted when kids play team sports. Just follow one or more of the tips shared here, so everyone in your family has the chance to participate without busting the household budget.

Colleen Stewart loves giving her two kids a healthy example to live by. Her passion for community and wellness inspired her and her husband to team up with their neighbors and create a playgroup that allows the adults and their kiddos to squeeze in a workout a few times a week. She created Playdate Fitness to help inspire other mamas and papas to make their well-being a priority, and set a healthy foundation for their little ones in the process.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Wood Storage Lumber Organizer Racks

 So I did a thing.   I ordered two sets of these Wood Storage Lumber Organizer Racks.  Only one arrived intact.  The other set was a box of 4 rungs which is essentially useless.  I asked Woot, which is owned by Amazon, to send me a new set, but Customer Service insisted they were out.  A week later Woot advertised them again.

In the meantime, I returned the incomplete set and ordered a new set from Amazon.  I'm not out any money, just time.  I realize I might not have placed these in the optimal locations, but it's not a big deal to move them.  I have plenty of cabinet screws.

The set from Woot didn't have mounting hardware.  The set from Amazon did.  

And I know I could have just built something with all the wood that I'm trying to organize that would have done the same thing, but that would have taken time I don't have right now.