Eczema is driving me crazy

and it’s not even mine!

DC2 had a good month or two with perfect skin, and then eczema hit again.  Ze is finally old enough to get allergy testing done, so we got it done, and ze came up clear.  Ze can still have food intolerances, but we don’t have to worry about anaphylactic shock.  The internet (including more reputable places like webmd) notes that age 3-4 is when food allergies stop leading to eczema.  So wheat should be fine now.

The allergist gave the same advice the pedi had given– bathe or shower once a day, lather with lotion or creme (preferable aquifor or aveeno) 3-4 times per day.  The problem is that when we do that, DC2 gets big flare-ups and ze hates hates hates the lotion and says it itches… which makes us suspect that some of these lotions are part of the problem not the solution.  Ze seems better with aquifor and hydrolatum.

So the day after the allergist, we gave hir wheat-based lasagna (to eat) and Aveeno (topically), and had hir take a bath in the tub.  Ze had a HUGE flare-up.  On the plus side, coconut no longer makes hir throw up and seems to have zero ill effects.

We switched out regular sunblock with Badger Zinc Oxide sunblock.  We got rid of the Aveeno and switched to different supposedly-eczema-friendly lotions and cremes.  We had several meals without wheat.  We switched from baths in the DCs’ bathtub to showers using my special shower filter (the water here gives me hives sometimes).  It didn’t clear up but seemed to be doing somewhat better.

Then it got worse and DC2 started tantruming when it was time to put on lotion.  Then it got worse than we’d ever seen it before, turning an angry red with bumps.  So we stopped the daily baths and didn’t put on lotion unless DC2 was willing and it stopped getting worse, though didn’t get much better.  We went to the doctor again and he said that even though it was now “moderate” rather than “mild” that we should continue doing what he told us to do and he was sure that the flare-ups that happened after we followed his instructions were entirely coincidental.  He also suggested oral steroids.  We called DH’s mom who is both a nurse and has had the experience of dealing with DH’s siblings’ eczema.  She suggested different lotions, a different anti-histimine, and fewer rather than more baths (an internet search suggests that more baths are what is en vogue but 5 years ago they were suggesting fewer, which suggests to me that they really don’t know).  She nixed the oral steroid and suggested a topical steroid.

After a lot of looking online and comparing and contrasting the ingredients of different lotions, we noticed that the ones that caused obvious flare-ups all have alcohol as an ingredient, and given that DC2 couldn’t handle wipes with alcohol and I used to have a topical allergy to rubbing alcohol, we thought maybe that might be contributing to the problem.  We noticed that the first two ingredients in one baby lotion formula were water and sunflower oil, and figured, maybe #2 has a point and we should just use oil (crazy online sites all recommend coconut oil or complicated mixtures of essential oils, but we’re not totally on board with coconut yet and both too lazy and too skeptical to combine oils that come with warning labels about overuse).  DC2 hasn’t complained at all about getting olive oil– no screams or tantrums– and it didn’t seem to be making anything worse, which, while not the same as making something better, is better than the alternative.  One application of the topical steroid before bed combined with benedryl completely cleared up one of DC2’s arms and made the other three limbs look markedly better.

#2 has topical allergies too, and eczema for the rest of my life.  There’s nothing like grad school for giving you a lifelong medical condition!  I had a conversation with #1 about my allergies (which is a boring conversation but maybe helpful if DC2 gets more topical allergy tests).  I have an ointment now that works, but big flares are only controlled with Prednisone.  Hopefully baby won’t need that.

My eczema is exacerbated by water sitting on my skin, which means that I can’t use most lotions (creams, gels, anything you leave on) because they have water in them.  You can always buy cheap olive oil and use that, but then people might try to lick you.

#1 notes that DC2 smells delicious after being coated in olive oil.

Isn’t this fun??!?!?

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July Mortgage Update: Renting a house for a year is a pain

This month (July):
Balance:$22,465.56
Years left: 1.6666666667
P =$1,121.04, I =$93.36, Escrow =$809.48

Last month (June):
Balance:$23,586.60
Years left: 1.75
P =$1,116.62, I =$97.78, Escrow =$809.48

One month’s prepayment savings: $0

We put our house on the market for under the market value.  We gave a $200/mo discount on top of that for a family to rent it furnished rather than unfurnished.  We only advertised on the university web-page and on sabbatical homes and the MLS.  No Craigslist!

A family from overseas contacted us right away.  They had their local friends look at it.  We had a brief discussion via the internet wherein the husband tried to bargain us down from the listed unfurnished price, not understanding that we were renting it for less than what he was trying to bargain it down to because he wanted it furnished.  The wife and I discussed daycares and leaving DC2’s outgrown clothing and toys since her child is a year younger and how much cheaper water is in the US than in her country.  We put the husband in contact with our real estate agent.  We hammered out all the details like dates.  The wife contacted the agent with a lengthy list of demands of things she wanted cleaned before they got here (all of which we were planning on doing anyway) and a demand that we get rid of some of our paper blinds which she thought were grey and covered in dust from her friend’s video, but are actually peach and what she thought was dust are shadows from the pleats.  We said no to replacing the blinds.

I got a few more contacts from less desirable prospective tenants (two dogs and a cat kind of less desirable– our HOA only allows two pets, or people needing the house for less time or wanting to bargain us down more), but they didn’t contact me back when I said we were in conversation with another family.

And then nothing for a few weeks.  With the end of the school year etc. we didn’t really notice things weren’t progressing, but once that settled down we wanted to nail things down.  We contacted our real estate agent, who said things were progressing.  And then a week later things stopped progressing.  So the real estate agent sent a firm email noting he’d been turning people away from looking at our house, and that activated some action from our prospective tenants, the irritated full professor noting that he is a very busy man in the middle of organizing a conference.  Which is no doubt true, but he really should have taken care of the lease before the conference!  He sent the background check information and passed the check.  And our agent sent the lease to sign both electronically and in pdf form (in case the electronic version wasn’t working).  And… then nothing.

So then our agent stopped turning other families away from looking at our house which meant we spent some time outside at the playground where it is very very hot.  The first new family to look at the place texted right away and said they loved the place.  They wanted it for the full time and they wanted it unfurnished (so another $4K for an additional 2 months + $1200 to rent unfurnished instead of furnished + the utilities we wouldn’t be paying those two months… but also plus hassle, storage, and potential breakage) and were willing to give us a deposit and signed lease right then and there.  We gave the family we had an agreement with until the weekend was over to get us the signed lease and deposit or we were moving on.  And they did.  So we turned the second family away and took down the sign on our lawn and the listing off sabbaticalhomes.

Hopefully this will all work out!

I do think it helps that we listed the place under market price and that we had two prices for furnished vs. unfurnished that reflected our desire not to move our stuff into storage.  We have more money than ability to deal with hassle these days, and it’s nice being able to just say, screw it, we have the cash for this, we can take a risk or pay to not have to deal with something.  Me five years ago (when DH was still a tenure track professor) would have been freaking out at every point, and we’d have had a higher listing price.  And I can’t even think what me when DH was between jobs would be doing.

Wish us luck!

Have you ever acted as a landlord, temporary or otherwise?

(link) LOVE IS LOVE

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People, a moment here.  I got my wedding invitations from the printer yesterday.  They are gorgeous.  I am grateful that yesterday, same-sex marriage was declared legal throughout the US by the Supreme Court.  I’m so happy.  There’s something in my eye.

One of us is at a conference while the other holds down the fort this weekend.

Here are some links we found this week.

My favorite part of this 10-second video is the baby’s surprised expression at the end!

Goddamnit EEOC get your head right!!!

If you’ve ever wondered how clothing donations get processed

Explaining the Large Hadron Collider using Frozen.

The 10 most famous internet cats (my favorite is Lil Bub!)

Jessica Williams continues to be brilliant

Pie Charts of Sadness

moar sad.

This is cool:  crowdsource some lost ancestors

do you think this is true?

Help the animals

The #Charlestonsyllabus is a great resource

It’s always fun to play “Prof or hobo?”  (Although note how men get away with looking like this …)

I’m #16 in this list (if it loads really slow, it’s probably because the servers at pride.com caught on fire from the load).  Don’t have time to read the whole SCOTUS decision?  Here it is in haiku.

kittens do stuff for the first time: this may be happening in my house….

 

Google up the jam

Q:  how do i express in one word a child who is grumpy and pouts

A:  human

Q:  how can i cancel my husbands equifax subcription

A:  Why can’t he cancel it?

Q:  if majority of mortgage is paid can you still foreclose

A:  Probably, though there are some situations that would make the mortgage company more or less likely to foreclose in this situation.  Talk with an attorney.

Q:  why do some people need to create drama

A:  Boredom?  Sociopathy?  Who knows.

Q:  how to know when a relationship is going south

A:  Say for example, you’re living in Boston and then you and your sig other decide to move to Florida.  *rim shot*

Q:  how much do periods of unemployment hurt a job search

A:  This has a long and complicated answer, and we don’t know 100% for sure yet.  The short answer is that being just unemployed helps, but longer periods of unemployment may or may not hurt, depending on which top journal article you’re reading.

Q: why do people tell others how to spend their money

A:  Usually because they want to make money off people.  Sometimes because they project their own life experiences on others.

Q:  will i ever know if i want a second child

A:  Sometime between now and death that decision will have been made.

Q:  why a grown man uses word pee pee

A:  Because the grown man has a two year old potty trainer?

Q:  what do new zealand children call their grandmothers

A:  You’ve got the wrong blog.  Try asking wandering scientist.

 

Read the book first or watch the movie first?

While watching old vlogbrothers videos, I found out they have a campaign to “read the book first“, that is you should read the book before watching the movie.

The book is (almost always) better than the movie… I think everyone can agree on that.  It’s an almost universal truth with only enough exceptions that they prove the rule.

Because most people prefer pleasure to increase over time rather than decrease, it makes sense to save the best for last.  Watch the movie.  Then read the book.

What about spoilers?  I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like surprises, so I’m fine with spoilers.  I love wikipedia so much because I can read plot synopses before deciding to watch a show.  If you really love to be surprised, then yeah, you should probably read the book first, though keep in mind that the movie often deviates substantially from the book for cinematic reasons, so you might not be as spoilered as you think you are.

#2 says:  The correct answer is: read the book first and watch the movie never.  The movie is NEVER as good as what’s in my head when I read!  It’s not worth it.

There, solved that for ya.

#1 disagrees.  CASE IN POINT:  The Princess Bride.  YES, the book is better, but the movie is AMAZEBALLS.  Watch the movie first, then cherish the book.  Similarly, Captain Blood.  Delightful movie with Errol Flynn and Olivia DeHaviland.  Even better book (free on kindle!).  Both are worth the experience.  And then there are fantastic adaptations, think Clueless based on Emma.  Same plot, different experiences.

Obviously some movies suck and aren’t worth watching ever even though the book is good (I’m looking at you, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh).  But there are a lot of excellent movies adapted from excellent books.  Experience both!

What about you?  Which first?

Current webcomics

#1 doesn’t read as many as she used to.  Now she’s down to:

sheldoncomics

somethingpositive

girls with slingshots (this just ended)

questionable content

gunnerkrigg court (the current storyline is KILLING me though– poor poor Annie)

xkcd

breakingcatnews

And that’s it.  Oh, sometimes unshelved.

#2 reads…

I got the book omnibus of Digger by Ursula Vernon and it’s so wonderful!

I also just got the book of Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, and I love, love, LOVE it.  It’s easier for me to read narrative story arcs (like Gunnerkrigg Court) in book form.

breakingcatnews, sheldoncomics and penny-arcade

Do you have any suggestions for us?

Thoughts on professional cleaners

After putting our house on the market, we hired professional cleaners because we couldn’t keep up with keeping the house spotless on top of everything else.  Normally we live in squalor and we’re fine with that (so long as there’s no mold or anything growing).  But when you’re regularly showing a house and the people you have a verbal agreement about the lease with drag their heels for a month, it’s best not to have deep cleaning on the list of things to constantly worry about.

The first person we tried charged $120/session (so ~$60/hr), which we would have been fine with if she’d done a good job cleaning.  But she didn’t.  There were crumbs on the dining room table, dust on the bookcases, toddler hand prints on the windows, cat hair on the carpet and in tumbleweed form and on and on and on.  I came home and couldn’t tell anybody had been there to clean, except she’d apparently spent a large amount of time scraping soap out of a soap holder (but not cleaning any of the rest of the shower).  Even more than I hate spending money on things I don’t value, I hate spending money and not actually getting what I don’t value.  I hate paying someone a lot of money for something I could do myself and then I have to do it anyway.  If I’m paying a lot of money, they should do as good as or better than I do.

So then we tried a local agency (that everyone who doesn’t use the lady we tried first uses), bonded, insured, etc.  $175 for the first clean, $100 for a weekly clean.  They left the place mostly clean and I could tell things had been cleaned when I walked in the door.

$100-120/week is $400-500/mo is $5000-$6000/year.  We could give someone at DC1’s school an 80% scholarship for $6000/year.  It’s such a waste for something we don’t even need and I don’t even get to feel noblesse oblige about paying for it because most of that money is probably going to the owner of the company– the women who actually do the cleaning are not getting $100/clean.

Also I don’t like the smell of cleaning products.  And it lasts for two days after they’ve come.  And a few times they’ve come after 5:30 on Friday, which means I’m home while they’re cleaning which hurts my midwestern sensibilities– I feel like I can’t just kick back and relax (or make dinner because they clean the kitchen last) and I should be cleaning too, which is ridiculous.

So that’s me being grumpy.   DH, of course, likes having the cleaners, probably because he’s the one who usually does the bulk of the cleaning given my dust allergies.

Do you have someone clean the house?  Do you love it?