Letters to Holly

Friday, August 26

Work It Out

The boy followed a spirited ride home from daycare with an attack of constipation. Seriously, he's trying to suffer every ailment before our Atlanta trip.

He started screaming at bedtime. Orajel didn't help, and Your Sister vetoed ear drops. She took him to the bath and interpreted his expressions to mean he was backed up and fighting it. After a half hour of his screams, I suggested we try to colic thermometer trick: You lay the baby* down, insert a thermometer rectally, and wait for his protesting muscle contractions to work out the blockage.

We did this in his tub for about a half hour, and halfway through, he realized what we were doing and that it could help, and he started co-operating. We were actually working together on this, and it was a bonding moment. It was almost 14 months to the day that I was in practically the same position making practically the same encouragements to Your Sister.

She grew impatient and wanted to try an enema, but a hastily improvised contraption failed immediately, and I went back to the thermometer. Eventually, I let him sit normally and let him play with bath toys and realized his screaming had stopped. I called in Your Sis to verify that the storm had passed. He was fine.He was exhausted, and he cashed into sleep quickly.

*I trip up over this word with him. He's technically not a baby anymore, and I wanna enjoy each of his developmental stages. I don't want to infantalize him, to be the kind of parent that can't let go of the baby-hood. He's a toddler, but that's a clumsy word. My nickname for him had the word "baby" in it, and I'm awkwardly trying new names. It still tumbles out by habit, and I regret it each time. I may just start calling him by his first and middle names.

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A little longer than I'd rather, I heard back from the hotel representative, and I now have a confirmation of accommodations at a second Atlanta hotel. I'm concerned the deal I was promised may not trickle down to the front-desk people, so I opened a Twitter account (@GregoryDraws) to ask the Hyatt Concierge for help. I heard back immediately and was given an email to send a request for the PDF of the deal. I'm waiting to hear back.

EDIT: I got my email listing the consolation package along with contact information for a reservations manager. I called and thanked her. This situation stinks for a lot of people, but it's progressed smoothly.

I bought two blocks of styrofoam to carve my gun replacement. I'll try painting it before falling back to covering it in electrical tape.
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A mask at a local craft store. 

Thursday, August 25

Heart Attack

I got a call yesterday morning from our DragonCon hotel. I expected it was a reservation confirmation. The four main hotels that house the party fill up quickly, and people scramble for last-second accommodations. That's why we reserved a room in September. Eleven months ago.

I was informed that because of construction overrun, we couldn't use the rooms we reserved. And we would not be able to get rooms in that hotel.

Initial reaction: MURDER.

However, the hotel rep, who had no doubt steeled herself for this and probably experienced similar meltdowns already, told me that a nearby hotel had agreed to take the displaced, and our original hosts would pay for one of the nights, offer us early reservations for next year's convention at this year's rates, and give us free subway passes for this year's show. That seemed fair. I agreed to the deal. I was assured that we'd receive confirmation emails within the next two days.

I asked the caller when the hotel realized this would be necessary, and she said last week.That's short notice, and I'm positive they were holding their breath for months beforehand in anxiety. So Wednesday morning --  eight days before the start of a four-day Mardi Gras attended by thousands and thousands -- they had to find new rooms for their guests. I told her I sympathize with the last-minute adjustments and hoped those she had to inform were kind to her. I suspect some will deliver the rage I managed to keep in check.

Our new hotel is five blocks away from the party. That might make for better sleep. We can also get there via the subway system. We need never risk bad weather.

Me: Hi, new hotel. I need a confirmation for a relocated reservation.

Second DragonCon Hotel: Yeah, we never heard of you, and we're booked solid. Oh, we do have a special rate for a room Saturday night.

Me: How booked solid are you if you have a special rate on a room?

Second DragonCon Hotel: You should call the first hotel and find out what's up.

Me: Hey, first hotel. Guess what second hotel told me.

First DragonCon Hotel: Those booked-solid rooms include the block we nabbed for the relocated guests.

Me: But there's no proof I'm included in that.

First DragonCon Hotel: I'm gonna call over there and verify you're taken care of.

Me: OK. I'm being polite, but I can get ugly here.

First DragonCon Hotel: Won't be necessary.

Just a few minutes ago
First DragonCon Hotel: You're on the list, and they are still working on reservations.

Me: When you say "working on," what are the chances I won't get a room?

First DragonCon Hotel: None. You'll have a room. I'll call you with the confirmation when I get it.

Me: So I just sit tight and wait?

First DragonCon Hotel: Please.

Me: Can I borrow your fingernails to chew on?

First DragonCon Hotel: Thanks for being patient.

Me: Please take this the right way, but when you call me with the number, I hope that's the last time I talk with you.


We tried on our costumes last night. I'm thinking of making a stryofoam gun butt to replace the heavy toy gun I carried last time. That gun made the holster sag the whole time. I don't need a whole gun, just something to fill the holster. I can sculpt and paint it in an hour. We've lost so much weight since 2009 that our costumes will sag a bit no matter what.

The deputy is a hundred times better now, but he was wired last night. We all slept maybe four hours. I am Biblically acquainted with my coffee travel mug today.

Wednesday, August 24


The Nystatin seemed to work immediately. I'm using it exclusively on him instead of alternating it with the Vusion non-prescription cream; I'll save that for later. For now, he gets the strong stuff. His color's better, and he seems relaxed. Relaxed-er. Your Sis says he probably felt relief immediately. He's back at daycare equipped with the cream and a warning about his teething. We used Neosporin on him last night after he became cranky. Seemed to work. Teething can cause kids to tug their ears, and that initially spooked us into thinking his ear infection returned. He and I also apparently share the same allergy cycles. To recap: His loins are burning, he's teething, and his nose is a swamp. Childhood, ta-da.

I felt the quake yesterday but assumed it was one of the assisted-living home delivery trucks driving off. I felt what I assumed were aftershocks, but those felt like a very mild swaying. Your Sister and her students -- half a mile away -- had no idea anything happened.

The new neighbors baked us an apple pie, and we are devouring it each night. It's huge. Now so are we.

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The gals went to Tallahassee and lost a close one to a nationally ranked team. I think our team is too new/limited in competition to get into the rankings.

Tuesday, August 23


It's a yeast infection.

He developed a slight fever at daycare yesterday, and I picked him up early and immediately made an appointment with the doctor. We saw her this morning (and her pediatric shadowing med student), and she pointed at the "classic breakaway lesions" and said this was treatable. We have two new medicine creams and should see improvement within 48 hours. Also, he were advised to dry him with a hair dryer and let him go streaking. Warm air is better than the bog that is his diaper. His fever is miniscule today. Also, he's teething.

It's a huge relief. This is common and fixable, and he's not actually pissing radioactive water. The parental panics do creep up after a few days of mystery ailments.I'll stay home with him today, and we'll probably be on a regular schedule tomorrow and after.

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Say cheese.

Monday, August 22

Shift Rotations

After a weekend of medicine and baths, we have deduced that this diaper rash is a product of his antibiotic treatments for the ear infection. His skin goes red as his urine spills about in his diaper. Either he's peeing an irritant or something on his skin reacts to the pee.

The daycare folks suggested it might be diet, but nothing new has been introduced. They also said the antibiotics may have scuttled good bacteria in his system. He gets yogurt every day. Maybe we should up the dosage. If this doesn't fade by Tuesday night, I'm taking him to the doctor. Our best home remedies are exhaustive and exhausting us. I presided over about three hours worth of bath soaks this weekend. His rash also bumped our planned party-versary bike outing, for obvious reasons.

I took the neighbor kid to see Captain America, and he is psyched as psyched can be for next year's Avengers movie. So am I. The film holds up on second viewing too.

We're two weeks from DragonCon, and it's sneaking up on us. My Mom will watch the deputy that weekend, and she's equally excited and anxious. I'm taking that Friday off to walk her through a day with him, and we've hired a babysitter to be available via phone if Mom needs help. She's on retainer. But Mom's watched the boy before. She'll be fine. He hasn't spent the night without us before though, so I don't know how Your Sister will do.

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