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Clover and technical writing

One of the folks that work at the charter school we belong to commented on Clover’s manner of speech and cognition. They told Susan e might be a technical writer when Clover grows up.

Parental flattery aside, it was based on how specific to detail Clover is, how it is really important to say things in a specific way.

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that knocked me over. I mean, I’ve always joked that Clover is my grand experiment in human design, but this observation made me realize the reason I speak the way I do is because my childhood didn’t make sense.

As in, the world itself just seemed cruel and barbaric, and I was traumatized by the actions of the adults surrounding me. They were all dreadfully ignorant, emotionally immature, and violent. I began worshiping knowledge (as in, making it my “religion”) because it was the only way out of that intellectual prison; if I couldn’t think my way out, there certainly wasn’t a backup plan.

It is a joke with me, that I have verbosity cranked all the way up. I talk a lot. I type a lot. I think a lot. So when I talk, I want it to be heard, and I don’t want to introduce confusion, since we are so easily confused as it is.

I’m a little worried. I mean, if you talked to Clover for 1 minutes, you’d see I was twisting myself up for nothing; that kid is as well-adjusted as anyone I’ve seen.

But there are definite parts of eir personality that are fed by my neurosis (and I am not even looking out for most of Susan’s, and who knows about all these new friends Clover is making, bringing along their parents’ baggage!). For instance, I don’t like kids playing in a kitchen. My own experiences are filled with accidents involving things only found in kitchens, specifically knives and fire. Even as I admit this I am on the fence, because seriously, who needs to deal with flame and blade?! But I know I’ve made Clover a little bit afraid, and I am not sure that is the best our species can do.

It may be the best I can do. Hmmm.

So if my default behavior is being fed by pain, what can I expect from it being processed without that context?

I don’t know, maybe it just makes good technical writers…

No phone, no refund

Some years ago I bought a battery from Amazon that might explode or something now. I got a spammy email about it, but investigated and found the product page disappeared, so I considered returning it for disposal and refund.

Screenshot of recall refund page

Two things prevented me from getting past the first page:

  • I only paid $6 for the battery, so not a lot of time can be spent on this.
  • It requires a phone number to complete!

When I tried to just give my name and email address, it showed an error saying, “Phone Number is mandatory.”

Screenshot of error message saying, "Changes could not be saved. Phone Number is mandatory."

This is one example of not having a phone adversely affecting someone. I am lucky, I know a place nearby I can dispose of this battery, but if it had been an essential piece of equipment, something I needed replaced or refunded, not having a phone shouldn’t count against me.

Clover and a thing like it

We were discussing the voices in our heads, and I just had so many questions, because I’d love to know what is going on in Clover’s head.

Clover: Okay, how about if I just give you… a thing like it.

maiki: … Example? You want to give me an example?

Clover: No, it’s like a… thing like this other thing.

maiki: Yeah… that’s called an example. You are going to tell me a story, and then I will understand. It is an example.

Clover: Okay, but please stop interrupting so I can give you my example!

No more phone

I am posting this twice, so no one thinks I am ignoring them: I no longer have a phone number!

I haven’t used it for weeks, and noticed some folks had texted me, and I wanted to publicly state I am not ignoring ya’ll. I am ignoring the useless tracking device you are sending data to… so email me instead. ^_^

Clover and eggo

I suddenly felt like having breakfast foods, so I starting getting eggs and veggie sausage when I noticed we had a box of Eggo in the freezer.

I am just going to let that last sentence sit for a second, because if one is not aware of what “Eggo” is, mentioning one has a box of it in their freezer is kinda funny. ^_^

Anyhow, we recently watched the second season of Stranger Things, and I haven’t eaten an Eggo since the 80’s, so I wanted to know what it was like, get it out of my system for another 30 years (though if I am feeling nostalgic enough to desire an Eggo, something went off the rails along the way, future me).

So I thought, ha, we’ll have Eggo with the meal! And I let Clover know!

“Oh, awesome! But wait, do we have all the materials to make waffles? Do we need a waffle cooker?”

Oh, um, huh…

I thought for a moment, put the Eggo box back in the freezer, and explained to Clover that I wasn’t thinking, and indeed, we don’t have the materials to make waffles. I think I’ll spare the kid that particular indignity for now…

Clover is singingly eating a banana and brioche toast, and one would be forgiven if they didn’t immediately know this breakfast was proceeded by 10 hours of high fevers and upset stomach “events”.

Somehow I got enough to sleep to function, but I am not sure how long or how great my capacity to listen to this cheery song… which I just pieced together is a hummed-version of Apples and Bananas.

When I was a kid I would get so sick, I vowed to myself I would never have children, to prevent more suffering. My biology and finding a sane partner slowly, over many years, wore down that childhood resolve, and now there is Clover. And being not as sane in my love for Clover, if I happened upon my childhood self, I’d ask them to consider: “Oh, and it is even worse as a parent! Good luck with that.”

It’s cool, I have a standing self-policy since I was very young that I would take any advice from future versions of me knowing full well I could end up isolating the timeline or creating a paradox, if I don’t just relax and not overthink it. So it would be both appropriate to have that conversation, and I am fairly sure Clover would still happen.

And as I type this Clover looks over at me, full of feelings but very little energy, and apologizes for, “causing you so much trouble”. I smile and assure em it isn’t any trouble at all. And it’s not. I signed up for this when I elected to have my heart walk around in the world.

See young-maiki, parenting is the worse!

Flu season, Winter 2018

Nothing quite encompasses the dread of a particular cry one’s child has when they have suddenly found themselves very ill. I am still surprised when I wake up and feel great in the morning, and by tea time I am in bed crying and feverish. I know there is a physical component to the flu, by which is needs to spread out, but that sudden turn to worse health, that surprises me.

Ya know, it is funny, I also always forget how therapeutic blogging is. Because when I started writing this, I was about to sob. I actually feel a lot better just talking to the imaginary friends I’ve gathered to read my inner thoughts.

If those imaginary friends were able to “feel” my thoughts, they’d all be tinged with fear and a defiant, stubborn insistence on not thinking about possible outcomes, aside from the one where a snotty-nosed kid complains for two days while we play games and watch Mister Rogers. All other thoughts are buried under the logistics of sleep cycles and hydration, nutrient-boosting and low-key activities.

Because Clover is my baby, my heart. And when my heart wakes up, terrified and unable to stop shivering, it hurts my heart.

Embracing health, ditching cell phones

Our family is undergoing another bout of weird illness. I feel the same as I always have, comfortable that folks get sick all the time, while the silent dread creeps up the back of my brain, whispering vague statistics picked up over the years that warn of far worse consequences for our family…

In other news, Susan’s phone died! Well, probably. It will certainly need to be factory reset, and even then it probably doesn’t work very well anymore.

I took to Mastodon to see if folks had experience with walkie-talkies, which got all kinds of responses. I will be digesting it and posting a proper response soon.

One of the mental models I use is a simple mantra: “Goals before processes.” None of the processes of a cell phone meet any of my goals. And since one of my goals is to only obtain new hardware that I can repair myself, most mobile computers are out.

Less phones mean more rest, so that is our priority. After that, probably walkie-talkies. ^_^

Returning to the bedroom

It has been almost two months since our bedroom ceiling began leaking. We were able to sleep on it for the first time last night, though there are still a lot of paint fumes, so it is very cold in there as we air it out during the day (and most of the night).

This has been very frustrating, as we spent the last several weeks unable to walk into the room without coughing from the particulates in the air, and the property management company’s offers to “clean” have all made our lives more difficult, such as when they took our bed cover and held it in their office for two weeks, despite us asking for it back multiple times, or when they had to run an industrial fan in the room over night, with us in the next room sleeping on the vibrating floor.

It is nice to finally sleep in a space designed for it. We took this opportunity to upgrade Clover’s bed! This is the second bed ever, as we just continued using the mattress from the crib; it has only been recently that Clover’s feet began hanging off the end.

Our last couple of months have been so tumultuous, Clover was initially against the ideal of a new bed. I understand, we were just getting into the routine of a studio apartment, when suddenly we move everything around and switch up the beds.

Fortunately, all the things Clover likes about the bed, the many blankets and pillows, but especially being tucked in, have all remained the same.

Unfortunately, this bed is a twin, and I have a feeling Clover’s feet are going to one day hang off, and then e will join me in the club of people that don’t really fit on your essentially hobbit-sized furniture. In the past we would have been warriors, now we mostly just kick stuff while sleeping…

Do you have pictures of me?

For reasons I don’t want to go into at the moment, I don’t have a lot of photos from before about a decade ago. But some other folks might! So if you are one of those people, please send me a copy. ^_^

You can email me at, or drag them to my drop box. Thanks!

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