Monday, March 24, 2008

medical science to the rescue

This morning I was as scared as I've been in years. After the aforementioned evening of hardly any kicking, we woke up this morning to, again, a motionless baby. We're supposed to feel a minimum of 10 kicks in two hours and from 7:30 to 9:30 we felt only one. Combine that with the fact that for the last several weeks Kirsten's belly has measured slightly below normal and that Kirsten has picked up some mean viruses and we seemed to have a confluence of bad signs.

We didn't want to be the type of parents who harass a doctor with every minor concern. On the other hand, if Baby Marcus is in trouble then it's Kirsten, David and medical science to the rescue!

At the doctor's office they strapped on a fetal monitor which charts Baby Marcus' heartbeat. Of course, as soon as she was being monitored, Baby Marcus started kicking up a storm. Her heartbeat was strong and "reactive", which is apparently important. Next we did an ultrasound, which showed that she is precisely normal...exactly in the 50th percentile in size. Not only that, she is practicing swallowing and breathing. She has the beginnings of a nice head of hair. And, in the middle of all this excitement, she gave a big yawn.

Thank you medical science and a big shout-out to our Ob/Gyn, Dr. DelPrete, for putting our mind at ease.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

justin saves the day

We had one of our first parenting scares tonight. For what seemed like a very long time, Baby Marcus stopped kicking. Usually she passes the evening like a fetal Pele, knocking away at Kirsten's abdomen.

We anxiously tried to coax a kick out of her. Kirsten walked around our living room. She drank a big glass of water, tried lying in different positions...all to no avail. Finally, we started playing Justin Timberlake music videos. Apparently, just like her mom, Baby Marcus is fan of the high-pitched crooning of the former boy band star. She started kicking immediately. Thank you Justin!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Allstate Warranty has never heard of the do-not-call list

On a daily basis my day is brightened by a phone call from an "Unavailable" number. A recorded lady explains that the warranty on my vehicle is about to expire, that this is my final notice, and that I can renew this warranty by pressing 1 and talking to an operator. This message is surprising since I don't own a vehicle. (Both of our cars are in Kirsten's name.)

After a month of ignoring the messages, I've recently taken to pressing 1 and chatting with their call center. The first time the guy hung up on me after I asked which company he was from. Kirsten had the same issue another time when she asked the question. Last night, however, I managed to keep the guy on the line.

I told him I have a '95 Accord with 120k miles that I just bought from "some guy."

"Do I really have a warranty?," I asked with incredulity.

"Yes. And it's about to expire! But it's not too late to sign up for another 100k mile warranty."

"My car has 120 thousand miles and you'll cover me for another 100 thousand?!"

"That's right! We'll cover the entire car from the engine to the tires!"

"That's fantastic! What company are you from?". I asked the question that usually gets a click.

"We're from Allstate Warranty." I started googling furiously. They do exist, sort of. Their website is semi-professional, but doesn't seem to have anything to do with the more famous Allstate. This is a satellite picture of where their company is headquartered, based on their domain registration:

"I've got one more question," I interjected.

"Go ahead."

"You guys are a scam, right?"


"I mean, you say you're Allstate but you don't seem to have anything to do with Allstate insurance."

"We're a subsidiary."

"Why have you called me every day for the last month telling me it's my final notice to renew my warranty?"

"We just don't want your warranty to expire. Now, can we go ahead with your application?"

The poor guy kept trying to sell me on extending the warranty on my '95 Accord even as I responded to every question with a new allegation of scamming. Finally, and for the first time, I had to put a stop to the conversation.

I worried I might be off the list, but today I got the call again. Again I happily pressed 1. This time the guy hung up on me right after I told him I drive an '82 Chrysler LeBaron.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

what's more surprising?

In New York, our rambunctious western neighbor, the Governor has all-but-acknowledged being a client of a high class prostitution service (story here). His resignation is likely. The lieutenant governor would become governor.

In this speculation, nearly every article mentions that Lt. Gov. David Paterson would become the first black governor of New York. They seem to gloss over the fact that the Lt. Gov. would be the first blind governor anywhere! Is our society so race-conscious that having a black governor is more remarkable than having a blind governor?

Monday, March 10, 2008


I've been putting a lot of free time into a transportation project. As part of my research for the project, I came across this website for Autobuses Americanos S.A., which runs buses between the US and Mexico. While I would trust them to get me to a city in Mexico, I'm not so sure about the US.

Where is Chicago again? Or Kansas?