Thursday, February 14, 2019

Valentine's Day Haikus for the Married Couple

Valentine’s Day haikus 
exchanged between my husband and me

I love you a lot.
I hope you feel better soon.
See you tomorrow.

I love you very much.
I hope you don’t get sick.
Umm, yeah.

That was sort of what we said to each other. 

The Common Household Husband is, thankfully, recovering, thanks to antibiotics, fluids, and rest. 

The main goal of all of us is that the person who just started a new job CANNOT get sick right now.

I have washed my hands more times than I know.   This is love.

Go thou and do likewise.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

What We Learned: College Senior Edition

The graduate explains a complicated
piece of equipment in the chem lab.

I’ve been waiting a year and a half to post this.   Back in 2017, my middle child, fondly known here as “Son,” graduated from college.  He just this month found his first full-time job, for which we are all thankful.  Now it's high time I posted this. 

In June 2017, I asked, “What did you learn this school year?”

Son’s answers, forthwith. 
Believe it or not, these answers are abridged from the original.  Younger Daughter added to the conversation.

Son: I learned what the eight types of corrosion are.  And Goedel’s incompleteness theorem.  I recently found a youtube video that explains Goedel’s Incompleteness Theorem.  It’s on a youtube channel called NumberPhile.

Younger Daughter:  Girdle needs to get a new name.

Son: In my other math class I learned all about solving numerical differential equations by numerical methods.

YD:  What other way is there?

Son: Analytical methods.  The numerical method is basically a trial and error method.

YD: Oh, so it’s Newton’s method.

Son: Yes, essentially.  Did you learn Euler’s method?

YD:  Oiler?

Son: It’s pronounced “Oiler” but spelled “Yuler”.  I’m surprised you didn’t learn that in calculus.

[Much discussion of f(x) type stuff, with writing of equations on a poster board that just happened to be lying there.  In an activist’s home in 2017, there was always poster board lying around.]

Son: In my research I learned that the problem is never where you expect it is.

Son:  This equation (writes on poster board) describes heat conduction.  So solving this equation is of interest.  Sometimes the equations can be way more complicated than this, and it becomes impossible to solve analytically.

Me, yearning to get out of equation mode: What about band? What did you learn in band?

Son:  Never underestimate how many times you will play “Candide.”  Also, I learned that there is always a Sousa march.

Son: Last semester I took a senior lab.  I learned that the T.A.s are not always right.  When the TA tells you to do something, you usually just do it.  But then the professor comes around and says, “That’s not what you’re supposed to do at all.”

YD:  How long do your experiments usually take?

Son:  A couple hours.

YD:   Lucky.  In bio, experiments take weeks.  For us, we cannot artificially speed up the hatching of a fly.

Son: I also took Surfaces and Adsorption. 

Me:     Absorption?

Son: No, with a d.  (college nerd pun alert --> ) The professor taught this class using a Microsoft “Surface”. … 
The professor reminded me of Grandpa Bill.  He had a white beard and explained things as if he was teaching them to his grandchildren. You could do however badly on the homework assignments and still get a good grade.
Words like "reflux", "pot", "head", and "rust"
mean something different to
 chemical engineers.

In Corrosions we actually did a real project and I lucked out and got a lab partner who worked in an electrochemistry lab, and so he knew how all the equipment worked.  Electrochemistry is basically the same thing as corrosion.

Me:     I thought corrosion was rust.

Son:  Yeah. Rust is an electrochemical reaction.  … The coolest thing was the impressed-current cathodic corrosion protection.  That’s where you have a big piece of metal that you don’t want to corrode, and you have another piece of metal some distance away, and you set up a voltage source.  This prevents one of them from corroding. The drawback is that it uses a lot of energy and creates a lot of hydrogen gas.

Me:     That sounds dangerous.

Son: It’s more just that it’s environmentally unsound.

Me:     Isn’t hydrogen gas what was used in the Hindenburg?  And it exploded?

Son:  Yeah?  So?

Following the graduation ceremony, the graduate plays
ping pong with his father.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Group Text PSA

This “conversation”, which occurred in November 2018, shall serve as a public service announcement about the need to avoid group texting unless absolutely necessary, like, if you are a chaperone in the marching band and need all students come to the busses at once.  Except for that, don’t do group text.

You can tell this is a text conversation by the appalling lack of concluding punctuation. 

Husband:  Here is our thanksgiving dinner!  (with photo of turkey in freezer)

Older Daughter:  What dish should I bring?
(Oh, happy day! She really is an adult.  Only a true adult would offer, without being asked, to bring a dish.)

Son: Are we carpooling?

(There followed a discussion about whether they could travel to our house together, which meant lots of annoying pings, because Group Text.)

Older Daughter: No one has answered yet what dish I should bring

Son: You should bring my plates!

(For Rosh Hashanah, Older Daughter had hosted the meal at her house. More evidence of adulting! She threatened to charge her brother $5 for the meal if he didn’t bring something to the meal.  He brought garlic bread on two plates, but left his plates at her house.)

Husband: How about cranberry relish

OD: Ok, and no
Husband:  What does that mean

Husband: Fine.  I’m charging you $5

OD: I’m not making a dish that I don’t like

YD:  Stuffing?

OD: I could bring cranberry in a can

Me:  Yes.
(I immediately regretted this response.  Son is old enough to contribute something to the dinner, too, and he should be the one bringing the cranberry in a can, because he has fewer resources than OD.)

Me:  You could bring dinner rolls

OD: Ok!  Spicy dinner rolls

Husband:  Yeah.  Kung pao dinner rolls.  With candy on top.

OD: And shrimp

Son, fearing that one of his favorite parts of the Thanksgiving dinner would not be available:  Should I bring some actual rolls?

Husband:  How about egg rolls?

OD: How about jelly rolls?

Me:  You people.  SMH

YD:  What does that mean?

Son:    “shaking my head”.  I just looked it up

OD: Shake my hamster

YD:  Spoke many Horatios!

OD: Saucy mother’s headache

Son:  single-male household

OD: Smashing more heads


Son:    Dad started it!

YD:  Tools this powerful should only be in the hands of people like us!

Husband:  Ya scunners!  I’ve decided we’re having borscht for thanksgiving and that’s that.
(And now the group text conversation has deteriorated into references to the Mac Nac Feegle of the Terry Pratchett books, in which “ship” means “sheep”.)

YD:  Shouldn’t we be havin’ the ships for Thanksgiving with these wee dafties?

Husband:  And snails!  Roasted snails with lots of garlic

YD:  and beef Wellington!

Husband:  And deep fried stoat!

YD:  I think Mom is too appalled to respond.

Husband:  Mom is talking with Uncle J.

Yes, in fact, I was trying to have an actual vocal conversation with my actual brother on my cell phone, while enduring the constant pinging of the group text conversation.

Let’s take a vote:  should group text be outlawed, except for marching band?