Beard scissor maintenance

Like many of you, I use scissors to trim my beard. Electric trimmers or clippers tend to snag hairs and give you split ends. It’s also really easy to make big mistakes, where with scissors you might have a misplaced snip or two that is more easily corrected.

dovo_scissors

I have a pair of Dovo 43456 scissors from Solingen, Germany. They were purchased for me as a gift at The Beard Baron’s web site. They’ve been great, but over the past year have become more and more loose. It’s one of those things that happened gradually, and then all of a sudden they barely worked. Fortunately there was an easy solution – tightening up the screw.

At first, I grabbed a random screwdriver from the garage but soon realized I was going to bugger it up if I weren’t careful. I have a nice set of hollow-ground, Grace screwdrivers that worked much, much better. When I first received the scissors, there was slight friction when opening and shutting them. They weren’t floppy like they had become. As luck would have it, I found a good video on YouTube to illustrate what I’m talking about.

The video also demonstrates oiling your scissors, which is a good idea for anything metal. From now on I’m going to pay more attention to when my trimming scissors need a little love and care.

Paribus Review

I came across Paribus last week, and while it seemed like a good deal, I was still a bit skeptical. This is a service that will track price changes for items you have bought from Amazon, Walmart, Target, Newegg, Best Buy, Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Gap, Old Navy, J. Crew, Staples, Sephora, Bonobos, Zappos, Athleta, Banana Republic, Macy’s, and Piperlime. If the price goes down, and you’re eligible for a refund according to the vendor’s policies and guidelines, Paribus will get you your refund.

Now you’re thinking that sounds too good to be true. There must be a catch. Here’s the catch – Paribus keeps a percentage of your refund. It’s starts out at 25%, and it’s relatively easy to reduce that number to 10% or even 0%.

The way it works is you give it access to an email account containing email receipts from the aforementioned vendors. So if you don’t want them having access to your normal email, start a new gmail account. If you’re already receiving receipts at another address, you can forward them to your new one.

Like I’ve said before, I’ve been trying it out for a week and have been liking it so far. I have a few purchases that’ll be earning me refunds soon. The only thing I’ve been disappointed with so far, is it doesn’t recognize any digital purchases from Amazon, specifically renting or purchasing streaming videos.

If you want to try it out, here’s my referrer link – https://paribus.co/i/0GNNIu

Influenza

I have the flu.

I haven’t felt this bad since I had pneumonia back in 2006. At first it was just feeling like crap, a high fever, and copious coughing. But now that the shortness of breath and low O2 sats have joined the party, I’m really looking forward to the end.

FYI – Tamiflu seems to be keeping me awake when I’d love to be sleeping. So keep that in mind if you’re ever on it. I told my doc getting up to get water makes my O2 drop to 90% so I went in for a chest x-ray and blood tests. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about pneumonia.

Children and Chronic Illness

I am chronically ill, and I have two children. I don’t like admitting I can’t always take care of them, mostly because it is true. Fortunately they are very understanding and are kind of used to it. It can become really difficult when I’m solo parenting though.

Last week, my special lady friend was in L.A. for a work conference. Kid #1 goes to school during the day and Kid #2 is with a babysitter during the day, but I’m on duty for nights, mornings, and weekends. I was doing alright until the weekend.

I wasn’t feeling well before Liz left. She was worried things wouldn’t be ok. The kids weren’t adjusting well to mom being gone, but I was doing ok. The week progressed, and I became slightly more and more tired each day. I’m often able to rest and recharge on weekends, but not this time.

I did get a break for a couple hours Friday night and Saturday afternoon, but I was already feeling bad enough that it wasn’t enough for me to feel better. Sunday morning I got the kids some food, turned on the TV, and laid back down. They woke me up at 11, 12, 1, and 2. They were hungry, they were tired, and they needed some attention. I was able to get a family member to come get them around 6, but by then I was in pretty bad shape. It’s now three days later, and I’m just now doing some normal things like: not sleeping all day, eating, and talking to people.

I’m fortunate that my oldest can watch over the youngest and mostly keep him out of trouble. I’m grateful to have family around who can help out at times. We’re all glad to have Liz back, and hopefully I can hack it next time. The kids are also fine, I just wonder if they think all dads are like me.

Purple Mattress

So we’ve been looking, thinking, and searching for a new mattress. The one we got almost 5 years ago has two valleys in it from where we sleep, kind of like a Home Simpson ass groove.

Unfortunately, we don’t like those grooves as much as Homer does because it’s been hurting to get up every morning. Beds are a difficult thing to purchase without remorse. Many boast 5 to 25 year warranties with 121 caveats when it comes time to get your mattress repaired or replaced. It’s also easy to spend thousands of dollars if you aren’t careful.

I decided to take a gamble on a Purple Mattress. A big selling point for me was the 100 day trial period with a full money back guarantee. Usually you’re offered 30 or 45 days to change your mind, and that doesn’t always come with a full refund.

So far we’ve been sleeping on it for a week and are enjoying it. The only annoying thing at this point is the mattress protector I bought is baggy. It’s made for mattress 8″ to 22″ and the Purple Mattress is 9.5″. We’re looking for one made for not-deep mattresses to have less extra fabric.

Digital Peak Flow Meter

In October I bought myself a digital PF meter from Amazon. I did a little research online, talked to some friends, and then ordered the Microlife PF 100. I don’t remember to use it everyday, but I really like being able to see FEV1 along with the peak flow value.

I’ve found it interesting how the FEV1 value will change when my PF value stays relatively the same. This is often paired with me feeling worse. This extra data has also been helpful when checking in with my lung docs if I’m not doing well. The device holds 240 readings so you can always scan through your past numbers.

Supposedly you can use a provided USB cable to download your values to a computer. I’ve been storing my data at OurBreeze.com. It graphs everything out for you, will alert you based on your best values, and there’s even a forum to get advice from, and chat with fellow asthmatics and those who have breathing disorders. Be sure to check it out.

Taxes done

I finished and filed our taxes today. It’s always a bit of a chore because I add up all our medical expenses. As usual, we spent around $16k on prescriptions, doctors and dentists; hospitals, x-rays, and labs; glasses and contacts, medical supplies, and “other.” The added bonus of tallying all these expenses is I get to see how much I spent. It’s also at times like these I can do nothing but shake my head at those who think The U.S. does not need health care reform. I suppose this could also be a time to start a tirade over some of the candidates hoping to be elected president next year, but I’m supposed to be avoiding stress.

We’re also getting some money back, which is great, but it’ll just be putting a dent into some of those medical expenses. Maybe some year I’ll be healthy and get to spend a tax return on something fun.

RSV

I have a couple kids, and the youngest has some mild breathing problems. Two or three weeks ago he became sick, was having a lot of trouble breathing, and was hard-core retracting. His doctor said it was RSV and started him on some steroids.

RSV is supposed to be dangerous for babies and old people. Supposedly if us adults get it, it’s just a cold and you cough a lot. I ended up hanging out with the little dude for a week while he coughed and sneezed in my face. Sometimes he’d let me give him a treatment, and other times he fought it. Things seemed to be going decently well until I started feeling under the weather.

Things went from bad to worse in about 6hrs. Lately whenever I get sick my oxygen saturation drops. That night I was reading 85-89%, feeling pretty lethargic, and looking like two nebs short of an ER run. Luckily I tend to have prednisone on hand and a very responsive pulmonologist in town. I took some magnesium and then sat in a hot bath with epsom salt, which also contains magnesium. I can’t count how many times this has saved me. Magnesium helps to relax smooth muscles and let your airways chill out.

I’m still having ups and downs trying to kick this thing, but this morning I was able to ride my bike so that’s a good sign. I wish I could skip cold and flu season each year.

 

Perfect gift for Liz’s birthday

So Liz recently had a birthday and I got her an assortment of gifts. One of the items was apparently SUPER amazing. It wasn’t jewelry, chocolate, a paid vacation, or anything else extremely expensive. I got her this….

It’s a thing you can put over the overflow drain on your bathtub allowing you to fill your tub to the top with water. That’s all it takes to woo your special lady friend – the gift of a full bathtub.

Lists

I’m sort of a list person. Writing things down magically helps me to remember them. Sometimes my lists only exist in my head. Lately my lists have looked like this.

  • Wake up
  • Check breathing stats
  • Take medicine
  • Get kids ready
  • Get ready for work
  • Go to work
  • Come home
  • Dinner, baths, and bedtime routine
  • Take care of bills and household things
  • Sleep

More often than not, my list has stalled out around items three or four. I haven’t been to work in two weeks. I’ve worked 18 days in the last three months. Tomorrow the plan is to go to work, hell or high water. If nothing else, I need to get out of the house and do something just for my mental sanity.