Report from the OP, October 17, 2022

With due respect to the Duke, I have to apologize for the delay in getting this or anything else blog-related out. Some unseasonably cold weather decided to show up on short notice, and I’ve worked myself into a really ticked-off back trying to get outside things done in preparation. I finished about 6 PM, just in time since we expecting freezing temps tonight and tomorrow night. It’ll warm back up later in the week, but this is our two-minute warning that Winter is indeed coming.

Grandkids update: Both went to the pediatrician last Friday (10/14). Bilirubin levels are good. Both are putting on weight. Basically, we have happy, healthy babies. They have developed a small problem with gas and that’s causing some upset with the new parents. It seems to be related to, unfortunately, mom’s milk. They’re trying to sort through the issue. Mrs. Freeholder spent the day with them today and reported that some dietary changes have improved that situation.

Boy, I remember being a new parent and not knowing anything about the subject. At that time we lived rather removed from family and close friends, so help was minimal. There was no Internet to look up advice on. We were on our own, just us and What To Expect The First Year. At least we weren’t dealing with twins. Daughter and Son-In-Law have a lot of support and are doing well, all things considered.

One of my readers contacted me via email (over 2 weeks ago, and I just saw it today–ouch) to point out that pitocin/oxytocin is no longer considered a cause of neonatal jaundice. I checked for myself and he’s right. My 30+ year old knowledge on the subject is obsolete. I appreciate the correction and the update to my knowledge.

Mom’s mobility and ability continue to improve. She’s still losing all that excess fluid–enough that she can wear socks now. As of today, she’s lost nearly 90 pounds. Yes, you read that right, and the fluid is still coming out of her system. BP is outstanding now at 110/60-something.

The first hospital bill arrived last week and outside of the frightening dollar figures (which will thankfully be covered by insurance-they hit max out-of-pocket fairly early in the process), she discovered that they loaded her up with 8 liters of lactated Ringers on just the first day–and she was producing only minimal urine. I’m getting very good at gritting my teeth and biting my tongue. Nothing I have to say will be welcome, and I’m not going to add to the stress level of a first-time mom. The twins do enough of that without my “help”.

Moving on…

It appears the world has lost its cotton-pickin’ mind. Ukraine and Russia, backed by the US/Global NATO and China respectively, continue a slow walk into an unknowable and increasingly scarey future. It really concerns me that both Russia and China are suddenly very quiet where they’ve been very bellicose. I think they are getting ready to escalate things. Not soon, but they just keep ticking off the indicator boxes for widening this conflict. I used to play Twilight 2000 while I was in university, and while it was a fun game, I’ve got no interest in the live-action role-playing version.

We also have an interesting global economics problem, as our Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates, which is causing everyone else’s economies to have their own case of gas. It’s not pretty, especially when the gas turns to something else. Sri Lanka and Pakistan are just the first fragile economies to suffer. More are coming. Even well-developed economies, such as the UK, are showing signs of stress. If you have time, check out the Dollar Milkshake Theory. I have a hard time believing our Federal Reserve could be smart enough to pull this off, but it is 2022. Nothing is off the table.

One other thing to watch is the technology embargo that the US has recently dropped on China. This has the potential to be a serious accelerator in the conflict between the US and China.

Locally, things are considerably calmer. Several new businesses, mostly restaurants, are giving it a try. I wish them luck. This is a challenging time to open a business.

There are also two new large-scale subdivisions being started, along with a number of individual homes in various stages of construction. I wish them good luck as well. Seven percent home interest rates are giving people who’ve never seen anything north of 3% a case of the vapors, and that doesn’t bode well for selling spec homes. Those of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s remember 14%+ interest rates and laugh. Kids, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet, I suspect.

Gas prices are holding stable at $3.50/gallon for regular and $5/gallon for diesel. Mrs. Freeholder did note one place on “the strip” that was selling gas at $3.40. Other automotive needs are equally expensive and somewhat thin on the ground, especially motor oil. I’ve been watching lately as I try to add a few more things to the storehouse our basement and garage are becoming.

Groceries are also holding mostly stable, with some prices, such as meats, going down just a bit and others, such as fresh vegetables, going up a bit. I’m taking this as an opportunity to stock up as much as we can stand, both price-wise and storage-wise, on the things that have went down.

Tomorrow is the bi-monthly expedition to the Nearby Small City. We’re going to be hitting a lot of places this time, so don’t be surprised if I make another report soonish.

Closing the circle a bit, I’ve been going through the treasures I showed you in the last Report. I regret to tell you the $5 radio is toast. I was able to salvage the antennas, which was the original reason I bought it. I might have been able to fix it, but how much effort, not to mention parts, does one put into a $5 radio that is nothing special from a “historical” standpoint? I figured $5 was a good figure. I probably put in three times that before calling it. I’ve cleaned and sorted the sockets and placed them in their new homes. The rest is queued up and waiting a turn, probably sometime this winter.

With that, I’m giving this a quick once-over in place of editing and hitting the publish button. Out here.

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