Friday, June 22, 2007

When Disaster Strikes: The Mixer Dies

In April, my cousin Sam purchases me a brand new Kitchenaid stand mixer at the Navy Exchange in Rhode Island. I was making some snazzy gluten free cookies for a potluck we're going to this evening, and a lump of brown sugar hit the paddle the wrong way and it jammed. I went AAH and flipped off the switch in the span of about two seconds. But it was too late. The mixer was dead and would not spin.

So, I called Kitchenaid and of course they don't want to honor the warranty because the manufacture date was more than a year ago. Miraculously, I was able to produce the receipt from the drawer where I remembered stashing it... And it was there. So, I took a picture of it with my camera and e-mailed it to them.

I will be very pissed if my $300 mixer is not under warranty. The consumer has no control over manufacture dates and how long something sits on the shelf. And I need to do a LOT of baking in the near future as I convert my favorite recipes to gluten free ones!

Very pissed right now.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Thanks to all for your kind comments. I finally made our appointments at Children's and got everything straightened out with our doctors not returning my phone calls. There seems to be ONLY ONE pediatric celiac dietitian in Boston, but I managed to get in to see her on the same day we're seeing the doctor. So I'm feeling better.

Eric said his tummy was hurting a little less for the first time in months, so that was good.

The restaurant thing wouldn't be a problem if E were an adult. Adults tend to try new things, and like food with multiple ingredients. He's just a super picky eater, and since he doesn't eat things like any meat, rice, French fries (or any form of potatoes) or anything Mexican (quesedillas on corn tortillas? YUM! But not for him), I can't even imagine what we could order for him. A slice of cheese, and a lemonade?

Still, I hope he'll be more open to new foods once his tummy feels better. According to lots of the folks on their absurdly picky kids were much more open to eating new things once they got the gluten out of their systems, and their intestines had a chance to heal.

He's been very hungry since we switched over from gluten. So, I'm hoping that's a good sign. I'm kind of used to him not having much of an appetite, and suddenly he's hungry all the time. But he's been asking for applesauce and fruit mostly. He seems to have accepted that Apple Jacks, Life and crackers are a thing of the past.

A parent from his school e-mailed because she was bringing a snack in and wanted to make sure he could eat it. This gave me all kinds of warm fuzzies, much like the comments below.

So, thanks again. I really appreciate the info and the links.
Celiac Blues

I don't know when we'll ever go to a restaurant again as a family. That makes me sad to miss our Friday night dinners at Cambridge Common. I took a break from cooking, and Rich took a break from the dishes. I could bring Eric some food. But it isn't the same. The point was to have him order his own dinner. And there is currently NOTHING served at a restaurant that he would eat. He always go the pasta. Until he starts being open to things like meat, nacho's or quesedillas we're SOL.

But at home it's pretty easy. I can't think of any of my old 'standards' that aren't already gluten free or could be easily made that way with a couple of substitutions.

Ironically, Eric would not touch any of my 'real' cooking with a ten foot pole. But we will be gluten free, in the hopes that when he say, "Can I try that?" I can say, "Sure! Eat up Little Bitty Buddy!"

I did finally get my referral to Children's Hospital yesterday. I had to finally call and speak to the manager. As I suspected the messages were not reaching the doctors until Tuesday afternoon. I understand that the reception staff at my doctor's office needs to be fluent in English, Portuguese and Spanish. But surely there are lots of people in this area that know those languages that have a reasonable set of office skills?

Grr.... Argh.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

I don't think I've ever been this angry.

I got a call. A life changing call last Thursday night that my son had tested positive for Celiac Disease. This is an auto-immune disorder that requires a strict, lifelong gluten free diet. My super picky eater boy will never be able to eat a lot of foods that most of us take for granted.

Unsure of what to do, on Friday morning I called our Doctor's office and said I had got some dramatic test results and I needed more information and asked if his doctor or my doctor could call back.

It's Wednesday of the following week and I am still waiting. I have called twice a day since Monday and I have not made my second phonecall today, but I probably will in about an hour.

The back of my head is pounding I am so angry. I stopped the gluten on Friday and made some pretty dramatic changes to my kitchen. I got rid of all the gluten foods that he eats and plan on phasing out the rest of the stuff with gluten that we eat and replace it with GF alternatives.

But I expected to have a conversation with a doctor about whether or not all this was a good idea.

What the fuck? Why haven't they called me back. According to the Childrens Hospital Boston website, 1 in 80 kids have this disease. It can't be the first time a blood test has come back positive.

What the hell is going on.

Off to make my tenth phone call. OK, it's only my sixth. But still.
According to the New York Times 60% of the toy recalls have been from China. The food, and drug ingredients we get from there ranges to fine, questionable and poisonous. I worry about this. We went on an orchard tour in Western Mass a two Falls ago. The owner of the orchard said that they were about ready to give up because most of the wholesale apple business has gone to China. Now every time I buy some juice, I wonder where it came from? Do they use pesticides there that will eat my 14 month old's brain? Or has this been tested? I hate not knowing.

What the hell is going on? How can we let our food and kids toys be produced by a disorganized, corrupt unchecked bureaucracy? There is little or no quality control there. Our food labeling does not include country of origin, so it's almost impossible to determine where a product came from unless you are shopping at twice the price from Whole Paycheck.

Perhaps it's time for toys to be more expensive and kids will just have less of them. That doesn't really seem like a bad thing to me. The plethora of cheap, plastic doodads is a scourge on our houses brought in by well meaning relatives (including parents, ESPECIALLY parents). But if the toys were more expensive, we'd think twice about buying that hot wheels garage to add to the growing pile.

Perhaps it's time to think about what Made in America really means. If it means accountable manufacturing and less lead paint in toys for preschoolers and babies, then I'm all for it. I'd pay more for less toys if I didn't have to deal with busy signals and exhausted, rude recall employees.

Just sayn'

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Gluten Free for Five Days

He still says his stomach hurts, but his appetite is definitely increasing. A couple of other "things" are looking more normal to. But in the spirit of TMI I will spare you the details here, but it rhymes with "shmoop."

We went to the Oxford Spa in Cambridge yesterday and Kaylee and I shared a chocolate cookie, and Eric got a gluten free brownie. They have a LOT of GF stuff there. And I am thrilled to report that it was really good. I am super picky about brownies, and this was just a good brownie, not a a good GF brownie. So, if I can learn how to make brownies like that, I think we're in good shape.

We still don't have an appointment scheduled at Children's. We're waiting for our doctor's office to get their act together and my patience is running a little thin. They just delivered life changing test results on Thursday night and I have not had a call returned since then.

Not happy about that. But life is good other than that.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Eric and Rich go camping in the back yard. Note the exotic wildlife in the foreground.