Monday, March 29, 2010

My Thoughts

I'm not sure about this blogging thing... I find it difficult to put a lot of my ideas and thoughts in writing in a place where I know it might be read by family and strangers. One reason is that most people would find what I have to say or write about quite mundane and uninteresting. Another reason is that I don't have the time necessary to compose and edit a piece I feel would be enjoyable yet informative - perhaps I setting my expectations a little high in this regard. One last reason: A lot of times, I censor myself, especially when it relates to political issues because I know politics is an emotional and controversial area.

As far as politics is concerned, I have only ever been able to talk about it with one dear friend of mine without feeling anger and frustration. In fact, we talked about it yesterday evening and I came away feeling like we were both on the same side even though I know we disagree on many aspects of the issue we discussed. Interesting isn't it? I think our discussion was calm and rational only because we have such a good relationship with each other that we were trying to understand rather than change the other's opinion.

So, hopefully I'm not going to offend anyone here but here's my take on Healthcare Reform: I feel that we do need to change the current state of healthcare in our nation. It's ridiculous that the wealthiest nation on earth has millions of citizens that do not have access and/or cannot afford health care. It's ridiculous to me that an insurance company can raise premiums at will - that recently, an insurance company in California increased premiums by over 30%. How about the fact that most personal bankruptcies are a result of high medical bills? And, our emergency rooms are being used as urgent care facilities by the uninsured which is dangerous for people who really need emergency care and also increases cost of care for everyone. These are just a few of the problems we have in our current health system.

Now, whether or not the bill just passed by Congress is the right solution is arguable. I know that many people around me believe that it's the first step toward socialism. I agree that forcing people to do something is not a good idea. It's too bad that the politicians can't seem to work together toward a real best solution. I feel that there was too much ego and money involved. The whole process wasn't about finding the best solution, it was about power and perception and even deception. Would it be too much to ask that everyone involved be rational? Probably.

My only idea is what my friend suggested - that we put all the engineers in charge of solving this problem. I like it. We could use the Six Sigma methodology. Here's the Six Sigma methodology as defined by Wikipedia:
Six Sigma seeks to improve the quality of process outputs by identifying and removing the causes of defects (errors) and minimizing variability in manufacturing and business processes.[2] It uses a set of quality management methods, including statistical methods, and creates a special infrastructure of people within the organization ("Black Belts", "Green Belts", etc.) who are experts in these methods.[2] Each Six Sigma project carried out within an organization follows a defined sequence of steps and has quantified targets. These targets can be financial (cost reduction or profit increase) or whatever is critical to the customer of that process (cycle time, safety, delivery, etc.).[2]
Part of Six Sigma is identifying all the causes of defects and then choosing those that would have the highest impact and lowest cost. So if we applied it to the health care problem, we could list the causes of high cost and then work on the areas that would reduce the cost for everyone. By reducing the cost of health care we make it more accessible to the lower income population and more affordable for everyone. The government would not have to spend billions of dollars to help people buy health insurance.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Fever

It is gorgeous outside! Sunshine, 50 degrees. Looking out of my sunroom windows, I realized they desperately needed cleaning. So, I grabbed the glass cleaner and some newspaper and went to town. Initially, I meant to just clean the big picture windows but then I saw the smaller windows and decided they had to be cleaned as well. Our sunroom is surrounded by windows on three sides so it was no small task. "Any job worth doing is worth doing right" as the saying goes! I did cheat a bit - I cleaned the outside of all the windows and only did the inside of the two largest windows.

Here's the before picture of the outside of some of the windows:

And, here's the after:
Earlier, I scrubbed the kitchen sink and the stove top and vacuumed the sunroom. Could it be spring fever?

It might also have to do with the carpet cleaners being here to clean the carpet downstairs. Here's the story for those of you who haven't yet heard my tale of woe:

On Valentine's Day, we called some plumbers to unstop our main drain in the basement. We'd noticed the problem the day before but it wasn't too bad and we didn't want to pay the premium charges for getting it fixed on a weekend. Also, I was sick as a dog and was in bed all day. But, by Sunday, the utility room had flooded from the kids taking a bath so Dan called around and got some plumbers to come out in the afternoon. One of the guys broke the clean out which was located in our guest room closet downstairs. They couldn't figure out what was causing the slow drainage so they stuffed a rag in the clean out and left for the night. Unbeknownst to us, dirty water flowed into our guest room every time we flushed the toilet. Keep in mind, I was still sick with some sort of stomach bug and was going to the bathroom more than usual. The next day, they came back in the late morning and fixed the problem but the water/sewage had to be cleaned off of the carpeting. We rented a Rug Doctor and Dan cleaned the carpet as well as he could. Unfortunately, there was still a residual smell in the carpet.

It took me a few weeks to finally talk to the plumbing company to get them to fix the problem. I'd been sick with the stomach bug and two colds in the meantime so I didn't really have the energy to deal with it but this week I managed to get my act together to have take care of it.

Anyway, maybe having the carpet cleaners here inspired me!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What I found in the middle of the night...

Ellie has a new habit - a very bad habit. It started about a week ago during naptime. I was glad it was just during naptime...

Then, one night I checked on her and this is what I found:
I was glad that the sheets were clean and dry. Unlike the times when her bedding was wet or poopy. I'm thinking it might be time to get her to wear big girl underwear.

I do it!

Ellie loves to do everything herself. Brushing teeth, feeding herself, putting on a diaper... the list goes on. One day, I clipped Ellie's fingernails. Well, of course she had to do it herself...