Saturday, February 28, 2009

Spread the Word, Peeps

This might be the biggest progress in the food allergy community yet. Check out the trailer to this documentary due on PBS in May. Perhaps now the world will finally get it.

*Thanks to nut-free mom for bringing this to our attention.

The Leak Saga, Part 3

Yesterday, a steam pipe exploded in a all in mini's room. That's right, you heard us, a steam pipe. Did you even know that could happen in apartment buildings? Apparently it can. Once every 5th floor. So now there is a hole in mini's wall that looks like this:
Of course, one could think to yourself: that's great!! This totally explains the wet plaster smell, the paint bubbling of the wall (and subsequent hole that was "dried up") yet remains inexplicably wet and thus still undiagnosed.

You could think that the mystery was finally solved, and it would be completely logical thinking. Except this wall on the complete other side on the room. So where does that leave us? One mysterious leak has been "simply explained" by poor plumbing in the apartment upstairs. Water lines were cut off. It did not dry up.

Then the "aha" of the leaky washing machine. Which was fixed except the smell was still there. And then the oven was pulled out of the wall so that we could find another leak. The water was shut off and it was chalked up to odd coincidence. Then the steam pipe exploded. And apparently this "part" that broke is only on every 5th floor.

Three (possibly four) crazy coincidences. And none of them have resolved the original issue, because somehow the wall is still getting wet. And remember also that roaches are attracted to the smell of wet plaster.

So Poker Chick is in need of help from you peeps. She needs answers to these questions:

1) Can anyone out there calculate the odds of all of this happening in the same room at the same time? There's gotta be a way to make some money off this in Vegas.

2) Can anyone advise a girl how to have the conversation with the insurance company who had already assessed and paid for the "initial" water damage? "No really sir, I realize how this must sound, I promise we are not making this up for the money.....hello? hello? Are you still there?"

Stay tuned for the exciting saga! It's too bad Poker Chick doesn't have a whole house. Home ownership is so much fun!!

Celebration in the Poker Chick Household!

The mini's eating repertoire might actually stand a chance at expanding!!!
The New York City Council just passed a bill by 46-2 to educate food service establishments and their staff on food allergies, safety, and cross-contamination concerns.

"The poster, which will be available in multiple languages, will highlight the most common food allergens, as well as provide information about how to avoid cross contamination and what signs to look for to identify an allergic reaction. The poster will be displayed in a conspicuous location that is visible to food preparers and food handlers.
'This is a small and simple thing we can do, but it has the potential to save lives,' Council Member Lappin said."

Jessica Lappin, you definitely have this family's vote and sorry for voting against you last time. And thanks to Allergic Girl for bringing this to our attention. You can read the full press release over at her site.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Jack Bauer and How He Messes With Your Head

As with "Lost", Poker Chick enjoys a healthy love/hate relationship with "24". With "Lost" there's the unknown element of science beyond our knowledge, or magic, or who knows. Regardless, it's enough for you to sort of suspend disbelief long enough to buy the show.

With "24", PC's starting to struggle a bit too much and it's as if the writers aren't even trying to explain the inconsistencies anymore. And it's ruining a perfectly good story. For example, take the chip Jack Bauer ripped out of the enemy's body. This is major news - a chip that has the name of every double crosser in the entire government. The answer to his situation. The names that will give the President security and allow federal agencies to be re-utilized without fear of being compromised. So, after literally ripping it out of some man's body, with blood on his hands - what does Jack do? That's right. He hands it off to the first person who walks by with a blase "give this to this guy, will you?"

C'mon, Jack. You know better than this. Make a copy. Stick it under your hat. At least make a show of trusting who you give it to vs. some extra who jumped at the chance to make $400 that day. Do you really expect us to believe you're that dumb?

Next there's the chick he's working with. Despite years of FBI field training she suddenly develops a conscience and turns into a whiny baby over one dead body. Not that dead bodies aren't something to cry over. But it's a complete disconnect from the enjoyable 2-dimensional character you expect.

And then, right when you're starting to lose faith, you notice the eye makeup.

Yeah, yeah. Most women have that eye smudge from makeup when they cry. But in this case? Think about it. Enough mascara to smudge? So you really want us to believe that somewhere, after going rogue, getting shot in the neck, and being buried alive, somewhere in there she found time to re-apply her eye makeup?

Please. You have got to be kidding.

So to the writers of "24" Poker Chick says: Wake up, peeps. You're getting lazy and we're not dumb.

Deep Thoughts

Poker Chick is wondering whether to keep watching the President's address or give in to the vodka and go to bed....

Betcha Thought The Leak Was Fixed, Didn't You?

Several weeks, machines, and thousands of dollars later the wall is all dried up. The washing machine is fixed. We're ready to get the room re-plastered and repaired.

Except there's that wet plaster smell again. Doh!

As Poker Chick weekends seem doomed to torture these days, Friday night started with the oven being ripped away from the wall, revealing a giant puddle of water behind it. The water line from the sink to the fridge has been shut off, theoretically fixing this hidden "leak". Except that something is still wet inside after all that.

Stay tuned for next week, when Poker Chick will report on how her kitchen and bathroom have been completely ripped out and destroyed in order to find said leak. Have we mentioned how much this girl loathes home improvement?

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Because Motherhood is Funny

Poker Chick doesn't link to many blogs, but the ones she does have one or more things in common: they are good friends, they are loyal supporters of Poker Chick, or they make her laugh. She's pleased to add Jessica as her newest permalink (right). Aside from being a great writer, she produces a series of webisodes that are seriously entertaining. The one below is a good starter one if you want to test the waters. It made PC literally laugh out loud. If you think that's funny, and you're not easily offended*, check out this latest one.

*Why do we have the feeling half of you skipped right to the one on the link and watched that first before watching the video on the post?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

What Time Is It? No, Seriously, What Time Is It?

Who can tell Poker Chick, once and for all, what time is it? She's tired of always being either 5 minutes late or 5 minutes early to meetings.






Making it Safer to Eat Out

Mad props to Ming Tsai, celebrity chef and food allergy awareness advocate. Thanks to him, Massachusetts peeps with food allergies are eating out with more frequency and less stress. Let's hope others follow suit....soon.

Monday, February 16, 2009

And how was your week?

If you're, er, a human being, you know what it's like to be overwhelmed. Add children to the mix. Add a full-time job that's been working you 60 hours a week for what seems like forever. Add school contracts, figuring out camp, refinancing a home, and about a zillion other things within a one-week window and you have.......

You have a severe drought of Poker Chick posts, for one. What else? Let's see...

Major sleep deprivation
Tantrums (4 year olds don't respond well to too much going on)
A diet of caffeine and alcohol mixed in with french fries and the occasional meal. Hey, a girl's gotta work through it somehow!

Poker Chick is way hotter than this woman (left)

Stress. Life. Chaos. Now, this is not intended to be a rant but a necessary foundation to set to understand the weekend from hell. It was supposed to be the weekend of catchup. It started out well. Poker husband let this girl sleep in (all the way to 9am!! isn't it sad that that really is exciting?) Then she went to pilates, the first formal exercise she's had in months. And probably the first full breath too (thanks, Miranda, trainer extraordinaire!) Then she went to do several hours of work. She was calm. She was productive. It was amazing. All was going according to plan. When the work was done all she had to do was sign the mortgage papers, do 6 weeks' worth of laundry, write 30 thank you notes, and book a trip of Florida. In one afternoon.

You see where we are going with this, don't you?

Yup. It didn't happen. PC came home to more chaos. A washing machine hose broke. Water damage was in the floor, wall, plaster, somehow all the way through into mini's room. Large chunks of paint and plaster were missing next to her bed. And apparently this was also the case in the apartment below as well.

So forget thank you's and papers and catching up on a huge backlog of stuff. Cue schlepping downstairs for laundry and digging through pockets for quarters. Cue back and forth calls from super to insurance company. Cue men lugging 5 or 6 giant machines into PCs apartment for several days to prevent mold. Cue mini now sleeping in PCs room and using her bathroom as hers were unusable. Cue more stress as these machines were louder than plane engines during take-off, and they had to be on 24/7! Cue plumbers and painters and a threatened lawsuit for the neighbors insurance deductible.

And (this really is the absolute worst part for PC), cue cockroaches. Who like the water and came out to play. In her kitchen. And her bathroom. And her medicine cabinet, which she learned only when opening it looking for a Dora band-aid. Cue more calls to the super. Exterminators. Traps. Cue sleepless nights 'cause this girl is a baby when it comes to these things and the dark meant they would come out creeping and crawling.

So, friends and fans. The lesson for you is: if it's been a while since Poker Chick has had something to say, rest assured. There will be an interesting story in it for you soon.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Bohemian Glam

Shoutouts. Poker Chick has lots of shoutouts to make. Necklaces, roses, dinner, shows, good wishes, surprise cupcakes. The amazing combination of good friends, polenta fries, Veuve Clicquot...and a babysitter. All of you know who you are and we love you and thank you.

No, we're not talking about Valentine's Day, peeps. That is a holiday that is contrived and disingenuous and cheesy. Poker Chick has always looked upon Valentine's day with disdain and if you want to know more we encourage you to read this post or you can read this post. We're talking about a holiday none other than our very own girl's birthday. And, for once in long while, she's engaging in some shameless enjoyment of it.

But seriously, to everyone who remembered, thanks and you rock. And to everyone who's confused, we'll post something for you soon too, so don't hurt your head trying to make sense of this post title. Poker Chick readers are pretty awesome and loyal so in the meantime we're going to throw in a shoutout of gratitude to you too.

Finally, another shoutout (boy, are we keeping them in business) to Sephora, where the cashier smiled at PC, said "Happy Birthday", and proceeded to give her free lip gloss. Three of them. Sweet!

OK, 3...2....1....lovefest officially over. Your usual Poker Chick is back :)

Monday, February 9, 2009

Live From Hell It's A Poker Chick Update!

Poker Chick has been a little behind on posting. There is an explanation, and she'll post pictures of proof. But all we have to say is look up the word "industrial strength dehumidifier", add in a little insurance, a superintendent, and a 'neighborly' coop lawsuit, and you'll begin to understand what the last few days have been like.

More to come, we promise.

A little more, as promised, picture of industrial dehumidifier (right).

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wake Up And Smell the Fenugreek Seeds!!

Poker Chick is not sure which is more upsetting, the fact that this is national news, or the fact that it was on the front page of Regardless, it's still kind of funny. And it's not even satire.

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The source of a mysterious maple syrup-like smell that has periodically blanketed New York is not a particularly aromatic pancake house but a New Jersey factory involved in the processing of fenugreek seeds, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Thursday.

The source of New York's sweet-smelling aroma has been identified as a food-flavoring firm in New Jersey.

The sweet aroma first descended upon Manhattan and northern New Jersey in October 2005, initially triggering several building evacuations as well as concern the scent was physically harmful. Authorities from the Office of Emergency Management soon concluded it posed no danger to the public.
The odor made several return appearances in subsequent years, each time confounding nostrils before vanishing as perplexingly as it arrived.
Comparing information about local wind speed, wind direction and air humidity against the locations of citizen complaints about the smell, officials from the city's Department of Environmental Protection narrowed down the potential source to four factories in northern New Jersey that produce food additives and fragrances.
Last week, when several dozen residents of Upper
Manhattan called to complain about the smell, the environmental department, having developed a new evidence gathering procedure, gathered air samples from each suspected source in canisters. Tests revealed the pungent perpetrator of that incident was a Hudson County facility owned by Frutorom, a company that develops and manufactures flavors for the food, fragrance and pharmaceutical industries.
The specific chemical agents responsible for the scent are esters, compounds "created by the reaction between an alcohol and an acid" during the processing of fenugreek seeds, according to
Toasted fenugreek seeds are often used in the production of artificial syrups and in the cuisines of a number of cultures.
The mayor said New Jersey officials, who cooperated with New York in the investigation, had concluded that Frutorom had not violated any rules. He said New Yorkers will have to tolerate the syrup smell's occasional return, noting that it's a relatively benign odor.
"All things considered I can think of a lot of things worse than maple syrup," he said.