Monthly Archives: July 2007

It’s never a good thing when you see your neighbour’s house on the news

Yesterday my wife called me at work to say that there was a television crew at our neighbour’s house. Last night we watched the news and the lead story involves our neighbours. And it’s a troubling story.

According to the news, a police officer who lives in our neighbourhood took it upon himself to photocopy photos of a man and distribute them to our neighbours, warning them that he lives nearby. The man has been accused of sexually assaulting a minor. The man is our next door neighbour.

I’m trying to keep this thing in perspective. I see myself as being a fair person and want to be fair in my assessment of this situation. I don’t know the man personally other than to see him come and go from the house. He hasn’t even been charged with a crime, just accused and I like to think that we live in a society where you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law and not in the court of public opinion or sensational media coverage. And when you dig into the details of the sexually assaulting a minor charge, you find out that our 20 year old neighbour is accused of sexually assaulting a 17 year old boy. Again, trying to keep this in perspective, who knows what other social dynamics have gone on between the two? It’s conceivable that they might be a couple and this whole thing could be a relationship gone south. 20 to 17 is not a huge gap in terms of age and they could be part of the same peer group. The gap is even smaller if you consider that he just turned 20 and the 17 year old is a few months away from being 18. I’m not saying that is the case – the math could work the other way, but these are factors a court should be deciding IF this guy is even charged with assault and things I am trying to keep in mind as I weigh how I feel about this.

Personally, I think the police officer overstepped his bounds. And apparently so does our local police force who are conducting an investigation into how the photo got leaked and distributed. But still, it has been quite a disconcerting evening and morning at our house as I grapple with some big issue things – the safety of my family, the rights of a (still innocent) accused man and how I balance the two.

Pick nose, eat, get healthy

Apparently, according to an Austrian doctor, picking your nose and eating it might be good for you. According to Dr. Friedrich Bischinger, an Innsbruck-based lung specialist:

“Medically it makes great sense and is a perfectly natural thing to do. In terms of the immune system the nose is a filter in which a great deal of bacteria are collected, and when this mixture arrives in the intestines it works just like a medicine.”

However, like many other parenting issues, there is always another side; the dangers of digging for gold.

If the skin inside the nose is broken while picking away, the veins in that region are situated in such a way that sometimes an infection can migrate inward to the base of the brain and inhibit the blood flow, a serious condition known as cavernous sinus thrombosis.

To let the kids pick and eat their way to health and happiness, or risk a brain hemorrhage and social isolation? Damn, this parenting thing is never easy.

Packing on the pounds? Yep, you’re a Dad.

I used to go to the gym. I used to run. Occasionally, I would swim. I used to ride my bike to work everyday. Heck, some Saturday mornings, my wife and I would even ride our bikes just for fun. In short, I used to be a lean, mean fighting machine (well, minus the mean and fighting parts). I used to be.

Now my daily exercise consists of nothing more brisk than the 10 minute walk up the hill to work. The time at the pool is spent watching The Girl as she goes through her lessons and my beloved Rocky Mountain gathers dust on the wall in the garage. It shows.

Sure, some of the spare tire is due to the fact that I’m forty and, as we age, so does our body. But in reality I am just not as physically active today as I was pre-kids.

Nice to see I am not alone in this. The New York Times recently wrote about how kids adversely affect parents physical condition. Seems when the wee ones come along, something has to give and that something is often our trips to the gym.

According to a recent study by the University of Pittsburgh, on average those of us with kids lose about three and a half hours of physical activity a week. And men are affected more than women.

Women, who exercised on average four hours before children, lost about 90 minutes a week once they became mothers. New fathers, who used to log just under eight hours of activity weekly, cut back a whopping four and a half hours.

So, sure we are busy. And heck, we even might have a little less disposable income to throw around on things like gym memberships. But what was really interesting is that, while these are legitimate reasons why we have cut back our exercise, there is another reason at play. According to the study:

Too many Americans have an all-or-nothing mentality toward fitness, said Dr. Harvey B. Simon, an associate professor at Harvard Medical School. If they can’t find a 45-minute window to bike, they don’t substitute by strapping on a BabyBjörn and taking a stroll.

And still many of us find our kids a convenient excuse not to exercise. They give us a bulletproof excuse. Who is going to argue with us that, with a couple of kids, we have no time?

Reluctant exercisers use parenthood as “an excuse to not do it at all,” said Dana Wood, a mother and the health and beauty director for Cookie, a parenting magazine.

Still, at this time of adjustment, we new Dads need to take time to keep up our fitness levels.

“Reducing their activity in this critical period of time is probably not going to help their adjustment in terms of a new person in their house,” Dr. Fulton (an epidemiologist in the division of nutrition and physical activity at the Centers for Disease Control) said. “The long-term stuff, the chronic-disease risk reduction, is great, but immediately, they’re not getting the mental-health benefit.”

Lately, I’ve realized how much I miss riding my bike. What had been a daily activity for 7 years has happened a handful of times in the past year. So, 2 weeks ago I started going for bike rides after the kids went to bed. The weather is cool and there is still enough daylight. It really is amazing how such a little thing like a 20 minute bike ride can completely clear your head and re-energize you.