Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fun With Fevers

(whispered voice) Hullo all.

(cough, hack, hoiiiik)

Yes, I didn't miss me either.

Actually, I'm fairly positive that those doughty astronauts up on the International Space Station who were testing some sort of infrared telescope had to repair the optics when they mistakenly aimed it at Southern Wisconsin, thinking that it'd be a nice, coolish spot, what with the heat wave having broken and all, only to find a searing spot, roughly human-formed, spelling rude words with her limbs in a fever haze. After the third day of fevers of 103-104, you have to start to use your inner muse to entertain yourself as you really haven't the energy to lift that 2 oz paperback, let alone keep your eyes open to read it.

But! On day...oh, what the hell was it.....what the hell is today, come to ask...anyway, Inferno Day Something-or-other, Marvelous Charles had his way and I started to swallow the damned antibiotics, and, lo and behold, 24 hours later, my fever started to throw all its dirty wash (and it had lots of sick-sweat-soaked stuff, you can be sure) into its bag and started to back out the door with hurried apologies that it had an urgent matter of business that must be attended to. And 12 hours later, nothing remained but the pastiness. Charles claims that this rapid response means that he was right and it was not 'just a virus' after all. I grumbled something about not being able to rule out coincidence and who the hell went to med school, anyway, and please pass the water and my next pill, thank you.

I am also left with the total absence of my voice. And the cough. Oh yes, and the rather unpleasantly pulled back and shoulder from the damn cough. But. Gone are the fevers and I can hug and kiss the children, again, after 5 days.

I can't yell at them, but I can kiss them and that I'll take.

I also find that approximately 3 pounds of me got mistakenly crammed in with Fever's dirty wash, so, there's that for the good! Now all I have to do to lose that last 10 lbs is to continue to eat 400 calories a day and raise my basal metabolic rate to that of a small neutron star and I'll fit into my skinnier jeans.

Yeah. Right.

The kids have been most marvelous. Charles had full parenting responsibilities over the weekend, but sadly had to return to work on Monday, it being first day of school and all and one CAN NOT EVER miss the first week of school if one is an educator. If one has a massive heart attack, it is expected that one will propel oneself through the halls to one's blackboard or office in one's hospital bed and work. After all, you just had 3 months off. You should have planned it better.

The last couple of days have been survival mode. Colin has had the responsibility of making breakfast and lunch for himself and his sister. They have had nothing but peanut butter and honey sandwiches, waffles, cold cereal, milk and carrots with ranch dressing, but they are seeming not to mind it. Hell, for all I know, they are eating nothing but ice-cream and ice-cream and just smearing peanut butter on the counters, but what I don't know won't hurt me. Charles makes them a healthy dinner, so I think we're not likely to see advanced scurvy and I've sent them outdoors each day it's not been storming, so they won't get the rickets. Pellagra is possible but I think they had some meat a few times at dinner, so we should be OK there, too. The trip to the dentist, tomorrow, will sort the rest out.

And so, I leave you with my heartfelt apologies for failing to visit youse alls. It's common for me to not post for a week, but I feel badly if I don't see my friends for more than a couple of days without mentioning that I'll be off to Monte Carlo as the Crown Prince needs my advice on a 'little matter.' (Does Monaco have a Crown Prince? They have a Prince, but a Crown Prince? Is Rainier still alive? Clearly no one in Monaco will even be asking my advice on toilet tissue now. Blew that.) I especially apologize to Rotten Correspondent who knows me but a short time and blogged me such nice birthday somethings that I have inadvertently ignored in my ague. 1000 apologies, Rotten.

Oh. And one more thing. Apparently, when you have NO voice what-so-ever aside from one's inadequate whisper, one's dog will stab you in the back and, while you have shuffled off to the bathroom, will eat the last piece of chicken that you left on the table, which was the ONLY thing in the house you felt that you could fathom putting in your mush, masticating and swallowing. When you come shuffling back from the bathroom, shaking with rigors, you will soon be shaking with rage and screaming in whispers (which are not at all intimidating). You will hustle said traitor and man's worst friend into her crate to rot until you are sure that upon letting her out you will not messily murder her. It's not at all the murder that you mind, but the mess, as you haven't the strength to clean it all up, what with all the damn chicken grease that's smeared on the floor, by the plate. I add that she has never done such a thing in her almost 2 years with us. Coincidence? Don't make me laugh.

And! I also have an inkling of what religious fanaticism feels like to a zealot as I stood in my poor kitchen, still shaking, sweaty and weak; wielding the wand of the vacuum, I systematically summoned 22 houseflies to their doom. It takes a steady eye and hand and I had neither, but what I did have was the grim, steely certainty that right was on my side and that I would not fail. In short, I found the strength of 10 Dianas plus 2 and didn't collapse on the couch until I had gotten each one I could find. They apparently thought they could stage a coup d'etat on my kitchen. Not while I still have a limb to command, fuckers. Now I just need to figure out if the damn dog intentionally or accidentally leaked the news of my illness to the king of the flies, and deal with her.

So there you have my trials and goo. I missed you all and will make the rounds slowly. Rest assured, though, I will be reading all you have written. Late to the party, but making amends and covering my mouth. Tissue, anyone?


Thursday, August 23, 2007


"Forty-two is the number Deep Thought gave as being the Ultimate Answer."


"And the Earth is the computer Deep Thought designed and built to calculate the Question to the Ultimate Answer."

"So we are led to believe."

"And organic life was part of the computer matrix."

"If you say so."

"Ford," he said suddenly, "look, if that Question is printed in my brain wave patterns but I'm not consciously aware of it, it must be somewhere in my unconscious."

"Yes, I suppose so."

"There might be a way of bringing that unconscious pattern forward."

"Like how?"

"Like by pulling Scrabble letters out of a bag blindfolded."

Ford lept to his feet.

"Brilliant!" he said. He tugged his towel out of his satchel and with a few deft knots transformed it into a bag.

"Totally mad," he said, "utter nonsense. But we'll do it because it's brilliant nonsense. Come on, come on."

Arthur closed his eyes and plunged his hand into the towelful of stones. He jiggled them about, pulled out four and handed them to Ford. Ford laid them along the ground in the order he got them.

"W," said Ford. "H,A,T...What!"

Arthur pushed three more at him.


"Here's the next three!"

"O,U,G...Doyoug...It's not making sense I'm afraid."

Arthur pulled another two from the bag. Ford put them in place.

"E,T,doyouget....Do you get!" shouted Ford. "It is working! This is amazing, it really is working!"

"More here." Arthur was throwing them out feverishly as fast as he could go.

"I,F," said Ford, "Y,O,U...M,U,LT,I,P,L,Y...S,I,X...B,Y...N,I,N,E..."Hi paused. "Come on, where's the next one?"

"Er, that's the lot" said Arthur, "that's all there were."

He sat back, nonplussed.

He rooted around again in the knotted up towel but there were no more letters.

"You mean that's it?" said Ford.

"That's it."

"Six by nine. Forty-two."

"That's it. That's all there is."

"I always knew there was something fundamentally wrong with the Universe."

--abridged from Douglas Adams, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

Today, I am 42. The Ultimate answer to the Ultimate question.

I am expecting great things from this year, starting with dessert, of course.

Pictures for you


Monday, August 20, 2007

In Which I take Leave Of My Senses

I present living proof of my insanity:

Pictures for you

Paper mache.


In my kitchen. Dripping on my table. Puddling on my floor (which, thank God, is a faux-marbled paper-mache colored ceramic). Coating each of us.

See, I'm home with the little angels for 2 whole weeks. Actually, what with the Labor Day weekend at the end and the fact that I only work the first 1/2 of each week, it's a day shy of 3 weeks. Our lovely summer sitter, C, had to selfishly get her little self off to college the middle of the month and modern society frowns upon 8 year olds and 4 year olds being taken care of by adolescent dogs, no matter how good their intentions are.

Desperate to find something for us to do to take up a rainy morning on a day that was not my time-honored favorite "Let's Clean The House For Money, Kids!" Day, I agreed to have us make pinatas.

Yes. I am agreeing to do crafts.

I am not in the least little bit craft-y. Nothing personal, I just never saw the point. Knitting, sure. There's a use for that sweater. But a Popsicle stick napkin holder? Not even as a kid did I see that as anything but crap. (I was a shitty Girl Scout.) I apparently lack the gene. It must be next to the one on the "X" chromosome that confers the desire for expensive designer bags, which I also lack.

So, we blew up the balloons, and then made a quart of flour-based glue, which we dredged strips of paper in and plastered all over balloons. Which then had to drip-dry, indoors, so they wouldn't become large fly strips.

Pictures for you

Here they are, dangling over the kitchen table where only a few pet indoor flies were present (drip, drip, drippity-drip).

Then they were tissue papered and painted. And glued and glittered.

Actually, when he realized that we WOULDN'T be filling them full to bursting with bags and bags of candy and then whacking them open and then stuffing ourselves on the bags and bags of candy, Colin rather lost interest and decided his would be an "egg". An undecorated chicken egg. (I owe him a pony or a car for that.) His is, of course, on the right.

Pictures for you

Sara, however, took full advantage and glued and painted and glittered hers extravagantly. I am still finding green sparkles in odd places on my person, despite having had more than one shower since then. I'm not sure what Sara's pinata is. Neither is she. But it sheds the carefully applied glitter nicely, so I'm thinking it's a kindergartner from the egg dimension. Or a grade-school art teacher, from the planet Ovoid.

Today, we used the morning splitting my psyche in two as I attempted to fulfill the school supply requirements of both kids' teachers simultaneously at the local Shopko.

For some reason Sara must have a box of 8 crayons that are not the 'jumbo size', but the 'regular size'.

As far as I can tell, they make the box of 'regular sized' crayons 16 or 32 or larger and the box of 8 crayons 'jumbo sized', but not what is required. I'm thinking they can take the box of 16 and lump it. She also needs a box of 'pipsqueak markers' as she is a girl. What the fuck? The boys have to bring paper plates.

Seems like the parents of daughters, who will be subjected to multiple bizarre fashion demands over the years, should be the ones to bring the simple paper plates and the parents of the boys, who for the next several years will be happily dressed in a uniform of jeans and t-shirts, get to find the 'pipsqueak markers'.

Or maybe the teachers figure that the parents of girls need the practice.

Oh. I also realized that all the pairs of jeans I bought Colin are the wrong size. But that's OK. I can use up another morning exchanging them.

I think I don't have enough beer in the house.


I know I don't have enough beer in the house.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

In Lieu Of Our Regularly Scheduled Blog...

I almost never do this but THIS had me laughing so hard that I was unable to do more than make those sobbing little "eep" noises, which caused poor Colin much concern from the adjacent room:

Colin: "Mom! What's wrong?"

Me: "Nothing honey. I'm just reading something funny."

C: "But you sound like you're crying!"

M: "I am just a little but it's because this is so funny."

C: (After coming in to look at the computer monitor.) "Are you going to cook that????"

M: (Wiping the tears streaming from my eyes): "NO. God no. Don't worry. Not even I would make that."

C: "Good."

And now my question: Did these items really end up on the tables of Americans in the middle of the 20th century? And was that the reason for the heavy consumption of martinis? And what about the poor children?

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007


It's now about 16 hours later and I'm still disgruntled.

As always, my disgruntle-i-tude is met with that small, yet imposing figure in my head, armed for some reason with a rolling pin, an apron and a very disapproving expression, telling me in no uncertain terms that I've got nothing to whine about, buck up and stop sniveling and think of all those poor people in China or Afghanistan or Rockford, Illinois, for Pete's sake.

I hate her. I can't even wallow in self-pity in peace.

Anyway. Yesterday. Tuesday. The Tuesday. Annual Date Night Tuesday.

Last week, looking for a movie to take the kids to, I noticed that the sorta local IMAX theater had the new Harry Potter film playing. I sighed and wished that my kids were the sort of hardened ruffians you could take to an intense Harry Potter movie and have them sit nicely and not have nightmares afterward. I then looked at G-rated movie times and moved on. But the seed was planted, and my mind worked a way to make this happen.

Charles, that audiovideophile, even agreed that going to see a flick in an IMAX theater would be even better than seeing it in his home theater and, therefore, jumped with gusto on board the date idea. The last movie we saw in a theater was in 2001. To put things in further perspective, we go out on a date about once a year, usually for our anniversary. As this year's anniversary was the pre-conference barbecue dinner with 150 other educators, I really didn't count it as our annual date.

I was looking forward to this the way a 5 year old looks forward to, well, maybe not Christmas, but certainly the 4th of July. I was even counting down the hours. Really and truly.

So, all I had to do was finish clinic on time, have us scream out of there right at 5 pm, leaving any undictated charts for the following morning, eat dinner in the car, and arrive there just in time for the 6:30 showing. We could just make it if the heavens aligned and the gods smiled.

Which of course, they didn't.

I knew damn well they wouldn't. The last patient was not the easy problem it seemed at first, and the 30 minutes I seemed to have to spare turned into finishing 30 minutes after we had to leave.

Of course.

I had further jinxed things by telling my physical therapist pal that (squee!) I had a date to see an IMAX movie alone with Marvelous Charles. No kids. In a theater. Not 6 months after everyone else had seen the movie.

I had only myself to blame.

Ah, but wait. As my life is often one of those 'good thing events didn't turn out the way I had planned or such-and-such would have turned out differently', it didn't surprise me that there was a Part 2 to the evening: Which would be the 1/2 inch of water in the basement storage room from the foot of rain that had fallen over the previous 36 hours.

Little damage had occurred aside from wet carpets and a few drippy cardboard boxes, so in the grand scheme of things, we'd have been awfully sorry to have had all that molding mess sitting there for another 24 hours or more.

Which should make me terribly grateful.

Instead, I'm still cranky and disappointed and my head is still full of that small rolling pin shaking woman telling me to stop feeling so damn sorry for myself.

Which is only making me more cranky and ungrateful.