Germs Suck

Olive cat
Olive Cat sitting up against the wall.

Haven’t had a marathon sick-fest in a few years. Sure, people get colds, fevers, broken arms, lice. But not the current, virulent scourge my little snotty family has withstood for the good part of a month.

First the ladies busted out with twinsie fevers after running around a little too long in one of the hundreds of snowstorms that have dumped on the Mid-Atlantic this year, then Mimi went on to a week of on and off fevers coupled with chest cold, nighttime hacking, antibiotic delirium, a rare ear infection and the beginnings of pink eye. Then husband got a very nasty bronchitis that has dragged on for at least five weeks and lots of weird medication.  Then I got an unsavory sinus and ear infection coupled with, yes, pink eye. Antibiotics have actually helped me over what was a never ending situation. And then, of course, Beenie was like a 102 degree zombie when I picked her and Mimi up from school yesterday. Home again home again, jiggity jig.

I’m reminded of the bad old days of non-stop coughing, angry infants who would not, could not sleep a wink. Which meant I didn’t get to sleep either, which in the olden days didn’t matter as much as it does now — now that I am supposed to appear to be a coherent person at my job. I can’t imagine how horrible going back to work after having the girls would have been. I would have been such a useless employee. I don’t know how single parents do it, goddess bless them.

InterplanetaryA cavalcade of illness like this, dancing from one unwitting host to the next under the same roof, causes a shift in normal operations. I am the mobile device, nighttime checker of fevers and deliverer of liquids and liquid cough and fever remedies if need be. I check regularly to make sure the children are alive. I assume the husband is alive if he’s made it this far. As for myself, I believe I am still alive, though a variable volumed left ear sometimes causes me to wonder if I’m floating in a nocturnal plane. I am, actually. I set up a small pull out futon in the office, which during these times of duress I refer to as the European hotel room. Jokingly refer, with some wistful sense of lost youth, because I did get to stay in small European hotel rooms when I was young and unencumbered by things like other people’s health. I like my single lady’s servants quarters. I stay up extra late on the computer even though it makes waking up the next morning terrible. But you know what? I don’t give a shit.

Finished a new, small map. It took a ridiculous amount of time to complete, but I kinda like it.


a little new year’s music

I LOVE the new year switcharoo. Fresh. Clean. Kind of like my digestive system this week. Everyone in my family (with the exception, somehow, of my typhoid mary daughters) got the dreaded stomach flu for Christmas this year. Which meant first thing on my birthday (Dec. 27th) I watched the contents of my innards fly from my body. Really, how much could there have been in there? LOTS. But the freaky weird thing is, friends, that this horrific purging was just what the doctor ordered. Like doing the Master Cleanser EXPRESS instead of the 10 day lemonade fast. I’ve no tolerance for such things as fasts–like too much the snacks. Feel bad when I don’t eat. But who can’t lose a few around the holidays? Skin’s clear and glowing, stomach only likes small portions now. It’s all good!

Was that too much information? Sorry. Sort of. Not really.

This is my final week of unemployment before starting my new job next week. I’m ready. Mimi and Beenie’s schedule will not be changing drastically. They will be getting to school 1/2 hour earlier in the morning than usual, and collected a 1/2 hour later in the afternoon. Not too bad, right? And my job seems like it will be somewhat flexible with when I show up in the morning. I’m shooting for 8-4, maybe 7:30 till 3:30 in the summer. Being a gov’t job, they may actually try to work with me on this. So this week will be spent doing things I don’t perceive myself being able to do easily once fully and gainfully employed:

  • having lunch with a friend in my neighborhood
  • shopping for girls’ outfits for dance recital
  • figuring out where to send them this summer and fall before they start kindergarten
  • figuring out how to scour my house clean enough to show to prospective buyers
  • finding what remains of my self, what she might wear to her new job, possibly adding to this ensemble of uniforms

That’s enough to think about at almost 4 a.m. after awakening from a coughing fit. Yes, I’m back on the couch drinking tea. And considering visiting the doc this week to get something to help out my sore throat and endless sinus annoyances. Winter is brutal on this mama’s upper respiratory system.

I am feeling empty when it comes to creating art. There is so much else pressing at the moment, I fear there is little left for this part of my life. Which is depressing, but reality. Mathematically, that makes reality depressing. Nothing anyone hasn’t already figured out.

But I’m not feeling particularly depressed, probably because there is an air of chaos and the unknown floating around my house, and there’s not much I like better than not knowing the future. Upheaval is what I do best. After that, settling into a routine is what I do best.

Good, fresh, clean as a whistle 2011 wishes to you, fiends.


This week was strange, discombobulating. My work schedule is all wonky and Mimi has been sick. Beenie is fine. She’s cutting old newsprint into teenie, tiny pieces with her little red scissors. Mimi is suffering from an ear infection and as of last night, some sort of stomach virus producing vomit. “My belly is full of throw-up,” she says. Poor thing. She hasn’t been eating much all week because of her ear and is actually starting to look kind of skinny. Freaks me out, but I have lots of faith she will come back as the proud eating machine she was last week. It is scary, though, how quickly a small person who never stops moving loses body mass once the food stops entering said person. I think Mimi also had a massive growth spurt, not helping her slightly ribby appearance. Life was very easy dealing with only my body. Now I’m in charge of three!

You probably never check my Playlist page, and with good reason, since I never make updates to it or any of the other pages, other than this one. If you are so inclined, however, there will be more content on the page soon check this week. Nappy suggested I just get rid of the Snacks page, since I never, ever, update it. I think I’ll take her suggestion.

Now Beenie is cutting out shapes — some established shapes like rectangle, triangle, pentagon — others slightly more amorphic. No matter. She is cutting them out to ultimately live on our next Christmas tree, as ornaments. I told her when it starts getting closer to the holiday season, we’ll paint them and put a hole and string in them, then hang them on the tree. She agreed this was a good idea.

Work was weird this week because I worked Wednesday as they were in school like usual, then again Thursday from 9am-1pm, when a babysitter stayed with them. I was supposed to work again today, but when children puke, you don’t work. You spend your time hydrating them and try to make sure they don’t puke again.

And this situation makes me think of the short article I read in a recent NY Times Sunday Magazine about how the recent Supreme Court female judges (assuming the most recent nominee is absorbed) are childless. You should read the article, but the jist is: a family is a boon to a male anything, not necessarily because they love having families, but because it sort of shores you up as a part of humanity to have been able to find a mate and have that mate produce and maintain children. And do you know why? Because the wife, even if she’s working her arse off, is the person who tends to the children. The children need LOTS of attending to. I’m still blown away when my contemporaries (daddys) in my stupid little fuckbook world make status updates like “Babysitting the kids today” or “Playing Mr. Mom” or what have you. Aren’t you just parenting, my brothers? Unless your partner is breastfeeding, you can do all the things your wife/girlfriend/babymama is doing. So why, mid-life crisis havin’, forty-something men, do you still assume caring for and nurturing (and really, just keeping alive) your children is woman’s work? You really still believe that, don’t you? And I’m not entirely blaming you, mens. It is as much the women who let you get away with saying that shits fault as it is your fault. And the culture. I know a few nurturing fathers who don’t look at caring for their own children as them doing their partner a favor. The reason the women on the Supreme Court don’t have kids is because they know the truth: how in tarnation would they find someone to have children with who would be willing to give up everything — career and education, sanity and self — to do what frequently is required as a parent, so she could work like crazy to be a SC Justice with a side of family? Sad but true. Somehow men are still not expected to give up as much as their wives.

Lucky for me, I have no aspirations to have an actual career, just a bothersome drive to make shit. Which I can do whenever I have a free moment, which is never, or hardly ever.

calculatus eliminatus

Everyone loves you when you’re a freelancer. Or temporary. There’s a certain Je ne sais quoi about someone who isn’t in the office from 9-5 every day, won’t always be available for meetings unless you give them lots of notice. I’m still the new girl in town. I know it. I see the tired eyes of the full-time office workers. My eyes are tired, too — not from sitting under florescent lights all day, knowing there is no end to this existence — but from being woken up two times every night to get certain 3 year old ladies to the potty. Still, though, I am not yet a known entity. In many ways I don’t want to be known, or owned, as the case may be. I like being hourly. Some weeks I can make lots of moolah, hopefully balancing out the weeks I just can’t do anything because my girls have infected me with numerous illnesses. I like not knowing. As long as I complete my projects when I say I will, I hope things will continue to run smoothly.

That’s what I’ve been up to, ya know. Working. The ladies have been going to school from 9:15-3, MWF. That gives me four solid hours to either go into the office to work, or work from home. I like both. What has changed is this: time they are spending in school has transferred from time I spend cleaning the house, or going grocery shopping, or writing my blog, to doing web stuff, trying to make a buck. Attempting to appear bona fide. For real.

I miss this, though. I miss having an hour or two, once or twice a week to tidy up, drink a cup of coffee, think about stuff, by myself. I lost this part of my life this past summer when daily naps disappeared, then again, when I started working more and they started staying in school longer so I could work longer, so they could stay in school longer… uh oh.

Nothing creative has happened in weeks. Nothing creative will happen again, until it does. Until it must. I’m going to go downstairs, get a big glass of water, take the last pill of my latest course of antibiotics, and lie in bed. No cocktails, no stretching or thinking. Just laying down on my bed. Waiting for someone to wake me up to piss. I am happy last night/this morning revealed nothing more than a light dusting of snow. Thanks, mother nature. And I am also glad my daughters are healthy again, back in school, and generally wonderful. Both stripped five minutes before we went upstairs for the bedtime ritual tonight, ‘swimming in the pool’, which meant jumping naked off the purple chair in the living room, onto a pile of pillows they set up as ‘slides’. Brrrr!

Alone again, naturally.

Yes. It has finally happened. After what seems like months, but in reality has been about two weeks, I am ALONE. Quietly, sweetly, unbelievably alone. It is fantastic. It is incredible. Silence. The fact that my left ear is still clogged is enhancing the silence. All I can hear is the clickity click of my fingers hitting the keyboard. Just unscrewed the top of my desk so dear husband can whittle down the side a bit to accommodate the new, LOCKING file cabinet we got at Ikea this past weekend. For over two years, since the ladies became mobile and huge enough to rifle thru the shit on my desk, I know where absolutely nothing is. Especially important things that I should know about. But after today, I’ll put important things in my new locking filing cabinet, then LOCK IT UP. The next step to regaining small portions of my sanity will include keeping the keys in one place and not losing them. It is so easy to lose everything. I do it almost every day.

What kept us in our house for so long? No school, no work? The scourge. You know the one of which I speak. I was chatting with my doctor Monday as she faxed in a prescription of antibiotics for my ear infection, sinus infection and pink eye… she said when her now college aged twins were in their first year of preschool, they were sick EVERY MONTH for a year. But then they didn’t really get too sick afterward. A whole year. My girls have been sick pretty much every month since they started school. We get a week or two break here and there, but it’s been constant since September. And they infect their father and me. I can’t remember being this sick on a regular basis since I was a chain smoking, drunk 20something person, staying up all night doing god knows what, working shitty jobs by day. But damned if I didn’t look gooood! Skinny, spiky red hair. Somehow the sickness rarely got in the way of dragging my sorry ass out of the house to have some fun. Oh thin, glamorous, well-lived youth. I’m glad I had one! A nice long one, too. Makes me not resent the insane responsibility that has been thrust upon me (that I unwittingly thrust upon myself) and my husband. I’m too tired to be resentful. Besides, I’ve had some great years. And these child-full years are great, too, in their own way. Just different. And endlessly, germoriffically ill.

Now we’re all just hangin’ out, waiting for the 6+ feet of snow that have been piled onto every corner just to clear off the streets, to melt. I figure a few 70 degree days will take care of it. So we’ll be clear, when? Mid April? Maybe May?

Cabinus Feverous

Yeah, we did survive yesterday, barely. Today the sun was shining in a clear, blue sky. I did some research on tropical beaches to go to, which are unaffordable to us. I did find a small amount of comfort in the fact that there were pictures of white sandy beaches and deep blue water awaiting someone. I’m gonna shoot for a weekend trip to NYC to visit an old friend in March. Let’s all cross our fingers I can make that happen. Bolt bus is $20 each way or less, so all I’d have to spend would be food and subway money. Hopefully I’d just be lying around my friend’s house, spending nothing. And sleeping. I’d like to sleep.

I’m still pretty sick. Beenie’s pink eye appears to be going away, Mimi’s cold is not getting worse. Somehow, school is open tomorrow, but the fact that there is no way for a car to get off our street makes me think we won’t be there. Besides, nobody wants eye goo and snot and swollen lymph nodes up in their preschool. Gonna have to miss the Valentine’s Day partay. Add it to the hundreds of other school days they have missed. Good thing it’s cheap.

As hellish as the entrapment of the past week has been, in many ways, it has also been of some value. You gotta be able to come out the other side of this kind of thing. It can’t always be the worst thing in the world to be stuck in a house with your family. For me, I’ve been training for this past week for the past four years. In the house for days, weeks at a time, raising little kids. I’m used to this special type of torture, and like it in certain ways. It will make me appreciate the outdoors, once I’m feeling well enough to go outside. It will give me added energy in the hellish, sweaty, humid summertime to hit the playground ONE MORE TIME. I’ll think back to five or six feet of snow piled in between cars on our street, think how great it is to be able to leave the house when I want. I’m saving this blizzard memory to pull out on a 100 degree day six months from now.

I don’t like pink!

Did I ever tell you about the pink sequin incident? The girls’ friend, Alexander, who they have known all their lives, twelve days older than them, was over playing a few weeks ago. There is usually some bossing around by Beenie and Alexander, though not really Mimi, but they all get along well and have a good time when they play. The ladies asked me to put on some “Ballet Music”, which refers either to a record of Chopin piano waltzes my mom gave me, or a CD of Handel waltzes their Grandmother Jean gave them. Put on the CD and went upstairs to pee. When I came back, Gayle (Alex’s mom) told me after I went upstairs, she and A watched in amazement as the girls simultaneously stripped and put on their crazy pink sequined tutu-riffic get-ups. They usually do this when the dancing music comes on. When I came down they were already twirling and floating around the middle room. Poor Alex was so overcome by the power of pink, he was rolling around on the ground, crying “I don’t like pink!” till he had to go upstairs to their room to be by himself. He had to physically remove himself from the diaphanous dancing pink cloud of estrogen. I can relate, Alexander. Though it’s not the pink fluff that gets me mad, just their pink fighting.

The girls have been great of late, though. Not sure if its them or me with the good attitude. Both. *

* One day later… this has been a long fucking week. Both girls sick. Not on their deathbeds, but sick enough to be at least as cranky as me. Which makes me REAL cranky.

* Now, the following week. Today has been a bitch of a day. Mimi has been a real piece of work. Extremely defiant, bless her little heart. But not cool when she’s simultaneously fucking with her sister, who clearly isn’t feeling so well. Beenie is still getting over her scourge, good in the mornings, but starts fading quickly in late afternoon. Snotty, lackluster. I should probably take her to the doctor tomorrow. Or not. It is hard to tell sometimes. I’ll see how things are looking after their mid-day “parent/teacher conferences”. Isn’t it weird to have one of those (or two) for three year olds? I mean, I love hearing about my kids as much as the next person, it just seems early, that’s all. What the hell do I know.

I’m gonna publish this shits or it will never happen.