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.

I know it won’t last…

Right now both girls are asleep on the purple couch downstairs! This has not happened for at least two years. Beenie has been out since around 11:30 a.m. and Mimi just went down around 45 minutes ago. Though I hear coughing, so Beenie will probably be up soon. Both girls are sickly. Beenie more than Mimi. We stayed home today from school/work. My throat hurts too.

I’m reminding myself what it is like to write during naptime. It is nice. I’ve had such an external existence for the past five or so months. No inner life. Just outward, doing what I’m told to do, what I have to do. No time to review anything or even write notes to friends, or talk on the phone. Now that we live in a different place, and most of the unpacking is done, maybe I can start reviewing rather than simply doing. Reflection helps to keep me with perspective. Energies only going outward seem damaging.

It was nice not getting in my car at 7:30 this morning, though not nice helping hacking children in middle of night. I am glad that I can offer my daughters comfort (and acetaminophen) when they’re not 100%. It just makes going to work the next day quite challenging. Lucky for me my throat hurts, too. Wouldn’t want to be having too much fun.

It is a sad state of affairs when a person craves illness so they can just hang out in their house. I like to see the sky. That is not something that is possible at work. Just during lunch. I like lunch. Gives a cave dweller a chance to absorb a little vitamin D.

Pre-spring scourge? Check.


I thought for a few days I was in the midst of a strange allergy attack. Part of me still thinks this. Another part, the part that just woke me up at 5:50 a.m., hacking on my own sinus goo, thinks I just have a nasty little cold. Change of season, right? Who knows. It is seeming like the third sinus infection of the winter. Or not. On the couch, drinking hot tea to melt the goo away, writing on 20/20. Not such a bad thing. If I could get up at 5:30 every morning, there’d be no end to what I could accomplish. Maybe I could even start making art again. Get to the studio by 5:45, paint for an hour and some change, home by 7:30, when everyone starts stirring.

Work is still happening, which rules. I now have enough office costumes to wear so that nobody has to see me in the same thing twice in a two or three day period. The girls are now always staying in preschool from 9:30 till 3, three days/week. Beenie even naps there — she NEVER naps at home! The thing is, though, she doesn’t really need to nap. It’s just the culture of class that everyone passes out, so she figures she isn’t missing anything, and joins in. Makes bedtime challenging if I can’t get her outside running around somewhere, but I’m glad she can shut down for an hour or so during the day without too much hassle. Speaking of bedtime… 10 p.m. is an unacceptable bedtime for the little peeps, which is what it has become since daylight savings time kicked in. Need to trick their bodies into thinking it’s an hour later than it really is. Hopefully things will flow into a normal schedule by next week. Will try to wake them up early this morning to see if that helps.

What’s been happening? My mom is feeling better after about 6 weeks of shingles misery, so the girls and I traveled down to suburban D.C. to visit for a day the past two weeks. They love their grandparents. My mom’s illness came at a time that the entire Mid-Atlantic was shut down for 5 weeks anyway, though, so the timing was at least not entirely inconvenient. It is hard for me to believe how much snow was on the ground three weeks ago. Mountains of the stuff. I thought it would be May before it all melted, but I think most of it is gone now. Just the rain remains. And memories of being sick and cooped up with three other people in the exact same boat. Our little row house boat. There was only one day of real *lose your shit and kill everyone* mania, where I wasn’t sure all four of us would make it through The Shining, but here we are, somehow still speaking and interacting with each other. Amazing. We survived the BLIZZARDS OF ‘OUGHT TEN.

I have two paintings that sit in my friend’s studio, untouched for months. The Puddle painting and the Octopus painting. The Octopus is a commission for my sister-in-law’s cousin’s wedding present. I believe if the piece gets to the newlyweds by May, it will be within the good taste range of not later than a year after the blessed event. I’d say the painting is 95% done. Needs some color tweaking, but I think that could be accomplished quickly. If I could ever break away from my familial and job duties long enough to do anything. The puddle painting has less of a deadline. This piece started out as one thing and has become something very different. I like the transformation, but really, it needs some attention. I’d like to finish it in the next few months and ship it west. Hell, I’d like to ship myself west.

Chim chim cherrie.

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!

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.

Welcome to the Tundra…

Really. FOR REAL. Tundra livin’, y’alls. Right here. Charm City. Row house, Igloo, what’s the diff? Things is gettin’ all The Shining up in this shits, too. And I’m sick. Because the girls are sick. And spouse is getting sick. In a way, it doesn’t matter, since we can’t get outside anyway. The snow is covering the doors. It might as well be covering the windows. Quite a sight to see from inside our cozy row house. Here’s where I’d like to express my gratitude to whatever energy in the universe finds us in a safe, warm, electrified, interwebified, cable-riffic (though, honestly, I don’t give a rats ass about cable. fuck cable.) The water is working. I have cough medicine in the cabinet. Beenie got to the doc the day after the last storm, so we got antibiotics (that, of course, are giving her the shits. fuck you, antibiotics.) for her ear infection and pink eye. I’m sure I got what feels like strep throat at that doctor’s office. Somehow. We still have a roof intact. The basement hasn’t flooded. And I have not yet killed the other three people in the house, or the cats. Though there were times earlier today where I seriously wondered if that could be avoided.

Things move slowly when you live in the blizzard belt. Since it never snows here, till now, I don’t have proper winter attire. The boots I have are probably over twenty years old. They are too small. I think I gave away all my long underwear when I moved out of Chicago. “When am I ever gonna need that again?”

Ow. My neck hurts. I am going to look to tomorrow with some kind of hope, since today was pretty much shite. Tired, sick, disorganized, angry, trapped, sucky. Thursday won’t suck so much. Right? I want to give the girls haircuts, vacuum, clean the bathroom… oh wait, I’m sick. Maybe my goal for the day should be sleeping as much as I can. That seems like a less attainable goal, but you gotta have goals no matter what. Stay warm.

It’s all part of my rock and roll fantasy


Two a.m.? Check. On the couch? Check. Hacking cough? Check. Post nasal drip causing cough? Check. Cough medicine? My special, takes care of cough and all my immediate problems cough medicine?! Where the fuck is my COUGH MEDICINE?! The only good part about the scourges that like clockwork invade my aging body for the past two winters is the revelation of a special cough medicine that actually shuts down the hacking machine in my sinuses and chest and lets me sleep. It lasts for 12 hours, and I only have to take one little teaspoon of this liquid heaven. Really. Where the fuck is it? When I called my doctor last week, whining about the never ending goo in my head and chest, all she did was give me a prescription for antibiotics and said to call her in a week if I wasn’t feeling better. It’s almost been a week, I’m not feeling better and I can’t sleep. She’s getting a call Monday morning. Poor Beenie was whimpering about 20 minutes ago as I hacked in the bathroom upstairs, cursing silently my reflection in the medicine cabinet mirror. Said my coughing was driving her crazy. It’s driving me crazy. And it is completely undeserved. I quit smoking in 1997, and have not touched a drop of alcohol for over a month. I am not doing self-destructive acts to induce this cursed curse from hell. Go to some other undeserving sucker, scourge. BE GONE! I loathe thee!

Have, once again, had not a moment of silence to write. My last post was trite. Yes, the holiday crap is gone for yet another year. Woo hoo, right? Well, frankly, this Christmas was different for us here at the old row house stead. We had, and continue to have a teenie Christmas tree. Never in my life did I guess that I would have one, much less leave it up beyond the new year’s arrival. But here it is. I can’t think of any reason to take it down. It still smells good, looks nice, and isn’t shedding too many needles. The girls and I will have to make its dismantling a group project, pack away the cardboard snack box ornaments I made and they painted. It is a little tree. Strange. Having two small and important new-ish people in the house makes the whole experience so different. Thanks to Mimi and Beenie for unwittingly healing my stagnant, old holiday wounds.

Yesterday definitely felt like the start of something. Nothing big. Just clean. Went to a good friend’s annual New Year open house in the afternoon. Was having a total freakout (a quiet, internal one) over the lack of babies. I remember being there two years ago and all there were was babies. The place was awash with babies. This year, I looked around to see only one baby and the rest of the children were HUGE. Including my own children. Just gigantic. And I’m unsure how it happened, but think feeding and nurturing the babies may have something to do with it. Next year they’ll all be driving up in their own cars, sneaking into the back yard to smoke pot and the parents will be complaining about how they miss how easy it was when they were little, how you at least knew where they were at night, how simple their needs were. I am overwhelmed by the intensity of being a parent. And this is just the beginning.


No time to paint. No time to write. Seems like my workload at my part-time job will be picking up in January. I look forward to focusing on this skill that I was certain I had forgotten in the last three years. And making some money. Since I have no vices anymore, maybe I can also make some early art time somehow and sneak out at ungodly hours of the morning to paint. I still want to, you know. I find no solace in a total acceptance of my current situation. I still want to do all kinds of creative things that have nothing to do with my home life. It’s all part of my rock and roll fantasy.