If It Walks Like A Duck And Talks Like A Duck, It's So Totally The Swine Flu

I wait until it's too late to take my kids to the doctor. I have an 11 year old with asthma because I listened to the doctor who said he had a cold and didn't start ignoring the doctor until the pneumonia had almost fixed itself and his lungs had almost said, "Fine, do it yourself."

We did it ourselves for a week in Children's Hospital to get his pulse-ox above 80. We'll be doing it ourselves for the rest of his life, with the assistance of steroidal inhalants.

I under-react or I over-react, medically. Usually, one directly follows the other. Like the time I, oh yes I did, apologized to the mother of the girl who's feet hit my 2 year old's face at full-speed on a gymnastics center swing and threw her 20 feet across the gym floor. I actually checked on that girl to make sure she was okay before I realized, "Hey, my child is no longer conscious." Then I lost my fucking mind and cried sososo hard that we waited for exactly 3.2 seconds in a Canadian emergency room to be seen. They sent two doctors...one for her, one for me.

I wish I was kidding.

However, when it comes to blood and bones and oxygen, I don't fuck around. You bleed? You visit the ER. You wheeze? We go to the ER. You break? I take a quick pregnancy test because you and me are about to spend some time under an x-ray machine. Even if it's your eye socket and even I know there isn't a cast in the world for a broken eye socket.

So my daughter has been sick since Christmas Eve. My mother in law has been, too. They've been boogie-nosed, fever burning, cold-sweating, sleeping all day, up all night petri-dishes. My mother in law said her lungs felt like dried up coal. My daughter said her ears were screaming at her. But they did it together, at the same time, and that screams of virus. I don't go to the doctor for viruses. I also don't pay people to tell me I have blue eyes or blond hair. I can see that for myself, thanks, and I have plenty of other things I'd like to waste $20 on.

Fevers don't scare me, either. Once you have a kid who bottoms out a thermometer so many times his doctor tells you to stop bringing him in every time he does it, you giggle off 103. Because you know how to treat it. I KNOW how to treat a fever. It's my superpower; that and stain removal.

But after a good week, week and a half, of fevers and no sleep and sneezing and coughing that just kept getting worse, I started to worry. One girl is 4, one is 68, and neither are strong enough to endure something like, oh, say, the swine flu.

And that's when I realized that I'd been ignoring the swine flu in a child and an elderly woman with asthma. All of the symptoms were right there in front of me...fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. We won't discuss the diarrhea.

My daughter started waking up in the middle of the night on fucking FIRE and twitching in my arms. Twitching, people. My mother in law started sleeping so late into the day, I started sending her son to poke her and make sure she was still alive. When death became a symptom we were actively checking for, I made them go to the doctor.

I walked into the ER and said I KNEW they both had the swine flu and they were dying and please save them from my reckless endangerment. They each were examined thoroughly and I was reminded that when a child tells you her ears are screaming at her, she typically has an infection. IN HER EARS. And my mother in law? Bronchitis. My first clue would have been that the place where her BRONCHIAL TUBES live felt dried up.

This was exactly as embarrassing as that time I ran my child to the ER at 3 in the morning because I KNEW she was asphyxiating and they KNEW she had the croup. Which, yeah....I'd effectively treated numerous times using only a shower and the agreeable Colorado nighttime air for over a decade with my boys. AND I've read Anne of Green Gables, like, a bazillion times.

They bill you three thousand dollars to sit in an ER overnight and watch Ed, Edd and Eddie re-runs with a one year old. Just sayin'.

But Nothing Will Ever Top The Original Tetris

My kid learned how to read so he could play a video game.

After that, I never argued video games again. Maybe I'll decompose someday with Sonic Heroes in my head, but it'll be worth it, if for nothing more than that.

My family, we're gamers. Not me, exactly, but the rest of them, for sure. My dad, my brother, my nephews, my boys...they likey their games. They used to be a mindless time-suck (really, Jungle Hunt has NO practical life applications outside of Compton) but something has happened in the gaming industry. Someone grew a brain.

We hung out with the people at EA a few months ago, and the woman who hosted us told us about the CEO of the Hasbro division at EA, how he had kids and gave up his spot in some other branch of EA to run the Hasbro side, because his kids shifted his priorities, and he realized that he could help make kids a little better, a little smarter, a little more eager to learn with his games. That's kind of awesome, if you ask me.

Even more than my kids being able to see the world through a well-coded video game, I've seen than, through these games, the gap between our generations is being bridged. We're driving down te street one day and Dream On comes on the radio. 2of3 asks me to turn it up. I oblige. He starts singing along and then asks me if I've ever heard of a band called Aerosmith.

Um, the name is vaguely familiar, yes.

Because my kids play Guitar Hero, they've learned to love the music I grew up with. And don't think I haven't spent the last decade trying to indoctrinate them into the House Of Zepplin. They just don't listen to me, because I am old and boring an don't know shit about that which is cool. But Rock Band does.

This new wave of video games is leveling the playing field in a lot of ways for families. It's making what we loved acceptable and accessible to our kids. And I, for one, am grateful for it. It's also giving us more options for family time. Wii Sports? Yep, my kids will spend all day kicking my ass at tennis. And I'll gladly waste away any afternoon with my best friend Sheryl letting her kick my ass at it, too. When I first moved back in with my husband, after the Great Divorce, we spent those awkward first weeks at night together having hours on hours of sports.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...that damn Wii saved my marriage. Not kidding.

I couldn't actually ride a skateboard again, even if the Space Invader aliens came down and threatened my life with fluorescent green laser blips if I didn't. But my kids can, and that makes my 13 year old heart skip a pubescent beat. All I wanted were a bunch of little skate rats, and I got them. And maybe its not the same as me, outside, at the skatepark on a half pipe, but I have to admit that this skateboarding game we got to play,with Tony Hawk, was pretty fucking awesome, if for nothing else, the hearty laugh they had at my uncoordinated ass. 

Which they kicked.


Maybe that's the key to successful parent/child relations...finding something you used to be able to do, and letting your kids absolutely cream you at it.

Creamed - A Public Service Announement

Hi, this is Chris again.  It's "Chris Talkin." (I'm the only American I know who watches Corner Gas).

Anyways, I just received this beauty of an email from Mr. Lady, who's without computer for a little while:

"It's my harddrive. Which is quite dead. Now would be an excellent time to cream me on my blog. If you're into that sort of thing."

Innuendos aside -- oh that's going to be tough -- I thought I would go ahead give my geeky public service message about backing things up on your computer.

It is not if your computer crashes, it's when your computer crashes.  And you should be prepared for that event so it's not catastrophic but merely an annoyance while you catch up on DVR'd shows (Lost?  Antitrust?  Oh how I like Rachel Leigh Cook as a computer geek.)

Here goes...

FIRST:  Sign up for an online backup service.  It's way cheaper than your txt message plan.   They work one of two ways:  either you check off the folders you want to backup, or it creates a drive (like C:\ or F:\) where you can save your files.  And the rest is magic.  Your files will be safely and securely transferred to online storage where you can easily retrieve them from another computer or get them back after yours is rebuilt.  It's so easy your mom can do it.

I know people who use the following services and have been happy with them:




Make sure whichever service you choose automatically encrypts (protects) your files in case somebody evil gains access to them (all three services listed above do).

Speaking of evil, if you hate Rush Limbaugh then don't choose carbonite.com because they advertise on his show.  (Personally I kinda like El Rushbo, a fact which totally gets me laid at Tea Parties, weddings, and anywhere in Lubbock, TX)

Seriously though, this online backup stuff is super cheap and only takes a few mouse clicks (or clit tickles if you have a Dell or IBM laptop) to set up and it's so easy my 16 month old niece can do it.  Maybe not, but she can totally unlock my iPhone and scroll through pictures in the photo album.

[Mr. Lady should pay close attention to this item because I don't think she had a backup.  Scorch!]

SECOND:  All those cd's and pieces of paper that come with your computer?  Keep them.  Stuff them under the couch, in a drawer, or with your spouse's oil change records for as long as you have the computer.  If you're getting a used computer then make sure you get those disks from the previous owner.  If you no longer have the computer then you are safe to throw them away.  It's a mindless step, but it can save a bunch of time or money when you have to reinstall Windows or OS X.

THIRD:  Mac OS X and Windows Vista have pretty nice "time machine" or "restore" systems.  These basically take a snapshot of critical files which can be reapplied/reverted if the system files are corrupted.   I highly recommend you take a snapshot periodically because it there's a change it might save some trouble.

LAST:  If you have a computer for your kids, it will get toasted on a regular basis.  Save yourself some trouble and learn about Live CD's.  They are basically full computer systems on a CD -- no installation required.  Simply pop in the cd and turn her on.  The kids won't be able to break anything, and if something stops working then a simple reboot gets you back to a clean slate.  I like Knoppix because it's totally free and works well.  Edubuntu is for younger children and also looks interesting.

This concludes my public service message.  Happy porn surfing!

The Shakespeare May Be Pushing It Slightly, I Know.

Dear 2009 Bloggies Organizers:

Is it really that important to you to see The Redneck Mommy and me mud-wrestle each other?  You are aware that we've both borne three large babies each and were left slightly, well, squishy after, right?  Do you realize that all you had to do was show up to BlogHer in July with a blow-up pool, a few packages of Jello and a 6-pack, and you could have achieved the same results in a way more you-tubeable way?

Because this shit right here?


Having us both as finalists for Best Canadian Blog?  It's just mean

  • One: She's going to clobber me.

  • Two: I'm not even Canadian

  • Three: There is no three; I just threw it in for dramatic effect.

What's done is done.  In 10 days, all the voting will be over and we can resume our torrid love affair friendship.  Until February 2nd, however, either thou or I or both must...um...go with himTO SXSW.  That works.

Mr Lay vs Redneck Mommy: To the Pain!

Polls are open from now until 2 Feb. Choose wisely. Or pityingly. Either way, really.

Just another Memey Monday

The always Classy OhMommy asked me a few weeks ago what the heck was in my purse.

Now, this is not the easiest of questions for me to answer. See, 10 years ago, you would have found my purse filled to the brim with binkies and Hot Wheels and bottles and organic, whole grain, not tested on animals, soy, fat free, flax seed snacks. And a shooter of Jameson for the teething. No, I am not kidding. Shit works, yo.

That, friends, was 10 years ago.

Today, I have three children. Today, those three children are more or less capable of packing their own bags/backpacks for any given outing. Those three children have a mother who ceased giving a rats ass exactly 6 years ago. Today, on the very best, most dire of occasions, you might just be able to dig out one stale jelly bean and 3/4 of a chopstick out of my purse for the kids. I think I just might have one size 2 diaper shoved in the back of the glove compartment in my car in case of emergency. An emergency that would have had to have happened 15 pounds ago, but still. It's there. Possibly. I haven't exactly checked in a while.

Since undertaking the ginormous task of Soccer Mom'n it up, I have had occasion to put more than a stale piece of bread and a pack of smokes in my bag. And I happened to snap a picture of it.