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'.

The Nothing

My mother in law is staying with me for the next three weeks, and you all know what THAT means.

Nothing.

Not one fat fucking thing, that's what it means. Well, except that I'm lonely.

See, my mother in law and I have never had the best of relationships. We've gone from 'Maybe you're gonna be the one to save me' to 'Mortal Kombat' to 'Half a world away' and yes, I realize that those three things aren't the same, and therefore make for a pretty weak analogy, but I also don't thing Analogy is what I'm going for here but I went to high school and this is a personal blog which is, like, one ill-placed semi-colon away from; being a rough draft, so whatever.

We liked each other moderately, then we wanted to beat each other's brains out with a herring, and then I moved to a different country and she moved to a different continent.

Does the possessive plural of other need an apostrophe?

Can you tell I've been doing a LOT of 4th grade catch-up homework lately?

And that the last time I was asleep, it was for three hours, and it happened 19 hours ago?

So, she moved back from Africa after 2 1/2 years and then came to see us in Canada for a few weeks. And we both acted like complete assholes during the whole lead-up to that visit, because we have drama between us and we're, um, the exact same person and it annoys the fuck out of both of us? Yeah, that's about right.

But like they say, or at least he says, the anticipation of death is worse than death itself and once she was here, we realized that we'd actually both grown up ever so slightly and that we not only could co-exist without the world ending, we could even enjoy it a little.

So this time she came for three weeks over Christmas and New Year's, and no one is the least bit worried about it. I'm letting her wash the dishes, which is one of those things my 'I don't need you' pride and my 'My momma dropped me too many times' stupidity kept me from ever letting her do before. She's letting me cook for her and not apologizing or over-thanking me for it.

There is balance in our lives. It only took 14 years.

She and 3of3 were playing hide and seek, and she walked right in on me in my bathroom while I was only wearing what my momma gave me, and my momma is slightly smaller than one of your average freeways, so what she gave me isn't actually fit to be seen in the light of day by the guy I'm banging, let alone his mother.

But there she was in the entry and there I was in front of the Wall of Mirrors, so she pretty much had Full Monty, and I almost but didn't exactly so much as bat an eye. Because for one millisecond I wanted to, but then I remembered her standing over me, holding a thigh in the air, spending the better part of an hour watching someone who looks slightly like her worm his way out of the one place goddammit she told her son to stay away from because this is exactly the sort of things that happens when you dumb kids get drunk unsupervised.

She's seen me in worse conditions, that's all I'm saying.

And we're at that point where we can look back over these past 14 years and sort of laugh off a good deal of it, because our priorities in life are changing and it's not so important to feel right anymore, or we're both just too old for this shit.

So she asked to come for three weeks, and I thought that would be absolutely lovely, and then I accepted three days of meetings at work. 2,000 miles away from home. I'm not THAT reformed.

So I've left my children alone with my mother in law for four days while I gallivant across the west coast over what are the first full days I've spent without my children in six months. And I don't feel the least bit bad about it, because I've been with them EVERY DAY STRAIGHT FOR SIX MONTHS and she hasn't seen them in over a year and I needed to take this trip 2 months ago to catch up and mother in laws are supposed to help you with your kids when you need them, right? And I'm finally comfortable enough with her to ask her to do this for me, and not grovel or over-explain it.

And here I sit in my pretty little hotel room with a great big bed that doesn't have a 4 year old that got kicked out of her room for the next three weeks so Gramma could have some privacy in it, and my clothes are hanging up on hangars, not scrunched in the corner of the closet because the kids' stuff needs a proper space, and my makeup/jewelry/stuff I'm not born with is lined in on the bathroom counter where I can just grab whatever I need, whenever I need it, and not have to dig through 15 Dora backpacks to try & find my q-tips and it's perfectly quiet here.

There is silence in my life for the first time in 6 months. There is deafening silence surrounding me. I can sit at a desk and actually work, I can lay in my bed and actually sleep, all because my mother in law got the balls to just ask for what she wanted, and I grew the balls to do the same.

And I'd give anything to be home with them all right now. Someone punch me in the face until I come back to reality, please.

You Don't Bring Me Flowers

67 years ago today, a baby girl was born in Zanesville, Ohio, who would change my whole life.  See, that girl would grow up to be a college student who met a football player, and they totally did it.  Three times, in fact.  And thanks to her, I have someone to talk shit about on my blog.

My husband is really great.  I'm just going to say that now and get it out of the way so he doesn't kill me when he reads this.

That motherfucker never buys me flowers.  EVER.  I mean, come on.  Three of your spawn carved their initials in the walls of my uterus, homie.  Would it kill you to throw a rose my way once in a while?

He's going to say, "Shut up, ho, I totally give you flowers."  And I'm going to follow that with a, "Whatever, hosehead."  It's not that he doesn't ever, really, I guess.  It's just that his delivery is all wrong.

Example:  Pick a Valentine's Day, any Valentine's Day.  The routine is he gets up, has some coffee, opens the fridge, says, "Oh crap, we're low on milk!  I'll be right back!", hops in the car and comes home an hour later from Safeway with the very last flower arrangement they had crammed in the back of the cooler right next to the milk, which consists of one near-frozen rose, about 8 tons of baby's breath, and some asparagus because someone bought all the bamboo stalks.  But at least he tried.

But there was this one year, and oh lord, he actually outdid himself.  He came home from work the night before my birthday with ohmygod this bouquet of flowers.  I can't even tell you the flowers.  The thing was bigger than my torso (no small feat).  There were lilies and roses and shit I ain't nevah seen before.  It was actually arranged. The vase was this ginormous round glass bowl, so you could see all the stalks.  It was To. Die. For.  I don't think I have ever loved a gift more from him.  Like, I called his MOTHER to tell her about it, that's how happy I was.  Like, I'm pretty sure I had sex with him because of it, too.  THAT GOOD.

For a few days, I was totally thrilled.  I suppose I harped on it a little too much, made too big a deal out of it, was too happy that he'd totally wasted what was obviously a buttload of money on me, because he started trying to disclaimer it, like he was hurt that I was so overly happy about one bouquet of flowers or something.  He'd start in with, "Well, I just grabbed it fr..." SHUT UP, DUDE.  Do NOT ruin this for me.  A bit later he'd say, "It's just some stupid thing I.." UH UH.  No you don't, fool.  He kept it up until one moment, when I didn't catch him in time, and what does that moron blurt out?

"It was JUST a left-over bouquet from a function at work, that's all!"

Oh, no he didn't.  He did not tell me that he grabbed something off a table at work and gave it to me as my gift, did he?  Yes, yes he did.  That was information I could have gone my WHOLE LIFE not knowing.  Talk about a buzz kill, yo.  I'm pretty sure I un-had sex with him that night.

Point is, though he totally provides for my every need, buys me awesome Christmas gifts, gave me a shiny new laptop just because, and does not throw anything at me when he has to spend his one day a week off washing the laundry I was too busy blogging to get to, he sucks at flowers.  And flowers are the key to any woman's heart, I don't care who tells you what.  Diamonds are for cutting glass, that's it.

There's more, but it's at my review blog, and I'm all about giving you the option to pass on that, so follow if you like, don't if you don't, but I actually have a little something to give away, in case you're interested.  And no nudity this time, sorry.  Or you're welcome, depending.

I Guess I Won't Be Needing That Shovel After All

We are official 10 days into my mother in law's visit, with 7 left to go, and no one can believe this less than I can, but her visit so far has actually been, oh, what's the word?  Nice?  Easy?  Pleasant?

Dear god, I'm enjoying my visit with my mother in law.  Sign me up for AARP, and make a 4 o'clock reservation at Country Buffet, because I'm one mature old woman comin' atcha.

I got really sick, and then she got really sick, and so my house is a mess and it smells funny.  We laid low this week, but took advantage of the sun last weekend and this weekend to go be tourists.  The very best thing about having company is remembering why you live where you live, don't you think?



I'd didn't even once feel the urge to shove her over the chain link fence. That thing's dinky; I totally could have gotten away with it.



But then I wouldn't have gotten this picture, and I love this picture. And so will 3of3 someday, I'm guessing.



No, I am not spontaneously reproducing beautiful little Indian children; that's my neighbor's kid, and my son's BFF. He rocks seriously. I'd steal him, pho sho.  And I could have framed Gramma for it easily.  She just got back from Africa, he was born in Africa....



On my sickest of sick days, I sent The Donor out with the girls to Chinatown, where I totally resisted the urge to pay someone to slip a little something in her tea.



3of3 wouldn't been smiling half as wide as she is, had I gone ahead with my evil plans, now would she?



I actually stopped before dinner and grated some extra cheese that wasn't covered in the plague.



I didn't even want to shove her into oncoming traffic while we were hanging out on Robson Street downtown.



I let her go look at the Totem Poles with the sane child rather than having a heart attack while the toddler attempted to break every bone in her body.



They seem to be enjoying themselves, wouldn't you say?



And when she got worn out, I actually let her not die of exhaustion and instead sit on the park bench for a rest while we dorked off in the rose garden in Stanley Park.



Okay, I just like that one, is all.



I made certain she stood at a safe distance while the boys practiced their acrobatics, where no errant feet could "accidentally" land on her fragile bones and break her in two, or at least seriously incapacitate her.



Speaking of acrobatics, or circus freaks, or just weirdos, or artists, or kung fu hustlers, or something.



Well, okay then.  Notice how my excessively large steak knife is all the way over on the complete opposite end of the table from her?  It stayed there, all night.



And I didn't even say a word when she put the moves on my man.



This helped things out considerably.



But this helped even more. Like, so much, I can't even tell you.  As it usually does.  See all of Lotus' less incriminating Weekly Winners right here.