At Least I Have My Health

When all hell breaks loose, supportive types like to wax philosophic and reassuringly remind you, “at least you have your health!”  Yeah, Whatever.

That’s all well and good. And things in my life are pretty great right now. No hell is breaking loose as far as I can tell.  I’m a lucky girl in so many ways. Amen and hallelujah.

However, as a bonus prize, selected especially for me by the “she looks a little too happy” Gods, I have spent the last two weeks in a randomly harmless, but relentless, health hazard hell. This is the payback, I suppose, for finally securing the half day kindergarten teaching job in a fabulous school that is a perfect fit for me that is also ridiculously logistically convenient that I have pined for since the birth of my first child 13 years ago. So Karma is speaking to me loud and clear, but I can barely hear it due to the alarmingly excessive fluid buildup in my vestibular canals.

Back we go in our time machine, two and half weeks. First day of school. Yay!! First sign of a sore throat. Boo!! By the weekend I am flat out in bed, unable to breathe through my nose. At all. Not one tiny bit. Monday, things start looking up. By Wednesday, inexplicably, I clearly have a sinus infection. Call the doctor on Thursday. On Friday, I see an associate in the practice, whom I’ve never met, out of desperation for any treatment whatsoever that will restore my ability to breath without panting like a golden retriever 7,000 feet above sea level without a Sherpa or a water dish. She urges me to enjoy the comforts (ahem) of a neti pot and warm compresses while reluctantly handing me a prescription for an antibiotic as a last ditch backup plan. I have to promise her I will not use it. But it’s Friday afternoon and I must look really, really desperate, so she hands it over after I sign (in blood) that I will try all the homeopathic hooey before hooking up the pharmaceutical IV.

I am not going to educate you on the masochistic pleasures of the neti pot. It is a miniature watering can. It is supposed to help you clear goo out of your sinuses. Figure it out. And if you want one, you can have mine.

I did everything the “doctor” asked me to, including the nasal spray, the compresses, the (don’t make me say it again) neti pot, and the Claritin D. Which, by the way, is apparently a drug of abuse for some, and they make you feel really dirty at the pharmacist’s counter for asking for a package. They photocopied my license and fingerprinted me. And scowled disapprovingly. Though I panted convincingly all the while. But I digress. Despite my best anti-antibiotic efforts, by Saturday night I had a full-blown double ear infection.

Now, if you never listen to another word I have to say, listen to this. If your child ever comes to you holding her ears and crying, drop everything immediately and get her a vodka tonic and a heap of kiddie advil. Then run, don’t walk, to the doctor and juice that kid up with some penicillin pronto. Because the pain of this ear infection was comparable to childbirth. As a matter of fact, it actually felt a bit like birthing a child from my ear. It was no joke. I cried like a baby and called my mother and sent my husband to CVS and then swore a lot. So A.M.A. I took the antibiotic.

Monday, Tuesday… The ear pain, gets better, the sinuses clear a bit… but the ears stay completely and utterly clogged. What was that, I couldn’t hear you? My ears are clogged with 12 days worth of goo.

Wednesday: In anticipation of speaking eloquently in front of 40 parents for curriculum night at school, I visit my doctor (the real one this time) again. She looks inside my ears and declares, “Wow! There’s a lot of fluid in there!” So at least now I’m getting my money’s worth. She goes on to assure me that I am recovering and the fluid should drain on it’s own in 3-4 weeks and I should avoid all allergens, stay inside all the time and completely wash, dust, and vacuum everything in my house. What’s that you say? I can’t hear you. I have fluid in my ears. And constant ringing. And a sense of claustrophobia because I. Hear. Nothing. She encourages me to finish the antibiotic course, and commiserates with me, actually referring to her associate as The Antibiotic Nazi. I am not making this up. I really heard that part. But apparently, I  must remain resigned to hearing nothing else for the next 3-4 weeks. Even after I assured her I saw George Clooney drain some crap out of someone’s ear with a giant needle on ER once, and would she please just give it a try? Nope. But I got a flu shot and took a magnet and a lollipop from the reception desk on the way out. So there’s that.

Off to CVS to fill my shiny new prescription for steroidal nasal spray which may or may not expedite the draining process, but, hey, what have I got to lose? I. Did. Not. Just. Say. That.

Thursday. Ouch. I shudder to even consider sharing the grim sub-continental side effects yielded by a week’s regimen of equine sized antibiotic pills, but suffice it to say they are unpleasant, unkind, and unseemly. Yes ladies. The dreaded Aisle 8. Monistat3. And there’s a reason for the STAT in Monistat, let me tell you.  Back to CVS, pronto.

So it’s Saturday and I still can’t hear. And I still have to sleep sitting up like the Elephant Man. But I can breathe. And I can almost sit without wincing. And I can taste some of my food some of the time. And I only used 34 tissues today, down from my all time high of 541,902.

And, all thing considered, I’m a lucky girl. Because at least I have my health.

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The Traffic Circle

If you are not from New England, please let me be the one to educate you about the anachronistic and utterly tragic concept of the traffic circle. If you are from New England, screw you because you probably already cut me off in a traffic circle at one point or another.

The traffic circle might have been a reasonably intuitive undertaking 200 years ago when most people in my neighborhood were driving palominos instead of minivans. The traffic circle is clearly the result of poor urban planning, where a bunch of roads came together in a surprisingly unorganized fashion and there was apparently no better solution than to create a massive dead end in the shape of a circle and let travelers figure out the details for themselves. It’s like a handy little Darwinian experiment. If only the founding fathers had invented the urban traffic grid instead of the Bill of Rights, we might not even be having this conversation.

A traffic circle is a racetrack-like section of road, which abruptly appears for no apparent reason but to merge several haphazardly arranged avenues together like spokes on the Wheel of Terror at the traveling carnival. Once you enter the circle, the object of the game is to escape unscathed. It is also convenient if you are able to exit heading in the right direction.  Entering and exiting the circle is like playing chicken at the Indy 500.

As far as I can tell, traffic circles exist for only two reasons. One, so the Geico Gecko has a target demographic to which he can market his wares, and two, so carpooling parents can teach their children useful swear words in an immediate and meaningful context.

The rules of the circle are simple and finite:

  • Vehicles already traveling in the circle have the right of way.
  • This explains why cars entering from the fringes of the circle generally never even hesitate for a moment before accelerating and practicing their “I can’t see you. Don’t even bother to honk your horn because I can’t hear you either. And, nope, I couldn’t even make out the blur of that finger you just raised in my direction because I just achieved Mach 3.” look. Whoosh-pop!

  • Vehicles should always enter the circle by turning right and then continue in a counter-clockwise direction. Ummm. Yes. I have seen cars enter the traffic circle by making a left turn and then, not realizing their error despite compelling and immediate evidence, continue to drive clockwise, upstream while all other vehicles frantically veer out of their path to save themselves.
  •  A traffic circle is a circle. This simple fact escapes most motorists, who generally will resort to any variety of desperate measures to leave the circle when they realize they are about to miss their planned exit. Generally drivers slam on the brakes, literally posing a life and death scenario to the drivers at cruising speed behind them. Another apparent option, which I witnessed in disbelief for the first time this week, is to courteously let drivers pass you until they are out of harms way, and then throw it into reverse and GO BACKWARDS to regain access to the exit you just passed. What these drivers do not realize, however, is that they are IN A CIRCLE. By definition, if they continue to GO FORWARD, they will shortly arrive again at the precise location they presently occupy. So everyone was absent on the day they taught circles in third grade. I consider it my duty as a good neighbor to roll down my window and scream, “It’s a circle, moron!” every time someone hits the brakes in the circle I pass through for my morning commute.
  •  To exit the circle, carefully approach the right lane, ignoring the countless drivers carelessly flinging their vehicles into your path while simultaneously talking on their cell phones without the aid of hands-free devices.

If  you have, against all odds, safely achieved entry into the circle, you generally have one of three unappealing options that may or may not include the benefit of survival:

  1. Stay in the circle until you approach the exit for your destination and then hope to be flung out by centrifugal force.
  2. Stay in the circle until you muster the nerve to cut someone off, and exit at any point, regardless of whether or not it points toward your destination.
  3. Stay in the circle for the rest of your life effectively cutting off all ties with anyone you ever knew who is not presently in the car with you.

There are five traffic circles within two miles of my house. They are an unfortunate trial I must endure every day. I was once the victim of a sideswipe while I was SITTING STILL at the entry point of a nearby circle. The other driver became so flustered, she threw it into reverse and sideswiped me again, going backwards, in case I missed it the first time. All while I was sitting perfectly still. Which seemed like the safest option at the time. But maybe next time I should just plunge  blindly into the vortex with the rest of them. Or just invest in a palomino.

Riddle Me This #4

When one is motivated to blog on a semi-regular schedule, some parenting duties may fall to the wayside. Laundry, grocery shopping, pet care, making occasional eye contact while your sweet offspring are trying to share their innermost feelings and concerns with you. You know, the small things.

So as the TV program switched over from Kung Fu Panda Legends of Awesomeness to Spongebob Squarepants without my knowledge or consent and my three children sat transfixed while eating a dinner of macaroni and cheese and some lettuce, Mr. Snark entered the room and posed the following query, henceforth known as riddle #4:

“What is the opposite of helicopter parenting?”

Answered provided by middle child, MelloYello:

“Submarine parenting.”

You just can’t please some people.

Glub, glub.

Riddle Me This #2

When you adjust your bra to the end of the elastic adjuster thingy and some key players still have the gall to drift out of their assigned coverage zones is it:

A. Time to get a new bra?

B. Time to inquire about the buy one get one free special advertised by the reputable plastic surgeon in the strip mall?

C. Time to go all Woodstock and forget the whole thing?

D. Time to stop oversharing on one’s blog?

This never happened to me. It just happened to my friend once. I’m asking for my friend.

I Lost My Memory But I Think I Just Figured Out Where it Went

My youngest child, Sprite, and I stood outside school the other day waiting for her big brother and sister to take their sweet time to rendezvous with us at our regular meeting spot. While we inevitably wait for Slow and Slower each afternoon, Sprite and I usually take a few minutes to have a chat about her day in kindergarten. Our discussion went something like this.

“Mommy, that lady over there is going to have a baby. Her belly is round like a ball.” Sprite paused and I could see the wheels turning. I was afraid of what might come next. “She’s looks just like Bernadette.”

I don’t know anyone named Bernadette. And Sprite has a penchant for making up names for dolls, stuffed toys, random strangers, breakfast cereal. But lately they are all named Lucy. The other day her doll Lucy was riding in her little stroller with a panda bear named Lucy. They were going to meet their friend Lucy at the park.

“Who’s Bernadette?”

“We saw Bernadette on that show. She was having a baby on TV.”

Ummmm. Still no clue. Though Sprite has incidentally seen lots of shows she shouldn’t have as she inconspicuously plays with Lucy the slinky in the periphery of the viewing area.

“I don’t remember that show.”

“Bernadette was in the hospital and she was with her husband Peter. He was wearing an Incredibles shirt. He was Mr. Incredible. Then they had a baby.”

Holy crap. This child has a mind like a steel trap. She watched an episode of A Baby Story with me and we saw Bernadette and Peter welcome their baby boy Owen into the world. I swear to God, I just called her into the room to ask her if it was a boy or girl and she told me it was a boy named Owen. I tried to confirm this online, but I’m really willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

The only detail I can independently remember from this whole shared viewing experience was the guy in the Incredibles shirt. It was two weeks ago. I can barely remember to call every single doll, root vegetable, and freshly inked scented marker portrait of any female whatsoever, Lucy. I can’t possibly be expected to remember Bernadette and Peter and Owen.

“Sprite, you have a really, really good memory. I can’t believe you remembered all those things from that TV show!”

“You have a good memory too Mommy.”

“Thanks sweetie.” Well, at least I’ll remember that.

What Happened in My Brain Between 2:20 and 4:45 This Morning

Adele. Rumor has it. Bomp Bomp. Rumor has it. Bomp Bomp. Rumor has it. Must find Mello Yello’s cell phone. Is it in the car? Her backpack? Under her bed? Find out who has the tablecloths for the Faculty Appreciation Luncheon and get them back tomorrow. Must have for Wednesday. Where are my kitchen gloves? In the kitchen I suppose. What is with the flock of excessively loud birds outside my window? Is there a Hitchcock thing going on here? I need a haircut. So do the kids, Mello Yello (a little messy), Sprite (bangs or no bangs?) and Red Bull (like, right now or I think he might be mistaken for a yeti and get picked up by an animal control officer). Do they still have animal control officers? Do we pay taxes for that? Do they ride in small paddy wagons with cages in the back like on The Little Rascals when Petey the dog got taken to “the Pound”? That was a sad one.

A little nap… Rumor has it. Bomp Bomp. Rumor has it. Bomp Bomp. Rumor has it.  Awake again. Should I go do a Jillian Michaels exercise dvd and make good use of this time? Nah. Quiet now. What happened to all those birds? I have to pee. Too tired. It can wait. Okay, it can’t wait. Back again. Here comes Gotye. You didn’t have to cut me off…. I don’t know the rest. How can I not know the rest? It’s on the radio every 9 minutes. My memory is getting so… what was I saying? Did we have any leftover steak from dinner? Grocery shopping. Must go grocery shopping. Don’t forget the juice boxes again. Do not buy more Oreos. It never ends well. Rumor has it. Bomp Bomp. Rumor has it. Bomp Bomp. Did Jessica Simpson have her baby yet? She’s not so big. I could have taken her in a sumo match when I was 9 months. I think I have a hairball. Can’t. Stop. Coughing. Mr. Snark, your snorfling snores are so soothing beside me. You’re sleeping so soundly. I hate you. For that reason only. Otherwise you’re all right.

Adele. Let’s make a deal. You sleep at your place tomorrow and I’ll sleep at mine. Bomp Bomp.