Monday, September 26, 2011

Sick as a Dog, Working like a Dog, & one Dog's Work

My kids are not pukers.  Other than the four glorious months after my daughter arrived in this world and before her heart was fixed, when she was busy projectiling onto our ceilings, I can think of only one other time they've had the vomiting flu (on vacation, naturally).  Nonetheless, I had a tummy ache the Monday after my BBQ race (triggering my fear I'd poisoned our guests), and actually cut out from work a couple hours early.  Then my girl was banned from daycare that Wednesday & we proactively kept her brother home too because he said his stomach hurt but they were both FINE all day and it was a giant non-event. 

Except daaayyyss later, last Sunday, my son got sick right into one of our nice living room throws, which later dissolved into laundry machine clogging Killer Fuzz, so I stayed home from work with them both, again, on Monday (last Monday - I realize my timeline is a mess here).  But again, they were FINE and played all day while I tried not to sulk about my burgeoning inbox.  So we sent him back to school on Tuesday.... where he proceeded to puke in the middle of the lunchroom.  How scarring is that for a kid?  Is this just a rite of passage, this public puking?  It's first grade - I hope they don't start assigning permanent nick-names quite yet.  I'd hate something that rhymes with barfer be his school moniker for the next 7 years.

My current theory about kids, viruses, and work is that there's an inverse ratio between how sick they are, how long they're sick and how much time you spend worrying about your employers whilst tending to them.  Too bad we don't have a fancy graphics person on staff here - just use your imagination. 
     Minor short lived cold?  ~~  Take a vacation day, clean out the fridge, & catch up on the laundry.  Not a big deal.  Who really expects a return call in less than 24 hours anyway?  
     Real illnesses, requiring hospital admission?  ~~ Job?  What job?  Ironically also the time the job steps up, pulls your messages for you AND you get legal cover under FMLA. 

It's the minor lingering ailments that wear on moms and bosses alike.  Which is why I spent yet another Saturday at work again.  Which is also why I feel so very weary.  The most optimistic thought I can muster up right now is "this too shall pass".  Not exactly a great way to start a  full (hopefully) five day work week. 

And only slightly related, in that it tied in nicely with the title and since I'd mentioned food borne illnesses -  I'd pulled a very old costco-sized jar of mayo out of the fridge on one of these recent sick days and then apparently(?) left it on the counter.  [Foreshadowing:  CRITICAL ERROR].  I suppose I was going rinse it out to recycle?  I really don't remember other than marveling at how very long ago its expiration date was and then trying to remember if I'd given it to the kids lately.  I hadn't.  We're not big mayo users which is how we ended up with a very large, almost full, very expired jug o'mayo... sitting out, unguarded, while I put the kids to bed.  I came back downstairs to find a HALF full jar sitting on the stairs, which is where the big dog likes to guard the house.  In the other room I found the lid. With only a couple canine teeth punctures.  He doesn't even need to gnaw it off - my dog can open jars.  We should go on Letterman.  With any luck we won't puke on him.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

No Summer Blues Here!

Where to start?  After I ran my first slightly disastrous half-marathon, despite the 10# I gained during training (unfortunately decidedly not muscle - it was all, "I went running, therefore...Mmm, Spaghetti!!!"), I was hooked and then Carrie, from Life as we Know It, emailed and said she'd run with me next time.  To be honest, I wasn't sure it would happen.  It took me almost a month after the first race to start really running again and the odds of no kids getting sick and no tendons snapping in the meantime or on race day were low.  Plus, I'm going to admit there was a bit of Beware! Stranger! from the Internet!  Except she's as charming in private emails as she is online and I eventually convinced Matt she most likely was not the home invasion robbery sort.  Besides, I'd already written about all our various electronics dying so she'd know there's not much left to take. (I jest!)

And the race we picked was at a BBQ and blues festival.  What's not to love?  Run, then eat, eat more, drink (well...some of us :), relax to some good tunes, and did I mention the BBQ?  So in the process I also convinced my mom and her beau, and my brother & his wife to join us.  Fun!

Carrie and her family drove all day to join us for dinner last Friday (well, and to see her parents too).  I ran into my usual hosting issues (veggies done too early, forgot to buy butter and Parmesan - to go with pasta. wth?  Forgot to offer dessert...The usual train wreck.  Nobody ever visits for the food*).  The potential for awkwardness was high (strangers!) but we had a fabulous evening.  Carrie and her husband were delightful and the boys met at the door, exchanged names, and then ran off together and we barely heard from them all night.  And their little girl, ohmygoodness... Squee! Cute!

*We all came down with some stomach ailment 4 days later.  I am great at making friends - "Hey, it was really nice you meet you.  You have a lovely family.  By the way, I didn't happen to give you food poisoning, did I?"  Surely it was coincidence?  Right?  Or excessive amounts of the aforementioned BBQ?

[Warning:  Excessive exuberance to follow.]
Saturday morning we met up again at the starting line but we'd already chatted about our relative paces - I kept up with her for maybe 100’.  But that's ok, I have a couple (*cough* 10) years on her.  My brother was running too and he’d announced days earlier that while he’d held my hand during the first race, this time I was on my own.  And you know what?  I had an AWESOME race and didn’t stop to walk at all.  I’m as slow as a turtle but I (obviously) got one of those elusive-bubbly-annoying-shut-up-already! Runner's Highs.  It had rained all day Friday, with thunder storms expected Saturday, but it cleared up just for my race - a perfect, crisp, beautiful morning.  The course wound thru a nature preserve and so I chugged along under trees, over streams, and across bridges.  It was gorgeous.  And my favorite running song* serendipitously played just as I hit a nasty huge hill which I proceeded to crush.  (Ok, that might be a leeetle bit of an exaggeration.  And, unlike Carrie, I didn't perform any good deeds mid-hill).  She and my brother both reported unhappy races, no doubt making my giddiness even more annoying, but I rocked it.  I shaved over FIFTEEN minutes off my first race time… though if you factor out the excessive walking last go ‘round I’m probably not actually faster, nor by any clinical description actually "fast", but still wheee!

[OK, I'm done. 
Wait!  One more:

The only real glitch was that after the race I had about as much interest in attending a crowded festival as I did in going home and scrubbing the bathtub. And the skies finally let loose torrents of rain.  I felt bad I'd conned the extended family into coming out for an expensive event we spent maybe 3 hours at but I had good intentions.  Also?  As Carrie already pointed out, we took no photos.  So here's my official T-shirt instead. 
*Final idle thought.  I can't help but think about my girl during that song (for the non-you-tubers:  Melissa Etheridge/I Run for Life).  I know it's about breast cancer but almost every line resonates - especially the one about the scar (on my girl's chest) and the fear (of what that extra chromosome would mean).  Chokes me up almost every time.  Carrie hurt her knee helping push a guy in a wheelchair up an awful hill.  I saw him and his two runner-helpers at the starting line and I can't remember exactly what their matching T-shirts read but something along the lines of No Limits.  I had run a 10k two weeks earlier and there was a dad running with his daughter who... might have had cerebral palsy (?).  There are almost always inspiring Tshirts and teams running for good causes.  How cool would it be if we found a race to run at the next NDSC conference?  A 5k so EVERYONE could run - in matching blue & yellow T-shirts?  Or am I just obsessing about my new hobby?  As I told Matt, as I was paying for my next race, it's a lot cheaper than therapy or heroin.  But, still, give it some thought... Team Shirts! 

Hey strangers

The danger of not posting regularly is that all those bloggable moments build up so when you do, finally, get a chance to use the family's one computer* you have to cram two weeks of material down into one post that's too long for anyone to read.  Or I could, ya'know, start writing regularly again and catch up but that would make too much sense.
*Parts for MY computer have allegedly, if belatedly, been ordered.  My absence hasn't all been Matt's fault though - too many Saturdays and late nights at work lately. 

~ School.  Ah, yes - school.  This will require a separate long post.  I did write a snarky piece about a semi-official email that lacked some necessary possessive apostrophes but I was just being mean & my fear of said post being found by said official conscious got the better of me.  The short version is that we're struggling.  There are unprecedented tears in the classroom (my girl's, not mine, though I've been close), the grammar police are shocked - Shocked! - by recent crimes against the English language, and I've decided we need to do more on our own but paying for private therapy is...ouch.  We'll hopefully soon be able to look back at this as a (painful) transition period but it's a mess right now.

~ On the other hand, my boy seems to be doing pretty well.  Though his teacher is all over him about his handwriting & cutting/gluing skills. Which I understand from the fine motor skills perspective, but she clearly hasn't seen either one of his parents' handwriting. "Messy scrawls" would be generous.  "Illegible scribbles" is probably more accurate. The poor kid is doomed

Also, he has a new friend who goes to after care with him & they are having such a grand time there together, he has actually rejected a couple offers to be picked up early.  This is such a tremendous relief.  He didn't enjoy summer camp towards the end and nothing triggers crushing mommy guilt like sending your kid somewhere he doesn't want to go because you don't have other options.

Side note:  I haven't yet met his new friend but when I was picking him up one day a little kid ran up to us and chatted for a second before running off again.  I asked if that was New Friend but he said no, New Friend has brown skin.  Awwww.... we live in a WHITE suburb and I've fretted a bit about the lack of diversity but here my boy was proving we didn't need to move.  I relayed this to Matt who has met New Friend, and he started chortling. New Friend, apparently, simply has a summer tan.  Oh. wow.

More asides:  I'm not too sure what to make of my reaction, above.  Isn't it reverse racism to be pleased about my son's choice of friend, sight unseen, just because he might have had "brown skin"?  Hmm.

Last aside:  I was telling my SIL this and she told me her (other) nephew had told his mom one of the girls in his class was from Africa.  Not African-American, "from Africa".  She was horrified, presumably launched into a civics/social/language lesson, only to find out the kid really had moved here from an undisclosed country in sub-Saharan Africa.  Funny!

And one last boy story:  He was playing one day and had spun a whole story about a hardware shop that also sold pies made by special machines and he was running in & out of my room picking up new machine tools and delivering pies.  On one of his trips he announced he was leaving to visit his mom at work (um, hello?).  "So who am I?"  "You're grandma."  Yesterday he told me I have old hands.  Oh. wow. Way to cut where it hurts, buddy - Yes, I get it. Too much worky-worky lately, time is fleeting, and now you're grounded. 

~ My BEST story (In Real Life dates!  Half Marathons! Elvis dancing!) deserves its own post but the kids are currently occupied so I'm going to hit publish and keep writing.  Nothing for two weeks and two posts in one day?  I have awesome time management skills!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Operation Interlude, IV

Danger!  St Louis
Zoo.  Just Mommy & Me, the
Last day before school