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How the strep stole Christmas

December 29, 2017

We have been positively drowning in holiday cheer over here. Well, holiday cheer and the white-hot throat daggers of strep. Both, equally and with the exact same amount of dedication. With just 5 days till Christmas, my true loves gave to me …

4 sweats and shivers,
3 blades to gargle,
2 swollen lymph nodes
And a bug that left me feeling shitty.

But it came in tasteful, shiny wrapping paper, so, ya know …

Being sick this time of year is such a treat, because there are so many sophisticated films to take in (i.e. the Christmas Prince) (But, for real though, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and a brutal fever is the perfect way to sweat out some of those Christmas confections you’ve been stuffing into your mouth hole.

As the mother, finding yourself bedridden for two days before the jolliest weekend of the year is not unlike playing Ebenezer Scrooge in a local church production of A Christmas Carol. You’re a ghost, looking in as your spouse carries on dutifully in your absence. This is what baths would be like if you weren’t around. This is what the dinner rush would be. This is how laundry would be folded. It would all march on without you; Slowly. Wrinkly. Whiney.

The chicks passed the ick like a filthy baton. Spike kicked it off strong, followed by JoJo, who was trailed, not far behind, by Sloppy Joan and myself, simultaneously. But it’s interesting how the sickness materialized, festered and then vacated each of their little bodies. I have found, in my eight years of mothering, that, when under the weather, my girls often fall into one of the following personas:

The Walter White.
This is the kid who leaves for school in the morning smiling and talking about weekend plans and how wonderful their cinnamon toast is and comes back to you an hour later entirely deteriorated, a completely different person. This is the scenario that always brings the most passive aggressive school nurse shaming. You just know she’s wondering why you sent your kiddo off in such bad shape. Little does she know she was so good just 3 hours earlier.

The Jo March.
This is the kid who gets crazy emotional and affectionate when she’s sick. She talks about what a wonderful mom you are, how you should go and enjoy frozen yogurt without her, and how sad she is to be missing the opportunity to play with her sisters whilst she’s ill. Always with giant cartoon teardrops in the corners of her eyes and an endearing redness in her cheeks.

The Katniss Everdeen.
This is the kid who comes down with the ick, goes to your bed and sleeps for 48 hours, waking only for medicine and a drop of water. She goes into a self-induced coma to recoup and reemerges like a true badass. Classic Katniss.

The Sixth Sense.
This is the kid who, after just 24 hours, makes a miraculous recovery. She’s running around the house and jumping off the coffee table so you send her back to school. Three days later she comes home with a 103 temp and hot tamale tonsils. You just don’t see it coming!

We shook off the strep just in time for the major festivities. Unfortunately, the burning little bitch gave way to a barky, brutal cough that left all three chicks barfing in their sugar cookie-filled pie holes. Nothing says Merry Christmas quite like hacking over Grammy’s hamballs.

But we’re coming out on the other side now. I’m almost 90 percent sure of it. I took some time off, which I used almost exclusively to find homes for all the new shit we had stacked in our living room. This, of course, was only made possible by throwing away all of last year’s new shit. The thing that truly scares me is that year by year, gift by gift, all of these treasures are finding a nook and a cranny in my home. But my home isn’t exactly getting bigger, right? So eventually I feel like I’m just going to wake up in FAO Schwarz. My house is slowly morphing into the apartment from Big. The toys are taking over and their army is mounting by the minute.

Anyway, with all the Amoxicillin flying around I didn’t get a chance to really wish all of you who spend 10 minutes a week with me on here a warm and Instagram-worthy holiday. I hope it was filled with warm cinnamon rolls and cocoa, lots of smiles around the tree and at least one thing you truly wanted for yourself.

Much like the strep, I’m ready to shake 2017 off like a labrador comin’ out of a car wash. Let’s rally and kick some ass in the new year.


What happens when we’re both sick?

March 25, 2016

It was the sort of discomfort that reaches into your sleeping soul and violently slaps the twisted dreams from the thought bubble above your head. It was 4a.m. and I opened my eyes with the realization I was sweating like a man in a T&T wing eating showdown during a milk shortage. My stomach ached and there were no negotiations to be had. No ledge to talk my self down from. It was a zero to vomit explosion and I had 5 seconds to act.


But what made the bout of the stomach ick a real shot to the jewels was that, just 8 hours before, my husband came down with the exact same ick. I could see slivers of electric orange lining the night clouds through my bathroom window from where I lay on the floor (why is it that the floor always feels so great when you’re sick?). The fiery announcement of dawn could only mean one thing … the children would be stirring soon. Fear violently flashed through my mind, though my face remained frozen in an expression of misery.

Around 6:45 Hank brought me a glass of water. I lifted my head – which felt heavy like Miley’s wrecking ball – and asked him, “What happens when we’re both sick?” He shrugged and shuffled back toward the bed. This was not a drill. We had a situation on our hands, and it was a first for us as parents. I lacked the ambition to search the depths of my brain, once built for problem-solving but now dulled by stomach acid, and instead reached for the very first thought that sauntered through my swollen mind. “Call my mom,” I managed to yell in a monotoned grunt. But he didn’t. Somehow he didn’t. Somehow my magnificent husband got the girls to the places they needed to be. I watched from my side of the bed with a drool puddle of admiration forming below my cheek.

We spent the day discovering what it looks like when both parents are down with the most brutal bug. You know how, when you’re feeling really sweet on each other and Monday morning is looming, you say things like, “Let’s call in sick and just spend the day together,” or “I wish I got paid for staying home and hanging out with you.” Well, this was like that, except not. At all. He slept in his miserable germ pool downstairs and I set up my infested force field upstairs. The saint of a man came up once or twice to check on me, but other than that, we remained in isolation.

The only perk to being down for a day – other than the smallest number I’ve seen on the scale in months – was that I cleared out My List on Netflix. So, rather than end this post on a puke-soaked sour note, I’d like to recommend the following titles for your next bout with the flu bug. Here now, in no particular order, are a few of my favorites from my 24-hour sick streaming binge.

Flu Viewing Party Playlist

Chelsea Does
OK, I was not familiar with Chelsea Handler, so I was coming in completely cold and, it turns out, entirely unprepared. My father-in-law, a huge fan, laughed childishly as I recounted my first impressions of her. I’m an over-sharer. I tell more than I keep to myself, but I look like a monk compared to this chick. I am Maria and she’s Sister Mary Clarence. I recommend the Marriage and Drugs installments if you’re short on time and can’t watch all four.

Grace and Frankie
Holy love for Lily Tomlin! She is so, so good in this series, and I can’t imagine any one playing her counterpart better than Jane Fonda does (9 to 5 what?!). Which, can we talk about Jane Fonda’s freaking body? The woman is 78 and looks like the girls on my super-secret “Motivation” Pinterest board. The entire series was unexpected and endearing and wonderful.


I’ve never kept my harmless-yet-overpowering feelings for Amy Poehler a secret, but with this cry-laughing flick, that little blonde piece of brilliance made me somehow love her more. I picture Tina and Amy just sitting in a writers’ room with all of their hilarious friends throwing out one-liners and laughing their adorable little asses off. While my tummy pains proved more powerful than the ability to truly LOL like the movie deserved, I did LIMM (laugh in my mind) till I had tears in the corners of my eyes. “Your pads all the way and you know it.”


This is 40
This one has been on my list for a long time, but, as you can see, it takes a virus to get my viewing party on. Divorce dialogue aside, I think I might have written this movie. Like, I truly believe that if I didn’t actually type out the words, someone climbed into my head and plucked them out of my neuropot (I made that term up. It’s the pool where my ideas swim around. A lot of them eventually drown. It’s crazy in there.). If you’re over 30 and you have children, watch. this. movie.


30 Rock
I was coming off of a Parks and Recreation high, and I needed something to take the edge off. It’s safe to say I’ve been stabilized. Hank thinks Tracey Jordan makes the show. I love Liz Lemon, of course. Either way it’s the perfect sitcom significant other rebound play. The similarities between Liz and Leslie make the funny a tad familiar and completely fantastic. Then I started listening to the Bossypants audiobook and now I’m having many, many feelings about “Mrs. Fey’s Change of Life Baby”.