Monthly Archives: March 2012

My House Is Never Cleaner Than When One Of My Kids Is Sick

“Mommy! You need to take me to the doctor,” #1son moaned from the side of the toilet.

I hate this kind of sickness. Oh, who am I kidding? I hate it any time my kids are sick.

“Why do we need to go to the doctor?” I ask, stroking his back.

“So we can find out why my guts keep coming out of my body.”

Yep. It’s that kind. The throw-up-vomit-barf kind.  And on a side note, this is my kid who spikes a 104+ fever (106.1 and a race to the ER is our record) every time he is sick.

“Pumpkin,” I tried to sound calm, “You just have a flu. A really bad flu. You need rest, liquids and more rest. You’ll be better before you know it.”

“I don’t think so,” came the feeble reply.

For five hours straight, I ran from bedroom to laundry room to cleaning cabinet to couch to bathroom to basement (to find another bucket) to laundry room to garden hose (to hose down the couch cushions) to bathroom and to laundry room. Again. We went through 3 sets of sheets, 4 sets of PJ’s, one stuffed doggy and two blankets. I could barely keep up.

In between the clean-up-sterilizing-laundry runs, I read to him, I held him, and we attempted a board game.

He finally fell asleep. I spent those precious hours cleaning, cloroxing and lysoling everything in sight. As soon as he woke up, I tackled all the noisy chores: emptying dishwasher, vacuuming and putting stuff away in his room. I started a big pot of homemade chicken noodle soup (which he hasn’t touched but the rest of the family loved) and made lime jello, his favorite.

My house is never cleaner than when someone is sick. First of all, I’m stuck in the house. Not able to sit still for long, I clean. Second, someone is sick. Out come the Clorox wipes and Lysol spray. Switchplates, doorknobs, phones, keyboards and remote controls are wiped down every hour. Third? My house better be clean before the real SHTF. Because no one else is going to do it while I’m laid up.

I woke up this morning and the laundry is caught up. Every room is vacuumed and dusted. Sinks and toilets are sparkling. You could eat off my kitchen floor. (Although, I don’t recommend it.)

My idle hands itched for something to do so I washed combs and brushes. Straightened kitchen cabinets and took a box of winter clothes to the basement. With those tasks completed I realized I was a bit beat.  I decided to sit down and catch up with all of you.

That’s when it hit me.

“Sweetie,” I called out to #1son who was reading a book in bed, “how did your flu start?”

“My head,” was the reply, “It hurt really bad. All over.”

Uh-oh.

If you don’t hear from me for the next few days, you know what hit me.

At least the house is clean.

For now.

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Filed under All In A Day's Work

Evolution Of A Hot News Story. Or How The Media Creates Mass Hysteria.

Day 1: I read about a young, innocent 17-year old boy, Trayvon Martin, shot by a crazed vigilante, George Zimmerman, in Florida. The crazed vigilante was patroling his neighborhood with a gun and it appears he singled out Martin because he was black and wearing a hoodie. Martin was armed only with a cellphone, a bag of Skittles and an iced tea. The nation is outraged. Twitter feeds light up. People are demanding the arrest of Zimmerman.

Day 4: I see a picture of George Zimmerman and he looks Hispanic to me. I think, of anyone he should be more sensitive to racial profiling, since he, too, is a minority. (Although, not for long.) I see a picture of Trayvon Martin. He looks all of 12 years old. He looks like a baby. How could he have been a threat?

Day 12: Citizens across the country are still outraged. Protests are being organized demanding Zimmermans arrest. I wonder how in the world he couldn’t have been arrested yet. This is outrageous.

Day 14: The friend Martin was talking to on the phone says that she heard Martin saying, “Why are you following me?” He tells her he has to go. He hangs up. Five minutes later, he is dead. I wonder what happened in those five minutes. Did Zimmerman chase Martin and then gun him down? Did they have a conversation? Did they argue? Could it have escalated to the point that Zimmerman did, indeed, feel he needed to defend himself? Nawwwww. He’s the psycho vigilante and Martin is the babyfaced victim that the media has portrayed them to be. I’m sure of it.

Day 15: Clever pictures of Skittles and cans of iced tea are popping up all over the internet with the caption “Not A Weapon.” I post said picture on my Facebook page to join the crusade.

Day 24: Geraldo Rivera claims that Martin’s hoodie is responsible for his death. Apparently, he thinks black men and boys shouldn’t wear hoodies, a common fashion statement among all people, of every race and gender. What an idiot.

Day 25: Rallies are popping up all over the country. Celebrities and politians are giving their two-cents. Zimmerman is still not arrested and has gone into hiding (legally.) I wonder how the authorities don’t have enough evidence by now to arrest the bastard. Sure, some inconsistencies are popping up, but he shot an unarmed man. How can this happen?

Day 29: Updated pictures of Martin and Zimmerman are now appearing on the internet. Martin now looks 17 years old and his full height of 6’3″. Zimmerman is now seen in a suit, not the old arrest picture, of which all charges were dropped. I also read that Martin was visiting his father while suspended for 10 days from school for possession of an empty baggie with trace amounts of marijuana.

Day 30: The Orlando Sentinel reveals that, according to police reports and Zimmerman’s account that has been corroborated by witnesses, that Martin knocked Zimmerman down with a single punch and then proceeded to slam his head into the pavement several times. This occurred while Zimmerman was returning to his vehicle and Martin approached Zimmerman. A witness states that Zimmerman was crying for help and then shot Martin twice at close range. It’s starting to make sense why, perhaps, Zimmerman hasn’t been arrested yet.  I take down clever picture from Facebook page.

Also Day 30: Martin’s mother is applying for a patent on phrases involving her child’s name. She says she is doing this to ” protect intellectual property rights for use in projects to help other families in similar situations.” Huh? This sounds fishy to me. But since I’ve never been in this situation, I’ll give her a crazy-because-I’ve-just-lost-my-son-in-a-tragic-horrific-way pass.

Day 31: Joe Oliver, a friend of George Zimmerman, a black friend of George Zimmerman, feels compelled to speak up for his friend. He confirms that George was attacked. He says that he is remorseful and suffering from post-traumatic stress. He can’t stop crying. Oliver describes a man who is caring and the farthest thing from a racist. I realize this is Zimmerman’s friend, so I take it all in with a grain of salt. But he is black. And he is on national television, supporting a very unpopular man. I take it all in with a minuscule grain.

The only two people who really know what happened are Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman.

Tragically, Trayvon can’t speak for himself. He is dead. Please, don’t tell me that guns don’t kill people, that people kill people. I won’t believe you. Why anyone needs to carry a gun on their person is beyond me. I’m aware that people kill people. But guns sure make it easy. This is not the wild west. We are a civilized nation. I want a world where guns, used to kill people, are unneccesary. Using guns to kill people is barbaric. There has got to be another way.

As tragic as Trayvon’s death is, the news that has trickled out oh-so-slowly certainly casts doubt to his complete innocence. Did he provoke George Zimmerman? Was there an altercation? Did he deserve to die? No. But should we cast stones at Zimmerman if we don’t know the whole story?

The media, at the start, led us to believe this was a hate-crime. Pure and simple. Then, slowly, information starts oozing out on both sides that creates doubt and suspicion. No real answers. Peppered with opinion and speculation. News stories that are short and factual. New stories that indirectly point blame.

But no one really knows anything. We are going to have to let the authorities do their job. Once a full investigation is complete. We might finally know what happened.

And by then? We’ll all be on to some new crusade.

I don’t know who is innocent. Both men are victims. Of many things.

But I do know one thing.

Geraldo Rivera is still an idiot.

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Filed under Be-Causes, In the News, Observations

Former Hot, Hunky Jock Becomes An Actor. Surprise!

He was a jock.

He was hot.

And he knew it.

And all through high school he’d hang with his posse. They’d sit on the floor of a well traveled hallway and rate the girls with flashcards. When a 9 or 10 would walk by, the lucky girl would giggle and blush. When a 6 would walk by (me), she’d hang her head in shame and wish she could disappear. I have no idea how the ones or twos got to class. Luckily, the teachers got wind of what was going on and ended the game.

He and his friends made fun of the choir geeks. No slushies in the face (it would have been Slurpees) but they wouldn’t be caught dead at one of our concerts. And the plays? Even when we needed hunky, athletic types for Grease they were too cool to try out.

I remember him making a disparaging comment about one of my friends. One of my gay friends.

“I’m in that play, too,” I said.

“No you’re not,” he shook his head. “You’re a swimmer.” (Our school often won State Championships in swimming so it was a cool sport back then.)

“Yes, and I’m in the play and the choir and the select ensemble,” I waited for his response.

There was none. He brushed it off. In his cool, dismissive way.

“Sorry about the other day,” he said, barely audible, and he walked away.

I suppose he was referencing the day I was rated a six.

We never really spoke again. He was an upper classman. Friends with my upper class friends on the swim team. I ran into him a few times before he graduated at hockey games or football parties (he played) but we barely said hello. And that was OK with me. After his comment about my friend, I no longer thought he was hot.

He had been popping up on my sidebar in facebook. For over a year.  Fifteen friends in common. I’ve ignored it. But I wondered if he even remembered me. I sent a friend request. Just to see what would happen.  And now I’m part of his other 1,886 posse members.

Guess what? He’s in Hollywood. And he’s a hot, hunky actor. Making a fairly good living at it. I’d heard this but didn’t believe it. I’d seen him, thought I’d recognized him in a few television shows, but dismissed it. I thought he went to Cornell University. Majoring in business or some other predictable pursuit. It couldn’t be him. He made fun of us acting geeks, the songbirds singing with the queers.

Guess what? He did attend Cornell. Majored in business. Then, I guess he figured out acting would be a more lucrative career for him than business.

And there he is. On the small screen. Making a living as an acting geek. A hot, hunky acting geek. With fans. An L.A. home. A rock ‘n roll lifestyle.

Well. I suppose I shouldn’t have expected anything less.

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Filed under Growing Up, Observations

Just Call Me Elaine Who Couldn’t Understand The Appeal Of The English Patient. Because That’s Me When It Comes To The Hunger Games.

Just call me Elaine. From Seinfeld. You know, the episode when she just doesn’t understand all the hoopla around The English Patient.

I don’t get the frenzy around The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I wanted to like it. I truly did. It was our book club’s latest pick and I really wanted to be able to go to the next meeting and contribute. I started it. I re-started it. I resorted to skimming. But I hated it. Meanwhile, everyone is “replying to all” and saying “Don’t you just love this month’s pick?” and “I stayed up until 4am to finish it. I couldn’t put it down!” and “I’m already finished with the second one in the series!”

There’s more?

You’ve got to be kidding me.

The premise of the book centers around a post-apocalyptic world in which a boy and a girl, ages 12 – 18, are chosen by lottery from each of the surrounding 12 districts to compete in a fight to the death televised event in which there may be only one survivor. Oooooo. A futuristic novel where the life of a human being is no longer valued. Death and destruction become entertainment. The joy of the primitive hunt.

Been there. Done that.

The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

The Long Walk by Richard Bachman (aka Stephen King.)

The Running Man starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Loosely based on the book of the same name by Stephen King under his pseudonym Richard Bachman.)

The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell.

And in my research, I discovered the book is deemed eerily similar to the Japanese cult franchise, Battle Royale by Koushun Takami , so much so that fans of Battle Royale are crying plagiarism.

A young adult novel about mass murder as entertainment. And a society that stands for it? Call me Pollyanna, but I’m uncomfortable with a novel that involves prostitution, sadistic torture, encourages suicide and murder and calls itself a young adult novel. I realize it is fiction. And I know the readers of the novel realize this, too. But as far as I could tell, there were no moral lessons learned other than survival will be paramount in the distant future. But why? It’s not a world I would like to live in.

And then there was the mass email that said, “The movie is coming out this month! We should all go! Let’s plan on it!”

Uh-oh.

How do I get out of that one?

 

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Filed under Books

Yep. That’s My Goal.

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Filed under funny

Stupid Things People Say To Families Formed Through International Adoption #38

We were in the grocery store. My daughter was a toddler. A elderly woman approached us.

“Is your husband Chinese?”

“No,” I said.

“Then you adopted her?”

“Yes,” I smiled.

“Ewww. I could never do that.”

I hugged my daughter tightly and said, “And we are so glad you didn’t!”

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Filed under children, People

Curses You, George Vernon Hudson!

A reprint from my archives. Because it bears repeating.

Curses you, George Vernon Hudson!

George is the reason I’m so exhausted this morning.

George is the reason that there is a 68% increase in lost days of work around this time of year due to injury on the job.

George is the reason that there will be a spike in heart attacks this week.

Because of George, children across the country may be waiting for their school bus in the dark.

And if my kids get sick in the next few days, I’m blaming George!

George is responsible for my certain crabbiness for the next few days because, frankly, it’s all his fault.

Curses you, Daylight Saving Time!

(The inspiration for this post came from my curiosity of whose stupid idea this was, anyway. Because it certainly wasn’t a mother who thought, “Let’s deprive everyone of an hour of sleep during flu and cold season. What a great idea!”)

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Joseph Kony And The Lord’s Resistance Army Must Be Stopped. NOW.

So important. Take the time.

Please.

Update: I’ve been criticized for perpetuating a cause that is old (the film is said to be completed in 2004), a cause that only sends 33% of its funds to Uganda and a cause that is virtually “over.” I did my homework. Kony may not be in Uganda but the Lord’s Resistance Army is alive and well. It is still wrecking havoc and terrorizing families and children. The Invisible Children financials are of public record. Google it. Their money is spread out approximately in thirds: to promote awareness, advocacy campaigns and actual on the ground  help. It is my belief that all three components are critical and deserve our support. And I humbly, yet loudly disagree that this cause is over. According to Michael Wilkerson, a freelance journalist who has lived and reported in Uganda, ” the LRA is the longest continually operating…rebel group that commits the kind of atrocities that it commits in the world. You pick any infamous group, and the LRA is right up there, except that it’s still going.” The Lord’s Resistance Army must be stopped. It is a terrorist group, like many others, that should be stopped. Joseph Kony is still at the top of the ICC’s (International Criminal Court) list of most wanted individuals

I will continue to support groups that promote peace. I will continue to support programs that do whatever they can to create a safer world for our children. No cause is without criticism or imperfections. But the basic tenants of Invisible Children come from a place of truth and goodness. Making others aware is critical to help change our world for the better. And that is all I need to know. 

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Filed under Be-Causes

Tires and Guns and Mom’s Epic Fail. Or Was It?

A car sped past us and ran the light turning yellow to red.

My eight-year-old, in all of his wisdom says, “I know how to stop him, Dad. You take a gun and you shoot and you blow out his tires.”

I’m too shocked to speak. Thoughts are bombarding my brain. Epic fail, Mom. How does he know this? The TVs are programmed PG or less. How could he have seen such a thing?  Where did I fail my son? That’s it. No more television. No more computer. No more video games. I’m unplugging everything as soon as we get home.

Meanwhile, my husband, very calmly, says, “That would be a very dangerous thing to do. It could cause an accident, not to mention the fact that you would ruin the tires and tires are expensive.”

Not missing a beat, #1son says, “Well, Dad. That’s why he should have a retirement plan.”

Well. At least I raised a kid with a quick wit and a sense of humor.

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Filed under children, funny

Friday’s Tornadoes Shift Priorities A Bit

When bad weather hits, I’m cautious but not an alarmist. My husband tends to get caught up in all the weather channel hype. You know, the storm-of-the-century-of-the-week. He borders on playing the alarmist. When bad weather is predicted, he turns up his weather radio and watches the radar on TV. Since he’s so tuned in, I tend to tune out.

Not last Friday.

Weather technology has become more and more amazing. A tornado, caught on the radar at the Alabama border, was headed our way. Gathering strength. Well formed. Highly damaging. I repeat, headed our way. It started almost 150 miles away and it was coming. And the weather man was able to tell us what street it was on and which street it was headed for next.

My husband was watching the news intently all evening. I got interested when the tornado was a couple towns away.

The logical side of my brain realizes that tornadoes can affect me. Our home. My family. The emotional, stunted part of my brain doesn’t really think it will. Until a few nights ago.

We woke the boys up out of sound slumber and brought them downstairs to our basement. As I was gently nudging #2son awake my husband got irritated, “This isn’t the time to be gentle! Get them up NOW and go downstairs!” (Remember? He’s the alarmist.)

Half asleep, but enjoying the adventure, my boys weren’t afraid. Probably because I had created a little sleeping bag nest for us, complete with books and ipods and nintendo games. My husband paced while the boys and I cuddled and giggled.

After the tornado had skipped south of us, my husband and I breathed a sigh of relief. Sure. I was scared. But I couldn’t stop the tornado from coming. And having it come so close to us, hearing the weather man announce which street it was on and which street it was headed for next? Made it a little more real for me than I was comfortable with.

The internet was loaded with pictures the next day of all the devastation Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio, and yes, Georgia had experienced. Our neighborhood message board lit up with requests for people in need. I tore through our home and put together clothes, toiletries from my extreme couponer-wannabe stockpile. It felt good to do something. Anything. Some neighbors, that I had never met before, have friends in Chattanooga who lost everything. Their home was flattened. They all survived, thank goodness, but now have to start over. I brought them the things that I could put together and told them to let me know if they need more for their next trip up there to help.

So many people lost their lives, their homes. Pictures, beloved books or toys, favorite curtains or cups. Sure, all of these things can be replaced. But the loss they must be feeling right now is unimaginable to me. It made my silly request of you all on Friday afternoon seem……silly. Share some love, indeed.

If you can’t help a family directly, please consider donating to the American Red Cross. Rebuilding is going to take time, money, and so much hard work. If we all share a little of what we have, together we can make a world of difference.

(My Friday post also included a bloggy friend who could use your help. If you can help her in her financial struggle as she tries to make things right, thank you. And if you still want to vote for the picture of my kids for the contest, that’s great, too. Just wanted to let you know, my own priorities have shifted a bit.)

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Filed under Be-Causes