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I was just kidding.

Wow, it’s great to be here. By now all of the friends I’ve made in the blogosphere have either succumbed to Facebook or dropped off the face of the earth, so now it’s just like it was in the beginning, before I had any blogging friends and it was just me typing to myself all the time. I don’t suppose I mind that too much.

Maybe I will make all new friends! Just kidding. Seems unlikely. But that’s not what I’m here for.

What am I here for? No special reason. Just because. Just because I’m me and I do random stuff. Today I went to the doctor. I didn’t really want to go to the doctor, although I don’t ordinarily mind going to the doctor. For years and years I hated going to doctors, and I’m not sure when that changed. Probably when I left California. The doctors in Oregon have been a lot better, in my experience. That’s not to say there aren’t excellent doctors in California. I just never met any. Ha ha, no, that’s not exactly true–I did have one doctor who was very nice, but he retired, and that was the end of that. But that’s not why I didn’t want to go to the doctor today.

Today I really, really wanted to take a nap. You see, I was very tired because I was up half the night dealing with a very troublesome retainer. This is how much has changed, dear Internet, since we last spoke. On Friday I had my bottom braces removed and I am now the proud owner of a retainer. (My top braces are not coming off in the foreseeable future. I’ve stopped asking, and my orthodontist has stopped telling. I may spend my golden years having my wires tightened every 6-8 weeks.)

Anyway, I have this removable retainer–they gave me the option of a permanent one, but after four and a half years in braces, I’m not about to sign up for a permanent anything else. I want to floss my teeth like a normal person (i.e., occasionally, but without a big production). I want to eat leafy greens and and not discover them in the crevices of my dental appliance three hours later. No, it was strictly removable for me. And I have enjoyed the removable aspect. It’s amazing how much does not get stuck in my teeth now (at least on the bottom ones). I have not enjoyed the taking-out and especially not the putting-back-in processes.

Question: is inserting my retainer supposed to feel like I’m stapling it to my gums? Because that’s been my experience so far. At first it was only painful when I first put it back in; after a few minutes I’d get used to it and be fine. Last night as I was trying to go to sleep, this surprisingly sharp piece of plastic was disturbing my calm. I tried to be all mind over matter because I was super, super tired and thought if I lay still long enough I would just pass out, but it just wasn’t happening. I kept getting up and taking it out and putting it back in and maybe trying to put some wax between my most sensitive tissues and the most sinister plastic edges, but that didn’t work–I didn’t really expect it to because this sucker fits tighter than vinyl gloves that are a size too small. (That is the comparison that comes to mind because I also happen to be the proud owner of a box of ~75 vinyl gloves that are a size too small. I bought them for when I color my hair and I’m too proud to admit I made a mistake and throw them out and buy new ones. But I digress.) No, not at any point did I consider not wearing my retainer. I have been wearing braces for four and a half years. I am not jeopardizing my long-term oral alignment now. Anyway, I eventually remembered that I had some Orajel in the bathroom drawer, and I used some of that and it actually helped. Happy ending! Except that I had to wake up five hours later and that sucked.

So I really wanted to take a nap, but it was Princess Zurg’s late arrival day, so I couldn’t lie down until almost 9:30. Once I lay down, I was in a prime position to fall asleep, except that our neighbor is having a new roof put on. Let me give you a list of things you shouldn’t try to do when your neighbors are replacing their roof: 1) Take a nap. 2) That pretty much covers it. Well, in between hammering sounds I somehow managed to fall asleep, but much too soon my alarm went off and I had to take a shower.

I might have considered not taking a shower and taking another 20 minutes to sleep, except that I was going to the doctor to see about this thing that’s been growing under my toenail since, like, May (or possibly earlier, I can’t really remember, it’s such a part of me now), and when you’re going to have something disgusting looked at, you at least want to be clean. Well, I do. I mean, I like to be clean most of the time, but there are priorities and there are priorities. Anyway, I’ve had this disgusting thing since May and I hadn’t really been sure what it was. At first it hurt like the son of a motherless goat, and I thought that I had just bruised my toe really badly somehow–maybe I stubbed it, maybe my clogging shoes were too tight, I don’t know–because it looked and felt like my toenail was going to come off, and I resigned myself to that and just waited.

Well, it stopped hurting, but the toenail never came off even though it was obviously doing something super weird. Plus there was that growth-thingy. Now that it no longer hurt, I could see there was something under the toenail that ought not to be. I considered that it might be a fungal infection, so I got some anti-fungal whatever and applied that for a couple weeks or whatever, but it didn’t seem to be making any difference, and it occurred to me that the thing was starting to look an awful lot like a wart, and since I have about 12-15 plantar warts between my two feet (long story, also probably disgusting), it was not inconceivable to me that I could have some weird under-the-toe wart virus too. So I tried some wart remover, which was similarly ineffective, and then it occurred to me that when something is under one’s toe, one cannot really get any sort of application where it most counts, so one should probably get some professional help. It only took me six months or so to come to this conclusion.

Actually, it only took me about four months to come to this conclusion, then another two months to make a doctor appointment. Have you ever made a doctor appointment and the person on the phone asks what you need to be seen for, but you have no idea how to explain it? “I’ve got a weird thing growing under my toenail and I don’t know what it is.” I wonder what they type into the computer. “Weird thing growing under toenail.” There’s probably a diagnostic code for that. I said I didn’t know if it was a wart or a fungus or toe cancer, but I just wanted to get rid of it and that’s why I needed to see the doctor.

Well, the good news is that it is not a toomah. The bad news is that it is a fungal infection and //SQUEAMISH AVERT YOUR EYES// the doctor had to cut off most of my toenail, which hurt like a mother pusbucket when she got to the part where crazy-fungal-infected toenail met skin. I don’t want to brag, but I was very brave. I only screamed a little bit. (For real.) //SQUEAMISH MAY LOOK AGAIN// Anyway, she bandaged up my toe (with Donald Duck bandages–because that was all she had, but I didn’t mind) and sent me off with this prescription that I have to take for twelve weeks and I also have to get my liver function tested every month until I’m done, and my toenail should grow back in about a year. Awesome.

Also, I got a flu shot.

So after the doctor and nurse were both gone, I hobbled over to the chair to put my sock and shoe back on, and I noticed //SQUEAMISH AVERT YOUR EYES AGAIN// there was a drop of blood on the floor. “Huh. Curious,” I thought. That is seriously what I thought, even though I HAD JUST HAD PART OF MY TOE CUT OFF. Then I looked at my foot and saw that I was still bleeding quite a copious amount, Donald Duck bandages notwithstanding. (“Copious” being a relative term, of course.) So it was then I noticed that in the course of my aforementioned hobbling, I had dripped blood all the way from the examination table to the (aforementioned) chair, and naturally there were no doctors or nurses or medical professionals anywhere in sight. (I thought at the very least, someone should be aware that my bodily fluids had not been properly contained. Biohazard, right? Anyway.)

So I wasn’t really sure what to do because I had this bleeding foot and I didn’t want to hop out to the nurses’ station, but I had this bleeding foot and I didn’t want to put it in my sock because it was one of my favorite pairs and while bloodstains are not difficult to remove if you get to them quickly enough, I didn’t want to take any chances, and also I really needed to go grocery shopping before it was time for me to pick PZ up from school (early, for a therapy appointment).

Long story short, fortunately for me, I had recently had a head cold, so there were several (still clean and relatively sterile) facial tissues in my purse, so I used those to apply pressure and wrap them around the insufficiently absorbent Donald Duck bandages, and somehow I was still able to fit my foot into both my sock and my shoe with not too much difficulty.

Then I casually informed a nurse about the blood-soaked examination room before putting on my hat and hobbling to my car. //SQUEAMISH MAY LOOK AGAIN// Then I drove to the grocery store and hobbled around there for an hour before heading back home and hobbling around the kitchen putting the groceries away, and then I went to the Target to pick up my prescription and also hobble around the store looking for Avengers cereal for my ten-year-old. Then I got a bacon cheeseburger because I needed to replenish my iron stores after all the blood I lost. Just kidding. I got a bacon cheeseburger because I was hungry because I hadn’t had the will to endure the discomfort of removing and replacing my retainer so I could eat that morning and I also got it because I’m a pig.

But I am giving blood (on purpose) Thursday, so iron is important too.

The good news is that when I removed and replaced my retainer this afternoon, it only hurt a little bit. Possibly because I wasn’t trying to sleep. We’ll see how it goes tonight.

Remember several months ago, when I started answering a series of 36 questions found in this New York Times article? If so, I bet you thought I’d just given up on that. Well, I haven’t! I just decided to take a half-year-long break. Or something. But look, we’re already on question 13:

If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?

This is a tricky question. I would not want to know the future. I’ve read/seen too many of those time travel books/movies; I know that nothing good can come of knowing the future. That’s the Monkey’s Paw law. Call it Monkey’s Law. Except it’s Monkey’s Paw, so you may as well call it that. I suppose there’s always the idea that you can bet on the World Series or something and make a killing, but to me that doesn’t seem very sporting. So forget the future.

As for the truth about myself and my life, well, what is there to know? I feel like I’m pretty self-aware. I suppose I would like to know what I could do with my hair to make it look better. I might ask, “Is it even possible to make my hair look better?” Or “Should I just get one of those short haircuts like Janine Turner used to have that first season of Northern Exposure, not because it will look good but because it won’t look any worse than what I already have and I’ll finally have a low-maintenance hairstyle?”

Along those same lines, I might ask it which lipstick shade is right for me. I’m having a lot of difficulty with this issue right now. I had the perfect shade of lipstick, and I ran out of it and they don’t make it anymore, and I’ve bought, like, fourteen shades of lipstick since then, and none of them is right. It’s incredibly frustrating.

I might also ask, “What do I need to do to get rid of these plantar warts?” I’ve had them since the summer of 2002, and the last time I went to the doctor to have them frozen, she basically said that it was pointless because they would just come back again. I’ve considered going to a podiatrist or something. I mean, a podiatrist wouldn’t tell me it was pointless to treat my plantar warts, right? He or she would at least try to get some money out of me. But if I had a crystal ball that would tell me the truth, I would know if I were wasting my time (and money–well, the insurance company’s money, probably).

To be honest, my plantar warts don’t bother me most of the time, possibly because I’ve gotten used to them, but the fact of them bothers me a great deal. What I’d really like to know is what is this thing growing underneath my toenail on my left foot because that is a real mystery. It’s probably a wart or something, and yes, I should probably just go to the doctor and have it looked at. At first it hurt like a melon farmer–I thought I’d bruised it somehow, maybe my clogging shoes were too tight, who knows–and I thought my toenail was going to fall off. But then it stopped hurting, and my toenail never fell off. It just got hugely misshapen and there was obviously this thing growing there that had never been there before. I know what you’d like to ask the crystal ball: Why in hell’s name has Mad not gone to the doctor yet? Is she some kind of idiot? Answer: maybe. Actually, I have nothing against going to doctors. I just have something against making appointments for going to the doctor. It’s the same reason I haven’t had a haircut in eleven months. (No, it’s not because my doctor cuts my hair. But I also have to make an appointment to get a haircut. I hate making appointments. That’s my problem.)

I did manage to make an appointment yesterday for a haircut. On Wednesday I made an appointment for a mammogram. I hope both turn out equally well. I hope I do not get the haircut equivalent of cancer, in other words. Or the breast equivalent of a bad haircut. I’m not sure what the latter would be, but it seems like something to be avoided.

Did I ever tell you about the time I had to get a breast ultrasound and the technician was a man? That was unexpected. I mean, it was okay. Having my first baby sort of destroyed any preciousness I had about the sanctity of my body, and I’d had three more babies since then, so my capacity for embarrassment had dwindled to almost nothing. But, you know, it’s unusual, isn’t it? The Breast Health Center skews pretty heavily female, like a maternity ward. I’ve never even met with a male radiologist. But this ultrasound technician was a dude, and he was a relatively young guy. I can just imagine that looking at middle-aged breasts all day had always been his dream job. Anyway, he was nice. (As one would hope anyone who touches your breast would be.)

I seem to have gotten off the topic. I can’t think of anything else I would like to ask the crystal ball. Oh, except maybe “what career should I pursue?” It doesn’t have to tell me whether or not I would be successful. As I said, I don’t want to know the future. But I could use some ideas.

Usually my blog post titles are lousy, but occasionally I come up with a title that the ensuing post cannot possibly live up to.

I’m thinking about flu shots today because Sugar Daddy is home sick, probably with the stomach flu that’s been going around this season, and I just last week turned down a flu shot from my doctor at my annual physical. Why would I turn down a flu shot in the middle of flu season? I mean, I was already there at the doctor. I don’t mind getting shots. I don’t have a fear of needles. Needles have ofttimes been my friends. Yes, I would go so far as to say that. It really doesn’t make any sense that I would turn down a flu shot when it was so convenient for me to get one and my insurance might have even covered it and even if it didn’t, I could certainly afford to pay for it.

So why did I turn down the flu shot? I don’t have a good answer for you. I don’t have any kind of answer, except that I’m a creature of habit and it is my habit not to get a flu shot during flu season because usually I am not right there at the doctor. I might have gotten a flu shot when I was pregnant with Girlfriend in 2005 because my doctor said something like, “It’s recommended that pregnant women get the flu shot,” but I really don’t precisely remember. I’m sure that if my doctor said something as strong as “it’s recommended”–not even “I personally as your physician recommend this” but just “it’s recommended”–I would have gotten the shot because, as I was saying just last paragraph, I hath naught against flu shots, in theory. But my habit is not to get them because it is not convenient and therefore when I’m confronted with the option, I immediately go into deer-in-the-headlights mode:

Doctor (or Nurse): Do you want a flu shot today?

Me: [Silent, but frantically thinking, “What, a flu shot? Today? No one told me this was going to be on the test. I’m not really a flu-shot-getter. Do I want a flu shot? Do I need a flu shot? If I needed a flu shot, would they phrase it in terms of me ‘wanting’ one, like I might want a refill on my diet Coke or my windshield cleaned? Should I get a flu shot? What will happen if I don’t? What will happen if I do? I don’t know because I can’t see the future. I can’t see the future! How am I supposed to answer this question???”

Doctor (or Nurse, tired of waiting for the answer): That’s okay. [What’s “okay”? I don’t know, but that’s what they say.] Do you need any refills on medication?

And then I leave, flu-shot-less. That’s what happened last Tuesday.

I know there are people who swear by flu shots and wouldn’t dream of not getting one during flu season. These are usually people who have, in seasons past, almost been killed by the flu. I appreciate their perspective. I’ve had near-death experiences myself, though not many of the flu variety. There are people who eschew flu shots because they’re leery of vaccines in the first place or they’ve gotten flu shots and gotten the flu anyway and are bitter or whatever. I don’t know. I confess that my decision (because that’s really what my indecision boils down to, in the end) not to get a flu shot is influenced entirely by superstition and pessimism rather than science and logic. The fact is (assuming I may have gotten a flu shot in 2005), nine years out of ten I have not gotten a flu shot and ten years out of ten I have not had the flu. The fact is that I don’t get sick very often. I do not attribute this hardiness to not getting flu shots, but the fact is, I cannot seem to ignore the correlation and the sneaking suspicion that it would be just my luck to get a flu shot and end up with the flu anyway because getting the shot somehow tempted fate–like somehow getting the flu shot would show the universe a lack of gratitude for me miraculously not getting the flu all those years I never had a flu shot and therefore I must be punished. Because that’s exactly how I’d see it, if I did get the flu: “Why am I being punished?” It’s not a becoming quality in me, but I acknowledge that it’s there.

That’s why I didn’t get the flu shot.

But here’s my husband, I don’t know, fifty feet away from me? In another room–two rooms away, technically–miserable with (probably) the flu. He didn’t get a flu shot either. We live together. I have definitely been exposed to his germs. I’m constantly exposed to his germs! I could end up getting the flu just like he did, and it will all be my own fault. Well, sure, I suppose I could shift some of the blame to him, too, since he didn’t get a flu shot either, but he wasn’t just at the doctor office last week, getting offered a flu shot on a silver platter. So really, it would be all my own fault. But will I get the flu? That’s the question. As I said before, I don’t often get sick. Not since the pregnancy of 2002-2003, when I caught every virus floating around in the Willamette Valley and spent 39 continuous weeks of being sick with non-pregnancy-related illness. (Literally–I am not exaggerating. 39 weeks of sickness. I did not stop being sick until Elvis was a week old.) That was an experience that has not been relieved (thank God). In fact, after I finished being sick with virus I was suffering with during my labor and delivery, neither I nor Elvis was sick at all for about two years. I hardly knew how to respond to such good health, considering that both Princess Zurg and Mister Bubby had about two dozen ear infections (each) during the first two years of life. But I digress. My point is that my constitution is pretty solid. More solid than the United States constitution these days, my fellow Americans! Just kidding. Well, I don’t know. It might be. But I digress again. I gambled on the flu shot because I’ve had a pretty lucky streak this last decade. But is my luck destined to end?

All good things must come to an end.

Also, I need to eat lunch. But once again I am stymied because I don’t know if I’m going to get the flu or not. Is it folly to eat anything I wouldn’t want to regurgitate in the next few hours? Am I tempting fate again? Gentle readers, stay tuned.

If you’re going to send your kid to my house, don’t think I won’t find out that he has head lice or that he’s thrown up twice this morning. He tells me everything.

X’s & O’s,

Mad

I didn’t watch the inauguration. I know you’re all shocked. Nothing personal, I just thought it sounded really boring. I don’t like listening to speeches (by anyone). I’ll read a speech, occasionally, but if there isn’t a transcript out there, forget it. The big exception is when I go to church and listen to people give speeches, i.e. sermons. (Is there a difference, really?) And even then, I’m not really listening most of the time.

I heard the President’s speech was nice. I assume there will be a transcript waiting for me on the internet if I decide to go read it, but I don’t think I will. I’ll probably just make do with the banal excerpts people post on Facebook along with pictures that make it look like he’s said something especially profound. That was overly snide, wasn’t it? Maybe there is something personal here. I plead illness. The three-hour nap on Friday wasn’t enough to nip the head cold in the bud. The head cold has settled in for an extended visit. It’s made me a tad cranky.

Here’s what really made me cranky: I didn’t sleep well last night (you know, with the whole not being able to breathe thing), but when I did sleep, I had a very stressful dream about shopping at the grocery store. In my dream I went to the grocery store twice, and it was very stressful both times and I couldn’t find what I wanted/needed. The only thing worse than dreaming about grocery shopping is dreaming about grocery shopping and waking up to the reality that you actually have to go grocery shopping. I felt very apprehensive about the trip all morning. I didn’t actually get out there until around noon. It was horrible, by the way. Who knew that Martin Luther King Day was a big grocery shopping day? Everyone and their dog was there. At least I’m not going back again today.

I had to buy myself more Gatorade because I ran out of the disgusting grape stuff. This time I got raspberry lemonade. Gatorade is pretty disgusting in itself, regardless of the flavor, that’s just a fact, but for something disgusting, I have to say, the raspberry lemonade isn’t bad. Which is good, because I got eight bottles of it. I also got some Top Ramen because that’s how I roll when I’m sick. Top Ramen is pretty gross too, I understand that, but it tasted really good about 20 minutes ago.

What I really wanted this morning was fresh pears because pears are my favorite fruit. My husband will testify that I’m not a big fruit eater–actually, the way he puts it is “Mad hates fruit,” which isn’t true. I like fruit. I just don’t always feel like eating fruit. More to the point, I don’t like to eat canned fruit, and I will usually refuse to eat canned fruit, at which point my husband will say, “Oh, I forgot. You hate fruit.” No, I hate canned fruit, but thanks for offering. Although I love pears so much, I will even eat them canned. They’re not as good that way–I mean, you really shouldn’t even compare the two things, but apparently pears are just so delicious that they can survive the process of being made disgusting by being put into a can. (Notice that I resisted the temptation to say “a-pear-antly.” You’re welcome. Except I just said it now. I’m sorry.) But that’s neither here nor there.

I really wanted some fresh pears this morning. I would have paid any price for them. And I did buy pears (for a reasonable price, considering the season), but I couldn’t buy any ripe pears, or close-to-ripe pears, and that’s a problem because while pears are in fact delicious enough to eat when they’re not quite ripe, they are not quite delicious enough to eat when they’re not remotely close to ripe. Although I must say, totally unripe pears are orders of magnitude tastier than unripe peaches. But we’re not grading on a curve here. I don’t want to eat an unripe pear. So I have to wait a couple days for my pears to ripen so I can have some pears. Which means I can’t eat pears today. My life is one of constant struggle.

I’m sneezing a lot today. Miraculously, I did not sneeze on any of the produce at the grocery store. Everyone in the community owes me their gratitude.

What else can I tell you? I really just want to go up to my room and lie in bed and watch Netflix, but I know as soon as I do that, someone’s going to come in and need me. As long as I just sit here on the couch wishing I were somewhere else doing something else, they won’t bother me.

What’s worse than sneezing a lot is that constant feeling like you’re going to sneeze.

I was going to end this post with something snappy, but I’m going to give up before I think of anything. Farewell, gentle readers, and enjoy what remains of the holiday. Go forth and judge people by the content of their characters. Adieu.

This is my second post of the week. I am already exceeding my informal-and-totally-not-binding quota of one post per week. And my last post was, like, three thousand words long, so that should make up for the first two weeks of January where I posted nothing at all. Not that I owe you people anything! I promise nothing, do you hear? Nothing!

I’ve been reading a lot of books lately. Is it too soon to start posting book reviews again? Considering how many books I have to review, probably not. Considering how sick you all must be of reading about what books I’ve been reading, probably so. Well, I don’t really have time to start on that now, so you get a reprieve. Now, if only I could think of something to write about instead…

This week I’ve been in denial that I am getting sick. This morning I am no longer in denial, but I am in fighting mode. “Fighting” in the sense that I chose to spend three hours sleeping on the living room sofa, just because I could. Because nothing is more important than me stopping getting sick. (You know that’s just an expression, right? Lots of things are more important than my short-term health–like liberty and justice and the safety of my children, just to name a few–but I’m too constitutionally weak to determine where not-getting-a-full-blown-cold falls on my Priority-O-Meter.) When I got up, I was thirsty, but since I can’t drink water when I’m sick (“can’t”=don’t want to so much that I just don’t), I looked for some other beverage to hydrate myself with. Sugar Daddy was sick last week and asked me to buy him some Gatorade. I asked what flavors he preferred and he said, “Whatever,” but one of the flavors he specifically mentioned–perhaps the only flavor he specifically mentioned–was grape. At the time I thought, “Grape? Feh. But okay.” So I went to the store and bought lemon-lime Gatorade, blueberry-pomegranate Gatorade, and grape Gatorade.

Guess what is the only flavor of Gatorade left in the house? But I was thirsty enough that I drank it, even though I don’t like Gatorade and I definitely don’t like grape Gatorade. I’ll do it again in a few minutes, too. That’s how important my short-term health and hydration are to me. I should probably eat something too. You’re supposed to feed a cold, right? I sure hope so because I’m not constitutionally strong enough to starve anything right now.

Tonight Princess Zurg is supposed to have a friend over to spend the night. This is a new friend we’ve never met before. Does it seem odd to invite a girl to spend the night her first time over? Well, PZ knows her. If she turns out to be a serial killer or something, I’ll just send her home early. IF I STILL CAN. I am not afraid of giving the girl my possibly-head-cold-we’ll-see germs. I’m planning not to be around anyone as much as I can.

Mister Bubby is, quite serendipitously, spending the night at his friend’s house. Even though he has perturbed me in a major way by leaving his science project to the last minute, to the extent that it was not finished on the day it was due (which would be today). This is not really like MB, but maybe this is the new MB. I don’t know. I had no idea the project was due today until I dropped Girlfriend off at school this morning and MB’s BFF’s mom was there and asked if MB needed a ride to school so he could more easily transport his science board. That was when I pretended (sort of) to have the first freaking clue that he needed to transport a science board today. When I got home he was still writing his conclusions on the computer. Uh huh. Well, then.

I generally do not involve myself with my children’s science projects. Scratch that; rephrase. I never involve myself with my children’s science projects. What’s the point of being married to a scientist if you can’t absolve yourself of all responsibility regarding science projects? Moreover, I am not generally in the habit of knowing when my children’s assignments-of-any-variety are due. Not after they get past first grade or whenever the school stops making us fill out and sign their stupid reading logs. I would have a different attitude, I’m sure, if my children were doing poorly in school, but generally they do fine. So of course I didn’t know that the science project was due today, but I might have known if I’d gotten the impression that MB had been working feverishly on it at all yesterday…or ever.

Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t blame myself. Is it my science project? Is it my grade? Am I accountable for the homework my child fails to complete on time? No, no, and…no. (Not after they stop asking me to fill out and sign their stupid reading logs.) I’ve already been to school. I didn’t graduate from school so I could be responsible for homework, let alone science projects (shudder) all over again. So I don’t feel guilty. Which is odd, actually, because I usually feel guilty about everything, even the things that clearly aren’t my fault. It took me a few weeks to stop feeling guilty about the house fire that was started by a faulty bathroom-ceiling fan. I have an overactive sense of guilt, no question about that. But I don’t feel guilty about this. What I feel is…disappointment. I’m no stranger to disappointment either, but I’m not usually disappointed in my children. I’m angry with them and irritated with them, but rarely disappointed. This was a new sensation for me, so I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it.

I resisted the temptation to hassle MB about his lack of responsibility and poor time management skills. He’s apt to get an earful of that from his father, and he’s already going to be embarrassed by the consequences of his folly. Besides, hassling him would imply that I’m personally offended by his failure to complete his science project in a timely fashion, as though it’s a reflection on me. No, thanks. I’m sorry that MB screwed up his science project. (Sorry for him, that is.) I’m a sympathetic person. But man, am I disappointed.

And a little bit irritated because that means MB is not quite the self-reliant kid I have heretofore relied on him to be. I hate being disappointed!

And yes, he’s coming home early tomorrow and working on his Humanities paper throughout the three-day weekend until it’s finished because if he’s going to be a shifty ne’er-do-well, that’s just how I’ll have to treat him. (I’m being a little bit facetious, for dramatic effect.)

Well, if I’m going to feed this cold before it’s time to pick up PZ and her new friend and also Girlfriend, I’d better get on the stick. Or on the soup. Do you think I should have cleaned the house before anyone came over today? Huh, a little late for that. Well, whatever. I’m in fighting mode! They’re lucky if they don’t find me passed out on the couch with an empty bottle of grape Gatorade at my side.

So in the last episode of “I Am the Giraffe” I was wondering WWQD (What Would Quincy Do) regarding my illness, which was at odds with my desire to practice for my clogging performance on Saturday. Practice or rest. Rest or practice. I decided to rest. I’ve been resting. I have not practiced, except in my head. Practicing in one’s head is important. It can also be useful, provided you don’t make any mistakes in your head. When you keep making the same mistakes over and over in your head, it can affect what your feet do the next time they have the floor, so to speak. Ha ha. That’s almost clever. But not quite. I’m still pretty sick, so I can’t really tell.

My kids are off school today. Mister Bubby is watching Quincy. Elvis and Girlfriend are printing things. With the printer. I haven’t really looked into exactly what. Princess Zurg is at a friend’s house, thank goodness. (If she were here, she’d be using my computer and I wouldn’t be able to write this blog.)

I’m getting ahead of myself. I was resting. I got up Thursday morning (that was yesterday, I think) and made everyone’s lunch and sent them to school, and Girlfriend was mercifully still asleep so that after PZ left I was able to lie down for some nap time. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite get to sleep until just as Girlfriend was waking up and coming downstairs and asking for breakfast. I made her breakfast and then asked her to please watch some Netflix or something while I got some sleep because by this time I really did have to sleep. You know how it is when you can’t sleep and then you suddenly can? How you suddenly must? That was the state I was in. So she was very cooperative and watched Netflix while I slept. All morning.

Until at some point I woke up long enough to wonder, “What time is it anyway?” knowing that Girlfriend would eventually need to eat lunch and get on the kindergarten bus. So I got up and went into the kitchen to look at the clock, and what do you know, it was 11:40 a.m. In case you’re wondering, the bus comes at 11:44 a.m. So that was exciting! Considering that she had not had lunch and we were both still in our pajamas. So okay. We didn’t make the bus, but I did feed her lunch and we both got dressed and I drove her to school, and we arrived at the exact same time the bus did. Then I drove away feeling like the worst mother in the world because I let Netflix babysit my six-year-old for two-and-a-half hours while I was passed out on the couch and she was almost late for school.

Except she WASN’T late for school. I was SICK and without having set an alarm, I just HAPPENED to wake up just in time to feed her lunch and get her to school RIGHT ON TIME. Which might just make me the BEST mother in the world.

At least not the worst.

So as long as I was up and about, I went to the 7-Eleven and got a Slurpee. That’s how sick I was, because I don’t even like Slurpees. It’s like drinking a popsicle, and I don’t like popsicles. But I knew I needed fluids, and I can’t drink water when I’m sick. At least not lots of it. So I got a Slurpee. I got a sugar-free Slurpee because the only thing I dislike more than Slurpees is consuming empty Slurpee calories. I have nothing against empty calories in theory. My rule is that I have to enjoy them, and if I’m not going to enjoy them, what’s the point? You might say, “But a sugar-free Slurpee is even worse than a regular Slurpee, so what’s the point?” I thought of that too, after I’d already bought the sugar-free Slurpee, but by then it was too late. And I also realized that I find every flavor of Slurpee revolting except for the Coca-Cola Slurpee, but the Coca-Cola Slurpee would have had caffeine in it, and did I really want to have caffeine when I was trying to rest? Not that caffeine has ever particularly compromised my ability to sleep, but what if it did? Then I would feel really stupid, and resent the calories all the more. No, the sugar-free Slurpee was the right decision.

Anyway, it wasn’t actually that bad. I drank almost the entire thing, which is pretty impressive for me and a Slurpee. (I really don’t care for them.) It was mango flavored. You’d think that would be an extra-big red flag, but no, it was really okay. Like a sick-day miracle.

Unfortunately, I was not able to sleep when I got home.

I took a shower, and after my shower I thought I would be able to sleep, but then our sitter dropped by the house and needed money, so I wrote her a check and she finally left, but then I still couldn’t sleep. But then I could, a little bit…almost…and then it was time to go pick the kids up from school, so never mind.

PZ had a field trip for her French class last night. They went to a French bistro downtown. Extra credit if they ordered the escargot. I went with her because it was easier than dropping her off and picking her up again. (Not cheaper, but easier. And you know which I prefer.) Anyway, PZ doesn’t need extra credit for French class, but she ordered escargot anyway because she’s adventurous that way. They served the escargot family style, so there wasn’t much to go around, which I felt was kind of a rip-off considering how much we were paying for dinner, but I understood that they probably didn’t want to prepare too much escargot for middle-school kids who were probably not going to eat any more of it than they absolutely had to. PZ had two snails. She loved them. One kid at our table ate his but did not opt for another. The other two girls at our table who were angling for extra credit took about 20 minutes to decide to take a bite. There was one snail left over, which they graciously let me have. I’d never had escargot before. It was pretty good. I was still glad I’d ordered the asparagus instead.

Eating escargot is really a mind-over-matter thing. They’re pretty small and not nearly as chewy as, say, tripe or even squid. Squid is nasty. After my experience eating raw squid in Japan, I don’t think I will ever touch it again, not even deep-fried. Gah, I can still taste it. Yuck. Escargot, on the other hand–pretty tasty.

I find foie gras a mind-over-matter food also. On the one hand, it’s delicious. On the other hand, it’s liver. It has to be prepared just so or it is impossible not to think about the fact that it is liver. Overstuffed liver that ducks suffered to prepare for you. Now there is guilt in addition to liver. Eat foie gras only at reputable eating establishments.

Tongue is another mind-over-matter food. I’ve had lengua tacos, and they were also delicious, but only so long as I could forget what I was eating. Really, now that I think about it, is this mind-over-matter, or matter-over-mind? I’m so confused.

Speaking of food, my husband and I are going out in honor of our anniversary (observed). At a fancy restaurant this time. (No Denny’s.) I am feeling well enough to taste food (as of last night’s French experience), so it ought to be okay. I am still taking care to rest. Typing doesn’t take too much out of me.

I am still clogging in my head, and there is one combination I can’t seem to get, no matter how hard I think about it. I hope it doesn’t affect my muscle memory.

Tomorrow morning my husband heads to California to help his mother pack up her house. I will be taking the light rail to the waterfront for the clogging performance. I hope I don’t get lost. I don’t think I will. It seems pretty straightforward. I would rather not travel alone. I didn’t used to be so nervous about traveling alone, but I have a thing about downtown Portland. It didn’t scare me when I lived there and just walked everywhere. Not even taking the bus scared me. I was eighteen and fearless, I guess. Actually, I wasn’t fearless at all, but I was young enough to think that whatever fears I had I just needed to get over because it’s not like you can live your whole life being afraid. At 41 I have come to realize that yeah, you pretty much can live your whole life being afraid. Not that you should, but you can. So I don’t treat my fears as things I necessarily need to get rid of. I’ve lived in the Portland suburbs for the last…almost nine years, and I’ve been downtown a hundred times, but I still don’t like going there. I don’t like driving there, more to the point. And I’m not crazy about the train, but taking the train is better than parking, which is half the stress–maybe three-quarters of the stress–of going downtown. So I’m taking the train, and I hope I don’t get lost. Because being lost downtown while sick would really suck.

Pray that it doesn’t rain tomorrow, gentle readers. Not in Portland, anyway. If you’re in some drought-ridden area and could use some precipitation, please feel free to take some of ours. I bequeath it to you.

I first got plantar warts in 2002, and they were extraordinarily painful. For something as innocuous as warts, I mean. Not painful like childbirth or something. I didn’t even know what they were at first, so I was walking around in pain, wondering what the crap had gone wrong with my feet, and then I visited my sister (the one without a blog for me to link to), and she said, “You might have plantar warts,” and sure enough, that was what I had. I went to the doctor and he applied the liquid nitrogen, which really hurt a great deal, but it made the warts either go away or become so un-bothersome that I didn’t notice them anymore. But eventually they came back, and here they are to this day.

The last time I went to the doctor–a different doctor than the one I had in 2002–she basically told me that there’s nothing I can do about my plantar warts because they’re just going to keep coming back and coming back. She applied some liquid nitrogen, but not in the direct, hardcore way my 2002 doctor did. 2002 doctor walked in with a styrofoam cup full of liquid nitrogen and a cotton swab and just liquid-nitrogened the crap out of those warts. Like I told you, painful–but effective. Current doctor has this spray can liquid nitrogen that is only maybe half a step more medical than the OTC freeze-off stuff you get at the Target, and it doesn’t hurt nearly enough to be effective. It doesn’t do a thing, really. No wonder she’s so pessimistic about my prospects. I need some real liquid nitrogen, lady. Or a doctor who believes in curing plantar warts. You have not inspired confidence!

Sorry to start talking to my doctor in the middle of the post. She doesn’t even read my blog, so I don’t know what I’m thinking.

Anyway, gentle readers. I have this wart problem, this intractable wart problem I’ve been living with for years, and it’s really getting on my nerves. My husband got a plantar wart a few years ago. He didn’t go to the doctor. He cut it out of his foot with a pair of manicuring scissors or something. I’ll give him this much: it’s gone. It hasn’t come back! But…ew. No. I’m not that hardcore. But I really want to get rid of these warts.

A while back I consulted a friend of mine who is a naturopathic doctor. She suggested banana peel or duct tape. I admit that I have never tried the banana peel thing. Don’t often have my hands on a banana peel at the appropriate time. I suppose I should reconsider this method, since I am technically desperate.

Speaking of unpleasantries, Mister Bubby told me last night that he’s decided to do his book report on Frank J. Fleming’s Obama: The Greatest President in the History of Everything. Yes, one of my cheap Kindle specials. Every time MB gets his hands on my Kindle, he reads the Obama book. He finds it hilarious, which is why he wants to do his book report on it. It’s an oral book report that he has to give in front of the class. I told him I didn’t think doing an oral report on this particular book was such a good idea. “Why not?” he asked. “There’s nothing inappropriate in it.” You can see that he has a somewhat naive perspective on appropriateness. I tried to explain that political satire is not really suitable for polite company–and I suppose applying the term “polite company” to a bunch of fifth graders is not really suitable either, but anyway–he didn’t get it. He seems to think I am trying to stifle his free speech. Which I am, of course.

“But I already got it approved!” he said.

“Really?” I said, in the most incredulous tone you can imagine.

“Okay, I didn’t get it approved, exactly”–Liar!–“but [the teacher] said you could choose any book that wasn’t a graphic novel.”

Okay, I guess that counts as “approved.” But not as “a good idea.” I mean, don’t get me wrong–I think the book is funny, way more than $1.99 worth of laughs if you enjoy that sort of thing. It’s an incredibly short book, sort of flimsy for a book report–but not a graphic novel. True. No pictures whatsoever, and if that’s the criteria for a suitable book, okay. But I don’t know. Injecting politics into a fifth grade classroom just sitting around minding its own business seems gratuitously provocative, in a rude way. There’s just something sort of rude about it. I’m trying to raise my children not to be rude.

Speaking of rude, I need to figure out how much to tip my hairdresser today. I’m going to a fancy-pants salon to get my hair done. I tend to tip 30-40% at a cheap salon because 30-40% of cheap is still cheap. 30-40% of an expensive haircut is a really expensive haircut. And what if I hate it? Yes, I’m already having second thoughts about the fancy-pants salon. My husband gave me a gift card. I think he’s trying to tell me something. I’m not taking offense or anything! I’m just trying to be appreciative.

Speaking of appreciative, I need to figure out what to make for dinner tonight, which no one will appreciate. No one! Not even me, most likely.

I just got back from lunch with the husband.  I ate a gyro the size of my head.  In related news, I don’t think I will ever need to eat again.  At least not today.  Unfortunately, that won’t stop me from needing to make dinner.

Sugar Daddy and I were discussing Christmas, as in what sorts of things could we possibly buy the children for Christmas.  They already have way too many things and no place to put them.  Yeah, I know.  Tell them they have to get rid of some things if they want any new things.  Gotcha.  That doesn’t really change the fact that we don’t know what to get them, assuming they prove themselves worthy of getting anything.  Oh, who are we kidding.  They’ll get stuff regardless of their worthiness.  We’re raising monsters here.  Monsters!

I like Christmas a lot.  It’s my favorite holiday.  I don’t like sending out the Christmas cards.  I don’t like the shopping.  Historically, I have enjoyed the giving, though.  But lately I just feel the burden of so many possessions.  I know.  #firstworldproblems.  But I’m 40 years old.  40-year-old housewives who have to pick up after other people all the time find it very easy to be burdened by possessions.  Children don’t find it quite so easy.  I want to simplify Christmas, but I have to ease people into lowered expectations.  So that is the challenge for this year.  Buy less stuff, but don’t let it look like we’re buying less stuff.  Also, I want to cure cancer and bring about world peace.

My mother-in-law has moved into the house she bought up here.  She hasn’t moved in all the way because she still has to move out of her house in California.  She’s staying here through Thanksgiving, and then she’s going to go back down there to pack up all her junk and get her house on the market, and hopefully be back up here in…February?  Maybe.  She’s been in that house for 30 years.  She has a lot of stuff.  The thought of it makes me tired and also want to scream a little.  I’ll change the subject.

November is National Novel Writing Month, of course.  Every year I say, “This year I am going to do NaNoWriMo,” and then I don’t, for whatever reason.  Usually because I’m busy and also afraid of failure.  It’s already, what November 7?  A whole week into NaNoWriMo, and I haven’t written one word of a novel.  Well, perhaps I have written a word somewhere, and I just don’t know it.  But I doubt it.  Anyway, I think it is too late to start with NaNoWriMo this year, especially considering that we’re doing a kitchen remodel next week.  You can’t write a novel while your kitchen is being remodeled.  There have been studies.

Perhaps I will do NaNoWriMo, but I’ll do it on Mormon Standard Time, so I’ll be writing my novel in, say, January.  I would have said February, but it has three fewer days.  Except that 2012 is a leap year, yes?  So two fewer days, but still.  Every day counts.  Perhaps it is more realistic to say March.  Except that one week of March is Spring Break, and you also can’t write a novel while your kids are home from school for a week.  Which leads us to April, which is one day shorter than March, but just as long as November, so…yeah, maybe I’ll do it in April.  We’ll see.

How can I round out this post?  Some current events?  I saw this morning that there’s been an outbreak of head and body lice at the #OccupyPortland squatters camp.  I saw that and thought, “Why does this not surprise me?”  It was a rhetorical question, by the way.  Sometimes I even ask myself rhetorical questions.  I’m pretty sure the term “unwashed masses” originated in Oregon.  Now, it isn’t really fair to laugh at Oregonians.  Lice are a pain in the neck (and head and body) and a real bad word to get rid of.  Also, they are very, very easy to catch.  All it takes is one unwashed person to start an epidemic.  But still.  It’s just so perfect that it would happen here.  At least it isn’t riots.

I had head lice in the third grade.  It really sucked.  You can imagine that with three long-haired sisters, I must have been very popular at home, too.  What I remember best–besides the nit-combing, I mean–is my father taking a louse and putting it under his microscope so we could all look at it close-up.  I thought he was just being gross.  But scientists are just kind of that way.  They don’t mind being gross, as long as there’s something to be learned.  I don’t remember particularly what the louse looked like.  Just that it was gross.  Also, my head is starting to itch just typing this.  I should probably change the subject again.

Oh, look, 800+ words.  I’ll give myself permission to stop.  We’ll chat more in the comments, all right?  Let’s stick with the plague and pestilence theme–although, if you have a Christmas-related plague story, that would be cool, too.  Perhaps together we can write a novel about a Christmas plague.  The gyro was the same size as her lice-ridden head.  Take it from there, amigos.  Au revoir.

The up side to having a nervous breakdown right in the middle of church is that your Relief Society president will bring a loaf of cinnamon chip bread to your house.  That’s pretty sweet.

So I was faithfully taking my meds and starting to feel like a normal person again, and then I got sick around…Thursday or Friday.  I forget which.  I spent a lot of time in bed on Saturday, and even more time in bed today.  I won’t lie to you–it was kind of awesome.  I don’t usually spend that much time in bed when I’m sick, unless I have fainted and poking me with a stick doesn’t help.  Maybe that’s what happened this time.  I’m not sure.  I do know that children are a heck of a lot easier to deal with in the evening when you’ve been asleep for most of the day.  Or maybe they’re all getting sick, too.  Wouldn’t that be a kick in the head?

Generally, I’m the last person in the house to get sick.  Sometimes everyone gets sick except for me.  It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?  You know, when I was pregnant with Elvis, I was sick the entire nine months.  The first couple months were just morning sickness.  The rest of the time was various colds and flus.  Seriously, no breaks.  From one virus to the next.  I don’t think I breathed through my nose from October to April.  It was the worst pregnancy ever.  (In my life, I mean.  Other women have had much worse pregnancies, but I don’t compare myself to other women; it makes me feel whiny.)  The up side was that after the baby was born, neither he nor I was sick for, like, two years.  No kidding.  There was some serious antibody action going on there.  And I have to say, my constitution has been pretty rocking in general ever since.  At least it seems that way, when I’m not sick.

I’m breathing through my nose right now.  Just thought I’d mention that, since it is a pretty nice feeling.  Not something you take for granted, once you’ve been deprived of it for long enough.  How are you feeling today?  Are you a little stressed out?  If you need some perspective, just ask yourself this question:  “Can I breathe through my nose?”  If the answer is “yes,” be grateful.  If the answer is “no,” well, I’m sorry.  It does indeed suck to be you right now.

I am so well-rested and nose-breathing that it is barely registering with me that the house looks like a hell-hole and I have only about 58 1/2 hours until the housekeepers get here.  I do think I feel a sneeze coming on, though. … No, false alarm.  Never mind.

Anyway.  I woke up for the first time today–no, it was the second time…around 1:30 p.m.  I think I must have dreamed very sad things because I woke up feeling very sad.  I was so sad that I went back to sleep.  I must have had better dreams that time around, or no dreams, because I woke up feeling like I should probably get out of bed and do something conscious-like.  So I unloaded the dishwasher and made dinner.  That was about it.  And I played Pengoloo with Elvis.  I was like a machine!

Okay, now I really do feel a sneeze coming on.  There it was.  There it was again.  Okay, now it’s gone.  What would you do without this play-by-play, gentle readers?  You would always be wondering, wouldn’t you?  About what, I don’t know.

The bad news is that now that I’m feeling better, I have a lot of work to catch up on.  First, there is the laundry.  Good night, the laundry.  And the shopping.  And the house/hell-hole.  It’s always something!  But I will do it all while breathing through my nose.  And with pharmaceutical support.  So, really, it will be like a Princess Cruise, compared to where I’ve been.

How goes it with you?

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