Archive for the ‘O discordia!’ Category

Losing heart: don’t do it, don’t you dare!

June 24, 2021

I was so taken aback, my jaw dropped. Just me? Has any of you ever found this kind of fortune in your Chinese take-out?

losing heart

Losing heart. What the hell?! Who gets a fortune like that? First of all, that’s not even a complete sentence. Secondly, …okay, I’m sorry, I’m back to what the hell?! again. It hits a little close to home.

I’m trying to remember that no matter how many times I have to climb the mountain in front of me, it’s going to stand there until I get past it. It’s my mountain, and it’s just my luck. Some people have their houses burn down. Some people lose their children, or lose parents at an impossibly early age. There are so many different kinds of trauma or hardship.

My mountain is my mountain. Sometimes it’s easier, sometimes it isn’t.

Don’t lose heart, Katie-girl. You can do this.

The girl went over the mountain…

June 14, 2021

It’s rainy together. Rainy and miserable. And to be honest: it’s kind of put me in a funk.

To be more honest, I started out having a bit of a Jonah day. I have some custody stuff that bubbled up over the weekend, and…. I keep making hard decisions and tough choices and wondering when the terrible, awful, no-good, very bad hurdles will stop showing up. I’m doing my best to build myself back up, but at some point… Man.

So! Because I’m having a bit of a moment, a bit of a day, I decided to post something that I did this week. Another thing that made me feel deep happiness: I reached the top of Mount Wachusett.

There are a ton of hiking trails, all of which I want to crawl into, and explore, and see wildlife. They’re the kind of trails that make me want to sing Girl Scout songs at the top of my voice. (But that would scare the wildlife and the hikers.) So I haven’t. Yet.

The pictures don’t do it justice; the views are phenomenal, even in all the haze. There are helpful signs at the top of the firepost-climby-tower thing. They show you which mountains are which, and where they’re located. Did you know that you can see Mt. Snow in Vermont? Or mountains and ridges in New Hampshire? Obviously you can see Mt. Manadnock. That bit that’s circled red in the picture? You can’t make it out as well as in person, but that’s the Boston skyline! It’s stunning!

I can make it over the mountain. I know, sometimes, that it seems like asking for help and getting things in order creates more of a problem that never seems to end. But this is the life I’m meant to be living, and if there’s a mountain in my way? Well, then there’s a mountain in my way. It only holds the power that you give it and allow it to have.

So I’m going to be sad if I need to be sad. But I’m also going to remember that I can go back to that mountain top at any time and remember that I can do it.

I can do it.

….the girl went over the mountain, because that’s what was next.

The Sup-meh-bowl Rundown.

February 8, 2021

It’s such a weird year, this 2021. Still an upgrade from 2020, don’t get me wrong! I knew it wasn’t going to be like flipping a light switch. But I could still feel the pall over everything last night.

I was definitely feeling it, being back in New England for the Superbowl for the first time since 2001/2002 when we won our first ring. I was here shopping and preparing for my wedding that time, when our upstart back-up QB took over the team and began his run at the record books. This time…this time I’m staying at my parents’ house on my own, sad because my girls aren’t here, and because that QB abandoned the Pats and was leading a different team towards a ring.

But that’s alright. I got to shovel some snow, which was good to get in a workout. And for five inches of snow, at least it was the wicked light powdery kind; you couldn’t even make a good snowball outta it. I got to use my fancy new snowboots, and my new neon green shovel. That shovel isn’t getting lost in a snowstorm any time soon! I was surprised those magic snowboots didn’t work – I figured since I plonked down so much money for them [snow boots are expensive, dude!], it wouldn’t snow all winter. But I didn’t mind, since I had volunteered to shovel so Joey could finish making crunchy chicken. Nom nom nom.

So mayyyybe I had three giant Kodiak-size drumsticks and a thigh while watching the game. Maybe. Heh. It was delicious, but only momentarily distracted me from having my girls there, arguing over who “should” win the squares in our family Superbowl pool.

What did a better job of distracting me? Amanda-freakin’-Gorman!!! Who would have thought the country would get this excited about poetry recitation at The national football game?! I am so flippin’ excited to watch her career. She’s the real deal. She’s gonna change lives, and possibly the trajectory of our country. If we’re lucky.

The Weeknd killed it at the Halftime show. The decoy intros, the explanation behind all the bandaged faces, the fucking annoyance that so many people were Not-Social-Distancing. I laughed my booty off during his meme-able run through the gold mirror maze. I sang along to Blinding Lights like there was no tomorrow. I wished the entire frickin’ thing that I could hear his voice better. So amazing, yet so thin and tiny. Still – such a better show than they usually have.

The commercials…god, not many stand out. I wanted to punch the NFL in the face when they lied their butts off about being pro-active about social justice. I understand that Kaepernick refuses (rightly) to be in anything having to do with the NFL, but how can you honestly publish that commercial when you have only 3 black head coaches; 4 black referees and less than one-third of game officials who are people of color; 10 black quarterbacks (which I think is a dramatic increase from where the percentage usually sits); and ZERO black owners. 70% of the players in the NFL identify as people of color. Don’t believe the hype, you guys. The Four Seasons Landscape commercial surprised the sheep outta me! That might have won hands down. The Michael B. Jordan Alexa video was…ahem…pleasant to watch; however, I have serious issues with everything thinking that sort of video is okay. It objectifies good-looking men. If it was gender-flipped, most of us would be losing our minds that it was even made. I love me some Michael B. Jordan, but I’d much rather (casually) watch him reading a book on the subway. Daveed Diggs and Sesame Street was up there for me because I love all a them! …But honestly all I could think about was the DoorDash fees they were recommending. Bad sell, guys. No Way, Norway! was of course delightful. The Jeep commercial urging us to forget that abusers were anti-compromise for four years, and just wants us to forget it and meet them where they stand – nah, didn’t do it for me. To put it mildly. And the Cheetos commercial with Shaggy bustin’ in with his classic “It Wasn’t Me” had me bustin’ a move. But we’re gonna forget that his song hit #1 freakin’ 21 years ago!!! How old are we?!

One guy wasn’t feeling the passage of time last night, and even though That Guy ceased to exist the moment he defected from my team, I guess I’m happy he got his 7th ring. I know I’m in the extreme minority. But with Peyton getting into the Hall of Fame this weekend, and him having won a ring with two teams, I wanted That Guy to keep pace with the QB who was his main competition for so long. I’m glad Bruce Arians got his ring. I’m not glad that Suh and Antonio Brown and freakin’ Blaine Gabbert got a ring. I’m glad the Chiefs’ assistant coach who killed two children and left another in critical condition because he was driving drunk – I’m glad he didn’t get a ring. I’ll be furious if he ever returns. I’m not glad that such a vocal supporter of Trump’s politics got a ring. That sword cuts both ways, I guess. Watching #12 throw passes only to former Pats players, I have to admit that was amusing. I couldn’t help but smile watching Gronk and That Guy reignite their magic once again.

I’m tempted to say there was more good than bad, but…I’d be lying if I didn’t say I didn’t miss my girls every time my heart got happy. This is gonna be tough.

Five for Friday

December 4, 2020

Friday! Huzzah! Although, to be fair…

  1. I have a hard time remembering what day of the week it is. Not because I’m jobless (friendless, hopeless, helpless!)(No, put down the panic buttons – it’s just [just?!!!] Vizzini, the world’s greatest, most hapless Italian.), but because it’s so rare that I have a day off from all three jobs at once. So I wasn’t only wondering if it was a Friday, but also if it wasn’t a dream. [Bonus bullet: I doubted my spelling of Vizzini, mostly because of the Red Squiggles of Death, but also it looks odd having the double consonant at the beginning of the word, followed by a single consonant. So I looked it up, and good gosh god dang if I wasn’t right! Never doubt a Princess Bride fanatic when honor is on the line! Ahem.]

  2. My friends and I have undertaken a fun distraction for the month of December, in which we pick songs for each day, according to the rules. Like a scavenger hunt. So, December 1st was “A Song from Your Childhood” (Jelly Man Kelly, performed by James Taylor on Sesame Street); December 2nd was “An Underrated Song” (Pearl Jam’s Come Back, which I’ve been playing on repeat lately.  It just hits me in my feels! Pearl Jam will never be my favorite band, even though I wish I liked it better because one of my best friends is DIEHARD Pearl Jam); December 3rd was “A Song That Makes You Cry” (“Edelweiss” from Sound of Music, because I remember so clearly watching The Sound of Music with my Mum whenever it was on TV, and later when it was on VHS, so she could watch it in the living room while she ironed and sang and we made fun of her. Oh, Mum. I can’t even tell you how much I miss you and how much I wish you could listen to me and help me with the girls right now. See? Songs that make you cry, indeed.); December 4th was is “Song That Makes You Think of Summer”, which is an interesting prompt. I thought of sooooo many songs, most of them from mixes I made for when the girls and I traveled back to Massachusetts and New Hampshire for summer holidays; and the rest from when I was in high school and things were so much happier/simpler/amusingly sad in easily fixable ways. I ended up going with Rude!, by Magic! from one of those mixes. I just think the beat is quintessentially summery.

  3. I’m working on solving a creative problem with one of my favorite craft items. My highest demand item is my shatterproof globe ornament – a round, clear ornament that is filled with hand-selected lines from different books. I can’t even name them all – like, actually, literally can’t because I have more than 300 different books that I’ve used! But to give you an example, I’ve been working on a few Charlotte’s Web ornaments this week. I love Charlotte and Wilbur and Fern and Templeton and all of the other barnyard galoots! I love choosing each line to fit with the theme and feel of the ornament I’m working on, and I especially love picking out quotes for the specific ornament. My dilemma is that when I have one title that is sooo in demand, I run out of times I can clip the title from obvious and inventive places so that I can include it in the ornament. I’m trying a new technique where I type out the title on the closest color cardstock I can match, and in the samest (is-too a word) size font, and see if that will work. I hope so, because then I can also focus the quotes I use for each ornament! If you want to see other ornaments and book-ish crafts Bee and I offer, you can come visit us at Bee Crafty on Etsy (really, it’s called BeeCraftsShop on Etsy, because Bee Crafty was already taken. Le Sigh.) There’s a sale going on, just to tempt you. Ha!

  4. There was a surprise tornado here last week – or maybe the week before? – during one of those weird winter storms when the weather feels like spring/early-summer, and the two weather feels start arguing. I was at work – the work that requires me to actually be somewhere – and everyone kept commenting on our earpieces that it was raining, and then that it was really raining, and then that it was ohmygawd raining, to come see it. But we were slammed, so while I fully intended to go see it, I forgot all about it about 2.5 seconds after it was mentioned. Then I thought I heard thunder. And then the lights flickered for a second. But that was that. Until I checked my phone an hour later and saw that there had been a tornado warning! Not for where I was, or for where home was. But still! And then there were reports of storm damage. Bad storm damage. I looked at the pictures on the news, and checked on friends who lived almost directly in the path, but I was still surprised to hear that the Powers That Be announced it was an EF2 tornado. That was, until I was driving in the area where they said the damage was located. From the street, you can see the tornado’s path through the apartment complex, across the street, and through some fences and into the houses at the end of the street across the way. It’s insane! I couldn’t help but think of how you hear that the storm skips this house and that house, but hits this one; how narrow and despicably discrete the damage path really is. It’s mesmerizing.

  5. Amends time: I’m sorry my posts are so sporadic. I think of what I want to say all the time! But committing thoughts to paper…okay, well, that part has always been crazily easily for me. What’s difficult is committing myself to finding time to do it. Creating healthy habit. Forcing structure into my life. And if life would bless me with the right 9-5 (8-5? 7-5?) job, I promise it would be a lot easier. Manifesting greatness! – that’s been my 2021 motto that I decided started right after the election. We’re making things happen NOW! So that job should feel free to call me back on any one of my resumes I’ve submitted. Or a surprise Meant-For-You! job at any time from any direction. It would be just the chapter I need to finish off my book!

With that! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy yourselves thoroughly. Just remember to do it in a safe, COVID-anti-spreader type way. From separate homes. Not travelling. Not eating out. Just chillin’ from your Zoom-zone. Mmkay? Mmmkay.

Friday! Huzzah! Although, to be fair…

  1. I have a hard time remembering what day of the week it is. Not because I’m jobless (friendless, hopeless, helpless!)(No, put down the panic buttons – it’s just [just?!!!] Vizzini, the world’s greatest, most hapless Italian.), but because it’s so rare that I have a day off from all three jobs at once. So I wasn’t only wondering if it was a Friday, but also if it wasn’t a dream. [Bonus bullet: I doubted my spelling of Vizzini, mostly because of the Red Squiggles of Death, but also it looks odd having the double consonant at the beginning of the word, followed by a single consonant. So I looked it up, and good gosh god dang if I wasn’t right! Never doubt a Princess Bride fanatic when honor is on the line! Ahem.]
  2. My friends and I have undertaken a fun distraction for the month of December, in which we pick songs for each day, according to the rules. Like a scavenger hunt. So, December 1st was “A Song from Your Childhood” (Jelly Man Kelly, performed by James Taylor on Sesame Street); December 2nd was “An Underrated Song” (Pearl Jam’s Come Back, which I’ve been playing on repeat lately.  It just hits me in my feels! Pearl Jam will never be my favorite band, even though I wish I liked it better because one of my best friends is DIEHARD Pearl Jam); December 3rd was “A Song That Makes You Cry” (“Edelweiss” from Sound of Music, because I remember so clearly watching The Sound of Music with my Mum whenever it was on TV, and later when it was on VHS, so she could watch it in the living room while she ironed and sang and we made fun of her. Oh, Mum. I can’t even tell you how much I miss you and how much I wish you could listen to me and help me with the girls right now. See? Songs that make you cry, indeed.); December 4th was is “Song That Makes You Think of Summer”, which is an interesting prompt. I thought of sooooo many songs, most of them from mixes I made for when the girls and I traveled back to Massachusetts and New Hampshire for summer holidays; and the rest from when I was in high school and things were so much happier/simpler/amusingly sad in easily fixable ways. I ended up going with Rude!, by Magic! from one of those mixes. I just think the beat is quintessentially summery.
  3. I’m working on solving a creative problem with one of my favorite craft items. My highest demand item is my shatterproof globe ornament – a round, clear ornament that is filled with hand-selected lines from different books. I can’t even name them all – like, actually, literally can’t because I have more than 300 different books that I’ve used! But to give you an example, I’ve been working on a few Charlotte’s Web ornaments this week. I love Charlotte and Wilbur and Fern and Templeton and all of the other barnyard galoots! I love choosing each line to fit with the theme and feel of the ornament I’m working on, and I especially love picking out quotes for the specific ornament. My dilemma is that when I have one title that is sooo in demand, I run out of times I can clip the title from obvious and inventive places so that I can include it in the ornament. I’m trying a new technique wherry e I type out the title and

The one with elections, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and #NonFicNovember

November 5, 2020

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening – we no longer recognize time here at Casa de Katie, because I’m pretty sure it’s been Tuesday for almost 72 hours now.

But if it isn’t actually Tuesday the Third, then that means it’s Thursday. And on Thursdays, we review books we’ve read! And since I’ve been both blogging and reading when I haven’t been voting, let’s talk about books.

I’m not sure if #NonFicNov – or #NonFictioNovember in its longer form – is still a thing, but it doesn’t matter, because it’s still a thing in my heart. I never seem to wander past the New Releases section of my library, so designating a month for a concentrated effort in non-fiction is a good thing.

Since I’ve only read two books so far this week, I might dip back into recent reads for an extra review or two, but it’ll be recent, I swear. So let’s go…

Just the Funny Parts: And a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking into the Hollywood Boys’ Club, by Nell Scovell (Dey Street Books, 2018, 320p). The thing is, right now I find Hollywood gossip very, very attractive. Or maybe I should say distractive. It’s helping me forget about the recession, and every job I interview for but lose out to someone else, and stress that’s piling up, and yes, even the election. Because I read it all on Tuesday afternoon when during what I call Project Being Patient: Day 1. Nell Scovell is obviously an incredibly talented writer, and she is aces at being funny. She’s so smooth with the transition, like all of a sudden you’re trying not to pee your pants and wondering where the hell that came from. She’s written for an untold number of hit shows on television – of which you’d all know most of the names – and sadly, she reports on the ugly underbelly that goes with all of the happy-funny stories. (Except for The Muppets. YES, she wrote for them, too!) I wanted to hear more of the “Funny Parts” – the account read like a warning for every aspiring Hollywood writer, and that’s fine. It’s an important story to be recounted out loud. I just wish Scovell had flipped tHhe title so I knew what I was getting when I sat down to distract myself, is all. (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death, by Maggie O’Farrell (Knopf Publishing, 2017, 304p). I just finished this book this afternoon. I had such high hopes for it, and really wanted to read it every time I saw it on my TBR…but kept forgetting to actively seek it out. On my mission this week to surround myself with non-fiction, I found this gem at the library. Yes, I said gem. The book is divided into, as promised, 17 stories. A childhood illness. An encounter with a murderer (I’m not kidding). Incredibly poignant and vulnerable stories about her daughter’s own journey – and Maggie O’Farrell’s as her mum. It was hard to put it down. I mean, it was so good that I forgot about the election while I was reading. That good. O’Farrell’s writing is like if Cheryl Strayed and Anne Fadiman had a little story baby.I highly encourage you to seek this collection out. It’s philosophizing mortality and the goodness of a sunny afternoon while just, you know, writing a quick thing you might tell you dinner partner – honest, compelling, but not gushy or emotional. Gah! Just go read it. (5 of 5 stars.)

Uncensored, by Zachary Wood (Dutton, 2018, 272p, read Oct. 2020). This review makes me feel a bit uneasy. Imma just just in. I’ve read a lot of books about race relations, racism, classism, the politics of social constructs, the politics of America, memories written by minorities living in America, and African American culture. I have a minor in African American Studies. I’m not by any means saying I’m an expert; I’m no where close. I’m just saying, I’ve read a lot. So when I say I am not a fan, it’s not because I think Zachary Wood doesn’t know what he’s talking about, or his experiences aren’t valid, or that he’s a poor writer. Although, okay, yes, a little bit the latter. I’m just saying I have a deep pool of other reading experiences to which I can compare my reading of Uncensored. Here are my problems with the book. First, Wood has an incredibly inflated opinion of himself. Every person he met, talked to, wrote about – he explicitly compared every single one to himself, and found them all wanting. Not once did he self-critique or offer up vulnerabilities or ways he might need to improve. Similarly, while Wood constantly pleaded for others to not judge him – which, okay, valid ask – he always judged others around him! It was so omnipresent, it was painful to witness. Secondly, the tone was depressing. There was no mechanism to elevate himself (well, in a constructive manner, not speaking of raising his status as others’ see him, which he was interested in). He was always woe-is-me. He survived a terrible childhood, his home life wasn’t great, they certainly were poorer than poor. But like, here’s a good example: while his family was financially destitute, Wood opted to not seek a job to earn money for himself or for his family for the stated reason that he wanted to read more. To explore academic pursuits. It’s great to have dreams, baby, but that’s a luxury. And if you don’t want to see it as such, you can’t paint it as an example of how bad life is, and how broke you are. I was left wondering: So what? Yes, Wood certainly deserved to have had a better childhood, a better educational system, a better sense of supportive community, and it’s amazing that he was able to graduate from college given his experiences. But his writing never focused on any one thing. I honestly don’t know if even Wood knows why he wrote the memoir, unless the chief goal was to have a book – any book – published. The “so what” feeling at the end of a book is not something you want a reader to be left with, not if there was any other purpose. (1 of 5 stars)

So there you go. I know I used to have more, but three reviews is a lot more than I’ve been publishing on Thursdays as of late, so I’m going to quit focusing on my failures, and instead be grateful that I’m reading, grateful that I’m writing, grateful that I’m creating – and sticking to – structure in my life. (And also that it kept me from staring at a map for even just a little bit.)

19.

September 11, 2020

I’ve written about different tragedies in my life. Personal tragedies, like my divorce. Communal and global tragedies, like: The Boston Marathon; The Orlando night club shooting;. Sandy Hook (and too many other school shootings).

Looming over all of them is 9/11. Personal, communal, global – it’s every tragedy rolled into one; everything that just kind of whomps you upside the head every year.

I worked it. I was there when our planes hit. I was there when wives, and employees, and pilots, and Board of Directors called, worried out of their minds. I was watching in our president’s office when the second plane hit the Tower, and then the third collapsed into the Pentagon and I lost my mind.

I never once thought that nineteen years later I would be sitting here, writing that we’ve endured. Well, I knew that we would endure; but I thought that my children would never know a world that consisted of an everyday (relatively) free from terrorist attacks. This was not the world I pictured them living.

Each year is an achievement.

A wonder.

A fucking revel.

And my hat’s off to every single one of you who made it happen.

This Monday goes on and on.

June 5, 2019

Saturday night, Gracie-guts spent the night at her bestie’s house for a birthday sleepover. They were going to a drive-in for a three-movie feature, with a small group of 15yo girls, and I pretty much thought Bestie’s parents were off-their-rockers. (Even a gaggle of good-natured teenaged girls are still teenagers, after all.)

About eleven p.m. Saturday night, I had changed my mind. I did want to be chaperoning the [assuredly muggy][and loud] trip to the drive-in. It had to be cooler than my house. Because my air conditioning unit decided to stop running. In June. In Texas.

Well, *&%#.

I had noticed it getting warmer in the house. I thought maybe it was because I was listening to music and enjoying myself. Or maybe because I had the door closed to my bedroom – the bedrooms are on the west side of the house, and tend to retain the heat a bit longer during the evening. Or, maybe the thermostat reverted back to its very conservative setting of 82°.

Sort of, that’s what happened. On it was 84°. With the fan still running inside. Churning towards 76°. Heading in the wrong direction couldn’t be good.

I shut the unit off, then restarted it. I opened Bee-girl’s door and let her know I was aware of a problem, and trying to fix it. I told her if I couldn’t get anyone out to look at it, I’d take us to a hotel for the night. (I wasn’t calling anyone at 11:30 p.m. to see if we could couch-crash.) Instead, I started cold-calling companies.

The middle-of-the-night thing was a problem. I had a guy I trusted, but I wasn’t calling him that late (I wasn’t sure he’d be up). And since it was 86° in the house by then, I wasn’t waiting around to see how hot it got. It sucked that I didn’t have the number in my phone of the company I’d used before whenever my unit leaked through my ceiling. Then again, they had bamboozled me last time, so maybe that wasn’t a big loss.

I pulled up Angie’s List (god bless AnNgie’s List) and started calling. One company couldn’t get out here until after 2 a.m. – I got on their waiting list, at least. Another couldn’t reach anyone through dispatch. The third company said it would be $200 for an emergency call, but that I could use that minimum payment toward any repair costs. I asked three more times to make sure I understood. I even gave an example: like, say it’s a pump that costs $130. I pay the $200 emergency call minimum, and apply it towards the pump. I’m out $200 total. If the pump costs $300, I’m out the $200 for the emergency call, it gets applied towards the more expensive pump, and I’m out $300. That’s the company I went with because the others charged more for a middle of the night call, or wouldn’t let it apply the charge towards cost of repairs. They dispatched their repairman from an hour away.

That’s all important because: the first company who wanted me to wait until 2 a.m.? They called back right after the other company dispatched someone. The 2 a.m. company was only $59 for the call, but I was honorable and didn’t cancel the $200 company.

But when that repairman arrived and tried to tell me I couldn’t apply the $200 towards repairs, I wasn’t having it. I’m sure they counted on people to say, Oh it’s midnight, just fix it, but I hate you and your bait-and-switch tactics. I was willing to fight. I chose them because of that option; I re-iterated it quite a few times to make sure I understood; and I would have canceled them and gone with the first company if they were honest. Thankfully, the repairman came in and said his manager said they could honor what dispatch told me. Probably because he saw that I was ready to pitch him out and go to Holiday Inn Express.

Just before 3 a.m., we had a brand new motor and a few other parts, a warning that I’d need a brand-new ($12,000) system within a year, and I was out about $1,100 for repairs.

But I had cool air. And Saturday night that’s all I needed to make me happy.

Is that a sunburn or the plague?

May 28, 2019

This is turning into the semester I couldn’t do anything right – including sunburn, apparently. Did you all have a wondering Memorial Day weekend? Did you stuff yourself with hotdogs and hamburgers, macaroni salad, and grilled peaches? (YUM!)

Predictably, I also stuffed myself with a bunch of great books [eight books this weekend! Chipping away at the gap, I am]. And for one of them, I even took myself outside, soaking in some vitamin C.

Except…Vitamin C won this round of Slapjack. With me being Jack, apparently.

My sunburn isn’t even that bad! I was only outside for an hour before I finished that book [a re-read of Bachman’s The Long Walk], and came inside to switch out my book, but then stayed for the air conditioning. All of that is to say, my burn is from only an hour of sun exposure. And while I’ve always been fair-skinned and prone to burn easier, SPF 60 usually takes care of me for at least an hour or two.

The photos aren’t going to do it justice, but here – look:

It’s not even that my burn is that terrible – it hurts, sure, and way worse than it should hurt. I’m more squicked out by the fact that it’s less of a burn than an…attack of some sort.

No! I know that sounds crazy! but LOOK! It’s not a consistent blanket of burn. My chest looks the most like that typical(ish) sort of burn. But the rest of me! It looks like the sun was a mosquito and it attacked the shit out of me! My legs aren’t even uniformly attacked! My right leg has way more splotches than the left one. But my left side was the side turned towards the sun. It’s not even because it was sun-ward. And I have no idea why the right side would be 10x the severity of the left side.

So what’s going on? Anyone have a clue? Right now I’m going under the assumption that I’m allergic somehow, and so I’ll sit indoors as much as I can, and then sneak outside under a giant beach hat and…a…trench coat, or something.

But really, I have no idea what’s going on. I’m just going to add “Can’t sunburn correctly” under my 2019 column. The year is nuts, you guys. For real.

Here a flu, there a flu, everywhere a flu flu.

February 12, 2019

To no one’s surprise: now Bee-girl has the flu.

Gracie went back to school last Friday, and while she was still congested this weekend, it was nothing like last week, and we all had a really fun weekend, actually. We behaved ourselves, didn’t outdo it, went to bed at respectable times. Gracie had a minor set-back, a bit of a tummy issue on Sunday morning – either from going at it hard on Saturday, cleaning and then knick-knack shopping (as one does) with her mom all morning and afternoon, but we were good.

Then, on Monday morning, Bee woke up with a migraine and super-congested. Huh. She thought she might be able to go to school after she slept a little bit more (she starts school at 9:10 a.m. or something crazy like that, and she gets dropped off at her dad’s at 6:45 a.m.). But Stepmom texted me later to say Bee was still migraine-y, yes they had DayQuil (I’d asked), and she’d make sure Bee took it (the DayQuil).

When I picked up Bee after work, she looked terrible. I felt her forehead and it didn’t feel that bad. But she said she was laying right under the air-conditioning. When she said that, I felt her forehead two red-lights later and yep – she was burning up.

I checked Bee in to the after-care clinic because the least shocking cliffhanger in our lives at that moment was whether or not Bee had the flu. But because the doctor was going to ask, I checked to see when Bee had last had DayQuil. Bee was in and out of it and she’s not the most reliable witness even when she’s awake. Stepmom said the DayQuil had been on the counter, she wasn’t sure when/if Bee had any. Right.

Three hours later, we had a positive flu diagnosis, a mom crying because she was never going to make it to work in the next century. Therapy buddies who wouldn’t stop texting. A sick child who kept throwing up her flu meds. And no Gatorade because…because life is just HARD sometimes for people who have roofs over their heads and food in their bellies and money to buy gas and stuff. Geez, Katie.

Flu2So this morning I would have brought my eldest daughter to school, but she left her school things at her dad’s because, as she points out, when she brings everything home, I ask why she lugs everything back and forth, and when she doesn’t have it, I ask why she leaves everything at her dad’s. Fair point, eldest child. At least everyone kept a level head because we all know we’re exhausted and tired of everyone having the flu.

Flu1I’ll traipse back out to the store for more red Gatorade, lotion-y tissues, and Chapstick later. Meanwhile, Bee and I both slept in (I went back to bed after I came home). I was up for half the night checking on her fever. Oh! Bee got up at one point, completely delirious, looking for ice to make a cold compress…only she was looking for ice in the tupperware cabinet. And her words didn’t all go together, but I figured out what she wanted. It was a tough night.

Flu3bIt all reminds me of when Bee had the flu the last time, when she was – what, six? – and she had the same reaction to the flu meds, but I made the mistake of letting her mix it with ketchup. Rookie mistake. This time I went straight to a Hershey syrup concoction, mixing it in a shot glass. It’s been a morning for me, between the shot glasses of Tamiflu and chocolate syrup, and making jello in my day-drinking mug. Maybe I’ll lace up and go for a run. Heh. That’ll complete the flashback.

But I can’t do that until Bee-girl gets things under control. Her fever is still hovering near 103° and she was so dizzy and sleepy during her last meds time that she couldn’t stand up. If she’s like that at 3p, I’m taking her to the ER. Mama loves getting voluntary hugs and cuddles, but when your 12-year-old is clinging to you and hugging you listlessly, like the heaviest toddler there ever was, something is wrong.

Flu4c

One thing’s for sure though: I am going to have the flu next week. But who’s going to come take care of me?

The point isn’t that I would have done it anyway.

November 12, 2018

We are morning routine rockstars. Okay, yes, we might yell across the house, snip, and second-guess each other along the way, but the lot of us is up for 30 minutes before we’re BOOM! out the door.

We self-police, for the most part.

For. the. most. part.

I’ll admit: I’ve been the squeaky wheel lately. There was one morning my alarm didn’t go off and the girls had to get me up. (I got ready in 11 minutes that day!) And more than a few days I’ve been scrambling at the end of our usual routine. Looking for my coffee cup. Going back for a chapstick. Trying to find my keys. You know – morning stuff that I used to be immune to.

But this morning, this morning was not my fault. It was cold, I mean, really frosty, for the first time this year. 22° outside. Not too shabby, right? So I was looking for my winter coat. I made sure the girls had on shoes (not flip flops, Bee); and pants, not shorts (Gracie, tennis isn’t that hot, I don’t care you have pants at Dad’s); and jackets for everyone. Because what if the car breaks down? What if you don’t have a jacket at Dad’s? And it wasn’t going to warm up during the day, finally.

Everyone had a coat. Everyone but me. Which was odd, because I had just had my winter coat not that long ago. I had brought it with me somewhere, just in case. So I knew I had it. But it wasn’t on the coat rack, or in my closet where my coats go, or in the old place in my closet where coats used to go, or on the vacuum in the laundry room where coats tend to end up when I come in from the garage. Finally, after my third sweep, I saw what time it was and I gave up. I tramped out to the car in defeat. And when I got there?

“GRACIE GIRL DE LA KATIE!!!!”

Guess what? Found my coat.

On my kid.

Her winter coat was at – you guessed it – her dad’s house. And the point isn’t that I would have let her wear my nice, good, heavy pea coat if she asked. Especially if she didn’t have a coat that fit or one with her. I like that we share some of the same sizes and that she likes my crap. The point is more that she SHOULD HAVE SAID SOMETHING. Like, I don’t know, maybe, “HEY, I HAVE YOU COAT”?!

And that was the story of how yes, I made us late this morning, but really it wasn’t my fault.