It took nearly ten days of listening to the hacking cough get worse and more frequent before we could convince Ava to get to the doctor. Her husband was tired of listening to her cough all night long, and those of us who work with her were alarmed with listening to it all day. She kept refusing to go because she insisted the doctor wouldn’t be able to do anything for it.
I finally hauled her butt to a Minute Clinic while we were at work today. The very same Minute Clinic, in fact, that diagnosed my Strep throat last week. She whined and complained about it the entire time, but when it was her turn to go in, I shoved her through the door and told the Nurse Practitioner that I’d already diagnosed her on the internet with Legionnaires Disease and I just needed her to confirm and prescribe.
I couldn’t hear what was going on in the room, just the pervasive hacking cough and some laughing. I spent my time reading all the funny greeting cards and buying M&Ms.
When she finally emerged she had four prescriptions in her hand. Four.
The best part came when we checked out and the pharmacist with three-inch fingernails came over to do the obligatory counseling session.
She picked up prescription bottle number one and inspected the label. “You need to take two of these at exactly 3pm today and then one every day for the next four days at exactly 3pm.”
Ava nodded her understanding.
“Also, if you experience any swelling of your head you should cease taking the medication.”
Ava looked a little alarmed at this instruction.
“Don’t worry. It rarely happens. BUT IT COULD,” Pharmacist Lady told us with a very severe expression.
The pharmacist inspected bottle number two. “You are not allowed to drive on this medication. If you do, you’re technically an impaired driver.”
Ava admitted that she rarely drives so that wouldn’t be a problem. The woman stared back at us from across the counter.
“Look,” I told the woman, “it was hard enough getting her here in the first place. Please don’t terrify her.
Bottle number three was the biggie. “Are you planning any rock climbing or hiking?”
I guffawed and laughed so hard I nearly peed myself.
“This is no laughing matter. This drug can cause serious problems with your Achilles tendon.”
Ava didn’t even know where your Achilles tendon is, so I kicked her in the foot so she would feel educated. “Oh, I don’t think I’ll be doing any rock climbing,” Ava told the woman who did not pick up the irony at all.
“Or hiking,” the Pharmacist reiterated.
I could hardly contain myself. I stepped back several feet so as to not spit on the counter while I wheezed to catch my breath.
“I don’t see that in my future either,” Ava promised as sincerely as she was able while I continued to make a scene in the background.
The Pharmacist went on to discuss the eye drops with as much vigor as the other meds, but my snickering only caused her to give me a very stern look so I backed further away, thus missing much of the dire warning associated with that drug.
I wonder what tipped her off to our planned rock climbing excursion. Maybe it was the pasty white skin or our general appearance that just screamed “outdoorsy type.” I know all the pear shaped people I’m familiar with are into rock climbing.
I’m writing a ballroom scene for Book Two. I had my assistant do some research on dances in Regency era balls. Of course, you all know my assistant is Kelli from these pages don’t you? Well if you didn’t, you do now. That’s one of the things I’ve been doing to keep myself on track with writing. Instead of allowing myself to get lost in the research by getting sidetracked and spending hours on something that should only take a couple of minutes because I find one interesting thing after another, I have Kelli look it up for me.
It’s been working brilliantly.
Numerous instruction manuals survive from the Regency era. Several by Thomas Wilson are in the US Library of Congress online collection. The Scotch Reel is described by Francis Peacock, whose manual is also available in the LC collection.
This was not good. Guess where I went.
I’d never been to the Library of Congress website. I have no idea why. The Library of Congress sounds like heaven to me. Well, it’d be heaven if they let you have coffee drinks and cupcakes, but I’m betting that’s frowned upon in that establishment. I have been to Washington DC and I’ve always regretted my time there was too brief to visit the Library of Congress. I’m sure my uncle would have taken me had I requested it.
So, the next best thing is their website. It’s not the most user friendly site, but I figure it out and lo and behold, there were the very books from the above passage. Really. All of the pages from those books written in 1810 and 1815 have been scanned in.. It’s awesome. The only frustrating thing is that you really can’t print the manuscripts. You can print page by page and I guess if you were really patient, but why bother? That’s what a library is all about right. I can bookmark it and return anytime I need to.
So I started tooling around in the pages of these books and learned a lot. I learned that these dances were really freaking complicated. Thank God the people of the highest social circles had nothing else to do because learning these dances would take forever. No wonder they had dance masters. And speaking of forever, one of the Quadrilles outlined in the books could last for over an hour. An hour! What if you had to pee? What if you didn’t like your partner? The whole thing just sounds dreadful to me.
Here is a random page. If that was me in position as Lady A you can be certain all hell would have broken loose. There would have been scowling all around and “That Miss Bright” would never be invited back to the good parties again.
I’ve never been the kind of Mom who caters to the children over food. Dinner is what their father or I made and if you don’t want to be hungry, you’ll eat it. There will be no special dispensation for dislike of meat, vegetables or pasta. No special meal will be made. No peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will be substituted. My Honey and I have always been of one opinion that finicky eaters will go hungry.
The one exception being each child’s birthday dinner. That night you get whatever you want and we’ll all eat it without a fuss.
Sassy has been toying with vegetarianism for the last year or so. I call it convenient vegetariantism. I’ve told you about this propensity with her before. She is a vegetarian when it comes to steak, hamburger or tuna. She happily eats meat when it comes in the form of a sausage like salami, or bacon, or anything in the form of a nugget.
Dinner with Sassy is like an episode of Fear Factor. Remember that stupid show always had a horrendously disgusting food challange on each episode. Sassy pushes her food around, peering at it intensely, smelling and touching the tip of her tongue with a miniscule forkfull. You’d think we’d made Trantula ala King or Dog Poo Parmesean the way she inspects everything.
Next comes the histrionics, a blatant play for sympathy that causes her eyes well up and the tears begin to flow. She has even been known to throw in a gag reflex if she thinks it will get her anywhere. Of course it doesn’t, but I do appreciate the Oscar worthy performance.
Like many kids their age, Sassy and The Bandit mess around with their food and their father and I try not to show our amusement when one of the kids has to go to the bathroom sixteen times during dinner, or the other one uses fourteen napkins in the course of the meal. Do they really think we have no idea what they are trying to pull off.
One thing you wouldn’t expect is that Idiot Dog is not a coconspiritor. You’d think he would be right on top of this opportunity, lurking under chairs and slinking around the table, but no. In fact, the cat is more likely to show interest in table scraps than Roscoe is. I personally think this is a missed opportunity, but what do I know.
Either way, dinner is always an event at the Bright Compound. Anytime you find your own repast to be dull or typical, feel free to come by. Odds are someone will probably spill and entire glass of milk for your entertainment as well.
“If you don’t ask to be moistened, you don’t get moistened.”
That is my personal motto. Like all good mottos, there’s a story behind it. When I was pregnant with The Bandit, I was on required bed rest from the fifth month. It was lonely and boring and hot. The only time I was supposed to be out of bed was for doctor’s appointments. It was a darn good thing I had seven or eight doctor’s appointments scheduled a week or I would have imploded.
I called my friends, My Honey and my mom at work often. “What are you doing now? How about now?” Kelli got me a Netflix gift certificate so I watched a bunch of movies and the entire Sex in the City series in a row. I had a television schedule that involved Rockford Files which, honestly, was one of the few perks of bed rest. I still have a crush on James Garner.
So there I lay, slowing growing more beached whale like everyday. One night it was especially warm and my body temperature was up anyway so I hollerd for My Honey. When he arrived I asked him for a favor.
“I want you to go into the bathroom with a clean washcloth, get it wet, and come back here and moisten me.”
Obviously, that didn’t happen. It was a totally insane request. But he MIGHT have done it, but he never would have if I hadn’t asked. In fact, he may have if I hadn’t asked in such a crazy lady sort of way.
Thus was the beginning of my motto. You never know what you might get if you ask. You definitely won’t get it if you don’t.
So I started asking some of my favorite writers for ARCs. For the uniniated, that an Advanced Reader Copy. For the several months before the book festival, I write for my examiner.com site like a crazy person and the rest of the year, the column pretty much remains idle. Why shouldn’t I write reviews for all the books I read?
I emailed a favorite of mine, Rachel Gibson, last week because the latest in her currrent series is coming out at the end of April. She forwarded me a signed copy right away and I started it tonight.
So all of you out there, ask to be moistened. You never know what you might get.
I thought I was going blind. Each room was darker than the last. My house is naturally dark, primarily due to the blinds and curtains always being drawn, but this seemed excessive even to me.
I remember growing up, my mother would walk through the living room, throw open the curtain and announce, “I hate living like a mole.” My brother and I would just blink up at her from the floor where we were watching our cartoons and having grape eating contests and drinking Coca-Cola out of wine glasses.
I don’t know, I kind of like it. As a lifelong dweller in the hot and searing desert, I’ve always kept the blinds closed in order to keep the heat out. Every once in a while, come spring, I’ll pull up the blinds and open the curtains to let the fresh cool air in. Then I find out how dusty the house is and who has time for that?
So the bathroom was darkish. I trudged down the hall and made my way down the hall to the laundry room. I paused in the kitchen where the dining table seemed hidden in shadows. The corner of the office where my desk sits was shrouded in gloom much more than any other area in the room. Even when I turn on my desk lamp, the space seemed sort of squinty.
Finally I realized, there were half a dozen lightbulbs out around the house.
It’s nice to know the darkness isn’t winning, but still. At this rate I’m going to own half of GE.
I’ve been writing like crazy this last week. Since the Tucson Festival of Books is finally over, and I’ve regained an enormous part of my personal life back, I have been very anxious to get Book Two finished.
I’ve set an arbitrary date of May 15th for the first draft to be completed, but I know My Agent would like it sooner.
Here’s my favorite phenomenon that happens, at least to me, when I’m writing a book. It happened today which is what prompted me to blog about it.
I’ll be writing along following my defined route marked out on a big piece of posterboard in colored coded Post It Notes for days just trying to stay on the designated plot path. It’s not drudgery, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t fantastic either. I’ve written good stuff and I can see where the story is going but I’m not totally feeling it yet, either. It’s almost like something hasn’t quite gelled for me yet.
Well it happened today. The pudding of my story all of a sudden firmed up. The problem turned out to be that I really didn’t completely understand my hero. He was superficial at best and one dimensional at worst. The heroine was firmly created in my mind, her personality painted with a kalediscope of colors, but poor hero-man was a stick figure. And dear readers, that was a shame because this book was conceived because I loved his character so much in Book One.
How can that be, you ask? Well, Book One wasn’t really about him. He played a fairly big part in it, but ultimately he was a throw away character. Only, I couldn’t bring myself to do that. He was so affable and charming that his story should be told.
Unfortunately, affable and charming can only go so far. I had to stir life into my limp pudding and, entirely by accident, that happened today. The words flowed from my fingers without my bidding and, lo and behold, there he was. It was just as shocking to me as I’m sure it was to my dear gentleman.
Now he’s so much more than pudding. He’s like Donkey said, “a parfait.”
Now, I’m super excited to keep going. Maybe I’ll make it early after all.
Believe it or not, this scatalogical conversation was had with my DAUGHTER. The prissy one. The pink, frilly, tutu wearing girl and not the boy. One would have expected the boy to have been involved, but he was off somewhere else, doing God only knows what and probably without underwear on while he was doing it.
I was in the kitchen loading the dishwasher after dinner. My Honey had run over to his mom’s house so it was just me and the kids. Probably not the best combination, but that’s when the best blog stuff happens.
I was adjusting the hot water from the faucet when she stolled up next to me, grape popcicle in hand, and asked, “Mom, where did pirates go to the bathroom?”
“What?” I asked. These people and their questions. Do they sit around all day and make this crap up with their friends or something?
She repeated her question. I noticed a distinct smirk she tried to hide, but I’m a professional smirker and I know the signs well. It all comes with being a card carrying sarcasam expert. I come from a long line of sarcasam-istas.
“Where did pirates go to the bathroom? Was it the poop deck?” Now I was regailed with fifteen minutes of hysterical, stomach-grasping giggling. Where the heck is her brother? This sort of nonsense from one kid generally draws out the other one if only to see what the ruckus is about.
Now here another “normal” mother would have gone along with the joke and be done with it. Not me. No. The Queen of Useless Knowledge happened to know the real answer to this question. I realize it was a joke and she didn’t really want the truth, but here was an opportunity to completely freak out the girl and I can’t pass that up.
Actually, the poop deck is thought to be called that for several reasons. 1) from the French word for stern (which
where the poop deck is located) la poupe from the Latin puppis. 2) named from the after deck on Roman ships, the puppim, where statues or idols of the Gods, the puppis, were kept. I have a tendancy to lean more towards reason number one. I get tired of answer having to do with God. It gets real old and it’s unimaginative.
Either way you go with that explanation, it’s not funny. Harsh reality check: the truth is often not funny. Good lesson to learn at seven, don’t you think?
“So,” you ask just like the seven year old did, “WHERE did the pirates go to the bathroom?”
Here’s where the freak out occurs. They walked their nasty butts to the front of the ship and hung their tushies over the rail.
Let’s say it all together now, “EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!”
Of course, paid passagers on a ship would have had a chamber pot in their room just like at home. But again, that’s still not funny.
So, disregard this entire post and start over.
“Where did pirates go to the bathroom?”
So, indeed, I did have strep throat. I can’t remember the last time I had
strep. Probably when I was a kid or something. It’s just not on my list of things I’m susceptable to. So when I started feeling a little peaked, I thought it was allergies like everyone else. My mother, of course, pulled her nurse hat out of the bag and made me go to the doctor. What finally pushed me into it was the fact that I almost passed out in the Costco. Isn’t that embarassing.
While I was still vascillating over the idea of going to the doctor, I looked up the symptoms of strep at WebMD. Well, if WebMD wasn’t designed to scare the crap out of you, I don’t know what real use it is. Did you know you can get a whole body rash from strep. The call it Scarlet Fever. Didn’t people die from that in the last hundred years or so? At the very least, I know people went blind from it. I certain I remember Mary, the oldest sister on Little House on the Prairie, went blind from Scarlet Fever.
Thus, I visited a Minute Clinic. Going blind is my worst nightmare.
I’m feeling much better today, thank you all for your kind words. It seems no one really dies from strep throat, no matter how enticing the prospect may have seemed yesterday. Several doses of pennecillian as seen to that.
Now if I could just find the little weasel that exposed me to it in the first place. I suspect it was one of the wretched little kids from the school. I didn’t use any sick days for myself. I know that’s horrible of me and you can all write me hateful comments, but by the time I was diagnosed I got three doses of antibiotics in me before I returned to work. I have to save up MY sick days for when the kids are sick.
Or for when I have real trouble with my eyes. You know, when you just can’t see yourself going to work.
Our dearest blogess, Amylynn, did not forget you. I called her this morning, becasue in the absence of a blogpost last night, I was concerned about her. Turns out she WAS in fact sick yesterday. And though she was at work when I spoke to her, she had gone to a minute clinic and been diagnosed with Strep throat! I hope my sister is sleeping soundly at this moment.
Something has me curious. You know how people have friendships? I think women have the art perfected. I don’t know what I would do without my female friends. They know everything there is to know about me. If I hit a snag, if I am down, if I am totally confused about life, they know me well enough to advise me, to suggest solutions that I get, because they know me.
They know my weaknesses. My strengths. They know what makes me laugh, what makes me cringe and that I love tie-dye, even if they don’t. They don’t mind that I never saw Grease, or that I don’t like sports. They let it pass that I’m not that into pirates, but crave The Doors. They even encourage my crazy ideas. They know my deepest wishes, even though they don’t share them, and they ALWAYS hope for the best for me.
So here is what has me curious.
Men don’t have that. At least, with my bachelors degree in a scientific field, I have no evidence of it.
I have overheard man conversations, between men that are life-long friends. Between men that supposedly KNOW each other. (I apologize in advance to men who have real friendships, but you are unique among the man world.)
Most men, talk about movies they loved in high school. They talk about music. They talk about some sports team that is a)doing well, b)not doing well, or c)when they last did well.
They talk about strange people that they work with. They talk about going to Vegas.
They talk about women, but not real women. They talk about women’s body parts. Who looked how whenever they saw her last. How short the skirt was. Bla Bla Bla.
But men don’t seem to know anything about how other men feel. Which to me seems kind of sad.
So I have dubbed these relationships “manships”. Because what use are they? A bunch of just hearing each other talk about random things sprinkled throughout their lives. Most of which just seems as if it’s trying to be boastful. Deep Sigh.
If only they knew what it could be like.
Oh. That’s right.
They do. My husband overheard me talking for over an hour to Amylynn one night, and was entirely too disturbed that we had such an in-depth conversation about everything.
So I guess that’s what has me curious. Wouldn’t you want someone else outside of your brain to actually know you?
I knew I shouldn’t be getting him riled up before bed, but sometimes it’s hard to resist. We were lying in the bottom bunk, snuggling in the dark after we’d read his bedtime story. We were talking about St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow and, against my better judgement, I was tickling him and giving him little pinches.
“You can’t pinch me.” He giggled the high pitch laugh that is so gratifying to a tickler like me. “You’re not a leprechaun.”
“How do you know?,” I countered. “I’m lots of things you don’t know about.” I gave him a wee pinch on an especially ticklish rib bone.
“Because you’re too big.” He squirmed and squealed. “And you’re not green.”
“I’m a duly appointed agent of the Leprechaun Association,” I told him.
“What does that mean?”
I nuzzled his neck. “It means I get to do all the same things Leprechauns can do without getting in trouble with the Leprechaun Union. They’re very tough so I’m excited they approved my application.”
“That doesn’t even make sense,” he protested and slapped away my hand. He still giggled almost uncontrollably. “You’re not a leprechaun.”
“Yeah, I am,” I assured him. “The leprechauns can’t be everywhere so sometimes they get big people to help them out on important Irish days like St. Patrick’s Day.”
He tried to wiggle away but it was no use. “Nu huh. How come I’ve never heard this before?”
“Because the Leprechaun Association is very secretive as you can imagine. They make that one of the rules of working for them.” I snaked my hands under the covers and got him behind the knee.
He stops giggling just long enough to squeak out, “You do not.”
“Yeah huh.” I snuck in a kiss. “I found them on the Internet. You can find anything on the Internet.”
“Not leprechauns,” he informed me, “they’re not real.”
“Oh no” I cackled wildly. “You’re in big trouble with the Leprechaun Association now, little boy!”
He can’t even respond through my pinchy-tickly assault. Who’d have ever thought St. Patrick’s Day would be so much fun without the green beer?