Might I present to you Exhibit 3,432 of Why We Are All Doomed. That's right - the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is about to decimate the world's population. And, unfortunately, with its 9-12 day incubation period, it may gain its foothold in the US right here in my neighborhood. Let's see...Bunko is being held at my house on the 10th, and my neighbor just returned from visiting her grandchildren in Jordan a few days ago. If she shows up at my door with cold symptoms, I might just have to ban her from the game. Or at least give her her own dice.
If you see something like this, call the CDC. And don't breathe.
Overreacting, am I? "The novel coronavirus is a threat to the entire world," says Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general at WHO. Gosh, that sounds a tad alarming to me. The rest of you can just go about your business, whistling past the graveyard, as it were, of certain catastrophic illness; but I feel I have a responsibility to warn people, Paul Revere-like, that the Big One (epidemiologically speaking) is coming. Mostly because I have nothing better to do, being unemployed and all. Also, because I tend to freak out about things like this.
You know, just because I am a hypochondriac doesn't mean that I WON'T die in a pandemic. Think about it.
Blame Wendi Aarons for this post. Instead of sitting down and regaling you with the events of my day, I read her post first and ended up wasting my evening listening to this Hall and Oates retrospective and reminiscing about my youth. Okay, I won't lie - there was some singing along going on, also. Everyone else here was asleep, so I felt free to belt it out.
Susie's birthday on Saturday proceeded just as she had planned: Belgian waffles for breakfast (made by David), the opening of the presents, a lunch date with Mommy, a trip to a nearby carousel with Daddy, and then pizza (made by David) and cake (baked and decorated somewhat haphazardly by moi, the resident cake-decorating genius). Do note that Susie opted for David to make her meals, instead of myself. She knows which side her bread is buttered on, apparently.
Oh, and then she insisted on staying up until nearly midnight to watch "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World." Apparently, she has developed a precocious appreciation for vintage comedy. Myself, I fell asleep by 9. Cake-decorating is exhausting. Also, my youngest - my baby - is now 8, and I am verklempt.
I think I'll listen to "The Circle Game." Again. Feel free to join me, but bring your hanky.
Sunday was perfect weather for all of us to go see the local air show. An hour out, an hour back, and 2 hours in between spent staring into the sun. Again, I fell asleep early. I don't seem to have the resilience I had when I was younger - you know, when I could do maybe 2 or even 3 things in a row without needing to recover in between each one?
This will be me, only without the hatchet.
Today! My healthy friend (the one who convinced me to sign up for a 30-mile bike-a-thon in June) held me to my promise of taking a 12-mile bike ride today. I believe she is trying to kill me. Then we kept all the kids up late for a neighborhood marshmallow roast (I know! It's like The Truman Show around here). I would go to bed NOW, but I'm afraid that, if I stop moving, my entire body will stiffen up from post-bike-ride syndrome. Larry will wake up tomorrow morning and find me lying in bed, mumbling the words "oil can" over and over.
In short, I cannot handle 3-day weekends. Because I am old. The end.
For some reason, this is my most-pinned pin EVER. Apparently, the concept of crockpot beef stroganoff has real crowd appeal. And, happily enough, it happens to be one of the few Pinterest recipes I've tried that has actually turned out all right (meaning, nobody cried). So I'm proud to spread the crockpot stroganoff gospel.
We just won't talk about the many failed recipes I've tried involving Pillsbury crescent rolls. People, these are NOT an all-purpose food stuff, as they are way too sweet for most savory dishes. I can't take the lies anymore, Pinterest. The deception, the false promises, the glittering vision of happy mealtimes...
One would think my disillusionment would make me a little less susceptible at this point to the siren call of Pinterest recipes, but no - this "Pan-Roasted Chicken With Lemon-Garlic Green Beans" still beckons to me seductively. "Just toss it in the oven!" it claims. "Easy weeknight meal!"
Tie me to the mast, someone, won't you?
Chicken Cordon Bleu in the crockpot, you say?Hmmm....
Korinthia Klein, in the comments yesterday, kindly offered some advice to relieve the doldrums of my coming week:
What's something you've always wanted to do? I always feel excited to
be tackling a project that's just my own. Sounds like you're in a
perfect place to pick something.
Doesn't quite look like this yet...
Considering that I am the QUEEN of unfinished projects, Korinthia should think twice before encouraging that sort of behavior. My house is replete with the relics of my creative pursuits - items I have begun making in lieu of attending to basic household responsibilities. As of this moment, in fact, I have a pair of socks AND a lace shawl AND a winter hat on the needles (3 separate sets of needles, of course). Also? A crocheted cotton hat is currently languishing on my couch, waiting for me to finish it.
Tell me, am I the only crafter who starts hating all her projects halfway through?
Oh, and just last week, instead of cooking dinner, I spent 2 hours cutting strips from fabric scraps so that the girls could make this rug for their room.
Of course, at this point, the rug is sitting around only partly done. My daughters, alas, have obviously learned a thing or two from me.
Well! I started feeling better enough today to be bitchy when Larry and the boys returned from their whitewater rafting weekend. That's me, making you sorry you came home, since 2013...
I don't know...was it being trapped in the house all day with an 8-year-old who can't amuse herself? Maybe it was seeing both unshowered-for-2-days boys SITTING ON MY FURNITURE before cleaning themselves up. Or it could have been the mess of sleeping bags and tents in my formerly-known-as-clean living room...
I'd like to blame it all on PMS, but I can't do that post-menopause, can I? Is it POST-menstrual syndrome now?
I really need to get a new job - at least that used to get me out of the house on weekends. I'm here ALL WEEK being the mom. I just can't take it 24/7. Not anymore. 2 decades is a LONG time.
I feel like this a lot.
I did work a bit yesterday, actually - I gave in to a friend's pleas to help her go through boxes of stuff that she needed to discard or sort or give away. We powered through 10 boxes in less than 2 hours (while bribing the little girls with chocolate), and then I made sure that the giveaways made it out to her car trunk (to avoid the dreaded household-junk-reabsorption syndrome - HJR, that is, to us professional declutterers).
In the meantime, it is clutter central around this house of mine. I am SUCH a hypocrite.
This same woman has convinced me to sign up for an MS bike-a-thon in June. This is what I get for having a friend who is a medical doctor. My knitting friends just like to sit around and knit and eat cheesecake. I'm thinking that there are some types of peer pressure I prefer over others.
That's all I got, folks. The week looms, and I am not prepared in the least. There's schoolwork, and some boring adult obligations, and Susie has a birthday on Saturday. Presents might be a good idea, right? And a cake?
Don't you hate how, when you're sick and need sleep, you can't sleep because you're too sick? I've been tired and under the weather all day, so I can't even attempt a blog post right now. I'll just put this out there for any of you who may have missed it when it first came out.
I already posted this three years ago, but I still love it. Shake it, ladies!
So, I've finally come down with the stupid cold/sore throat thing the younger kids have been passing around for a couple of weeks. I'll have you know that, as of this morning, I was still going strong. I did my tummy trimmers video, took Susie to the dentist, bicycled to the bank with the 3 youngest, and did a 3-mile power walk with a friend early this afternoon.
Going through a lot of these...
But exercise is obviously detrimental to my health. Because, after that walk, everything went to hell, head-nose-and-throat-wise. Also, household-wise -- I think the kids ate ice cream for dinner. I don't really know, because I have a sort of "Don't ask, don't tell" policy on that sort of thing. But I sure as heck didn't hear any whining from the kitchen while I napped upstairs. And there seemed to be some clinking of spoons going on. I was too sick to care.
And now I'm awake at midnight, because I had that nap. Also, the caffeine in the Excedrin Migraine I've been popping is keeping me up. The Sudafed isn't helping matters any.
Words With Friends, anyone? Just start a game with suburbancorrespondent.
You know the 10-minute tummy trimmers ab workout video I posted as a joke in my post about shapewear? It occurred to me that I could put it on my IPod Touch and actually, you know, DO it. It was an epiphany of sorts. So I've done just that, for 3 days now. I think it's working, if by "working" you mean making my rib cage hurt whenever I laugh, or turn over in bed, or try to sit up.
That's good, right?
In other news, the shapewear it took me 3 hours to find worked just dandy. Now I'm wondering if I can wear it under my tankini. You see, the girls are asking me to take them to the pool this weekend. And we all know what that means - it means I will have to face the dreaded first wearing of the swimsuit, that annual rite of self-loathing and humiliation. I really don't know what I hate more - the roll of post-menopausal stomach fat, the cellulite peeking out from beneath the skirted bottom, or the crazy grid of postpartum varicose veins that render my legs and feet a purplish green. Apparently, middle age is making me pay for the fact that I never had acne as a teenager.
In other news, both little girls have been coughing like 2-pack-a-day smokers every morning. It's either the residue of the stupid colds they should both be over by now, or else it's drug-resistant tuberculosis. Dr. Google isn't very specific on that.
And that's all, folks - just dribs and drabs of self-absorbed commentary this evening. Tell me, is narcissism a sign of early dementia? I can't remember.
Okay, camping troubles aside, it was beyond thrilling to watch last Friday as our oldest child took the commissioning oath to be an Army officer. And, as a bonus? There was a professional photographer available afterwards who took pictures of all of us together. So, for what will probably be an exorbitant sum, we will finally have a fancy family photo. We haven't managed to get our act together to do that for over a decade.
Also, there were cookies and lemonade at the commissioning reception. The 3 younger children were very pleased.
The graduation ceremony was another story. The program irritated me because it spelled "Ressessional" incorrectly (4 times!). The main speaker's speech needed improvement, so I edited it in my head as she went along. And each of the 500 students' names was read out individually, which is really a bit much. I would gladly have sacrificed seeing Theo go up to receive his (not even really there) diploma if I could have avoided watching the other 499 students do the same.
Theo called me on Mother's Day (be still, my heart!) and mentioned how strange it felt not to have to be doing something every minute - no papers due, no tests to study for. "I'm just sitting around," he said. "I think I need a hobby."
I am trying to remember the last time I felt that way. I think it may have been the day before he was born.
We've just returned, from a camping trip that really wasn't. I had planned 4 nights of camping, plus 2 in a hotel (because I was NOT going to try to get dressed up in a campground bathroom for my oldest's graduation and commissioning). We ended up with 1 night of camping, plus 3 in a hotel, and I am not sure why those numbers don't even out. And we still had to pay for the campgrounds.
Camping myth #2 - Kids love camping.
The one night we camped, we got to the campground just before dark and hurried to set up the trailer between rainstorms. "Hang on, kids," we said. "We'll go get pizza as soon as this is done." So, once everything was in place, we hopped in the car and gaily drove down the long winding hill toward the campground entrance. Which was gated shut. We ended up dining on leftovers from the lunch cooler while sitting in the car (that we had already been in for 10 hours that day) at the wet campsite. This did not go over well. As I recall, Brian actually wept and refused to eat anything.
Do NOT be fooled by this idyllic image.
Camping myth #3 - Camping relieves stress.
Our last night in the hotel, Rachel suffered croup, plus a high fever that made her throw up. The possibility of a repeat performance in our camping trailer -- plus the threat of yet more rain and the mere thought of having to set up the trailer again -- gave us the incentive to drive straight home the next day, without stopping at our planned campground. You see, driving 12 straight hours with 4 kids in the car seemed less stressful than the alternative.
So long, folks! We head out tomorrow morning to see Theo graduate from college. I'm not exactly looking forward to 8 hours in the car tomorrow and 3 more the next day; but, considering the day I've had, at least I'll get to sit still and rest in the car. Today was a tad hectic, in the way a hurricane is a tad wet. Packing, laundry, cleaning, etc., have taken their toll on my sanity; and I'm not sure I will ever recover.
Mine didn't have flowers, though...
Yet, despite the busyness, I managed to squeeze in my very first professional pedicure today. It was a bit of an uncomfortable experience for a person like myself, who needs her personal space; but I am thrilled with the results. It looks way better than when I paint my nails myself, plus the manicurist (pedicurist?) got rid of all the callouses and other weirdnesses that tend to manifest themselves on a pair of almost 50-year-old feet.
Guess I'll just admire my toes while I'm trapped in the car tomorrow...
We leave Tuesday, EARLY. Until approximately an hour ago, I believed that preparations were moving along, right on schedule; and then I started tallying up what exactly I have to accomplish tomorrow. Laundry, packing, finding something amusing for the girls to do in the car, laundry, cleaning out the refrigerator (Lord help me), and some minor housecleaning in case we all perish while on the road...
It doesn't look like this on me.
You know, I would have gotten some of that done today, if I hadn't had to waste 3 HOURS exploring the depressing world of shapewear, in my search for something - anything - that would immobilize my belly fat underneath the dress I am wearing for Theo's graduation. Where has all this floppy belly fat even come from? It's not the pregnancies - I looked GREAT after all the babies (if I do say so myself). I'm thinking it must be yet another present from the menopause fairy.
I ended up buying that device pictured to the right. I feel positively 19th-century in it. All that is missing are the whalebone and laces, I believe.
Whoops! Don't Google for images of "corsets" - it gets weird pretty quickly.
I bet I could do these exercises, too, if I didn't have this spare tire around my middle. Who does this chick think she is, anyway, showing off like that?
After a couple of days? The camper feels about this big.
We leave this coming Tuesday for a 12-hour trek to watch Theo graduate from college and be commissioned into the US Army. Maybe I should be getting ready for that? Like, packing or at least making lists? Instead, I took the evening off to attend the live Cinecast of Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. It was my Mother's Day present to myself, since I will be spending the real Mother's Day surrounded by my loved ones in a 20 x 6 foot camping trailer. Cozy.
In related news, I need to lose 10 pounds by next week. Any ideas? Please share them in the comments. Feeling a tad desperate here...I'm sure the popcorn and soda tonight didn't help matters any.
Time for bed - I need to grab a few hours shuteye before Susie wakes up barking. Yes, the croup fairy is back in town. But, hey - Susie has a well-child visit scheduled for tomorrow morning anyway, so at least that's convenient. Then there is tennis and park day tomorrow afternoon (we homeschoolers are nothing if not social), and I guess people might want something for dinner around here after that.
Oh, yeah, and that getting ready for a major road trip thing...I should squeeze that into the schedule somewhere, too. Right.