Monday, March 16, 2009

It's Raining on Our Sunny Parade

We're missing the parade today. It's the annual St. Patrick's Day parade, and it's always held on St. Patrick's Day, not the weekend before or after, because, hey, in Kansas City we like to take off work in the middle of the week and get our drink on. In the morning at my cousin's pre-parade breakfast.

But there will be no such nonsense this year since everybody in our house is sick, which I'm sure you heard quite enough of in yesterday's blog. I have to share one story, though, about why missing this parade makes me feel so bad.

First of all, we were supposed to be in the parade, and there was going to be a float and everything. (There still will be a float, but we won't be on it, or walking behind it.)

At a different parade on Saturday, the boys decided to watch from the sidelines, where they would get candy tossed at them.

I asked Richie if he wanted to be in that parade, and he asked, "Will I be on a float?"

"No," I answered.

"Then no," he said.

I told him he might not be on the float in Tuesday's parade, either, but he was willing to take his chances. Probably figured he could talk his way on board one way or another. So he's devastated that he's missing the float parade.

As for J.J., I'm not even telling him what's going on.

On Saturday, only Johnny went to the parade because the other two were still sick and contagious (and J.J. was broken out in hives). He went with my parents and came home wearing a plastic shamrock hat. Bustling in the door, he said, "A man in the parade walked by and put this on my head. I didn't even know him." Then he cracked up.

I'd been assuring J.J. all day that he was going to a parade, too, on Tuesday. But by "Tuesday," he thought I meant, "at any moment."

So when Johnny came home wearing that hat, J.J. announced, "I'm going to a poor-ade. And a man's going to put a hat on my head. Ma's going to take me."

Then he went out front and stood on the sidewalk, his hands behind back, and waited. Johnny and Richie were playing football out there but eventually came inside, and I sent Johnny back out to get J.J.

J.J. came in crying. "I'm waiting for Ma to take me to the poor-ade," he wailed.

"It's on Tuesday," I explained.

And now we're not even going because everybody is sick and lethargic. So the parade is totally rained on, as far as we're concerned. In reality it's supposed to be 80 and sunny. I also have a feeling the boys are going to wake up feeling a-okay. But if we went to the parade, they'd fall asleep mid-march.

Anyway, I know this is small potatoes compared to other things. Still, I guess this just isn't our lucky day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

March Madness

The month of March. I wish it would "the month of March" on out of my life.

For one thing: Daylight Savings. It's as if the time people got together and said, "What would make children as sleep deprived as their parents?"

And this is what they came up with. Now, it's tearing our family apart. The boys were grumpy over this sleep loss, and now they're all sick. There. Are you happy, Daylight Savings?

Another culprit in their sickness: the changing winds of March. One day, it's 20 below, and the next, 80 degrees. Everybody's like, "Isn't this wonderful?" And I'm like, "Yeah, wonderful for viruses that infect children." People have subsequently stopped asking me rhetorical questions.

Richie, J.J. and most others of the world are sick because of this weather. Friday, I took them to the doctor. While the nurse swabbed Richie for strep, I asked the doctor why the weather change made people sick.

What I love about doctors is they don't make up answers.

When you ask most people this question, they're like, "It's not the temperature change; it's the cold that makes you sick. That's why you call it a cold."

And I'm secretly thinking, "Wow. You totally made that up and I'm totally nodding as if in agreement. This is fun. We should do this more often."

Anyway, I asked Richie's doctor, and he said, "It's because your nostrils act like a temperature regulator. They thin when it's warm and they thicken when it's cold. That quick change makes you susceptible to germs, which are also particular to the weather."

I was like, "Get in my ear, correct answer! You know I've been waitin' for ya!"

It turned out, Richie had strep throat and J.J. had an ear infection. Their doctor prescribed medicine, which ended up being bad news. J.J. had an allergic reaction and has been broken out in hives for two days, even after going off the antibiotic. Now he's on a new antibiotic and benedryl.

We went back to the doctor today and watched "Doctor T.V." for two hours while all the other sickies saw the doctor.

During that time we watched a lady bake a healthy snack--chocolate cupcakes (What?) Then a quiz asked, "What fish can positively alter your mood?"

I guessed salmon, and Johnny said. "I don't think it's salmon because they spend their whole life swimming up a waterfall. Then they die. That's sad."

The answer ended up being salmon, so they have been talking about eating the fish, not thinking about their lives."

Johnny's sick, too, today, so it's 76 degrees outside and the boys are sleeping or zoning out on the couch, either sick, recovering or allergic. Johnny's asleep hugging his football, too sick to go outside, which he's wanted to do all day but can't muster the energy.

I feel so bad for all of them, but I suppose if they were able to go outside, their nostrils would thin and all hell would break lose.

Finally, there's the recession. I can't even look at our portfolio. It's up; it's down. And they're still nickling and diming me. Okay, I got that from a Charles Schwab ad.

The real way the recession is affecting me is the lines are longer at Aldi's now. And cuter. There's a lot of skinny jeans and striped shirts and scarves...on the guys. It's like High School Musical 4 in there. It's great that people have switched to a cheaper store, but for many, I think it's their first time in a grocery store of any kind.

The wife will be like, "Hey, honey, will you grab some bananas?" and the husband's like, "No, they're not ripe." And I'm like, "You know, you can take the food home and wait for it to ripen. You don't have to eat it right this second or anything."

On the plus side, people no longer shop secretly at Aldi's because, now, saving money is cool. Once, I ran into a lady I know in Aldi's and she was like, "I'm just here for the cabbage!" like I'd caught her doing something.

I was like, "I'm just here to spy on people and then tell everybody they're poor. And for the cabbage."

But it's a terrible time to drum up freelance work, let me tell you. Those who formerly would shoot me down don't even email me back anymore. I can't imagine what those who used to not respond are doing. Forwarding my emails to everyone in their address book with "What a Sucker!" added in red? I don't know.

On a positive note, I'm pretty sure I wrote a similar blog last March, minus the recession stuff. It's not the best month for our family, but at least we have St. Patrick's stay home sick during.

Anyway, I hope everybody else's March is fun and your nostril thickness isn't fluctuating that much. Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Driving Lessons

Recently, my husband and I were watching a T.V. show and the the subject of teaching teens to drive came up.

Well, you know when you say something and you don't want somebody to disagree with you, but you'd like them to at least pause two seconds before they agree with you? That's what happened.

"When our kids are 16, I think you should teach them to dri--" I started.

"Definitely," he said before I could even finish.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked.

"What? I'm agreeing with you."

"Are you saying I'm a bad driver?"

Well, this time he waited about 10 minutes. "No," he finally said.

"You are a better driver," I conceded. "And more patient."

"Yeah," he said quickly. "Plus, I think the dad should teach the driving."

This brought back memories of when, 16 years ago, my dad taught me to drive. Or tried to. I had a hard time getting a feel for the gas pedal. Usually I went too slow. Other times, I accelerated for no reason. Come to think of it, I drove a lot like my late grandmother.

By the end of the lesson, my dad and I were both so mad at each other, that I stormed inside the house. He followed me in and was like, "Um, you think you might want to take the key out of the ignition or at least turn off the car?"

While I always knew driving lessons with me were no treat, I never understood the extent of his frustration until yesterday. My mom had found an envelope stuffed with some of my old report cards and other papers. Looking through it, I found a list numbered 1-7. As I recall, these were "notes to self" my dad asked me to jot down after our driving lesson.

1. When turning left, turn into the right hand lane.
2. Stop before stop sign.
3. Stay on right side of road unless kids are in the way.
4. Cut the wheel right when turning right.
5. Move wheel before going forward when turning.
6. Don't accelerate before stop sign.
7. Pay attention to parked cars on BOTH sides of the street.

I mean, my dad must have felt like he was teaching his alien daughter how to drive. "Here on earth, we know when to stop when we see a sign saying, 'Stop.'"

Soon, my mom took over my lessons but would only drive with me in the school parking lot where she would at times be laughing so hard at my chimpanzee-like driving that she wouldn't be able to talk. My great Uncle George also threw his hat into the driver's ed ring. And my older brother, too.

Finally, they all set me loose at the DMV, where on my third try, an older gentleman passed me. I remember his exact words. "Well, sweetheart, you're not exactly queen of the road. But I'll pass you so your mom and dad don't get mad at you."

Nowadays, I think I'm a good driver. After all, I've been driving for as many years that I haven't been driving. Also, I've learned a little strategy called overcompensation. When you're not a natural at driving, you have to drive the speed limit or under, be extra courteous and avoid unfamiliar places. Eating barbeque while driving or trying to be the 117th caller are also not recommended.

I hope our kids get Justin's driving genes. If not, I'm glad he's already volunteered to be the one to teach them. I'll hang on to my Driver's Ed for Idiots list just in case he needs it.