The Karma Chill is in Negative Digits

Driving in Snow

I’ve survived three commutes, so far, since the big snowstorm on Sunday dropped eight inches of the deceptively gorgeous white stuff upon us.  Even more is predicted tomorrow and I’m seriously thinking of quitting my job so I can stay home until Spring.

Except if I do, I’ll quickly be living in my car, which kind of negates the sense of safety I was going for.

It isn’t a long drive—eleven miles or so, depending on the route and whether or not I’m dropping kids off at school—but it has hills and valleys and treacherous snowpack in most of the spots that require turning or breaking or playing chicken with gravity. Plus there’s that mile-long bridge, currently coated with ice, right in the middle of it.

I can drive in snow and with one exception,* I’m not bad at it. I’m one of those slow and steady drivers who give themselves plenty of time so they won’t have to rush—and who send all those other drivers who assume they’re the only ones who know how to handle winter conditions (e.g., floor it like it ain’t happening) literally around the bend and sometimes into one of the ditches or retaining walls we grow along the sides of the roads around here.**

Snow CommuteBut that kind of focused attention takes a lot out of me. I save up all the stress and horror and road rage and impatience and let it go all at once after I’ve arrived at my destination,*** leaving me in an odd state of twitching lethargy and strident vocabulary overshare.

I’ve been told it’s amusing to watch—primarily by those who purport to love me—but while I’ll do a lot to make people smile, I’d rather wear a clown nose and burp Yankee Doodle Dandy, which at least has the advantage of embarrassing the kids.^

I’m nearly to the point where I’m crossing my fingers that Janie’s cold will worsen juuuuust enough to keep her out of school tomorrow, so I can stay home and take care of her without blowing any vacation days.

I’m sure she won’t mind supporting me in this endeavor.


(Yes, you do. Lying is beneath you.)


I wouldn’t worry. I’d jump aboard and make ’em drive me to work.



PSST: To further fuel my state of nerves, my stats are jumping today for no discernible reason. Normally, I’d be thrilled, but as no specific post is being singled out and no referring sites are listed, I’m forced to assume that either someone’s mouse is stuck or I’m under investigation for something for which ignorance is no excuse.

So if you could please make sure your computer is working properly, check my financial records to prove it’s not worth paying a process-server to deliver the subpoena, and/or just leave a comment to tell me why you dropped by, I’d appreciate it.

You don’t have to STOP, by the way; just let me know, please. I have a writer’s imagination and I’m already chanting ATTICA! ATTICA! under my breath.

Thank you!



*Our driveway. It’s a short slope and not very steep, but I can’t manage it in snow or ice without slipping, sliding, or spinning my wheels to the point that I smell burning rubber.

**As long as I’m alive to rack up the negative karma points, I’ll continue to rack ‘em up, five miles below the speed limit.

***Or halfway up my driveway to my destination, like last night. After three tries, I gave up, parked, stomped into the house and confessed my inability to get my car into the garage. My MIL and daughters looked at me in disbelief and told me my husband never has any trouble. I KNOW THAT. And I was grateful that he brought my car in when he arrived home—and secretly vindicated when I could hear him spinning my tires the whole time.

^Or one of them. Sunny is a great musical burping tutor (That sentence is grammatically correct no matter how you parse it, by the way).


Cover Me . . .

Sunny at 16mo

It’s School Picture Day today for Sunny, and miracle of miracles, we had no arguments over her outfit or her hair—the child is stylin’—nor did she sustain damage from the Wesson Family semi-traditional, pre-Picture Day, concrete faceplant this weekend, as was so lovingly captured in her 16th month photo above.

She said her tummy hurt, but I decided to go with my mother’s patented No Fever, No Excuse policy, in the hopes that if her discomfort actually exists, and is caused by a more pernicious bug than butterflies, any repercussions of my parental Blinders o’ Optimism will hold off until the photographer snaps the shutter.

We’ll see.

But tomorrow is Janie’s Picture Day, which is a potential concrete faceplant of a completely different nature.

There’s a standard equation for these things, and the math isn’t pretty:

Picture Day + Precocious Pre-Teen + School Dress Requirements + Responsible Parents = Armageddon

You could argue that every kid is different, of course, and that I’m weighing heavily on the side of pessimism.  And I won’t argue.

I mean, Jane’s already chosen her favorite dress, which looked stunning on her last Christmas . . . when she was four inches shorter . . .  and only just starting to wear training undergarments that have since lost their amateur status.

So there’s that, plus weather predictions for tomorrow that appear just a tad too Brazilian rainforest for woolen knit—and an overheated Jane is not  a Sweetness & Light Jane®, whom her teachers much prefer.

I’ve been gently suggesting alternative outfits all week, but I’m not sure I’m getting through.

Shoes might also be a problem, since her best pair of black flats disintegrated immediately upon contact with her feet—or so she claims—and the heel of one of her dressy-enough-boots fell off at the beginning of summer.  Her barefoot state is all the fault of her neglectful parents, of course, as we didn’t immediately go hunting for new winter boots among all the sandals and flip-flops.

In other words, those of you who live in our hemisphere might want to close your windows between 7pm and 7am CST, in case we get a little loud.

Nothing Funny Happened on the Way to the Hospital

Oxygen Mask Tube - this portion stays outside ...
So . . .

Janie spent last night in the hospital for observation.

She spent all Sunday evening and part of Monday morning coughing and sneezing and being miserable, and while she didn’t have much of a fever, she was clearly staying home from day camp.

When a kid agrees that she isn’t well enough to go on a field trip to the water park, there’s something going on besides the cat’s newfound preference for sleeping on her pillow—add a midmorning fever spike and labored breathing and we stopped being concerned about allergies and started worrying that it was Return of the Son of Pneumonia, which was so much fun for everyone involved the first time.

My husband took her to the pediatrician, who didn’t think that was the problem, but her oxygen levels were worrying and her breathing was labored, so he ordered an x-ray, just in case.  While they waited, she was given breathing treatments, which seemed to help both her breathing and the family’s mental state.  My husband’s texts after that were mostly about how long it was taking to be called for the x-ray and then to find someone to interpret it.

It was my late night at the library, so I left my phone in my bag while I was on the public desk.  When I checked it at the end of my shift, I had twelve messages.

The first one that popped up was from Watson: Okay, we have Sunny taken care of, so don’t worry about us.  You need anything for Jane?

The second was from my husband, They want Janie to stay in the hospital overnight for observation. She’s being transferred . . .  The room number followed.

The rest of the texts were reassurances that didn’t help much, under the circumstances:  Her breathing was better, but her oxygen was still too low.  They’d given her steroids to open her air passages.  She wanted to see me.

The feeling was mutual.

She’s in the same hospital where she was born, just before they built the new maternity wing at the east hospital across town, which seemed, as I drove there,  more ironic than nostalgic.

It’s an old, venerable building, and no amount of renovations can hide that the rooms were not designed to be comforting or comfortable, but the pediatric nurses are the good ones, the ones you want there if, for example, your ten-year old stops breathing in the middle of the night.

One of them directed me through those big double doors that must be closed at all times for reasons I never want to contemplate, and I found the right room with no trouble.

Janie was sitting up, surrounded by the remains of her dinner and having an friendly argument with her father over the television remote.  Her doll, Penelope, had been tossed aside in favor of a couple of sugar cookies.

If her whole body hadn’t been jittering in place, I would have thought that this was a monumental waste of a good maternal anxiety attack.

“Hi, Mommy,” she said.

“How are you feeling?” I said, feeling her forehead out of habit before rolling my eyes at myself and giving her a hug.  She vibrated in my arms, a sure sign of the steroids and the breathing treatments.


I stayed with her while my husband went home to gather up toothbrushes and jammies and clean clothes for Jane and himself, and to put Sunny to bed.

“Did you get any sleep today?” I asked, \noticing the dark pink rings under her eyes.

“I took a really long nap—Grandma was worried.”

Yeah. “Do you think you’ll be able to sleep tonight?”

She held out a shaking hand and grinned,.  “Probably not.  I have to breathe through the thing every three hours, anyway.  I’m gonna watch Food Network really late.”

“Your Dad might have something to say about that.”


The nurse came in, checked her levels, and stuck an inhaler in her mouth.  She told me that Jane’s oxygen was borderline, and kids’ level usually dropped during the night, so they might put a tube in her nose.  Jane didn’t seem to care about that—another sign she was less herself than usual, though she did take out the inhaler to complain that the announcer had mispronounced Guy Fieri’s last name.

My husband arrived with his duffel and I hugged her again.  “Try to absorb a little more oxygen, okay?  For me?”

She nodded, took a deep breath, and started to cough.  “Sure, Mom,” she croaked.

“That’s my girl.”

And I went home, checked on Sunny, and lost myself for an hour in one of my time management games—if I couldn’t help my daughter breathe, by heaven, I’d  keep my dream-hotel customers happy while vanquishing the nightmare-monsters that were breaking their little satisfaction hearts.

According to my husband, who called early this morning as I was launching my fifth attempt to get Sunny to brush her teeth, Jane’s oxygen levels were normal this morning—but they want to run tests to find out exactly what she has and why an otherwise robust, non-asthmatic kid keeps getting hit with all these respiratory problems.

We don’t know if she’ll come home today, but regardless, it’s my turn tonight and tomorrow to stay with Jane and apply/witness the round the clock breathing treatments.

Under the circumstances, I really don’t mind a bit of sleep deprivation.

Especially since I was miles away when they tried to get a blood sample this morning—according to witnesses, it took three nurses and my husband to get it done.

Looks like she is feeling better . . .

What do we know?

I was all set to post something about National Library Week, but then, as you might have heard, bombs went off right next to the Boston Public Library in Copley Square on the  same day that a fire broke out in the mechanical room of the JFK Presidential Library, only five or six miles away.

It’s doubtful that the bombs were targeting the public library—there was a fairly important event going on at the time—or that the fire was connected to that act of detached brutality.

Both events might be connected to Patriot’s Day, though the fire might simply be an oddly-timed coincidence.

QuestionAt the time of this post, we really don’t know who or why.

We know people were badly hurt.

We know some of them died.

We know that this was not an accident.

We know that in the next few weeks, haters will hate, screamers will scream, blamers will blame, fingers will point, asses will be made of you and of me, and the deplorable state of humanity will be castigated and lamented.

We know that the monster or monsters who did this will gleefully creep back into the shadows to enjoy the chaos and the collateral damage.

We know that even if they are caught, they cannot possibly be brought to justice, because they will be incapable of admitting or understanding or learning why their actions cannot possibly be justified.


We also know that the Red Cross site crashed, overwhelmed with donations.

We know that the blood banks in Boston are full.

We know that offers of aid are still pouring in and that the London marathon has not been cancelled and runners have vowed that they will not be stopped.

We know that the downtown library of Boston  is closed today, but will be open tomorrow and that the JFK Library and Museum has remained open.

We know that life can go on, even though it breaks our hearts, and that fear won’t win if we don’t allow it to steal our strength.

These are good things to know.  It’s good to know that there are good things to know.

You know?

[Insert Witty Post Here]

I don’t know if I’m up for witty and thought provoking today.

My mind is full of stuff that needs doing:  packing for Jane’s Concordia trip; calling my eye doctor for a well-overdue appointment; doing laundry so Jane can take clothes with her on her Concordia trip; calling the billing office of our pediatrician, now that our insurance company has finally accepted that our five-year old isn’t insured through her workplace; printing off the list of Concordia contraband and frisking Janie for said items the morning of the trip; figuring out which plot idea I’m doing for Nano, because the last thing I need is to put fingers to keyboard and go blank; placing travel money in specifically-labeled envelopes so my darling older daughter doesn’t use all of her meal funds for tee-shirts and candy; figuring out how to personalize my query letters so I don’t sound like a stalker; consoling Sunny because kindergarteners can’t go to Concordia; making an extremely overdue appointment with the dentist; for the love of all that is holy buying kitty litter before the city’s Hazmat team comes after us or the cat takes things into his own paws; and keeping the rest of the family from throwing Janie out the window because she’s gone into complete Vacation Mode and doesn’t see why she has to do homework, turn down the volume on the television or herself, or be decently civil to people.

More importantly, I haven’t heard (or heard back) from three people* I know on the East Coast and while I realize their priority at the moment isn’t to drop me a reassuring line, I’m worried that they don’t have the power—pick your meaning—to do so.

So if you know or suspect that we have mutual friends, acquaintances, or family in Sandy’s path or wake and you know they’re okay (or not, because knowing is better than not knowing) or you are a friend, an acquaintance, or family and you’re able to do so,**   please get in touch with me somehow, as soon as you can?


I’ll be over here distracting myself with the rest of the list . . .


*I’ve heard from the rest of them/you, or at least know that they’re/you’re well from their your e-mails and comments and Facebook statuses (statusi?).  Whew!!

**Or even if you have no idea  whom I know but you want to share news about your own friends, acquaintances, and family