I’m Blaming the Opera

Sunny had a fever and a seal-bark cough Saturday, and I’m at home today with the same thing—surprise, surprise.  When you’re a parent, you don’t come down with viruses, they climb up to get you.

But I can’t pin my truly righteous sore throat on her.

I’m blaming the opera . . .


It all started Sunday when Janie said, in a suitably indignant tone, that she didn’t whine.

You don’t say these things in front of your mother or your aunt, especially when they’re us and especially in a car.

I reminded her of the Strawberry Festival last year, when she belted out a prodigious whine over a raffle basket.  “I had to sing you out of it,” I said.  “Remember?”

“Oh.  Right.  Sorry.”

We explained to my SIL that I kept asking Janie to whine with feeling and higher and lower and less pitchy, please, until we were both laughing and doing off-key, overblown aria bits at each other and the woman behind us in line was in hysterics.*

This explanation led, as these things do, to Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd . . .

. . . and eventually, to a spontaneous, ad liberetted production, which my SIL and I agreed was not set to Ride of the Valkyries, but to Kill the Wabbit.  More or less.

Here’s a selection from our performance, omitting most of the giggles and snorts:

Janie:  Mom, can I HAVE that? 

Me:  No, you CA-an’t.

Janie: But  I WANT it—I really NEED it!

Me:  Use your ALLOWance

Janie:  I don’t GET one.

Me:  You don’t do  CHORES  and I’m not made of MONey.

SIL:  Clean up your ROO-oom?


Me:  Yes, you HAVE to.

Janie:  But Mooooom!


Janie:  I don’t WANT to, why do I HAVE to?

Me:  Because I SAID so—I’m the MOMmy . . . 

Act II (in a store with nervous clerk):

Me: Don’t TOUCH that—keep your hands to yourSELLLF!

Janie: Ooooooooooo!! Look at this!

Me:  Use your EY-ES and not your FINGers!

Shopkeep/SIL: You break it you bought it.  You break it you BOUGHT it.

Janie:  It’s oKAY, I’ll be CAREful.  OOPS!

(Opera momentarily delayed because of laughter and clapping)

Grande Finale, all on stage:

Janie:  Mooom can I have—

Me: No!

Janie:  But Moooooom!

Me:  I don’t want to heeeeeeeeaaaaar iiiiiiiiit.


SIL:  You know, Janie, y’all should so do this for your next school musical.

Janie:  Yeah!

Me (burying face in hands):  I am NOT writing an opera for the school.

Sunny:  But MOMeee!

(Fourth wall obliterated by howls and ovations from the cast, scaring serious hell out of the car one lane over)


There’s been talk of tackling Rabbit of Seville once I recover.

I’m not sure I’m planning to recover . . .


*I jettisoned the remnants of my dignity two months after Janie was born.  Surprised it took me that long—no, wait, maternity leave.

Life in Painfully Slow Motion

In one of those serendipitous coincidences, Dave Kellett of Sheldon has described my day in four panels.

Everything is in slow-motion today.  I got up, made a cup of hot tea, and crashed on the couch.  Some time later, I spent an hour trying to take a shower—total time in the water: about ten minutes—after which I took another rest while the pain meds kicked in.

People keep feeding me, probably so I don’t infect the kitchen.  I love them anyway.

I couldn’t go out to shop for Valentines, obviously, so I signed up for a free-trial at an online card-making site.  I chose four cards,* typed in a few personal touches, and took a two-hour nap.  I printed them off, then took a four-hour nap.

I’m not the world’s fastest-moving creature in the first place, but this is ridiculous.


*My parents are in Hawaii for two weeks, so they can wait for theirs. Hope you’re having fun, Mom and Dad—really!


Thank you, everyone who had sympathy and suggestions yesterday when the words didn’t come—I really appreciate your comments and support!

Turns out it may not have been writer’s block after all— I just got back from the emergency room, where my husband dragged me after my temperature registered as 103.2 on the kid’s ear thermometer this afternoon. 

I have the ‘flu.  Not the type that we all say we have when we sneeze twice in a row, but the real deal.  Influenza.

Cold chills, painful breathing, the whole nine yards.

I can’t go back to work until Thursday, or until I’m fever-free for 24 hours—I have a note from the doctor and everything.  this is the worst posible time to take off work—I’ve got appointments all this week. .  .

But  thank heavens the kids and my MIL had the shot.  My husband didn’t, but he was sick two weeks ago with something that lasted a couple days.  I guess we’ll see.

So if I don’t blog as often as I usually do—or my posts are more surreal than usual—that’s why.

I’m going to bed.

Small Victories

It is Friday and I am still upright. 

Coughing, snorting, and trying to drown that damned frog with my my third gallon of hot tea since this morning, but upright.

That counts.


I sent off the “autobiographical” reenactment speech last night—a whole week before deadline, thank you—and received a reply this afternoon that it was more than acceptable and they’d “be in touch.” 

This is both a relief and a slight puzzlement—I wrote it for free* and I don’t have much in the way of stage direction or insights to offer, so I’m assuming any future  touching would be for edits, possibly for length.

No sweat—I could take out the poem, the obituary excerpt, and/or pare back hte bit about his best friend the radical socialist.

Or if it’s too long, I could put back one of his wives, his military “career”—which appears to have consisted mostly of a few months at Camp Cuba Libre during the Spanish-American War—and the subsequent book about said “career” (whoops, just remembered that one), numerous affairs with the women he didn’t marry, and a couple of great cautionary tales about the dangers of binge drinking.

So there’s room to move, if movement is required.

But for now, it’s one more thing off the checklist, if I had one. 


At the stroke of New York midnight tonight, Janet Reid will open the entry floodgates for one of her famous 100-word story contests.  The prize is an advance copy of The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino and the thrill of knowing that for one shining moment, Ms. Reid liked your stuff.

And I’m done with my entry!   Trust me, this counts as a victory, long-winded as I am.

I’d enter the contest anyway, because I’m ever so slightly addicted to the mini-challenges, but I do want to read Suspect X, a mystery set in Japan.  I’ve always been fascinated with Japan, mostly because of Dad, who taught at the American School in Tokyo in the ‘fifties. 

Dad taught me how to use chopsticks to pick up almost everything—practicing with M&Ms is key—and tells great stories about his first trip to the baths, where an elderly gentleman taught him a lesson in humility, and skiing, where he learned of his own mortality, and bits and pieces of everyday life the way it was half a century ago.  Of all the items he brought back with him, I covet the beautiful book of haiku,each poem delicately drawn on one page, with the translation in lovely printing on the next. 

So I’m definitely there for this one—though probably not at midnight, even if I am on Central Time. 

Ms. Reid is only allowing entries for twenty-four hours, so come join me!  The more the merrier! 

And as usual, if you win, please let me borrow the book.


My wonderful First Reader got back to me with her impressions of the revised early chapters of my WIP and so far, so good. 

I’m still wrestling with how much I should reveal of each character’s backstory . . . but at least I’ve got the firearms legally back in the hands of my ex-cons!

Hey—anyone know what a Pennsylvania gun permit looks like? 


It’s nine-thirty, the kids are toothbrushed, pottied, and in bed. 

That counts as two.


*Three reasons:  the reenactment is the entertainment for a fundraiser benefiting the local writing center, so taking money from them in this economy made no sense.  The lady who asked me to write it is a lovely, sweet, and iron-willed woman—a retired children’s librarian, in fact— who would have repeated, “We can’t pay you much,” in an apologetic tone until I caved anyway, so I cut to the chase.  And I’ve never done one of these monologues before, so if it had stunk on ice, money would have been embarrassing.

Best Laid Plans of Mice and Mommies

I had it all planned out, which is no doubt where it all went wrong.

My husband has agreed to watch the kids on the Saturday mornings that I don’t work so I can get out of the house and have some Me Time.  Guilt-free Me Time, too, because the kids have swim class anyway and I meet them for lunch and we all do family stuff afterward.

I was looking forward to the time this week, because I had a section of Fun Project due and my First Reader gave me a chapter of her fabulous new WIP to beta. I’d sleep in until 6:30am and be at the Panera down the street by 7.

Friday night, Sunny threw up at the dinner table.  Lots.  She spiked a fever, too, so it was decided that she probably shouldn’t have swimming class.  My husband offered to give me my Me Time after Janie and he got back from her friend’s birthday party that afternoon.  And would i pick up a pizza for dinner on my way back?


So I read to Sunny and played Barbies—which is always a weird reenactment of our family dynamic, as seen through a three-and-a-half-year old’s eyes—and let her watch just a leetle more tv than I normally would have, in the futile hopes that she’d drop off.

My husband and Janie came home at 3, and I went roaring off with Netbook and notes.  I bought a large green tea, doctored it, plugged in my Netbook and fired it up.

Nothing.  I rebooted  Nothing.  I offered a few prayers, some cursing, and counted to ten before jabbing the button again.


I was philosophical about it— the Netbook had been limping along and bringing up fatal errors and blue screens of death for about a month while I applied cold compresses and, more and more frequently, the defibrillator, so while I was  angry and betrayed, I remained fairly calm . . .  until I realized that while I’d done a fair amount of work Friday,  I hadn’t done my daily back up that night.

All I can say in my defense is that spending your evening comforting a toddler who is yarking up things you didn’t remember feeding her will rearrange your priorities.

I left Panera and hied me to the computer shop.   The repairperson managed to reanimate the corpse  long enough to get some of my files out, including the one I really wanted.  He said it would cost more to repair my little buddy than I’d paid for it in the first place and did I know they had this great payment plan deal on laptops?

While I was filing out the financing paperwork, hoping for one hour of writing time with pen and paper, my husband called.  “Forget the pizza,” he said.  “I have Sunny’s virus.  Could you bring soup and Pepto Bismol instead?”

Sure.   I could catch up on my writing time Sunday afternoon, when Janie had another birthday party to attend and my husband would, I hoped, be feeling well enough to watch Sunny, who’d dropped into a three hour nap five minutes after I’d left—life of the party, that’s me—and was feeling much better.

But the virus really took hold of my husband, who spent most of the day shivering in bed when he wasn’t in the bathroom.

Long story short, the first thing I did on my new computer was send apologies to First Reader and the people waiting for Fun Project  so I could start working again tonight now that everyone else is asleep . . .

But I don’t feel so good right now.

I think bedrest is the better part of valor.  I’ll be sleeping on the couch, just in case my nausea is sympathetic, with the metal trashcan on hand, in case it isn’t.

 Good.  Night.