Quarantined Until Further Naps, I mean, Notice

We’re not even one month in, yet, and 2015 has already gone viral.

Two Saturdays ago, poor Sunny went uncharacteristically lethargic, lost her dinner,* and spent Sunday sleeping.

That evening, Jane experienced a non-triggered panic attack. I know that’s not a virus, but the symptoms looked a lot like sudden-onset pneumonia, especially with her history of bronchial mishegaas, so my husband took her to the hospital, where she was given a Xanax and several tests to make sure her heart and lung were clear, which they were.

On Monday, she fell asleep in the middle of math class—in the middle of giving an answer in math class, according to the school—and came home to sleep off the residual effects of the adrenaline spike and/or benzodiazepine.

I had a blinding sinus headache on Wednesday, but powered through on Advil, caffeine, and hope until all three gave up on me around lunch on Thursday.

We enjoyed a day and a half of relative good health.

Then on Saturday, Sunny developed a mild fever after swim class and voluntarily slept through the day. She went downhill on Sunday—her fever hit 103F just as the medical clinics closed—and started bark-coughing between refusing to eat anything “scratchy” and complaining that her empty tummy hurt.

She and I spent a miserable night—she trying to breathe, me making sure she didn’t stop—and when she woke up Monday, she swallowed twice, tried to say “ouch!” and burst into tears. So instead of spending our day off at the museum (or writing), I took her to the pediatrician. He said she had nothing more dire than a severe sore throat and gave her a prescription for steroids to soothe the throat swelling.We also went the homeopathic route with chocolate pudding, Gatorade, and the final two episodes of The Librarians.Unfortunately, either the steroids or the chocolate made Sunny just a tad manic, so none of us could catch up on some much-needed sleep.

We all went to bed last night—from my text history, I was asleep an hour or two before I hit the pillow—hoping that the Time of the Virus was finally behind us . . .

. . . and then, about ten-thirty, Jane threw up.

If this continues, it’s going to be an interesting year.

How’s YOUR health?


* I cannot overemphasize the sincere joy of having children old enough, and savvy enough, to clamp their own hands over their mouths and run for the nearest acceptable receptacle.  It’s right up there with pitching out the last plastic potty and retiring the diaper bag.


Howler Kitty in the Night

TobyToby, our cat, is somewhere between fourteen and fifteen years old, and over the past six months, has come to look it.  He’s lost weight, gone frail, and is now mostly a furry bag of overly affectionate bones.

He’s also lost what brains he had—and believe me, the benchmark wasn’t that high.

Old, forgotten habits are new again, in his second kittenhood, and he’s gone reckless with them. He jumps on the counters from the kitchen table, right in front of my MIL, with no regard to his personal safety, her draconian ideas pet etiquette and food safety, or my blood pressure.

He knocks over unattended glasses, just to pat at the puddles.  And we’ve had to extract him from the toilets, lately, a habit he ditched a decade ago, so all the humans in the house are trying to remember to put the lids down,  a habit we thought we could safely ditch once the girls were too big to fall in.

But he’s developed a couple of new habits, too.

The cat who ate everything and anything now turns up his failing nose at food that’s been sitting in his bowl more than three hours and water that isn’t moving.   He slides the ceramic bowl around to be helpful—or to point out that his water is stale, thank you—which drives my MIL, whose ceiling is the floor of our laundry room, crazy.

He’s also decided that he can’t poop in the litterbox unless it’s absolutely clean.  I scoop three times a day, but  work outside the house and do occasionally sleep, so he’s started to find . . .  alternative facilities.  I’m just grateful he’s not as picky about all his bathroom habits, because his kidneys are obviously older, too, poor guy—our semi-weekly rounds of “Find the Torpedo” are revolting enough, but I categorically refuse(pun totally intended)  to play “Rip out the Ammonia-infused Closet Carpet.”

I sympathize with all this.  I do.  Kitty dementia is a real thing, according to the vet, and I’m sure being unable to trust one’s instincts, memories, and once-sharp senses is terribly confusing, especially when one’s cranium is the size of half a tangerine.

So I do my best to keep him comfortable and keep the inconveniences at a minimum for the rest of us.

But when one’s beloved pet, for reasons only known to him—or not—starts howling at 3:45am every blessed morning?

That’s when I get a tad resentful.

“Maaaw?  Maaaw?  MaaaROW?  MaaaROW?”

“Here kitty, kitty,” I mumble, more than willing to accept his dirty feet on my pillow and his Meow Mix Hairball Control Formula breath in my face in exchange for just one more precious hour of sleep.

My husband mutters something and sticks his head under his own pillow.

“Maaaw?  Maaaw?  MaaaROW?  MaaaROW?  MAAAROW?! ROW?!  ROW?!

After about twenty minutes of this, I stumble into the laundry room, check his food (full), check his water (full and clean), check his litter (scoop, just in case), leave the light on so he can find all three, and stumble back to bed.

“Maaaw?  Maaaw?  MaaaROW?  MaaaROW?  MAAAROW?! ROW?!  ROW?!  ROOOOOOOW?!!”

He’s standing on the toilet lid, pawing at it.

I get up, raise the lid, give him a rough head rub because thumping elderly kitties sharply around the ear hole is wrong, whatever the justification, and go back to bed.

“Maaaw?  Maaaw?  MaaaROW?  MaaaROW?  MAAAROW?! ROW?!  ROW?! ROOOOOOOW?!!  ROOOOOOOW?!!!!”

He’s howling in the shower.  He seems to like the echo. Or he wants someone to turn on the taps for him.

It’s now 4:45am.

I give up, get up, banish him from the bathroom, and turn on the shower for my own use.  Even through the water, I can hear him.

“Maaaw?  Maaaw?  MaaaROW?  MaaaROW?  MAAAROW?! ROW?!  ROW?!  ROOOOOOOW?!!!! ROOOOOOOW?!!!!””

There’s certainly nothing wrong with his lungs.

But when I come out, he’s gone.

The house is quiet.

But I’m awake now, or my version of it, so I start coffee,grab my laptop, and start kvetching about this smelly, rude, loud, clingy, senile cat of mine.

About halfway through my rant, a too-light furry ball of bony warmth sits on my bare foot.

And starts to purr.






Random Thursday: The Sleep Deprivation and Goin’ on Vacation Edition

This is what Random Thursday is like when my six-year old decides to react to the new house rule that children cannot crawl into bed with us until one of our alarm clocks go off  by waking up at 2am Wednesday morning and asking us for the time every five minutes/pleading to be allowed to hug people who love her/throwing a screaming tantrum, until six am.*

I caught up on some sleep last night, but my deficit was pretty high to begin with—which is why the new house rule was passed in the first place.

Co-incidentally, I’m leaving tomorrow afternoon for a long weekend with my friends Grace and Cha-Cha to a cabin about an hour away [Insert Cabin in the Woods jokes here].  I was planning to take a stack of DVDs, my half-nano-WIP, the first three books from my To-Be-Read stack, and a crockpot full of raw turkey.**

Now, I’m planning to take my WIP and my pillow.

The cabin doesn’t have WiFi, so I’m going to be offline—or smartphoning it in—until Monday afternoon.

So I’m not ignoring you, I’m just too dumb sleep deprived to work my phone.

Have some random:


It’s all Greek to Us

But Watson and I really, really want this to be true:

It's all Greek


What IS the Queen of the Know Universe wearing today?

Or Wonderwoman

Watson said she’d wear her Wonder Woman costume.

I think I’d be wearing my flannel jammies with a full coffee cup in one hand and a highlighted copy of the NYT Bestseller list in the other.

Vintage Writer

Or maybe a deerstalker?

Or maybe one of these (depending on the series, of course):

Stark Trek



Teddy Bear the Talking Porcupine Discusses His Plans to Stimulate the Agricultural Economy

He’s surprisingly affable for such a prickly guy.


Potatoes Diana

Potatoes Diana

So . . . would this be considered a tuber top?


Nanowrimo Song

A friend sent me this and suggested adding lines about kids pounding on the door asking for clean underwear.

But if I were to do a parent’s version, it would probably go like this, in quick succession:

Kids:  “We’re bored!”

Me: “I’m writing!”

Kids: “We want a snack!”

Me: “I’m writing!”

Kids: “She hit me!  She called me stupid!”

Me: “I’m writing!”

Kids: “There’s nothing to dooooo!”

Me: “I’m writing!”

Kids: “We’re calling Child Services!”

Me: “I’m wri—where is your father?”

And this is why I’m going away for the weekend . . . 


*Let it be noted, that I gave up on sleep around 4:30am and had Tylenol for breakfast.  Needless to say, by mid-afternoon, I was  a librarian who couldn’t tell you her own name, what those thingies are that the books are stored on, or spell the city she worked for.  It was surreal.

*Never mind why.

So . . . How was Your Weekend?

Jane had a friend over Saturday night, which was sincerely fun—her guest is a great kid—but ended up being a platonic game of musical beds, in which Sunny fell asleep in our bed and her friend ended up falling asleep in Sunny’s bed, and instead of trying to put Sunny down in the sleeping bag without a) dropping her from a height that Child Services would deem iffy or b) playing tiddly winks with my vertebrae, I slept on the living couch—which had almost the same effect on my back as option b, but live and learn.

The next morning, after my husband left to teach his Sunday morning class, I made Pokemon Rabbit pancakes* for the remarkably bright and bushy-tailed kids and a staggering amount of coffee for the zombies adults and we all did an MST3K-like viewing of Toy Story 2 (with pillow fight) before Jane’s friend went home and I started cleaning up because my MIL, who had been away for the weekend, was due back that evening and I didn’t want to hear it.**

And then my husband returned and we went to a baseball game.

My friend Cha-Cha came, too, because she’d never seen a live baseball game before—I’m not certain how much of the game she saw, since the kids were there to “enhance” her experience, but a good time was had by all, including the man in front of us, who thought Janie’s explanation of baseball was funny as hell, which was a relief*** because it went on forever, until Cha Cha intervened.

” . . . There’s a fastball (duh), a curveball (which goes like this), and a spitball (which is against the rules and germy), and a slider, and a knuckleball, and—“

“What’s a knuckleball?” I asked, mostly so she’d take a breath.  “Is it the way you hold the ball or something else?”

“It’s like this,” Cha Cha said, grabbing Jane.  “Right?”

“That’s not a knuckleball!” hollered Jane, struggling.  “That’s a noogie!”


Sunny, who was so tired from her late night that she’d come through total exhaustion to the other side, had no interest in baseball but loved that the popcorn comes in plastic helmets.  I took her to the bouncy house playground for the last few innings, hoping to wear her out, but she did ten rounds on the Big Slide without making a noticeable dent in her energy level until we had to climb the stairs to get back to our seats.

Our team won the game, too, which was nice.

We went home, where my MIL and Watson were waiting with open arms and some new clothes for the kids, because my MIL’s favorite way of spending her vacation is to buy clothes for everyone else.  That isn’t a complaint, by the way, just an amused observation.

While Sunny and Jane did an impromptu fashion show, with music and runway, and my husband did the grocery shopping,*** I dragged myself to the bathroom mirror and realized that a) I’d had a bit more sun than I’d thought and b) it was unlikely that I was going to be awake enough to re-rework the chapter that I’d forced myself to stop messing with the previous evening because my sense of continuity was slipping and I couldn’t see to type through my yawns.

Which is why I’m sitting in front of my laptop today^^ with a layer of aloe on my bright red nose and cheekbones trying to reintegrate a very minor character whom I’d ruthlessly cut before I realized that she’s the one I should have kept instead of the two other minor characters, whose only reason for surviving was an inside joke that no one else would get because I’d cut their set-up.

And why this post was a bit later than usual.  Sorry.

So . . . how was your weekend?


*Because kids won’t eat Deformed Rabbit pancakes, that’s why.

**Except I heard it from my kids, who were upset they’d missed Sunday School and didn’t understand why I can’t provide instant teleportation on command.

***The poor man also had to hear Cha Cha and I discussing our favorite baseball movies (I’ve seen the end of The Natural ten times, but never the whole movie) and sports movies (Does Simply Ballroom count?), and my personal opinion (once Janie left to get drinks with my husband) that umpire pants might look shapeless, but are actually quite flattering (“Watch that one at home plate when he crouches down to—see?  Isn’t that nice?”).

^He volunteered because he needed the alone time and I let him because I needed to sit down.

^^I have the day off from the library for good behavior.  More or less.

“So, how’s the writing going?”

Jane Writing2(Jane’s World is the brainchild of the extremely talented  Paige Braddock.)

This past week, my usual routine has gone a little like this:  I sit down after the kids go to bed, go over my last few paragraphs to get back in the groove, and start hitting the keyzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz………………….

Sorry, what was I talking about?

Sometimes, I suspect my keyboard is made of topical Ambien.*

Maybe this the aftermath of Nano, maybe it’s a response to holiday stress.  Or it might be time to mix up the methods a little, go manual for a while, try the kitchen for a change of scenery.

Or I could try going to bed earlier.**

I’ve always written until I dropped.  Problem is, now I’m writing after I drop, which doesn’t seem to be working so well.

So I’m placing myself on experimental curfew—pencils and/or pixels down at ten-thirty p.m. by the latest.

This means ignoring Facebook, Twitter, bloogfeeds, and even e-mail earlier, too.

I figure it’ll be a breeze, once the withdrawal pains taper off.

Wish me luck.


*Side effects may include memory disturbances, hallucinations, and mild behavioral changes.  Yeah, that works.

**That sizzling sound you just heard was my entire family shooting me meaningful looks with a side over of righteous impatience, because they’ve told me this.  Often.