I can already see where this Mothers Day is going

My son called from his room at 1:26 am, the ringing phone throwing my heart at the ceiling.

“Mom, I think I’m dying. I can’t fall asleep.” I think I’m dying, too. Of a heart attack. “I’ll be right down.”

I felt his forehead. “You’ve got a fever. I think you have what I have.” I gave him one his sister’s Tylenol her dad sent with her last night—she’d had a tooth repaired after a chip and it was sore. Oh my god, all my kids are old enough to have full-strength pain relievers. “Here, sit up and take this. It’s just the flu.”

“Did I get it from you?” he asked. I think if he’d had the strength that would have sounded almost accusatory.

“Not in the four hours you’ve been here. It takes longer than that to incubate. But thanks for thinking of me.”

I took one, too. When I woke up from a dream in which we all had fur and tails like mice and has no standing until we’d won a spar with the current tail-judo master, my neck was a girder and I was about a thousand degrees too hot. Besides, that mouse was really doing a job on my self-esteem because I couldn’t land a blow on his belly. Think Ripred from Gregor The Overlander.

On my way back to bed I heard a creak from Daphne’s bed and saw the light under her door. Oh, no. I opened up the Tylenol and shook out another pill.

Daphne was sitting up in bed, face flushed with a thousand-yard stare. Oh, goody.

“I knew it,” I said. “You didn’t look right when you went to bed.”

“Mom, I’ve been like this since midnight. I only slept two hours,”she said, as I felt her forehead.

“Yep, you’ve got it, too.” Earlier, I’d begged off from dinner out with their dad and them to celebrate Logan’s birthday. I was too glazed over to steer two tons of German engineering over the mountain pass. Hence their late-night arrival so they could wake here on Mothers Day.

I don’t think breakfast in bed is on the menu anymore. Limp, hot children maybe, but not a fresh, hot meal.

Did I mention Guy has it, too? He asked for the chocolate Hagen Daaz and a spoon as long as I was up. I handed it to him and picked up my iPad to write. I wasn’t interested in chocolate Hagen Daaz. I really must be dying.

3:40 am: the first child starts driving the porcelain bus. Just waiting to see who’s next.

Mid- hurl: “Happy—blergh—Mothers Day.”

Really, Presidents Day?

I just spent the last half hour with tweezers, nail clippers, a needle, and finally a razor blade, digging a quarter-inch of No. 2 pencil lead it of my foot.

And then cleaning more blood than you’d think could come out of a person’s heel off the carpet. This is why no one should have carpet in the bathroom, people! God I can’t wait until we no longer have to rent.

I’ve had a quiet day without the kids, doing laundry, writing, cleaning out the closet, carefully staying AWAY from anything harmful. So, just now, I grabbed a glass of wine, some cheese and crackers, and my book, ,slid over on the sofa to the sweet spot, and YEEEOOOWCH!

It figures, I get the only sharpened pencil in the entire house shoved into the side of my heel. no one EVER has a sharpened pencil… Though I do seem to recall that the youngest did his homework in here last week, and there was a brief episode involving defacing and stabbing a math worksheet… He must have had to sharpen it after that, I tell ya. There were holes in a cushion were one thing, but I didn’t look under the coffee table.

This has been brought to you by the Roberts Holiday Curse.


Guy took another of his boys into urgent care down the street. Last week his youngest needed his head stitched; this time the eldest broke a toe.

As soon as they walked in, the intake nurse finger-gunned him, squinted, and said, “Mindy, right?”


I’m seriously ill again with that effing recurring kidney infection. We can’t figure out why the Rocephin didn’t knock it out last month. I felt GREAT in the intervening weeks and then, BAM. Happy fourth of July.

I’m going to have to name it soon. “Infection” seems so impersonal, and “Pyelonephritis” seems too imperial. What shall we call it, campers? Because now it’s personal.

Until further notice I am going to be fairly…lax about answering email. Just not gonna do it unless you’re my editor or mom or someone with a spare cookie gram. So please, please do not ask me to review anything for at least ten days. Or ever. That will work for me too, since I don’t do reviews or work for free.

But! If you’re serious about working together, I have plenty of Vicodin and can shovel some down and perk up plenty, just for you!

E. coli and You! Not a good combination.

Holy crap am I ready for this thing to run its course. Yes, I know I said I had strep, but that was just a happy coincidence. Something to distract me while the E. coli went to town on my kidneys. We had to go through a list of about a dozen antibiotics before finding one that would knock this out, and even so had to switch after two days. We don’t know yet if this is the crazy strain terrorizing Germany and is spreading across Europe and the UK. However, I did get sick following a week in the UK, hanging out with a bunch of Germans. Hoping to hear it’s not. Hate to be case #3 in the U.S. (Update: love having a brilliant pathologist in the family; not the European strain. No lab confirmation, just deduction from available sources.)

Now, I am going for daily shots of rocephin in the hip. If you’ve ever had a shot in the hip, you know it smarts. Well, rocephin is very…thick. Like a gel. So they have to dilute it with something, usually lidocaine to act as a pain killer. The catch is that a doctor has to administer it; nurses aren’t allowed to mess with lidocaine. I just happened to walk in today when the doc was slammed, so the nurse had to do it. She came in with an apologetic look and said, “I’m so sorry. I had to dilute it with water.”

It took me a sec to absorb that. “Okay, but why are you sorry?” She looked even more miserable. “I’m not allowed to administer lidocaine.” Oh, well, how bad could it be?

VERY FUCKING BAD, APPARANTLY. Holy shit, I have never felt such agony, not since labor, and even that let up every few minutes. The drug is viscuous, so it has to be injected a tiny bit at a time. Three whole cc’s. Daphne held her hands over her face the whole time.


And of course I don’t want to scare the kids into thinking routine shots are anything to be afraid of. But Daphne could tell, and went for the jugular. She skipped to the car. “Hey, mom, try this, it’s really fun. Or maybe you could jog in place.”

“Why don’t we just walk home? And then I could ride a bike up a mountain.”

“Yeah, in your big Madsen so we can all ride in the back!”

“Maybe just a jumprope contest. And then spankings.”

“Oooh, spankings!” I have been letting her watch too much Monty Python.

But my Mom scored the QOTD during the ultrasound.

Just as the room darkened and technician applied gel and began running it along my flank, Mom shouted, “It’s a boy!”