My Cash Drawer

I have watched enough Tom & Jerry to last me the rest of my natural life so it is not surprising that I am thinking in cartoon visuals. Right now I am picturing a dust cloud and from it emerges a white flag on a stick. Sure this indicates surrender but it also implies survival. Like when Francis Scott Key was so pleased to see the Stars and Stripes still waving over Baltimore's harbor and the British looked at the same flag and said, "Oh bother" and promptly sailed down to DC and torched the place.

Like that. I feel like that.

Patrick and I were talking about disease in general and viruses in particular. I told him that one of the major differences between a bacterial infection like the one he had during the summer and a virus such as the one that just leveled our family like a field of corn is that bacteria are alive and viruses are dead. For the record my entire knowledge of biology can be summarized by a plethora of these random, unrelated and not fully understood bullet-points: Viruses are dead and shaped like needles, maybe! The mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell! Kingdom phyllum family order (or is it order family) class genus species! Hydrogen helium lithium beryllium boron carbon nitrogen oxygen fluorine neon!

It almost goes without saying that I did not do very well in biology. In fact, that final D was generous.

But Patrick doesn't know this so I am able to lecture him with a straight face on the relative suckitude of viral vs bacterial infections. You know, it is lovely to see the respect with which he treats my discourses (my biology teacher never managed to get much beyond pity) and even lovelier to hear him synthesize what I tell him into his own random cue cards:  "So, basically, viruses are like zombie germs?"

And I said, yes, yes that is exactly right.

So hello from the far side of Zombieville.

I have been trying to decide if I have any H1N1 wisdom to share for when you get it (and you will get it) but it's such a funky illness that it is hard to characterize.

Patrick returned to school today after being out all week and half of last week as well. It's second grade. Big deal if he misses - well, all of it really as far as I'm concerned. He wasn't deathly ill but he would spike a fever every afternoon and he was lethargic and coughing a lot. So he stayed home and it wasn't until yesterday when I discovered him placing large plastic bowls over Caroline's head which he then proceeded to bang with a ladle that I realized he really needed to return to the bosom of his little school chums. Edward started a delicate cough on Sunday night which was all I needed to break out the Tamiflu and I am so glad I did. By Monday morning he was a small disaster: high fever, rashy, horribly congested, screaming and screaming and screaming. He spent a day sitting on my lap with both his blankies, a pacifier which prior to this has been a bedtime only indulgence and one hand wrapped in my hair. Tuesday he was a thousand times better and now he is completely well except for an inability to sleep through the night which is killing me. Last night I rocked him to sleep, gently transferred him to his crib, slammed to the floor when he stirred in hopes that he would not see me, crept on my stomach toward the door and then... gently rocked him to sleep again when he sat up and started howling. Caroline also started Tamiflu on Sunday, largely because Edward did and there is virtually no way for Edward to have a virus that Caroline does not also host. They sit across from each and push their cups and forks back and forth and just the other day I watched Caroline walk over to where Edward was reading and she licked his face. Why? Why not, I guess. She never got a fever, by the way, just a stuffy nose.

Steve, of course, was fine although this did not prevent him from drinking copious amounts of herbal tea and lying down with his book every few minutes. An ounce of prevention I guess.

Enough about the flu. I am done with the flu.  

So want to hear one of my favorite stories? I wonder if I have told you this one before. Probably.

A person of my acquaintance who is a Big Deal at his place of employment once decided to treat, oh I don't know, let's say the accounting department, to lunch at the completion of a particularly arduous project. So he had someone order pizza and when it arrived he went to the young man who was in charge of petty cash and said, "Hey, give me a couple hundred dollars from petty cash so I can pay for some pizzas."

And the petty cash guy said, "No."


"No. You haven't filled out a request and it hasn't been signed by Even Bigger Deal so, no, I am not giving you money from the cash drawer."

The person of my acquaintance was annoyed, one might say irked, and heatedly asked the guy, "Look, do you know who I am?"

"I know who I am."

"And who are you?"

"I'm the guy who is in charge of the cash drawer so... I guess that makes you the guy who isn't getting any cash."

Every time I think about this I laugh and every time my mother and I are talking about someone who has their own particular field of interest we say, "Well, you know, everybody's got their cash drawer... ."

Speaking - loosely - of jobs I have an idea for another article I might want to try to sell but I need some help from you. Remember a couple of weeks ago when I asked if you liked your job? A couple of comments made me tingle a bit and I would like to revisit that question. Specifically, could you leave me a comment or email me if the thought of what you (or a friend - it's always nice to refer a friend) do for a living (or a partial living) makes you pink with pleasure or you can say the words 'dream job' without rolling your eyes? You don't have to be making a fortune or anything, I just want to talk to people who find joy in what they do.


Pre-influenza pictures:

We went to pick pumpkins. I said, "Patrick! Please keep Edward out of the parking lot."

His hand shot out and he proceeded to use Edward's hood like a leash. I admit it was effective.


Patrick took his pumpkin very seriously.


Sometimes Caroline and Edward seem more like twins to me than others


Hope you are well.