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December 2013

On The Thirteenth Day Of Christmas: Plague

For Steve's birthday I got him a new WiFi base station/back-up device; a Time Capsule I call Homer because as the IT person around here I decided we really needed 3 terabytes because... it's too complicated to explain to a layperson like Steve but it was very important and what better time to upgrade my hardware than his birthday? 

I am now regretting my magnanimity because Homer hates me. For absolutely no discernible reason I have been unable to access the network - the network I created - all day while Steve continues to happily google along.

I know what you are thinking because that was my first reaction too; Steve and I should just switch computers, right? Steve refused citing something something work and I am shocked that he can be so selfish when I give him such nice presents.

Until I manage to beat Homer to death and then replace him with yet a more advanced model (Merry Christmas Steve!) I'll try to figure out a way to get this posted remotely.

I am so sorry I left you hanging about Patrick. The truth of the matter is we were waiting and seeing and I was busy watching him very very slowly come to a boil. When last we spoke Patrick had had a fever in excess of 101 for four days? Five days? Then we went to the doctor where his temp was normal and only got up to about 100 that night. So... improving. Next day the same. Following day back above 102 again.

Damn it.

I took him back to the pediatrician and being unable to determine where exactly this bacterial infection is residing we are assuming it is sinuses again. He started a broad-spectrum antibiotic yesterday and although his fever was over 101 again last night I am hopeful things will kick in this weekend and he will be completely well by Monday. This evening marks nine days of elevated temperature from low to moderately high so... fingers crossed.



I had to divide the couch into two zones last night: on the left we have strep; on the right we have ???

Edward (not pictured) was in a bucket of Lysol up to his neck.

PS Caroline had a raging fever and a sore throat so we took her to urgent care yesterday. Five ml of penicillin and a good night's sleep later and she is absolutely and completely fine. I wish I could rub her all over Patrick.

Sometimes I Need To Be Hit Over The Head

I've got a probability question for you.

What are the odds that a person (say Edward) would take first in a football pool three times under the following circumstances: 'first' is the person to correctly guess the most winners out of 16 games, 40 people particpate and Edward has been picking for me for 11 weeks. 

I'll wait while you grab a pencil but please do let me know.

Steve and I disagree on whether it is mere coincidence or so utterly spooky that I should pack Edward's little suitcase and the checkbook and head to Vegas.

[Sorry Patrick is moaning for me from the couch; back in a few... ]

Patrick is sick. For the first time in five years he has a fever and I am wringing my hands over it.

I cannot believe he has a fever. He never gets fevers. Even when CT scans showed that his entire head was stuffed with infection he still registered his usual 97.notmuch. It is so unprecedented that it didn't occur to me to check his temperature even after he climbed into our bed two nights in a row complaining about being unbearably hot and something something about the tree branches trying to get him. I gave him some water and took him upstairs to the guest room with me (coldest room in the house.) When he sat bolt upright half an hour later and said he was burning up and vomited all over the bed and the floor and... anyway... I thought ah ha! Migraines! And I sent him to school the next day since he said he felt fine.

I am such a moron. I am slapping my head with one hand while I type this with the other.

When he got up on Saturday morning only to fall back asleep a few minutes later I finally said to Steve, "Huh, do you think he's sick?"

I went upstairs to check on him but the only part I could see was his forehead so I touched it.

"Wow he's hot," I thought and then half of my brain whistled tunelessly while it waited for the rest of the brain to catch up.

"Ohhhhhhh! Hot!"

And I finally thought to locate a thermometer. It wasn't easy since Patrick and Caroline never need one and Edward gets a fever so often I don't even bother to check anymore. He's like a chicken breast; I can ascertain his doneness with one fingertip. So I eventually tracked down a thermometer in the back of a bathroom cupboard next to a tub of diaper cream (if that gives you any indication of how long it has been. note to self: clean cupboards) by which time Patrick was somewhere between 102 and 103 and there it has stayed for the past four days.

He moves from the couch to his bed and back again. I was optimistic this morning because he was willing to prop himself up and his temperature was down but by this evening he is flat again (and moaning for me) and his fever is back up. Meanwhile, nothing hurts. His throat doesn't hurt, his ears don't hurt, he has not thrown up again; it's so aggravating. Apart from general fever induced achiness, a slight headache, an inclination to be in the dark and extreme fatigue* he says he's fine.

If you are anything like my mother you are probably asking me rather sharply why I haven't taken him to the doctor yet. The answer is that I didn't realize he was sick until Saturday and his pediatrician doesn't work on Mondays and I have become a huge fan of continuation of care. I know that when his doctor sees Patrick tomorrow he will know right away that Patrick is really sick. And when I tell him that Patrick has a fever and has had one for five days he will understand. He might order bloodwork and we can discuss whether or not we should use the order for a CT scan that his ENT left open when she saw him two weeks ago.

"Looks clean but I cannot see inside his head so call for a scan if he gets worse," she said and I guess this qualifies although I hate to radiate him any more than necessary. Kid's going to glow in the dark at this rate.

My point is that if I saw a walk-in doctor, no matter how qualified, the odds are they would think I was a little, um, edgy to ask for bloodwork and a CT scan because my son has a fever during flu season. Then they would demur. Or, worse, they might prescribe something like an amoxicillin which the fifth columnists in Patrick's immune system learned long ago to subvert in their attempt to create superbugs.

You know, as an aside, it's really interesting how different kids in the same family can be. Caroline never gets sick. Patrick might one day getting written up for the Post's Mystery Disease series if we can ever figure out what his Mystery Disease might be, if he even has one. Edward is as straight-forward as an apple. I can take Edward anywhere, any time and anyone can diagnose the upper respiratory infection that has settled in his lungs and compromised his oxygen intake: "Feel that fever? Hear that cough? See the way his chest retracts? Notice how he is panting? Observe the way the finger clip registers oxygen saturation at less than 90%?" the candystriper will say. "Great. Here's a nebulizer, here's a script for cough medicine, here's a bottle of Antibiotio-io... I'll bill you." 

I know that it is possible, even probable, that Patrick has the flu or strep or any of the thousand natural viruses that flesh is heir to but I keep remembering the last time Patrick had a fever (an ongoing one at that) and do you know where he ended up? The hospital, that's where.

Speaking of probablity I wasn't kidding. Can any of you rustle me up some odds so that I can explain to Steve in a logical, scientific and straightforward way that Edward is clairvoyant? Thanks.

* I know! Meningitis right? But I don't think so. Not getting better but definitely not getting worse, no rash and his neck feels fine.

Mitten? What Mitten?


See anything... missing?


As I said to Steve:

The good news is that your climbing knot held fast; the bad news is that the climber was eaten by a bear.

Or, to quote my beloved Wodehouse:



PS Your comments on the last post were hilarious. I was moved to tears by Becky's story of her husband and the entertainment center and - not to ruin it for you if you go back to read it yourself - Linda and the peri-anal warts... let's just say it's a very special holiday comment section.

Not Just Capable, Inescapable

I was extremely agitated leading up to this past weekend's mix of overnight guests plus Steve's improbably large party. So agitated that I offered on not one but three separate occasions the following compromise: I would get the house ready and make all the food if Steve would tell our guests that I was dead when in fact I was locked in our bathroom with my Kindle and a giant bowl of soup.

Steve thought I was kidding.

In the end he flat-out refused to let me hide anywhere in our house and I still kinda cleaned the house and still sorta made food (98% purchased but I arranged it festively on platters and I bought yards of clearance fabric and said it was a tablecloth) and the people all came and then they left and it was fine. I did call my friend Noelle ninety minutes before the party started and pleaded with her to come enoo but that was less in the expectation that she would help me slap food together (of course she would) than in the hope that she would prevent me from murdering Steve on his birthday. First he windexed the kitchen cabinet shelves and then, fifteen minutes before guests were supposed to arrive and the rest of us were running around with our hair in curlers and the oven on fire, he heated himself up some leftover pad thai. Jesus Mary and Joseph preserve me. 

Last year or maybe it was the year before someone told me in the comments that at their house they call this particular quirk 'painting doorknobs' and it has caught on here. When I called Noelle and said, please, I need you before I bludgeon Steve with an ice luminaria she instantly asked if he was painting doorknobs and when I whimpered she said she'd come at once.

It is so nice to have the party over and done. I did enjoy it. Truly. I just hated every second of the week leading up to it. I expect it's like the feeling you get when your leg is no longer pinned under an SUV.

In other news, you people are geniuses.


Go ahead. Count the mittens.



I bought a bundle of parachute cord for $2 at the fabric store, cut it to manageable lengths, threaded it between their outer jackets and their inner jackets and had Steve tie a nifty climbing knot to each mitten to secure them.

I did the math and allowing for four months of winter, four weeks per month, three pairs of mittens lost per week... times two... less the $2 for the cord... I owe you $938.

Nicely Defined

Caroline and Edward are currently in their love-each-other-so-much cannot-bear-to-be-parted phase (it comes. it goes) so they have been having slumber parties for the past few nights. Once upon a time I mistook these momentary fancies for actual considered intent and I went so far as to have Caroline's bed moved into Edward's room. That lasted about four days and then I had to tell Steve that the bed needed to go back into the other room again. He was not amused.

You know, I could swear that Steve liked nothing better when we were dating than to oblige me by moving furniture around but I guess... hold on, counting... fifteen years of marriage has taken the bloom off that particular rose.

Anyway, I realized my error and now Caroline sleeps like an unverifiable princess on not one but two mattresses. When the urge for uninterrupted togetherness strikes them I just move the top mattress down to the floor or I drag it into Edward's room where it is quite easy to drag back again as needed. Steve, as we learned when I was gone, just sticks them into the same bed pointing in opposite directions but I cannot condone that sort of parental laziness.

This evening I got them both settled in Caroline's room and wished them a very good night.

Five seconds later Caroline popped out seeking clarification on the rules of the advent calendar. To wit: if she wakes up in the middle of the night and it is dark but technically the next day can she wake up Edward so they can open their advent calendars right away?

NO! I said.

That seemed fairly unequivocable to me but somehow Caroline found it necessary to keep coming out of her room for additional clarification until I told her that I would remove the advent calendar if she did not cease and desist. She scuttled back.

However she re-emerged moments later to tell me that Edward was refusing to turn off the light and she could not sleep with it on and I needed to do something about it. I suggested Edward return to his own room but then they were both at the door, berating me for my heartlessness when I knew they wanted to be together.

I went back upstairs and turned off the light nearest Caroline so that she could go to sleep but left the one near Edward burning so that he could continue to read his Garfield book until he fell asleep over it (just like his mommy, I note with fond indulgence.)

"There," I said, "problem solved."

But they both started complaining: too light! too dark!

I cut them off.

"It's a compromise. Live with it or sleep in your own rooms."

Edward said, "What is compromise?"

Caroline said, promptly, "It is when both people are unhappy."

Hmmm, works for me.

I Give Up

In the first three days of official Minnesota winter Caroline and Edward have lost five mittens at school. Foreseeing an ongoing habit to rival the expense of Faberge egg collecting, I reached into the murky recesses of my own childhood and I bought them... mitten-clips.

Today they lost all four of their mitten clips. 

How is this even possible?

Also, no wonder the dear mother cat didn't want to give them any pie. Stop losing your damned mittens you furry little ingrates.