Friday, January 1, 2016

We Definitely Need More Pork

Yeah, that super New Year's Day dinner that was supposed to guarantee us health, wealth, and happiness? Should have eaten it earlier, because half the family was too sick to even sit at the table.

A. started failing early in the day, and by dinner time he was just sitting on the floor in front of the woodstove, hunched with a fever and trying to get warm. Cubby came to the table, sat there for a second, and then announced he wasn't feeling good and left to join A. on the floor. Charlie took about four bites of rice, gulped his milk, and raced off to bedevil the two ill family members.

Jack had been screaming for at least an hour by the time we sat down to eat--thanks to two more teeth trying to come through--and managed to sit for about five minutes at the table before he was wailing again.

So I ate my dinner in about twenty seconds and then went into the living room to let Jack and Charlie crawl and leap all over me on the floor. A good wrestling session always cheers them up.

Cubby appeared in the living room a few minutes later to tell me his stomach was really not feeling well. I asked him if he felt like he might throw up. No, he said. It doesn't feel like that, he said.

Uh huh. 

I sent him to the kitchen to ask the MiL for a bowl. Two minutes later he reappeared, the MiL following and holding the bowl that he had just gotten in his hand before vomiting up the entire contents of his stomach.

And about two minutes after that, A. shuffled through the living room with a bowl of his own and the wan announcement that only bed could save him.

By 6:45 p.m., every member of the household except for me and the MiL was in bed. 

We're really starting 2016 with a bang. And a vomit bowl.

Wealth and Happiness Underway

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a fabulous New Year's Eve, whatever that means to you. To me, it meant not a single spirituous libation and bed at 9 p.m.

I was tired. And I don't really care about New Year's Eve.

But! It is now New Year's Day! And you know what that means!

Well, probably you don't. Unless you're either southern or have been reading this site for more than a year.

In case you don't fall into either of those categories, however, lemme summarize: Pork for health, greens for wealth, and black-eyed peas for happiness, every New Year's Day.

It's one of my links to my family, wherever I am, and wherever they are. This year my parents are in Florida with my sister, celebrating my brother-in-law's retirement from the Navy, so they'll be sharing their New Year's Day dinner this year.

My brother and I--and our families--would have liked to have been there, too, but it wasn't to be this year. My brother, in fact, might be on the road right now (he's an airline pilot) and possibly won't have his New Year's Day dinner until after the actual day.

But I got mine going.

Kale for greens on the left, plus the diced onion and bell pepper ready to go in the roux, and roux for the black-eyed peas on the left. And a dirty stove, because that's what cooking looks like in my kitchen. The pork roast goes in later.

Happy New Year, my lovelies. I wish you all health, wealth, and happiness in the coming year, even if you're not making pork, greens, and black-eyed peas right now. I'll eat some on your behalf.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cubby the Stoic

At about 2:30 this afternoon, Cubby started saying he didn't feel good, that his stomach hurt.

Oh, great. This sounds like the return of the vomit to me.

So I sat him in front of The Sword in the Stone with a big bowl and instructed him to puke in that should the urge strike.

He sat there for about an hour, whimpering occasionally, but not using the bowl.

Then the mechanic called to let us know that A.'s car was ready to be picked up, so I paused the movie and prepared to load all three children into the minivan to bring A. to the mechanic. I told Cubby to bring his bowl with him, just in case. As I was helping Charlie find his boots, I heard A. say, "Good work, Cubby. Just get it all in the bowl," and turned around to see Cubby throwing up very quietly and calmly into the bowl.

He stood there for a minute until he was all done, still not making a sound. I took him into the bathroom to rinse out his mouth and dump the contents of the bowl, and then he put his boots on, grabbed the bowl, and got in the car.

Still no crying, no hysteria, nothing.

On our way to the mechanic, that "Brave" song came on, the one with the refrain of, "I wanna see you be brave." Cubby piped up with this from the backseat, "This is my lucky day, to hear my favorite song when I'm so sick, so I can be brave."

Right, Cubby. Way to keep calm and carry on, little buckaroo. You're a brave one, for sure.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

For Mary's Mother

Sometimes I wonder why I've kept on posting the same random, frivolous drivel here day after week after month after year after year after year . . . Almost nine years now I've been writing inconsequential stories about my small life and sending them out into the ether for no reason whatsoever.

Except they are not inconsequential. Because people read them. And to some people, they become quite important indeed.

One of those people was Mary's mother. Mary is a friend of the MiL's from way back. Mary's mother lived in an assisted living facility, and Mary visited her mother almost every day. At some point, Mary began printing out and reading my blog to her mother. And those stories that I put very little thought into became a part of both of their lives.

Mary's mother--I never met the lady and in fact don't even know her name--particularly loved the stories about Cubby, Charlie, and Jack. She followed along with all their births. She laughed at their antics and their proclamations. She watched them grow up, even though they never met in person.

Mary's mother died yesterday. Mary was with her at the end, and when the MiL sent me the news about her mother's death, Mary specifically wrote to me to let me know that her mother asked about "the little boys" until the end, making up stories about them based on the expressions she saw in the photos I posted.

This made me tear up. And it reminded me that those little boys are precious in so many ways, to so many people.

So to Mary, I extend my deepest sympathies. And for her mother, I offer one last photo of "her boys," whom she never met:

Rest in peace, Mary's mom. With love from the Family Blackrock.

Monday, December 28, 2015

My Birthday Gift From the Universe

I went to a bar last night to celebrate my birthday.

To appreciate how out of character this is for me, you should know that the last time I went to a bar was probably seven or eight years ago. But it was kind of a miserable day yesterday, what with the pouring rain and the (STILL, FOREVER) snotty children and I really, really wanted to get out of the house. The options around here are pretty limited, so the bar it is. I e-mailed a couple of friends and asked if they could meet me at the bar in the village around 4:30 for a drink.

It was very last minute, and both of these friends have their own three kids each, so getting all three of us there would have been something of a miracle. Turned out one couldn't make it at all and the other couldn't get there until about 7 p.m.

So I put all three kids to bed a little early and left at 7 p.m. I got home at 9 p.m. and the first thing A. told me was that shortly after I left, Charlie vomited all over his bed, and himself.

We had spaghetti for dinner. It was an ugly scene.

Charlie has never thrown up before, and was understandably upset. Hysterical might actually be a better word. But A. and Cubby (who is actually very solicitous and helpful in situations like these) got him and his bed cleaned up and got him back to sleep relatively quickly.

There were no further wake-ups, although he did apparently throw up again a little. I discovered this when I went in this morning to gather up the laundry and found another little puddle on his pillow.

He had to have a bath this morning and I had to scrape a sour-smelling mixture of spaghetti and carrots off his pillow and sheets, but! BUT!

I was not here for the hysteria and vomit-covered three-year-old at 7:15 last night. I could feel guilty about this, but . . . I don't. Instead, I feel relieved and grateful that my friend's schedule meant I was at a bar when the excitement started and I didn't have to deal with the hysteria and second-hand spaghetti all over the bed.

Call it luck. Call it fate. Call it a divine plan. Call it whatever you want, but happy birthday to me.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Cocktail Party in a Box

Today is my birthday.

I'll wait while you type out the congratulatory comments. Done? Okay.

I didn't ask for any particular gift, so my mother and the MiL just got me what they thought I might like.

The MiL ordered five pounds of snacks from a pound of pistachios, a pound of cashews, a pound of pecans, a pound of dried apricots, and a pound of something called chocolate coconut haystacks.

After ten years of living with me, she definitely knows what I like.

My mother, in a pleasing and totally unplanned complement, sent me a box of top-shelf liquor. Because although she hasn't lived with me in way more than ten years, she knows my love of a good cocktail. So I am now the owner of three bottles of liquor I would never buy myself: a bottle of Tanqueray gin, a very classy-looking bottle of brandy, and a bottle of blood-orange liqueur.

Yes, blood-orange liqueur. I know! Fancy! I can't tell you how excited I was when I saw that. I'm going to have the most exotic Sidecar ever.

So between the snacks and the liquor, I was basically sent an entire cocktail party. Except I'm not having a party, which means it's ALL FOR ME. Well, and A. I'll let him have a drink, too.

Congratulations to my mom and the MiL, who pretty much hit the ball out of the park with this year's birthday presents. And happy birthday to me.