Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Man Flu

I learned a new term yesterday from my British friend, Christine – Man Flu.

Man Flu is an interesting malady that I'm sure, though you may have been unaware of the terminology, has affected one or more of the men in your life.

The only way I can describe it is to reference my personal experiences with the debilitating disease and explain it in ways most women will understand.

Picture Mom. She takes care of two children every day, goes to work, comes home to clean the house, make dinner, bathe the children, take care of the laundry, and go grocery shopping.

Though it seldom happens, one day Mom gets the flu. She has a fever, is vomiting, and races to the bathroom for bouts of diarrhea, but she continues to go to work, to clean the house, to take care of the laundry, to go grocery shopping, and to take care of the kids while Daddy reclines on the couch watching football. He shouts commands at Mommy from the living room – what's for dinner – can you get me a beer – I can't reach the remote that I dropped – can you pick it up for me.

Now picture Dad. The poor man has the sniffles. Incapable of making it into work, he drags his slumped shoulders from his bed and complains about how his whole body feels as if it has been run over by a truck. As if you can't see it by his droopy eyes, a look he has perfected over the years, he is completely exhausted.

All the poor suffering man can do is grab the Wii remote and play numerous games on one television while racing back to finish the taped football game on the other television at the other end of the house and request you to bring his coffee, make his breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and prepare plates filled with snacks.

Throughout the day he will take numerous naps and inquire about medicines he should be taking, all the while asking you to feel his head for fever.

That, my friends, is Man Flu.

Disclaimer – I have several male friends I cherish. Not all men suffer from this affliction. But many of the men I've known throughout the years serve as textbook examples of this, um, sickness.

P.S. Have you read my Dating Advice from My Mother blog? Or my Road Trips in the Flintstonefossilmobile? If not check them out.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Road Trips in the Flintstonefossilmobile

I have no memory of what type of car Mom drove to get us around when my sisters and I were young and my dad was working. I think it was a Ford. I do remember the dread we felt when we got into it though.

I refer to it as the Flintstonefossilmobile because it had a hole in floor of the back seat, and we could pretend we were driving the car with our feet just like Fred Flintstone used to do.

All three of us were embarrassed to be seen in it, and we definitely didn't want any attention drawn to us, but with a muffler that sounded like a Harley on acid, we were doomed to grab the attention of anybody within a twelve block radius.

And we did. EVERYBODY turned around to identify the sonic boom that shook the ground as we paraded down the street, and all three sisters crouched down in the back seat to hide from the leerers.

Despite our attempts to hide, though, Mom had a magical way of drawing even more unwanted attention our way. One day, as she was driving us to school, a spider dropped from the roof to align with her eyes. We didn't know about the spider when the car veered toward the curb, because the spider wiped out Mom's ability to speak, but we knew we were scared.

"Mom, you're getting close to the curb!" I'm sure the spider was taunting her at this point, but, as I said, we were unaware of its presence. Mom didn't want to touch the spider and the only thing she could do was pray that it went back up its web. It didn't.

"Mom, STOP! You're on the curb!" It hung in front of her, probably thinking (do spiders have brains), "Hmmm I see you have your children in the back seat. Let's see if we can cause this old jalopy to crash like a tin can." Her eyes widened as she thought about how to get rid of the hanging spider, totally oblivious to the fact that she WAS DRIVING.

After she clunked over the curb, we called out, "Mom, you're on the grass now! Slow down!" We saw the front steps of the house directly in our path become an obvious target. Closer and closer to our car it appeared. Mom, however, heavy leaden (though microscopically small) foot on the accelerator, saw only the spider.

By this time, maniacal children were screaming all around us. Oh, wait…that was the three of us. MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMMM!

She stopped just short of the steps, quickly threw the car in park, and ran out of the car, leaving the three of us in the early stages of a heart attack.

Yes, driving with my family has always been interesting. And occasionally, for one reason or another, my parents have been known to abandon the car in a hurry and leave at least one of us inside.

On a trip through the Arizona desert, for instance, WITHOUT AIR CONDITIONING in the MIDDLE OF AUGUST a wasp flew into the car. My sister, Cindy, a sound sleeper, had fallen asleep and didn't hear my mom scream, "GET OUT OF THE CAR. RIGHT NOW!!" So the rest of us jumped out of the car and waited for the wasp to stop crawling on her.

I still remember the look on her face when she awoke to see all of us staring at her from outside the car and hearing my parents tell her, "Don't move!"

Those words haunt me. We were on a trip to a place in Michigan that I think was called Smallbones Resort. It was located somewhere around the Three Sisters Lake. The resort no longer exists, from what I hear, but when we were kids we made several trips there with cousins, aunts, and uncles.

On the "Don't move!" day, when I was around thirteen years old, a wasp landed on my shoulder. Mom went into a frenzy. "DON'T MOVE!" she commanded me. We had recently been told that I was highly allergic to bee stings and that if one stung me three times I would die. I stood like a tin soldier.

Mom and Dad stood in front of me watching the wasp wander across my shoulder. I trembled with fear. My father grabbed a rolled up newspaper and my parents argued about whether or not to swat it.

Dad raised the newspaper.

"NO! Don't. It might sting her."

"But if I don't, it might sting her anyway."

"Stand completely still. DON'T MOVE!"

He raised the newspaper again. I squinted my eyes waiting for the assault, either from the newspaper or the wasp.

"NO! Don't. It might sting her."

"But if I don't, it might sting her anyway."

"Stand completely still. DON'T MOVE!"

He tried again. I thought I was going to pass out.

"NO! Don't. It might sting her."

"But if I don't, it might sting her anyway."

"Stand completely still. DON'T MOVE!"

Repeat numerous times, and each time, picture the bee crawling further up my neck.

Eventually, with one swift movement, my father slammed the newspaper into my neck and killed the wasp. I think my nervous system became permanently damaged that day, and years of bug panic contributed to a lifelong morbid fear of anything crawling or flying.

It might not surprise you to learn that we all suffered from bugphobia (it's a term used only for my family, so perhaps you've never heard of it). For most of our lives, especially when it concerned bees, wasps, and spiders, we lived in fear of anything that we perceived to be harmful.

And that included tiny little insect-sized humans who drove fossil cars, like my mother.

(image from http://i-love-cartoons.com/snags/clipart/Hanna-Barbera/Fred-Flintstone-Barney-Rubble-Car.php)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Feminine Products in a Bachelor Pad

What's the difference between a Sanitary Pad and a Bachelor Pad?

(raising hand and shaking it vigorously) OOH! I know! I know!

But I might never have made the connection if it hadn't been for – oh, here we go again – sorry – I CANNOT mention her name, but you might remember her from a previous post. (Click the link if you want to read about another one of Beebeeshababa's adventures.)

Yes, folks, Beebeeshababa has given me reason to blog about her AGAIN.

She is dating a divorced father of a 2-year old daughter. We'll call him Vgfoatyo (acronym for very good father of a two year old). I have not as yet met this man, but he sounds like somebody I would like – well, except for one small detail – read on.

Unfortunately, like most men dating women, Vgfoatyo is totally unprepared for a woman's monthly visitor, so when Vgfoatyo left for work in the morning and Beebeeshababa was getting ready to leave for her job, Beebeeshababa woke up with her period and a house void of sanitary supplies.

She probably could have removed his roll of toilet paper and stuck that between her legs, but that would have left him with nothing, and what if he had to come home from work and well, you know, poop? Not a good idea.

Besides, walking around with a roll of toilet paper wedged between her legs would be uncomfortable and it would have shown through her pants.

She could have used folded paper towels, but unless she had tape to hold them in place, they might have crawled out of her pants, rising slowly up her back with every step she took, and how disgusting would that have been?

So she had to come up with an alternative.

Running around in a frantic search for anything that looked remotely similar to a sanitary pad but unable to find anything, she paused for a brief moment when she discovered something that just might work, Vgfoatyo's daughter's Pull-Ups.

Would it be at all possible to fit into them? she wondered.

Before I go any further, I must explain to you that Beebeeshababa is very much like my mother (oh, no, did I somehow manage to maybe hint at her identity) – microscopically small. You could probably pick her up with one hand and place her in your pocket, so yes, the Pull-Ups found their way up her skinny little legs and over her tiny hips.

For the first time in 20+ years, Beebeeshababa could parade around her boyfriend's home wearing a diaper. Not that she had a boyfriend 20+ years ago, but imagining her wearing a diaper is kind of disturbing.

All kinds of images swarm my brain. She had to drive home to change her diaper (that cracks me up just thinking about it). But what if she had gotten pulled over for a broken TAIL light (again, cracking myself up here) or somebody BUTT into her (will this ever END)?

But really, how hard is it for a man to equip his home with NECESSITIES? How pathetic is it for a woman to have to search for a substitute for sanitary napkins when the guy could be a sweetie and provide them? Is it too much to ask to keep sanitary supplies in a man's cabinet for us?

So here's to the men reading this blog – if you have a woman in your life, do her a favor, will you? Keep some sanitary supplies in your bathroom. And if you're not comfortable with sanitary supplies, keep some Pull-Ups or even large diapers on hand – something.

So what's the difference between sanitary pads and bachelor pads? Isn't it obvious? Bachelor pads can be sanitary, but sanitary pads can't be bachelors.

Oh, come on, people. It's just a blog.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The McDonald's Police

When my three oldest grandchildren were young, my daughter occasionally brought them to McDonald's to eat. Going out was a treat for them, because they seldom had money for anything. But they were kids, and kids play hard and loud.

Kids are also filled with so much energy, parents find it difficult to settle them down for any length of time – especially when they go someplace fun.

But Keeley, my daughter, wanted them to have memorable experiences, so she found inexpensive places for them to go. She also wanted them to behave, and she didn't want to have to chase them around, so she devised a plan that worked very well.

On one of her visits, she invited me to accompany Amanda, 6, Sarah, 5, Travis, 1, and her to a local McDonald's.

We sat down and it wasn't long before I noticed how well-behaved they were. I couldn't help but comment about how like little angels they were acting, and I wondered what magic she performed to keep them securely in their seats with no bouncing, crying, jumping, leaving their seats, or anything.

They were the picture of perfection, children who other parents of rambunctious, out-of-control kids would sigh and say, "I wish my kids acted that way."

I was so proud of them and her for her superb mothering skills.

Until she told me about her warning – that if they didn't behave and eat all of their food, the McDonald's police, who were watching them from cameras on the ceiling, would rush out, grab their Happy Meals, take the Happy Meals away, and make them leave McDonald's and never come back.

Thanks to Kelly, who has an online business degree and has supported this blog.