Monday, February 21, 2011

The Mother Ship Went Down

Moms often say they "can't" get sick. They're "too busy" with work, housework, the kids' homework and working out. The machine will grind to a halt. The house will fall apart. Blah, blah, blah.

Well, I'm here to tell you it's all true.

I was hit with a wicked head cold last week, the kind that inspires drug companies to create new marketing campaigns for medication that seems to do almost nothing when you need it most.
At 5 p.m. last Tuesday, I was fine. By 8:30 p.m., I was on the sofa, cradling a box of tissues and wondering how I contracted what had to be the pig virus version of the avian flu. Only, there were no chills, no fever, no stomach upset. Also no pigs or chickens. This was a head cold?!

The next two days were spent in front of the TV. Just days prior I was an active member of society. Then, suddenly, I was a like Meg Ryan in "You've Got Mail," going through thousands of tissues in one day. Only, I didn't cover every surface of my house
with used tissues the way my children and Meg's ADULT character inexplicably did in that movie.

Like blind mice, the family was forced to bumble its way through the week. The dishwasher was emptied, but measuring spoons were put in with soup spoons and Tupperware lids were stacked on the plates. Mom's sick, nothing makes sense anymore!
In the span of two days, the dining room table became a sea of mail, because the Mother Ship wasn't plowing through it, determining which half was to be pitched into recycling, and which was to be filed for a few months on top of the bread box... and then pitched.

Rations ran low.

Ryan: "We don't have any pretzels."

Me: "Isn't there microwave popcorn?"

Ryan: "It's gone. All we have are Italian ices I don't like and one Fruit by the Foot! Everything's gone!"

Cara: "We also don't have any frozen fruit. AND I need shampoo!"

Mike: "And I don't know what we're doing for dinner. I should just take the kids out."

Terror was gripping the household.

The troops were accumulating one hard knock story after the next, the kind that would be passed down to future generations in somber tones and hushed voices.

Cara: "I want to take a shower and we don't have any towels."

Really. No towels. Not anywhere in the entire abode? I lifted my 400-pound congested head from my couch pillow, started to get up, and then was like, "What the hell is going on around here? It's not like I haven't done laundry this year. Check by the dryer. Or use a beach towel. Or use an old towel from the top of Ryan's closet. Just stop the craziness."

Satisfied that I'd managed the towel crisis, I went back to watching my 36th straight hour of TV. When I went to use the bathroom, I saw Cara re-fashioned my terry wrap and Ryan resurrected his bath hoodie as their bath towels. As absurd as that sorry display was, rather than get real towels for them, I chose to down more Sinex and Advil, and resume my fetal position on the sofa.
Mind you, this family-wide failure to thrive occured within two days of the onset of my illness.

By Thursday night, I had to deal with a work project that had a hard deadline of Friday morning. Against all odds, I wrote it and handed it in. I have yet to hear from the editor about any hallucinatory-type statements, to which I'm grateful.

Later Friday, I was returning emails and such at my computer when my battle-weary husband came up to me.

Mike: "Umm, I need underwear. Maybe I should just go buy some."

Jesus H.

I didn't have the energy to argue that -- last I knew -- the washing machine was actually in working order. Or that he and our progeny didn't seem to be in traction, so why did we have no food or clean laundry?! No, I was so out of it that I just requested the laundry be brought to the basement. Where I began to load it into the washer.

...And unload the clean towels, socks and underwear that were never taken out of the dryer. Ohhhh, yeah.

While I was back there, I opened the freezer of our basement fridge... just for kicks. And there it was: a stash of Omaha Steak burgers, dogs and pork chops. In plain view. For those who may have been interested in eating.
But not me. I got my sorry self to the basement couch. The Mother Ship was dropping anchor. And another night of take-out wasn't going to hurt anybody.