20 Benefits to Catching a Stomach Virus from Your Kids

V0010485 A young Viennese woman, aged 23, depicted before and after

Things have been a little rough here at MommyEnnui headquarters since Halloween turned into a horror story. The girls were adorable in their costumes and both were in high spirits, until Smalls started complaining of a tummy ache. Being closely attuned to my child’s needs, I first suggested she lay off the candy for a while. When her stomach ache worsened, I assumed she had to poop. Smalls denied it, but the child has been known to stare me straight in the face and lie about having gone to the bathroom with pee running down her leg.

It wasn’t until she started vomiting all over the place that Ad Man and I realized we had more than a little Halloween candy-induced tummy ache on our hands. Ad Man took barf-clean-up-duty while I bathed Smalls and began a long night on bucket duty. A few days later, when Smalls was finally back to school and feeling better, Biggie came home complaining of a stomach ache, but insisted it was from reading on the bus. Oh, how I wanted to believe her!

Not surprisingly, Ad Man and I have been the most recent victims of the virus. When I woke up this morning to a migraine brought on by dehydration and caffeine withdrawal, instead of wallowing in misery for the fourth straight day, I challenged myself to come up with some benefits to having a stomach virus. Yep, I’m going to glass-half-full the shit out of this nasty bug! So, here is your list of 20 benefits to catching a stomach virus from your kids. You might want to keep this list handy. I hear it’s going around.

1.  Fewer dirty dishes

2.  Your boyfriend jeans fit like sweatpants again

3.  Good excuse to drink Gatorade instead of green smoothies

4.  No more stealing the kids’ Halloween candy

5.  Newfound appreciation for plain bagels

6.  Teaches the dog to entertain her own damn self

7.  Alcohol intake gets dialed back to zero

8.  Things that haven’t been cleaned in a while get scrubbed to a shine

9.  No judgment for wearing the same pajamas for days on end

10.  Perfect time to binge-watch a new show

11.  Teaches your children to forage for meals

12.  Lessens your attachment to material things, like white flokati rugs

13.  Running a fever makes you track down sweaters and flannel sheets before the end            of February

14.  Kick-starts your pre-holiday cleanse

15.  Housekeeping standards are significantly lowered

16.  Strengthens your resolve to never be pregnant again

17.  Your life of routine and monotony gains a renewed sense of the unexpected

18.  Can’t feel guilty for not going to work or volunteering. You are not wanted there.

19.  Gives you a chance to try out that new no-shampooing trend

20.  You get to go to the bathroom alone again!

Back and Forth: A Tale of My Spine Told Through Photos (Blatantly Stolen from the Internet)

As you may know, I’m just emerging from a week away from the computer during which I took a complete break from writing. After months of dealing with worsening back and neck pain, enough was enough. In an effort to heal my gnarled spine, I had to do something drastic. How did I get to be such a pathetic physical specimen? Easy. I spent far too many hours doing this…

hunched-posture-computer

Which left me feeling very much like this…

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So, I set aside the computer and spent some quality time with my chiropractor who tried just about everything to get me back in line, including some of this…

brunette_woman_adjustment

…and a little of this…

huey_lewis_chiro

…except that my chiropractor doesn’t look like Huey Lewis. In fact, mine is actually the perfect blend of this…

Concentrated male doctor looking at x-ray picture of spine in th

…and this…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

And when I say he tried everything, I mean everything. Neither the tiny pogo stick…

chiro_pogo_stick

…nor the laser gun seemed to do the trick. I left the office feeling defeated.

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The next morning though, I awoke feeling quite a bit better. And, after a blissful afternoon of this…

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I felt like this…

flying_baby_pool Hopefully, that wonderful feeling will remain after I return to doing this…

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I won’t hold my breath that I’ll be able to do this though…

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And, let’s be honest, in hot yoga I actually look more like this…

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Now, I can finally get back to doing this…

woman-writing

…and all is right with the world.

R & R

birdie_5_months_1014Dear readers, I’m a mess. I know it goes without saying that the inside of my head is an untidy place, but this time I mean I’m physically falling apart. My neck and back are tweaked and I haven’t been to yoga in longer than I’d like to admit. I have a hunch (get it…hunch?) that much of my problem derives from being bent over a computer all day. Well, actually, it’s more than a hunch seeing that both my chiropractor and acupuncturist have pointed to my far-from-perfect posture at the computer as one of the main culprits causing my back issues.

Another major culprit is the furball pictured above. Miss Birdie has quickly gone from cute, little puppy to big, strong puppy with places to go and people to see. I take her for a couple walks a day, so that’s a lot of being yanked along by a leash. Me, that is, not Birdie. She has a magical new harness that has lessened the pulling significantly, but I still bear the wounds of her less civilized days.

This is a very long way of saying I’ve decided to take a leave of absence for a week to rest and rehab my aching back. When I’m done writing this post, I will tuck my computer away in a safe place, (or better yet, have Ad Man hide it from me) and not pick it up again for seven whole days. Instead of spending hours every day draped over a glowing screen, I will check in with my chiropractor, actually use the massage gift certificate Ad Man and the girls gave me for Mother’s Day, and drag my sorry ass to yoga. If I really, really need to check email or Facebook, I will do so on the tiny, uninviting screen of my iPhone.

So, ta-ta for now, my friends! I shall return in a week a changed woman, or at least one less dependent on anti-inflammatories and heated neck pillows.

The Rathole Next Door

swank_bhead_houseI know I’ve mentioned before that we live in an affluent neighborhood in Atlanta called Buckhead. The houses in much of the neighborhood look like this one. However, we like to say that we live on the wrong side of the tracks in Buckhead. Or, “Buckhead adjacent,” since it reminds Ad Man and me of living in Los Angeles where any structure within 10 miles of Beverly Hills is referred to as “Beverly Hills adjacent.”

Don’t get me wrong, I love our neighborhood and the homes are far from cheap. Well, I should clarify that they are not “cheap” unless you moved here from San Francisco like we did. (We spent the first few days of our house search running around all giddy yelling, “Holy crap! They’re giving houses away here!”) The difference is that the McMansions being built amidst the 1950s ranches in our neighborhood are far smaller than the legit mansions just minutes away.

When we were in the process of buying our home, there was a house next door that appeared rundown so we asked neighbors about it. We were told that the house belonged to an elderly couple who were poor health and didn’t have family living nearby. People in the neighborhood pitched in and took turns mowing the couple’s lawn. We thought, “Now, that’s the kind of neighborhood we want to live in!” But, by the time we moved in, the house next door was empty. Well, not empty, exactly. It was still full of furniture and personal belongings and curtains were hanging in the windows, but the elderly couple had moved in with their daughter a few hours away.

And, that is exactly how it has remained for the past seven years. We’ve met the couple’s daughter and her husband a couple times, and they’ve made a show of removing a stack of boxes every other year or so, but as far as actually doing something with the house, they’ve always appealed to our sympathy. They live far away, they both work and have kids, they’re dealing with her father who has dementia (the mother has since passed away), etc. They’ve alternately claimed that they were going to renovate the house and move in and, more recently, tear it down and rebuild. My requests for a timeframe always go unanswered.

front_door_trashWe and other neighbors have been more than patient. Others would have firebombed the damn place years ago. Instead, we’ve watched the house, which is on a large piece of property in a great school district, deteriorate to the point where it will no longer be salvageable, even if taken down to the studs. Imagine this…the home (which we’ve come to refer to as the Boo Radley House) has been un-air-conditioned and unheated for seven years. In Atlanta! Things are gross in the summer in Atlanta even with air-conditioning. We’ve complained to the city and it was condemned at one point a few years ago, but the homeowners just hired a yard service and had workers do some cosmetic fixes. That was apparently sufficient for the City of Atlanta.

Other than keeping the grass mowed, the house is again in a deplorable condition. Workers who were in the house years ago reported that it was infested with rats and covered in mold. And, to think, it’s right next door. Delightful, huh? It’s always a fun topic of conversation when we have guests over for the first time. Anyway, the reason I tell you all of this is because I HAVE HAD IT! I’ve decided to take on the owners of the house and the city like it’s my full-time job and I want to keep you updated on my progress (or lack thereof).

So far, I’ve done a bunch of research about the city codes and the Office of Code Enforcement records, which is the most I’ve used my law degree in the last eight years. I’ve also gathered documentation between me and other neighbors and the city, our city councilman, the code enforcement office, the homeowners and others. I’ve written a letter with the advice of a friend-of-a-friend who held a high-level position in the city and knows how best to get the attention of the people who might actually do something to help us. I’ve taken photos of the falling-down house and I’ll be walking around the neighborhood getting as many people to sign the letter with me as possible.

If all of the above efforts don’t work, I have a few other tricks up my sleeve. Stay tuned for updates. If any of my lovely readers has advice or a contact in the City of Atlanta Office of Code Enforcement, please let me know!

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!

mommy_ennui_ALS_ChallengeMommyEnnui took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge this weekend. Well, actually, I did it twice! After the first take, Ad Man realized that my iPhone had run out of recording space mid-splash. Of course, he was more than happy to douse me with ice cold water again the next day! If you’d like to see the video of take 2, wherein I get bonked on the head with a big ice ball, click here.

The purpose of the Ice Bucket Challenge is to raise awareness of ALS. If you’re not familiar with the devastating disease or want to know more about the Challenge, click here. I have, in turn, challenged two of my favorite blogger friends, Joanna Pritchard of Poppy’s Style and Kris Willcox of Rhapsody in Cool. I’m counting on you, ladies!