Friday, February 22, 2008


Our city is in the throes of a nasty trio of disease: the flu, an upper respiratory thingy, and a stomach virus.

Sport had the stomach virus yesterday. He threw up all morning and was as weak as a kitten for the rest of the day. But this morning he hopped out of bed without being prodded eight different times. "I'm just happy to be alive!"

Our best pals were laid out by sickness and walking pneumonia for more than a week. I got a call from one friend who said her husband was sick -- again. Another friend emailed with a hilarious account of his illness:

"...a combination of the flu and a lack of will to live that may or may not have been related. I choose to think they were because when I was in the depths of the illness I wanted to be neither asleep nor awake and was uncomfortable in whatever position I found myself. It was truly an existential crisis."

I work in a library. SO works at the airport. We are both exposed to the general public every day. We live in dread of exposure, which has led to the development of an OCD-like obsession with handwashing. If I could get away with it, I'd wear a face mask or even an epidemiology body suit like they get at the CDC.

Oh yeah, remember the roof repair? Well, the torrential rain we got on Saturday opened up a leak and took out a patch of ceiling in our department. Three computers were destroyed. We are now dealing with a nasty stink and a roof that has yet to be fixed. When I come to work, I get nauseous. But no one will remove the carpet until the leak is fixed. When will that be? I don't know.

Ahhh, bureaucracy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tarred and bothered

I don't have a significant head injury story to share, but I am slightly nauseous. Our aged building is getting a new roof, and the smell of freshly melted tar is wafting through the office. It's like the La Brea tar pits out there, but I doubt there are any mammoth fossils to be discovered. Most likely a cigarette butt or too have been unearthed while scraping away the old tar paper. The roofing crew don't even wear masks. The smoke coming off of that tar machine is really thick, but they seem impervious to the fumes.

This morning, due to high winds, patches of insulation went flying over the side of the building and landed near the entrance. A couple of stray pieces fell onto a customer's car. The stuff looked exactly like plywood and I was afraid it was going to conk somebody right on the head, opening us up to a lawsuit, so I went running down to find the security guard. He was standing by the front window, watching the insulation fall.

"You need to tell the roofing crew to keep this stuff from falling off the building," I said. "It's going to hurt someone."

"Yeah, I was going to go out there at 9 and tell them."

Our security guard was watching it happen, actually saw a customer go and remove it from the hood of her car, yet stayed inside, transfixed by the sight. Unbelievable. He's more of a bystander than a security guard, if you ask me. It's enough to make me want to go and learn how to shoot a gun, maybe even get a conceal and carry license so I can protect myself and my co-workers. It's obvious if something really big goes down, our guard will be the first casualty. Probably his gun flap is rusted shut or something. Sheesh.

I guess there's a very real chance I could end up with a significant head injury by the time this roof is finished. Pray for me.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I've never been cool.

I accepted the fact that I wasn't cool long before I could really even define what cool was. There was no way I could be cool -- not by wearing clothes out of the church donation box or, later, those found in discount stores. In high school, I loved being a band nerd. At least I had plenty of band nerd friends with whom to congregate. Safety in numbers.

My boys, however, strive to be cool. They aren't yet asking for the expensive tennis shoes or blue jeans, but they certainly want to blend in with the crowd: hairstyles, attitude, and mismatched socks.

Apparently, it's not "cool" to wear a warm coat. Even though it was 15 degrees outside this morning, neither child would don anything heavier than a hoody. If the bus should break down or the family van run out of gas, those two would freeze their tushes off. They don't know the meaning of the word "preparedness."

Lego could style his hair to accentuate the curls he was born with, but he prefers to slick it down over his forehead. Sport has a closet full of nice clothes, but he wears the same ratty t-shirts to school every week. When we do our Saturday running-around, they invariably leave their coats at home, counting on the van heater to keep them warm.

If we do end up with a flat tire, I'm not giving my coat to anyone. Unlike the boys, I don't strive for coolness. I'd much rather be comfortable. And nerdy.