Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sometimes, forgettable is good

“Well, at least tonight has been memorable,” I said. “Most Saturday nights just turn into a blur of pizza boxes and Netflix envelopes, but not this one, right?”

“Uuuuugh,” my wife Kara replied. She said something after that, too, but I couldn’t quite make it out, partly because she wasn’t enunciating, but mostly because her head was inside the toilet bowl, which apparently has very poor acoustic projection.

I couldn’t stick around to chat anyway, since our toddler Evan was busy in his crib doing his best impersonation of Linda Blair from The Exorcist, but without the head-spinning. At least I imagine that’s what the scene from The Exorcist would have looked like, if I was dumb enough to watch that movie. I handle horror movies about as well as anybody, as long as anybody doesn’t sleep for three days afterwards.

We were managing to put on a pretty good horror show of our own last Saturday night, light on the gore but heavy on the splatter.

It was all my fault. I had recently asked the question: “Did you ever notice that Evan never throws up anymore?”

“Don’t say that. You’re tempting fate,” Kara replied.

Turns out, Kara was right. I had put a rhetorical slice of moist strawberry cheesecake right in front of Fate, and Fate was very tempted.

“Oh, I really shouldn’t,” said Fate. “But what the heck. Just this once.”

And so our house was blighted with a 24-hour bug that took out two-thirds of its human occupants, sparing only me, perhaps because I was gracious enough to invite it in.

It’s a strange phenomenon, when everyone around you gets sick but you don’t. You know you didn’t do anything to deserve it, but you still feel kind of cool, which is how it must feel to win a Grammy.

Before witnessing the carnage last Saturday, I thought 24-hour bugs sounded delightful. Only 24 hours? Whenever I’ve gotten sick as an adult, the symptoms seemed to last longer than the Crusades, and I’d gladly have taken a condensed version instead. But now that I’ve seen a 24-hour bug in action, I think I’ll stick with the slow-burning kind that doesn’t turn its hosts into biological geysers.

If we had to guess where Evan and Kara picked up the bug, the safest bet would be the toddler playland where we took Evan earlier in the weekend.

“We’re taking Evan to a bouncy castle place,” Kara said to her mom over the phone.

“Oooh, those places are full of germs,” her mom replied, and Kara passed that information along to me.

“Aw, c’mon, germs are nothing to be afraid of,” I said, hours before the projectile vomiting began.

The thing is, I’m pretty sure Evan would still do the entire weekend over again. He spent hours inside the toddlers’ bounce house, laughing, screaming and running full tilt into the walls. That’s pretty much what he does at home anyway, but it turns out to be much more fun when the walls are inflatable.

By the time we left, he’d had so much fun that I think he would gladly sign up for another severe gastrointestinal event to do it all again. But if it does all happen again, I think we’ll either swear off bouncy castles forever or put Evan inside a giant hamster ball before rolling him across the drawbridge.

The next morning, everyone was feeling better, and our house had the slow, moaning and groaning vibe of a frat house after a great party. Kara and I had just survived the kind of night that you know you’re signing up for when you become a parent, and which gradually becomes part of family lore. Most importantly, though, we learned that having a night to remember is best left for people without kids.

You can dump sawdust on Mike Todd at


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  2. Dude, you're like the opposite of Typhoid Mary. The last man standing. New nickname? Iron Mike.

  3. Oh, and hey Chunks, if that's an attempt an attempt at humor I vote you leave the funny stuff to Mike.

  4. Gosh Amy, you're right. I went back and read what I posted and it sounds really mean spirited. I just had to delete it since it does not come off humorous in any way.

    So, on a lighter note:
    Dude, I picked up a nice book called "100 Classic Hikes in Texas" with lots of color photos. You really gotta come down this way - these hikes are off the hook.

  5. Ames -- Thanks! I hope Mike Tyson is okay with sharing that one. He seems like he'd be a pretty good sharer, right? And also, oh, snap!

    Jered -- Aw, dude, how am I supposed to call you a douchebag for a comment you deleted? I'd been looking forward to it all day. Anyway, on the hiking, let's see how you fare in the Catskills first, then we'll talk. Also, people say "off the hook" in Texas? Are you sure you're not supposed to be saying "dern tootin'" or something?

  6. @Mike -- I just assumed you had already caught the comment but were waiting for a few entries before responding. Believe me, it was a bad attempt at humor (as is typical with me).

    Yer pretty right about our sayin's here. This ain't my first rodeo. I meant to say that there book I found is finer than frog hair.

    I'm as full of wind as a corn-eating horse but I gotta say that I might have off work tomorrow. We're expectin' a big toad choker tomorrow and it's suppos'd to freeze over the trails.

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  8. Now THAT's the Jered I know and love... thanks, man. I would delete my comment ripping on your comment, but then we'd all look a little bit nuts.

    P.S. This last one was funny as hell. Your first post made me as mad as a mule chewing on bumblebees - and this one made me 'bout as happy as a tick on a fat dog. xo

  9. A big toad choker? That's my new favorite expression. Also, how cool is it that there are so many deleted comments? It's all mysterious in here now.

  10. It IS mysterious now! I kinda like it. And Amy, you've got tongue enough for 10 rows of teeth... it's impressive. I never realized you had the lingo down. Nice job! Hope you and Jaime are doing well.

    Mike, I'm with ya on "toad choker" - I prefer it over "frog strangler". It's a pretty funny sayin'. In hindsight though, they both kinda sound like masturbation terms.

  11. PS: Mike I know I only post photos on my blog but if you could find a few minutes to post a few words it would make me feel super good - I think you are the only one visiting my blog :) Thanks man! I can't wait for my visit (I'm counting it down).

  12. Jered Earl -- Absolutely! I'll head over there as soon as I get done choking the ol' toad. Wait, that's not what it sounded like.

  13. Dude, I gotta take this back from Southern to Valley Girl - love ya both, but gag me with a spoon and gross me out the door! xo

  14. What? That means shoveling the walkway, right? Speaking Texan is tougher n' the northbound hide on a southbound mule.

  15. wow - hope they are all back to normal now. The pukies are not fun.... Hannah loves to tell about the time she puked the whole way down the stairs. "Remember that, mom?" she'll say all proud of herself. Like I could ever forget THAT.

  16. Oh man, we all three got hit by that bug a while back. Glad you all survived! Poor Parker only threw up a few times but coming out the other end was a whole other story. One involving a trip to the doctor, some prescription antibiotic diaper rash cream, and a week of screaming diaper changes. A memorable Christmas indeed.