Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I desperately want a new(er) living room rug, so cruising craigslist the other day, I saw a promising one being sold by a woman who was "moving to Austin to start my music career!" I pictured a 20 or 30 something, fed up with the grind, setting off to pursue her dream. We arranged a time for me to come by and I was surprised to hear that she lived in a well-to-do suburban neighborhood. When I got there, I was even more surprised to see a gleaming silver Porsche in the driveway. And when I rang the bell and the front door opened, I was absolutely flabbergasted when a woman who was about my age and looked slightly less natural than Donatella Versace answered the door.

She was wearing artfully (by which I mean expensively) ripped bright red leggings, a tight low-cut tank top (it was 45 degrees out), and a cowboy hat. It was all I could do to keep my chin from dragging on the pavement. I mean, this is Pittsburgh! The only "work" people have done on themselves here are Steelers tattoos or organ transplants. Anyway, thank God for my Diplomatic Corps training! I held myself together and followed her into the house. I didn't buy the rug, but I did look around looking at other stuff and we got to talking. After a while, being me (by which I mean being nosy) she'd told me her life story.

It was a sad one. Her handsome, successful tennis-pro and professional photographer husband had died. They had no kids. Their big fancy house was empty and loveless and reminded her only of what she had lost. I bought some books and a bike rack but, though she had nice things, it would have been too painful to bring anything that reminded me of her home. Not because she'd lost so much, but because she was so clearly running as fast as she could from so much. I mean, I understand; she's a middle-aged, heartbroken woman, with, possibly, her best times behind her in a society that completely devalues normal looking older women who aren't "cougars."

It was a weird and interesting evening. I'm not usually a very judgmental person, but I walked in there judging the Hell out of her for her Porsche and her face and her gratuitously top-of-the-line everything. But I left there hoping she would find a little bit of peace and happiness, and imagining her on stage - with her guitar, her bleached-blond hair, her bad-girl ripped leggings, her cowboy hat - singing her alt-rock heart out, in front of an audience that will only remember her for that ruinous caricature of a young woman's face that she wears in place of her own.

I also left there wishing I'd had the nerve to tell her "Honey,you're a sweet woman and you really need to stop having work done on your face. It's starting to get scary."

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The good (mommy), the bad (mommy), and the H1N1.

I put he youngest to bed at 9:00 last night. I had my feet up and was really looking forward to a few heavenly hours to myself. Then, at 9:15 I heard the heavy-sigh inducing, personality-splitting sound of her feet creaking down the stairs. Bad mommy reared her ugly head and snipped at her, "What's going on?" My daughter said "Mommy, my chest hurts." Now she really does have H1N1, but she's also a complete hypochondriac, so while bad mommy wanted to say 'Oh for heaven's sake! Just go to SLEEP!', good mommy said "Come lie down on the couch and let's see what we can do about it..."

Two hours of nonstop chest pain and several chats with the on-call doctor later, good mommy got in the car and took her to the ER...

Everyone in the ER had masks on - receptionists, nurses, kids, parents - everyone.

Friday night at Children's Hospital smack in the middle of an H1N1 epidemic. Good times. Every room was full. The hallways echoed with the sound of crying children. We were there for hours.

Anyway, it turns out that people's immune systems are fighting the H1N1 virus so hard that it leaves other parts of them undefended, and doctors are seeing lots of opportunistic secondary infections. So my little hypochondriac actually had an inflammation and infection of her chest wall. Just before we left the hospital (at 4 am) they gave her a dose of antibiotics. By the time we got home, her chest had stopped hurting.

Good mommy and bad mommy were both glad they'd taken her to the ER were very grateful for the miracle of antibiotics. And bad mommy was reminded that just because someone's a hypochondriac, it doesn't mean they're not really sick. She's learned her lesson. And now that a third child is getting a cough, bad mommy will no doubt have to learn it again. Bad mommy hates learning lessons.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

H1N1 hits home

Two of the four girls have probable cases of H1N1. When I took the youngest to the doctor today, they met us in the parking lot, gave us masks to wear, and whisked us in the back way. The youngest seems to have a mild case. Can't tell yet with the middle child. But I'm keeping a hawk eye on them, and hoping for the best.

Friday, October 16, 2009

I shoulda seen it coming....

So yesterday my twins (you know, the ones who came out) said, "Mom, can you take us shopping. We need to buy some flannel shirts." Seriously guys, did one of you send them that "Now that you're a lesbian!" book?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fixing Lizzy's heart

I made this to cheer up a friend with a broken heart. So now you all know that if you need your heart put back together or just someone's ass kicked, call Middle-Aged Super Mom! She'll make it all better.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm alive

It wasn't a great summer for writing and me. The kids, those ever useful excuses to not get anything done, were all home and, try as I might to ignore them, well, I couldn't entirely. And my mom is on facebook. And my novel was seeming utterly intractable. And etc. ad infinitum. So many excuses, so very boring. Even for me.

Well now school is in session and my excuses are all gone eight hours a day. I'm taking on the novel again, and I hope to be a better and more entertaining correspondent. (But not with my mom on FB. That just too weird.)