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Sick Note
Sunday, May. 25, 2003, 9:33 p.m.

Question: What good is a sick mom?

What I Learned: Donít bother with the doctorís note.

As you might have noticed, my little imood face has been a little sick face for about the last week. For some reason I really couldnít kick this bronchitis/asthma think as fast as usual. I had so many deadlines at work and a few personal deadlines too Ė things that just had to get done. Of course, mixed in there were a lot of things that didnít really need to be done but got done anyway because when Mom is sick:

  • everyone just goes along their merry way
  • household expectations do not seem to change
  • the tipping point is at too delicate a balance not to make the beds and put the dishes in the washer

Furthermore, I notice that when Mom is sick, others in the household seem to behold it as a golden opportunity to slack off. You can bet the darks and whites are swishing around the washer together, dishes are literally tossed into the dishwasher in the strangest configurations all of which are guaranteed to exponentially increase breakage potential, and our resolve to recycle is undermined by my husband who seems to have some elemental conflict with the recycling concept. Also, itís a fact that if everyone notices that Mom is really sick and actually acknowledges that Mom is sick then perhaps everyone will actually get stuck doing extra stuff and fetching cups of tea and blankets and such. I have learned that nursing the sick in an average household does not have anything to do with anyone nursing Mom when she is under the weather. It refers to Mom dropping everything to address the needs of someone else in the house Ė who is not she Ė and feels sick. And yes, it does include food service, cups of tea, and blankets as well as control of a remote control and first dibs on the sofa.

Friday, I went into work to attend an important program off-site for the morning that was just unavoidable. I had to stand in the rain trying to hail a cab going to the program. I had to stand in the rain trying to hail a cab coming back from the program. Umbrella Ė whatís that? During the program, I sat next to one of the speakers, a dynamic woman who seemed to be wearing a very odd and heavy perfume. Itís not good to be around odd heavy scents in the middle of an asthma flair but all the seats were filled with damp expectant attendees so there was no alternative but to breath this exotic air and hope for the best. After the program, I sustained an informative walking tour of the facilities Ė good fun if you are not sick Ė and then headed back to the office for a short check-in with my manager and then the long road home. After, that meeting, I gathered myself up and pushed through the glass doors that lead out to the elevators, only to run into one of the senior managers. I have an overstuffed handbag flung over my arm, and I am juggling handouts from the program, carry-out lunch sandwich in a bag, and a large hot cup of coffee that I had stopped to pick up in the hopes it would revive me. I am sure that I looked like Aunt Clara from Bewitched at that very instant in time, what with the rain-soaked hair, the lack of lipstick, and the surfeit of bags.

Are you going home already? Ė she asked. She didnít ask it in a mean way at all but just as if it was a bit of a surprise that anyone were heading out of that already stone silent office before the proper close of business. It was the Friday before a holiday weekend just after 1:30 in the afternoon and I had hours worth of work to do from my home office. In my purse, carefully folded away was a note from my doctor stated that I needed to rest at home. I was tempted to pull it out and show it to her so that she wouldnít think I was a slacker who didnít recycle consistently and had not made her bed that morning but instead I provided the valid verbal excuse and pushed the elevator button. I understand. Itís hard to be a manager after all. Itís even worse sometimes that being a mom who is sick.

Down in the garage I noticed the smell of that perfume was still in the air. Was it so powerful that its molecules had clung to me like those little thistles that stick to you pants when you walk through the woods or the smoke that hangs in your hair after a drink at the local bar? Opening up one of the folders distributed during the program, I realized that in it lay a color copy of a flier that smelled exactly like Ė the exotic perfume. I was so glad that I hadnít asked the woman next to me what scent she had been wearing.

Seriously though, it did smell a bit like perfume. I have placed it in a plastic sheet protector and filed it away. As is the way of things, I need that document with the exotic smell for future reference.

DETAILS: Coffee: none (sob) + Listening to: West Coast Jazz and Mozart + Observing: a post office at 4:57 p.m. on Sunday afternoon full of wet people, boxes, and envelopes + Watching: Haiki Tunnel (well last night twice) + Weather: Another day of rain

Todayís Suburban Strategy: Do you ever find stuff that makes you wonder? Youíre not the only one.

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