21 April 2011

Of Pathogens and Preparation

Ack! I am one week away from the NECRWA conference! I am unprepared, and this week is not progressing as planned. Four is on school break, and Five has been lolling outside death's door since Saturday. The rainy weather and Five's consumption have kept us confined indoors all week. Except for the day Four got his cavity filled, and then chewed on his dead lip until it swelled to Angelina Jolie proportions. It's a good thing Four is easily entertained, or he might have noticed that this is the suckiest Spring break ever.

Five started to rally today, and the sun made a late appearance. It was enough incentive to get me to vacuum. Oh, did I forget to mention that we host all the family gatherings? Therefore, while my brain is busy thinking of all that I must do before leaving next Thursday, I must also dedicate time to prepare for Easter dinner. The crowd will be small, in comparison to Thanksgiving. Twenty-three people, give or take.

I have a love/hate relationship with the holiday parties. It's fun to decorate, and the family enjoys being together, especially the young cousins. But it's a lot of work. I suppose if I maintained my house, it would be clean and at the ready. But since that isn't the case, it would help if I didn't have children. Or at least if I had children who don't play sports, act, sing, or do homework. Then, I could really be productive.

There was a moment yesterday when my mother-in-law considered cancelling the whole shindig. She is hyper-germ-aware. She has been closely monitoring Five for signs of improvement, while vigilantly studying Four for signs of contagion. She and I have different opinions about the half-life of viruses. She firmly believes that germs can linger undetected, like long-range reconnaisance patrols, for weeks after the initial contact. Thus, Five can make a complete recovery, but if Four gets the same illness in the next two weeks, Five will be to blame. Therefore, she almost called the whole thing off, out of concern for the other grandchildren.

I, on the other hand, think that if any children get sick after Sunday, it will be because they all attend public school. When one swims in that cesspool of pathogens day in and day out, one is at risk every moment trapped within those airless rooms. I don't think wee Mr. Five can be held personally accountable for any illness acquired subsequent to one's visit to our home, Your Honor.

M.I.L and I discussed our divergent theories, and concluded that Easter festivities can proceed as planned, after the entire house has been disinfected with Lysol. I get the feeling I've been hoodwinked into defending my right to work my ass off. Well, I do have ass to spare, so maybe it's not all that bad.

Tomorrow, I will still be trapped at home with Recovering Mr. Five and Fat-Lipped Mr. Four, so I'll finish decorating my tables and the all-season tree. That might free up some time for conference related items later. You know, between the egg-dyeing, basket assembly, and actual cooking of the meal. Who am I kidding?

At least I can rest easy that I will arrive in New England germ free, thanks to the Lysol.


  1. Anonymous21.4.11

    Daniel and I argue about the cleaning products (when we are not making fun of them in the store aisles). He likes Pin-Sol, I say it smells worse than the built-up gunk and dog aromas. I like Lysol, but really prefer bleach. Nicely santized smelling. Mostly we barely tidy up, so everyone wins! (Oh wait, maybe that is "no one wins" -whatever, we can just open a window.)

    You'll be fine, germs are everywhere, we get infected, or we don't. Them's the only choices.

    P.S. Do we get a picture of the Easter tree?

  2. OMG, I swear we're living the same life in different locations. Or maybe not, because my kids aren't currently sick. (That sound you hear is me knocking the hell out of the nearest wood.) Also, I do my level best not to have to throw family parties. I am not a good hostess. I think the in-laws have sensed this, because they rarely ask. I volunteer even less than that.

    At any rate, we can be unprepared at the conference together. Tell you what, I'll bring the toothpaste if you bring something that fits me. Deal? No? Damn.

    I'll be thinking of you this afternoon when I'm wrangling four kids at the dentist's office and praying none of them have big-ass holes in their teeth.

    Oh, and bring the Lysol. I hear the bedspreads in hotel rooms are nasty.

  3. I, like Julie, differ from the DH on cleaning supplies. I love bleach. He loves Fantastick which I think stinks horribly. I also 409 the bejeezus out of my classroom but yes, Megan, public school IS the source of contagion not poor Five.

    When I have reached for dh's soda or tried to nibble off my mom's plate I get an aghast: What if I'm SICK you could catch something from me!
    To which I reply. I teach school. I fear no germs.

  4. PS In my first year of marriage I wanted New Shared Traditions anda invited both sides plus extended family to: dh's bday, dh's confirmation, father's day, MIL's bday, thanksgiving, and christmas at my house.

    Never. Again. The policy is No one comes here. They all bitched and I was overwhelmed. See, my Shared Traditions were viewed as ADDITIONAL to attending all existing events that require us to be in two or more places at once.

  5. My mom was a fan of both bleach AND Lysol or Pinesol. I hate all of them and am slightly sensitive to chemicals. (That delicate hothouse flower that I am.) So I decided to go as natural as possible.

    I make my own laundry powder out of baking soda and borax. Has worked fine for a dozen years.

    For surfaces, I general use Method or some other "green" cleaner (safe to use around food). If I'm feeling fancy, I might put together one out of white vinegar and I forget the rest. Either lemon juice or some antibacterial essential oil. For scrubbing, Bon Ami (which doesn't have chemicals and is gentle), or borax. (In a test in a hospital, borax & hot water did as good a job or better than all the normal cleaning chemicals at removing dirt and germs, and didn't create super-germs in it's wake). In the toilet, I use the Bon Ami and one of the various sprays. And don't have to worry about creating chlorine gas and making myself sick or dead.

    That's me, uber-green, when I can be. And right now, due to everything, my apartment is not only too cluttered to hold anyone but me, but it is also dirty and it makes me just about as nuts as I already am.

  6. I believe the best cleaner is the one I paid Merry Maids to bring. If, of course, I could afford that and was organized enough to arrange it.


  7. Re hotel beds: Forget Lysol CHECK FOR BED BUGS. Lift up the mattress and check along the edges of the bed frame, and the bottom edges of the mattress, for little dead bodies and poop, using the bedside lamp. I am not even kidding. Sadly. Very important.

    Re cleaners: Mine tend to be a little more in the Skye camp.

    Good luck with Easter. I only have one relative still living in this city. :-P


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