Tag Archives: day care

The Energizer Bunny of Pestilence

The air goes in; the air goes out, and with it (both ways!) goes a sickly ripple of phlegm in the throat.

Our house is afflicted with the plague again. Seems like I write this post every year. This year feels worst of all, though that can probably be blamed on poor memory.

We shouldn’t be surprised. The kids are in day care, after all, which is basically a petri dish incubated at a biologically-friendly temperature for the entire year. Sort of like the opposite of the CDC. Instead of cataloguing germs for study and treatment, the day care simply cultivates the germs for dissemination on an unwitting populace.

All that means that for the last six weeks, at least one person in our house has had some form of cough/runny nose/sinus infection/sore throat. And for the past two weeks, we’ve all had it. Kids have been to the doctor, but my wife and I haven’t. She because every time she goes to the doctor, the doctor tells her she has a sinus infection. (She could go in with foot pain and be diagnosed with a sinus infection, I’m pretty sure.) Me because I’m a red-blooded American male, and we don’t go to doctors unless body parts need re-attaching.

I hate to complain about being sick. Any runner will develop a healthy (or actually, pretty unhealthy, come to think of it) ability to fight through pain, but whatever germ we’ve got keeps going and going. The Energizer Bunny of Pestilence. It’s become impossible to ignore.

First it was just a nagging cough. Then the cough got some static in it and migrated down into the chest. Then there was a little rattle at the end of each and every breath that won’t dislodge no matter how many coughs I cough. Now it’s a headache that settles in after lunch and hangs around like that one friend at the party until you give up and go to sleep.

Is it just a super bug we’ve contracted? Probably not. The body influences the mind influences the body, and it’s been a stressful month. The loss of my recent writing. The culmination of the one-act play we’ve been rehearsing at school for several months (ask anybody in theater what the best/worst time in the life cycle of a production is, and they will tell you it’s the last week — and that was last week for us). The not being at home due to all the work on said play.

I was sick going into all that, and then I went through all that, and I’ve only gotten sicker.

Thankfully, the stress is abating. We take our play in for competition today, so the pressure of improving it is over. And the novel has begun generating its own momentum again, so my daily writing is fully back on track. So maybe, maybe, just maybe the phlegm-lacquer coating all my breathing parts will start to crack as well.

Just in time for the kids to bring home a stomach virus from day care, no doubt.

This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.

Becoming the Curmudgeon

I’ve always joked that I’m going to become that old guy. You know the one. Pants a little too high on the waist. Hair in wispy explosions behind the ears. Gravelly, phlegmy voice. Shouting at the neighborhood kids, warning them off his lawn.

I hate everything, so this is a natural outgrowth, but I fear it may be closer than I anticipated.

And ironically, what’s bringing it out of me the most is day care.

I know; there’s nothing more suburban and yuppie than kvetching about your kids’ day care. To be fair, though, it’s not the day care that I have a problem with; it’s the other parents.

Our “school” hosts about fifty kids. It’s not huge, by any stretch. So it’s a comfy little building with a tiny little parking lot; about twenty spots or so, with a “pickup lane” running the gap right in front of the door.

Now, look. I’m going to preface all this by owning and acknowledging how 1st world this particular issue is, but I think, like most things, this is a microcosm for bigger problems.

This parking lot, then, of twenty spaces or so, means that there really isn’t a bad spot in the lot. At worst, you have to walk maybe fifty feet to the front door; a not at all unreasonable distance to rid yourself of your kids in the wee hours of the morning. But there’s also that pickup lane.

Now, the pickup lane is there, presumably, for people to keep their cars idling while they hop in to pick up or drop off the kids. Well and good. But at our day care, people don’t just use the pickup lane. They park right in front of the goldfingered door. So I, and anybody else unlucky enough to arrive at the same time as these hapless, bumbling SOBs, have to detour around their cars, sucking up their exhaust, just to get into the building.

And this is bullsharknado. I pay the same weekly fee as these people. My son and daughter come home with the germs that these people’s kids bring to school. My wife and I (okay, mostly my wife) bring in extra donations when the pre-k teachers send home flyers begging for them. (Seriously, my wife sent in two full-sized pumpkins. WHO DOES THAT?!) But no, I have to detour around their oversized cars for the privilege of using the front door.

Never mind that there are perfectly good parking spaces — dozens of them! — not ten feet away. Never mind that in addition to disrupting the walking traffic, I’ve seen these knuckle sandwiches align themselves like poorly-placed Tetris blocks, stopping even the other jerk stores from passing through the pickup lane until they’ve done their business inside (and they’re never walking in a hurry, either, let me point out). No, these monsters have to park right in front of the doorright across the middle of the crosswalk, and to hell with anybody who’s inconvenienced.

I mean, we’re living in a society, aren’t we? Enough people live in these cramped cities of ours that, even if you hate people like I do, you surely understand that we’re better off if we occasionally look out for each others’ well being and convenience than if we only look out for our own.

These are the people who will drive past the backup at the on-ramp, then nose in at the last possible second. The ones who will angle their shopping cart to stop and obstruct the entire derping aisle at the grocery store while they compare nutrition labels on store-brand and name-brand Cheez-its. Speaking of the grocery store, these are the ones who will blithely pay for a hundred-dollar order with a jarful of change with five customers lined up behind them, or who will stalk you in the parking lot for your space that’s fifteen feet closer to the door than the space that’s wide open a bit further down. (Man, I have a lot of rage centered on the grocery store.)

Well, I’ve had it. I’ve reached the point in my life where I’m no longer content swallowing my displeasure in favor of good manners. I thought for a bit about making up a bunch of passive-aggressive notes to stick on their windshields, but there’s something cowardly in that, and I also think that if you’re being an arsehole, you need somebody to point it out to you to your face for it to really sink in.

So, when I see these people now, I’m calling them on it.

Politely. Self-deprecatingly. But directly. “Hey. I’m not trying to be rude, but this is a crosswalk you’ve parked on.”

I say it, and I can feel that siren’s song in my gut when I do it. Get off my lawn.

I’ve done it twice, now. As nicely as I can stand. And you know what I’ve seen in the faces of the two people I’ve tried out this societal intolerance on? Confusion. They were surprised that I was saying anything to them in the first place, but more than that, they legitimately had no idea they were doing anything anybody would find objectionable. Double-takes to their cars and the crosswalk. Uneasy shuffling. To say nothing of my blood pressure shooting through the roof — me, the ever-avoider of conflict, getting face-to-face to call somebody on their stupid.

But you know what else?

They aren’t parking in front of the door anymore. And that feels good. But I know I’m also paying a price for it. The price of being disliked and grumbled about after the fact. Then again, that may be a price I’m happy to pay.

Is this my first step towards becoming the King Jerk of my neighborhood?


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