It turns out that being a grownup is a grind

I spent most of the last week trying really hard not to whine about not feeling well, because there is little more annoying than listening to a grown-ass adult complain because she has the sniffles. But I didn’t feeeeeeeel goooooooood and that was HARD. Because of the sniffling. And the feeling yucky. And wah wah wah. The truth is that I always get sick after I travel, and that was WEEKS AGO, now, and instead of getting full-blown, plague-level sick right away, I was just kind of stuck in this Victorian-fainting-couch level of feeling unwell for weeks, not getting better, but not really getting worse, either. Basically I had a cold.

And then last Friday I woke up with an awful earache, because I am three. Naturally I handled this situation with maturity and aplomb, which is to say that I stayed in my pajamas for two days, whining about how I AM TOO OLD FOR AN EAR INFECTION. I also took a lot of drugs (legal ones; nothing fun) and ate all the vitamin C in the world and drank a lot of water. I bemoaned my fate as The First Person Ever With The Cold That Would Never Go Away. And then yesterday I woke up feeling fine.

I should’ve been elated, but instead I was 1) slightly embarrassed by all the carrying on I’d been doing and 2) annoyed that this meant I no longer had an excuse to avoid being productive.

[Sidebar: Here I should note that on Saturday, while I swanned around whining, Otto pretty much Did All The Things around the house without complaint. Because he is a saint. And because he probably realized years ago that what I lack in useful household maintenance behaviors I make up for in… ummmm… hang on, it’ll come to me… uhhhhh… well, I’m sure there’s something.]

And so Sunday became the delightful intersection between trying to catch up on all the things I hadn’t done in the previous week (or two) and children needing things but also being surly. What a FANTASTIC combo! I recommend this to anyone who is considering becoming an alcoholic. (I managed to get through it with just three cups of coffee and a lot of choice vocabulary words, but your mileage may vary.)

The good news about this confluence of events is that right about the time a certain someone’s phone landed in Cell Phone Jail (motto: Is your phone here? You were probably being a jerkface!), I then had the perfect excuse to leave the house and drama behind. “Goodbye! I love you!” I called out to my family. “I’m sorry!” I whispered to Otto, as I ran out the door before he could stop me.

Never before have annoying errands been so enjoyable. I had a list of school supplies the kids still needed, and I walked the aisles of first one store and then another at a leisurely pace, doubling back for no particular reason and also digging my way through piles of folders to find various colors just because. Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Nah, I hope no one I adore is humid and sticky. But shall I spend 20 minutes debating the relative merits of the colored tab dividers with reinforced grommets vs. the larger-tab, all-white ones with a plastic strip along the entire inner edge? WHY NOT! We wouldn’t want to be making a hasty decision about something so important!

After school supplies I did the grocery shopping. At one point someone apologized for blocking the aisle with her cart and I waved my hand and assured her, “No worries! I’m in no rush!” That may be the first time those words were ever uttered in a crowded supermarket on a Sunday, I’m not sure. I was just delighted to be out of the house and feeling normal. (Okay, that was a half truth. I was delighted to be out of the house and feeling normal and being ALONE.)

I delivered my bounty home, put groceries away, got the kids going on laundry, and left again to run one more errand. Then I sat in the parking lot and made some phone calls before I went in. Listen, by the time I got back, enough time had passed that the Household Drama Quotient had dropped back to suitable levels, so I was feeling good about the day.

By then, though, I was also exhausted. I guess I still wasn’t quite 100%. But there were things to be done and I pushed through, including chasing my son around the house after dinner with a pair of scissors. I don’t know WHY he decided he didn’t feel like having a haircut, but once you look like a delinquent muppet, it’s time. (I didn’t really carry the scissors around while I was chasing him.) (I may have threatened to “accidentally” shave his head if he didn’t get his butt over to the haircutting chair, though.)

The trauma of having to sit still for 20 minutes (OH THE HUMANITY) was remedied after a quick shower with 1) looking very handsome and 2) a large slice of pie. There’s not a lot you can’t fix with pie. Being handsome is just a bonus, I guess.

As Otto and I climbed into bed late last night, I remarked that I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been SO TIRED, and it was silly that a normal day of chores had worn me out, so. Otto reminded me that I’d been sick and sloth-like for quite a while and that I’d probably feel better after a good night’s sleep. He is smart, and I agree with him. Unfortunately, for no good reason I couldn’t sleep last night. Two weeks of being sick and snuffly and I slept fine, and the first night I feel okay and am genuinely tuckered out, BOOM. Insomnia.

Well, hey, at least it meant I was awake well before my alarm went off, and I popped up and made breakfast and packed lunches and did some work and got Monkey up and working and I made a bunch of phone calls and now I can take a nap! Except no, I can’t take a nap, because I still have a ton of work to do and we have several appointments today and also I’ve had most of a pot of coffee. So.

I dunno. When I was a kid I was sure adulthood was a lot more glamorous than this. Maybe I’m doing it wrong.


  1. Barbara E

    I’m definitely going to remember the pie! I recently discovered that I can make my 13yo boy child do JUST about anything with the promise of more x-box time. Including try on lots of clothing for school in the dressing room at Kohl’s. Even shorts that included belts and buttons and zippers and don’t have the swoosh on the side! Exciting!

  2. jenni

    Worse than a cold is seasonal allergies, because then it’s like I am not actually sick, I’m just allergic…to something. So I should totally do all the stuff I normally do, but with hand sanitizer and a giant box of Kleenex. Even more fun is when you’re pregnant and the only allergy medicine your doctor actually recommends you take is Benadryl, but you know sometimes life requires us to be awake.

  3. Kate in MI

    This is hilarious, because as I was reading, I was thinking, “My, she has had a LOT of caffeine today.” Yes, I sound the same way when fueled by that black nectar of the gods.

  4. Chuck

    Running with scissors! You wild woman. OK, I guess it was just a phrase since you weren’t holding the scissors at the time, but why not live dangerously once in a while. Glad you’re feeling better and I bet you sleep well tonight.

  5. Aimee

    Delinquent muppet FTW!

    Sadly, I think you’re doing it right. Being an adult is not nearly as glamorous as it seemed lo! those many years ago before I was one. Now more often than not it feels like a thankless slog. I guess it’s a fortunate thing that no kid ever looks at adult life and thinks that it looks like a thankless slog, because they’d all just run away to Neverland.

  6. dad

    Rest assured. You are not doing it wrong.

    Incidentally, you did not learn that adulthood was glamorous from me.

  7. Lori N

    Ear infections as an adult serve to remind us that medication is a good thing and Please-oh-Lord-let-it-be-bacterial-because-antibiotics-rule! Oh, and I will personally hit over the head anyone who uses the words, “it’s just an earache” about mine or my kids’ symptoms. Ear aches hurt!

    Yes, and being a grown up sucks sometimes. In so many ways.

  8. crazyjane

    I was just telling my sister that i’ve been considering becoming an alcoholic…

  9. Brigitte

    Urgh, I feel humid and sticky . . off to the shower, now!

  10. Amanda

    That sounds about right. I’ve found that since we don’t get as ill with the kids out of the petri dishes that are schools and my husband no longer teaching at the university, that when we do get ill now, it’s the end of the world – for all of us. There is much whining and gnashing of teeth.

  11. Kristin

    The lingering cold is the worst. Last winter, everyone in the family was hit by a virus or something before Christmas. I got the earache, the kids started wheezing and then the major part was over. But my gracious, we were still coughing in February. And I was tired of it. Just be done with it!

  12. Rocky Mountain Woman

    I’ve been in the doldrums because of gum surgery – ouch! My mouth is starting to feel better, but now I have fall fever – is there such a thing?

  13. 12tequilas

    Too old for an ear infection? Weellll…my last one was when I was, um, 37. Went from “a bit of pain” to blowing out my eardrum in 24 hours (you’re welcome). I never even got them as a kid, so maybe this was all of them in one. Keep up the feeling better thing!

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