Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gout. Look it up.

Have you ever noticed that when you get back to something - school, work, your gym routine - Day 1 goes well. You are on it and everything clicks. And you know that clicking and you think Maybe this time will be different. And then Day 2 goes sideways. And upside down. And sticky.

I knew I shouldn't have answered the phone yesterday morning, but it was the middle school. Someone didn't want to be there (we've gone through this every January since this child was dumped in daycare by a heartless mother).  "She threw up," said the nurse. We're on a first name basis at this point.

Damn it. Vomiting. There's no turning back, no bargaining. "I'll be right there."

The sudden need for popsicles and chicken soup, required a trip to the grocery. I don't drive the several miles into town on a whim so if I was going, I intended to get all the groceries in that trip. As if one can get all the groceries. Ever.

At the store, I frightened a stranger. I'd unloaded the cart and stood chatting with Savannah, the bagger, and Julia, the cashier, while groceries traveled the long stretch of conveyor belt. A woman with the most interesting mullet I've ever seen surveyed my purchases as she waited for enough space to clear so she could put her items on the belt.

"Was another snowstorm predicted?" Her eyes were wide.

Julia, the cashier, laughed. I'd just mentioned that we'd run out of everything during the last snow.

"No," I smiled at the worried woman. "We were out of everything and I came in for a side of beef and a buttload of Buy One Get One Free things."

She didn't even flinch at my use of the term buttload. "Oh, phew!" She drew her hand across her forehead. "I am so over the snow."

Me, too. I'm also over hearing how there's no food in the house and why can't we have more meat because we're starving and need real meals, blah, blah, blah. Listen, I'd have to rustle a steer, marry a chicken farmer and have a hog farmer on the side to keep enough meat in this house now that Nate is working out with the baseball team.

It's something to watch your son transform from boy to man with muscles and hairy armpits and a new chiseled effect to his jawline, but damn, it's like feeding lions at the zoo. I remember my brother David at this stage. He and his friend, the other David, would eat a box of PopTarts and drink a 2 liter of Mountain Dew each.

MathMan and Nate are working out every night after school doing core exercises with names like The Bus Driver, The Hindu, Russian Twists and  other offensive things. Their bodies are screaming for protein. Shakes and Clif Bars are fine substitutes, but Hans and Franz want meat. MEAT.

There is now meat in the house. I am going to stuff these people so full of dead animal that Nate will never again ask what gout is. He'll look at his big toe and remember.

Obviously, I'm sensitive to criticism of this sort. I'm working on it, but when a cat offers feedback about breakfast by depositing undigested Purina One swimming in Friskie's Mariner's Catch on the carpet, my mood plummets. That is the final insult. Someone is going to pay.

Punishment takes many forms. Some days, it's messing with the cats' heads by placing stuff in the exact spot on the bed where they usually spend the hours between 8:08 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. Their time share arrangements get turned around and I take sadistic pleasure in their discombobulation. They fuss with each other and mope and try to work out a new schedule, but there's always that one guy. You know how it is.

Today, I was more aggressive about the punishment. Since no one stepped forward on all four paws, all the cats had to suffer, not just the puking perp. I forced them to endure my version of Naked Eyes' Always Something There to Remind Me. As soon as I finished cleaning up that pile of puke, that's exactly what I did. Twice. With hand gestures.

What's your favorite form of punishment? Go nuts, people.


  1. Hans and Franz...ha ha ha! I also sing to punish my children..."Back in the Saddle Again" and "Born to be Wild" are among my favorite musical punishments.

  2. Back in the sixties in my stoner days we often had ants in my apartment. I'd put a paper towel down across the counter and when they had a nice, neat line going across it I'd turn it around so they were now running into each other. Then I'd laugh my ass off, put on the Moody Blues and have another piece of Sara Lee chocolate cake.

  3. Very funny. Very true. Enjoyed this. Gout got me in. I had a twinge in my toe a week or so ago and was tempted to give up beer and replace that intake with water. the red meat part i could not forgo.Mr Gout went away so I am returning to a more normal diet.
    Thanks for joining my blog.

  4. "It's something to watch your son transform from boy to man with muscles and hairy armpits and a new chiseled effect to his jawline, but damn, it's like feeding lions at the zoo."

    In my family, we were pretty much all bottomless pits, food-wise, until the last 15-20 years. Without gout, but that is probably a genetic thing (ours, not yours). To this day, you do not want to get between me and a buffet when I'm hungry...

    Chicken and fish also count as protein, although whole chickens for one person is a bit much.

  5. jayne, i think i love you.

    lisa, there's no thinking, i know i love you.


    baby, don't forget my number....

  6. Working out is all well and good, but tell The Boys that too much red meat will turn them Republican.

    I don't have a favorite punishment, as everyone/everything in my life either doesn't deserve it or doesn't give a shit.

    PS, Take lots of pictures of Nate - by this time next year you won't recognize him!

  7. I don't have cats, but I did take care of a friend's cats after he died until I could find them a good home. Six months of me and two cats, one of whom was young and would run the length of my tiny apartment at 3:30 a.m., which involved jumping on the bed and launching off of my abdomen. This obviously had to stop. I stopped it in two days. At the time I had a tv and the cats would rest (before sleeping) at the end of the bed. Every time I saw the offending cat close his eyes between 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. I would poke him with my foot and then look away like it wasn't me. After a few hours of this, he would get up and go to the cat carrier to try to get some undisturbed rest. Two days and it stopped. Just saying.

  8. Sounds like you are kicking ass and taking names, my friend. Go get 'em, girl! Meatheads!

  9. Gosh, you're good. Did I hear right? You're unemployed? Now that's a travesty. Girl, Sedaris has nothing on you. Publishers, agents... they should be ashamed. This is some-kind-of-talent staring at me right in the face.

    As far as punishments, the threat is usually sufficient. I do fantasize about giving them all wedgies but that's on-going and rooted deep in my childhood, having been the recipient of too many.

    This issue of boys with food is something I know well. Mine is barely five years old and can eat the rest of us under the table. I don't know which is worse. Him as a teenager or three girls going through puberty at the same time. What the hell was I thinking??

  10. Punishment. We don't do enough of that in our house. That's it, I'm scheduling some in for the weekend. (I read the Bitchmom post as well - I think we may be related...)

  11. When my kids have a fight, I make them hug each other for an uncomfortably long time afterward.

  12. Have you considered an exorcism for the puker? She seems to have mastered the fine art of vomiting on command -- my youngest sister was an artiste in that field, too. She'd be fine at home, but put her any place she really didn't want to be (like school) and she'd hurl.

  13. Hear me now and believe me later. Punishing whom, the offspring? I just make 'em join me in watching football or Star Trek, or I'll sing operatically if I'm feeling extra Dr. Evil.

  14. Man--I am so afraid of that vacuum thing happening to my son. He's always eaten a lot--generally 4 snacks after a full dinner... but I have heard it will get significantly worse.

    You crack me up with your messing with your cats.

  15. What CR said about too much meat turning you republican! Ha ahahh ahha!

    I laughed quite a few times reading the post and the comments! Thanks, Lisa!

  16. I have always been allergic, and as such, have always been a NOT CAT person. They seem to puke a lot, though, cats.

    As for protein: I've decided that we're eating a lot more beans and as much less meat as I can get away with. I'm making chili with mostly beans and a little ground beef. Bean soup. And starting with dried beans because of the BPA in cans business. So far it's working out. By so far I mean, we're in week two.

  17. The funniest thing I have read today: "There is now meat in the house. I am going to stuff these people so full of dead animal that Nate will never again ask what gout is. He'll look at his big toe and remember."
    You, my friend, are a hoot! You also had me snorting with laughter at "butt load".

  18. I am in love with "interesting mullet". I love a good mullet. I also like the Hans & Franz reference. Makes me nostalgic.

    Does Nate like cottage cheese? I stock up when it goes on sale and eat the hell out of it when I'm lifting. Serious protein.

  19. I never seem to find an appropriate punishment for those who deserve it. Yet somehow, everyone finds the perfect recourse for my own misdoings. Guess I'm just more well-versed in misbehavior than I am in discipline or revenge.

  20. My "punishment" was similar I suppose - I would usually play Elvis Costello's "What's So Funny About Peace Love and Understanding" really really really loud and stand on the dining room chair and play air guitar. (Sometimes it was Blue Rodeo's "Cynthia.") It was a good way to let them know on Sunday mornings that I wanted to go out for breakfast and I was really hungry and it was time to get the hell up.

  21. I relied heavily on the natural consequences, every action has a reaction method....
    Fold the baskets of laundry, because if I have to do it & cook dinner, I won't have the energy to drive you to (whatever function).

    Or the carrot on a stick method....
    Yes! You can go to the (insert desired activity here) just as soon as you finish (insert chore here) .

    I once had a sister-in-law critique an annual x mas letter, saying I should include so & so in the letter. I fixed that problem by not sending any more annual letters! Voila! No more critiques! Hey! I was trying to be more meaningful by sending an update-- I was not asking for her opinion of the content.

  22. There is a stage in the male development during which they can apparently effortly metabolise tens of thousands of calories daily.

    As you have commented, it later comes back to bite them in the ass. Gout ... oh yes, indeed. (Not to mention all the other stuff like diabetes, coronary heart disease, etc.)

    However, for the ultimate artery-clogging gross-out, nothing beats the legendary Scottish delicacy, fried Mars bars!

  23. I am so impressed that either you noticed the checkout peoples' names (what a writerly skill) or you very craftily made them up. Either way, admiring you, as always and ha on the cats. I have taught my by my head sleeper to sleep with his body under the covers with his head sticking out. I'm pretty sure putting him in doll clothes will follow shortly.

    Also, I love Jayne!

  24. I'm always trying to cut back the meat consumption. I'd like to eat for vegetarian dishes, but then there's be riots in the form of sulking and eye-rolling and I can't handle it.

    I worked with a 30-something guy who had gout. I guess he never met a vegetable, other than potatoes, that he liked.

  25. I tell my children that if they tell the school nurse that a) their brother has lice or b) he or she barred the day before, I will burn all their stuffies and send their dollhouse to the Salvation Army.

    Oh, no, wait, that's the Tiger Mother, not me. I just tell them that I'm not entirely sure what I'll do, but I guarantee they won't like it.


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