Monday, February 21, 2011

The Mystery of the Yellow Gatorade, Explained

I realized in my last post that I didn't add my mother-in-law's postscript to the Yellow Gatorade Mystery. :-)

I didn't have the answer to this mystery myself, until a few months after Gabriel was born, when I remembered to ask her about it.

But the answer is that my mother-in-law and father-in-law had had the flu themselves a few weeks earlier, and her friend had brought her some yellow Gatorade and my in-laws felt much better after they started drinking it. Eleven years later and I can assure you that there hasn't been a day that we haven't had at least one bottle of Gatorade in the pantry, for flu emergencies. :-)

My mother-in-law maintains to this day that the yellow kind is the best for post-flu. I sincerely think this has to do with the fact that the yellow is less likely to stain than the orange or the red or the blue, if, you know...well, if it makes a reappearance all over your living room carpet.

Friday, February 18, 2011

In Which I Take a Walk Down Memory Lane

Have I told you this story before? If so, bear with me and treat me like your dotty old aunt who tells the same story over and over so you nod politely and smile...and wish you could spike her holiday eggnog so she would just shut up and fall asleep on the couch. Er, or something like that.

Eleven years ago - February 18, 2000 - was also a Friday. (Question - is this true of any date at any given time? Is eleven years the number of years at which a calendar will be exactly the same? Or does it vary depending on how many leap year periods have been in any given eleven year period of time? I don't know.)

At any rate, February 18, 2000 was a Friday.

I was a gazillion months pregnant. (OK, maybe I was only nine months pregnant. But it FELT like a gazillion months pregnant.)

I was really OVER being pregnant. My back hurt, my feet hurt, everything hurt. I had to pee every 3 seconds.

Despite the generally achey-ness of my condition, I worked fiendishly that day - I had a weird, manic energy and a compulsion to finish EVERYTHING on my desk.

I wasn't a lawyer then. I was a "research specialist" - a job that involved crunching data from the US Census, and researching whatever odd or bizarre questions that came up in the process of doing consumer research. (When I interviewed for that job, the man who would later be my boss said, "I need someone who I can call in here and say, "How many Chihuahuas are there in Boston?" and by the end of the day they would either know or present a model for finding out. Can you be that person for me?" And the answer was, yes, yes, I could. I actually really liked that job, and I was good at it. But I didn't see myself counting Chihuahuas or crunching census data for the rest of my life.)

As I prepared to leave for the day, I wrote a clear list about what things needed to be accomplished the next week - not something that was usual for me. (I tend to keep lists in my head rather than on paper, especially at that (pre-child) point of my life.) But that evening, I knew I needed to write everything down, secretly hoping that I would not be there on Monday and that the note would assist my co-workers. (God forbid there should be a Chihuahua counting crisis in my absence.)

I waddled out to my car, and it was already dark. Husband had telephoned me when he got home from school (as was his habit and is still his habit today), and told me he didn't feel well. I told him I didn't feel well either, what with the baby feet grinding in my ribcage and all.

When I walked in the door I knew something was wrong, because Husband was ASLEEP on the couch at 7:00 PM in his PAJAMAS.

I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen my husband in pajamas before bedtime. While I may prefer to pass entire weekends in my pjs, Husband is not that kind of peron. Nor does he nap. Ever.

So to come home and find him napping and be-jamma-ed...something was up.

And the thing that was UP was his TEMPERATURE.

Husband normally runs a temp of around 96 to 97 degrees. He's cold blooded or something.

But eleven years ago tonight, he had a fever of 102 and climbing.

When I woke him up he barfed.

This was not good news, because all during my drive home, I was having pain in my lower back. I was beginning to think I was in labor.

Have I mentioned that I was a horrible pregnant person? Because I was. really. wretched. Cranky. Petulant. Pouty.

Whilst Husband was tossing his cookies again, the phone rang. It was my mother-in-law. I told her what was going on with her son.

My mother-in-law said, with a conviction in her voice that implied her next statement had years of empirical data behind it, said, "He needs Gatorade. The yellow kind. Do you have any?"

No, of course we did not have any yellow Gatorade, because Gatorade was not something we ever had at our house.

I told her so.

"He needs some," she said. "Call one of your sisters to see if they will bring you some."

(It should be noted that my mother-in-law did not bring me the Gatorade herself because she two hours away, and she did not want me to go out and get the Gatorade because she was also convinced I was about to give birth.)

I hung up with my mother-in-law and told Husband I was going to the store to get him some Gatorade. He was laying on the couch again in a feverish lump. He mumbled something about not wanting me to go out. I went anyway.

(Both of my sisters and my mother lived on the other side of town. There was a grocery store at the end of our street. It seemed silly to call my sister to drive across town to bring Gatorade.)

Have I mentioned that it was snowing?


It was.


It was snowing like our city was competing for a chance to host the Winter Olympics.

I went outside and brushed all the snow off of my car that had accumulated in the time since I got home from work. I drove to the grocery store, my car slipping all over the road.

I waddled/skated/slid into the grocery store, where I wandered the aisles fruitlessly - unable to find Gatorade or a human being working there.

I also determined that I was hungry. STARVING, in fact. Ravenous. And I had a craving.

A ridiculous craving. I wanted a Wolfgang Puck BBQ Chicken Pizza. Why? I don't have ANY IDEA. But I wanted one, desperately.

I toddled over to the frozen foods and stood there, staring sadly at the collection of frozen pizzas. I can assure you that there was no BBQ Chicken pizza option there.

I left the frozen food aisle and stumbled upon a teen-aged boy stocking shelves.

"Where is the Gatorade?" I asked him.



He wandered with me, and we ultimately found the Gatorade over in the produce section. WHY? I still don't even know. I bought the last two bottles of yellow Gatorade and realized I was still hungry.

And there was still no BBQ Chicken pizza in the frozen food aisle.

I decided (?? WHY ??) that a can of Chef BoyRDee Spaghetti and Meatballs would suffice. A product I had not consumed since I was a child. But I wasn't about to argue with my very pregnant self. The baby wanted BBQ Chicken Pizza and I couldn't deliver. So the baby wanted canned meatballs. Who was I to quibble?

I slipped in the parking lot walking to my car and I really thought I was going to fall down and end up giving birth, alone and frozen, in a snow drift in the parking lot of a poorly stocked grocery store.

I somehow regained my balance and lurched into my car, driving home at about 5 miles per hour, since visibility was minimal.

When I walked in the door, my husband was on the phone with my mother. They were hatching a plan to start calling both the hospital and the grocery store, concerned that I had actually gone into labor while on the hunt for yellow Gatorade.

He was so relieved to see me he threw up again.

I got him some Gatorade, and I ate some canned spaghetti product.

We both fell asleep.

At some point, in the middle of the night, Husband's temperature spiked to 104.

I think I gave him some ibuprofen. A few hours later his temp was 95.

I probably should have taken him to the ER.

In fact, I think I definitely should have taken him to the ER, since a temperature swing of eight degrees in a few hours is really not normal in a human being. I think. I mean, I'm not a medical professional, but that seems wrong to me.

But I didn't take him to the ER. I went back to sleep and so did he. And we slept all day and all night Saturday.

Little did we know that was the last uninterrupted sleep we would have for about three years, because by Sunday night, Husband was feeling much better (and he confessed that his mother had never ever once, not a single time, in his childhood, given him yellow Gatorade to recover from the flu) and I was very definitely about to deliver the sleepless little man who has been making me laugh and keeping me awake for the last eleven years....


Monday, February 07, 2011

Eminem and Chrysler's Curious and Compelling Love Song to Detroit

If you were watching the Super Bowl last night, you may have noticed this ad.

If you were watching the Super Bowl in the general geographic region where I was watching the Super Bowl last night (confession - I was watching the ads, and eating and chatting during the game) - this ad probably made you sit up and take notice.

We were watching with two other families, and the room mostly went silent when the underlying music (the bass line of Eminem's "Lose Yourself") began, and the screen panned over the Detroit Institute of Art's magnificent Diego Rivera murals.

I'll admit I was glued to the screen.

I wasn't sure what the ad was for, and even when the end revealed the ad was for Chrysler, this was so much less about a car to me, than it was about a city that has, indeed, "been to hell and back". (And I'm not entirely convinced it's "back". Yet.)

I spent a good portion of my childhood playing in my grandparent's back yard. In Detroit. Not suburban Detroit - but Detroit proper. Twenty-five years ago, it was a neighborhood in Detroit where pre-teen girls could safely walk to the corner grocery to get milk and lunch meat.

Last week, in that same neighborhood, somebody stole ALL FOUR TIRES off of my aunt's car. (Not just the hubcaps. THE TIRES. They left the car sitting on bricks.)

(And yes, a part of me wonders why they didn't just steal the whole car.)

I'm torn about Detroit - a city that dominates the area where I live, and yet which seems to be crumbling into chaos.

I'm weirdly grateful to Chrysler for putting this ad together - for saying, I think - "We have an ability here - here in the Midwest, here in America, here in Detroit - to make some amazing machinery. Don't give up on us yet."

On the other hand...I still worry about my aunt and my grandmother, and I worry that next time, it won't just be the car that loses something.


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