Monday, December 3, 2007

In Which My Norman Rockwell Weekend Goes All Salvador Dali

We had our weekend all mapped out, which should have been our first clue that something was about to go horribly wrong. I do love gettin' a jump on the special family times of holiday joy, making the most of each moment in this magical season both practically and celebratorially speaking, it's just that in My World, making a plan is basically the same as phoning up Mr. Disaster Himself and inviting him over for cocktails, cheese fondue and an all-night Scrabble tournament.

It all started out so perfectly! Friday afternoon Nicki came over along with the Bubster. Bean and Bubba played while Nicki and I chatted about the upcoming progressive Christmas party, and then the minute Al got home from work, I mean the very minute people, the front doorbell rang and upon the stoop stood the pizza man with a hot, fresh, delicious pizza for us to all share, which we did. Then Bubba and Bean went back to running around like a pair of drunken banshees and Nicki, Al and I sat in the family room watching them, nearly comatose from the massive quantities of pizza we'd horked down.

Bedtime for the kids rolled around, so Nicki and Bubba prepared to make the return trip across the street. As we bid them both goodnight, I congratulated myself on having perpetrated the perfect, relaxing, fun, early Friday evening for the family began to envision the rest of this blissful night that lay before us. We'd get Bean ready and tuck her into her own warm cozy bed, then we'd go jammy-up ourselves and retire to our room for a little Christmas flick, a little hot toddy, and a lot of snuggling. Saturday we'd awake early, bundle into our warmest clothes, coats, scarves and mittens, grab hot coffee and breakfast at the diner around the corner (Where everybody knows our na-ay-ames.) and zip out into the country to pick out our Christmas tree, which we'd deftly lash to the top of the car and drive home to get into its stand, so that by the the time first flake of the predicted snowstorm flitter-fluttered down from the heavens, the FriedOkra family would be snug as bugs in the proverbial rug, listening to old-fashioned carols by the crackling fire, drinking rich, delicious hot cocoa and encrusting our carefully selected Tenenbaum with sparkling lights and sweet, nostalgia-laden ornaments. We'd spend Saturday night basking in the glow of the holiday come home and then have all day Sunday to just BE, together.

But as the door closed behind Nicki and Bubba, the needle violently scraped across the glistening vinyl of my peaceful little weekend fantasy, when Al muttered, "Why do I all of a sudden feel nauseous?"


Let's face it, we were naive, very naive, not to see this coming.

I shuffled him off to bed with a bucket on the nightstand and rustled Bean into her pajamas and under her covers. About the time I blew Bean a final kiss and turned out her light, I began hearing the first few notes of Al's All-Night Porcelain and Pizza Symphony.


Al was violently ill for most of the night Friday night. I confess I spent my time hiding under the covers in the guest bedroom, to which I had fled very hastily when the barfing began in earnest.

Saturday featured no picturesque drive to the tree farm, and the only thing that got encrusted with anything was the the master bathroom potty. Nothing sparkly about that. Saturday night I basked in the glow of the bedroom TV as Al lay beside me, so completely spent that he could manage no other facial expression than dogged, him passing in and out of a flinching, moaning doze, me stroking his arm and forehead occasionally and whispering, "My poor sweet Daddy..."

Al awoke "some better" on Sunday but we lay low anyway, against his protests that we should go get the tree. Confidentially, I still do not see how a man who 8 hours earlier was unable to support his own eyebrows planned on carrying a 9 foot Christmas tree across the front yard, up the steps into the house, and wrestling it into its stand. Talk about naive!

We're all on our feet and back to normal today, except that I'm about 36 hours behind on Operation Holidays, which I have scheduled down to 30 minute increments through January 1. So unless I find a way to catch back up, ya'll have a great New Years Eve for me!

Contrary to my carefully devised Holiday Plan, I'll be ringing in 2008 at 12 noon on January 3.

Confounded virus!


  1. First let me say that one of the many things I love about you is that you can say things like "horking" and "barfing" with such class and panache.

    I am so sorry the weekend plans went so horribly, horribly awry, but so very glad everyone is back on their respective feet again.

    Oh, and your carefully scheduled down-to-the-minute plans for Operation Holidays? Yeah, good luck with that. ;)

  2. I can't help asking if Nicki and the Bubster are feeling OK. Please give Al our love and tell him we hope he is back to his beautiful color!
    xoxo Julie

  3. I must agree with Megan, you do have a wonderful way with words.

    That nasty virus! It needs to get out of your house!! Does it not understand that there are schedules to keep and things to do!

    Hope Al feels so much better, and that you can somehow get back on your time-table!

  4. Oh poor poor Megan. And men are so babyish when they are sick!

    Brings back memories of the Christmas I decided never to eat duck, ever ever again in my life. Had a similar bug to Al's and all I could smell was that BLECH smell of cooking duck. I'll stick to turkey thank you very much!

  5. Hope Al is feeling himself again - he held that virus off for a while!All is well at our house at the moment - I'm waiting to see if anyone else catches my bug!

  6. Ugh! Sounds absolutely horrible. Please keep the germs on your side of the country! We don't need any barfing over here!

    Hope your husband is feeling better and I hope you can catch up on all your decorating.

  7. Only YOU could make a puke virus that entertaining.

    I'm so sorry. Poor Al. That is one lengthy incubation period, that virus has going on. UGH. ICK. BLECH.

    At least it's HOPEFULLY run its course and you can all enjoy the rest of the holiday season. XXXX (crossing fingers and toes)

  8. So sorry your best laid plans ran amuck,seems it works that way alot around the holidays. Hope all will be well soon, & good luck on that catchin up thing.

    You need to write a book!

    This was the BEST post I have read in a long time - I always love your humor and style but this one takes the cake!

    I am so sorry, actually felt queazy while reading about your Barfing Beau....that's how "right there" you had me!!!!

    Hope your tree is up today!

  10. Thank you again for having us over on Friday. I really enjoyed spending time with you guys. It seems like it has been a long time. I'm also sorry that Al ended up with the dreaded bug. I assume he was feeling better today since he went to work, but is he back 100% yet?

  11. So sorry for you, Mr. FriedOkra!!

    I'm glad everyone is feeling on the mend. I'm waiting for the shoe to drop in our home, but praying it doesn't. We had enough of that stupid stuff last year!!!

    Hugs to you all!

  12. Sorry your weekend got bummed. Hope Al is over "it" and you get your tree up soon

  13. Oh how awful-
    there is nothing worse than the flu! I'm a little nervous today because Arianna was complaining that her tummy wasn't feeling quite right this morning but she still wanted to go to school. Please please phone- don't ring!!
    Glad the worst is over for you all!

  14. Isn't that typical? After you carefully plan Operation Holidays Al has the audacity to get a tummy bug and put you behind schedule!

    Glad to hear he's doing better, and good luck with the decorating and festivities!!

  15. Blah! I hope everyone is feeling better now.

  16. "the needle violently scraped across the glistening vinyl of my peaceful little weekend fantasy"

    One of the best lines ever in bloggy literature.

    And while we are throwing around literary/cultural/artistic references (LOVE the title!!!)...

    "The best-laid plans of mice and men go oft awry."

  17. I NEVER make plans anymore because I always end up disappointed in some way, even if it's a teensy weensy disappointment. I'm so glad that Al is feeling better and I hope the bug is gone for good now and doesn't plan on making the rounds again anytime soon.

  18. "...could not support his own eyebrows ..."

    That made me laugh out loud! I'm glad he's doing better, though. :)

  19. Ugh. Hope no one else is blessed with the lovely bug. Why is December such a barfy kind of holiday? We had a string of 3 of them some years back... every single kid, and most adults. Three years running. Soon I started praying, "Lord, you know I only have 18 of these Christmases with these kids... please, could I have a few healthy ones?"
    The last 2 or 3 were good, but I'm making no presumptions. ;)

  20. Oh my word! I'm glad he is feeling better. I've never read such a wittier post about barfing than this! LOL!