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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Forecast? Cold.

Put me in front of a beaker and the periodic table, and I start to get the shakes.  Ask me to light a Bunsen burner, and I break out into a cold sweat.  Photosynthesis?  All I can do is spell it.

Despite my general ineptitude at what one would usually consider "science," I'm pretty sure that I've got a finding worthy of any peer-reviewed journal you want to throw down.  That's right -- now that I have one child in pre-school and the other in day care, I've stumbled upon a meteorological breakthrough. 

Here it is:  winter, spring, summer and fall are not the only seasons.  There's a fifth season.  I like to call it Seriously, Another Cold? Season.  I know it doesn't really fall off the tongue.  Maybe SAC is better.  Or Misery.  Misery might do just fine.

Anyway.  Seriously, Another Cold directly targets children of tender age, but indirectly, it cuts a wide swath through the entire household.  It is marked by high temperatures, usually in the forehead region.  High winds are likely, usually coming from the nose or mouth.  Precipitation is definitely involved, with fine mists excreting from the eyes and a steady downpour from the nose.  Fast-moving storms can blow in from nowhere, but are often triggered by association with multiple small people whose cuteness only disguises the tornado of bacteria they're churning up.  Storms are cyclical in nature, sweeping in and hitting hard, then slowly exiting on some jet stream of obscene amounts of laundry and concentrated levels of disinfectant.  Said departure cannot be trusted, however much residents want to let themselves get lulled into a false sense of security.  For just as soon as you think Seriously, Another Cold has ended, another cold front will be in the forecast, threatening the clear skies and pleasant temperatures of your happy home with yet another onslaught.

Unfortunately, a fool-proof method for sending Seriously, Another Cold on its way has yet to be found.  Parents everywhere have resorted to various methods of battening down the hatches.  They buy cold-air humidifiers. When that doesn't work, they switch to hot-air humidifiers.  They listen.  Is that cough wet?  Or is it dry?  If it's wet with a hint of dry, does that mean Vicks VapoRub or a steam shower?  Doesn't matter.  Both will just make the coughing more dramatic.  They help blow nose after nose.  Is the fluid clear, or is it yellowish-green?  If it's yellowish-green, what does that mean again?  They buy kegs of orange juice.  They buy echinacea in whatever form they can find it and force feed it.  They make everyone wash their hands until they're just raw, bleeding stumps at the end of their arms.  They put towels, phone books, dollhouses, whatever under one end of a mattress so that the afflicted can sleep at an incline.  No dice.

They go to WebMD, convince themselves their child has Scarlet Fever and/or Whooping Cough, and finally rush in to the pediatrician.  At this point, mommy hasn't slept in 6 days, Junior is drooling and gooping from every orifice north of his neck, and the doctor has no recourse but to prescribe antibiotics, mostly because said doctor is nervous about what will happen if mommy doesn't think there's something on the horizon that is going to end this particular Nor'Easter.  Little does mommy know, the antibiotic she skips home with will only shovel away the gunk deposited by the current cold to make a cozier breeding ground for the gunk the next cold promises to bring.  And so the season of Seriously, Another Cold takes root, mocking the other seasons for being so weak as to only last a few paltry months.

The other hallmark of Seriously, Another Cold is that unless you are willing to (a) live as hermits; or (b) sell your children, you can't run from it.  It will track you down in whatever sun-kissed, gentle-breezed bunker you erect for yourself and your offspring.  It's like death, in that it inevitably and eventually happens to everyone, and it's like taxes, in that it will happen again and again, every year.  All you can hope for is that the bacteria eventually do die and that your taxes are lower than your medical bills.

Our house is getting ravaged by another cold front.  We're trying to fight back, but barometric pressure is continuing to plummet.  If you don't hear from me again this week, please assume I've drowned in a humidifier or choked on a ball of Kleenex.  In that event, alert FEMA and the rich bastard who makes amoxicillin that I need to replenish my stock-pile.

Actually, cancel FEMA.  You come. 

With the amoxcillin.

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