If You Weren’t Sick Before…

Earlier this spring, both #4 and #5 went home sick from school on the same day. This type of thing happens only when CC is out of town, and then most often on a Wednesday, my longest work day (for the record, snow days work like this too).

I called my sub in to cover me and made it to the middle school in record time. We got home with no hurling, and when they felt up for it, I heated up some chicken soup, pulled out the saltines and ginger ale and joined them at the table.

The nurse had told me more than 25% of the kids were out sick with the bug that was going around.

Me: I like your nurse at the middle school.

#4: Same.

#5: Same.

Me: Whatever happened to “me too”?

[They stare at me blankly.]

#5: The middle school nurse is way nicer than the one at the elementary school.

Me: Yeah, that one scared me. She yelled at me.

#4: Wasn’t that because of me?

Me: Pretty much. You showed me this teeny-tiny spot on the top of your knee where you had poison ivy and I gave you Caladryl, but you neglected to mention that the back of your legs were completely covered with it and festering. Then you went to the nurse.

#4: Oh yeah, I remember that. I though they were bug bites.

Me: Yeah, well they weren’t. She screamed at me when she called. I kept expecting DYFS to show up on our doorstep for like a month.

#5: What’s festering?

Me: Festering is gross, that’s what.

#4: I remember I got poison ivy on my eye one time.

Me: When I was a kid, I got it on my whole face and my eyes swelled shut. It was awful. Though I wasn’t as bad off as my friends. They went to the bathroom in the woods and used poison ivy leaves to wipe.

[They look, horrified, in my direction.]

Me: Yes, I actually knew people that happened to.

[They look, horrified, at each other.]

Me: They got poison ivy really bad. In their … ah… nether regions.

[They both put their spoons down and scoot away from the table]

#5: Julie? Don’t ever say that again, okay?

Me: Which part?

#4: ANY OF IT!!!


With my innate nurturing skills (feed a cold; starve a fever; gross out a bug) both #4 and #5 made full recoveries. #5 and I played an epic game of Monopoly in which we bent the rules and he beat me by ending up with every single piece of property. It was an entirely different win than the one the week before where we bent the rules and he beat me by ending up with every single dollar, and I had to then explain that we couldn’t just “make” new money because that’s how economies collapse.

Meanwhile, I have a couple posts up on Family Circle’s Momster blog.

When you’re a stepmom of teenagers, you have to expand your definition of parenting wins: Treasured Moments

Attempts to teach a reluctant worker the value of a job well done: Hey Kids, Guess What? Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees!


So, ah… where’s the worst place you ever got poison ivy?



14 thoughts on “If You Weren’t Sick Before…

  1. “So, ah… where’s the worst place you ever got poison ivy?”

    On my husband. He’s allergic. He and a friend cut wood on a hot, humid spring day. Eventually their other friend (Budweiser) stopped by (hence, lots of “tree watering”) so no shower commenced until long after the damage had been done. Yes, he festered. Profusely. And on day three he begged me to kill him. I took pictures instead.

  2. I thought that wiping the nether regions with poison ivy story was nothing but an urban legend. Do you really know somebody who did that?

    And I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone else refer to those spots as nether regions, so thanks for letting me know I’m not alone.

    1. Apparently, there are quite a few people who have done this. I am impressed by the stories that keep coming my way.

      I use the term “nether regions” whenever possible. You are not alone!

  3. My first husband and I were visiting San Fransisco and made the trip across the Golden Gate Bridge to Fort Point. We traipsed down the hill where we had the whole place to ourselves, overlooking the Bay, SF, and the Bridge and immediately got romantically busy — which was a thrilling, slightly illicit experience. Until that night when I realized that the ENTIRE hillside was covered in poison oak — and, being hugely allergic, I was quickly covered in gigantic, festering, weeping boils on my stomach, thighs and yes, nether regions. Boy … talk about a walk of shame!

    1. Holy crap, wow. Just wow. I wish I were giving something away, because you’d win, and it seems like you ought to be compensated for that somehow.

  4. Knock on my little wooden head, I have never come in contact with poison ivy. But I do love the idea of freaking my kids out and I plan on borrowing that story later. Thanks 🙂

  5. “I had a girlfriend once, and I don’t know how she did it, but she got poison ivy on her brain. Then the only way she could scratch it was to think about sandpaper.” ~Steven Wright~

    Sorry, I never had it, so that’s the best I could do.

  6. In first grade, the tree I happily built my make-believe treehouse in ended up being covered in poison ivy . . . so pretty much everywhere my clothes didn’t cover! My mom, though? She, too, got to experience it places clothes typically do cover. 😀

  7. On my neck, in the hot summer, after picking up some of my dad’s poison-oak-covered clothes when my mom asked me to collect the laundry and toss it down the laundry chute. This was before we had heard of Tecnu wash. Tecnu breaks down the evil poison oils so the “rash” can heal (rash, ha! Fester is a much more accurate description!) and it won’t spread. There is now Tecnu in my house at all times, even though we live in town, there is no poison oak in our yard, and I never go outside anyway because of the Pollen Vortex.

Comment. It gives me a reason not to clean my house.

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