Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Regarding My Future Pied-A-Terre

The sickness. It is everywhere. In the steam solidifying into drips of water on the windows, the cracks in the ancient wood floor, in the air we breathe back into our sick lungs, on all the kids' toys, trapped in fluffy folds of bedding. Everywhere. Lurking.

I'm typing this from what feels like the bottom of a swimming pool. Phantom lightning bolts jackhammering into a head that feels five sizes too big. The snot is everywhere. Flowing freely from everyone. Great gallons of snot. Wadded up tissues littler couches, nightstands, coffee tables, floors. Cartoons on a constant loop of annoyance because we've given up. Flat out given up on parenting beyond trying to assuage the devil fever. Cartoons, sugar - whatever it takes to quiet the sick monster eating our babies.

The other night as Henry's tiny ribcage heaved with the latest cough attack, Serge, who had run his hands through his hair in agitation so much the resulting pompadour could rival Pauly D's, turned to me in desperation and said, "Oh man. If I could take all the sick out of his little body I would in a second and put it all in..." He paused here while I had a moment to think, how sweet, he'd take the sick for Henry... Then Serge looked at me deadpan and said - "and then I'd put it all in you."

I laughed. Because that's our schtick, you know? Pretending to hate each other. Sometimes we really hate each other but most times it's just pretend.

I'm headed back to New York City this weekend. ALL BY MYSELF! If this damn sick goes away, that is. I haven't been there in several years and oh my lordy do I love that city. The goal, you know, is to eventually have a tiny place in the city and a home out here in the country. A pied-a-terre, I think the fancy folks call it. I realize this might not occur until we're senior citizens, but splitting my senior time between the greatest city on earth and a country home seems like an excellent way to spend the sunset of my life. Also, whenever I get sick of Serge I can send him to the other place. If I'm in the country I can kick him out to the city. Or the other way around. A lofty goal!

Well. This certainly turned out to be a bit ramshackle, didn't it? I'm all over the place here. Delirious with fever, I tell you! Okay! Enough about the mundane aspects of our sick lives, what about you? We haven't done this in a while. What about you? Answer me three questions. Where are you right this second? Are you happy, sad or somewhere in the middle? Why?

Reader Comments (27)

Sitting on the couch, catching up with my own blog and my favorites of others. Procrastinating in the way I do when I have oodles of free time to write but procrastinate because I have so much free time for the moment. I'm very happy because of these days and this moment. My days off, my weekend in the middle of the week. A schedule that seriously messes with my head but secretly enjoy because everybody else is at work and it is so quiet. My kids are suddenly adults, and when they are sick you still worry. But I relish the fact that they are adults and I can give sympathy over the phone. Is that wrong?
It's my time now.

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commentersejohansen

I am at home, in my lounge, on the couch. Reading you on my iPhone and looking at the almost full moon through my bay windows.

I am happy. Not sure why. I just feel positive and peaceful. I was in a right funky strop 2 weeks ago, so
I am glad that passed. Why? Because I have some exciting changes happening later this year. Lots to look forward to.

Feel better soon all of you and enjoy your trip to New York!

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterA

Sippin' my cafe' au lait in my kitchen. Very happy- and was expecting to be exhausted as I was helping with the 6th graders this morning. They're staging Tupac's A Rose in the Concrete and weren't super into it today, but I can tell they're getting it... we're going to get there!

Health wishes for the Bielankos!

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

I'm sitting at my desk, barely conscious. I don't know how to characterize how I'm feeling. There are no words. Why? A sickness entered my house today...the stomach flu. My 3 year old threw up every 10 to 15 minutes for 5 hours straight, then every 30 to 50 minutes for three more hours. Starting at 3am, when she was cuddled up next to me in bed. Now she seems to be on the mend, and in my zombie state I'm skulking around the house wondering, "Who's next?!" So let's just say I can relate to this post.

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterColeen

oh i guess somewhere in the middle, a lot of work, so exhausting, I wish I could take some holiday and "reset everything going in my head recently", yeap wishful thinking, so I'm sitting on the couch and sipping beer instead. wish you all feel well soon. have a nice time in NYC.

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteranajo

Sitting on the couch reading your blog and catching up on Facebook. Feeling in the middle of happy and sad. Not really enjoying work so much lately but glad it's near the end of the week. Kind of ready for some sort of life change right now, one that would let me spend more time with my kid.

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHilary

I know what you mean about the sickness it tore through my house a couple weeks ago. Right now I am in a pretty happy place other than the fact that I will be turning 40 this year.....not sure how that happend. Most days I still think of myself as being 20ish. My daughter is getting ready to go on her first spring break from college and she is going to New York City and I'm so excited for her! I hope you are well enough to travel and I hope you have a wonderful trip!!

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkacy

NYC! I would love to run into you in Williamsburg. I think I'd go all celebrity crazy ; )
Have fun!

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMiss A

i am sitting on my couch in rural ass vermont. i am scared & frustrated. i just hit a deer, i hate living in the country, and i have an appointment to get two of my wisdom teeth pulled tomorrow. i am ready to move back to san francisco. now.

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterseparelli

At home on my sofa, laptop on my lap. Feeling mostly happy I guess, ha not very convincing! I am a glass half empty gal by nature so proclaiming otherwise would be a lie. I am trying to be more positive so that is why I want to say I am happy. The question is if I am sitting in my heated home with a laptop on my lap do I have the right to complain...I'm not saying you can't have real problems, just that it is all about perspective.

Have a great time in NYC! And hope all the munchkins are drying up.

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

A lot of people read the internet from the couch. I'm at my desk...just closed the door to my 16 year old's room for the night. Yes I still tuck him in, kind of. I try and he's all "ok mom, I'm ya!" I have a ringing in my ear that just started this week. I guess the technical term is tinnitus. It's not fun.

Get well guys...and enjoy NYC.

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCassie

Im at my desk in the study catching up on a few blogs while the family finish watching Cars 2 on dvd. Im in a happy place, hubby is about to cook a bbq, then im leaving him to the kids (bath, bed etc) while I go to my hairdressers and get all my grey hair covered up lol.

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBellinda

I'm in bed, reading on my phone, and very happy as I had my first ever ultrasound yesterday and got to see my 13 week old fetus dancing and waving. I have family sickness to come, I know it!

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterdg

In the living room, with the dog (Hubby went to sleep hours ago). Bittersweet, as I have lost a lot of loved ones in the past decade. Still missing my best friend nearly three years after her passing, and sad that she won't be here to welcome her first grandchild this summer, and excited because...hey, a baby girl to spoil!

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJanis

Where are you right this second? Sitting at my desk, just got to work.

Are you happy, sad or somewhere in the middle? Happy, had a great time last night, got a bonus from work yesterday, and going out tonight with a man who will wear a suit! WOO HOO

Why? It was a huge decision to move to TX all alone, not knowing anyone, but I did it. I drive in 6 lanes of traffic (or would it be 12, b/c there are 6 lanes going each way, not sure) everyday to get to work, something unheard of in AR. I know my mom, sister and brother are super proud of me, and getting a huge bonus after 6 months of work is just gravy!

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJen

I'm at work wanting to punch someone because I want to be a stay at home mom. I'm missing everything. =(

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa

At work, sitting at my desk, after a meeting to decide titles for books with my collegues, editors like me.
I'm somewhere in the middle, 'cause at work things go great, for the first time in a long time I really like what I do and I feel appreciate, but at home I have: a one year old with endless sickness (first bronchitis, than ears problems, now diarrhea), who'd like to be with her mom, but who has to stay with a babysitter, and my mom, in full depression, always calling me and crying, and telling me she's not going to make it this time, she feels tired and sad. So I'm happy for work, but sad and full of guilt for leaving my baby sick with someone who's not me or her father, and for my mom, 'cause I'd like her to feel better but don't know how to help her.

p.s.: so happy for you and your trip to NY! Have fun, girl, enjoy your time alone!

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSerena from Italy

I'm on my couch. Been for a week now. Why? Because this bloody spring flu has gotten me too. And my wife. Fortunately no kids to take care of because we're behaving like children anyways but, damnit, a week of sick and snot and hacking coughs is just more than I can handle.

As for the happy: I would be happier if I could be working on my film instead of coughing my lungs out but on the plus side I have time to catch up on a lot of movies I wanted to see and learn from. So I guess I'm reasonably happy :)

enjoy NYC!

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommentermcCutcheon

*hushed whisper* I'm at work. I am numb because my life has taken a turn I didn't want to go around.
It'll get better. I hope.

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHeather

I am at my kitchen table working from home (Chicago). I am incredibly happy. I have a husband I adore (most days) a 9 month old baby who brings me nothing but joy, and I own a thriving business in a not thriving economy, which gives me the flexibility to do things like work from home on a Thursday morning.

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentererose

I'm at work right now. Work is just work...Going through the motions...

I am in between - neither happy nor sad but not unhappy either. Anxious thanks to my anxiety.
Worried b/c my husband has a chronic illness and he started a new medication and not all the side effects are known yet so I am taking copious amounts of notes. Not sleeping well at all - until last night when I collapsed into a deep slumber at 9:30 PM and didn't resurface until 6:30 this morning.

My birthday is tomorrow so I am excited about eating a sweet treat and spending the weekend with my family in a hotel with a pool! Woo!

Get well soon. The flu sucks. But remember the fever will break when it has done its job on the flu germs. Fevers are good...Pain in the ass but good nonetheless.

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterREK

1. Lunch hour at work.
2-3. Happy because I started going out again after a stupid car accident floored me (not my fault). Getting to see my favorite bands, seeing friends I haven't seen in years makes me very happy! Also, my friend got a luxury suite for us to see Springsteen in a couple weeks in Philly! And days after that, I'm having gastric sleeve surgery after two years of research, dieting, exercise, doctors appointments, seminars, support groups, chickening out and barreling through.

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStarsky

Ok, I'll bite...

I'm here at work sitting behind two computers doing programming/software work. I'm somewhere between happy and sad, maybe fearful is a better word? I'm generally happy as I have everything I could want: jobs I like, a house, and good health. But my dark cloud is: I've been married for three years, and my wife seems to be getting worse and worse mood swings each day. Constant threats of divorce, emotional abuse. Since Monday, she has moved all my stuff out of the main bedroom/bathroom, into a spare bedroom. I'm now living like a guest in the house I bought for us to live in! So I guess I'm sad that I can't do everything to make her happy and that ultimately, I need the strength to let go. But, I'm happy that maybe sometime after this I can get to a better place. You look back on the three years and wonder why you put up with so much crap. But it sure is hard to try to make that step! That little hope that somehow things could get better always lingers in your heart.

I love reading all your articles and seeing all your videos of how you guys disagree/fight because I *especially* love the humor you have in it. I would love to have some of this for myself, but there is no humor in my home sometimes - just dead laughing and joking while my wife gets louder and louder with anger!

Keep up the good work! It really is comforting to read.

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBill

I am at home sitting on the sofa (finally) after a loong day at work, my hands are killing me, as I have been making Chemotherapy all day. My eyes hurt from staring at the bags of Chemo to see if they are good enough for our patients. My purse (wallet) hurts because I got stung for two pairs of glasses for my kids today.
BUT, everything will be ok and my darling kids make me smile and feel a million feet tall.

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSaz

At work - pretending to be working hard.

I'm a little melancholy, sick family members, paying the IRS money they think i owe them because of that Mr. Suzuki and i don't get to go on our vacation instead we're doing a staycation. But it will still be a good time, because you work.

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercharity

1) My cosy couch in North London
2) Happy
3) I feel so completely content. Last year was a shitty year. This year is decidedly unshitty and things are falling into place. Not a bad thing at all if you ask me. :)

March 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLo

Thanks for asking. In our home office checking in with FB and your blog with the brightest full moon ever staring me in the face while my hubby slumbers. I am thankful and trying to be happy about the small things, like a pretty just-blossoming tree, and the bigger things, like recent quality time with family and some modest professional success. It can be tough though with aging parents and other loved ones, a struggling economy and broken political system that, in my view, threatens our long-term existence and hangs over our heads daily. TGIF tomorrow and you'll be in NYC! :)

Oh, hubby and I have a similar retirement dream, condo in the city and home in the "country."

March 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSaffoula

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