Saturday, September 03, 2005


In Which I Am Up for the Night...

Can't sleep.

Can't type so good either. Little less coughing, but hands are shaking. Blame the prednisone.

Had a strange sort of day. Slept about 2 hours last night, and when I fell asleep I had the weirdest dream that I had to go back to college to hand in my senior thesis project. Somehow I had filled out the wrong deferrment form and had gotten a 15-year extension, instead of a 15-day one. Even with all that time to get it finished, do you think I worked on the project? Noooo! I frittered my extension away working for magazines and writing 3 books and getting married and doing my bit to perpetuate the species.

But now here it was 15 years later and I had to hand this thing in. So I pulled an all-nighter writing a 25-page paper. The night wore on, the sun came up. I got the thing finished, but then I had to get in the car and drive 500 miles back to my old college to deliver an oral presentation on the paper's topic.

My instructor was Professor McGonagall. Yes, the Transfiguration teacher from the Harry Potter books (apparently, she also holds advanced degrees in journalism).

Anyway, I arrive late--7 hours late--for the presentation. And when I got there, McGonagall was, like, SUCH a bitch. She flunked me. I'd have to repeat all of senior year to get my degree!

And I just lost it. "Oh sure!" I'm yelling at her as she walks off. "Give that little shit Granger a Time Turner when she wants to take extra classes. But what about me? HUH?!?"

Then I woke up. And felt just awful.

Because really, I love Hermione.

Went downstairs to see Thomas before he left for school, and he begged me to post the picture he did for me (so, fresh Art Lad, if you're interested), then swallowed a handful of drugs and went back to bed.

At 1 o'clock, the phone rings. It's the managing editor of my magazine. Something screwy happened with the issue we just sent to the printer and one of my stories--a 3 and a half page feature--is actually supposed to be a four-pager. Which means that unless we can generate a half-page of text--pretty much from thin air--before 5 o'clock, we'll be printing a big blank spot.

Our layouts are on a secure server that I can't access from home, and everyone in my department left early for the long weekend. In fact, the office is pretty much empty except for my managing editor, and a few harried production people.

My managing editor is the very epitome of A Stand-Up Guy. He has never called me at home before, and I know he wouldn't have if there was any way he could have done this himself. And the clock was ticking.

"I am so sorry to ask, but--"

"Yeah, I know," I said, between hacking coughs. "I'll be in as soon as I can."

Okay, I thought. I wonder when I'll wake up from this one...

But it was no dream.

The is not the first time I have had to come in from my sick-bed to do work, but I can't remember ever feeling more unable and unwilling to do it. Even with the sleep I had, even with the false strength imparted by the prednisone, it was an effort just to haul myself to the car. And no, I didn't even bother to change. I went straight out in the t-shirt I'd slept in (the one that says "Nice Bongos" on it), some saggy shorts and a pair of flip-flops. I had a case of bed-head that looked like it would require surgical intervention to correct.

I thought Her Lovely Self was going to hurl herself in front of the car when she saw me from her garden. My wife has a long resume of ideal qualities for a spouse. For example, she's a fabulous cook, a devoted mother, and a smoking little hottie even after 11 years being married to me. But she most definitely did not graduate from the Poor Baby school of nursing. Her style of sick-care, at least where I am concerned, seems to be mostly derived from a Scared Straight program.

Even with the car running, even with 20 feet still separating us, I could hear her quite clearly as she marched across the yard, hefting a spade in one hand. Behind her, The Brownie trotted along, not wanting to miss the show.

"Where do you think you're going? To work?!? Look at you. Look at you. You have pneumonia. PNEUMONIA. Get your sorry ass back upstairs and get in bed!"

I tried to explain but I was coughing too hard. "Drink?" I sputtered weakly.

For a moment, the urge to knock some sense into me with the spade and the urge to offer succor to her ailing husband battled for primacy. Then she dropped the spade with a clang and stomped into the house for a glass.

The Brownie regarded me with avid interest. "Is your ass really sorry now, Dad?" she asked.

"It will be," I said. "Go inside and tell your mom I said bye." And with that, I pulled out of the driveway.

Yes, yes, I know it was stupid, even dangerous. I'm really not supposed to be doing anything. But I also know I would have gotten no rest lying upstairs, wondering how the skeleton crew was going to fill that spot. And in the end, because I know the story and knew where to lay hands on an earlier, longer draft, I was able to do the work quicker than anyone. It took more time getting to and from work than it did to do the work. And it was almost worth it just to see the production people recoil from my bed-head (it really was something).

Of course, there are always consequences. Her Lovely Self was pretty furious with me and spent the evening in a bit of a snit, not just because I left without permission, but also because "sorry ass" is now The Brownie's favorite new phrase (and somehow that's my fault?). So I'm sworn to spend the next three days in bed.

Which is where I am right now. With the laptop.

I figured, if I'm well enough to go to work, I'm well enough to write a little something.

Truth is, I think I am feeling a little better. And believe me, all your good wishes here made that possible. It's nice to be missed.

On that note, I think I'll try to get back to sleep.

Pleasant dreams, everyone.

From Somewhere on the Masthead


Yeah, here's a production person who remembers your episodes of bed head hair. And chattering fake teeth. And bowling. And Bill Shatner musicals.

They should get combat pay for that.

Feel better my friend.
Hey MM, talk about going above and beyond the call of duty! Glad you're starting to fell better, and I hope HLS doesn't keep your sorry ass in the doghouse for too long.
I have to side with Her Lovely Snitness on this one. You should have been dope slapped in the forehead with the spade and dragged back to bed by the handle on your head.

Now I completely understand her tough love approach. Tell me, what would your reaction have been if she snuck off to work last week when she was so sick?


Shit. I'm REALLY in the doghouse if I can't get a "poor baby" out of Sharfa...

Slinks back to bed, tail between his legs...
I hate to bring this up, but I am reminded of a great piece of wisdom my step-dad gave me:
Something wrong = Man's fault
I've tried to fight it...all men do, but it isn't worth it.
Sorry to be negative, I AM on your side, get better.
(PS if "sorry ass" is all The Brownie picks up, you're doin' ok.)
Encore: pauvre bébé...
(C'est 'poor baby' en Français.)

...but holy crap that was devious! I know all about work having demands that MUST be met, even in the face of personal need. When you know that if your husband doesn't have X done by today, and it delays shipment of, say, Windows for a DAY and that delay will cost the company millions, you kinda let him go to work whether you, he, or everyone else you know is sick.

Of course, the flip side of that is, I know just how much HLS probably hates that work can have such a pull on your life. It drives me batty. I'm glad you got the feature set, but man, you need to be soooooo nice to HLS. You owe her; that was rat sneaky.
Feel better man!

Maybe you could write the sequel to "The Sex Man" while you're in bed?

Take Care!
I had only one picture to go on. So forgive me if it doesn't look like you. ^_^;;

I'm not good at "get well soon" comments. That's why this is as dumb as it is. >__x But get well soon anyway, Mmmkay?
MM, feel better! There is a special wretchedness to getting ill in the summer - especially just in time for a holiday weekend. Here's a story to brighten your weekend:

I have chronic bronchitis, and, when I get a sinus infection, it generally develops into one of the plagues of Egypt. When it's really bad, I've been known to miss a week of work, unable to function, and I frighten people with my vile ailments.

I recall one colorful episode where I was overwhelmed with work (had a delegation of Russians to herd around), exhausted, my eyes were on fire, my voice was gone, my legs were spaghetti, and I wished for death. In the midst of it all, I had tickets to a Joe Jackson concert. I had a momentary feeling of wellness a couple of hours before the gig and insisted on going. (Fool.) I even went out for diner food afterwards. (Incredible fool.) By the next morning, I was phoning a friend from my bed, begging for help because my temperature was 104.5, I couldn't move, and I was so dehydrated, I sounded like a pile of dry leaves when I moved.

By the time I made it to the doctor's office, I was incoherent and hallucinating swirling purple flames on the wall. I had them pretty freaked out.

My bad. Fortunately, my doc said I was a threat to no one but myself.

Interesting side note: I have been healthier than I have in years since losing my job in March...
Don't you know that the wife is always right...

Men why can't they understand....
Oh shame on you MM! If that had been my husband he would have been wearing that requested glass of water when he got home. Despite that, feel better. :-)

What's this about Bill Shatner musicals, hmmm?

You can explain the Bill Shatner part.

In the meantime, here's something completely different.
so is your ass sorry now?


I can't get that line out of my head now. thank you.

and though sharfa did not say "poor baby", I am pretty sure she is thinking it. With a spade in hand of course, but she is thinking it.


get well soon.

sorry ass indeed. :)

Doghouse, yes.

Of course I want you to get better, and I am glad to see there is no post today. Hopefully, HLS took away the laptop and declared Marital perogative. Your kids and your wife need you.

After all, if you are not going to look out for your own best interest, I am sure she will.

I am obviously being very selfish here, I do not want to lose my many future years of daily MM fixes. Screw the magazine - your blog readers are what matters.

Get well soon.
I have rejoined the living as a Boston-dweller. Glad to be reading your blog again. :)

Hope you feel better soon!! Listen to H.L.S... ;)

Oh, Magazine Man. Spouting moles, mad dashes to meet children, and now pneumonia. My word. Feel better, and perhaps consider screwing around with a little Feng Shui or something, you know?

Could it hurt, really, at this point?
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