Hazmat suits and viruses

virusIt is like a headline from one of George A Romero’s zombie apocalypse movies, where the slightest infection will cause the end of mankind.  A virus will spread across the Globe eradicating life as we know it.

Or at least that is how the #fakenews and CDC make it sound, as we are half way through the flu season.  Actually, it is a scary thought that we have a season for illnesses.  Normally a season is associated with something positive, but flu season is the devil’s work!

vi·rus
ˈvīrəs/
noun
noun: virus; plural noun: viruses; noun: computer virus; plural noun: computer viruses
  1. 1.
    an infective agent that typically consists of a nucleic acid molecule in a protein coat, is too small to be seen by light microscopy, and is able to multiply only within the living cells of a host.
    “a virus infection”
    • an infection or disease caused by a virus.
      synonyms: disease, bug, infection;

      datedcontagion
      “the child caught a virus”
    • a harmful or corrupting influence.
      “the virus of cruelty that is latent in all human beings”
  2. 2.
    a piece of code that is capable of copying itself and typically has a detrimental effect, such as corrupting the system or destroying data.
    synonyms: worm, Trojan Horse

    “a computer virus”

For years we have not received the flu vaccine.  It is not linked with religious or political beliefs, but merely a parent not believing a potion will help us fend off the evil bacteria.  I think we are simply making the viruses stronger, and this year seems to prove my doomsday theory.

The flu strain is stronger this season and people with or without the flu shot are getting hit.  And getting hit badly.  In too many cases it has resulted in death, which I feel very sorry about.  We should say goodbye to family members as they get ill with a known virus.

But, this is a man made virus and we have to invent stronger vaccines to combat it.  This will have a negative impact on our bodies and it is a losing battle.  Just like in War of the Worlds, we will eventually succumb to a small bacteria, leaving the planet to microbes.

We have been extra vigilant these weeks to protect the kids.  Cleaning everywhere, covering while sneezing, washing hands, and avoiding people who might be a little ill.  Just to make sure our kids did not contract a virus.

outbreakA few days ago our son developed a fever.  Nerves kicked in and we monitored closely.  My wife brought him to the doctor, and she confirmed that he had contracted the dreaded flu. Good news (if that is possible) is it was not the evil stronger strain of the virus, so he would not be as affected.  Nevertheless, we went into post-apocalyptic mode.

We pulled the hazmat suits out of storage, dressed the entire family except him, and started the quarantine exercises with these simple steps;

  • No-one touches him
  • He eats alone and uses disposable cutlery
  • No-one enters his domain
  • No-one kisses or have physical contact like hugging
  • Room has to be sterilised
  • No school or social activities
  • Total isolation from the rest of the World

…if we get to more severe phase, then food is shoved under his door.

3 days went by and he was showing signs of improvement.  Fever had dropped after 48 hours, he was drinking plenty of fluids and not side effects such as vomiting encountered.

Day 4 showed excellent progress and he will absolutely go back into civilisation Monday.

I really hate when my kids are sick.  There’s very little I can do for them, except kid painkillers and antibiotics.  And of course rest and fluids.  It is a waiting game.

The real challenge is the aftermath.  Will anyone else in the family contract the flu?

Is this the end?

For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.  Matthew 24:7

Not like in the movies

Morning y’all – it was the morning we have all been waiting for for the past 9 weeks.  Kids are returning to school.  Mums and dads will have all the time in the World to relax, do adult stuff, sit on sofa, and smile with freshly brewed coffee while kids are off to learn the common core … which by the way sucks!  There, I said it!

Reality couldn’t be further from the imaginary story TV ads and movies will all have us believe, which shows every morning as a magical experience.  Kids come flying down the stairs singing Mary Poppins, fully dressed in latest fashion, laughing at each other, hugging and kissing us (parents) and ready to take on the day; eager to jump on the yellow big bus to school and learn stuff.

To most new parents, I hate to burst your bubble, but that shit only happens in fairy tales!

welcome-back-to-schoolOur back to school “adventure” actually started the evening before, with a quiet family post Labor Day dinner.

Obviously it was rather chaotic dinner as we also tried to go through the endless check list for each of our three kids and planning a few trips to the local Walmart.  You can always trust Walmart to have everything needed for school start. But seriously, how many pencils, glue sticks, erasers, tissues, zip lock bags does a 2nd grader need?

The conspirator in me would state that the class teacher is stockpiling supplies and selling them on eBay to support some shady activities.  I do not have evidence of such a crime 🙂

Showers, clothes laid out, school bags packed and alarm clocks set.  We were ready … not!

Sure enough, on the day of days, the kids are not eager to get out of bed.  All summer they woke before the sun even got eyes, and now they can barely walk.  It’s like a small hoard of zombies walking/crawling down the stairs, uttering simple commands “fooooood”.  All while barely opening their eyes.

Once food had been somewhat consumed, it was time to get dressed.  Suddenly the kids had to look at the weather, wind in the trees, mood rings, color matching, spider nests, migration of butterflies, just to make sure that they would send right impressions on this day, day of days.

T-10 min before the front of our house would look like Grand Central, with three buses stopping our three kids, going to three different schools.  I did consider calling the local cops to get them to direct traffic, but figured the bus company had the routine down to a fine art.

T-1 min and now my wife has gone from understanding Sound of Music nanny style, to female version of John Wick minus the dead dog and killings … but calm and assertive, shouting directions to the kids to get their a*** in gear and run to bus stop.

I calmly walked to the curb with my son, a few minutes before the bus was scheduled to arrive.  15 minutes after the scheduled time, and still no bus, it started to rain.  But, it was first day of school and delays would be expected.

A further 15 minutes and I was not too sure I could blame it on back-to-school-traffic.  After a further 5 minutes I called the bus company, not to bite their incompetence heads off, but merely to state that I was patiently waiting, only to be told that the bus driver went on a road trip and forgot to swing his bus my way.  Thankfully he was sending a spare bus.

Low and behold, the spare bus came up the road, only to drive past our house, but the driver did waive.  at T+55 min, I rang the bus company again, explained that driver waived at me and never returned.  A few screams were heard in the background, as the guy on the phone shouted at the missing driver.  Magically, the bus arrived 3 mins later.

Day 1 of back-to-school was finally kicked off, now off to work 🙂

School Lunches & Grey Hairs

Having three kids keeps you busy.  Very busy.  There’s always laundry, homework, showers, cleaning up toys and rooms.  And, then you of course have the other daily / weekly routines such as sports, friends and shopping.

It never was an easy adventure to be a parent, but it is amazing how much we can accomplish while sleep deprived. Whoever said having kids wouldn’t change you was completely disillusioned and I doubt he ever participated in the awesome responsibilities.

That brings me to my next topic – school lunches.

I bloody hate seeing all the these ridiculously perfect families on social media, who have oodles of time, and patience, to create the perfect lunch boxes.  Seriously, who have time to prepare mini sushi look-alike lunches, design cuddly sandwiches shaped like cute lions, serve small fried dish consistent of slightly fried vegetables, neatly sliced, mixed with fresh caught salmon.  Are you bloody serious!

Instagram, Facebook and other social networks are devil’s spawn.  How on earth can people find time to have these awesome creations?  I wish I could make my kids’ school lunches that fantastic, but I rarely find time to make my own.

My wife and I work 8.30 – 17.30 jobs.  We have to do the daily chores, play with our kids, do homework, and prepare the various meals.  There’s little or no energy left to spend designing next day’s lunch menu.  Kids will get the usual suspects; left-over food, peanut-butter jam, ham-cheese, chicken-cheese tortilla or other combinations.

We refuse to give them money for school lunches, as those are not healthy at all.  At least our lunches have fresh vegetables, meats, cheeses, and their snacks normally consist carrots, tomatoes, or pretzels.

That said, in recent weeks we have really made an effort making the school lunches more appealing.  It is important for the kids to open their lunch boxes, without fears of being laughed at or accused of eating items that looks like they are from another planet.

My latest creation was Lego shaped egg muffins.  Not the boring Eggos like in “Stranger Things‘, but little delicous egg muffins made with spinach, ham, cheese and eggs.

lunchI found our Lego baking shape and made a few awesome Lego shaped muffins.  And I must admit, and kids were not bribed, but they loved them.  It was probably the shapes, but I also hope they tasted nice.

These suckers were created out of normal parenting hours, after 10 pm, which is normally the time we start drooling on the sofa.  Actually, that happens around 9.13pm.

It’s tough being a parent, but I would not change it for anything in the World!

We parents do need to demand better school lunches on all schools.  It is not right that kids get pizza, fries, ice cream, sodas, chips etc.  This only encourages shitty food and increases the risk of childhood obesity.  Demand better food in schools!

Jamie, help us!  We need to start the food revolution … again.

While we wait

jesusmangerChristmas – the most family focused event in the Christian side of the World’s religions.

They wait in anticipation for the coming of Christ, and celebrate his birth in a small barn somewhere in the outskirts of Bethlehem.

Perhaps not the most sanitary surroundings, but this is how Mary and Big Joe were rolling.  In fact, clean healthy environments were probably very hard to find, as indoor plumbing was still fairly basic during the rise of the Roman empire.  But I’m impressed Mary kept the sheets so white.

santa-stuckToday kids are eager with suspense as they wait for a fat dude to drop off a load of presents.  Somehow the simple science that a obese old man can fit into a small chimney does not not deter kids from believing – and rightfully so.  Santa is awesome and he loves to make kids happy (and some adults including me!).

How do you entertain kids from when school closes for the holidays, and how do you prevent them from searching the house in best Indiana Jones style, looking for the hidden presents?  Do you actually admit that Santa does not exist?  Although that would be lying to yourself too.  Of course he exist 🙂

Our little family really enjoy the festive season.  Every weekend is Christmas baking, thanks to my awesome wife, and spending time with the kids for Advent.  They get a small Advent present, which they look forward to.

On the day itself, 24 December, which is day when we celebrate Christmas, the kids wake up super early.  I mean ridiculously early.  Much earlier and easier than on school days.

The day starts with movies, breakfast, and then more movies. It is the old classical movies such as ‘Jingle All the Way‘, ‘Home Alone 1+2‘, ‘Santa Clause‘, ‘Elf‘, ‘Sound of Music‘ and of course ‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation‘ … the shitter is full.

It’s all about total relaxation, doing as little as possible and simply spend time with the family. All while eating 🙂

cookiesThis year we introduced family board games.  We wanted to encourage the kids to play board games instead of Xbox games.  The beauty is that we can all participate, and nothing wrong with teaching kids competitiveness. Probably too early to introduce Risk to teach them World domination –  maybe next year.

Later in the morning, we start making cookies while I prepare the traditional Christmas dinner. Kids get the chance to help, but they seem more interested in playing games.

It’s not that hard entertaining the kids. You just need to participate and have fun. Not rocket science really.  Merry Christmas y’all!

What do you do while we wait for Christmas dinner and the imminent arrival of Santa?

Star Wars Spoilers

My wife had dropped a major bomb in our relationship before Christmas, stating that she never really liked Star Wars movies.  I was in utter shock and wasn’t too sure how our relationship could survive.  What other things was she hiding from me?

I had taken her to the premieres of SW 1 and SW2, at midnight, and seriously thought she enjoyed the story.  She had gone to the dark side!awakens

When Star Wars Force Awakens was released in the cinema, I was stuck at home looking at trailers and listning to my colleagues at work raving about the movie.  JJ Abrams had done a great job, apparently, and the effects were above expectations.  It’s just not the same watching a 2:43 min trailer compared to a 2h 19min movie in IMAX.  I felt as if I was missing out on a lot of important details.

When the movie was finally released on iTunes, I bought it. No hesitation.  Just a quick one-click decision.  And, I didn’t tell my wife.  It was like cheating on her.  Buying stuff only for me. Something she didn’t like.  I felt naughty and the feelings of the dark side were stirring inside me.  It felt good.

But, this excitement only lasted a few days.  Suddenly our kids fell ill and I did not have time to watch the movie.  It was my fatherly obligations to choose kids over Star Wars.  Not really a hard decision, but my soul was still torn.

One morning, I had to work from home, and the kids wanted to watch the new Star Wars while having projectile vomiting on the sofa.  Why not.  I’m a good dad.  I launched the movie, and slowly walked back to my office computer.  The intro music was filling the house and I peaked over my shoulders like a schoolboy trying to watch Exorcist when parents weren’t watching.

It was pure agony.  I could hear the effects.  i could hear the kids being amazed with the story and movie.  They cheered, cried and laughed.  Then the movie ended.  I had passed the challenge and would pass into the West.

Unfortunately my six year old kid ran into the kitchen.  Big eyes and shouted “DAD!!!  Han Solo died! And the bad guy survived”

I was like  O M G.  What do I do?  Slap her for spoiling the movie or just laugh it of.  Corporal punishment is no longer permitted so I just laughed.  It wasn’t real laughter, but painful and tearful at the same time.

I had waited so long,  Finally got my copy of the movie and then my six year old tells me an important part of the movie.  oh well, the joys of parenting.  I was pleased she had her Star Wars moment, which she will cherish just as much as I, when I first saw Chewie and Han.

My the force be with you my little Sith Daughter!