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There’s hail the size of golf balls. And there’s a back-end the broad side of a barn. Today I saw a snot bubble the size of a baseball.

Of couse Magnus, our youngest - only a hair past a year - was due for his follow-up flu shot, but raging so high with a fever, I elected to postpone his appointment. Alternating between various fever-reducers, water, apple juice, lullabys, pacing, snuggles and kisses (now waiting for my symptons to kick in) we trudged our way through what ended up being one of our longest days yet.

Staying home with your kids while they’re really sick and cranky and not sleeping is no walk in the park. I mean, this isn’t my first rodeo. But the snot bubble this kid blew today definitely was...

I instantly reached for my camera, instead of the kleenex, so that I could pass along the visuals of this Guiness calibre bubble. To Devin. Because I know she dang-near loses her cookies over a sight like this - a sight that, to other mother veterans, is nothing. A sight I insist she identify with, and deal with, well before it’s shooting out the nose of her first-born, directly into her freshly blown out hair. True Story. The things Devin will see once she’s in the saddle will shock the crap out of her. (Also, something she and I share equal fear-for-our-lives over.) (And also something I dealt with during this flu-from-hell week.) Where was I...

When I couldn’t locate the camera, I ultimately, however reluctantly, grabbed the last box of 200-count Kleenex J picked up from the drugstore. We’d plowed through the other three boxes in no time.

My second reach was for lunch. I was starved. You’re thinking, “How does she eat after staring a snot bubble the size of the Blob breathing in and out of her kid’s mouth?” Oh yeah - I didn’t mention that? The snot ball didn’t blow out his nose. It breathed, like a ventilator, out of his mouth.

The cupboards and fridge were empty. The apartment was a biohazard. All 900 square feet - palatial by Manhattan standards. I had barely showered this week, let alone placed my FreshDirect order. Honestly, I was so tired and hungry, I can’t even tell you if I washed my hands first.

I stood in our kitchen wearing wool socks up to my knees, along with bottom-of-the-barrel, saggy-ass American Apparel leggings you only wear when you SWEAR no one will see you and only because all your real clothes are dirty and the apartment is too cold to just parade in your husband’s long hoodie. I balanced a snotty, fevery, crying Magnus on my hip, and with my spare hand, found myself actualy wiping back greasy strands of hair out of my face so that I could peer into my fridge and cupboards - hoping to prove wrong my worst nightmare: no food.

A last resort. The freezer. I opened the door and realized as the cold air gushed out at me that I now had also been infected with this horrendous flu. I was both “Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, cool air, I’m so hot” and “Frickkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk, this is so frigid, I need more wool socks.”

A lone, resealable bag of “Purdue Whole Grain 100% Chicken Breast Nuggets” stared back at me. I felt compelled to actually quote the name instead of just saying “chicken nuggets.” These are really good - especially during a Tuesday late-afternoon pinch! Which this definitely warranted. But, not a pinch, I tell you - a life or death situation for yours truly.

I cranked the oven to ELEVEN! -  preheating it to broil because I now stood in an igloo. I hoped to thaw out a bit while also cooking the nuggets. I was suddenly so congested and so paralyzed with the roots of my teeth, now individually puncturing my sinus wall, causing my face to swell, my eyes to water and my cheekbones to rupture that I was either going to grab the Le Crueset dutch oven off the pot rack and begin ramming it against my face to knock them all out... or have a glass of wine. 

My fear of dentistry is another lifetime of writing. And therapy.

Conveniently, just to the left of the oven was a near-empty bottle of Bodegas Atalaya "Laya" - a bottle we had served among 348 others at Thanksgiving this year. If I didn’t drink it right now, I’d run the risk of cooking this sucker. And at $9.99 a bottle, and probably a little less than one glass left - I couldn’t justify letting this one go to waste.

I got Magnus settled on the floor in a cocoon of cozy blankies and leopard throw pillows. Thankfully, he agreed to hold his bottle of juice as I slowly crouched down beside him, hoping to eat my first real meal in easily 2 days. (Simultaneously, I was baffled that my first meal in 2 days was the frozen chicken nuggets I had purposefully bought soley for my 8-year-old.) I was also looking forward to any medical advantages the little glass of Laya would offer, given that my OceanSpray Sinus Irrigation failed me, Sudafed failed me, and the Le Crueset was too pretty to bang against my ugly, flu-stricken face.

I loved the Laya at Thanksgiving, but it had been layered with numerous other delicious reds. And honestly, it didn’t get a chance to stand on its own. Yet today, the Laya had the floor. Virgin tastebuds. An untouched liver. A near-empty stomach. (Which would also make this shy glass feel more like a full glass. Points in my corner.)

I gracefully lifted the glass to my nose and secretly peered out of my right eye to see an early Christmas miracle: Magnus’ eyes rolling back into his head; his suckling slowing to a gradual, sleepy, lip movement. I closed my eyes and took a massive whiff of this fairly heavy, Spanish red - 70% Garnacha (score!) and 30% Monastrell. The color was dark and almost inky, which I suspected someone of the higher powers orchestrated to match the generic BBQ sauce smeared messily around my plate, thanks to the power of the nugget.

I love this wine. I love that it was under $10. I love that it was the laiden with the pefect Lindsay Storm: spicy meets peppery meets super dark fruit meets coffee meets gorgeous alpaca poncho meets nag champa. A real WIN if you genuinely love some fruit on your wine but aren’t a fan of a fruit bomb, or if you really dig some earth in your glass, but aren’t quite ready to plant a garden. Laya beat the pants off OceanSpray Irrigation and Sudefed, too. Win.

I silently picked my way around the plate of nuggets - scared to even chew in fear I may wake this sleeping baby. Swallowing whole was my solution. Washing the nuggets down with a swig of the Laya turned one of my strangest pairings yet into one that was necessary - albeit integral to survival. And it was delicious. 

I didn’t even finish my shy glass. Becoming so sleepy, yet so awkwardly fulfilled by what I prayed would not be my Last Supper, I scooted down to the rug from my sitting position to a horizontal one - ever so careful to let sleeping dogs lie. I curled up next to Magnus and took a sigh of relief. He was sleeping. I had eaten. I had sipped some incredible wine with every attempt in the world not to waste it. 

And now I was thankfully going to get my first nap in 13 months.

 


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