In which the author tells you how to run your life -- or at least how to make the most of the fun parts of it.

For instance, inside these pages you will learn how to weather a mortar attack in good spirits; how to avoid booking yourself on the Internet into a bed and breakfast full of twee quilts and dusty tchotkes; and how to plan a dinner party that will stun your guests with deliciousness and style and not destroy your will to live with the amount of work you have to do to pull it off.

These are things I know firsthand, and things people who know me often ask me about (though I usually just book them into bed and breakfasts myself -- identifying ruffled death traps is an acquired skill). I am almost always right about everything (food, style and travel-related, anyway, and often many other things) and if everyone would just do as I say, dinner would taste better, cupcakes would not be dry, your parties would be more fun (for you), and mortar attacks... well, they always suck. I can't do anything about them.

*except laundry. I can't manage my own laundry, much less yours.

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Monday, January 9, 2012

Sometimes Life finds you both alone and sick

That sucks. Especially SINGLE and alone and sick. Stomach sick. You know what I mean.

I have, in fact, given this very advice to another single, alone, and sick person I know and he reported back that it absolutely made his life better.

First: when you feel the flu coming on (I mean the barfing flu, which generally gives me a good 30 - 40 minutes notice. My whole body goes "uh oh!"), gather the following -- the idea is not to have to move unless absolutely necessary once the sickness settles in.

Ginger ale or coke (why not just keep a six-pack on hand? not cold so you won't be tempted to drink it. Just shove it under the sink or something):

A towel. Stomach flu is messy, You'll be glad they are close at hand.

A bucket. Nothing is worse than feeling feverish and hanging over a nasty toilet hoping you'll just vomit fast and get it over with. The bathroom floor is cold, the toilet stinks unless its JUSt been cleaned and then it smells like bleach. And the second next worst thing is running for the bathroom, hand over your mouth... I won't go on.

Add a thermometer, if like me you're kind of a hypochondriac and therefore take great pleasure in confirming you are sick with some triple digits; crackers but those probably aren't necessary; a bottle of water for rinsing your mouth out.

Here's what you do:

1. Put on your big girl pants. No one is going to take care of you but you. Gather your supplies. Keep them all withing less than arms reach. Lay in bed, wanly.
2. Everything in place, you may indulge in a little self-pity.
3. When you start to feel bad, either sit up and put the towel under your chin, or get out of bed and kneel on the rug with the bucket in front of you. Let it rip.
4. Rinse your mouth with water, spit it in the bucket. In a minute you'll feel better -- almost super human by comparison to when you were puking. Sit with your eyes closed, panting. Use the towel as necessary.
5. Gather your strength -- you have a window where you will feel pretty good. Go to the bathroom and dump your bucket in the toilet. Rinse it in the sink, spilling the contents in the toilet. Flush. Brush your teeth. Swish some mouth wash if you've got it -- stomach acid is brutal on your teeth (I grew up next door to an anorexic who lost all her teeth from vomiting so much, so I'm kind of a stickler on the mouth wash).
6. Your bucket should be pretty clean by now, and you exhausted. Get back into bed, drink a few mouthfuls of ginger ale -- it will help your stomach and give you some liquid and calories, which you need to replace at least a little of what you've just dumped out.
7. Repeat as necessary.

Skip the bucket-empyting step, ever. I promise you the bucket will spill, and if it doesn't spill it will at least stink to high heaven, and that won't do. You're sick, not an animal. You need it to be warm and clean and comfortable. It will take a little doing to get out of bed each time, but you're worth it.

By the time you stop throwing up, you won't have a mess to clean up.

So: let's right now ut together a stomach flu kit: Fun!@ Get yourself a pretty bucket and a matching towel or two, a six-pack of soda, a large bottle of water, and a new electronic thermometer. Maybe a small bottle of advil? Roll the towels up inside, put in the sodas, and pop that whole thing in a closet somewhere. When you are prostrate in front of the toilet, naseated as much from the smell and position as the flu, sweating and freezing... you'll wish you did.

You're welcome.