Wednesday 07 Dec 2016

Sniffles
Jennifer Flaten

The kids bring home lots of stuff from school, such as homework, permission slips, large-scale art installations that use copious amounts of glue and glitter. They also bring home and germs. A great many germs piggyback on the kids, every day.

This I find this very puzzling. Each year I am required to send in a giant bottle of hand sanitizer and a tub of Lysol wipes as part of the kids school supplies. Why don’t the germs stay at school?

Either the kids aren’t using the cleaning products correctly or the teachers are hording the hand sanitizer for some yet unknown apocalypse. Won’t I feel silly when, teachers armed with hand sanitizer, defeat the next invasion by zombie? Alternatively, is this how teachers make up for new laws that limit the wages of public sector employees?

I’ve come to the realization school is nothing more than a giant Petri dish. You think your kids are going there to learn. No, at school they’re cultivating some new and exotic version of hemorrhagic fever.

In fact, I believe the kids bring home more germs than they do homework. As much as I hate homework and I really, really hate homework, especially geometry, I have to say I would gladly do more homework if it meant fewer germs, truly. Hey, you can conquer and angle with a protractor, but nothing stops a cold.

No matter how hard you try to avoid getting sick and trust me I‘ve tried: if you have kids, you or someone in your household is going to get sick. Short of putting in an airlock and hosing the kids down with Lysol, you can’t avoid the germs and both are expensive options. Each year it is the same thing, for the first few weeks your kids remain healthy and you think that maybe, just maybe this year no one is going to get sick.

Then it starts, your child casually mentions that a classmate went home sick and before you know it the students start dropping like flies. Once the first kid falls, it’s all over. After that, our dinner conversations usually revolve around which of the kid’s classmates (a) were out sick or (b) disappeared to the health room and never again; well at least for a few days or a week.

It’s just a matter of time before you hear a little extra sniffling, followed by lots and lots of sneezing and finally someone announces that they have a sore throat. It is officially cold season: let the games begin.  From patient zero the cold merrily chases its way around my house infecting everyone, including the animals.

You think cats have a bad attitude, normally. Try when they have a sore throat. Why, I even think the dog has a cold, look how he’s sprawled on the couch, oh wait, my mistake; he looks like that all the time.

In no time, at all I find myself buried in used Kleenex and perpetually smelling like Vicks. To make matter worse, every cup in the house ends up crusted with a film from the salt-water gargle and I desperately need a tall glass of caffeine to wash down my multi-vitamins. Why, yes, I do sound just like your Grandma and she was right it works.

That’s right I take my vitamins, good old-fashioned multi-vitamin tablets, no silly gummy vitamins for me. I don’t think the words gummy and adult should go together for any reason. Still, the vitamins are no match for the might mutated little kid cold germ.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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