Monday, January 7, 2013

Spilling My Guts in 2013

I wanted to start the blogging year on a motivational note.  Here's the thing: I like New Year's resolutions.  Even if they are 99% self-deluding nonsense, I enjoy seeing the calendar roll over and pushing the reset button while pronouncing a few probably non-starting self-improvement initiatives.  Winter is a grind, after all, and I don't see anything wrong with setting some goals that will never be reached as a way of braving the cold dark months ahead.  I wanted to blog something about how I was going to 'positively own 2013.'  'Destroy 2013.'  'Make mincemeat of 2013.'  I was going to talk about how 2012, the greatest year of my life, the year I got to know my son and revel in raising him with my sometimes-popular wife, would serve as a launching pad for an even more awesome 2013.

Then I threw up.

Boston, Massachusetts was the site of 2013's MLA Conference.  My wife was there for an undisclosed number of job interviews, possibly to determine where we'll spend the rest of our lives.  I was there for support.  While she was nailing her interviews, I watched over the McBonerito.  All was going well until the final night in our comfortable room in the Sheraton.

The nausea that woke me at around 2AM told me I was in for it.  Between intermittent spells of sleep, I suffered chills and aches.  Stomach flu, for certain.  I longed for a quick resolution, but was condemned to moan and roll in bed until dawn.  At last, 6 AM was the appointed hour.  The nausea now acute, I leap out of bed and hustled to the bathroom, just as my guts unleashed their fury.

One, two, three violent heaves sent a steak and bean burrito surging into the toilet.  I lingered a moment, regarding the frothy mix of beef and red legumes.  On the surface, browned cilantro leaves floated--little lily pads on a putrid pond from hell.

Subsequent wretches summoned less recognizable matter: breakfast's egg, cheese and sausage bagel was a warm, curdled sludge that sank quickly to the bottom.

A final few hacks of yellow bile signaled the end.  After mopping up the spatter and brushing my teeth for an hour, I staggered back to bed.  I would spend the day in a diminished state, so weakened that every task was insurmountable.  My 14-month-old son easily overwhelmed me during a routine diaper change.  Were he of a more sinister nature, he could have taken my arm behind my back and made me cry "uncle."  But he's a good and reasonable lad, and he eventually consented to having his loins regirded. 

After wrapping up some final Boston business that day, we hit the road.  At well past the stroke of 2 AM, 24 hours after the stomach fun began, we found ourselves crawling thankfully into our own bed.  The trip was overwhelmingly positive, but after having my ass handed to me by the flu and negotiating the long route from Boston to Chicago to West Lafayette, IN, I find myself humbled.  Perhaps further posts will see me 'taking 2013 by storm,' but for now I'll reflect on that semi-digested mess in the toilet and remember that a few microbes can topple even the mightiest of bloggers.

Oh, and I wanted to say goodbye to 2012 with a final birding list, so here's that:

Birds sighted, 12/29:

Mourning dove
House finch
House sparrow
Downy woodpecker
Red-headed woodpecker
Tufted titmouse
Red-breasted nuthatch
White-breasted nuthatch
Carolina wren
Blue jay
Red-tailed hawk


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