I Spy Valentine’s Day

As Valentine’s Day sidles up close enough to air-kiss you against your will, I just wanted to wish all of you a happy February 14th. Depending on who you ask, Valentine’s Day is either a fun excuse to be sappy and romantic, an annoying schlock-fest that is to be endured, or the WORST THING TO HAPPEN ALL YEAR.

I made the above valentine to share with all of you, regardless of how you feel about tomorrow. Always remember, my books are here for you whenever you’re looking for either excitement or you feel like shooting something.

Want to know more? Click here for Take the Bai Road, and here for Bai Tide.

 

Superbowl Redux

Wes left for another business trip yesterday morning, so for the third year in a row I was left to my own devices for the Superbowl. The previous two years, I’ve caught up on the best commercials the day after. This year, I decided to take a stab at being relevant by ignoring the game itself and turning the volume back on for the commercials and halftime show.

First of all, can I just say that the Tide commercials with David Harbour killed me? Those were so funny, and if possible made me like him even more. I thought his Twitter antics were endearing, but then I saw him riding tandem on a unicorn with the Old Spice guy and my fondness intensified.

The Dodge Ram commercial with Dr. Martin Luther King’s voice imposed over it nauseated me. I was scowling so much that my son actually asked me if I was okay, and it wasn’t until he said that that I realized how much my irritation was showing on my face. For shame, Dodge. Have you learned nothing from Pepsi’s ill-fated ad from last year with the girl who’s pregnant and was on that show with a bunch of people whose names inexplicably begin with the letter K?

The Verizon first responder appreciation ad made me cry, as did the Budweiser water one. I’m a sucker, what can I say?

Many of this year’s commercials were good, in my opinion. I do, however, have to single out Diet Coke for a minute.

Last week, Wes took me out for a movie and there was a Diet Coke ad that ran with the previews. It was of Gillian Jacobs, who was fun in Community, and she gave us her unasked-for permission to drink Diet Coke or run a marathon or live in a yurt if we wanted to.

Um, thanks? And also, why is Diet Coke equating its beverage with these behaviors?

Unimpressed with this ad already, the mango Diet Coke (ewww) came on and somehow my regard for whoever is doing the advertising for Diet Coke sank even lower. In this commercial, a wan young woman takes a sip of Diet Coke Mango and starts awkwardly dancing, without music, all the while saying she’s not sure why it’s happening.

It’s awkward to watch, utterly uncompelling, and actually made me not want to drink Diet Coke ever again. I cannot, for the life of me, imagine what the pitch meeting for these commercials must have been, but I can only imagine it involved a lot of Xanax and shrugging because these commercials are the advertising equivalent of, “Meh. I guess?”

As for the halftime show, I don’t really know what to say. Lots of people have been unkind to Justin Timberlake, but I thought his dancing was quite good and the show was fine. He was operating at a disadvantage, I think, because he hasn’t been relevant as a pop musician in a long time. None of his hits are current, so he was kind of an odd choice to begin with.

I was half hoping Janet Jackson would make a surprise appearance and he would publicly apologize for his role in the ill-fated show they did years and years ago, but it didn’t happen. I also kind of hoped Andy Samberg would come out and the two of them could recreate some of their SNL Digital Short songs together. That would have been awesome.

Oh, well. All in all, the Superbowl happened. The game itself was exciting, the commercials were mostly good, and David Harbour remains charming and funny.

What was your most or least favorite moment of the game?

Advanced Germ Warfare

My husband travels a lot for work. I’d say, if pressed for an average frequency, that he’s gone for about one week out of every month. That’s a lot of restaurant food, a lot of time in airplanes, a lot of time in hospitals meeting with nurses and doctors (read: a whole hell of a lot of exposure to germs).

That he hasn’t brought something infectious home yet after almost two years of running this company is nothing short of remarkable now that I think about it.

Unfortunately, his lucky streak ran out last week. While on his way to Florida last Monday, a nasty pack of viruses found its way into his body, liked it there, and set up camp. Those viruses got busy and proliferated until poor Wes was as sick as I’ve ever seen him.

By the time he was flying home from Florida on Wednesday night, he was miserable and on his way to violently ill. When he got home, he was dehydrated, exhausted, and shaking from a decent fever.

Thursday is when things really got bad, though. His fever kept climbing, and he was visibly dehydrated, so he and I took a little trip to the emergency room where they plumped him up until his fingers were fat little sausages. Three bags of fluids and no small number of tests later, he was discharged with the vague diagnosis of, “Probably something viral.”

Now, I want you to remember that we have two small children at home. With the viruses Wes could have ranging from the dreaded Norovirus to the never-ending Rotavirus to the pernicious and difficult-to-kill C. Diff. (which isn’t a virus, but was mentioned as a possible diagnosis), you can imagine my frustration at not knowing exactly how to keep myself and my kids safe from this virulent pestilence.

I’m useless against some of the nastier viruses! 

For example, did you know that alcohol-based hand sanitizers (e.g. Purell) don’t kill Norovirus, but do work against Rotavirus? Or that Clorox and Lysol wipes will not kill either C. Diff. or Norovirus? Or that you’re contagious for three days after symptoms stop with Norovirus, but for WEEKS with C. Diff.?

After I got Wes home and comfortable from the hospital, I cleaned everything he’d touched with Lysol wipes, my standard go-to whenever anyone gets sick with something that causes a fever. When I finally sat down and put my aching leg up, I started some research into the various viruses and realized I needed to get some bleach spray and re-do everything I’d just done. Otherwise, my kids or myself might catch what Wes had and then we’d all end up in the emergency room.

(You know what’s fun? Reading that several of the possible viruses Wes might have are occasionally fatal to children because of how quickly and severely little kids can become dehydrated.)

So, despite the pain in my tired leg and the late hour, I ventured out to the store, procured bleach spray, and spent another hour sanitizing every surface of my house. Even the ones Wes never touched. I didn’t want anyone getting sick for two weeks because I forgot to wipe down the sides of the trash cans, you know?

I crawled to bed at midnight that night, and have continued my vigilance ever since. We’ve bleached and shelved all the hand towels and we’re going through paper towels like crazy. Wes is quarantined in our room, which gets bleached and wiped down every night before I go to bed. The kids are only allowed to talk to him from the door of our room, and he wears a clean pair of latex gloves every time he touches anything.

The three of us remain unscathed thanks to these efforts, but Wes is still waiting patiently for his immune system to finally give those viral squatters the boot. Pale from a week indoors, tired of drinking electrolyte solution, and longing for the life that’s waiting for him on the other side of this illness, he bides his time in his pillow prison and looks forward to the day he’s free to pass slowpokes in his Mustang again.

Let this be a lesson to you: Other human beings are gross. Wash your hands before you eat anything, and beware any food that’s been touched by bare hands. Trust ye not solely in Purell, because some viruses treat alcohol-based hand sanitizers like fun little pre-funks before they storm your proverbial castle.

Traditional New Year Post – 2018 Version

It’s been my tradition for many years to sum up the old year with a blog post and share my hopes for the new year. I’ve never been a resolutions person, but I love me some goals. It’s always a lot of fun to see how those goals have worked out at the end of the year. Some make it through to completion, others die on the vine. Life is one hell of a humbler.

As Wes and I hoisted flutes of champagne last night, we spent some time discussing 2017. In many ways, it was a challenging year. As far as we can tell, challenging years are hallmark of adulthood. That doesn’t make them bad, per se. Far from it! Rather, I think if you’re the kind of person who’s always striving toward something, challenges are what drive you. If there’s no windmill to tilt against, how are any of us supposed to pretend we’re quixotic?

In that vein, our biggest victories in 2017 were professional: I completed Bai Treason and the first draft of Tranquility Land. I attended ThrillerFest, and was offered several jobs due to my unusual tenacity in getting my cutting-edge surgery covered by my health insurance. Wesley defied the odds and kept his startup going, and he’s optimistic about the momentum they’ve built.

Our hopes for the new year are simple: That the work we put into building things in 2017 will come to fruition in 2018.

That’s it. Simple, but don’t let this statement fool you. 2018 is going to be a BIG year for us. My goal is to have a literary agent who believes in both me and my work by the end of the year. Wes’s goal is for his company to be going strong, which requires an unbelievable amount of hustle and determination. We’re going to start looking for a house to buy soon (we’ve been renting for seven years), and will hopefully find the perfect home for our family by the end of the summer. We want to adopt a puppy, we want to plant a garden, we want to take a great vacation to somewhere sunny.

We have goals for our children, of course, and they have goals of their own, but what it all boils down to is that we hope all the saving and waiting and sacrifices we’ve made to get here will pay off this year.

We’re dreaming big. We’re hoping for good things. We’re believing that when you work hard enough for something, the journey is worthwhile.

In that spirit, a very Happy New Year to you. Please feel free to share your hopes and goals so that I can join you in rooting for them!

Christmas Excuses

Oops. It’s been awhile since I posted. I have a legit excuse, I swear. You see, I was having major surgery on my knee. If you’ve never had major surgery (lucky you!), take my word for it that both preparing for it and then recovering from it takes a tremendous amount of both time and energy.

The surgery went well, though, and I’m healing well. I’m ordering ALL THE THINGS online for Christmas, and enjoying plenty of couch time with my family. Having kicked my hard narcotic painkillers, I’m clearheaded again and look forward to returning to writing soon.

If I don’t have a chance to blog again before the holidays begin in earnest, Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Joyous Festivus, and Happy Holidays to you all. May your egg be nogged, your yule be logged, and your favorite holiday treats hogged (by you)!