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Momo Fali's: October 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Some See Double, I See Poultry

I have been known to do unusual things after taking Ambien. What is remarkable about these things is that I often have no recollection of them. Luckily I don't eat, drive or call people. Shout out to my big sister! Put down the phone Trish!

Mostly, I just write. As it turns out, I did some of that last night. I vaguely remember penning notes to my two children and to my husband before I went to bed. I know they were love notes, left for them to read when they woke up. If you had asked me what those notes said this morning, however, I would have been clueless.

So sometimes there are brief remembrances about the previous evening, but not always. I logged on to Twitter today, and had absolutely no memory of leaving this update last night:

On Ambien...just saw woman seductively stick her leg around our bedroom door and it turned out to be a huge Turkey drumstick.

A hallucinating, crazy woman in the bed and a woman with legs made of turkey behind the door.

My husband is one lucky guy.

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Call Me Sickly

Ohmygosh, so like remember when I had swine flu and then after that I got pneumonia? And then my doctor called and sent me to the hospital because he thought I had a pulmonary embolism, but I took a test where I sucked in a bunch of radioactive stuff and the bad pain I was having was actually from pleurisy? And right after I got over the pleurisy pain, I got a cold? And then remember how I told my boss that it was TOTALLY a good thing that I had a sore throat because that meant my sinuses were draining? And then my sinuses stopped draining and I started coughing and my lungs felt like they were filled with concrete so I went to the emergency room in the middle of the night because I thought my pneumonia had come back? And remember how the doctor sent me for my third chest x-ray in the last month and then told me that all that gunk that drained out of my sinuses had gone down my throat and into my lungs?

So it turns out I don't have recurring pneumonia, but it does turn out that the sore throat I had two days ago? Was not such a good thing after all.

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Things I Said Yesterday

To my son:

"Maybe if you would have gone to the bathroom when I told you to, I wouldn't be standing in the shower holding your piece of cheese and trying to wash my hair one-handed!"

"Is that stain on your jacket from when you threw up phlegm at recess or is it a blood stain from yesterday's loose tooth?"

"Hurry up and go poop!"

To the puppy:

"Get your butt off my new throw pillow!"

"Get your butt off my laptop!"

"Hurry up and go poop!"

To my daughter:

"The puppy ate your soccer ball."

To a newly purchased cleaning product:

"Your bottle says 'streak-free shine'. You are not streak-free shining."

To the television:

"Wow. Rick Springfield has had some work done."

To my husband, when he asked me suggestively what was for dessert:

"Chocolate chip cookies."

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

A Day in the Life: Cafeteria Edition

I work in a school cafeteria. Okay, I'll just say it. I'm a lunch lady. Stop laughing before I shove my mole in your face.

If you want to read why it's the best job in the world, go here. If you don't want to read that, just know. It is the best. I enjoy the work, I get to see my kids and the people I work with are fantastic. I really love my job. If it paid better I would call it downright perfection instead of referring to it as glorified volunteer work.

There are four of us permanently stationed in the cafeteria. There is my neighbor/friend/manager, who knows all the ins and outs of everything. From when to place the produce order, to the intricacies of the computer program, to which kids like to try to sneak an extra dessert.

I am Worker #1. I sometimes help with the computer work and lunch count, I do a lot of the food prep, serve the kids and help clean up.

Worker #2 arrives at 10:30 and helps with serving and clean up.

The last employee is the prefect. She controls the kids. She keeps the volume low and the mess to a minimum. She is the one who dismisses the children and keeps things orderly. She also has a different parent volunteer who comes in to help her every day.

With the exception of a couple of burns on my arms, nearly running out of taco meat and a few burned French fries, this has been a stress-free job. Until yesterday.

Yesterday, my neighbor/friend/manager went to a funeral and left me to work the computer in her absence. Because I would be doing that, a parent substitute came in to cover for me in the kitchen. Keep in mind, lunch begins being served at 11:15. Here's a recap:

* At 10:30 Worker #2 arrives and says she has a migraine. She never complains and is always reliable and would never leave me hanging out to dry, so I know it's the real deal.

* At 10:31 we determine the parent substitute can't be the only person serving, as the entree is chef salad. The server has to ask each student if they want cheese, ham, pepperoni and/or croutons and add them to the bowl of lettuce. One server = Kids not eating until sunset.

* At 10:35 I begin calling every parent I can think of who might be able to come in and sub for Worker #2 so she can go home and have throbbing head and nausea in peace.

* At 10:45 I give up on finding a substitute.

* At 10:50 I call my pharmacist and ask her this hypothetical question. "Say I have a migraine and I took one Excedrin Migraine at 5:30 AM and another one at 10:15 AM, would it be okay to now take a pleurisy pain pill left over from when I had pneumonia?"

* At 10:51 pharmacist says, "No."

* At 10:55 I run up to the office where there is a parent volunteer covering for the secretary, because the secretary is also at the funeral. I ask the parent if she can come volunteer in the cafeteria after she finishes volunteering in the office. She says, "Yes." Yay! Problem solved!

* At 11:00 I explain the situation to everyone. The permanent prefect will help my substitute in the kitchen and they will both serve the kids. The volunteer who is scheduled to come in will be joined by the volunteer who will be coming down from the office. They will control the kids. I will work on the computer as planned. Got that? No? Me either.

* At 11:07 we realize that half the chairs are being used at the church for the funeral. Three of us make a beeline for the music room and steal all the chairs.

* At 11:10 I realize the mouse on the computer isn't working.

* At 11:11 I beg a teacher to help me. She finds me a new mouse. I doesn't work either.

* At 11:12 the mouse starts working and we all come to the realization that the parent prefect who is scheduled to come in, is not going to show up.

* At 11:13 the other volunteer comes down from her office post and tells us she has never prefected in the cafeteria before.

* At 11:14 I consider taking an Excedrin Migraine. Or five.

* At 11:20 my neighbor/friend/manager stops by after the funeral to check on things and sees that all hell has broken loose.

* At 11:30 my neighbor/friend/manager returns from running home and changing her clothes. Then she jumps in and starts serving the kids. You know? While I work the planned.

And would you believe that at the end of the day she actually said that she feels comfortable taking a day off now? Clearly, she dipped into my pleurisy pills.

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Head Case

I have been going to the same hair salon for many years. I LOVE my hair salon. I love my stylist, the atmosphere, the service and the fact that kids aren't allowed unless they have an appointment. It has been my little oasis.

However, it's not ideal. Sometimes it's hard to get in, it's a 20 minute drive from my house and it's not cheap. And, that whole not allowing kids thing? It means that getting an appointment is even more difficult because I have to coordinate it with my husband's schedule.

So last week, I walked into the little salon at the end of my street to check it out. Not only does this place allow you to bring your kids, but they'll turn on a TV show for them. It's also $30 cheaper than my regular place. Did I mention it's at the end of my street? Exactly a two minute walk from my front door?

Convenience + Lower Price = "Who Wants to Give Momo Some Highlights?"

Because I was a new customer, the guy took care to make sure the color was right. He used three different shades, then gave me a haircut and waxed my unibrow. I was there for three hours.

When you're sitting in a stylist's chair for the better part of an afternoon, you do a lot of talking. When I got home, I realized that the poor guy probably thinks my name isn't Momo, but rather Liar McLiarson. Why? Because these are a few of the things I told him:

1. That I had just got over swine flu and pneumonia, and that my doctor thought I had a pulmonary embolism.

2. That my son almost died from a strep pneumo infection.

3. That my son almost died after one of his surgeries.

4. That my mom was born in Honolulu and used to go to school barefoot and shimmy up trees to get away from wild boars.

5. That my mom was playing marbles outside a church when Pearl Harbor was bombed and saw fighter planes flying overhead. Then one of them crashed down the street.

6. That my daughter weighed 2 1/2 pounds when she was born.

7. That I used to have a high-pressure career and now I work as a lunch lady because my son sometimes chokes when he eats and I might need to perform the Heimlich.

8. That my husband and I went to Florida for a vacation, where we were greeted with temperatures in the 40's. Then it took us four hours to drive 90 miles and we were rear-ended by a semi.

9. That I'm scared of cats because my neighbor's cat used to stand on its hind legs and swat at me while hissing. Then it would attack me.

10. That I grew seven inches in nine months and ended up with stretch marks on my thighs when I was 12 years old.

Hopefully he thinks the chemicals soaked through my scalp and just made me seem crazy.

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

We'd Better be Talking Bamboo Here

My 10 year old daughter was recently giving her little brother a hard time when I said, "You had better leave him alone. When he's a teenager, he'll be big enough to beat you up."

She replied, "Nuh-uh! I'll be shooting up then!"

I think she was trying to tell me she'll be growing taller. I think.

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The List

Not too long ago my kids spent the night at my Mom's house. They call her Vo-Vo, which is supposed to be Portuguese for "Grandma", but who knows if we're getting that right. We recently found out that instead of telling the kids they have a cute "behind" we've been telling them they have a nice "ass".

When I picked up the kids after their night at Vo-Vo's, she told me that my son had been well-behaved, which is in stark contradiction to this list.

This list was compiled by my daughter, detailing all the things her brother did wrong. Let's review, shall we?

Stuck his tongue out at me 5 times

Tried to color me

Tried to murder me

Didn't listen

Banged table

Kept trying scraping Vo-Vo's car

What we can gather from this is that three of the items were him simply "trying" to do something wrong. Clearly, we need to work on his follow through.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

It's a Hard Habit to Break

My seven year old son, who has slight OCD tendencies, goes from one bad habit to the next. He went from constant swiping of his forehead, to scratching his arms and legs, to pulling up his pants incessantly, to eyebrow raising.

Most recently, he has regressed to the pants pulling, no matter how many times I tell him his jeans aren't falling down. With this go-round of the pants tugging habit he has decided to throw in pulling up his socks as well. You know, for good measure.

I understand that these things are hard for him to stop doing. Addictions work that way. For instance, my mom, who quit smoking for almost 10 years, started again. But I hardly have room to talk when I can't control myself if there is chocolate within 20 yards.

My daughter often chastises her brother for chewing with his mouth open, but what she doesn't realize is that when she chews gum she resembles Violet Beauregarde. She also starts talking before I've had my coffee in the morning. Oh wait. I guess that's my problem, not hers.

My husband listens to music too loud, I know a girl who over-whitens her teeth and I am friends with lots of people who drive too fast. Hi, Kim! Everyone has a bad habit.

As annoying as they may be, I suppose my son's actions aren't all that harmful. They aren't disgusting either, as was the case when I was a child and I bit my nails. Ew. Now I take care of my nails as best I can. Of course, my new habit is picking my cuticles, because I like to defeat my own purpose.

So tell me, boys and girls, what habit do you wish you could break?


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Random Realizations: Illness Edition

1. After three weeks, "taking it easy" becomes completely overrated.

2. Daytime television is horrible, but middle-of-the-night television is even worse. At one point, you may find yourself so desperate that you watch an episode of Three's Company. Shudder.

3. After two chest x-rays and a lung scan where you have to breathe radioactive gas through a tube, you'll realize that if the flu, pneumonia or possible pulmonary embolism won't kill you, the radiation eventually will.

4. Chicken and noodles is good.

5. Pain medicine is even better.

6. You may be so out of it that you won't realize new carpet is being installed until it's already been laid, covered with mud and cleaned up.

7. When no one will come near you, your dog's affection is absolutely wonderful.

8. Even if that dog stinks.

9. Once you feel better and tell people you're no longer contagious they will still take two steps back if you come near them.

10. You may come home from the hospital to find flowers, home-cooked food and groceries all over your kitchen.

11. And then you will realize how lucky you really are.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Cure JM

Kevin of Always Home and Uncool has asked me to post this as part of his effort to raise awareness in the blogosphere of juvenile myositis, a rare autoimmune disease his daughter was diagnosed with on this day seven years ago. The day also happens to be his wife's birthday.

Our pediatrician admitted it early on.

The rash on our 2-year-old daughter's cheeks, joints and legs was something he'd never seen before.

The next doctor wouldn't admit to not knowing.

He rattled off the names of several skins conditions -- none of them seemingly worth his time or bedside manner -- then quickly prescribed antibiotics and showed us the door.

The third doctor admitted she didn't know much.

The biopsy of the chunk of skin she had removed from our daughter's knee showed signs of an "allergic reaction" even though we had ruled out every allergy source -- obvious and otherwise -- that we could.

The fourth doctor had barely closed the door behind her when, looking at the limp blonde cherub in my lap, she admitted she had seen this before. At least one too many times before.

She brought in a gaggle of med students. She pointed out each of the physical symptoms in our daughter:

The rash across her face and temples resembling the silhouette of a butterfly.

The purple-brown spots and smears, called heliotrope, on her eyelids.

The reddish alligator-like skin, known as Gottron papules, covering the knuckles of her hands.

The onset of crippling muscle weakness in her legs and upper body.

She then had an assistant bring in a handful of pages photocopied from an old medical textbook. She handed them to my wife, whose birthday it happened to be that day.

This was her gift -- a diagnosis for her little girl.

That was seven years ago -- Oct. 2, 2002 -- the day our daughter was found to have juvenile dermatomyositis, one of a family of rare autoimmune diseases that can have debilitating and even fatal consequences when not treated quickly and effectively.

Our daughter's first year with the disease consisted of surgical procedures, intravenous infusions, staph infections, pulmonary treatments and worry. Her muscles were too weak for her to walk or swallow solid food for several months. When not in the hospital, she sat on our living room couch, propped up by pillows so she wouldn't tip over, as medicine or nourishment dripped from a bag into her body.

Our daughter, Thing 1, Megan, now age 9, remembers little of that today when she dances or sings or plays soccer. All that remain with her are scars, six to be exact, and the array of pills she takes twice a day to help keep the disease at bay.

What would have happened if it took us more than two months and four doctors before we lucked into someone who could piece all the symptoms together? I don't know.

I do know that the fourth doctor, the one who brought in others to see our daughter's condition so they could easily recognize it if they ever had the misfortune to be presented with it again, was a step toward making sure other parents also never have to find out.

That, too, is my purpose today.

It is also my birthday gift to my wife, My Love, Rhonda, for all you have done these past seven years to make others aware of juvenile myositis diseases and help find a cure for them once and for all.

To read more about children and families affected by juvenile myositis diseases, visit Cure JM Foundation at

To make a tax-deductible donation toward JM research, go to or


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