Maybe if She Posted More Often, She Wouldn’t Have Usen 1400 Words in One Entry.

Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that we had a spot of excitement this past weekend, including a baby with a fever of 107, an ambulance ride, and a febrile seizure. It was…well. I think it was the most afraid I have ever been, including all 96 days in the NICU. Apparently these things happen, and it was just a small, fierce virus, but if some Friday you are thinking to yourself “gee, wouldn’t it be funny if my two-year old had an absence seizure while her brain began to poach?” the answer is NO. Also, if you are a NICU mother who stole retained one small oxygen tank (Just in case! You never know!) after the home medical company retrieved the rest, and if your husband discovers this a few months later and makes you return it, and if your baby then refrains from breathing after having a seizure, you should feel free to take this to mean that if the worst had happened, said husband would have been liable for all funeral expenses.

And that is all I will say about that, because revisiting that night, and the way I screamed to Scott to call an ambulance and pressed frozen sweet potato fries to my baby’s back as I thought I might very well be watching her die—is not something I can do, right now. You should know, by the way, that JUST BEFORE that happened I had started a post wondering what unpleasantness January had in store for me THIS year. Ha HA! Next year I am spending the month in a bunker.

So, let’s move on. I have another horrifying story to tell you, one I would be far too ashamed of myself to share, if I had any dignity left at all. Luckily (?) for you, I do not.

It was a dark and stormy night—or dark, anyway—when something occurred that caused me to close my laptop earlier than usual, with a terrified snap. Something that made it suddenly, strikingly clear that I was a danger to myself and others. Myself, because it was my own beloved book I was writing, and others, because they might, one day, have to read it.

What happened, you ask?

Does that look like a word, to you?

I’d been typing merrily—or at least persistently—along, and when I paused to look over my last few paragraphs, I noticed that spell-check had a problem with one of my words. “Usen,” to be specific.
I reread the sentence. And again. Huh. Maybe it was some sort of glitch? I erased the word and retyped it, then reran spell check manually. Still, the accusing red squiggle remained.
I was annoyed. “Usen,” as I well knew, was the past participle of “to use.” For instance, in the past perfect: “She’d usen that verb many times in the past.” Or maybe with an auxiliary verb in the passive voice: “Handkerchiefs were usen for staunching the flow of exhausted tears.”

Typing “usen” in the first place was bad. Not noticing anything amiss until spell-check pointed it out was worse. But worst of all was that EVEN AFTER SPELL-CHECK SUGGESTED I REPLACE “USEN” WITH “USED,” I was unconvinced.

Friends, I Googled it. I Googled “usen,” determined to find evidence that it was an actual word. It was only then, as I scrolled through the results, that I realized what should have been obvious: I had been writing for far, far too long that day.
I wouldn’t have thought anything short of head injury could cause me to forget how to conjugate regular English verbs. I remembered past participles, even while insisting that “usen” was among them. I have been conjugating the verb “to use” for nearly 30 years, and I think I do a satisfactory job of it. In fact, when telling this story to my mother, I used (SEE? THERE!) that particular verb several times—correctly.

(My poor mother, by the way. You should have seen her face. The horror. The concern. The fear!
Usen?” she kept asking, incredulous.
“Usen,” I whispered, hanging my head. I had broughten shame upon our family.)

In addition to being horrifying, I think this story is an excellent illustration of just how hard I have been working, hard enough to slowly liquefy vital parts of my gray matter, the parts where my grammar were stored. So you will excuse me if I am still more absent than I would like to be, here. (USEN. USEN!)

I’d planned to attend the Mom 2.0 conference in Houston next month, as it fell fortuitously on the weekend after my manuscript was due. Alas, I discovered that the editing part of my book schedule is as XXXTREME as the writing portion, the entirety to be completed within a harrowingly slight window. Any changes I want to make must be complete by the 22nd of February, and then the copyeditor and editor work in a flurry, and I implement their changes before the first week of March, when my manuscript is sent away to the design department to be tarted up into a book. My publication date is so near (August 10th! Unless you are at BlogHer! In which case you may buy a copy DAYS in advance!), that the pages read by reviewers and any Fancy Persons I wish to ask for blurbs will be only exactly as polished as they are when I relinquish them to design. Later I will make corrections to the typeset version, but there you have it: FIN.
For some reason, this news threw my spleen into disarray.

It’s silly, because it’s not as if I’d planned to turn in a BAD manuscript on my deadline, but somehow I thought there would be all this time afterward, for editing or changing my mind about things should I wake covered in a cold sweat, convinced that Chapter Fifteen ought properly to be Chapter Four. I have a week after my original deadline of the 15th to edit, but still, knowing that what I turn in on the 22nd may not be terribly different from what ends up on someone’s SHELF, next to real authors—James Thurber, maybe, or sandwiched between Ian Frazier and Joan Didion, the two of them drawing their covers subtly away from mine in distaste—means I’m not going anywhere next month. (Related: anybody want to buy my non-refundable Mom 2.0 early-bird registration pass?)

This weekend, I am taking my Crazy Person’s Bulletin Board to a sort of hippie Wellness Retreat Compound Center Spa Inn, where I shall lock myself in my room to work, emerging only for the occasional calming dip in the therapy pool, or to have my third eye massaged. It’s a vital and luxurious expanse of uninterrupted time, and if I DO lose my mind as I hurtle down the literary homestretch, at least I will already be at what amounts to a sanitarium, eliminating the need for padded transport.

It is odd to know that in less than six weeks, the task that has consumed the last six months of my life will be complete. Though the only reward I require is a book that doesn’t make my copy of The Fran Lebowitz Reader curl its pages in disgust, I have scheduled a small vacation to celebrate. I will be visiting Philadelphia, where I have never been, with one of my very best friends—whom I have technically never met, lengthy daily telephone conversations notwithstanding. I’ll see my editor, and plan to shuffle gratefully into her chamber to anoint her feet with sacred oils. Afterwards I’m off to peruse a nearby museum of medical curiosities, so it is virtually guaranteed to be a successful trip.

You’ll hear from me before that, though. Simone’s birthday (TWO??) is on the 8th, and naturally I’ll want to do some sort of victory lap here when I turn in my manuscript, and again after I finish incorporating the editorial changes and send my baby on its way. I will probably cry a little, remembering all the good times we had, my book and I, wrestling playfully with one another over tense and prodding newborn metaphors forward on their wobbly legs.
But THEN I will finally get back to business, the good olde fashioned business of boring you with discussions of toilet training, and what my Jersey Shore nickname would be (“The Tacit Premise”), and my newfound obsession with polygamy. So wait for me, please, like I’m in prison and you’re unexpectedly carrying my child. I think of you often.


  1. Nico says:

    I am so so glad that Simone is okay. How terrifying. 10*seven*??? Wow. I also can’t believe she’s almost TWO. More wow.

    And I laughed so hard at “usen” my husband actually asked what was so funny. I hope the writing goes well over the next few weeks and you can get your head back!

  2. Lee says:

    The Mütter Museum, you lucky devil! I’ve wanted to go there ever since I read Sarah Vowell’s book “Assassination Vacation.” They’ve got a piece of John Wilkes Booth there, if I remember correctly, and the Soap Lady! Take plenty of pictures for me and post them on the blog.

    I can throw no stones about imaginary words. I usen to write “volumous” when I meant “voluminous,” and by “usen to” I mean “sometimes I still pronounce it VOL-yewm-uss.” It makes sense, damn it, it means full of volume!

    Simone’s ordeal is too terrifying to contemplate, even out here in the lonely reaches of the interwebs. So I have no comment, only sympathy. But please post more pictures of her! I miss not seeing a new one every week.

  3. Okay, USEN is now my official go-to verb. I’m going to sprinkle the current manuscript with it fastly.

    But seriously, wow. The fever. The ride. I had one of those when Jake woke up with meningitis and passed out and I couldn’t get the fever down and the nurse on call kept saying, “You new moms. You just worry about the stupidest little things.” She wouldn’t give me an apt. ’til 11 that day, even though this was six a.m. and he had been screaming for an hour. Then he stopped screaming, passed out, and I wasn’t entirely sure he was going to keep breathing. I grabbed the 8-yr-old, jumped in the car and got to the doctor’s office, where I carried my completely passed-out-kid into the office, only to have said nurse start to chastise me and try to send me home.

    Luckily, our doctor was a childhood friend, and she heard me, came out of an exam room, took one look at Jake and started running. We did a spinal tap right there, then she said, “Take him to the ER. We don’t have time for an ambulance. I’m going to have them standing by. Do not go to admissions, go straight to the peds ER.” And when I got there, they yanked him from me and took off running.

    They started him on the strongest antibiotic possible and then did a CAT scan (I think it was a CAT scan) and the doctor came out and showed me where the infection was about to cross the blood brain barrier. He said ten more minutes, and Jake’s brain would have been compromised. Longer, and he probably would have been permanently damaged, crippled, or could have died.

    I wept for four days, while he recovered. I let some nurse make me feel like I was overreacting and I didn’t go in when my gut said to go.

    (Most nurses are amazing. This is just one person.)

    I still have nightmares over that one, and he’s 23 and a firefighter and has a daughter of his own.

  4. Lindsay says:

    When you write about your book, I can’t help but feel like you do know what it’s like to write a dissertation. Deadlines, hurdles, obstacles, that feeling that you shouldn’t be doing *anything* fun or leisurely until it’s complete, or at least in the hands of someone else. Good luck and enjoy that retreat- that sounds like something I could use!

  5. Carmen says:

    I come nowhere near close to you when it comes to eloquency*, nowhere near your level of expertise with the English language. So I felt embarrassed to post a reply, in case I should get laughed off the stage**; inappropriately sandwiched between Meryl Streep and Audrey Hepburn***.

    However****, I realized that that particular line of thought***** was silly.

    I want you to know that I feel your fear with Simone… my daughter is exactly three weeks younger than Simone, and I have been following your blog for as long as both have been outside of our wombs, and so I feel like you are a kind of pseudo-sister in life******.

    And concerning your book… OMG, STOKED! You could take a crummy piece of ONE-ply toilet paper, wipe your nose with it several times, drop it and grind it into the cat hair- and giddy dust bunny-covered carpet, market it at the local farmer’s fruit stand for thirty cents and I would still think it Nobel Prize material*******.


    *I realize this is not a word. It sounds good, though doesn’t it? Kinda like a bastard brother to USEN!

    **Stage? Really?? (I think I have lost my marbles, no pun intended. Seriously… I can’t play jacks without them.)

    ***Craving a sandwich now. Preferably with both of those luminous ladies on it, with mayo.

    ****At least it isn’t “But”, am I right?

    *****meandering as it is.

    ******Ewwwww, icky stalker-talk!! Someone noose her, NOW!

    *******Oh man, it sure is dark in here. How on earth can I possibly find my way out of your ass in time for the book signing??? (Oh and p.s., I have become bored of these tedious “asides”, so no more of them)

  6. Jennie says:

    Oh my goodness, I’d not been on twitter so I’d no idea. What a traumatic time for you. I’m glad it’s over, and I hope and pray there’ll be no reoccurrence.

    I just read the title of your post again, and just noticed ‘usen’ in it. I think my brain may have melted too! I was chuckling at your writing story though. Something similar happened to me a few years back when I was writing something fairly lengthy and I forgot how to spell ‘was’. NOTHING was bringing that back into my mind. And of course it’s not exactly in the dictionary (I checked). I ended up having to phone a friend, who promptly laaughed long and loud at me. A complete mental block! My dad has done the same thing though (different word, equally simple and everyday), so maybe it’s genetic. Has your mother ever been known to make words up to suit the occasion? And finally, will your book be published here in the UK, or just in the US? Good luck with the last 25 days!

  7. Mijke says:

    6 weeks? Shit… Good luck!

    And man, you’ve certainly had a huge scare last weekend. So so glad everything turned out fine. January really does NOT agree with you… Make that a fire-, bomb-, virus- AND germfree bunker!

  8. jenni rucinski says:

    January is a real bitch in this household too… we had the exact same experience on the 4th… its hard to imagine that something so terrifying as thinking your child is DYING is rather commonplace for little ones with fevers… we were dishrags for a week after wards and slept with one eye open, sure he was going to “seize” again while we carelessly slept :(

    all the best with your book and so glad Simone is doing just fine now.

  9. tash says:

    Wait, you’re coming (comen?) to Philadelphia?! I am allowed to know when, or I am someone you’re avoiding? Which I would understand, totally. I try and get out my own way most days, anymore.

    Jeebus, sorry about the fever and seizure and the UGH. Damn book never really ends, does it. Sigh. Hope everyone is feeling better and you can skip/trip through the next few days unscathed.

  10. Maura says:

    If you keep usen something it becomes a word.

    I’ll make sure folks in Houston are saying it regularly before you visit… next time.
    Let us know if you head to Houston. You have quite a few followers (and fellow NICU alumni).

  11. Beth says:

    I’m so glad Simone is OK! That is so scary.

    My second baby will be turning one on August 17; I am sure he will enjoy a copy of your book for an early birthday present. Congratulations!

  12. Natalie says:

    I had a fabulous conversation with an aunt once wherein she used the word “brung.” As in, “I brung him to school yesterday, but she’ll bring him tomorrow.” BRUNG.
    And so glad Simone is fine. So very glad.

  13. Sara R. says:

    Yikes, I can’t imagine how scared you must’ve been this weekend :-( I’m so glad Simone is ok.

    I’ve been to the Mutter Museum, and it’s fascinating! I was pregnant at the time, so the babies with birth defects were pretty terrifying to me, but it was still a very interesting trip.

  14. Jul says:

    Oh, god… poor mom. Poor bebe. So glad everything turned out okay. Although I am ashamed to admit I sort of wanted to know if you later ate the sweet potato fries. Because those things are GOOD.

    Philly! I KNOW SOMEONE IN PHILLY! And it’s me! I’ll advise Ms. Irretrievable (also a personal peep of mine) to give me a holler if you have a few spare moments and wish to, you know, hang. (You will love the Mutter, BTW. I am ashamed to admit it’s 0.25 mi from my office and I haven’t been there in years. And what better lunch break than viewing a giant impacted colon?)

  15. laura says:

    Oh my, glad to hear Simone is okay. Rather terrifying.
    I have a friend in a similar situation writing a book–it is a tremendously hard work! We had a girls getaway last weekend, which she said she was able to get more work done just being away from home. She mentioned she now understood why writers go away, hunker down in a motel and write. Good luck, it’ll be worth in the end!

  16. Celia says:

    Thank God Simone is ok. I imagine your pulse is still racing.

    I love Fran Lebowitz so much, my copy of her reader looks like it’s been dragged through hell.

  17. Ruth says:

    Oh, man. Febrile seizure and failing to breathe … been there, done that, know the terror.

    My oldest daughter had a febrile seizure and stopped breathing when she was just shy of her third birthday. She and her brother were in the bathtub at the time, and I realized what was going on just before her face slid under the water. I had to do CPR on the bathmat while my terrified five year old looked on.

    The whole event is burned into my memory, with one bright spot: when my daughter suddenly sat bolt upright on the gurney in the emergency room, glared at the nurse who was in the middle of taking a medical history and declared, “I am NOT a hippopotamus!” The nurse said, without missing a beat, “Thank you honey. I’ll make a note of that in your chart.”

    It was years until I was able to sleep in another room when she was ill (“how will I know if she stops breathing?” I asked the pediatrician. “Usually they make enough noise to wake their parents up,” he said. When I reminded him that she’d simply collapsed and stopped breathing he allowed as how that was a bit problematic.) We were on Seizure Alert, piggybacking meds, with her whenever she got sick until she was seven.

    Best of luck with the! SO exciting (easy to have purely happy anticipatory feelings about the situation when you’re not the one having to revise on deadline).

  18. Rebecca says:

    Wow…I am amazed to see that so many people are familiar with the Mutter!

    Odd that you can go in, because they were limiting visitors for a time, I believe. Because I was attending one of the Med schools in Philly, I was allowed entrance with ID.

    And because I was studying birth defects…the wild birth defects section was a prime target for me. But yes, very disturbing.

    I believe that you are not to take pictures…so understandable…this is supposed to be medically educational–not voyeuristic.

    I am thrilled you are going to be going to Philly…lived there for 10 years…its a fun place…lots of good food.

    If you have time to browse…go to Reading Terminal Market.

  19. I read the title of your post, and I thought, “Usen? That must be some obscure yet correct literary usage type conjugation of ‘use’. Who am I to know? She’s the writer.”

    All that proves is that I am extremely prone to suggestion and that I am now questioning my own penchant for unusual vocabulary choices, wondering if I have programmed these words into my head by overhearing other smart people who, for all I know, have usen them incorrectly…

    And WTF. Febrile seizure? Oh, I am retrospectively terrified for you. You must have been so scared. I am so very glad that Simone is okay, and that there will be that second birthday to celebrate.

  20. beyond says:

    thank goodness simone is alright.
    i used to take care of a kid who usen brung for the past tense of bring. if he said it several times in a row i wouldn’t remember the correct past myself. brang? brought? bringed? terrifying.
    the final stretch, wow, good luck with everything.

  21. Bridget says:

    Very sorry to hear about the seizure. My daughter just turned 1 and she has epilepsy. Luckily she has been seizure-free for 7 months. I still picture her worst seizure (the one where I thought I was watching her die) much more often than I would like – especially now, while we are weaning her off her anti-seizure meds. That horrible big seizure was her second one, about an hour after the first, after the scary ambulance ride. We had just walked into the CAT scan room when it started and the oxygen mask that they were trying to use on her wasn’t working (yay!). She was 4 months old. The Ativan they gave her to stop the seizure turned her into an inconsolable screaming little mess for 2 days and I wasn’t really convinced that she’d ever get back to the fun little baby we were still just getting to know. She had 2 more seizures 2 weeks after that and has been on meds ever since.

    She has had every possible test and everything is always normal so we have no cause – and nothing to fix to make sure she’s fine (hers were not febrile seizures). Now that we’re taking her off her meds, it kind of feels like we’re doing a little experiment on her to see if the drugs have been doing anything. Sometimes I think about her as a little ticking time bomb, just waiting for the next seizure.

    Anyway, I guess I just needed to vent. She is an awesome little girl – walking, talking, pulling on our very patient dog, annoying her big sister – she just happens to scare the crap out of us with seizures every once in a while. I just need to remind myself that we are very lucky – if she does have more seizures, we already know her seizure meds were working and they didn’t have any side effects. I just don’t want to have to see another seizure, but even more I don’t want her to have one while I’m not with her. To sum it all up, seizures suck.

  22. Melanie says:

    I remember when Drew was a baby the doctor gave me a fact sheet all about fevers, and it talked about seizures, I remember thinking, I know I will still freak the shit out if it ever happens, but at least I know about them (I had never heard of them before)…. my cousin’s daughter got a bad ear infection spiked a fever and had a seizure, I always regret that I didn’t make sure she even knew about the possibility because I feel like maybe just maybe it would have given her a slight amount of comfort….but gosh I can’t imagine!!!

  23. Ellen says:

    I remember (recently) telling a story about my mom to some friends. My mother was a teacher, and I told them she “teached” mostly English, in an elementary school. And for at least a few minutes there, I thought “teached” was a perfectly reasonable word to be using. It was only after I had used it several times that the thought occurred to me that something wasn’t *quite* right… Talk about feeling stoopid.

  24. Heather says:

    “I had broughten shame…” My kids are looking at me funny, I’m laughing so hard.

    I’ve done this writing thing too, and want to assure you that you will think your book sucks at first and that people are just lying to your face when they like it. But then, after some months, when you’ve gone back into real life and haven’t stared the book in the face in some bizarre Stockholm Syndrome-fashion, you come back to it one day and say, “Wow. This is pretty good!”

    It will be a time when the absence of long-term memory is a *good* thing.

  25. Alison says:

    I have never left a comment on your site before, though it is one of the few blogs I check daily for your heartbreakingly funny (funnily heartbreaking?) writing and updates on your adorable child. What is prompting this first blog comment? THE MUTTER MUSEUM. I used to live around the corner, and it is one of the oddest best places I’ve ever been. Sure, it smells odd, and the collection of various animal genitalia isn’t as thrilling as it sounds, but it is definitely a place to see before you die. Or if you happen to be in the area, at least. Also, the soap man is disturbing(you’ll know what I mean).

  26. Sarah says:

    I’m glad to hear Simone is on the mend. I read your tweets about it last week and cried a bit. My son had a very high fever (106 was our peak I think) last fall and it was terrifying. I often wonder why I didn’t call the ambulance when he started seizing or even after. Instead we drove him to the ER ourselves where at the height of the piggy flu (and a very full waiting room) they didn’t make us wait. I’ve never been so scared in all my life. It turned out to be roseola (damn thing!) and he was fine but is now more prone to the febrile seizures, as I’m sure Simone is now too.

  27. Nicole says:

    How absolutely terrifying! I’m so relieved Simone is okay. Before I got pregnant I worried that the hard stuff would be the crying and the lack of sleep and the tantrums and the parenting and the drastic changes to our lives. .. But the real hard stuff is the constant worry. I try not to be obsessively morbid but always there in the back of my mind is that seed of fear that the absolute worst could in fact happen. A fear that is reinforced now and then by a trip to the ER for dehydration and a trip to the ER for breathing treatments. And this is all apparently a normal part of childhood – WTF??? No one ever tells you that you will have this baby who you will love more than you ever thought it was possible to love and then at some point, chances are, you will be forced to face the possibility of losing him. I don’t think that ever goes away. Not when he’s 2 or 30 or 50. I guess I never thought I would have so much to lose and quite frankly, it scares the shit out of me.

  28. Elizabeth says:

    You’re coming to Philadelphia?!!! I feel like there should be a reception for you somewhere. Say the word if you need advice about where to obtain excellent cocktails (really, you may need one after the Mutter Museum).

  29. Meagan says:

    On behalf of the official* Philadelphia Welcoming Committee, can I just say that we are delighted to have you visit our fair city! If you have any questions – say, where to find the best grilled cheese, or which museum is the most unintentionally hilarious, or what sharks feel like – please let me know. I’d be happy to provide any tips you may need to enjoy the City of Brotherly Love!

    *not even remotely official

  30. Cecily says:

    Dude. DUDE. If you guys come here, to my town, and we don’t have lunch? I’m gonna sob. SOB.

    Also, that museum? Triggers me. There’s a lot of, well. STUFF. That makes me have to turn away from some major portions of the museum. And it ain’t all that big to begin with. So, just thought I’d shoot that out to ya.

    Anyway, I’ve got a minivan, and I’m not afraid to use it so airport pickups/dropoffs, tours, whatever you want, baby, I’m yours. :)

  31. Cat says:

    So glad Simone is ok – I too got the twitters and had a mild moment of panic on your behalf. We will, of course, wait for you whilst in your prison, especially as we will benefit from hundreds of pages of your fabulous musings as a result… unless of course you wish us to bake you a cake complete with nail file? :)

  32. Ginger says:

    Because I consider myself a person of great articularity, I never mention store boughten goods in my writing.

    I was at the Ped ER on Sat. night myself. Crappy club to be a member of. We need to keep better company.

    We will all wait for you. But hurry!

  33. Kate says:

    How scary that little Simone was so sick!! Hope she’s feeling better now and that your heart has recovered.

    Hang in there with the book! You’re almost at the finish line and can reap the rewards. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!

  34. Allison says:

    Have been reading your blog for years, but today delurking to say: Oh my god! Oh my god! Oh my GOD!

    How terrifying!

    Thank goodness Simone’s OK!!

  35. Christine says:

    Yay! The Mutter Museum! I’ve only been there once (I live in Philly), but was walking around with my sister and when she spotted the section with the horn there is a cast head with a horn – the one seen here:( And Diana said, and loudly: If I had a horn like that, I would start a cult! I laugh whenever I think of it.

    So so happy that Simone is okay! that’s insane

  36. Jennifer says:

    Oh God. Been away and just read this. How terrifying about Simone! So glad she’s ok.

    LMAO at usen. I have so been there.

    Breathlessly waiting your return. So we can talk about….polygamy. Totally obsessed as well. (Just came back from Utah, actually. No lie!)

  37. Eve says:

    So glad your little girl is ok. They never seem to do anything that seems life-threatening during the day when the doctor is available, or at least the sun is out for better lighting.

    Congratrs on your book as you go through the final stages of labor.

    I spent much of my high school years believing that ‘varely’ (not to be confused with ‘verily’) was a word that meant ‘very barely’. To this I blame my mother.

    Thanks, once again, for pointing so many incredible women to support me on my blog. It is clear that you are loved by many, and generous enough to spread it around.

  38. Clover says:

    Ok- a) you got me hooked on another blog, which is NOT what I need right now, and b) how long r u in Philly? Would love to meet you if you can spare the time.

  39. Clover says:

    And I’m so sorry about the fever- how totally utterly scary. My kids have had high fevers but not like that. And what kept me from panicking was that they were lucid. I’m glad she’s okay now.

  40. Kate says:

    I have read this entry over and over again, just because “I had broughten shame upon our family” makes me crack up. Even now, just typing it makes me laugh.

  41. Jerilyn says:

    “Usen”! I love it! I once forgot how to spell the word “of” during an intense period of writing. I kept writing “ov” and I knew it wasn’t right, but I could not think of the proper spelling for the life of me.

    I’m thankful to see you posting and in good humor, so I now know Simone is OK. I’ll be brainstorming how can we get rid of January in 2011 if not forever.

  42. Heather B. says:

    I read the first part of this post and thought ‘usen’ how funny and then there was a shiny thing and I missed the rest. Which a) makes me an asshole and b) I am so heartbroken.

    Never mind that though. Philly it is. I live close enough to drive and I love Philly. I’m still weeping and yet PHILLY. I enjoy it so.

  43. Trista says:

    I have a friend who’s son has febrile seizures any time his temp gets above a certain level (and, for good measure, the occasional non-febrile one), and from listening to her describe it I can only imagine how terrifying it is to watch it happen to your child. Poor Simone!

    I snickered at your use of “usen,” then I remembered that I had a long-standing argument with a lawyer friend of ours over the word “learnt.” I was convinced it was not a word, that it should never be used, and any idiot who didn’t know it should be “learned” should have their license to speak English revoked. You can guess exactly how much crow I had to eat.

    I spellchecked this comment before posting it.

  44. Kathy says:

    One of my daughters had a febrile seizure about nine months ago, and she too stopped breathing. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever experienced, and it took me a good many weeks (months!) to be able to talk to anyone about it without crying. Lots and lots of doctors told me that it really wasn’t a big deal, febrile seizures are not uncommon and don’t hurt the child in any way, but it’s still not something I think I ever want to go through again (my daughter had three in total over the period of about 6 weeks).

    The not breathing part was the scariest. Somehow I have a hard time convincing myself, regardless of what the doctors say, that a child with blue lips, not breathing, is not a problem. :-)

    I sure hope you’ve seen your last febrile seizure.

  45. I’m new to your site. Wanted to offer a simple “thank you” for not making me feel like the last few minutes I spent reading this post were in vain. Great writing and good luck finishing up the book.

  46. Aina says:

    Again, the two-parted, two-hearted reply:

    1) 107!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So very sorry you had to go through that, so very glad it is all okay.

    2) Because you have usen “usen”, I am going to buy TWICE AS MANY of your books as I would have had you not usen “usen.”

  47. La Flaca says:

    Sorry about the baby’s seizure. Kids do that sort of thing to torture parents. Just wait until she’s a teenager and she wants to get a part of her body pierced that can’t be mentioned in polite conversation, unless, of course, it’s a conversation among OB/GYNs — drunk, dirty-minded OB/GYNs.
    On another front, I’m confused by your reference to a “Jersey Shore Nickname.”
    I grew up on the Jersey Shore, Spring Lake, to be exact, fondly known as the Irish Riviera. The nicknames we used weren’t any more colorful or unusual than the ones employed by denizens of other parts of our great nation. Could you, perhaps, be imagining that the Jersey Shore is infested with large, menacing men whose last names end in vowels and who call each other things like Jimmy “The Dremmel” Boobliaro or Eddie “The Saber Saw” Stronboli? If so, you’re sadly mistaken. Just as there are people in Wyoming who are not ropin’, wranglin’ buckaroos, there are New jersey residents who are not members of organized crime families.
    I’m sadly disappointed in you.

  48. Kristine says:

    Ten years I have lived in the Philly burbs and my husband (the native) has not taken me to the Mutter. hmmphhh

    So, here I am in Philly. Having had a bit of a girly crush on you for quite a few years. And now you tell me you are coming here? More details please so I can stalk you?

    In all seriousness, I’d love to meet you and any other cool Philly peeps that have piped up here. What say you?

    And if nothing I just wrote above this makes sense I blame it on the Ambien I took an hour ago. I probably won’t remember writing this in the morning.

  49. Hey Alexa! I’ve been busy so the idea of reading a million word (OK, 1400 word) post has been a bit daunting, to say the least. But now I read that you are going to be IN OUR FAIR CITY. Probably during one of our many record-breaking snowstorms. But drop me a line–email me a note. We’re crazy busy but we’d love to meet you, or at least hook you up with a list of the bestest places to go (thank goodness the Mutter Museum is already on your list…but we can tell you where to grab excellent food, fabulous libations, and some down time. And should Simone ever come to town, we can also tell you how to regale her with Philly’s finest–and I do mean that–kid’s attractions).

  50. WarsawMommy says:

    Oh, my. Usen. Well, I have my own Usen-esque experience: back when I was teaching English, I had one kid (Jacek) who kept saying ‘He are’ no matter how many times I asked him. Then one day (glorious day!) I said to him, “Jacek! He…??” and Jacek said “Is!” and I shouted at him: “No! He are! Jacek! He ARE!”

    And I totally meant it. And I was ready to strangle him. Ahem.

    So sorry to hear about your baby getting so sick. How are things now?

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