Life with food allergies

This morning I flipped on my computer to the discover the latest moment of internet outrage.  The Yahoo/Babble headline screamed “2-Year Old Suspended from Daycare over Cheese Sandwich.” Below the article a lengthy list of comments began with phrases like “When I was a kid, no-one had food allergies….” and “It’s just a sandwich.”

On the one hand, the school rules seem a bit extreme, allowing no outside food. I say this because I’m used to providing outside food for my child. The practice has been one of the easiest ways for me to keep her safe in a world where food can be lethal.

I wish some of the people calling out the absurdity of the policy and wondering why everyone has to suffer for the right of one person could spend a day in the place of a parent with a food allergy.  When my daughter was younger, we had to avoid three groups of allergens. Now, we are down to peanuts and tree nuts. My trips to the grocery store are longer. With produce, I have to consider where and how nuts are stored and if they are likely to contaminate produce one typically doesn’t peel.  I have to read the ingredient lists carefully and decide whether the brand is trustworthy in their description of “processed in a shared facility using good manufacturing practices.”   I wonder what their cart would look like if they did their normal shopping and then at the checkout line were asked to sort out products that cause an anaphylactic reaction.

Maybe, just maybe, if everyone did that, I wouldn’t be subjected to moans and groans when the flight attendant announces “This will be a peanut free flight” or the hateful looks from another parent when I ask if their child could please keep their peanut butter sandwich on the picnic table rather than smearing the contents all over the slide at the playground. Maybe more people would offer financial support to researching why food allergies are on the rise and what can be done to halt this epidemic. Maybe we could all enjoy a world where food doesn’t kill.

If you wish to make a change, consider a donation to Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE). Wouldn’t it be nice if no child were suspended for a sandwich? And nicer still if no one died from one?

End rant. Stepping off my soap box.


Politics today – sorry.

As the nation stands on the verge of being unable to pay our bills and losing our good credit rating, there have been thousands of posts on politics and the grandstanding, the “acting like toddlers screaming mine,” the “what-if” scenarios, and who is to blame. Count me in. Sort of.

I don’t see a way out of this mess in the next twenty-four hours, all of which tells me we have worse problems down the road. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum, one thing should be clear. We have a crisis of leadership.

As I’ve watched this chaos unfold, no-one looks strong or reasonable or intelligent enough that I want them as our nation’s next president. The problem is particularly acute on the Republican side. John Boehner can’t coordinate his own party. Former vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan has made a few public statements, but not anything people can rally around. Michelle Bachmann is too busy primping for photo opps to be spending any serious time getting anything congressional done.

Not that the democrats are faring much better in terms of demonstrating leadership – perhaps because they are keeping more tight lipped. Other than the president, I can’t think of a one who has spoken out. Perhaps they remember the old adage–better to be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.

I wonder what this means for the next round of presidential elections. In a crisis that should have allowed someone or several someones to stand up and look presidential, or authoritative, or trustworthy, Senators Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell seem to be the only ones who tried. I don’t know what their level of presidential interest is, but they are hardly household names. I admire that there are a few politicians left in congress who are willing to do their jobs, but is it enough?

I can’t help but wonder, are there any viable presidential candidates out there on either side? Is the door now open to a third party? Will we even remember this crisis in 2016?

What are your thoughts?

Why I’m not voting on Tuesday

Yes folks, you heard it here first. On Tuesday, November 6th, I will not be voting in the presidential election. Wow, do you have a loud gasp. The candidates do not want to hear this.  As a white, suburban woman raising children in a swing state, I realize I am a highly coveted voter. The non-stop TV, radio and mail ads remind me how important my vote is. Frequent phone calls from the two major parties beseech me to vote on Tuesday. The truth of the matter is, I will not be going to vote on Tuesday, but my uterus will.

My uterus is a bossy little thing, but I’ve got a lot of respect it. After all, my uterus carried my two healthy children to term.  Our relationship has not always been easy, plagued by painful cramps and a cancer scare. We’re good now.  Except when it comes to politics.

It’s not that my uterus entirely disagrees with my desire to vote for the third-party candidate most closely aligned with my views, but my uterus is scared. My uterus fears that the uterus of the girl who once lived inside its protective walls will not enjoy the same privileges my uterus does in terms of fertility and health care. My uterus remembers how women of previous generations fought for access to control our fertility and for the right to vote.  My uterus shudders at the thought that some gray-haired men think a pregnancy from rape is either impossible or a gift from God.  My uterus wants to know how many children of rape those men have personally adopted. Come to think of it, so do I.

Come Tuesday, my uterus will take charge of my body and march us to the polling place. I’ll show my voter ID, and receive the voting instructions. A worker will lead me to the designated voting booth. But, do us both a favor, don’t look behind the curtain. My uterus will vote for the candidate who respects women.

Today I’m feeling

When I had an office, I had a cutesy magnet with a variety of facial expressions and a marker to move a round to highlight one face or another.  If I still had one, it would currently say “Today I’m feeling livid.”

I spent my weekend packing books, toys, shoes and more in an effort to remove all but the furniture from my second floor in anticipation of having bamboo flooring installed today. But that’s not happening.  Not today and not until Friday at the earliest.

The forty boxes of flooring sitting in my children’s playroom all say the right thing, but when you open the box, it’s clear the manufacturer, Wellmade, put the wrong flooring in the box.  It’s not even close.

Instead of spending the day celebrating the release of my book Winter Fairy (I use a pen name), I spent a good portion so far sitting at the flooring retailer as we try to resolve the problem. Rather than preparing the fun stuff I had planned to do on release day, I moved furniture.

My children packed up their books.  At this point, we won’t be able to unpack them for at least a week.  I will also have to plug in an assortment of lamps and clocks upstairs so they will be able to wake and sleep in their otherwise empty bedrooms.   It is a terrible inconvenience that will be dragged out an additional five days. Yet at this point, no one is taking responsibility.  The problem has been acknowledged, but we’ve been offered nothing in terms of compensation for our inconvenience. This is what really makes me mad.  The lack of accountability. I want an apology from the persons responsible. Is that too much to ask for?