Author Archives: Not Like a Cat

We Tried SunBasket. Here’s My Review.

I’ve tried those meal-box kits in the past, when they made more sense, when we were four people for dinner, every day.

They don’t make as much sense when we’re now sometimes three people for dinner and sometimes just me, and when the children  have their favorites and thanks to divorce guilt I just want to make them their favorite stuff — chicken fried rice, spinach and black bean enchiladas, homemade pizza, grilled chicken “gyro” salad — rather than try new things for them. And for me, it’s easy enough to come home at dinnertime with children and go through the rehearsed motions of making something familiar.

It’s different when you’re making a meal that says it only takes 20 minutes but you have to be glued to the recipe the whole time to determine next steps, and the timing is more like 30-40 minutes and your children are hungry and the food is new and strange to them, and they’re tired, and so are you.

Thanks to a friend, I got a big discount to try SunBasket. We haven’t used one of these kind of meal kits in years, and I thought it was time to try again.

First week: Quick Chicken Chow Mein, Seared Salmon with Pearl Couscous and Salsa Fresca, Southwestern Steak with Roasted Poblanos and New Mexican Chile Salsa. I ordered the 2-person plan, not the family plan, figuring if the kids hated it, I’d have leftovers for lunch, and if they liked it, I could open a can of sardines or something for myself.

Monday: Quick Chicken Chow Mein

The box was arriving Monday. I was picking up the children from camp Monday after they’d been away for a week. Between transitions and the Monday-ness of Mondays, I’d planned to make the Quick Chicken Chow Mein (the quickest meal) that night.

On the drive home, the older boy asked if I could make chicken fried rice, one of their favorites, that night.

“Well, I am not really prepared to make that,” I said. “We’d have to stop at the store. I was going to make Chicken Chow Mein tonight.”

Same flavor profile, kind of, right?

“OK!” he said cheerfully.


The children were really hungry but the meal was fairly quick to make. And…kind of bland. I added soy sauce to mine. The children ate seconds but said they preferred my chicken fried rice and found this kind of flavorless.

Short review: It’s fast, full of veggies, they ate a lot of it, and it makes a lot of food. I’d call this a win if it were more flavorful.

Tuesday: Southwestern Steak with Roasted Poblanos and New Mexican Chile Salsa

I’d planned to make the salmon on Tuesday night, then hold the steak until Saturday (the kids would be back on Friday, but that’s Pizza Night). SunBasket recommends using the food up within five days, though, so I asked the kids what they wanted tonight: steak or salmon.


OK, then. I proceeded with that recipe, roasting sweet potatoes and red onion and poblanos. None of us really like sweet potatoes. The children don’t like red onion or any onion. They don’t like peppers, sweet or poblano or raw or roasted.

I wasn’t sure they’d enjoy having their steak rubbed all over with sweet paprika, so I left that out. I also left out the chile salsa, because they like their meat plain.

Honestly, it was too hot to have the oven at 400 degrees for that long.

Short review: Not a great summer meal unless you have AC. Not a fun meal for children (or me–I didn’t really like the veggie combo). Might be too zippy as a family meal. Meat was great quality. I would love to follow this recipe to the letter and try the steak with the paprika and the chile salsa).

Also Tuesday: Seared Salmon with Pearl Couscous and Salsa Fresca (minus the salsa fresca)

I also realized I wouldn’t have a chance to cook the salmon until Saturday (ugh), so I decided to cook that tonight, too, along with the couscous in case the kids needed a neutral side because we all hate sweet potatoes.

The salmon prep bag included a yellow pepper, a tomato, and a cucumber (and shallots, a lime, and honey) for the salsa fresca. I thought the salmon would be more interesting with the salsa fresca, but I knew the kids would be eating the steak, not the salmon, and I could use the veggies in their lunches tomorrow, so…I sprinkled the salmon with sesame oil and soy sauce instead.

The children ate all the steak. I ate some salmon. I ate the roasted veggies that went with the steak. The children did not like the couscous (MY CHILDREN DO NOT LIKE COUSCOUS, WHICH IS ANOTHER FORM OF PASTA, WHAT THE…).

Short review: Salmon was very fresh, excellent quality. Veggies for salsa fresca were very fresh (and will be great as crudites for the kids’ lunches tomorrow, because no way was I going to chop everything up just for myself). Maybe the kids would have eaten the couscous if I hadn’t put granulated garlic on it, but honestly they don’t mind garlic, so…I think we’re just not couscous eaters. I don’t love it, either.

In Short…

  1. I was pleased with the meal choices, variety, recipe layout, and quality of ingredients and packaging.
  2. I still suffer divorce guilt, and my kids are only here half-time, so when they are here, I will generally make them their favorites, which tend to have them eating a lot more vegetables than they ate tonight.
  3. I appreciate the chance to have them try new things, and it’s good for them, too.
  4. Getting out of our food rut was fantastic for a few meals.
  5. All in all (see “divorce guilt,” “favorite foods,” and “eat their veggies”), I can’t continue this.

SunBasket, you’re fine, but we’re not a great match at this time. Thanks for letting me try you at a discount.

How to Have a Fun and Productive Weekend When Your Minimal Plans Get Washed Out

This was my last kid-free weekend before two weekends in a row with them. I can’t wait to have my children back.

But…this weekend. I still haven’t developed much of a new community, and it’s not always reasonable to drive nearly an hour to hang out with my old one. So when, on Friday, my mountain bike club cancelled our Saturday morning ride due to forecasted rain, I fell into despair.

Me. Alone. Entirely. All weekend. Friday, when I left work, until Monday morning, back at work. No plans. No interactions with other humans. Me, the cats, the guinea pig, the rain.

1. Sell Stuff and Make Your House Seem Bigger.

Buck up, chica. First, I texted the two people scheduled to come to my house Saturday to buy some items I was selling (including a massive piece of furniture that came with the house, and I hate it and it is too big and dark and not useful) to let them know I’d be around in the morning after all. 

2. Run With Strangers and Make a New Friend.

Saturday morning, the stuff was gone (and cash in my hand, thank you FB Marketplace) by 9 a.m. Meanwhile, I’d posted to a new town running group to see if anyone wanted to join me for four miles (as the arrival of the people buying the thing would make me miss a scheduled local group run). Someone responded, saying four miles was her dream, but she can only do one mile right now.

Great, I wrote back. Why don’t we run 1 mile together and I’ll do the rest on my own?

So we met! I ran to meet her. She had a toddler in a stroller. We ran nearly two miles together — her furthest in at probably three years — talking nonstop, and then she said she had to walk but I could keep running. I said I’d walk with her. We walked for another two miles, talking about everything food and cooking and adjustment to parenthood and exercise! It was great. She told me where to find a great (and cheap) farmstand I hadn’t tried yet.

And, it reminded me of how very much I’d like to become a running/fitness coach for new moms, to encourage them and help them realize they can do it, they can get fit again even if they’ve let it slide. It is really time to pursue that and start the certification process.

3. Declutter and Clean. All Day.

Then I ran home and proceeded to deal with my house.

My dining room had become kind of a shitshow, between that huge thing and another medium-sized piece of furniture my mother had delivered. I moved stuff to the basement, I moved furniture around, I moved a shelf of plants from the living room to the dining room.

And now both rooms are really nice spaces that feel open and bright, and I love it.

I cleaned almost all day Saturday. So much cleaning and decluttering. But it was just me, with nothing on the schedule, knowing this was my last chance before school starts.

4. Canvass for a Candidate who Might Bring Change.

Today, I drove to another town to canvass for a Democratic state rep candidate. Planned Parenthood volunteers called me two weeks ago to ask if I was interested in volunteering for their endorsed candidates, so here I was, out in the pouring rain knocking on doors and talking to people. It was interesting how support (or hostility) seemed to vary by street in the neighborhood we were in. You could practically slap labels of R or D on the cul-de-sacs.

5. Meet Ex-Boyfriend for Lobster Sandwiches.

Then I cruised into Cambridge to meet an old friend for a quick lunch of lobster sandwiches and catching up. OMG, so much lobster stuffed in that toast, so good. And always nice to see him.

6. Meet “Friend” from Facebook for the First Time Ever IRL for RBG Movie.

Then I was off to the MFA to mee another FB stranger (but one I’ve been “friends” with for over a year–we met in a foodie group, I think) to see the RBG film. She was lovely, and the film was great. Somehow I did not cry, though thinking about how hard RBG has worked and how much she has accomplished and how tireless and strong and smart she is–and yet how much more work needs to be done–is depressing. She’s a total superhero.

7. Grocery Shop.

Like a responsible grown-up whose children will return tomorrow. They need food and things like fruit and pretzels for snacks at camp, and they might not enjoy the inventive, spiky things I eat when they’re not around (dragon noodles, sopa de ajo).

So. That’s how a sort-of introvert with few local friends spends an unplanned weekend.



My Current Life

I admit, I am still fairly untethered after our move last summer. The kids have settled in and made friends, which is really what counts. But me? Still looking for community. I’m not the me I was a year ago. I’m kelp in the ocean. I’m a milkweed seed in the breeze. I’m…I don’t even know. I’m alone. I sense I’m gonna be alone for a long, long time.

I sort of wish we hadn’t left the city, though we had to.

I’ve started mountain biking again, and I am getting to know one group I regularly ride with. I had high hopes for a women’s mountain biking group that formed last fall, but it’s kind of fallen apart. Meanwhile I’m riding with what seems to be a bunch of middle-aged men (they’re really nice and welcoming and don’t hit on me, so that’s awesome) and occasional women every week, so there’s that.

Recently I found an old notebook with notes from an event or conference I attended; I forget which, but one line I’d written said, “Find your community.” I think this was a Ming Tsai (the chef) event, because there was also something about peeling ginger with a spoon and that was definitely Ming.

It’s been hard to find my community, and I’ve gotten much more used to being alone. It doesn’t freak me out as much, going days without really interacting in real life with other humans. And sure, it helps that I’m now working onsite and therefore at least see other people all day. But I’m alone. I’m probably the most alone I’ve ever been in my life.

Hi, my name is Alone.
I’m OK with it, mostly.

Most of my old social life revolved around running. I can’t run much now. And the running-with-my-new-town-running-group has not worked out so well. I can only join their weekly runs every other week.

Dating life? Really, you think I’m going to go there? I’m not. Sorry. Let it be said: I am quirky (also known as “weird”), boring, have an unfriendly schedule, and want to spend at least one of my two free weeknights mountain biking. So…the dating pool is small.

But hey, fun fact: I’m in a foodie group somewhere on social media, and it’s a wonderful community. Funny and weird and into food and we also all have to meal–plan thanks to children and life, so…And it makes me realize I end up giving the few people I’ve dated a food nickname, based on some food-related incident with them.

So. My life. My radishes bolted, my lettuces are rich and excessive (why so much fucking lettuce, whyyyyyy), my cucumbers all sprouted blossoms overnight, my tomatoes look tired, my strawberries are almost dead…

…and my whole inherited cottage garden situation has gone from “enchanting” to “holy shit, that needs to be edged and weeded and mulched and is that a weed or will it bloom???” Something I thought was a weed is gooseberries. Gooseberries. It’s by sheer luck I didn’t chop it.

Ok, so my full name is I’m Alone and I Don’t Know What Is In My Garden.

See why I’m alone? Doesn’t it all make more sense now?





A Touch of Melancholy: My Baby Turns 10

Never before have I started crying in the baking aisle of Market Basket, I think, filling my arms with different colored writing icings and birthday candles and regular icing (because people, let’s face it, Ms. DIY is not going to have time to whip up several colors of icing in the morning to decorate the giant birthday cookie, and no one will care if the few dollops of fancy decoration don’t taste homemade, right?). Tomorrow my firstborn turns 10, and for the very first birthday of his ever, I will not be with him to start his day.

Yeah, thankfully I will get to pick him up from school and have dinner with him and go to his orchestra concert, so there’s that.

But we’re both morning people, and tomorrow morning, he’ll be without me.

I know his dad will get up and they’ll do something fun, go biking in the woods or go out to breakfast or something. He’ll be very happy. But I won’t see my baby, age 10, first thing.

I was feeling pretty OK about M’s birthday tomorrow. We were all cheerful when I dropped them off at school this morning. I don’t know why I got sad tonight; probably because I won’t see him until tomorrow afternoon, and it seems like such a special day. And yes, to get sappy, ten years ago tonight I was refusing to accept the fact that I was in labor, because although I’d been pregnant for more than nine months and my baby was well overdue and my water had broken hours earlier, I was still not entirely ready to accept the massive life change that was about to happen to me and sort of thought that as long as I didn’t give birth, I could maintain the status quo.

Or something.

My scrawny little overdue scrap of a newborn has become…well, he’s still pretty lean, but tall (thanks, grandfathers on both sides!) and smart and kind and has a pretty spectacular sense of humor and can’t stop reading, and it’s so great to see him run on the soccer field and you should see him ski glades, and I love how he shows affection to me and his brother in a way that doesn’t openly show affection but is pretty damn clear.

He’s low-key. He keeps his feelings close. He feels things deeply. He’s kind, and responsible, and caring, and he’s happy to join me in making up silly songs for and about the kitties.

And so ultimately this is a birthday letter to my beloved firstborn. M., child, I love you more than you could ever know. Happy birthday, kid. Tomorrow’s gonna be great, and your party on Sunday is gonna be great, and you know what? YOU’RE great, and you are much loved.

Keep being you. And let’s keep singing to the kitties. They love it.

Big Apple Circus Review

It’s here, it’s here! The circus is here!

We have long been fans of the Big Apple Circus and were excited when it came back to Boston. Well, Somerville now. This year it is at Assembly Row, so not only is there plenty of parking, but it is also T-accessible. It was cold and sleety the day we went (you know, mid-April in New England). Our seats were fairly close to the ring.

The ringmaster, Ty McFarlan, was sparkly and commanding, and the clown schtick seemed to have a bigger role this year. My kids really get a kick out of the clown routines.

Elayne Kramer’s contortions were stunning.


The trapeze artists were a little nerve-wracking to watch. I thought they were going to hit the tent ceiling or the platform. In fact, one catch was not made, if you will, and the flyer fell gracefully to the net. It was exciting, but we wished the trapeze act had gone on longer.

There were amazing feats of balance and juggling, and the Anastasini Brothers did not fail to entertain in their icarian act, as always.

The Wallendas came out on the high wire, Nik cycling across as his wife hung below by her teeth (I kid you not). They successfully performed their 7-person pyramid, no easy feat, which required a massive amount of intricate coordination and communication to set up, get across the wire, and dismount.

In all, it’s a great two hours of daring feats and entertainment.


The Big Apple Circus is performing at Assembly Row, Somerville, through May 13. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

It’s Big Apple Circus Time Again! #giveaway

It’s been a few years since we have seen the Big Apple Circus, and my kids have been asking (for most of that time) when we can go see it again.

Well, kids, the circus is coming to town! The Big Apple Circus returns to the Boston area, playing under the Big Top at Assembly Row in Somerville, April 7 – May 6.

Here’s a video of some of the exciting things you can see the performers do (click the link to see the video).

And one of my lucky readers has a chance to win 4 tickets to the Sunday, April 8 at 4:00 pm. show. 

About this year’s season:

The 40th anniversary season program features the famous seven-person pyramid on the high wire with Nik Wallenda and TheFabulous Wallendas and the daring quadruple somersault attempted on the trapeze by The Flying Tunizianis – the first time in circus history that both legendary feats are performed under the same big topThe record-setting acts are joined by Dandino & Luciana, a dynamic duo who combine speed, acrobatics and daredevil grace on rollerskates; award-winning contortionist Elayne Kramer; master juggler Gamal GarciaJan Damm on the Rola Bola; acclaimed Risley acrobats The Anastasini Brothers (who broke the World Record for Most Flips on November 9, 2017); Ringmaster Ty McFarlan; and circus trainer & presenter Jenny Vidbel, who performs in the ring with 16 horses and ponies, as well as six rescue dogs.

These people have MUCH better balance than I do.

Why else is the Big Apple Circus so wonderful? From their press release:

Outside of the ring, BIG APPLE CIRCUS continues to honor the essential and iconic characteristics that have set it apart for the past four decades, with multiple community outreach programs and a vital no-wild-animals policy.  Circus of the Senses, which will take place on Wednesday, April 11 at 11:00 am, offers specially enhanced experiences for audiences who are deaf, blind, deaf/blind, visually impaired, or have cognitive or developmental challenges. The special performances include ASL interpretation, live audio description, pre- and post-show touch experiences, and a Braille program book. On Sunday, April 8 at 12:00 pmBig Apple Circus Embraces Autism, a sensory-friendly performance for autistic audience members, will feature lowered light and sound levels, a descriptive social story, and a professionally staffed “calming center” that can be accessed at any point during the show.

What’s not to love?


    • It’s easy to enter. Winner will be selected and notified by 10 a.m. EST on April 2, 2018. Winner has 24 hours to respond to the notification; if winner does not confirm within 24 hours, another winner will be selected. Tickets can be picked up at the performance.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Discount Codes: Save 25% on all Opening Week Performances,  April 7th through April 13th.

  • If you don’t win this giveaway, or you want to see the show a different day or time, I have discount codes for you!
  • Use Offer Code FAMILY25 when purchasing at Ticketmaster; go to and click Buy Tickets.
  • Tickets are now on sale at Ticketmaster or at for all Boston performances.

Key Details for the BIG APPLE CIRCUS at Assembly Row, Somerville, MA:

  • Performances run Saturday, April 7 through Sunday, May 6, 2018.
  • Playing under the Big Top at Assembly Row, off Grand Union Blvd., Somerville, MA
  • Free Parking for 3 Hours is available on-site at Assembly Row.
  • Assembly Row is accessible via the Orange Line – Assembly stop.
  • For tickets, visit, or call tel: (800) 745-3000.
  • Ticket prices begin at $25; early bird pricing is available through March 12th.
  • For Groups of 10 or More: (212) 257-2330 or

It’s Not About My Body

So recently I wrote about how I felt really fat and gross and out of shape and seeing a picture of myself ruined my night.

Well. The night before that, I’d gotten very little sleep, and everything was so off. After I wrote that post, I got a decent amount of sleep and felt normal the next day, and I liked myself again.

Yeah, it’s that fragile. Sleep is the culprit. Not the scale or my jeans or a bad pic. It’s about sleep, and while I rarely get enough, the night before that post I’d gotten almost none, somehow.

It really is not good for my head.

It felt great to be on firm footing again, after some sleep, and to realize I’m totally OK with my body. And I ended up not cutting carbs (because I don’t believe in cutting an entire macronutrient), and I ended up not using a calorie-counting app a running friend recommended, because I had an eating disorder as a teen and if I started counting calories again I could potentially spiral right into a hole.

Eating disorder as a teen. Shocking, right? Maybe in some ways it never leaves you. I eat what I want now, and many days I don’t exercise, and–unless I don’t get enough sleep such that it kicks off a bit of body dysmorphia–I’m OK with the condition my body is in right now. I can’t train hard these days. I can’t run a lot right now. I’m privileged enough to eat well and exercise sometimes, but I have to take care of my children, do well at my job, and pay my bills. Those are MUCH bigger priorities.

I have watched my thighs grow bigger and squishier without flinching, until I lost a night of sleep (and wore ill-fitting jeans), and that totally wrecked my perspective.

My body is fine. It looks great. I look good. I am definitely not as fast and can’t run as long as I used to, of course. That’s a little hard to accept, but it’s OK.

Chicken Dreams

the 2018 Chicken Flyer from the feed store

Do you see what I see? Decision day approaches fast. I want Rhode Island Reds, because that’s the breed we had when I was a kid, and they seem fairly smart and friendly (as far as chickens go).

But this will be our first summer in this house, and I have so much to learn about all the stuff already planted here (former owners were wise and inspired gardeners, creating a beautiful space where things bloom as late as December and as early as this week), and we’re putting in raised beds for a vegetable garden, my first.

That will keep us busy.

Chickens were planned for 2019. As in, I know we want chickens, and I know where I can put the coop, but I didn’t want to take them on just yet. First I’d have to clear out the brush pile that came with the property (next to the two compost bins that were also here, fortunately). And build or buy a coop. I found a decent one I can buy from Tractor Supply (yep, really) that fits my budget. My chicken budget.

People, I don’t have a chicken budget.

Anyway, thanks to a neighbor’s information-seeking Facebook post about backyard chickens, I have so many links to check out, and I’ve been reading up on it and looking at coops and breed hardiness. Three or four chickens wouldn’t be that hard to manage, right? Plus then we’d have a nice supply of fertilizer for the garden, and fresh eggs, and the hens could roam in the yard (supervised, of course) eating bugs.

OK. I have until April 19 to either make it happen or decide to let it go until next year.

Should I go for it? Is this year the year we should get chickens?

Turning the Tide

Here’s what’s up: Despite what I’d thought, the last two years took a toll on me. And last August, for sure, when the kids’ dad and I moved (separately) half an hour west of where we used to live, but to different towns, so the kids had to change schools and move to two new towns and join a new soccer team and everything, it fully kicked our asses.

Anyway, we’re all settling out. The kids are doing well, making friends and having playdates and activities.

And I’m starting to relax a little, turning my attention to an actually more mindful assessment of how I’m doing (and why) instead of being in crisis mode about how the kids are doing.

I still don’t have enough time to really train for a solid race or anything. But I’m trying to fight back against the feeling of inherent defeat (based on schedule), and I thought I was beginning to work hard again, fitness-wise. Goodbye, squishiness.

I have low expectations of myself this year, in terms of races. I had higher expectations of myself in the past, which made sense, when I could run a lot. I can’t now, and frankly, making a wage that keeps us afloat is more of a priority. I might have to take an evening/every-other-weekend gig (do such things exist?).

Plus I’m trying to keep my house clean. And I am dipping my toe into online dating, which is generally a horrorshow.

But people, I have porked out. I knew I was getting bigger, but my workout clothes still fit, and I’ve been working out when I can (mostly strength training/Tabata stuff, because I’m feeling time-stressed lately, like I cannot take the time for a good relaxed run).

I went out last night (to an axe-throwing event, to which I was invited for social-media-influencer reasons). It was hard to get dressed for. My jeans don’t really fit anymore. I’d like to think it’s because I’ve been doing so many squats and lunges that my quads and glutes are just too big, but I don’t think that’s quite it. So I squeezed myself into my “loose” jeans, which are now my “only jeans I can still squeeze into” jeans.

I added a belt (hey, when did that belt get so short?), black t-shirt, and necklace, plus my favorite boots.

I was uncomfortable all evening, like my clothes didn’t fit right. Then my friend took a video of me throwing axes and I looked at it and felt like shit. I looked so chubby and awful and porky.


I feel gross. So much self-loathing was churned up by this.

So I’ve decided to do something about it. Not just work out more, but cut out the wine, cut carbs, whatever. Plus I joined a DietBet, which I have done before. Basically, you pay $20 (or whatever amount) and everyone in the “game” puts in that amount, and you have four weeks to lose 4% of your weight, then you split the pot with whoever else also lost that amount. So it’s a good motivation to lose it.

When I’ve done this in the past (maybe six years ago), I didn’t take the healthiest approach. I think nothing much changed about me until I had a week left, then I googled a Cosmo article about losing weight fast, then I basically lived on water for three days or something, then fasted completely (no water, even) for 12 hours, then did my final (successful) weigh-in without passing out somehow.

This will not be my approach this time. I just need to be more mindful about food and exercise.

Also, this is weird, but after all that self-loathing last night, I did the mandatory full-body photo (has to be submitted to DietBet, plus a photo of the scale with my weight and the word they send me for proof) and guess what? 

I don’t think I look terrible here! I don’t think I look like a pudgy chick squeezed into jeans. I think I look like a strong person (in a bathroom crammed with litter boxes and a hamster cage, sure).

So maybe my jeans are the actual problem, not my body.

In any case, it’s time to drop some of my adjusting-to-our-new-life weight and feel like I am at one with my body again.

Wish me luck. Wish me luck in getting fit, and wish me luck in learning to love myself, which is actually the real problem here.

Thanks for reading (*blows dust off mike* does anyone still read this thing?).

Sick Days

I get up, because there’s not much else to do.

On one side of me is my older son, hot with fever; on my other side is my younger son, coughing up a storm. At my head is the alpha cat, so alpha–“I will lie here, where I want to, and you will rest your head on me and I will lick your chin and you will pet me, but not too much.” Yes, sir. Whatever you say, 9-pound kitten. He’s still a kitten, but so big that when he clumps down the stairs we sometimes can’t tell if it’s him or my younger boy.

It’s 2:30 a.m. I’d been hoping it was later. I’d like a good night’s sleep. Both kids are sick. The younger one is technically well enough to send to school tomorrow, assuming the school doesn’t mind him coughing all over the place, and the older boy is going to his dad’s.

Today, Wednesday, the plan was to finally get in a full day’s work (and make up for yesterday and Tuesday, when I was caring for sick children and needed a nap myself yesterday to make up for a terrible night of sleep). I have a full-time job but am paid hourly. I get some vacation pay but no sick days or PTO.

Alpha Cat has diarrhea. I don’t know if I should take him to the vet or change his diet to grain-free for a week first. Between my own illness (norovirus? food poisoning?), divorce prep, divorce court, and sick kids, I haven’t put in a full week of work in weeks. Can I take the time to take the cat to the vet?

A full day’s work, finally, plus a hill workout because I am training for a hell of a trail race in early May and am behind in training, then maybe going out to meet a friend.

But it’s 2:30 a.m. and I am wide-awake. I could work, but I don’t feel like it. I crack open a beer my friend stashed in my bag after our amazingly icy ski day on Sunday and read an essay about late-term abortion. I wish women didn’t have to write these things to explain why abortion laws need to change. Not everyone can fly to that one clinic in Colorado when they learn at 20+ weeks that their baby will have a short, horrible, painful life, IF it survives birth. Abortion can be compassionate, you know.

(Here, read this: or this:

The younger child comes down, crouches on the kitchen floor. “Why are you down here?” he asks. It’s now 3:20 a.m.

I offer him honey, tea, ginger ale, water, lemon-honey tea. He wants none of it. He finally agrees to cold water out of my second-favorite coffee mug. I explain I can’t sleep and will be upstairs soon. I lead him back to bed.

As if I can sleep in the middle, between a feverish furnace and someone with a hacking cough, the usual knees and elbows, plus Alpha Kitty on my head. As if I’d rather be anywhere else or sleep alone.

I rub backs, give water from cups with bendy straws, reassure everyone I’ll be up soon.

It is 3:34 a.m. and the coughing has stopped. I can’t hear the moaning from the fevered boy.

Tomorrow Coughy will return to school, because he is technically well enough (hasn’t had a fever all day, hasn’t vomited). I will bring the older boy to his dad’s house. This sounds heartless, yes? Monday was my custody day but the younger child was too sick to go anywhere, so I returned home, got my laptop, and returned to my ex-husband’s house to work there and tend our younger child, because I can work from home and my ex cannot, so I worked from his house so he could go into the office.

I told him I’d bring my own food and coffee and wouldn’t touch his stuff. He offered to make me a pot of coffee, anyway.

By Monday afternoon I told the sick child that I’d carry him to the car wrapped in a fuzzy blanket, we’d get his brother from school, and go back to my house, a 20- to 25-minute drive. This time, he didn’t protest.

I think this is pretty functional co-parenting, right?

It is nearly 4 a.m. now. Alpha Kitty is watching me. I don’t want to climb back into my hot germy bed with all the knees and elbows and people moaning and coughing on me. I don’t know where to sleep. I need to sleep. I don’t want to sleep.