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Friday, May 16, 2014

Use your Words - Hot Dogs for Breakfast

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once, and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

My words are: 

hot dog ~ swimming pool ~ upside down ~ bugs ~ queasy ~  slap

They were submitted by Outmanned Mommy - thank you, Mary!

Those words immediately made me think of July 4! A day full of splashing in the swimming pool, eating hot dogs and blue-white-red cheesecake until your stomach is upside down, you're feeling queasy, and you could slap yourself for eating too much. Then it'd become dark, and there'd be fireflies (which would count as bugs, right?) and fireworks.


Only I live in Switzerland where we observe August 1st and eat Cervelats instead of hot dogs. 


Plus I just learned that a friend lost their cousin in a drowning accident on July 4th when they were kids. 

So instead of celebrating Independence Day in May, I'll go down a different road and tell you something personal about me.


"Honey I need you to come down and pick up the most amaaaazing flowers!" That was one of the receptionists. During college summer break I was temping for a company that traded with promotional items. My coworkers were all like "aaawww, young love, her boyfriend sent her a bouquet, how sweet!" It wasn't from the boyfriend. It was from his older brother, and the card said something like "I'll be happy to send you another one when the time is right - just make sure the time is really right!" 

What was that all about?

Rewind about ten days. Saying goodbye to D aka Buster Guy aka Plan A at the train station on Sunday night. He was about to start survival training as part of his 17 week long army duty that every young and healthy Swiss male has to go through. "I think I am going to buy a hot dog and eat it during my train ride, you want one, too?" His parents had just cooked the most amazing dinner for us, and I was full. I even felt somewhat queasy. 

"You know they'll barely give us any food, and we will only be able to sleep a few hours a night. We won't be able to take a shower for days, and we don't get to make phone calls or send / receive letters, there's not going to be a home weekend, which is the toughest, I am going to miss you soooo much!" 


Aaawww! We kissed until the train departed, and I had to go home. I was going to miss him, too. Although a weekend alone would do me some good. I was becoming one of those friend-neglecting long distance relationship people who spent the week counting down the days until the weekend. 

By the middle of the week I felt a familiar, diffuse abdominal pain and I expected it to be that time of the month. Just nothing more happened. I didn't think too much of it and went about my daily life, going to work, dreaming of D, counting the days until he would be back. As the days went by, I started to count the ones that had passed since my last cycle. How many days late can you be until you're officially late? We were being careful, right? Did we do anything that I should be worried about? Maybe that time when we came home from the swimming pool and barely made it into the house? I felt sick. I couldn't be… Just not. 

The next day I purchased my very first home pregnancy test. Reading the instructions made me feel queasy again. As if I hadn't felt sick enough these past days. Worrying and not being able to talk to D. "Take test in the morning" it said. OK, maybe over night I would start my period, and I wouldn't have to worry about a thing anyway.

But no. I peed on the stick which was kind of hard to do because my hand was shaking so badly. 

It's almost 25 years ago, but I still remember what I was thinking while I was waiting for that test result. I hadn't been all that excited about finishing college, but all of a sudden, going to school for a little while longer seemed much more comforting than unexpectedly facing motherhood. Nothing against kids - I loved them, I babysat them! Just first I wanted to have a cool job, my own apartment and most importantly, to travel, to see the world, to eat hot dogs at Gray's Papaya! 


I admit, the last part is made up. I only learned about Gray's Papaya a couple of years later. But it does sound like a reasonable life goal, don't you think?


I kind of wanted a hot dog right now. Or some fries. At 7am. I was either having cravings or going crazy here. D didn't even have his hot dog before he left on Sunday. What else would he have to give up because of me? Would anybody hire me if I needed a job to make money for diapers? What about him, would he even support my decision? I couldn't picture myself as a young mom, but I could imagine even less to have an abortion. I might have been young, but I was wise enough to know that I would regret it for the rest of my life.
What about our parents? My teachers? Geez. Queasy.

The bar on the pee stick that was supposed to not appear at all or turn blue, showed some greenish marble pattern  I held the test stick sideways, upside down, turned the back to the front, no matter how I held it, even after shaking and tapping it, there was still that green coloration. I felt like someone had slapped me in the face, and I started crying. 

Couldn't find the greenish scenario - but you get the picture!
On my way to work I called J, D's brother, from a pay phone and told him everything. He invited me over for dinner. When he opened the door, I flung my arms around his neck and sobbed away, and he held me for the longest time, telling me that everything would be OK. Just how? I think even his strongest imaginativeness wasn't enough to see D and me as parents. Or was it? J would be a great Godfather for sure, though.

He fed me some heavenly risotto and made me promise to make a gyno appointment first thing in the morning and to call him afterwards.

I went home, my eyes stinging from the crying, my uterus contracting from the period starting - or was that wishful thinking?

Still no news the next morning, except from feeling queasy and nervous. 

So I had to make that phone call to the gyno's office and tell them about the green line. "Come by after work and try not to worry, we'll figure it out!" That reaction bugged me. Yeah, they probably have a dozen college students coming in every day after having taken an inconclusive home pregnancy test, but for me this was a first and unique situation!

The test was negative. This time I cried from being relieved. "You probably caught one of those stomach bugs that is going around", the assistant said. "I hear it's making people feel really queasy."


Still no news the next morning, except from feeling queasy and nervous. 

I was now officially convinced that I was the victim of a conspiracy. I wanted my period. Now! 

A good 20 years later my situation was all upside down. I didn't want it, I cried when I got it, and I would have taken any strange color on a pee strip. That's how priorities change.

I guess I'll treat the little man to a hot dog one of these days! He likes them with mayo, ketchup and mustard, the whole nine yards. And he currently doesn't have any front teeth to bite off that dog properly - or to pronounce the word "teeth" for that matter. He's adorable! I am grateful for how it turned out.


PS: Little food, little sleep, no lengthy phone calls, no showers or relaxing weekends? That military survival training would have been the perfect preparation for a baby!

PPS: Although I made it to NYC at some point, I totally forgot about Gray's Papaya...

Please go check out what words the other bloggers got and what they did with them:



Baking In A Tornado 
Battered Hope     
Confessions of a part time working mom 
Someone else's Genius   
FBX Adventures (in Parenting)
Spatulas on Parade   
Stacy Sews and Schools  
Outmanned Mommy
Evil Joy Speaks  
Healing Tomato
The Momisodes
Juicebox Confession