Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sundays in My City: Hamthrax

Unknown Mami

I live about an hour and a half from Washington DC. I rarely make it up there, but my cousin was in from Chicago for a conference, so Owen and I took the Metro in. I could write an entire post about our experiences there, but Unknown Mami asked us to write about our own city, and I must confess that DC is not really my city. We're tourists. See? Requisite picture of us posing awkwardly in front of the original Smithsonian:

Owen is holding a three dollar bouncy-ball from the Museum of Natural History. I believe it has a Wildebeast on it. This was a bribe to keep him pleasant, despite the noise and crowds and the terrifying amount of taxidermy.

Anyway, enough of that city, and on to my city: Prince Frederick, Maryland. We did what every red-blooded American chooses to do on a rainy Saturday morning: stand in line to get the vaccine for H1N1 or as I, (thanks to Amalah) like to think of it, Hamthrax.

Fearing the worst, I arrived at 7:30 AM. The clinic officially opened at 9:00 AM. The plan was that I would hold the line, and Paul would meet me with the boys closer to 9:00. Apparently, I'm not the only brilliant person, because the line was already two rows deep by the time I arrived. I thought I was prepared with my coffee, umbrella and newspaper, but the earlier arrivals were practically tailgating. There were camping chairs. Snacks. Computer games. I even saw one woman in a Snuggie. A leopard print one no less. I was both envious AND jealous.

Naturally, it was raining just enough to be annoying. I had no chair, so I could either read the paper, or be dry, but not both. I found myself huddling under my blue and yellow umbrella, thinking of cleaver puns. I thought that the line was...

1) Pan-damn!-ic.
2) Pandameriffic

I was very pleased with myself.

At one point, I smelled the familiar odor of cigarette smoke. Seriously. Seriously? We're in a line full of children, pregnant women, and seriously ill adults, and we're going to light up? I'm all for the right to do what you want to your own body, but come on.  I locked eyes with another woman, and she said, "Yeah, I smell it too."

I said, "What an asshole."

A third woman added, "Ummmm-hmmmmmmm!"

And, just like that, I was among friends. Nothing like mutual disdain to bring a group together.

Eventually, the CDC ladies gathered my information, and I called Paul and told him that it was time to load up the boys and meet up.

This is what he saw as he parked his car:

My cousin, who was with us, commented, "Very Soviet Block, yes?"

I replied with, "Yes! It's pandamnit-- fantastic." Damn! After all that internal rehearsal, I blew it! My chance at brilliance, thwarted!  Paul and my cousin both looked at me blankly and I was grateful that the line started moving forward.

We waited: 

And waited a bit more: 

It was a lot like Disneyland, except that you get a shot in the leg at the end of the line. We waited in one line, filled out forms, and went to another line to verify the information on the forms. We finally staggered into the third line/room, which looked like this:

I don't know what that strange man is doing, either. We got our shots, along with the pleasant information that we get to repeat the entire process in 21 days.

Owen got the mist, and he hung out reasonably well most of the time. Therefore, this was not super-traumatizing for him. Joel, on the other hand, got a shot in the leg and a very short leash. He was less than thrilled.

What did we learn from all this? A lot of people love their kids. That's the only reason one would put up with such nonsense, even efficient and well-organized nonsense. You love your kids, you want them healthy, so you'll sit in the rain with a loving tribe, and make the best of it. Even if making the best of it means bribes of Pumpkin Muffies at Panera for being good:

And just because this picture is too funny.... Behold! My neighbor's chicken!


kys said...

That looks worse than the line we stood in on Thursday evening. We only had to wait about 2 hours. I was kicking myself for not bringing my camera.

Tracie said...

That line looks like some new form of torture! But I love the chicken picture.

We are going to Gilbert, outside of Phoenix. What part of Arizona are you from?

Stephanie said...

There ought to be SOME reward for coping with noise, crowds, and extreme taxidermy, not to mention long lines. A bouncy ball with a wildebeest, a couple of cocktails. Whatever it takes. :-)

By the way, we live less than 2 hours from D.C. too, though we don't get there often.

michelle said...

Hamthrax! I love it! We've been calling it the hini (sounds like heinie) flu at work. Think this week we'll be calling it hamthrax.

michelle said...

Oh. And I LOVE the chicken pict

Sarafree said...

Hamthrax! That's great. Very interesting experience, I don't think I could have stayed in line that long. Your boys are cuties! Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Corrie Howe said...

I love all the pictures, but the chicken peeking through the fence is classic.

You are a good Mom. I haven't done the flu shot and would've left if I arrived and saw this.

dek said...

I just got back from the airport and was greeted by the chicken picture. What a great weekend!

Unknown Mami said...

Holy Crap-oly! I can't believe that chicken is so photogenic!

I hope you don't get bird-flu after all you went through.

Jen said...

I haven't even begun to find the vaccine for my boys. Bad mommy? Probably should add that to my list for tomorrow, but I know for a fact that the vaccine is in incredibly short supply, neither boy has asthma, and it's unfortunately a matter of time before one of them brings it home. Who'll get the sickest? Me, of course!

Joanna Jenkins said...

YEAH YOU!!!! You are a terrific mom to wait in the rain and cold to get the shot/mist!

I've yet to find a line to wait in but when one is available I'll know what to expect. THANKS for sharing.

And that is a seriously cute chicken :-)


Coby Goesling said...

I can't believe you actually saw someone wearing a snuggie! I bet there was someone wearing a Bump-it too!

That picture of the chicken seriously just made my day. THat should be on a greeting card, along with the word "pandamnic".

Jen said...

Oh, and there's a little sumtin sumtin at my place for you tomorrow morning. No, not now. Monday morning. ;)

Sonya said...

Hamthrax is so much better than what we call it at our house: The Notorius P.I.G. after the rapper notorious b.i.g. LOL Both my kids had the swine flu so hopefully thats it for us.

Loved your post and OMGoodness the chicken made me laugh so hard!!! LOL

noisycolorfullively said...

OK, I thought I was following your blog, but apparently not. I'm now in the process of catching up. Ummmm, Pandamnit-fantastic!!! Hooo, I almost peed! I just recovered and caught my breath when I got to the picture of the chicken... seriously?! Stop! I can't stand it! Too funny!