My daughter was the first one to get it. As soon as I heard the cough start I knew I was done for. I practically bathed in hand sanitizer, but before you could say, “expectorant,” the whole family had the flu. Even the dog was sick, which was the icing on the influenza cake. Truly, there is nothing like getting a wet dog sneeze in the face when you feel like a roadkill.

Had it just been one drippy, icky, coughing, wheezing, hacking, germ-terrorist of an offspring in the house, I could have muddled through. But when I got sick next, and then my husband, it was like someone had dropped a flu-bomb in my house. The nebulizers were running on full tilt, the counters were overflowing with decongestant, and wads of used tissues overflowed from every trash can onto the floor like an eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.

“I don’t get it,” I said to my husband miserably. “I got the flu shot.”

“Apparently, it was the wrong strain,” he replied before letting out a sneeze that shattered the speed of sound.

“I want my money back,” I complained. “I should get, like, a re-flund.”

The problem with me being sick, of course, was that with everyone else sick in the house, there was really no room for me to be sick, too. And yet, here I was, Typhoid Tracy and Nurse Betty all rolled into one.

“Mom, I need more tissues,” came a wail from the other room.

“Can I get some more lemon tea, honey?” yelled my husband.

“I’m nauseous.”

“My head aches.”

“My knees are sweaty.”

“My earlobes hurt.”

“Your earlobes don’t hurt!” I bellowed back from the kitchen where I was pouring bowls of homemade chicken soup that I had made in some kind of out-of-body, flu-stupor. Suddenly I noticed that my earlobes hurt. My earlobes had the flu? Who even knew that was a thing?
I loaded up the tray with three bowls of soup and started to walk out of the kitchen.

Unfortunately, in my stuffy-headed, scratchy-throated, earlobe-aching haze, I failed to notice the dog sprawled across the kitchen floor. I stepped forward, caught my foot on the dog, and went flying across the floor. I watched in despair as the bowls took to the air like little out-of-control soup drones and rained down chicken soup on the floor, me, and the dog. Miserably, I sat in a puddle of soup and noodles contemplating the meaning of life. The dog, of course, was overjoyed and was thrilled to help me clean up the mess.
As I started to regroup, a voice rang out again from upstairs.

“Mom, is the soup ready?”

“Yes,” I replied.
“When can I have it?”

I leaned over and picked a noodle off the back of the dog.

“After the dog is done.”
— For more Lost in Suburbia, follow Tracy on Facebook at or on Twitter at @TracyBeckerman.