Bibliographies, Blogs and Barf

If you have a weak stomach, stop reading. Bibliographies can be absolutely nauseating. Oh yeah, and there’s barf. Lots of it. Why am I writing this? Just to give you a humorous (and somewhat revolting) little snippet of what happens sometimes as a writer, graduate student and father of three young boys.

It’s Tuesday night, the last week of March in a month that’s been anything but wicked in more ways than one. My annotated bibliography is due in Dropbox (a web-based file sharing system) by 11 p.m. for my Core2: Research Methods for Writers course. So, I’ve got it under control (or so I think). I just have some corrections to make, some material to add, and add one latecomer to my eight page annotated bibliography.

My wife, a pastry chef, is at work. So, I have the ship. That means dinner, baths, Nerf battles to control the fate of mankind, dessert, refereeing, iCarly and bedtime stories. Bibliographies have to wait until this is all done. As I herd them all into bed, Logan, my 7-year-old, complains that his stomach hurts. Seeing as how he has been fine all night, I shrug it off as a stall tactic. I’m not buying it, a decision I would come to regret.

I settle in at the kitchen table with my laptop and start wrapping up all the loose ends on my bibliography. It turns out I have a little more work than I thought as there are several portions I feel need more work. I’m pounding the keys, drinking coffee, avoiding the siren call of’s 10:56. Time to hit “send” into Dropbox nirvana and be done with it. I hear footsteps..little footsteps and then Logan shuffles into the kitchen like a zombie.

“I think I’m going to get sick, Dad.”

Let’s stop there. Here’s the scene: He is in the middle of the kitchen floor, about 6 feet from the table. I am standing up at my chair, poised, frozen in a sense, caught between my desire to send off my assignment and the necessity to get my son to the bathroom where he may actually throw up.

I take a deep breath and move away from the computer. He takes a deep breath and projectile vomits like a sprinkler. He covers a 6 foot radius, splashing the floor in inches of sickness, splashing my pajamas and slippers (which needed to be thrown out anyway).  He resets and does it again. Fire for effect! There is throw up splashed everywhere, but fortunately not on or near my laptop. He is dazed, the dog is moving in, and I act. This is no time for panic or confusion.

I slip out of my slippers and pull off my pajama bottoms, standing in the kitchen in my boxers (therefore giving this blog a potential “R” rating for horrific scenes of gratuitous scenes of shocking nature).

“Don’t move,” I yell to Logan.

I leap the pool of vomit like an underwear wearing Indiana Jones, grab the dog by the collar and hustle her outside. Then, I reach into the vomit maelstrom, avoiding the sights of bacon and lettuce (it was BLT night), and grab him by his arm pits, lift him up and take him directly up to the tub. I wash his feet off and get him new clothes and proceed to get him comfortable on the couch. I let Willow (our dog) in and put her downstairs until I can get the throw up cleaned up.

I Tweet Dr. Wolff with what is going on and he is more than understanding. Ok, I say (by now wearing new pajamas of my own), time to send this. It’s off, in Dropbox and I am-oh shit…it has to be a .doc file. I did it in Pages, because I love Pages. Because Macs are awesome. Ok, I am off my soap box now..moving along.

So, I save it as a .doc file and the formatting goes to hell (because Microsoft sucks.Back on soap box. Now back off. See how that works?). I start formatting and the more I mess with it, the closer I get to becoming a psychopathic serial killer. I’m halfway done when the vomiting starts again.

This time we have a bucket and this time he makes it into it. Meanwhile the original ground zero of hurl is drying, but it has to wait. Yes, I actually left it until I was done which tells you that A: I am either incredibly dedicated to my work or B: I am a completely asinine overachiever that has his priorities backwards. But, it should be known that Logan was quite comfortable and I stopped the instant he called out for me. However, the vomit remained.

So, there I sat, breathing in the very pungent and quite offensive aroma of stomach bile and digested food, formatting my eight pages of bibliography and silently cursing things that may have never been cursed in their lives.

After several more trips to the bathroom, skirting the edges of the Great Vomit Sea, Logan finally drifted off to sleep. I finally conquered the formatting hell that is Microsoft and my bibliography was entered into Dropbox.

Armed with Lysol, Pinesol, paper towels, sponges and trash bags, I scrubbed the hell out of the floor. I literally scraped bacon bits off the floor on my hands and knees, going through three rolls of paper towels. So, somewhere down the line, when you are reading other works, projects or assignments, comfortable in your easy chair, maybe sipping on a glass of wine, there is an actual possibility that a boxer wearing, vomit surrounded, format cursing lunatic is at the other end of that “send” button.

One last note, everyone is now healthy and no Logan’s were injured in the writing of this blog.


3 comments on “Bibliographies, Blogs and Barf

  1. Well…I “unlike” the situation, but love the way you described it, especially the “no Logan’s were injured in the writing of this blog post” haha. I give you a lot of credit for doing all that you do, and you still manage to always have a smile on your face.

  2. josephmcgee says:

    Thanks, Julianna, I appreciate that. Life is too wonderful to let setbacks and difficulties cloud your vision. I try to remember that I can’t control everything else, I can only control myself and my own actions. Life is short, why not smile and have fun?

  3. nahid says:

    Joe, i loved your blog post especially because i related to it as a parent. That same night, i was struggling with the kids’ homework and baths and so on. I had to pack everything in before the clock strikes 11:00. I totally understand leaving the vomit on the floor for a little…your back was up against the wall :). Thanks for sharing.

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