Thursday, April 14, 2011

Of Omens and Amens

I woke up bright and early on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, to the beginnings of a glorious day.  The sun was rising in a cloudless sky, the birds were singing, the trees were blooming, and my husband and children were smiling.

It was my birthday, and I had big plans.  I was going to sing, and dance, and make little crafts, spread a little mulch, and bake this beautiful cake.  (I recently discovered the recipe for it, here.)

In short, the day of my--I'm proud to say it--35th birthday was going to be mah-velous, darlings, simply mah-velous!

I got the first wave of people out the door for the day, and as I was dutifully working on prepping for the second wave, the Bionic Man called to find out where I wanted to go out for dinner that evening.  He suggested my favorite Italian place.  It just didn't sound right.  He mentioned my favorite Chinese place.  Hmm....that just wasn't appealing.  Mexican?  Oh no, that definitely wasn't right, either.  In fact, the very thought of a burrito made my stomach churn.  I told the Bionic Man I'd have to get back to him about dinner, and went off to finish packing lunches for Justone and Superkid.  On the way to the kitchen, I suddenly realized that all that talk of restaurants had made me positively nauseous.  I confronted the jar of peanut butter that was open, waiting for me to finish making Superkid's sandwich, and felt quite faint.

"Um, I'm not feeling very well, right now," I said slowly to Justone.  "Maybe you should help me make the sandwiches while I...."  I never finished that sentence, because I was already running to the bathroom to throw up.

The first thing I got for my birthday, this year?  Stomach flu.  Or food poisoning.  I'm not sure which, but I can definitely rule out pregnancy.  Either way, it was NOT mah-velous.

Needless to say, instead of having this for my birthday dinner,

I had these.


Soooo not what I was going for, that day.  All birthday plans were suspended.

Is it some kind of bad omen that my 35th birthday tried to kill me?  I have to wonder.

Twenty-four hours later, I had decided that I may actually live.  I wasn't completely dehydrated, and things were staying in me for a little bit longer than they had the day before, but that wasn't saying much.  I bravely ventured more than 20 feet from my bathroom, so that I could get to the corner store for additional supplies.

That's right, I pulled out the big guns.  Andes mints.

What?  You haven't heard of the restorative properties of Andes mints?

{shaking head} Oh my, my, it is a good thing we are having this conversation.

Let's talk about Andes mints.

Years ago, my dear friend Bethany helped me discover the healing powers of Andes mints.  You see, when we both lived in Connecticut, Bethany and I seemed to always have babies within six months of one another.  Without any planning or communication whatsoever, this happened three times in a row.  It made the sharing of maternity clothes extremely convenient.  When I was pregnant, constipation was not a problem for me.  Oh no, the opposite was true.  All that iron in the prenatal vitamins gave me diarrhea.  During one pregnancy, as I was bemoaning the state of my bowels to Bethany, she said, "Haven't you tried that old German remedy, yet?"

"WHAT old German remedy?" I asked, somewhat suspiciously.  Bethany had lived in the same German city we had lived in, although not at the same time.  She should know about old German remedies.

"Chocolate!" Bethany informed me cheerfully.  "Chocolate can cure diarrhea!"

"You can't be serious," I responded skeptically.

"Really," she told me.  "Chocolate is constipating, so you eat some really good chocolate, and it gets rid of your diarrhea.  One of my German friends fed me chocolate when I was sick, once, and I got better, just like that!  Even if it doesn't help, it tastes good," Bethany reassured me.

I was desperate enough to try it.  I remember standing in the grocery store candy aisle, pregnant and nauseous, trying to figure out which chocolate seemed the least likely to make me vomit.  For some strange reason, the Andes mints seemed like the only thing I could stomach.  I took them home and gingerly tried a couple.  And a couple more.  And a couple more....and then....

....and then I realized it had been more than two hours since I'd had to run to the bathroom.  I was cured!

Can we have an AMEN for the Andes mints?

Since then, Andes mints have been my go-to cure for diarrhea that lasts more than 24 hours.  I'm a believer that stomach flu symptoms should run their course (no pun intended), because there is obviously something in your system that needs to get out.  But, if diarrhea hangs on beyond a day or two, it is time for the Andes.  Something about the chocolate, or the mint, or the combination thereof does the trick.  Or, it could quite possibly be the placebo effect.  I can't rule that out.  But hey--as far as quack cures go, what could be more enjoyable than minty chocolate?

So glad I could share all of the useful wisdom I've gathered in thirty-five years of living with you today.

Now, thanks to Bethany and my Andes mints, I'm off to gather the supplies I need for some big-time Spring projects.  Sewing and crafts GALORE for the next few days!  Stay tuned for a belated birthday giveaway, too.


  1. Thank you for the medicinal advice! That's one remedy I'm sure to follow through on! :) Happy Birthday! We're the same age- within a few weeks- Hurray for 35! :)

  2. What a not so marvelous way to spend your birthday. Boo!!! I am interested in trying out that yummy looking cake though!!

    Thanks for the tip on the Andes Mints. I absolutely LOVE them!!

  3. Happy Birthday Ruth! Yeah for 35! Hope you are on the mend! Bonnie T and I were chating about how much we love your blogg please it makes it seem like you're still here in Ct!

  4. Happy 35 to you Ruth! (that is actually my given name too Thanks for sharing the Andes Mint "prescription" My daughters that LOVE sweet stuff will be happy to hear about it!
    Oh - and I am an April birthday too - best month! That cake looks really good...